Narrative Control – Episode 71

Welcome back to Narrative Control, season 3. This season we’re taking calls from listeners and offering up what advice we can about their gaming conundrums. This week we talked to Rich Rogers about a transgressive experience he had playing in a game and review both what he could have done differently and what both GMs and players should watch out for so that they don’t cross over boundaries inadvertently.

Hosts: Sean Nittner, Eric Fattig, and Lenny Balsera

Guest Caller: Rich Rogers, of Canon Puncture and RPG Crosstalk

Length: 50:27

Show Notes

[00:28] Welcome to the show. This episode is explicit because of the content. Specifically character rape.
[01:17] Welcoming the hosts on board. Discussion of secrets. Sean presents his theory.
[03:37] Lenny’s thoughts on secrets… or is that what we’re really talking about?
[05:53] Eric’s crazy project. Building the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-A)

Presentig the situation

[07:42] Bringing Rich onto the show. Rich tells us about the game.
[09:50] A failed carousing roll results in his character being raped. We ask some clarifying questions.
[11:20] Player reacton: laughter and ridicule.
[13:06] After the game reaction from the group: tweets celebrating the game.
[13:54] Rich’s reaction: leaving the game.
[16:12] Our follow up questions. Reponse from the GM. Other experiences with the players.

Breakdown of what went wrong

[16:50] Issue: using lines and veils requires a discussion in advance, not after the fact.
[17:58] Issue: failure stakes never made explicit. Consequences way out of scope. Discussion of narrative authority, who gets it?
[20:33] Suggestion: Speak up when uncomfortable. Consider what is the worst thing that will happen? It is okay to not be okay with something.
[21:56] Issue: players response. Taken seriously and with respect virtually any subject matter can be handled with respect. But the reaction here was ridicule.
[22:39] Issue: deprotoganoizing a PC. A really hot button for Sean.
[23:35] Issue: appropriateness of the content and the player’s reaction. Lenny plays devil’s advocate.
[26:16] Suggestion: When playing online, pay much more attention to what is going on with the other players because of the missing the body language.
[27:27] Suggestion: elaboration on how to respond, halting the game right there and discussing what’s going on in the game.
[28:22] Suggestion: negotiate out of character, don’t work within the narrative.
[29:18] We have to laugh because it is so awful. Sean’s experience watching Brazil unprepared.
[30:23] 30 minutes into a game, hearing this, we’re surprised Rich didn’t just hang up the call.
[32:09] Suggestion: Games can handle very serious, transgressive and controversial issues. First thing to do is to check in with the other player.
[33:55] Recap of suggestions: Call the GM on the carpet or leave the game. Be very clear in skype/online games to communicate intent and check in with each other.
[36:25] Issue: it feels more uncomfortable to object the longer the game goes on and the more the other players buy into it.
[37:21] Issue: recap of he players response. In some ways even more offensive than the GM’s actions.
[39:42] Suggestion: If you bring a new player into a game, evaluate your existing group dynamic before trodding ahead.
[40:35] Suggestion: Response to the players is the same as response to the GM. Call them on their response.
[40:56] Sean is so upset by players teasing each other. It’s bullying.
[42:37] We wish we had more practical advice. We’re angry on Rich’s behalf.
[43:02] Rich is not only upset about what happened in the game, but also about his reaction.
[44:00] Issue: how to deal with players who are teasing you in game?
[46:18] Suggestion: The people watching this going down (a 3rd party) should call people out on this.
[48:07] Closing thoughts. This happens to other people. We’ve heard these stories.

Direct download: NC_Episode_071.mp3

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