310 Trust in RPG's

Very interesting topic! This has been an on/off issue within my gaming group as some members trust certain GMs more than others but we rotate around.

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I would be curious why they trust some GM’s but not others within your own group, @Luckstrider

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Astonishing and Amazing Swordsmen, Sorcerers, Witches and Warlocks of East Hyperborea

hahahahahhha

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Umm…probably time/experience. A couple of the GMs have been doing it longer than the other two. Probably has to do with tone/setting/system as well. The couple guys with the biggest issues with trust really like 5e and are less open to other game systems so are initially wary whenever we go outside of D&D.
We did have a guy throw an all-out temper tantrum about Blades in the Dark though because he didn’t like that you rarely succeed without consequences but…there was alcohol involved as well.

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I’d be game for running something in parallel and comparing notes. Fun stuff for sure!

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How many are needed for the group? I’d love to play!

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Is it just me or is there a correlation between D&D fans and mistrusting GMs? In some cases, I’ve met some untrusting players who are OSR fans and their concerns seem to be more mechanical in nature (like your anti-Blades player) but this isn’t the first time I’ve heard of a D&D fan who’s very particular about who runs for them and how.

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That may be a loaded question Todd, only because D&D’s fan base is so much larger than anything else. Just sayin.

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For me, trust exists as a group. One weak link in the trust circle we call gaming can lead to the whole chain snapping in half. Still, trust begins with trust. Those who have trust issues in games they play always sound like someone with trust issues in their intimate relationships but never seem to recognize it was all from that old flame who really knew the football team (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, know what I mean?). Being burned by a previous player/GM/group isn’t supposed to be the norm just like any other connections we form. Whoever hurt you was the wrong one and they are the distant minority. By sitting down to play together, we’re all making an unspoken agreement to play TOGETHER and that demands trust. Plus, as someone who didn’t exactly get treated like a person by non-geeks growing up, trust is required for many people to open up and share with a group. I instantly trust and connect with someone who shares a hobby with me; it’s then up to us to fuck it up. Even if we’re playing pretend. Maybe even especially because we’re playing pretend. But trust is easier said than earned. I guess… oh, crap… don’t make me say… it depends?

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BWAHAHAHAHA!!
I have you now Crapper!

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Very true, but it’s not an overlap you tend to see in story games, indie stuff, and even some of the modern OSR games, it seems. At least, from what I’ve played and with whom it was played.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

(I was just gonna leave it at that but the grammar police of this forum says that’s an incomplete answer.)

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I hear trust issues around all sorts of games. Often phrased as, “I only play X game with Y players GM”. Reason given is that basically that only this special group knows how to do it right.

I’ve been told directly by gamers that they will only play PBtA games if there’s and X Card on the table because they don’t trust people won’t abuse the system (no idea what the really means…“abuse the system?” but it’s what I’ve been told).

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Hmm, the X-card is an excellent point. In some ways, many who actively use it see it as a safety measure to ensure something doesn’t accidentally happen but it’s also seen as insurance to help establish trust in the game when playing with strangers or in a new group. People who don’t want to use an X-card (in my experience) state it’s because they trust their group and don’t need one. While it’s more complex than that, yeah, the X-card is an optional trust mechanic.

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I don’t disagree with you at all, but I guess to me “don’t want” and “don’t need” aren’t the same. If someone wanted an X card, and the group said “we don’t need it”, “sure, fine, I’m glad we don’t need it. But since we don’t need it, no one will mind it being out.”

My group doesn’t use one, but if someone asked, I’d toss one out, for sure.

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Before the first lockdown, one of my groups was suddenly running into some issues playing together. One player admitted to me afterwards that he had a panic attack during a game and another player admitted being uncomfortable and unsure about dealing with a somewhat confrontational player at the table. We’d been playing for a couple years without any safety tools. When I mentioned things like the X-card and Lines & Veils as options to help avoid any future problems at the table, they were very much on board.

Of course, we have yet to try it out as we haven’t played in more than six months. Sad face emoji with a single tear.

Where I’m going with this is that safety tools are great trust mechanics but they can also be helpful for other reasons. The player with the panic attack has no idea why it happened; having one of those tools available made them feel more comfortable to rejoin the group (he almost dropped out entirely that night) knowing there was something he could turn to a mechanic in the game if it happened again.

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A good friend of mine has a significant anxiety/ PTSD history. Once he eventually saw a professional, he was prescribed a small number of anxiolytic tablets (Ativan? maybe?)

He rarely took them, and his anxiety was, in his words, WAY better. He said there were times he’d start feeling anxious, and just feeling the pill bottle in his pocket was enough to help him calm down. Tying this to the above, just KNOWING the tool is there can be enough sometimes.

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@sean @Fafhrd Has there been an episode about safety tools like the X-card yet?

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Hey Todd,
I seem to remember there being a discussion of it in ep 137 (Session Zero).

I know they’ve mentioned it a lot over the years - but my search-fu on the archives is coming up blank.

:slight_smile:
Rory

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Not a full, dedicated discussion - talked about them a lot in connection with other things.