thread: 2006-01-17 : Hurt and Abandonment

On 2006-01-18, Emily wrote:

Is it the designer's responsibility?

Hell, yes. And no.

Real life example:
Here we are at a ritual (no not that one).  It's late at night, and many people are going deeply into trance and someone comes up to the fire and says "Now I want you to go into your deepest wounds, bring them to the fire and dance them out."  Everybody did, and in short order we had a mess of balling people flopping around.

Where was the person who called it out?  Chatting and having some sweets a ways away.

So there are two parts:

1) In this example, it was irresponsible to invite people to engage in potentially emotionally damaging exploration and to then skip out.  That's what I see in game design that intentionally creates the situation where a person would go to their pain, but provides no warning, no guidance and no introspection regarding the journey they are taking and gives no tools to the folks involved.


2) It was definitely the responsibility of the folks who "went deep" to judge how able they were to be able to deal with their issues and to check out what kind of support they knew they could count on.  So, too, players of an rpg need to play advisedly. If a game says "An Intense Roleplaying game" at least read the damn thing to see if this sounds like mere hyperbole or if it might push your buttons. And then PAY ATTENTION while you are playing. If you need to tap out, tap out.  Ain't nobody else can do that for you.


This makes BR go "Yes"

This makes LBK go "Yep; that was there."
As to your point #1, right in the bit of writing that started this, there was a note about the designer 'saying' something like "I'm in this with you.". If the designer isn't, why should I invest emotionally in a game? They MUST be in it with me.

This makes RE go "Thanks Em"
Both for the excellent point and for the reference, which I think is under-recognized when discussing these issues

This makes TLB go "Uh ... "bawling"?"
I mean, I'm fine with it either way. If there's no typo then (frankly) GO EMILY!

This makes LP go "Yes and no."
1) I see. Years ago, I heard about a trancework ritual that left a lot of people with the shakes in a bad way due to cluelessness on the part of the leader. 2) I am not sure about. To a degree, I am trusting the ritual leader (or the game author) to guide me. I may not know enough to know what the warning signs are. It is the responsibility of a ritual leader to make sure that the participants can deal or can judge whether they can deal. The analogy to an rpg author may break down here, but I'm not sure -- part of what's going on is that we are getting new games that many gamers don't have the context to understand whether play will hurt them in ways they don't want. Fr'ex, without having read some threads on the Forge about it, Bacchanal reads to me like a light, if X-rated, gamist type game.

This makes ecb go "typo, yes. responsibility shared."
LP: The fact that an rpg designer can't be there with the users of their game does make it a very different situation, but the point at which we can take action, we need to. But then once we do, folks need to heed it & take responsibility for their own state of mind.

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