[Public consultation] Project safety requirements

consultation
safety
Tags: #<Tag:0x00007f24643de980> #<Tag:0x00007f24643de818>

#1

Following their community safety meeting in April, the NZLARPS Auckland Committee requested that the national committee amend its project guidelines to require the following:

That NZLARPS projects be required to complete an Expectations Statement to be released to prospective attendees outlining the expected themes of the larp, so that attendees know what to expect and can choose to play or not based on their own judgement. NZLARPS will not ban any themes but instead encourages open communication and consent between GMs and participants. Players should be able to opt in to themes.

That NZLARPS projects be required to advise on their alcohol policy when applying for NZLARPS project status. NZLARPS does not blanket ban alcohol from its events (except when the venue rules prohibit alcohol) but expects that projects will set a responsible policy that suits their game. NZLARPS reserves the right to refuse projects that do not have a responsible alcohol plan.

This information would be required to be submitted alongside the project scope and budget.

As projects are managed and approved by regions, this requires consultation. Do you approve or disapprove of the proposed changes? In particular, we are interested in your views on whether the proposals:

  • are relevant to the sorts of projects run in your region;
  • would enhance safety at those projects or in the region as a whole (either directly or indirectly e.g. by providing an example of best practice);
  • would deter GMs from seeking project status;

Any other comments you have on the projects process in general are welcome.

Please consult past, present and potential project managers as required. We are interested in their views as well as those of regional committees.

Please respond either on Diatribe here or by email to "secretary@nzlarps.org".


NZLARPS National Committee quarterly summary July 2017
#2

Placeholder reply while committee confirmation vote is taking place


#3

Just to make this clear: while we’re particularly interested in the views of GMs and project managers, anyone can chip in on this. We’d especially welcome a variety of regional perspectives (Auckland has already discussed it at their safety meeting).


#4

For Cerberus (which was the first project in Dunedin in a long while) we were mostly doing this already, so it seems sensible to me. The only things I’m curious about in regards to the expectations statement are:

a) Is there room for games to simply mention there are undisclosed themes for games where the GMs want to keep elements of the game a secret? It’s not something I do much of these days, but I know there are some games that like to have surprises. I would hope that GMs at least side on disclosing things by default, particularly with content that is likely to be objectionable.

b) Is there any kind of expected format for this? Or will the policy simply trust that the GMs do their best to communicate, and that if any participants feel that the communication isn’t sufficient they can raise a complaint?


#5

I think there has to be. I also think its impossible to know before a game begins what the entire life cycle of a campaign will include (apart from themes deliberately banned).

“Players should be able to opt in to themes” can actually be quite tricky. Players should always have the freedom to leave when something touches on a sensitive topic, but the entire spectrum of human experience is difficult to know in advance. In some ways its safer to collect a list of themes players might be uncomfortable with and ask them (with write in fields).

This bit is also only relevant to campaign larps, or one-offs, not to conventions/series events, or other types of nzlarps project.


#6

a) Is there room for games to simply mention there are undisclosed themes for games where the GMs want to keep elements of the game a secret? It’s not something I do much of these days, but I know there are some games that like to have surprises. I would hope that GMs at least side on disclosing things by default, particularly with content that is likely to be objectionable.

There have been some instances where this hasn’t happened. I mean, I don’t think the GMs of those particular games were trying to give people a bad time, just they were keen on some heavy plotlines and wanted to go for a surprise twist, like characters recovering memories of being tortured. Or character sheets weren’t provided until right before the game that had some difficult content, with no room for the player to opt out without letting people down.

I was going to suggest amending the procedure slightly to give examples of what should be notified to the players, such as: graphic violence, sexual coercion (or underage sex), roleplaying content that would need an R rating on a TV show, putting the players in a stress environment (eg very crowded; very dark; absence of food, water or restroom facilities; unusual temperature.)

I’m not saying don’t have heavy games that explore difficult themes, because there’s definitely a market - but give players enough information to go in mindfully, and opt out procedures for them to exit if it turns out to be more difficult for them than they expected. (There are some techniques like Cut/Brake, X Cards, Lines and Veils which are worth looking up if this is the kind of game you want to run.) And plan for a longer debrief phase of your game, as well - people can get surprised by Big Feelings in larps and taking the time to transition them out of the game space at the end can help them a lot.


#7

Phoenix is doing an intensity rating this year (I can’t remember if it was tried last year as well or just suggested) where the GMs add their trigger warnings and also rate it out of 5 for how intense they think it will be. I believe this will be available with the game blurbs on sign up, but @lesbiancobra or @jenhay will have a bit more info on that I think


#8

This year is the first year we’re trying the intensity rating - it was suggested last year after a few people misinterpreted game blurbs and ended up in unexpectedly intense games that they probably wouldn’t have chosen if they’d known what was involved.


#9

Of course, the GM doesn’t always know in advance how intense a game will be or what themes the players might introduce.

One example would be Exodus 22:18 (the Mike Tice version, not the NZ version). The author had written a lot of advice on debriefing etc, obviously on the expectation that the game would be emptionally intense. However, the players didn’t actually take the game that seriously and it was pretty comical. This wasn’t an issue in this case, but if the reverse had happened players might have been upset


#10

This is true, but introducing an intensity rating kind of gives players an idea of the intended tone of the game, and can attract players who are interested in that kind of experience. However, I do agree that it still leaves it open for players to take things in an unintended direction, but may also give players a backing for calling “break, I signed up for a low intensity game” or similar.

I do think it is best to leave this as an encouragement rather than a requirement (i.e. intensity rating is to give an idea for the intended direction of the game, not an insistence it be that intense) in order to maintain autonomy for players, but I’m not sure how to combat the “what if people in my low intensity game decide to start talking about [gross topic] or [emotion]”.