Creating a Welcoming Gaming Experience

Convention Policies

All official Afterverse games will have policies in effect in line with those described here. The precise set of policies will evolve over time as more experiences running the game influence the policies.

  1. Afterverse players who knowingly behave in ways that make other players feel uncomfortable or unsafe are subject to immediate punitive action at the GM's discretion, up to and including expulsion from the game without refund and notification of event staff.

  2. Afterverse players who do not realize their behavior may be making others uncomfortable will be subject to constructive criticism of their behavior. If such criticism is not respected and immediately acted upon, more severe action may be taken.

  3. All players are encouraged to stand up for their fellow players, particularly players who may feel uneasy standing up for themselves, when it comes to harassment.

  4. If accounts of a harassment incident differ, in general, the account from the perspective of someone underrepresented in the hobby (to be explicit, anyone besides a straight cis white male) will be given more weight.

  5. Don't hit on other players during a game, ever. 

  6. During a game, the gamemaster's determination is final, for the sake of moving the game along. Further discussion of the incident or the policy in question is permitted in private, following the game's end.

  7. If you don't believe you can enjoy a roleplaying game while adhering to these guidelines, we don't want you here.

It's important when playing games of all kinds, especially roleplaying games, to ensure that no gamer feels like a second-class citizen, and it's all too easy to inadvertently ignore behavior that does exactly this, or even fall into habits that directly perpetuate such behavior. Many kinds of people are underrepresented in the world of tabletop roleplaying, a few examples of which are gamers of color, trans gamers, and women. While bad behavior towards other players is always discouraged, bad behavior towards these groups is particularly harmful to the community. A big part of the roleplaying experience is learning to view the world through different eyes, and this becomes much more difficult if the gamers you're surrounded with are similar to you, not just in appearance but in life experience.

If you find yourself reflected in the descriptions of bad behavior below, the solution is straightforward: strive to improve yourself, and learn to take criticism constructively. If someone else at the table tells you that you're making others uncomfortable, that person is your best friend in the room. Consider that, long before your behavior (whatever it may be) reached the threshold where someone felt the need to talk to you, you have certainly already been making people uncomfortable; the person with the problem is, invariably, the last to notice. When criticized for behavior like this, the best response is, "I'll try to do better. Thanks for letting me know."

 
Defining bad behavior

 

In its most simple form, bad behavior in this situation is defined as behavior that makes other players feel unsafe or uncomfortable.

 

In this community, the most common such behavior by far is unwanted sexual advances directed towards women. In this context, it's helpful to define it as including all sexual advances. Don't hit on players at your table; it is virtually always unwanted, and always makes the receiver of such advances uncomfortable, not to mention the rest of the table. If the person making the advance has trouble recognizing signs of a lack of interest, the receiver of the advances would feel unsafe as well.

Condescension is another common behavior that makes people feel uncomfortable at the gaming table, and it is unfortunately common that this behavior is more often directed towards people at the table who don't "look like a gamer" - again, because these tend to be the people who are underrepresented in this community. It's an understandable impulse to assume that the people who look like you have similar expertise levels as you do, but it's a harmful impulse nonetheless.

Even when a newer player really doesn't have as much experience, embrace that, rather than scaring them off. Remember that we were all new at one point. There is, admittedly, a balancing act to perform here; you don't want to treat people as being below their knowledge level because it's condescending, 

A related behavior is gatekeeping, which is when someone decides that someone else is not worthy of respect on account of their level of expertise. The most prominent kind of gatekeeping is the accusation of "fake nerd

girl", which is particularly damaging in that it rarely crosses the offender's mind that a "fake nerd guy" is equally probable. The rule of this community must be that anyone who chooses to be a nerd, is a true nerd; there is no faking it. Likewise, anyone who chooses to play Afterverse, is a true Afterverse fan. There is no need to test anyone, and there's no need to be competitive about it, at least unless you have entered into a literal competition.

 
Handling bad behavior at the table

 

Most bad behavior comes in small, persistent doses. As a result, virtually any action taken against the perpetrator is likely to be seen by some as an overreaction. Afterverse officially condones punitive actions for behavior that may drive away newer players, including those that may be seen as overreactions.

If possible, for this kind of small but repeatable offense, sanctioning the offender without grinding the game to a halt may be desirable. A simple, straightforward, matter-of-fact statement is one way: "You're acting creepy and making other people uncomfortable." If you're the kind of GM or player that utilizes notes at the table, a note passed to the offender may accomplish the same thing. GM's are permitted and encouraged to punish such offenders by taking away XP tokens, especially if the player has already been made aware of the reason why.

 

If you're a GM observing such behavior, the responsibility ultimately falls on you to ensure that players are treating each other with the proper respect.

© 2019 by Afterverse Inc

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