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Friday 10 January 2014

If You Need a "Safe Word" in RPGs, You Might Be Playing The Wrong Games...

So it has come to my attention around the OSR blogosphere that there are actually people suggesting, at this point, that in order to be "sensitive" to those who have "triggers" (and no doubt to "watch our privilege" too) we should all have to use "Safe Words" while playing.

For those of you who don't know what a "safe word" is (and what amazing innocents both of you are after 20 years of the internet being around... seriously, what the fuck are you, Amish?!), it is a term that comes out of BDSM; no, that's not an anime-themed RPG, its "Bondage Domaination Sado-Masochism".  In other words, kink.  Ironic, then, that the Great Porcine Prudes of the Gaming Hobby would have borrowed a term from something they'd no doubt denounce as part of "rape culture".
In short, what a "safe word" means is that if you are in the middle of being spanked, or having something put inside you that probably has no business being there, or in some other way being subject to extreme activities for consensual fun and romp, and suddenly it ('it' being the pain, the intensity, the urge to pee, the handcuffs making your arm fall asleep, or the smells) get to be too much, you can call out your safe word; a word that would not normally be said in the middle of a bondage session (like, say "Tahiti"), and all activity will immediately cease. 

Safe words are very strongly advised if you're going to get involved in anything kinky. It makes sure you are not pushed past the absolute limits of what you can stand. 
But if ANYTHING at all in, say, D&D, a game where you sit around fully clothed eating chips and pretending to be an elf; if anything at all within the spectrum of things that should be socially permitted to do during an RPG, is "past the absolute limits" of what you can stand, then YOU have a very serious problem as a human being.

Seriously? That's what they've seriously come to? I mean what the fuck?? If you need a Safeword in a fucking ROLEPLAYING GAME (the kind that we play in the hobby, not the kind that involve real-life whips or butt-plugs) then how the living fuck do you manage to navigate your way through life?

The people demanding this must clearly be one of two things:
1) Totally crippled human beings, barely able to get out of bed in the morning, shattered by whatever personal hell they live through in their mind's eye every instant; in which case why the fuck are they playing D&D and not hospitalizing themselves in a psychiatric institution?!

or, of course:

2) Utterly cynical self-righteous assholes who know this idea is total bullshit but are using it as a rhetorical tactic in their ongoing struggle to try to portray regular RPGs as something profoundly flawed, unhealthy, and needing of regulation by a tiny elite of "experts" to control the horrific great unwashed that go around playing awful games like D&D. You know, Swine.


Currently Smoking: Stanwell Deluxe + Image Latakia


  1. People are seriously saying it's a good thing? The only chatter I've seen is people mocking the notion.

  2. I just ran a Lamentations of the Flame Princess campaign and I think I offended a few people. I think better communication on my and their part would have made things work out a little better, but this blog post made me laugh out loud. Thanks. :)

    1. I know you offended me. I was offended so greatly I started crying while my character was performing blood rituals.

  3. I'm all for very clearly communicating what sort of stuff your game will deal with, particularly if its something outside what one would normally expect from a standard D&D-type fantasy game.

  4. Safe words? Really? Are they rolling dice while fucking? Sorry, but this makes no sense to me.

    1. That actually sounds like fun. *roll d20* "19 plus 4, that means I score!" *consult miscibility tables*

    2. Nat 20. A parasitic organism implants itself deep in your bowels and hijacks your brain, forcing you to protect it at all costs during its lengthy gestation.