*As a note, the intro for this was written by Steph from TTRPGkids, and the below description was written by the project’s creator
With the explosive growth of tabletop gaming, I created the Deck of Player Safety (DOPS) for in-person gaming, in particular conventions and organized play, as a tool for all participants to have a QUICK and ANONYMOUS method for signaling any hot-button topics they want excluded from their gaming session. Most importantly, they can do so without being in the spotlight as this method is anonymous, even to the Game Master. Incorporating the DOPS at your table demonstrates you respect your fellow gamers and value everyone’s enjoyment.
What is the Deck of Player Safety?
The Deck of Player Safety is a casino-quality card deck made in the USA from sustainable materials. Included in the deck are:
- 30 hot-button cards, each with a different hot-button topic
- 12 “Anything Goes” cards
- 8 short-form instructional cards you can hand out to remind your players of the process
- 2 blank cards upon which you can write custom hot-buttons (preliminary tests show these are reusable with wet erase markers, but not dry erase)
- 2 “X-Cards” to implement the optional X-Card** Safety Tool
- A swanky box to hold your deck of cards
- Instructions on how to add the Deck of Player Safety to any game and recommendations for adjusting your game on the fly based on the process
Who should use it?
Anyone running an in-person Tabletop Roll Playing Game (TTRPG) game should implement this player safety tool.
Where to use it?
DOPS was designed specifically with in-person, convention and organized play in mind, particularly when the participants may be strangers. Additionally, groups that game together regularly can use the DOPS during a Session Zero, or even before each gaming session. Life happens and you never know when potential hot-buttons might change.
How to use it?
At the start of the session, provide the player instruction card and QR code to each player to take them to a video explaining the Deck of Player Safety (or you can read the provided Player Instructions yourself) and pass the deck to the closest player. Each player scans the entire deck for any hot-buttons they want excluded from play or selects an “Anything Goes” card. Players keep their cards facedown for the GM to collect, assuring anonymity. After collecting all cards, the GM will shuffle the cards, review any hot-buttons with the group, make any last-minute adjustments, and get rolling. Follow this link for a video demonstrating the DOPS in action!
When to use it?
The DOPS should be used at the start of each gaming session. Even when playing with a regular group of friends, player circumstances and hot-buttons can change at any time.
How long does it take?
2-5 minutes. The DOPS has been playtested many times, both among regular gaming friends and complete strangers. For a group of 4-5 players, the entire process takes between 2-5 minutes; two minutes for groups familiar with the process who don’t require Player Instructions, and about 5 minutes for groups using the DOPS for the first time.
** The X-Card is courtesy of John Stavropoulos and more information on its use can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/x-card-rpg
Recommended Age Group for The Deck of Player Safety
Most organized play and convention TTRPG games hold a PG-13 standard, so the Deck of Player Safety is recommended for ages 13+.
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