TTRPG Social Contract & Safety Tools

Role-playing games are a form of collaborative storytelling. There is no winning or losing and bad outcomes for characters should not be considered failures, but rather a natural part of the story. We come together to tell a story about a group, not individual narratives. While we may explore a single character’s backstory more than others on occasion, this is done with the understanding that everyone contributes equally to the narrative and that opportunities may come up to explore story threads that revolve around each character in turn.

As the GM, my first job is to make sure that everyone is having a good time. The expectations on this page form a contract to ensure that games that I run are fun and inclusive. If any of my players feels like they are not having a good time, please feel free to let me know privately or before/after a game session.

Last updated: 3 April, 2022

  • I will respect the players by running a game that is fun, fair, & tailored for them. I will allow every player to contribute to the ongoing story and give every character moments to shine.
  • Players will respect me and the effort it takes to create a fun game for everyone. Players will allow me to direct the campaign, arbitrate the rules, and settle arguments.
  • Players will respect one another, listen to one another, support one another, and do their utmost to preserve the cohesion of the adventuring party.
  • Should I or a player disrespect another or violate the social contract in some other way, the group may dismiss that person from the table.

p.140, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything

Hate speech

Comments or actions that demean a person (in game or out of game) based on their age, ancestry, sexual orientation, appearance, speech, ability, gender, or anything else that could be considered hate speech have no place at my table. Any kind of hate speech will not be tolerated in any form and will result in swift consequences.

Hard & soft limits

  • A hard limit is a threshold that should never be crossed.
  • A soft limit is a threshold that one should think twice about crossing, as it is likely to create genuine anxiety, fear, and discomfort.

Hard and soft limits should be discussed in a Session 0 but can be messaged to me privately at any time.

Lines & Veils

from “What do the terms ‘lines’ and ‘veils’ mean? — RPG StackExchange

We all have our limits and boundaries. Lines and veils are different ways to handle those boundaries in play.

  • A line is, well, a line — a hard limit, something we do not want
    to cross. Lines represent places we don’t want to go in roleplaying.


There is no torture in the events in our game. We don’t do it, NPCs don’t do it to us or to each other. Whether it happens elsewhere in the setting is not an issue in terms of enjoying play.

  • A veil is a “pan away” or “fade to black” moment. When we veil
    something, we’re making it a part of the story, but keeping it out of the spotlight. Think of it as a way to still deal with certain themes while avoiding having to describe them in graphic detail.


Torture does happen in the game world and may happen in our game in some way or another. But if and when it does, we do not role-play it directly or depict it verbally. Everyone is trusted to play their characters as reacting to it appropriately without us having to experience it vicariously.


  • racism
  • sexism
  • homophobia
  • transphobia
  • ableism
  • sexual abuse
  • slavery


  • consensual sex
  • pornography
  • prostitution/sex work

Lines and veils can be brought up during any game session and interrupt the narrative. The players and GM should respect any stated lines or veils and there should be an opportunity to redo the scene or narrative with the line or veil respected.

If a scene reaches an uncomfortable place for you, for any reason, you can say:

“This is a line/veil for me…”

We will take a minute and come back the narrative to avoid the subject. Lines/veils can be DM’d privately to me as well, or discussed before/after the game if you do not feel comfortable speaking up during the game. However, for everyone’s safety, it’s encouraged that you say something or raise your hand during play, so we can adjust the narrative as needed without further harm.

Traffic Signals

For ease of communication and mutual understanding, we may use traffic signal colors (red light, yellow light, green light) to communicate lines & veils. A “green light” means everything is good, and could be used by the GM to ask if the group is okay with a particular situation. Examples: “Is everyone green?” “Is this a green light?”

“Yellow light” corresponds to veils and can be used by players to indicate a fade-to-black. Examples: “Yellow light!” “That’s a yellow.”

“Red light” corresponds to lines and can be used by players to veto or pull a hard stop during a particular encounter. Examples: “Red light!” “That’s a red for me.”


Any player who violates a social contract, engages in hate speech, breaks another player’s hard or soft limits or consistently crosses stated lines, in character or out, will be talked to privately first, publicly second, and asked to leave the game after a third offense.