Episode 406 – RPGs and mental health, part 2
by Dan Repperger

* (1:19) The requisite disclaimers.

* (1:57) How mental health affects gaming, as the person with the condition.

* (2:26) Attendance issues.

* (5:15) Accepting that some issues can’t be dealt with or accommodated in the context of gaming.

* (7:02) Some ideas for accommodating attendance issues when you can.

* (10:53) Beating yourself up during the game.

* (12:12) Accommodating mid-game issues.

* (17:37) Being anxious about being anxious.

* (22:28) The relationship between depression and self-value. Asking the right questions.

* (27:23) Tough thoughts during the downtime.

* (31:55) Dan versus the X card. The importance of communicating meaningful information. Applying Hanlon’s Razor to issue of offense.

* (52:22) Wayne gives his thanks to a group at DruCon. The value of distraction.

* (54:49) A big thanks to our Patreon backers!

Hosts: Brodeur, Chris, Dan, Wayne

Comments (6)

mrm1138July 3rd, 2016 at 4:58 am

You touched on it a bit; I’ve always understood the purpose of the X card to be for convention games (as opposed to home games) where people don’t know each other and may feel much too timid to openly confront someone about things that make them feel uncomfortable. I believe it was the guys at Misdirected Mark who said they like the X card from the standpoint that its very presence is a signifier to potential players that the game will be an environment where they will be respected and don’t have to worry about harassment or any other sort of mistreatment. I’m on board with that.

J.T.July 8th, 2016 at 6:44 am

The X card got its start in therapeutic techniques for people whose attacks (in whatever form) prevent them from being able to speak intelligibly. Policies like “we put it out each time” and “you don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to” are intended to let people know that their privacy is being respected. For example, if part of “get to know you” is being asked the question “Have you ever had a panic attack or something that felt like a panic attack so severe you couldn’t speak?” that’s a whole different form of bad boundaries. It’s easier to just say “if something like this every happens to anyone, here’s how we handle it.”

I play with the X card (my favorite game is MonsterHearts, you’re darn right I play with the X card. I’ve been using the X card or its predecessor “if you can’t talk, just slide out of your chair and take a knee” for literally years, and I have never once had a player invoke “I don’t want to talk about it.” I’ve also (for good or bad) never had a player actually physically reach for the card. But I’ve lost count of the amount of times it’s started a conversation like “Oh that’s alright, I’ll be okay as long as…” and I count those as successes. It is paradoxical but true how often “you don’t have to talk about it” inspires people to start talking about it.

DanJuly 8th, 2016 at 12:36 pm

Thanks for the comments! The talk about the X card has also gotten more detailed on the forums, where people raised some points in its defense, very similar to what you guys are saying. I’ll give you guys the links in case you want to see their posts and my replies…

Comment #1: http://www.feartheboot.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=767873#p767873

Reply #1: http://www.feartheboot.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=767991#p767991

Comment #2: http://www.feartheboot.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=768198#p768198

Reply #2: http://www.feartheboot.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=768204#p768204

Bill PaineJuly 15th, 2016 at 4:08 pm

Thank you for these episodes. An important topic. So many deal with some form of illness. It wouldn’t surprise me if someone found that the percentage of strugglers was high in the game/comic/nerd community. Naming it helps. Just being aware of it’s impact on friends and people around one’s table helps,too. It can be so helpful to someone who is struggling to know that they’re not alone and that they’re safe. So, thank you.

MicahJuly 27th, 2016 at 6:12 pm

Regarding the anxiety with attending a game, it sounds like your group games for 8 hours a session. Would it help if your group met more often for shorter sessions? I’m the DM for my group and we play 4-hour sessions every other week. This gives me ample time to prep, and even if things go sideways, it’s only a few hours lost. Just curious to see if this might lower anxiety some.

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