To attract players who mesh with your style, and thus ensure a long and happy campaign, there’s a lot for Game Masters to consider. When listing your games on StartPlaying, you should have eye-catching thumbnail art and an efficient onboarding process. Another very important consideration is safety tools. GMs prefer different ways to create safe spaces in game, but it’s equally important to set up the foundations pre-game. That’s where StartPlaying Content Warnings come into play. 

Content Warnings show up under the Safety Tools section when you’re creating a Game Template. Prospective players will see them in the adventure listing among Additional Details like how to prepare and how character creation works. Just like with a movie or TV show, content warnings are used to communicate what serious topics will come up. The main goal is to help people avoid potential triggers or subject matter that just doesn’t sound fun to them at the moment. That said, your aim shouldn’t be to list every potential problem. 

If a player sees a listing with a large list of content warnings, they might be driven away. Rather than being a helpful display of sensitive topics, a huge list of content warnings could easily come across as overly edgy or grimdark. Instead, consider the main theme/gameplay of your campaign and go with around three content warnings that fit that. 

For this combat-focused one-shot, I'm sticking to violence related tags

Are you running a political thriller? You’ll probably want content warnings like "Classism, Warfare, and Terrorism." Are you running a classic dungeon crawler? Then you should focus on the combat elements, which likely include things like “Character Death, Blood, and Spiders.” 

“This is a TTRPG, the story could go anywhere,” some might say, “so why not include Spiders in case they do somehow pop up in my political campaign?” That’s what Session Zero is for. Content warnings are just one safety tool, one used to communicate non-negotiable story elements. Others, like Lines & Veils or a Consent Checklist, are better suited for discovering specific player triggers. Use these after content warnings are established to determine if spiders need to be avoided. 

One final note: there are also G-rated and Seminar content tags for sessions that don’t require any warning whatsoever. 

So remember, content warnings should state topics that will pop up in almost every session. The things your game can’t do without. Every other minor possibility should be addressed using other safety tools. Presenting content warnings in this way will promote communication and a safe place for everyone to play.

Aug 25, 2023
Running the Game

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