Published: Sunday, 08 December 2019

What is the X-Card?

It is a non-mandatory tool created by John Stavropoulos to give a player (or the GM) an option to take out of the game a problematic element. It is a sort of joker for the eventuality of roleplaying improvisation getting to a point that makes someone uneasy.


How does it work?

Reasons to use the X-Card are multiple and always valid. Here are some examples:

Do note that, while we give a context in our exemples, it is not necessary to always do so. You can very well just use the card by saying "let us not talk about [this subject]" and count on the rest of the table's manners to change the subject.


Is it really necessary?

We believe so. Even if the X-Card is never used, its presence on the table is a good reminder that we are among civilised people and that we can count on each other's understanding, no matter how many hands they have.

The X-Card is particullarily usefull in convention, because you will end up playing with people who do not know you and your sensitivities. Take Alex, for exemple, who's been in a car crash and has terrible flashbacks about it. Alex's usual team knows this and tacitly avoids the subject since they have played a part of the campaign in Alex's hospital room. But another team during a convention has no way to know of the accident and Alex might have to use the X-Card.


How to introduce it to the table?

It is advised for GMs to talk about the X-Card at the begining of the game (if need be, they can get inspiration on Orc'idée's amazing wepage). If the GM does not do so, but a player doess, it has absolutely no impact on the use of the card. It is merely a proof that RPG is a collective game and that GMs can't always think of everything.

here is an example of a way to introduce the card to the table: "You choose to play my game, and I'm very grateful for this. However, I'm also a bit afraid that you might secretely have horrible ideas within you. This is why I'm putting this X-Card on the table. If you say something that makes me uneasy, I'll use it as a joker to cancel that. All the same, you can use it to cancel my ideas or that of another player. Just know that it is not a tool to change wonderful the scenario I've cooked up for you, but just to adapt it slightly if some themes are touchy for you. I really hope we won't need it, but even if we do, I know that it won't impact how much fun we're having."