Going for the Throat and the Social Contract
The Social Contract (in Forge Parlance) is defined as - "All interactions and relationships among the role-playing group, including emotional connections, logistic arrangements, and expectations. All role-playing is a subset of the Social Contract."
In regular life most people know what is acceptable behavior and what is not in a particular setting. You know what is expected at work and what is expected at home. In many cases, common sense and social morays can be used to guide you if you are not sure.
When playing an RPG, it is not that simple, especially if you are playing with people who are not close friends. This all comes up because we are just starting a Burning Empires game and we have burned the world. The process has like 11 steps and breaks out each aspect of the world into High Level topics and then generally between 2 and 4 choices. We are about to start the game and while I have stated that everything is fair game, is it really?
My thought is that it might be useful to come up with a Social Contract Burner (tips hat to Luke) that allows a group to lay down on the table what is generally expected and acceptable. I would like to hear if people like this idea, and if so, what sorts of High Level Topics should be included. Some quick examples would include:
Character Death (Choices are: Yes. Yes - Dramatically Appropriate. No - except with player's permission. No.)
Offensive Language ("Swear" Words, In Character - Bigotry, In Character Direct Threats spoken in the first person - "I will kill you."
I don't want to go overboard, but I think it could be useful.