Nothing is certain except for death…

A high AC wont save you from a nat 20, and a 1 on the save is always bad.

How do you handle death in your RPGs?


  • Without risk there is no game, but risk should make narrative sense
  • Let characters grieve, don’t revisit and don’t correct or blame
  • D&D resurrection is a necessary evil

Narrative Risk

Tastes on how to handle this vary. Some GMs are almost proud of a TPK while others never kill a single player. I sit somewhere in the middle: for me RPGs are a game, a form of entertainment and an exercise in shared story telling. With this combination I feel the level of risk in play should match where we are in the story.

In general though there are exceptions: early encounters in my adventures are designed to advance the plot, revealing a big threat, while later ones reduce resources and put the characters at risk.

Imagine a group of renowned heroes, lauded far and wide for their mighty magics and glorious feats of arms (aka level 16). They approach a small town and are called upon to clear the undead infestation at the abandoned church. Everyone is expecting to find a secret cabal opening the way for an elder god, a vampire lord plotting his revenge or a Lich invoking magics that challenge the gods themselves. What they’re not expecting is a mummy, a ghoul and a skeleton to kill the players.

This is not an encounter designed to defeat the players; it’s there to confirm a lurking evil, that they are on the right track and perhaps to cause them some difficulties with the mummy rot – particularly if they haven’t got the right spells prepared.

While I might let a player die here I wouldn’t expect it and I wouldn’t want to see a TPK. If it looks like that is going to happen I’ll adjust an encounter on the fly. I always try to give the players a reason why things turn when I do this; perhaps the last keeper of the church, driven mad by the growing evil, arrives and turns away the undead at the last moment, or the fall of a more powerful undead sees others collapse with them.

Conversely when they face the Lich or their lieutenant Death Knight I want players to feel at risk. If it looks like my finale is falling flat I’m likely to adjust the other way. Again though I try to give players a reason; maybe the Lich calls out in an unknown language and the very air around them darkens from some new power increasing the damage and DC of their spells, maybe reinforcements arrive or the Death Knight downs a potion of flying.

The golden rule here though is to never ever, ever let your players know when you adjusted the game.

You might mention that it happens sometimes, but it definitely didn’t happen during that epic fight or this risky moment or any other time they ask you about. Telling them where it happens will rob them of the magic of those moments as they wonder if you made it easy for them, stealing away their sense of achievement or made it harder making losses feel personal.

The Post Mortem

When a character dies you get one chance to describe the scene and draw a picture of the character’s final moments. Make it good, but make it short and make it clear. Do not revel, re-visit or over dramatise the moment.

In the immediate aftermath players may want to try things to make it better. You should let them, even if, especially if they won’t work. If they want to pray for a week to their god begging for a miracle, attempt CPR, rush them to a healer or try any of a hundred other things – let them. Describe the results of their actions, give it flavour and let the RP come through. This is part of the character’s mourning and grief and is a great RP moment, let them rail at an unjust universe and the whims of a merciless god! It also makes more of the moment for the player whose character died.

Do not however offer any comments (ever) on how the character could have been played so that they would not have died. It’s a controlling move that suggests you could have played the character better. Resist the urge no matter what. Any lessons to be learned they will get without you as the GM piling in.

Don’t mention that the cleric probably shouldn’t have led the charge

I was playing a Bounty Hunter in a d6 Star Wars game whose family had been killed by an Imperial officer; General Landok.

For several years this reckless, headstrong character had been part of the rebellion, taking a grim satisfaction in fighting against the Empire. We’re on a rescue mission needing to free some important rebellion agents from a prison facility. We have a plan but need a distraction to help us escape when my character discovers that the general is arriving for an inspection. I tell the party I have a distraction, be ready to act when they hear it and walk away from the group.

Two thrown thermal detonators as the general leaves his shuttle later and I have my revenge, that and the remains of a stormtrooper parade keen to deal with me. I flee with no real hope of success in a hail of blaster fire and jump onto a speeder for a short chase which eventually sees me blown up. The rest of the team meanwhile walk through a now mostly empty base out into the city.

I was satisfied. It was a great ending for the character, he got revenge and had helped his friends – awesome.

Then this happens:

  • The GM narrates the explosion in more detail confirming I’m dead.
  • The team have some trouble at a checkpoint.
  • We return to retcon that I was thrown from the wreckage and bled out on the street.
  • They collect new identity records for the agents.
  • Then back to describe that actually the stormtroopers finished me off.
  • The team reach the hangar and have a tense moment as the papers are checked
  • Then back again to talk about my force ghost rising even though I wasn’t a Jedi.

Finally at the end of the session with my character’s death already somewhat spoiled by the GM’s constant re-visits, he felt the need to point out that had my character not stood up and shouted at the general before throwing the detonators he would have been able to escape…

(The lack) of death in D&D

I’m not a fan of the ease with which death is undone in D&D, 300g worth of diamonds shouldn’t make death an easy thing to reverse. The reality though is that there are so many different ways a poor roll or a relatively small amount of poor luck (or judgement) can end up killing a character that these need to be here, it’s baked into the system’s mechanics. I do like how Critical Role have added to the process, but still lament how easy it is to unshrug that mortal coil.


Weaving Fate

This is a spoiler free review, but I will comment on some of the things the game will tell you during the set up to give you a feel for the game’s tone.


  • Single play, no real replay value and feels like more of an event
  • Great co-op, involves everyone while pushing against alpha
  • Set up and rules very welcoming
  • Generates real discussion and an attempt to unravel the story

Just the once

Undo: Cherry Blossom Festival is a new type of single play game from Pegasus Spiele, but unlike other single play games this one doesn’t require that you destroy any of the components, meaning once you’re done, you can hand this off to friends to enjoy.

This does of course make every play of this game a one off experience and who you play with could be as much of a deciding factor about your enjoyment as the game itself.

I played in a group of four, another couple joined my wife and me on our adventure across Japan. Though the game says it can play 2-6 I suspect quieter players might be drowned out at higher counts and at lower counts ideas might not flow as freely. We didn’t include this as part of a longer gaming session which I think helped; we got together for dinner, chatted for a while, then played this game and I felt like this was the perfect setting for it.

How to

The box contains two decks of cards; large and small, sorted into the correct order. The first few cards of the larger deck take you through all of the set up really well asking you to lay things out before taking you to the next step and weaving into the start of the story as it goes. This rules approach and the simplicity of the components makes it very easy to approach and welcoming to non-gamers.

The concept of the game is pretty simple; someone has died and you’re traveling to different moments in their life to try and unpick the reasons behind their death. While doing so you’re giving them subtle nudges, hoping to change the outcome and undo their death. This gives it hints of murder mystery, but also a little of the feeling of Quantum Leap, both of which I really enjoy.

To play, you lay out the possible locations (large cards) including an additional clue (small cards) for each one face down; these have dates and locations as well as the name of the additional clue, all of which can give you some sense of the information that might be included.

Finally you read out the scene of the person’s death. This includes details of their appearance, some of the items present and you’re then instructed to look at the additional clue for this location giving you a sense of how these cards work. From there you’re ready to start playing.

The action

Taking it in turns, each player will then choose a new moment in the deceased’s life. While the game is keen to encourage all voices at the table and a collaborative approach it is very clear that the final decision rests with the active player. While this doesn’t stop alpha players, the way it’s laid out does discourage them.

Once you’ve decided where to go, you flip over the large card and read it aloud. The card typically sets a scene and then presents you with multiple options; A, B or C for how you might change the outcome. If desired you can also spend a limited number of magnifying tokens to view the clue as well. Even with all this information it may not be clear what the right option is and we discussed backward and forwards on several occasions.

This was for me the essence of the game; it encourages you to come up with multiple versions of the story of the deceased’s life to guide your actions, and it does a great job of presenting options that could unfold in different directions.

When a consensus has been reached (or the active player makes the decision) you reveal the matching A, B or C card from a separate deck to see if your action has a positive, neutral or negative impact on the deceased’s life. Even if you’ve made things worse though, this revelation is really useful as it helps you with future decisions.

Once you’ve visited nine of the twelve locations the game ends and you calculate how successful you were in preventing the person’s demise. If you’re successful you can then go on to read the full explanation of what had happened and the key moments on the timeline, or if unsuccessful you could re-visit the story trying to improve the result (I’m not convinced this would be particularly satisfying).


During our game we were very successful but hadn’t registered all the details of the story though we had the core of it correct, in fact we’d only been to one of the key moments, so we were very happy to have the details filled in.

Overall this was a game I really enjoyed and was an excellent conclusion to a lovely evening. I hope the others Undo games are as well written and developed as I will be looking to play them soon.

Note that I was given a free copy of this game for the purposes of providing a review.

Building the West Kingdom

In Architects of the West Kingdom you play the part of royal architects out to impress the king with the magnificence of the buildings you can create. Watch out for your rivals though as not all are virtuous, and as the competition becomes more fierce they may stoop to all manner of infamy to defeat you.


  • Unique worker placement options
  • Great quality components and clear iconography
  • Build to win, grab extra points where you can

Worker placement with new options

In Architects you have a lot of typical worker placement options; collect resources, earn money, improve actions and build. It also has a few unique ones and some great adaptations to the genre.

You start the game with 20 workers, and that’s it. The game doesn’t play in rounds with a reset cycle, or ask you to race to the resources you need to create an additional 5th or 6th worker, it floods you with all the workers you could ever need, or so you’ll think. The economy of workers in Architects doesn’t disappear however, it’s ramped up to 11, and this is what makes it such a great game.

Each turn you will place one worker at a location, then for each worker there you gain a benefit or are able to take an action. So time to corner the silver market right? Wrong!

The Town Centre space prevents anything so foolish and contains the action option that sets this game apart. When you visit here you may pay a small tax to capture all the workers of a player at a single location . This reduces the value of future visits by that player, but as the game progresses it will also start to limit what they can do. Of course you could go there again trying to capture more of the other player’s workers, but now your workers start to look like a tempting target…

Players can use the guardhouse to release their workers from your tender care. Alternately they could wait for you to collect the reward, making them a lot cheaper to recover, but risk getting caught out when the Black Market resets.

The game also has a virtue track, but unlike other games this isn’t used simply as an end game reward system. It limits the actions you can take during the game as well. Too villainous? You can’t work on the Cathedral, too Virtuous? No one will sell you anything at the Black Market.

Beautifully clear

Architects is a truly gorgeous game, with lavish artwork in a style I enjoy. Its also cohesive and everything seems to work together from the characters to the board to the workers and buildings.

The character cards are all two sided so that you can play as male or female and while that’s good, its a shame that they’re all white European. If we can get far enough away from the 17th century to allow women to become architects, surely we can allow non-Caucasians this too?

The board is well constructed and the meeples and tokens are made of wood to a high quality. While the cards aren’t the best, they’re robust enough given that you rarely shuffle them. The cardboard tokens are sufficient to the task, though I’m not a fan of cardboard coins as they tend to age badly.

The iconography is incredibly clear and a few minutes looking at the board would be enough to figure most of it out without reference to the rulebook. With the 3d meeples (which are the only 3d icons) it isn’t immediately obvious that’s what they are and several players only recognised that when it was pointed out.

Build to win

Appropriately in a game called Architects the main course of the scoring is around what you built, with everything else providing a garnish.

The scoring equations at the bottom of each character sheet make it look as though the game is going to be a points salad. While there are several ways to score points and almost everything you have will score at the end of the game (if you have enough of them) you really need to build to stand a chance of wining.

Be brutal, get better

In writing, you must kill all your darlings

William Faulkner

So too in game design.


  • Listen to feedback and seek out criticism
  • Remove all the ‘pretty’, does it still work?
  • Cut, cut, keep!

Getting Feedback

Get your game in front of people as often as you can, be passionate and excited, even desperate to have people try it out. Once they’ve played it, you must ask them questions!

If you don’t, it’s like going to the cinema, paying for a ticket and popcorn, then turning around and going home. Yeah you took all the actions, but you kinda missed the point.

You don’t need a fancy questionnaire or an online survey, you just need some way to take notes, a willingness to listen and questions to ask. There’s a host of questions you could ask, but for me this is one of the best:

What didn’t you like about the game?

It focuses on the things you might want to change or improve. There’s not much you can do with positive feedback:
Play tester: “This part is awesome!”
Designer: “Great! So I’ll just leave that as it is
And while it’s a great ego boost, if people really enjoyed a game they’ll tell you that without you asking.

The question also invites criticism and tells your play testers it’s okay to be negative, something most people are uncomfortable with. It also says “the game” not “my game”, making any comments about the game, not the designer.

Once they start answering (and I’m talking as much to myself as anyone else here), SHUT UP!

If you’ve asked a question, let the other person talk – this might just be a rule for life. If you constantly interrupt or correct you run the risk that a playtester decides you’re not listening, don’t care what they think or are too fragile to hear any criticism. Do this and they’ll avoid trying your games in future, or give you pointless, ego appeasing feedback from now on.

I’m so Pretty!

Don’t wait until a game is completely finished, for shiny components or proper artwork. Get together the minimum it needs and get people to try it out! Check the rules make sense, that the turns flow logically and the scoring works.

If you’ve already taken the game beyond that, take it the other way. Remove the minis, take away the cool artwork, strip out the custom dice, peel out as much of the theme as possible.

Is the game still interesting, do you still enjoy it?

Unfortunately there are several games out there (I’m looking at you Fortune and Glory) where a cool theme sits on top of a game that could have done with a bunch more development (and in F&Gs case a rule book clean up).

Cut, Cut, Keep!

Just because you have a good idea doesn’t mean you need to use it now, even if you like a mechanic it might not be right for the game you’re making today.

Cut away everything that isn’t bringing something unique and interesting to the mix.

While you should absolutely trim the excess out, don’t throw away ideas, they may not be right for this game, but maybe they’ll work in the next one. The same goes for spare components!

Magic in the making

Magic items in my games are important, these are items of power crafted by beings able to bend the very fabric of reality to their will and the things they made have a storied history. Sure I’ll chuck in a healing potion or a ring of protection +1 every now and then, but I really dislike the sense that once a player reaches a certain level a +1 sword is worthless and they’re left just waiting for the next upgrade.


  • Items grow with the players
  • Give them great big dollops of power, for just one action
  • Let players have history with the items

The D&D 5e rules for all the items described below can be found in this document:

Items that grow

I try to create items that awaken, reveal new powers or develop as the players level up and as they engage with the world and story.

There is one major difficulty with this approach: the identify spell. When players take this spell I let them know that while identify will absolutely reveal the current properties of the item it might also reveal a powerful transmutation magic on the item they’re looking at that seems to be waiting for a trigger.

I almost never have a magic item they’ve identified or held for a long time transform into a cursed item here – your players will feel cheated and tricked if you do this, so be very careful to ensure there are solid story reason why something like this might happen.

My example item for this is the Cloak of Leaves.

Rowan, a druid in one of my games was approached by an ancient human who radiated the power of nature. Whispering quietly in druidic that they had seen a glimpse of the trials ahead of her and knew that she must have the Cloak of Leaves, this mysterious figure offered it to her with nature’s blessing.

Later the party discovered that the druid was actually an ancient gold dragon, suffering under the effects of a curse that bound her. To save her they had to enter her dream realm, a pocket dimension in the feywild, that held her eggs and a sapling grown from the tree of life. Entering the realm they defeated the enemies, but during the battle careless use of fireball had damaged the tree. Rowan stepped up pouring healing magic into it – this was the time to upgrade the cloak! It burst into flowers and so she now had the Blooming Cloak of Leaves (in game it had a campaign specific title).

That campaign came to an end a few weeks ago, so I never got to play out the next two stages I had planned for this cloak as the players levelled up, but you can see these in the file linked above.

Great big dollops of power

Potions, spell scrolls, one off effects, effects that only target a very narrow group of enemies and abilities that only work in a specific circumstance or location.

Items like these are a great way to give players a great big power up that will let them survive or stay the course, even when struggling with ferociously unfair odds. Using items like this make it almost impossible to give a player too much power.

They’re going to get this power once, or in very limited circumstances so if you get it wrong at worst it undercuts the tension in a single scene, or makes the same fall flat.

As examples of this type of item I have created two different items, both designed for low level players; Hunting Arrows and the Kinstead Brooch.

The Hunting Arrow is a simple arrow that has a chance to power up determined by a Nature check made just as the arrow is released. While this does add another dice roll to combat it means a character cannot rely on the bonus from the item, but must hope for it as they fire. With a +3 this bonus remains pretty useful even into higher levels (where they’re more likely to succeed on the check) and staggeringly powerful at lower levels.

If you’ve read my post on worldbuilding you may have read that the elves in my world live in Kinsteads that are floating cities. To reach these all citizens have a brooch that allows them to fly up, while guests must wait for the wardens to provide them a lift. The Kinstead Brooch is what allows them to do this.

As it provides access to Fly and Sending this is a very powerful object, but the limitations of needing to be close to a Ward Post (only found directly beneath an Elven city) means you can give these to 1st level characters without concern – when they do get to use it though, expect players who can to thoroughly enjoy their aerial capabilities.

Items with a history

Tying an item into a player’s backstory is great and allows you to make what might appear to be a relatively low powered item take on a significance greater than it might otherwise be worthy of.

The Book of Lost Tales is one of my favourite items and another example of an item that grew as the campaign progressed. This one also didn’t get to its apogee before the game ended. The once a day bonus it provides to begin with is pretty anaemic, but so full of flavour. This item was given to Meleerritee, the bard in one of my games, by her mentor whom she had rescued at the very start of the campaign.

Mel treasured this book from the moment she received it and with her mentor creating songs that immortalised her heroism and then being murdered as the campaign progressed, I think it became more precious as the game unfolded.

Finally a lesson in how to fix it when you make things too powerful and how having a history with the item can help this.

The Queen’s Mail was introduced with Brecaryn, a paladin (of the Crown) who had been stuck in time for over 600 years prior to the party awakening her.

This mail was part of who she was and a symbol of her loyalty, but once she had been awakened she had to face a hard truth. After Brecaryn became trapped in the time bubble her queen was discovered to be a necromancer and was destroyed by her own queen’s guard.

All this was established prior to me seeing how disruptive the queen’s blessing was in play. While the saving throw bonus was annoying the +2 to AC created a lot of problems as enemies able to hit her would almost always hit her allies.

While Brecaryn was working through coming to terms with the reality of her queen and re-aligning her loyalty, I saw an opportunity to remove this unbalancing item. Developing an existing story line I was able to arrange a fight with the last remnants of her queen’s undead soul. Brecaryn struck down the person her queen had possessed and with that the armour shattered…

While the player was sad to see the armour go, they understood the narrative sense of it and (after I’d explained them) the reasons I’d needed to remove the item.

Dallas Designer Group blind play-tests Werewolves of the Black Forest

A huge thank you to Val Teixeira, Bryn Smith, John Olson and Lindsey Rachel Rosenthal from the Dallas Designer Group for blind play-testing Werewolves of the Black Forest.

These wonderful people from half a world away offer up their time to try out games still in development. It was great to receive such detailed and candid feedback and to see new players coming to the game for the first time.

For my designer friends I can’t recommend this group enough. They warn pretty clearly that they’ll hold no punches, but you’re going to be a better designer for receiving this kind of considered commentary from people who don’t worry about your ego and have such a clear passion for games.

For everyone else, enjoy imagining me biting my nails as they find all the places where my rules aren’t clear enough, or me squirming where my game doesn’t do quite what I’d hoped and the occasional sigh of relief as they find things they enjoy!

Player safety

Characters may put their lives on the line and face mortal peril at every turn, but players should always feel safe at your table.

Characters should be in danger, not players…

What happened at an RPG during the UK Games Expo this year set me thinking about issues of player safety and what was and wasn’t okay to explore in RPGs. I didn’t want to add to the noise or the misreporting (sadly frequent) of what happened and I wanted to take some time to think about them clearly before commenting.

Note that this post contains potentially triggering topics.


  • UKGE handled the recent issue well
  • GMs, you’re in charge; set the tone and shut down bad behaviour
  • Lines and veils for every game, especially with new players
  • Provide an emergency exit
  • Conventions are public, so be cautious

For the record and in case you aren’t aware of what happened the official statement form UKGE can be read here.

The way the Expo team handled the issue was great and I congratulate them for reacting so well.

They were clear about what had happened, what action they’d taken immediately and the actions they were planning to take moving forwards.

More than this though they responded quickly and decisively. Too often I’ve seen the response to issues like this be to question if it happened, asking what exactly was said, wringing hands about intent and frankly having more concern for the offender than the victim. That or treating it like Missing Stairs.

I love that the organisers sent such a clear signal that they want the UKGE to be a safe space.

The GM’s game

As GM you’re not responsible for someone acting inappropriately, but there’s a bunch of things you can do to prevent, stop or exclude someone who does, choosing not to is your decision.

The first thing you can do is set the tone. This starts as a game begins or when any new player joins. Be it a one shot adventure, a short scenario or a longer campaign, setting the tone will help prevent or avoid issues down the road. Lines and veils are a great way to frame this discussion which I’ll talk about in a moment.

The second is to stop the behaviour when you see it. The reality is that as GM you’re the authority figure at the table, you govern the rules and how the game progresses. When you ignore a racist remark or let the lewd comment pass without censure you’re not just being passive, you’re making a statement that such behaviour is okay.

Your response doesn’t have to be a huge confrontation, a simple statement that you don’t want that in your game is enough. Don’t get into a discussion about what was said, if they meant it that way, if you’re being too sensitive or trying to protect person x (who will then almost certainly be called on to confirm they don’t mind). None of that really matters, just ask the player not to do it again.

The third option, excluding a player, is the one that’s toughest because asking someone to leave the game can often have wider impacts. I wouldn’t jump to this as an option, but often the choice is between excluding the problem player and upsetting them, or allowing them to continue hurting other players and possibly encouraging the behaviour from the rest of the table.

The question for me is simple: is letting player A continue to behave this way (because I will have called them on it multiple times) more important than stopping the pain they’re causing the other players and the toxic environment they’re creating? The answer is always no.

Lines and Veils

I would recommend having a discussion about lines and veils before every game starts and whenever a new player joins. You can never be sure something hasn’t changed, even for a friend you know well, and repeating this exercise reinforces the kind of environment you want for your games.

For those unfamiliar with the phrase ‘Lines’ are topics that you agree not to approach in the game. While they might happen somewhere in the world it’s agreed not have them in the game or to discuss directly.

‘Veils’ are topics we might approach but won’t discuss in detail, they happen “off screen” as it were. The most common example is in films when a couple move into a bedroom and the camera pans to the fireplace before fading to black. Shawshank Redemption (my favourite film) does something similar on a much darker topic when Morgan Freeman’s character says:

I wish I could tell you that Andy fought the good fight, and the Sisters let him be. I wish I could tell you that, but prison is no fairy-tale world


Sometimes things I thought were innocuous come up during these discussions like spiders, clowns or confined spaces. Other times it’s clear there’s a personal issue when it’s items like car crashes, cancer or the death of relatives. Then there’s the ones I almost always bring up myself; sex, sexual violence, LGBTQIA+ phobias, racism and paedophilia.

I use the term ‘almost always’ because I’m not perfect and sometimes I forget or don’t mention something, but also because I don’t think these things must always be off the table.

Films like Sleepers, American History X, Brokeback Mountain, Philadelphia and many others are important explorations of the issues they cover. I don’t think it speaks less of an actor because they took the role of an antagonist, likewise I think you can role play things without being insensitive to an issue. That said you should ensure any players are very aware of where the story may go before they have to face it.

Emergency Exits

You should also consider providing an emergency exit. There’s a lot of jokes made about in flight safety briefings, but they tell you where the exits are so that, when you’re stressed and not necessarily thinking clearly, the information is already there.

For similar reasons it’s worth telling players its okay to recognise when a topic is getting too much for them, or triggering them even if they hadn’t expected or been aware of it before the game.

Not only does this make it easier for the person affected to call your attention to the issue, but it also sets the tone that each player is respected and should be cared for.

At my tables we usually use a raised hand as a signal that something is making a player uncomfortable. It’s rare, but when it happens everyone understands we need to step (and stay) away from that topic and I’ll usually call for a break claiming I need the bathroom.

Conventions are public spaces

Returning to the issue that started this I thought I’d mention this separately because running convention games puts them in a very different context.

I haven’t always been as cautious in con games with the topics I cover in a game or as meticulous about ensuring darker themes are well sign-posted. If you’ve been in one of my games and been upset, you have my unreserved apology and a plea to bear with me, challenge me and help me be better; I’m trying to learn all the time.

Con games are played with people you don’t know, which can be thrilling as you take new people on a wonderful ride through your imagined world. With that comes the reality that you don’t know them or what their experiences are. I can’t imagine you GM with the intent to hurt people (if you do please never GM again) and a little caution may help someone remember your game with joy, rather than with pain.

Cons games are also usually in a space that anyone who attends the con can enter or overhear; or most likely both. This means cons games are effectively public and I’ll bet you can think of several examples of things most people might do in private that it’s not okay if they do it in public.

In your prep be careful, if you’re in any doubt you probably shouldn’t put it in the game. On the table; discuss limits at the start, provide an emergency escape, manage your game, but of course have fun!