Safety Post

Last event we had an incident, or perhaps several incidents, with safety problems during a midnight fight. I wasn’t present, and nearly everything I know about it is from second- and third-hand reports, so my comments are limited. Staff (and game as a whole) cares deeply about everyone’s safety and would like to prevent problems like this in the future.

There were a number of confounding factors: the pitch dark, the terrible lighting, a short-handed staff, the late hour, general exhaustion, etc.

At some point, someone got hit in the eye with a spell packet, and an Emergency was called. The Emergency was called off after the injured person was removed. We’re very thankful that it wasn’t a worse or more permanent injury.

  • I think this was handled appropriately.
  • However, it was the first time (to my knowledge) that we’ve had an Emergency without notifying the Staff Center — at the very least, that’s where we keep the first aid / trauma kit. This may have also been the first time we’ve had an Emergency in a combat that didn’t cause the entire “encounter” to end and disperse. Those things aren’t required by policy, and in this case it was acceptable.
  • In the future, we can put more time into making sure a situation is safe and resolved before resuming play. Most often, this will be a staff responsibility.
  • I do not want to create a “chilling effect” against calling Emergency — seriously, don’t worry about disrupting game when safety is on the line.

The lighting caused several vision problems, including issues with depth perception. At some point, staff moved the lights, which may or may not have made the lighting better, but at best only helped temporarily.

  • In the future, we’ll use different lighting, when needed. Or maybe we’ll reschedule things if they are too dark and away from good light sources. Or, there are variety of different options we can try with lighting.
  • Anyone can speak up about safety — like when we say “Caution: let’s move this away from the bonfire” or “Caution: let’s clear this furniture before the fight” or anything like that. Sometimes it’s staff speaking up, sometimes it’s players. In any case, it’s everyone’s responsibility to respond safely and act accordingly. Just like with Emergency, don’t worry about disrupting game when safety is on the line.
  • Anytime we have a crowd of people, especially in the dark, make sure safety communication propagates to everyone it needs to.
  • Sometimes, apparently, we suffer from a variation of the “bystander effect,” where individuals feel discouraged from speaking up. Remember that we have people wearing Red Feather pins, in part to help fight the bystander effect.

People were tired, people were hosed, people were coping with the lighting and safety situation, and people were dealing with a very difficult combat.

  • I may be out on a limb here, but it sounds like some people may have lost their out-of-game cool in the moment. This is very understandable.
  • Please do your best to keep your cool, especially in a combat or other high-action situations. If you’re having trouble, you are always free to take a break, duck out, etc. (“Caution” or a quick “thumbs down” hand signal are appropriate for this.)
  • Don’t endanger yourself, and don’t endanger others. Be aware of your surroundings. Be aware of your own actions.
  • Roleplaying some rage or other intense feelings can be really fun. You’re not prohibited from that.
  • Ideally, everyone (players, staff, players-volunteering-as-staff) should be able to, in an instant, drop the mask and turn from a bloodthirsty combatant to a kind, safety-minded individual consumed by sportgeist (…since “sportsmanship” is unfortunately gendered, I’ll use a german word…). No matter the situation, even if you feel like you are “losing” or “winning,” be a gracious competitor.

To summarize what we can do: Staff can do better with lighting, and do better with how and when we resume play after a safety stoppage. Players are empowered to make safety calls, especially when they see an issue staff may not be aware of. Everyone can do better to keep calm in stressful situations.

Thanks for reading, and I hope we can have a nice safe Fall 1!