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Horror Campaigns / Playing Horror Games

Opting Out

Source Starfinder #10: The Diaspora Strain pg. 49
Despite your careful planning and setting of boundaries for your horror game, you might run into a situation in which a limit is reached, whether known or previously unknown—no one can be expected to realize all their boundaries before the game. Therefore, it is vital that players are free to end a game situation that’s too much for them at any time, without having to explain and without questions or judgment from fellow players or the GM.

Before beginning play, agree on a way to allow someone to opt out as quickly and wordlessly as possible. Quickly, so the game doesn’t continue to cross a boundary, and wordlessly, so no explanation needs to be given. Each player, including the GM, might have a token they can hold up to silently indicate opting out.

When a player opts out, stop what’s happening in the game immediately. If you, as a GM, need clarification on what needs to change before the game can continue, take the player aside and talk. This conversation takes place only so you can understand what bothered the player and what the boundary is. The player doesn’t need to explain why they feel the way they do. After clarification, as with other limits agreed upon for the game, don’t cross that boundary again.