top of page


Written by ShrimpFriedDice

We all love TTRPGs around here, but what’s better than playing games with our friends? Making sure everyone at the table is having fun! 

This article for TTCH is a dive into what safety tools are, what ones are available, and why they should be used at any gaming table. 

What are Safety Tools?

Safety Tools have been in circulation for a while, popularised by drop-in convention one-shot games. They are systems we can implement into our play to ensure all players (including GMs) have fun. At their core, they are to keep everyone safe at the table, and are an etiquette used to respect boundaries without judgement. 

There are a variety of tools established that can be used before play, during sessions and after sessions to keep an open and honest dialog open between players and GMs. 

Safety Tool Examples

The X-Card by John Stavropoulos

The X-Card is a widely spread safety tool that translates from in-person play to digital play with ease. The concept is that the GM provides a physical card with an X on it, and places it on the table. If at any point in play, someone feels uncomfortable, they can tap or hold up the X-Card and the scene that was happening will end or fade to black. 

There is an explicit understanding that no one needs to explain why they used the X-Card, and the game resumes, unless a break is necessary. 

Translating this to online play can be as simple as typing X in a relevant chat, using emojis, or stating a word out loud to signify the use of an X-Card.

Content Warnings 

Ideally used before your game begins, or before specific sessions, content warnings can be used much like they are across any other media. They are to make your players aware of the content that is likely going to turn up, especially if it is a sensitive topic. 

Where there is a lukewarm debate to be had about ‘spoilers’, the nature of all safety tools is to keep your players comfortable at the table by letting them know what to expect from your campaign or upcoming session. It's unfair to expect people to know certain topics may turn up just based upon ‘vibes’ and so doing something as clear as adding content warnings will allow your players ample time to either prepare themselves or distance themselves from the topics that are to be approached. 

Consent Checklists 

Another pre-game safety tool to use is a consent checklist. This is given to each individual player and can open the dialogue to what is/isn't expected during the campaign you play. 

These checklists are for players to explicitly opt in or opt out of certain topics arising during play. Some use a traffic light system, and some offer space for more elaboration on someone's stance on certain topics. It's a very honest way of getting your players’ trust that as a GM you will act appropriately with certain subject matter. 

The benefit of a checklist is that they're often quite quick to fill out depending on the details given. There's a few fillable templates linked at the end of the article that I'm partial to using as they cover most of the subjects that could come up, and they're easy to send digitally. 


Debriefing is a post game tool which is as simple as checking in with your players after a particularly intense session. This is a chance to reflect upon the session and discuss how everyone feels. Other things to flag in a debrief are potential issues that came up, and highlighting the fun bits too! 

Sometimes it's easier to give yourself and players a bit of time after the session to do a debrief, however they can also happen immediately after you've finished. 

Additional Resources:

This Consent in Gaming PDF by Sean K. Reynolds and Shanna Germain, published by Monte Cook Games is a free collection of safety tools, and it comes with a fillable PDF for a consent Checklist. The PDF also outlines other safety tools not covered here.

The TTRPG Safety Toolkit compiled by Kienna Shaw and Lauren Bryant-Monk is a huge resource of a wide array of safety tools, and free to access. There's also a google form consent checklist included in the resources for you to copy and adapt to your individual games.

That's the crash course in TTRPG Safety Tools, there's a lot this didn't cover that might be more suited to your style of play. Honourable Mentions go to the Same Page Tool by Christopher Chinn and  Lines and Veils.

If you want to read about where introducing safety tools is most effective, give our Session 0 Guide a look, or this idea of keeping everyone safe also comes up in Roleplaying for Beginners! Additionally, if you want some games where safety tools are definitely a necessity, check out the Beyond D&D on some unique horror games.

Recent Posts

See All




A range of wonderful articles written by our creators on a range of different subjects within the TTRPG and fantasy genres.

bottom of page