Conduct and Themes

While Romancing the Toaster is intended to be a lighthearted game, some unsettling themes may occur. To ensure that everyone feels safe and comfortable when playing the game, the GM team have written a Conduct & Themes Policy, which is designed to inform you of acceptable conduct when playing the game, as well as potentially sensitive themes that may occur.

Our policy is based on the Oxford University Role Playing Game Society's Conduct and Acceptable Themes Policy, and it is expected that all players and GMs will be familiar with this policy when playing Romancing the Toaster. When in and out of character, all players and GMs are expected to conduct themselves in a respectful manner toward all other players and GMs and in accordance with the Society's Conduct and Acceptable Themes Policy, as well as the University policies mentioned within it.

We ask that above all, players and GMs uphold a supportive and respectful environment where participants can feel comfortable discussing sensitive themes both in and out of character. The spirit of the policy is always more authoritative than the exact wording, and so legalistic attempts to defend breaches of acceptable behaviour will be interpreted as being in bad faith and will not be accepted.

You must be 16 or over to take part in the game.

It is important to have someone's consent before writing fanfic or making artwork involving their character or NPC. If you wish to draw artwork or write fanfic about another character or an NPC, please ask the character's player or the relevant GM whether they would be alright with that, and you should give them a heads up as to the type of artwork or fanfic that you plan on creating. If they say they're not okay with it, you must respect their decision.

Given that this is a Discord game with no video element, photographs of the players will not be requested by GMs and will not be taken during sessions.

A list of OC safety calls that may be used during Romancing the Toaster can be found here. You can use these to make requests for other participants to adjust their behaviour and/or the themes they are roleplaying if you feel uncomfortable at any point during the game, and these requests must be respected. If you have concerns about behaviour during the game that you do not wish to raise publicly, please do contact the GM team and we will do our best to help.

You may request not to roleplay with another player or GM before or at any point during the game, and we will do our best to ensure that you come into contact with that person as little as possible. You may ask us to inform that person of your request or you may keep your request confidential, though keeping the request confidential will prevent us from asking that person not to roleplay with you during the course of the game.

If another player makes you uncomfortable, please bring the matter to the GM team via email, which will be seen by all GMs. If a GM makes you uncomfortable and you wish to discuss it confidentially, then please contact the head GM Conor via their personal email. If the head GM makes you uncomfortable then concerns should be raised with the Society President, whose contact details can be found here.

This section deals with potentially upsetting themes which may be present in the game. If you wish to play Romancing the Toaster but have concerns about one of these themes, please get in touch to talk about your concerns or for any questions you may have.

It is expected that these subjects are treated in an appropriate manner and within the constraints listed here. Please keep in mind that these subjects should always be handled sensitively due to the potential real-life experiences of other players or GMs, and that any themes which require the explicit OC consent of another player are not introduced without this consent.

  • Bullying or (non-sexual) harassment
    • Harassment in a sexual context is absolutely forbidden.
    • Mild forms of bullying or (non-sexual) harassment may occur. Players should be very careful to consider whether their character's behaviour could be considered either of these and must check in with the other player or the relevant GM before initiating or escalating that sort of behaviour. In particular, this applies to 'playground bullying', which involves exploiting an imbalance of power to exclude, demean or humiliate someone - often in front of a complicit group and sustained over time.
    • Open hostility, petty revenge and other forms of social PvP do not necessarily require checking in with the other player or GM beforehand, though it is important to be aware that these forms of roleplaying can be distressing - if in doubt, always ask!
  • Cannibalism
    • Analogous acts may occur.
  • Chronic/degenerative disease and cancer
    • Analogues will occur (parts wearing down, computer viruses, etc.)
  • Consensual sexual activity
    • What is robot sex?
      • Analogues to sexual activity for robots may exist, but we encourage interested players to define their own forms of intimacy between robots.
      • Everyone involved must understand both OC and IC that it is a sex act, and must consent to this happening both OC and IC.
    • All consensual sexual activity should be veiled and not roleplayed where others can see it (i.e. off-screen or through a “fade to black”) - as GMs, we don't particularly want to read about this in turnsheets or emails!
  • Death
    • Player characters may retire through dying or being killed, though in such an event we will strive to ensure that they have a satisfying ending. We will inform a player if their character has died.
  • Discrimination on the basis of ability
    • Disability is a core theme of this game, and should be handled respectfully. The tone of the game is intended to be uplifting with respect to managing disability.
    • Many of your fellow players and GMs have experience with disability; be considerate and think about whether what you’re doing may upset them.
    • No real-world slurs may be used. Discrimination and exclusion of other players or GMs on the basis of real-world disabilities are wholly unacceptable.
  • Discrimination on the basis of nationality, religion or faith.
    • No real-world nationalities exist in the game.
    • Nothing in this setting, including the IC religious institution Kneedree, is an intentional parallel to any real-world religion, and we ask players to avoid drawing such parallels in play.
    • Residual/personal influences of former human nationalities may remain, but broadly speaking, there is no concept of nationality in this setting. Distinct organisations/factions do exist, and conflict between these organisations may occur.
  • Discrimination on the basis of physical disability or mental health condition (e.g. ableism)
    • Disability is a core theme of the game, and should be handled respectfully. Please see “Discrimination on the basis of ability”.
  • Drug or alcohol addiction
    • Analogues may occur, such as:
      • Addiction to the acquisition of perception-altering malware.
      • Addiction to chassis modifications.
  • Eating disorders
    • Eating disorders in response to emotional distress is a forbidden theme.
    • Parallels to other human eating disorders are likely to occur:
      • Parallels to starvation will occur.
      • Eating unusual things is very likely to occur.
  • Extreme gore
    • No extreme gore (including “mechanical” gore) will be described explicitly.
    • Any descriptions of gore will have appropriate content warnings attached.
  • Extreme violence
    • This may occur, however portrayals will not be graphic.
  • Gambling and gambling addiction
    • Gambling exists in this setting.
    • Addiction to gambling falls under the theme of mental illness.
  • Genocide
    • Generic, sentient threats to all of robotkind (or large portions thereof) may exist but these threats will not be based on any forms of discrimination listed elsewhere in the policy (see Indiscriminate Violence).
    • Real-world genocide events should not be referenced.
  • Homelessness
    • Homelessness is generally not an issue for robots in this setting, but may potentially occur for very large robots.
  • Indiscriminate violence
    • This may occur.
  • Mental illness
    • Mental illness is a core theme of this game and should be handled sensitively (as with Physical Disability).
  • Mind control or other means of removing agency.
    • Mind/body control will occur as a theme, but this is a challenging act IC due to the strong mental defences of robots.
    • Therefore, player characters can only be mind/body controlled with explicit OC consent.
    • Mind control for sex, even with OC consent, is a forbidden theme.
  • Physical disability
    • Physical disability is a core theme of this game and should be handled sensitively (as with Mental Illness).
  • Romantic obsession or romantic stalking
    • Stalking and harassment in a sexual context is absolutely forbidden.
    • Robots may pursue Bonds with each other, and mild forms of obsession over a particular Bond or Bondmate are permitted. Players must have OC consent before escalating this to harassment, stalking, or similarly extreme behaviours.
    • Non-sexual, non-romantic forms of stalking, such as an assassin stalking their mark, are permitted.
  • Self-harm
    • Self-harm as a response to emotional distress is forbidden.
    • Destructive modification of one's mind or body may occur for reasons other than emotional distress.
      • Examples include the removal of a body part or the erasing of a memory.
      • Such acts may cause emotional distress - of course, we ask players to handle this theme with sensitivity.
  • Slavery or human (/robot) trafficking
    • We do not intend for slavery to be a theme of the game, however:
      • All robot characters were originally made for specific purposes and are biased towards wanting/needing to fulfil these purposes.
      • These purposes were not imposed during a time when machines were sentient, and no robots have any memories of this time.
      • While many robot characters are likely to have complex feelings about their purposes, we would like to avoid detailed discussion about the extent of machine slavery by humans in the past.
    • There is no ongoing slavery of sentient beings.
  • Suicide or suicide attempts
    • Suicide as a sign of emotional distress is forbidden.
    • A robot's own death as a function in itself is also forbidden.
    • A robot's own death as a consequence of completing one's function is acceptable, but this should be handled respectfully.
  • Terrorism in all its forms, including state terrorism
    • May occur.
  • Torture
    • Torture may occur but will not be described in detail.
    • The torture of a player character by another player character requires OC consent from both parties.

If there are any phobias or themes that make you uncomfortable that are not mentioned here, please feel free to let us know so that we can make sure you avoid them to the best of our ability - for example, by avoiding these themes in linears or turnsheet responses that you receive, and by moderating discussion of these themes by other players.

The following themes will not be present in Romancing the Toaster. They must not be portrayed, mentioned or alluded to by players or GMs at any point during the game.

Please note that the first four themes should be given extra consideration due to their severity.

  • Sexual assault, sexual coercion or any other form of non-consensual sexual activity
  • Sexual activity with those lacking the capacity to consent (e.g. children)
    • This also applies to non-sentient robot NPCs.
  • Sexual harassment or sexual stalking
  • Use of real-world discriminatory slurs
  • Animal abuse
    • While animals may be killed for reasons such as self-defence, we will not write about the suffering of animals and ask players to do the same.
    • Robots may incorporate biological parts into their forms, up to and including full symbiosis with a living animal, but this must not be done in a way that causes the animal suffering.
  • Child abuse
    • There is no single common ageing process for robots, however, all robot characters (PC and NPC) should have a capacity for decision-making equivalent to that of the average human adult.
    • Intentionally childlike appearances, mannerisms and speech patterns will not be permitted, regardless of the character's psychological age.
  • Discrimination on the basis of gender or sex (e.g. sexism)
    • As a result of being built by humans, robots may display gendered characteristics. They may or may not also identify with a gender, either as the result of gendered characteristics programmed into them when they were built, or as something that developed over time. Robot society does not discriminate on the basis of these features, and this will not occur as a theme in this game.
    • Discrimination on this basis is a forbidden theme.
  • Discrimination on the basis of gender identity (e.g. transphobia)
    • As above, this will not occur as a theme in the game.
    • Transphobia is a forbidden theme, as is discrimination based on perceived discrepancies between physical and psychological features.
  • Discrimination on the basis of real-world ethnicity or race (e.g. racism)
  • Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (e.g. homophobia)
  • Discrimination on the basis of real-world biases not otherwise covered in this policy
    • Other forms of discrimination, such as those based on age, name or language, either do not occur or do not make sense within the game.
    • We ask players to be aware of real-world conditions that may influence how others play the game, including difficulties reading, spelling, and interpreting tone from written conversation. It is not acceptable to exclude or discriminate against others based on these OC characteristics.
  • Domestic abuse
    • Familial disputes between robots within a found family may occur.
    • Unhealthy family dynamics may exist in robot found families, but these will not be described in detail.
    • Prolonged attempts to cause harm or distress in a family setting are a forbidden theme.
  • Eugenics
    • While robots were originally designed for a purpose, this did not occur during a time when robots were sentient, and does not exist on a social scale.
  • Forced abortion
  • Genital mutilation
  • Genocide denial
  • Incest
    • Robots cannot be biologically related, but can declare their own forms of familial relationships. Incestuous relationships between robots within a self-determined family are forbidden.
  • Miscarriage and stillbirth
  • Non-consensual feeding (e.g. during hunger strikes)
  • Pregnancy
    • Machines (e.g. factories) may construct other machines and form familial relations with each other, but sexual reproduction and pregnancy are not possible for robots.
  • Real-world current figures and events
    • We aim to handle anything that could reflect current real-world events with appropriate sensitivity. This is especially true for themes such as computer viruses, which we do not want to reflect the ongoing real-world pandemic.
  • Real-world historical figures and events
    • While the use of OC terminology that references historical figures (e.g. Cherenkov radiation) is unavoidable, this should be treated as an abstraction. We do not intend for any real-world historical figures or events to exist in this game and ask players to avoid making references to these wherever possible.
  • conduct_and_themes.txt
  • Last modified: 2020/10/10 19:47
  • by gm_conor