Script Change
Script Change
Script Change
Script Change
Replay

A content, consent, and safety toobox

Author's Foreword


Script Change Replay is a toolbox of content, consent and safety. It was designed using research and experience in the tabletop games community and with leadership expertise. These tools are suitable in use for any play environment or social engagement, whether digital or analog, therapeutic or casual!

Tabletop games are exciting and can take us on adventures we otherwise might not have. However, they can include topics that some people aren't comfortable with. Some people might want to play a grittier game that digs into the grindhouse style of action, or one that has sex and romance, while others might want to have the gore and guts or sexual content happen off-screen.

Sometimes we aren't ready when this happens. Sometimes people don't know all of their boundaries yet. Maybe they do, and they just aren't expecting to kick down the door and find something that makes them scared or uncomfortable.

This is when Script Change Replay comes in. The core Script Change Replay tools are called rewind, fast forward, pause, and frame-by-frame. There are also some additional tools, including the highlight reel, instant replay, and wrap meeting (discussed later in this document). At any point during the game, if a player or Game Master (GM) find that they are uncomfortable with the subject matter or actions happening in the game, they can call for a Script Change.

Always introduce Script Change Replay before character creation and worldbuilding. It can be used to address player backstories where the details might get too gritty or goofy, settings elements like aliens or zombies, and themes like betrayal or grief. Script Change Replay should become part of your dialogue and what you do in play. Whether that's using pause for breaks during the session or using wrap meeting at the end to address the entire session as a whole.

It's important to remember, you aren't each other's therapists, but that doesn't mean you can't respect each other's boundaries and listen to each other's concerns.

To make things easier, the GM should write on index cards, explain, or print out the sample Script Change cards.

To return to play at any time, say Resume.

Getting Started


1. Choose a "rating" for your game content. You can use standard film ratings for these or create your own! Generally, you should know what audience your play aims for — is it going to be G-rated, good for all ages, or is this more of an adults-only show? Mark this rating on the Editor's Notes, which you'll find at the end of this document.

2. Discuss specific content people might want to avoid categorically, or what they want to keep to a minimum, like depicting alcoholism or memory loss. No one is required to contribute, but everyone should feel welcome to note subjects. Be considerate, because people often are just trying to make sure everyone has fun — and sometimes customizing content is what makes that happen! Add this content to the list on the Editor's Notes with any preferred tool. Do not record the names of the concerned players alongside these subjects — they apply to everyone at the table, not just contributors. Content players want to avoid should be represented by squicks (gross things that make you feel like you're stepping on a cockroach or make you mildly uncomfortable) and icks (which are triggering, traumatizing, scary or distressing).

3. Take time to note content people do want to see in game — things that are fun, exciting, or just interesting. These are the picks of the game, and what you feel really enthusiastic about. Be willing to negotiate, be respectful, and make sure to consider all of the picks, squicks, and icks in this discussion and during the game. When players use Script Change Replay, if a new topic comes up as an issue, it should be added to the Editor's Notes. If picks, squicks, and icks conflict, err on the side of safety and put them on the list that prevents them from doing harm.

What's the point of script change? If you're playing a game with people, you should always discuss consent first. Ask what everyone is okay with, and what they're not. Establish expectations of the game-tone, content, story elements. Script Change Replay addresses when troublesome elements come up in game or when issues no one expected arise.

Important Questions


Do I have to explain everything?

It is always a good thing to explain to other players and the GM what is bothering you during the session or with a specific piece of content.

This prevents it from happening again and makes things clear. If you are truly uncomfortable detailing the issue, that’s okay, just identify the specific item that is an issue so it doesn’t come up again.

If you need to talk about it, you can ask for a pause to explain what’s going on, and the other players should listen. It is also good to discuss topics that come up at a Wrap Meeting. Remember to respect each other in how much you ask of each other, and keep in mind that their capacity is just as other players or possibly friends. You should all be generous to each other, and understanding of each others’ limitations.

During this discussion, if you plan to share anything potentially triggering of others’ traumas, make sure to warn people so they can be safe for themselves. If they need to excuse themselves so you can address the topic, be understanding.

How do I know people will take it seriously?

The players and GM should read or listen to how Script Change Replay works and agree to the terms before playing.

If a player won't follow the rules, just explain that they're violating the contract, and feel free to step away from the table or ask the GM to handle it.

It's also okay to ask someone who repeatedly brings up content that's been flagged to leave the table — even permanently.

If the GM is the problem, speak to the other players for support. A show just isn't a show without a full cast, and the GM is just as responsible for the content of the game as the players.

Never feel pressured to do something that you feel violates the contract, and know that the rules here support your right to feel safe and comfortable when playing your game. If you encounter an issue where you are afraid or uncomfortable using Script Change tools with your group, it's possible that Script Change Replay is not the right toolbox for you, and you should consider finding an alternative option.

If you want to press forward with both of them, the best option is to speak plainly about your concerns. If you trust these people enough to be willing to game with them, you will hopefully find the day they respond with care to you saying, "Hey, I don't feel comfortable." If they don't, then you have a bigger problem that needs to be approached with a longer dialogue — or by ending the dialogue.

Calling for a Script Change


How do I call for a script change?

Just say "rewind," or "fast-forward," or raise or tap a Script Change Replay card. It's often best to integrate these phrases into a sentence, like "Could we rewind that statement? My character probably wouldn't say that!" Or, "I have to pause, this is a little intense." Or even, "It feels like the right place for the scene to end, could we fast-forward?"

Make sure it's noticeable. In digital or written communication, you can use the shorthand symbols to indicate which tool you'd like to use. You can also use a shared dice-roller like rollforyour.party which has Script Change's basic tools already integrated.

After calling any tool for use, once things are resolved, just say "resume," tap the card, or use a symbol.

▶️ > Resume
⏸️ || Pause
>> Fast-Forward
<< Rewind
🔁 !< Instant Replay
⏯️ |> Frame-by-Frame
👍👍 2TU Two Thumbs Up
(Use 2TU, 1TU, FSTS, 1TD, 2TD respectively, or use emojis).

Script Changes explained...

▶️ Resume

After calling any tool for use, once things are resolved, just say "resume," tap the card, or use a symbol.

⏸️ Pause

You may also call for a pause. Pauses are used when things are too intense, but you still want to continue playing the scene. With a pause, discussing the content isn't required, but can be useful. After a pause, you can choose to rewind or fast forward, or you can use it as a break in the action before play resumes with no changes or omissions.

Pause can also be used to call for bio breaks — restroom, hydration, and so on — or to discuss a topic and try to address any related needs.

⏩ Fast-Forward

You can ask the current actor to either rewind or fast- forward.

If you just want to skip over unpleasant content maybe you want the sex scene to fade to black, want to skip the gory details, or even just want to skip to the next point in the story to keep pacing interesting — you ask for a fast-forward.

⏪ Rewind

If something has already been said or done that you take issue with, ask to rewind to a specific point, and play can start again. Try to be clear what content is the issue and be willing to work together to see where the story should go from there.

Generally, this should be used for smaller adjustments, addressing specific issues that can be fixed through brief discussion and making different decisions in a scene.

🔁 Instant Replay

With an instant replay, right after a scene happens, you can call a pause just to go over what happened out of character. It is a metagaming tool, but can be useful to make sure everyone is on the same page.

This is particularly great when you're doing intense social scenes or complicated action, or if you have a longer scene that might leave people lost.

⏯️ Frame-by-Frame

Frame-by-frame lets players express that they want to take it slow moving through the next scene. When a player calls a "frame-by-frame," they are indicating that the upcoming scene may be new, sensitive, or even just a topic they're unsure about, and they want to let the group know that they want to move carefully through the scene.

The player who originated it should say "play" when they want to indicate that regular play can resume. This can be used when players are purposefully encountering content that they're sensitive about, or when they experience new topics or content in-game. The group should be considerate of the player's needs.

Continue introducing the topics or content originally planned, but pause occasionally to check in with the player who called the frame-by-frame to ensure they're still okay. This allows the opportunity for that player to feel safe using other Script Change tools without feeling like they're interrupting the game. Frame-by-frame may also be announced at the start of a game or session so that when these subjects are encountered, the group can take it slow. Consider making notes of these topics on index cards for the GM.

Deploying Script Changes


What does it mean to rewind things and pretend they didn't happen?

When the default rewind tool is used, it is accurate to say that what originally happened is not canon to the story and that you’re creating new content. However, you can frame this differently in game, making it like this was a dream or maybe a movie-like prediction of a possible outcome. Sometimes players even just ask for a perspective change for the original scene, or for something to be framed in a way that is safer for them. Discuss with each other how you feel about handling it, and what you want a rewind to mean in the narrative.

However, final rulings do reside with the person who called for the tool to be used — in some cases, people may want to just say it didn’t happen and there’s no narrative representation. If this is what is safest for them, we must respect that — just like we should respect people in different scenarios asking to have it be represented as a part of the fiction, if they are the one who called the tool.

It’s important to note that the experiences happened in real life — whether it was triggering content or just simply off tone, you didn't completely disappear it into nothingness for us in real life. Do not erase people’s experiences. Script Change Replay is a meta-toolbox, and we must acknowledge reality regardless of the fiction.

Is Script Change just for content?

No way! You can use Script Change Replay to help manage tone and roleplay, too. If the tone has gone too comedic or too dramatic, call for a rewind. You can also rewind if someone is pulling punches and not making the game as action-filled, or as drama-filled as you want! If you feel like someone is going on-and-on and is making the game boring, you can call for a fast-forward. Best of all, you can always use pause when you need a break.

Script Change Replay can also be used for mechanical results if the group agrees to it. There are times when one bad roll, or one potential consequence, would be enough to make a game unpleasant or even upsetting. So long as the group agrees to use it in this context, it’s okay to rewind a roll or fast-forward an unnecessarily long combat.

It’s important to remember that when you rewind a roll, you will typically rewind to before you took the action that prompted the roll, and have to take a reasonably different action going forward. This helps to ensure fairness in play!

What other things can you do to enhance the game with Script Change Replay?

You can do a lot of fun things, but two particular options are Instant Replay and Highlight Reel which can be found in the next section.

Another procedure, called the Wrap Meeting is a great option for finalizing a session. You can find that procedure in the next section as well.

How to use Two Thumbs Up


What if I'm not uncomfortable but I think someone else is?

You can use Script Change tools on behalf of other players! If you notice your friend is acting uncomfortable and something is happening in-game that might be causing it, it's okay to use a tool to either check in with them (like a pause) or to directly address the content (like rewind or fast-forward).

It's okay for you to do that and say that you feel like it might be making people uncomfortable, and not put any direct light on the person in question, or to just say you personally don't want to see that content. Sometimes we step up for other people, and it makes the game a better experience!

Optional: When you check in with a friend, one way to do so quietly is to ask them for Two Thumbs Up. Just like rating a good movie.

To use this tool, lift up your firsts with two thumbs up. Hold them up in place where your friend can see, and say their name loud enough for them to hear without raising your voice and disrupting play. They respond by rating the situation like this:

👍👍 Two Thumbs Up. All okay and having fun!
👍 One Thumb Up. Okay, but could use a pause.
🤜🤜 Two Fists. Managing myself, could use Frame-by-Frame.
👎 One Thumb Down. This scene or content is hard, could use a Fast-Forward.
👎👎 Two Thumbs Down. This scene or content is not okay, could use a rewind.

Is there a way to trigger a Script Change in other ways?

If they need help, it's okay for you to call it out for them.

If the facilitator asks for a reason, you can call a pause to talk to your friend privately. If you're unable to use hands or fingers, try alternative solutions like tapping, angling something up and down, or sharing it digitally. The thumbs up can be represented with emojis or written out in digital chat. Remember, the goal is to have the best experience with your fellow players, and you can work together as a team to make a five-star session!

Post-Credit Script Changes


Highlight Reel

A highlight reel is at the end of the session. This is a strictly positive thing, and the intention of the tool is to allow players to point out things they liked about the session.

Each player should have the opportunity to mention a specific scene or interaction they liked in the session, including the GM.

Since it's inevitable that players might have negative or constructive feedback for the game, it's suggested that all sessions have a wrap meeting as an optional tool — for emotionally intense games they're heavily recommended.

Bloopers & Outtakes

Bloopers and outtakes are an optional part of the wrap meeting that focuses on constructive criticism, self-improvement, and emotional sensemaking.

Bloopers generally lean towards, "Hah, what a whoopsie!" vibes, while outtakes are more serious, like conflict, inappropriate use of Script Change tools, or emotional harm. Allow for four reels of sharing.

Remember, it's okay to use a pause to break at any point. If things run late, ask players to note things down on index cards and hand to the facilitator to bring up next session. Consider also using this tool remotely via email or a chat. It's okay to use different methods provided you do so with care and respect.

Wrap Meetings

Wrap meetings are an opportunity for the group to go over anything that happened in the game, from constructive to negative. It's good to develop a habit of talking these things through. People might want to talk about in-game action that went over their boundaries, but didn't feel comfortable stopping with a pause or rewind.

This should be a supportive environment, and no one should tell someone their feelings are wrong. Constructive criticism is great, including in regards to plot choices, feeling imbalanced in character focus, or mechanics disagreements. Use wrap meetings to talk about the game and what could be improved and how it impacted the players or GM. Everyone is an equal in this conversation.

During wrap meetings, it's important to address anything that came up during the session that needs more discussion, even if it might be a hard topic. No one should be pressed to reveal their personal trauma or any intimate details, but they should be able to address issues about anything that comes up.

Script Change tools are to be used in the moment and after the fact, so you can use rewind whenever something comes up in the session and then use the wrap meeting to discuss that content further if everyone is comfortable.

If someone is uncomfortable addressing issues during the wrap meeting, they should be given an option to send an email, write a note, or have a later discussion to follow up to make sure everyone is comfortable and knows what's happening. This lets people address topics more safely and reduces repeat errors.

As mentioned earlier, if you plan to share something potentially triggering of others' traumas, make sure to warn people so they can be safe. Respect if they need to excuse themselves.

Wrap meetings explained...

Reel 1

Players who share bloopers should use "I" statements and focus on their own actions in the first round of sharing. Two examples of this might be:

"I feel like I overreacted in the scene where we were in the haunted forest, and I know I need to work on my behavior when I'm agitated. I'm sorry."

Or, "I would like to consider rewinding the social conflict from mid-session, because I was distracted. Could we redo the scene at the start of next session?"

Reel 2

Players who share in this reel should continue to use "I" statements, but instead address emotional sensemaking about how the bloopers in reel 1 made them feel, including other players reflecting. Two examples of this might be:

"I feel really sad that I raised my voice and I could use some reassurance that no one is still hurt by my outburst." (When players seek reassurance, the facilitator should encourage others to participate and do so themselves.)

Or, "I am worried about redoing the conflict scene, could we ensure my character has the same mechanical effect?"

Reel 3

Players who share in this reel should use "I" statements to address any constructive criticism or conflict in the game. Use extreme care in this, but try to let players state their thoughts and share their experience. Here are two more examples:

"I felt afraid when we went into the dark forest and when I tried to ask for comfort, I felt like I was dismissed."

Or, "I felt like another player was trying to use the mechanics against me and would like it revised through discussion or a rewind."

Reel 4

Players who share in this reel should still use "I" statements, but take special care to understand each other, using pauses if needed to cool off, and respond by taking ownership of the hurt they caused (on purpose or not) and genuinely commit to any need for change that makes reasonable sense. Two last examples:

"I should have checked in on you when you expressed fear in the forest. Next time, I'll use Two Thumbs Up to see."

Or, "I'm sorry that my actions made you feel manipulated, but I feel like maybe the game is just designed that way, I'd be happy to replay the scene, so long as it doesn't erase my level-up."

Wrap Meeting Prompts

  • What is a way you would improve an experience you had during the game today?
  • What emotions are you feeling and how do they connect to the session?
  • How can other players support you in addressing anything in game, including Script Change calls?
  • What lessons learned do you have to carry forth from the session today?
  • Share a positive thought from today's session and share an area of improvement for future sessions.

Script Change Replay

A content, consent, and safety toolbox


Editor’s Notes

How to use: There is no theme or content too simple or unimportant. If it matters to you, for good or ill, include it on the list. It can always change.

Tools can be noted with initials or symbols. If seeing the Squicks and Icks is uncomfortable while recording Picks, fold up at the dotted line to conceal them.

Respect these boundaries as you play!

Picks Tools Picks Tools
Squicks Tools Squicks Tools

Careful! Icks and Squicks are under this fold.

Icks Tools Icks Tools
The resume card
The pause card
The rewind card
The fast-forward card
The instant replay card
The frame-by-frame card
The instant replay card
The frame-by-frame card
The resume card
The pause card
The rewind card
The fast-forward card

Cut along the blank spaces. This sheet has 2 sets of cards.

HTML layout by Alain Dellepiane and card design by Clayton Notestine, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. This work is based on Script Change (found at http://briebeau.com/scriptchange ), created and developed by Beau Jágr Sheldon and licensed for use under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). The Sylexiad collection of fonts is designed by Dr. Robert Hillier
You are free to copy and redistribute this material in any medium or format and remix, transform, and build upon it. You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use. You may not use the material for commercial purposes. Email contact@briebeau.com to ask about using Script Change in your game or convention materials and visit the Script Change website to learn more about the project and how to support it.