[RPG] Specific items in a group social contract


Some gaming groups actually do a formal social contract, wherein they explicitly set some of the expectations and rules for the gaming group. What items should a group considering doing a social contract of their own think about including?

Best Answer

The value of a formal contract is recording agreements among all participants to ensure everyone understands what is expected. Obviously, a long written contract will make most players' eyes glaze over and kill the fun. Maybe just have a discussion about some things. If you have a widely fluctuating set of players coming and going, a written contract can help new players assimilate quickly.

A formal social contract covers all details of play. Specifically, it is an agreement to play a certain game, at a certain time and place, with certain people, in a certain way. In other words: what, when, where, who, why, and how.


  1. What game are we playing?
  2. What version of the rules?
  3. What house rules?
  4. Can house rules be introduced later? By what process?


  1. What is the game schedule? Weekly? Every other week? Monthly? Irregular?
  2. What are the exceptions to the schedule?
  3. What is considered "quorum" for a game? (Under what circumstances will you cancel a game?)
  4. What is the process for formally cancelling a game?
  5. How should players notify people if they cannot play? if they can play?
  6. What is the process for formally inserting an additional game outside of the normal schedule?
  7. How long do we play (per session)? Will that change often (extended games), or do we need to stop at a certain time?
  8. How long of commitment are you expecting? One game? Three games? A year? Forever?
  9. Is it cool to miss games? How often?


  1. Where is the game hosted?
  2. Are hosting duties shared?
  3. What is the address of the place where we play? Got directions?
  4. Where do we park?
  5. What are the special rules of the house? (take off your shoes, don't let the cat out, etc.)
  6. What should people bring? (food, dice, books, miniatures, etc.)
  7. Will we eat during the game? Who brings the food? How is paying for delivery food handled?


  1. Who is invited to play?
  2. Who is excluded from play?
  3. What is the process for inviting new members?
  4. What is the process for bringing a friend or significant other to a game?
  5. Are children or spectators or pets permitted as tag-alongs?
  6. What is the process for correcting poor player behavior?
  7. What is the process for expelling someone you don't like?


  1. What is the point of play for this group?
  2. What is the general mood of play? (fun, serious, dark, etc.)
  3. What is the general theme of play? are there any special tropes?
  4. Is it okay for players (including the GM) to be competitive with each other? (up to killing each other's characters?)
  5. Are there any limits about game content ("lines and veils")?


  1. How do players create characters?
  2. How do players advance characters?
  3. What level of playing "in role" is expected of all players? What is too little? Too much?
  4. What is the expectation around character death? Under what circumstances can it happen or not happen?
  5. If a character dies, how does the player replace it?
  6. How do players integrate characters into the setting?
  7. How do players integrate characters into the game's situation or existing character group?
  8. What kind of play behavior is considered annoying?

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