This Saturday our mentors writing comes from Miss Ivy Leigh on FetLife and it concerns Dungeon Etiquette. Take it away.
Why Yes, I am a Bitch: About Dungeon Etiquette
I have screwed up when it comes to dungeon etiquette. I have inadvertently walked into scenes. I have talked too loudly around a scene. I have scened too closely to another scene.
When I walked into a scene, I was hit with the back swing of a flogger. Right in the face. I learned at that moment to watch where I was going.
When I talked too loudly around a scene, I was told in no uncertain terms to shut the fuck up and take it somewhere else. My feelings were hurt, yes, but I learned to take conversation the fuck outside.
When I started a scene too closely to another, I was told by a DM to move it somewhere else. I was embarrassed, yes, but Jesus, they were right and I was wrong. We moved.
And guess what? I didn’t die of embarrassment or humiliation. I just learned.
I’m just wondering how to hit everyone who can’t wrap their heads around dungeon etiquette with a back swing. That’s a lot of back swings.
I have been experiencing and reading what is amounting to countless accounts of scenes being interrupted, players having to develop 360 degree vision because people are wandering into their scenes, water-cooler type conversations, and even cell phone use in dungeons. What I have to say to that is
Take. It. Out. Side.
A dungeon is not a nightclub, it is not a lounge, and it is not a bar. It is not a place to socialize or check your messages– in fact, why the fuck do you have a cell phone in a dungeon??? Unless you’re expecting Steven Spielberg to call about that multi-million dollar movie deal or a parent at death’s door (which if that is the case, you’re waiting for word in a DUNGEON???), turn it off and leave it in your hotel room or coat check.
I have also been reading the suggestions of those who can’t seem to avoid doing any of these things. “Why doesn’t the dungeon have corridors sectioned off for us?” “Why did that guy hit me in the face with his whip when I walked by?? Why doesn’t he look over his shoulder every swing and check?” “Why can’t I text in the dungeon?”
The answer to all these are more questions– why can’t you be aware of your surroundings? Why is it all about YOU?
If you walk into a whip scene, you pretty much deserve to get hit. You violated a space and interrupted a scene. You learned something.
If you’re talking about your car repair or gossiping while someone is doing a needle scene, you deserve to get bitched at. The needle top needs all their concentration as to not send someone to the emergency room. You learned something.
If you scene too closely to another scene and you are asked to move, you deserve to be confronted. Again you are interrupting a scene and jut may bump someone doing a knife scene or a whip scene and that could end very, very badly. You learned something.
If you are clicking away on a cell phone texting your playdate who is late and occupying what is probably precious play space, then be prepared to learn something. And probably not pleasantly.
Yes, a dungeon is a play space. But it it also a sanctuary. Some people go to a lot of events, both locally and nationally, every year. But many others only go to one or two. That’s all they can afford both financially and time-wise. They don’t get to play on fancy equipment all the time or be in that uniquely charged atmosphere. So why bring the maddening aspects of modern life inside with you? Can you leave it at the door for a couple hours?