EDI Policy

Blood And Fire delves into numerous political themes; in fact, we start with the premise that everything is political.  Like all authors and game organisers, we write from the perspective of our personal biases.  Our specific lens is radical, liberatory, inclusive, intersectional, feminist and antifascist.  If you support bigotry or authoritarianism in any form, this is not the game for you.

If at any point you feel uncomfortable or unsafe with a situation or personal interaction you find yourself in, please come and find a Storyteller. You can expect to be believed and supported regardless of whether you decide to pursue a complaint.

Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion

  • Discrimination of any kind is not allowed, whether on the grounds of a protected characteristic or on the basis of body shape, food choices, or social class
  • If someone uses discriminatory language in character, you can address it in character and they should acknowledge their mistake
  • If you want to play someone with visibly different protected characteristics to yourself, you must do so sensitively and without mockery
  • Absolutely no blackface, brownface, or yellowface
  • No accents unless you can do them properly and without mockery
  • No Hollywood or sensationalist depictions of mental health conditions or neurodiversity
  • If roleplaying around real-world religion, be respectful and change key ceremonies/prayers
  • If you see any of this done wrong, you can report it to a Storyteller and they will take action

We take equality, diversity, and inclusion very seriously. We aim to create an environment at our events that is accessible to all and free from discrimination and prejudice.

In order to achieve this, we ask that every participant show respect to others, on an out of character (OOC) level, including using appropriate and respectful language at all times. We will not tolerate ageism, biphobia, disablism, homophobia, sexism, racism (including antisemitism), religious intolerance, or transphobia.  We do not want Blood And Fire to be a space that perpetuates the prejudice and discrimination that people with these protected characteristics experience in the real world.  We will also not tolerate classism, body-shaming, fat-shaming, or shaming people for what they do or don’t eat.  If you encounter a player engaging in such behaviours on an out-of-character basis, please let a Storyteller know as soon as you are able to do so and we will address it swiftly and firmly.

In the vampiric societies of Blood And Fire, it is widely recognised that the Embrace trumps all mortal factors like gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.  We do not feel able to rewrite mortal history enough to remove these factors among the human population, but it is our intention that these themes will not be present among the players or in any NPC interacting with players. As such, if you encounter a character who uses derogatory or inappropriate language on the basis of these characteristics, or misgenders another character, you can alert them to this in character  if you wish (ideally gently at first, operating on the good-faith assumption that it was a mistake), before alerting a Storyteller to the issue.  We will assume that if the behaviour persists after such an intervention, it is intentional, and will therefore deal with it even more firmly than we otherwise would have.

Players may wish to portray a character of a different ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation to themselves.  We expect such players to approach the issue sensitively and without mockery.  In the specific case of ethnicity, you are expressly forbidden from darkening your skin (i.e. blackface, brownface, or yellowface) in order to portray such a character.  You should only attempt to use an appropriate accent if you can do so respectfully and accurately; your best means of communicating your character’s ethnicity is through costume.  We would encourage any roleplaying relating to real-world religions to modify any relevant prayers or ceremonies in order to avoid inappropriate misuse of such concepts, especially in a way that would offend real-world followers of that religion.

If portraying a character with a mental health condition, you must avoid stereotypes and be sensitive in your approach. The same is true for neurodiversity; we do not want to see any “Hollywood autism” at Blood And Fire – we  expect you to approach the issue sensitively and without mockery.  If in doubt, please ask a Storyteller for advice or simply err on the side of caution. 

If you encounter behaviour contravening this policy, please inform a Storyteller as soon as you are able. The Storytellers have the authority to investigate the situation, and then warn the person responsible, require them to leave the game, or indeed permanently ban them from the game, depending on the severity of their behaviour. There is no system of appeal.

What We’ve Already Done: Key Setting and Rules Changes

  • Clan Assamite renamed to the Banu Haqim (Children of Haqim), Clan weakness changed, got rid of the idea that their skin darkens with age – due to links to Islamophobia and racism.
  • Clan Ravnos weakness changed to encourage virtuous behaviour as well as vice, specific discouragement from playing to negative stereotypes of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities and towards the other suggested origins of Ravnos characters.
  • Followers of Set renamed to the Mesu Bedshet (Children of Rebellion), PCs and NPCs of this Clan will be Christian heretics or groups misusing the imagery of European paganism, rather than north African drug dealers who corrupt the innocent.
  • Clan Malkavian weakness changed considerably, Dementation discipline replaced with Revelation, Derangements removed as a concept entirely.
  • All Roads and Paths relating to religion, including non-Abrahamic religions, moved into the Road of Light (formerly Road of Heaven).
  • The genders and names of some canon NPCs have been changed to reflect our decision that there is no discrimination on the grounds of gender or sexuality among vampires. The genders of human historical figures have not been changed as removing patriarchy from the medieval period would require a much deeper re-write and this is not the focus of our game.

We have made significant efforts to address some of the problematic past of the source material.  The Assamite clan began in Vampire: The Masquerade’s first edition as an all-male band of bloodthirsty, fanatical assassins – reminiscent of depictions of Muslim soldiers during the Crusades. The word bloodthirsty here is key, as the clan curse was an addiction to the blood of other vampires. It gets worse too, as all editions of the RPG prior to V5 stated that the skin of a Banu Haqim grows darker as they age, a process which often means their compassion, empathy and humanity slipping away from them. Their skin literally got darker as they became more evil – a metaphor as subtle as a sledgehammer that perpetuated harmful ideas of anti-Blackness in the roleplaying community.  As such, we are not using the term “Assamites”, instead using “Banu Haqim”.  We are using the Banu Haqim warriors’ weakness from Vampire: The Dark Ages 20th Anniversary Edition, which does away with a “ravenous thirst for blood”, and we have also written out entirely the idea that their skin slowly darkens as they age.  There are no limitations on the gender of Banu Haqim characters – or characters of any other Clan or Bloodline (except the Adisur).

Earlier editions of the RPG described the Ravnos  as charlatans who use their powers of illusion to take advantage of others. The Ravnos curse was a unique vice, with common examples being thievery or gambling. Vampire: The Dark Ages’ 20th anniversary edition describes the Ravnos as “often mistrusted on sight and treated like criminals before they can do anything wrong” and stresses their nomadic culture. Many fans over the years have noted the similarity with negative stereotypes of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities that persist to this day.  As a result, we have changed the Clan Weakness to that from Vampire: The Dark Ages 20th Anniversary Edition, meaning that they are no longer required to choose a vice or criminal activity with which to be obsessed.  We strongly encourage anyone thinking of playing a Ravnos to play one of the suggested alternative backgrounds, as the Romani-linked Ravnos are not generally engaged with the Anarch Revolt.  We will not approve any Ravnos character from a Romani background whose Clan Disadvantage plays into those negative stereotypes.

The Followers of Set represent another crude racial stereotype. Described in Vampire: The Masquerade’s 20th Anniversary Edition as being “mostly Egyptian or North African in origin”, the Followers of Set were a clan of devious drug dealers with a secretive cult religion and a compulsion to corrupt the innocent. This orientalist view of North Africans originated in the medieval Spanish depictions of the Moors, who were seen as a corrupting influence on Spanish ‘purity’, religion and society.  In canon, the Followers of Set do not take part in the Anarch Revolt, as they have their own conflict to focus on, involving the Ashirra in general and the Banu Haqim in particular.  As such, we have taken the decision to allow them as player characters only from the small European branches of the Clan.  We have also renamed them “Mesu Bedshet” (Children of Rebellion) to distance them from these roots.

Clan Malkavian have for a long time been a space where negative stereotypes about mental health have been able to thrive.  The systematisation of mental health conditions, and the labelling of them as “Derangements”, contributes to the widespread stigma against people with mental health conditions.  In Vampire larps in particular, Malkavians’ Derangements have often been portrayed in a frivolous and demeaning manner, played for laughs without regard for the feelings of others, especially those who may well themselves be struggling with the same condition another player is attempting to portray.  As a result, we have significantly changed the Malkavian Clan weakness away from systematising mental health problems and towards being consumed by semi-prophetic visions.  We have renamed Dementation in line with this, to be Revelation, changed the prerequisite to learn it, and removed Derangements from the game entirely.  We may use some elements of the Derangement mechanics to represent other factors (specifically other Clan Weaknesses) but they are explicitly not related to mental health.

European pagan and folk religions have long been stigmatised and suppressed.  The location of the two Paths relating to pagan religions in the Vampire: The Dark Ages’ 20th anniversary edition as an “Other Paths” section immediately following the Road of Sin has led some (including the authors of the fan-made wiki at whitewolf.fandom.com) to the conclusion that the pagan Paths are part of the Road of Sin.  We do not wish to perpetuate those negative associations of paganism and folk religions and so we have moved those two Paths under the umbrella of the Road of Light, as they relate to using religious belief to control the Beast Within.  For similar reasons, we added the Path of the Aesir and other non-Abrahamic paths into the Road of Light.

What You Can Do

  • You can discriminate on the grounds of numerous in-character-only factors and we encourage it, including clan, road, generation, and level of commitment to the Anarch cause.
  • Be careful when you criticise in-character religious views

It is worth noting that discrimination absolutely does exist in the gameworld; High Clans look down on Low Clans, elders look down on ancillae, and ancillae look down on neonates.  Followers of different Roads and Paths consider themselves superior to one another, and of course, each Clan and Bloodline has its internal hierarchy and class structure. The point is simply that such discrimination should be solely about in-character factors, rather than factors of the person playing the character; we explicitly note that we encourage in-character prejudice and discrimination on the grounds of vampiric age (neonate/ancilla/elder) but that this does not permit out-of-character ageism – no assumption should be made about a character’s generation based on their player’s age.

You are explicitly permitted to question, contradict, and subvert the doctrine, officials, and institutions (where they exist) of religious faiths. Likewise, you are explicitly permitted to roleplay using peripheral elements of those faiths. However, you must not perform any roleplay around core ceremonies or practices of those faiths, make generalised negative statements about the followers of a given faith, or destroy or deface objects and symbols commonly considered sacred to those faiths, including their holy texts (where they exist). So, for example, one could lead a group in prayer using The Liturgy of the Hours, but not roleplay a Catholic Mass. One could smash or defile a saint’s fingerbone, but not the Host or a crucifix. We have used Christianity as our example as we believe it is the one with which most of our participants will be familiar, but it is equally true of the other faiths that might be represented in our game, including Islam, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and various forms of European paganism, as well as schisms, heresies, and denominations within these faiths. You must be careful not to stray into attacks on players’ real-world beliefs. There is no space for Dawkins-style atheism at this game, whether in or out of character.

Accessibility

  • We will incorporate accessibility into our game design, venue choices, and booking process
  • We will provide as much information as we can up-front to allow people to make their own decisions about attending
  • Our rules don’t require you to engage in simulated combat or wear armour
  • We have provided ways to leave an in-character situation for out-of-character reasons
  • There is no obligation for you to engage in lengthy communication or writing between events, and you will gain no mechanical advantage for doing so

We intend to make our game as accessible as possible, while recognising that we may not be able to meet all needs.  We will adopt best practice guidance throughout our design process. We will ensure that any catering we provide is as inclusive as possible.  We will seek accessibility information, including relating to phobias and triggers not covered in our lists below in our booking process to allow us to make inclusive decisions.  We will publish a list of booked players so individuals can make their own choice about whether or not to attend, and offer full refunds to any player who decides not to attend on the basis of that list.

We will seek venues with as much step-free access as possible, sacrificing some level of historical/period accuracy as required.  We will design any encounters or sets such that they are readily accessible.  We will seek venues that allow us to provide an out-of-character quiet space for people to rest and relax and recover away from the action of the game, with soft drinks freely and readily available inside.  We will not book any venue without an accessible toilet and washroom.

If we book venues with sleeping space, all sleeping areas will be out-of-character at all times, and you will be able to specify that there are people you specifically do or specifically do not wish to share sleeping space with.  We will endeavour to ensure that there are comfortable spaces in IC areas for people to rest.  We will research and provide details of nearby and inexpensive B&Bs and hotels, as appropriate.  We will seek to ensure that at least one clock is clearly visible in the main in-character area.

Mind’s Eye Theatre does not require people to physically engage in simulated combat, and has very little space for hard skills other than social interaction.  We will endeavour to ensure that each issue can be dealt with in multiple different ways, and will pace our events’ plot and action to give people space to recover.  We will endeavour to include multiple ways of communicating information visually and verbally as required by our players’ stated needs.

We have implemented a method to allow you to signify that you need to leave an in-character situation for out-of-character reasons, and you will not be penalised for doing so in good faith.

We will provide summaries of key rules in OOC areas of the venue, and provide each player with a printed version of their character’s rules.  We will be clear that OC mobility aids, hearing aids, and spectacles are not to be moved, hidden, or tampered with, and will implement a system of marking them with a white ribbon to distinguish them from IC costume items.  We do not have any expectation that people will use in-character footwear, although it is encouraged where possible and practicable.  There is no need for anyone to wear metal armour unless they want to do so for aesthetic purposes. 

There is no mechanical benefit to participating in ongoing communication with other player characters or NPCs between games, though it may be available as an option.  Likewise there is no mechanical reward (i.e. XP) for writing fiction, and fiction written will not be considered canonical or to advance the plot.

Where the rules specify two-handed gestures to signify particular in-game states, it is completely acceptable to use only one hand to do so if you need to keep the other free for accessibility purposes.

Parents and Children

Parents and very young children who require constant parental care are welcome at our events. We assert the right of parents to breastfeed children in public at our events, without fear of criticism or harassment for doing so, and we will treat any such criticism or harassment as a serious breach of our code of conduct.  For the avoidance of doubt, this explicitly supersedes our rule about costume having to cover nipples (see below).  Given the nature of our game and our rules about harm to infants in particular, we require that participants consider the presence of these infants to be below the “abstraction layer”.  That is to say, the infant will be nominally present in-character, but they should not be the focus of any roleplaying, including threats.  They are not vampires but neither are they suitable for feeding upon – they are simply present and this should be considered unremarkable by all characters who encounter them.

Nobody Gets Hurt

  • We want everyone to be able to participate
  • Storytellers can and will eject people for their own safety or the safety of others
  • You can call “Stop The Game” for immediate assistance with an OC emergency, and use other specific phrases and gestures at any time if you’re feeling unsafe or distressed out-of-character
  • Some things, called Lines, are completely off-limits and don’t exist in the gameworld at all – don’t mention them
  • Some things, called Veils, exist in the gameworld but we skip the details and “fade to black” when they come up
  • The game will deal with some potentially tricky content

We expect our participants not to disable other participants from engaging with the game; each participant should feel safe and comfortable deciding their own level of involvement, and should not experience pressure to hold back or engage when they do not wish to. On the other hand, if the Storytellers judge that a participant’s continued involvement in the game or part of the game would be genuinely detrimental to their health and safety or the health and safety of others, they do have the authority to require you not to participate.

We will be using a number of calls and signals to help all players and crew stay physically and mentally safe and comfortable.

  • “Stop the Game” – This call is for emergencies and situations where there is need for immediate assistance. All play in the room or area it’s used in will stop immediately and the nearest crew member will come to help. You are allowed to use this for both physical injuries and emotional distress because we believe that OC emotional distress is actual harm similar to OC physical pain and suffering. If Christina or Joe are not present, please come and get us as soon as possible so we can help and decide what happens with the game.
  • “I’m going to take the night air” – This call is to indicate you want/need to leave the IC situation for OC reasons. You can use this because you’re uncomfortable, distressed, need to take medication, need to rest or anything along these lines. This removes your character from the situation as well so no-one has to worry about including a character they can’t see or remembering to give the player a report of the conversation to catch them up. We trust that players will not use this because their characters are about to be in a fight and they think they’ll lose or anything like that. That would be cheating!
  • Fingers crossed, held at torso or head height if possible – This is for when you have to move through an IC area while OC and is probably used after “I’m going to take the night air”. If you find yourself in distress and unable to say so, you can also use this gesture to go out-of-character and leave the situation. For players who need use of both hands while doing this, please put on a hi-vis yellow arm band. We trust that people will not be going OC in the middle of IC conversations to make asides to their friends. If you want to have an OC chat, please go to an OC area.

As a game Blood And Fire will tackle some dark themes, however we’re keen to ensure that no one involved in the game, whether a player or storyteller, is made to feel unsafe or distressed on an out-of-character level. If at any time, you do feel unsafe or distressed on an out-of-character level, you should use whichever of the above calls or gestures works best for you and get yourself to somewhere you feel safe. If you are able to let a crew member know so we can help you, that’s great. If you’ve called “stop the game” this will happen automatically. This same call should be used for physical injury.

As a means of promoting everyone’s emotional safety and a feeling of support, we will be using a system of lines and veils. Lines are things that will never be hinted at or brought up in-game; they are off-limits, to all involved. It is not permissible, therefore, to make any reference to, or to attempt to perform role-play around, the following issues: 

  • Rape, sexual coercion, and all forms of non-consensual sex; 
  • Sex with minors;
  • Miscarriage & stillbirth;
  • Infanticide (i.e. the intentional killing of an infant – aged 12 months or less).

If someone attempts to roleplay with you about a subject that is over a line, please find Christina or Joe immediately and we will speak to the player who did so. Crossing these lines is likely to result in a very firm warning or being asked to leave the event, depending on context.

Veils are things that can happen in a game, but when it does we skip the details and “fade to black,” putting it behind a veil. Issues behind veils include the following:

  • Consensual sexual contact 
  • Overt displays of extreme mental illness, especially where portraying such behaviours becomes parody or “Hollywood-style” mental illness. 
  • Self-harm

As previously stated, despite these lines and veils, there are many adult themes that we anticipate may occur in Blood And Fire, whether introduced by the storytellers or by players. The following is not intended as an exhaustive list, but rather to illustrate the point:

  • Violence
  • Torture (acknowledging that torture is not an effective way of getting actionable information)
  • Killing, including killing children or old people 
  • Blood-letting in a ritual fashion 
  • Love, seduction and sexual desire 
  • Loss of identity
  • Loss of self-control 
  • Hallucinations 
  • Defiling of corpses
  • Coercion and mind control
  • Suicide 
  • Physical and mental abuse of adults. (Not sexual abuse)
  • Slut-shaming (i.e. making any person feel guilty or inferior for certain in-character sexual behaviours or desires that deviate from orthodox gender expectations).

If there are particular themes which you believe will cause you distress you should discuss these with the game team. You do not need to go into any more detail than you are comfortable with but this allows us to take into account any potential problems. 

All players must ensure that their nipples and genitalia are completely covered by their costume. 

You must always have explicit consent to make more than the most casual of physical contact with someone. This includes but is not limited to hugging, grabbing, grappling, holding, sitting on, stroking and kissing. 

We have no intention of stopping you shaking hands, especially as this is something the character can IC refuse to do, but as a guideline, if you would not make contact in that way with a stranger, then you shouldn’t do it in a game without asking for consent. Consent is explicit to that time and location and can be withdrawn at any time. You never have to justify refusing physical contact with any person. 

If at any point someone says that they are OC uncomfortable about something then you must stop immediately. This is regardless of whether you are making physical contact, flirting, discussing any of the difficult issues above, or simply roleplaying. 

These rules on conduct are expected to be followed in downtime as well as at games. Depending on the action, breaking these rules may result in a warning or banning from the game at the Storytellers’ discretion.

Sexual Harassment

  • We won’t tolerate sexual harassment at our game and will take reports of it very seriously

Socialising is an important part of live roleplaying but nobody attending an event should have to tolerate sexual harassment. We encourage any individual who experiences sexual harassment from another participant to report the incident to us at the earliest available opportunity, so that we can deal appropriately with the matter.

Unwelcome actions such as the following are inappropriate and, depending on the circumstances, may in and of themselves meet the definition of sexual harassment or contribute to a hostile game environment:

  • Sexual pranks, or repeated sexual teasing, jokes, or innuendo
  • Verbal abuse, touching or grabbing of a sexual nature
  • Repeatedly standing too close to or brushing up against a person
  • Repeatedly asking a person to socialise out-of-character when the person has said no or has indicated they are not interested.

A victim of sexual harassment can be of any gender. The victim can be of the same gender as the harasser. The harasser can be any participant, a player, or a member of the crew.

Many sexual harassment issues in live roleplaying occur when participants use their character to justify what would clearly be inappropriate when not roleplaying. Participants should take care to ensure that if their behaviour involves conversation or physical contact in a sexual or intimate manner that they do not do so in a way that causes the recipient to feel out-of-character uncomfortable, regardless of any in-character considerations.

Our Behaviour

We are committed to creating an environment where there is mutual respect and equality of opportunity for all participants. We want our games to be inclusive – where everyone can take part and everyone is welcome – and we oppose all forms of unlawful and unfair discrimination.

We will:

  • Make all reasonable efforts and adjustments to ensure that our games are inclusive and accessible
  • Promote equality and encourage people from all backgrounds to participate fully in our events.
  • Respond promptly to harassment and equality issues, including (but not limited to) those relating to race, gender, disability and sexual orientation, and recognise the complexities of the intersections between them
  • Treat all complaints about behaviour at our games seriously and respond appropriately

How We Will Handle Complaints

  • Anyone breaking these rules gets a single warning, unless they do so especially badly in which case we skip the warning
  • Our test is “balance of probabilities” rather than “beyond reasonable doubt”
  • We can only investigate or act on complaints about things that happen at or relating to our game

Opposing discrimination and harassment is not causing trouble – it is helping to build a better event for everyone.

It is not possible for us to create an environment that is free from discrimination or harassment by ourselves – It can only be accomplished if everyone who participates in the game works towards that goal. Challenging inappropriate behaviour by other participants is helpful, but not everyone is comfortable or confident to do that. We want all participants to be confident that they can bring complaints to us and that we will deal with them promptly, respectfully, and appropriately.

In general we operate on a “single warning” policy; players who commit some significant infraction (such as sexual harassment) receive a written warning making clear that any further complaints about them will result in their permanent exclusion from the event. The nature of complaints in larp is that there is very little other than hearsay evidence. Giving the accused a single warning gives a reasonable balance, giving them a chance to avoid making a similar mistake in future while avoiding the need to make a judgement beyond reasonable doubt of the veracity of either party. In cases where an incident is extremely serious we issue an immediate ban; we do not require evidence beyond reasonable doubt, but rather use the same “balance of probabilities” test we use for any other incidents.

If a participant wishes to report an incident but wishes to remain anonymous or does not otherwise want to make a formal complaint, then we adjust our complaints process to reflect their wishes. The issue is discussed in detail with the complainant and we investigate it as thoroughly as we are able to without compromising their anonymity. The incident is logged on the accused participant’s records; if there are independent complaints in the future against the same party then we would use the history of previous incidents in determining the outcome of subsequent complaints.

Please note that this process only applies to misconduct at our events; we are not in a position to investigate complaints of such behaviour elsewhere and are expressly not soliciting such complaints.  We reserve the right to refuse bookings from anyone, for any reason, without needing to explain ourselves if we so choose.

References and Acknowledgements