This is a short article today because I’m setting up another three or four articles that will reference this one. The Social Contract is a concept not invented by Ron Edwards, but appropriated by him to describe how the players agree to what can and cannot happen in the gaming space. Basically, it is the agreement that everyone participating makes to accept each other and each other’s contributions to the game. This includes everything from what game will be played, whose house will be the setting for play, what optional rules will be allowed, who will GM, who’s bringing snacks, and so on. The Social Contract also includes relationships among the players like who’s in love with whom, who is an old friend of whom, who is related to whom, or who is currently at odds with whom in real life AND in the game’s fiction. All roleplaying and everything that happens within the game’s interface (tabletop, internet connection, email, snail mail, etc.) among the players is contained within the Social Contract.
The Social Contract Includes…
-All Decisions Made by the Players
-All Relationships Among the Players
-All Agreements and Understandings for the Group
-All the Game’s Fiction
(see The Big Model for further reading)