Examples of X-card applications?

For my last six convention games over two conventions, I decided to use the X-Card at my tables. It was well received and I proceeded to blog about my experience with the hope to encourage the readers to try it in their game.

Among the responses was the question of:
How does it work within a game?

With the focus of not when to use the X-card, but what to do as the GM of the guide, once the X-card is activated.

It includes the moment after the card has been touched or raised, where the person running the game has to figure out which element to adapt. Where I personally, took the liberty to explain to my players before hand, that I will briefly ask for the subject or item, before continuing.
I am afraid that it might be a bit against the rules, as it asks the person to speak up. Yet, without the brief exchange I might not be able to change the subject or item. I pondered to offer paper scraps, to write it down and pass it over to me as a solution.

It’s main focus is what to do as the facilitator. How to continue the game.
Basically miniature <abbr=“write downs of game sessions”>replays, that offer guidance about to react and improvise.
It might be especially helpful for people who use system were the required form of improvisation isn’t as much part of their game style.

I considered creating some of my own.
Yet, in my 6 games, the X-card wasn’t used, thus it would all be theory and I wondered if it maybe does already exists.

1 Like

Are you looking for specific examples from actual play? Here’s one:

I’m in a game of Sagas of the Icelanders. it falls upon my character, for reasons that aren’t important, to sneak into a barn and kill someone’s horse. I’m totally fine with this! I begin to describe my character silently approaching the barn, his knife gleaming in the moonlight, and another player taps the X-card.

It’s obvious why they have invoked the card. While I’m unsure whether they just don’t want to endure my prolonged description of this brutal act or whether the act itself is out of bounds, given the agreed-upon tone of the game and my sense of the person invoking the X-card, I choose the former while paying close attention to make sure I’m right.

I stop talking about the horse-murdering and move the action to the next morning, when the deed is discovered. Had the other player tapped the card again or been visibly uncomfortable, I would have suggested going back and taking a whole different direction with the scene that didn’t involve horse murder at all. Depending on the vibe, it might have been a moment when we needed to have a brief discussion or taken a short break.

In practice this entire interaction didn’t even cause a bump in my narration, I just acknowledged the X-card input and adjusted what I was saying, and we went on with our game.


When somebody indicates there’s a problem, the real answer for the GM is context-dependent. It might be blindingly obvious what the problem is (e.g. somebody just initiated an explicit torture scene), or it might not (maybe it’s something about the environment or the monsters?) It’s okay to ask the person what the specific element was. The prohibition about talking about it covers not interrogating them about why or things like that, but it’s reasonable and normal to ask just enough questions to make sure you understand the intent.


@Jmstar Yes, I am indeed looking for specific actual play examples.
Thank you, for providing one :slight_smile:

@technoskald That does sound reasonable, and your example is quite helpful.
I have developed a small explanation that I give to the table and so far included: “Depending on the situation, I will ask which element you are referencing. If, for example, in a scene it is the spider, the dog, the kid or whether something else is the issue.”. I think I will keep it.

I wrote an article about my X-card experience in a series about Vampire games at conventions, yet in German. I am considering a second one with examples.