UK Games Expo Ejects GM Who Opened Session With In-Game Sexual Assault

So this weekend is the 13th annual UK Games Expo in Birmingham, UK. While it’s safe to assume most of the people in attendance are having a good time, a number of players certainly didn’t enjoy their Friday. In a paid, ticketed Things from the Flood game GM Kevin Rolfe decided to open the session with something pretty horrendous that had been omitted from the game’s description: the player characters getting kidnapped and raped.

Needless to say, the players were not remotely happy about this. One of them, who had also brought her younger brother along, complained directly to staff and also tweeted about the situation.

Now I’ve been reporting on convention news for a while, and I’ve seen cons react the wrong way many, many times — which is why I’m surprised (and quite happy) to see an event do the right thing. UK Games Expo, to their credit, acted swiftly and in adherence to the policies they’d set out. The convention apologized directly to the players, ejected the GM from the event, removed him from the premises, and banned him from submitting future games.

The event released the following statement:

It was brought to our attention that in an RPG game on Friday afternoon a GM volunteer included content that was completely unacceptable and breached both the letter and spirit of the UK Games Expo. The scenario included descriptions of sexual violence involving the players. The players were understandably distressed and shocked by this content.

This content was not set out in the game description. If it had been included in the submission it would have been rejected as unacceptable even for a game with an 18 rating. All games must still comply with the policies and the spirit of UKGE.

We have spoken personally to the player who first raised the issue and have unreservedly apologized for the distress caused. We are currently contacting the other players so we can offer them our apologies and any assistance they might need. We have made it clear that this kind of behavior and content has no place at UKGE and will not be accepted.

We immediately halted the game the GM was currently running and cancelled all of the games he was due to run. The GM has been ejected from the show and will not be allowed access to any of the NEC halls or Hilton function rooms that are under the control of UK Games Expo. He has also been banned from submitting any games for the foreseeable future.

We will be reviewing our game submission systems in order to improve our ability to vet content of an RPG before it is accepted. We remain committed to providing a safe and happy place for all players to come together and enjoy the hobby we all love.

Honestly it’s still terrible that the players had to have this experience, but it’s quite refreshing to see a convention do the right thing in response. The convention scene would be a better place if all staff’s responded the way UK Games Expo’s has here.

Trae Dorn

Trae Dorn has been staffing conventions for over twenty years, and is a co-founder of Wisconsin’s longest running Anime convention No Brand Con. Trae also writes and draws the webcomics UnCONventional and The Chronicles of Crosarth, which leads many to ask when the hell they have time to actually do anything anymore. Trae says they have the time because they “do it all quite poorly.”