Most gaming groups have to consider things like day and time for game, system, and who wants to be GM. But where you play and what people bring to the table can have a big impact on players with allergies. I’ve successfully avoided TPK of players with allergies, and so can you.
Location, Location, Location
One of the big problems I’ve run into time and time again is animal-related allergies. Be it dogs, cats, small furry friends like hamsters, or even birds, there will be a human out there with an allergy to it. If you’re starting a new game, polling your prospective players for animal allergies will save you a trip to the ER when your new druid shows up, encounters your cat, and has a near-death experience before the dice are even rolled. Not everyone has the same level of allergic response, and you may have multiple players with animal-related allergies. One person may be cool if they just pop a Benadryl and have a latte to compensate, someone else may have severe or even life threatening allergies. No matter the scale, taking the allergies of our friends seriously shows that they’re more to us than an emergency heal, and that we care about their welfare.
When you pick a location to hold game, you probably do your best to make sure it’s not inconvenient traffic wise, and that it has space for gaming. If you have players who can ‘put up’ with their allergies to your furry family members, adding a quick rug vacuuming to pe-game prep can do a lot to making your gaming locale a much more comfortable one.
Don’t Get Your Tree Nuts In A Bunch
Everybody has to eat sometime. You might order in, fix dinner on site, or have everyone brown bag it. This is an important reason to discuss food allergies. Cross-contamination can occur if someone uses the spoon in the humus to scoop some artichoke dip; dairy, artichoke, even a little wheat flour could be in there. Try not to use utensils across dishes, and if your group has a spread going where the some of the food might kill some of the players, keep it on a different table or counter when you can, to reduce the risk of something getting into dishes it shouldn’t be in. When food is a shared endeavor by your gaming group, it may take a little help and some label reading coaching to successfully avert disaster, but that mindfulness is appreciated and treasured by the people you’re avoiding accidentally hospitalizing.
There are people who have intense, life threatening reactions with even trace amounts of their allergen. Don’t tease people about their food allergies, and encourage being up front and matter a fact about them as a group. For folks whose allergies are life threatening, make sure you know where they keep their epi pen or rescue medications, and what you can do to respond to their allergy if it gets triggered.
If there’s someone in your group who loves compiling lists and data, see if you can get their help on this one. Among your GM materials, try to keep an up to date list of player allergies, allergy medications, and where they keep rescue medications on them. Some players may dedicate a pocket of their coat or purse to their inhaler, epi pen or pills, but others may move it between pockets on any given day. Knowing how to help your players when they’re having a medical issue is one more way to keep your table a healthy one.
TPK, after all, is for the dungeon. Not a Thursday night.
Have tips, tricks or stories about how your gaming group keeps players with allergies safe at the table? Leave them in the comments!