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    What does FTB mean?

    FTB stands for “fade to black.” It is a term used in text-based roleplaying games (RPGs) to indicate the backgrounding or omission of a scene or part of a scene.

    This technique is typically employed during moments that are either highly intimate, extremely violent, or otherwise not suitable for the public or certain audiences.

    By signaling an FTB, players agree to skip detailed descriptions of these events, implying what happens without explicit depiction.

    The concept originates from film and television, where a scene transitions to black to omit certain details or to indicate the end of a scene or episode.

    In text-based gaming, fade to black is a mutual agreement between the players to respect boundaries and maintain a comfortable gaming environment.

    FTB FAQs

    How do you initiate an FTB in a game?

    To initiate an FTB, a player can simply type “FTB” or “fade to black” during their turn in the narrative. This is a cue to other players to skip over the detailed portrayal of the scene. Skipping the details ensures that no player is forced to endure discomfort during the game.

    Can FTB be used for scenes other than intimacy or violence?

    Yes, FTB can be used for any scene that players prefer not to describe in detail. This can include personal, traumatic, triggering, or otherwise sensitive content that players do not feel comfortable sharing or roleplaying in a public or semi-public setting.

    Is it necessary to discuss FTB usage before a game?

    While not strictly necessary, it is highly recommended to discuss the use of FTB and other content boundaries before starting a game. This ensures all players are on the same page regarding what content is acceptable and how to handle sensitive or potentially triggering scenarios.

    Depending on the game, there may already be rules or guidelines in place to describe how and when to use fade to black.

    How does FTB affect the narrative of a game?

    FTB allows the narrative to continue smoothly without delving into uncomfortable or graphic details. It helps maintain the pace and tone of the game while respecting players’ boundaries. However, the outcomes or consequences of the faded-out scenes should still be acknowledged in the storyline as appropriate.

    Myths about FTB

    • FTB is only for scenes of intimacy: While commonly used for intimate scenes, FTB can be applied to any content that players wish to omit for comfort, pacing, or relevance reasons.
    • Using FTB is a sign of prudishness: Employing FTB is not about being prudish but about respecting the comfort levels and boundaries of all players involved. It is always better to err on the side of protecting players’ health and well-being, even in games with darker themes.
    • FTB disrupts the game narrative: Properly used, FTB does not disrupt the game. Instead, it allows the story to bypass details that are not necessary for the plot’s progression or are uncomfortable for participants.

    FTB examples

    • Two characters in a roleplaying game are about to engage in a romantic encounter. One player types “Shall we FTB here?” and the other agrees, implying the scene’s occurrence without detailing it.
    • During a high-stakes interrogation scene, things are about to get graphically violent. A player suggests an FTB to skip the explicit torture details while still conveying the interrogation’s outcome.
    • A storyline involves a character’s tragic backstory, which includes sensitive topics. The player narrating decides to use FTB for these parts, providing only the necessary information to understand the character’s motivations.
    • In a horror-themed game, the group decides to FTB as they describe the aftermath of a monstrous attack instead of the gore-filled details.

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    About the author

    Andruid is a writer, roleplayer, storyteller, and nerd who tries to live by Bill and Ted wisdom, i.e. "Be excellent to each other."