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The LOBster
2013-01-18, 09:19 PM
So, here's question. Do you prefer running Rule of Fun campaigns or Darker and Edgier campaigns? Of course, it's not impossible to mix the two - OotS mixes darker story elements with funny stuff, and that's one of the reasons I love it.

For me, I prefer more heroic campaigns - campaigns with a bunch of misfit heroes who have their own quirks.

nedz
2013-01-18, 09:48 PM
I like variety not just of these two tropes, but many others also.

ArcturusV
2013-01-18, 10:59 PM
I take it by Rule of Fun you mean having light hearted moments and humor? If so I always include that, but it doesn't preclude me from having Darker and Edgier stuff going on either.

Interestingly one of the little things I tend to do which adds to this is when a Player would drop an enemy I usually tell them, "Okay, and give me a deathblow!" and let them describe or act out how they just heroically (Or not so Heroically) slayed their enemy. Slows down combat a midge, sure. But makes people get into it a lot more I notice. And you'll have both sort of moments like how the Monk described punching a guy square in the nuts to kill him as he squealed like a little girl, and moments where the Necromancer goes darker and details some gruesome details involving desecrating the body and dark forces.

Though regardless of what way they do it, they tend to describe it as Fun.

oxybe
2013-01-18, 11:08 PM
when i gm rule of fun overrules everything else.

i play games because they're fun. if a game stops being fun, i stop playing it since past that point it's really just an exercise in masochism.

if the game comes to an impass on "how should we resolve this" i always go "what would be the most fun outcome for the group?".

note that fun doesn't always mean "it goes the party's way/party wins". i can have fun losing, as long as it's well... fun. enjoyable.

NikitaDarkstar
2013-01-18, 11:57 PM
For me it doesn't matter, as long as everyone is on the same page.

Amidus Drexel
2013-01-19, 01:28 AM
It really depends on the scenario; in a horror campaign or in a campaign-ending adventure (with appropriate amounts of apocalype), dark and edgy is fine.

I find the silly stuff is more likely to bring the group (ooc) to a halt, although if it's appropriate to the campaign (silly campaigns are fun :smallamused:), I don't have any problem with it.

SowZ
2013-01-19, 04:41 AM
I want to create an engagin, fun, deep, and memorable world for my players to craft a story in. Certain groups I have found dislike the edgier stuff. It detracts from their fun and engagement. So I use less of it. Other groups, it draws them in and makes the story more meaningful. It all depends. Personally, I like darker stories.

Strawberries
2013-01-19, 04:46 AM
For me it doesn't matter, as long as everyone is on the same page.

Pretty much that. I tend to prefer serious, slightly 'darker' campaign, at least on pbp... but I don't mind light and funny ones, as well. As long as all the players are confortable with whatever mood is on the table.

Yora
2013-01-19, 05:21 AM
For me, gritt is fun.

nedz
2013-01-19, 07:02 AM
You could use the Tragicomic model: 75% Tragedy / 25% Comedy.

It worked for the ancient Greek playwrights, and it works for TV newscasts.
It gives you a light/dark feel. If you add more comedy though, the game looses weight; less comedy and it's all serious.

The comedy has the effect of making the dark bits seem darker. The tragedy has the effect of making the comedy funnier. It's all about contrast.

Yora
2013-01-19, 07:05 AM
I don't know. To me that sounds like 100% cheesy.

Dienekes
2013-01-19, 08:20 AM
Both, though when I GM I have a tendency for grittier games. I throw in some humor and quips here in there but most of my story ideas are on the dark side of things.

Seharvepernfan
2013-01-19, 12:49 PM
For me, gritt is fun.

Ditto. transforms into white-text!

Frozen_Feet
2013-01-19, 02:06 PM
Two words: Black Comedy. :smalltongue:

SowZ
2013-01-19, 02:11 PM
I don't know. To me that sounds like 100% cheesy.

A campaign where it is all grimdark and everyone is always serious and broody will come off as very cheesy, like the stereotypical emo kids playing Vampire: the Masquerade. Humor is needed, even in dramatic/dark campaigns.

oxybe
2013-01-19, 03:09 PM
i think there needs to be a distinction made

rule of fun (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RuleOfFun)

rule of funny (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RuleOfFunny)

the former goes "whichever is more fun for the people involved". if that's grimdark, gorn or whatever, then so be it... it's fun for them so go with that.

the latter goes "whichever gets a chuckle". like the trope page says : it's the comedy version of the Rule of Cool.

if you're gonna use tropes by name, please use the right one.

nedz
2013-01-19, 03:51 PM
I don't know. To me that sounds like 100% cheesy.

A Classic Tragicomedy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrano_de_Bergerac_%28play%29), and it's not cheesy also Shakespear, Aristphananes, Euripides, ... all wrote Tragicomedies: where these cheesy ?

Felyndiira
2013-01-19, 04:49 PM
I am a sucker for character exploration, so I tend to have the most fun in games that are very deeply involved and emotionally trying for my characters. One of the biggest reasons I stopped playing Maid is because the silliness of the game usually doesn't last for more than one session before it becomes meh for me.

Don't get me wrong, though - light-hearted moments are themselves a part of character exploration, and I've had just as much fun emulating small-talk with a local farmer about the merits of corn vs. squash as I do with trying to overcome some shadows of the past. Ultimately, I think that even the darkest games could be brightened with a bit of comedy and "fluffiness" here-and-there, so the best games are a combination of the two.

(Also, the farmer is wrong - squash is better. No contest.)

Yora
2013-01-19, 05:06 PM
A Classic Tragicomedy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrano_de_Bergerac_%28play%29), and it's not cheesy also Shakespear, Aristphananes, Euripides, ... all wrote Tragicomedies: where these cheesy ?
I kind of feel like any tragic character needs a huge suspension of disbelive. Realistically most of them are idiot *******s who are the only people who don't see how they are the only source for their own missery.
And like Felyndiira, my games focus on making tough but rational descisions in hypothetical situations. That's the opposite of both the tragic and the comic. In either case, you would have to act against better judgement for the sake of drama/laughs, which doesn't sit well with me. And I feel is cheesy, yes.

obryn
2013-01-19, 08:52 PM
So, here's question. Do you prefer running Rule of Fun campaigns or Darker and Edgier campaigns? Of course, it's not impossible to mix the two - OotS mixes darker story elements with funny stuff, and that's one of the reasons I love it.

For me, I prefer more heroic campaigns - campaigns with a bunch of misfit heroes who have their own quirks.
If your darker and edgier campaigns aren't also fun for the players, you're doing something wrong. :)

We're playing magical elfgames with dragons and unicorns. Bad stuff happening should be happening in the interest of overall fun and enjoyment for the group.

-O

Amidus Drexel
2013-01-19, 09:08 PM
most of them are idiot *******s


Sounds like your average player character... You'd probably have to add "homeless", though. :smallamused:

Alejandro
2013-01-19, 09:24 PM
I once played in a D&D game where our characters were trying to collect the things we needed to craft a cure for the disease ravaging our town. We went on adventures, found the ingredients, learned how to mix them, and so on. Finally made the cure, administered it to our families... and they died. It turned out the cure was actually poison. Ha ha, you murdered your sick family! Dark!

That game kind of fell apart after that.

Wyntonian
2013-01-19, 09:44 PM
I once played in a D&D game where our characters were trying to collect the things we needed to craft a cure for the disease ravaging our town. We went on adventures, found the ingredients, learned how to mix them, and so on. Finally made the cure, administered it to our families... and they died. It turned out the cure was actually poison. Ha ha, you murdered your sick family! Dark!

That game kind of fell apart after that.

Your DM is a prick. That is all.

SowZ
2013-01-19, 09:57 PM
I once played in a D&D game where our characters were trying to collect the things we needed to craft a cure for the disease ravaging our town. We went on adventures, found the ingredients, learned how to mix them, and so on. Finally made the cure, administered it to our families... and they died. It turned out the cure was actually poison. Ha ha, you murdered your sick family! Dark!

That game kind of fell apart after that.

I once ran a game where a disaster had struck and the largest city in the region had closed its walls, leaving many refugees who had come there for aid camped outside. The party was set up camp quite bit away from the tent city but didn't hide themselves.

During the night, a group of bandits snuck into the camp. Someone woke up, saw someone unwelcome in his tent, and blasted him with fire. The bandit screamed out and fell down, rolled for a sec, and the wizard gave him one more to finish him off.

The bandits were armed and had their weapons drawn, ready to fight, and I think in the ensuing chaos a party member was stabbed and another bandit was killed. Turns out, they were just kids, (around 15ish or so,) who were likely starved and ragged. Players were all adults. The fireblaster insisted he did nothing wrong and his character did not feel guilty.

A couple of the players had upset characters. A couple were legitimately upset out of game. One players character left the party because her character could not justify travelling with them anymore. She did make a new character, though.

"Hmm," I thought. "I might have gone too far, there." I have been more careful since then. Other groups would have had no problem with that scenario, but I should have known this wasn't the playstyle of that group.

Anderlith
2013-01-19, 09:58 PM
I like humorous games as long as it's believable. I love Monty Python, but I don't want Knights of Ni somewhere ruining the suspense of disbelief. Death is always an option in my games, though I always try to save the party from TPK or just outright dice related deaths. (If you choose to jump off a cliff then it's your fault you took falling damage & it killed you. If you took a couple of crits in a row... I might pad it down to being -7 instead of outright dead)

DrBurr
2013-01-19, 11:27 PM
Theres really place for both, I look at making my Campaign kinda like a Pendulum it swings back and forth between humorous occasions and light hearted events to serious plots, mystery and drama.

Some sessions maybe, an Assassin just tried to kill you and has kidnapped your bard, and another might be you arrive in city X during a religious festival and can take part in drinking contests, shooting galleries and bear wrestling

Yora
2013-01-20, 05:08 AM
I personally never saw the need why a serious story would need humorous passages.

ArcturusV
2013-01-20, 05:17 AM
Mostly because people need humor in their lives. And you end up getting seriously emo vibes the longer you go on without someone cracking a smile. Don't mean you have to make jokes. But sometimes, you just want something funny to go on. Sometimes it's unintentional like when the party wizard goes to taunt some enemy about their magical doom incoming and then... poof, Will Negated Saving throw, failure, or some other result. As long as you don't force it, or the absence of it, it just seems to happen.

SowZ: Had similar experiences myself. Though how much of "DM was a ****" or not depends on how you view it. PCs were given a mission to shake down a local merchant and tell him to get out of dodge. Despite supposedly being good, none of them really balked at this. And rather than threatening the Merchants or something more direct, they decided they wanted to scare the Merchants Scooby Doo style and come up with a "Ghost" that is haunting their location to make them go away. I never did understand why the mechanically minded players didn't think the merchants would just hire a Cleric to exorcise the place instead of abandon everything they had set down, but whatever.

Eventually their "Plan" also involves setting fire to two buildings, "As a distraction". Even though the town was packed tight, built of wood, and it had been a dry season (All of which they knew).

Eventually said Fire does what fire does, spread and get out of control. They hightailed it out of there, incidentally accomplishing their mission by burning down the merchant's home and place of business, but also about 20% of the city before the locals managed to get the fire under control. The heroes for their part let the city burn and ran off rather than help fight the fires.

And the fact they burnt down a fifth of a city did not sit well with certain characters, shaking up a lot of them, one of the PCs deciding to quit (But reroll a new character who was not tied to the arson).

Soylent Dave
2013-01-20, 05:34 AM
Probably worth pointing out that 'comedies' aren't necessarily laugh riots with clowns and falling over.

One of the main differences for Greeks is that comedies had a happy ending (compared with tragedies, which had a sad ending)

In roleplay terms, it's sometimes very useful to lighten the mood occasionally - I tend to run pretty dark, dystopian campaigns (often with ultimately tragic themes), and it definitely helps to give my players (or their characters) a break now and again, or it'd just get depressing.


I kind of feel like any tragic character needs a huge suspension of disbelive. Realistically most of them are idiot *******s who are the only people who don't see how they are the only source for their own missery.

That's the entire point of a tragic character - he sows the seeds of his own downfall. Ego usually plays quite a big part in most of their personalities... (which is probably why they're so easy to work into RPGs!)

Conversely a comic character succeeds despite making all the wrong decisions (again, something that will be oddly relevant to far too many tabletop players)

Need_A_Life
2013-01-20, 07:18 AM
If the game isn't fun, then it isn't worth playing. It doesn't have to devolve into a comedy act, however.

I do like (most) of my games to be somewhat dark and gritty; Call of Cthulhu is a brilliant game, for example, but there's room for humour and enjoyment.

Hell, my very first Dark Heresy campaign started out with a "mood setter" adventure (a staple of mine with any new group and/or setting), where there was no question whether the characters could succeed. They were introduced to investigation mechanics plus a few more skills, but the question was whether they would take the innocent little kid from its God-Emperor fearing parents to be tortured for decades in the Black Ships for the good of the Imperium (thus fulfilling their duty) or report failure and hope for the best.

The whole "adventure" was 1/3 of a page worth of notes, but it ended up taking six hours to get through, the vast majority of which was talking to the child and her parents.
It was a fun, engaging session for all involved, but was definitely very dark (and intentionally so) while it had its comedic moments here and there.

To continue in the TVTropes-style, think Buffy and Angel. Most of the time, there's a lot of humour going on but that doesn't mean that there's not some genuinely dark moments - such as an aneurysm one might remember - and neither seems out of place.
Sure, Dracula might seem a bit "rape-y" with his mind-control powers, but trying to reform after being dusted and having a witty one-liner injects some comedy that's needed to keep things more palatable.

It all depends on the group in the end.

Personally, I set my limits on what I want to see at the table to this: No "on-screen" sex. Everything else can be milked for drama, humour or plotlines in any way.

Dienekes
2013-01-20, 07:43 AM
I personally never saw the need why a serious story would need humorous passages.

Because in life, funny stuff does happen, and those faced with continuous tragedy can develop an (often dark) sense of humor about it. Also, my campaigns tend to take years, hitting the same emotional note repeatedly could get monotonous.

Hell read Joe Abercrombie's work, it's legitimately one of the darker fantasy stories I have ever read outside of pure horror. Yet some of the most well liked and developed characters have a sense of humor and when **** isn't hitting the fan they talk like normal people, which includes jokes, funny anecdotes, and so forth. Humor and tragedy can go together just fine, not always, but I've found that it helps to have bits and pieces to lighten the mood so that when the dark stuff comes it looks even worse.

Soylent Dave
2013-01-20, 10:41 PM
Because in life, funny stuff does happen, and those faced with continuous tragedy can develop an (often dark) sense of humor about it.

Real life example:

If you haven't seen Denholm's funeral in the IT crowd, : you'll need this scene for context (http://youtu.be/JXcueVDW2Mo)

That episode - of a series my friends and I watched and enjoyed - aired a year before my mum died.

At my mum's wake, two of my friends gave me a pen.

And one of them wrote "I'm sorry for your loss. Move on." in his bereavement card to me.

-

Mixing comedy with tragedy works sometimes; that cheered all of us up, and helped cut through the incredible tension of the day. It didn't magically stop me being sad, but it still made me laugh.

Alejandro
2013-01-20, 11:45 PM
I once ran a game where a disaster had struck and the largest city in the region had closed its walls, leaving many refugees who had come there for aid camped outside. The party was set up camp quite bit away from the tent city but didn't hide themselves.

During the night, a group of bandits snuck into the camp. Someone woke up, saw someone unwelcome in his tent, and blasted him with fire. The bandit screamed out and fell down, rolled for a sec, and the wizard gave him one more to finish him off.

The bandits were armed and had their weapons drawn, ready to fight, and I think in the ensuing chaos a party member was stabbed and another bandit was killed. Turns out, they were just kids, (around 15ish or so,) who were likely starved and ragged. Players were all adults. The fireblaster insisted he did nothing wrong and his character did not feel guilty.

A couple of the players had upset characters. A couple were legitimately upset out of game. One players character left the party because her character could not justify travelling with them anymore. She did make a new character, though.

"Hmm," I thought. "I might have gone too far, there." I have been more careful since then. Other groups would have had no problem with that scenario, but I should have known this wasn't the playstyle of that group.

The wizard didn't do anything wrong. Area that just had a disaster, refugees everywhere, and you wake up in the middle of the night with a stranger in your tent? And you're already a squishy wizard? I'd have blasted them too.

RPGuru1331
2013-01-21, 02:24 PM
Darker and Edgier is rule of fun, so I don't see the dichotomy. Some people have fun with Darker and Edgier.

obryn
2013-01-21, 03:05 PM
The wizard didn't do anything wrong. Area that just had a disaster, refugees everywhere, and you wake up in the middle of the night with a stranger in your tent? And you're already a squishy wizard? I'd have blasted them too.
I think the point is more that "whoops! you killed children! even if they were bandits!" is not something that you should pull on an unsuspecting group of players. You know, the real people sitting around your table as opposed to the pretend people in elf-land.

I can certainly imagine some of the players would have been uncomfortable, particularly if any of them were parents; this sort of stuff can break groups up. It's best to clear grimdark elements with your group ahead of time and get their buy-in.

-O

Winter_Wolf
2013-01-21, 08:05 PM
For me, dark and/or edgy does not preclude fun, even if it results in a TPK. As long as the process and the story are enjoyable, then that's my main goal. Also I'm given to understand the the Chaosium Call of Cthulhu game is built on a foundation of dead characters, but it's still selling copies.

Likewise humor can inject itself into dark, tense situations almost by accident. I've had it happen in real life, why shouldn't it happen in a game? I embrace it when it happens, because it's (usually) entertaining. Some people try too hard, and that's when things get weird/dumb, but that happens very rarely.

Slipperychicken
2013-01-21, 08:12 PM
I like both funny and serious elements. You can't have it be too humorless, because that just isn't realistic. People need to laugh, if not at themselves, then at something. Even if the world doesn't toss clowns and comedians at the PCs, they should still find some way to amuse themselves, like practical jokes or rearranging dead bodies in funny ways. Seriousness is cool too; I would absolutely love the "15-year-old bandits" scenario. So much character and setting development could come out of that, and it's so much more nuanced and believable than the nonsense contrivances which many DMs consider moral dilemmas. That would be the real way to challenge a Paladin; have him not fall, then make him wonder about whether his god was right for not falling him, and whether that lives up to his moral standards.

EDIT: Really "messed up" stuff like the bandits thing does need to be cleared with your group. Establishing boundaries is very important, especially for things like that. Asking things like "how do you feel about child-killing/murder/sex/etc. in the game?" in private, long before the session, while you still have time to change your material should be good.

Joe the Rat
2013-01-22, 03:13 PM
It's about the Foil, or contrast. A dark game will make the humor funnier, the hope spots brighter, and (potenitally) the heroes more heroic. A light-hearted game full of spleen-hemorrhaging puns hits a touch of darkness, and it hits like an anvil.

Case in point - we play for Fun, and our playstyle tends towards the wacky. The most normal member of the party is a dwarven cleric, and we think he's an insane drunk. One of our wizards is turning into a dog. We spend our time fast-talking goblins, sweet-talking giants, rescuing baby dragons, watching medusa burlesque shows, and chasing the biological mash-ups accidentally set loose by the local absent-minded wizard. The mad wizard is quite the character: Sweet, literal-minded, pining for the local barmaid, seems harmless (monster production notwithstanding).

After he skips town, we check out his basement, and discover his biological research included the usual inappropriate amounts of animal husbandry, plus the involuntary alchemic mutation and vivisection of sentient creatures. His total lack of sinister airs makes this even more grotesque. He has no sense of this being a bad thing. I full expect him to be totally bewildered as to why my character will try to put a hammer through his skull. The comedy quest-giver from Act I is potentially our Big Bad.

A touch of darkness adds a little bathos to a popcorn campaign. A spot of humor adds a little levity. But it doesn't have to be cream pies and Yackety Sax. Ridiculous and improbable situations will give rise to their own comedy, even if it's just the players (OOC) who are amused.

Yora
2013-01-22, 04:37 PM
Likewise humor can inject itself into dark, tense situations almost by accident. I've had it happen in real life, why shouldn't it happen in a game? I embrace it when it happens, because it's (usually) entertaining. Some people try too hard, and that's when things get weird/dumb, but that happens very rarely.
But that's something that evolves naturally and spontaneously from group dynamics. You can't trigger that by preparing joke encounters and clown NPCs. Such things just seem inappropriate and ruin the game.

Damn, I hate evil clowns and demonic jesters. These blights on serious storytelling.

Alejandro
2013-01-22, 04:50 PM
I think the point is more that "whoops! you killed children! even if they were bandits!" is not something that you should pull on an unsuspecting group of players. You know, the real people sitting around your table as opposed to the pretend people in elf-land.

I can certainly imagine some of the players would have been uncomfortable, particularly if any of them were parents; this sort of stuff can break groups up. It's best to clear grimdark elements with your group ahead of time and get their buy-in.

-O

Huh. Some of my fellow players are parents and would never give it a second thought, for the same reason they aren't bothered by killing a dozen orcs, some of which are almost certainly parents. :)

Thajocoth
2013-01-22, 05:57 PM
The most important thing is that everyone is enjoying playing.

This generally means making it fun.

obryn
2013-01-22, 09:20 PM
Huh. Some of my fellow players are parents and would never give it a second thought, for the same reason they aren't bothered by killing a dozen orcs, some of which are almost certainly parents. :)
Are you implying that everyone should therefore be okay with it, or only speaking about your group?

Because that's my point - some people will have an issue with "haha you just killed children." Some won't. You don't necessarily know until you ask - but IMO it's best to err on the side of caution before getting all grimdark because you won't know what they will or won't be fine with.

-O

Slipperychicken
2013-01-22, 11:19 PM
Huh. Some of my fellow players are parents and would never give it a second thought, for the same reason they aren't bothered by killing a dozen orcs, some of which are almost certainly parents. :)

Killing parents is way different from killing kids. Kids are "innocent", and you're not supposed to kill them, even more so than other people. Parents are usually treated about the same as anyone else, unless it's clear that killing the parent will harm his/her children (i.e. there isn't anyone else to take care of the kids).

SowZ
2013-01-23, 02:33 AM
The wizard didn't do anything wrong. Area that just had a disaster, refugees everywhere, and you wake up in the middle of the night with a stranger in your tent? And you're already a squishy wizard? I'd have blasted them too.

I agree, I thought it would be a thing where the party is like, Oh, that sucks, and make them feel kinda bad after a victory as opposed to good. Make them consider most the people they fight are normal dudes in desperate situations or doing their jobs.

The player who left did so more for the blasters remorseless attitude than the actual killing, I think.

Anyway, it was still an above average sensitivity group. But I should have guessed it, I think.

Wonton
2013-01-23, 04:45 AM
I don't think I could survive in a "Dark and Edgy" campaign - I'm the guy that cracks jokes even at the most inappropriate moments. At best, it would be "I know that my character is scared, but we're still all laughing around the table".

ArcturusV
2013-01-23, 05:12 AM
That's not too uncommon Wonton. Particularly since "Dark and Edgy" stories sometimes end up being unintentionally hilarious. Usually due to things like unfortunate name choices.

nedz
2013-01-23, 05:48 AM
That's not too uncommon Wonton. Particularly since "Dark and Edgy" stories sometimes end up being unintentionally hilarious. Usually due to things like unfortunate name choices.

That would be a tragedy.

SowZ
2013-01-23, 11:55 AM
I think the point is more that "whoops! you killed children! even if they were bandits!" is not something that you should pull on an unsuspecting group of players. You know, the real people sitting around your table as opposed to the pretend people in elf-land.

I can certainly imagine some of the players would have been uncomfortable, particularly if any of them were parents; this sort of stuff can break groups up. It's best to clear grimdark elements with your group ahead of time and get their buy-in.

-O

Yeah, that's it. I don't think anyone would have cared in my WoD group. But I should have known for this one. I learned from it.

ArcturusV
2013-01-23, 12:06 PM
Happens all the time though. Some DM writes up some eldritch horror from the vast expanse of the stars, tries to give it a name born of Madness and what not. He passes us a note with what the name is and it's something like:

Lhzli.

Each of us reads it, then sounds it out in our mind... and then the laughter as he we call the Eldritch Horror "Leslie."

SowZ
2013-01-23, 12:07 PM
I like both funny and serious elements. You can't have it be too humorless, because that just isn't realistic. People need to laugh, if not at themselves, then at something. Even if the world doesn't toss clowns and comedians at the PCs, they should still find some way to amuse themselves, like practical jokes or rearranging dead bodies in funny ways. Seriousness is cool too; I would absolutely love the "15-year-old bandits" scenario. So much character and setting development could come out of that, and it's so much more nuanced and believable than the nonsense contrivances which many DMs consider moral dilemmas. That would be the real way to challenge a Paladin; have him not fall, then make him wonder about whether his god was right for not falling him, and whether that lives up to his moral standards.

EDIT: Really "messed up" stuff like the bandits thing does need to be cleared with your group. Establishing boundaries is very important, especially for things like that. Asking things like "how do you feel about child-killing/murder/sex/etc. in the game?" in private, long before the session, while you still have time to change your material should be good.

My goal was to encourage a little character development with a scenario where they may regret winning and maybe consider who most of their enemies are. Or, learn something about their character if they don't care. It also seemed a reasonable thing to happen. But it backfired because I went with the most extreme example possible.

Slipperychicken
2013-01-23, 12:21 PM
Happens all the time though. Some DM writes up some eldritch horror from the vast expanse of the stars, tries to give it a name born of Madness and what not. He passes us a note with what the name is and it's something like:

Lhzli.

Each of us reads it, then sounds it out in our mind... and then the laughter as he we call the Eldritch Horror "Leslie."

One time my DM was running a campaign setting by me, and His Elves Are Different (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OurElvesAreBetter), so he called them "Alfar", and their nation "Alfheimer", and they were supposed to be badass vikings. I know it's a Scandinavian word, but the name just made me imagine a decrepit old ALF (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/Alf?from=Main.ALF) with memory problems. It made them completely impossible to take seriously, and I just couldn't stop laughing at them.

Malrone
2013-01-24, 12:10 PM
I kind of feel like any tragic character needs a huge suspension of disbelive. Realistically most of them are idiot *******s who are the only people who don't see how they are the only source for their own missery.
And like Felyndiira, my games focus on making tough but rational descisions in hypothetical situations. That's the opposite of both the tragic and the comic. In either case, you would have to act against better judgement for the sake of drama/laughs, which doesn't sit well with me. And I feel is cheesy, yes.

The problem with roleplaying is that sometimes you should be going against your better judgement as a player to make the character behave according to their personality. Emotions and strong personal beliefs can make people utterly oblivious or behave in ways that are, in an objective situation, wrong. This can be done without being cheesy, but most haven't learned how to be... appropriately subtle.

Tough but rational decisions are something I can get behind, but if things get too rational, it stops being true roleplaying and ends up like how many video games do: a calculation.

Synovia
2013-01-24, 01:33 PM
I think the point is more that "whoops! you killed children! even if they were bandits!" is not something that you should pull on an unsuspecting group of players. You know, the real people sitting around your table as opposed to the pretend people in elf-land.

I can certainly imagine some of the players would have been uncomfortable, particularly if any of them were parents; this sort of stuff can break groups up. It's best to clear grimdark elements with your group ahead of time and get their buy-in.

-O

I completely disagree with the point here.

Having a character deal with having accidentally done something terrible is a great situation to roleplay. If people are getting upset out of character, I really think they need to grow up a bit.

Killing children is bad in our current reality, but killing a teenager in a war zone, when they're clearly a physical threat to you, and have broken into your living space? That seems like something a PC would do. Some PCs should be upset about doing it, but others SHOULDN'T be upset.


Having a character leave the party makes sense. Its reasonable. Having a player leave the game? Good riddance to the player. Its not one player's job to police the other's morality/PC's morality.

Strawberries
2013-01-24, 02:25 PM
Having a character deal with having accidentally done something terrible is a great situation to roleplay. If people are getting upset out of character, I really think they need to grow up a bit.
Every one of us has personal boundaries, and they differ for each one of us. If a player is uncomfortble with something, then they are uncomfortable, and it's their right to say so and to not have other people force it on them. There is no 'grow up a bit' argument. Being uncomfortable with certain topics is not a synonim of being childish/immature.


Killing children is bad in our current reality, but killing a teenager in a war zone, when they're clearly a physical threat to you, and have broken into your living space? That seems like something a PC would do. Some PCs should be upset about doing it, but others SHOULDN'T be upset.

Yes. Your point being? Some of my character would do it, some wouldn't. Some of them have way more strict moral codes than me. The argument was about what PLAYERS are comfortable with.

I as a player am okay with basically everything... but I have to be told in advance what kind of game I'm playing and what should I expect you to spring on me. And it's the GM and the players' job to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Things like 'oh, I thought you'd be okay with torture/raping/*insert umpleasant thing here*, if you aren't, then it's your fault' shouldn't have a place in a gaming group.


Having a character leave the party makes sense. Its reasonable. Having a player leave the game? Good riddance to the player. Its not one player's job to police the other's morality/PC's morality.

No, but it IS a player's job to have fun and make sure that all the rest of the group is having fun.

Synovia
2013-01-24, 03:58 PM
Every one of us has personal boundaries, and they differ for each one of us. If a player is uncomfortble with something, then they are uncomfortable, and it's their right to say so and to not have other people force it on them. There is no 'grow up a bit' argument. Being uncomfortable with certain topics is not a synonim of being childish/immature.


Yes, it is a sign of being immature. If you can't handle the idea of a child dying in a game that features large scale war, that's naivette/immaturity. I'm not saying it to sound insulting, its a simple descriptor.

Also, nobody forced anything on anyone. The character/player made a choice to react violently to an unknown in his tent.




I as a player am okay with basically everything... but I have to be told in advance what kind of game I'm playing and what should I expect you to spring on me. And it's the GM and the players' job to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Things like 'oh, I thought you'd be okay with torture/raping/*insert umpleasant thing here*, if you aren't, then it's your fault' shouldn't have a place in a gaming group.


This just sounds like a terrible way to play. "Well, this villian is going to take some of the townsfolk hostage. Are you all ok with that? Next hes going to threaten you. Anyone going to get upset over that?"

The OP's characters are living in a violent warzone. Expecting there to be no violence is silly, childish, and immature.

Strawberries
2013-01-24, 04:17 PM
This just sounds like a terrible way to play. "Well, this villian is going to take some of the townsfolk hostage. Are you all ok with that? Next hes going to threaten you. Anyone going to get upset over that?"

That is not what I meant at all, and I thought that it was very clear from my post, but apparently I failed to make my point. What I meant is that at the start of the campaign, the GM has to tell me: 'Look, I'd like to have heavier themes like torture/rape/whatever, that may make some people uncomfortabe. Are you okay with that?' My answer would be 'yes, go for it, just please spare me the more graphic details in the descriptions'. Some may answer 'I'm okay with mentions of torture, but bringing rape into the equation makes me uncomfortable'. Others still may say 'No, I want a light and fun game (aka, glossing over violence entirely)'. None of those answer is immature, childish or stupid in any way. :smallannoyed:


The OP's characters are living in a violent warzone. Expecting there to be no violence is silly, childish, and immature.


If I'm playing D&D, a big part of which is combat, it's more or less implied that I'm okay with violence, or at the very least an abstraction of violence. It's when you get to more loaded things that you have to ask yourself "is my group the right group to put this themes forward?"

Slipperychicken
2013-01-24, 06:00 PM
This just sounds like a terrible way to play. "Well, this villian is going to take some of the townsfolk hostage. Are you all ok with that? Next hes going to threaten you. Anyone going to get upset over that?"

The OP's characters are living in a violent warzone. Expecting there to be no violence is silly, childish, and immature.

It kind of fits into what I was saying earlier. You ask the players as soon as you can, ideally before the campaign starts. And if someone expresses they would feel uncomfortable if you use some material (like if they knew a victim, or feel very strongly for some other reason), then you change your plans accordingly (instead of torture, have just a painless magic info-extractor, or use the same mechanics with normal interrogation). Who knows? One of your players might actually be a survivor of torture or sexual violence, and bringing it up unexpectedly in-game might be very uncomfortable, or even cause flashbacks.

It's similar to how a teacher showing a graphic or disturbing video in class might talk to students beforehand about it. You have to respect people's sensibilities.

Alejandro
2013-01-24, 06:41 PM
I think we can all agree it's always OK to kill clowns.

ArcturusV
2013-01-24, 07:29 PM
Barring kids who got traumatized by watching things like It when they were knee high to a grasshopper.

Grim Portent
2013-01-24, 07:58 PM
I think we can all agree it's always OK to kill clowns.

And let's not forget trapping mimes in glass boxes till they starve. :tongue:

On the note of the inclusion of things like killing children and other darker aspects of the game I'm of the opinion that a game can be serious and funny at the same time, the dark heresy ascension game I'm playing in has involved many comedic moments, some deliberate some accidental, but is ultimately going to be rather dark once we get right down to it. Which I quite like, dark and edgy appeals to me from a story perspective, I may even engineer some of the more grim events myself, I really want to order exterminatus just so I can deliver a modified version of the kyras' speech from DoW2. I want to destroy a world so I can deliver a one-liner. After which I'll probably spend a while fighting cultists of slaanesh and laughing at many an innuendo gag.

obryn
2013-01-24, 08:48 PM
I completely disagree with the point here.

Having a character deal with having accidentally done something terrible is a great situation to roleplay. If people are getting upset out of character, I really think they need to grow up a bit.
Last I checked, we're sitting around a table pretending to be magical elves and dwarves. "Grow up a bit" does not parse in context.

We're hopefully playing games that we find fun. Saying, "I don't find accidentally killing pretend children fun" is neither mature nor immature, and it's ridiculous to assign a value judgment like that to them.


Having a character leave the party makes sense. Its reasonable. Having a player leave the game? Good riddance to the player. Its not one player's job to police the other's morality/PC's morality.
You've missed the point very, very badly.

-O

Soylent Dave
2013-01-24, 11:10 PM
Last I checked, we're sitting around a table pretending to be magical elves and dwarves. "Grow up a bit" does not parse in context.

We're hopefully playing games that we find fun.

I agree with this entirely.

There are plenty of things that I might do as a GM that some of my players could be uncomfortable with (and vice versa).

We're allowed to draw lines about what we're comfortable dealing with in a game that's meant to be fun for all of us. And most of the time it doesn't mean 'making it not exist' in the world, it just means we'll gloss over it.

(e.g. at my table we're not going to roleplay having sex, or torture - if either of those come up (probably in different situations...) then I'll cut away and describe the consequences, rather than roleplaying it out)

I'm sure every gaming group has different things they're uncomfortable with (some of which may seem silly to another group - but it's not about 'growing up', it's about what your group of players wants to spend their time pretending to do in a game)

HMS Invincible
2013-01-26, 06:08 AM
I find humor to be a nice coping mechanism in a dark and edgy setting. For example, we were shutting down a mine run by an evil guy, but was staffed by commoners. Some hijinks ensued and we ended up with a bunch of muscular men getting greased up and prone on the ground. We made some gay porno jokes about it in, but we got back to the uncomfortable fact that we were making a shady choice of killing a bunch of innocent miners to cut off a bad guy's supply chain.

On the other hand, having too much fun hurts immersion. I'm babysitting a pair of newb players and one of them seems to enjoy doing really random things that don't progress the plot at all. Like mooning an NPC, running away by himself, or suiciding into dangerous things. None of it has a purpose besides eliciting a prankster type laugh, and it gets old fast. The first "winning" charlie sheen joke is amusing, the 5th one is just wasting my time.

To summarize, it's important to maintain a balance. If you spend more time cracking jokes instead of playing, it bodes poorly for the future of the campaign.

Reathin
2013-01-26, 07:00 AM
I can play dark, edgy campaigns, but the people I tend to game with, as well as myself, are very silly. The vast majority of our games get fairly light and funny and our usual DM is very permissive as long as it doesn't break rules and is thematic. We have numerous running gags.

As to our mixing darker/edgier with rule of fun...Their was one campaign that I didn't actually participate in but have heard about alot where the party was a group of orc heavy metal musicians who used the :smallfurious:POWER OF ROCK:smallfurious: to worship Grumnish...and incidentally level any villaige, town or city where they performed. Wait, did I say orcs? There was one elf. Who was incredibly effeminate but whose bluff skill was so freakishly high the orcs never really noticed that they had a mortal enemy of their god on stage with them.

HMS Invincible
2013-01-26, 07:59 AM
The group you are in matters a lot. If you're the oddman out, then w/e you're doing, either being silly or dark/edgy, will be frowned upon. A good rule of thumb is that the funnier the joke, the more leeway you give.

SowZ
2013-01-26, 05:49 PM
I seem to run very dark, lethal, roleplay heavyish stories where all of us laugh a lot anyways because none of us are afraid to crack jokes and we are all very good friends. The story itself is dark and has a number of levels but we all make sure to be having a good time.

I think the players spend equal time laughing and biting their nails in fear/anticipation. The players can also get very emotional when favored NPCs die, probably because they have shared so many laughs with/had so many laughs at their expense.