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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Fantasy violence: why is it so appealing?

    Most of us love killing and looting our way to power whether we're roleplaying a good guy who justifies his actions or an evil guy who doesn't care. Why is it do you think? Cause I think its a safe generalization that most DnD players are not violent people in real life. I hate real life violence, yet love it in anime, fantasy, etc. I can't figure out why...

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    Default Re: Fantasy violence: why is it so appealing?

    because it's fantasy? escapism is awesome.

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    Default Re: Fantasy violence: why is it so appealing?

    This thread will probably result in responses that delve too deep into real world politics/philosophy so maybe Roland won't approve of it...

    Anywho, my two cents is that violence is a part of human nature and we can't go around beating up people in a civilised society so we need an outlet for it, which comes in the form of violent video games, violent movies or pillaging and looting in DnD

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    Default Re: Fantasy violence: why is it so appealing?

    Honestly, I'm not so sure why it's so appealing. However, there is the fact that in games, it's experienced only in a glorified, generalized way (no matter how long you spend describing blood gushing from wounds or organs being ripped out, it's still distant and impersonal); there are no actual repercussions, no deaths or injuries or maimings. It's obviously much easier to roll a die and erase some hitpoints than to actually suffer a slice across the shoulder.

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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Fantasy violence: why is it so appealing?

    Humans, as a whole, like conflict. This doesn't always mean armed conflict, but Entity A going against Entity B is kind of a thing with us. We call books poorly-written if there's no real conflict of any kind, we make all kinds of elaborately staged conflicts (what do you think sports are?) for entertainment... and it's a rare person who doesn't end up feeling like they're in opposition to anyone in their life.

    Fantasy violence is a very easy and unambiguous way of having conflict-as-entertainment. There's usually a clear winner and loser, there's the promise of vicariously siding with the winner, and it's usually painted in broad enough strokes that anyone can pick it up and run with it. Few of us are novelists, and it's often difficult to come up with deep and serious psychological conflicts that are in any way satisfying... but it's really easy to say "the goblins attack the village; drive them off, heroes!" or "the dwarves are at war with the halflings, and the gnomes are stuck in the middle."

    Oh, and like I said, it's unambiguous. In a roleplaying setting, it's entirely possible to have PC Bob in a social and psychological conflict with NPC Joe (or worse, with PC Tom) that has significantly more nuance than "they don't trust each other" or "they don't like each other's goals," but it's difficult, and making sure that everyone gets the same picture of it (especially as things progress and change) is dicey. Having the mighty freedom fighter chop off the elven tyrant's head once and for all is really, really easy in comparison.

    So basically, it's easy. People like easy things.
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    Default Re: Fantasy violence: why is it so appealing?

    But what about people who take this sort of thing too far, like that one guy who got upset with a D&D decision, so he stalked his DM and beat him with a claw hammer until the poor guy went blind?
    "Reach down into your heart and you'll find many reasons to fight. Survival. Honor. Glory. But what about those who feel it's their duty to protect the innocent? There you'll find a warrior savage enough to match any dragon, and in the end, they'll retain what the others won't. Their humanity."

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    Default Re: Fantasy violence: why is it so appealing?

    I think he had issues before he played.
    The fact that he had a claw hammer is weird.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Fantasy violence: why is it so appealing?

    Just like executions, gladiators, violent movies etc. were/are appealing.

    People are violent creatures to quite big extent sometimes, like many animals, because violence was crucial to survival of our kind.

    Even people that generally don't act violent due to their temperament, socialization, outlook, insecurity, and many other things still like to let the primal urge go in some way, even by watching to drawn girls in skimpy clothes jumping around doing things that were vaguely inspired by sword fights.

    At least I would try to answer it like that in short post.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Fantasy violence: why is it so appealing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Archpaladin Zousha View Post
    But what about people who take this sort of thing too far, like that one guy who got upset with a D&D decision, so he stalked his DM and beat him with a claw hammer until the poor guy went blind?
    WHAT? Do you have any source to that story?
    I'm not calling you a liar but that just sounds too insane to be true.

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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Fantasy violence: why is it so appealing?

    I really don't know either. I consider myself a pacifist (no discussion of religion or politics desired, thanks), and yet spend tons of time playing violent games, watching violent movies, and even studying warfare.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Fantasy violence: why is it so appealing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Starbuck_II View Post
    The fact that he had a claw hammer is weird.
    Wikipedia says a claw hammer is just a pretty standard hammer one would see in a household toolbox.

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    Default Re: Fantasy violence: why is it so appealing?

    Hmm. As far as the psychology behind it goes, I believe tabletop games are no different than computer games. It's fun to play on roles that aren't within our reach, and this goes both for what we can't do and for what we shouldn't do.

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    Default Re: Fantasy violence: why is it so appealing?

    It's funny how my real life attitude to violence and killing is detached from my attitude in D&D where good people murdering sentient beings with impunity is considered normal.

    I don't actually like gore and vivid descriptions of violence much but the thrill of D&D combat is mostly because risking death and trying to kill others puts the stakes so high, so even if it's only pretend the thrill is appealing. I get similarly excited about board games and computer game if they somehow convince me that the stakes are very high, but potential character death is a very good way of achieving that.

    In an abstract sense violence and murder are also pretty interesting concepts. I like reading about things that shock me and make me wonder about such things. Making fun of or treating such a serious thing lightly is also a bit releasing. It's sometimes said we laugh at absurd things and violence is pretty absurd. Slaughtering a whole tribe of kobolds can be pretty funny in D&D precisely because it wouldn't be in real life.
    Last edited by Ormur; 2010-10-11 at 03:53 PM.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Fantasy violence: why is it so appealing?

    It's not so much that I like killing people. I like being a hero.


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    Default Re: Fantasy violence: why is it so appealing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Archpaladin Zousha View Post
    But what about people who take this sort of thing too far, like that one guy who got upset with a D&D decision, so he stalked his DM and beat him with a claw hammer until the poor guy went blind?
    If true, Im gonna guess it's no different than any other aspect of life. People snap sometimes. There's a *lot* of people who play D&D. With enough numbers, you're bound to pick up some oddballs.

    Im gonna say that anyone who physically beats someone else with a weapon over a D&D decision probably has far more serious issues than D&D.

    Like others said, conflict and competition are inherently interesting ideas to us. The exact form of them each person prefers might vary, but sports, board games, movies, books...it's amazingly common. The reason violence works in roleplaying is exactly the same reason violence works in other stories.

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    Default Re: Fantasy violence: why is it so appealing?

    A variety of reasons that vary from individual to individual.

    Number one... You're receiving a steady reward for continuing, encouraging you to continue. (XP, loot, ect...) These things, in turn, make you better, so you can face harder challenges.

    B - You're solving and overcoming challenges. Our brains were made to solve things. It's very enjoyable.

    * Action is engaging, and keeps people interested.

    4: Some people are sadistic.

    Also, there's the fact that you can do all sorts of things in fantasy that you can't do in reality, but may want to, which adds to the appeal.


    The violence itself is mostly coincidental, really. A good story needs some sort of conflict... Battle requires the most rules to set up... People want to use what they've spent more time to learn, which means having more battles...


    As for that example of real-world violence... Some percentage of people are insane. Every group of sufficient size has their share of insane people.
    Last edited by Thajocoth; 2010-10-10 at 08:38 PM.
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    Default Re: Fantasy violence: why is it so appealing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaeso View Post
    WHAT? Do you have any source to that story?
    I'm not calling you a liar but that just sounds too insane to be true.
    It is a slight misrepresentation of the story that was reported, but basically true. Here is a reposting of the source: Hammer Attack. As you might guess, these were not well mentally balanced individuals. [edit] Hmmn, actually that site is a bit weird and probably not suitable to link to, so I will just put the content in spoilers:

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    http://www.sltrib.com/justice/ci_13146563



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    Man bound over for trial in hammer attacks
    Courts » Motive may have stemmed from 'Dungeons and Dragons' game and jealousy.

    By Mark Havnes

    The Salt Lake Tribune
    Updated: 08/17/2009 07:06:43 PM MDT

    Zachary King

    Cedar City » When Logan Bryson suddenly awakened in the early morning of May 30, he thought he was having a bad dream until he realized someone was beating him with a hammer.

    "I didn't realize I was being attacked until I fell to the floor with my arms up to defend myself," said Bryson, who took the stand Monday in 5th District Court in Cedar City during the preliminary hearing for Zachery Frank King, charged with beating Bryson and Daniel Shokrian at Shokrian's home in this southern Utah city.

    King is charged with two counts of attempted aggravated murder and a count of aggravated burglary, all first-degree felonies. At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge G. Michael Westfall bound King over for trial.

    King, who agreed to be arraigned after the preliminary hearing, pleaded not guilty to the charges before being returned to the Iron County Jail.

    Testimony Monday suggested a motive for the attacks may have grown from the trio playing the fantasy role-playing game "Dungeons and Dragons" and jealousy over a girl who King and Bryson knew.

    Bryson, 23, suffered a concussion and bruises in the attack; Shokrian, 20, lost some vision and his ability to read and write, which he is trying to recover through therapy.

    Bryson and King knew each other at school and had spent time the previous day playing "Dungeons and Dragons" with Shokrian, who was acting cocky during the game, according to

    Detective Nathan Williams. Shokrian was directing the game as Dungeon Master, and King didn't like what he was doing with King's character, Williams said.

    Detective Michael Bleak testified that during an interview at the police station, King told him he went home after playing the game at Shokrian's house, took an over-the-counter sleeping pill and went to bed. He awakened angry, found a hammer in a tool shed and drove to Shokrian's house, entering through an open window.

    Bleak said King told him he went to Shokrian's bedroom and said, "I hate you," and started hitting Shokrian with the hammer. King then went to the room where Logan was sleeping and attacked him.

    Bleak said that King had an issue with Bryson for dating a girl after both said they would not date her.
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    Last edited by Matthew; 2010-10-10 at 08:51 PM.
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Fantasy violence: why is it so appealing?

    Because it's an outlet to satisfy our own base desires
    The concept of physical violence a distasteful one within 'acceptable society,' however, most humans have an aggressive streak they long seek to satisfy.
    To see the world in a grain of sand
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    Default Re: Fantasy violence: why is it so appealing?

    Quote Originally Posted by AslanCross View Post
    It's not so much that I like killing people. I like being a hero.
    This, or in my case, the Druid who constantly challenges the morality of the Paladin. :P
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    Default Re: Fantasy violence: why is it so appealing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew View Post
    It is a slight misrepresentation of the story that was reported, but basically true. Here is a reposting of the source: Hammer Attack. As you might guess, these were not well mentally balanced individuals.
    This is the most important part, and videogames suffer a similar prejudice. It's easy to see a psycho kill someone and notice that he played a violent game. And the psycho who never played a game gets "I never imagined he'd be like that"?

    Researchers, as a whole, state more or less this on violent games: "Violent games make people violent, except when they don't". Tautological bliss!
    Last edited by Snake-Aes; 2010-10-10 at 10:14 PM.

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    Default Re: Fantasy violence: why is it so appealing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Amiel View Post
    ...most humans have an aggressive streak they long seek to satisfy.
    I don't believe that. I know I don't have one. I tend to think that, from birth, people aren't aggressive, but may become so based on how their raised and what they experience and stuff.
    Avatar by me. It's Incendius Darkscale, a Good Dragonborn Dragon Sorcerer, Demonskin Adept, Prince of Hell, worshiper of the Platinum Dragon (Bahamut), specializing in Fire and Lightning, wielding a staff in each hand.

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    Default Re: Fantasy violence: why is it so appealing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thajocoth View Post
    I don't believe that. I know I don't have one. I tend to think that, from birth, people aren't aggressive, but may become so based on how their raised and what they experience and stuff.
    Do you play a sport? :)
    I think sport is another avenue that people engage in to channel any aggression into a becoming habit.
    To see the world in a grain of sand
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    To hold infinity in the palm of your hand
    and eternity in an hour.

    - William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

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    Default Re: Fantasy violence: why is it so appealing?

    Its typical, from an evolutionary perspective people started out as hunter gatherers (hunting through what is possibly the coolest method in existence, running after something until it collapsed to exhaustion. From an efficiency perspective, its not nearly as good.), and aggression helps with hunting, as well as competition between people.

    However, there are other reasons.

    A) Fantasy violence represents a simple, unambiguous solution, essentially presenting some degree of black and white simplicity. Even if the setting as a whole is complex, the violence therein usually comes down to us and them. This simplicity is something lacking in real life, and thus desirable as escapism.

    2) In real life, people are largely unable to effect change to any meaningful extent. We live our lives, and the world undergoes change due to our influence that is trivial for the vast majority of individuals. Fantasy violence, in its cut and dryness, usually does effect change. There is a reason the vast majority of video games involve heroism on a grand scale, D&D operates on that same assumption.

    III) Connecting somewhat to the idea of aggression is that of stress relief. People who are very stressed, pissed off, whatever often want to just hit something. Punching bags are one outlet, others prefer shooting ranges, some of us just want to lob knives at a target, and of course there is violence in fantasy, particularly concerning games, but with novels and movies working as well assuming some degree of immersion.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

    I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that.
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    Default Re: Fantasy violence: why is it so appealing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Amiel View Post
    Do you play a sport? :)
    I think sport is another avenue that people engage in to channel any aggression into a becoming habit.
    I've never liked competitive sports. I do ride a snowboard.

    In video games, I generally find "vs" modes boring. Co-op > Single player > Other multiplayer.

    EDIT: Add to my previous list - Because you're playing friends, and people generally like to hang out with their friends.
    Last edited by Thajocoth; 2010-10-10 at 09:17 PM.
    Avatar by me. It's Incendius Darkscale, a Good Dragonborn Dragon Sorcerer, Demonskin Adept, Prince of Hell, worshiper of the Platinum Dragon (Bahamut), specializing in Fire and Lightning, wielding a staff in each hand.

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    Default Re: Fantasy violence: why is it so appealing?

    To be honest, I generally get bored in combat in DnD. I don't find it "appealing" so much as "expected." What I'm really a fan of is exhibitionism. I could care less about whether I kill those orcs on that hill. But whatever I wind up doing, I want to look really cool doing it.

    Leaving yet another room full of corpses in my wake just feels like tedious labor. Killing one person in a totally awesome manner (or doing anything in a totally awesome manner, not just the application of violence onto squishies) will have me talking about it for months.
    Last edited by Drakevarg; 2010-10-10 at 10:15 PM.
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    Default Re: Fantasy violence: why is it so appealing?

    Well, D&D is slow and methodical, it doesn't convey excitement well.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

    I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that.
    -- ChubbyRain

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    Default Re: Fantasy violence: why is it so appealing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    Well, D&D is slow and methodical, it doesn't convey excitement well.
    Are you kidding? Last time I was actually a player, I punched my way up a cliff. Then watched our wilderness guide get in a fight with a mountain. And WIN.
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    Default Re: Fantasy violence: why is it so appealing?

    It's fantasy and thus romanticized. You think you could actually throw a sword and it impale someone? What about a villain liking the blood off their blade after they harm a hero? Impossible but cool to see.

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    Default Re: Fantasy violence: why is it so appealing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Psycho View Post
    Are you kidding? Last time I was actually a player, I punched my way up a cliff. Then watched our wilderness guide get in a fight with a mountain. And WIN.
    Who won? The mountain or the shovel?
    To see the world in a grain of sand
    and Heaven in a wild flower
    To hold infinity in the palm of your hand
    and eternity in an hour.

    - William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

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    Default Re: Fantasy violence: why is it so appealing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Amiel View Post
    Who won? The mountain or the shovel?
    To rephrase my statment, it was a Colossal+ sized Earth Elemental.
    Last edited by Drakevarg; 2010-10-10 at 11:46 PM.
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