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Thread: On violence

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    Default On violence

    Sup guys! So on my table we stumbled into a situation which arose many questions and I wanted to know your insights regarding them.

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    We are currently playing GURPS using as a setting One Piece (a very popular pirate adventure shonen Manga/anime ) So far everything has been pretty cool, but a couple of situations happened

    On one sesion, when the GM asked us how would we recruit new members for the crew, we decided to assault a merchant ship, ask the people in thee who wanted to join our crew, and then killed those who didn't. We did this while laughing at how horrible people our characters are, and everyone had a good time.

    At the end of the next session, while buying things on a market, my character decided to get drunk and ended up talking to a bunch of funny looking pirates, after a short conversation it came out that this people were a bunch of rapists (even their name was "the rapists").

    Now, for circumstances besides this, we had to finish the session before expected, but at the next day I expressed that I didn't feel comfortable dealing with rape on what we all understood as a "fun pirate game" , to this everyone else, including the GM, agreed. Following that we had a conversation that led to the following questions



    What makes certain things too violent/graphical or in bad taste at your table?
    How do you deal with these situations?
    how do you approach complicated subjects at the table, without offending the rest of the table?
    How often should we check for consent?
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    Default Re: On violence

    I had a philosophy professor one time who said it's the overlap of spheres where things get problematic. Violence by itself? Sure, fine. Violence and sex? Nooooooo, no no no ... Violence and money? Yep, paid assassination somehow feels more wrong than just murder. Violence and ethnicity/race? Again, more morally problematic than 'normal' violence.
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    You could retcon that they are actually pirate therapists :p or that they were going by the origin of the word from "rapine", which means violent theft (which is, after all, what pirates do).

    More seriously, you should check these things with your players before you use them in game. Violence is kind of expected in most RPGs, but for highly graphic violence and sexual content, especially sexual assault, then discuss it beforehand with the players.

    A powerful tool in these situations is "fade to black". That is to say, when something horrible happens, leave it to the imagination of the party and don't describe it at all. This can actually be more effective as individual imaginations will fill in the details for each player, and tailor it to what they personally consider horrible. However, even this should be discussed beforehand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kami2awa View Post
    You could retcon that they are actually pirate therapists :p or that they were going by the origin of the word from "rapine", which means violent theft (which is, after all, what pirates do).

    More seriously, you should check these things with your players before you use them in game. Violence is kind of expected in most RPGs, but for highly graphic violence and sexual content, especially sexual assault, then discuss it beforehand with the players.

    A powerful tool in these situations is "fade to black". That is to say, when something horrible happens, leave it to the imagination of the party and don't describe it at all. This can actually be more effective as individual imaginations will fill in the details for each player, and tailor it to what they personally consider horrible. However, even this should be discussed beforehand.
    Regarding the "fade to black", no rape did actually happen in game, it was just referenced
    Last son of the Lu-Ching dynasty

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    Quote Originally Posted by zinycor View Post
    Regarding the "fade to black", no rape did actually happen in game, it was just referenced
    Fair enough, I just thought I'd mention it as it works well as a way of avoiding disturbing people when nasty events occur. If your fellow gamers don't want it even mentioned, don't even mention it.
    Last edited by Kami2awa; 2019-06-08 at 02:05 AM.

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    Default Re: On violence

    So you're worried that in a game where characters slaughter a whole ship someone just mentions rape?
    In the modern world rape happens ten times more often than murder. Hisotrically it was probably even more frequent.
    This seems the typical puritan/Hollywood approach to violence (killing is ok, but sex in any context is not).

    From my experience players like to settle into a familiar level of "safety", so we agree before starting the game the chief approach to violence:
    - cartoonish/murderhobo (violence is almost purely limited to combat, mooks die by the dozen, but we see no consequences of their deaths, e.g. to their families, sex seems nonexistent, unless for pure entertainment)
    - hollywood (some out of combat violence happens, e.g. torture, but it happens to bad guys or is done by bad guys)
    - gritty/dark (sex, rape, all types of violence are on the table, and the characters get to see all the consequences of their actions - e.g. they kill an NPC - his children starve and/or family seeks revenge)

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    Default Re: On violence

    Quote Originally Posted by zinycor View Post
    What makes certain things too violent/graphical or in bad taste at your table?
    How do you deal with these situations?
    how do you approach complicated subjects at the table, without offending the rest of the table?
    How often should we check for consent?
    Before the campaign starts, I check with my players if they're ok with certain subjects. I try to find out what (if any) red flags my players have before accidentally tripping over them. And it's not just limited to the classic duet of torture and sex!

    In my most recent Curse of Strahd game, I had 2 players who weren't really ok with any descriptions of fire, since they had just survived having their house burn down in the middle of the night. Likewise, another of my players gets a lot of unwelcome male attention in real life and so she wasn't interested in having her character get harassed, even by clearly villainous NPCs. (I like to make the clear villain NPCs really terrible, so that the PCs have a lot of satisfaction in defeating them).

    This works out pretty well, since my tolerance for such topics is typically lower than my players', but even still I like to lay my cards out on the table upfront. Good surprises are fun, but unfun surprises are TERRIBLE.

    Typically, if unpleasant subjects are threatening to pop up, I try to work around them. Yeah, the mage is supposed to use fireball, but what about lightning bolt or ice storm instead? etc. If they do have to happen, I typically fade to black or keep it very dry and clinical. Example: They torture you within an inch of passing out instead of {insert gratuitous torture description involving pineapples}.

    Finally, I tend to confirm if the players are ok with things getting much darker when the game takes a serious tonal shift. Case in point, one of our characters got nabbed by Strahd. I told the player that this will get pretty bleak and asked her how much detail does she want to go into. I let the player decide the graphicness of the scene, not me. And it did wind up getting rather Game of Thrones worthy by the end; but that was ok since we were all onboard with it and checked first before diving.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bulhakov View Post
    So you're worried that in a game where characters slaughter a whole ship someone just mentions rape?
    In the modern world rape happens ten times more often than murder. Hisotrically it was probably even more frequent.
    Yeah, pretty ironic isn't it?
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    Default Re: On violence

    Chances are likely that at least one player at one table have experienced some sort of sexual assault or harassement in their life, compared to the chances that they have experienced non-sexual violence. People tend to prefer a sense of escapism in gaming, to get away from real life, and events that remind you of real life tend to lower the overall feeling of escapism.


    But I think Kult: Divinity Lost wrote it the best (and this is the game about making people uncomfortable):

    Exposure isn’t just about particular places where the PCs experience isolation; the character’s inner life should also be afflicted. Take the players to places you don’t normally want to go, where it’s sensitive, difficult, and disconcerting. Violence and death can easily be oversimplified in movies, games, and novels where people are shot, stabbed, and beaten to death without pause and reflection. Instead, make sure to set up distressing and unnerving moments. These scenes are often tied to intimacy, family, and sex and how they produce feelings of shame, guilt, and helplessness. Have no mercy. It should be difficult, offensive, and transgressive to the player character.

    Important! Discuss any sensitive subjects with the group to ensure they can be included in the story. Certain subjects can cross a boundary for certain players (as opposed to their characters). It’s better to ensure participants have the opportunity to make sure certain subjects are off-limits rather than potentially traumatize players during the session. As a group, you may decide upon a ‘stop-phrase,’ which allows the players to end any scenes they’d be uncomfortable with.

    It doesn't matter why some people are uncomfortable with certain things. Like NRSASD, talk to your players and let them inform you if there are things they just don't want to experience in the game (avoiding fire-themes in their circumstances is very understandable, imo). I've previously asked a GM during play-by-post to *not* use pictures of hornets and wasps when posting pictures of hostiles because I have wasp-phobia (seeing pictures or videos when I expect it is kind of ok but I'm uncomfortable, but sudden picture startles me and I will have problems reading the rest of the text).
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    Default Re: On violence

    Quote Originally Posted by Bulhakov View Post
    So you're worried that in a game where characters slaughter a whole ship someone just mentions rape?
    In the modern world rape happens ten times more often than murder. Hisotrically it was probably even more frequent.
    These two facts are probably causally linked.....

    At the end of the next session, while buying things on a market, my character decided to get drunk and ended up talking to a bunch of funny looking pirates, after a short conversation it came out that this people were a bunch of rapists (even their name was "the rapists").
    Your GM needs to grow the **** up.

    Seriously. This is peak edgy teenager **** here.

    (That is, frankly, almost guaranteed when anyone tries to introduce "real, gritty" elements into their fantasy RPG. They're doing it because they're an edgelord no matter what they think about themselves).

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    Quote Originally Posted by GloatingSwine View Post
    Your GM needs to grow the **** up.

    Seriously. This is peak edgy teenager **** here.

    (That is, frankly, almost guaranteed when anyone tries to introduce "real, gritty" elements into their fantasy RPG. They're doing it because they're an edgelord no matter what they think about themselves).

    Okay, I'll bite (and I actually made an account purely because I wanted to pose this question).

    What if this was something they found out organically over the course of a plotline--like maybe they're palling around with these guys and then find out the dark truth after teaming up with them for a while? Would you say that fits your criteria, or no? If not, would you say you think that's a vanishingly small likelihood of happening? If so, I'd find it pretty perplexing that you feel that way, but that's basic confirmation bias. Nobody's going to come tell the story about how MASTERFULLY their GM integrated rape into the party's story, because doing 'well' at that kind of thing is, 99% of the time, a positive--it's just an absence of negative. I think it's pretty ludicrous to say that the majority of times people involve very dark realistic elements in a story it ends up how you claim.

    Let me be clear I am not advocating for anything here and that if nobody was comfortable with it, they shouldn't have it, but you're really pushing it with your claim. Unless you just mean their group name literally being that, because yeah, I guess? But the actual concept of that being what they are is really not that wildly childish.
    Last edited by Djiini; 2019-06-09 at 06:09 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Faily View Post
    Chances are likely that at least one player at one table have experienced some sort of sexual assault or harassement in their life, compared to the chances that they have experienced non-sexual violence. People tend to prefer a sense of escapism in gaming, to get away from real life, and events that remind you of real life tend to lower the overall feeling of escapism.
    I am sceptical about that.

    Sure, people have rarely experienced attempted murder, but regular, nonsexual violence is common enough and in the same league as sexual assault or harrasment.



    As for the topic :

    When someone wants to include stuff that he or she thinks is problematic, he or she asks. And that happenes. People sometimes need to find their boundaries. Just recently we had some "evil" group that only existed for three sessions until the players did decide that hardly anyone actually liked their characters or the other PCs and we started something else, more heroic.

    Personally i would have had a problem with a group of PCs impressing and murdering the way desribed in the OP. I would not want to play someone like that. Now a rapey group of antagonists ? Whatever, i would not nearly have as many problems with that.
    Last edited by Satinavian; 2019-06-09 at 06:17 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    I am sceptical about that.

    Sure, people have rarely experienced attempted murder, but regular, nonsexual violence is common enough and in the same league as sexual assault or harrasment.
    The occurrence of those depend on where you live. Some quick googling indicates that in Denmark, between 1% and 3% of the population experience violence in a year. In comparison, almost 25% of women reported experiencing sexual harassment in the past year; 10% reported it was physical.
    Add to that the stigma associated with sexual harassment, going beyond the general psychological trauma of violence, and finally that people go into most RPGs expecting violence to be a theme. I think it's fair to say that odds are greater that sexual harassment is going to strike a nerve than violence in general. Your table may vary, but I wouldn't assume.
    Last edited by hymer; 2019-06-09 at 07:51 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Djiini View Post
    Okay, I'll bite (and I actually made an account purely because I wanted to pose this question).

    What if this was something they found out organically over the course of a plotline--like maybe they're palling around with these guys and then find out the dark truth after teaming up with them for a while? Would you say that fits your criteria, or no? If not, would you say you think that's a vanishingly small likelihood of happening.
    What I'm saying is the sort of person who would include this element" is automatically the sort of person who would do it badly, because anyone smart enough to do it in a natural organic way is smart enough not to do it in the first place.

    There are a lot of people who think they could do it in a natural organic way who can't because their research about the subject is constrained to having read A Song of Ice and Fire.

    Let me be clear I am not advocating for anything here and that if nobody was comfortable with it, they shouldn't have it, but you're really pushing it with your claim. Unless you just mean their group name literally being that, because yeah, I guess? But the actual concept of that being what they are is really not that wildly childish.
    That's just the cherry on the top of teenage edgelordism about the whole thing. The concept is what teenagers think is grown up but is actually intensely childish in that specific teenage edgelord way of thinking that sex and sexual violence are very "grown up" signifiers.

    Grown up is paying the mortgage, rape-pirates is what teenage edgelords think is grown up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GloatingSwine View Post
    What I'm saying is the sort of person who would include this element" is automatically the sort of person who would do it badly, because anyone smart enough to do it in a natural organic way is smart enough not to do it in the first place.
    Don't mind me trying to grasp your rationale here, but why? Rather, where does it end? Is it because it's a Tabletop RPG specifically, and having that kind of thing in a movie or book is still okay? Or is it never okay to write about that kind of thing?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Djiini View Post
    Don't mind me trying to grasp your rationale here, but why? Rather, where does it end? Is it because it's a Tabletop RPG specifically, and having that kind of thing in a movie or book is still okay? Or is it never okay to write about that kind of thing?
    To a degree it's because it's a tabletop RPG, but that doesn't mean most other instances aren't also bad for overlapping reasons.

    The reason is that to be actually adult about integrating rape or sexual violence into a story the focus needs to be on the consequences not the action, and tabletop RPGs are all about the action because that's what everyone at the tabletop is in the same place for, personal consequences happen differently in each player's head.

    Most movies and books are still not good at dealing with it, because they use it for cheap shock, cheap sympathy for a character, a shorthand to show how bad a person or world is (particularly when they use it as "a bad thing that happens to women" and ignore that in their schema it would be happening to men, a lot, because it did and does in conflict zones.) (See especially: Anything written by Mark Millar)

    That's why I say that, for the vast majority of media and always for tabletop RPGs, anyone smart enough to include it is smart enough not to because it's not going to go well.
    Last edited by GloatingSwine; 2019-06-09 at 08:29 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GloatingSwine View Post
    The reason is that to be actually adult about integrating rape or sexual violence into a story the focus needs to be on the consequences not the action, and tabletop RPGs are all about the action because that's what everyone at the tabletop is in the same place for, personal consequences happen differently in each player's head.

    Most movies and books are still not good at dealing with it, because they use it for cheap shock, cheap sympathy for a character, a shorthand to show how bad a person or world is (particularly when they use it as "a bad thing that happens to women" and ignore that in their schema it would be happening to men, a lot, because it did and does in conflict zones.) (See especially: Anything written by Mark Millar)

    I don't know that I personally agree with the latter point (as I don't tend to let what's effectively 'Sturgeon's Law' be the judge of an idea's quality), but the former is a pretty valid point, and eloquently put, at that. Thanks for the explanation!

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    The vast majority of RPGs are "conflict games" in one way or another. Characters/players demonstrate their ability to succeed in conflict, often through copious amounts of violence, sometimes with other means. Generally speaking, people are quite comfortable with violence in an interactive social setting. Their exact level of comfort in how much focus is on the violence versus the conflict may vary, but generally they are comfortable with its use as a tool - particularly one that highlights how adept the character is. People want to feel vicariously thrilled, powerful, and involved. Sometimes they want to do it in noble and heroic settings, sometimes dark and horrific ones, and everything in between. For the most part, the level of tolerance for things is based on that and tastes may vary. For example, consider the same telling of a common RPG event:


    "I use a power attack to hit the thug for 12 points of damage with my great sword and he goes down, then I get ready to attack the knife-guy." Everyone quite ok. The hero has triumphed over a faceless mook, who is obviously a baddie because he is a "thug", further reinforcing just how awesome the character is. And, lets be honest, by vicarious extension in most cases the player is as well. The focus is on how successfully the hero overcame things, through his might and skill. Safe for all groups.

    "I swing my blade in a great arc, cleaving through his thigh and shattering his femur. He collapses to the tavern floor in a spray of blood as I turn to face my next foe." Alright, still heroic here, but with an increased focus on the violence rather than the hero. But, hey, so are vast numbers of "R" rated movies without being tasteless. We obviously take some delight in violence for its own sake, and you can probably safely gauge your table's preference without extensive conversation. In many cases, by making it less Fantastic it serves as a better fantasy - the idea being that the character is "really being a badass" rather than "bopping whack-a-moles" is not to be ignored.

    "Your blade smashes his leg into a mangled pulp. He drops to the floor and tries to crawl away, his mewling lost beneath the sounds of battle. He doesn't make it. His last act in life is to stain the tavern floor. You turn to face a terrified boy holding a knife out in front of him more as a talisman than a weapon. He never thought that the job, or his life, could end like this. You get ready to do murder." Not tasteless, but definitely dark. If your players want to be Aragorn, it may be because they just prefer high fantasy. It may be because they prefer not to think of their character (and by extension themselves) as killers at the heart of things, even in a game about killing increasingly challenging creatures and people by the bushel. Telling it this way definitely does not paint them as an Aragorn, and definitely does make it clear that they are killers. None the less, all of this can be drawn form the type of story you want to tell, with little if any need for full sit down conversations about limits and feelings. It is inherent in the game. Occasionally you may need to fine tune, but functionally so long as you are telling the story you will all be ok.

    What is never appreciated is hamfisted social misanthropy for it's own sake. At best it comes off as immature, at worst it becomes offensive. "The rapists" is a clear example thereof. There is no reason why they would be "the rapists" other than for it to "wacky fun evilulz" and while we are generally ok with conflict violence being treated that way, not so much sex or torture. Yes, this is hypocrisy in a purely consequentialist view of morality, and no, it doesn't change the fact that this is how we treat it.

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    Default Re: On violence

    While I agree that the act was immature unwelcomed, I must say that once I made my feelings known the GM was quick to recognize his mistake and retconed the group out of existence.
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    Default Re: On violence

    Quote Originally Posted by zinycor View Post
    What makes certain things too violent/graphical or in bad taste at your table?
    How do you deal with these situations?
    how do you approach complicated subjects at the table, without offending the rest of the table?
    How often should we check for consent?
    That varies from person to person. One of mine will not tolerate any hostile action between PCs due to an ugly situation in a past game. Another is completely averse to any form of animal cruelty but is totally fine with anything you can throw at people. I personally am fine with all sorts of bloodshed and such until it starts getting described too vividly, as my body literally reacts badly to it.

    I deal with it by talking to and observing the people at the game. A combination of clear communication and reading the room. It takes practice and isn't always an easy conversation. If you come across something making anybody uncomfortable you drop it and move on, don't make a big deal about it and speak to them outside of the game for what to do in the future.

    Like you would deal with any potentially touchy subject. Carefully and respectfully. Part of running a game includes many social aspects not covered in the rulebooks, and RPGs build social skills for a reason. Start with putting things in general terms at session 0 and start with yourself, approach individuals outside of game if you think they would respond better without others hearing.

    In theory, 100% of the time. A good way to approach it is by making it as clear and easy as possible to hand that opt-out button to the people you would otherwise be asking. If they raise their hand or touch the token or give you 'that look' you drop it and move on without judgement.

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    My main gaming group has three veterans, one male childhood sexual abuse survivor, and myself, a survivor of life-changing non-sexual violence. The rules are pretty straightforward -- simple violence between either good and bad or equally shades-of-grey groups, there can be reference to rape as part of 'raping and pillaging' and general violence against populations (so, yeah, and acknowledgement that the pirate group you met would rape along with pillage and kill would be fine in our group, but naming them the rapists would get you an eyeroll and probably not asked to DM for the foreseeable future). That, or complete, gonzo, over-the-toppideness (a villain named 'baby-eater Joe,' or the like).

    The distinction seems pretty obvious to me. Violence, in real life, is horrific. Violence, in media --particularly something like an RPG, where you take on the role of a hero (or villain, but as a subversion of the normal roles)--is not the same because there the violence is a context towards fantasies of agency (and being able to be the one who stops the violence, yes often with more violence). Anything that hits that sweet middle spot* of true-to-life violence reminds one that you are emulating something that, no, you are not okay with. We are playing in a fantasy where the villains are obvious and usually get what is coming to them, most problems can be solved with abilities at the disposal of the 'man/woman of a action' character that the players are taking the roles of, and taking that action is in fact the responsible decision. Pulling you out of that fantasy range should highlight the that it is a fantasy.
    *which is why 'baby eater joe' is okay as well, because it overshoots the messy middle where things feel real.

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat
    What is never appreciated is hamfisted social misanthropy for it's own sake. At best it comes off as immature, at worst it becomes offensive. "The rapists" is a clear example thereof. There is no reason why they would be "the rapists" other than for it to "wacky fun evilulz" and while we are generally ok with conflict violence being treated that way, not so much sex or torture. Yes, this is hypocrisy in a purely consequentialist view of morality, and no, it doesn't change the fact that this is how we treat it.
    I think there's also probably a lot of 'well it worked in my favorite movie, I don't see why it won't in my TTRPG'-thought going on.

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    d6 Re: On violence

    If we play evil there are no rules.

    Sex violence eating human babies while the mother is forced to watch, bashing a female cleric(LN) god of revenge till her teeth fell out then Turning her still living body over to a devil for a 6th level spell and human sacrafice. All have been done. With women in the group joining in.

    It is a character not your real life.

    Now the above being said most of us did not enjoy that over the top evil. So we got rid of the eating babies.

    Eventually the group will find what they want and allow. What is a dice roll. What they tolerate during a game.

    No graphic description of rapes it is done with I have fun.

    We say beat till this happens.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GloatingSwine View Post
    To a degree it's because it's a tabletop RPG, but that doesn't mean most other instances aren't also bad for overlapping reasons.

    The reason is that to be actually adult about integrating rape or sexual violence into a story the focus needs to be on the consequences not the action, and tabletop RPGs are all about the action because that's what everyone at the tabletop is in the same place for, personal consequences happen differently in each player's head.

    Most movies and books are still not good at dealing with it, because they use it for cheap shock, cheap sympathy for a character, a shorthand to show how bad a person or world is (particularly when they use it as "a bad thing that happens to women" and ignore that in their schema it would be happening to men, a lot, because it did and does in conflict zones.) (See especially: Anything written by Mark Millar)

    That's why I say that, for the vast majority of media and always for tabletop RPGs, anyone smart enough to include it is smart enough not to because it's not going to go well.
    Well said. I try to never say never, but fantasy TTRPGs are a distinctly bad medium for exploring this sort of thing for exactly this reason.

    A very narrative-heavy one could maybe pull it off, but even then I'd have a lot of doubts.

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    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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    Default Re: On violence

    Quote Originally Posted by zinycor View Post
    While I agree that the act was immature unwelcomed, I must say that once I made my feelings known the GM was quick to recognize his mistake and retconed the group out of existence.
    That is very good to hear. :) The hobby (and life in general) needs more people who act to correct their mistakes instead of being unwilling to admit a mistake was made, and I'm glad to hear you found one of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    Well said. I try to never say never, but fantasy TTRPGs are a distinctly bad medium for exploring this sort of thing for exactly this reason.

    A very narrative-heavy one could maybe pull it off, but even then I'd have a lot of doubts.
    I've heard some very good things about Bluebeard's Bride, but that's a game whose mechanics are laser-focused on exploring the themes of domestic assault, patriarchy, and abuse through a horror lens.

    So first, literally everyone at the table has a very clear idea of what they're getting into, and second it is taking a lot of time to do it right and treat it appropriately. (And even then, it is definitely not a game for everyone.)
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    Default Re: On violence

    I had a player who was super religious and castigated PC's NPC's and tried doing it with me...I don't think he understood how it all worked, and what didn't help was the theme for the setting was a green horde was slaughtering everything.
    The problem: killing a sentient being

    This was my first player problem and I remember being at an absolute loss for words when he started the whole "nobody has the right!" Thing... Even the other players were confused, because they just defended themselves from an orc scouting party.

    Some people are just not ok with some things, it's best to learn this before you get sat down for a game.

    We did get it sorted out though and I made him a cleric of Pelor to play, he had fun with that and I made Pelor more Christian for the setting, so there was a work around.
    (We cut the session short and I worked with him. And explaining what the green plague was up to made him realize the stakes) he had fun yelling "heresy!" And telling other characters to not blaspheme... We all had fun after that, but it could have easily gone the other way...
    Plus he got to play as the parties moral compass, everyone was ok with it, it was a good character arch.
    Last edited by jintoya; 2019-06-13 at 10:11 AM.

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    Default Re: On violence

    Quote Originally Posted by zinycor View Post
    What makes certain things too violent/graphical or in bad taste at your table?
    How do you deal with these situations?
    how do you approach complicated subjects at the table, without offending the rest of the table?
    How often should we check for consent?
    As others noted, I think it is based on the players. Know your group. In general, ask about big topics if you know they will or think they might come up.

    If something comes up that unexpectedly, then pause and talk about it. I guess you'd only know if someone is obviously uncomfortable or speaks up against it, but--if that happens, pause and discuss. Retcon if needed.

    As for how often to check... I think session 0 (e.g., before the game formally starts) or whenever a problem is foreseen. Checking too often would probably seem over-sensitive unless you have a player for whom such is needed and would be appreciated.

    I'll also note this can apply to OOC actions as well as IC actions.

    For my personal experience, stuff like rape (if mostly off-panel or just stated as seeing it happen) in a game is acceptable. But our DM asked us to make sure it wouldn't bother us. (PCs doing it generally wouldn't be cool, but an evil dude... sure, as long as it isn't common or gratuitous.)
    Since I've had kids, I found I'm uncomfortable with "baby eating" jokes or depictions of violence against children. So, while it was an acceptable thing for bad guys to do in previous games, it's now in "not okay" territory for our group.
    Our DM refused to RP a conversation when he realized that what the NPC would say would be really blasphemous to his real-life views. (It was a oWoD mage game, and a Chorister was asking a demon about the religion we all practice.) The DM realized it was uncomfortable territory and just summarized the key points.
    In one very long campaign, I got bothered by the increasing amounts of crude jokes and "gay chicken" played by some of the players. I eventually talked to the DM about it, then the group, and it got toned down to levels where I felt comfortable.

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    Default Re: On violence

    Excellent thread.

    As I DM as part of my work with teens in a public setting, I very much rule out any sort of sexual violence or reference to it. I might occasionally describe a character’s attack on a monster in slightly graphic but over-the-top terms: “The giant rat is now extremely crispy.”
    Or (on a crit roll): “You slice the rat in half, and then into quarters.”

    We recently had a player declare that he was using his magic sword to widen the wound on the (now dead) lycanthrope BBEG, to stick the BBEG’s non-magical sword in the wound and say “So, I won’t kill you with your own sword, huh?” (A response to the BBEG’s earlier taunt when the same sword did no damage to it.)
    I thought this was a bit much, but the group thought it was over-the-top enough to be funny.

    So it comes down to the group’s own sense of value on this, as others have said.

    That being said, I personally have great distaste for those “edgelord” players who revel in pretend abusive action. Never liked them when I was a teen, and have little respect for them as an adult.

    On a topical note, a recent gaming exhibition in England permanently banned a volunteer DM who began his publicly played adventure by having the PCs captured and gang-raped. There was no indication in any of his submitted materials that this was planned for the game. The players were appalled, and so were the organizers.
    “New rule! DON’T PICK UP THE EVIL NECROSTICK!”— One of my teen players.
    So of course, one of the others immediately did.

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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: On violence

    The tricks not to be gratuitous. You can describe almost anything if its more dry and clinical then gonzo carnival fun in tone.

    I dont ask people at all, i just run the game and if for some reason someone seems to be uncomfortable with a topic and I notice I'll tone it down. No reason to have a conversation about it, just pay attention to the temperature of the room and keep adjusting things accordingly. Theres nothing wrong with occasionally pushing someones boundaries a little.

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    Default Re: On violence

    I'll share one example of something that came into a game unintentionally. I'll spoiler it, since it involves (extremely NO detail) child abuse. But it was something that came up in the middle of game unexpectantly basically because the DM was thinking on his feet.

    Nobody was offended, but I think saying it was seen made us a touch uncomfortable, as opposed it to just being deduced.

    Spoiler
    Show

    In a Mage game, the Euthanatos was looking for people to kill. The DM had him roll and said he found some guy who pinged "should die", and so the Euthanatos was trailing the dude and watching him through the window at night.

    Player: So, do I see any evidence he's evil or should die?
    DM: Um... yeah. You figure out he's molesting his kid.
    Player: Okay, so I wait until he's asleep and then sneak in and slit his... WAIT. How do I realize this?
    DM: OH! Um, yeah, I guess you'd see him starting to... uh, do that...
    Player: Retcon. When I notice that, I bash in the door. If the guy comes downstairs to investigate, I kill him.


    This was before any of us had kids, so we were slightly more comfortable with jokes impacting kids.

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    Default Re: On violence

    Quote Originally Posted by zinycor View Post
    What makes certain things too violent/graphical or in bad taste at your table?
    How do you deal with these situations?
    how do you approach complicated subjects at the table, without offending the rest of the table?
    How often should we check for consent?
    Tackling these in order:

    If you mean at my table specifically, I dunno. I avoid stuff like rape and describing certain violent things in graphic detail, since I play with a couple of Mormons and I don't think they'd like either of those things. Also try to avoid going out of my way to depict senseless violence against children because all of us are parents and I just have a feeling no one wants that, either. I've never bothered going into detail on the very rare chance a player wanted to have sex with an NPC: if that goes down I just say it goes down and go to another player to keep the game moving.

    I don't deal with them. I just, well, don't include them because there's never been an instance where I felt that rape and such would add anything substantial to the game. Except the sex thing: I just gloss over that.

    If I think something is going to crop up that the players might not want to deal with, I just ask. Last Wednesday game one of the players broke a curse on his fiance and she returned to normal (was a pixie or sprite before that), so I asked him how much he wanted me to roleplay her saying/doing things a fiance would probably want to do. He didn't want me to, at all, and I'm fine with that. Mostly I was trying to get a handle on what his expectations were about that.

    Consent for what?

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