Why are we okay with violence in RPGs? - Page 4
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  1. #31
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    Violence is one of the fundamental elements of the human experience I guess. And even our civilization is held together ultimately by the threat of violence. Its a basic part of life. Plus its easy to make into a game. Other fundamental aspects of living, like sexuality, don't translate as well to a game. Well a RPG. Well a table top RPG. Well...it depends on who is playing.
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  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bagpuss View Post
    Yes - There is no violence in games that cross the threshold into "not okay" to be included in a game, if handled properly. I see gaming as a safe space, where you can have pretty nasty stuff happen but because it isn't real there is no actual danger to the people round the table.(1)
    A little while back, I taught my 13-year-old de facto goddaughter how to play D&D. That gave me an entirely new perspective on what "safe" means.

    There's a little-realized fact that there's no such thing as a no-holds-barred safe space. Safe spaces need boundaries, and the boundaries that are useful and safe for one group may not be for another.
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  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bagpuss View Post
    Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?

    Because it isn't real.

    Why are we okay with violence on TV? Because it isn't real.
    Why are we okay with violence in cinema? Because it isn't real.
    Why are we okay with violence in books? Because it isn't real.
    Why are we okay with violence in plays? Because it isn't real.

    Why are we not okay with violence in reality? Because it is real.

    I know that is a really simplistic way of looking at it, but it is the core difference.

    Okay. But that's not necessarily the case, is it?

    Just because something is depicted in fiction, doesn't mean that it is perfectly acceptable.

    And we have various tolerances for fictional depictions.

    If we look back to the late 60s and 70s, we can see that (for example) in movies, things are in flux in America with the lifting of the Code. Profanity, Nudity, and Violence were all ... somewhat ... acceptable in various amounts. Heck, Airplane is a movie from 1980, is rated PG, and has (female) nudity, obvious references to oral copulation, and all sorts of material you wouldn't find in any PG movie today.

    And opinions re: depictions of violence have changed; the type of violence depicted in the 70s wouldn't have flown prior to that, and the idea of violence as spectacle in American movies (the "Action movie") really only became a thing in the 80s- the exact time that sex and (to a lesser extent) profanity were moved downward.

    So your answer isn't wrong, per se, so much as it's incomplete to the question.

    Why are we okay with violence in RPGs as such a foundation of (most) games? Why does violence and killing go unremarked, and seems unremarkable?

    By the way, I don't have an answer, and I'm not looking for "the answer," I was just thinking about how normal it is. Which, you know, is kind of weird.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran View Post
    A little while back, I taught my 13-year-old de facto goddaughter how to play D&D. That gave me an entirely new perspective on what "safe" means.

    There's a little-realized fact that there's no such thing as a no-holds-barred safe space. Safe spaces need boundaries, and the boundaries that are useful and safe for one group may not be for another.
    Yeah, as I wrote originally, this nagging idea re: violence first started when I was reading through B2 and preparing it for kids.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowkey13 View Post
    Yeah, as I wrote originally, this nagging idea re: violence first started when I was reading through B2 and preparing it for kids.
    So, let me continue from the perspective of my experience - since it was a recent one in which I actively questioned the tolerances for many things in my game and presentation...

    At the root, we view some violence as okay, because we still live in a world in which violence is occasionally necessary. There are still (entirely human) monsters among us, and sometimes we are not left with non-violent alternatives for dealing with them.

    My 13-year-old players knew this, so I could use violence in my game to that extent. There could be foes in my game who were willing to do harm in order to achieve their ends, and the players could oppose them and use violence to do it. That would be okay, as they are prepared for it.

    What wasn't going to be okay?

    1) Explicit graphic brutality. Yes, it exists in the world too, but my 13-year-olds were not yet versed in what that really means, and it was not my place to introduce them to the idea and help them integrate that understanding.

    2) The PCs as the bad guys. While it was okay to allow the PCs to take a certain glee from exacting a sort of rough justice, taking glee in getting what they want through violence was not going to fly - much for the same reason as (1), because to do that right I'd have to make it clear what kind of consequences that has - and 13-year-olds are not yet ready to understand the depths of those consequences. Thankfully, the kids showed no desire to be bad guys, even when the opportunity was easily available.
    Last edited by Umbran; Wednesday, 12th June, 2019 at 04:01 PM.
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  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowkey13 View Post
    Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    If we were all Americans, here, I could just say "because we're a violent society."

    Instead, for my flip, sarcastic, cynical answere I'm going to have to go all ST:tNG, and say " because we are an egregiously violent species."


    (And, you don't get to complain about flip, joking answered to serious questions.)
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  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowkey13 View Post
    Yeah, as I wrote originally, this nagging idea re: violence first started when I was reading through B2 and preparing it for kids.
    One thing I've noted in the past about playing with kids is that they tend to be vastly more moral than the adults. Most middle school and earlier players I've encountered tend to take moral quandaries very seriously, where as most adult players I've encountered are ruthless murder hobos.

    I've always been really fascinated by why that is. Is it that the kids can't separate fantasy and reality as easily as adults, or is it that the kids correctly recognize the importance of make-believe and play as a form of mental practice and problem solving and the adults have forgotten? Or are the players in their innocence actually in truth more moral than the adults? Or is it just that since the adults know they are playing a game, they take none of it seriously except "winning" the game? Or is it that the adults have been conditioned to think of winning as only a matter of dog-eat-dog survival?

    One other problem I encountered when running RPGs for 5 year olds, is that the players (my children) refused to make choices that would put them in danger. If a house in the neighborhood was said to be haunted, well that was more than sufficient reason not to go into a run down house. Besides, going into an abandoned house was dangerous in itself, and it was trespassing. If there was a dark hole that possibly led to fairy country, by no means where they going to go down it. Anything remotely uncanny or dangerous caused them to make the very rational decision to avoid that potential danger and stay safe. So it basically became impossible to have adventures, because they'd take one look at an adventure and tend to go, "Nope. Not doing that. You'd have to be stupid to do that." The result is that most of their make believe play tended to lack conflict, and consequently tended to lack drama as I thought of the term.

    We had some drama of mundane things, but it was nothing like running any sort of RPG I'd run before. I had a tendency to find that in game stress didn't need consequences. Any end game stress was completely debilitating to the player anyway, that it was hardly necessary to dehabilitate the character. If the character would be sad, frustrated, scared, or what not - the player probably was as well.
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  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran View Post
    There's a little-realized fact that there's no such thing as a no-holds-barred safe space. Safe spaces need boundaries, and the boundaries that are useful and safe for one group may not be for another.
    Hence my footnote. Of course you aren't going to throw the same situations and dilemma's at a 13 year old kid as you might to at a University student or an middle-aged bloke like myself, or if you did they wouldn't react the same way.

    I still think you could probably throw the hobgoblin women and children at all of them.
    Last edited by Bagpuss; Wednesday, 12th June, 2019 at 03:38 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    If we were all Americans, here,

    (snip)

    (And, you don't get to complain about flip, joking answered to serious questions.)
    I'm an American.

    Of course I will complain.

    What? You think that some sort of shame ... or concern about hypocrisy ... will keep me from complaining?


    HECK NO!

    My right to complain is guaranteed, by, like, the Constitution, or the Declaration of Independence, or one of the Commandments, or the collected works of John Wayne.
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  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowkey13 View Post
    Okay. But that's not necessarily the case, is it?

    (snip)

    Just because something is depicted in fiction, doesn't mean that it is perfectly acceptable.

    So your answer isn't wrong, per se, so much as it's incomplete to the question.
    I'm sure you've seen my responses that followed that rather simplistic first response. I still stand by that statement however, but nothing is that simple.

    Why are we okay with violence in RPGs as such a foundation of (most) games? Why does violence and killing go unremarked, and seems unremarkable?
    Because it is influenced by the media and myths it represents that has always had violence and killing as it's foundation.

    The next question is of course why does the media/myths have violence and killing as it foundation?

    You are then getting in to philosophy and the human condition. A bit too broad of a topic. Although I like Tony Vargas's Star Trek quote.
    Last edited by Bagpuss; Wednesday, 12th June, 2019 at 03:41 PM.

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