Why are we okay with violence in RPGs? - Page 5
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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bagpuss View Post
    I still think you could probably throw the hobgoblin women and children at all of them.
    Perhaps. But I would likely *position* it differently. See above - I was not going to run a game in which 13-year-olds end up on the wrong side of the moral argument. If I'm going to present the non-combatants as a challenge to kids, I'd position it clearly as a, "Well, nuts, you have to get around this without hurting anyone."

    Heck, in games for my adults, if the PCs choose the wrong side of the moral argument, they are apt to be treated by the world like the monsters they have become - meaning that they have made it moral and ethical for others to kill the PCs and take their stuff!

  2. #42
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    Colonies and colonialism explicitly exist in many RPG settings, but I think the original framing of a "colonialist massacre of women and children" is a complete mischaracterization of what work "colonial" actually does. It does not really do any moral work in most situations. A "colonialist massacre" must necessarily be contrasted to a "non-colonialist massacre" and thinking there is some sort of moral difference between them is as foolish as thinking there is a meaningful difference between a French massacre of women and children and an English massacre of women and children. As well colonialism is not a particularly good description of most violence games like D&D, at least insofar as it does not match up with what "colony" actually means. Territorial violence in D&D tends to be more basic expansionary violence. It can only be described as "colonial" to the extent that "colonial" killed "expansionary" and took its stuff.
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  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaodi View Post
    Colonies and colonialism explicitly exist in many RPG settings, but I think the original framing of a "colonialist massacre of women and children" is a complete mischaracterization of what work "colonial" actually does. It does not really do any moral work in most situations. A "colonialist massacre" must necessarily be contrasted to a "non-colonialist massacre" and thinking there is some sort of moral difference between them is as foolish as thinking there is a meaningful difference between a French massacre of women and children and an English massacre of women and children. As well colonialism is not a particularly good description of most violence games like D&D, at least insofar as it does not match up with what "colony" actually means. Territorial violence in D&D tends to be more basic expansionary violence. It can only be described as "colonial" to the extent that "colonial" killed "expansionary" and took its stuff.
    ... is that really the point you felt necessary to make?

    That, and not the "possibly mentally ill hermit I need to murder for his stuff[.]"


    I know the argument you are trying to make, and the people that ascribe to it- please go make it somewhere else.
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  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowkey13 View Post
    I know the argument you are trying to make, and the people that ascribe to it- please go make it somewhere else.
    ...Excuse me?

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lylandra View Post
    I think Riley made a good point: violence is too broad of a term to simply say that using it in RPGs is more or less moral by itself.

    What we have to take a look at is both story/setting and context.

    First, story and setting. Someone already mentioned John Wick, wich is, in my opinion, a totally enjoyable over-the-top franchise.
    At this point, it is necessary to say that John Wick (as a franchise) is not just enjoyable, but the HOLY TRILOGY is the greatest set of movies, ever.

    The only thing that could make John Wick 4 even better is the necessary addition of Nic Cage.

    I can imagine playing a John Wick RPG and it would be completely violent, as you'd expect from a setting in which assassins are a huge, organized thing. But I guess that a John Wick game would never give you any XP for killing (defenseless) noncombatants and neither would the setting's tone encourage you to do so.
    .... a John Wick rpg?

    ....mmmm.....
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  6. #46
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    So in D&D games do people actually encounter and slaughter humanoid tribes that were just living a peaceful existence? I think every orc group I've ran into in D&D over the years was actively raiding the human civilizations around them, pillaging, marauding, or started things off by attacking the party. That's why we went to pacify them. Granted as a DM I've never included a peaceful tribe of hobgoblins, they don't really exist in the game world and I'm not really aiming to examine moral quandaries. Though maybe in a way I am without trying to.

    While all the species are fairly expansionist outside of hobbits and gnomes, the orcs and such are quite aggressively and violently so, unwilling to live in co-existence and driven by a will to dominate all life around them.

    Despite playing D&D since the early 80's never played B2 for some reason. I probably missed out.

  7. #47
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    There are two common cultural concepts that I believe are misconceptions, and why I think violence plays such a large role in our culture (western civilization more broadly, USA more specifically).

    1. Violence is always bad
    If it can be argued that all acts of violence are evil, which I'm not sure about, at worst it can be said to sometimes be a necessary evil. Violence in media (including and probably even especially games) allows us to, among other things, remind ourselves that sometimes we have to fight (literally) for what is right or just. Whether than means roleplaying shooting nazis in Rocket Age, shooting nazis from the comfort of your couch in Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, or punching nazis in the face in the streets of D.C, this brand of violence helps remind us that there is evil in the world that will not go away just by us asking really, really, nicely.

    Yes, our history is littered with examples of acts of violence, small and large, that had largely deleterious effects on the people it was enacting upon, people who in most cases did nothing to warrant it beyond existing on land somebody else wanted. That said, many of those people fought back.

    There's any number of other reasons why violence appeals to us as humans, westerners, Americans, etc., or at least certain segments of our population (clearly violence is celebrated in toxic masculine cultures, for example), but for me, it's about recognizing that standing up for what we believe in requires us getting our hands dirty* from time to time.

    *(you know, by punching filthy nazis in the face)

    2. Simulated violence desensitizes us to real violence.

    I think most of us are familiar with this old saw, how it's been used to attack games and/or gamers in various ways by the media and/or political concern trolls, so I think calling this a misconception would less controversial here than it might be in some of the other circles I run in. What's probably more controversial is my actual belief on the subject: this process actually works in reverse.

    Real life anecdote number one: I have a daughter. She's older now, but like all humans of a certain age she was once a toddler. Have you seen a group of toddlers interact with each other? They punch, they kick, they bite, they pull hair, for really no god damned reason whatsoever. Kids start violent. It's, in many ways, one of our most natural instincts. Kids don't stop getting violent until you really drill into them the negative consequences of their behavior.

    Real life anecdote number two: I have a partner. She grew up on classic 90's slasher horror. One of her favorite childhood stuffed animals was Freddy Krueger. As she got into her teens, her particular jam became zombie movies. Even into adulthood, her favorite thing was horror movies, and she didn't shy away from gore one bit.

    Then she had our kid, and horror became verboten in our household for years.

    My point is, I think it's far more common for us to become sensitized to violence (not necessarily through media so much as our life experiences) than it is for us to become de-sensitized to it.

    There's been some discussion in the thread about both (a) the ability of rpgs to force us into moral dilemmas and (b) the disconnect between player and character, and I think both of these play into the ways RPGs can sensitize us to violence. The morals dilemmas are easy; they ask us what we would do in those circumstances. Even in those instances where I'm playing a character who would act differently from myself, it's nearly impossible for humans to manage that disconnect in a way that doesn't also force them to consider what they'd do themselves and how they personally feel about their character's actions. That's something no other media, not even really video games, can accomplish as well as tabletop RPGs.

    And while we're clearing up misconceptions...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Tweet View Post
    Humans find sex and violence to be interesting, and of those two pursuits violence is the one suitable to group activity, as in a roleplaying game.
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    Laugh Jonathan Tweet laughed with this post

  8. #48
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    If one is OK with depictions of violence as entertainment - and I very much respect the opinions of those who are not OK with this - then the wargaming hobby largely presumes hostile intentions on both sides and war as a "solution." I believe there really is no difference for the RPG community in general.

    ***Painting with a broad brush here I know. There are plenty of non-violent RPGS...***
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  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gradine View Post
    And while we're clearing up misconceptions...

    Originally Posted by Jonathan Tweet
    Humans find sex and violence to be interesting, and of those two pursuits violence is the one suitable to group activity, as in a roleplaying game.


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    Yeah didn't end well for the last GM that tried that... (too soon?).

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by pogre View Post
    ***Painting with a broad brush here I know. There are plenty of non-violent RPGS...***
    I would say they are an almost insignificant minority.

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