Gore in D&D

Aebir-Toril

When life gives you Lenin, make Leninade!
What is your approach to gore in D&D, and in violent RPGs in general?

Are you someone delights in describing bloody scenes, and when might this cross the proverbial 'line'?

What is your method for describing gore in D&D, and do you recommend and forms of description, especially of violence.

If this varies by campaign, why is that, and how so?

Generally, what is your approach to gore and gory imagery in RPGs?
 
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Aebir-Toril

When life gives you Lenin, make Leninade!
We are descriptive, but keep in mostly PG-13 or so I suppose. A lobbing off of a head here or a slashing open a gaping chest wound there is about as "bloody" as we get.
Interesting, I tend to generally take a similar approach, not quite delighting in gore.

However, in my most recent campaign, that has changed a bit, given the dark theme and the fact that a few of my players love gory descriptions, and the other don't mind them.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
I have inconsistent feelings about gore. I mainly lack interest in gore. For example, I like the vampire genre, because I like the magic, but less their dietary fixation.

For some reason, men dont get permission to be mages unless they are drinking blood and killing people, or else have long hair.

That said. Graphic violence can be a useful tool for storytelling. It helps the words feel more vivid. But too much violence loses this effect of vividness, if the violence starts to become boring.

That said. I like movies by David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino that make violence and gore a kind of aesthetic.

I guess like anything, the use of gore in storytelling can be done well or done poorly.
 

tglassy

Adventurer
Um. I had a lvl 10 Dragonborn Barbarian in my group with 20 strength who ripped a guy's jaw off, reveled in the blood, and then ripped the man in half, lengthwise, and throw one of the two halves at his fleeing partner, which caused him to trip, and proceeded to use the other half to beat him to death. Another player in a different game was a lvl 20 Paladin with 29 strength, and wielded a warhammer. He smashed the enemy's head to the ground, then hit it like a golf ball, sending it through and out his backside. I played an Artificer in the last game with a heavy crossbow. I used the new Arcane Weapon spell, and made my bolts deal extra Acid damage, and critted on an enemy. The bolt hit his head, seeming to do little damage, and then his head began to melt from the inside out.

My DM lets us narrate how we kill the enemy, as long as we actually kill him per the rules. It gets...interesting.

But then, we all love Ash and the Evil Dead, so...yeah...
 

Aebir-Toril

When life gives you Lenin, make Leninade!
Um. I had a lvl 10 Dragonborn Barbarian in my group with 20 strength who ripped a guy's jaw off, reveled in the blood, and then ripped the man in half, lengthwise, and throw one of the two halves at his fleeing partner, which caused him to trip, and proceeded to use the other half to beat him to death. Another player in a different game was a lvl 20 Paladin with 29 strength, and wielded a warhammer. He smashed the enemy's head to the ground, then hit it like a golf ball, sending it through and out his backside. I played an Artificer in the last game with a heavy crossbow. I used the new Arcane Weapon spell, and made my bolts deal extra Acid damage, and critter on an enemy. The bolt hit his head, seeming to do little damage, and then his head began to melt from the inside out.

My DM lets us narrate how we kill the enemy, as long as we actually kill him per the rules. It gets...interesting.

But then, we all love Ash and the Evil Dead, so...yeah...
I'm not sure whether I should laugh or vomit.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
Interesting, I tend to generally take a similar approach, not quite delighting in gore.

However, in my most recent campaign, that has changed a bit, given the dark theme and the fact that a few of my players love gory descriptions, and the other don't mind them.
One of our players just started running CoS, and likes more of the gothic horror aspect so he might run things more bloody... we'll see.
 

tglassy

Adventurer
We don't get that way with every kill, just with certain characters. Like the Barbarian, and that Paladin. It was an Oathbreaker Paladin. Our more violent characters get that way.
 

Aebir-Toril

When life gives you Lenin, make Leninade!
One of our players just started running CoS, and likes more of the gothic horror aspect so he might run things more bloody... we'll see.
I've found gore to most effective when people don't revel in it completely, but, in some cases, there are people who love Doom, Mortal Kombat, and Diablo, and just want the game to be 'realistically' bloody.
 

Aebir-Toril

When life gives you Lenin, make Leninade!
We don't get that way with every kill, just with certain characters. Like the Barbarian, and that Paladin. It was an Oathbreaker Paladin. Our more violent characters get that way.
It does makes a certain kind of sense.
 

Aebir-Toril

When life gives you Lenin, make Leninade!
So, to use a specific example, do you, as a DM or as a player, prefer gore when the players are the ones seeing it happen to them or their allies (horror) or when they inflict great violence on their enemies (power fantasy).

Do you use gore to enhance 'realism', or just because you can?

Is it something else entirely?
 

Tonguez

Adventurer
I like the Shoguns Assassin school of gore

When cut across the neck, a sound like wailing winter winds is heard, they say. Id always hoped to cut someone like that someday, to hear that sound. But to have it happen to my own neck is ridiculous.”
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I use gore sparingly so that it stands out when it does happen. For example, werewolves are extreme examples of chaos and evil in my world (and generally worshipers of Fenris) so coming across a scene where they attacked is going to be pretty gruesome. At times I also use smells as well as other atmospherics. Once I was describing facing a zombie horde and a couple of people started turning a little green. I think I may have overdone it on that one!

But if you use it all the time it just kind of fades into the background so it's not special.
 

tetrasodium

Explorer
What is your approach to gore in D&D, and in violent RPGs in general?

Are you someone delights in describing bloody scenes, and when might this cross the proverbial 'line'?

What is your method for describing gore in D&D, and do you recommend and forms of description, especially of violence.

If this varies by campaign, why is that, and how so?

Generally, what is your approach to gore and gory imagery in RPGs?

It depends on the style of game I'm running. If I'm running a pulply game I'll be very descriptive in how Bob's axe tears open the bandit sending blood everywhere before shattering ribs, but as a pulpy game Bob might ripple the one of the same guy's arms three times (obviously one more than the guy had). If I'm running more of a grim dark game where I want my players to either feel the visceral horror of the "setting". A game/adventure going up against war criminal type horrible individuals... I'm likely to describe things that baddie has done in ways that make the players entirely certain that this individual is horrible... especially if they went in thinking/knowing this was an upstanding pillar of the community or someone who's help/resources/knowledge the party needs to stop something worse.

With that said, there are limits & often less is more when it comes to describing gore & horrors gone beyond the pale.
 

Celebrim

Legend
People and things die violent deaths, usually by sharpened melee weapons which are not notable for cleanly killing things. Text or speech can describe clinically things that would be overly gory to depict visually except by suggestion, so it's very hard to equate what is going on to PG-13 or R but if I was making a movie of the transcript I'd try to use suggestion to tone down some of the more graphic and brutal scenes. Personally, I find the gore in a movie like 'Kill Bill' (to use one example) ruins for me a movie that I might otherwise enjoy.

Gore is not accentuated or treated as a thing that adds value to a scene, but I think at the same time it would not do violence justice if the reality and tangibility of its was brushed over. Violence that is sanitized too much becomes too easily glorified and celebrated violence. It's important I think to stop and consider violence as a terrible thing, even in the necessity.

Of course, if the players are butchering a giant squid bent on devouring a crew of sailors, then I'm pretty much going to go with the full physicality of that without too much worry that I'm being insensitive to squids or glamorizing violence committed against them.
 
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Sacrosanct

Legend
Mostly PG-13, with few exceptions if the case warrants it. I’ve seen enough gore and major trauma wounds in real life that I don’t need to keep reimagining them in a game that I’m supposed to be having fun with.
 
I play in one game where the DM goes into great detail on just about every death.

My games not so much though not unknown just abit less graphic.
 

dave2008

Hero
I like the Shoguns Assassin school of gore

When cut across the neck, a sound like wailing winter winds is heard, they say. Id always hoped to cut someone like that someday, to hear that sound. But to have it happen to my own neck is ridiculous.”
Gotta love me some "Lone Wolf and Cub"
 

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