Gore in D&D

tglassy

Adventurer
The group I play with all love Ash and the Evil Dead. Gore is funny to them. If we want to be scary, we have to be psychologically scary. My brother is good at that. He had his whole group freaking out as they went through a fairy forest, and we’re bombarded by hallucinations.
 

GlassJaw

Adventurer
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.
Actually, gore is not one of the defining characteristics of the gothic horror genre. Gothic horror is about fear, terror, the unknown, implied evil, and atmosphere. Gothic horror is subtle; gore is not.
 

tetrasodium

Explorer
Actually, gore is not one of the defining characteristics of the gothic horror genre. Gothic horror is about fear, terror, the unknown, implied evil, and atmosphere. Gothic horror is subtle; gore is not.
slasher flicks aren't really horror, let alone gothic horror... sex, romance, & our base instincts exposed are more central themes there. Look at frankenstein or dracula
 

Doc_Klueless

Doors and Corners
I seldom use explicit gore. Not for any other reason than I seldom remember to use it as I get caught up in making the action surge along. So I might do: "You lop his head off!" but not: "Geysers of blood fountain from his neck stump as his body contorts and falls twitching to the ground!" or some such.

Now, for the death of the BBG, I'll be way more descriptive and verbose. But even then, I've taken a cue from Critical Role and Dice, Camera, Action and will go "What does it look like?" to the killing blow deliverer.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
This is an interesting question!

Why is it interesting? Well, because it's something I've been thinking about recently, and things that are interesting to me are, by definition, interesting to the world.*

As a general rule, I never much considered issues of violence in D&D; as I often state, if orcs didn't need killin', they wouldn't be made out of XP.

This view has "evolved," as I've re-visited some old modules (specifically, B2) and ran campaigns for younger kids. Genocidal hobomurder ... it just doesn't feel so right anymore. This is an ongoing discussion I have with myself as to how far is "too far" when it comes to playing a game with inherent violence - it's the same conversation I have with regards to the level of violence appropriate in a film like John Wick as opposed to Eastern Promises. When is over-the-violence acceptable as entertainment?

So, the current uneasy position I have for games is as follows:

Descriptions of players actions: Over-the-top, cartoon-y violence is acceptable for a player to inflict. Not torture, not killing babies, but overkill (John Wick style) with a knowing wink.... eh, still okay. I think.

NPC actions: this is more on an Eastern Promises vibe; it's only acceptable when I'm looking for mood, or horror, and with it fully telegraphed, and then I'd hope the violence level for an emotional response.





*Due to the irrefutable logic that I am most likely the past-manifestation of an all-conquering AI. I don't serve Roko's basilisk; I AM HE!
 

tetrasodium

Explorer
If they aren't horror, what are they? I mean, they elicit fear... just using a particular angle. Why aren't they horror?
a slasher movie.
Gothic horror is a wildly different genere

Comparing the two is like comparing hard scifi like gattica, the martian, 2001, arrival, etc to soft scifi like star trek:ToS or buck rogers.. All of them are science fiction just like both of the others are "horror"... but they are wildly different genres
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Comparing the two is like comparing hard scifi like gattica, the martian, 2001, arrival, etc to soft scifi like star trek:ToS or buck rogers.. All of them are science fiction just like both of the others are "horror"... but they are wildly different genres
I know slasher movies aren't Gothic horror. That's not what I'm responding to.

You said "slasher flicks aren't really horror." That's what I'm asking about. It seems to me that slasher flicks fit solidly under the overall Horror umbrella, and if you contend otherwise, I'd like to know your justification for that.
 
The problem with gore is that too much of it loses impact, and that it can really turn your players off from the game. I don't mind including some violence in the game, but I prefer to hint at the violence rather than describe the violence in great detail.

Sometimes it is simply more effective to tell your players that they see something grotesque that is the stuff of nightmares, than to actually describe what it is they see.

When it comes to players decapitating a monster, I reserve that for epic moments.
This is why i only use it as either a garnish or when a player asks to know in detail the description of something (when that thing realistically would HAVE to be gory. Such as when someone was scaphed for instance). I agree completely. There is definitely a time and a place. You never wanna make gore lose its zest by simply using it too often.
 
Interesting, why is it that you use gore in this way? Is it fun for your group or for you? Does it enhance realism or the horror in the campaign?

Medically-precise, you say?

It's interesting to see one poster who seems to exult in the gore.
Because realistically things are sometimes gory. And it keeps tension high in some cases used properly. Which is something you want to generate if your pcs are currently in a ver hostile environment like the abyss. Or a suddenly hostile environment. Such as when everything seems normal but then u find the discarded partially assimilated victim of a "thing" (ala john carpenter) in a normal seeming sleepy mountain village.

Fun for both.

It enhances the realism and the horror. The trick is not to use too much too often and to make it USUALLY make sense either immediately or later (although something never quite getting explained once or thrice in a long campaign is acceptable if the campaign is very mysterious). The stab of fear is only able to he generated if you ration these things or tie them dorectly to how deep of a pool of shit the pcs have yet to realize they just waded into. All is not well in essex county.

Also yes. Medically precise. Some forms of torture are highly enough advanced that when performed by a professional (even ancient ones) they entailed a fair bit of medical understanding for fine tuning and getting the job done properly.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
My current DM asks "How do you want to do this?" and each player gets to decide their own level of gore.

Most of us describe how we cut, stab, or burn a foe to death, but I don't think anyone has gone into the details of the gore.
 
My current DM asks "How do you want to do this?" and each player gets to decide their own level of gore.

Most of us describe how we cut, stab, or burn a foe to death, but I don't think anyone has gone into the details of the gore.
I also agree with this. A pc's actions are 99% of the time exactly what the player envisions. Shouldnt be any other way because the player knows what the pc is intending to do. If the pc is the prime actor then the player decides what happened.

Anything contradicting what the player intended is weird.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I don't get too gory most of the time; not because it bothers me but because when I played under a DM who did revel in decsribing the gore I found it got old really fast. When everything is gory, nothing is.

But on some spectacular critical or whatever, be it against a PC or an opponent, I'll pull out the gory vocabulary and give it a spin. :)

(after a party member once got absolutely crushed (to -57 h.p.) by a massive crit from a Giant, my after-combat description went something like: "You eventually find what's left of Sharana. Her head's in her boot, and there's nothing left of what was between except red mush.")
 

Aebir-Toril

When life gives you Lenin, make Leninade!
I don't get too gory most of the time; not because it bothers me but because when I played under a DM who did revel in decsribing the gore I found it got old really fast. When everything is gory, nothing is.

But on some spectacular critical or whatever, be it against a PC or an opponent, I'll pull out the gory vocabulary and give it a spin. :)

(after a party member once got absolutely crushed (to -57 h.p.) by a massive crit from a Giant, my after-combat description went something like: "You eventually find what's left of Sharana. Her head's in her boot, and there's nothing left between except red mush.")
I agree that describing everything in gory ways makes gore lose its effect.

For example, I describe the average mook being dispatched very simply, and with basic, mechanical terms.

However, when a character is killed, or when a major enemy is slain, the gore is more intense under my style of DMing.
 
I don't get too gory most of the time; not because it bothers me but because when I played under a DM who did revel in decsribing the gore I found it got old really fast. When everything is gory, nothing is.

But on some spectacular critical or whatever, be it against a PC or an opponent, I'll pull out the gory vocabulary and give it a spin. :)

(after a party member once got absolutely crushed (to -57 h.p.) by a massive crit from a Giant, my after-combat description went something like: "You eventually find what's left of Sharana. Her head's in her boot, and there's nothing left between except red mush.")
There is a correct and an incorrect way to revel. Revel every day like sanguine wants you to and youll just be hungover every day until you eventually get korsikov's. I do revel. But i revel sparingly. Sounds like that dm was a goreholic. It does get old when an addiction controls your life.

I agree that it gets old. Thats why its mostly a garnish. Not the bread and butter.
 

Aebir-Toril

When life gives you Lenin, make Leninade!
There is a correct and an incorrect way to revel. Revel every day like sanguine wants you to and youll just be hungover every day until you eventually get korsikov's. I do revel. But i revel sparingly. Sounds like that dm was a goreholic. It does get old when an addiction controls your life.

I agree that it gets old. Thats why its mostly a garnish. Not the bread and butter.
When gore is the bread and butter, combat takes too long.

Sure, it may sound plebeian to say, but I don't have an infinite amount of gaming time.
 

Sword of Spirit

Adventurer
I sometimes feel like I use decapitation too much. My descriptions if it aren't really gory. "The sword takes off his head and his body collapses," is the sort of thing we're generally talking about. I have a player (who is actually the DM most likely to run horror campaigns in our group) who has an aversion to dismemberment, so every now and then I try to remember that.

But there is just a sense of finality and emphasis in a decapitation that makes me want to describe things that way without even thinking about it.
 

Bohandas

Explorer
Comparing the two is like comparing hard scifi like gattica, the martian, 2001, arrival, etc to soft scifi like star trek:ToS or buck rogers.. All of them are science fiction just like both of the others are "horror"... but they are wildly different genres
2001 isn;t hard sci-fi, it's a parade of magic space aliens, killer rogue AI, and magic space alien AI
 
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