Love and the DnD experience

No. I despise RPG romance. Romance is for stories, not for games. Sure, romantic relationships can be a plot device (as in "rescue so and so's fiance" or "the hobgoblin queen takes a fancy to the PC and tries to kidnap him") but actual rules of romance? Bleah.
 

Piratecat

Writing Fantasy Gumshoe!
I'll agree with Luke on one point, and disagree with him on another.

I have no use whatsoever for rules on romance. They're not needed by me, and I'm not even willing to give them the benefit of a doubt. I don't need game mechanics for human relationships, thanks.

But (PG-13) romance in my game? Sure! Right now there's a PC married to a NPC, and a PC who is in love with another PC, who in turn has just declared love for a third PC. None of it is forced, none of it is weird, and it's making the game more fun -- but none of it is treated as goofy sophmoric humor, either. Because each romance is tied into plot elements, I also find it's adding a whole lot to the quality of the game itself.
 
In three separate instances throughout my gaming career, romance played an integral role in the development of storyline and character growth, twice with me as a DM and once with me as a player. These never caused any difficulties, but made for great roleplaying sessions (something my current group is sadly deficient in).
 
Piratecat said:
I'll agree with Luke on one point, and disagree with him on another.

I have no use whatsoever for rules on romance. They're not needed by me, and I'm not even willing to give them the benefit of a doubt. I don't need game mechanics for human relationships, thanks.

But (PG-13) romance in my game? Sure! Right now there's a PC married to a NPC, and a PC who is in love with another PC, who in turn has just declared love for a third PC. None of it is forced, none of it is weird, and it's making the game more fun -- but none of it is treated as goofy sophmoric humor, either. Because each romance is tied into plot elements, I also find it's adding a whole lot to the quality of the game itself.
Right on! Properly played romance can be highly entertaining for the whole party and really help drive the story elements home.

For example:

At one point in one of my games, the PC Knight was in love with an NPC lady and went on a quest to prove himself against a rival NPC Knight, but to make the love triangle more complicated, he was also mutually in love with his cohort who is also his herald and also secretly (neither of them know this) his sister separated at birth. Meanwhile, the lady's best friend (NPC, greater grimalkin that can do both humanoid and animal forms) is in love with the knight's best friend, a young roguish nobleman (PC), though she is somewhat shy about it and generally expresses her feelings by challenging him to duels or stealing English muffins (the nobleman created a masked alter ego for himself called 'The Muffin Avenger' after he figured out that he could buy English muffins for 1 copper each and amassed vast quantities of them). Finally, the party barbarian is in love with a fey demigoddess who appeared once to give a clue to the party, and he also wants to find his mother who was turned into a deer and trapped in a phasing invisible tower, leading him to become a Prestige Bard/Virtuoso. There is also a rivalry between the nobleman (who isn't aware of the grimalkin's attentions) and the party's ranger with 8 Charisma in which they both try to hit on random Charismatic NPCs, failing to comic effects (a duel is typically involved, and since the Ranger is Favoured Enemy Human, he always wins, but then his 8 Charisma doesn't back up his strength of arms). Meanwhile, the knight's new cohort is in love with a noblewoman who is actually a valkyrie running from her powerful father, so she pretends to be his sister, and the knight PC angered his lady due to philandering with his sister and wound up being bound and replaced in an elaborate ruse.

This campaign has atypically high levels of romance, but it drives the point home that romance can really help coalesce and reinforce the plot.
 

DonTadow

Visitor
Goldmoon said:
Ive played both male and female characters that were romanticly interested in both PC's and NPC's. PC to PC is rare since it seems every damn male has their male PC hit on my female PC's. (I get so tired of that) When it does happen though, it works out O.K. most of the time. My rogue got involved with the party cleric once and he began neglecting the other characters with healing and buffs concentrating mainly on me.

On a somewhat similiar subject: Do you guys tend to roleplay more with/have characters who hit on females who are more attractive in real life?
My NPCs do tend to hit on th prettier players more, but thats more of a coniencodence. I realized that the prettier female players in my game tend to play prettier, higher charasmatic characters where others tend to play low to normal charisma characterss.
 
iwatt said:
Also, I'm no thespian in the first place. ;)
Of course not. You're a guy.

<whisper from off-screen>

It means what? Oh. Nevermind.

This is one of those things that can seriously screw up a game if everyone isn't on the same page. PC/NPC romantic interactions are fine, although most people I game with now aren't interested in that. PC/PC would just be crossing too many lines. I like these people, but I don't like them that much.

Age and longevity in the hobby probably has a real impact on how people perceive it. I know I had enough bad experiences gaming in junior high and high school to make me seriously avoid such things for a long, long time afterward.
 

Kormydigar

Visitor
iwatt said:
I share your disconfort. Roleplaying women is hard* enough for me without the added romance twist. Add in the fact that the PC was a woman playing a man, and it would have been pretty difficult to me to actually get into character.


* One of my great failings. I start overthinking, trying to avoid cliches and trying not to be "guy trying to play a girl and getting it all wrong". The end result being that I can't get into character at all. Also, I'm no thespian in the first place. ;)
It really easy to do. Just think of the character's abilities, envision a man, and remove reason and accountability- ta da!! :p
(not at all serious)
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Having been in games where both love and lust have at times featured prominently, all I can say is that if it happens, it happens. I don't mind at all if PC's in my game want to get it on; if nothing else, it gives them more reason to work together as a team while adventuring...along with providing the occasional bit of drama; never a bad thing. :) As a player, if it makes sense for my PC to chase another PC, I'll do it just for the fun...and if a romance develops, fine...and I've done this while playing both male and female PC's. The one exception I make is that if I happen to be running 2 PC's at once, they will not get involved with each other...too much conflict of interest.

I've already had to dream up tables for pregnancy and childbirth (boy? girl? twins? healthy? etc.) for my game, along with figuring out what can successfully breed with what...and, having done that, I have to confess to some disappointment with the Book of Erotic Fantasy; it didn't do much more than re-hash what I'd already done, and somewhat more conservatively at that!

Lane-"so *that's* why they make all those Charisma-enhancing devices"-fan
 
ScardPtori said:
Just as a reference, there is a RPG book for this sort of thing. The Book of Erotic Fantasy by Gwendolyn F. M. Kestrel and Duncan Scott. I remember coming across this in the book store and being amazed someone actually published such an item. One of the things I remember it had was the length of pregnancy of an ogre. I dread the day my character has to worry about how long an ogre is going to be pregnant . . . :confused:
Haha, yeah, the BoUCK gets pretty out of control in a few... er... "places," too. In fact, there are a few tables in there that hew dangerously close to F.A.T.A.L.. *shudder*
 

iwatt

Visitor
Kormydigar said:
It really easy to do. Just think of the character's abilities, envision a man, and remove reason and accountability- ta da!! :p
(not at all serious)
:lol:

As funny as that quote is, I'm the kind of man that always makes jokes of that kind. Believe me, it doesn't help to role-play women when the first thing to come to your mind is a joke. And the second and third. ;)
 
DonTadow said:
(Note: Minor editing - MC) I think that was the problem and actually was related to another thread I posted a while back. This was an NPC the player created (without my knowledge) and threw at me. She had already introduced it in game so I didn't want to retro something that could be worked out. All of a sudden I find myself stuck playing this NPC I didn't create and whom seemed a bit out of place in the world.
I've had this happen to me before. IME, it is a warning sign that you and the player are going to have problems. Solutions I've employed in the past, after I went through pretty much the same thing:

1. Killed the NPC in a gruesome manner, with a new BBEG leaving his calling card. Instant character development and motivation. Revenge, especially for a slain love, is fun for most players.

2. Disallowed the NPC - it wasn't approved, so anything attached to that NPC is GONE and has no existence in the campaign.

3. Called a halt to the game and had the player accompany me out to the porch. There, I politely and succinctly explained: "This sort of activity is not only rude, but it is explicitly not allowed in my game. As written on the player handouts that I gave you when you joined/the campaign started, player-created NPCs, spells, magic items, and the like have to be submitted for DM approval at least two days before the next session or they are automatically disallowed. This is strike one. Don't do it again. And no, you can't have the NPC, spell, magic item, or whatever unless you follow the house rules." Then I went back inside to continue playing the game.

#3 worked best.

Hope this helps!
 
Love. Sex. Romance.

Howard's work had it.

Leiber's work had it.

Moorcock's work had it.

Tolkien's work had it.

Wagner's work had it.

Dumas' work had it.

etc.

If you don't have _any_ love, sex or romance in your game, you are running prepubescent/self-abusing otaku D&D and need to get out of your parents basement more, ya smelly Fat Beard.

Joke? Sure. :lol:
 

Goldmoon

Visitor
DonTadow said:
My NPCs do tend to hit on th prettier players more, but thats more of a coniencodence. I realized that the prettier female players in my game tend to play prettier, higher charasmatic characters where others tend to play low to normal charisma characterss.
I havent played with many other females in games. I think I play a good mix of the femme fatales and the roguish tomboys though. One thing I have noticed is that when I play a male character, one of the men will play a female character and try and have his character sleep with mine. Can I get a hormone check please? :p
 
I've had romance in every campaign I've ever DM'd. Some of the relationships: gambler - loan collector; rogue - bard cohort; cleric of Thor - paladin of Sif; barbarian Int 8 - wizardess int 25; dwarven barbarian - human sage specializing in dwarven barbarians; grand master of flowers - grand master of flowers from another prime material plane (GMF = max. level monk in 1e). It's great, and I would never want to DM a campaign without it!

As to whether WOTC should publish a book on it, I definitely think they should. Given some of the things they've edited out of books I've contributed to, however, I conclude that they are not interested in doing so - at all. I don't speak for WOTC in any way on this, though, and I could be completely wrong. But that's my strong impression.

As for not needing rules for human relationships, I don't think they'd be rules any more than the Diplomacy, Bluff, Intimidate, and Sense Motive skills are rules for human interactions. More like guidelines. Suitable for a handbook, or a guide, or a manual, but certainly not for a rulebook. :)
 

Orryn Emrys

Explorer
I've run a number of successful campaigns in which romance figured quite prominently... between PCs and PC/NPCs alike. It is, in my experience, an undeniably potent element of high fantasy, and most of my players tend to be purists... for whom a playing experience that has no option to explore such things would seem shallow and incomplete. Not to say that every player jumps on any opportunity to explore such relationships, but even though we've never actually discussed the place (or lack thereof) of such elements in gameplay, I think that my players would, by and large, be enormously surprised to discover that such concepts are strictly off-limits for some gaming groups. It's kind of like meta-gaming away some defining aspect of characterization, leaving the player unable to organically pursue the growth of his/her character.

Perhaps it helps that I've rather persistently enjoyed player groups of a mixed gender... but I think it's just the breed of player that's developed during my years of gaming. A player who wants to explore every important experience of a character's life to some degree or another.

I think my crowning achievement, for example, was a roleplaying situation during which, over the course of about a dozen sessions, I inspired a PC who had been tragically blinded in an earlier encounter to fall desperately in love with the woman who elected to tend to him and keep him company, despite the fact that he could not see her.... That player, who never once seemed uncomfortable during the roleplay encounters involved because he was so into the character, was certainly not the type who would seem responsive to such developments in-game... and to this day, he wonders how it happened.
 

fusangite

Visitor
DonTadow said:
A few days ago this would have been a rant, but I"ve managed to move on from the experience and walked away now forbidding any type of love in my games. I'll tell my scenerio in a later post, but I"m curious as to how or if others allow PCs to fall in love or have relationships in their game?
I don't disallow it. I don't need to. It's been pretty much an unspoken social contract in every game I have run that this is not something explored in games. Frankly, as a GM, I have less than no desire to roleplay NPCs who are in love with my PCs. And as a PC, I can't think of a player with whom I would be happy roleplaying such a thing because every other player is either (a) someone with whom you are in a romantic relationship or (b) someone with whom you are not in a romantic relationship. I cannot see any good coming of roleplaying romance with either category of person.
Should it be apart of the game? Does WOTC need to publish a supplement for fantasy relationships?
To do so would be to encourage them. In my experience, such relationships are corrosive to play dynamics and harmful of play far more often than not. WOTC would be ill-advised to publish anything that had a 90% chance of destabilizing interpersonal dynamics in gaming groups.
Should the love interest be apart of the story, sit at home in the background or be used as a plot device (the Joss Whedon's reason for having love interests in fiction).
Yes. I'm a big fan of the latter. I think that love is best represented in game as a motive or reason for acting rather than an event that is actually part of the play itself.
 
fusangite said:
Doug, never before have you and I been so completely on the same page.
Wow, I made two people's heads explode--admittedly I did summarise a lot of plot that makes more sense in context by placing it out of context in a short summary. I wonder how many more heads would explode if I tried to do a similar summary for my main face to face campaigns--last time I did so, I got this sig quote :D
 

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