Players 'distressed' by gang-rape role-playing game

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dragoner

Dying in Chargen
Any rape or anything, nope. We have kicked GM's from the group, it's why some of us get asked to GM all the time, because we can run an interesting game without resorting to "shock", and some aren't allowed to GM.
 

mythago

Explorer
Yep, some do. And the best thing to do is to handle it quickly, openly, and relatively quietly.
Why 'relatively quietly' (which is somewhat of a contradiction to 'openly')? Nothing is served by shutting up and agreeing never to speak of it again. For one thing, the convention's quick and decisive response is a good model for other groups to follow. For another, it's great PR for gaming to be a more welcoming place that it's historically been.
 

LordEntrails

Adventurer
Why 'relatively quietly' (which is somewhat of a contradiction to 'openly')? Nothing is served by shutting up and agreeing never to speak of it again. For one thing, the convention's quick and decisive response is a good model for other groups to follow. For another, it's great PR for gaming to be a more welcoming place that it's historically been.
'Relatively quietly' because what value is it to blow it up and make it the front page? Those that need to know, know.

I never said or even implied that anyone should be "shutting up and agreeing to never speak of it again." Quite contradictory to what I said. It almost seems like you just want to start some big, useless, internet debate.

We agreed it was handled appropriately. It has been socialize/publicized to the community. Nothing more needs to be said about it.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
Gauging how quiet is too quiet is tricky, though.

Not that I’m at the nexus of all things gaming, but I wouldn’t have heard of this without this thread in particular. I’d think that this guy’s ID should be shared with other persons and organizations running conversations. WORLDWIDE.

Think of it like the anti-hooligan regulations that exist in the soccer world.
 

Tonguez

Adventurer
I've used settings in which things like Orcs raping victims occur in the background and ran a demon corrupted Monstary where corrupted monks were implied to pedophiles, and one of my characters was captured and tortured by bandits (three of his fingers were cut off) but still it is never okay for PCs to be victims of rape or for anyone to go through the process of describing it to them.

This particular DM needs therapy, thinking it was okay to introduce shock value into a public con was entirely inappropriate
 

LordEntrails

Adventurer
I think we can talk about things which are important to us.
Absolutely. Talk, discuss. Guess I'm just expecting a bunch of hyperbole and uninformed statements of socio-political blah.

But, obviously not something I should or care to engage in, so I will remove myself from the thread.
 

Hussar

Legend
It is somewhat encouraging that this was dealt with quickly and publicly. I have a sneaking suspicion that in the not too distant past, this sort of thing would be brushed off as "boys being boys" and likely never even addressed. The fact that players can actually bring attention to this and not be immediately dogpiled for being "too sensitive" (outside, apparently, some fringe Reddit comments) is actually something good I think we can take away from this.
 
There will always be those in this hobby who just don't get it; people who don't have properly developed concepts regarding appropriate behavior (in public OR private), courtesy, decorum, etc. They flew "under the radar" for a LONG time, with such actions being overlooked or tolerated when they should have been roundly condemned and faithfully chased out. I think the hobby is playing catch-up as far as that goes. It's reaching a wider audience and drawing more attention at the same time that tolerance for such behavior ANYWHERE has now worn all but completely away. Even with exemplary self-policing at stores and cons the "neanderthals" are going to slip through from time to time. You don't expect to change human nature, you just reach for the best and do what you can to keep the darker side and the worst people as strongly in check as possible - same as everywhere else in life.
 

Celebrim

Legend
I'm always astounded at people's capacity for stupidity and evil. This sort of horror story always sounds made up, simply because it's so unbelievable that anyone would do this sort of thing. And yet, it keeps happening apparently again and again.

Also, "shock value" is so trite and overrated. After Charles Baudelaire cornered that market like 150 years ago, if you are still thinking you are being edgy by being "shocking", you are just stupid and ignorant. Nothing so proves the inability to write and create by resorting to "shocking" elements. If your RPG seems like it could use a character translator between F.A.T.A.L. and back, you really need to reevaluate what you are doing with your life.

The really interesting assertion for me in this thread though was the idea that at some time in the past this would have been considered acceptable. I've never been into the Con scene, and obviously I'm a "prude" and a lot of things don't fly with me that might fly with some other groups (and I could list some designers as proof of that), but it's hard for me to imagine a group that I've been in which wouldn't get wierded out by some GM running a psycho-sexual scenario. Like we all firmly want to keep that sort of "role-play" out of our games, is one thing I think every player I've ever met would agree on. I can sort of get that some wierdo or crazy might go to a convention to get their twisted kicks, but is it really true that at one time this would have been brushed over as not weird?
 

aramis erak

Explorer
While there are those who like to push buttons....

The putz at that table is well past "unacceptable"...

You don't spring loss of character control on players.
You don't use sexual content in game without prior approval of the players.
You don't use sexual violence in game without prior approval of the players.
You don't use sexual content in public or near children.
You especially don't use sexual violence content in view of children.

THat the game is about kids is even more squeamish a situation, too. I wonder if he has (or lives with someone else's) kids; if he does, it's a bit more worrisome still.

It's also sad, but inevitable, that some serious jerks will agree with his choices. The internet is filled with troll havens.
 

Riley37

Visitor
is it really true that at one time this would have been brushed over as not weird?
I don't think there's been a year, between 1974 and 2019, in which no TRPGers anywhere would have any objections or concerns about a con game going down that path.

I also don't think there's been a year, between 1974 and 2019, in which no one anywhere was eager to project their sexual fantasies into TRPG.

Example one: that Dead Alewives skit, with a line to the effect of "if there are any chicks in the tavern, I want to do them"
Example two: that time I visited by Friendly Local Game Store to join one of their open D&D tables, and one of the regular players established *before the session started* that his character was "rapey" (his word, not mine) (this was in the last year or so).
Example three: in 1980, Jean Wells wrote the module "Palace of the Silver Princess", which includes a scene in which the DM narrates, to the players, that they see a gang of men, a captive young woman, and sexualized violence. The module included an illustration of this scene. Someone *in the post-production process* realized that shipping this module to hobby stores would be a bad idea. TSR buried thousands of "orange cover" copies in a landfill, then hired Tom Moldvay to rewrite the module; they then published the "green cover" version listing both Moldvay and Wells as authors.

As you say, "it keeps happening apparently again and again". It's as if there was some sort of ongoing struggle between the best and worst aspects of humanity.
 
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Imaculata

Adventurer
And for this reason session 0's were invented. Discuss which themes and topics may come up in your campaign before you start subjecting your players to it. If for example you run a horror campaign, then body horror may be part of the game, and thats fine... but where are the limits? It is incredibly important to get all your players on the same page. It doesn't sound like this DM really cared for any of that. It's sad that for some players this was their first D&D experience.
 

MGibster

Adventurer
And for this reason session 0's were invented. Discuss which themes and topics may come up in your campaign before you start subjecting your players to it. If for example you run a horror campaign, then body horror may be part of the game, and thats fine... but where are the limits? It is incredibly important to get all your players on the same page. It doesn't sound like this DM really cared for any of that. It's sad that for some players this was their first D&D experience.
A con game is typically a one shot very often played with people who have never met before so a session zero isn't really practical. But it would be trivial to include content warnings on the sign in sheet so people had an idea of what they were getting into. But even then that particular scenario was not appropriate for the venue even if the players knew what they were getting into.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
I don't think there's been a year, between 1974 and 2019, in which no TRPGers anywhere would have any objections or concerns about a con game going down that path.

I also don't think there's been a year, between 1974 and 2019, in which no one anywhere was eager to project their sexual fantasies into TRPG.

Example one: that Dead Alewives skit, with a line to the effect of "if there are any chicks in the tavern, I want to do them"
Example two: that time I visited by Friendly Local Game Store to join one of their open D&D tables, and one of the regular players established *before the session started* that his character was "rapey" (his word, not mine) (this was in the last year or so).
Example three: in 1980, Jean Wells wrote the module "Palace of the Silver Princess", which includes a scene in which the DM narrates, to the players, that they see a gang of men, a captive young woman, and sexualized violence. The module included an illustration of this scene. Someone *in the post-production process* realized that shipping this module to hobby stores would be a bad idea.[/B} TSR buried thousands of "orange cover" copies in a landfill, then hired Tom Moldvay to rewrite the module; they then published the "green cover" version listing both Moldvay and Wells as authors.

As you say, "it keeps happening apparently again and again". It's as if there was some sort of ongoing struggle between the best and worst aspects of humanity.


Two things-

I completely agree about the overall issue that this keep happening again, and again, in this hobby; for example, the FATAL rpg. I do think that things have gotten much better over time, as the hobby has expanded to include more diverse voices and viewpoints, but better is far from perfect- it's still an ongoing issue, and there are people who, unfortunately, don't want to see the hobby change in a way that is more inclusive.


I do have a slight quibble regarding the Orange Cover B3- it's a bit more complicated than that.

Here are some helpful links-
https://www.wired.com/story/racy-dandd-module-oral-history/
https://kotaku.com/d-d-wouldn-t-be-what-it-is-today-without-these-women-1796426183

In comparison to a lot of the art at the time, and a lot of the stuff that was being produced by TSR, it wasn't really that odd (whether that is damning or not ... well ....). But there were some odd dynamics going on behind the scenes.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
There's a "right" kind of group?

That's almost...more disturbing.
I'm assuming a charitable reading of the comment is that adult situations should only be done with the full knowledge, understanding, and prior consent of the group.

That said, I also have a hard time understanding the "right" group for the type of scenario that the title is describing. A group without me, certainly.
 

Ralif Redhammer

Adventurer
I fear that’s a part of it. Like, I couldn’t imagine having the chutzpah to show up to a con game table that was 50% women and play a pole dancer-bard, complete with a miniature to match (true story, this).

Anyway, appalling is the right word for the original incident. I’m glad to hear that it was handled quickly and decisively.

I like to think that I do a good job at being respectful of my players boundaries, but I’ve been considering implementing the X-card system at my open table, just to be sure.

Yeah, it was quite disturbing how willing these people were to be public with their "fixations" like they got some kind of extra kick about doing it in public.
 

Bagpuss

Adventurer
I like to think that I do a good job at being respectful of my players boundaries, but I’ve been considering implementing the X-card system at my open table, just to be sure.
While this was probably prompted as a parody of the "X-Card" I think it is actually worth looking at as it tackles the same problem from a different direction. I also think it would have worked better in this instance.

The "M-Card"

https://postmortemstudios.wordpress.com/2018/06/26/rpg-m-card-roleplaying-outside-safe-spaces/

While either of those might have helped in the situation that lead to the news article, with the M-Card the player would have been suitably forewarned assuming the GM was sensible enough to put "sexual violence" on the card. So wouldn't have sat at the table in the first place. The M-Card also works better in a con environment as it lets people not involved in the game know the content isn't suitable to all, so they can stay clear, rather than an X-Card that tells you nothing of the content of the game, and is no help to people not playing.

The problem with the X-Card in this instance, is by the time comes when you need to use it the damage is already done.

However I think neither would have worked in this instance, because the GM in question wouldn't have used any "safety tools" because the shock factor was what they were looking for. So they weren't likely to forewarn the players in either case.
 
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