WotC WotC needs an Elon Musk

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Faolyn

(she/her)
I will never get over the juxtaposition of:

1) Numenera's overall vibe, concepts and ideas, which were astonishing, cool, wild, modern and just really rocking.

2) Numenera's default setting, which was basically just bog-standard "medieval fantasy" (in the same sense D&D is) with a few bits of super-tech or high-tech laying about. Nothing amazing, nothing cool, just really weak.

It was like two entirely different people wrote them, but the reality is, both those people were Monte Cook. Ah the Duality of Monte.
Numenera, sadly, falls apart quite easily. Cool setting supposedly based entirely around discovery and exploration, with no rules to support discovery or exploration--but lots of rules to support combat, which the game is supposedly against. Cool monsters, but they're so mysterious that it's difficult to do much with them other than to fight them.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
I don't think that is the line you want to draw here. Real people can be attacked by real people. Real people can be eaten. Having a villain attack a PC is generally OK. Having a great white shark threaten to eat a PC is generally OK. Having someone be abused by an evil fae or an undead would not make it OK.
But that is where lines and veils come in.

But for the big things, like rape? That's something that doesn't have to be put into an official book because it doesn't actually add anything to the game as a whole.
 

jgsugden

Legend
But that is where lines and veils come in.

But for the big things, like rape? That's something that doesn't have to be put into an official book because it doesn't actually add anything to the game as a whole.
I would draw a line here.

How do we approach rape in tv, movies, and books? The answer should be either that we DON'T, or we approach it with maturity, respect and caution. What is maturity, respect and caution? It starts with: Don't throw it in - but if it has a purpose, consider if it is an acceptable use.

TV, movies and books are storytelling. So is D&D. To me, there is still an appropriate place for the inclusion of highly offensive concepts in a role playing game, but they have to be handled with maturity, respect and caution.

Many people would draw a line that says it absolutely should never ever be included in a game. That is fine. That belief, however, also isn't going to be universally accepted. To that end, we need to consider what is the best way to address the situations where that approach is not followed. And how might we achieve maturity, respect and caution when it is to be used? With appropriate training.

Where do we get our training on how to play the game? Primarily: the books.

Does this mean every game should allow discussion of rape? Absolutely not. DMs should use session 0s and their own evaluation of a situation to decide what is appropriate for their game table. I expect many, if not most, would say it should be excluded.

Does this mean I think we should have a chapter in the main DMG about how to approach rape in your campaign? NO. It does not. Howeverm, there should be a chapter in the main DMG that trains us on how to use a Session 0 to determine what is appropriate for the group and game being run.

And I believe we should have guidance in some book to help DMs learn to approach the topic with maturity, respect and caution.

A game with the inclusion of offensive concepts is not for everyone. These offensive concepts do feed into some types of fantasy stories that some people wish to include in their games, including games that tackle historical wrongs, games that are trying to evoke a harsh world like Game of Thrones, and others. Those games are not for everyone. But, when those games are going to be run, I'd rather we provide DMs (and players) with tools to approach them with the maturity, respect and caution that a good author uses when approaching them in their works.
 


Faolyn

(she/her)
I would draw a line here.

How do we approach rape in tv, movies, and books? The answer should be either that we DON'T, or we approach it with maturity, respect and caution. What is maturity, respect and caution? It starts with: Don't throw it in - but if it has a purpose, consider if it is an acceptable use.
RPGs are not TV, movies, or books. TV, movies, and books are passive--you, the audience, are absorbing what the writers, actors, artists, etc., have produced. You can choose to continue to engage or to not.

But RPGs don't have that. They are fully interactive. If there's a rape, it's not something you're watching and can flip past or fast forward through; it's something literally can be happening, real-time, to your character. And even if you throw a veil over it, it's still something that has happened to you.

Many people would draw a line that says it absolutely should never ever be included in a game. That is fine. That belief, however, also isn't going to be universally accepted. To that end, we need to consider what is the best way to address the situations where that approach is not followed. And how might we achieve maturity, respect and caution when it is to be used? With appropriate training.
The best way to include it is not in a book published by a major company.

Rape is something you can include in your homebrew or 3pp games (with a big warning), if you like. It should not be put out by WotC or another major company, especially not when they produce material also for kids.

If WotC wanted to put out a "mature gamers" line of books specifically for the purpose of including things like rape, then that's another thing. But not in the main line.

The rest of what you write--on having session 0s--I agree with.
 

Voadam

Legend
It's the only thing about FR I thought was interesting, conversely.
Tastes vary. :)

For me I found the descriptions of the Time of Troubles god activities in the 2e god books really great lore, stuff like the Nobanion/Malar showdown. A lot of good stories of gods doing stuff to flesh out god lore.

The actual ToT trilogy novels were eh for me. In particular I am not a fan of Ao which the ToT introduced, I thought Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkuul were great flavorful gods to have in the setting so I was not happy to see them killed as a background story element/novel development. Maybe it would be different for me if I had gotten the modules to run or if I had played through them myself. Blinding Tyr to make a point about Ao's power was meh for me. I liked having a mesopotamian style tablets of fate thing that gods were scheming and seeking out though.
 

RPGs are not TV, movies, or books. TV, movies, and books are passive--you, the audience, are absorbing what the writers, actors, artists, etc., have produced. You can choose to continue to engage or to not.

But RPGs don't have that. They are fully interactive. If there's a rape, it's not something you're watching and can flip past or fast forward through; it's something literally can be happening, real-time, to your character. And even if you throw a veil over it, it's still something that has happened to you.
1st and only time I tried to play 3e was with a DM who thought his job was to mess with the players as much as humanly possible, including sexual assault. I quickly decided no D&D was better than bad D&D and left before the 1st session was finished. I'm sure there's a time and a place for it, but I personally couldn't give an example I'd find acceptable.
 

Xamnam

Loves Your Favorite Game
If WotC wanted to put out a "mature gamers" line of books specifically for the purpose of including things like rape, then that's another thing. But not in the main line.

Maybe I'm misreading them, but I think they agree with you on all of this, here:

Does this mean I think we should have a chapter in the main DMG about how to approach rape in your campaign? NO. It does not. Howeverm, there should be a chapter in the main DMG that trains us on how to use a Session 0 to determine what is appropriate for the group and game being run.

And I believe we should have guidance in some book to help DMs learn to approach the topic with maturity, respect and caution.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
If WotC wanted to put out a "mature gamers" line of books specifically for the purpose of including things like rape, then that's another thing.
I'd love to see this; not because of the rape part (which could even mostly be left out of a mature book, honestly; though the forced-seduction effects of Dryads, Incubi/Succubi, Sirens, etc. would still need to be detailed) but because of all the other mature-ish things the game touches on but never quite details:

--- sex and romance between PCs and-or NPCs
--- the mating rituals/customs/acts of different species
--- sex and shapeshifters
--- odds of getting pregnant, broken down by species and-or species combination
--- birth control and-or abortion means and methods for different species, and how different species/cultures might perceive these things
--- effects of a whole bunch of spells if cast on someone who is pregnant*
--- effects of massive damage on someone who is pregnant
--- different means of gestation and-or birth by species e.g. egg-laying (like birds), viable infant (like humans), fully-formed (like black puddings), or ???
--- by-species odds of the offspring's gender at birth, also odds of multiple birth (twins, etc.)
--- a deep delve into what species can breed with what other species (apropos to another active thread) and what the resulting offspring might be in terms of game mechanics
--- some charts and tables to see what unexpected surprises your PC might have in its genetics - e.g. is your PC descended from a deity?

When I first heard about it, I had very high hopes the 3e-era "Book of Erotic Fantasy" would cover this stuff. On reading it I was very disappointed.

* - examples: a pregnant person dies and is then hit with Revivify or Raise Dead, what happens next; or, does a near-term fetus count as a person for purposes of the passenger limit on Planeshift; that sort of thing.
 

jgsugden

Legend
RPGs are not TV, movies, or books. TV, movies, and books are passive--you, the audience, are absorbing what the writers, actors, artists, etc., have produced. You can choose to continue to engage or to not.

But RPGs don't have that. They are fully interactive. If there's a rape, it's not something you're watching and can flip past or fast forward through; it's something literally can be happening, real-time, to your character. And even if you throw a veil over it, it's still something that has happened to you.
I have watched tv, seen movies, and read books that are far more immersive than most D&D sessions in which I've played. Creators strive to make you care about their characters and what happens to them. I get your point, but you're underestimating the impact in these other storytelling environments. These situations are not like a RPG where you are in a character's shoes, but that does not mean you won't be personally effected.

Further, you're going from one extreme (don't touch it) to the far extreme with no consideration of the middle. Through the use of appropriate care, maturity, respect and caution you can have many different levels inbetween total exclusion and the potential of an offensive event (which is a category broader than rape) taking place to/with your character.

******

References to past offensive events obliquely.

References to it happening to NPCs the PCs have never even heard of before.

References to it happening to a PC the PCs have heard referenced.

Observing the aftermath.

Addressing the setup of the situation with a known NPC and then interposing before it is actioned.

Addressing the setup and then fading to black.

... I can draw lines over and over and different groups might decide to include or exclude each one.

******

If your personal line is total exclusion: I support that 100000%. Others will not share your line, and I'd rather there be tools to help them avoid traumitizing others rather than have them emulate Game of Thrones and do real damage out of ignorance and through a negligent lack of preparation by the company facilitating their gaming experience. Again - that does not mean a rape section in the DMG - it means the proper tools to help people evaluate if and how to include offensive topics, and pointing them to resources to help them use maturity, respect and caution if they do decide to implement them.

Also consider the breadth of offensive content. It isn't just one topic. It is oh so many. Discrimination of many types and in many levels of intesity, criminal activity of a wide array of types and impacts, phobia triggers ... there is a lot to consider. At the end of the day, if you want to set a line with no risk of offensive content, you need to remove all violence, fantasy and conflict from your games. At heart, D&D is often designed to tell the battle of good versus evil. We need the guidelines to approach that evil in a mature, respectful and cautious way.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
I'd love to see this; not because of the rape part (which could even mostly be left out of a mature book, honestly; though the forced-seduction effects of Dryads, Incubi/Succubi, Sirens, etc. would still need to be detailed) but because of all the other mature-ish things the game touches on but never quite details:

--- sex and romance between PCs and-or NPCs
--- the mating rituals/customs/acts of different species
--- sex and shapeshifters
--- odds of getting pregnant, broken down by species and-or species combination
--- birth control and-or abortion means and methods for different species, and how different species/cultures might perceive these things
--- effects of a whole bunch of spells if cast on someone who is pregnant*
--- effects of massive damage on someone who is pregnant
--- different means of gestation and-or birth by species e.g. egg-laying (like birds), viable infant (like humans), fully-formed (like black puddings), or ???
--- by-species odds of the offspring's gender at birth, also odds of multiple birth (twins, etc.)
--- a deep delve into what species can breed with what other species (apropos to another active thread) and what the resulting offspring might be in terms of game mechanics
--- some charts and tables to see what unexpected surprises your PC might have in its genetics - e.g. is your PC descended from a deity?

When I first heard about it, I had very high hopes the 3e-era "Book of Erotic Fantasy" would cover this stuff. On reading it I was very disappointed.

* - examples: a pregnant person dies and is then hit with Revivify or Raise Dead, what happens next; or, does a near-term fetus count as a person for purposes of the passenger limit on Planeshift; that sort of thing.
As an aside, I would love if the word "mature" wasn't always used as code for "having to do with sex in some way".
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
1st and only time I tried to play 3e was with a DM who thought his job was to mess with the players as much as humanly possible, including sexual assault. I quickly decided no D&D was better than bad D&D and left before the 1st session was finished. I'm sure there's a time and a place for it, but I personally couldn't give an example I'd find acceptable.
Yeah. This is something that I think is a big problem. People are going to be terrible people no matter what, but actively including sexual assault would, I think, just encourage it even more.

Further, you're going from one extreme (don't touch it) to the far extreme with no consideration of the middle. Through the use of appropriate care, maturity, respect and caution you can have many different levels inbetween total exclusion and the potential of an offensive event (which is a category broader than rape) taking place to/with your character.
I agree I'm going to extremes, but I think that this is one of those things where better safe than sorry. Almost everything that can harm you in D&D can be undone with time or a spell, like cure wounds or restoration. There's no remove rape.

Now personally, I would be OK with "the evil hordes are approaching to pillage and rape." It's anything that actually has the chance of appearing "on screen," even just to NPCs in the background, that I'm against. And even as an extreme background event, rape is one of those things that honestly never really needs to be there. You can show a creature is evil in a hundred ways without resorting to it.

Discrimination of many types and in many levels of intesity, criminal activity of a wide array of types and impacts, phobia triggers ... there is a lot to consider. At the end of the day, if you want to set a line with no risk of offensive content, you need to remove all violence, fantasy and conflict from your games. At heart, D&D is often designed to tell the battle of good versus evil. We need the guidelines to approach that evil in a mature, respectful and cautious way.
This, of course, is also very true. I'm not trying to set a line of zero potentially offensive content, but I am trying to say "here is a thing that is universally considered a terrible thing in real life. Let's not include it."

Criminal activity, violence, killing, even potentially discrimination are all things that depend very highly on specific circumstances within the game. If you're killing the invaders who are trying to steal all your food, or are killing the vampire who is turning everyone into its thralls, that's not a bad act. If you're stealing from a merchant to feed people, or from the despotic king to make it harder for him to send his oppressive tropes, that's not a bad act. If people from the Land of Demonica have traditionally aligned themselves with the forces of darkness and most are devout and active servitors of murder-hungry demons, and this is literally true and not just bigoted propaganda, then saying "no Demonicans allowed" actually makes sense.

I'd love to see this; not because of the rape part (which could even mostly be left out of a mature book, honestly; though the forced-seduction effects of Dryads, Incubi/Succubi, Sirens, etc. would still need to be detailed) but because of all the other mature-ish things the game touches on but never quite details:

--- sex and romance between PCs and-or NPCs
--- the mating rituals/customs/acts of different species
--- sex and shapeshifters
--- odds of getting pregnant, broken down by species and-or species combination
--- birth control and-or abortion means and methods for different species, and how different species/cultures might perceive these things
--- effects of a whole bunch of spells if cast on someone who is pregnant*
--- effects of massive damage on someone who is pregnant
--- different means of gestation and-or birth by species e.g. egg-laying (like birds), viable infant (like humans), fully-formed (like black puddings), or ???
--- by-species odds of the offspring's gender at birth, also odds of multiple birth (twins, etc.)
--- a deep delve into what species can breed with what other species (apropos to another active thread) and what the resulting offspring might be in terms of game mechanics
--- some charts and tables to see what unexpected surprises your PC might have in its genetics - e.g. is your PC descended from a deity?
I wouldn't mind seeing that sort of stuff--some of it I would even love to see, for worldbuilding purposes--if it was written well by someone who wasn't using it as fetish fuel. Which is always the problem. Some of it isn't really necessary, IMO, since how often is "odds of getting pregnant" really going to be so important to a game that the DM needs to roll dice for it rather than make a decision (for NPCs) or talk it over with a PC?
 


Gradine

Final Form (she/they)
I would draw a line here.

How do we approach rape in tv, movies, and books? The answer should be either that we DON'T, or we approach it with maturity, respect and caution. What is maturity, respect and caution? It starts with: Don't throw it in - but if it has a purpose, consider if it is an acceptable use.
I will add that in my my limited experience in sensitivity reading, I've leaned toward the latter answer on this (and other) questions.

It's harder to define the line there than it is identify what side of the line any given product (or representation) falls on. If nothing else, The Book of Vile Darkness (3.5) serves an excellent example of what not to do
 

Gradine

Final Form (she/they)
I will never get over the juxtaposition of:

1) Numenera's overall vibe, concepts and ideas, which were astonishing, cool, wild, modern and just really rocking.

2) Numenera's default setting, which was basically just bog-standard "medieval fantasy" (in the same sense D&D is) with a few bits of super-tech or high-tech laying about. Nothing amazing, nothing cool, just really weak.

It was like two entirely different people wrote them, but the reality is, both those people were Monte Cook. Ah the Duality of Monte.
I found that the creators of Torment: Tides of Numenera did a way better job of creating an interesting setting than Monte's core books did. The video game set me on the path to learn more about the TTRPG. I was... underwhelmed, to put it mildly.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I wouldn't mind seeing that sort of stuff--some of it I would even love to see, for worldbuilding purposes--if it was written well by someone who wasn't using it as fetish fuel. Which is always the problem. Some of it isn't really necessary, IMO, since how often is "odds of getting pregnant" really going to be so important to a game that the DM needs to roll dice for it rather than make a decision (for NPCs) or talk it over with a PC?
How often? Given the 40 years history of inter-character romances, flings, marriages, flirts, one-nighters, etc. - and childbirths - I've both run and played in, the answer boils down to "you might be surprised".

And why would I, with something so random and (unless preventative measures are taken) so out of the PC's control, talk it over with the player? The player's already made the decision to have their PC get it on with whoever, any consequences arising from that are now in the hands of the fates.

Nope, this is one where the dice decide.

Edit to add: and to the best of my knowledge this side-topic around in-game sex etc. has nothing to do with Elon Musk, as he is not an NPC in my game and I'm willing to bet not in anyone else's either.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
How often? Given the 40 years history of inter-character romances, flings, marriages, flirts, one-nighters, etc. - and childbirths - I've both run and played in, the answer boils down to "you might be surprised".

And why would I, with something so random and (unless preventative measures are taken) so out of the PC's control, talk it over with the player? The player's already made the decision to have their PC get it on with whoever, any consequences arising from that are now in the hands of the fates.

Nope, this is one where the dice decide.
Yeah, see, that would get you tossed at my table. Something that major, something that will literally make a character unplayable for a long period of time? It gets discussed with the player first. The end.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Yeah, see, that would get you tossed at my table. Something that major, something that will literally make a character unplayable for a long period of time? It gets discussed with the player first. The end.
Player chose to risk making the character unplayable, not me. I just roll the dice. From the dM side it's similar to the player risking making the character unplayable in a myriad of other ways, of which death is the most obvious.

Further, unplayable for how long? The last PC who gave birth in my game was still adventuring until about 6 months pregnant, then retired for three months while her old party kept truckin', gave birth, and was back in the field eight days (!) later with a different party having left the baby with a nanny.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Player chose to risk making the character unplayable, not me. I just roll the dice. From the dM side it's similar to the player risking making the character unplayable in a myriad of other ways, of which death is the most obvious.

Further, unplayable for how long? The last PC who gave birth in my game was still adventuring until about 6 months pregnant, then retired for three months while her old party kept truckin', gave birth, and was back in the field eight days (!) later with a different party having left the baby with a nanny.
Give me a break. You don't "just roll the dice." You, the DM, actively decided that this was a risk rather than let this be something the player had a choice in or simply not have it be an issue at all.
 

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