Would you buy a rules free/light evil/mature product

Would you purchase an evil/mature game product if available?

  • Yes, I'm a consenting adult

    Votes: 10 13.3%
  • Yes, if I were a consenting adult

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No, I prefer my heroes to be good when they kill things

    Votes: 34 45.3%
  • Maybe, depends on who wrote it and how it was presented

    Votes: 31 41.3%

dm4hire

Explorer
In the thread “What could a publisher sell you RIGHT NOW” I discussed with a few others about the marketing of evil/mature material. One thing I pointed out is that if a company was to step up and fill this niche, making products on a regular basis, it would need to make the products rules light or applicable to more than one system. Thus not limiting themselves to one specific game as the products listed below did.

Here are examples of product ideas which could be or have already been done before but could be rehashed under the OGL or made rules light:

An evil/mature campaign world for evil PCs
Book of Vile Darkness
Book of Erotic Fantasy
Evil centered modules
Evil themed character classes (i.e. Assassin, Blackguard, etc)

My question is do you think the rpg market is broad enough to support such a niche market?
 

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S'mon

Legend
Hmm, currently I'll consider buying stuff that fits my current 1e City State of the Invincible Overlord campaign, a mostly Lawful Evil setting. I don't want a lot of rules crunch, but dark swords & sorcery urban adventures in the mold of Howard and Leiber would work, eg the xoth.net "Spider God's Bride" stuff - see: xoth.net publishing - sword and sorcery roleplaying adventures
I definitely don't want rules crunch for 'erotic fantasy', and we use 'fade to black' when PCs 'get it on'. But 'mature themes' are good, if handled with a fairly light touch as fits the Wilderlands, no grinding seriousness. Evil-centred modules with bad people doing bad things could work, eg adventures aimed at assassin and evil thief/rogue type PCs, opposing Good as well as Evil antagonists, horror elements, that sort of thing.
 
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Nymrohd

First Post
Unless such a product focused on crunch, which by the title your preempt it will not, I do not see the use. Certainly RPG products can present one with great ideas for adventuring and world building but especially evil or erotic material needs to be well developed to be acceptable in a campaign without it being artificial and just for shock value. I for one prefer to mine fantasy novels for such ideas, where the writer actually has the space required to develop such mythologies, cultures, characters or practices rather than pick them stripped in your average RPG product.
 

dm4hire

Explorer
Unless such a product focused on crunch, which by the title your preempt it will not, I do not see the use. Certainly RPG products can present one with great ideas for adventuring and world building but especially evil or erotic material needs to be well developed to be acceptable in a campaign without it being artificial and just for shock value. I for one prefer to mine fantasy novels for such ideas, where the writer actually has the space required to develop such mythologies, cultures, characters or practices rather than pick them stripped in your average RPG product.

My basis for rules free/light would be for the setting mainly. I think modeling it after Green Ronin's Freeport, where the setting book is rules free/light, and then do companion books to allow it to conform to other systems is the main key. It might even help circumvent license restrictions as you do the setting book however you want since it's not bound by any guidelines and is strickly yours. You then design the companion books following the restrictions for a given system since the majority of it would be mechanics; you'd only need to follow the fluff and art guidelines for it. Individual modules and sourcebooks would then be designed under the same guidelines for the companion books.

The problem with such a niche market is that if you aimed for only one system you would limit your possibilities. So my thinking with this format would then allow a broader market between the different systems out there. Freeport being my main example as I mentioned already has several system companions, including two systems by Green Ronin themselves.
 

malcolypse

First Post
i was looking for:

no, my pcs are plenty evil anyway, thank you.

or maybe,

no, that's what roleplaying night with my s/o is for.

i don't think a company could get by specializing in this kind of product unless they could find a way to market and sell their mature/adult products to kids, who would only need them so they could wave the mature/adult books under their friends noses to make them super envious.
 


Crothian

First Post
No, I wouldn't.

Companies have tried this more successfully then the examples you list but even those didn't interest me. It just starts to read like torture porn as writers try to shock the reader and one up what they already have done.
 
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jonesy

A Wicked Kendragon
For me the problem is the examples you cited.

Try Call of Cthulhu, Dread, Kult, World of Darkness, Ravenloft.. actually, the problem is that there are already so many whole settings which do what I need them to do that you're in a frightful competition with them.
 

Dausuul

Legend
To a great extent it depends on the definition of "mature." The 3E Book of Vile Darkness, for example, claimed to be mature content but was in fact quite the opposite; a lot of immature silliness where "vile darkness" appears to mean BDSM and topless women with lots of piercings. (Magic nipple clamps? Really?)

There are two ways you could go with a Book of Vile Darkness or similar sourcebook. If you wanted it to be really mature content, you'd portray evil in a realistic way and pull no punches. Such a book would be aimed purely at the DM, to create truly vile opponents; it would be a twisted player indeed who could read about the real-life effects of murder, torture, rape, genocide, and so forth and then set out to create a character who did those things.

I wouldn't buy such a book, though, and I don't know that I'd even want to see it published. You're venturing into real-life territory there, and there's no way to know if someone in your group is a survivor. (Yes, even of genocide. It still happens.) You could seriously hurt people and wreck friendships by introducing that kind of material. I have a hard time imagining a use for such a BoVD that outweighs the risks.

So my preference would be to go with a cinematic portrayal of evil and dump the "mature content" label (unless you're worried about reviving the D&D-is-Satanism craze). Devote chapters to various types of cinematic villainy and include examples, mechanics, and advice for creating memorable villains. This sort of BoVD could have some player crunch for the occasional evil party, perhaps even a chapter or two devoted specifically to evil PCs. I'd buy that if it was well written.

As for a Book of Erotic Fantasy? Well, I guess the question there is whether the goal is to take a typical RPG campaign and add a few risque elements, or to make the RPG equivalent of erotica/porn--a campaign revolving around sexual situations and activities.

If the former, you'd probably want to focus on mechanics and plot techniques for incorporating sex and love:

  • An introduction laying out the types of things you might want to incorporate and how to approach them (are you looking for tragic romances, or ale and whores?).
  • Guidelines for developing romances and playing out seductions, with the option to "draw the curtain" at various points depending on how explicit you want to be.
  • A chapter on possible "side effects" of sex, like STDs and pregnancy, with mechanics designed to discourage DMs from using these things as "gotchas" for players.
  • Some material on sexual mores in real-world cultures both past and present.
  • Equipment and hirelings (yes, that kind of equipment and hirelings, but also stuff like fertility drugs and cosmetics).
  • And, of course, the chapter on how to establish what level of explicitness is and is not acceptable in your gaming group.

Eric's grandmother is watching, so I'm not going to go into what the other type of BoEF would entail. Let's just say I don't think you'd have much of a market among D&D's standard player base; I have never been in a gaming group where I'd feel remotely comfortable with a campaign like that. On the other hand, you might be able to pull in quite a few new players by advertising in... other venues.
 
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the Jester

Legend
I'd be a lot less likely to buy one that was rules light; but an evil/mature product aimed at my current rule set of choice? Sure, if it was good quality.

Edit: I love me some evil.
 
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