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Atcote
2010-12-07, 02:06 AM
I was playing a campaign recently, DnD 4th Edition, and something happened to one of the PCs. It was not my own character, but it still set me on edge. To be blunt (in the way that a soggy loaf of bread is blunt), it is a serious crime that starts with the 18th letter of the alphabet (that I'm pretty sure is not correct to bring up directly here), and nobody in the group, except for the DM (who I'll admit was acting rather innocently in trying to bring more drama into the character campaigns), felt comfortable with it. He refused to remove it from the story as it had 'already happened', and he got his shock response he wanted, but now the player no longer feels comfortable playing his (female) character, due to a lack of knowing how to react, and pulled out of the game.

This isn't really a topic about that crime; I know that it is popular in backstories, but I realised how very different it felt happening in the game itself.

So tell me, what's the worst thing that can happen to your characters in a game with you still being comfortable with it?

I'll just say, we're fine with murder, torture and having your family lost in a fire, but that felt like the act in the scenario was certainly one step too far.

EDIT: Sorry Mods, put this in the completely wrong topic. Can this be moved to roleplaying or deleted?

Dr.Epic
2010-12-07, 10:19 AM
So tell me, what's the worst thing that can happen to your characters in a game with you still being comfortable with it?

I had a low level barbarian who lost his chainmail armor (something which I nearly spent all my character's wealth on) to a rust monster.

I also had a barb. that had a magic item that would switch their gender whenever said item got wet.

I think I also had a wizard once who lost their spellbook.

Leecros
2010-12-07, 10:33 AM
the first character i ever made was a fighter with a 10 con... he only had a handful of HP and died in the first fight.

In my defense the DM didn't tell me anything about what any of the stats did.

Dr.Epic
2010-12-07, 10:37 AM
the first character i ever made was a fighter with a 10 con... he only had a handful of HP and died in the first fight.

What were your other stats? Did you roll horribly or make a beginner's mistake and not think con was important?

Leecros
2010-12-07, 10:57 AM
What were your other stats? Did you roll horribly or make a beginner's mistake and not think con was important?

I don't even remember my other stats, this was...6 or 7 years ago. The only reason i recall my con was because of my freakishly low hp. I didn't really understand the stats at the time and the DM was impatient to start(he's not very new-person friendly) and he just said to roll 6 stats and put them in going straight down.

Also he just had us roll 3d6 for stats. There was no 4d6, drop the lowest or other variants to reduce the likelihood of getting below average stats to him. Of course that's not a sure thing either way, my current character has a 6 int which is very entertaining to play.:smallbiggrin:

I think the biggest issue was that i didn't understand how to play and the DM didn't help at all and i was kind of left hanging by the other players. That put me off D&D for a couple of years...

oxybe
2010-12-07, 11:16 AM
high level game. i forget to make myself immune to death effects that one morning.

then the GM goes

"make a spot check." fail

enemy get initiative

"make a fort save". fail

you die

:smallyuk:

i then had to sit out the rest of that session and most of the next due to the party being on a schedule where "teleport to city and rest so cleric can prep a revival spell+get diamonds (which of course, had to not have them on hand)" .

it wasn't even some of those sessions where i could grab an NPC and start fighting, since that fight was the one fight of the session...

Chilingsworth
2010-12-07, 11:18 AM
The worst thing I'd be comfortable with my character enduring? I can't really imagine anything I'd be absolutely unwilling to allow.

The worst thing that's happened to one of my characters? Probably when my brand new fourth-level fighter Kay was killed by a single greataxe crit from a grimlock barbarian on the first night of his existance as a PC. It was my first session with the group, too.

Pika...
2010-12-07, 11:23 AM
Being turned into turtle soup by your party members after just dying.

I did this to my good friend TurtleKing recently. :smallbiggrin:

grimbold
2010-12-07, 11:25 AM
death by cooking utensils
soo embarassing

FMArthur
2010-12-07, 11:27 AM
Having your character 'Meenlock'ed is a horrible thing. Any "fate worse than death" outcome really makes me feel like I failed to protect my character as if it was a child I was supposed to take care of.

Death's so transient and the afterlife so well-defined that it actually doesn't bother me, though.

molten_dragon
2010-12-07, 11:30 AM
The worst thing that can happen to my character is anything that results in me not being able to play for awhile.

hangedman1984
2010-12-07, 11:34 AM
... and nobody in the group...felt comfortable with it. He refused to remove it from the story as it had 'already happened', and he got his shock response he wanted, but now the player no longer feels comfortable playing his (female) char

This sounds like a major issue. If the entire group is uncomfortable, so uncomfortable that at least one player left the game, than the dm should not be using it. And yes, go back and retcon it.

valadil
2010-12-07, 11:38 AM
So tell me, what's the worst thing that can happen to your characters in a game with you still being comfortable with it?

The worst thing that can happen to a character depends on the character. For one of my PCs, telling him he's just as bad as the family of assassins he left behind did the trick. For another the threat of being recaptured and sold back into slavery will do it. Worst is subjective.

The most offensive thing I'd do to a player is crucify them. I think that would have the same shock effect as rape, but I don't think it would make anyone* so uncomfortable as to leave the game.

* Where anyone is defined as players in my current group. I know other gamers who would take real offense at that, but I'm not GMing for them at the moment.

Kelb_Panthera
2010-12-07, 11:48 AM
@the OP: I understand the DM wasn't trying to be a **** but he -REALLY- should have spoken with the player before hand. It may have been a spoiler for what was to come in-game, but that's something that's a risk he should've taken. It would've been far better to let that plan slip than to go through with it and have a player withdraw from the game because he wasn't comfortable with his own character anymore.

Ruinix
2010-12-07, 11:51 AM
[d&d 3.5]i had a female sorcer lev 8 wich was traped, raped phisically and after that mind raped, completely mind wipe leaving her as a commoner npc.

[WoD - vampire dark ages] exploring a cave on a side of a mountain in wich where a demonic ritual was being conducted; after the fight and disrupt the sigils of the ritual the all side of the mountain fall in an avalanche killing our mounts and burying our armors and items . the campaing was extremelly low income alredy

Telonius
2010-12-07, 11:57 AM
First of all, I'd have left that group even if it hadn't happened to my character. The DM should always work out at the beginning what the players' comfort zone is. Something like that is so obviously likely to cause a problem that it's absolutely stupid not to find out beforehand if the players are willing to have it in their campaign. (And that's not even getting into the possibility that any of the players might have had a similar event happen to them personally or somebody they care very much about).

Before any campaign, I always ask the players: "On a scale of G to NC-17, how much violence are you willing to have in the campaign? How much sex?" It usually ends up around PG-13 for sex and R for violence, and that's usually a good guide for what most people are going to want.

Ormur
2010-12-07, 12:35 PM
Yeah, I think I'd consider what the OP described as the worst thing that could happen to a character. Maybe some horrific and humiliating torture would come close but I just can't imagine role playing or wanting to role play the effects of rape on a character. I know torture in reality is a horrific soul crushing thing too but it's somehow not as uncomfortable to think of or imagining playing out. Some players might be fine role playing characters dealing with something like that but people have different comfort zones.

Chilingsworth
2010-12-07, 12:47 PM
[d&d 3.5]i had a female sorcer lev 8 wich was traped, raped phisically and after that mind raped, completely mind wipe leaving her as a commoner npc.

Well, I think this qualifies as worst fate I've ever heard of!

But... what the @#$! was an 8th level character doing to be targeted by a character able to cast the 9th level spell mindrape (or programed amnesia, as its been renamed, I think.)???

Strawberries
2010-12-07, 12:47 PM
I've got a pretty strong stomach, so what the OP described wouldn't bother me if it was happened to my character (providing it was tastefully done, in a "fade to black" kind of way.)
HOWEVER, that it's definitely something I'd want the DM to ask me and the other players in advance - as in "I wanted to bring those themes into the campaign, for so and so reasons. I realize it could make people unconfortable. Would you be all right with that?".

What would put me out of my comfort zone... let's see, a helm of opposite alignment, for instance. Just because I wouldn't feel the character as mine anymore and would have no idea of how to roleplay her/him. Still, I would be giving it a try all the same.

Yes, I'm a pretty open player. :smalltongue:

Quietus
2010-12-07, 12:48 PM
Having your character 'Meenlock'ed is a horrible thing. Any "fate worse than death" outcome really makes me feel like I failed to protect my character as if it was a child I was supposed to take care of.

Death's so transient and the afterlife so well-defined that it actually doesn't bother me, though.

I had this happen to one of my characters... I kept playing it after, with the class levels but with only ghosts of memories. He felt a pull toward things he was close to in his existence as an elf, but didn't understand why.. so instead he tried to "Meenlock" them in turn. The campaign ended when both I and the DM got major headaches from trying to think along the lines of this aberrant creature's thought process. :smalltongue:

Of my current characters, the worst thing that could happen to Ivan (silverbrow human sorcerer, with backstory that ended with him taking the Draconic Heritage (black) feat due to abduction and general badstuff in his backstory) is getting what he wants : The black dragon portion of his heritage stripped from him entirely. All of his feats, as well as his spellcasting, are based around that.. so he's specifically adventuring to remove this taint, which will take him from being a Sorcerer to a Commoner and effectively end his adventuring career. Worth it, though, in his eyes.

Coidzor
2010-12-07, 12:53 PM
OP:...Your DM... Wow. That's so many lines crossed it's ceased being even a tic-tac-toe board. :smallyuk: That's one of the Top Ten rules of what not to do if you want to have players. And no, he wasn't acting innocently in the slightest, as a dramatic device, that stuff is hard to pull off well and impossible to do without alienating people. Which means basically losing a member of the group is almost guaranteed.


So tell me, what's the worst thing that can happen to your characters in a game with you still being comfortable with it?

Worst thing. Um. Being eaten alive is fairly bad but I wouldn't really bat an eye lash unless it was a particularly asinine Gygaxian trap or monster. And of course, death is cheap. Being forced to sit out of the game for an extended length of time ceases to be something I'm comfortable with after the first five minutes when it starts to sink in how long I'm going to have to wait, and then after ten minutes I've completely disengaged.

Non-habitual item loss. Getting to be too regular causes my ability to get into the game to be diminished by being repeatedly jostled out of it to have to review everything to make sure I've eliminated everything from my inventory that got the axe.

Standard death and dismemberment. Feeding of family members to dragons.

I'm trying to think of something actually bad that actually toes the line or is close to it on either side. All I can think of is a series of bad DMing behaviors rather than single events and... well, your example of crossing the line and not looking back. :smallyuk:

Duke of URL
2010-12-07, 01:04 PM
The answer to this depends on the details of the question. What's the worst thing from the character's perspective, or the player's?

As a player, I'm pretty much ready to roll with anything. The situation in the OP would simply provide a roleplaying opportunity to me, although I can certainly empathize with those who would be uncomfortable with such things. Frankly, following the Greek drama model of the explicit stuff happening "off-stage" (there's no need to explicitly detail rape, torture, etc.), I find myself not really drawing a line of "won't go there" for a fictional character in a roleplaying game.

Really, as a player, the worst thing that can happen to any of my characters is that they start leading dull, ordinary lives.

Now, each character, of course, depending on the character's history and motivations, has a different idea of what the worst thing that could happen to him/her.

Antonok
2010-12-07, 01:13 PM
Lets see, have a couple instances that a member of my group has had done to his chars.

First, in the first 5 minutes of a adventure, we got a tip that ppl have been dying in strange manners then rising from the dead. We walked in to a funeral, coffin opens, bodak sits up looks at us, and he failed his save.

Second, in our longest running campaign, we had to go to a cold tundra type land and he didn't have any cold weather gear or equivilent (spell or otherwise) and the cancer mage in our party was being nice and gave him his cold weather outfit. We didn't catch this one until about 2 sessions later. He had to reroll a new char.

Finally, in another adventure, which was just him and me playing chars while another friend DM'd, my chaotic evil halfing sorcerer found a rod of wonder. He now refuses to play in any campaign that involves that particular item. :smallbiggrin:

And something that happened to my very first char I played. It was a mid lvl game, and the first session I was in we ended up killing a dragon we shouldn't have been able to kill. In the second session the next day, I get insta-killed by a goblin with a morningstar. Thats humiliation at its worst.

Grelna the Blue
2010-12-07, 01:28 PM
As a GM, I once crossed the line with a player and did something that in retrospect I really wish I hadn't, or at least had checked with the player in advance.

A major campaign villain race was "elder trolls," who were essentially greater doppelgangers with spellcasting ability. The Monster Manual trolls were just their dumbed down super-soldier expendables. These elder trolls had magically bioengineered themselves to the point where they were immortal, but in so doing had lost the ability to procreate outside the lab. The trolls knew that the PCs were planning a major strike force against them and had managed to bypass the diplomatic protection that the Troll Pits had traditionally enjoyed (they were in dwarven territory, but the dwarves had protected them because of a feud with the elves and because the trolls had never acted against them). So they captured various strong and capable humans to extract genetic material to incorporate into their latest line of offspring (who would become something like normal doppelgangers) so they would have a backup plan in place if the Troll Pits were taken.

A female PC was one of those who was captured. Although no actual sex act was involved, knowing that some part of her had been stolen to create monstrous "children" deeply upset her and her player, who wasn't happy with me for some time after. This was especially unfortunate because the player was my wife.

Tengu_temp
2010-12-07, 01:39 PM
To be blunt (in the way that a soggy loaf of bread is blunt), it is a serious crime that starts with the 18th letter of the alphabet (that I'm pretty sure is not correct to bring up directly here)

People talk about rape in RPGs (and how unsuitable it is for most campaigns) all the time on those boards, you know. And yeah, unless you're absolutely sure nobody will feel uncomfortable with that, this is something you just don't do to the PCs.

Now, what am I comfortable with depends heavily on the campaign I'm playing, so I don't have any hard and fast rules. If it makes me feel like the character is derailed and don't make me want to play it anymore, or if it takes fun away from me, then it's not okay.

big teej
2010-12-07, 03:18 PM
to be honest, having had several people I know experience that first hand.

I would have told him flat out "retcon that, now."

not as a request, but as a given ultimatium to my continued presence within the group.

and even then, I would be EXTREMELY unlikely to play with that person (dming or playing) ever again.

its on my list of 'do not tolerate' things.
and to be honest after reading the OP I was kinda like..... :smallfurious:

anyways,
in regards to 'worst thing that could happen to a character*'
I really dunno.
losing an eye? sure why not?
beard burnt/cut off? not gonna like it but HEY I homebrewed a prestiege class in case of that.

I have a much easier time coming up with things that would make me 'cease' playing the character.

for example: My Barbarian (Cog) if he ever lost his axe, I would be pissed, he's had that axe his whole life (both IC and OOC) and I would be pretty pissed at a DM for taking something like that (I'm a sentimental guy)

my dwarf Knight - can't really think of anything.

basically any time my character either A) becomes non-fun to play. or B) a key part of the concept has been taken from me.

*and keep playing it

rubycona
2010-12-07, 04:38 PM
The DM was flat out in the wrong here. For all he knew, one of his players could have been raped IRL. I, personally, have been raped IRL, and if that were sprung on me randomly...

Let's just fade to black on that thought, shall we?

Mind, I'm an RP'er, and I actually do have the experience to know how to RP that scenario, so if I'd had heads up, I could handle it just fine... and honestly, I might even empathize with my own character more.

But the heads up is critical! Dumping that on a PC is so not acceptable, on so many levels. You have to be extremely careful about things like that. Again, the presence of rape in a campaign isn't inherently bad, or other serious crimes, it just has to be okay with the players. Rape, incest, sexual molestation, especially by family members, anything particularly humiliating, like crucifixion, and so forth... anything remotely along these lines MUST be addressed OOC at some point, ideally at the introduction to the game (so no spoilers are given).

Not only should you have a little sit down talk with your DM about this incident, you should make it blatantly clear how these issues should be addressed in the future.

As for what I can handle in game... well, personally, I'm game with anything. With the serious note that it HAS to be okayed first. There's no line I'm not willing to have crossed, as long as I'm mentally ready for it.

Thurbane
2010-12-07, 04:54 PM
Disjunction?

...actually, in a 2E game I was involved in, the party got captured by the BBEG. The Dwarf has his beard forcibly shaved off; the elf had his pointy ears clipped; and the human Samurai had "liar" tattooed on his forehead (the Samurai was crazy into honour and truth).

BG
2010-12-07, 05:08 PM
The worst thing that can happen to my character is anything that results in me not being able to play for awhile.

That's actually the same for me. Even though dominate is a potent thing to use against a party, I literally never use it, because I know its real-time consequences. It means that one of my players won't have access to their character for upwards of an hour's worth of actual time, and during that time they won't be having fun.

That for me is the big thing: No matter what happens, players should be allowed to make their characters decisions. The DM and other players can try to convince them, but ultimately, the player decides.

Besides that, rape and child abuse are things that I do not have in my games. There are too many people out there who have actually suffered these things, and a tabletop RPG with orcs and dragons is NOT the place to bring them up.

Shade Kerrin
2010-12-07, 05:31 PM
I guess I would be quite uncomfortable with the OP, but....

What really gets me is when a permanent change is made to the very core of my character's nature.
Double it if this also ruins their mechanics
Double it again if the act is done by another player.
Quadruple it if the one in question then tries to claim that what they did is an improvement.

Yeah, this has happened once, with all of the points being true

Amphetryon
2010-12-07, 07:26 PM
TPK by La-Z-boy and Portable Hole. :smallsigh:

Beowulf DW
2010-12-07, 07:36 PM
Hey, DMs and all those who would be DMs! Shock value does NOT equal drama.

If what the OP descibed happened in my gaming group, I would have demanded a retcon immediately. Perhaps the DM did not fully grasp just how dispicable rape is, in which case he needs to be corrected. Furthermore, the DM needs to understand that he is subject to his players just as they are subject to him. No players=no game. Make sure he understands this. If none of the players are comfortable with what happened, refuse to play until the DM retcons it. The message must be sent before the DM gets the idea that this is acceptable in your group.

DungeonDelver
2010-12-07, 08:49 PM
Barring the above scenario, the one thing I wouldn't stomach is some sort of 'Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies' TPK scenario if it's pulled out for no reason. Character growth and implementation is something I pride myself on, and I wouldn't want it to be stripped from me because of an immature DM.

FearlessGnome
2010-12-07, 09:46 PM
The DM in question is an immature *******.

You could conceivably have a group of people who would enjoy roleplaying the aftermath of something like that... But the campaign would be very different from what D&D is intended to be. And just springing it on your players... Wow. The DM obviously had no idea what he was thinking.

Innis Cabal
2010-12-07, 09:50 PM
What exactly is "D&D" supposed to "Be"?

DungeonDelver
2010-12-07, 09:54 PM
What exactly is "D&D" supposed to "Be"?

A game where everyone who plays is a mature human being and everyone has fun? I don't think Gary Gygax had rape in mind when he created it.

Rape as drama has always annoyed me. It's cliche, requires little to no creativity, and mocks the trauma and pain of those who have endured it and similar abuse.

Atcote
2010-12-07, 10:00 PM
People talk about rape in RPGs (and how unsuitable it is for most campaigns) all the time on those boards, you know. And yeah, unless you're absolutely sure nobody will feel uncomfortable with that, this is something you just don't do to the PCs.


Yep, sorry. I'm not a very common visitor to the Playground and I haven't really come across it as the subject of discussion here before, so I thought I'd take the evasive if obvious path.

Yeah, we've spoken with our DM since. It was his first campaign, and he wanted to make an impact... He succeeded.
Fact is, he didn't lead us into this thinking it would be a George RR Martin-like 'realistic fantasy' type situation - it seemed a fairly standard campaign, but our failure to protect a member of our party resulted in something far worse than death in this world (because bringing people back to life is pretty darn easy from a certain level, but there's really no way to undo rape, mentally if not physically). The player was particularly offended, as it was his first female character and he wanted to play her as a strong character, and he couldn't continue that after something like that had happened to her (yes, people may be able to remain strong after such traumatic events, but he really didn't feel comfortable acting like it wouldn't affect her in a serious way).
The DM seems to have accepted that he was wrong to do it, but on the player's choice, the character isn't coming back and he doesn't want to casually replace her, so that is a game ruined for him (ret-conning won't really help - it's more the residue of the event than the event itself). Only hope is that the DM can turn out rather wiser in the future, but he may not be DMing again for a while (at least with us).


The DM was flat out in the wrong here. For all he knew, one of his players could have been raped IRL. I, personally, have been raped IRL, and if that were sprung on me randomly...


I definitely get your meaning here, but we're all pretty familiar with each other, and while it's certainly not the sort of thing you have all your friends knowing, he was pretty sure all of us have been unaffected by it in real life (and, clearing up dialogue afterward, it seems we are, but we still didn't know that for sure to start off with). But it was still something none of us were comfortable with, and it feels like (well, it IS) a huge failure on his part not to anticipate that.

In answer to my own question, the worst thing that can happen to my character and I'll still be cool with it?... It's hard to say, as death is cheap in most of these worlds if your body is left behind, but I remember once I had a Doppelganger character that got slashed by a 'Dragonblood' dagger (fancy!) that left him unable to alter the area that was cut (one such area was a deep cut along his left eye), and that made things a bit more of a challenge for him, in being both disfigured and one of his major abilities hindered.

Thurbane
2010-12-07, 10:06 PM
What exactly is "D&D" supposed to "Be"?
It's a good question though...some groups are going to be better suited incorporating dark, disturbing and trauamatic character events in their game than others.

In a mature group, where everyone can reach a consensus on what is and isn't acceptable, I don't see a problem. There is no "right" or "default" way to play D&D. Some people will play jolly, shiny Candyland type games, others will play gritty, grimdark campaigns...and most of us will fall somewhere in between.

The key, though, is what the members of the group are comfortable with, and handling such situations in a tasteful, mature and respectful way. I don't think anyone would say that sexual violence should be portrayed in a flippant or glamourized manner.

Tvtyrant
2010-12-07, 10:15 PM
I think the worst thing to happen to your character is the worst thing to happen to your character. Tautology aside, its essentially whatever the player or character is going to take least well. I personally take maiming/torture really badly. If someone put my character through a 3 day torture session I would be very, very angry about it. Killing them is fine, even "rocks fall" killings (sometimes having flying trolls attack your party with wands of scorching ray to get rid of the Druid is actually needed) but torture or any other treatment that undermines my ability to feel in control of my character is going to lead to an adverse reaction from me.

Unless it was discussed in advance and given time to adjust to. I might end up switching characters afterwords no matter how much explanation is given, but if you run it by me as a plot point say three weeks in advance I would probably agree.

Atcote
2010-12-07, 10:17 PM
What exactly is "D&D" supposed to "Be"?

For our group, usually, it's meant to be a game. Some people take it more seriously than that, but for us it's an excuse to forget our jobs and study and mesh in with a character and world in which we don't usually reside.
I'm being lenient with our DM (some others in the group are less so, and that's their right) because he may have asked himself the very same question, and tried to think outside the 'acceptable' box, and sometimes it can really work. Would we have been as bothered if it had been an NPC? Maybe not. But the fact is it happened to a character, someone that a real person in our group had been acting as (not that we were very far into the campaign - in fact, this was practically the beginning), and it took the game out of it and made it something of a real world consequence, and not one that magic can cover with a convenient spell to make it no longer a problem (ie, becoming diseased or dead).

I'd say DnD is meant to be fun, as it is, essentially, a game. With fun can come frustration and loss, but not really being shell-shocked into no longer wishing to play (of course, discussion with the player and forewarning as to how violent the world is going to be can help make things like this somewhat more acceptable too).

Callista
2010-12-07, 10:28 PM
I don't think I actually have any limits on what events could happen to my characters while I'm still OK with it. It's more how it's handled that makes the difference. For example, I wouldn't have a problem with rape, which is something most people wouldn't like to include. Still, if there was a lot of description to it instead of just a fade-to-black once the character was helpless, I wouldn't like it. Explicit sexual stuff doesn't add to the game, and it's likely enough to be ridiculously awkward to talk about anyway. It's enough to know what has happened and whether there are mechanical effects (HP loss? Make a save, if using sanity rules?), and then figure out how my character reacts to it.

Similarly, I'm not exactly all that keen on having torture explicitly described, at least past the point where it serves the story; that's just wading in blood and guts for no good reason. It's more effective and horrifying if whoever's doing the description is more vague and general; your imagination will fill in the details quite handily. It's a lot like modern "thriller" type movies that have gratuitous gore and special effects in exchange for plot and real suspense--it's almost like they've mixed up "scary" and "nauseating".

I've not got a weak stomach; in fact, I've gotten to take a full year's worth of human anatomy (complete with dissections in the lab) and was absolutely fascinated. It's more that I think it's somewhat disturbing to hear somebody talk about torturing another person at length. Maybe it's more disturbing precisely because I have taken anatomy classes--the human body is intricately put together and fascinating, and hearing about torture always makes me feel like someone just decided to take a machete to the Mona Lisa.

So... yeah, no real limits, really. I don't really care if my character gets raped or tortured or whatever, though if you mess with their personality or alignment I want some warning so I can plan for it. It's not so much what happens that matters; it's how you handle it.

DungeonDelver
2010-12-07, 10:32 PM
The way I see it, at some point as a DM or player, you have to step back, look at the situation from a different angle, and ask yourself 'am I enjoying this?'. On some level, playing through a traumatic character event or situation has to be enjoyable, because D&D is supposed to be fun.

I mean roleplaying through trauma is nothing new. I think a lot of people have RPed the lost of a beloved NPC family member or party member, declared vengeance or what-have-you.

As a DM, I don't believe in adding all that extra weight to a player. If I'm going to go with something traumatic, I'm going to use something that isn't just there for cheap impact.

Callista
2010-12-07, 10:34 PM
The things that have affected my characters, more than anything, have almost always been the deaths of either other PCs or people they were trying to protect. Some pretty nasty stuff has happened to them personally, but I tend to play characters who care about those around them--even the most evil character I've ever played was a druid who cared deeply about her animal companion--and it seems to create a bigger emotional impact when things happen to others, rather than directly to the PC.

DungeonDelver
2010-12-07, 10:39 PM
The things that have affected my characters, more than anything, have almost always been the deaths of either other PCs or people they were trying to protect. Some pretty nasty stuff has happened to them personally, but I tend to play characters who care about those around them--even the most evil character I've ever played was a druid who cared deeply about her animal companion--and it seems to create a bigger emotional impact when things happen to others, rather than directly to the PC.

That seems to happen with me, too. One of our NPC friends in a campaign was a Great Wyrm Copper that our Dragonborn of Bahamut Dragonfire Adept managed to talk into helping us a bit.

Well, we reached a major climax in our campaign and the BBEG group sent a Hellfire Wyrm through a portal to attack the city we typically used as a base. The way the DM described the situation we felt like our big buddy was in very real danger. We went to a friend in the town (a half-silver dragon Cleric of Bahamut) and the cleric went to help the dragon.

The party felt literal relief when we discovered that the Dragon was able to defeat the Hellfire Wyrm thanks to the cleric's help. It really helped the feel of the campaign and the sense of accomplishment.

FMArthur
2010-12-07, 10:58 PM
Just always interpret "gritty" "mature" or "historically accurate" from a DM describing the kind of game he wants to run as "creepy rape fetish" "creepy rape fetish" and "creepy rape fetish", respectively. Trust me, you can't go wrong using this as long as you ask the DM what kind of game he'll run.

DungeonDelver
2010-12-07, 11:05 PM
Historical accuracy in a game loaded with ludicrous anachronisms, where I fight dragons and orcs? Where I can raise an army of undead, turn into a bear, and kill a God? Yeah, accuracy...

Slipperychicken
2010-12-07, 11:06 PM
My first character: a Crusader named Payne.

For simplicity and time's sake I built his personality around three things which made sense for the time period: He was an ex-military fanatic for his Kingdom, and would crush it's enemies, come hell or high water. He loved riding so much he joined the cavalry to get a horse, and even named it Samson. He was a LN character, devoted intensely to St. Cuthbert's principles and Order, specifically the laws of the Middle Kingdom.

Second session of the game the party's sent into a cave to kill some big evil cult guy and investigate a weird symbol. Long story short, Big Bad teleports us 2,000 years into the future. The kingdom was conquered (nobody even remembers it existed), his horse is long dead (they don't even *use* horses anymore, so no more riding), and the entire pantheon, Cuthbert included, was killed by a "new" god.

My character flips the hell out, praying intensely and drinking heavily. Truth be told, if the campaign had lasted longer, it would've been awesome to roleplay the effects of PTSD.

Summary: It was horrible and traumatizing for my character, but for me it was great. I thought I was just going to be roleplaying a standard-issue Pally with the serial numbers filed off, but what I got instead was a really deep and interesting character conflict: total loss of everything he ever knew, loved, or tried to protect.

Thurbane
2010-12-07, 11:15 PM
Historical accuracy in a game loaded with ludicrous anachronisms, where I fight dragons and orcs? Where I can raise an army of undead, turn into a bear, and kill a God? Yeah, accuracy...
I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that many of the unsavory things that happened (and still happen) in the real world would not happen in a (high) fantasy analog. Especially with so many evil/savage humanoid (and non-humanoid) societies in attendance. Not every 1/2 Orc, 1/2 Ogre, or 1/2 anything else is likely to be the result of a happy union.

This isn't to say that anyone should feel compelled to include sexual violence in their games, but it's not much of a stretch to say it exists if you do chose to incorporate in your games. The main caveat is that everyone in the group is comfortable with including it.

DungeonDelver
2010-12-07, 11:24 PM
I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that many of the unsavory things that happened (and still happen) in the real world would not happen in a (high) fantasy analog. Especially with so many evil/savage humanoid (and non-humanoid) societies in attendance. Not every 1/2 Orc, 1/2 Ogre, or 1/2 anything else is likely to be the result of a happy union.

I'm not saying that it's unreasonable that things like that can or do happen in a D&D campaign world. I'm saying that historical accuracy should not be an argument for why such things should be included. Just because sexual abuse and violence exist doesn't mean that their inclusion is necessary just because it happens in real life.

Sexual equality is a big one. Most D&D campaign worlds tend to hand-wave or completely ignore the idea of sexism and just embrace that women and men have equal standing in society and that's always been the case. In real life, sexual equality across history is a much less cut-and-dry picture, but if given a choice between 'historically accurate' and 'fun', I'm picking fun.

holywhippet
2010-12-08, 12:08 AM
I saw a couple of things happen to other characters that could have been bad - except for a bit of luck and the DM being kind.

In one campaign the first monster we encountered was a ghoul (IIRC). It hit the party cleric and sucked a level out of him (we started at level 2). Thankfully the cleric was working for the head of his temple who I talked into giving us a free restoration casting to restore him. The second thing was later in the campaign, the party fighter had been isolated by a minor BBEG while the rest of us were fighting his demon like thing. The fighter tried to disarm him with his spiked chain, failed, got knocked to negative HP and the BBEG pulled off his armour and began carving a symbol into his chest which he did to each person before he killed them (we were investigating a serial killer and he was it). Thankfully we finished off the demon thing and wondered where the fighter had gotten to so we found him before he got killed.

Innis Cabal
2010-12-08, 12:36 AM
For our group, usually, it's meant to be a game. Some people take it more seriously than that, but for us it's an excuse to forget our jobs and study and mesh in with a character and world in which we don't usually reside.
I'm being lenient with our DM (some others in the group are less so, and that's their right) because he may have asked himself the very same question, and tried to think outside the 'acceptable' box, and sometimes it can really work. Would we have been as bothered if it had been an NPC? Maybe not. But the fact is it happened to a character, someone that a real person in our group had been acting as (not that we were very far into the campaign - in fact, this was practically the beginning), and it took the game out of it and made it something of a real world consequence, and not one that magic can cover with a convenient spell to make it no longer a problem (ie, becoming diseased or dead).

I'd say DnD is meant to be fun, as it is, essentially, a game. With fun can come frustration and loss, but not really being shell-shocked into no longer wishing to play (of course, discussion with the player and forewarning as to how violent the world is going to be can help make things like this somewhat more acceptable too).


A game where everyone who plays is a mature human being and everyone has fun? I don't think Gary Gygax had rape in mind when he created it.

Rape as drama has always annoyed me. It's cliche, requires little to no creativity, and mocks the trauma and pain of those who have endured it and similar abuse.


It's a good question though...some groups are going to be better suited incorporating dark, disturbing and trauamatic character events in their game than others.

In a mature group, where everyone can reach a consensus on what is and isn't acceptable, I don't see a problem. There is no "right" or "default" way to play D&D. Some people will play jolly, shiny Candyland type games, others will play gritty, grimdark campaigns...and most of us will fall somewhere in between.

The key, though, is what the members of the group are comfortable with, and handling such situations in a tasteful, mature and respectful way. I don't think anyone would say that sexual violence should be portrayed in a flippant or glamourized manner.

This all proves my point. D&D is something different for everyone. Saying something goes against "What D&D is" really doesn't mean much because "What D&D is" isn't defined. And I bet you money Gary Gygax thought about rape in his games. Ed Greenwood to.

Thurbane, as often is the case, says my thoughts quite well. If your group isn't mature enough or has no desire to explore something. Then don't. But judging people who do is silly.

Atcote
2010-12-08, 12:56 AM
Thurbane, as often is the case, says my thoughts quite well. If your group isn't mature enough or has no desire to explore something. Then don't. But judging people who do is silly.

I don't know if his point was 'If your group is mature you will be able to use things like rape in your games', as opposed to 'If your group is mature you will understand when the use of such things is appropriate or accepted by present company'.
D&D is a social game, and as such, some understanding of that social group is required. If the group is constantly making dead baby jokes and talking about the darker side of life, aimlessly introducing such things may be easier to explain away, but throwing in 'mature' (read: socially unacceptable) things can just throw an entire game, soiree or camping trip into an awkward and unenjoyable experience. Discussion before using such serious topics can avoid putting anyone out and ruining the fun, intrigue or story.

DungeonDelver
2010-12-08, 01:04 AM
A 'Mature' rating doesn't equate more sex and violence. It means knowing when to handle situations in a way that are appropriate for everyone's tastes. Understanding that one person's easy drama is another person's traumatic experience goes hand-in-hand with what D&D 'is supposed to be', a mutually enjoyed social activity. If we have different values, we need to bury them and keep them off the gaming table rather than offending fellow players.

Roderick_BR
2010-12-08, 01:17 AM
Being trapped in the horrible DM's railroad train.
If I die, upset a powerful NPC, or other "fate worse than death", I'd rather it be my fault instead of it happening "because the DM wrote it" so no matter where you go/what you do, that thing WILL happen, sometimes as a very bad excuse if you do everything right to avoid it.

Callista
2010-12-08, 02:07 AM
Sexual equality is a big one. Most D&D campaign worlds tend to hand-wave or completely ignore the idea of sexism and just embrace that women and men have equal standing in society and that's always been the case. In real life, sexual equality across history is a much less cut-and-dry picture, but if given a choice between 'historically accurate' and 'fun', I'm picking fun.The existence of sexism isn't nearly as inevitable in the D&D world as it is in the real world. When the women can throw fireballs just as well as the men, it doesn't matter as much who tends to be somewhat physically stronger. Plus, you have even bigger differences between human and orcs than the difference between women and men; prejudice naturally gets directed at the orc rather than the woman. Now, I'm not saying that D&D verses can't have sexism; it's just going to be a trivial matter compared to species-versus-species and possibly magic-versus-mundane conflicts.

Some races will have extreme sexism; but they'll be the exceptions to the rule--the drow, for example, who are highly isolated in the Underdark and have female clerics ruling over the men; or races where magic is not common and physical strength is admired, such as the orcs and other monstrous humanoid species, where males are likely to be dominant. But humans, elves, or halflings? I doubt it. When there are so many differences that are more obvious than gender, male-versus-female conflict won't be a particularly big part of social order.

DungeonDelver
2010-12-08, 02:12 AM
The existence of sexism isn't nearly as inevitable in the D&D world as it is in the real world. When the women can throw fireballs just as well as the men, it doesn't matter as much who tends to be somewhat physically stronger. Plus, you have even bigger differences between human and orcs than the difference between women and men; prejudice naturally gets directed at the orc rather than the woman. Now, I'm not saying that D&D verses can't have sexism; it's just going to be a trivial matter compared to species-versus-species and possibly magic-versus-mundane conflicts.

While this is true, you can't underestimate the human (elf, dwarf, whatever), ability to focus on inane differences over commonalities. In every day life in many D&D campaign settings, magic is a reasonably rare thing. Common enough among adventurers, but in many settings an ordinary person may never see a spell cast in their life. Even if they do, it's a lot more likely to be prestidigitation than fireball. Sexism, as is pointed out in the rest of your post, is the domain of 'bad guy' races and pretty much not addressed in the typical PC races.

Callista
2010-12-08, 02:16 AM
Depends on your setting. Standard D&D, not low-magic, has about one in twenty or thirty people capable of using magic, if only as an Adept. (I'm taking this estimate from the rules in the DMG on building towns.)

I mean, yeah, if you're going to build an ultra-low-magic setting where there are a hundred or fewer magic users in the entire world--then yes, you might have reason to believe magic won't have a huge social impact; but in the standard setting, it's just not logical to assume the world with magic works the same way as the world without. But as you begin to approach settings where magic is extremely rare, those settings get closer to "real world historical" and farther away from D&D high fantasy anyway.

DungeonDelver
2010-12-08, 02:20 AM
I think we're derailing this thread. I don't want a mod coming after me, so I'm going to stop now. If you want to continue this discussion, PM me, otherwise I'm done. I'm not mad, I've been enjoying having a deep conversation, I just don't want to get in trouble.

Callista
2010-12-08, 02:25 AM
Huh? I didn't think anybody was getting mad. I like sociology; it's interesting. Maybe I'll start a new thread about it. But you're right. It's off topic.

Back to your regularly scheduled PCs' worst nightmares discussion, I guess...

Coidzor
2010-12-08, 05:14 AM
A game where everyone who plays is a mature human being and everyone has fun? I don't think Gary Gygax had rape in mind when he created it.

Rape as drama has always annoyed me. It's cliche, requires little to no creativity, and mocks the trauma and pain of those who have endured it and similar abuse.

Don't forget how it pretty much can't be done well.

Atcote
2010-12-08, 05:27 AM
Don't forget how it pretty much can't be done well.

'Done well', I'll place into the arguable cage.
Done pleasantly, and still allowing fun and free-flowing emotions to come into play? Nuh-uh. Of course, its point is not to be pleasant, it's meant to be shocking and traumatizing.
Emotional trauma should be one of those things you get out of a family member dying or losing your childhood pet. Not a game.
But that's just me.

Shademan
2010-12-08, 05:31 AM
was nearly killed by an undead devil's schlong...those things are pointy! it died and fell atop of my character )8

Eldariel
2010-12-08, 05:39 AM
Anything screwing around with your soul tends to be fairly uncomfortable. We once played around with the Deck of Many Things and there was a lot of fail involved, including The Void and Donjon. I'll tell you, having your soul trapped away is uncomfortable to say the least.

DungeonDelver
2010-12-08, 10:05 AM
I'd like to add that I find the entire BoVD pretty much out of my comfort zone. Okay, not the entire thing, I'd even be okay with some of the stuff, but there's a pretty good list of things that are beyond my comfort zone and that I will not be able to keep playing if they come up;

1) the lichloved feat....at all
2) The dread emperor armor. I couldn't handle anyone using that item in a game I was in.
3) Some of the other things make me feel uncomfortable to use, but I can't think of any specific examples.

Kife
2010-12-08, 10:53 AM
I am playing a house Cannith dragon marked heir planning to take over control of the house. In a random encounter we fought a wereboar and three dire boars. I contract lycanthropy. The shifter contracts lycanthropy. The full moon is next night. We shift and the GM rules that I am in heat. Next morning we are naked in the woods together and I am pregnant with who knows what. So I basically march up to the first silver flame temple and say "Cure me and abort me or kill me." and they do.

Five levels later my character is being blackmailed for the lycanthropy secret.

Starshade
2010-12-08, 11:13 AM
I am playing a house Cannith dragon marked heir planning to take over control of the house. In a random encounter we fought a wereboar and three dire boars. I contract lycanthropy. The shifter contracts lycanthropy. The full moon is next night. We shift and the GM rules that I am in heat. Next morning we are naked in the woods together and I am pregnant with who knows what. So I basically march up to the first silver flame temple and say "Cure me and abort me or kill me." and they do.

Five levels later my character is being blackmailed for the lycanthropy secret.

Ooh, you missed an awesome possible devlopment there: ever heard of Lone wolf and cub? even a warrior can have an small child, and be on the path of adventure.
And i'm shure the DM would have one big job figuring out what the boy/girl would look like! :smallbiggrin:

The Big Dice
2010-12-08, 12:09 PM
I'd like to add that I find the entire BoVD pretty much out of my comfort zone. Okay, not the entire thing, I'd even be okay with some of the stuff, but there's a pretty good list of things that are beyond my comfort zone and that I will not be able to keep playing if they come up;
I found the BoVD to be more like the Book of Mild Ick.

L5R has some much, much worse things that can happen to your character than D&D does. Other than specific roleplay incidents of course, which are pretty much outside the bounds of any system.

The Living Darkness is one of them. First, it gives you power. You can be an uberninja! Then it starts to erode your identity, leaving you a nameless and faceless minion of itself.

And then there's the Shadowlands. Body horror taken to the max. Sure, it gives you cool powers to start with. But it ends up leaving you a rotting, soulless carcass. And then there's Bearers of Jade.

The Second Book of the Shadowlands opens with the closing act of an in-game play called Closing Night. This depicts the last few women in a castle that is about to fall to the armies of the Shadowlands. And in two pages, it manages to be more evocative, disturbing and human than the entire BoVD.

All this without getting into things like maimings and other conventional things that suck that can happen to a character.

Asheram
2010-12-08, 12:31 PM
was nearly killed by an undead devil's schlong...those things are pointy! it died and fell atop of my character )8

Atleast you didn't have it animated by your fellow partymembers and have it sneak up on you... Was programmed not to do anything... *coughs*... of that kind
But it's a hell of a scare when you wake up with it in bed. -_-

To get back on track. There's a few things that my GM could do to my current character... but... I'd rather not say them not to give him any Ideas of what's OK to do right now. :P

DungeonDelver
2010-12-08, 12:35 PM
This is semi-related to the issue at hand, so I'll tell the story;

A game I was in had a dread necromancer and a druid in the same party. Obviously, there were some...differences. The Druid was NG while the Necro was NE.

The necro decided to drive the druid insane and walked into his quarters with a squirrel he found outside. He petted it for a few minutes before snapping it's neck in front of the druid.

The next day he cast animate dead on the squirrel and had a little squirrel zombie pet that he'd occasionally show the druid.

Seriously weird imaginations.

Innis Cabal
2010-12-08, 01:12 PM
I don't know if his point was 'If your group is mature you will be able to use things like rape in your games', as opposed to 'If your group is mature you will understand when the use of such things is appropriate or accepted by present company'.

That is exactly what I said.