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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Help with cross gender RP and romance in a new group

    So I am DMing for a new group of people, all of whom are male and all except one are fairly new to the hobby.

    The other night we had a session in which a few instances of flirting and talk of mature relationships came up. Nothing graphic or profane; one player (the only one who was playing a female PC) flirted with a male NPC to distract him while the rest of the party snuck by, and another player slept with a prostitute (off screen) and then RPed the pillow talk afterwards to get some information from her.

    To me this is fairly old hat and nothing out of the ordinary, but some of the other players seemed to have a problem with it. Most of them couldn't stop laughing and making immature jokes, while a few seemed really creeped out and genuinely uncomfortable with the situation; even though they weren't directly involved in either of the above situations they still seemed very put off of the game by them.

    Anyone had a similar experience or feel the same way? Any advice for how to handle the situation in the future?
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

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    Default Re: Help with cross gender RP and romance in a new group

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Anyone had a similar experience or feel the same way? Any advice for how to handle the situation in the future?
    If it makes someone uncomfortable, just handwaive over it. The one time i recall doing something like this, my Wood Elf Sorceress distracted a few guards so the party could do whatever it was they were doing. I rolled Bluff, gave a brief description (i believe i said "flirting seductively") and then we went from there. Needless to say they were very distracted.
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    Default Re: Help with cross gender RP and romance in a new group

    Roughly, how old are the players involved?

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    Default Re: Help with cross gender RP and romance in a new group

    {{scrubbed}}
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    So I am DMing for a new group of people, all of whom are male and all except one are fairly new to the hobby.

    The other night we had a session in which a few instances of flirting and talk of mature relationships came up. Nothing graphic or profane; one player (the only one who was playing a female PC) flirted with a male NPC to distract him while the rest of the party snuck by, and another player slept with a prostitute (off screen) and then RPed the pillow talk afterwards to get some information from her.

    To me this is fairly old hat and nothing out of the ordinary, but some of the other players seemed to have a problem with it. Most of them couldn't stop laughing and making immature jokes, while a few seemed really creeped out and genuinely uncomfortable with the situation; even though they weren't directly involved in either of the above situations they still seemed very put off of the game by them.

    Anyone had a similar experience or feel the same way? Any advice for how to handle the situation in the future?
    Gotta have a talk OOC with the whole table. I'd want to hear from the ones who were (or seemed) squicked out. Seducing people to get your way is a common feature in stories, going back at least to Aeneas and Dido. It's a common enough feature that it gets played for laughed in Tangled, as Flynn Rider's "smolder" has absolutely no effect.

    The immature joking may or may not be a problem. Did the joking inflate the two scenes to the point that they dominated the session? I could see people being put off by "Beavis and Butthead play D&D". (Yes I am old).

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Help with cross gender RP and romance in a new group

    Do nothing until one of your players brings it up with you.

    I find, in social groups in general, being offended or outraged on behalf of someone else just leads to a lot of unnecessarily drama. There is always the possibility that you misread your players, and nobody at the table has an issue, but you offended on their behalf made an issue. There is also the possibility that your players will think you are being unnecessarily strict, and take offense at your assumption of control over the group. There is even the possibility that the person who felt uncomfortable feels silly or guilty for being uncomfortable, and so didn't bring it up with the group, and now feels uncomfortable that you did. And so on, and so forth.
    Last edited by Vitruviansquid; 2015-02-26 at 07:38 PM.
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    Ettin in the Playground
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    This is business as normal. It doesn't necessarily need any special measures. Just make sure the players who are put off by the situation have enough things of their own to do in the game. This could've happened just as well with a swordfight or a scene of political intrigue - not everyone is as pleased or interested with everything that happens.

    Roughly, how old are the players involved?
    In my experience, bawdy humor doesn't look at one's age. I've had this situation happen with 7-year-old girl scouts and with men pushing thirty. In the former case, it was not the girls who were mortified.
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Help with cross gender RP and romance in a new group

    Quote Originally Posted by Vitruviansquid View Post
    Do nothing until one of your players brings it up with you.

    I find, in social groups in general, being offended or outraged on behalf of someone else just leads to a lot of unnecessarily drama. There is always the possibility that you misread your players, and nobody at the table has an issue, but you offended on their behalf made an issue. There is also the possibility that your players will think you are being unnecessarily strict, and take offense at your assumption of control over the group. There is even the possibility that the person who felt uncomfortable feels silly or guilty for being uncomfortable, and so didn't bring it up with the group, and now feels uncomfortable that you did. And so on, and so forth.
    Honestly I didn't even pick up on it at the time. But then again I am pretty oblivious to social clues. The one player whom I know outside the group brought it up to me after the game and was surprised that I hadn't noticed how uncomfortable it was making them.

    Honestly I don't know enough about the people involved to know what are why they are being uncomfortable. It might be sexuality in general, it might have to do with cross gender role-play or some combination of the above or maybe something else entirely. I just don't know.


    Quote Originally Posted by dps View Post
    Roughly, how old are the players involved?
    Late twenties.
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Help with cross gender RP and romance in a new group

    The player who brought it up wasn't any of those who were made uncomfortable? Did they make a guess as to what could've been the issue?
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    Default Re: Help with cross gender RP and romance in a new group

    First check with the ones who looked uncomfortable. It doesn't have to be a big thing just get a hold of them before the next game and mention that someone said they looked really uncomfortable at a few points and you wanted to check see if they just misread things or if there was something gong on. If there wasn't an issue then no problem and you just tell them to remember to ask since they're new and so the group hasn't adjusted to their presence and nobody wants to make someone uncomfortable. If there is a problem then you can find out what the issue is and how to deal with it.

    If its just a matter of certain scenes being uncomfortable like rping pillow talk then you just mention and the group should be able to adjust. If its something like seducing the barmaid and its all just "Okay roll your diplomacy. Okay you two hit it off and your off to do your thing." I'd imagine it might fine as long as its not constant the player can learn to deal with the occasional bit of discomfort. Just like how my group will forever spring giant spiders on the arachnophobe in our games. IF the issue is stuff like "I flirt with the guard to distract them." The player needs to grow a thicker skin.

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    Default Re: Help with cross gender RP and romance in a new group

    You've left out the details. That description could fit a game in which I hardly noticed it, or a game that was so blue I'd walk away in the middle.

    In any event, the issue is that it makes some players uncomfortable. It doesn't matter why. Talk about it before the next session starts, and play the game in a way everyone will enjoy.

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    Default Re: Help with cross gender RP and romance in a new group

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    So I am DMing for a new group of people, all of whom are male and all except one are fairly new to the hobby.

    The other night we had a session in which a few instances of flirting and talk of mature relationships came up. Nothing graphic or profane; one player (the only one who was playing a female PC) flirted with a male NPC to distract him while the rest of the party snuck by, and another player slept with a prostitute (off screen) and then RPed the pillow talk afterwards to get some information from her.

    To me this is fairly old hat and nothing out of the ordinary, but some of the other players seemed to have a problem with it. Most of them couldn't stop laughing and making immature jokes, while a few seemed really creeped out and genuinely uncomfortable with the situation; even though they weren't directly involved in either of the above situations they still seemed very put off of the game by them.

    Anyone had a similar experience or feel the same way? Any advice for how to handle the situation in the future?
    I GMed a female NPC once who had a serious but non-sexual conversation with a male PC. I did my best to capture a verisimilar feminine mien. Later one player took me aside and said, "Some people were a little uncomfortable". I said, "Better they're uncomfortable than bored." He took the point.

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    Default Re: Help with cross gender RP and romance in a new group

    Immature jokes can also be a sign of unease.

    I'd suggest you talk, separately, to the players that seemed uncomfortable. If they tell you they were uncomfortable, scrap such scenes off the campaign (if need be, explain the reason to the players that have no problem with it). If they don't tell you they were uncomfortable, but it happens again and you still feel that it hinders their fun, scrap it off the campaign too.
    Better to have everyone into the game than only half the players.
    Last edited by Seto; 2015-03-01 at 12:41 PM.
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Help with cross gender RP and romance in a new group

    Quote Originally Posted by Seto View Post
    Immature jokes can also be a sign of unease.

    I'd suggest you talk, separately, to the players that seemed uncomfortable. If they tell you they were uncomfortable, scrap such scenes off the campaign (if need be, explain the reason to the players that have no problem with it). If they don't tell you they were uncomfortable, but it happens again and you still feel that it hinders their fun, scrap it off the campaign too.
    Better to have everyone into the game than only half the players.
    This is a bit easier said than done. In both cases it was the players, not me, who initiated the scenes.

    Furthermore how am I supposed to run a game world with no element of romance in it? Even Disney stories have an implied sexuality behind them that the players can dig up if they look for it.
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    This is a bit easier said than done. In both cases it was the players, not me, who initiated the scenes.
    True, but as DM you're coordinating the collective fun of the game. Of course it's easier said than done, and talking with players to rectify potential problems in your game is never super fun, especially when you yourself have no problem with this content, but I'm just saying that this seems the ideal answer to me, and that's what I'd do.

    Furthermore how am I supposed to run a game world with no element of romance in it? Even Disney stories have an implied sexuality behind them that the players can dig up if they look for it.
    Key word is "implied". From your description, sexuality was pretty much implied (and not explicit), but it can be even more implied. Of course it'll exist, how else would people be born ? But it doesn't need to be mentioned or hinted at in any particular way. I know as much because I'm actually having the reverse issue as a player I always consider my characters' sexuality (in the broad sense) while building them, because I think that's an important part of a personality and it helps me add depth. But our games are pretty silent about this kind of thing, and don't let me explore it as much as I'd like.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Help with cross gender RP and romance in a new group

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    This is a bit easier said than done. In both cases it was the players, not me, who initiated the scenes.

    Furthermore how am I supposed to run a game world with no element of romance in it? Even Disney stories have an implied sexuality behind them that the players can dig up if they look for it.
    I've never needed to include romantic subplots in any of the games I've run. Most of the time, the conflicts between the PCs and the different factions fighting for control of the game world have been enough to keep the story interesting.
    Last edited by Dire Moose; 2015-03-01 at 02:00 PM.
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    Default Re: Help with cross gender RP and romance in a new group

    Without knowing what was said it's hard to know who exactly was being immature, but the bottom line is you have two groups of players, those who want to include the possibility of flirtation, romance, and liaisons, and those who don't. Split the difference: the next time it comes up in game, let your first groupers portray whatever seduction/dalliance/courtship subplots they want, of any scope they please, but let it be known that actually playing out those scenes in full is making the game bog down and you want to keep things moving quickly. Move smoothly past those scenes with hand-waiving and keep the pillow talk short and strictly business. If they ask you for descriptions, make them brief and to the point.

    It seems like you might prefer giving those scenes more air time, and I don't blame you, because it can be a good way to get to know characters more fully and make them seem more real (if handled with maturity, anyhow). But you just don't have the group for it. Commit to the communal enjoyment of the game and just move on.

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    Just a shot in the dark, but my first guess is that the problem is one of insufficient character-player separation. I.e.- one of your players decides to use his character's feminine wiles, then realizes/thinks "Wait a second, I'm flirting/sleeping with a dude right now" and can't stop self-inserting enough to squick himself out.
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    They probably just aren't familiar with the mechanics of these activities and feel embarrassed by their ignorance. Perhaps bringing visual aids, pictures, videos, etc. next time might ease their discomfort.

    Your thoughtfulness and preparedness will certainly make a lasting impression on their opinion of this game...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Furthermore how am I supposed to run a game world with no element of romance in it?
    Nobody has suggested anything remotely like "run[ning] a game world with no element of romance in it". Neither prostitution nor flirtation as a tactical tool is romance.

    I have run and played games for decades, and never needed to role-play pillow talk with a prostitute. Run a game in which prostitutes don't have any useful information, and skip any discussion of them. Don't role-play the flirtation, since it's not anybody's game goal. Just announce it and move on.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    In my experience, running any social encounter is made a million times harder by immature players sniggering away in the background, regardless of whether there is romantic/sexual content or not. Unless they are laughing IC (ruining the party's chances of successfully influencing the NPCs, by the way) they should shut up, or do the RP themselves.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    Nobody has suggested anything remotely like "run[ning] a game world with no element of romance in it". Neither prostitution nor flirtation as a tactical tool is romance.

    I have run and played games for decades, and never needed to role-play pillow talk with a prostitute. Run a game in which prostitutes don't have any useful information, and skip any discussion of them. Don't role-play the flirtation, since it's not anybody's game goal. Just announce it and move on.
    It wasn't my idea though. We are playing a western game and one of the NPCs was a prostitute (honestly it seems weird to have a western town without a bordello) and the players decided they needed to interrogate SOMEONE in the town for investigation and they chose to try and seduce the prostitute. Likewise I didn't suggest that they flirt with the NPC, they needed him distracted and that's how they chose to go about it.

    It is fairly simple for me to write a campaign where player romance / sexuality isn't a factor. It is a far more difficulty thing to design one where it can't be a factor.
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Help with cross gender RP and romance in a new group

    Handwave it. Roll Diplomancy to see if they got anything from the prostitute. Similarly for the NPC. Say 'you flirt with the NPC', roll up, and move on. Did players complain it was too simplistic? There were other players who were uncomfortable with going into any more detail and spoke up about it right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnbragg View Post
    I could see people being put off by "Beavis and Butthead play D&D". (Yes I am old).
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    Last edited by Gritmonger; 2015-03-02 at 11:14 PM.

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    Default Re: Help with cross gender RP and romance in a new group

    Do you have to RP out pillow talk or can you ask them what kind of information they try to get, roll for it(or don't) and then tell them what information they get, possibly with a passed note?

    Do you have to RP out what form the flirtation takes or can you have 'em roll after they declare what they're trying to achieve with their flirtation and determine success or failure?
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    {{scrubbed}}
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    {{scrubbed}}
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seto View Post
    Immature jokes can also be a sign of unease.
    Oh, they certainly are, because humor is a coping mechanism. Or to put it other way: the ones who are joking or laughing to said jokes are coping. The ones you need to worry about are those who are not.
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    {{scrubbed}}
    Last edited by Mark Hall; 2015-03-04 at 06:32 PM.

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    Default Re: Help with cross gender RP and romance in a new group

    As others have said... talk with the folks who looked uncomfortable. I would suggest in private, via e-mail or text. Figure out why they were uncomfortable... it may be that they don't want to see that stuff in the game, it may be because it was two guys, it may simply be "Oh, no, how far is he going to take this?" Find out what their issues were, and address those.

    Set firm boundaries for yourself, too, and tell others about them. It's one thing to say "I get a prostitute. How much? Ok, after we're done, I'm going to pump" [insert laughs] "her for information." It's another to flirt with the NPC a bit. But there's the horror stories of people whose out-of-game romances (or frustrations) turned the game into a REALLY uncomfortable situation for pretty much everyone at the table; letting folks know your boundaries can reassure them that it's not going to turn into "Talakeal's Frustrated Libido: The Role-playing Game".
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