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Thread: Mature games ?

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    Halfling in the Playground
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    What interesting games are there that deal with mature or potentially controversial themes or content? In other words, the PG-18 or R rated games?

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    Kult and Unknown Armies are two really prominent ones.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    Kult and Unknown Armies are two really prominent ones.
    Unknown Armies? Hm... I mean, I guess it feels like Supernatural or a Cthulhu movie directed by Quentin Tarantino... I guess I see your point.

    Well in that case "Don't Rest Your Head" probably counts as well?

    Wouldn't the Warhammer 40K franchise also fit? I understand it is all about grimdark and gore, kind of like the original Doom videogames?
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    Really providing the GM and players are in agreement any game can be
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    Quote Originally Posted by comicshorse View Post
    Really providing the GM and players are in agreement any game can be
    That's what I was thinking. You don't need rules for sex or gore in an RPG, and in fact they usually make the game worse.
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    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

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    I've heard tell of (but never played) a roleplaying game called FATAL that deals exclusively with over the top NSFW topics. However it's also allegedly unplayable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    I've heard tell of (but never played) a roleplaying game called FATAL that deals exclusively with over the top NSFW topics. However it's also allegedly unplayable.
    Nobody is THAT desperate for a game.

    Apocalypse World gives each player a set of Moves (things they can do) based on their class, and each class has a sex move. The psychic's sex move is something like "learns a secret about you", for instance; the drifter/driver risks getting too attached.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    Kult and Unknown Armies are two really prominent ones.
    Now now lets only mention good game :P

    So Unknown Armies as its a great more mature game

    Oh
    Red Markets is a great economic horror game and considering the design space and intentions behind it, well you could use it for any number of things
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    I've heard tell of (but never played) a roleplaying game called FATAL that deals exclusively with over the top NSFW topics. However it's also allegedly unplayable.
    "Unplayable"?

    That has been put to the test - one of the funniest threads in this forum's history!

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    I would say Unknown Armies straddles the line of mature or controversial content, but do not necessarily go there by default. It's not different from some WoD games IMO.

    Kult, on the other hand, seems to dive right in on heavy stuff.

    Don't Rest Your Head I don't remember well. I feel like it's more unsettling than heavy?

    And Red Markets? How's that. I think I've heard it somewhere. Care to talk more?

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    3.5 D&D if you lean heavily on mature themes in book of vile darkness and book of exalted deeds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    I've heard tell of (but never played) a roleplaying game called FATAL that deals exclusively with over the top NSFW topics. However it's also allegedly unplayable.
    I don't think the OP wanted immature topics

    In all seriousness, FATAL is why mature RPGs tend to go for the gore and horror angles over the sex angle. It's hard to talk about it in a way that doesn't come off as immature. It's much easier to take a topic that won't make sense to kids and spin it off into a horror theme.

    Quote Originally Posted by Silva View Post
    I would say Unknown Armies straddles the line of mature or controversial content, but do not necessarily go there by default. It's not different from some WoD games IMO.
    I'd say it's very much set up to dive into them, in a way that say GURPS is not, but it's entirely possible to play it without ever coming across 18-rated material.

    Part of this is due to it being a horror game, part of this has to do with the way magick works. Even if we're not getting into Epideromancy or Pornomancy adepthood brings with it ideas such as social outcasts, obsessions, madness, and Avatars are inherently tied into how society views people. Even if it doesn't get to sex or gore it will go to themes that might not be kid-friendly (being abandoned by all your friends because of your unending obsession with YuGiOh cards...)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Particle_Man View Post
    3.5 D&D if you lean heavily on mature themes in book of vile darkness and book of exalted deeds.
    From what I saw of those books... they tried to lean, kinda missed, and did a prat fall.
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    Quote Originally Posted by comicshorse View Post
    Really providing the GM and players are in agreement any game can be
    This-- it's mostly a matter of the group and the setting. What sort of stuff are you looking for on the mechanical side?

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    I suppose there is the book of erotic fantasy. A d20 book. Not speaking to the quality but I think it can merit an R rating.

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    fifteen posts and not a single person has mentioned White Wolf books?? those are like Mature™ central.

    You want your Mature horror books of urban fantasy? theres your Chronicles of Darkness with Themes and all that. Tons of Them.

    You want your Mature look into fantasy politics, power and economics meeting ancient myth and culture heroism? theres your Exalteds having you covered.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Part of this is due to it being a horror game, part of this has to do with the way magick works. Even if we're not getting into Epideromancy or Pornomancy adepthood brings with it ideas such as social outcasts, obsessions, madness, and Avatars are inherently tied into how society views people. Even if it doesn't get to sex or gore it will go to themes that might not be kid-friendly (being abandoned by all your friends because of your unending obsession with YuGiOh cards...)
    More than that, the whole core themes tend to revolve around humanity as a collective building the environment that humanity as a collective lives in, seen through the lens of people who desperately want to change that environment - usually because it harms them in some way. That's a conflict that lends itself to a lot of nuance and doesn't lend itself particularly well to power fantasy solutions, and the specifics just double down on that. This can involve sex or gore (that the deep human archetypes that shape the world include an uncomfortable number of variants of someone marked by being a killer of some sort is very much part of that, and when paired with the pretty bleak treatment of violence in general that tends to get to gore; similarly the game doesn't shy away from sex being a pretty significant part of the cultural mindset), but they aren't the point. The themes are, and they're why I consider it a mature game.

    A similar thing can be said about Kult, which is dark, yes, but thoughtfully dark with things to say. Whereas something like FATAL is less a mature game and more a "mature" game, where subject matter which has a certain aesthetic affiliation with mature works gets treated staggeringly immaturely. At best. Which we're on the same page about.

    Or, to use an example that isn't mine, Red Markets. It can be bloody, it can have sexual content, but those aren't the focal points. The focal points are more on the economic horror side, about financial disempowerment, desperation, and being on the receiving end of blatant exploitation. It's in the decisions made between trying to not die on the job, be able to escape your life of grinding poverty, and do things like actually care for your family on a day to day basis. What all three of these games have in common is that they emphatically don't do power fantasy, instead choosing to look at messy situations harshly.

    Meanwhile there's plenty of games on the aesthetic affiliation side, where they're still fundamentally power fantasies at heart, just power fantasies with lots of banging and gory limb removal. I've got no beef with most of them*, and routinely enjoy less bleak games about characters making stuff happen - the sex and gore isn't generally my thing, but they overlap in the important details, and these important details tend towards the fun escapism end and not the mature storytelling end.

    *There are lines not to cross here, which, again, FATAL.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    More than that, the whole core themes tend to revolve around humanity as a collective building the environment that humanity as a collective lives in, seen through the lens of people who desperately want to change that environment - usually because it harms them in some way. That's a conflict that lends itself to a lot of nuance and doesn't lend itself particularly well to power fantasy solutions, and the specifics just double down on that. This can involve sex or gore (that the deep human archetypes that shape the world include an uncomfortable number of variants of someone marked by being a killer of some sort is very much part of that, and when paired with the pretty bleak treatment of violence in general that tends to get to gore; similarly the game doesn't shy away from sex being a pretty significant part of the cultural mindset), but they aren't the point. The themes are, and they're why I consider it a mature game.
    Agreed, I just don't like going into UA's themes because I find it's better to come across them while playing. I wanted to focus on magick because it's the easiest way to explain how UA is a mature game. Sure there's the self-harm wizards and the sex wizards, but they're not what the discussion of magick focuses on. It focuses on the personal and some of the social side effects of being a person so utterly obsessed with something that you can bend reality.

    Pornomancers are a bit silly but help to point you towards the mindset of the game. Videomancers, Urbanomancers, and other 'clean' Adepts are utterly terrifying when you look at the end result, and the last time I counted a significant fraction of Archetypes had some leaning towards violence. The difference between the 2e and 3e archetype lists is interesting, 3e has a much lower count of direct combat archetypes in exchange for ones encouraging not exactly healthy behaviours.

    I'm very up front with players that UA is not a power fantasy. A game of broken people doing not nice things.

    Honestly the deglorification of violence was one of the things that sold me on UA as the mature game I run (I do however love immaturity done right and will run that as well) is the deglofication of violence and the

    A similar thing can be said about Kult, which is dark, yes, but thoughtfully dark with things to say. Whereas something like FATAL is less a mature game and more a "mature" game, where subject matter which has a certain aesthetic affiliation with mature works gets treated staggeringly immaturely. At best. Which we're on the same page about.

    Or, to use an example that isn't mine, Red Markets. It can be bloody, it can have sexual content, but those aren't the focal points. The focal points are more on the economic horror side, about financial disempowerment, desperation, and being on the receiving end of blatant exploitation. It's in the decisions made between trying to not die on the job, be able to escape your life of grinding poverty, and do things like actually care for your family on a day to day basis. What all three of these games have in common is that they emphatically don't do power fantasy, instead choosing to look at messy situations harshly.

    Meanwhile there's plenty of games on the aesthetic affiliation side, where they're still fundamentally power fantasies at heart, just power fantasies with lots of banging and gory limb removal. I've got no beef with most of them*, and routinely enjoy less bleak games about characters making stuff happen - the sex and gore isn't generally my thing, but they overlap in the important details, and these important details tend towards the fun escapism end and not the mature storytelling end.

    *There are lines not to cross here, which, again, FATAL.
    Sure. One of the things that I've come to believe is that if you want 90s edge you can have it, but you've got to do it with style. I'd love to get more into this, but I'm in the middle of my brand new copy of In Nomine (which promises to be a lot more mature once they've worked out what they're going for).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silva View Post
    I would say Unknown Armies straddles the line of mature or controversial content, but do not necessarily go there by default. It's not different from some WoD games IMO.

    Kult, on the other hand, seems to dive right in on heavy stuff.

    Don't Rest Your Head I don't remember well. I feel like it's more unsettling than heavy?

    And Red Markets? How's that. I think I've heard it somewhere. Care to talk more?
    Sure sure.

    KULT is attempting to be heavy and deep and dark its tone is just dreary and heavy handed without substance its like eating a thick stew without any flavour.


    As for Don't Rest Your Head it can be great for some themes you just need to set that theme and makes the challenges surrounding it correspond too it.


    Red Markets is the perfect way to handle cyclical cycles of debt, payment, scraping by just too live so you can have that dream house all well still being a 'zombie apocalypse'; with that in mind there is what i would focus on.
    And that is just one of many ways you can run and use red markets.
    What mature themes do you wanna focus on?
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    I know old and new world of Darkness was already mentioned but I just want to add a bit too that.

    Hunter in the old world of Darkness felt always especially grim for me, because you lived your normal everyday life and now you know that Monsters exist and you have to somehow life with that revelation that they are here, do you fight them, do you help them? How it will affect your social live, can you go monster hunting and still apply to your regular job? What if you find out that your boss is a fairy who does something to your collegues and costumers and suddenly they have to take an unpaid vacation for weeks or don't show up again?

    What if you find out one of your spouses doesn't just have an active imagination and thinks that he is the troll king, but he actually IS the king of all trolls?

    The other ones are also good in that regard, forcing massive changes in your regular lives and trying to cope with that if you play Vampire or Werewolf in a way that you start the campaign with the Transformation and go from there, how do you cope with the need of drinking blood? The realization that another world exists?

    But generally you can inject mature or adult themes into any game, though I think that some are maybe a bit better suited than others.

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    Some have touched on it, but I think it's very important to drawn the distinction between actually mature, as in grown-up and approaching things with a bit of dignity... and "mature", as in anything but a grown-up approach to the subject matter.

    Sadly, as a culture, we seem very bad at giving these topics the sobriety and weight they need.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Some have touched on it, but I think it's very important to drawn the distinction between actually mature, as in grown-up and approaching things with a bit of dignity... and "mature", as in anything but a grown-up approach to the subject matter.

    Sadly, as a culture, we seem very bad at giving these topics the sobriety and weight they need.
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    What about Dead Inside? The game where you lose your soul and have to get it back (presumably by doing good deeds, but not in the killing bad guys and taking their stuff way).

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    Some games that fall in the mature category in my opinion, and which I've always wanted to play (with pics because I'm inspired ). If anyone has experience with these, lemme know!!

    Bluebeard's Bride:



    Players assume the bride of the old legend, more specifically aspects of her psyche - the Mother, the Virgin, the Witch, the Animus and the Fatale - in a exploratory romp through the Bluebeard mansion while the later is out, to find his secrets (and horrors). It seems some heavy, R-rated stuff can be touched on here. And the story always seem to end bad for the bride no matter what. Some friends played it and said it can get into pretty horrific and unsettling territory.


    Dogs in the Vineyard:



    Players are "God's Watchdogs", mormon gunslinger-priests in a semi-fictional version of 19th century Deseret State, bringing order to frontier settlements by keeping demons out. It's a crazy western premise but with an interesting theme at it's core, "How far do you go to uphold what is right?". Here enters the potential heavy/mature stuff: the settlements' problems are caused by Sin and it's ramifications on the locals. So Dogs may face from pride and adultery to rape and murder. And the GM is instructed to treat that stuff in a nuanced way. NPCs are supposed to be humans with qualities and flaws, so no obvious "villains" here, and thus no easy answers to problems. And the system instigates that by basing conflicts on a concept of "escalation" that goes from verbal > fight > gunfight, where you can always escalate to another level if you lose on the current one. So say, if you fail to persuade the barman to spill the beans on his sinner brother's location, you may freely escalate the conflict to physical. But will you? Even knowing the consequences may be hurting him badly? (and I did say he has a little daughter at home, didn't I?) Also, the way each Dog is generated, chances are they will have conflicting opinions on the problems, so PvP is on the table.


    Montsegur 1244:



    The game's blurb says it all: "Do you renounce your heretic beliefs and do you wish to receive the forgiveness of the merciful Father? In March 1244 this question was posed to several hundred Cathars. They had surrendered to the army that had besieged the castle of Montsegur for more than nine months. More than two hundred answered no, and thereby chose death by fire. Who were these people that chose to die for their belief? In Montsegur 1244 the players collaborate to create a story about who these people were. Each player takes on the role of one of the besieged Cathars who will face the choice between life and faith. Montsegur 1244 is a story game about burning for your belief for 3-6 players, duration 3-6 hours." From reviews and play reports, things can get gruesome here too so playing with minors is not advised.
    Last edited by Silva; 2019-08-06 at 01:49 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Some have touched on it, but I think it's very important to drawn the distinction between actually mature, as in grown-up and approaching things with a bit of dignity... and "mature", as in anything but a grown-up approach to the subject matter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Torath View Post
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    Haha excellent strip.

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    KULT will always stand out to me as a good mature game, from both my experience of playing it years and years ago, and from recently having read through the new edition. Sure, its mindset is pretty grim and dark, but to me it is serious and mature on the topics it dives into.

    In comparison, World of Darkness and its attached properties (Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, etc) always seemed more "edgy teen"-stuff than KULT, but this is just my opinion from what I've seen of the different types of people drawn to the different games (as well as the "caricatures" of the different players represented in comics).
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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Mature games ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Faily View Post
    KULT will always stand out to me as a good mature game, from both my experience of playing it years and years ago, and from recently having read through the new edition. Sure, its mindset is pretty grim and dark, but to me it is serious and mature on the topics it dives into.

    In comparison, World of Darkness and its attached properties (Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, etc) always seemed more "edgy teen"-stuff than KULT, but this is just my opinion from what I've seen of the different types of people drawn to the different games (as well as the "caricatures" of the different players represented in comics).
    KULT really you sure you were not playing a good game? No i seriously am asking because having looked at KULT, having played KULT, and more it kind of falls into the same category as 2nd Edition D&D and other things around that time.
    I mean yeah World of Darkness is 100% the edgy 90s and teen & young adult demographic but it also relishes that and some of the authors knew and relished in such stuff. And they still created interesting stuff that can be used for adult themes such as loss with Changeling.
    Its not perfect but i'll take 90s edgy that 50% of the time knows its being 90s and super edgy over a system who thinks its the perfect horror game and that disliking or thinking it does not handle horror themes well means you are wrong.

    World of Darkness is not good for mature themes unless you know how to handle it and much better systems exist like well Red Markets if you wanna focus on themes of struggle and mounting odds in the face of looming debt
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  29. - Top - End - #29
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Beholder

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    Mar 2016

    Default Re: Mature games ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Silva View Post
    What interesting games are there that deal with mature or potentially controversial themes or content? In other words, the PG-18 or R rated games?
    Eclipse Phase gets really suggestive.

    The Black Hack 2e's iconic wizard is a bare chested woman.

    "Everyone is John" - the goals each player has conflict in such a way that I think most game devolve into something R-rated.

  30. - Top - End - #30
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    rredmond's Avatar

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    Default Re: Mature games ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vknight View Post
    KULT really you sure you were not playing a good game? No i seriously am asking because having looked at KULT, having played KULT, and more it kind of falls into the same category as 2nd Edition D&D and other things around that time.
    I mean yeah World of Darkness is 100% the edgy 90s and teen & young adult demographic but it also relishes that and some of the authors knew and relished in such stuff. And they still created interesting stuff that can be used for adult themes such as loss with Changeling.
    Its not perfect but i'll take 90s edgy that 50% of the time knows its being 90s and super edgy over a system who thinks its the perfect horror game and that disliking or thinking it does not handle horror themes well means you are wrong.

    World of Darkness is not good for mature themes unless you know how to handle it and much better systems exist like well Red Markets if you wanna focus on themes of struggle and mounting odds in the face of looming debt
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