Does RotRL feel more and more like "torture porn" to anyone else?


Rise of the Runelords

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DarkArt wrote:
think that Pathfinder is a far cry from Hustler, although why would you feel embarrased about buying cigarettes and condoms? I have never felt any shame buying condoms. If I smoked, I'd have no problems buying those either. When I read HMM, I did not read anywhere that detailed sodomy. What were you reading? Can you give a page number?

I was juxtaposing socially awkward purchases based on contemporary mores in order to make light of the perceived deviancy in Pathfinder. It’s cool if you didn’t notice though, your post churning seemed pretty in the zone.


BTW, I'm sure all of the complainants have also already written to WotC and protested the sickening abominations known as flesh golems.


Dungeon Grrrl wrote:
Can you give a concrete example of something you had to read as DM of this module you found disturbing? I am genuinely curious what you found to go beyond a casual mention of something unpleseant to something disturbing to even read.

Frankly, I am not sure what the point would be, I mean if you can't see anything that might be questionable, then me pointing at something and saying, "I personal think that might be over the top a bit." Isn't going to change your mind is it? Besides which it isn't merely singular examples, is the totality of the whole that I find vaguely disturbing. Sure I could point to the descriptions of:

Spoiler:
the Skin Shucking Room or the Infirmary among others

and say those were maybe a little extreme, but if you don't conceive of those and others as being so, what does my opinion really matter to you?


I think pres man has supported himself pretty well in this.

And my jokes, pres man, are all in fun. I can't disagree with your observations, but I certainly don't share your opinion. I like what Paizo has done, and it certainly isn't any worse than stuff they have already published in Dungeon (#95 anyone?).

I think both sides have presented excellent arguments and that in the end this boils down to opinion and exercising personal choice. Pleas for JJ to increase the censorship, from what JJ seems to be saying, have failed. He has already censored it to a level that Paizo has conscientiously created, if I get his posts correctly, and has said that less disturbing content is already in the works.

Not that anyone in here wants anyone else out, but just to put it the way it is: if you don't smurf it, don't smurf it.


I can see why someone would be freaked out by the following:

Spoiler:
Nick Logue wrote:
The Grauls are ruled by a notorious female known only as “Mammy” Graul, an accomplished cannibal, necrophile, and vile wizard. Grotesquely fat, Mammy Graul rarely moves beyond the walls of her reeking bedroom, letting her boys see to her needs—all of them....A huge couch haphazardly upholstered in animal hide and human flesh....The centerpiece of the dining table—a rotting human head, its stringy red hair thankfully draped over its mutilated face—serves as a gathering place for a host of buzzing, bloated flies....A crockery platter of severed fingers and toes sits on a rickety old table next to a dried sinew basket overflowing with hacked-off hands and feet, all sporting stubs of congealed blood where their digits once were. A family of lucky rats gorges itself on the red stumps.

Nick, you are truly a poet. And if I could get that nipple shot in there I would...

Of course, that's just the appetizer. So, having read that, I just can't understand (a)why anyone would question pres man's clearly well-founded concerns and (b)why this thing isn't flying off the shelves, because that stuff is deliciously horrifying.


Quote:
Nice, but Pathfinder isn't for young people, or is it?

I would like to present the argument that sheltering "young people" from the depravities of life is counter-productive. I earnestly believe that people grow up to be better citizens if they understand the horrors that we can inflict on each other. In a controlled environment, where presumably experienced people can keep an eye on how people are reacting and can offer comfort or reassurance or steer into a safer direction, introducing vile concepts can inspire contemplation of what those horros mean and what those who perform them are like. There is also an opportunity to explore one's own darker fantasies, with some aim at realism of consequences.

At the risk of starting an entirely new debate, I surmise that those who only relate to the horrors of Darfur-style conquests or the consequences of school shootings in the same way they vaguely understand that Jupiter is big and far away or atoms are held together by the strong force are really missing out on some key elements of humanity. I am sure we have all heard of some of the horrible things that happen in war, but far fewer have seen them, and even fewer understand that war is hell (military gamers, feel free to chime in here). If we continue to sanitize our fiction and fantasies, I believe we miss out on understanding darker parts of ourselves as humans. It may not be pretty, but it is necessary if one wants to live an examined life.

So while I found parts of HMM puerile (being a "hillbilly" myself I have mixed feelings about seeing inbred stereotypes; I've heard too many jokes), I found very little "disturbing". I am comfortable with graphic depictions, probably because I explored those themes extensively, beginning when I was young (I prefer "precocious"). I think it has made me a more sound and thoughtful person, and I believe the same can be said for others as well. We can use a hobby and a game to educate and improve ourselves, if only we are willing.


Kruelaid wrote:
I just can't understand (a)why anyone would question pres man's clearly well-founded concerns and (b)why this thing isn't flying off the shelves, because that stuff is deliciously horrifying.

Though I refuse to debase myself with anything as insipid as “qft,” I think Kruleaid just summed up seven pages of thread in a single, succinct sentence.


Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Man, you really set the evil bar high, don't you? :-) I respect your elevated moral standards.

Hah! Well, according to Tequila Sunrise's Defining Good, Neutrality and Evil thread, I am evil. So anything I would consider Evil, would have to be really far from the norm - wouldn't it? :-D

I had more to say on the subject... But the thread has gone far enough and I am tired of having to reel it back in to the segment I am addressing...

On the chance that my posts have been considered "too aggressive," or "trollish," I didn't mean them that way. I hope they haven't come off that way.
And in reference to those that mentioned people questioning Pres Mans concerns, I never meant to question them. Just to pose another (not necessarily correct) point of view. I expect that is how they were (mostly) received... But I figured I would play it safe.

Oh, one more thing:

bal3000 wrote:
I know. I find it SO hard to condemn the Nazis as the scumbags that they were. Oh, hang on...I don't...

Godwin's law.


the Stick wrote:


I would like to present the argument that sheltering "young people" from the depravities of life is counter-productive. I earnestly believe that people grow up to be better citizens if they understand the horrors that we can inflict on each other. In a controlled environment, where presumably experienced people can keep an eye on how people are reacting and can offer comfort or reassurance or steer into a safer direction, introducing vile concepts can inspire contemplation of what those horros mean and what those who perform them are like. There is also an opportunity to explore one's own darker fantasies, with some aim at realism of consequences.

There is a lot of research that shows that exposing "young people" to the horrors of the world does in fact impair their future wellbeing. I don't think that the context of a game run by an untrained DM can usually be considered a controlled environment. Your argument may sound good, but it's provably not a good idea to expose children to certain things. The consequences of doing so are substance abuse, early experimentation with sex, a tendency to criminal activity and other things that are not usually associated with being good citizens. Ebolav should be able to back me up on this. If not, I'll post a boatload of links that do.


doppelganger wrote:


There is a lot of research that shows that exposing "yound people" to the horrors of the world does in fact impair their future wellbeing.

True that. Very true.

Your avatar seriously disturbs me, by the way.


Kruelaid wrote:


Your avatar seriously disturbs me, by the way.

I've been getting that comment fairly often. For what it's worth, the avatar and I share the same haircut.

Kruelaid wrote:
Why is everyone yelling at me?

Because everyone yells for Kruelaid! Better than Hawaiian Crunch!


Kruelaid wrote:


Your avatar seriously disturbs me, by the way.
doppelganger wrote:


I've been getting that comment fairly often. For what it's worth, the avatar and I share the same haircut.

As long as you don't have his eyes.


Ah, the old "secondary effects" argument. Children are to be shielded from everything that could be offensive, or they become juvenile delinquents. And what could be offensive is to be determined by the user of the argument, without backing in any serious research.

What well-conducted research that exists in the area says is more or less that violence, including violence done by minors, has dropped drastically the last decade or so, which hardly supports the "secondary effects" argument, since those young during this period were generally less censored than earlier generations of youths. It also shows that teen pregnancies is more correlated to low availability of contraceptives and to absence of good sex ed in school. It is probably just coincidence that most people touting "secondary effects" want youths to practice abstinence and get no sex ed.

"Secondary effects" is nothing more than a bunch of people with very conservative views wanting to censor things they don't like by saying "stuff like that hurts our kids".

Dark Archive

Corian of Lurkshire wrote:
"Secondary effects" is nothing more than a bunch of people with very conservative views wanting to censor things they don't like by saying "stuff like that hurts our kids".

I wouldn't say that its just people with conservative views though. People in all camps are guilty of that tactic.

Will someone PLEASE just think of the children! gives like a +10 bonus to diplomacy checks or something.


I'm not sure who you've caught making a secondary effects argument, but whatever...

Corian of Lurkshire wrote:


What well-conducted research that exists in the area says is more or less that violence, including violence done by minors, has dropped drastically the last decade or so, which hardly supports the "secondary effects" argument, since those young during this period were generally less censored than earlier generations of youths.

To be precise, some violence has become more available, but this says nothing about the lifestyle or child-rearing these children have experienced. Besides, American culture has been violent for far more that the last ten years. Probably, we would be better off talking about the relationship between crime and economics. But that is neither here nor there, we have been talking about Nick's vivid portrayal of sick ogres and whether or not it offends people.

Corian of Lurkshire wrote:


It also shows that teen pregnancies is more correlated to low availability of contraceptives and to absence of good sex ed in school. It is probably just coincidence that most people touting "secondary effects" want youths to practice abstinence and get no sex ed.

Nice grammar, dude. You're talking about teen pregnancies, not whether or not 16 year olds decide to have sex. In fact, there is a correlation between kids seeing explicit material and having sex at a young age, but whether it is causative seems questionable.

Corian of Lurkshire wrote:


"Secondary effects" is nothing more than a bunch of people with very conservative views wanting to censor things they don't like by saying "stuff like that hurts our kids".

If you want to totally overblow what has been said here and insult some of the posters on this thread, you've done great! I think we have all agreed that PF is not for kids and that isn't what the argument is about here.


Everyone who thinks it's a good idea to show their kids Hustler, bootleg videos from combat in Iraq, and Faces of Death put up your hands.


Kruelaid wrote:
I think we have all agreed that PF is not for kids and that isn't what the argument is about here.

It was what my argument was about, which is why I tried so hard not to be lumped into the censorship crowd by default, and why my posts seem a little off kilter. Even "not for kids" doesn't quite fit my standpoint either, as I'm more of a "read this thing through, and talk with your kid about it before letting them have a crack it."

Also, I don’t want anyone to believe I wish anything pulled. My opinion is, if this module is so popular they need a second printing, or if another module with a similar premise releases, why not put a tiny thing on it to indicate it could be contentious to people sensitive to such subjects.

I think I might be in the small crowd that has read every single post on this thread (apparently, I'm not being challenged enough at work).


Kruelaid wrote:
Everyone who thinks it's a good idea to show their kids Hustler, bootleg videos from combat in Iraq, and Faces of Death put up your hands.

To be fair, I regularly drive around in a big van filled with drugs, prostitutes, and gang members, and I feel fairly well adjusted...


DangerDwarf wrote:
Corian of Lurkshire wrote:
"Secondary effects" is nothing more than a bunch of people with very conservative views wanting to censor things they don't like by saying "stuff like that hurts our kids".

I wouldn't say that its just people with conservative views though. People in all camps are guilty of that tactic.

Will someone PLEASE just think of the children! gives like a +10 bonus to diplomacy checks or something.

Hurts our kids? Please. It's no different from the Video game Hysteria- parents need to stop fobbing responsibility off onto manufacturers who use a responsible ratings system- try being a parent and take control of what kids watch. My wife once taught a bunch of 7 year olds- their favorite movie was T2. Seriously. That's just abdicating control in the face of the "big bad media". I appreciate it's tough, but the best jobs always are.

I heard Neil Gaiman talk about kids and monsters when he was doing his Coraline Book Tour- the nub of it being that we have to let our children know that monsters are real and so can be defeated. I'd go further and say that to deny this in the name of shielding kids can be a disservice, since it fails to arm them against the real horrors when they come calling. That's not to say we should traumatize our kids, but an inkling of what's outside the front door is not a bad ideal.

The point is moot anyway- RotRL is clearly not meant for younger players. That said, we see the banal cruelty of evil on our TVs every night- the Evil of D&D is in many ways more comforting in that it's not an abstract that quietly grows in the grey spaces of our lives. D&D Evil is a tangible force, like a diseased wind or a tarry excretion, and it's effects can be fought, excised or burnt out. Nick Louge's Orges were a stark reminder of what Chaotic Evil should be for a mature audience- implusive, immoral and insane. Good work sir- these are great villains and will be haunting my games for years to come.


PF, not for kids.

mwbeeler wrote:


It was what my argument was about, which is why I tried so hard not to be lumped into the censorship crowd by default, and why my posts seem a little off kilter. Even "not for kids" doesn't quite fit my standpoint either, as I'm more of a "read this thing through, and talk with your kid about it before letting them have a crack it."

I'm not into censorship either, but there hasn't really been a significant call for censorship here, more of a "hey Paizo, can you ease up on the gore?" with varying tones.

The biggest issue I've read while following this thread is whether or not, as pres man suggested, this stuff looks like "torture porn" and even he suggested the comparison was strained (I think, but really I don't want to re-read everything...).

Incidentally, I would let my kid read HMM, I would even DM it for her, when she's mature enough. On the other hand, I would not suggest she check out the other stuff mentioned above. If she does read Hustler It won't mess her up because I'm going to make sure she has a good head on her shoulders.


Kruelaid wrote:
I'm not sure who you've caught making a secondary effects argument, but whatever...

doppelganger. =)

Corian of Lurkshire wrote:


What well-conducted research that exists in the area says is more or less that violence, including violence done by minors, has dropped drastically the last decade or so, which hardly supports the "secondary effects" argument, since those young during this period were generally less censored than earlier generations of youths.
Kruelaid wrote:


To be precise, some violence has become more available, but this says nothing about the lifestyle or child-rearing these children have experienced. Besides, American culture has been violent for far more that the last ten years. Probably, we would be better off talking about the relationship between crime and economics. But that is neither here nor there, we have been talking about Nick's vivid portrayal of sick ogres and whether or not it offends people.

Statistics about violence in society shows clearly that all over the western world, violent crime has made a definite drop since the early 90's, including in America. And I agree with you that crime and economy is the real relationship, not crime and uncensored stuff for kids. But no, when you start talking about how "some things are not good for kids to see, and leads to early sex experimentation etc", that's not about whether the material offends people. It has become "won't someone please think of the kids".

Corian of Lurkshire wrote:


It also shows that teen pregnancies is more correlated to low availability of contraceptives and to absence of good sex ed in school. It is probably just coincidence that most people touting "secondary effects" want youths to practice abstinence and get no sex ed.
Kruelaid wrote:


Nice grammar, dude. You're talking about teen pregnancies, not whether or not 16 year olds decide to have sex. In fact, there is a correlation between kids seeing explicit material and having sex at a young age, but whether it is causative seems questionable.

Okay, I am terribly sorry. I should have said "teen pregnancies ARE more related". =)

Corian of Lurkshire wrote:


"Secondary effects" is nothing more than a bunch of people with very conservative views wanting to censor things they don't like by saying "stuff like that hurts our kids".
Kruelaid wrote:


If you want to totally overblow what has been said here and insult some of the posters on this thread, you've done great! I think we have all agreed that PF is not for kids and that isn't what the argument is about here.

It's regrettable if people get upset by what I wrote. And no, I agree with you that RotRL probably isn't for kids. Even so, there's nothing in it that's really worse to a kid than watching the news. At least in an RPG, there is the escape that it's not for real.


Corian...

...whatever. Read the thread. It speaks for itself.

The Exchange

Corian of Lurkshire wrote:

Ah, the old "secondary effects" argument. Children are to be shielded from everything that could be offensive, or they become juvenile delinquents. And what could be offensive is to be determined by the user of the argument, without backing in any serious research.

What well-conducted research that exists in the area says is more or less that violence, including violence done by minors, has dropped drastically the last decade or so, which hardly supports the "secondary effects" argument, since those young during this period were generally less censored than earlier generations of youths. It also shows that teen pregnancies is more correlated to low availability of contraceptives and to absence of good sex ed in school. It is probably just coincidence that most people touting "secondary effects" want youths to practice abstinence and get no sex ed.

"Secondary effects" is nothing more than a bunch of people with very conservative views wanting to censor things they don't like by saying "stuff like that hurts our kids".

Show showing snuff flicks to 5 year olds makes them better people? I jest (a bit). I hear what you are saying about the dubious links between violence and sex in the media and in people's behaviour, and largely agree - a nutter is a nutter, and is drawn to violent imagary, rather than is made by it (largely - there could be feedback going on). I don't really see the discussion as one of censorship (imposed) but what is good taste to depict (authorial and editorial self-censorship). It's basically about whether I want to go "Yuk!" while reading an adventure, and whether it is actually necessary for the adventure to be good or set the tone.


Thanks Aubrey.

Liberty's Edge

I'm not really a doctor, but I play one on TV---

...

sorry...wrong thread...


pres man wrote:

Frankly, I am not sure what the point would be, I mean if you can't see anything that might be questionable, then me pointing at something and saying, "I personal think that might be over the top a bit." Isn't going to change your mind is it?

so, what does my opinion really matter to you?

I am perfectly capable of undertsanding points of view I don't agree with. Previously, I just couldn't even und3ertsand yours. What you were saying made so little sense to me that I wanted an example so I could better grasp what your objection was.

To me, this is a normal and important part of any discourse, especially if two people disagree. I want to make an effort to understand your concerns, so even if I do not agree with them I can discuss them with you, and others, rationally. There is no point in my deciding your opinion is invalid if I am not sure what your opinion is.

Now, however in respionse to my request, you have stated it wasn;t just any one quote anyway but a totality of what you read. I did not get that from any of your previous posts. You had seemed to think there were specific things that had made you uncomfortable when you read them, in of themselves.

Now it seems the tone of the whole project left you disturbed. I can almost see that, and at least I undertsnad your concern better. I would be inclined to think its impossible to make the adventure work for you and me at the same time, since a serious downturn in its tone, rather than a rewording of any specific information, just ruins it for me given the point of this metaplot.

I guess Paizo had to pick between my kind of customer and your kind. Sorry you lost out this time (seriously!), and I hope the next adventure is something we can both enjoy.


Aubrey the Malformed wrote:


Show showing snuff flicks to 5 year olds makes them better people? I jest (a bit). I hear what you are saying about the dubious links between violence and sex in the media and in people's behaviour, and largely agree - a nutter is a nutter, and is drawn to violent imagary, rather than is made by it (largely - there could be feedback going on). I don't really see the discussion as one of censorship (imposed) but what is good taste to depict (authorial and editorial self-censorship). It's basically about whether I want to go "Yuk!" while reading an adventure, and whether it is actually necessary for the adventure to be good or set the tone.

Now this is a more balanced viewpoint, that deserves a different reply. I am not a fan of censorship. To me, I see for example the Comics Code as one of the darker parts of public entertainment. It was more or less forcibly applied under the guise of self-censorship, and the results were appalling. Some decades later, this code was watered down, and comics started to make some kind of impact on the public again. For example, Watchmen with its critique of society and government could not possibly have been printed during the heyday of the Comics Code. Given this, I find that I much prefer that censorship stays out of entertainment, even (or perhaps especially) self-censorship. The fact is that we live in a world that is at times both cruel, monstrous, unfair and horrible. It is only fair to our children that we let people depict it that way. Children have parents, who should be the judges of what their children partake of.

Pertaining to RotRL, then, I say that it is an extremely impressive work, far beyond what I have come to expect from publicised adventure modules. It illustrates society in a largely positive way, as exemplified by the description of Sandpoint, and much more than usual, it pushes for that society giving a positive response to those it sees as heroes. It describes rather realistically the actions and reasons of the villains, and how their actions impact the world around them. Now, much of what it does, it achieves THROUGH, not in spite of, the horror involved. So... if it isn't your cup of tea, fine. Nobody forces you to use any of it. But there is a place for grim, gritty adventures that touch on mature themes in between the forests of simplistic, sanitized dungeon-crawls that have been the fare for decades.

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

Uhhh...

WTF? How did this actually turn into an honest to god discussion about appropriate viewing for children. Well, if nothing else, at least there's sufficient consensus regarding how to appropriately raise children that there won't be much to say...hold on

This just in from our on the street reporter, Rick Romero: the appropriate way to raise children is one of the most contentious issues that people can discuss.

Thanks Rick!

We now return you to your regularly scheduled thread about who actually said what on the thread, when they said it, what they meant by it, and whether they, or the people who responded to them, actually had legitimate points worth discussing.

This thread is now officially the place where stupid comes to die. Any intelligent discourse that may once have lurked has fled in abject terror. I advise you to do the same.


Sebastian wrote:

Uhhh...

WTF? How did this actually turn into an honest to god discussion about appropriate viewing for children. Well, if nothing else, at least there's sufficient consensus regarding how to appropriately raise children that there won't be much to say...hold on

This just in from our on the street reporter, Rick Romero: the appropriate way to raise children is one of the most contentious issues that people can discuss.

...

lol

Just as an aside... judging by some things I've seen and my wife's comments, nothing we argue about here or on the WotC boards compares with the flame wars on parenting messageboards. Its a very touchy subject, and with everyone able to find an "expert" with a book who has been on a talkshow as their evidence... its just nasty.

Plus most of the people posting seem to be new parents (mainly mothers) chronically short on sleep.

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

Talion09 wrote:


lol

Just as an aside... judging by some things I've seen and my wife's comments, nothing we argue about here or on the WotC boards compares with the flame wars on parenting messageboards. Its a very touchy subject, and with everyone able to find an "expert" with a book who has been on a talkshow as their evidence... its just nasty.

Plus most of the people posting seem to be new parents (mainly mothers) chronically short on sleep.

My wife used to go to those and I completely agree, they are nasty!


Sebastian wrote:

Uhhh...

WTF? How did this actually turn into an honest to god discussion about appropriate viewing for children. Well, if nothing else, at least there's sufficient consensus regarding how to appropriately raise children that there won't be much to say...hold on

This just in from our on the street reporter, Rick Romero: the appropriate way to raise children is one of the most contentious issues that people can discuss.

Thanks Rick!

We now return you to your regularly scheduled thread about who actually said what on the thread, when they said it, what they meant by it, and whether they, or the people who responded to them, actually had legitimate points worth discussing.

This thread is now officially the place where stupid comes to die. Any intelligent discourse that may once have lurked has fled in abject terror. I advise you to do the same.

This thread should be moved over to Fark.com due to excessive use of cliches.

Maybe Pathfinder could insert some sidebars on how to adapt the adventures to the Comstock Laws.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Well, all right, then let me bring up a point I think people have missed. Full caps are yelling; they're key ideas.

Some people consider the material in Pathfinder issues 2 and 3 to be innapropriate for their troupe of players. Maybe they're kids, maybe they just don't like that kind of thing. Cool.

Making those kinds of calls is part of the DM's job.

The material in issues 2 and 3 is more likely than most gaming products to trigger objections.

--

I'd just like to note that some of the concerns could have been addressed in issue 1. A friendly "Hi, Paizo here. Just wanted to let you know that if you thought that the image of goblins eatin' a guy's face off was not to your liking, then you'd best skip this campaign entirely. We'll be back in five months with something more your cup of tea."


Disenchanter wrote:
For my last point on the subject, I give you Dr, Kevorkian...But I would have a hard time accepting that the man himself is Evil...

I met him once, just before he was imprisoned (we fixed his camcorder). Hell of a nice guy (just one man's opinion).

Dark Archive

Bill Lumberg wrote:


This thread should be moved over to Fark.com due to excessive use of cliches.

Maybe Pathfinder could insert some sidebars on how to adapt the adventures to the Comstock Laws.

That was funny! I had to Google it, of course, but after that, funny!


santinj@ wrote:
Bill Lumberg wrote:


This thread should be moved over to Fark.com due to excessive use of cliches.

Maybe Pathfinder could insert some sidebars on how to adapt the adventures to the Comstock Laws.

That was funny! I had to Google it, of course, but after that, funny!

Thank you. I'll be here all week.


I think part of the reaction of people who unfortunately didn’t find hook mountain to their taste is that many of them are subscribes and charter ones at that who followed the crew over from dungeon expect more of the same in good faith. Which they have come to the shocking realization that its going to quite different and distinct in tone.

I am luckier that I choose to wait until after the first arc before deciding whether to subscribe and have been individually buying my issues thus far. So I have the option of skipping this one or others, were others haven’t.


doppelganger wrote:
There is a lot of research that shows that exposing "young people" to the horrors of the world does in fact impair their future wellbeing. ... If not, I'll post a boatload of links that do.

Wow, I wanted to just let this go, but I see I need to clarify. I was certainly not advocating that we go, "Hey, kids! Wanna see what a body looks like after taking .50 caliber round to the face? How about the after-effects of gang-rape and mutilation after your family has been slaughtered and living in a refugee camp with insufficent food for six months?" Seriously, I hope you were just misreading me by accident.

Now allow me to ask what you were afraid of when you were younger... the dark? monsters? fire? What was your imagination like, adn what were the worst things you could think of happening, the issues that disturbed you? ANd how did those change as you grew? DId you ever confront those fears, and what happened if you did?

In a mature adventure, one can explore the darker sides of human imagination, and get a glimpse of what evil people are capable of doing to each other. Certainly not everyone is ready to do that, but my idea of a trained DM is at the least a decent storyteller, who cna recognize the mood of the the listener/participants. If everyone in the game is comfortable (or more correctly not too uncomfortable), then one can safely explore how one sees these dark sides of humanity, and presumably grow from it.

Not everyone can do that, at any age. SOme people play mechanically to kill monsters and get more powerful. SOme people never play evil campaigns. Everyone has differnt expectations from their games. All I am saying is that this AP is hardly torture porn, and provides an opportunity to confront irrational evil, much like STAP provided opportunities to explore rational evils nad how far one could go in the name of the greater good.

For me, a good game involves intellectual stimulation. SOme of my favorite memories involve playing an evil character seeking redemption, while another player was a good character falling prey to temptation. Of course, not every game is that "heavy"; I also enjoyed my self-proclaimed world's greatest thief.

TO reiterate, RotRL is hardly torture porn, and blanket statements equating it with true horrors (as opposed to imaginary ones) are unfounded. It's a big game world, and room for all kinds of players.

The Exchange

For the record - this thread runs over 90 pages printed out.

While I am probably more sympathetic to the OP's thoughts, I've found it a very interesting discussion and most of it was handled well.


Renewal's_Plume wrote:

I think part of the reaction of people who unfortunately didn’t find hook mountain to their taste is that many of them are subscribes and charter ones at that who followed the crew over from dungeon expect more of the same in good faith. Which they have come to the shocking realization that its going to quite different and distinct in tone.

I am luckier that I choose to wait until after the first arc before deciding whether to subscribe and have been individually buying my issues thus far. So I have the option of skipping this one or others, were others haven’t.

I think you can find similiar "objectionable" content in Paizo's run on Dungeon over the last three years. And as James pointed out earlier, those issues tended to sell better.

IMHO, the thing is that while you might have not liked the content in one adventure, it was only one adventure out of three in the issue.

Here, we have what seems be a front-loading of the "objectionable" content in Pathfinder into the first three issues. (Although James has also pointed out somewhere on this thread that this trend just happened in the first three, and the next three are more standard fare in this regard)

So its like opening up a couple Dungeon magazines, and instead of maybe 1 adventure you didn't like or find objectionable, 66% of the adventures are like that.


I think perhaps the problem is not the ever-fuzzy concept of "objectionable", but rather that, as has been said, people expected one thing and got another. And expecting standard Dungeon fare, I'd say that it's understandable that some people were not prepared for more atmosphere, more thought behind the events, and yes, more grit. When I started reading RotRL, I was pleasantly surprised to feel that I could involve my players emotionally in the story. It is a good thing, but not necessarily if all you want is a standard dungeon crawl.

Dark Archive

”Dungeon Grrrl” wrote:
I guess Paizo had to pick between my kind of customer and your kind. Sorry you lost out this time (seriously!), and I hope the next adventure is something we can both enjoy.

In this rambling mess of a thread, Dungeon Grrrl went and hit the proverbial nail on the head. Paizo chose to produce this kind of adventure (and I don’t blame them) because there is an increasing market for it, which is exactly what saddens me.

The game and gaming materials that I enjoyed as a fourth grader are not the same as those that are produced are now (everybody say, “duh!”). The quality is better, the artwork is better, and the stories (in the form of adventure back-stories and campaign materials) are a whole lot better. The game has grown up with me and has similarly lost its innocence and naïveté. We’ve gained a lot in those respects.

What I think people are pointing out, here—okay, I’ll just speak for myself. I think what I’d like to point out here is that this progress comes at a price. The game is getting so mature that I, for one, don’t leave copies of Pathfinder lying around for my two-and-a-half year old son to find. He doesn’t need to see pictures of Mammy Graul or a ghoulish figure licking a switch blade, and I think we’re all in agreement on that point.

I wouldn’t necessarily have the same concern with the old AD&D MM or DMG. The pictures in those books were generally of a lesser quality, the depictions more suggestive than graphic, and the descriptions of monsters more like caricatures than realistic. Not to say that the old D&D books were tame, and contained no questionable material, they weren’t. But, devils and demons were identifiable because they had horns and tails and pitchforks, not because they were described as creative-artists with blood and offal or as having sex with their offspring.

I’m not a prude, a Puritan, or pro-censorship. I’m really not a big Goodman Games, nostalgia fan. I think Nick Logue did a heck of a job being evocative; he worked hard on this one, and it shows. I’m dead serious. The stuff in HMM is not torture porn, but it is horrific, and as a would-be writer (aren’t we all), I respect his work. I also think that much of his hard work and creative writing in those “off-camera” parts is—as JSL and others have pointed out—unnecessary for making the adventure work or for advancing the story of HMM. It’s a distraction. Yes, my opinion, but there you go.

The sad thing is, my son will someday be old enough to be exposed to this brand of fantasy. He will be able to “handle it” in its proper context. He’ll grow up and mature, just like I did. I suspect that the game—along with other forms of entertainment—will have pushed the envelope beyond me by then, and that HMM will look as harmless to him as the old AD&D MM and DMG do to me now.

Is that something to be happy about? I’m saying it’s not, but I suspect I hold the minority view.


I haven't read all of the posts to this thread, when I have time I will as I do find this discussion interesting and quite important. I am an old school D&D player - I dont know much about tortue porn but I would say the Call of Cthulhu genre has invaded D&D.

I consider roleplaying a social escapist type experience, I generally roleplay with my wife and some close friends. Even after reading burnt offerings I thought it was maybe not for such a group, funnily the ghouls from the 2nd adventure didn't bother me as much but I stopped reading all the descriptive text in the third adventure and just skimmed it (mostly because I only have the PDF - I will read it in full when the hard copy arrives) partly because I got the gist - ogres depraved. If I run RotRL it will not be for my normal group- or I will just leave out the more graphic bits.

I haven't watched the classic torture porn movies but I have seen Se7en, which I didn't really like. I do enjoy the less graphic, more comical horror like Evil Dead. But in short I consider the darker horror genre movies/books etc to be more the kind of thing that you do on your own. It effects you internally.

When I run a game with depraved bad guys in it I find it is enough to say to the players 'these guys are really evil and depraved' with perhaps a little bit of description for the players to get the message. I dont see the need to expand greatly upon this topic, that is what their imagination is for, if they want to go there. If they dont then that is fine too.

I do think these things could be toned down a bit, I like my escapism less grim. This is a personal prefernce. Equally I accept that the imagination that creates great images like the ghoul scarecrows sometimes gets there via darker places. I have found Nick and Richard's work before this ( and what I have read of this adventure path) to be excellent and I would rather keep getting their high quality imaginations providing me with gaming material - even if they do need a few more butterflies.


Nicolas Logue wrote:
...These ogres are evil because they view smaller creatures as toys, playthings, sexual curiosities, and food. That's the evil they are.

If this is what you meant to communicate, why not just say it in post #2? Why do we have to get 250+ posts into this thread and muddle through thinly veiled attempts to mock or belittle your detractors before you give this answer? Now that I know your intent, I can tailor your adventure to my group and their sensibilities. It makes perfect sense. And with that one sentence, you could say everything that needs to be said. That is how "mature" products *should* be.

Nicolas Logue wrote:


Also, keep in mind charm monster is a 4th level spell, so a 7th level wizard has one or maybe two on hand (the PCs are 7th level when they hit the Grauls), unless they spend a considerable amount of money on scrolls buddy.

4x7x25/2 = 350 gp to scribe by my count. Hardly out of the budget of a 7th level character. And don't forget about confusion it is far less open to DM interpretation. And those knowledge checks at +12 are a bear when it comes to ferreting out intel before an attack. Good players will be loaded for ogre before they leave Turtletown.

Nicolas Logue wrote:


AND: Charm ain't dominate. So the ogre likes em, so what. Don't mean the ogre does what the spellcaster says, especially cause, as you pointed out, these ogres are really f#*&ing stupid. They may decide to display their affections, and that would result in much objectionable material, so you might have to ban charm monster entirely to protect your delicate sensibilities.

So your solution is, first to ruin the PCs moment of brilliance by DM fiat - yeah that'll go over well - then curse, and finally try to insult me personally (for the second time this thread, no less). Since you cannot give a forthright or civil response to my concerns without deliberately trying to offend me, I'm through arguing with you. There's no point. You don't get where I'm coming from and I obviously don't get where you're coming from. Let's leave it at that.

Here's how I'm going to close my argument.

I just re-read James' intro to HMM where he talks about the manuscript "violating other emails [in his inbox]", and how he was "cackling with glee to [him]self [at something that was apparently edited out]", "or rereading in disbelief [something else that was edited out]", but how ultimately "I spared [the reader these details] ... not out of misplaced sense of protection for delicate sensibilities...[but because he wants more of Logue's work in the future]".

I realize this is tongue-in-cheek, but it still comes across as crass, moronic, and immature. It seems to be Paizo dancing around singing "We're so badass we had to edit ourselves... Come and see the edgy content... It will annoy your mother...". In other words, it is the same style of advertising used to sell beer and porn, but oddly not Rolex watches, diamonds, or luxury cars.

If you want to market your book to a mature audience - by which I mean one that earns a paycheck and can keep your company in business - here is how you do it. No sticker on the cover; no "sealed pages"; no "sex, drugs, and demon lords".

In the intro you say: "This adventure draws inspiration from [sources] and may contain content or references that some folks find objectionable or inappropriate for their group. Specifically [an example]. As always, it is the DM's responsibility to preview material and make necessary changes to suit the interests and sensibilities of her group. Here is what we were trying to accomplish: [goals]. Most of the descriptive text is for flavor only and does not directly impact the game. For those who want a more visceral experience [see optional rules or content]. For those who want to tone it down, please do so. Keep in mind [some details] are relevant in future adventures so you may want to make sure the PCs [do something] even if they never [do something else]."

What I find really annoying is that Paizo did just this in PF #1. It was cool - and others have said as much. Why didn't they do it in PF #3, I don't know. But it seems like a conscious effort was made *not* to do it in PF #3 and that has been supported by a concious effort in this thread and others to excuse themselves by implying detractors are not man enough to take it.

Paizo: You want to market to a "mature" audience, then start acting like it. Treat us like adults! Honestly, your products are better than most and that is why I've bought from you. But imply one more time that I'm not cool or edgy enough for your target audience and I might just believe you. And I don't see how that is good for your business.

Contributor

It's a little too gruesome for me, and I'm toning it down in my own game. I'm not at the point of wanting to wash my mind out with soap or anything (meeting Logue tends to inoculate you against future horrors), but I'd prefer to see lighter adventures.

That's just me, though, and I understand everyone needs a fair shake at the kind of adventures they wish to see and play. So I trust the guys to keep on doing what they're doing.

-Amber S.


I seriously doubt the envelope will continue to be pushed very far. Escapist fiction has grown darker and more gritty these last few years, just like it did in the 80's. For a comics example, anyone remember Ghost Rider? It's not a coincidence that that movie was just made. Eventually, this too will turn lighter.

Liberty's Edge

Corian of Lurkshire wrote:
I seriously doubt the envelope will continue to be pushed very far. Escapist fiction has grown darker and more gritty these last few years, just like it did in the 80's. For a comics example, anyone remember Ghost Rider? It's not a coincidence that that movie was just made. Eventually, this too will turn lighter.

Good, because Lovecraft and Poe are quickly becoming passe (who remembers when only we nerds could quote Tolkien), which lowers my Total Geek Score...I suppose I could return to 19th century Literature, which hasn't been popular for, well, since the 19th century. At any rate, it suits me fine if the world would return to an era of butterfly mountings and tulip auctions; then my Geekdom (and trademark creepiness) will once again be secure.


It astounds me, JSL, that someone does not get what Nick is trying to communicate about the ogres, and needs to be told.

Contributor

JSL wrote:
Nicolas Logue wrote:
...These ogres are evil because they view smaller creatures as toys, playthings, sexual curiosities, and food. That's the evil they are.
If this is what you meant to communicate, why not just say it in post #2? Why do we have to get 250+ posts into this thread and muddle through thinly veiled attempts to mock or belittle your detractors before you give this answer?

I apologize if it seemed I was trying to mock or belittle you JSL. I wasn't. I have a sense of humor that would be called by most...a little off-key. I wasn't trying to insult you, but re-reading the thread, I can see how it could easily be interpreted that I was. Please accept my apology.

Though I gotta agree with Kruelaid a little here: I thought the module itself made it fairly obvious what the ogres were all about. Anyways though, I am glad that's cleared up, and I hope it goes well for you in play my man.

I know HMM is earning me a reputation as a sick f**%, and Carnival of Tears will no doubt do little to abate this. However, I'd just like to chime in and point towards my other work. Yes, I can go to sick f@#& land when an adventure calls for it, but I really don't do it all or even most of the time. Read any of my other works and you'll see this is the case I hope. Edge of Anarchy has a few gruesome moments, but is no where near as over the top as HMM. I hope you don't think I eat babies. Cause I only do sometimes, when I need to get myself into the mood to write a manuscript like Hook.

Hope the adventure works out well for you JSL, again I apologize for the snarky off-key comments I made earlier.

Edit: Oh, and I wasn't suggesting DM fiat...just creating an interesting situation out of charm monster instead of the usual "He does what you say." I do this all the time, and it's usually a lot of fun. Sometime charm person/monster should get you into trouble I think, it ain't mind control it just adjusts someone's attitude towards you. As a player I find it delightful when things don't go according to plan. It's more fun that way. If we disagree on this, that's fine, just wanted to pony up and say "NO GM FIAT. GM FIAT BAD." While I agree, I don't think my suggested use of charm monster even comes close to GM Fiat. It's just a fun interpretation of events, it's not like I'm negating what the player did, just giving them a slightly different result than they hoped for. As someone who has seen GM Fiat haaaard at work (and hated it), I think you've got me wrong there my man.


Nicolas Logue wrote:
I hope you don't think I eat babies.

No one should click on this, but I had to post it anyway (Rated O for offensive):

Spoiler:
Try new Pyst ™ Fetus-O’s! That’s right, offspring, you too can gnaw upon and guzzle down the flavor sensation of aborted zygotes in your very own home. Masticate your way to a healthy day, with Fetus-O’s!

Nick Logue says, “Theeeerrreee Graaaaabbblllllaaaaarrrrrggggaaattthhhhhffffllllllaaaaaaabbbbbbbblllllleeee eeeeeeetttthhhhhhhhiiiiiiisssssssiiiiccccccciiiiioooooouuuuuuusssss.”


Andrew Turner wrote:
Ebolav wrote:
doppelganger wrote:
Ebolav wrote:


Wikipedia 'hyperbole'
Dictionary.com 'retroactive'. I do not think that word means what you think it means.
My PhD says I do....the word was used because of the demanding nature of the original post, and that that was probably the only way for him to be placated, like the customer who is ALWAYS right, no matter what...
I agree with your PhD...

Just catching up after 2 long rotations at work....thank you, always nice to see *someone* else was on the same page as me. And I agree with a prior poster, this thread has also beautifully demonstrated the limitation of written text, which is rife with misunderstandings when communication is stripped of its nonverbal/paraverbal components...

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