Author Topic: Rape in D&D  (Read 21758 times)

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emissary666

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Rape in D&D
« on: November 21, 2008, 02:26:54 PM »
I've toyed the idea with an AO game for a while, but I have come across a problem. How do you handle rape? I don't mean mechanically, but should PCs get raped, NPCs, how to handle it appropriately and non offensively.
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Kuroimaken

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Re: Rape in D&D
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2008, 02:57:00 PM »
That mostly depends on your party's make-up. Guys and gals handle the whole concept a bit differently. Context would be more appreciated.
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emissary666

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Re: Rape in D&D
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2008, 11:00:55 PM »
Can't really add context. My players are pretty immature, but I'm sure they can be mature enough to handle a mature game.
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Kuroimaken

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Re: Rape in D&D
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2008, 11:16:48 PM »
Quote
Can't really add context. My players are pretty immature, but I'm sure they can be mature enough to handle a mature game.

I meant the context in which you wish to add that theme to your campaign.
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Fox Lee

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Re: Rape in D&D
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2008, 03:08:38 AM »
PCs should not get raped unless the player is okay with it OOC (e.g., you have planned it together), or the player has been told at the beginning of the game that rape is a possible consequence of their success/failure in-game, and they have willingly accepted that risk. In any other circumstances, thou shalt not rape PCs. This goes double for pregnancy resulting from rape.

KNOW WHETHER OR NOT ANY OF YOUR PLAYERS HAS BEEN SEXUALLY ASSAULTED. One of our players once made a character who had been raped in her past, and when she tried to engage in solo combat with the perpetrator (and lost horribly), the GM quite reasonably played the villain to type and indicated that it happened again. We didn't find out about the player's past until later.

As for NPCs... the big thing about rape is not to overuse it. Personally I hate it as a plot device, despite that fact that I used to use it liberally, because it's so damned overdone now that most writers/GMs use it as this big shortcut button to "DRAMA!" So use it sparingly, unless you want it to lose all its impact (see also "Rape is the New Dead Parents"). Avoid inflicting it upon irritating or unpopular characters as a way of making them "more sympathetic".

If you must use rape, don't let it be a threat only to females, or only to attractive characters. Rape is about power, not attraction. If you would not use rape in any given situation for a male character, do not use it for a female character either. Similarly, do not imagine that women cannot or will not commit rape.

Do not let rape make your NPCs into idiots. Do not have the coldly-brilliant villainous mastermind stall his genius plan because he just can't stand not getting some before he takes over the world.

Don't be surprised if one or more of your players - especially female players, I'm sad to say - gets off on it. Especially if they have self-esteem issues, as so many gamers do.

Whatever you do, do not treat rape as the go-to motivation for every female character.This is the worst fucking trope that gamers, fantasy authors and comic book writers ever had the collossally poor judgement to perpetuate. Women do not need to be motivated to take up an adventuring life any moreso than men; they do not need to be damaged or ruined in order to become strong, to desire strength, or to take risks. Strong female characters do not need to be "re-feminized" by suffering sexual abuse.

Those are my pointers for now, hopefully useful. I'll add more if I think of anything else.

emissary666

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Re: Rape in D&D
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2008, 03:21:01 AM »
We're seniors in high school, I don't think previous trauma will be a problem. Your advice helped. I realize the advise I need the most is getting my players to be serious.
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Kuroimaken

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Re: Rape in D&D
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2008, 04:42:02 AM »
Quote
We're seniors in high school, I don't think previous trauma will be a problem. Your advice helped. I realize the advise I need the most is getting my players to be serious.

Fox Lee summed things up better than I ever could hope to. As for getting your players to be serious: describe it in graphic detail as the most unpleasant thing they could ever possibly hear. For male players, equate the experience to having their balls cut off then dangled in front of a kitty as it toys with them, or something.

And remember: rape is not supposed to be pleasant. Describe it as an act of rage more than anything else.
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Shoggoth

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Re: Rape in D&D
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2008, 06:02:19 AM »
We're seniors in high school, I don't think previous trauma will be a problem. Your advice helped. I realize the advise I need the most is getting my players to be serious.

Unfortunately, I don't think you can make that assumption safely.  My first girlfriend in high school had been abused when she was 6 by her stepbrother, and I didn't have any idea about it until we'd been together for a while.  My third girlfriend apparently had similiar issues when she was 10 or 11, although she never shared all the details with me so I don't know specifics.
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Re: Rape in D&D
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2008, 04:13:03 PM »
It's happened in one game that I played in; the player was male with a female character, attempting to use paralysis poison on a guard and failing.  Everyone at the table was an adult over 25.  DM glossed over the details and the game still ground to a halt of righteous indignation from male and female players.  IF you are going to do this, make sure you've talked to the player ahead of time, and go over every bit of Fox Lee's post in detail so you're prepared.  Some of your players WILL find this the most vile degradation you could visit on a PC; your reasons for using this plot device should be tied to that fact at least tangentially.
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Ryu Hayabusa

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Re: Rape in D&D
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2008, 07:32:04 PM »
Oh hell. This is really something that you need the right group for. A mature group who are good enough RPers to take the disgust over the act in character instead of balking out of character are rare. Ask OOC before it happens, and if they aren't cool with it, have a backup plan.

If you get that far, read up on rape response. It really messes most women up.

emissary666

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Re: Rape in D&D
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2008, 02:21:27 AM »
Actually, the main reason I started this thread was I'm worried one of the PCs will do the raping. I know at least one of my players would try to do something like that.
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Kuroimaken

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Re: Rape in D&D
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2008, 02:36:58 AM »
Quote
Actually, the main reason I started this thread was I'm worried one of the PCs will do the raping. I know at least one of my players would try to do something like that.

I actually once did RP a shugenja who was, shall we say, morally dubious. He might have gotten that far if it weren't for a chivalresque monk with a stick up his ass that "wouldn't let him do it" (yeah, right. I'd have totally creamed his ass...). DM said later that had he tried it, the gal in question would've bitten off her tongue.

Not much of a response from the players otherwise, in-game or out. However, it should be noted everyone involved was male, every character other than the monk was evil, and the whole thing would be done to an NPC. I have every reason to believe things would've gone very, very differently if any of those circunstances changed.
Gendou Ikari is basically Gregory House in Kaminashades. This is FACT.

For proof, look here:

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Which Final Fantasy Character Are You?
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My Unitarian Jihad Name is: Brother Katana of Enlightenment.
Get yours.[/SPOILER]

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Shoggoth

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Re: Rape in D&D
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2008, 06:04:25 PM »
Actually, the main reason I started this thread was I'm worried one of the PCs will do the raping. I know at least one of my players would try to do something like that.

This may be one of those rare instances where GM fiat is necessary.  If a player tries something like that, you have to look around at the rest of the group and gauge reactions, and if people look uncomfortable you squash it right down.  Better to apologize to the player after the game for being heavy-handed than to create really unwelcome tension at the table.  Of course, if you can just say "I think that may be a bit inappropriate", that could be even better.

I had something similiar happen in one of my games years ago.  One of the players, who was sort of a raver type, slipped some drugs into the straight laced player's character's drink to kind of "loosen her up a bit".  I thought it would be a great role-playing moment, so I let it happen, but the drugged character's player really freaked out about it.  Session derailed, game almost destroyed, etc.  We had to retcon that whole event out and pretend like it never happened.

Granted, I'm assuming you're not expecting your player to attempt to rape another player's character, but it could still cause serious issues.
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Fox Lee

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Re: Rape in D&D
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2008, 02:55:40 AM »
Actually, the main reason I started this thread was I'm worried one of the PCs will do the raping. I know at least one of my players would try to do something like that.
Well, is it something you're okay with as a GM? The earlier stuff still applies for the sake of your group, but now it mostly comes down to whether or not you're okay with it. And, does it suit the tone of the game? My group plays heroic stories, with very few exceptions, and the heroes don't get to justify rape, no matter how gritty they think they're being. Is evil of any type okay in your game? Are the PCs heroes, villains, or entirely questionable? Are you concerned such an act will cause a divide between the PCs, the players, or both?

emissary666

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Re: Rape in D&D
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2008, 03:53:07 AM »
This is where it gets complicated. I have an eye for an eye philosophy. My player know this. I have several problems, player, reaction, player vs npc, npc vs player, npc vs npc

NPC vs NPC has already been solved, along with NPC vs Player. Right now I need to am having troble with player, reaction, and Player vs NPC.
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Fox Lee

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Re: Rape in D&D
« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2008, 01:26:59 AM »
So basically, the game is happy for PCs to act however their player wants, but they must expect to face the consequences?

In a case like that, there seems to be no reason to stop a player from having their character do this (unless one of the earlier "rules" gets in the way). I'd visit equally terrible retribution on them for it, of course; there aren't many crimes that outrage a civilised society like rape, and with good reason. Making a habit of it probably warrants getting your own personal bounty hunters/paladin avengers, at the least. And it's not just the good guys; since this is a crime which does terrible things to an individual person, even the most evil and ruthless of characters might wish to avenge one of the few people they care about.

If there are negative reactions to this amongst the other players, I'd certainly ask the player you're worried about to tone it down; at the very least keep it to suggestion and "fade to black" scenarios. I'm assuming the other PCs will be free to react in kind, should they be aware of anything untoward which takes place.

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Re: Rape in D&D
« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2008, 06:09:46 AM »
So basically, the game is happy for PCs to act however their player wants, but they must expect to face the consequences?

In a case like that, there seems to be no reason to stop a player from having their character do this (unless one of the earlier "rules" gets in the way). I'd visit equally terrible retribution on them for it, of course; there aren't many crimes that outrage a civilised society like rape, and with good reason. Making a habit of it probably warrants getting your own personal bounty hunters/paladin avengers, at the least. And it's not just the good guys; since this is a crime which does terrible things to an individual person, even the most evil and ruthless of characters might wish to avenge one of the few people they care about.

If there are negative reactions to this amongst the other players, I'd certainly ask the player you're worried about to tone it down; at the very least keep it to suggestion and "fade to black" scenarios. I'm assuming the other PCs will be free to react in kind, should they be aware of anything untoward which takes place.

One interesting (and somewhat disgusting) point to raise is that in spite of how advanced some civilizations get, second- and third-class citizens are more often than not found to be an OK target for rape. Back in the 1800s, when Brazil still used slaves, it wasn't considered a crime to rape a slave. Depending on how "realistic" (to use a sarcastic adjective) your campaign world is, the raping of commoners is not usually considered a crime. In fact, in medieval societies, the crusaders who raped and pillaged were considered heroes. And it still goes on today in some places (prostitutes, for example, very often are not taken seriously when it comes to rape charges, as do drug dealers).

"Mechanically" speaking, PC to NPC rape tends not to carry drastic consequences unless the NPCs are important. If you wish to stress the consequences of rape, make this different. Otherwise, the act alone should get enough of a grind from the players themselves such that the player won't be getting graphic about it.
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Which Final Fantasy Character Are You?
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My Unitarian Jihad Name is: Brother Katana of Enlightenment.
Get yours.[/SPOILER]

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Re: Rape in D&D
« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2008, 09:05:18 AM »

  Seconded. rant Modern Western societies react badly against rape, not very many older or non-Western ones. And we are talking about a civilisation which till this day still ends up treating the victim like the criminal. /rant

  But D&D worlds also are very idealised - rarely have I seen a game with obvious sexism or intra-human racism.
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Fox Lee

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Re: Rape in D&D
« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2008, 02:17:40 AM »
One interesting (and somewhat disgusting) point to raise is that in spite of how advanced some civilizations get, second- and third-class citizens are more often than not found to be an OK target for rape. Back in the 1800s, when Brazil still used slaves, it wasn't considered a crime to rape a slave. Depending on how "realistic" (to use a sarcastic adjective) your campaign world is, the raping of commoners is not usually considered a crime. In fact, in medieval societies, the crusaders who raped and pillaged were considered heroes. And it still goes on today in some places (prostitutes, for example, very often are not taken seriously when it comes to rape charges, as do drug dealers).
Point taken, but in D&D there are absolute right and wrong as well as societal standards and laws. Of course, individuals may adjust their campaign worlds to be more realistic, but at its core D&D says that good is good and evil is evil. Rape is irrevocably evil (yes, even in that bloody Dominic Deegan example), and even if a society finds it acceptable, a good person (especially a paladin or good cleric) will not.

Kuroimaken

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Re: Rape in D&D
« Reply #19 on: December 05, 2008, 02:59:00 AM »
One interesting (and somewhat disgusting) point to raise is that in spite of how advanced some civilizations get, second- and third-class citizens are more often than not found to be an OK target for rape. Back in the 1800s, when Brazil still used slaves, it wasn't considered a crime to rape a slave. Depending on how "realistic" (to use a sarcastic adjective) your campaign world is, the raping of commoners is not usually considered a crime. In fact, in medieval societies, the crusaders who raped and pillaged were considered heroes. And it still goes on today in some places (prostitutes, for example, very often are not taken seriously when it comes to rape charges, as do drug dealers).
Point taken, but in D&D there are absolute right and wrong as well as societal standards and laws. Of course, individuals may adjust their campaign worlds to be more realistic, but at its core D&D says that good is good and evil is evil. Rape is irrevocably evil (yes, even in that bloody Dominic Deegan example), and even if a society finds it acceptable, a good person (especially a paladin or good cleric) will not.

Point equally taken, Fox Lee. I was just pointing it out as a YMMV example, especially because the whole Evil-Good axis may be enforced by the game but it may not necessarily be so by players. D&D can be bafflingly unspecific on how a character of a certain alignment views an act (example: Core D&D NEVER explained the age-old question of whether it's okay for a Cleric to cast Holy Word in a devil's nursery).
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For proof, look here:

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Which Final Fantasy Character Are You?
Final Fantasy 7
My Unitarian Jihad Name is: Brother Katana of Enlightenment.
Get yours.[/SPOILER]

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