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Love and Sex in the game world        Posted by:  S. B.
4/22/99    11:45 AM

When I started gaming with a new group about 2 years ago, I noticed a glaring absence. Roleplaying is, in my opinion, supposed to be the fantasy life of a given character. Perhaps I am strange, but I consider both sex and love to be high priorities in real life, and therefore tend to transfer these priorities into my characters. After about 6 months of gaming, I went out on a limb and my character had sex with an 'impressive' bodyguard. To say that the group was shocked is an understatement - especially since it was *me*. I am one of the quiet ones, and apparently my quietness was construed as prudishness or something. Anyway, since that time, the group has loosened up and it has become a great deal of fun. My character (a half-elf female fighter) has, for the past year of game play, had an on-going steamy affair with another player character - a drow assassin. Talk about fun! The player isn't too bad either. :-)

The point of this is to ask what experiences others have had, if they have chosen to go this route with their characters. I thought I was a bit odd in acting this out in the game, but after a bit of investigating on the Net I discovered I was not. It seems my group was a bit stodgey - perhaps afraid they would offend me or the other woman playing. Fortunately, the heinous subject of rape has not ever even come close to coming up and I think that my DM would personally be mortified to put this into game play. Stripping us of our weapons and armour and then pitting us 2 3rd level fighters against a 6th level armoured and armed fighter, yes. Rape, no. So, I would like to exclude that topic and focus instead on voluntary activity. Anyway, comments? Experiences? Responses from other players?

Untitled        Posted by:  Anne Moore in response to Love and Sex in the game world
4/22/99    12:17 PM

I generally prefer pc-npc interactions for sex and romance in games because I've found that the chances for bad effects on the members of the gaming group are much decreased. It's much harder to get the GM mixed up with an npc than to confuse player and character actions.

Pretty much every player has a different comfort level for those sorts of interactions. When I GM, I try to guage those levels and then give the players what they're looking for. The best GMs I've dealt with seem to work that way.

I don't, however, get explicit about details of sexual encounters. I'm not comfortable doing that with any player except my husband (with no witnesses). A good player can fill in the details from his or her imagination.

If a consensual pc-pc interaction develops when I'm GM, I don't do anything to stop it, but I've seen such situations go very bad. I've seen people break up over things that happened in game between one partner's character and a character played by someone else. I've also seen players accidentally cross other players comfort boundaries regarding sex in games with devastating results for both players.

A lot of the people I've gamed with don't have really good senses of where they leave off and the character begins when it comes to sex or romance.  Most of them have very clear boundaries when it comes to violence or ethics, but sex confuses everything. I suspect that that may be because most people want sex of one sort or another and because a number of the players I've known haven't figured out how to deal with sexuality in real life. (Any of you who've ever played in games with me are obvious exceptions, of course! ;) I have noticed that the problem eases with age and developing social skills.

As a player, I find such situations interesting but have seldom had a chance to do much with them. In most of the groups I'm in, I'm the only woman, and the style of play doesn't tend to permit the characters to interact with npcs. It's possible to legislate an off-screen involvement, but what's the point of that? No role playing involved, no problems to solve.

I have had characters have children with other pcs in Amber games, but it's always been pretty much a business arrangement,  so I'm not convinced that counts.

Untitled        Posted by:  L. T. in response to Love and Sex in the game world
4/22/99    05:02 PM

Love and Sex in the game world

Most of my characters have been involved with either another PC or an NPC depending on the campaign. It never occurred to me not to have love and sex be a part of role-playing. I guess it's because I've always gamed with a pretty mature group even as early as high school. While I don't go in for deeply descriptive sex scenes (I'd rather the fade to black you all know what the characters are doing type) I have usually had my characters been involved.

In one AD&D campaign a whole section of the campaign revolved around who my character was going to marry. She was a properly brought up Knights daughter and she felt the need to have children before she got too old. She more or less announced this to the rest of the party. It was an amazing effect. Other PCs who had ignored my character from the beginning suddenly fell over their feet to get her attention. When one of them won out the other men tried to submarine him before we made it to the altar. It was highly amusing.

In the current Masque of the Red Death campaign I am in. my character got pregnant by a ghost. It touched me an I got pregnant. One of the other PCs married her to save her honor. He's now being picked on by my NPC brothers for seducing their sister with his fancy city ways. I'm a back woods mystic and he's an English lord's son Adept.

In the current AD&D Celtic campaign the GM is using my characters interests against her. She fell in love with the court bard (she's a younger bard) which wasn't a problem. Then one of the other PCs went out of his way to charm her (he's got a 22 Charisma right now thanks to a magic item the GM gave him). She got pregnant with his child (she doesn't know that yet) while they were off adventuring. When the got home the court bard felt hurt so he tried to win her back.  Also the GM had the princess fall all over the other PC so now he's not sure he wants my character any more. It is going to be a fun ride. The GM is enjoying our torment immensely!

                       L. T.
                       "Duct Tape is like the Force there's a light side and a dark side and it keeps the universe together"

Love and Sex in the game world        Posted by:  M. K. in response to S. B.'s Love and Sex in the game world
4/23/99    10:17 AM

Anne talks about comfort levels; I call it group demographics.

In one group, it's all a bawdy game. In another, it's high level intrigue.

I once played in a group of mostly college & grad school aged folks. One player was an older professor. My understanding was that his wife kept him on a *very* short leash. Gaming was a sort of freedom to ogle pretty girls' legs (strictly within the confines of the game). His character worked very hard at wooing my character. It was great fun - his character was a cleric of a sun god and mine a demonist! We started a new campaign about a year after I joined and he was rather put out that I created a male character to play... :)

I've had GMs use sex to lure PCs away from their quests or just to get them into trouble. I had a character who had a demon slaying sword. The GM tried to seduce him with a beautiful woman. I deferred to the rampant hormonal desire of another character, an 18 year old male, who beds her instead (fade to black is what I've always called it, too!). Turns out she was a succubus and by bedding her, the character starting turning into a demon himself. If it had been my character, it would have been hard for him to hold onto the demon slayer sword and would have put a really big plot twist into our story!

There's a DeadLands game I play. It is standard operating procedure for one character to look for a good bed, a good meal, & a good woman whenever he entered a town. The GM rolls the dice, tells him what's available and if he manages to aquire her services and that's all. Of course, that is until it suits his nefarious plot line to complicate things...

Gaming is something of a fringe activity with its share of misfits. We have all met players whose social skills leave a lot to be desired. These folks include love, romance, and sex into their gaming in a *completely* different fashion than those folks for whom, well, kissing a girl is more than a punch line from a Saturday Night Live William Shatner/Star Trek skit.

You mentioned this one game, S., but you don't say anything about your experience in previous games? How did in-game sex and romance impact those games?

Other Experience        Posted by:  S. B. in response to M. K.'s Love and Sex in the game world
4/28/99    10:27 AM

Until the game I was referring to, I never actually had a character long enough to develop any genuine personality traits other than the stats on the page. All other groups I joined basically fell apart after a few weeks - kinda hard to work with only a few gaming sessions. Anyone who knows me well also knows that I have a rather ribald sense of humor, and trying to suppress that for long periods of time is not something I do well. I was just dying when someone said something that just deserved a good comment (like when our GM gave our mage a magic missile extension). Besides, my character was a 'lovin' life fighter' and when the group was about to set off on a campaign in which she might die, what better way to celebrate life than to find a suitably 'impressive' male with which to party for a night?

I love seeing the responses I've read so far. Once I brought a touch of bawdiness to my current gaming group, it seems the group of guys let their hair down (so to speak) and weren't so reserved. Nothing graphic, I completely and wholeheartly agree on that point!! Just a quick mention of 'we are getting our own room' and leaving it at that.

Keeping in mind comfort levels, group dynamics, and individual player ability to see the line of demarkation that exists between self and character are all things that, while I was aware of, I never consciously thought of. Thanks to everyone for pointing these out. I will read the rest of the responses now. :-)

Untitled        Posted by:  I. M. in response to S. B.'s Love and Sex in the game world
4/25/99    12:00 AM

I once played with a female gamer who's priority was sleeping with everything then rolling to see if she got pregnant. Everything else ended up taking a backseat. Since I tend to play in mostly male circles I have found my characters using sex to throw off the enemy (as a weapon if you will) Men sometimes don't notice the knife in your hand while staring at the low cut tunic or chemise.  But as a more direct answer I tend to keep love and sex in the background. My Shadowrun character has a boyfriend but the relationship is very low key.


Love and Sex        Posted by:  L. S. in response to S. B.'s Love and Sex in the game world
4/25/99    07:23 PM

Certain RPG's are full of sex, some never mention it. I know Vampire and Childling use sex a lot (or maybe it's just the people I know that play those) I have never been part of a game where there was any sex. There has been flirting and revealing outfits, but thats it. I also play with in an all male group. I couldn't imagine two characters both played by men having any kind of sex scene. But with some characters with charisma as high as they are, you would think something would happen. I have a female character with high charisma and have used her looks a little to get her way, but nothing much.

Sex and The World of Darkness        Posted by:  N. M. in response to Love and Sex
5/4/99    07:49 PM

Yes the World of Darkness, set in modern times does have a few games ( Vampire, Changling, and to some Degree Werewolf) which tend to be sexual in nature.

The Whole Blood Sex relation is pushed to the Limits in Vampire for example.

But in actually role playing the sex, I have not. Mostly it's the groups I have played with. When I started with Vampire I was with two guys about 4 years younger than me. I didn't want to become their fantasy. So I just jumped ahead. Later I suggested they could become english majors

Now the Group I play with is not interested in sex. mostly because the lead character is trying to take over DC.

I think it's a mutual thing, that all players have to agree on, and be willing to back off when wierd dynamics occur.


my experience of late        Posted by:  C. B. in response to S. B.'s Love and Sex in the game world
4/27/99    05:42 AM

well in 14 years of gaming, the last 4 being in at least mixed group, though lately with myself as an exception all female-group i have seen many attitudes given for sex in character and in players. our group all adults treats sex like most people do in real life as long as its not you yourself involved.. when a PC gets involved the detail level has tended to be soapopera style.. though the occasional scene develops when the GM (*bows to her wickedness*) decides to use it against us.

in our current campaign a PC has been removed and the love of another PC is the driving force to find the missing lady and to finally admit his love. meanwhile our bard PC retired with a guard captain (NPC) when she found herself pregnant with her second child by him.

love can be a powerful motivator, and sex can be a trap if a GM wishes to use it.. our GM has also found pregnancies to be good devices to push a PC into retirement.

re: love and sex...        Posted by:  J. M. in response to S. B.'s Love and Sex in the game world
4/27/99    07:58 PM

I agree with the general response of 'It all depends on the game' - I play with a gang of gleefully well adjusted types, and there have definately been moments of sex-farce in our games. :)

The only time I get frustrated, I guess, is in vampire games. On the one hand, the whole vampire mythos is toe-curlingly erotic and, on the other hand, since vampires only use sex as a hunting tool (in my opinion) when they pursue it, and maybe even enjoy the hunt, they don't enjoy the actual act very much. That's something that lusty little Johanna (that's me, silly!) sometimes gets quite pouty about.

(and have you ever tried to write a sex scene for a vampire? It's tough to write physical reactions for a person who doesn't breath, sweat or flush. But that's another thread, I'm sure... :) )

Sex and romance is a part of being human, and should be part of a well rounded character. But it needn't be the majority - and whatever makes you happy should be the rule. :)


Love/Sex/Passion/Romance in Gaming        Posted by:  J. B. in response to S. B.'s Love and Sex in the game world
4/27/99    08:16 PM

I have been roleplaying for more years than I wish to admit. Being female in the once male dominated hobby, I've had my share of GMs, NPCs and PCs attempting to create IC love/sex affairs. Some in pure RP. Some in hopes of sparking something more in real life.

I have to admit that I like the attention, especially if I am with a good role player. There is nothing better to get the RP juices going like a really good emotional scene that involves something as attractive as Passion and Romance.

I also like this because it stirs the creative juices in my writing. The best example of this that I can think of is my story: 'Rituals of the Heart' (You can see the story at - WoD: Vampire. A story about my Caitiff Vampire falling for a Tremere. It was a very good scene, even if we only talked it out and did not really act it out. (His girlfriend would have KILLED me.)

I think that sex and love in roleplaying games are just fine - as long as all involved are mature enough to know what is roleplay and what is real.

wicked idea        Posted by:  I. E. in response to S. B.'s Love and Sex in the game world
4/29/99    11:10 PM

reading everyone's responses has been fun. While doing so, I thought of a wicked little idea any GMs out there are welcome to use: the next time it seems appropriate after a male character has sex, have him get pregnant. There are all sorts of explanations you could use to explain it, I'm sure. If anyone does use this idea, please let me know how it comes out. :)

Interesting Observation        Posted by:  M. W. in response to S. B.'s Love and Sex in the game world
5/3/99    11:21 AM

On the sixdegrees roleplaying group, someone has asked a question about how a DM should deal with sex in an AD&D game. I was shocked at the fact that the majority if the responses wanted to punish the players for doing so. Further, everyone assumed that there was no birth control or protection from STDs in the game world. That seems like such bullshit to me. I mean, they can raise the dead, but they can't protect from STDs and prevent pregnancy? What kind of bullshit is that? Does anyone else agree with me on this?

AD&D and Safe Sex        Posted by:  A. M. in response to Interesting Observation
5/4/99    09:07 AM

Birth control in a medieval setting is perfectly possible even without magic (It's not nearly as safe or reliable, but it's quite possible). They were making sheepskin condoms milennia ago.

Herbal birth control methods are more likely to tend toward abortions if I'm remembering correctly. If you add magic, though, there's absolutely no reason that birth control shouldn't be common unless the group's in an area with cultural or religious biases against it (which could create an interesting plotline for a mature group as the members try to replenish their supplies and deal with the attitudes toward women, sex and reproduction that would go along with that sort of set up).

Prevention of STDs might be more difficult (I'm very rusty on the AD&D rules. Do they allow preventative charms or anything of the sort?), but their treatment should be routine, about like dealing with a sprained ankle or broken bone. Treatment might be complicated by religious attitudes toward sex as well.

I suspect that preventing the spread of STDs by nonmagical means would require a non-medieval understanding of how disease spreads, but I can't believe that dedicated healing clerics wouldn't have methods for dealing with STDs. They've never been particularly rare, so I'd expect a normal healer to deal a lot more with something like that than with the more esoteric things that adventurers normally run into.

At any rate, I think the idea of punishing characters for sexual activity is silly. Punishing them for behavior that's inappropriate according the player group's standards is slightly different and so is having social repercussions if the locals don't approve of how a given character behaves.

Addendum        Posted by:  A. M. in response to Interesting Observation

Of course, I've also always failed to see how a realistic medieval culture could handle the idea of female adventurers without problems. GMs shouldn't choke over the logical consequences of emancipated females. Birth control is a necessity if women are going to be adventurers.

Funny about that...        Posted by:  N. R. in response to S. B.'s Love and Sex in the game world
5/3/99    12:52 PM

I never seemed to run into this problem. Sexual/romantic relationships between characters have always been a BIG part of whatever I've played. Partly, this is because I bring them in, partly, it's who else I play with. But of the major games I've been involved with, one was two female players and one male player, co-GM'ed among the three of us, and character romances were all over the place. One was GM'ed by a woman and had three guys and no other female players but me; till I arrived, the romances tended to be with NPCs, mostly, but were there. I showed up with a character who had been another PC's long-believed-dead wife, and things went from there. The third game is not terribly conducive to romance, being a pulp action game, but even there, my character's fallen for another PC and two of other people's characters have romance as a common aspect of their play, usually with NPCs. Another has been pining for thousands of years for his dead queen (which doesn't stop him from fooling around on the side). The fourth game, which has the same three players as the first, is a White Wolf game right now in major crisis because two of the Garou got married without realizing what each other were, and are now stuck in deep trouble. Sex, love, and romance don't seem to be lacking in any of our games; if anything, they threaten to turn soap opera more than adventure, and have to be leavened every once in a while with a good chance to go off and kill somebody.

Sex/Romance        Posted by:  J. R. in response to S. B.'s Love and Sex in the game world
5/25/99    09:06 AM

That's funny; I'd just posted something about this in the rape topic. Guess the discussion was over here! My first serious gf had played once before, gmed by her bf at the time. She got into a hairy situation, and she used sexual activities to get herself out. He threw a fit. So what's the first thing she does with me? Gets sweet on a guy and goes to bed with him (interesting when she's 8' taller than him) to get information. No big deal. Once in a Marvel game I was running a couple of PCs had a fling. I made him roll an Endurance feat vs hers. Currently, I am playing a female half-elf nightblade (theif/mage) in RoleMaster. I chose the seduce skill, and try to either con men out of their money, or get them looking _elsewhere_ while I pick their pockets. (Hasn't worked yet, btw.)

Unfortunately, nothing of the _romantic_ nature has entered any game I've been involved in. Maybe since that's been pointed out, I'll find a place for it in one of the two campaigns I'm writing this summer. Hmmm....  :)

NPC Boyfriends        Posted by:  C. M. in response to S. B.'s Love and Sex in the game world
6/11/99    05:50 PM

I realize I'm a little late in this topic, but it's very apropos now... In a hybrid-dnd game I'm in, my character is having a relationship with a recurring NPC. As a matter of fact, we were just working for him. So, on this mission, he disppears.. we don't know if he's dead or hostage. So, we leave to improve our skills (train and get new players). When we return.. instead of going in full battle ready, we decide to negotiate. We state our demands, 'Grandmum' states hers, and a deal is made. Of course, the release of the boyfriend is part of the bargain. So, the deed is set for tomorrow.. she gestures and bf comes walking out. Only he doesn't seem very happy to see me. I'm thinking he's thinking that it's been so long he figures there's someone else now (4 mths for him, over 2 yrs for us). So, the task I must perform will result in my death (I know this, though she didn't tell us) so I write him a good-bye letter all tear stained (actually cried when I wrote it up for the DM). But when we get there, everybody else in the party rushes to touch the mirror before I can (that's what will kill me.. Grandmum is trying to get the attention of Death himself). So, that's all done, she says I should leave, so the bf and I start picking up unconsious bodies and putting them outside. After we have all of them, bf goes back in and comes out with another body.. which is the beat up and bloody boyfriend!!  Ach, I was tricked the first time (Grandmum had created a 'clone' of bf using his pinky). Well, a few days later, we have to go back, because Grandmum's actions have proven very bad for the rest of the world.. and when we go back.. we find a THIRD boyfriend just kind of suspended in the air. Well, I can't just leave him like that, so we get him down, and as I pick him up to carry his stiff, dead body from the place, he attacks me. ACK.. it was the fake boyfriend all along. Great plot device by the DM. I told him that there was NO WAY I couldn't investigate this obviously fake boyfriend.. especially since I'd been fooled once before, and thought there was a slight possability that the second bf could also be a clone. I just had to check to make sure I knew who the real one was! Almost died, too. So, I obviously think that sex et al can be very benificially to the gaming story.

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