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So much for "no more mature topics in D&D"


deganawida

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Not that long ago, there were numerous cries that Wizards of the Coast was determined to remove any mature elements from D&D, reducing it to a "comic book" sensibility where bad guys were always moustache-twirling melodramatic fools, no good guy ever did bad things, and issues such as slavery, drug abuse, and prostitution would be relegated to vague "bad things" that campaigns were to avoid or the WotC police would show up and confiscate your rulebooks. Well, I disagreed with such claims, and argued vociferously against those who made those arguments. Now, I feel vindicated.

 

I just picked up Sharn: City of Towers this evening, and have given it a cursory look. For those who don't know what this is, Sharn is the major city and first sourcebook for the Eberron campaign setting. So why is this important? Well, for one thing, beginning on page 14 the book details the various "companionship" services available in Sharn, with particular emphasis on the red light districts and prostitution. Let's see, an evening in the Dragonseyes bordello costs only 8 cp! w00t! On the very next page (15 for those not good at math), in a sidebar entitled "Crime Doesn't Pay?", you are given the rates that you can expect for theft, assassination, fencing, etc., all for PC use. When you take a look later in the book at the section which details PC options (making this the one chapter completely open to your players), you find a listing of all major drugs in Sharn, with their cost, "beneficial effects", and rate of addiction. These are just 3 examples of some of the things available in the sourcebook that throw cold water on the "never again will we tackle complex moral/ethical/gray issues in DnD" arguments. These are just the first 3 that I noticed; there's tons more stuff like this scattered throughout the book.

 

So, what does this mean? Well, it means that at least the Eberron campaign setting supports campaigns were the protagonists can be drug-using, prostitute-frequenting characters who make their livings by committing crimes (which seems to be most people's definition of a "mature" game). Or, it means that you can have a campaign where your good-and-true paladin might have a secret additction to Blue Dragons' Blood, where your party may, due to poor finances, find it more lucrative to act as a mini-thieves guild, or where your cleric might not have a problem with joining you at the Dragonseyes for an orgy or two as celebration for a victory won, or where your players are modeled after Sam Spade and Parker (Porter for those who've seen Payback)and still be supported by the setting. So, does this book offer mature options for players and not just NPC's? I think the answer is an overwhelming "yes". So, for those of you who lamented not long ago the "death of maturity" in DnD, rejoice, for you can now have your gray characters and/or stories.

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You know, there was nothing stopping the DnD players from adding their own custom mature content themselves in the first place. You could be playing a campaign with nothing but drug-addled hookers toting bloodied machetes all over the place long before Eberron ever came along. Plus, you could also play one of the many other PnP RPGs that had detailed mature settings if you really were so intellectually bankrupt as to be unable to come up with that stuff on your own. Only the true consumer zombie drones who are totally dependent on sourcebooks and have been brainwashed into brand loyalty for DnD will really be affected by this. Eberron is nothing but another setting one can buy if one is lazy.

 

The ruleset and mechanics- the kind of stuff that requires half a page of playtesters to work on- that's really the only thing needed.

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You know, there was nothing stopping the DnD players from adding their own custom mature content themselves in the first place.

 

Precisely. Even if WotC turns the whole license into kid's stuff, big whoop. Stop buying their sourcebooks (at least for anything other than new rules and such) and make up your own stuff.

 

It's what people should be doing anyway.

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Ahh, but that's not a matter of WotC trying to keep DnD clean. I've thought for some time that it had something to do with the license itself. I mean, it seems as if WotC used it to push around folks who held the license more than anything else.

 

Of course, I know virtually nothing about such things, but it just doesn't make sense that their primary concern is image when they themselves publish material like this.

 

....And I wouldn't want to play in a game where there was "...nothing but drug-addled hookers toting bloodied machetes all over the place..." Gritty is fine, but grit for no reason other than to show how ugly you can make a campaign just seems stupid to me.

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Just think how differently I might feel about TOEE if those mysteriously invisible children that damn near every character in the game referred to incessantly were actually left in the game. I might have actually given it a 2 out of 5 instead of the 0 out of 5 I currently score it at.

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It was never a question of WotC publishing mature content.  It was a question of allowing licensors of their IPs to publish mature content with their IP.

 

Do as I say, not as I do...

 

Well, I don't think including prices for brothels is the end of the world morality wise, but it would be nice if WOTC chose a standard and stuck to it...I seem to remember you could shag a drow prostitute in BG2 but a couple of years later you can't even stick kids in D&D games anymore.

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It was never a question of WotC publishing mature content.  It was a question of allowing licensors of their IPs to publish mature content with their IP.

 

That was an argument that I made, but some people on various boards (most of whom I consider internet friends) argued that it was D&D in general, not just licensed products.

 

As for including it without support, sure, that 's what I've done for quite a while. However, to some, it isn't "officially supported" unless it's mentioned explicitly in rulebooks or sourcebooks. Also, personally, I've never found much maturity in characters arbitrarily buying drugs or frequenting brothels ("If there are any girls there I want to do them!"), but in dealing with situations that are a lot less black and white, or, if there is a black and white aspect to them, picking the white can lead to dire consequences (instead of the usual, "oh, you're such a good person, let us heap treasure upon you"; I'm a big fan of doing good requiring sacrifice).

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"It was a question of allowing licensors of their IPs to publish mature content with their IP."

 

Yet the most recent D&D products TOEE, and HOTU have "mature" material in them including slavery and the like. Maybe, they just don't like certain types of "mature" stuff like actual bordellos. :D

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Yankee D&D.. never touched the ****e.

 

 

 

fondly remembers the glorious swedish system of "Dragons and Demons" as it was called here. It really had nopthing in common with its english-language counterpart except that it used a D20

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the kids thing had little to do with D&D folks... the kids in ToEE were killable, which is illegal in germany. rather than just making them unkillable, they were yanked.

 

taks

comrade taks... just because.

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The thing is I doubt there's much money to be made selling a Teen rated RPG... if huge budget games like Halo 2, Half-Life 2, and Metal Gear Solid, with much lower age demographics than PC RPGs, are rated M, then DnD games can be M as well. Reason that Planescape Torment failed as an M-rated game was probably more to do with marketing than anything else.

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