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Thursday, August 27, 2015

WTF Were They Thinking? Tournament of Rapists (OGL)


I'm assuming Tournament of Rapists is OGL and not Pathfinder because the Pathfinder must have some minimal moral code attached to it. This reminds me of F.A.T.A.L. but with a far more disturbing title.

I know what you're thinking. "Tenkar is taking this all out of context."

Here's the publisher putting it into context:
The Tournament of Rapists details the sadistic Rape Pure Fight circuit, expanding on what you’ve seen already and introducing dangerous new sexual predators. This sadistic bloodsport takes place in abandoned office buildings and atop Tokyo rooftops. An assortment of superhumanly powerful and inhumanly misogynistic men, and even worse women, step into impromptu fighting arenas, killing and raping the weaker in search of a multi-billion yen fight purse provided by a half-oni billionaire in thrall to dark impulses.
I'm not sure what disturbs me more - that someone wrote this or that the someone that wrote this sees a market for this.

We, as a hobby, truly are our worst enemy at times.

49 comments:

  1. Not your cup of tea. Perhaps other people want it. No worse that the Book of Vile Darkness, and yes I bought 2 copies and 1 is still sealed.

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    1. Perhaps other people do want it. I know there are people out there that harbor rape fantasies. I wager many of them need some sort of counseling.

      Sadly, I've encountered too many victims of rape in my career to ever see where a book with this title and theme as anything but disturbing at best.

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    2. I can' see this as anything else but adding to legitimicing cruelty of such kind. What is next? Pro racism? Kill the cripples? :-/

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    3. Eric,

      The way I look at it, with these sort of "how does that make sense as a fantasy" things is most people are after some aspect of the emotions that go with the event in question, not the full package. A lot like ren-faire folks are after a particular look and feel without the associated dysentery, rigid class structures and potential for famine, and a lot of kids play "war" for the heroism and overcoming adversity bits without the desire for the stench of death, the PTSD and the broken lives. So to I think people with rape fantasies are after the feeling of lack of control, that almost about to lose everything moment (akin to what a sky diver might be after too), without the actual emotional trauma and physical violence.

      It's a fairly common theme throughout humanity to want to flirt with the edges of danger, and to experience simulacrums (in part as a way of validating their opposites) without wanting the real thing. See also magicians. No one really wants to see a woman sawn in half, but the trick resonates none the less. Penn Jilllette has talked about that aspect of magic and the safety in the obstenstively unsafe before. I think it's very similar.

      None of that however says anything about whether this product is or is juvenile or otherwise reprehensible.

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    4. Wait, the lead got buried here, why does anyone have a sealed Book of Vile Darkness? They routinely sell for less than cover on Ebay, it isn't collectible.

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    5. I note you make this asinine reply under an anonymous log in.

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    6. BoVD isn't collectable? Well crap, haven't checked prices on that lately. Ah well, maybe one day.



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    7. So? You could make something called "Eat Fresh: The Game of Trolling for Underage Tail" and some people would buy it and play it (possibly a lot of people, unfortunately). That doesn't mean the rest of us couldn't call the game creator on his disgusting lack of taste and proportion. "Rape-Murder the RPG" falls into a similar category.

      (Yes, I know: the author says this is actually a Monster Manual of rape gangs or some damn thing. I don't need that either.)

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  2. It's also a very juvenile premise.

    There is nothing remotely worth looking at here.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Otherverse Games is a subgroup of Skorched Urf Studios, a 3rd party Pathfinder publisher.

      The writer, Chris Field, loves inserting his sexual fetishes and shock value into his books, and back in 2006 made a D20 Abortion book (which I reviewed) and his flagship setting is Black Tokyo, a horror hentai (Japanese cartoon porn) setting with not exactly expert research on actual Japan.

      Anyway, he's been at it for about 10 years now. And the sad thing is, a lot of his work is at least workable and interesting. He designed a D20 mecha book, fantasy firearms, and new adventuring uses for holy water and alchemy stuff. So he is actually capable of being a passable writer, although his most well-known work is cringey in both subject matter and quality. D20 Abortion was chock full of spelling and grammar errors, and missing content from the sample classes.

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    2. Oh yeah, I forgot. Pathfinder does have a moral code restricting what kind of content you can put under it. Notably this includes sexual content, although there was a case where the publishers of a GOP Bestiary were told to use the OGL and not Pathfinder-compatible license due to the fact that it turned Presidential candidates into monsters to slay.

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    3. Why does this immediately make sense that Chris Field made this?

      Because it's his thing, and he is That Guy.

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  4. You're giving this more air time than it deserves. Don't feed the trolls :)

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  5. I think the author(s) is trying to provoke an outrage brigade response to prove that his freedom of expression outweighs anybody's right not to be offended.

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    1. People have a right to not be offended?!

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  6. If this had been a top seller somewhere I'd understand the need to make a post about it and ask "What the hell is wrong with people?". But the way I see it, Tenkar's blog is popular enough that someone reading it who otherwise wouldn't have known about this product is bound to buy it out of morbid curiosity or something. In other words, this post is accidental publicity for the product, which is unfortunate. But hey, at least the rapist is on fire! (Yeah, yeah, I know it's his fighting aura or some shit, let me live in denial...)

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    1. I'm glad Tenkar made this post. I saw some Vaguebooking about the product, and it was driving me nuts that I couldn't nail down what people were talking about.

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    2. I've made exactly ZERO sales via my referrals at RPGNow for ToR over the last day and a half.

      My readers are more discerning than you give them credit for ;)

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    3. I guess my faith in humanity is not what it was, I'll admit as much. xD

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  7. No one is spending 4 bucks on this out of morbid curiosity. I have a code for a free reviewers copy and morbid curiosity isn't causing me to download it.

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  8. Hey Tenkar, I'm the author.
    I'd just like to ask something. How is a book full of stat-blocks for rapists and sexual predators, who exist literally only to be destroyed by the heroic player characters, any different from mainstream depictions of sexual violence? How is this any different than a show like Law & Order: SVU or something similar, where rape is a horrible crime that must be avenged by the show's protagonists?

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    1. Examining your own analogy, there's a reason why we don't see prime-time TV shows called "Tournament of Rapists". Including a rape tournament within an adventure or campaign setting might be worthwhile, but when that's the title... where is there left to go? Even the fictional rape tournament organizers would most likely think of a clever, amusing, or cool-sounding nom de baise. Maybe something like... I don't know, "violation match".

      All I'm saying is tone it down a little, class it up a bit, give the audience more than just rape. For example, "I Spit on your Grave" is one of my favorite exploitation films. Even for a low budget movie, it's got artistry and a bigger story to tell. Imagine if the film was called "Girl Gets Raped". Just... no.

      And if you're going to venture into controversial niche within a niche territory, the writing has got to be better than average. Otherwise, why bother with an art form like RPGs when a low-end, self-published novel is the obviously better route?

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    2. I think we all need to pause for a moment and reflect on the fact that there is a product out there that VS has said "Whoa dude. Maybe turn it down a notch?"

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    3. This difference is simple.

      Law and Order SVU _deals_ with the issues, and works through them.

      This appears to glorify and celebrate the same issues.

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    4. Chris, are you saying the blurb on the product's page is inaccurate? Because no where in the text I quoted above is any mention of "stat-blocks for rapists and sexual predators, who exist literally only to be destroyed by the heroic player characters." Did I miss it?

      Venger, I tip my hat to you. Well said.

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    5. Venger, David and Erik have said what needed to be said. I just wanted to point out that Timothy's comment made me laugh. :P

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    6. Frankly, I find Law and Order: SVU fairly distasteful as well. I've seen every episode of the original Law and Order (some many times) but probably no more than 1/4 of the episodes of SVU - and that's in spite of having a crush on Mariska Hargitay. It just gets sickening after a while.

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    7. I mean the rape cases get sickening, not Mariska. She's still super-fine.

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    8. Also, people who were sent a copy as a bullying prank report it has a "Triggered" feat that gives a bonus for attacking sexual assault victims, which is... yeah.

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  9. Interesting thoughts, Venger, and its cool to hear from somebody who is no stranger to publishing controversial material himself.

    My intent with Tournament of Rapists was to basically provide a mini-adventure and thematically appropriate bestiary for a part of the Black Tokyo campaign setting that's been present since the core book was published. I debated what to actually title the book for quite a while, and ironically, Tournament of Rapists sounded the most publicly acceptable. I figure that specific title lets the audience know exactly what they're in for, so nobody has to buy this product if they don't want to. Nobody feels I tricked them to buying content were not expecting. Nobody feels like I lied to them about what the story is about,

    As for writing RPGs as opposed to novels? I've written about 300 PDFs at this point, some of which are adults only, like Tournament of Rapists, others of which are all ages. However, I'm still intimidated by attempting a novel for various reasons. Plus, I like the interactivity of RPG writing: I write half the story, maybe a little less, and the players and GMs out there working from my framework write the other half. I've gotten some awesome feedback over the years, and its interesting to see what direction my readers take my books in.

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    1. I think where you went wrong was the sell copy. It didn't say "adventure" to me... it said "sourcebook." As I've commented over on my own blog, I can see this as something player characters should stomp on and crush. The sell copy didn't make it seem like that was the objective of the product.

      Maybe it's clear in the core setting book that the Rape Tournament Circuit is one of the Big Bads in the world and nothing PCs can EVER be party of... but that isn't obvious on the "Tournament of Rapists" page. I think the rule that used to apply to comic book writing--assume that every issue is someone's first issue--is a thing to keep in the back of your mind when writing sell copy.

      Especially for something called "Tournament of Rapists."

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    2. Okay, I'll bite on the sell text problem. I did not specifically make it clear this was a bestiary in the sell text, however, I did make the book available in both PDF and flash previews. You can go to the sell page, see there's about 500 words of history and background on the Rape Pure and its founder, than straight into stat-blocks. Shouldn't that indicate to the buyer this is a collection of monsters to fight just from obvious context?

      There is (and this is intentional), no selection of new gear, feats, spells, powers or other rules ephemera that usually indicates to D20 or PFRPG players that the content is for them, to use to power-up their characters. Just stat-blocks which to gamers is the universal sign for: "Kill It and Take Its Stuff."

      Nobody has to buy this book to have a right to criticize it, or me, but I would feel that it's at least your responsibility to leaf through the flash preview and see the most obvious elements of the text before you start.

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    3. Chris - you gave all flavor text and no details in your blurb. It is NOT the responsibility of potential buyers to look at the preview. It is the responsibility of the seller to make the information needed for the consumer to make an informed choice obvious and plain.

      You didn't.

      Don't blame others for failing to take extra steps when you didnt make the basic ones.

      You are basically saying your sales pitch is misleading. How is that an answer?

      If it's a book of stats, use your flavor text and THEN explain what the book is presenting. Don't leave it to others to figure out your intentions.

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    4. "It is the responsibility of the seller to make the information needed needed for the consumer to make an informed choice obvious and plain."

      And a full size, easily legible preview of a book doesn't do that?

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    5. Your pitch is offensive to many and you expect the offended to download a preview?

      If a pitch offends me why would I want to download a preview?

      You get one chance to hook a potential customer. Why make them jump through extra steps to figure out what your product REALLY is?

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    6. The full preview was just a grey screen for me; it never loaded. My point still stands anyway. The sell copy could be better.

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    7. I agree with Steve regarding the blurb/"sell text". Said the same on the product page (as Richard T on RPGNow). In the context of "these are some nasty bastards your PCs get to destroy", I really don't have a problem with the concept, I guess. Kind of "Law & Order: SVU" taken to an NC17 Anime extreme. I've used graphic depictions of evil in my home games in the past to inspire the players to really WANT to defeat an enemy, rather than just follow the dungeon railroad to its final stop at the end boss, so I "get it".

      But, one extra sentence to the effect of "A collection of NPC villains/monsters to challenge heroic PCs in the Dark Tokyo campaign" would probably relieve a lot of concerns about the product.

      On the other hand, the interwebz rage over the product is probably giving the product a lot more publicity, so...

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    8. And for the record, I NEVER use the preview features on RPGNOW/OBS. Not sure why, but I just let the brand/title/author/blurb do the selling and either buy/download or move on based on that. I imagine there's a good chunk of users who browse similarly.

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  10. I'd say this was a fine rabbit hole to go down but I literally run into more disturbing stuff on the internet by accident every day. There are entire domains I avoid for this reason.

    Erik, never google hentai, rule 34 or {insert terrifying search meme here} and you'll be okay.

    @Chris I'd be interested in sales figures. Do you do a book like this from the heart (so to speak), just because, or is there actually a market? Keep in mind I've avoided buying Venger's stuff because it looks too racy for my game table (I remain tempted, his stuff looks like it may be entertaining, but the gratuitous sex and violence is more than my group can sustain). I'm not someone who would ever buy a book like this....not sure of the point....but suspect I know of one or two people who would, including one guy with an unnatural obsession for FATAL.

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    1. To give you an example of "accidental run-ins" with stuff as or more disturbing: https://mikemonaco.wordpress.com/2015/08/28/are-you-freaking-ready-for-1997/

      Thanks Mike. What was seen cannot be unseen. No raping (in the trailer) but a pastiche of every horrible film from the 80's, complete with Toxic Avenger level graphics. Equally disturbing (or more so) than a CGI-cover OGL book about Black Tokyo rape/murder games.

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    2. Nicholas, it did not occur to me that that trailer would offend anyone, but I'm probably just jaded to cartoony violence. It was not my intent to shock or traumatize anyone. Sorry! I'll add a trigger warning.

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    3. LOL it wasn't that bad, and I think you and I are both horribly jaded. I think I was more just in to pointing out that a video depiction of people getting faces and heads cut off gets a pass by most these days, but a bad CGI book with rapists on the cover is a major trigger word for the internet. It's more or less another "you can shoot people on TV but don't dare show a boob" scenarios.

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  11. Being outraged by the existence of something one doesn't care for appears to be par for the course these days.

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    1. Do you think this is a good product?

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    2. The real question is: will anyone buy it to find out? And if they did, will they admit it in a non ironic way?

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  12. The customer owes you nothing Chris. When you use a title like that you only have yourself to blame for a backlash. As a victim of said crime and an RPG professional (cartographer and publisher) how am I supposed to react to a title 'Tournament of rapists'? It's like writing a scenario book called 'Exterminate the Jews' and then when complain saying it's a game based on a Dalek invasion of israel.

    Its bad, offensive, and a subject thats treated really badly. No matter who you are we HAVE to criticise it because the next idiot will think its ok to produce Peodorast: The RPG or something if we dont.

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