Sunday, May 5, 2024

No Love for TTRPGs?

No Love for TTRPGs?
I'm prepping for what is scheduled to be my last business trip of the year and part of that prep is getting my travel computer squared away. I'm not so rich that I have a dedicated computer for travelling, but I did pick up a gaming handheld computer and most of my PC gaming is done on the road so....good enough.

Anyway, the numerous bots that undoubtedly track my online activities decided that the nexus of TTRPGs and PC gaming means I have to see every story about Baldur's Gate 3 there is. Hell, I haven't even played Baldur's Gate 2, but I have gotten maybe 75% of the way through Baldur's Gate a handful of times on multiple computers.....BTW I highly recommend staying away from Baldur's Gate on XBox and it's kind of crappy playing with a controller, but I digress.

This morning I was confronted with this bit of clickbait from GameRant:  "Why Baldur's Gate 3's Most Loved Feature Could Never Work in Tabletop"

Now I'm used to PCs games falling short of TTRPGs, and not the other way around, so I was enticed...only to find that allegedly "Romance" is the "one part of Baldur's Gate 3 that players love". Really? The "one part" that people love? So the rest of the game is unloved? I really find that hard to believe. If "romance" was the real reason that 10 million copies of BG3  were sold, I'd expect to have had a newer version of Leisure Suit Larry since 2020.

Now I get it, TTRPGs probably aren't a good place for romance plots for various reasons and most GMs shy away from any adult themes, or at least romance & sex/sexual violence in their games. The trade-off really isn't there.

I will admit that I've "gone there" a few times of the decades of gaming, and I've only had one game system that had some baked-in:

  1. My 1st HackMaster PC was married to my wife's 1st PC and the extent of the sexy times was when our PCs had been adventuring separately for a few years in-game and real world. The first time back together we had a week off in-game to prep for the next adventure and I rented out a ship for the week as private accommodations and informed the group "If this ship's a rockin, don't come a knockin". I know, I know...wildly salacious. 
  2. I've probably told this story before, so I'll keep it short. My 1st game of D&D 3.5 my party member whored me out to an NPC for the night and I thought I could use a Command spell to satiate the NPC without having to "perform", only to learn the spell had been changed in this edition of the game. My NPC died shortly thereafter, I like to think it was not from an arrow, but from embarrassment.
  3. In the current version of HackMaster there's a few "interesting" tidbits. One is that Orcs can & do breed with pretty much any humanoid, through rape. It's a thing and can be glossed over by not ever having the party come across an orc lair. There are some messed up evil deities as well and one time the party I was GMing had a party member abducted by some cultists and by the time the party caught up to the kidnappers they entered upon a particularly vile ceremony where the party member, along with a certain urchin they had taken an interest in, were basically going to be ritualistically raped to death. It was most certainly fucked up, I will not attest to anything less than that, but the whole event (and resulting PC driven bloodbath) tied up a bunch of loose ends on some issues/events that the PCs had experienced, but never thought were related.
Now clearly the level of adult themes are dependent on the group involved and restrained to a home game. I cannot imagine trying this at a con game with strangers, although I have heard some horror stories of GMs who have.

In general I think that romance, much like humor, is the purview of the players. I don't even think GMs should set things up, outside maybe of some story driven elements and even then that's a high-level pass.

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