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Originally Posted by Dexai

Perhaps I should have avoided the word fetish, it is perhaps a little too negatively loaded, but I can't think of a better way to express the kind of sexually loaded fanservice it appears to me as. The act of making characters player-sexual reduces them to vehicles for the player's sexual fantasy in that aspect.



I think it depends on how the characters are written. Any character COULD be written as merely a vehicle for the player's sexual fantasy, even if they had a fixed sexuality. But you could also write rich, detailed characters with much more to their personality and their story than the romance aspect, and then they wouldn't be that.

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Originally Posted by Firesnakearies

This is a very nice post, filled with thoughtful commentary and analysis, and with a lot of information to share as well.


Ditto.

Originally Posted by Firesnakearies

I'm now probably going to use the word "fucking" a lot. When I say "fucking", in this context, I don't necessarily mean just fucking. I don't necessarily mean fucking at all. I mean all romantic or sexual interaction between two people, whether it includes actual fucking or not. It's just a shorthand I'm going to use for a wide range of experiences, mostly because I just like the word "fucking".


I assume this is for other people reading this because I am rather fond of swearing myself. But for me its usually playful. When I am concentrating I use a lot less profanity. I did appreciate the clarification of terms though, kept me from being distracted by word choice. Sometimes intuiting the intentions of others, especially with no other cues to go off of, can be incredibly difficult. Language is a poor tool for communication, it is at best never more than approximate. Not to pursue a rabbit trail too far, but consider all the ways you might describe a ball. By color, by size, condition, composition or comparative distance, age and manufacture. . . and then consider how to convey how much you love someone. I love you. I love you a lot. Anything beyond the second line is simply another variation of it. Part of that has to do with the fact that emotion comes the limbic portion of the brain, and language from the neocortex, and so emotion exists outside linguistic constraints. Which is interesting, but we were talking about fucking. I bring it up now because I might dovetail back into it, I haven't decided yet, but I really want to get down to fucking.

Originally Posted by Firesnakearies

For me, the reason I prefer RPGs to have romances is because when they are absent, it feels completely wrong.


So my time in the military shaped an incredibly amount of the person I grew into and am now, and will probably persist in being for several decades hence. We probably spent our 20s in similar ways I image, in regard to relationships with others, given your general ease and comfort with the subject when discussing intimacy with total strangers. I think that comes from a certain level of familiarity. I hope that inference won't be taken as a slight in any way. For me however, it was something that became contextualized. Something I thought about and pursued when I wasn't busy with my duties and responsibilities. It was on liberty and leave, it was on those days I was out of uniform and drinking with friends and strangers. When we were tasked, when we were deployed, fuck around time was secured. It was the objective and nothing else. Sure, there was banter, and grab ass, and that happened pretty much all the time, but none it was anything you focused on. In a way it was distant and sort of rote. You did those things because it just part of the rapport you had with those people based upon other moments that would matter again when you weren't operational. But your mind usually wasn't on it even while you were doing it. It was reflexive. Maybe at first, when you are new to the service it is more sincere, but after awhile that sort of thing just kind of evaporates until you are consumed by what is required of you until the point you can pass those burden on to someone else.

Originally Posted by Firesnakearies

When I see a party of adventurers in an RPG and there's no romantic stuff, I feel like these are strangely asexual beings.


I get it, and I wouldn't want that for anyone. I wouldn't want anyone to even be viewed in those terms because it is our mutual attraction which brings us together as a species -even when it stops far short of assuming any sexual connotation.


Originally Posted by Firesnakearies

And they're facing death together. Every day. Narrowly escaping death. Every day. And saving each other's lives. Every day. And spending all their time together. And sleeping in close quarters. Probably treating each others' wounds which will often involve some state of undress and touching. Possibly changing clothes in front of each other, possibly bathing in front of each other, But even if neither of those things are true, in some respect being in a party like that involves a certain level of intimacy. By my assessment of how human beings behave, there's just no way some of those adventurers wouldn't be hooking up. Unless they're some highly-disciplined unit of intense professionals or some monastic group with a strict religious or philosophical proscription on "that sort of thing".


You would be surprised. They could be stressed out, burnt up, exhausted, and distracted by other thoughts. The funny thing, there is a certain point that one gets to pretty quickly, usually right after something significant happens, where that fear of death stops being a concern. Its difficult to explain and doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but you really can get to the point where you just arrive at this indifference to the prospect of dying. It also helps when the conditions you are living under aren't all that great to begin with. But you are dead on about the intimacy of that proximity and the subtle sexual tension that can arise, but its sort of like realizing you are hungry while you are busy doing something, it occurs to you, but if you don't stop what you are doing you will forget about it until much later when opportunities present themselves and you are satisfied with the state of what you are doing. For me anyway, individual mileage may vary. Slight aside. The funny thing is, and what most people don't realize about PTSD, is that overwhelming majority of people who suffer from it are those who never actually saw combat. Some people are traumatized by events, to one degree or another, but even more have trouble transitioning from that state of constant readiness to relaxation without experiencing the catharsis of conflict. Its the fear of combat more than the combat itself that often fucks people up -which, again, it goes without saying that experiences in combat can absolutely leave your scarred

Originally Posted by Firesnakearies

From a story perspective, I find it weird when a story is willing to go into extreme amounts of depth, detail, and quantity about who is killing who, but not who is fucking who.


We could argue about this next proposition, and I think it would be a lot of fun, but fantasy as the genre we know it began with Tolkien -who was a veteran of World War 1 and was working through a lot of his conflicting feelings and fears which he came away from that war with. Prior to that, its roots are found in the most contentious and violent periods of human history where shit was hard, everything was scarce, and life offered no guarantees. I think it is important to remember the nature of the world we clawed out way out of. We have tamed this planet and put ourselves in very good position as a species, but it is useful to remember our primacy is both precarious and hard kept. Fortunately, RPGs can be many things, which is why I always try to advocate for breadth as well as depth.

Originally Posted by Firesnakearies

Now, it doesn't HAVE to be romance involving the PC. It could be NPC + NPC romance, and that satisfies my verisimilitude test. In The Outer Worlds, you can't romance any companions, but one of the companions DOES have a major subplot entirely devoted to her love life, and her budding relationship with an NPC outside the party. It's cute, and more importantly, it forestalls the feeling of "why don't ANY of these people have genitals and/or hearts?" because at least one person is showing a normal, relatable interest in fucking. (Although, the specific character and specific questline in that game is so sweet and wholesome it kinda makes me feel bad for using "fucking" there.) I think it's probably BETTER, in a lot of cases, to have some of the romance involve the PC,


Agreed on all points. The engineer was unbelievably attractive in her nakedly honest feelings and the clumsy ineptitude of trying to express them. To be honest, most of my (few, fragmented, and unreliable if) fondest memories of former flames usually concern those things that went wrong which we found joy in anyway, rather than those perfect nights. But I also like a little bit of playful aggression in my relationships. I am the sort of guy who sneak up you in the shower and pours ice water over your head at six in the morning, and I hope like hell you are the kind of girl that will take all of my clothes and all of the towels and all of the linens and even the goddamn curtains and put them in a trash bags hidden in the trunk of your car as you leave for work knowing I won't wake up for my shift for another hour. . .And make me get them myself when you get home (I wore the sheets in a toga like a fuck damn Greecian god).

Originally Posted by Firesnakearies

Obviously it can be overdone. It can be done badly. It has definitely been done VERY badly at times. And particularly ham-fisted romance is generally worse than no romance at all. But I don't think it takes MUCH to make it at least passably decent. The NPCs don't need to be overly aggressive about it. They don't need to hit on the PC. For various reasons, it's probably best to let the PC do all the initiating. (Some people already receive too much unwanted sexual attention in real life, and don't want to deal with that shit in a game, too.) So when people say, "man this party scene where suddenly all my companions tried to get in my pants felt really weird and bad", I can totally see why. It's not well-done. It needs improvement. But at least it's somewhat believable, to me. I've been to plenty of parties IRL where practically everyone was trying to get laid with SOMEONE, and desperately so. Especially when everyone's drinking. But the scene is still too much.


Quite so.

Originally Posted by Firesnakearies

Now, Stranger, to the one thing you said that I was like "hold up, there" to. It was this: "One's sexuality is but the smallest facet of whom they are as a person, the least part of a compelling whole."

That's painting with a pretty broad brush there, my friend.


To be clear, I am speaking less to the specific person and more to the massive scale of human potential. Sexuality certainly is important to some people, dearly so, but its a very personal importance and no matter what one chooses to do with it, it is never going to be rival other things which the human spirit is capable of. I am not so certain we would disagree on that, but as always I take great pleasure in your thoughts.

Originally Posted by Firesnakearies

So we cool.


And I hope we always will be, but really, I can't imagine we would find ourselves in anything more serious than respectful disagreement.

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Originally Posted by DistantStranger
Ditto.



Honestly I just love profanity. Well, most of it. There are a few words that are on my shitlist, because I find them too hostile to specific groups of people. I can force myself to speak or write at length without using profanity, but I resent having to do it. I love it when these jokers are like, "People who use foul language just have poor communication skills and/or a weak vocabulary." Motherfucker, my vocabulary could choke a horse. With words. Very asphyxiating words. Like 'emphysematous'. Suck that one down, Trigger. But bad words are more visceral. Saying "these contemporaneous vicissitudes are deplorably deleterious" is not really very satisfying. Saying "fuck this shit" is.

I really like to think about things like the intersection of emotion and language, about how we try to construct symbols that represent ineffable experiences but which inevitably fail to do so. I find that describing strong emotions works best for me when I just give specific examples of how what I'm feeling makes me want to ACT. That still doesn't always get the exact point across, but it's better than "I like it a LOT."

Your inference is in no way a slight.

I can't relate to the military thing, as I've never served, but I have had a couple of very close friends who did, so they shared a little of their experiences with me. I definitely wouldn't consider a military story in the same light as a typical fantasy adventure story. I wouldn't expect romance to be prevalent in that circumstance. I think the experience of being a soldier, in a very strict hierarchy with an ironclad chain of command and a compulsory code of conduct, would be quite different from being a member of a standard D&D adventurer party. A soldier probably spends a lot of time doing exactly the thing that they are required to do, in a very focused way, as you've described, whereas a fictional fantasy "hero" mostly does whatever the fuck they want, and doesn't really answer to anyone. I wouldn't expect romance in a cop story, either. I mean, I didn't think that there should be romance in Disco Elysium, as that was about two detectives trying to solve a murder within a very short time frame. If there was an RPG about being in a modern military unit, it wouldn't feel weird to me if romance was never a factor.

That's really interesting about PTSD, I didn't know that. I can see it, though. Trauma is a real tricky thing. I kinda wish it was a topic that more RPGs explored, actually. It would have to be done carefully, of course.

"To be honest, most of my (few, fragmented, and unreliable if) fondest memories of former flames usually concern those things that went wrong which we found joy in anyway, rather than those perfect nights." Oh hell yeah, THIS. I fuckin love disasters, that's where I really bond with people and have the most fun. It sounds crazy to say that disasters are the most fun, but I'm kind of messed up anyway. I get weirdly gleeful when shit starts going horribly wrong. Especially if I'm with someone, and then I can try to lift their spirits about the whole thing. "It's an adventure!"

Well, okay the massive scale of human potential, sure. I mean I guess on a grand enough scale, most anything can be considered insignificant. But I think most humans don't really do much with all that potential. Most of them probably don't contribute much to the world beyond reproducing. Some not even that. I do like the IDEA of that potential, though. I am always wanting humanity to evolve to new and greater heights. It seems slow-going, though.

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Originally Posted by Firesnakearies


I can't relate to the military thing, as I've never served, but I have had a couple of very close friends who did, so they shared a little of their experiences with me. I definitely wouldn't consider a military story in the same light as a typical fantasy adventure story. I wouldn't expect romance to be prevalent in that circumstance. I think the experience of being a soldier, in a very strict hierarchy with an ironclad chain of command and a compulsory code of conduct, would be quite different from being a member of a standard D&D adventurer party. A soldier probably spends a lot of time doing exactly the thing that they are required to do, in a very focused way, as you've described, whereas a fictional fantasy "hero" mostly does whatever the fuck they want, and doesn't really answer to anyone. I wouldn't expect romance in a cop story, either. I mean, I didn't think that there should be romance in Disco Elysium, as that was about two detectives trying to solve a murder within a very short time frame. If there was an RPG about being in a modern military unit, it wouldn't feel weird to me if romance was never a factor.

That's really interesting about PTSD, I didn't know that. I can see it, though. Trauma is a real tricky thing. I kinda wish it was a topic that more RPGs explored, actually. It would have to be done carefully, of course.

"To be honest, most of my (few, fragmented, and unreliable if) fondest memories of former flames usually concern those things that went wrong which we found joy in anyway, rather than those perfect nights." Oh hell yeah, THIS. I fuckin love disasters, that's where I really bond with people and have the most fun. It sounds crazy to say that disasters are the most fun, but I'm kind of messed up anyway. I get weirdly gleeful when shit starts going horribly wrong. Especially if I'm with someone, and then I can try to lift their spirits about the whole thing. "It's an adventure!"

Well, okay the massive scale of human potential, sure. I mean I guess on a grand enough scale, most anything can be considered insignificant. But I think most humans don't really do much with all that potential. Most of them probably don't contribute much to the world beyond reproducing. Some not even that. I do like the IDEA of that potential, though. I am always wanting humanity to evolve to new and greater heights. It seems slow-going, though.

How characters handle visceral violence is something which I feel is handled exceptionally poorly in almost all games (I actually cannot think of a single game that handles it well, but because I haven't played every game I will use the word almost just in case 1 exists). Games go to a lot of effort to provide a multitude of ways for you to kill, maim or dismember enemies, but next to no emphasis is put onto the emotional toll this would take on the character. In my opinion, this is a sorely missed opportunity. To be fair, I cannot blame games entirely for this, most fantasy novels avoid dealing with this topic as well, it isn't easy to write about and it doesn't make for fun reading either, even if it is deeply thought provoking and emotionally moving.

There is a great book called Crime and Punishment which deals with the mental anguish of the protagonist, following on from him murdering a pawnbroker. It doesn't make for light reading, but the depth of the characterization there really does make the reader stop and think for a bit. I am not sure how a similar effect could be conveyed in a game, maybe with dream sequences over the people you kill, or something like that. Either way, dealing with human suffering in the video game format is hard. I don't think Faerun would even be the right setting to attempt to do something like that, not without having a much more focused campaign. For such a story to be effective, you would probably need to first convince the player to view the NPCs within the world as real people, then make them emotionally attached to those people, then force the player to kill them off.

Even if you could do something like this successfully in a tactful manner however, there is a question of whether you would even want to. Most people play games to blow off steam and relax, not to stop and think about complicated moral dilemmas.

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Originally Posted by Sharp

How characters handle visceral violence is something which I feel is handled exceptionally poorly in almost all games (I actually cannot think of a single game that handles it well, but because I haven't played every game I will use the word almost just in case 1 exists). Games go to a lot of effort to provide a multitude of ways for you to kill, maim or dismember enemies, but next to no emphasis is put onto the emotional toll this would take on the character. In my opinion, this is a sorely missed opportunity. To be fair, I cannot blame games entirely for this, most fantasy novels avoid dealing with this topic as well, it isn't easy to write about and it doesn't make for fun reading either, even if it is deeply thought provoking and emotionally moving.

There is a great book called Crime and Punishment which deals with the mental anguish of the protagonist, following on from him murdering a pawnbroker. It doesn't make for light reading, but the depth of the characterization there really does make the reader stop and think for a bit. I am not sure how a similar effect could be conveyed in a game, maybe with dream sequences over the people you kill, or something like that. Either way, dealing with human suffering in the video game format is hard. I don't think Faerun would even be the right setting to attempt to do something like that, not without having a much more focused campaign. For such a story to be effective, you would probably need to first convince the player to view the NPCs within the world as real people, then make them emotionally attached to those people, then force the player to kill them off.

Even if you could do something like this successfully in a tactful manner however, there is a question of whether you would even want to. Most people play games to blow off steam and relax, not to stop and think about complicated moral dilemmas.



The closest game I can think of off hand is Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice. The protagonist seems pretty compellingly traumatized in that game, and it also deals with psychotic mental illness in a pretty satisfying way. (Speaking as someone who has struggled with psychosis myself.)

I love Crime and Punishment! Dostoyevsky is one of my favorite authors of all time. Raskolnikov's psychological journey is definitely fascinating.

Personally, I'd love to play games to think about complicated moral dilemmas, if more games offered that option.

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Originally Posted by DistantStranger
So, I am going to summarize some of the arguments being presented and try to deal with them in an even handed and general way. I think a lot of this has to do with art and how we see it, and perhaps to a degree some misconceptions on what art is and why it even applies to this conversation.

Let me start by making it clear where I stand on the topic for those of you who haven't seen my thoughts in previous romance and writing threads on this board: I have no interest in romances personally. I cannot see, and absolutely cannot conjure up, the interest in hitting on a character. Its just not for me. I can see other people are very much attached to them, however, and that concerns me a great deal. Slash fiction has existed for at least five hundred years that I know of, probably longer than that. A couple weeks back when we were discussing armor styles I mentioned that when Mallory penned Le Morte d'Arthur in the mid 15th century nobility across Europe commissioned their own side stories, reiterations, and companion pieces inseparable from the original story but with unique variation. A number of them were also erotically charged. Most concerned Guinevere, sometimes she was chaste, sometimes she was faithful, often she was not, and in many of these bespoke works her relationship dynamics were the only thing which was altered. All of this is simply to say that personal feelings aside a significant number of individuals will always be concerned with interpersonal relationships and tales of seduction. That makes this important, regardless of our own predilections.

Set that aside for a moment, I intend to elaborate on Guinevere a bit further a bit later.

Lets speak on someone specifically who very much lived and breathed to make this matter less theoretical. It is good to consider the abstractions, but often we can be lured by specious thought into the realm of the purely imaginative. There is quite a lot to admire about the masters of art, all of them, from Meade Shaeffer to Leonardo da Vinci. You know da Vinci never finished a commission, spent a considerable amount of his life being sued by his patrons for accepting their wealth and never giving them anything in return. He liked to spend every clear morning riding and his evenings in a nearby tavern where he would drink with the locals and draw caricatures of them, as well as any passing strangers and merchants, for nothing more than their delight. If I recall correctly he refused any coin or compensation. He could draw with one hand and simultaneously paint with the other, and both works would be completely different studies. His manservant was illiterate, so when he sent him to the market it was armed with sketches of those things he wished for the man to procure and when he was 24 he was arrested along with a few other youths at an orgy and charged with sodomy. He may have been gay. May have been bisexual. May have been experimenting and unsure. May have been drinking in another room by himself waiting for his friends and their imminent flagrante delecto to resolve themselves. None of it matters. The only importance in such a matter arises from our interest in him, it can become important but only when he is important to us -and perhaps not on even then. One's sexuality is but the smallest facet of whom they are as a person, the least part of a compelling whole.

If knowing da Vinci may have been queer alters your perception of him, it is not because something fundamental about he himself has changed only your own feelings about him. It isn't in and of itself important, merely important to you. There can be great comfort and satisfaction, I imagine, for some people who wish to explore those aspects of another's sexuality, but ultimately they are trivial. As inconsequential as how one might prefer their eggs. Our value, as human beings, is not tied to those things which we consume. In order for that to become the measure of someone they have to have nothing else. Nothing they have created, nothing they have accomplished, nothing at all.

That would be tragic.

Now let us return to Guinevere. She is often, and best, known for her internal, titanic, struggle between the man she loved with her very being and the other she loved with her tortured heart. . .And it was all a later invention reflecting the trends of courtly -and theoretically platonic but always true- love in ascendance at the time, as with Lancelot's chastity. In the earliest poems and tales we have of each, some four centuries earlier than the best known story with which are all familiar, she was faithful while Lancelot would wed Iblis. Does this change their characters? Very much so. Not because whether they had sex with one another was important in and of itself rather because of the struggle not the sex. We are all ultimately what we do, it wasn't their attraction that was interesting, it was their attempts to resist it and their failure and what would happen as a result.


Were we playing a video game telling their story and playing one of them, whether we chose to experience that story with heterosexual preference or homosexual it would not change a God damn thing that matters



Spoiler for length. I find myself agreeing with nearly all of @firesnakearies' points. [ as I tend to do unless we are talking about rulesets -- how can someone who is so right about about so much be wrong about 5e? smile ] If anything this only an adjunct / additional angle to the points they have made.

Likewise with @distant stranger I am torn between my desire to agree because with the points made because they were made so eloquently and, well, the fact that disagree with some of your points so profoundly.

On this point about Davinci:

Quote
None of it matters. The only importance in such a matter arises from our interest in him, it can become important but only when he is important to us -and perhaps not on even then. One's sexuality is but the smallest facet of whom they are as a person, the least part of a compelling whole.


Let's agree that it matters when we are interested in him. We get to see the man behind the mask and both of your examples -- the man of the people who upset his patrons, the person who partook in the decadence of renaissance Italian. But it also helps us understand the time that much better. Why did zealots like Savonarola burn painting in large bonfires? What, in Savonarola's mind, was the connection between art, decadence and corruption? Knowing that the famed painter was caught in vice raid helps that. I also helps me understand the deep sensuality of his portrait of John the Baptist. Knowing the painter was thirsting helps me interpret the artwork that much better.

In terms of the game the authors seem to be going for the "man behind the mask" Wyll, the folk hero, has a dark secret. You, his confidant, get a peek and the man behind the mask and can pledge to free him from his bonds. Wyll has a unique model and you can see the results of Spike's torture when he removes his shirt. Nudity is revealing -- his story is written on his body and when he naked before the main character he is vulnerable.

This is even more true of Astarian since his scars literally take the form of words. He is a seducer, one who doesn't even remove his mask in the bedroom, someone who is capable of appearing clothed even while naked. But we see the mask slip the next morning. We seem him basking in the sunlight and we touch a sensitive spot when we notice the scars. Astarian is someone who is -- quite literally -- incapable of looking the in mirror. Without his master he's lost, perhaps he will come to understand himself when he sees himself reflected in Tav's eyes.

Both romances move the story forward and makes the associated quests a bit deeper than Mario-princess story or Cazador as an end boss.

So I want to dial up the romance. I want more interactions, more conversations and more text. (and I know this Larian and not J.E. Sawyer but please give me a wall of text. Letters? Diary entries? A literal wall with writing on it?)

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Originally Posted by KillerRabbit

Let's agree that it matters when we are interested in him. We get to see the man behind the mask and both of your examples -- the man of the people who upset his patrons, the person who partook in the decadence of renaissance Italian. But it also helps us understand the time that much better. Why did zealots like Savonarola burn painting in large bonfires? What, in Savonarola's mind, was the connection between art, decadence and corruption? Knowing that the famed painter was caught in vice raid helps that. I also helps me understand the deep sensuality of his portrait of John the Baptist. Knowing the painter was thirsting helps me interpret the artwork that much better.

In terms of the game the authors seem to be going for the "man behind the mask" Wyll, the folk hero, has a dark secret. You, his confidant, get a peek and the man behind the mask and can pledge to free him from his bonds. Wyll has a unique model and you can see the results of Spike's torture when he removes his shirt. Nudity is revealing -- his story is written on his body and when he naked before the main character he is vulnerable.

This is even more true of Astarian since his scars literally take the form of words. He is a seducer, one who doesn't even remove his mask in the bedroom, someone who is capable of appearing clothed even while naked. But we see the mask slip the next morning. We seem him basking in the sunlight and we touch a sensitive spot when we notice the scars. Astarian is someone who is -- quite literally -- incapable of looking the in mirror. Without his master he's lost, perhaps he will come to understand himself when he sees himself reflected in Tav's eyes.

Both romances move the story forward and makes the associated quests a bit deeper than Mario-princess story or Cazador as an end boss.

So I want to dial up the romance. I want more interactions, more conversations and more text. (and I know this Larian and not J.E. Sawyer but please give me a wall of text. Letters? Diary entries? A literal wall with writing on it?)



Oh damn, this is a good post.

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I don't want to take away romance options for people or scenarios like @KillerRabbit brought up. I'd like for there to be non-sexual romance in the game in addition. I'd also settle for just good friends. I don't want developing connections with the characters and learning more of backstory walled behind sex. If Larian did happen to make one of the future companions asexual, that would be great for me.

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Originally Posted by guy
Lae'zal will **** anything that moves. so will asterion. so will shadowheart. So will Gale.

Roll it back.
For example, if yo aren't gith, Lae'zal won't touch you.

Shadowheart romace DC for women is 10, and for men is 20.

Asterion has racial preferences and won't touch certain races.

Gale has a CHA requirement.

ETC.

To add a depth to the game that makes you want to roll a character just to explore the depth you can't get if you play a certain way.

That would be closer to how the Baldur's Gate 1 and 2 approached it. Not exactly... but this is BG3. not divinity. And I will compare this game to BG, and not divinity.
As will many here, that are here because they fell in love with BG.


NO! to all of this. Sorry.

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OP is very correct. I'm fine with romance, but make players work for it a bit at least!

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this game is very horny indeed, however my friends opinion after a co-op playthrough has been that this game is in fact not horny enough! so larian, lean into the horny! It's a sure fire way to get the mass effect crowd lol

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Originally Posted by HustleCat
I don't want developing connections with the characters and learning more of backstory walled behind sex.


I was about to say that in response to what KillerRabbit said. There were good points about getting to know the characters better and discovering their backstories... but why does it need to be hidden behind romance? I'm strongly against locking non-romance content behind romance. Same goes for dream waifu.

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Originally Posted by KillerRabbit
Let's agree that it matters when we are interested in him. We get to see the man behind the mask and both of your examples -- the man of the people who upset his patrons, the person who partook in the decadence of renaissance Italian. But it also helps us understand the time that much better. Why did zealots like Savonarola burn painting in large bonfires? What, in Savonarola's mind, was the connection between art, decadence and corruption? Knowing that the famed painter was caught in vice raid helps that. I also helps me understand the deep sensuality of his portrait of John the Baptist. Knowing the painter was thirsting helps me interpret the artwork that much better.


I hate to break your heart on this, but like Michelangelo, there is no real evidence he ever did anything with anyone. Not even so much as a real accusation or credible insinuation, which in and of itself is unusual for the period and place they two lived in (they were contemporaries after all). In many ways, humanity is very consistent and celebrity then as now was obsessed over and fueled constant speculation but da Vinci lived a life like an open book constantly in the company of others but never with attachment while Michelangelo would turn whatever premises he was laboring at into sanctuaries against the outside world. Literally. He was notorious for turning churches under his commission into fortresses (sealing windows and barring doors against entry, often leaving only rooftop accesses which only he and those with him knew of) and turning out the priests and adjuncts who worked there, and sometimes lived there, until his work was complete. Noone would be allowed entry except those who would fetch his tools and mix his paints and even they had to remain still and mute unless directed otherwise as he toiled tirelessly, though in near constant agony toward the later years of his all too brief existence, for as much as twenty hours a day without ceasing. However, in his case, there was one particular lady with whom he corresponded regularly and her name escapes me, but the love they shared in those letters, though nothing in them ever spoke of love per se, would fill you with envy to read them. Complete understanding, complete acceptance. A rare thing indeed.

For the moment though lets grant your supposition full authority because though speculative it is interesting, if true that da Vinci was homosexual or learning toward that end, I still cannot see it as important. Its only value lies in that it might possibly explain other things which are interesting to us, or lend itself to greater insights of the attitudes of others or life of the time, perhaps even open a small window into the complexities and turmoil of his own existence. . .But the thing itself means very little outside of its relation to other things. A key is useful to get through a door, but it is what is in the room which is important, or else we would be unconcerned with the door and untroubled with the lack of its key.

Originally Posted by KillerRabbit
In terms of the game the authors seem to be going for the "man behind the mask" Wyll, the folk hero, has a dark secret. You, his confidant, get a peek and the man behind the mask and can pledge to free him from his bonds. Wyll has a unique model and you can see the results of Spike's torture when he removes his shirt. Nudity is revealing -- his story is written on his body and when he naked before the main character he is vulnerable.

This is even more true of Astarian since his scars literally take the form of words. He is a seducer, one who doesn't even remove his mask in the bedroom, someone who is capable of appearing clothed even while naked. But we see the mask slip the next morning. We seem him basking in the sunlight and we touch a sensitive spot when we notice the scars. Astarian is someone who is -- quite literally -- incapable of looking the in mirror. Without his master he's lost, perhaps he will come to understand himself when he sees himself reflected in Tav's eyes.

Both romances move the story forward and makes the associated quests a bit deeper than Mario-princess story or Cazador as an end boss.

So I want to dial up the romance. I want more interactions, more conversations and more text. (and I know this Larian and not J.E. Sawyer but please give me a wall of text. Letters? Diary entries? A literal wall with writing on it?)


I wish I had your confidence, but I am afraid they might be aspiring more for JJ Abrams' "Mystery Box." I have a friend who worked a few different sets with him and Abrams' approach to writing hinges upon the concept of story beats. Three scenes roughly at the beginning, middle, and end of a movie, always revolving around large kinetic action, then he kicks those off to his script writers to figure out how to craft a narrative that will land appropriately at each beat. Sort of like coming up with a hook for the chorus of a song, then composing everything else around that. He's a director though, and a competent one, that he knows little about quality writing and cares less is unfortunate but not a deficiency. Michael Bay has been wildly successful making movies in which story was just an excuse to film something, but his only aspiration is to make something people will enjoy for a couple hours and allow them to leave their lives and all their troubles behind for awhile. There is something noble in that, and while I don't care for his films either I am grateful that he is successful in bringing enjoyment to others and he is a very effective director if a bit of a dick at times. However, their approaches to story telling explain why their films are so often forgettable, but it isn't an indictment against them, their audiences, or the industry. Many contemporaries, in their arrogance, love to believe they are somehow superior to those whom lived in the earliest periods of recorded history, but the reason why the classics of antiquity remain with us when so many other periods cycle through popularity and neglect is because of how well they reflect humanity at any time -and we only know of it because of the stories. History itself, which they gave us the concept of, is simply distilling events into stories and storytelling was arguably our first art. Even the cave pictures of early man told stories. It is very much a part of who we are as a species and I believe we will always respond to quality narrative even if most of us are not troubled by poor ones.

I don't know whether you follow game developer talks or attend gaming conventions where they discuss post mortems and future potential, but the overwhelming consensus amongst developers is also that writing doesn't matter and never has. Consider this:

Originally Posted by Ben Kuchera
After so many games of nearly incomprehensible stories and lore that requires terminals and study outside of the core gaming experience I’ve decided to give up on the story of Halo. Not that it ever showed anything interesting outside of a few neat, big ideas that no one seemed to know how to develop into a working narrative. If you want a great story and interesting characters let’s stop pretending the game starring a faceless, gravelly voiced super-soldier is going to provide it. Even Nathan Fillion, who punches well above his weight class when struggling under bad scripts, only makes a slight impression here.

It’s not that I’m not upset Halo 5 couldn’t deliver a workable story with a beginning, middle, and end. I am. It’s just that between the fun to be had in the pure expression of play within Halo 5 and the many multiplayer options the lack of story is a very small detail in a very large package that’s being sold for $60. You’re going to get your money’s worth, and my personal journey with the game has only begun. I can’t wait to play more, and to master the higher level tactics and the interesting Warzone mode.


And of course there is always this old saw
Originally Posted by John Carmack
It's been said that a story in a video game is like a story in pornography—it doesn't matter how good it is, but you notice if it isn't there.


A story which is engineered for effect has no art, it will always be superficial. Art is created by people who have something they need to say, that is why da Vinci so often failed in his contracts with others. He could not bring himself to work on something that was no more than merely beautiful. He would try to motivate himself by taking works which were interesting or complex, but once he had worked out how the thing could be done to his satisfaction he lost all interest in it. It was meaningless and he refused to a waste so much as a minute of his life on something which did not matter. Artists today have never been more technically proficient and yet few of them have anything to say. As beautiful as the things they create are, I would trade all of it for the works of El Greco whom I don't even care for but was at least driven in his work toward something greater than himself which he could not communicate in any other way. Of course, that is purely personal preference and hardly an objective argument. Disagree all you like, its not worth arguing over.

All of which is to say I hope you are right, but I fear you are not, and so I will continue my lonely crusade. I do agree with you, however, there is some potential within this work. if it were otherwise I would not even be here. I do not waste my time lightly.

edit:

Originally Posted by KillerRabbit
Spoiler for length. I find myself agreeing with nearly all of @firesnakearies' points. [ as I tend to do unless we are talking about rulesets -- how can someone who is so right about about so much be wrong about 5e? smile ] If anything this only an adjunct / additional angle to the points they have made.


I was going through making sure there wasn't anything in any of these posts that I missed and decided to give a run at this bit. Most artists think conceptually, they deal with ideas and not details. Eventually, if hey are dedicated to a project, they will eventually obsess over those details but it isn't where many of them start. Engineers are all about details. This is why you will always see writers dedicating their books to their editors. Artists are often lost without suitable structure. Having dealt with enough creatives, I am pretty confident in my judgment that she is clearly one even if she has never pursued it or cultivated her potential. I don't know if you have children or not, but however you try to raise them, no matter how carefully you try to control those factors they come into contact with and will ultimately influence them, there is some firmware there which you will never be able to do more than update. At the point they are toddlers and have the ability to express their opinions and priorities, you will begin seeing aspects of the inherent nature will come to define them in later years. Its sort of great actually. Anyway, yeah, like myself I think she will always be more comfortable dealing with ideas than anything else

Last edited by DistantStranger; 07/12/20 12:44 PM.
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Originally Posted by Firesnakearies
Your inference is in no way a slight.




I don't often have the excuse to engage you in a discussion so I am sad to see this end, even more so because in two days Cyberpunk 2077 comes out so this may very well be the last time we discuss anything since between work and home life and a game arising out of my favorite genre (who doesn't love dystopian corporate centered sci fi?) soon I won't be giving this project any further attention.

But I am going to miss you little lady. I hope you continue keeping these bastards here to your impressively high standards. We will all be better for it

Last edited by DistantStranger; 07/12/20 10:50 AM.
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Originally Posted by Firesnakearies
Originally Posted by guy

yeah, stop forcing the LGBT crap on every character.



It's 2020. Almost 2021. It would appear that the world has moved on without you. I invite you to catch up.



Cheers! smile

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Originally Posted by Uncle Lester
Originally Posted by HustleCat
I don't want developing connections with the characters and learning more of backstory walled behind sex.


I was about to say that in response to what KillerRabbit said. There were good points about getting to know the characters better and discovering their backstories... but why does it need to be hidden behind romance? I'm strongly against locking non-romance content behind romance. Same goes for dream waifu.


I agree that it is important to also develop friendships andvother relationships and that not everything should be romantic. Also, romance works better if there are previous interactions.

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Originally Posted by DistantStranger
Originally Posted by Firesnakearies
Your inference is in no way a slight.




I don't often have the excuse to engage you in a discussion so I am sad to see this end, even more so because in two days Cyberpunk 2077 comes out so this may very well be the last time we discuss anything since between work and home life and a game arising out of my favorite genre (who doesn't love dystopian corporate centered sci fi?) soon I won't be giving this project any further attention.

But I am going to miss you little lady. I hope you continue keeping these bastards here to your impressively high standards. We will all be better for it


No time for full reply but just a note to say I enjoyed your posts, sorry to see you go.

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Originally Posted by DistantStranger

I don't often have the excuse to engage you in a discussion so I am sad to see this end, even more so because in two days Cyberpunk 2077 comes out so this may very well be the last time we discuss anything since between work and home life and a game arising out of my favorite genre (who doesn't love dystopian corporate centered sci fi?) soon I won't be giving this project any further attention.

But I am going to miss you little lady. I hope you continue keeping these bastards here to your impressively high standards. We will all be better for it




I'm pretty hyped for Cyberpunk, too. Probably gonna let it cool for a few weeks though before I play it, let them get some immediate bug fix patches in. I played the old Cyberpunk 2020 tabletop game when I was younger, it was cool. Always been a big fan of the genre. William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, good shit.

My standards aren't that high, really. I just like to run my mouth.

See ya around, Stranger.

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Appreciated you two. It's been great. Just noticed the preload is up for anyone who might be interested.

Ciao ;P




[Linked Image]DL by Cody Young

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I think this thread went off the rails once or twice, but to get back to the original message. Yes please, let the ingame characters have sexual, racial, and character trait preferences. And please give the AI, the most beautiful and important ability that can make an AI seem most human is...the right to say no.

It should be a solid thing for a game character to say no. That shouldn't mean that the player can't try their hardest to romance a character. It could be great role play for the player to really want to romance a game character but because of xyz that character is ultimately gonna say no. But that doesn't mean its the end.

I guess what im getting at is that there should be ingame friendzoning lol. Player freedom is important, but so is immersion. Some people (AI) just don't wanna take relationships that way haha.

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