Author Topic: Horror: How Far is Too Far?  (Read 17535 times)

Cthuluzord

  • Global Moderator
  • I dream in graph paper lines
  • *****
  • Posts: 385
    • View Profile
Horror: How Far is Too Far?
« on: July 09, 2013, 08:11:13 PM »
I'm going to explain the specifics about how I came to the question I'm going to ask. There will be SPOILERS for some Hebanon Games releases. If neither sound appealing, you can just skip to the bolded question at the bottom. I'd appreciate hearing some other peoples' thoughts on this.

So I've been thinking about this awhile, but it kind of came to a head today. Tim wrote a very nice summary of his running Lover in the Ice for his group. They called it "disturbing" (yay! it worked!), but then made a joke about him being a freak for backing it on Kickstarter (not so yay). I've also gotten reviews of the scenario like this one: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/11/22/tabletop-review-lover-in-the-ice-no-security/

And while I think the review above is overall positive, I have to admit I was a little disappointed that DieHard GameFAN didn't care for the scenario as much as the others in the No Security pack merely because of the sex angle. I'm not angry, and I get that the topic is hard to touch on even briefly for some gamers, but

Add all this with my writing today. I'm working on the monster for The Wives of March. The description sort of ran away from me and reached the level of short story, but I just rolled with it. Anyway, I was plugging along for awhile before I realized I was kind of squicking myself out. I took a break, Sara snuck in an read it, and now she's giving me a look that says I-just-realized-our-7-year-relationship-is-an-elaborate-ruse-to-torture-and-kill-me.

Part of me feels like this is a good thing: if it can't scare me, what chance does it have with an audience? But I'm also doubting myself. I think its probably a good thing that a MONSTER is scary and disturbing, but I don't want to make people too uncomfortable at the table. I mean, when I came up with the Amante, it literally never occurred to me that people would be made so squicky by it. I actually worried it would be boring because the whole conflation-of-sex-and-death theme would be too trite to be scary. But I've heard suggestions that it actually makes people too uncomfortable to play. I don't want that at all.

But on the flip side, I also want to call bullshit. I think I write games that are clearly R rated, and that you shouldn't teach your kids how to play RPG's with Cthulhu-esque horror games. That is to say, people know what they are getting into with Hebanon Games.

I also think that sex, reproduction, and many other factors in life beyond violence are scary as hell, and I don't know what horror gains by avoiding those topics -- so long as negative actions within those contexts are treated as realistically terrifying rather than exploitative. So long as it serves the narrative at the same time, horror is supposed to transgress and make people uncomfortable, isn't it? If monsters can't have babies, but it's totally cool if they eat your face or suck your soul into a non-Euclidian hell dimension, isn't that just to serving the weird American disconnect between violence vs. EVERYTHING ELSE the culture finds offensive?

To use an example, Skip Mill's house gets mentioned a lot in playthroughs I've been told about. Players get grossed out by the porn covered walls. Good -- that's the point -- but hardly anyone mentions his mother's chewed remains in the bedroom or the blind, taloned monkey-thing crawling around the attic. Why not?

 How is the Amante lifecycle any more disturbing than man-sized puppets that bait you into being prey for an alien god (Bryson Springs), obese carrion eaters festering beneath your feet (Red Tower), or inescapable hell-grubs that can manifest from another dimension at any time and without explanation (Fall Without End)? Is it creepy because some people that aren't infected with hell parasites decorate that way in the real world? Is the sex angle somehow intrinsically too exploitive or sexist? But if so, how specifically? My monsters are equal opportunity harbingers of destruction, and I don't think I for one second fetishized how fun an Amante attack was (or at least I hope no one read it that way...that's genuinely scary to think about).

Despite the urges used to drive them towards new victims, Seeders are NOT trying to rape anyone; they are trying to murder them, though I will admit that the primal fear of violation is something I was trying consciously to tap into. The Amante is NOT doing anything that could be called sex; the fact that's it has an animal definition of its action that doesn't intersect with the human perception is where the scary comes from. I mean, I was consciously going for an Alien vibe, but the scariness is what people remember about that brilliant film, whereas I worry I'm falling short and just landing in "pervy." Obviously, this wasn't my intention, and it's something I'd like to prevent in the future whether its due to the subject matter or just my inability to pull it off.

So yeah, here's the question that all this brings up: How far is TOO far in a Horror Game? What can't be done in a story at the table, and is it the same list for Horror films or books? I think I know when something transforms from terrifying to tasteless, but my definition differs from others. Clearly, that difference of opinion is always going to exist, but what really worries me is that I don't have any kind of vocabulary for addressing that limit, nor do I know what I should do when that border comes into view. Should I attack it? Steer clear? What makes for a better story and game in the horror genre?

You folks are cool, and the extra cool ones are familar with my work :D. Plus, many on the forums are more widely read in the genre than I. I'd like to hear what everyone has to say.

Review Cultist

  • I dream in graph paper lines
  • ****
  • Posts: 371
    • View Profile
Re: Horror: How Far is Too Far?
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2013, 09:29:00 PM »
Honestly, from my experience with Horror film and whatnot, really it seems all bets are off. I mean there are multi-million dollar film franchises about a man teaching morality lessons to people by sticking them in horrible death trap ridden locations and situations, and then there is always "Human Centipede" and even the "Hellraiser" series. As long as the horrific content suits the narrative, there's not a whole lot that cant be used to horrify or disturb people. people still go to these films and pay full price. As for the horror in gaming, the same rules apply in my opinion, as long as the audience/players know what there walking into, horror should NOT have a lot of limitations. (Really if they are horrified/disgusted when playing Call of Cthulhu or other such horror games, and complain, why are they playing that game? What did they expect?)

When I first listened to "Lover in the Ice" I knew I was listening to a horror game and so the scenes at Skip Mill's house among others, while creepy, weren't offensively so. It just helped to give the visceral horror feel. And in that respect it succeeds to contribute to the whole. Unfortunately in the case of horror, some folks are always going to call people out on there work because they don't like something about it, or they think it's gone to far.

If you are actually stepping back and thinking "Wow, that's CREEPY." in context to making something horror, your doing a good job. It means you r scaring/creeping yourself out and isn't that the goal?

Simply put, no, I don't think you've gone too far. (own personal opinion)


   
« Last Edit: July 10, 2013, 11:23:13 PM by Review Cultist »
Liquid Water?

Leviathan

  • Zombie Apocalypse Survivor
  • **
  • Posts: 56
  • Back-up singer for the Tusken Sound Raiders.
    • View Profile
Re: Horror: How Far is Too Far?
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2013, 07:54:04 AM »
As someone who's been into horror since before his teenage years, I honestly don't think there's a line to cross in horror where it becomes too much.

Modern horror (mainly films) forgets this a lot, but the reason I (and I hope many others) sit down to watch a horror flick is because I want to be scared and/or very unsettled. I want to squirm around where I'm sitting and shoot my hands up to my face, covering part of it in some self-comforting way. I don't want to see gallons of blood or jump scares without any effort.

The first statement also goes for horror games, imo. If I sit down to play a horror session, I invite any feelings of discomfort and horror. I think the feeling of something being too much stems from when someone is trying to creep you out just for the sake of creeping you out. Like a madman stomping on a foetus just to show how crazy he is. You just have to keep the horror befitting of the narrative.

I personally loved the porno-revelation in Skip's house, because to me as a listener (as it would as a player) it alerted me that shit is fucked up, whether due to this guy being crazy or having been driven crazy. It contributed greatly to the scenario's creepy vibe.

If you're creating something horrifying, just go all in. I'm glad to say that I've greatly enjoyed all of No Security thus far and will certainly continue to do so. Can't wait to see the madness you cook up for "The Wives of March". Keep up the good work.
Railroad Diary, a place where I occasionally put words.

Jacko

  • Zombie Apocalypse Survivor
  • **
  • Posts: 76
  • Hrrrrrmmmmmm.
    • View Profile
Re: Horror: How Far is Too Far?
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2013, 09:06:18 AM »
I'm not sure there are limits when it comes to horror because it's going beyond the bounds of safety, whether that be psychological, emotional or physical, that makes horror scary.  That's my personal belief but RPGs have to cater to the lowest common denominator in the groups that are playing them.  If I declare 'I've got no limits, free reign, baby, gimmie your best shot!' and another player says 'I don't like anything over PG-13' then we're playing something PG-13 or we're not playing.  That isn't a bad thing, it's just part of the social contract that we have with other gamers when we congregate in our filthy nerd-hovels;  No one is there to feel uncomfortable.  Whether it's sexual content, horrific violence or torture, or even just PVP, it's gotta be respected to have fun.

There is one thing I would like to point out specifically concerning Lover In The Ice.  You say this:

Despite the urges used to drive them towards new victims, Seeders are NOT trying to rape anyone; they are trying to murder them, though I will admit that the primal fear of violation is something I was trying consciously to tap into. The Amante is NOT doing anything that could be called sex; the fact that's it has an animal definition of its action that doesn't intersect with the human perception is where the scary comes from. I mean, I was consciously going for an Alien vibe, but the scariness is what people remember about that brilliant film, whereas I worry I'm falling short and just landing in "pervy." Obviously, this wasn't my intention, and it's something I'd like to prevent in the future whether its due to the subject matter or just my inability to pull it off.

This is all well and good but you have to consider what the players are hearing about the Amante before they see it in action.  Statues or renderings of some thing that's always described as having a 'giant phallus'.  The seeder organ is referred to multiple times (both in the modern scenario and the prequel) as either an actual penis, something akin to a penis, or at least penis-shaped.  It has an alien biology, sure, but can you really blame players for only picturing a dick getting rammed down a throat when the thing or one of the infected finally does catch someone?

This is different to Alien in that no one ever references the Facehuggers or their anatomical parts with language that has any sexual connotations.  The film certainly does evoke forceful oral rape but it's never described by the characters that way.  It's scary because that's where the audiences own imagination goes without having to be explicitly told 'This thing is gonna rape your face'.

I'm not saying that this is necessarily bad at all, I find the scenario to be really cool, but there's a lot of sexual imagery and description used that violates the 'Show, don't tell' rule.   I think that's an important thing to keep in mind if you want to continue to write scenarios that touch upon sexual horror while still being largely accessible to a wide audience, even an R-rated one.

geekyogrt

  • Slayer of the Dread Gazebo
  • *
  • Posts: 30
    • View Profile
    • Geek Yogrt
Re: Horror: How Far is Too Far?
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2013, 12:27:19 PM »

This is different to Alien in that no one ever references the Facehuggers or their anatomical parts with language that has any sexual connotations.  The film certainly does evoke forceful oral rape but it's never described by the characters that way.  It's scary because that's where the audiences own imagination goes without having to be explicitly told 'This thing is gonna rape your face'.


That is because it was a movie vs. you know someone describing it.  It is regularly referred to as such in some of the books set in the universe.  Surrogate Penis is the actual phrase, I believe.  Also, I believe they refer to impregnating in the extended release of Aliens.  If Lover in the Ice were a movie (I'd kickstart that) you wouldn't have anyone describing it either.  It would be a visual experience.

On the question at hand, the line of "what is too far" is personal and it moves.  More people have had a traumatic sexual experience vs a cthulu zombie attack or poisonous spiders.  It is closer to reality.  Sex is just an uncomfortable topic for lots of folks, however that doesn't mean you should shy away from it (maybe not every monster is a sex monster could be a rule of thumb?).

If it isn't a game that a group should run, that is on them.  Delivery by the GM and the relationship between the group is not something that you can control.

On the creature itself, I viewed it more of a parasite with a disturbing delivery system vs. a rape sex monsters.  I also ate fried chicken right after watching Killer Joe, so my opinion may not be relevant.

SageNytell

  • I dream in graph paper lines
  • ****
  • Posts: 435
  • We're the Tusken Sound Raiders... start the rave.
    • View Profile
Re: Horror: How Far is Too Far?
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2013, 12:54:21 PM »
My current gaming group is actually made up of a majority of female gamers, and based on an early request for boundaries we've instituted a no sexual violence rule, so no matter what Lover in the Ice is not going to be run for my current group. I'm familiar with the scenario and creature so I know what you're getting at, but the mystery means that they could absolutely get the wrong impression or have a traumatic trigger.
It's tough, it's an excellent scenario and scary as hell but different people have problems with different things.

Flawless P

  • I walk between the rain drops, tommy gun and katana in hand
  • *****
  • Posts: 1024
    • View Profile
Re: Horror: How Far is Too Far?
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2013, 01:09:50 PM »
I don't have time to write a full thought out response to the question but I ran Lover in the Ice long long ago(based off of your orignial notes), for two seperate groups. Both of which I gave a breif disclaimer about the graphic nature of the scenario.

Both games went well, although they suffered from some serious bouts of player logic(mostly in the first playtest).

Although in the second game one of the players that survived the encounter decided that his character offed himself in the epiloge due to the stress of it all.

He had lost a lot of sanity though.


« Last Edit: July 10, 2013, 01:15:34 PM by Flawless P »
42.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot.
If you can't fix it with duck tape you haven't used enough.
I intend to live forever -- so far, so good.

Tadanori Oyama

  • Extreme XP CEO
  • *******
  • Posts: 3897
  • The Full Time GM
    • View Profile
    • Full Time GM
Re: Horror: How Far is Too Far?
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2013, 01:40:11 PM »
Too far is different for each person. Horror is supposed to be uncomfortable to be effective.

My group, for example, is totally fine with Call of Cthulhu horror games featuring strange illnesses or conventional death, even of their own characters. But when I ran a CthulhuTech game were the players would play characters that were bonded with alien symbiotes I had a player bow out. She stepped out largely due to how bleak the setting was and the level of violence. But she still talks with glee about the time she was stuck on an isolated road in Call of Cthulhu and literally screamed at the table from fear.

I've had my players repeat multiple times that gore is their main limiation. They can deal with dread, crushing monsters, and even conventional death (humans with guns or knives) but over emphasising the spilling of blood or rending of flesh turns them off. They allow me to use it sparingly (to highlight a monster's method of killing or add to a scene) and we have a bond of trust from years of gaming together.

Personally, I was more scared by the jail 'escape' in Bryson Springs than I was in Lover in the Ice.

I say power on through Caleb, attack the horizon with Tommy Gun in hand. What you might do, and I've asked other games to do for their scenarios, is include a sidebox after the scenario description kind of summarizing the goal of the scenario for the storyteller. That way they can judge if the players can take it or not. Putting in a nice, easy to access box makes it easier for storytellers not actively looking for it to find.

Tim

  • I dream in graph paper lines
  • ****
  • Posts: 455
    • View Profile
Re: Horror: How Far is Too Far?
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2013, 02:26:47 PM »
Somehow just noticed this thread even though Caleb specifically called it out in the other thread. Guess I botched that Enlish roll.

To use an example, Skip Mill's house gets mentioned a lot in playthroughs I've been told about. Players get grossed out by the porn covered walls. Good -- that's the point -- but hardly anyone mentions his mother's chewed remains in the bedroom or the blind, taloned monkey-thing crawling around the attic. Why not?

My own players found that the mother off putting (there was a large discussion about do they even go in the other bedroom or just burn the whole place down) but what really set them off was when they went into skips bedroom and found evidence he had been using parts of the mother in his self abuse. That tripped them out pretty hard core.

How is the Amante lifecycle any more disturbing than man-sized puppets that bait you into being prey for an alien god (Bryson Springs), obese carrion eaters festering beneath your feet (Red Tower), or inescapable hell-grubs that can manifest from another dimension at any time and without explanation (Fall Without End)? Is it creepy because some people that aren't infected with hell parasites decorate that way in the real world? Is the sex angle somehow intrinsically too exploitive or sexist? But if so, how specifically? My monsters are equal opportunity harbingers of destruction, and I don't think I for one second fetishized how fun an Amante attack was (or at least I hope no one read it that way...that's genuinely scary to think about).

As stated in the other thread I think the primary difference is how close the fear strikes to reality of what people fear. It is a conceptual horror vs something that is close to an all to real horror. A puppet that pulls me into space and the hell grubs are far removed from my reality. The nature of the Amanta attacks, while not fetishized at all, is all about personal invasion and dominance in a way that is quite close to peoples real world fears of sexual assault. You are grabbed and a foreign body is forced into you. You don't actually die, at least not yet, but are left damaged both physically and emotionally and are no longer really yourself. It does not get much worse than that.

I do feel that you need to walk a pretty careful line with the sex angle. Yes we are all adults and this is an R rated movie and you should be able to go where you want but as you noted it could easily become exploitative or possibly sexist if not carefully considered.

I actually think Red Tower is going to be pretty disturbing as well.

Despite the urges used to drive them towards new victims, Seeders are NOT trying to rape anyone; they are trying to murder them, though I will admit that the primal fear of violation is something I was trying consciously to tap into. The Amante is NOT doing anything that could be called sex; the fact that's it has an animal definition of its action that doesn't intersect with the human perception is where the scary comes from. I mean, I was consciously going for an Alien vibe, but the scariness is what people remember about that brilliant film, whereas I worry I'm falling short and just landing in "pervy." Obviously, this wasn't my intention, and it's something I'd like to prevent in the future whether its due to the subject matter or just my inability to pull it off.

The seeders when they get to the point of an attack on another person are of course attempting to murder them but the scenario details what happens before that which I feel people are reacting to. Skips cycles of self abuse that eventually reach a point he cannot control so he kills and the players who are suddenly in the middle have to put him down. The girls have a similar cycle as well. They are still basically human yet driven by these terrible desires. That part is horrific. Yes the seeder organ that comes out of their mouth is terrible as well but I find the other parts are what creep me out more.

I don't feel you undershot and landed in the pervy end of the pool although in the hands of the wrong GM and group it really could come off the rails. That is not something you can control in any way but I understand why it might give you some pause or concern.

sinanju

  • Slayer of the Dread Gazebo
  • *
  • Posts: 30
    • View Profile
Re: Horror: How Far is Too Far?
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2013, 06:42:15 PM »
I don't know that I have a good answer for "how far is too far." I only know that I've crossed that line.

My one-time gaming group, a bunch of unrepentant rules lawyers and power gamers once played a few sessions of Vampire the Masquerade. The GM, a regular member of the group, but not a real power gamer wanted to run it. And he gave us the choice: we could play Camarilla vampires or Sabbat.

Well, that was a no brainer. "Sabbat!" we chorused. Because why play a bunch of rule-bound emo-vamps when you could be a bad-ass vampire who thought the masquerade was for pussies? (Disclaimer: this may not accurately mirror how the games were written, but it was how WE interpreted the game world.)

So we created characters. Being who we were, we bend the rules to the breaking point to create the most obscenely powerful vampire characters our GM would allow (which was, frankly, way too powerful). And then the GM made the key mistake of not giving us enough to do. Left to our own devices, we started looking for trouble. Assaulting humans in the open. Holding drag raaces down crowded boulevards, complete with grenades being tossed at our fellow racers. Why? Because we COULD.

And then we started using our powers on people. It should come as no surprise that we had a couple of Tzimisci (or however you spell it) amongst the PCs. And they had flesh and bonecrafting powers. Which we used gleefully, in ever more vicious, horrific ways. It turned into an unspoken competition to see who could come up with the most fiendish, horrific, torturous fate to inflict on some hapless NPC.

It reached the point where we players all looked at one another--and realized just how depraved our characters were acting. And we stopped. Remember, this was a bunch of powergaming rules lawyers who LIVED for the opportunity to think up new and innovative ways to abuse the rules and break the system (any system) and demonstrate our cleverness in doing so. And we stopped, because...we'd managed to horrify OURSELVES. I've never seen that happen before or since. But we'd managed to plumb depths even we couldn't abide.

What took it too far? It wasn't simply a lack of regard for the lives of the NPCs (most hack n slash games involves killing lots of humans or humanoids with little or no concern). I think it was behaving like literal monsters, causing pain and suffering and death for its own sake. But whatever the reason it's an experience I've never forgotten.

Mckma

  • President of the Apparatus of Kwalish fan club
  • *****
  • Posts: 1538
  • Sometimes Murphy's Law needs to be enforced
    • View Profile
Re: Horror: How Far is Too Far?
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2013, 11:22:08 PM »
Hey there, it's been a while since I looked at your work (though I REALLY enjoyed all the games I listened to).  I would agree that part of it is that "too far" is different for different groups.  My ideal would be to get a bit beyond the comfort level but not so far beyond that they players have no desire.  That said, I think that a big part of why people are super uncomfortable with the whole sex angle is a cultural thing.  For one thing, at least in the US (which I would imagine a lot of these comments are coming from?), there is much more exposure to graphic violence than sexuality (whether or not it is violent), so players are naturally a bit more desensitized.

My second thought (which I have gone back and forth on whether or not to mention it, but I think it offers some enlightenment), is that it might hit a bit too close to home, especially with the scene of a room covered in pornography.  For most gamers, I think they can easily distance themselves from brutal or graphic violence (thinking I would never do that), but when they see something clearly disturbing around a room wallpapered with pornography, it's something intrinsically more private where that line is perhaps a bit more blurred as far as what one would and wouldn't do.  So the players see something that is clearly meant to be disturbing (and it is), but what is worse is they aren't necessarily able to distance themselves quite as much (again, perhaps just a thought).

Again, I don't know if that's the case, but at least for this specific case, I think that might be some of what is feeding into it.  Whether or not it means it has crossed a line, I don't know, I just suspect that for some people they might have a hard time feeling "distance" between their actions and the horror....

EDIT:  I think some of my personal beliefs and modes of thinking might affect my response to this, so if you happen to be really interested or want to chat some more, PM me, and I'll go back through and give a listen/read through some of the stuff you've said again, and compose a much more complete/thought out response.  If not though, it's cool and I'll save us both time :P
« Last Edit: July 10, 2013, 11:28:56 PM by Mckma »

Salkovich

  • I walk between the rain drops, tommy gun and katana in hand
  • *****
  • Posts: 805
  • Concupiscent Piranha of the Apocalypse
    • View Profile
Re: Horror: How Far is Too Far?
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2013, 10:14:47 AM »
I think an idea of horror going "too far" in tabletop RPGs is difficult to address, specifically because of the biased nature of the experience. Creating horror in a tabletop RPG is an extremely abstracted endeavor: there are no visuals (or if there are, they are limited and static), immersion is easily broken based on the simple fact that the environment can only be described to the players, and it is difficult to establish a sense of threat or fear without quite a bit of leg-work being done to immerse and invest players in their characters.

It's been said before, but horror as a concept falls into and is made up of three areas:terror (the suspense), horror (the shock value/jump scares), and revulsion (torture, gore, etc.). With videogames for example, all three are easy to create. Amnesia creates suspense through bizarre visuals, strange environments, and excellent sound design, creates horror in the interactions with the unbeatable monster, and revulsion through the environment and the player's broadening understanding of the true nature of what is going on -- all of which are rooted in the player seeing and experiencing the game from a first person perspective. Tabletop RPGs simply don't have that.

What they DO have is a massively skewed bias towards working with the horror branch of revulsion. Revulsion of a monster, revulsion towards the idea of a monster, towards something that threatens cultural, religious, or human norms, etc. etc.

The Amante is a perfect example of this. It's a well balanced monster across the three branchs: horrifying in its appearance and actions, terrifying in its ability to create a threat from many different angles (the hidden seeker threat, etc.), and revolting and repulsive in its "sexual" desires and behaviors as compared to human norms. However, because the tabletop setting prevents the audience from completely being scared by its horror qualities, the focus gets shifted towards what the Amante represents: its revulsion qualities.

Skip Mill's home is horrifying (I was probably the one person who always wondered what was up with the body on the bed) and terrifying (the sudden realization that this man who was behaving only slightly oddly was actually hiding such disturbing desires), but the porn and fluid plastered all over his walls is what sticks (forgive the pun.)

A lot of RPG scenarios in general, and Hebanon Games in particular, seem to skew towards this idea of revulsion as the core tenet of horror in tabletop gaming. There's good reason: it's incredibly effective. But the brand of horror that revulsion represents has a much broader experience for the audience, and so opinions and tastes are going to differ.

That said; Lover in the Ice is brilliant. It's well written, it's grounded in all three branches of horror, it is engaging, and it's memorable.


"It's heresy. Burn the heretics." - Ross Payton NEVAR FORGET
"If you are asked, 'Would you like Abraham Lincoln', your answer is always YES."

QuickreleasePersonalitY

  • I am worth 100 points in GURPS...ladies
  • ***
  • Posts: 232
  • if you see your self on the road, kill it
    • View Profile
Re: Horror: How Far is Too Far?
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2013, 06:38:55 PM »
Going too far?

When the police arrive at your door...;3

Otherwise, it's another iteration of 'know your audience'

(i've noticed there seem to be 'horror norms' that are different among different cultures -- Americans seem to find violence ok compared to sexual themes, British have an ingrained pessimistic streak and are ok with ambiguity, violating social order is horror in Japan, taking Mohammad's image is horror to some people...)

There is always the possibility of consequences as well; there are people (and internet 'tribes') who have and will go 'after' people if their particular 'horrors' are tripped...children in certain circumstances, rape, holding one group of people above all others, stuff like that...in ye olde times, people got burned at the stake for tweaking someone's horrors...
« Last Edit: July 11, 2013, 07:02:05 PM by QuickreleasePersonalitY »
pretentious i am
lest pretentious i become

Review Cultist

  • I dream in graph paper lines
  • ****
  • Posts: 371
    • View Profile
Re: Horror: How Far is Too Far?
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2013, 06:46:21 PM »
Based on my reading of these comments on this subject, I'm seeing a pattern that it is up to the Keeper/GM to know their "player's" limits. The limits of horror may not be an issue to the writer, but the reader. The discretion of which is their own responsibility.
Liquid Water?

Daegan

  • Slayer of the Dread Gazebo
  • *
  • Posts: 29
    • View Profile
Re: Horror: How Far is Too Far?
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2013, 12:32:06 AM »
I really don't feel like the critcism of the Amante being "too disturbing" is anything that ought to be taken too much to heart.  It's not as if Caleb invented murder/rape monsters in horror RPGs.  Call of Cuthulhu's already got a few pretty nasty examples:
  • Deep ones - specifically capture and rape humans to breed hybrids.
  • Yog Sothoth - Impregnated Old Man Whatley's daughter in Dunwich Horror.
  • Eihort - "implants his spawn" in people that eventually eat them from the inside out.
That's just in fussy old-fashioned Cuthulhu too.  That's not even getting to the disturbing rape monsters in Fear Itself.  Old World of Darkness got away with some pretty creepy fetishy horror stuff with Vampire (especially with Tzimisce fleshcrafting.)  Might be White Wolf was just banking on vampires always getting away with that sort of thing.  Seems like you can get away with all sort of bizarre stuff if it's vampires.  *sigh*

Honestly I think these folks are just nervous about narrating this stuff to a group of their friends, perhaps thinking "what if I offend someone?"  That's where this oft repeated refrane "know your players limits" comes in.  If all else fails, just run a zombie game.  Everyone can agree that describing folks being torn to pieces and eaten alive by the walking corpses of their former friends and family is A-ok.