Tag Archives: murder

Carrion Crown Chapter 1, The Haunting of Harrowstone, Session 1

First Session (14 page pdf) – We come to the town of Ravengro to participate in the funeral of our mutual friend, Professor Lorrimor. But all is not as it seems…


An all new crop of characters makes its debut as we kick into Carrion Crown! I am the troubled Vudran girl named only “Sredni Vashtar’s Girl,” as she is owned body and soul by her god/familiar, the weasel Sredni Vashtar. Chris is playing Icobus Basilisk, a battle oracle type; Bruce is playing Oswald Bainbridge the crossbowman; Patrick is playing Nigel Snodgrass the dirge bard; Tim is playing Dr. Jegen Vaus the eccentric alchemist; and Matt is playing Vladimir Vampijérovic the hungry ghost monk. Character sheets are all on the campaign page for those that provide them.

This session was largely setup – meet and greet the locals in Ravengro, meeting Kendra Lorrimor, and having Professor Lorrimor’s funeral.  Ravengro is creepy and the locals are unfriendly, down to the dog that lives in the town square. The Professor died investigating Harrowstone Prison, a lovely place – the inmates and guards alike burned to death during an attempted escape from the asylum long ago, and there were four notable serial killers held there at the time; now it’s a haunted ruin. Should be lively! Read on…

Murderous Cretins, Part 2

Some time ago, I posed a question about the casual nature of violence in many RPGs on RPG Stack Exchange.  I also posted a longer version here on the blog, Your PCs Are Murderous Cretins, that got a lot of good discussion.

For whatever odd internet reason, the somewhat old question has gotten a big spate of activity lately, but sadly not answers I’m finding useful, but two varying contentions.

1. It’s not true! RPGs do not have high levels of casual violence!

Oddly, this mainly seems to be coming from RPG notable Frank Mentzer. I think he thinks I’m a member of BADD or something and is jus targuing against me because he figures I’m “anti” RPGs or D&D in general (but the only game I am “anti-” is 4e, as far as I know, and the question is specifically tagged as system agnostic). But is this really even debatable? I mean, you can say “well but it doesn’t warp your fragile little mind” or “Violence – I like it!” but I think it is fair to say every single player of every RPG ever has killed more sentient beings in the game than outside it. (Oh please let me not meet an exception…)

While mulling this over, I saw an interesting post on Lamentations of the Flame Princess bringing in a Forge discussion where there is a fairly quotable bit:

D&D does not easily lend itself to moralistic horror stories.  The rules of the game directly reward getting rich and, if necessary, killing whoever gets in your way.  As an emergent property it encourages operating from a position of overwhelming tactical advantage.  These are shitty moral values if taken seriously: in the real world, they would be the values of a psychopath.  Therefore Vance’s sense of irony as a method of detachment.

I mean, I’m not a Forgie, but this is pretty much true, right?  I play D&D, I like D&D, but true is true…

2. The only way to promote or retard casual violence in your game is via game mechanics.

So I totally understand the argument that you CAN try to influence your game’s murder level by providing either strict game mechanics (like in Pendragon) or mechanical negatives (like Vampire or Unknown Armies) or removing mechanical encouragements (like the D&D murder-for-XP system) – but a lot of the newer answers say that this is the ONLY way to do it.

I agree that to a degree, “System Does Matter.” But I think that can be overstated; it would seem that in a simulationist game, you actively do NOT want any specific mechanics bearing on this.  Sim games model the real world. In the real world, besides the cops getting you, there are no “mechanical disadvantages” to killing someone.  They are all psychological and social and moral. Many games leave that to the player, not the rules. So for those games, you really can’t influence the killiness (and other behavior) in your game except by grafting on more rules? I think this is trivially incorrect; I ran a 2e game with stock “XP for kills” rules and via setting crafting had it be a realistic, personal game where killing people wasn’t job 1…

Both of these claims attempt to invalidate the frame of my question, but they don’t seem to hold water to me.  What do y’all think?

Boston Herald Joins Fox News In The Hell Of Douchey Reporters

In a lovely hearkening back to sensationalist reporting from the 1980s, Laurel Sweet of the Boston Herald has, via diligent investigative reporting, determined that Dungeons & Dragons is linked to not only recent campus killer Amy Bishop’s slayings, but other ones as well!  It must be a vast role-playing kill conspiracy.

And I for one welcome the return of our notoriety.  I think it’s about time we get the respect and fear given to biker gangs.  Some bozo messing with you in a store or bank?  “Well, I need to get this taken care of before I go to my D&D game…”  Watch them pale in fear, lest you start shooting everyone in the room just like your fourth level rogue would!