April 14th, 2006

What does this title bring to mind for you? Exposed flesh? Nasty secrets? Explicit sex scenes? Strangely enough, here in Ireland this is what they call pulp — like the pulp in orange juice. Like, you go into the store and buy orange juice with juicy bits. I’ll just let the weirdness of that one sink in a bit.

Anyways, this post isn’t about orange juice, it’s about the random tidbits of sex and games goodness that are floating through the air at the moment.

First off, we’ve got the current sexism in Oblivion debate. Should female characters be represented equally even though women don’t make up 50% of the gaming population? Can we ever eliminate all the old sexism? Is it even worth our time and energy to try?

Next, there’s an intriguing mention in 1up’s recent “Escort Mission” article of a group of Second Life escorts called Gender-Verified Female. According to the interviewee, in order to join the group, “you must first have a voice conversation with one of the group officers.” And what about those convincing fakers? I guess, if you’re that good, you’re close enough?

Also, for a detailed account of GLBT characters throughout video games history — and the forces that attempted to silence them — read this excellent Wikipedia entry. Perhaps most telling are the tales of censorship from big names like Nintendo.

Last but not least, if you’re looking for some interesting reading in your spare time, head over here! Intersex in real life; female in Second Life; fascinating in both.

Tags: Blog

29 Responses to “Juicy Bits”

  1. MD² Says:

    About the “Oblivion debate”, I’m sure somenone pointed it already, but I can’t see why giving different starting attributes to both sexes would be inherently sexist, as long as it doesn’t go overboard and character devellopment allows to compensate for it. After all man and women do display biological differences in the real world.
    I tend to think that trying to negate them in fiction is trying to negate them in real life at term (sort of like veryslowly driving evolution in one direction).
    Cannot really comment on social place of women in the Oblivion world and interface as I can’t play it for now, though.

    That wikipedia entry made me smile. Ah, the Final Fight Poison affair… all my youth.

  2. FerrousBuller Says:

    I think the complaint these people have is that the attribute bonuses reinforce gender stereotypes (albeit in a relatively subtle, minor way): women are more inclined towards physically “passive” skills (e.g., magic), while men are more inclined towards “active” skills (e.g., combat). And sure, you can talk about real-world differences between the average man vs average woman – about differences in our physical builds and so forth – but who wants to be average in an RPG? And why should an RPG bias, however slightly, your options in a game based on your gender? Doesn’t that go against Oblivion’s “be who you want to be” philosophy? If I want to be a burly female warrior or a puny male mage, why should the game throw such an arbitrary road bump in my path?

    Let’s flip the question around a little and look at racial bonuses; but rather than fictitious non-existent races, let’s base `em off of real ethnicites. So let’s say whites are your baseline “average” race and you decide racial modifiers will be based on convenient generalizations / stereotypes of each race. So you make blacks more athletic but less intelligent; Asians are smaller, but more adept at math and science and get kung-fu bonus points; Jews are better at finance skills; Latinos are, I dunno, better at manual labor; and so forth.

    And for each racial bonus or penalty you come up with, you cite real-world statistics which arguably back your assertions. You point to how much unskilled labor in this country is performed by Latinos – so naturally, they must be better at it, right? Or you point to the number of young African-Americans struggling in school to “prove” they’re less intelligent; but then point to the NBA to show how they do better than whites in athletics.

    Do you think people would find your racial modifiers any less offensive because of the “proof” you offer of real-world differences? I certainly doubt it! So why are gender-based modifiers more palatable?

    Now you could argue that racial differences are based on culture or economic factors or social forces or a whole host of other issues; but that gender differences are rooted in biology. Well, isn’t the whole point to feminism to stop judging people’s abilities based on their gender? To stop presuming a man is more or less capable of any given task than a woman? To presume a level playing field and let people prove themselves? I think that’s the platonic ideal which these people want to see games embrace.

    Now in the cosmic scheme of things, Oblivion’s stat modifiers are no big deal. Hell, even in the microcosm of gaming, it’s a flash in the pan. But I can understand why some people are irked to see such gender stereotypes being reinforced like that.

  3. MD² Says:

    Hum, the differences between men and women I had in mind are biological and experimentaly sound (you know, things like women having a higher average pain threshold and all that…). The differences you gave for races stats are not.
    I’ve never been a fan of racial/gender stat differences myself. I’d have less problems with them if at least they were the result of clear, well thought-of artistic direction.

    I do get the levelling of field implied by some people’s idea of feminism, I just don’t think it’s the right answer to the problem. There are differences between men and women. One, if you go back to the most basic level, is that a woman can get pregnant and a man can’t. Which means we, as a society, have to give extra protection to women, to compensate for that. We cannot do it if we refuse to acknowledge the differences.

    “To stop presuming a man is more or less capable of any given task than a woman?”

    :?

    Sorry, I do not understand that sentence. Is it my english or has a word disappeared while you edited it ?

  4. Brummbar Says:

    The argument about gender penalties for characters goes all the way back to the early days of “paper and pencil” RPGs. It was silly then; it’s silly now.

    I have the same problem with guys who defend this on the grounds of “…but women are weaker than we are!” as I do with those women who complain endlessly about the “chainmail bikini” raiment of female characters.

    Making “realism” arguments, pro or con, about the appearance and attributes of female (or male) characters in a setting where people are casting magic spells and fighting fantasy monsters is a bit absurd.

    “Realism” would require that female soldier, gladiator, ninja, etc. characters be as rare as Duesenbergs.

    Of course, “realism” would also mean no magic, no fun beasties to slay, hardly anyone living past 30, massive child mortality, grinding poverty for all but the thinnest slice of the upper class and all the other delightful aspects of the high medieval society that LOTR, D&D and the rest cover in a romantic gloss.

  5. MD² Says:

    Thanks to Brummbar for explaining what I meant by “well thought-of artistic direction”. :)

    That being said we shouldn’t mix realism and verisimilitude. While I do not care for the first, absence of the second can kill any work of fiction to me.
    To give an exemple, from recently played Rogue Galaxy:one of the character uses a bow with a realistic design… which shouldn’t be able to fire any arrow given its shape. This irks me to no end. Had the chord been replaced by, say some kind of laser, I wouldn’t have cared, since the weapon would have become “magical”.

    This, I guess, is why I (we) can easily accept things like racial stat differences in a fantasy context while I (we?) can hardly tolerate it in a realistic one. Tamriel’s black and gold elves’ stat differences are indifferent to us because they fall into pure fantasy, i.e a different set of rules. Red Guards having a strength creation bonus is already starting to make some of us uncomfortable.

  6. Brummbar Says:

    This is my main beef with most fantasy game worlds: It’s always a Tolkeinish high-medieval setting with magic & monsters, but everything else is the same. A magic-active world would be radically alien to us. Economics, medicine, gender and family relationships, warfare, espionage, politics, social mores, all of it would change.

    Alas, designers and writers can’t be bothered. Instead, we get the same tired old cliches walking around in high-medieval dress and military kit, in a world that Martin Luther would feel right at home in, except for the fact that some of the folks can bend time and violate every law of physics pretty much at will.

    Pshaw, I say, pshaw. This is why I like games such as Skyrealms of Jorune, which at least tried to do something new and be internally coherent with its mythos and backstory.

  7. Noche Kandora Says:

    Intersex in real life; female in Second Life; fascinating in both.

    Why thank you, Bonnie. :) I would love to meet you sometime in-world.

  8. Bonnie Says:

    Why thank you, Bonnie. :) I would love to meet you sometime in-world.
    Of course. You can find me as Velouria Collingwood, though I do my research through an undisclosed alt, so Velouria’s gotten a little left behind and a little frumpy. And if I flirt like crazy, please don’t hold it against me: I’m coming off months of cybering for science (okay, linquistics), so my SL mind is a little confused :-). Also, I think we’ll actually be meeting IRL soon. You’re taking part in the Sex and Games Conference, right? I’ll be there covering the conference for Wired.

    You know, Ferrous, we had talked about the Oblivion debate a bit over email, and I guess I hadn’t really been hearing you right, but having read your post, I think I really agree with you. Of course, if I had made the same rant about race and gender I can’t help but think I would have been smacked in the face. But I think you really hit on something there.

    Alas, designers and writers can't be bothered. Instead, we get the same tired old cliches/
    That’s really a great point, Brummbar. How can one man, in effect, have a strong hold on science fantasy for the better part of a century? What’s also interesting though is the question of what makes all of it enjoyable for people? Obviously, readers and gamers are willing to buy products with the same “medieval” themes again and again. What part of us does that appeal to?

    And come on, guys, no ones curious about this whole “gender-verified female” thing? For those of you who play SL or any other MMO with escorts, does it matter to you that your playmate’s gender can be verified? Is that intrusive? Is that breaking the forth wall? What does it say about the other escorts who aren’t/choose not to be part of the group?

  9. Brummbar Says:

    That's really a great point, Brummbar. How can one man, in effect, have a strong hold on science fantasy for the better part of a century? What's also interesting though is the question of what makes all of it enjoyable for people? Obviously, readers and gamers are willing to buy products with the same "medieval" themes again and again. What part of us does that appeal to?

    My old C&S group identified two principal attractions.

    (1) High-medievalism places a primacy on personal honor, courage, friendships, oaths and whatnot – as opposed to the more impersonal, legalistic and bureaucratic arrangements of the societies which followed. The lack of effective government means more freedom. When was the last time your character needed a “Halberd License” from the local sheriff? Why doesn’t the local prince or council of merchants just raise a militia to clean out Deepdark Dungeon once and for all – or at least wall up the entrance? Nah – it’s up to YOU!

    (2) Swordfights are more fun than gunfights. RPGs set in periods where technology enables you to kill effectively from long ranges have never been as popular as those wherein you fight hand to hand. Traveller, at its height, never touched the popularity of AD&D. There is also the issue of modern weaponry making the prowess and heroics of individual warriors unnecessary, if not ridiculous. Game systems with realistic modern combat rules, like Twilight 2000 and Aftermath, fared especially badly. In those games, characters who took a bullet to the chest or stomach… died unless prompt medical care was available. Combat was ugly, lethal and brief. The players didn’t like that. Players like to fight.

  10. Bonnie Says:

    I think those are good reasons why medieval-themed games are popular, but it seems our obsession with science fantasy goes beyond enjoyable combat. After all, plenty of people are obsessed with non-fighting-related elements of medieval culture…

  11. FerrousBuller Says:

    There is a fine line between making observations and drawing conclusions. It is one thing to note the statistical variations between men and women (based on a sufficiently large sample size); it is quite another to offer explanations as to the root causes of those differences.

    Let’s go back to the race issue. Say you do a statistical comparison between Japan and Chad, since both countries are relatively homogenous, racially speaking, AFAIK. You start with the obvious physical attributes: average height and weight, skin pigmentation, common facial features, etc. Things you know are largely rooted in biology. Now say you move onto social and economic elements: crime rates, literacy and education, GDP, etc. And from those numbers, you decide this means that Africans are less intelligent, less economically successful, and more prone to violence than Asians.

    Sounds pretty goddamn racist, doesn’t it? But how can it be? I’m just running the numbers – it’s science!

    Yeah. Heard enough “scientific” explanations in the past about “inherent biological differences” to take that with a whoppin’ grain of salt.

    I am not arguing that there are no inherent biological differences between genders (or races, for that matter). I am saying that when you try to argue that differences in native aptitude in physical or mental abilities is based on biology – versus upbringing, environmental factors, social norms, etc. – you put yourself on very shaky ground. And in the absence of conclusive proof of what our inherent biological differences are, I think a lot of people prefer to presume we’re born on a level playing field; and they want their games to reflect that.

    “I have the same problem with guys who defend this on the grounds of ""¦but women are weaker than we are!" as I do with those women who complain endlessly about the "chainmail bikini" raiment of female characters.”

    The former is an argument about biological differences; the latter is about fashion sense vs practicality (and by extension sexism / exploitation of women). To conflate the two under the banner of “arguments about realism” is silly. I don’t care what rules govern your fictional world, fighting in high heels is always absurd and no sensible woman would do it. :-)

    There are plenty of reasons why someone might choose to fight while scantily clad (e.g., stealth, better speed and mobility, hotter climes, etc.). But please, don’t put male warriors in heavy armor which covers them head-to-toe while putting female warriors – who are exactly the same in terms of gameplay mechanics otherwise – in chainmail bikinis, then act surprised that feminists get annoyed at the difference.

    Hey, I like Red Sonja as much as the next hetero male dork, but that doesn’t make me blind to how idiotic and impractical her outfit is. :-)

  12. Brummbar Says:

    Huzzah! The duel is joined!

    There is a fine line between making observations and drawing conclusions. It is one thing to note the statistical variations between men and women (based on a sufficiently large sample size); it is quite another to offer explanations as to the root causes of those differences.

    Ok, but when those “variations” arise directly from quantifiable, inborn sex traits, we’re on rather firmer ground in drawing conclusions, no?

    Let's go back to the race issue. Say you do a statistical comparison between Japan and Chad, since both countries are relatively homogenous, racially speaking, AFAIK. You start with the obvious physical attributes: average height and weight, skin pigmentation, common facial features, etc. Things you know are largely rooted in biology. Now say you move onto social and economic elements: crime rates, literacy and education, GDP, etc. And from those numbers, you decide this means that Africans are less intelligent, less economically successful, and more prone to violence than Asians.

    Sounds pretty goddamn racist, doesn't it? But how can it be? I'm just running the numbers – it's science!

    No, because – as we both know – it dodges the very question it’s supposed to investigate: WHY are there such differences as exist between Japan and Chad, China and Nigeria, Korea and Cameroon, etc.? In this case, is there causation between race, culture and social/personal achievement? “Science” must test a falsifiable hypothesis with reproducible results.

    Yeah. Heard enough "scientific" explanations in the past about "inherent biological differences" to take that with a whoppin' grain of salt.

    As do I. But I reserve another grain of salt for exclusive “constructivist” theories that claim biology doesn’t matter.

    I am not arguing that there are no inherent biological differences between genders (or races, for that matter). I am saying that when you try to argue that differences in native aptitude in physical or mental abilities is based on biology – versus upbringing, environmental factors, social norms, etc. – you put yourself on very shaky ground. And in the absence of conclusive proof of what our inherent biological differences are, I think a lot of people prefer to presume we're born on a level playing field; and they want their games to reflect that.

    So it’s ok to acknowledge inherent biological differences so long as we don’t attach any impact or significance to them? (Yeah, I’m being a dick. I know…)

    "I have the same problem with guys who defend this on the grounds of ""¦but women are weaker than we are!" as I do with those women who complain endlessly about the "chainmail bikini" raiment of female characters."

    The former is an argument about biological differences; the latter is about fashion sense vs practicality (and by extension sexism / exploitation of women). To conflate the two under the banner of "arguments about realism" is silly. I don't care what rules govern your fictional world, fighting in high heels is always absurd and no sensible woman would do it. :-)

    There are plenty of reasons why someone might choose to fight while scantily clad (e.g., stealth, better speed and mobility, hotter climes, etc.). But please, don't put male warriors in heavy armor which covers them head-to-toe while putting female warriors – who are exactly the same in terms of gameplay mechanics otherwise – in chainmail bikinis, then act surprised that feminists get annoyed at the difference.

    I never claimed to be surprised by that. I do, for the record, agree with your distinction between bio-determinism and pragmatism.

    However, “practicality” is not all that different from “realism,” so if I’m silly for categorizing the opposition to chainmail bikinis as a realism-based grievance, you’re not too far behind me. :)

    Hey, I like Red Sonja as much as the next hetero male dork, but that doesn't make me blind to how idiotic and impractical her outfit is. :-)

    Perhaps I should’ve made this clear in the previous post, but I had no problem as a GM with female players who wanted to run tough, no-nonsense, non-eye candy women warriors. I actually got so sick of the sexist BS from the guys that I introduced a monster species which sexually preyed on human MALES, just to give them a taste of how un-funny their occasional “Let’s rape the townswomen” jokes were. (This campaign got me blacklisted across Suffolk county rpg circles as some kind of male-feminist crackpot. The world is an odd place, eh?)

  13. MD² Says:

    Nice, lots of things I won’t have to type, yet again thanks to Brummbar .

    To conflate the two under the banner of "arguments about realism" is silly. I don't care what rules govern your fictional world, fighting in high heels is always absurd and no sensible woman would do it. :-)

    That being said we shouldn't mix realism and verisimilitude.

    And come on, guys, no ones curious about this whole "gender-verified female" thing? For those of you who play SL or any other MMO with escorts, does it matter to you that your playmate's gender can be verified? Is that intrusive? Is that breaking the forth wall? What does it say about the other escorts who aren't/choose not to be part of the group?

    Well for now it seems to me a special case of the general anonymity problem. The way I see it, anonymity is still an on-net conventional necessity for players to generate a working fourth wall. It gives them a certain illusion of freedom. Of course as any illusion of freedom actually is freedom, it creates new spaces to be conquered, spaces that are dependents on the illusion that in these, you can be something else than exactly yourself as dictated by socio-economic preasure. That is to say both a potential lie and a persona that looks more akin to the face hiding behind.

  14. Bonnie Says:

    I actually got so sick of the sexist BS from the guys that I introduced a monster species which sexually preyed on human MALES, just to give them a taste of how un-funny their occasional "Let's rape the townswomen" jokes were.
    Okay, that is officially wonderful. I wish I had a cookie for you. And while we’re at it, let’s be specific: What do you mean by “sexually preyed on”? I want the juicy details.

  15. FerrousBuller Says:

    “However, "practicality" is not all that different from "realism," so if I'm silly for categorizing the opposition to chainmail bikinis as a realism-based grievance, you're not too far behind me. :)”

    It may seem like splitting hares to you, but it’s a split I care about. :-)

    [Get it? Easter? Hares? God, I’m such a wit…]

    Bitching about, say, how magic works or how Elven society is structured because it’s “unrealistic” is absurd because both are completely fictitious constructs in an imaginary world which obviously doesn’t run by our rules. However, once you establish what the rules of that world are, it’s not inappropriate to bitch about things which ruin the verisimilitude and sense of immersion in the world – particularly if you think it’s being done just to pander to the audience’s baser instincts.

    E.g., armor: once we establish that a sensible male warrior in the Land of Fantodrek wears heavy armor to protect himself, why doesn’t a sensible female warrior wear the exact same armor (fitted to her size, of course)? The most common answer is that it’s because fantasy games are usually designed by men for men and men like hot women in skimpy outfits, all other considerations be damned.

    News flash: just because a woman can kick ass and take names doesn’t mean she’s taken leave of all her other senses when it comes time to choosing her wardrobe. In a game which wants to be taken at least semi-seriously, it’s hard not to raise an eyebrow at such absurd conventions.

    Now, if you’re dealing with superheroes who are naturally invulnerable to harm and their costumes are purely decorative, not functional? Hell, have a blast: field the Nudist Society for Justice for all I care. :-)

    Hey, I ain’t some sort of knee-jerk prude: my baser instincts loves them some shameless pandering! ;-) That said, I’m not unsympathetic to those who don’t appreciate such things; and I roll my eyes at some of the lame-ass excuses guys sometimes try to field for them. [Not that I think anyone here is doing that.] Honestly, it’s not that hard to just say, “Yeah, I know it’s stupid, but I like hot women.” I may be shallow, but at least I’m honest. :-)

  16. Bonnie Says:

    Hey, I ain't some sort of knee-jerk prude: my baser instincts loves them some shameless pandering!
    I always find it funny how smart, out-of-the-box thinking guys such as yourself, Ferrous, will almost always still add in a line like this. See Cody K.’s comment on my piece, “Hot and Bothered,” for another example. Are even the good ones still worried that speaking up against potential sexism makes them “gay”?

  17. FerrousBuller Says:

    “I always find it funny how smart, out-of-the-box thinking guys such as yourself, Ferrous, will almost always still add in a line like this.”

    I should’ve known you were going to fixate on that line. :-)

    “Are even the good ones still worried that speaking up against potential sexism makes them "gay"?”

    I cannot speak for other men. In my case, what I’m saying is: I acknowledge my baser instincts – in this case, that I like looking at attactive women – but I am not ruled by them. In particular, I am not so blinded by fondness for the pretty ladies that I don’t empathize with their complaints.

    I’m also making the point that, yes, you can be a hetero dude who likes the ladies and still try to treat them with respect – for the benefit of those in the audience who think that’s a oxymoron. [Not that anyone here is like that, AFAIK.] I don’t place the caveat because I’m afraid people will think I’m gay; I honestly don’t care who people think I like because it’s none of their goddamn business in the first place.** I place it because I’m afraid some people won’t believe a straight guy can think the way I do unless I explicitly tell them.

    You wouldn’t think that would be necessary, would you? :-/

    But I’m also saying I’m not one those guys who reflexively condemns every flash of female skin, either – based on either puritanical or ultra-liberal values. IMHO, straight guys who do that are usually either lying or way too repressed. Or, put another way, it’s my way of letting you know I don’t just spout off this gender-enlightened shit to impress girls with how thoughtful I am. ;-)

    I had a classmate in college who used to work in a video store which had a porn section (back in the day before Blockbuster utterly crushed independent video stores); and she was amused at the different ways men would go about renting porn. Some would skulk in and out, like kids trying to swipe a cigarette. Others would feign nonchalance, as though they hoped the attractive young woman behind the counter wouldn’t notice them renting Anal Explorers XIX. But the nicest, most entertaining guys would come in and cheerfully declare, “I’m here to rent some porn!” They were honest about what they liked and felt no shame for it; but they didn’t act like sexist pigs towards her, either. Their way of saying, “Yes, I like sex; no, I won’t be a dick towards you about it.”

    So I guess that’s the model I’ve aspired towards: a guy who’s honest about what he likes and still knows how to be nice to women. It’s funny how hard it can be to maintain that balance in public without riling people up, though. You wouldn’t think saying, “I’m straight, I like pretty girls, and I think we should be nice to them,” was such a radical notion, would you? ;-)

    **All right, not entirely true: I don’t want the pretty girls to think I’m gay, for obvious reasons. 8-D

  18. Brummbar Says:

    So I guess that's the model I've aspired towards: a guy who's honest about what he likes and still knows how to be nice to women. It's funny how hard it can be to maintain that balance in public without riling people up, though. You wouldn't think saying, "I'm straight, I like pretty girls, and I think we should be nice to them," was such a radical notion, would you? ;-)

    Perhaps you just want to make it clear that you’re not “Dobbling?”

    http://brummbar.typepad.com/brummbar/2006/01/dobbling.html

  19. Brummbar Says:

    A lot of people think I’m gay because I have many gay friends, a high-camp sense of humor and I look faaaabulous in a Bob Mackie.

    Uh, wait… Never mind. BEER! TRUCKS! GUNS! HITTING PEOPLE! There we go.

  20. Brummbar Says:

    Okay, that is officially wonderful. I wish I had a cookie for you. And while we're at it, let's be specific: What do you mean by "sexually preyed on"? I want the juicy details.

    It means just what it sounds like. When I announced this new enemy, half my players quit on the spot. Within days, I had complete strangers accosting me in Waterloo Hobbies and at school, wanting to know what the hell was wrong with me that I should introduce such “faggot” material into my campaign.

    That, plus a few other stunts, eventually got me blacklisted from every local FRPG gaming circle. This occasioned my move to sci-fi and Traveller, which was just fine with me. Honestly, how many fucking magic swords can you have, anyway?

  21. FerrousBuller Says:

    “Honestly, how many fucking magic swords can you have, anyway?”

    So trying to resist making any of the obvious phallic jokes…

  22. FerrousBuller Says:

    “Uh, wait"¦ Never mind. BEER! TRUCKS! GUNS! HITTING PEOPLE! There we go.”

    I’m sorry, but you forgot to mention women, preferrably in a derogatory or condescending manner: i.e., chicks, broads, dames, skirts, babes, `hos, etc.

    Go back to your musical theater, you fairy!

  23. Brummbar Says:

    … or any “to the hilt” remarks, as well…

  24. Brummbar Says:

    Go back to your musical theater, you fairy!

    Damn! Revealed at last! I’d make a dramatic escape through the nearest window, but it looks like an original colonial frame and I’d hate to break it. Nice curtains, too. I wonder if Company Store has those…

  25. Brummbar Says:

    PS – Bonnie, DO you actually want the, ahem, “details?”

  26. Bonnie Says:

    As though they hoped the attractive young woman behind the counter wouldn't notice them renting Anal Explorers XIX.
    I have absolutely nothing worthwhile to add. I just thought we should pause and appreciate this once again: Anal Explorers XIX.

    A lot of people think I'm gay because I have many gay friends, a high-camp sense of humor and I look faaaabulous in a Bob Mackie.
    You’re just moved up five points on the Bonnie scale of approval. You know, if you care.

    PS – Bonnie, DO you actually want the, ahem, "details?"
    Please! I wouldn’t settle for anything less ;-).

  27. Brummbar Says:

    Bonnie,

    First, just to make this clear, Anal Explorers jumped the shark back with XV. XIX was the “Phantom Menace” of anal porn. I’ve never seen so much CGI overkill. And they call that acting?

    Ahem. Anyway, the “details.”

    Warning: Rough Stuff Ahead

    The story behind the monsters: They were known as the Kerek. They were large, humanoid creatures forced from their native lands long ago by crusading human mages and had taken up residence in certain remote areas near where the player characters were campaigning.

    The human mages had played one last, cruel trick on the fleeing Kerek: a two-fold curse. The first part made the Kerek males prisoners of lust, so much so that they would go mad, and eventually die – without regular sexual intercourse. The second part was that any female having sex with them would die from it. The mages figured this would finish off the remnant of their kind, so they let the surviving males escape into the wilds.

    The mages were wrong. After all the females died off, the Kerek turned to raping human women (and anything else they could get their hands on) only to have them all die, too. The remaining Kerak males were about to turn on each other when it occured to them: What about human males?

    So began the Kerek raids into human settlements for sexually-appealing males. By Kerek standards, muscular bodies are the most appealing, so he-man fighter types like the players’ characters were prime targets.

    Men taken by the Kerak can expect to be either shared among a group or “married” to one of the stronger warriors. Either way they are dressed and treated as Kerekian females with two key differences: First, their teeth are knocked out. (You can guess why.) Second, their thumbs and toes are cut off to prevent them from handling weapons or running very far.

    There were even more horrific penalties for refusing sex to their “husbands.”

    Finally, as the icing on the cake, I told my players that the reason the Kerek still exist at all is that their own wizards had figured out a way for human males to bear Kerekian children. For obvious reasons, all such “births” are surgical and result in the death of the human male. Also, while pregnant, the human male’s personality is transformed by the Kerekian sorcery into that of an actual Kerekian female, so he welcomes both the pregnancy and the further attentions of Kerekian males.

    And that’s the story.

    I laid (no pun intended) this on my players one week to the day after one of them asked me – in complete seriousness – if his character could rape a farmgirl. Would I as the GM, he asked, take revenge upon him? He thought I shouldn’t take such things “personally” and just be a dispassionate rulebook adjudicator.

    When I finished describing the Kerek, my players were statues for about five straight minutes. Literally… they neither moved nor spoke. We then knocked off for dinner and when we reassembled five of the ten told me I was either a “faggot pervert” or trying to impress the two women in our group by turning the tables and placing men in sexual danger.

    I’m not hitting on the girls, I replied, but the latter is precisely the point. Still wanna molest some villagers? Not quite so funny now, is it? The five promptly left and shortly thereafter I couldn’t get a phone call returned, let alone organize an fantasy RPG group, from any of the local gaming circles.

    And that’s the tale.

  28. Bonnie Says:

    Anal Explorers jumped the shark back with XV.
    I know you’re full of it, but I love that expression. Have you seen the Arrest Development episode where Barry literally jumps a shark? Excellent.

    As for your Kereks, sounds like excellent stuff to me. Sorry you lost your players/friends, but I think the world needs more delightful inventions from the likes of “faggot perverts.”

  29. Brummbar Says:

    Well, they weren’t much as friends then, were they.

    What really surprised me was when, about a year later, I ran into one of our two female players and she told me she had written lurid erotic fan-fiction featuring the Kerek. She gave me a copy. It was… memorable.

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