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View Full Version : "Love" ...... as a Plot



Dimthar
08-26-2007, 10:44 AM
How many of your characters have "fallen in Love" to an NPC?

In a campaign, long, long time ago ... my Bard adventures started when he was sent in a (suicide) quest to find some magic jewels (kinda like the Silmarilis) to gain the hand of a noble girl. Truth is our party was so far, far away from our original starting point, that eventually my character forgot all about "the girl" and found a new girlfriend in a local merchant girl.

That gave our DM some ideas for adventures, one time a baby was left in my door with a note claiming I was the father (she ended being a dragon baby they wanted me to protect), my characters was the favorite target for the sexiest assassins, and of course getting on time to the wedding was a titanic task with 100% of our recurrent villains trying to stop us. Who would have known that the ring was cursed?

Grimwell
08-26-2007, 01:38 PM
Love is a fantastic plot device used well in fiction of all sorts. In gaming, it's not handled well. Not just at the game table, but at the game designers desk. Love is hard to codify and create mechanics for, so it's not dug deeply into.

Oddly enough, I have a bard story too! In a game I ran (about 10 years ago now that I think of it), one of the players created a philandering bard who was a very nice guy but liked lots of women. He was also an elf in a world where the elf and human nations had only recently 'found' each other (again) and opened relations.

So he was effectively a one elf crusade to bring back half-elves to the world. Every stop the party made, he found a woman to use his elfish charms on. It was pretty funny. Not really love by modern terms, but love of all women in it's own way.

Vimachipal
08-26-2007, 01:45 PM
Love is a colorful songbird perched in a tree, singing its beautiful song... waiting to be pounced on by the neighbor's cat.

Romance is great in real life, or in a good movie or book, but can be very awkward in a role play setting.

PhishStyx
08-26-2007, 03:33 PM
I have found that largely to be true between heterosexual guys. We (and yes, I mean me) just don't want to go there. It's generally awkward and embarrassing.

On the other hand, I have roleplayed in numerous situations with women and have had more success being descriptive in that setting (in meta-game terms) because I can be more comfortable describing intimacy to a woman than a man. The few times that roleplaying with women has been uncomfortable had to do with the (very unattractive) players' inability to avoid making "very forward requests" of me.

Ed Zachary
08-26-2007, 03:56 PM
Most of my gaming now is with couples, and in the past that had included "Bear the Barbarian" and "Twink the Thief".

It would be very uncomfortable to see two characters role play romance from different coupled pairs.

However it was funny as hell to watch two straight guys roleplay a romantic situation after one got hit with a sex change, and have it critiqued by the two gay players.

Dimthar
08-26-2007, 06:04 PM
Truth is I've never seen any "Romantic" scene role-played, most of it has been me or someone else playing a "Don Juan" type of character.

Role-playing the marriage was mostly limited to:
- Saving a jewel or two for the wife in question.
- The "Goodbye kiss", If I don't make it for dinner is because the Dark-Knight's castle was better defended.
- The rescue scene.
- The Fred Flintstone scene, arriving home from an adventure and asking for dinner.

Just in case I always sent an errand boy to announce my arrival.

Rain_Spider_08
08-26-2007, 07:01 PM
I'm not really one for "love plots" in any rpgs I play. It's fine between NPCs or an NPC and a Player Character. But the idea of two player characters being in love makes me queasy due to the fact I can already picture the unneeded drama.

It's funny that there's a topic of this today considering that at my game last night we were taking a breather outside and the owner of the store comes out looks and me and says "So, has your character found a lover yet?" thank god nobody was in close range to me cause hearing that made me spew my drink... he suprised me with that one, didn't know he thought that way.

Moritz
08-27-2007, 08:39 AM
I've got a few notes on this subject:

Clay/Sam was married to one of the other players and he would often, in game, try to hit on NPC's within my world. He would even try to make them his 'girlfriend'. I found it all very awkward, especially with his wife in the room.

I've had one or three male players in my game do the gender-bender thing and take female characters. I've never understood this, but to each his (or her) own. During games, I would sometimes have big half-ogres hit on them, objectify them, etc.

In the past, I had a couple that RP'd with us. They would often take characters such as "Vision"/"Scarlet Witch", "Cloak"/"Dagger", "Gambit"/"Rogue" and other common paired FC's from the Marvel Universe game I ran. They would ICly explore the relationships during RP. But for the most part, they were already in love with one another and were just playing different roles. I won't go into this any further than that.

Now, on the subject of 'queasy' brought up by Rain. For the most part, I'm not one to want to run or play romantic situations with other players or NPC's. My reasoning, you look across the table when rp'ing and see this person that is 'not very pretty, slightly or grossly overweight, or 'other'; and that sort of makes me 'queasy' to even think about it.

In a MUX setting, there are often (and I mean very often) players that have 'romantic' situations that they rp out with other players or NPC's run by emitters. I believe it's the very nature of a MUX to attract people who need attention, cannot otherwise get out and meet people, and generally want to rp scenes with their favorite feature characters.

Dimthar
08-27-2007, 01:27 PM
In a "Soap Opera" (Mexican) that my wife is watching, one of the "villain" girls buys a love potion from one of the local "witch-doctors".

So, as a plot, in some worlds were magic and/or brainwashing are common and available, and being the PCs some kind of "Stars" in the fiction world, I imagine as a GM there is room to use "love potions" or "desperate noble girls" against the characters.

The original purpose of my question (at the beginning of the thread) was not to actually discuss the "Romantic" implications of a PC-NPC relationship, but rather how as GMs we use "Love Ones" for plot purposes, and put the PCs in situations like Loyalty to the Kingdom Vs Loyalty to the Family.

Player> - I approach the waitress smiling and with my free hand ....
GM> - (Interrupting) Ok you have charisma, 16 <dice rolling>, she tells you where the
treasure is and hands the keys to the Dragon's vault.
Player> - But..... I just was going to ask for another beer.

PhishStyx
08-27-2007, 06:05 PM
Mm, I haven't done that, but I did use the "protect this baby" as a plotline once in Shadowrun.

Moritz
08-28-2007, 11:16 AM
Mm, I haven't done that, but I did use the "protect this baby" as a plotline once in Shadowrun.

I thought it was "Kick the baby"?

PhishStyx
08-28-2007, 02:05 PM
I thought it was "Kick the baby"?

Wrong game. That plot is only used by D&D DM's who are literally down to their last game idea and are about to switch to Version 4.0.

Grimwell
08-28-2007, 10:47 PM
/em raises his hand!

;)

Digital Arcanist
08-29-2007, 05:24 PM
As a GM, I stay away from plot hooks involving romance unless its romance between two NPC's. I find it uncomfortable to role-play as an NPC in a romantic situation with a PC. I don not however have any trouble pulling out the Book of Erotic fantasy and making my players face the consequences of their lame actions when it comes to barmaids, doxies, or other possible disease carriers. Many a Rico Suave has had to deal with some STD in my campaigns or heaven forbid, some baby mama drama.

I have no issue with two PC's being joined together in the campaign as long as they don't become gratuitous in their role-playing.

Moritz
08-29-2007, 05:36 PM
I'm reminded of that dungeons and dragons audio skit where the guy is in the kitchen/tavern looking for maidens and wanting to get laid.

Digital Arcanist
08-29-2007, 05:53 PM
That is the skit that usually forces me to take the Book of Erotic Fantasy off the shelf and open to the table of STD's and probability of pregnancy.

Farcaster
08-29-2007, 06:47 PM
Being on the DM side of the table most of the time, I have over the years roleplayed a plethora of different female NPCs. And, on occasion, I have had NPCs and PCs who end up in relationships, however the intimate details are glossed over. "After the adventure, I go spend some alone time with my significant other with flowers in hand," is really all that needs to be said. Other, more public, parts of their relationships are open territory though. Some of the dynamics of close relationships like that are interesting to explore when in the context of stressful or life threatening situations.

For the most part though, the female characters in my games tend to be more aloof and unattainable. Romance is just not an element I typically enjoy in my games. However, I am certainly not above trouncing on PC's loved ones and using them as plot elements, much to their chagrin.

Inquisitor Tremayne
10-04-2007, 04:51 PM
As a Gm I usually try to have an NPC for one of the PCs to fall in love with. Its good for killing them off later! Just kidding. Kind of. Loved ones are great plot devices in general.

As a player I ALWAYS play female characters and I always play them as hard-nosed chaste women.

Although I am thinking about trying to start something between my cleric of Pelor and another PC paladin of Hieronious (sp?).

Moritz
10-09-2007, 01:34 PM
So a character has sex with a LMD/robot one day. The next day, the creator shows up on the character's doorstep and gives him pills and creams because the character has been exposed to dangerous chemicals/pathogens that are LMD/robot specific and could kill the character or worse, make things fall off. The character (and player) flipped out.

It only takes once to fix a player of wanting IC relationships. Stick to being a super hero or a dungeon crawler.

jayphailey
01-20-2008, 06:16 AM
That gave our DM some ideas for adventures, one time a baby was left in my door with a note claiming I was the father (she ended being a dragon baby they wanted me to protect), my characters was the favorite target for the sexiest assassins, and of course getting on time to the wedding was a titanic task with 100% of our recurrent villains trying to stop us. Who would have known that the ring was cursed?


That sounds pretty cool, in fact.

Hmmmm. It's been a while snce I had a game where love reared it's head.

Jay ~Meow!~

Drohem
01-20-2008, 11:08 AM
I may have a love interest for a PC, but like Farcaster said, the details are assumed and not role-played. I may RPG initial flirting so that the point is made, but after that it becomes assumed as to what happens or that they are together.

I am not going to RPG my buddy's girlfriend or sex partner. I refuse! ;)

tesral
01-20-2008, 11:52 AM
Love is a colorful songbird perched in a tree, singing its beautiful song... waiting to be pounced on by the neighbor's cat.

Romance is great in real life, or in a good movie or book, but can be very awkward in a role play setting.

Especially when the sweet elven maiden is a hairy old Fatbeard. Those sweet love scenes can get a might awkward.

I think you can do things with, shall we say "human relationships", in games. However one has to be aware of the player's boundaries. Don't cross your players willingness to participate in such matters. Some people don't period. Others will wallow in it all day. I know where my players stand and I know who can can push with such plots.

Before you start playing with emotional dynamite, know your players.

Drohem
01-20-2008, 12:19 PM
Before you start playing with emotional dynamite, know your players.


Exactly...I've been playing with the same friends for 20 years and change, and like I said, we don't RPG sex and courtship out in great detail with each other. We know each other well enough that we'll get the point after the initial encounters, and let our own private imaginations take over from there.

Mulsiphix
01-20-2008, 01:10 PM
I'm actually a "chick flick" kind of guy. I really enjoy anime series that have heavy emphasis on relationships and love. Then again I enjoy some of the more adult genre's as well. I've been toying with the idea of a serious romantic setting for quite some time. The game would be hosted for actual couples only, would have two or three couples present, and any relationships would be between the PC's themselves. I have no interest in getting involved but I can't imagine having a romantic setting where such things aren't covered. Boundaries? I have none as long as I'm not roleplaying a female NPC, for a guy or for a girl gamer, just doesn't matter to me. I do own the Book Of Erotic Fantasies though. I'm far more interested in it for the darker side of its content versus just the covering of sexual interaction.

jayphailey
01-20-2008, 05:22 PM
I have to say that When it comes to RPG romance, I have no idea where I stand.

It all seems to be so contingient on who I am playing with, that there doesn't seem to be a "Flat" case to discuss.

And, to be blunt, I haven't been a player in a face-to-face game for a while.

Jay ~Meow!~

Mulsiphix
01-20-2008, 06:46 PM
I plan to have an online group and a face to face group whenever possible. However, unless I was really comfortable with a group I think I would have trouble running the romantic campaign I mentioned above. Ideally I would have to have couples that are both expressive and really passionate about their relationship or I would need to host the game in a place where people are more naturally comfortable. The anonymity of the internet lends itself perfectly to such a setting. I think I may have given the wrong ideal earlier. I'm very interested in running role playing games with very mature and adult (blood, core, language, adult themes, etc..) game. Beyond the sexual face value of The Book Of Erotic Fantasies, there lies a lot of really good information that could be used to add a nice amount of depth to a campaign. I look forward to using it. I consider that book to be a lot like a GURPS book, useful for almost any setting and game system.

tesral
01-20-2008, 07:40 PM
I have none as long as I'm not roleplaying a female NPC, for a guy or for a girl gamer, just doesn't matter to me.


:) I don't care. I'll do the girl NPC, heck I do all the NPCs. I've done honest love matches. I once did a gal so kinky that the PC dropped her like a bad habit, but that was the point.

I am a DM, I have no shame. I just watch the boundries of the players. Some of my players enjoy an in game love interest, some don't.

What I don't do is get X rated. There might be sex implied or even frankly present, but we don't play it out. At least one PC was a father several times over with an NPC wife and we do know what casues that. There have been long in game romances, always between an NPC and a PC. I am on both sides of the distaff.

Mulsiphix
01-20-2008, 07:51 PM
The whole point of getting passionate couples, for the game I'm planning, is so that X-Rated is more than appropriate. That last thing I want is a bunch of single people leaving the game early, if you know what I mean ;)

Dimthar
01-20-2008, 07:56 PM
One of the natural results of roleplaying CHARISMA is its effect on the opposite sex. Barmaids can be impressed by gallant and courteous adventurers. Princesses and Noble girls may feel attracted by Knights in shiny armor. Others prefer scoundrels.

I mean, come on! rescue the girl from the Dragon and not even snatch a kiss? And you call yourself a Hero? How many kisses do you remember in Star Wars (Episodes 4-6), 4? and still "Love" was there as part of the story.

At the end I think there is agreement in not "Roleplaying" a complete romantic scene. But "Loved Ones" complete the PC's background by giving them a "Purpose". And of course there is always our favorite: "Tragedy".

.

Mulsiphix
01-20-2008, 07:59 PM
I mean, come on! rescue the girl from the Dragon and not even snatch a kiss? And you call yourself a Hero? How many kisses do you remember in Star Wars (Episodes 4-6), 4? and still "Love" was there as part of the story.Or in the case of Star Wars 4 "incest". I don't care what anybody says, that kiss was still hot after I found out they were related.

templeorder
05-08-2009, 11:50 AM
Most of the time its critical to sub plots in some way, but i keep it mostly between NPC's. However, PC's have pursued it and i'm mature enough to follow. I'm not putting porn (70's guitar sounds here) into the game, but it can be a nice diversion or a sub plot to be exploited by a GM. The details are not important, nor is "size" - i just don't care to go there, but i've done fairly graphic narratives and 'gone to the kink side' a few times to give the players a glimpse of wierdness thats out of the ordinary. It can be fun. Strangely enough i have seen it create some jealous feelings - mostly in the case of having a family/mate to return to. You just have to know your players, and as a GM not be willing to shy away from it...

cliff
05-08-2009, 01:01 PM
Our group has one kid who's barely an adult, and he gets his kicks out of managing to sleep with every female NPC that shows up in the game. I personally don't see the thrill of it, as both our DM for the D&D game and our Storyteller for the WoD game are male... but whatever.

GoddessGood
05-11-2009, 08:25 AM
Just tell him about the Gygax corellary. Maybe that'll curb his wanton ways ;)


However it was funny as hell to watch two straight guys roleplay a romantic situation after one got hit with a sex change, and have it critiqued by the two gay players.
I'm dying to hear how this went! :lol:


... It only takes once to fix a player of wanting IC relationships. Stick to being a super hero or a dungeon crawler.
I can't disagree with you more. Super hero and dungeon crawler are jobs. What do the characters do when they come home from their jobs? Or are they just lonely, dejected workaholics with bro-mance crushes on their comrades? Boring and yuck, imho.

In character love, romance and sex are crucial parts of the human experience, but not necessarily a major part of the genre you're playing in. It depends on the setting, the GM's story themes and the players involved if it's appropriate or not. If it breaks suspension of disbelief, then chuck it. If it heightens the player's involvement with their characters, doesn't hurt the story or anyone's feelings, then I say go for it.

I ran a Demon: the Fallen game for a group of friends and one of them developed an IC obsession with an NPC. I was 17 at the time and absolutely had no idea how to handle it. It was creepy, weird, but oddly in character and very much in theme for the game I was running. I kick myself for not being mature enough to have made it great. Another time I bungled it (humorously, though) was in an Exalted game. A player burned a letter from his family without reading it. He was rather surprised when a woman and her retinue showed up on his doorstep; see, the letter had been to let him know that his (arranged) bride would be showing up and that his family were tired of him wasting his life, so he should settle down. He tried convincing her he was an bad person, that he was a conspirator that wanted to destroy the government, and any number of other things, but she held fast because their families had already agreed and she was honor-bound. So what did the player do? He had her killed by another PC. Not exactly the most romantic of endings, but we still laugh about it.

Another PC had his (presumed) dead girlfriend return to him and save him from a curse. If he'd wanted to remain in the game, I had other machinations to enact upon the pair, but c'est la vie. NPC/NPC relations are assumed and I've always wanted to have the sort of PC/NPC relationships Dimthar was talking about in my games as something that's available, but only if the players want to explore it. I'm still working to perfect my technique, I suppose, but I hope my players are patient enough to let me figure it out.

MortonStromgal
05-29-2009, 10:49 AM
How many of your characters have "fallen in Love" to an NPC?


Maybe a half dozen of my characters over the years.

I think anything a character is passionate about and a PC is willing to play out is AWESOME plot. So love can certainly be great plot. I tend to go somewhere between pg-13 to R depending on my players and the situation. We arnt going to RP a sex scene if its just a sex scene (perhaps some foreplay and then fade to black) but if the lover is a mutant spider who transforms during passion from their human form into giant spider form... Yeah thats getting played out.

tesral
05-29-2009, 11:21 AM
One of the natural results of roleplaying CHARISMA is its effect on the opposite sex. Barmaids can be impressed by gallant and courteous adventurers. Princesses and Noble girls may feel attracted by Knights in shiny armor. Others prefer scoundrels.

And the big hunking shy fellow that would sit and bend his helmet out of shape pining for the PC fighter girl. I goes both ways.

And yes love or even lust as a motivator for plot hooks. Rescue the whoever, save my beloved,

The only time I did the princess as prize it was in such a way that the male PCs were; "Like, can we be heroes and not marry the princess? I have girlfriend at home I just remembered, and I really love her." I rather object to the old save the kingdom get the female paradigm. So the prize princess was anything but a prize. They later found out she was really a nice girl, but was playing the slut and shrew to prevent the arranged marriage thing. Daddy didn't get it that she wanted to choose her own husband. They ended up friends with the princess and with an in to that Knigdom.





Maybe a half dozen of my characters over the years.

I think anything a character is passionate about and a PC is willing to play out is AWESOME plot. So love can certainly be great plot. I tend to go somewhere between pg-13 to R depending on my players and the situation. We arnt going to RP a sex scene if its just a sex scene (perhaps some foreplay and then fade to black) but if the lover is a mutant spider who transforms during passion from their human form into giant spider form... Yeah thats getting played out.

The spider thing is different. I had one PC that willing became a fruit dragon to marry her beloved. Strange relationship. It started with him climbing her armor and spewing hot lemon cream down inside her breastplate.

I am in the same zone about playing it out. Keep it light, keep it fun.

WhiskeyFur
07-09-2009, 05:00 PM
Never had too many times of my PC falling in love with someone, but the other way around certainly wasn't true.

My bard and the rest of the party went to go 'deal' with a red dragon. My bard also knew dragon as a language thanks to some friendly dealings with chromatics in the past, to the point my bard incorporated it into his singing as a part of his reputation. We were using the reputation rules out of the bard's handbook for that.

Well, things went from bad to worse and the party ended up getting caught by said dragon. I was recognized, yanked out of the line up and everyone else was dumped into a pit. We ended the session at that time but the rest was played out in emails.

Essentially, This dragon wasn't a dragon, she was a dragoNESS. We had the full discussion in email back and forth, and he made the rolls at the end of the night. (nothing naughty happened, so don't go that way)

Beginning of the next gaming session, she let us all go, no threats, no nothing. Not even a demand of any kind, just asked if I would come back to visit her... everyone was looking at me as we left, and the paladin asked, "Do I even want to know?" Talk about uncomfortable...

We got back into town and reported what happened, then well, hell broke out. She came by to visit, scared the shit out of the guards and everyone around, dropped off the peasant girl she nabbed for lunch the day before and flew off. And everyone was looooooking at me...

"Dragonsinger": WHAT?!

----------

As the DM told it, the dice gods must have loved me that night as he rolld for her reaction, high = good for us, low = good for her (lunch time).

20. He rolled to see as is his usual to see if it was a double crit. 20. Triple? 20.

She came into our adventures a few times after that, that's for sure. Even got teased by the paladin asking if she was my pet dragon.... I kicked his ass for that one. :)