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A conversation between Anna Kreider and Ron Edwards


He's trying real hard to be one of the good guys.
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Anna Kreider posted an email exchange between herself and Ron Edwards in her blog, Go Make Me a Sandwich.

It mostly concerns Edwards's new game, Circle of Hands, which is kickstarting now. Specifically the role of women in the game, and the inclusion of rape as a topic for the game. The conversation is polite and informative, and while I don't agree with everything they have to say (IMHO, they're a bit unkind towards Game of Thrones), what they talk about are things that everyone should be talking about.

Deadly Assassin

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It is part of a larger phenomenon of geek media properties that are nostalgic for a time when men were men and women were raped.
I do not know of any such phenonenon. People might be nostalgic for some perception of ye olden times, but I doubt very much that part or all of the appeal is because women were raped. That seems an absurd statement.

I don't like the use of the term rape in gamer culture eg "we raped the opposing team in call of duty".

Take, for example, James “Grim” Desborough who is so committed to rape as setting that he wrote an article called “In Defense of Rape” and actually advocates against convention harassment policies.
The article was not in defence of rape, but as a storytelling element. I don't want rape in my tabletop gaming and would not welcome a player actively raping his enemy's wife or something, even if it were Game of Thrones. I don't think there's any need to be that explicit when gaming. It's entertainment, we don't need a full on portrayal of the reality of that world.

Densborough writes games I think are facile at best, but i don't think he's pro-rape.

Or the writer of Cthulutech, who when he was asked why Cthulutech had so much rape said that it “only” had 6 pages about rape. SIX PAGES??
It may be that rape is a reasonable thing to expect in that setting - if it were ever to come real. I'm sure Deep Ones would engage in such activities as they are unpleasant monsters. I just didn't need to read about it and had no intention of using it as a plot device, nor any need to. It put me off the game and I sold it. Have never looked back at Cthulhutech.

But when you see it again, and again, and again. It’s like – why are there so many white male creators who want to tell stories where women get raped?
So many? Really?

But can I say that it fits into a pattern of media properties in which many stories about women can feature rape, or the threat of rape? Yes.
Since rape is, unfortunately, a thing that happens, any story by anyone could feature women getting raped. I don't think that means there is a conspiracy!

Seems to me she is projecting her own prejudices a bit too much. I don't know this person. Certainly women are treated less equally in society and there's a lot of shit they have to take that they shouldn't but this is all a bit over the top for my liking.

But I wouldn't want rape, of anyone by anyone, in my game. I have never played in a game that suffered for the lack of violent sexual imagery or the absence of those willing to provide it.


Oiled Greek Wrestler
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How does the game "include rape as a topic", by the way? GM section story advice, rules or merely some random mention of it?


Cumbersome cucumber member
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The way she constantly hammers the WHITE part as somehow integral to this "liking rape" business makes me rather uncomfortable. I mean, I can certainly see that "men" is a valid descriptor since women rarely breed that particular form of asshole (liking rape) but the implication that it is somehow a very "white" trait is... urgh.


I'm so tiiiiirrreeeeed...
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Deadly Assassin said many of the things I wanted to say. (the only thing I directly disagree with is the defense of CthulhuTech, which I regard as entirely inexcusable in every part. :p )

Rape does get thrown around a lot like a plot device. I really wish it wouldn't be - I am thoroughly sick of seeing it everywhere. But I don't think that is because most of the target audience considers it a masturbation fantasy or secretly hates women and loves the idea of them suffering. I think the reason is... well, you know how they say that comedy is when something bad and unexpected happens to someone who isn't you? It's kind of like that, only in this case it's more like, something horrific happening to someone you don't identify with = "FUCKING HARDCORE, maaaaaaan!" It's immature and tasteless, but I don't think it's malicious.

But I just generally don't like doing gory things to extras to show how evil the villain is. I don't give rape the special place of dishonour among literary tropes that a lot of people think I should, but I do put it in the same category as a lot of things I definitely don't want in my games and preferably not in my fiction in general. So yeah, in practice I want the same things this Kreider person wants, even if I don't see things exactly like her.


Social Justice Dragon
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How does the game "include rape as a topic", by the way? GM section story advice, rules or merely some random mention of it?
There's an adventure in a supplement where the PCs get raped by semi-human shubniggurath furries, and as this review points out lots of rape camps, and some deeply creepy art. Cthulhutech really is exactly as rape-obsessed as people claim, I own the first two books and flipped through the others at game stores after reading about them. I regret buying the first two books.


Social Justice Dragon
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There's a lot about Ron Edwards' ideas about games, gaming, and gamers, that I seriously dislike and disagree with, but I'm grudgingly filled with respect for him at his responses to objections that I also share.


Oiled Greek Wrestler
Validated User
I don't disagree, but I think Sosthenes was asking how Circle of Hands includes rape as a topic.
Yep, although I don't mind the CthulhuTech explanation, either. Outside of "games" like FATAL and Empire of Satanis, I'm not too familiar with depictions of rape in the gaming industry. Or sex in general, especially in American-made games.

And that reprinted conversation seems to have some omissions. In the final blurb, the quoted section "white male comic creator" appears out of thin air, for example.

Maybe it's (again) about Alan Moore and his allegedly frequent rape portrayals/mentions? (Which he talks about at length in this interview)

Also, when did this whole "trigger warning" thing start? Is this something we're supposed to do now, in this forum, too? I'm usually a bit behind when it comes to polite discussion techniques, being German and all ;)


Skål Kosmonauter
Validated User
I've gamed for 25 years and rape has never occured in my games or in any game I've participated in. It might have been mentioned as one of the countless atrocities that happen in war, but that has only happened off screen and it has never happened to a pc or been performed by a pc. Ever. So I'm a bit unsure how common this geek rape nostalgia really is.

On the other hand, beings have been killed in the majority of games I've taken part in. Often messily and in great quantities. Does this mean I'm nostalgic for a time when people could dismember other human beings without consequence?
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