#RPG – Actual Fucking Monsters – Some Clarification

Hello all,

I figure I might do a companion booklet for AFM, with some rules variations, clarifications and ideas. Ideas for longer, ongoing campaigns, ideas for playing as hunters, rather than monsters, some new Monster Powers people have suggested and so on.

If there’s something you’d like to see covered, leave a comment here on or social media and I’ll see what I can do for you here, before I fully put it together for the companion.

Here’s a few things that have come up from readers and players already…

Slippage

Apparently this wasn’t clear enough, but Slippage (the physical/material manifestation of your powers and Monster nature) kicks in involuntarily when your Satiation drops below a certain level. Place the slippage from each power in order (typically from least to most obvious manifestation) matching to each die type of satiation from the bottom up.

EG:
d4 – Cloud of Sulpherous Mist.
d6 – Fanged maw.
d8 – Red skin

Masks

Most of the time it’s anticipated that your Mask describes your human ‘cover story’, or what you do or did before you became or Monster, or besides being a Monster. Some Monsters might feel that they no longer need a cover identity or can do without one, or were never really human in the first place.

In those instances a standard Mask might not be appropriate. Masks don’t have to be these human identities or tasks, you can use them in these instances, like a secondary nature, or to describe what kind of Monster you are in some more explicit terms.

Example: Mr Thinner is a manifestation echo of The Slender Man. He has never been human and in addition to his Stalker Nature, he decides to take Sinister as his Mask, with the skills Intimidation, Stealth and Persuasive under it.

New Power – Dormancy

You can subside into a state of hibernation or dormancy and rest, maintaining your Satiation for longer but rendering you – to all intents and purposes – comatose until the end of your dormancy. Depending on the power level you can awake (and roll for Satiation loss) every 5/6/8/10/12 days, or part thereof decided by you when you hibernate. While dormant you are insensible (until and unless harmed) and cannot defend yourself. Your metabolic activity, body heat and so on are also virtually imperceptible during this time.

Slippage: Slabs of body fat, coated in webbing, mucous ooze, chitinous fragments.

‘Controversial’ Work

Fuss continues to be made over my ‘In Defence of Rape’ blog post over on Grim’s Tales. People are willing to dredge back twelve years to find other things to object to but I remain shocked and appalled by people’s apparent inability to read. I hate explaining things, especially if humour is involved as it tends to kill the joke, but I guess I’ll have to.

NB: This is clarification, not retraction and I stand by everything previously stated.

In rough order:

Munchkin’s Guide to Powergaming

I can’t say that I remember anything particularly sexist or nasty in there. The whole book is, of course, a parody of the kind of player who will do anything to get ahead. It is, of course, not to be taken seriously and makes fun of those sorts of players under the guise of an instructional book. You can’t tell me flirtation isn’t a valid munchkin tactic, I was in the Camarilla.

Slayer’s Guide to Female Gamers

I can’t believe this has to be explained to people but the target this book is aimed at is not female gamers but rather caricatures of male gamer’s attitudes towards female gamers. When it was being offered to retailers some (American of course) voiced concern that this was a book about killing women, which of course it wasn’t.

It is entirely possible to take aim a stupid stereotypes by using them and showing them up to be ridiculous. Playing with stereotypes in this manner, exaggerating them, manipulating them, using them to show up the person who holds those beliefs. That doesn’t mean the writer holds those beliefs.

Nymphology: Blue Magic

The remit was to write a comedy sex book. A ‘Carry on Wizards’ if you will. I would have much preferred to write a serious treatment of fantasy and sex as I’d like to have done a better job than  the Book of Erotic Fantasy. Wasn’t allowed though, so it was sex puns and farcical stupidity – much inspired by Discworld – along with an undercurrent of stuff that could be taken more seriously or designed to spark thought.

Much has been made of the ‘Summon Sex Partner’ spell, ignoring the fact that many mythical creatures are based around the seductive and dangerous model. Sirens, nymphs, mermaids, dryads and on the other side satyrs and incubi. That’s without even getting into erinyes or succubi. The same people who don’t bat an eyelid about summoning a creature to fight and die for them in a game are horrified by this.

I great deal of the model for Nymphology was treating magic in the same way technology in the real world and look at what we have at the interface of sex and technology. Early attempts to build gynoids, real dolls, the internet, streaming video, webcams, even robotic buttocks. To think that magic wouldn’t be used in a similar way is ludicrous.

Even before the additions that Nymphology makes there’s already charm spells, mind control spells, love potions all of which are plenty sinister and creepy already in their implications. Dressing that up with a few knob jokes might not be Chaucer but that doesn’t mean difficult things can’t be attacked with humour.

Quintessential Temptress

I do think QT came out as a confused book and that’s my fault. I was frustrated after having done Nymphology as I still wanted (and still want) to write material about sex in gaming and surrounding issues. This meant QT was half the same sort of taking the piss as in the Slayer’s Guide/Nymphology and half a much more serious section about running a game based around a brothel in the same manner as the game aids surrounding a thieve’s guild in Quintessential Rogue.

Still, I credited people with the ability to tell the difference. Probably  a mistake.

Sex, Dice & Gamer Chicks/Origins of the Specious

This is a compilation of the comedy Slayer’s Guides that myself and Jonny Nexus did with a little bit of editing/rewriting and a small amount of extra material. Treating it as a separate project is a little disingenuous.

Hentacle/Cthentacle

The entire genre of tentacle sex is so inherently and utterly ridiculous that the parody status of these games should be obvious, even without the puns and the playing up to ludicrous stereotypes of Japanese culture held in the west. For an extra layer of irony the whole tentacle sex thing came about as a reaction to censorship.

‘That’ Blog Post

If you cut away all the fluff all that blog really says is that ‘bad things can make good stories’. Hopefully nobody disagrees with that. What has concerned me, of late, as a creative is the amount of poorly informed pre-judging and moral outrage, sight unseen, should there be the slightest whiff of something controversial in any game. This blog was particularly in reaction to the out of control mob reaction to the Lara Croft trailer.

So long as you don’t think rape (or indeed any other difficult topic) should be off limits then you actually agree with the main point of the post. Quite why that’s quite such a controversial stance to take I’m not sure, I think most people didn’t read past the title or didn’t read the original post at all.

Additionally the blog post wasn’t even talking about tabletop games in the first place, which makes some people’s reactions peculiar.

Ian Warner’s Work

Ian can defend himself. I said I’d help and publish anyone, he took me up on it and I consider his games to be valid. I don’t know what or how much he wants to say so he can look after himself.

Summary

Well done or not, all these items (a fraction of the total body of my work) are not taking aim where the moral mob seems to think they are. In the case of Slayer’s Guide to Female Gamers the target is absolutely 180 degrees from where a minority of people seem to think it is.

I have never condoned rape.

I have never excused rape.

I am not a rape apologist.

I do, however, believe in free expression and I don’t think any topic should be off the table for stories, or games, or films, or television. That includes rape.

I also think criticism of such should not start based on rumour and hype but rather on execution. This kind of mob outrage would deny us Pulp Fiction, The Handmaid’s Tale and Heavy Rain.