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[Hurt Locker] Torture mechanics

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  • #46
    Originally posted by WHW View Post
    It's in a book that monetizes violence as a interesting, fun-to-include part of your Chronicle - which basically frames things like "how to cyber bully" or "how to trigger people" as material you might want to get and use in your game. It fetishizes combat and violence by turning various skillsets to hurt people as Cool Things To Buy In Order To Improve Your Character (Merits). Again, I find this singling out of Intimidation to be extremely hypocritical, especially in context of both rest of the book and Beasts existence as a game line.
    I mean, I don't think the aim of the discussion of torture is to say "torture is bad and you shouldn't include it in your game." It's to say "torture isn't an effective tool for getting someone to talk."

    I also challenge the assertion that Hurt Locker presents violence as a fun thing to use in your game. Rather, it's about violence as a serious subject to include in your game. Cyber bullying, intentionally triggering trauma victims, various skills and techniques for hurting people, and yes, torture, are valid things for games to address. But of those subjects, torture has a history of being portrayed inaccurately in fiction (and some non-fiction), so Hurt Locker made a point of addressing that inaccuracy.


    Onyx Path Forum Moderator

    My mod voice is red. I use it so you know when I'm speaking in an official capacity, not as an indication of tone.

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    • #47
      If you rant about one thing being terrible and horrible, but not ranting about something else literally next to it, it looks like you approve of one and have no beef with it. "The Hard Way" is a mess - it wastes space meant for expanding mechanical uses of skills using it instead as a place to drop a political manifesto (I would be OK with it as a sidebar), it's basically a cop out for any reader interesting in actually doing what the section was supposed to do (give you more things to do with certain skills) - which is a problem, because Intimidation skill is really unsupported in comparison to other social skills that get plenty of use in magical powers, Merits and other mechanics; and by being the only thing that is criticized and objected to, it naturally makes all other things look like OK things to do. It's inconsequential, bad writing, kinda reminding me of the ridiculous "GUN CONTROL IS SOMETHING USED BY EVIL GOVERNMENTS IN TERRIBLE PLACES ON EARTH TO CONTROL AND CURB THEIR POOR GUNLESS CITIZENS!!!" rant that reared it's head in one of the open dev documents.
      ...but oh, wait, there *is* a content warning for triggers and abuse. In a sidebar. Leaving the actual entries on these things to do their job.

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      • #48
        Originally posted by WHW View Post
        If you rant about one thing being terrible and horrible, but not ranting about something else literally next to it, it looks like you approve of one and have no beef with it. "The Hard Way" is a mess - it wastes space meant for expanding mechanical uses of skills using it instead as a place to drop a political manifesto (I would be OK with it as a sidebar), it's basically a cop out for any reader interesting in actually doing what the section was supposed to do (give you more things to do with certain skills) - which is a problem, because Intimidation skill is really unsupported in comparison to other social skills that get plenty of use in magical powers, Merits and other mechanics; and by being the only thing that is criticized and objected to, it naturally makes all other things look like OK things to do. It's inconsequential, bad writing, kinda reminding me of the ridiculous "GUN CONTROL IS SOMETHING USED BY EVIL GOVERNMENTS IN TERRIBLE PLACES ON EARTH TO CONTROL AND CURB THEIR POOR GUNLESS CITIZENS!!!" rant that reared it's head in one of the open dev documents.
        ...but oh, wait, there *is* a content warning for triggers and abuse. In a sidebar. Leaving the actual entries on these things to do their job.
        What I'm saying is, I don't think The Hard Way is about torture being terrible and horrible. It's about dispelling a misconception about the use of torture. Could it have been handled better? Probably. But its purpose, in my assessment, is not to admonish torture, but to clarify its function.


        Onyx Path Forum Moderator

        My mod voice is red. I use it so you know when I'm speaking in an official capacity, not as an indication of tone.

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        • #49
          And the book literally states that it explicitly isn't about educating people.
          What This Book Isn’t
          This book is not a thesis on violence and its effects on
          humanity. We deal with some psychological issues and social
          issues related to violence and brutality, but always from the
          idea that ultimately this is still a game. Any concepts and
          rules we present are designed to deliver stronger play expe-
          riences, not to teach you about human psychology. Not to
          say that reading up on psychology and sociology can’t help
          your chronicles, but any given shred of a topic addressed
          with serious, sensitive, real-world implications deserves
          more word count than we’ve devoted to the entire idea of
          violence in this book.
          We’re also not dictating how your games should flow,
          or what they should feature. Our tone here exists to foster
          certain experiences at the table; but as this is a supplementary
          book, it’s made to supplement your chronicle, not be the sole
          focus. Harping on the darkness of violence can get draining
          and pessimistic quickly, and frankly, it can become a labor;
          a chore. Ultimately, we play storytelling games to have fun.
          So if your players want the occasional skull-cracking without
          thinking about the sound of a bone breaking or the social im-
          plications of ending a life, that’s okay. Do what works for your
          troupe. This is a storytelling toolkit, not a political doctrine.
          "The Hard Way" is pretty much literally everything Hurt Locker literally says it doesn't want to be. It tries to educate you on real life psychological effects of torture? Check. It places educating you over enhancing game experience? Check. Does it judge you for wanting to include torture in the game, strongly implying that you shouldn't? Check. It harpes about darkness of violence? Check. Does it sound like a political doctrine instead of storytelling toolkit? Check.

          If you want to push political doctrine, do that in a sidebar. No one forced you to pick Torture as a focus of expanded Intimidation skill. If you don't want to write rules for it or make it a narrative device, pick something else! Give people ability to project aura of authority, be a goddamn Batman, or whatever else.

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          • #50
            Originally posted by MCN View Post
            No. ." This is "something offensive that needs to be addressed." Forcing Doors on PCs exist.
            See it now Charlequin?


            Offense is rarely given, but often taken.

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            • #51
              Originally posted by K9ine View Post
              See it now Charlequin?
              Yes, thank you for pointing it out.

              Originally posted by WHW View Post
              And the book literally states that it explicitly isn't about educating people.

              "The Hard Way" is pretty much literally everything Hurt Locker literally says it doesn't want to be. It tries to educate you on real life psychological effects of torture? Check. It places educating you over enhancing game experience? Check. Does it judge you for wanting to include torture in the game, strongly implying that you shouldn't? Check. It harpes about darkness of violence? Check. Does it sound like a political doctrine instead of storytelling toolkit? Check.

              If you want to push political doctrine, do that in a sidebar. No one forced you to pick Torture as a focus of expanded Intimidation skill. If you don't want to write rules for it or make it a narrative device, pick something else! Give people ability to project aura of authority, be a goddamn Batman, or whatever else.
              I don't agree with your assessment of The Hard Way as it relates to What This Book Isn't. I would argue that it falls under "we deal with some psychological issues and social issues related to violence and brutality, but always from the idea that ultimately this is still a game." It doesn't teach about the psychology of torture, it merely states that torture doesn't actually work the way it's presented in most fiction. And rules for torture are provided, they just happen to be under Breaking Hearts, which has two other mechanics under it as well. As I've said before, I don't disagree that the Intimidation entry of Biolent Skills may not have been the best place for the content addressed in The Hard Way, but I don't think the content itself is a problem. In fact, I think the book is better for including it. Should it have been a sidebar instead? Sure. But I don't think it should have been left out.


              Onyx Path Forum Moderator

              My mod voice is red. I use it so you know when I'm speaking in an official capacity, not as an indication of tone.

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