Aka, Get a room, you two!
WARNING, this one may be NSFW!!
Let’s face a couple of facts before we get into this:
- Humans are carbon based life forms, driven by a need to survive and procreate. (Sex makes the world go round.)
- Both men and women agree that the female form is just all sorts of amazing.
Especially in their prime. So much so that our society near worships the perfect female body.
- And those not shy enough to admit, can say the same for the male physique as well. Again, primes more than others. Men strive to attain it, women strive to have the men that posses it.
- Sexual attraction and urges heavily influence our society.
Now that that’s out of the way, it’s a little easier to make the link to our roleplaying games. Sex and sexuality is a near constant in most campaigns. Whether it be a fantasy setting, sci fi, modern times, steampunk, post apocalypse, you name it.
This usually shows up in the form of mostly really attractive people wearing provocative (or more revealing) clothing that may or may not defy logic (and having the proportions of a pornstar). A good example is the running joke that the more female armor reveals of her body, the higher level gear it is. Another being almost any Hollywood action movie.
While there is some reasoning and science behind barbarians wearing less armor. There is simply more appeal to having hot as all hell people walk around in more sexualised outfits. It works for advertising or to draw people in theaters to watch your movie or for gamers to play your otherwise static and bland MMO or read your bland stories (Looking at you Asia…).
Sex sells, big time.
This is a more modest approach to adding a little spice to your game.
Other factors may include actual character interaction of a sexual nature.
For instance, let’s say your parties bard (having the sex appeal of Robert plant from Led Zepplin, Prince or even Gene Simmons from Kiss, as you would) has an affair with the local barmaid (or even another member of the party. Cause elf clerics need loving too…). They decide to head upstairs for a heavy bout of ‘the old in out’.
Now, as a GM, how far will you go with describing the event? How far will you allow the sexual urges in your group to take over from the actual game?
You ‘can’ do it all.
(Tl;dr: you describe a passionate sex scene in great detail.)
Now think of the expressions on the faces of the rest of your group as you and one or two players engage in this verbal debauchery. Only a small number of people at the average table would accept listening to this and even less would openly enjoy or await such events. (Well, unless your playing FATAL but lets not mention that system too much. You would be better off Roleplaying in Second Life.) And make no mistake here, women at the table can be just as keen to touch butts as the men.
A more modest (and non distracting/creepy) way to handle this is to simply let them go upstairs, confirm that the deed will be done and …. that’s it.
Let your players imagination do the rest in their ‘Theater of the mind’. This is seriously the best option you have. The pervs at the table can get their mild fix and your more reserved players won’t be bothered too much.
As an example, it would be more akin to being at a bar and watching your friend and some ‘Grade A hot stuff’ walk upstairs, holding hands. You know what’s about to happen, they know it, everyone knows it. And at that point you can chuckle and be happy for your friends that they are getting some action. Meanwhile the party at the bar is still ongoing and you can focus on other things ( and story lines).
Now, if you have a couple at the table that openly just ‘cannot wait’ to jump each other, every odd chance they get, both in and out of character…talk to them, cause it can get weird for the other players. They may be using the wrong kind of role playing for their fancy.
While we just addressed the more lighthearted aspects of mature content, things can get dark…really quick. Rape for example is a real thing in both this world and your game. Half orcs are a great example of only being around because ‘papa Orc’ raped ‘mother human’. This is canon in all but the most happy go lucky variants and settings some groups may run. Yet it’s seldom talked about. (We have talked about racial stereotypes before.)
Certain drow priestesses can perform rituals where they need to have sex with demons in order to complete them. There are many species of monster in dnd alone that do horrible things to their captives. Some even need to do these things as the only means of survival and procreation. Most (if not nearly all) monsters in dnd were even taken from real life mythology and lore, so they are already well established and bring the real life horror stories with them to your game.
When we think of Adult themes in general however, sex & sexuality is only a small fragment of the adult topics you may encounter. Such as, mutilation, slavery, abuse, murder, pedophilia, human trafficking, organ theft, snuff content, cannibalism, ritual sacrifice, necrophilia (looking at you, vampires) ….the list goes on. There’s some dark stuff out there in already canon established lore in many a setting.
I suggest reading ‘The book of Vile Darkness’ for examples and ideas, its a classic.
Mindflayers (or Illithid) for example, are known to keep humanoids as cattle. Force breeding them only to sustain their numbers so they can munch on their brains without a need to hunt for it. (goblins are a preferred source, cause of birth rates.)
There’s a rather well known (and highly illegal) BTL in shadowrun, called ‘Snow white and the 7 trolls’. Where a human female is brutally raped and killed during the process and you can experience the event from the view point of any of the participants, including the victim.
I will save you the details of how a Darkspawn Broodmother is made in Dragon Age: Origins…
Suffice to say, there’s a lot of horrible stuff out there and it mostly gets ignored or isn’t talked about by the mainstream. Despite them being a reality of life in your setting.
As a GM and a fan of the heavier topics, i openly embrace the chance to engage my group in situations that makes them think. I personally do not believe in ‘taboo’ during conversation or the exploration of ideas. But do keep in mind that over-exposure can lead to people no longer being shocked or engaged by ‘yet another horrible story’. People come to have fun, so over-exposure to heavy topics can be straining for most people and can lead to people no longer having fun. Striving for a realistic frequency and amount can help.
That said, roleplay is an excellent medium for people to explore ideas and above all, themselves. Which for some people, is their only outlet to do so.
As long as you are seated with open minded individuals and clear boundaries have been discussed beforehand.
So my advice. Do not shy away from heavy & mature topics. However, it is imperative to know your group and to discuss the validity of allowing events and how they unfold. Some groups may not mind their PC getting raped if their actions and events have led up to it and it serves the story going forward. (Gotta love that character development.) While other groups may be horrified and start to resent you as a person.
Talk to your group and set up a few limits and boundaries that they (as a group) are not willing to cross. You are there to have fun, not shock people into becoming a depraved and edgy nihilist with PTSD.