D&D has become to PG. :(

The Book of Vile Darkness was a complete let down for me.  As a 31 year old player who has been playing D&D since I was a kid, part of the biggest issue that is killing D&D is that it's simply becoming too PG.

Part of what made D&D so appealing to me when I was young was the fact that it was an "adult" game.  I got a glimpse into the sword and sorcery and I loved it.  Long gone are the days of people thinking D&D is "witchcraft".  Please add some of the grown-up back into the game.  Blood, guts, and the sense of danger.  Just my opinion, but once I saw the 4th edition Book of Vile Darkness, I was completely let down.  It was more like the book of gloom and naughty, not really vile darkness.
I think the problem with your request is that people have different definitons of "adult." What some think of as "adult" (i.e. boobies and viscera) others find to be "juvenile and purile."

For me, what makes an adult game are antagonists with complex motivations (i.e. not just "for the evuls"), opposing forces with more grey-vs-grey morality (i.e. neither side is completely in the right) and actions having real consequences to them (often a mix of positive and negative at the same time).

Until you can get people to agree on what defines "adult" you're going to have a hard time actually making something that is.
When people talk about this, they usually mean "NC-17" as "adult"

Which, in my opinion, is a pretty immature perspective on what it means to be an adult.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
The Book of Vile Darkness was a complete let down for me.  As a 31 year old player who has been playing D&D since I was a kid, part of the biggest issue that is killing D&D is that it's simply becoming too PG.

Part of what made D&D so appealing to me when I was young was the fact that it was an "adult" game.  I got a glimpse into the sword and sorcery and I loved it.  Long gone are the days of people thinking D&D is "witchcraft".  Please add some of the grown-up back into the game.  Blood, guts, and the sense of danger.  Just my opinion, but once I saw the 4th edition Book of Vile Darkness, I was completely let down.  It was more like the book of gloom and naughty, not really vile darkness.



I would wager that as you have aged, your understanding of adult has changed. It's like going back to your elementary school and being struck by how small everything appears. I doubt the content has changed very much, but as a person you've grown and changed.

As far as I am concerned, I would rather my DM add the deeper content than for DnD to suggest it.
As far as I am concerned, I would rather my DM add the deeper content than for DnD to suggest it.

This most accurately reflects my own position, so I will refrain from repeating it.

Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
I think D&D has always been PG-13 at most.  The most "adult" thing i can remember from 1e is Loviatar's little nip slip. Other than that and maybe a couple of other pictures (I seem to recall the Succubus showing some skin too) there was very little I would be afraid to show my grandma.

As for the BoVD, I am going to have to agree with the poster who said that one person's "adult" is another person's "Juvenile and Puerile".  The problem with the 3e BoVd was NOT that it didn't delve deep enough into "adult" themes, it was the way it handled them.  While the 4e BoVD has its issues, at least it doesn't provoke a headache inducing number of eye rolls like the 3.5 one.

Theres also the matter of comfort levels.  Different people have different comfort levels and I think the best route for all concerned is for WOTC to aim for the level they are aiming at, then let individual groups decide how much they want to crank up the "adult"-ness to suit their own tastes.
 
I think the problem with your request is that people have different definitons of "adult." What some think of as "adult" (i.e. boobies and viscera) others find to be "juvenile and purile."

For me, what makes an adult game are antagonists with complex motivations (i.e. not just "for the evuls"), opposing forces with more grey-vs-grey morality (i.e. neither side is completely in the right) and actions having real consequences to them (often a mix of positive and negative at the same time).

Until you can get people to agree on what defines "adult" you're going to have a hard time actually making something that is.

I agree.  I'm gay and not really into the boobies and viscera, but thinks like cults, worship, sacrifice, the darker side of magic and necromancy and nethermancy don't have a dark cutting edge to them, just a PG version of "evil" or "vile"
As far as I am concerned, I would rather my DM add the deeper content than for DnD to suggest it.

This most accurately reflects my own position, so I will refrain from repeating it.




Ditto.  If D&D ever tried to go World of Dorkness on me, I'd drop it like a live grenade.  That is definitely something that should be determined on a group-to-group basis, not codified into the standard game.
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I don't think all of D&D should get dark and vile, but when they introduce options for it, i.e. the Book of Vile Darkness, they should go all the way and not PG-13.  That way DM's can have the option of putting an R rating on their campaign and have the support for it.  There is an evil cult in my campaign and the book of vile darkness from 3.5 was an amazing resource to use.  Once I converted my campaign to 4.0, I didn't have support for my evil cult within the context of the game and had to ad lib a lot of their magic, etc.
I think in a sense a lot of that is intended with 4e. It leaves you very free with story elements and doesn't try to nail down exactly how something like an 'evil cult' would work. It is assumed it will work in whatever way the DM finds is interesting for it to be a threat to the PCs.

As for true vile evil.... Do you REALLY want the real thing in your game, truly? Do you read the news? Real evil is not entertaining. When you've faced it in its true form and looked at it and seen it like it really is, well, maybe the 'game evil' can be a bit silly, but it is something we can have fun with. Something we can even harmlessly play at. You don't want to play at the real thing, trust me.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
Do we really want to put a big huge rating on DnD?  Yes, the stereotypical group of preteen guys thinking they're getting away with something will always exist (no offense or accusations), but I for certain would much rather have my own options to determine how bloody the descriptions of battles or dark rituals will be rather than have to feel like I'm censoring or adding stuff from what's given.

I do also agree that 'true vile evil' isn't really what I want to play.  DnD and most fantasy games are escapist, even stuff like World of Darkness.  I get enough of the real world in, well, 'real' life. 
The Book of Vile Darkness was a complete let down for me.  As a 31 year old player who has been playing D&D since I was a kid, part of the biggest issue that is killing D&D is that it's simply becoming too PG.

What are you comparing it to? I didn't find the 3e BoVD particularly adult. It was more like a cheap horror flick rather than actual mature content.

Part of what made D&D so appealing to me when I was young was the fact that it was an "adult" game.  I got a glimpse into the sword and sorcery and I loved it.  Long gone are the days of people thinking D&D is "witchcraft".  Please add some of the grown-up back into the game.  Blood, guts, and the sense of danger.  Just my opinion, but once I saw the 4th edition Book of Vile Darkness, I was completely let down.  It was more like the book of gloom and naughty, not really vile darkness.

Keep in mind that D&D is not just an adult game. A lot of kids play it, and I'd bet WotC wants more kids to play it. You can't do that if you make the core of it a mature game. BTW, if you think the days of satanic D&D panic are gone, go around to a few conservative Christian churches and bring it up. A lot of them still think it's evil, teaches witchcraft, ouija boards summon demons, etc.

As for mature content, what exactly do you consider mature? Personally, I wouldn't mind stuff like the 1e MM that showed some nipples, but it's all in the presentation. If it's more natural, like a harpy that probably makes more sense to have its breasts hanging out than covered up, fine. If it's an excuse to drop in some **** for every female creature in the game just to get some teenage boys excited, that's just cheap and annoying.

The "blood, guts, and sense of danger" is more about the setting and tone of the campaign than it is about the core rules. You can do that with 4e as is; you don't need any special BoVD for that.
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
What are you comparing it to? I didn't find the 3e BoVD particularly adult. It was more like a cheap horror flick rather than actual mature content.


It had boobies.  Well, booby.  One of them had been cut off.

Oh, and Fierna.  And Belial's package.

I think in a sense a lot of that is intended with 4e. It leaves you very free with story elements and doesn't try to nail down exactly how something like an 'evil cult' would work. It is assumed it will work in whatever way the DM finds is interesting for it to be a threat to the PCs.

As for true vile evil.... Do you REALLY want the real thing in your game, truly? Do you read the news? Real evil is not entertaining. When you've faced it in its true form and looked at it and seen it like it really is, well, maybe the 'game evil' can be a bit silly, but it is something we can have fun with. Something we can even harmlessly play at. You don't want to play at the real thing, trust me.



I could see being "inspired" to add real vile evil to a campaign, provided that the tone of the campaign was such that real vile evil would set the correct tone.

Though too much of a campaign like that and I'd probably have to hide the razors from my players. . .
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quote author=56832398 post=519321747]Considering DnD is a game wouldn't all styles be gamist?[/quote]
The Book of Vile Darkness was a complete let down for me.  As a 31 year old player who has been playing D&D since I was a kid, part of the biggest issue that is killing D&D is that it's simply becoming too PG.

Part of what made D&D so appealing to me when I was young was the fact that it was an "adult" game.  I got a glimpse into the sword and sorcery and I loved it.  Long gone are the days of people thinking D&D is "witchcraft".  Please add some of the grown-up back into the game.  Blood, guts, and the sense of danger.  Just my opinion, but once I saw the 4th edition Book of Vile Darkness, I was completely let down.  It was more like the book of gloom and naughty, not really vile darkness.



You could always check out Carcosa which is  a D&D retroclone. I have heard that it is quite disgustingly vile.

Member of Grognards for 4th Edition
I agree friend, D&D seems to becoming a kid friendly game. We need to have the option to make D&D R rated adult if we want like the scary 1st editon. It's too kid friendly anymore. When I started reading the 2nd edition books when I was younger I felt a sense of wonder and awe. Now I feel like Im reading a kids fantasy novel, there needs to be that dangerous realism again. I'm not saying D&D should be all blood and guts, just that sense of danger, realism and graphic realism to make the game appealing once more. This is something I hope they can do with the 5th edition, no kiddy books please. Just because all the movies in hollywood are PG13 these days, doesn't mean D&D should be too.


What was so adult about the 1e books (other than some nipples showing in the MM)? I remember having the 1e books when I was a kid and I don't remember anything particularly adultish about it, at least not any moreso than any other edition.
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.

The books had vivid fantasy art with nudity and Demons and Devils. All this was taken out for 2nd edition to cater to children and religous groups that were outraged.

The books had vivid fantasy art with nudity and Demons and Devils. All this was taken out for 2nd edition to cater to children and religous groups that were outraged.


Well Demons and Devils were in every other edition besides 2nd, so does that make the game adult enough for you? I've already said I don't have an issue with nude images, but I don't think that showing **** is what makes something an adult game.

I would also disagree that 2e removed material to cater to children. I think it did it to cater to the religious nuts. Considering the 1e art really wasn't terribly graphic to the point where most people would have a problem with it and that demons and devils were reinserted as soon as the main wave of religious frenzy was over, I think that it's a fair assessment.
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
I feel that the tone 4e set is the best in broad strokes for what most people think D&D is or should be, which is heroic fantasy. However there's also room for more setting/context specific content that sets an entirely different tone if it's obiously differentiated. I could stand a truly gritty campaign once and a while, but I guess the question becomes do you change the course of D&D to accomodate that wish or pick up a new system that's done it better all along?
Anyway my whole point was not to water it down, and not hold back any content regardless of what Mr Perfectly right wants. To make it appealing to adults not just the kiddies.



What makes you think that sort of stuff is somehow inherently appealing to adults?
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One of the most "mature" rpg experiences I had lately was reading the Midnight Campaign Setting from Fantasy Flight. Instead of the storybook good always triumphs, we have a world where the evil god outright won, blocked all other divine and planar contact, and controls the world through violence, discrimination and illiteracy. And it outright says something to the extent that your players should never have the chance to change the world too much, even at high levels, because the godly forces involved are just too powerful. 

Repression, inequality and despair? That seems pretty adult to me right there. Add your own blood, guts and tortured sex slaves to taste Wink

Perhaps a campaign setting release could bring back the feel for mature gamers, if they aren't already making it themselves. 
Nude art and demons gracing every page does not make an "adult" game.

When you are 12 years old, it seems adult, mature and edgy. Unfortunately, it isn't. What those things are designed to do is attract 12 year old boys.

When you want to attract adults, you do it with engaging storylines and complex motivations. The 4E Book of Vile Darkness has great information on how to give your villains complex motivations, and the Neverwinter Campaign Setting is full of NPCs and factions that are varying shades of grey.

The Midnight setting was a fine example of a gritty, adult oriented setting without resorting to cheap tricks like nudity and such to attract young men wanting to be more mature.

It was said above, and it still holds true. One man's "adult" is another man's "juvenile."
I'm afraid most of you completely missed the point.

Also, I find it incredibly funny how Americans are afraid of naked breats, while having all the female characters look like lingerie models (D-cup chestplates?).

And no, one man's adult isn't another man's juvenile. Adult is adult. Adult means making vile actually vile and not being afraid to implement sex, nudity, violence or strong language where it feels natural or even necessary.

Compare "The Witcher" games to "Skyrim" or any other modern american RPG. Being afraid of implementing adult themes in adult games is actually pretty juvenile.

Yet, D&D is supposed to be kid-friendly, so that's clearly not the case. It's just a pity that they didn't have the balls to make BoVD adult-only like the last time.
While I'm no fan of gratuitous nudity, it does amuse me (in a facepalm/headshaking sort of way) whenever I see art depicting a 'succubus' dressed more conservatively than the average female nightclubber in my home town...

"My flying carpet is full of elves."

I'm afraid most of you completely missed the point.

Also, I find it incredibly funny how Americans are afraid of naked breats, while having all the female characters look like lingerie models (D-cup chestplates?).

And no, one man's adult isn't another man's juvenile. Adult is adult. Adult means making vile actually vile and not being afraid to implement sex, nudity, violence or strong language where it feels natural or even necessary.

Compare "The Witcher" games to "Skyrim" or any other modern american RPG. Being afraid of implementing adult themes in adult games is actually pretty juvenile.

Yet, D&D is supposed to be kid-friendly, so that's clearly not the case. It's just a pity that they didn't have the balls to make BoVD adult-only like the last time.



See, I think you're the one missing the point.  What the people who are saying that the 3.0 BoVD wasn't mature mean is that it was basically slapping the labels "vile" and "evil" on a whole lot of things without any real apparent reasoning beyond making evil either gross or raunchy.  It's no more mature than your average slasher flick, and I've never considered one of those anything but juvenile.  I find it almost impossible to take any book that presented an item called "Nipple Clamps of Exquisite Pain" seriously in a mature fashion.

"Adult" is not adult across the board, nor do I consider anything in the 3.0 BoVD to be remotely close to the sort of adult feel present in The Witcher or in Dragon Age.  For one, in those games, there's always the options whether or not the main character proceeds with the act.  It's done with a modicum of taste and class, not to mention maturity, where the 3.0 BoVD was pretty much all about the most perverse viewpoints on sexuality, not to mention its view that body modification and a variety of other things were "vile" as well, without any apparent reason other than they were weird or somehow gross.  And apparently, these somehow ranked right up there with taking mind-altering mystical drugs and implanting one's body with demonic body parts!

It's nothing about some bizarre, nebulous "fear of naked breasts", as you term it.  It's the fact that the things presented in the 3.0 BoVD really are childishly handled in an utterly ham-fisted fashion, with nothing of note present to making an effective sense of evil that's not a cartoonish mockery of implanted demon bits and scarrification, of latex bodysuits and BDSM toys.  It's the Lord Zedd of villainy, all grotesque appearances and "Mwah-ha-ha, I am eeeeeeeevil!" rather than the complex, cunning villains most often associated with a more mature comprehension of evil.
This thread seems to have disolved into several posters with a "the version I originally liked is better than the current version' and other posters attemtping to use logic to describe the change.

Personally, if the game threw nudity in my face I probably wouldn't play it. To me, that's childish. It's a smarter, better business decision to allow people to add what they want, rather than to force people to play your way.

If someone's campaign calls for a half naked succubus to perform ghastly acts on innocent civilians and revel in the torture and blood, the DM has hundreds of tools and images at his/her disposal to do so. It is however, not a smart decision on the part of WoTC to push this type of thing into the mainstream game because it is more likely to alienate players than to open the door to more of them.

For those who aren't finding what they want, I am certain it is very frustrating, but the niche crowd that wants the gore is not where WoTC is going to find a majority of its sales and will design its product with that in mind.

I will leave my comments and arguements to the business aspects as the moral and ethical arguments are ones best left off the internet.
I'm afraid most of you completely missed the point.

Also, I find it incredibly funny how Americans are afraid of naked breats, while having all the female characters look like lingerie models (D-cup chestplates?).

And no, one man's adult isn't another man's juvenile. Adult is adult. Adult means making vile actually vile and not being afraid to implement sex, nudity, violence or strong language where it feels natural or even necessary.

Compare "The Witcher" games to "Skyrim" or any other modern american RPG. Being afraid of implementing adult themes in adult games is actually pretty juvenile.

Yet, D&D is supposed to be kid-friendly, so that's clearly not the case. It's just a pity that they didn't have the balls to make BoVD adult-only like the last time.



See, I think you're the one missing the point.  What the people who are saying that the 3.0 BoVD wasn't mature mean is that it was basically slapping the labels "vile" and "evil" on a whole lot of things without any real apparent reasoning beyond making evil either gross or raunchy.  It's no more mature than your average slasher flick, and I've never considered one of those anything but juvenile.  I find it almost impossible to take any book that presented an item called "Nipple Clamps of Exquisite Pain" seriously in a mature fashion.

"Adult" is not adult across the board, nor do I consider anything in the 3.0 BoVD to be remotely close to the sort of adult feel present in The Witcher or in Dragon Age.  For one, in those games, there's always the options whether or not the main character proceeds with the act.  It's done with a modicum of taste and class, not to mention maturity, where the 3.0 BoVD was pretty much all about the most perverse viewpoints on sexuality, not to mention its view that body modification and a variety of other things were "vile" as well, without any apparent reason other than they were weird or somehow gross.  And apparently, these somehow ranked right up there with taking mind-altering mystical drugs and implanting one's body with demonic body parts!

It's nothing about some bizarre, nebulous "fear of naked breasts", as you term it.  It's the fact that the things presented in the 3.0 BoVD really are childishly handled in an utterly ham-fisted fashion, with nothing of note present to making an effective sense of evil that's not a cartoonish mockery of implanted demon bits and scarrification, of latex bodysuits and BDSM toys.  It's the Lord Zedd of villainy, all grotesque appearances and "Mwah-ha-ha, I am eeeeeeeevil!" rather than the complex, cunning villains most often associated with a more mature comprehension of evil.

I agree about the 3.0 BoVD, but at least they tried approaching the darker side of D&D.

And by missing the point I meant that D&D is trying to be more and more "politically correct" and that's what OP meant I believe. WotC try to avoid anything that may be seen as "controversial", whether it's a female chest, realistic violence or a pentagram.
I agree friend, D&D seems to becoming a kid friendly game. We need to have the option to make D&D R rated adult if we want like the scary 1st editon. It's too kid friendly anymore. When I started reading the 2nd edition books when I was younger I felt a sense of wonder and awe. Now I feel like Im reading a kids fantasy novel



So... when you were a kid, reading D&D books filled you with awe and wonder. Now, as an adult, D&D books feels like a kid's fantasy book. There seems to be a variable that changed in this situation.... if only we can pinpoint what it is.;)

I do agree that the fluff could aim a little higher than what it is now. Pathfinder's writing style in general appeals to me much more, and it's not really blood, guts and bewbz driven. Its just the tone that matters most. Unknown Armies, in particular the scenario book "Weep", tackles more mature issues than most D&D games will ever touch upon, and it doesnt rely on cheap tricks.



Yeah it was a sarcastic post.
Basically to make things simple I just want them to have adults in mind when the make 5th edition. That's it.

I'm not saying turn D&D into a playboy magazine, or a book of devil worshipping. I'm saying it should cover all territory from PG to R if the players want. Some more realistic looking art, less cartoonish and more realistic. If the art requires blood then show blood, if the art requires female breasts so be it. Since when has females breast's become such a bad thing anyway? It's the human anatomy, and if you have ever taken an art class in college naked models do come to class and you get to draw them.  It's not about pornography, it's about true art, and it's what makes the game realistic within the confines of the fantasy worlds.



I must say I completely disagree with you. I disagree with the premise, the arguments made to support it, and the strawmen made to argue against to support a point I disagreed with in the first place.

I am very glad that the train of thought presented in a number of these posts are not the prevailing opinion of WoTC.
If you're really an adult, you shouldn't need a fantasy roleplaying book in order to see naked women.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Ok then turn into a kiddy PG comic book game. Doesn't matter what I say, there will be someone to oppose it.
Ok then turn into a kiddy PG comic book game. Doesn't matter what I say, there will be someone to oppose it.

True. But that is mostly because what you are saying is to change D&D form a fairly decent PG-safe middle-path game to something either inappropriate for my kids or unappealing to me.

Adults can add the graphic elements they want.
Young kids aren't the target audience.

D&D covers a wide audience as written. The changes you have suggested (serious or sarcastic) narrow the audience. THat is bad business in an already niche market.
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
If the art requires blood then show blood, if the art requires female breasts so be it.



This begs a question. when it nudity and gore going to be necessary? what aspects of the heoric fantasy setting that D&D represents makes it absolutely require more "adult" elements in the art? And, perhaps more importantly, how does that affect how the game plays?
I never said to change D&D, I said add some exotic artwork and cool stories that are adult orientated.  The game has always been aimed at Pre-teens  12 and up and not little kids. That means they can get away with PG13 artwork which can push some boundries.  Most young kids don't understand half the words in the rule books anyway. The rules should get no less complicated than any previous editions of the game and I feel sorry for you if you think a little blood and boobs is inappropriate. In Europe there's nudity in their soap commercials and you don't hear them complaining about it. The original D&D books already had that stuff in it so you're a little late to complain. It's been done already and I'm asking for Wizards to bring that back for 5th editon, and if you don't like it then too bad.
Basically what I see here is one or more persons attempts to do away with even the barest (pun intended) sense of political correctness, and then taking the opportunity to scoff at the company that fails to do so. WotC is indeed a company, and the fact remains that they are an establishment that exists to create revenue. It doesn't seem to be a good business model to alienate the future customer base by creating a game that specifically caters to adults.

The other point being - is there even a consequence to this strategy? Honestly I don't think I would want to play the game that specifically caters to the grognard adults that take umbrage at the new generation taking part in our hobby. I don't see how creating an adult specific game could make D&D as it exists now any better. I come for heroic fantasy, and that's what I get, I don't need nipple clamps to build on that experience.
Do we not have blood in the art now? I didn't even notice.

I guess that alone tells you where I stand. I'd never notice if there's not enough of the stuff being requested, but I'd definitely notice if there's too much.

I just really don't think the lack of nipples and viscera harms my gaming experience, but the presence of it could harm someone's gaming experience, so what's gained by including it?
Does it not already cater to everyone?
Apparently not after some comments I've been hearing here. Lots of adults weren't too happy with 4th editions tactical mechanics. 4th edition lost many fans to Pathfinder unfortunately.
Please don't export your arguments. By most benchmarks 4e is a MUCH more complicated system - which if memory serves is what you were asking for previously. I see the point being made here, I just don't see how there's any ground for it to be made on. Now I'm just downright curious


And by missing the point I meant that D&D is trying to be more and more "politically correct" and that's what OP meant I believe. WotC try to avoid anything that may be seen as "controversial", whether it's a female chest, realistic violence or a pentagram.



That's not a bad thing.  If it's going to sell, D&D needs to have wide market appeal, which means it needs to be acceptable to as many audiences as possible.

You want to throw in shock-jock stuff like nudity and gore, knock yourself out.  It's your game.  But there's no way that should be the standard.
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