Author Topic: Turning Same-Sex PCs On  (Read 14791 times)

mcdaldno

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Re: Turning Same-Sex PCs On
« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2013, 08:52:32 AM »
dragonraven, rusted barrel,

Thank you for bringing up the topic. Thank you for sticking around to keep asking questions. The conversation's taken lots of turns, so I won't address everything at once.

it is also a little hard to believe, because the move is telling the player how he ought to act, and what's he's supposed to feel, which takes volition and ownership away from the player.

So, first, a clarification: the results of this move don't tell you how you're supposed to feel. They tell you how you do feel. That might seem like a nit-pick, but it's actually critical.

Because if you're a straight high-school boy, and you find yourself getting turned on in the locker room shower... you know you're not supposed to feel that way. But you do. The next question is: so what do you do about it? Your body is sending you signals that you weren't prepared for. Do you question your assumptions? Do you experiment? Do you get embarrassed? Do you carry a secret shame in your heart for weeks, letting it slowly infect all of your choices and thought processes?

And if you're a regular high-school girl, and you find yourself getting turned on by your cousin... you know you're not supposed to feel that way. But you do. The next question is: so what do you do about it? Do you find a justification for why this is okay? Do you masturbate furiously about the idea, night after night, all the while forbidding yourself to ever share this secret with anyone? Do you shrug and let it go? Do you confess the attraction to someone?

A fundamental, critical part of being a teenager is being alarmed by the fact that your body is sending you signals that you weren't prepared for. You're latching on to one really specific instance of that: male characters being turned on by other male characters. Is that fixation homophobia? I dunno. It depends on how you define homophobia.

Teenagers (and humans, generally) get turned on by lots of stuff. Stuff that surprises them. Sometimes they shrug it off. Sometimes they get angry at their bodies for doing something wrong. Sometimes they make bad choices. Sometimes they experiment. Sometimes they question. Sometimes they redirect or misdirect.

The move doesn't tell you how you're supposed to feel. It tells you how you feel. And then the next step is on you: what do you do about it?

This is how your body works in real life, too. You get aroused and then it's your job to figure out what to do about that.

((more to follow.))

mcdaldno

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Re: Turning Same-Sex PCs On
« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2013, 09:01:10 AM »
The game isn't about people who know who they are and what they want.

This is absolutely true.

If you want to play a game about people who know who they are and what they want, I can recommend some for you. Within the genre, some excellent options are Vampire: the Masquerade and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

My understanding isn't that sexual identity is ruled by the dice. Is it his breathy voice that strangely turns you on, or the drop of sweat on his lip? Is it the inherent violence in the situation? Is it blood?
What I mean is, it's not necessarily the person turning you on, it's setting, mood, situation, something that gives you a flashback to a porn mag you read when you where 12...
Basically, you get turned on. You don't have to know why, but something tightened in the pit of your stomach when she looked at you, or when he smiled or....
Just because something gave you a hard-on in the presense of another man/woman/furry monster, it doesn't have to have anything to do with that person as such, but that person was present, and that opens the way for doubt.

This is absolutely true.

You don't know that you were turned on by another guy because you're gay. There is never any mention made anywhere about character orientation ever. There is also no implication that character orientation changes as a result of moves.

What we know is that you've got a character, and they're a teenager, and they get turned on all the time. And people can use their arousal to manipulate them and get power over them.

When you get turned on in the shower of the boy's locker room, who fucking knows what's going on there? No one does. We just know that you glanced over at Jhon scrubbing his back, and you saw those bubbles sliding down his spine and across his firm ass, and the room was full of steam, and you got hard. There's some implied causality, but human sexuality is complicated and nobody knows what your deal is. Maybe hot showers get you riled up. Maybe you've got a thing for backsides. Maybe you're gay. Maybe you adore Jhon and those feelings are all muddled up in his physique.

We don't know. That's part of what being a teenager is all about: needing to sort out your feelings and feeling like you're the only one whose body is confusing.

((more to follow.))

mcdaldno

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Re: Turning Same-Sex PCs On
« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2013, 09:28:43 AM »
So, your character thinks they might be straight. But they've also got a confusing body that sends them mixed signals all the time. (this is true of all teenage bodies i fucking guarantee it.)

Maybe you want to protect their straightness. Maybe you think they'd want to protect their straightness. (The line between those two things is probably blurry, too, which is a cool effect that story games generate!)

So, how do you go about asserting, affirming, and defending a character's sexuality? The same way you do in real life. If you're straight, maybe you've never had to think about this. Maybe your sexuality has never been put on trial. Maybe you're getting a crash course on being queer right now.

You can call your character straight. But what actually makes them straight? Is it what turns them on? Is it who they fuck? Is it a matter of identification or being or action? Is it how they respond to different types of attraction across gender lines? Are they attracted to a set of genitals or a type of body or a presentation of gender? What about when those things don't line up?

The teenage years are when lots of people learn that they aren't straight, or that straightness isn't the tidy and clear-cut category that they thought it was. Groups of boys will sometimes jack off together and still identify as straight. Crude sexual humour is common in locker rooms and some participants find it arousing. Sexuality is a pervasive component of teenage thought, and it is confusing and weird.

Your character might be really concerned about being straight and appearing straight. They might fear any and all alternatives. That makes sense! High schools are usually rampantly homophobic and a scary place to be "different" in any way. They still have to contend with the signals that their bodies give them.

This is true in real life as well. You've had your body tell you lots of complicated stuff over the years. You have. I'm sure of it. You've made sense of it. At this point in the process, you sound confident that you're heterosexual. A lot of dice rolls and 7-9 scores and subsequent actions and player narrative contributed to that self-awareness. I'm sure of it.

mcdaldno

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Re: Turning Same-Sex PCs On
« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2013, 09:36:17 AM »
Final post for the night:

Do you have a group where all the characters are already predetermined to be straight? Really?

I tell you not to do shit like that. I dedicate multiple pages of the book to explaining why you shouldn't do that.

If you are telling stories about teenage sexuality and it isn't full of confused and questioning identities... it's not authentic.

rusted barrel

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Re: Turning Same-Sex PCs On
« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2013, 01:24:38 PM »
mcdaldno - I appreciate your weighing in on the topic, I appreciate the efforts you put into the skin, it overall looks like an interesting take on AW, but in the end I don't believe I'm going to spending any time in your world.  Certainly any and every game insists a certain amount of headspace on their players, but I'm not subscribing to be told how to play, regardless of how successful you've found your game to be.

thanks for your time, everyone who has posted, it's helped me find what I was looking for.  Good gaming to you

slickhop

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Re: Turning Same-Sex PCs On
« Reply #20 on: May 08, 2013, 05:29:04 PM »
I'm totally a cheerleader for this game, so I'm not the target audience for this explanation, but I'm honestly baffled by "but I'm not subscribing to be told how to play."  I mean, for me, this whole thread is essentially a big pitch for "play to see what happens."

mcdaldno

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Re: Turning Same-Sex PCs On
« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2013, 10:19:38 PM »
but I'm not subscribing to be told how to play, regardless of how successful you've found your game to be.

Okay.

Thanks for participating in this thread. Congratulations for finding your own boundaries and respecting them.

For serious, pick up a copy of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer roleplaying game if you're interested in another approach to the genre that doesn't have these concerns. I say this in good faith - it's a well-designed game.

dragonraven

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Re: Turning Same-Sex PCs On
« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2013, 03:48:02 AM »
Interesting discussion.

I get it.  I get the move.  I'm pretty convinced now, and excited.  I didn't get it at first - maybe I was having an off day - but I'm all over it now.

Thanks for the weighing in, everyone. 

misuba

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Re: Turning Same-Sex PCs On
« Reply #23 on: May 29, 2013, 06:41:18 AM »
I can't help but note how rusted barrel's journey here ends in "I'm not subscribing to be told how to play," not when he finds out the game is based on Apocalypse World - perhaps the most notorious game in the last ten years for committing the crime of telling you how to play - but when it tells him his character might feel something queer.

I'm dismayed that in the end, roleplaying conservatism boils down to... conservatism.

Dismayed, not surprised.

noclue

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Re: Turning Same-Sex PCs On
« Reply #24 on: May 30, 2013, 12:54:47 AM »
No one ever seems to complain that they can't prevent their characters from feeling something straight.
James R.

    "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation."
     --HERBERT SPENCER

Charles Perez

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Re: Turning Same-Sex PCs On
« Reply #25 on: June 03, 2013, 02:44:54 AM »
Monsterhearts has two basic moves pertaining to sexuality, and they are such as to make modeling sexual proclivities easy. If character B flat-out doesn't have what character A wants, character A cannot turn on character B, and character B cannot seduce character A; that is, the don't-liker is the one who cannot do the turning on, and the not-liked is the one who cannot do the seducing. A character's player, including the MC, is free to declare at any time what that character's proclivities are, but must abide by any and all such declarations thereafter. The circumstances under which the turning on move and the seducing move are used and accepted, or else eschewed and rejected, also imply things about a character, and the character's player must abide by those implications as well. With respect to sexual orientation - likes boys, likes girls, likes both, likes neither - the story arc in the web comic Menage A 3 that pertains to Dillon's crush on Gary plays it this way; so does the movie Eating Out. In particular, Dillon is able to turn Gary on until the cows come home, but is not able to seduce him to save his life. Similarly, Gary could have seduced Dillon in a heartbeat, but had no say as to the highs and lows of Gary's attraction to him; the vicissitudes of Dillon's feelings for Gary were all Dillon, and not Gary at all. In fact, the humor and the pathos of that arc rely on Gary's straightness being a firm if elastic limit, able to be bent and stretched but not broken.

If a character is to mature out of one particular set of sexual proclivities and into another, do so when, and only when, that character takes a grown up move, and make sure the new proclivities are aesthetically appropriate to that character's personal arc.

Charles

noclue

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Re: Turning Same-Sex PCs On
« Reply #26 on: June 03, 2013, 07:38:49 AM »
Charles, Character A can always turn on Character B if they roll well on their Turn Someone On. There is no Seduction mechanic at all, except possibly using Manipulate an NPC for that purpose.
James R.

    "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation."
     --HERBERT SPENCER

Charles Perez

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Re: Turning Same-Sex PCs On
« Reply #27 on: June 03, 2013, 06:59:23 PM »
Noclue, I wasn't implying that what I wrote was the Monsterhearts rules as written. I was suggesting a modification to the rules that models fixed sexual proclivities, including sexual orientation. As for seducing someone, that would mean manipulating someone using sex or sexuality as enticement.

Charles

Charles Perez

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Re: Turning Same-Sex PCs On
« Reply #28 on: June 03, 2013, 07:12:49 PM »
Oh, and mcdaldno, if my suggested rules modification makes sense to you, feel free to use and revise it, or any parts of it, as you see fit.

Charles

noclue

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Re: Turning Same-Sex PCs On
« Reply #29 on: June 03, 2013, 08:43:30 PM »
That's cool. I think the game is working the way Joe wants it to though. Page 20 is pretty clear on that point.
James R.

    "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation."
     --HERBERT SPENCER