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After 30 years, a few of my friends and I finally managed to get together and play D&D. We've managed to play 2hrs once a week for the last 6 weeks.

I unfortunately ended up being the DM. My problem is that the players, in spite of being given an obvious quest and hooks into multiple possible adventures, seem completely uninterested in doing anything other than sleeping with every NPC.

It's not just Ingsaw the Tiefling Barbarian sweeps Lady Winsome off her feet and carries her to the bedroom where they spend the night. They want graphic details of every act. Also the two women players are just as bad as the three guys.

At the beginning of the last session, I even said that I was uncomfortable with the X-rated content our game was generating. I declared that starting with that session that any hint of having sex with an NPC would stop at the first lewd line and then be boiled down to a persuasion attempt and if successful a d20 roll, 1-5 horrible, 6-10 forgettable, 11-15 ok, 16-20 time of your life and that would be all the details I would give. After a couple attempts to see if I was going to stick to it, the session was spent with the player's characters sleeping with each other. About half way though I got up from the table and spent the rest of the time puttering around the kitchen until everyone eventually left.

I realize the last time any of us played we were about 14 and this may be the way they remember D&D (although I don't). Or maybe we're all over 40 and this is the only way their sexual fantasies are going to ever happen. Regardless I don't want it in the game. Since these are all friends I need a polite way of getting through to them. After last session I'm not sure what to do other than start cancelling at the last minute until everyone gives up on coming.

Update: I sent basically the suggested email in the answer I accepted. While it didn't prevent all drama and hard feelings, at least it is over, they're going to continue SexyTimes while I go find another group, and most importantly we're all still friends.

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    \$\begingroup\$ ♦ Welcome Hot Network Question visitors! Just a notice for new visitors and a reminder for locals that we don't accept answer-type material in comments — we reserve them exclusively for managing the post. See our FAQ about answers in comments for why, and detailed explanations of what counts. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 13 '18 at 2:59

10 Answers 10

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Social Scripts for escaping an unwanted Sexytimes RPG

What I'm seeing in your question is that you don't have a D&D group, you have a sexytimes fantasy roleplaying group. Being in an RPG group that's not what you thought it was is a more basic problem* than getting your D&D players to change behaviour, because you don't have D&D players.

(It's not that D&D can't include sexuality, or even can't be totally about sexuality like this, but for your purposes “friends, let's play D&D!” didn't result in a D&D game as most people — and you — understood the proposed activity. You got something totally different.)

Break it down: you proposed playing D&D, but your friends aren't interested in exploring the wilderness, heroic adventures, fighting monsters and looking for treasure, debating queens and emperors — or any of the many things that a D&D game usually consists of. They strongly resist any inducements to adventure, and resist your attempts to reduce the sexytimes roleplaying.

So you have a group of friends interested in exploring their and each other's sexual fantasies, as a group.

That's the diagnosis of the situation. Now for the solution.

Since you don't have a D&D group, proceed accordingly

Do you want to have a weekly sexytimes roleplaying session with your friends? No rhetorical question implying inherent judgement there — it's the question you're faced with and it's a fair one. Some people might say “actually, yes.”

But I'm going to assume, based on your question, that your answer is a clear “no”.

Since you don't have a D&D group, you should stop trying to make your sexytimes fantasy roleplaying group play D&D. Accept that they already aren't playing D&D as you understand it, and proceed accordingly as if you don't have an established D&D group — you don't.

That's the conceptual shift you need to make. Now here's a social script that you can use (directly, or for inspiration) to move forward in the actual situation you're in:

Before your next game — another social gathering, a meeting to discuss the game, or over email, whatever works — talk to your friends about the weekly game.

Hey friends. I realise now that what we want from our roleplaying group is different. I want a traditional adventure game that's similar to fantasy novels and shows, and I'm not getting that. You want to have a game that's focused on sexytimes† — and that's fine. It's just not something I'm interested in doing.

So I'm going to step down as the DM. I want you to continue enjoying your roleplaying game, but it always has been yours, not mine. I may or may not participate — honestly, probably not — but in any case I won't be running it. That also means that I won't be trying to make the rules and accidentally cramping your style either (*grin*).

I don't know which of you might want the DMing role, but I'm happy to give advice to whoever ends up stepping into that job. If you're all thinking that DMing sounds no fun, well, just remember that the DM gets to have many sexytimes characters. Maybe it'll have benefits you don't expect.

So that's just what I wanted to say. I'm glad I introduced you all to something you enjoy so much.

Whether using that directly or something else, it's important to stick to talking about yourself and your wants, and what you are going to do — and when you do mention their activity preference, that it sounds generally happy for them. This helps you avoid going anywhere near accidentally being judgemental.

Not only is avoiding judgement philosophically important because hey, consenting adults can do what they want with their imaginations, but it's super-important for getting what you want, which is your friends' active acceptance of your feelings and choices for what you do next. Someone who feels judged isn't listening or in a position to be understanding of what you feel, need, and choose. You don't want them to fight about this, just accept what's already true — that you're moving on, and that's fine.

Now, that might be it. You've stated that you want different things, and (super-important) you've said what you are doing without implying that there's any negotiation, or that you need their permission. You're just an adult exercising your adult prerogatives to decide how you use your time, and you're not throwing them any shade in the process. All good!

So now what if they object? I can think of one that might have led to this situation:

“But roleplaying is about being able to do anything!”

Yes, sure, but “anything” doesn't always mean that the people in a group are interested in the same “anything”. No one game can contain everything, so you have to pick and choose what your roleplaying “anything” ends up actually being about.

But that's still a misconception I can imagine leading to your present situation, and if so, it might come up and it's good to have a similarly non-judgemental, self-possessed response lined up, just in case. So, another script to use or munge as needed:

Absolutely, roleplaying lets you do anything you want. What we want to choose off the menu of “anything” is just different, that's all. That's okay. Some people like to read or watch heroes being heroes, some people like to read or watch space adventures, and some people like to read or watch stuff with lots of sex in it. Our tastes in roleplaying don't have to match, just like they don't have to match in other entertainments.

So do you have any idea which of you might make a good DM? Or hey, maybe you don't need a DM. It's not actually a necessary job in some roleplaying groups. I can get you some resources‡ for that, if you like.

This responds to the misconception, again without judgement, and then (super-important) redirects the conversation to something that includes moving past this issue, so the conversation stays productively focused on what they want to do next, because you demonstrate that you're already decided about what you are going to do.


* There is an excellent article series on the basic problem of playing completely different games at the same table, how to solve the problem, and a group-discussion tool that's popular to help dodge the problem entirely with new groups (aptly called the Same Page Tool).

† “Sexytimes” is a playful term in my own social circle's idiolect. If it's too unusual for your social group, by all means use a more appropriate term! I chose “sexytimes” because, where I am and for us, it conveys lightheartedness without any suggestion of being mocking or judgemental. Any term that is neutral and light would fit my intentions in these scripts.

‡ i.e., ask us a question to help us help your new-DM friend or your new GMless-roleplaying friends. :)

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for offering a response that is non-judgemental. Bravo and eloquently put. \$\endgroup\$ – Night Owl Mar 11 '18 at 0:50
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First, I support unequivocally your right to set the tone, and to draw and enforce boundaries. Tabletop RPGs being the social games that they are, there is often some give and take on these matters, but this one is pretty basic. This is as basic, if not moreso, than deciding on classic fantasy vs classic science fiction.

Second, polite does not mean passive aggressive. Ending the session, not by ending it but by hiding in the kitchen until everyone leaves is passive aggressive. Cancelling repeatedly last minute is passive aggressive. These are deep into two-wrongs-don't-make-a-right territory.

Third, you had a good notion with making the announcement on how you were going to handle seduction attempts, in two ways: It was good to make the announcement and it was good to follow through on enforcing the "fade to black" technique. This would, in fact, have been similar to one of my suggestions had you not already tried it.

Since you have already told them that this content makes you uncomfortable and that you don't want to participate (i.e., you have explained the "Why" as well as the "What" for the fade to black rules) there doesn't seem much else can be done except to be very explicitly clear that, "This makes me uncomfortable and I do not want it in my game," means, "I will stop running this game if you do this again." And then be willing to follow through.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Jun 28 '18 at 23:42
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SevenSidedDie has a great answer, but I wanted to give you a different approach.

First, if this is your social setting then you may consider giving in. You are out voted after all, and if this were a movie or play then you would end up going to the show you didn't like, because most of your friends wanted to.

Now I suggest this approach for three reasons.

  1. You may find that after your friends get that out of their system, that they move on to a more traditional game. It can be fun to discuss ones fantasies but not at length for several hours every Tuesday. So a few upfront "uncomfortable" sessions could result in a very strong group of friends playing.

  2. You may find that you like that style of play. You should try to keep an open mind, they are your friends after all. You like them for a reason. My point is that once you stop focusing on "It's not what I wanted" you may actually enjoy it. If not you can honestly say "I tried" when you leave that group.

  3. Nothing makes people want to do something more then when it is taboo. Your very response and dislike of the situation may be what they are actually enjoying more then the content of the role play. By shifting to "fine we will try it your way" you may be removing what they find fun about that style of play.

As a bonus, you could end up with some pretty good stories to tell.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It's... interesting. That is the kind of advice that I'd probably give to myself, but would not be comfortable giving to someone else. I kind of want to object to pushing someone to do something they're not comfortable with. \$\endgroup\$ – Ruther Rendommeleigh Nov 5 '18 at 15:37
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I want to echo the other answers: you absolutely have the right to set boundaries on what you feel comfortable.

However! Just in case you are open to the idea of running a game suited to, as SevenSidedDie put it, "sexytimes fantasy roleplaying," I want to suggest that D&D might not be the right ruleset, and I wanted to recommend Fate. Fate is less about simulating, and more about balancing the ups and downs of narrative.

The mechanic I find most interesting about is the heavy use of "Aspects" that help you and your players decide what bad and good things tend to happen. Aspects are short, evocative phrases attached to anything that needs them. The world can have aspects, situations and items can have aspects, and especially characters can have aspects. My go-to example is, if a character is "A Sucker For A Pretty Face" then he can credibly argue that he can get a bonus to resist this punch that should put him down, because his sweetie-of-the-week is watching him and counting on him. But on the other hand, he is also going to find it very difficult to resist taking that drink offered by the Pretty Lady Who Is Definitely Not Poisoning Him.

https://fate-srd.com/

You would want Fate Core, and maybe the Fate Systems Toolkit. Your house rules could be very simple --- just enough to run a simple fantasy setting, but with the details being more focused on how and why the characters sleep with who they do. Or, you could get fancier, and you and your players could develop rule systems so that a Seduction or a Flirtation would have multiple stages, challenges, and consequences. I also think it would be straightforward to start simple, and build complexity as you all got familiar with the game.

Anyway, I got the impression this is not the way that you want to take your gaming night, and it is absolutely your right. But, I also love the heck out of the Fate system, and your story makes me want to go write up some rules and skills for 'Headboards & Hobgoblins' immediately. Good luck with whatever path you and your group take!

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    \$\begingroup\$ seems like more of a recommendation for the other players, leaving the erstwhile DM to find another group. \$\endgroup\$ – can-ned_food Mar 11 '18 at 17:18
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Other answers have covered well that you and your group are playing essentially different games. I want to give an example of how I responded to a player that attempted this a few times.

I too got tired of stopping the game to have one of my friends hitting on every female NPC, which devolves into awkward flirting. Once I was sick of it, next time he tried to sleep with an NPC, I had her take him up to a room, and then he discovered that she was a Succubus (they were in the 4e manual, I think they're still in the 5e manual). Caught in combat with your pants down and no party as backup trained him to be much more cautious in the future, and brought that back under control right away.

Another thought I just had, which I've never tried, is to create some STDs based on diseases in the DMG. Any time they do their thing, make them roll a constitution saving throw and risk permanent consequences for their actions.

Both these approaches let them do what they want to do, but face realistic consequences for doing so, and since there are possible negative consequences the players will be less inclined to take these risks in the future.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is using an in-game answer to an out-of-game problem. It is not unusual for players to feel unfairly treated in these situations, so be careful! I think this answer could be improved if it didn't reference other answers and also included how to solve the problem out-of-game. \$\endgroup\$ – DrPhil Mar 13 '18 at 17:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ I have nothing to say about the out-of-game solutions that wasn't already said. If I tried to repeat it, it would just create clutter on this question. I included it as an alternative approach to all of the other out-of-game discussion. \$\endgroup\$ – Cody Mar 13 '18 at 17:09
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So many options.

Whoops the hot chick you snuck off with is a vampire. Roll verses life drain

Whoops it's a hag under an illusion spell. Roll verses hold spell

Whoops you wake wearing nothing but a smile. All your stuff has been stolen.

Whoops while you're naked and unarmed, the sexy wench's barbarian husband and three of the largest friends kick down the door. Roll surprise.

Won't take too many times before they keep it in their pants......

Just think of a mage thief that makes a living hitting naked men with a teleport spell and walking off with everything.

You could have so much fun when players are predictable.

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If you want an excuse to break up with the group, I'm not interested in helping you with that, you have answers here for that already. I would suggest trying to have one more session and be more aggressive with your DM-ing.

Have a full blown war break out and sweep through the location they are at. Maybe even have the invading army kidnap one or two members of the group to break them up and prevent them from having sex with eachother. It doesn't matter as long as you use your immagination to introduce an aggressive narrative so they have no choice to react to it.

Give them a taste of what you envision the game to be like and give them a chance to have a taste of it. But balance it so they have choices regarding how they want to proceed and solve the problems they are facing. Just try to limit their choices so it fits the narrative. If even after that they try to worm their way back to the sexytime then I suggest breaking up with them.

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Since it is a role playing game, the character's actions should have in game consequences. For example, one of the women they picked up at the tavern happend to be Lady Chastia the Pure daughter of the powerful Barron of the Local Lands. She is betrothed to the jealous Barron of the Lands Adjacent and the liaison has put the alliance between the two Barrons at risk. They have now proclaimed the PCs outlaws in their lands. The story is now their difficult trek out of this area with a very high price on their heads.

Original ^

Edited --

The accepted answer is the best one. The PCs and the DM are playing different games. If they do want to play the same one, the players and the DM are creating the story and the DM is the narrator. The story changes to reflect the outcomes of the player's choices. The actions of the PCs have to have an effect on the game world. It could be as simple as a change of reputation in the town they are using as a base or a change in the stability of the entire region. Even in the scenario of the question, the local NPCs are going to change making the desired actions of the PCs easier or more difficult because of the role playing choices made by the players. It doesn't have to be vindictive, but the DM should be showing that the world changes based on the players' actions.

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Sex is (for many) a part of life and thus, a part of role-playing; however, if you've already noted that you're uncomfortable with it and they still insist, then perhaps you should set very specific boundaries. Say, when it comes to sex, you may do x but not y, c, but not d, etc. Personally I find when people do too much of that stuff, it detracts from the actual game.

How I operate: As in every other aspect of the game, I expect players to put themselves in their character's shoes; to feel their fear, to hunger for food, to lust, to want revenge, to give compassion to the weak, to flee when horrified, to steal what they want, to be cautious when out-numbered, to murder the person that gets in their way etc., whatever happens to fit their character's personality (including alignment). If players are focusing purely on sex and ignoring their other needs and exigencies, then I dock them exp points for not role-playing. Basically, I expect a player to play his character, not himself. Anything else warrants a loss of experience points. That's how I roll.

If your players are horny and can't focus on the game, perhaps they need some alone time before they come over to play.

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Maybe your solution should be in the game, since the problem seems to happen inside the game.

I don't know much about D&D, however, I'm guessing, if everyone is busy getting freaky in the dungeon, there must be a way of getting ahead and using this to your advantage.

I'm thinking it's not only about them indulging in fantasies, I guess that part of their amusement or reward, they get from your reaction.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "I don't know much about D&D" If you don't know much about the system the question is talking about, it is probably better to not answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 12 '18 at 15:34

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