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The No-Romo Tavern: Aromantic D&D talk thread

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Greetings, Adventurers!

I realized when I was reading through the Aromantic Moments thread (and posting one of my stories) that this might be a nice thread to have, and I couldn't find one that already existed. There seem to be a good number of other people who play around here, and I'm interested in hearing how people's aromantic/aspec/etc identity affects their game and characters.

As for me, I'm aro and ace and I've realized recently that it definitely affects how I run the game, especially in the light of handling some of my players. I DM for a pretty allo party, and among the characters at my table I have a Swashbuckler that might as well be a stereotypical bard and a Barbarian who came with "lecherous" as one of her flaws (although thankfully that almost never gets activated, because the player doesn't bring it up and neither do I). I used to have a Sorcerer whose player had the stated goal of acquiring a girlfriend as part of his character arc, which was weird for a number of reasons but... irl stuff happened and I removed him from my game and brought Barbarian in from the group I used to play with instead.

When I'm a player, which isn't often, I never go for flirty/seductive characters... I mean, seriously, the first character I really got into playing was a Shardmind. And since then everything I make tends to turn into a tree/bird that just wants friends and adventures, regardless of the system.

[I'm starting to think I need to actually come out to my players, but since I'm running everything online now because... well, obvious reasons plus I moved and now live on the other side of an ocean from most of them... I haven't found a good moment or reason to do it.]

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Oh yeah a mood, fortunately I've mainly DM'd for groups of aro people (I have an aro d&d server with varying levels of activity) and in other groups I've always been out, but yeah that can be challenging.  I once had a play-by-post game where then it ended up basically revolving around one player and their npc romantic partner roleplaying a lot so I ended up really disliking that game, and had conflict when there were vague plans for another pbp where I expressed concerns bc that kind of excessive focus on romantic stuff caused me a lot of romance repulsion and made me feel alienated from the game....and they completely disrespected my romance repulsion and made me feel unwelcome.  Apparently, some people feel they are entitled to roleplaying romance in their d&d.

 

You could also express discomfort with players about roleplaying romantic stuff without actually coming out? and like, possibly establish level of comfort (such as maybe saying yeah this happens vs. having to actually roleplay it out).

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2 hours ago, Magni said:

You could also express discomfort with players about roleplaying romantic stuff without actually coming out? and like, possibly establish level of comfort (such as maybe saying yeah this happens vs. having to actually roleplay it out).

Yeah, if it comes up again I may do that with them. The other piece of the story here is that I've been running this campaign for the same group of people for three years now, and most of the awkward romance-toned stuff happened a lot earlier on... and I've only been fully aware of the words for my identity for a month.  [but I do want them to know eventually because I want to be openly me to the world, if that makes sense?] 

I think one of my favorite parts of being DM is that I can set the standards for "this is a safe space for us to have fun, if something is pushing your real-life buttons, tell me and we'll adjust accordingly". Granted, I had a couple of... uncomfortable experiences? with the group I was with when I first started playing, so I'm probably a bit more sensitive about that than a lot of people?

And you're right, any time a game gets focused around one player's romance for an extended period of time, it's really alienating. I was a player in a different game with some of the same people for a while and I'm pretty sure my characters in that were the only ones who didn't have a love interest plot going on... and I never did understand why all of the other players were so keen on the romance aspect of it. (... yeah, that's definitely an "Aro sign", isn't it?)

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I'm interested in trying D&D sometime, when my plate is not as full. I'm playing Expanse RPG at the moment and some of the players talk about their D&D experience which makes me curious to try it. It seems like a better game system than Expanse to be honest 😄

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4 hours ago, Holmbo said:

when my plate is not as full.

yeah, this is the problem I find with a lot of RPGs, long campains that tend to need a lot of time to prepare and multiple weeks to run. 

My way around it has been avoiding DnD style stuff and playing around with some far shorter, simpler RPG systems. For avoiding romance I do like laser kittens, the game uses a hand of cards for each player rather than rolling dice and whether you can perform an action lands on a simple bet between you and the person running the story, very easy to do as a one night run even if coming in no-one else had heard of the game.

I know some people really like the complexity that something like DnD offers with so many options and competing rolls but I find it often just leads to one round of combat taking a needlessly long time. Also before you even start you have character design which can be tonnes of work in itself.

5 hours ago, Holmbo said:

It seems like a better game system than Expanse to be honest

I have only played one expanse campaign and that as a player, but to be honest I would agree that DnD beats it if you want a serious, long running campaign. Expanse was good fun but I think suffered from being a fairly recent release. Not sure how it is now but when I played it I don't remember using expansions and some parts of the world, especially the ships, felt threadbare. DnD just has far more years of expanding and tinkering to make a more elegant set of rules. It also of course has far more material for a GM to design a campaign around.

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Ohh yes, I would certainly say my being aroace effects how I rp. when writing for novel projects, or other non-rp fiction, I can write allo characters and sometimes even minor romance, but I only really feel comfortable role-playing aro characters, and when I DM romance isn't part of the plot. I don't really like other characters flirting with me too much. I played 1 game with strangers for a while that didn't get romantic at all but had some innuendo that made me mildly uncomfortable in one or two very short instances, but it wasn't much of a problem. Otherwise, I've played with my friend group who all know I'm aro and care about respecting everyone's boundaries and stuff, so it's been only good times with them. I'm not currently in an active d&d game right now though. I'm playing Masks instead, which is for teen superheroes, and having a lot of fun with it.

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I don't want the likes of romance, coupledom or marriage with my characters. Not even as a backstory and certainly not as any kind of plot requirement.
Nor would I be comfortable with a party who were mostly coupled.
Anything sexual I'm fine with.
 

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@roboticanary do you have tips for other simpler RPGs? I might want to try playing with my friend sometime. She said she'd like to try RPG but I don't really want to have to set up some complicated story.

 

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@Holmbo, honestly I am still fairly amature at running these simpler RPGs so dont have that much to advise you, and I have no idea what style of story you want. but here's a little ramble which might give you a few ideas.

If you want to avoid setting up a complicated story these are a few i have played or gm'd. as I mentioned, laser kittens is a good example of this. Also I have a soft spot for lasers and feelings, basically it has a game rules and setup that lasts 1 page, so can easily be prepared quick, however it has a tendency to become too romantic for my tastes, which will be obvious why if you have a quick look at those rules. quest has a couple of good one shot ideas and only using one dice keeps setup fast. one last one I recommend is goblin quest just because it is amusing to watch people die a lot. it is childishly simple compared to other rpgs but is good fun, also can be done without a gm which is quite cool.

the thing i have found with setting up stories is that plotting out the campaign is the short bit. the bit that takes time is to fit the encounters into the rules. I have ran 1 custom dnd campaign and the thing that kept taking time was that any character was needing a set of stats for combat in case my idiots tried to fight them. picking reasonable enemies, rewards, all that for just one encounter massively upped the prep time. I ran basically the same story with a different group doing fate accelerated ruleset and the prep was far faster. (didnt work great unfortunately, fate is built for a less combat focused idea than dnd so i wasnt too happy with that story). if you want something that lets you create a story similar to what  then either quest or a fate based system is a good option.

Now these are in a completely different league to a long running dnd campaign, but if your friend just wants to try an rpg then this could be a good way to just get her, you and a couple of other people together for one night and play something fun without having to expect you to do the complex setup (also importantly, she doesn't get frontloaded with hours of rule reading and character creation which often puts people off getting into rpgs).

Since you have played expanse before one other option is to use the modern age ruleset (what expanse is based on). this is a longer setup than what i have described above but since you have some familiarity with the rules that would speed up the campaign design.

(sidenote, i have found each rule book for what i have mentioned here for free in some way or another, although that may not always be true)

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