How Explicit Are Your Sex Scenes? [+AP]

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How Explicit Are Your Sex Scenes? [+AP]
« on: January 27, 2011, 07:19:46 PM »
So, I'm going to ask a couple questions, then follow them up with some AP.

How explicit are the sex scenes, when you play Apocalypse World?
What factors change the level of detail you go into?
Do some players get weirded out? How do you handle that?
What's the sexiest sex scene that's come out of play?
What makes for the most fun sex scenes?

For me, I MC'd a one-shot of Apocalypse World last night, and it had my favourite sex scene that I've yet had in AW.

As background:
The apocalypse happened when the earth rose up and swallowed the cities, fighting back against the humans. Now, some humans attempt to rebuild their concrete fortresses, and some attempt to co-exist with nature. Vega is a hardholder (played by Ben) who's chosen to try and coexist with nature, living in little stilted huts poised over some Florida marshlands.

Vega's taking his wounded friend Barker over to White's hardhold, because they actually have a competent medic over there. Vega's a shrewd character who always seems to be weighing the cost/benefit analysis of things in the back of his mind.

The Scene Prior:
Vega and his (I say his, but Vega's gender was ambigious. Throughout play, Vega seemed to emerge as a concealed/androgynous male)  men approach White's hardhold: a series of big-box stores along a highway. Two of White's snipers appear, guns trained upon Vega's people. Shortly thereafter, a gang of bikers circle Vega's people - White in the lead.

The reason she's called White is readily apparent: she steps off a white bike, removes her white helmet, and calmly walks over. She looks incredibly sexy in that white leather outfit.

White's all about ostentatious shows of power, even though she's keen and calculating beneath the surface. She's not going to heal Vega's buddy for free - she demands a hefty tribute of those psychedelic mushrooms from the marshlands, as well as some bodies for the slave trade (which she refers to, rather coldly, as "units"). Alright. The deal is struck. White points her gun (painted white, of course) skyward, and fires off a couple rounds to "seal the deal."

The Sex Scene:
After making sure Barker is attended to, Vega asks to speak with White privately. White's definitely willing to oblige him. She leads them into a small meeting room (about the size of a walk-in closet). She's got her back to the door, and places her hand on the wall next to Vega, leaning in towards him. She's taller than he is, more confident than he is, and more assertive than he is.

Vega suggests that White's in a position to offer his holding some protection, but Ben intones this in such a way as to imply that White has personal power over him. Ben glances at the Hardholder's special move. We're of one mind about this.

White gives him a half smirk, leaning one shoulder in closer coyly. "What, a big thing like you needs a little girl like me to protect you?" I reiterate the fact that White is taller than Vega now, hoping to stress that White is turned on by power differentials.

Vega says something else about her holding's might, again with the double entendres that suggest to White that she could take him at any moment. White kicks the door shut behind her, without looking. With the hand that she had placed next to Vega's head, she takes out her gun. She holds it in the narrow space between them for a second, before placing its hilt (and her fist) on his shoulder, snub barrel pointed at the wall he's leaning on.

She says something, taunting and playful, but also deeply predatory. He gives some form of consent, and it's clear they're not negotiating a protection racket anymore. They're deciding how rough its going to be when White pins Vega to the floor.

This is my favourite part: with the gun next to Vega's ear, still, White fires a shot into the wooden wall behind him. "Vega, she's testing you here. She's testing whether or not you can handle the heat." Ben has to roll to keep it together, to see if he's man enough for a woman like White. He rolls a 7-9, and I offer him an ugly choice: "if you don't flinch away, that shot is going to deafen you." Vega wants White more than he's ever wanted anything. And so he resists the urge to flinch.

"You experience the aural equivalent of blinding white light. But the rest of your senses don't care. And this is when she takes you."

The three of us at the table are smiling, pleased at this scene. "What's your sex move?" We deal with interpreting the hardholder's 1 free barter thing, and then I skip over the actual sex and pick back up with:

"White stands up first, gets dressed first, and walks back to the door first. As she does so, she points her gun skyward and fires off another shot - her little way of 'sealing the deal,' remember? But - you can't hear the shot, and it's then the the flush leaves your face and you realize that your hearing is absolutely, 100% gone."

---

I was pleased with this level of detail. I don't know if it translates to the screen or not, but we were all in agreement that the scene was sexy and good. I'm glad we didn't narrate the actual sex, as narrating sex is kind of like narrating parkour: nearly impossible to translate that sort of action and retain what's cool about it. The gunshot next to Vega's ear was my favourite moment in the game. White was my favourite NPC - a flashy, predatory, cold-as-ice badass.

So, yeah. That's my answer to a bunch of those questions up top. How about you?

Re: How Explicit Are Your Sex Scenes? [+AP]
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2011, 08:22:50 PM »
That's about the level of detail we've had in our play. Lots of flirting, maybe a little foreplay, fade to black for the main event.

That said, it'd be interesting to add custom moves that provoked more detail. Hard to do without being tacky though.

In my game "Dungeonfuckers" (which has a lot in common with AW), the moves are "When you fuck someone" and "When you are fucked by someone" which I think provokes a little more detail than "When you have sex", but not much. I'm trying to write advanced moves which call for more specifics, but it's hard to do.

Maybe "When you cross a boundary" and "When you're pushed further than you're comfortable" would be good to add as extentions to "Fuck" and "Get fucked".

That's all about the subject matter of Dungeonfuckers though, which is about power and gender and sex.

Re: How Explicit Are Your Sex Scenes? [+AP]
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2011, 02:19:16 AM »
Great scene.

Ours are usually like that, too. I'm always willing to keep going for the actual event, but everyone's eyes get wider and wider and I concede and fade to black.

Also, I can narrate parkour. :)

*

Chris

  • 342
Re: How Explicit Are Your Sex Scenes? [+AP]
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2011, 11:23:50 AM »
Yeah, my experience with this has been pretty consistent: the more mixed the sexual orientation of the group, the more explicit the sex scenes. For my all male, all straight Apocalypse World group, it's much as Joe has stated; we narrate the lead in, we narrate the lead out, the middle is left unsaid. Sometimes, I try to cut actual description short in that group, as when it does become more explicit, it tends to become a joke. "Oh, yeah, I'm giving it to her SO hard!" Blah, blah.

However, my Monsterhearts one-shot, consisting of myself as MC and three women, two of whom are dating, the game bordered at times on erotica while still having a serious tone. We're also much better friends than the AW group and everyone was comfortable with each other. It's wasn't like a sexual thing at the table level, where we're giving heavy-lidded looks at each other or anything, though. We described it out to the level you'd see on the first season of True Blood. In other words, there was a lot of description of breasts and other such human extremities and intremities, but still not a moment by moment scientific breakdown.

It's weird, because I started to write out a longer breakdown of the MH game, but I'm more uncomfortable on here than I was at the table, which is a departure from my usual gaming group of all males. Hmmmm.
A player of mine playing a gunlugger - "So now that I took infinite knives, I'm setting up a knife store." Me - "....what?" Him - "Yeah, I figure with no overhead, I'm gonna make a pretty nice profit." Me - "......"

Re: How Explicit Are Your Sex Scenes? [+AP]
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2011, 05:31:24 PM »
It's funny, the sex moves are 100% not working for us. We have a Driver (actively punished by his move), a Hardholder (gives shit away in a quartet with no quid pro quo), a Battlebabe (worse than nothing) and an ugly Brainer who occasionally has ugly brain sex with NPCs. So not a lot of sexin' going on.

Re: How Explicit Are Your Sex Scenes? [+AP]
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2011, 06:30:46 PM »
Man, the Driver sex move is just about the most fun move in the whole game. If it looks like punishment, that is really not the playbook for you.

Re: How Explicit Are Your Sex Scenes? [+AP]
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2011, 06:37:37 PM »
Jason, that does sound like a disappointingly sex negative cast, there.

The Driver and the Battlebabe both have "clever" sex moves. They do clever things, and they communicate a bunch of things about who these characters are. But only one of them is fun in play.

The Driver's sex move is fun, because it takes play in a direction. The Battlebabe's sex move is not fun, because it shuts down directions without providing new ones. I mean, sure, you can have already seduced someone to get what you want, and not have to suffer consequences for those actions now... but that's a before thing, not an after thing.

In the moment that the Battlebabe's sex move happens, it shuts down momentum. Lame!

The Driver is penalized, but it's a flavourful penalized that prompts new story. So, awesome if the player can get behind that.

Re: How Explicit Are Your Sex Scenes? [+AP]
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2011, 07:31:16 PM »
The game I MC'ed last fall had a couple intimate relationships, but not much on-camera sex RP.   It was typically either fade to black, terse ("...and then we fuck.  Afterwards..."), or "color" involving just NPCs.

We just kicked off a new game yesterday.  One of the characters is a Maestro'D whose establishment is basically sex, drugs and rock and roll.  I'm playing one of his dancers, a hot-headed Skinner who thinks sex is the best weapon in his arsenal, and is busy trying to tie strings on everybody.  It's already a lot more explicit than the last game; we'll see where it goes.  I don't want to squick anybody out, but I also get a real kick out of playing up the Hot moves.

It's funny how much easier it is for me to describe how someone's brains got bashed out than how they got fucked out.

ETA: and I find the Battlebabe move kind of disappointing, too.  Makes perfect sense for the concept, but doesn't spawn any narrative possibilities. 

Re: How Explicit Are Your Sex Scenes? [+AP]
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2011, 07:34:01 PM »
I gotta agree with Harper on the Driver Special.  I love that.


Unfortunately I have to agree with mcdaldno also.  I like the idea of the Battlebabe and what the Special move says about her, but in actual play it hasn't quite jived.  I'm hopeful that it will push players to reimagine their Battlebabes, but best case scenario is still that it makes sex less interesting.  Anyone got a more positive angle to that?


(In the spirit of the thread: our actual play has involved mostly fading to black.  Sometimes a few details about a loving caress in the shower or something gets included  Still, by the time actual intercourse is going on, the camera is no where around.)

Re: How Explicit Are Your Sex Scenes? [+AP]
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2011, 07:56:50 PM »
Unfortunately I have to agree with mcdaldno also.  I like the idea of the Battlebabe and what the Special move says about her, but in actual play it hasn't quite jived.  I'm hopeful that it will push players to reimagine their Battlebabes, but best case scenario is still that it makes sex less interesting.  Anyone got a more positive angle to that?

Yeah, I just made a more positive angle up.

Battlebabe Special
When you have sex with someone, you can temporarily change their special move to one of the other playbooks'. The effect only lasts while you're having sex.


When you're a battlebabe, you decide what sex means. "Sex means making you dependent on me," or "sex means we both feel good," or "sex means I get inside your head," or whatever you want it to mean.

I'm going to take this special idea to its own thread.

*

Chris

  • 342
Re: How Explicit Are Your Sex Scenes? [+AP]
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2011, 08:48:33 PM »
It's funny, the sex moves are 100% not working for us.

This is interesting to me. In this context, what does "not working" mean? And what would "working" mean?
A player of mine playing a gunlugger - "So now that I took infinite knives, I'm setting up a knife store." Me - "....what?" Him - "Yeah, I figure with no overhead, I'm gonna make a pretty nice profit." Me - "......"

Re: How Explicit Are Your Sex Scenes? [+AP]
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2011, 09:12:52 PM »
I disagree with the Battlebabe-bashing.

The Battlebabe's sex move is the absence of limits, both incentives and disincentives. You fuck whoever, however, wherever you want and no, it's not whatever you want it to mean, it means whatever you can make it mean. The playbook doesn't construct your character's sex life, you do. And shit ain't free.

So, turning John's statement on the Driver's sex move around, if you find the Battlebabe's sex move boring... then, uhh, maybe that playbook's not for you?

When Adam's character asked my Battlebabe to look after his daughter, I took her home and made her my girlfriend. Sex scenes were skipped over, we described the presents I bought for her more than anything else. I tried to leave her at home a few times when I went into danger, because I'd opened the seduce/manipulate move but hadn't rolled 12+ against her yet, but she wouldn't stand for that, which made me worried. Especially since she accidentally shot a dude when Amy's character was trying to teach her to use a gun. Point is, though, everything surrounding the sex was constructed by me and Daniel, the MC, through roleplaying. The only rules that influenced the relationship were me trying to use the seduce/manipulate move on her so I could roll 12+ and make her my ally, because my Battlebabe actually cared about her and didn't want to get her killed.

We didn't need a special move to tell us how it all went down because we had a story going on. Not that I think the sex moves are bad -- having limits and incentives is good. But it's also good having a character whose sex life is all colour, no mechanics, and that's the Battlebabe.

Re: How Explicit Are Your Sex Scenes? [+AP]
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2011, 10:11:32 PM »
I am fully in agreement with Johnstone.

Playing a Battlebabe, I find that the sex move is fully relevant to what he chooses to do. Have sex, don't have sex - it's totally down to what he wants to do.

In contrast, my Savvyhead has (so far) been a wholly asexual character despite having a move that gives him an incentive to get in the sack with people.

On the original topic, the game I am playing in is the one Simon C MCs, so he's already answered for that one. I also MC another game, in which we have a similar closing of the curtains when things start getting hot and heavy - probably we close the curtains a little sooner in that game, but the general pattern is the same.

Re: How Explicit Are Your Sex Scenes? [+AP]
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2011, 07:36:08 AM »
It's not so much that the Battlebabe gets no mechanical effect from sex that makes it less interesting, but that it nullifies the other playbook's moves.  It's especially egregious in a small group: in a game with just a Battlebabe and a character whose move gets triggered only by other PCs, nobody has a sex move.

I haven't played the game that much yet, so it's a toybox filled with shiny new things I want to play with.  I have as little interest in something that eliminates the sex moves as I would something that eliminates opening one's brain.  One day I will become jaded by it all, and then I will play a Battlebabe. 

Re: How Explicit Are Your Sex Scenes? [+AP]
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2011, 05:01:00 PM »
Sure, I can see that being annoying in a two-player game. In that instance, I think PC-only sex moves is something you need to take into account, and maybe discuss a bit, when you make characters.

But nullifying the other character's move isn't something separate from not having a sex move. Most PCs don't want to fuck the Brainer or the Driver because it has a tendency to go south afterwards (quite badly sometimes: my Brainer has Merciless, so 1 in 6 times he has sex, his partner takes 2-harm, or 50/50 death for NPCs!). The Battlebabe doesn't care about those disincentives either. Sure, maybe you're like John and you WANT to get screwed by the Driver's special. But the Battlebabe is supposed to be either untouchable or irritating at all times. So if you don't want the other player to be either untouchable or irritating at all times, ask them to choose a different playbook.

For a two-player game especially, would you prefer if the Battlebabe has the choice of whether to nullify the other PCs special or not? Do you think that would make a significant different in your game(s)?