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What's wrong with carnal pleasures?


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#1 Lord Ork

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 09:10 PM

Sometimes, I am as concerned as surprised about the view that many RPGs have about sex and its pleasure. Many times while regular standard sex isn't specially bad, people that indulge in orgies, polygamy or strong sexual instincts are depicted as evil or at least, twisted.

Many examples exist, but the other day I read "Shades of Grey". In a section it offers "good" counterparts to evil chaos examples. Like a honourable warrior countering a berzeker killer. A perseverant person countering the nurgle's abomination,...

Then, I was atonished by the following text:

>Slaanesh is the God of hedonism and excess. But this is true in all things, not just carnal pleasures. Those who desire to indulge in the finest culinary delights, the most beautiful artworks, even the most sensual clothing, could all be amongst Slaanesh’s disciples.

It seems to say that not all Slaanesh followers are evil, because not all are centered on sex. So, I understand, carnal pleasures are worse than culinary, clothing or arts. Why?

I understand there are several examples in which sex indulgence can be bad. Two main cases:

a) Sex obsession is so intense that it keeps a person away to other aspects of life. This person can't think about friends, work, health or anything else than "doing it".

b) Sex is done in a way that hurt other people. Like a ****.

But, apart from those cases, I don't see nothing wrong about polygamy or weird sexual practices (concerning consenting adults).

Being a god of excess, it's clear that many times case a and b are frequent on Slaanesh followers. But, isn't the same true for the other supposedly superior pleasures cited?

a) A gourmet, painter or clothes freak can be just as obsessed. These are cases that happen nowadays. In the case of culinary pleasures it can carry several mental and physical diseases.

b) Ok, it's more strange to hurt people on culinary, art or clothing activities... among normal people. I don't think chaotic crazies are above using human flesh as ingredient, sculpture or fabric.

So, I don't really understand what the cited text intented to say. To add more surprised, compare with Khorne text:

> Khorne is the God of bloody slaughter, but he is also the god of martial pride and honour, setting oneself against the most dangerous foes and winning against the odds. A devotee of Khorne is as likely to be an honourable champion in combat as a blood-crazed slaughterer.

Cross this data with slaanesh. A honorable warrior is better than a "perverted". Seriously? Warriors do kill, in an honrable or unhonorable warrior. I don't see how they are respectable individual. Maybe "pervs" sometimes hurt people. But I think it's still better to hurt than to kill.

What are your views? Do you think that my sex views are wrong? Do you think that I have completely misunderstood the article?



#2 Gurkhal

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 10:17 PM

There's nothing wrong with carnal pleasures. Only with the small-minded fools that want to take it away from us.



#3 Mjoellnir

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 12:10 AM

In the RPG The Dark Eye this is explained pretty well. There are 12 gods and their arch-demonic counterparts. Rajah, the goddess of love is responsible for everything people do of their own free will for pleasure. For example sadism is fine as long as the person on the receiving end is a masochist who enjoys it. Her arch-demonic counterpart Belkelel is responsible for everything that is about pleasing yourself at the expense of others like ****, etc. That's pretty much where I would put Slaanesh.

I guess with that text they just wanted to get Slaanesh out of the "god of **** and tentacle-porn" corner. That you can have fun without falling to chaos is something the Space Wolves live proudly since 10,000 years. But this is an advertisement for playing servants of the chaos gods so I guess what they meant wasn't that carnal pleasures are bad but that you can play a servant of Slaanesh without ****** every bolter-wound you see, just like you can play a servant of Khorne without beheading everything that bleeds( hahahahahahaha). I still think that it would be smarter to release an RPG for Tau, Eldar or even da Orkz.....



#4 Lynata

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 02:31 AM

Mjoellnir said:

In the RPG The Dark Eye this is explained pretty well. [...]

Hah! Another TDE veteran.

There's also that funny and heretic in-universe theory that Rajah and Bel'kelel are actually two facets of the same deity, though. ;)

 

Mjoellnir said:

I guess with that text they just wanted to get Slaanesh out of the "god of **** and tentacle-porn" corner.

I agree. OP: I think you're reading too much into it, at least in this case. It's just that most people think of sex first when Slaanesh comes to mind - which is quite understandable, given that it remains one of his/her strongest themes, despite all attempts of some authors to point towards other aspects. It seems that the more people focus on that one area, the more compelled others feel to point out the alternatives, showing that "there's more to Slaanesh". Some even go as far as to claim that sex is just a minor aspect, but I would disagree with such notion. We are only human, and carnal pleasures is one of our greatest weaknesses, and the continuing popularity of this one side of Slaanesh amongst the playerbase is proof enough. It makes total sense for a Chaos God to focus on it for the purpose of corrupting the player's characters as well.

That said, it should not be left unmentioned that today's modern western society has a strong "public bias" towards sex as well, which extends into the hobby realm as well. Just look at how they changed the look of the Daemonettes compared to their old style. It is perhaps somewhat ironic and a leftover from the middle ages that violence is far more accepted than sex - a concept propagated and nowadays rejuvenated by numerous conservative religious and political groups, which has led to strong hypocrisy amongst the populace as human nature competes with the individual citizen's public image, resulting in stuff like politicians ranting against moral decline and sex outside marriage in front of the cameras only to visit a hooker afterwards, thus further increasing society's gap between lived pretense and hidden reality. And as this movement seems strongest in the US it affects the gaming community of almost every nation of the western world, either due to most hobby products being imported from there or due to companies "fixing" their products to be compatible to the wider US audience in the hopes of making more money.

Just compare how tame 40k has become compared to, for example, the German books of TDE - given that this has already been mentioned in this thread. Not only do you have detailed descriptions of some of Bel'kelel's daemons and how they, uh, "operate", some of the books even feature drawings of sexual characteristics (secondary more often than primary), and some few novels such as "Blood Roses" can easily be counted amongst erotica. And most notably: these things do not stand out as fanservice or a cheap grab for attention - they are simply a part of the overall world and feel as natural as everything else, receiving the same amount of attention and detail as other aspects. Sadly, in most other franchises currently produced in the western world, sexuality seems to be either non-existent or so obvious it appears juvenile.

That said, as long as we're dealing with pen&paper, we can always "fix" what we deem a flawed concept of false morals impeding a correct depiction of the setting. Just make sure that every player in your group is comfortable (and can deal) with the respective level and type of sexuality you intend to confront them with.


current 40k RPG character: Aura Vashaan, Astromancer Witch-Priestess
previous characters: Captain Elias (Celestial Lions Chapter), Comrade-Trooper Dasha Malenko (1207th Valhallan Ice Warriors), Sister Elana (Order of the Sacred Rose), Leftenant Darion Baylesworth (Rogue Trader Artemisia)

#5 Polaria

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 03:58 AM

Welcome to the great hypocrisy of the Western View of World!

Our culture straight from religion to mass media is tuned to the idea that sex is something filthy or dirty that should be kept under wraps, controlled and limited to pre-agreed forms and practices. At the same time our great cultural establishments increasingly teach us that maiming, killing or even torturing is quite okay, honorable and laudable practices. Especially if it is motivated by revenge, "sense of justice" or patriotism. The fact that this view is also shown in this particular product should not really surprise anyone.

Just think of this for a moment: If US president decides to bomb a country people cheer. If he decides to have quite harmless sexual encounter with someone else people try to get him convicted of it.



#6 vastrix

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 05:13 PM

 Sexuality isn't everything as it states for a follower of Slaanish. I think good examples of people falling to the God of Excess would be in the Horus Heresy, Fulgrim. The Emperor's Children do not go about ****** every wound they see. They find pleasure in exquisite pain that's never been felt before, music that contains so many chaotic complexities that mere mortals would perish from hearing it, paintings created with bodily fluids in colors so bright and garish that mortals would consider tearing out their own eyes. They look upon the world in a constant thirst for new sensations, no matter the cost to others (or themselves). In fact, if you wound a Emperor's Children space marine, they would only feel pleasure. They are some of Slannish's strongest supporters and yet I have not ever read of any space marine even feeling aroused at looking at a woman. The concept seems to be brainwashed (and maybe even biologically) taken from them. I think they go "hey look she's a beauty", but not "I'd like to hit that". It's all about a Brotherhood with their fellow space marines, but in a family sort of fashion instead of "Hey I'd plug that after we kill these few thousand xenos."

 



#7 WatchCaptainGothicus

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 05:48 PM

I agree with Mjoellnir and Lyntata that the developers seem to be primarily attempting to make Slaanesh seem more multifaceted and more than just a god of carnal pleasure, rather than specifically associating carnal pleasures with evil. That has already been done anyway. The association between sensual pleasure and evil is something which already exists in the ideology of the Imperium, which values austerity, despises innovation and creativity, and exalts self-abnegation in the service of the god-emperor. Just look how inhumanly asexual the most devout servants of the Imperium are - space marines and battle sisters are chaste, for purely ideological rather than practical reasons. They reject personal pleasure in favor of suffering and self denial. In this respect the ideology of the Imperium basically embodies all of the worst aspects of medieval Christianity, exalting the metaphysical (god-emperor) above the physical. This disturbing rejection of a fundamental aspect of human existence is just one of the many reasons why Chaos is more human than the inhuman Imperium of Man! 



#8 MKX

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 02:23 AM

The idea for Slaanesh is loosely based in principle on the tale of Melkor, later Morgoth as he was called. Essentially his malign influence came about from his own excessive amounts of pride, envy, lust, greed and wrath which catapulted him into becoming one of the most powerful and corrupting forces in the Silmarillion. Unlike in the Silmarillion, when the other Ainur got jack of his shennanigans and went out and busted his ****... well the WH40K twist on the tale is, they lost.

Not exactly a heroic ending, but you know, couple of trillion dead Eldar isn't a bad start either



#9 Blood Pact

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 03:48 AM

While the Astartes and Soriritas are both very religious organizations, the sexual prohibitions can and surely do have practical reasons behind them just as much as dogmatic.

Most militaries are pretty strict about sexual interaction between members, and I know for a fact that the Canadian Forces does not tolerate fraternization while on base at St. Jean-sur-Richelieu. Doesn't even matter if you're married, they will bounce you if they catch you fooling around.



#10 Andor

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 06:26 AM

Blood Pact said:

While the Astartes and Soriritas are both very religious organizations, the sexual prohibitions can and surely do have practical reasons behind them just as much as dogmatic.

Most militaries are pretty strict about sexual interaction between members, and I know for a fact that the Canadian Forces does not tolerate fraternization while on base at St. Jean-sur-Richelieu. Doesn't even matter if you're married, they will bounce you if they catch you fooling around.

Err.... What? You can't shag your own wife, if you're in the service in Canada? That's a new one on me. Even the US isn't that screwed up. Although there are specific sexual acts that can get you in trouble under the UCMJ, but that's due to an even application of the restrictions targeted against homosexuals, and are likely to go away as soon as the f-ing right wing loonies quit trying to tell the military how to run their private lives.



#11 Blood Pact

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 03:42 PM

No, what I said was that they have a zero tolerance policy for fraternization that takes place on base,if you head in to Montreal on leave you can screw each other silly, they don't care as long as its consensual (plus the usual limitations for soldiers under your command).

It's not just sex either, though I would imagine that's just because St. Jean is the primary training centre and they want to keep everyone's horomones from getting carried away.



#12 Voronesh

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 11:01 PM

Mjoellnir said:

just like you can play a servant of Khorne without beheading everything that bleeds( hahahahahahaha). I still think that it would be smarter to release an RPG for Tau, Eldar or even da Orkz.....

 

What, play a Khornate that doesnt kill everybody including him? Who wishes tro play such a halfbrained Khornate wannabe (muhahahaha).

Yes trying to do a Chaos RPG, and have it appeal to the masses is going to be a strange thing really. The Chaos gods are all made up of the debased emotions of humanity/Eldar etc. after all. It can only be fragged up universe they can conjure.

 

Orkz wpould be the comedic version of 40k.

Tau would be the Star Trek part. Its communistic and technology is still researched in major ways.



#13 Argus Van Het

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Posted 02 May 2011 - 02:15 AM

An eldar player's book... urgh, better limit players to pathfinders or the amount of "seeing the future" will be literally going forever.

Oh, I have nothing for sex in the game... as long as no one protests it, that is, and it doesn't become "Ikea Sex" (insert part A into orifice B, repeat...). Of course, one of my favourite characters back in the day was a Setite vampire in the old World of Darkness. Man, what you can make with Vicissitude and Thaumaturgy...



#14 Blood Pact

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Posted 02 May 2011 - 03:57 AM

Voronesh said:

Tau would be the Star Trek part. Its communistic and technology is still researched in major ways.

It's only Star Trek if you assume they're from the Mirror Mirror universe.



#15 Lyinar

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Posted 02 May 2011 - 04:28 PM

 The way I explained it to the players in my Rogue Trader game is that Slaanesh is the God of EXCESS.  Sex is okay as far as the Imperium is concerned.  Even the Adepta Sororitas aren't actually sworn to celibacy, according to the Ciaphas Cain books, at least.  Also, sexual orientation isn't a big thing.  Even kink is okay in moderation.

The line that gets crossed between acceptable and serving Slaanesh, at least how I'm playing it as a GM, is when you start genuinely harming others for sexual pleasure.  Consensual flogging and such?  Not a problem.  ****, ritual abuse, that kind of thing?  Very much a problem.



#16 Andor

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 03:05 AM

It's worth noting that it's a hallmark of the followers of slaanesh that sensation becomes like a drug to them, and like a drug they become immune to normal levels of sensation, needing an ever bigger dose.

Whereas a normal afficianado of something like wine or art will train their senses so that they can detect and enjoy ever more subtle and nuanced levels of their delight, the followers of Slaanesh are all about intensity.

So while a lover of wine might turn to slaanesh hoping to be gifted with a supernaturally sensative palette, he going to end up drinking Mad Dog 47, Maneschevitz and Nyquil all together and  blended with cocaine and lighter fluid to get his fix.

That's why they all ended up dressing in a mix of color and styles that is repugnant to anyone with even a trace os fashion sense or taste.



#17 Lynata

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 04:38 AM

Lyinar said:

Sex is okay as far as the Imperium is concerned.  Even the Adepta Sororitas aren't actually sworn to celibacy, according to the Ciaphas Cain books, at least.

Those books also suggest that Scholae Progenium are not gender-divided when the Codex clearly says they are, and that it's perfectly okay for a veteran Sister (who is supposed to train the next generation of easily impressionable young zealots) to play cards, get drunk and get laid with random dudes in her spare time when the official fluff is all about a life of, and I quote, "constant hardship, deprivation and arduous work". Sorry, but these novels, whilst probably being a fun read, are crap for the purposes of background...

I believe the issue of sex depends on the planet in question and is a matter of local habits and society standards as well as Ministorum presence/influence. The Church of the Emperor does indeed lack some of the silly rules of the modern day Catholic Church (I have never heard anything about celibacy for clerics, for example), but do keep in mind that it follows the same general theme: HE suffered for your sins, and it is YOUR duty to pay him back with blood and devotion. Also, given that excess carnal pleasures are a popular trademark for one of the four Chaos Gods, I think that a certain level of caution on behalf of the Ministorum (or any puritan worshippers) can be justified, and at places this caution can indeed evolve into paranoia.

As a general rule, I would say that hive and feral worlds are very lax about these matters whereas feudal and shrine worlds follow a more puritan approach. Exceptions will, of course, exist.


current 40k RPG character: Aura Vashaan, Astromancer Witch-Priestess
previous characters: Captain Elias (Celestial Lions Chapter), Comrade-Trooper Dasha Malenko (1207th Valhallan Ice Warriors), Sister Elana (Order of the Sacred Rose), Leftenant Darion Baylesworth (Rogue Trader Artemisia)

#18 Nekros22

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 11:38 AM

Polaria said:

Welcome to the great hypocrisy of the Western View of World!

Our culture straight from religion to mass media is tuned to the idea that sex is something filthy or dirty that should be kept under wraps, controlled and limited to pre-agreed forms and practices. At the same time our great cultural establishments increasingly teach us that maiming, killing or even torturing is quite okay, honorable and laudable practices. Especially if it is motivated by revenge, "sense of justice" or patriotism. The fact that this view is also shown in this particular product should not really surprise anyone.

Just think of this for a moment: If US president decides to bomb a country people cheer. If he decides to have quite harmless sexual encounter with someone else people try to get him convicted of it.

Oh, get over yourself. Guilt by Association is a poor example of objective fact, and judging by your post you're obviously not a fan of Western television. Sex is everywhere in Western society, ESPECIALLY in the United States. You are oversimplifying an entire culture into a black-and-white interpretation born of your own personal viewpoints, none of which have any weight when applied to a larger audience and belief system.

I would no sooner accuse every person in the Middle East of being a radical Islamist than I would every person in the United States of being fat or stupid.

Oh, and it wasn't so much the sex act that got him kicked out, it was that he lied about it.



#19 Captain Harlock

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 12:27 PM

Hiya, just butting in from the rogue trader forums.

I think the whole desexifying of the slaanesh thing is to do with the general direction of the 40k universe as sold by games workshop.

I have a venerable tome of GW's now legendary "Realm of chaos-slaves to Darkness" where khorne and Slannesh were first fleshed out in all their chaotic glory, complete with disturbing images of cavorting beings melding into orgies of mutating spawndom. On the cover of this tome are the immortal words:

SUGGESTED FOR MATURE READERS.

When I got into 40k, Rogue Trader was already morphing into second edition, and the nature of the game universe was changing too. It was becoming less a place of small actions on disparate worlds where humanity led by the immortal emperor and his pschotic marines was clawing itself out of 10000 years of barbarism and more of the grim/dark universe mass battles against slow extinction. The tongue in cheek planets named after breakfast cereals and funny bearded abhumans who will will not speak of (lest the re-release clock gets turned back to zero) went out and in came force organisation charts and strict points values.

While I think the universe now is a lot more intresting than the slightly odd 2000AD/Dune mishmash of the 80's, what GW does suffer is tring to make Grim/Dark more acceptable to parents under 14, lest their parents with massive disposable incomes believe it will corrupt their darlings fragile little minds and not buy them that banebalde they have been asking for. Its a matter of cultural disassosiation with slaanesh which is difficult:

Mindless Slaughter (Khorne)? Well you can get that in GTA.

Rotting puss Monsters?(Nurgle): Well zombies are in...its a bit like haloween

Weird Occult Magic?(Tzeentch): Just harry potter plus....why the chaos champion could be called Hermione the changling dear..isnt that sweet?

Rampant zex orgies with sexual masochism: er...er....

And thats the problem. Theres no real counterpart with slaanesh in popular culture to which prepubescent kids can latch on to. Which is why culinary gourmands and art aesthetes sound so rubbish. What teenanger is going to be interested in a obessed Gordon Ramsey sworn to slaamesh?

Cusriously the better tack for explanation for Slaanesh could have been used...

My first white dwarf (soooolong ago ) was WD 144. In it were the rules and minatures for the first noise marines  (anyone out there remember?)

They were Marines with massive Mowhawks and Sonic blasters shaped like air Guitares. Heavy Metal Rock marines in effect (I think it might have been a tie in with the Heavy metal rockband Bolt-Thrower, one of GW doomed forrays into the realm of music)  I think that is a bit better path to follow ,that Gormand heretics that kids get initially without having the whole sex n'bondage thing.



#20 Kael

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 02:55 PM

Lord Ork said:

Sometimes, I am as concerned as surprised about the view that many RPGs have about sex and its pleasure. Many times while regular standard sex isn't specially bad, people that indulge in orgies, polygamy or strong sexual instincts are depicted as evil or at least, twisted.

Many examples exist, but the other day I read "Shades of Grey". In a section it offers "good" counterparts to evil chaos examples. Like a honourable warrior countering a berzeker killer. A perseverant person countering the nurgle's abomination,...

Then, I was atonished by the following text:

>Slaanesh is the God of hedonism and excess. But this is true in all things, not just carnal pleasures. Those who desire to indulge in the finest culinary delights, the most beautiful artworks, even the most sensual clothing, could all be amongst Slaanesh’s disciples.

It seems to say that not all Slaanesh followers are evil, because not all are centered on sex. So, I understand, carnal pleasures are worse than culinary, clothing or arts. Why?

I understand there are several examples in which sex indulgence can be bad. Two main cases:

a) Sex obsession is so intense that it keeps a person away to other aspects of life. This person can't think about friends, work, health or anything else than "doing it".

b) Sex is done in a way that hurt other people. Like a ****.

But, apart from those cases, I don't see nothing wrong about polygamy or weird sexual practices (concerning consenting adults).

Being a god of excess, it's clear that many times case a and b are frequent on Slaanesh followers. But, isn't the same true for the other supposedly superior pleasures cited?

 

What are your views? Do you think that my sex views are wrong? Do you think that I have completely misunderstood the article?

 

I think a lot of things are being lumped into one broad category that is not the same thing. Things like sex, polygamy and weird sexual pratices are not the same thing as saying carnal pleasures. A carnal pleasure is one that is "of releating to or given to crude bodily pleasures and appeites" (oh how I wish I knew how to copy and paste here).

Thus we aren't talking about sex in general terms. We aren't talking about polygamy. Nothing like that. What we are talking about are sexual pratices that fit the crude part. And thats what Slaanesh does. It's not just sex, but the crude sex. So no it's not saying that not all his followers are not evil because they are not all centered on sex. They do target a spefic kind of sexual acts though that fit his category.

So on the one hand an orgy may not be a bad thing. But an orgy that concludes with a blood sacfrice of the only virgin they brought, yeah that's carnal. Having more than one spouse, not to bad. Having more than one spouce and always keeping them chained to you, that's kinda crude and would be a closer fit for carnal pleasures. 

 

 






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