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Is there such a thing as too much torture?

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From now on when they do torture they're gonna just roll the dice and then we skip to the end.


Not sure that you've solved the real problem here but if it keeps you from sitting alone and playing the latest shoot them all and take their loot video game then it's a win.


I think if they still insist that they are torturing their characters need to be punished for it.  Actions have consequences and that is what role playing is all about.  Ignoring that makes it a shoot and loot video game.

I'll be doing things in response to the torture as part of the story. I didn't want to impose restrictions on the things they can do but they did say they wouldn't do it nearly as much as they have. Now they'll be looking into other alternatives now like bribing or sneaking around to get their info. If they rely on it too much I'll bring it up again because it will get boring obviously.

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Coercion is part of the game, I think you just need to incorporate elements like the information isn't reliable, or the victim leaves out the part about the mine field out front, etc.  


There is torture and then there is sadism.  There are ways to coerce and blackmail info out of prisoners that don't involve cutting them up, that's just sadism.  


In the technology present there are any number of drugs available to them, truth serums and such.  


The Force used in conjunction with probing questions.  


Threats of spreading information to potential adversaries then dumping them on their door step.  


I think if you steer them towards methods that are actually effective, and trip them up with bad information gained from their primitive/sadistic efforts, you'll likely steer them in a direction you can all live with in game.

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I have always disliked the mantra that torture produces false information. Firstly, it's not always true. Torture frequently produces false information, that's not the same thing. People keep holding up this example of someone who doesn't know and just makes up anything in order to stop the pain. But often enough they do know and / or you have easy means of confirming if they're telling the truth or not. Certainly it is unreliable as a means of information gathering - that is beyond dispute. But really it's just playing into the hands of torture advocates who could and would very easily turn round and say "but if there's a 40% chance of finding out where the bomb is, that's still worthwhile". Opponents of torture seize on its unreliability because they think it lets them shoot down their opponents' arguments. It's a "but it doesn't even work" card they are addicted to playing. But I think that's dangerous because all it's really doing is accepting their opponents' terms that it's about whether it works or not. And that's NOT why we oppose it. We aren't rejecting torture because we think it has too low a success rate. We are rejecting it because it is wrong.


There is no reason to accept the torture proponent's own values in order to argue with them. It's a delicious temptation to do so for someone who opposes torture but it's a trap. Torture is wrong because inflicting prolonged suffering on another person is wrong. Of course we get people then proposing the "24 hours to find the bomb" scenarios to justify their case. Something that is usually every bit as contrived as the idea that torture can never yield true information. Could the '24 hour bomb' scenario happen? Sure. Has it? Never to my knowledge. Torture is used routinely in many despotic regimes in order to force confessions, to make people turn in their friends or give evidence against someone they don't wish to or to betray their country or fellow soldiers. I do not believe torture is justified. I don't think abducting any of the people in Guantanamo and near drowning them in the hopes they might have information on their friends or give up suitable locations to bomb was justified. I don't think routine torture of people - including pregnant women - by police in Mexico, is justified. Punishment usually comes after the crime, not as a means to determine guilt.


I oppose torture because it is used on guilty and innocent alike without due process. I oppose it because it is barbaric to inflict such suffering. I oppose it because it is used to take away choice and turn people into informants on their friends, family members and fellow soldiers. I oppose it because I will not inflict pain on someone over and over as a more convenient alternative when other ways to get what I want are too long or difficult for me to bother with. I oppose it because every time I see it, it is a tool for those with power to maintain control over those without.


I refuse to oppose it on the grounds that it isn't efficient enough. The moment I do someone will come up with an argument how it is. And that's not why I detest torture so I'm not going to give them that chance. I understand why so many people grab onto the unreliability of torture to make their case - it's very tempting to think you can just pull the rug out from underneath your opponent's feet. But it's accepting their terms and it can and will come back to bite us if we do that. I don't believe I've ever seen a non-hypothetical justification for torture that satisfies me. I doubt I ever will.


I would not enjoy having my players use it as fun thing to role-play.


Just wanted to note that I wasn't suggesting "torture is wrong because it's inefficient". I mean, torture DOES frequently produce wrong or fraudulent information. If we're talking about real-world politics stuff, then, yes, I agree torture is just bad and I'm opposed to it because it's wrong.


That said, if people in your ROLEPLAYING GAME are using torture because they make a die roll and the NPC tells them where the bad guy is hiding, one solution is to have torture produce false information or phony leads. 



IN ADDITION, if the players are constantly going into detail about how they're torturing NPCs, I would ALSO just tell them "hey guys, this amount of torture is gross to me and doesn't fit with how I'd like to spend my time when playing a game."



I'd say that as a player OR as a GM of a game where that was happening a lot.

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Thanks for all the advice guys. I spoke to my players and they agreed to tone it down. From now on when they do torture they're gonna just roll the dice and then we skip to the end. No more uncomfortable details or role playing to bog down the session.


sounds like a good outcome. as always, communication is the winner!


if you really have to have torture in your game (cause obviously the correct answer to the opening question is "yes, any torture at all."), just rolling the dice is the best way. people who like explicit torture scenes are seriously creepy and, to be quite honest, worrying.


i have to admit, reading the thread i didn't expect that kind of result. makes me wonder why they repeatedly wanted to play out explicit torture scenes in the first place...


and to anyone who is somehow stuck with players who make them uncomfortable in any way while gaming and talking to them hasn't helped (or maybe you are afraid to talk about the issues) - leave. find another group. have no fear, you will find another group! gaming should be fun for everyone involved. that includes you. :)

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