Sunday, 3 March 2013

Let's Read: The AD&D Book of Sex

Art by Psycho Tiyal via WTF, D&D!?
So, I've talked about sexuality in gaming a few times before, and while prepping for my AD&D game, I figured that I might have a laugh downloading the infamous "AD&D Book of Sex" - a netbook of rules and bits and boobs bobs to include sex in your games.


It's about as immature as I imagined, but there are a few stand-out pieces (both positive and negative)...

To start - the act itself. A character can last as many rounds as his Constitution score - after that, they need to start making Constitution checks (with a cumulative penalty) to keep going. Which, to me, seems... a little short. You really have to be some super-tough Adonis to last half an hour in bed? And then, there are the chances of orgasm (only 1 in 10 for women?) However, it does also list bonuses from Dexterity (representing flexibility and "knowing how to use it"), Strength and Charisma (less about looks, more about confidence), which means that even an average Joe has a decent chance to achieve a thoroughly decent innings, and even those with various stat handicaps can still do the Vertical Mambo with some aplomb.

Still - when has it been worth counting exactly how long your character managed to have sex? Most of the time, I handle sex with a "fade to black", and would find players who demanded more information in a friendly social setting to be a little disruptive, not to mention creepy. Then again, should the party Barbarian ever challenge the Bard to a wenching competition, I now know exactly how to adjudicate it. I kinda wish I didn't, but there you go.

The Bitch Rule stands out as a particularly egregious example of the immaturity in the document. Did you ever feel the need to roleplay a character with terrible PMS? Well, now can do so - and add some mechanical support, too! Surely, if you really feel the need to add such a dimension to your character (and, seriously, good luck doing so without hogging the spotlight and engaging in player-baiting behaviour), you could surely do so without having to roll to see just how bad your PMS is? Hell, I know plenty of people who suffer terribly around their time of the month, and I find this just a tad offensive.

There is also an example, from a player of the DM's who used these rules to engage in some rather disruptive bullshit behaviour. Way to prove how cool these rules are, guys.

There is also an extended section on the Seduction Roll - and, surprisingly, it's not bad! It adds various factors to the roll as modifiers and penalties, and gives a nice chance to seduce instead of simply rolling a flat Charisma check. I'd only really use it during a seduction-heavy game (like a high-political game, or maybe a Thieves Guild game, where such actions can affect the future layout of the campaign).

There's a table of sexually transmitted diseases you could catch, and the percentages of a population who are carriers for such diseases (PROTIP: NEVER go screwing in a small, lower-class village. About 40% of the people there have the clap), as well as the strange chance to develop a "sexual madness" - basically, hyper-niche fetishes. I'm... not really sure how one is more likely to catch a "mental" problem from unprotected sex, but there you go.

There's also the Magical STDs section - holy shit what.

"Acidic Secration (sic)- The sexual partner receives 2d8 points of damage on any round (DM's choice) during each sexual encounter."

Dude, a 1st level Commoner can die in like 2 rounds with a housecat. What the fuck is this shit?

"Orgasmatic Polymorph - Upon an orgasm, the inflicted polymorphs into another creature, save those that are noncoporeal, from as small as wren to as large as a hippopotamus. Furthermore the victim gains its physical mode of locomotion and breathing as well. No system shock is required. This affect does not give the new form's other abilities, nor does it run the risk of changing personality and mentality. The duration of the polymorph is 1 turn per constitution point."


"Kursk, we need to cross this chasm, but we have no way to fly across!"
"Don't worry, Dallara - I have visited the Brothel of Many Things, and left with a new gift..." *unzips*


And, for those times when a player really needs to know exactly what the hooker he picked up is like, the document includes a Random Prostitute Generator!

It's a bit more in depth than that - it includes stats, weight and height, available "services"...

The new spells are a mixed bag. Some might see some use, or make for particularly flavoursome choices (pardon the pun). But there's a few which are somewhat dubious...

Sex Change - "The DM must make sure the victim of the spell acts in the manner appropriate to the sex. If not, then the spell doesn't really seem powerful."

So, you have to make sure the player plays to the basest stereotypes of their new gender? The Barbarian now has to feel broody and worry about breaking her nails? The Wizard must lech on every female in sight, now that she's a he? Don't like.

Mordenkainen's Lubrication, Know Sexual Preference, and Sterility as Cantrips are all fine by me, and might just make it into my games.

Power Word: Castrate - what is this I don't even... why?

There are quite a few spells which are marked "Kiss of X", which are basically touch-range spells with a little more oomph than those of a similar level (balanced out by having to get really up close and personal with the target). These are fine, and could be a cool addition to a Bard's Spell List.

But the one which really, really freaks me out?

Summon Cissaldan (Conjuration/Summoning) 

(As in Harlan Ellison's short "How's the Night Life On Cissalda?")

Level: 9
Range: 30 yards
Components: V, S
Duration: Special
Casting Time: 9
Area of Effect: None
Saving Throw: None

The casting of this spell will cause an interdimensional connection between the world of the spell caster and the alternate world of the Cissaldans. The utterance of this spell attracts one Cissaldan which will come through the connection and attack whomever the spell caster directs the spell against. The recipient has an immediate desire to "do a disgusting thing with a disgusting thing" and will fall upon the Cissaldan with much vigor. The recipient will not be able to do or say anything else since his or her complete concentration is centered on the Cissaldan. The two will continue to copulate until the recipient dies of starvation. There is no known way of separating someone (or something since the Cissaldans do not discriminate in any way) from a Cissaldan until the recipient dies. After the death of the spell recipient, the Cissaldan will return to the world from which it came. Cissaldans are described as having two penises, two vaginas, and are physically "disgusting" to look at. They, however, love to make love so to speak, and can physically adapt to any sexual physiology.

EWWWWWW! Man, I knew that Ellison was a total pervert, but maaaaaaaaaaaan that's nasty... and what purpose would this spell serve that a little Finger of Death wouldn't, in a far less disgusting way? I mean, no save is pretty good, but... ew.

Now, onto "Magic Items Your Mom Wouldn't Approve Of", a list that varies between useful and offensive quicker than Bernard Manning with an engineering degree.

The Lipsticks of the Houri grant those Kiss of X spells, anywhere between 5 and 30 times (5 applications, 1d6 kisses per application). Pretty good, for between 1000-9000gp. I can see these showing up for that Bard I mentioned earlier... or being back-planted into 1E, where they had a Houri Class (which was also pretty cool).

The Ring of the Bulls gives you a massive knob.

    Die Roll   Ring Type           Effect
      1-5      Calf                Add 1/3 of the size
      6-9      Young               Add 1/2 of the size
     10-11     Bull                Double the size
      12       THE BEAST           Triple the size     <- dangerous
For some reason, the little arrow makes me think it's a hand-written note by some amateur mage who passed out from blood loss the first time he tried it...

The various items against pregnancy (including a Ring of Protection that... doesn't go on your finger) are decent - I would include them as flavour in most campaigns (like Pathfinder's Gentleman's Snuff).

Then there's the Sword of Castration, which is like a Voral Sword... only not. The Underwear of Chastity, bane of all Bards, is your standard magical chastity belt. Fairly sure I can find a use for that in any game.

After that, we get to the Houri Kit for Wizards - with another new special rule for seduction, and a few negatives. A nice little Kit, though I would see it as a better option for Bards than Wizards, but hey - horses for courses and all that.

Then, there's the full prostitute generator, and a list of ways to stat up a brothel (including a nice sample House of Ill Repute), a list of  "Sexy Monsters" for other sources, and a table to roll on to see what kind of porn you find raiding a humanoid's lodgings. None of which I would personally use, but there you go.

To finish off, there's a handful of weak adventure ideas, and a pair of  "happy" (in the sense of a Happy Ending) and "touching" (in the sense of BAD TOUCH) tales from sexy games the writer had run before.

All in - I've found a handful (if that) of redeemable features, most of which wouldn't require anywhere near as much detail as this guy seems to want to go into.

All in, the e-book is a 4 out of 10 - could try harder.


  1. Yes, it really was that bad and immature! I saw this back in the old 2E days when it was out - ye gods! Still, it wasn't the first to broach these - I shall never forget the first Rolemaster Companion and its rules for pregnancy and giving birth - Traveller eat your heart out for dying pre-chargen!

    As for the Kiss of X and lipstick stuff, that was just pinched from White Dwarf's Houri class from 1E. A lot would be useful for a bard, anti-paladin, or similar character. 3.5E has nifty Beguilers, too.

    Kudos for braving the cesspit of this book!

  2. Niallllllllllll..... remember the Isle of the Earthshaker campaign you were a female Paladin in? Guess you didn't notice me rolling on the bitch table every time someone interacted with your character's High Priestess the first time anyone interacted with her on a given day....

    And as for Merithina. Houri. Totally. Though no-one picked up on her use of the various Kiss spells because of how I used them.

    Me: "Oh, dashing one-eyed Bard, you're were wounded saving me. Thank you." Merithina places a chaste kiss upon your cheek before bouncing away happily, casting an adoring smile and a grateful glance over her shoulder as she returns to her brooding bodyguard, Bombatta. The big guy gives you an evil look, and seem's none to pleased! For some reason, whether it's the kiss, Bombatta's reaction, or a bit of both, you're wounds don't seem to be bothering you as much. It's a wonder what a kiss from a grateful, pretty young girl can do, isn't it?

    (At which point I noted down that Ali's Bard character has six more hit-points than he thought he had)

  3. Oh, here's an example of how I kept the books influence on/presence in the game subtle:

    Me: "Oh, warrior, you're were wounded saving me from that awful place. Thank you." Merithina places a chaste kiss upon your cheek before bouncing away happily, casting an adoring smile and a grateful glance over her shoulder as she returns to her brooding bodyguard, Bombatta. The big guy gives you an evil look, and seem's none to pleased! For some reason, whether it's the kiss, Bombatta's reaction, or a bit of both, you're wounds don't seem to be bothering you as much. It's a wonder what a kiss from a grateful, pretty young girl can do, isn't it?

    (At which point I secretly noted down on my Dm's sheet that Ali's Bard character had six more hit-points than he thought he had)