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Wretched: On Edginess and Anti-Heroes

Our games and scenarios, such as Wretched Bastards, Wretched New Flesh, Wretchploitation, and the likes of Sexual Holocaust, The Sisters of the Seven Sins, and Labia: The Strange Case of the Cursed Vagina, have been labelled as “edgy,” and we, as their creators, have been accused of attempting to shock and offend. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. We don’t aim to provoke or upset anyone; we would prefer those who are easily offended to avoid our gaming content.

Furthermore, we’d appreciate it if people stopped trying to cancel us as we do not enjoy being involved in social media outrage or being deplatformed. Are there game designers who fit the bill? Maybe, but that’s not us.

The reason we write and publish these games and scenarios is simple: we enjoy them. There is no political agenda behind our work, nor do we seek to “own the libs.” In fact, we’ve always been on the receiving end of such owning. Our creations are purely a reflection of our interests and passions. These are the kinds of games we enjoy playing, and the scenarios we would be running even if we didn’t have a platform to publish them on. To be clear, there’s nothing overtly outrageous about any of our creations. For example, Sexual Holocaust is a thriller that takes inspiration from Se7en and Hellraiser, The Sisters of the Seven Sins is a combination of an occult mystery and a heist, and Labia: The Strange Case of the Cursed Vagina is only edgy in terms of its cover art. We are fans of horror, exploitation movies, spaghetti westerns, and the cheesy science fiction and fantasy films of the 1980s, and our gaming content reflects those interests.  We don’t create games and scenarios to shock or offend anyone. Instead, we create what we enjoy playing and hope others who share our interests will enjoy them as well. You can certainly use the Wretchedverse to be “edgy”. It allows you to push the envelop as much as you want to without breaking the game. But you may also play Wretched because you like the style of fiction it emulates and the kind of characters that are its protagonists. Now about anti-heroes…

For decades, tabletop role-playing games have provided players with the chance to create their own distinctive characters and embark on epic adventures. Even though a large part of gaming involves slaughtering adversaries and taking their possessions, most player characters are doing it for the “greater good”, or whatever the fancy explanation is. Well, we actually believe anti-heroes stand out as the best choice for role-playing game protagonists. These characters do not conform to traditional heroic archetypes and may engage in morally questionable actions or have ambiguous motives. However, as seen in popular fiction examples like Casablanca’s Rick Blaine, and Star Wars’ Han Solo, among many others, anti-heroes can still end up doing the right thing, even if their reasons are not entirely noble. The Wretched game allows players to embody amoral, debased, untrustworthy, lecherous scoundrels, but it also gives the option to play as cynical veterans. These characters may not believe in fighting for ideals, and they may even scoff at young, idealistic individuals. However, they have their own moral code, even if it is complex and convoluted.

So let’s expand a bit on some of the examples from fiction. Rick Blaine, portrayed by Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, exemplifies the anti-hero archetype. A cynical and world-weary nightclub owner, Rick initially tries to remain neutral amidst the political turmoil of World War II. But when reunited with his former lover and asked to help her husband, a Resistance leader, escape from the Nazis, Rick puts his life on the line to help them. Though he was initially motivated by self-interest, Rick ultimately rises to the occasion. Why? Not because he wants to go down in History by staying on the “right side” of it, or because he was eager to “punch some Nazis”, but because that’s how the character is. Captain Alatriste, the protagonist of Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s Spanish historical novel series, is a swashbuckling soldier for hire in 17th century Spain. Despite engaging in morally dubious activities, Alatriste adheres to a strict code of honour. He ultimately defends the innocent and fights for justice because he is compelled to do it. He doesn’t want to save the world, he is following his own moral compass. Lee, played by Robert Vaughn in the original Magnificent Seven film, is a flawed and haunted gunslinger struggling with a crisis of confidence. Initially reluctant to aid the farmers being terrorized by bandits, he ends up joining the other gunslingers and he dies in the middle of nowhere. Lastly, Cowboy, played by George Peppard in Battle Beyond the Stars, is a space mercenary initially motivated solely by money. But as he grows more familiar with the local population and learns about their plight, he chooses to fight for their freedom, dying for a cause he didn’t quite understand.

Whether you decide to play a Wretchedverse RPG because you like portraying anti-hero characters or because you share our interest for certain movie genres or even because you really want to take a break from knights in shining armour and just play a bastard once in a while, there’s no need to be (or to feel) “edgy”.

4 thoughts on “Wretched: On Edginess and Anti-Heroes

  1. Ok, maybe I have more number one publisher, but you are there in my Heart, atop of it. First I became confused, depressed suddenly after realized you had disappeared from Drivethru. I love your games, art, style. I have not tried them yet, but sure will do, the opportunity will come. Now I am glad and grateful.
    I wish you the best!

    1. We are aware that our ban from Drivethru might become a very, very big problem, as part of those who purchased (or were planning on purchasing) Wretched products may never find us again. I’m glad you did! Spread the word if possible, WE’RE STILL ALIVE! 😉

  2. I shared you here and there 😁
    I like the idea, creating antihero characters and during play give them the chance to grow in soul or falling. Great opportunity to make conflict and drama.

    1. Thanks for sharing and I hope get the chance to try Wretched one of these days.

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