When the makers of action RPG-meets-dating simulator Boyfriend Dungeon announced they would translate their game of smoochable swords and woo-worthy weapons to the tabletop, I assumed that romance, flirting and sexual situations would be part and parcel - along with all the potential pitfalls.
Kitfox Games has said otherwise in an email to Dicebreaker, explaining that the video game developer, along with tabletop designer Maso Perez, decided early on in the process to omit explicit rules dictating romance and sex. Instead of creating Romance Moves for each of the six general Weapon types (by the way: the players portray living weapons with extremely attractive human forms), Boyfriend Dungeon TTRPG: Life On the Edge concerns itself with a flavour of roleplay divorced from the bedroom.
“The game makes no assumptions about the relationships between players and their characters and leaves it up to the groups to decide on,” Perez said. “The book itself regularly encourages Session 0 and to clear all themes and elements with the whole group, not just the MC (Master of Ceremonies) with specific players.
Boyfriend Dungeon’s tabletop adaptation is still in active development ahead of a digital release next month via Steam. The team said they will likely recommend some of the more popular and robust safety tools within the text - the X Card, Lines and Veils, and Monte Cook’s Consent in Gaming by Sean K. Reynolds and Shanna Germain were specifically mentioned.
“We are still exploring what we can do to improve the communication around the subject of safe play, so as Maso said, it could look like a curated recommendation of existing safety tools and resources to help players with establishing healthy boundaries for roleplaying,” Kitfox Games said. “But from a design perspective, players can experience the roleplaying in this game without needing to engage in any romantic or sexual aspects (which is true to the original video game as well).”
Questions and concerns on handling romance in roleplay have likely existed as long as people have gathered to tell collaborative stories, but only recently have publishers and designers reckoned with who owes responsibility for keeping everyone safe as they enjoy fantastic worlds and stories. You can decide how Kitfox Games measures up when Boyfriend Dungeon TTRPG: Life On the Edge publishes its digital core rulebook, character sheets and a 5-page mini-quest on Steam in December 2023.