[Feedback] Some of the writing/dialogue (options) feel sexist (CW: R*pe)


This feedback pertains to the writing in the base Grim Dawn game and Ashes of Malmouth expansion.

This deals specifically with instances of sexism that I don’t feel is justified by diegetic structural sexism. (I think a lot can be said about the diegetic structural sexism and how non-diegetic, real world sexism influences the writing and creation of Grim Dawn’s universe lore and its culture, but I digress.)

This rant isn’t meant to be entirely serious. It’s funny! but also funny in a terribly stupid way.

I have two specific cases that feel sexist in this outsized fashion:

  1. Daila Thornsbury in Mourndale. Severity: mild. A dialogue option allows the player to ask something like “Oh, you left your husband! Is he gonna be okay?” which prompts some dialogue. This really makes me think of the sexist trope of women being treated as writing (or IRL) accessories to men. Like, I don’t give a shit about her husband.

That said, I mostly think Daila as a character largely is meant to serve as a foil to other sexist tropes.

On the other hand, I think it’s a non-trivial question to ask if this dialogue option would have been included as a choice at all if this character was a man. I feel like the answer to that is “no”, so I’ve decided this is has a severity of “mild.”

(This was the first time that I felt as if there was outsized, non-diegetic sexism in the game.)

  1. Can’t Leave Them quest Act 6 quest, Birthing Success lore note. Severity: “what the fuck, I’m going to the forums to post about this”.

So the lore note of Birthing Success and the lore surrounding it all feels like an absolute trainwreck. Actually, it’s even worse: this note reads like an 18+ rape breeder kink fan fiction premise. Link to the album with the text: https://imgur.com/a/UjHVq7z

When I picked up this lore note in-game, the “Breeding Success” title immediately made me double-take. Cuz it reads like the title of a… fan fic. I hadn’t seen anything as badly skewed in Grim Dawn yet, so I was hoping for the best, but, really, I think I already knew in that moment that this lore note was doomed.

And it was. Holy shit, this is fucking cursed.

I don’t mean in a “wow this is really gross body horror” kind of way, I mean in more of a “wow, this is really fucking stupid writing and a cheap trope to boot.” As far as sexist tropes go in Grim Dawn, this has got to be the fucking worst (or best) example of it – the most egregious offender. I’m not offended by the content. I’m offended by how stupid this shit is.

I’m saying that this is a shitty, cheap writing trope and that the moment I read the first line and “human female specimen,” I was already gagging and cringing. The rest of the lore note was just finishing the business. I had read enough already.

This was the moment that totally destroyed my immersion in the game and any thoughts of “nice, Grim Dawn’s writing isn’t egregiously sexist.” It was the moment that made me ask myself and my partner, “what the fuck? Did only men work on the writing in this game? Would a woman have written this lore note?”

So I went and checked if there were any women employed as a writer at Crate Entertainment for Grim Dawn’s production, and, lo and behold, I didn’t see any (as far as I can tell based on name gendering (hoho, muh hypocrisy using existing sexist gender stereotypes to gender these names)).

Which explains a lot actually! Or maybe it doesn’t!

Warning: This is now going to devolve into even stupider shit.

I’m bewildered because this text uses a very dehumanizing, sexist trope of “women as reproductive labour.” It’s outsized and egregious because there’s virtually never any reason for (fictional) mass rape other than misogyny and sexist. And it’s even worse in the context of the established lore for Grim Dawn – there is no diegetic reason for the Aetherials to pull this stunt.

Aetherials don’t specifically need humans for flesh farming. So what possible reason could the Aetherials have for specifically capturing human womb-havers and NOT sperm-havers? Did the Aetherials have magic conjured sperm? How come they didn’t have magic wombs then? How come the Aetherials didn’t just double their overall flesh production by turning to male impregnation? Why are these Aetherials, well-established as being diabolic, ingenius fleshwarpers/mad scientists exclusively keeping women for breeding, and not also men?


Anyway, the point is: there’s no excuse. This was just some shitty writing that I can ONLY imagine with my pearly smooth brain that some guys wrote this, decided “okay, it’s good, ship it”, and just totally missed just how sexist this specific side quest and lore note are.

And it was so fucking bad I had to come here to rant and joke about it.

Like, reading this shit makes me ask: “Would women write about their own bodies this way in an intentionally serious, grimdark fantasy setting?” It also makes me ask, “Where is the mpreg (male pregnancy)?” And another question: “How often does whoever wrote this think or write about their own body in a way that exists solely to be used for reproductive purpose and rape?”

So. The funny part of this topic is mpreg. The serious part of this topic is “this is sexist writing 100%.” For the sake of my sanity, please consider hiring an independent professional writer on your team or something to review and check for outrageous crap like this. Get someone who’s not a fucking dude to look through these scripts. Or at least this lore note specifically. Please, just please, don’t write this into another game. I mean, or do, I guess. It’s just really obviously really sexist and I honestly don’t know how this game shipped with that in there.


just include mpreg next time. See: if “Breeding Success” was like “we made the human female specimens AND the human male specimens part of our fpreg mpreg meat factory”, I wouldn’t even be here. I’d be laughing and then killing the next boss. I wouldn’t even be here.

“Breeding Success” and “Can’t Leave Them” aren’t fucked up because “ohno body horror, Aetherials evil.” It’s fucked up because “some guy literally consciously made the decision to fucking write this into a relatively popular video game and now I’m concerned.” It wasn’t remotely necessarily. It was excessive and sexist and bizarre even in a diegetic context.

TL;DR “Breeding Success” and “Can’t Leave Them” are some seriously bizarre and fucked up sexist rape fantasy shit. Don’t do that.

Yeah. I’m not seeing anything wrong here.

Says who, exactly? I didn’t realize that you had been elected to call the shots on what and what not gets to be written about.


What’s up with all that political nonsense lately? Did some senator mention GD as some sort of “destructive material” or something?

You should be aware that GD isn’t the first to touch that subject. Moreover, I suspect it’s inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s “The shadow over Innsmouth”, where the people were forced to breed with “fishmen”. That’s kinda fucked up right? But it was written almost 100 years ago! But somehow you’re not yelling “this shit is disgusting and mistreats women” or some such nonsense.

Geez, so much whiners nowadays.

Yeah, and one more thing: for whatever reason you’re missing that during wars thousand and millions of MEN die, almost exclusively. What, cat got your tongue?


While political correctness can be a pain, I don’t think it necessarily is the case here:
Lore wise there indeed is a plot whole - How can the aetherials breed humans when they only do horrible things to female reproductive organs? OP has got a point here.
I think, not only p. correctness but also lore dictates the aetherials to also rape male citizens for this specific project.
What’s TBD about it now, idk. Let’s keep it in mind for gd2.

This is the best troll post I’ve seen here, congrats!


Please focus in this discussion on writing and continuity and how sensitive matters can be explored in fiction. Let’s try to be constructive and welcome @catboygirl.

If you feel triggered by the OP, please remember our Etiquette - especially:

They kinda do? It’s clear that they prefer human hosts and human flesh. Also, there are not a lot of other “meat sources” other than humans in a city like Malmouth.

Because they are not interested in making healthy babies. They are using women and their wombs to grow meat. What’s coming out of them at the end of “birthing process” is not human at all.
Also, they are not done with their research. It’s just the beginning. Once they fully figure out the process, they’ll surely use all “flesh” available for their farms - be it women, men, children or even other species.

Excuse for what? That otherworldly, ruthless monsters with ability to freely manipulate human flesh (and mind) beyond recognition don’t need human males to grow monstrosities inside of human women?

Also this is just their contingency plan and their first “meat factory” prototype. I’m sure they’ll soon figure out how to make artificial wombs to grow more meat and in the process to make them they’ll surely use bodies of women and men equally.

Impregnation doesn’t equal sexual intercourse. You are just assuming stuff, while lore says nothing about it.
There is zero sexuality, sexism or “rape fantasy shit”, because those concepts are unknown to aetherials or they don’t care about them. All humans are “specimen” for them - some are used as hosts, some are better suited to make flesh hulks and some were used in birthing experiments.

There’s no “rape fantasy” in this, unless you consider “impregnation against will” a rape. But I don’t think “rape” is a correct word here since it implies sexual intercourse and I doubt aetherials would be interested in that when they can just manipulate flesh with their will…
It’s more like somebody would kidnap a woman and perform in-vitro on her… except with magic and to grow a monstrosity instead of a human baby. Is it a rape? Maybe for the lack of a better word.

They don’t breed humans, they use women to grow flesh/monsters inside of them. What’s coming out of those women is no human at all.
Why they are doing it? Because humans are a finite resource. They’ll eventually kill all of them so they need contingency plan if that ever happens. Also, element of surprise in the war with humans is already gone and the war will slow down so there will be less and less “meat” available.
They will need a lot more hosts and flesh, because war with the humans is not even their main goal. They are harvesting humans so they can fight their real enemies - Chthonians.

But don’t worry - they’ll surely use males too, once they fully figure out the process. It’s an ongoing research and they just figured out how to grow something inside of women’s womb. Once they’re done, they’ll use all human bodies available to create their meat farms. More “fortunate” specimen will be kept alive to breed with other humans to create more hosts for aetherial’s elites.


Not sure if serious or trolling… :eyes:

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Xbox player influx.

She IS the cat image


would you believe that once upon a time, the game were so sexist that female characters were actually weaker than male; because they didn’t attack with both hands?
you have no idea how deeply rooted the sexism in grim dawn goes, it took like an entire brigade of 4th feminist corp picketing outside Crate’s office for weeks, just to get them to incl female characters fighting on equal terms and strength of the male characters



And yet here they are, prevailing as the default gender in the character creation screen.

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I’m dying lmao :rofl:


@catboygirl What do you think about players being stuck with genders assigned upon character’s creation unless they decide to undergo an illegal operation in GDStash?


Can i just mention the sheer irony of Crate being called SJW a few days ago by someone because the default gender in the character creation screen is female, only for a few days later being called sexist because their game has evil aliens doing dehumanizing things to women (and men mind you)? It’s just too funny.


Politically correct libs brahh.

It’s all the fault of the xbox community, zantai please close this.


No no… keep it open.


Dear god, did anybody ever rant like this against Dragon Age Origins? Because like. That game had basically the exact same horror-based premise with darkspawn capturing women to, you know. Breed. It’s not even a new trope in writing, or an “impregnation fantasy” or some shit.

I’m pretty intolerant of actual sexism and trust me this is NOT it.

This has to be a troll.

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This statement alone demonstrates what I mean about the lack of thought and care put into the lore for this specific note, or the sexist nature of the writing. There is a critical lack of awareness of how the very idea might be deeply upsetting or how the very idea might only have been conceived by a male writer (or some other writer who is writing from the lens of “women are wombs”). There’s no way you can come up something like this unless you don’t feel like your body and your bodily autonomy are on the line, or that you simply don’t care.

Whether or not there is a diegetic reason is actually irrelevant, because the subject matter alone is disgusting and incredibly one-sided. I could go through each and every one of your potential diegetic justifications but it’s beside the point.

The point is that this is the kind of thing someone can only write when they’re a man or otherwise uninvested in bodily autonomy and it’s totally immersion breaking. I’m no longer experiencing a video game, I’m suddenly experiencing a writer naked in their biases. It’s an ugly and unpleasant sight.

There was no point in including this lore segment. It didn’t advance the story, it didn’t advance the plot, it didn’t establish or reinforce anything I didn’t already know. This lore segment could simply not have existed and I would not have noticed or complained. As a viewer, I wouldn’t have thought “wow the writing in this game sure isn’t breeder-rape-kink-y enough” if this hasn’t been in the game. It doesn’t serve any purpose except to serve as a red flag for whoever wrote or worked on this.

It was also jarringly unexpected. I didn’t need this, I didn’t want this. I already knew the Aetherials are bad guys. They stitch together children ffs. Having had the pleasure of having played the game without knowing this was an in-game lore, I can easily say I enjoyed this game more prior to having experienced the lore’s existence.

I literally would feel embarrassed if a woman knew I had to read this. If I had written this outside the context of a breeder rape kink fan fic, I would die of embarrassment if a female colleague or friend read this. If I was writing a flesh factory lore piece, I wouldn’t have even fucking thought of this. Maybe it’s because I’m not a man, or maybe it’s because I don’t see women as wombs before people.

If I wrote this lore fragment, I would rather burn or delete it before anyone, much less anyone with a womb or a woman, could have read it.

If you wrote this, would you show it to your wife, girlfriend, mother, sister, aunt, niece, colleagues, coworkers, or (even adult) daughter?

I wouldn’t fucking do that in a million fucking years because that would expose a part of me that would creep them out, zero doubt, and irrevocably. That part of a person can be called sexism. It can be called “I only view women and womb-havers in a reproductive capacity.”

The very idea of using women solely in a reproductive capacity and then WRITING THAT AND SHIPPING THAT I can only imagine as having been conceived by an ignorant man. Or someone with a kink that they HAVE to share.

Between these two hypothetical writers, I would judge the video game writer who wrote and shipped this. I would not judge the fan fic author whatsoever.

If I had to choose between reading this out loud in public or read a breeder rape kink fantasy fan fic outloud in public, I would 100% read the fan fic and not the GD lore.

Simple question: what would you choose? Imagine that. You either have to read out loud this GD lore or a breeder rape fantasy kink fan fic. And then you have to explain it. Contextualize it.

One of them requires the explanation “it’s just a kink fan fic.” Oh, okay. No one cares. It’s just someone’s uniquely weird but ultimately harmless kink. Anyone can have that.

The other requires justification. Who in their right mind would write this in so many words this thing that is essentially just a throwaway side quest flavour text?

Reading “Breeding Success” is an unwelcome and unpleasant reminder that there are indeed some people who think of other humans not as people but as a walking womb.

Few days ago there was topic how Grim Dawn is woke. Now topic about being sexist. Make up your mind people! :roll_eyes: