Gender and RPGs

Pages

AuthorTopic: Gender and RPGs
Shaper
Member # 7420
Profile Homepage #25
For me it depends on how much I have to do to get the full experience. If there is no discernible difference between the sexes and it doesn't effect gameplay at all, I'll go male because I'm male. If you can choose multiple characters, I'll go 50-50, like what I do in Avernum (I also make sure to get one of each race as well for all the dialogue options) and what I did in World of Warcraft (a female ended up becoming my main in WoW completely by accident).

If I need to play the game through twice because it is an RPG with a 'good guy' ending and a 'bad guy' ending, I will usually play evil with the female, because bad girls are hot, and male as a good guy because male heros are simply more believable to me, given how much fighting in involved in games like these.

With Fallout I had to do a good guy male, a bad guy male, and a bad guy female, because the evil female experience was totally different given all the sexual encounters in that game (no good guy female because you simply don't have as much sex when you're a good guy).

--------------------
You lose.
Posts: 2156 | Registered: Thursday, August 24 2006 07:00
Guardian
Member # 6670
Profile Homepage #26
(This sort of became a rant on roleplaying in CRPGs in general, not just on sex and gender in the games. As such, it probably doesn't really belong here. Meh, take it as thou wilt.)

I see two separate approaches to roleplaying when it comes to CRPGs: narrow and deep, and shallow and wide. With the first, the player is assigned a character with a predetermined personality from the get go. With these types of games, I don't mind roleplaying, because I know all the content in the game will be based on that character. Of course, it's up to the developers to make sure the character is actually compelling, and that a wide range of people would actually buy the game to play that character. Not that many CRPGs go this route, though other genres have this quite a bit.

With the other approach - wide but shallow - players are given free reign when it comes to their characters personality and background (though they usually start out as farmers - ugh). Most CRPGs go this route. But since there's such a large number of possible builds, the developers cannot make the game a deep roleplaying experience. It's not really their fault, it's a fundamental limitation. Until AI progresses significantly, you're not going to be able to generate compelling on-the-fly content like a live GM can.

With these types of games, I rarely roleplay, for two reasons. First, open-ended CRPGs usually have a ham-fisted approach to 'roleplaying'. In the D&D based games, this always takes the form of Good versus Evil choices and Law versus Chaos choices. With this model, you're not playing roles - you're playing stereotypes. Apparently, Good characters always turn down quest rewards, while Evil characters gleefully slit any NPCs throat given the chance, even if there's no real motivation for doing so. The problem isn't with D&D choice of axises, but with the fact that no rigid system can completely capture everything. Take Avernum's reputation system for example. Does a low reputation mean that the party hasn't done anything yet, or that the party has done both heroic and heinous deeds?

The second reason why I rarely roleplay in those CRPGs is that it doesn't make a difference anyway. Nethergate-style games are few and far between - most developers don't want to restrict access to game content based on character choices more that absolutely necessary. Typically, your character is only given a roleplaying choice at the end of every quest (usually when you decide what to do with the boss), but rarely at the beginning or during the quest. Your character's personality ceases to affect gameplay. If that's the case, why bother expending effort creating a personality? Why make your character a different sex (or gender, for that matter), if it will never come up anyway?

--------------------
Another great idea from the people who brought you beeeeer milkshakes!
- Confidence (Red Dwarf)
Posts: 1509 | Registered: Tuesday, January 10 2006 08:00
Apprentice
Member # 17415
Profile #27
Personally my parties in Avernum are 3 males and 1 female, but I depict them after the Golden Sun party for some reason, leaving my no choice if I want it to be accurate.

And in Genefore I always play as an Agent/Infiltrator, so that of course makes my character a woman.

As far as sharing more in common with my character, that doesn't really matter to me unless I'm playing an actual table-top RPG.

And finally sexism will always exist, in one form or another.
I've had family members (female) who have had to deal with sexism a lot, living in El Paso, Texas probably didn't help though.
And I've known many people (males) who have been attacked (verbally and physically) by overzealous feminists.

The only thing we can do to solve this problem (and this is in a loose since of the word solve) is simply to not take part in sexism, and acknowledge that humanity is not capable of fixing it's many, many problems.

--------------------
It's a lonely thing floating out on the sea.
Posts: 14 | Registered: Monday, April 28 2008 07:00
Raven v. Writing Desk
Member # 261
Profile Homepage #28
Physically attacked by overzealous feminists? There's a really good story there. (That, or a really bad exaggeration.)

--------------------
Slarty vs. DeskDesk vs. SlartyTimeline of ErmarianG4 Strategy Central
"Slartucker is going to have a cow when he hears about this," Synergy said.
Posts: 3560 | Registered: Wednesday, November 7 2001 08:00
? Man, ? Amazing
Member # 5755
Profile #29
This topic intrigues me, as it seems to dance around a central issue without actually touching it. Sexism, and some of the other big -isms, all deal with stereotypes, but concentrate on the negative aspects thereof. There is absolutely nothing wrong with admitting that women, in general, are different than men. Some of the ways are superficial, some are not.

The trouble comes when blanket statements are made. Like, all women are weaker then men. Hah! Even more subversive are extrapolations, like women (since women give birth) are better caregivers then men. Or men are better soldiers than women. None of these is always true, or even mostly true. They are just an easy way to categorize people, and not persons. It would be far better to say that Mary, Sally, Nellie, and Steve are pretty weak, while John, Stefan, Michelle, and Sarah are fairly strong.

RPGs are essentially products that are marketed to a target audience. There is no escaping the commercialism of that, since it is what drives people to create. Vogel needs shelter, food, water, and warmth in order to care for himself and his family. Creating a marketable product gives him access to those things. He does a decent job of skirting around the various problems of sexism, by creating NPCs that are not standard gender roles. Female mayors and leaders, female soldiers. A lot of male shopkeepers, and the occasional husband wife team which puts the husband doing heavy work, and the wife doing light work. It would be interesting to have NPCs which occasionally traded tasks, but that level of minutiae in game development is likely to not pay off in additional sales, or maybe even get noticed. I mean, if every third visit to the lizard tender had him over at the healer, and his wife tending the lizards, would anyone notice?
quote:
By Zorro:
You know, we've come a long way from the old days of RPGs with blatant misogyny. In case you're too young to remember, the first edition AD&D game codified in the rules that women were weaker.

I remember playing DnD and then Ad&d and thinking how odd it was that portraits were so ... magnificent. Now it is obvious that it was marketing. The game text wasn't so sexist.
quote:
From First Edition rules, AD&D
Strength is a measure of muscle, endurance, and stamina combined. For purposes of relating this ability to some reality, assume that a character with a strngth of 3 is able to lift a maximum of 30 lbs weight above his or her head in a military press, while a character with 18 strength will be able to press 180 lbs in the same manner. ... Furthermore, fighters with an 18 strength are entitled to ... determine exceptional strength. This exceptional strength increases damage done and hit probability, and the weight a character can carry, as well as ability to force a door.

18/01-50 Maximum strength possible for human female (or gnome male)
18/00 Maximum human strength.

So, unless you are a fighter, males and females are of equal strength. There is a nod to exceptional strength in males being greater than that of females. This is real. But AD&D is not some deep well of stereotypes that has produced several generations of computer games filled with sexism.

That honor belongs to the creator of Conan, and the times in which he lived.

--------------------
Synergy, et al - "I don't get it."

Argon - "I'm at a loss for words..."
Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
Shaper
Member # 3442
Profile Homepage #30
I like playing as Shapers. Adrogyny for the win!
Other times, I really don't care. I can play as a female just as easily as I can a male. I even, on rare occasions, flit between the two (although I have done that less than 30 times in three months).

--------------------
Nikki's Nook - a heart on a string that's about to be cut.
Posts: 2864 | Registered: Monday, September 8 2003 07:00
Raven v. Writing Desk
Member # 261
Profile Homepage #31
Admittedly, the chances of actually rolling an 18 for Strength in AD&D are 1 in 192. The problem really is not AD&D, it's the AD&D computer games and the many other CRPGs that were influenced by them. The Gold Box games gave you the option to modify your PC's stats (ostensibly to match those of pencil and paper characters you had) and as the games were fairly challenging, most players just maxed the stats out. The difference between 18/50 and 18/00 was fairly significant -- something like +2 to damage and +2 to THAC0, IIRC -- and females had no advantages. So you basically HAD to make all your fighters men. In some of the games, such as Pool of Radiance (the best one), there was almost no reason to have any character *not* be a fighter or a multiclassed fighter. So to have the best party, you couldn't have any women.

Salmon, I think your argument would be more believable if there was ANY part of the AD&D rules that gave a similar statistical restriction to male characters. There are plenty of differences between the sexes that are just as "real" and justifiable. But the only included differences limited female characters.

Really, while we're being "real," let's discuss a female restriction WAY more relevant to the adventuring lifestyle, as it affects more than 1 in 192 women: menstruation! But I don't remember any rules dealing with combat modifiers for that... "This is real" would be a decent excuse if it were applied consistently, or even frequently. It wasn't.

[ Thursday, May 01, 2008 13:17: Message edited by: Slarty ]

--------------------
Slarty vs. DeskDesk vs. SlartyTimeline of ErmarianG4 Strategy Central
"Slartucker is going to have a cow when he hears about this," Synergy said.
Posts: 3560 | Registered: Wednesday, November 7 2001 08:00
Shaper
Member # 3442
Profile Homepage #32
quote:
Originally written by Slarty:

Really, while we're being "real," let's discuss a female restriction WAY more relevant to the adventuring lifestyle, as it affects more than 1 in 216 women: menstruation! But I don't remember any rules dealing with combat modifiers for that... "This is real" would be a decent excuse if it were applied consistently, or even frequently. It wasn't.
Would that increase damage, like a berserk rage? Or, I know! It could turn monsters to stone with an evil look!

(I apologise unreservedly.)

[ Thursday, May 01, 2008 13:19: Message edited by: Just Nikki. ]

--------------------
Nikki's Nook - a heart on a string that's about to be cut.
Posts: 2864 | Registered: Monday, September 8 2003 07:00
? Man, ? Amazing
Member # 5755
Profile #33
I have dim recollections of playing Pools, so I'll take your word on it. But really, other than physical muscle mass, what are the differences in the 6 characteristics between men and women? I don't recall seeing that either is smarter, wiser, or more dexterous. Zorro was talking about the AD&D First Edition rules, which I own, not a computer game based off of them. So, I do stand by my statement. I do not believe that any woman is capable of the feats of strength found in the tasks of the world's strongest.
Feel free to correct me. :)

--------------------
Synergy, et al - "I don't get it."

Argon - "I'm at a loss for words..."
Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 9906
Profile Homepage #34
quote:
Most have a timid but kind-hearted female character who casts healing spells and falls in love with the main character, who is a super-cool warrior, male of course. Typically, one of the female characters will get kidnapped and the main character (male) will rush out to rescue her.

Oh god, don't get me started on FFX

quote:
Blizzard always did make wise decisions like that.
Yep, Kerrigan, the self proclaimed "***** of the universe", you smack that stereotype on her, and she impales you on her bladed wings.
Then, she eats you.

But I agree on the homo-sexual beings in RPGs, preferably the main character, (female or male) It would lead to different plot results, rather than the old "I am skinny and weak, protect me". Heck, for me, its the opposite way around, there are these huge well-stocked girls and these little itty-bitty male toothpicks.

Someday, I dream of a kick-ass swordmaster lesbo, who has drawn the attraction of a small, little teenage boy, then rejects it and continues the clee-she love plot, and of course the end of the game smooch.

Now if there were heterosexuals..........

--------------------
Jim, the end of the world is here, the Xel'Naga have returned -Zeratul in Starcraft 2 trailer
I will rule this sector or see it burnt around me! -Arcturus Mengsk
We have cared for Auir and you people, even when you shun us for rejecting the Khala - Zeratul
No matter what name I have, people can call me Xel
Pylons!
Posts: 301 | Registered: Tuesday, August 21 2007 07:00
Raven v. Writing Desk
Member # 261
Profile Homepage #35
I have yet to see any CRPG that allows your male character to lift weights often enough to attain the kind of muscle you need for that stuff. Wait, lifting weights? What's that? With a standard level of RPG technology, NOBODY would be that buff. Just how much are you supposed to be able to lift with 18/00 strength, anyway?

[ Thursday, May 01, 2008 14:10: Message edited by: Slarty ]

--------------------
Slarty vs. DeskDesk vs. SlartyTimeline of ErmarianG4 Strategy Central
"Slartucker is going to have a cow when he hears about this," Synergy said.
Posts: 3560 | Registered: Wednesday, November 7 2001 08:00
? Man, ? Amazing
Member # 5755
Profile #36
First Edition rules state that a strength of 18 means 180 lbs in a military press. 18/00 is the same. Apparently, that means exceptional strength fighters are better able to use their strength, much like a trained cage fighter is better able to use that strength when compared against someone not trained to kill.

I think it boils down to perception. Anyone can find any fault they want in practically anything. I don't see, in the 1st edition rules, the misogyny that is seen by Zorro. Maybe having lived around women that don't play gender roles (or games) my entire life has created a me which isn't sensitized because it isn't part of my reality. I think it is kind of queer that fantasy artists place such an emphasis on EMPHASIZING characteristics. They give the women and men giant boobs, tiny waists, huge swords, and all of this is just caricature. I mean, how many people bought into the Norman-Gor milieu for real? That's just crazy.

--------------------
Synergy, et al - "I don't get it."

Argon - "I'm at a loss for words..."
Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 6785
Profile #37
AD&D 1st edition rules had male characters being stronger and female characters having higher charisma (being prettier and using that to influence NPCs) limits. I don't have the books out, but each point of strength added something like 10 pounds of carrying capacity. For 18+ strengths t it was the to hit/damage that became significant since 18/00 was +3 to hit and +6 damage as opposed to +1/+3 for 18/50.

There was some justification that the extremes were in favor of men, but since most people wanted to max out their characters, they would have to play males for fighters. Knights of the Dinner Table had a female player running a male fighter because she was tired of that happening.

Edit to correct to Jumpin' Salmon's number.

[ Thursday, May 01, 2008 14:35: Message edited by: Randomizer ]
Posts: 4643 | Registered: Friday, February 10 2006 08:00
Raven v. Writing Desk
Member # 261
Profile Homepage #38
Salmon, there's no way 18 and 18/00 were treated the same for questions of weight lifting/carrying/whatever.

--------------------
Slarty vs. DeskDesk vs. SlartyTimeline of ErmarianG4 Strategy Central
"Slartucker is going to have a cow when he hears about this," Synergy said.
Posts: 3560 | Registered: Wednesday, November 7 2001 08:00
? Man, ? Amazing
Member # 5755
Profile #39
Randomizer - there are no limits on charisma other than racial, and those limits are only vs non-same races.

Yes Slarty. A 00 exceptional strength means +3,000 weight allowance. But the 50 means +1,000. Open doors is essentially the same, but Bend Bars jumps from 25% to 40%. Given that exceptional human males in real life are, in fact, stronger than exceptional human females, this seems to be a decent representation.

Are you really just complaining because of how DMs would use the structure? It seems odd, really, to blame the system when in reality it is the Monty Haul mindset which creates the problem.

--------------------
Synergy, et al - "I don't get it."

Argon - "I'm at a loss for words..."
Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
Raven v. Writing Desk
Member # 261
Profile Homepage #40
The post I was going to make is being replaced by "Hey! Everyone! Go play Pool of Radiance already!" because that's a much more productive post.

P.S. You should go play it. That game was awesome.

--------------------
Slarty vs. DeskDesk vs. SlartyTimeline of ErmarianG4 Strategy Central
"Slartucker is going to have a cow when he hears about this," Synergy said.
Posts: 3560 | Registered: Wednesday, November 7 2001 08:00
Apprentice
Member # 14311
Profile #41
quote:
Originally written by TobyLinn:

Personally I have no problem playing a male either, it's sorta like an alter ego....I play Warbook on Facebook sometimes and I referred to my character as "he" once. That was funny.
i do the same thing, in fact i tend to make my mages females, because i've always heard that women are more in tune with nature, and that's how i view magic...natural. I wish that we really could live in a world so rife with mysteriousness and power, ripe for discovery.

ahhh, to live in a carefree world, to wake up in the morning with the fresh tang of sweet fresh air, to smell the mountain dew, and then spend the day exploring...

--------------------
you will submit to my will...MindDuel!
Posts: 32 | Registered: Tuesday, February 19 2008 08:00
Apprentice
Member # 14311
Profile #42
quote:
Originally written by A sudodragon:

quote:
Originally written by Archmage Alex:

Personally, I like to actually role play my characters, and it's harder to really connect with the character and get into the game when the character is the opposite gender.
I've found anecdotally that many roleplayers tend to play a variation or caricature of themselves when playing a character of the same gender. Playing one of the opposite gender creates a detachment that actually leads to more "authentic" roleplaying because less identification means the player is more likely to make the character behave as the character, not as himself or herself.

—Alorael, who on the other hand has a history of roleplaying characters of the same genders precisely to get that self-projection. There is a different kind of fun in portraying a form of "Me, but with a huge sword and able to shoot fireballs, heal the sick, and fly!"

This is the precise reason i love games in which there are multiple party membersthat you create, because then YOU are te one with the sword and fireball, and then that woman that is sometimes your alter ego can be there too, amd other characters that are all having their own personalities. Like the female halfling wizard i play in d and d, which is as far as you can get from a big guy. Little girl way different than hulking brock! hehe

sorry for the double post, but i dunno how to quote two different people in one post.
of spmeone could tell me how to quote something while still writing the message, i'd appreciate it.

[ Thursday, May 01, 2008 18:12: Message edited by: brock petersdorf-nelson ]

--------------------
you will submit to my will...MindDuel!
Posts: 32 | Registered: Tuesday, February 19 2008 08:00
Guardian
Member # 5360
Profile #43
Don't double-post, please. Use the Edit button.

Also, one of the most annoying things for Nalyd is the class-bias. He wants a female warrior and a male wizard, goddammit!

[ Thursday, May 01, 2008 17:57: Message edited by: Faint Piping of Two Demoniac Flutes ]

--------------------
Fear us, mortals, but never envy, for though we burn with power, our fuel is our sorrows.

Indeed, mortals, we envy you.
Posts: 1636 | Registered: Wednesday, January 5 2005 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #44
quote:
Originally written by Executor Xel'Raga:

Someday, I dream of a kick-ass swordmaster lesbo, who has drawn the attraction of a small, little teenage boy, then rejects it and continues the clee-she love plot, and of course the end of the game smooch.
This seems entirely plausible, mostly as egregious fanservice to male fans.

—Alorael, who at least enjoyed seeing a stupendously powerful (in a LucasArts quirky way) female swordmaster in Secret of Monkey Island. It's a shame about her getting marooned on an island for the next two games.

[ Thursday, May 01, 2008 18:16: Message edited by: Variant Mechanics ]
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #45
quote:
Originally written by Jumpin Salmon:

I have dim recollections of playing Pools, so I'll take your word on it. But really, other than physical muscle mass, what are the differences in the 6 characteristics between men and women? I don't recall seeing that either is smarter, wiser, or more dexterous. Zorro was talking about the AD&D First Edition rules, which I own, not a computer game based off of them. So, I do stand by my statement. I do not believe that any woman is capable of the feats of strength found in the tasks of the world's strongest.
Feel free to correct me. :)

The linked article below was, for me, particularly enlightening regarding the experiences of women gamers. It makes a couple of specific references to places in the 1st edition books that are, indeed, sexist. Probably the worst example being the "Harlot Table" in the DM's guide used to roll up what kind of prostitute the party encounters.

Also, I think it isn't really much of a defense to say that in the real world, the strongest woman can't bench the same as the strongest man. In the real world, no one can summon a demon or shoot fireballs out of their fingers. So why suspend reality for those aspects of the gaming session, but not for a woman warrior being as strong as the strongest male warrior?

I certainly don't mean any of this as a direct criticism of you; it is obvious (and to your credit) that sexism is absent from your gaming sessions.

Article on women and RPGs

--------------------
Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
? Man, ? Amazing
Member # 5755
Profile #46
Wow. Talk about an axe to grind. Like I said elsewhere, a person can find something to complain about in anything. The point about human males being physically stronger in reality, is that most of the fantasy worlds are terrestrial in nature. There is no attempt to say that the PC is not human. Wouldn't you find it confusing to be confronted with a game structure that dictates humans are max 4 feet tall, blue, and change sex by hormone? It doesn't happen because that means they aren't humans. So, yeah. I find it perfectly reasonable to expect humans to be humans. If you want to have some other species be the main PC type, by all means. It would make for an interesting RP experience, although an alien one. I think specifically of that Blizzard game, with the zergs. Man, what a difference that was. Still though, as noted, Blizzard had to include "humans" in that PC type.

I did find the harlot table. It certainly wasn't easy, as it didn't appear in the index. I had to rely on the keen eyes of that paper writer, as in the decade of playing AD&D, and the 28 years of owning the DM guide, I have never once used Appendix C, page 192 for random town encounters. It appears you have a 7% chance that the random nighttime encounter will be with a hooker. Wow. Imagine the odds that a person trying to meet you will actually run into you. Without making too much of it, there are hookers in every major and minor city in this country. I imagine that if you spend all night walking around, there is a 7% chance that a successful roll for encounter every third round will find you meeting someone willing to trade services for cash. Heck, in some parts of the city it will be higher than that, and more frequent.
It's sad to me that it means so much to someone else that a real part of real human experience is evident in Gygax's rpg. It doesn't say anything about the guy except that he was trying to capture reality in an otherwise fantasy environment. A DM that was concerned wouldn't have those encounters available. Heck, make it a theocracy nation state with strict punishment against harlotry. Still though, there will be prostitutes. Just look at Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia. They have 'em.
I do find it funny though that the author gets so worked up against all of this, and it is all DM choice. They may have well railed against Webster's Dictionary. Heck, I bet Oxford's has better words, and may even tell you what they mean.
Addit- I tried reading, rather than skimming, the article. What I gather is that post pubescent males are the source of the problem. Apparently, what is happening is that they are sitting around a gaming table with the freedom to create any world situation they desire, which oddly enough revolves around sex. So, yeah, I can totally see a girl getting completely freaked out if they stumbled into that situation. But again, it isn't the RPG that is creating this situation. Well, I suppose you could blame them, much as fraternities are blamed for the the moral failings that occur within.
Maybe we're just true to our nature, and it sometimes gets amplified? I dunno, and I agree that no one should suffer through the indignity of being forced into a RP role they don't seek. Bad DMs are a dime a dozen, and there are flocks of male gamers who love them.
Re-addit - just because I appreciate the irony. The authors were so focused on finding any instance of stereotyping, that they made the mistake of saying "Given the lavish detail of these adjectives and nouns, it is not difficult to picture a group of young men seated around a gaming table, rolling percentage dice and guffawing at their luck. Picture also one or two young women who were allowed to join the game, and it becomes obvious how a female player might encounter a hostile, male-centered environment even when the male players welcome her and treat her well." This was focused at that harlot table, which contains 12 different "types" of prostitute. Oddly enough, that word wasn't used. What I appreciated was that on the previous page there were 20 types of drunk that could be encountered. Anyhow, it seems obvious that the authors were projecting, just a touch, when they wrote this paper. Whenever I see someone write "it is not difficult to picture" I cringe. They may as well hold up a sign stating "Come here to see our bias!"

[ Thursday, May 01, 2008 20:49: Message edited by: Jumpin Salmon ]

--------------------
Synergy, et al - "I don't get it."

Argon - "I'm at a loss for words..."
Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #47
Originally stated by Margot Asquith, when Jean Harlow mispronounced her name:
quote:
The 't' in Margot is silent, as in Harlow.
Well, anyway. The random encounter with harlots table was classic, all right. As a 14-year-old DM I had actually read enough old books to recognize all or most of the various synonyms, but didn't really know what to make of the subtle distinctions between a tart and a trollop. I can't say I'm much further ahead on this even now. That table was a thesaurus with percentages, and wouldn't have been much use even if you were seriously trying to put prostitution into your campaign. The developers of Grand Theft Dragon will have to look elsewhere.

--------------------
Listen carefully because some of your options may have changed.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
...b10010b...
Member # 869
Profile Homepage #48
Okay, see, here's the problem with saying "it's realistic, so there's nothing wrong with putting it in the game!": game mechanics are always a poor approximation of realism at best, so you can use the realism argument to defend any kind of offensive crap with even the remotest connection to reality, up to and including FATAL.

For the most part, quibbling over realism is a distraction, because any part of reality can be abstracted away if the designer chooses (this is, for example, why most good RPGs do not have game mechanics for urination). The important question is not whether a rule is "realistic", but whether it makes the game better. It seems to me that giving one sex a game-mechanical advantage over the other doesn't pass that test.

Clearly, some players did find the rule offensive. Whether you think their reaction was reasonable or not, why offend a significant portion of potential players for a rule that does nothing to improve gameplay?

--------------------
The Empire Always Loses: This Time For Sure!
Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
Warrior
Member # 15001
Profile #49
I think this is the most intelligent group discussion of a gender-related issue I've ever seen on a forum of this type. Most political blog comment threads would probably have burst into flames by now.

I'll play either gender. Playing a male hero can help one think about masculinity if one is inclined to think about it. You're creating a character who will be legendary, or mythological, within the game world, and of course myths and legends transmit many of our general ideas about gender. I do think that playing the other gender is more of a stretch, if you're someone who tries to really take the perspective of the character.

My best Avernum character was Hrolth, a female barbarian who was hot death on a stick. I loved her so much in A4 that I recreated her for A5 and then named my G4 Shock Trooper Frolth as they have the same character image. Years ago a male in our AD&D 1st Ed. group played a female character, which at the time seemed rather brave. He did an excellent job at playing her in a way that seemed female but not stereotyped.

I think that RPGs of all types tend to reflect the sexism of society. This is true of any cultural product -- film, tv, movies, comics, whatever. At the same time, RPGs, especially paper RPGs, tend to be played by young males who may be more socially awkward than the average. This certainly was true of me. Insofar as the games present women in the endangered damsel/chainmail bikini mode, they probably don't help young guys who already have problems interacting with girls/women. But I agree that the games have made a lot of progress since I was a teenager during the eighties.

I think it is entirely appropriate for RPGs to present the full range of sexual identities. First of all, because it's fair and inclusive. Second, because that's what the RP is for.

[edited for further explication]

[ Friday, May 02, 2008 03:28: Message edited by: madrigan ]
Posts: 67 | Registered: Thursday, March 6 2008 08:00

Pages