Not A Pretty Girl


Lately, some of my fellow gamers and I have been discussing stereotypical characters - the kind you find yourself making over and over again whether you intend to or not. As I composed my post about "the typical Beth character"--female, stealthy and tricky, sarcastic, tragic, kind of like Janeane Garofalo with a broadsword and some unhealthy revenge fantasies--I noticed a rather interesting thing about my PCs' appearances. No matter the system, no matter the character class, I couldn't remember ever playing a character who was physically attractive in the traditional sense.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that I was the only gamer I knew - male or female - whose female characters weren't supermodels. So the question I have to ask myself in this column is, what is it with female characters and the emphasis gamers place on their beauty and their body image?

Let me start out by saying that most of the time, there's absolutely nothing wrong with playing a female character who's pretty. This is fantasy role-playing we're talking about, after all, and in most cases playing a good-looking woman is no more dangerous than playing a super-strong, tough man. It's when gamers get into the mindset that female characters are only useful if they're beautiful that we've entered the danger zone.

Sadly, I've seen this kind of prejudice far too many times within the gaming community. I once participated in a Star Wars campaign where my character was a female, a Jedi, and a Noghri. The Noghri are a race of small, lizard-like beings that are not terribly attractive to humans to begin with, and to make it even worse, I took the flaw Albino. By all rights and purposes, this shouldn't have been much of a problem--the Noghri are rare enough that the average human in the Star Wars universe hasn't ever seen one, much less have the ability to apply a standard of beauty to them. But my poor little Noghri encountered more hostility from players and characters alike than any other character of mine--even Lupe the three-eyed werewolf! The other characters made fun of her appearance constantly (fellow Jedi included... way to roleplay their compassion for all life-forms, people), and she had a devil of a time getting any respect from NPCs. I wouldn't have had a problem with a little friendly ribbing if it weren't for the fact that one of the male players had actually taken Unattractive Appearance as a flaw for his human male PC, and never suffered a social stigma or had the slightest problem because of it. And after several sessions, I was even asked to make another character that would "fit in better with the rest of the PCs." (I refused.)

The idea that women have to live up to a certain standard of beauty in order to "fit in" with the rest of society is everywhere in the gaming community. Need proof? Pick up your average RPG sourcebook and look through it for pictures of women. I can almost guarantee you that no matter the system, no matter the publishing company, every woman you see depicted in the art will have a perfect body and model looks. (And frequently, they will show more skin than all the men in the book combined.) The picture of the heroic wizard with white hair, a poorly groomed beard, and wrinkled, leathery skin is standard and accepted in RPGs and fantasy, but when was the last time you saw a depiction of an average-looking older woman who wasn't an evil witch or a crone? I'd hazard a guess that backwards, sexist stereotypes like these make a large contribution to the lack of women in gaming. We deal with enough belittling images from the media that tell us how we need to look to be accepted without putting up with more of the same from a hobby that's supposed to be open to everyone!

I don't mean to create a stereotype of my own here, but male players, especially those with female characters, don't often help dispel these negative images by playing an endless succession of amazon warriors built like Pamela Anderson (and having GMs and fellow male players praise them for being brave enough to play women...I say try playing an overweight, middle-aged woman once. Run that by a bunch of male gamers and we'll see who has the guts to play a female character then!) Not that female players, especially those making their first characters, do much more. They seize the opportunity to max out their character's "beauty index," whether or not it contributes to their concept or will be the best use of their precious character points. I was once in a Mage group with four new female gamers, and our first few sessions very nearly became beauty contests: "I have a 4 in appearance!" "Oh yeah? I have a 5!" And they thought I was being stupid to only have a 2... Fortunately, most "good" gamers of either gender get past this stage, but there will always be a few who keep the vicious cycle going.

Now that we've defined the problem, what can we do to solve it? In my opinion, half the battle toward getting RPGs to recognize a more realistic body image is simply raising awareness about the current situation. Most people seem to have the idea that "it's a game, what harm can it do?" When female gamers get the idea that their characters have to be beautiful and use their looks to get respect, plenty. If you feel that your group is promoting an unrealistic view of women, and if those actions are offending you, speak up. Quite often, men don't understand the pressure that our culture places on a woman to have the body of Barbie or at least Cindy Crawford, so it's likely that male players may simply not realize when their relatively innocent depictions of beautiful women cross the borderline and become offensive. Explain your feelings and ask the GM and the other players to adopt a more progressive view of women in the future. If they still just don't get it, it's time to find a new group.

The next step is doing our part to avoid an unrealistic, looks-based portrayal of women in roleplaying games. GMs, it's perfectly fine to toss in the occasional lovely elf maiden or NPC possessed of an unearthly beauty, but your female characters should be about far more than their looks. Don't cater to "pretty" PCs any more than you would to "plain" ones; in fact, if you want to make things realistic the truly beautiful ones should have a lot of problems blending in and shaking off those crowds of starstruck admirers! Players, don't fall into the trap of thinking that your characters (male or female) have to be attractive; do it if it contributes to the concept, but don't make your game into an ego-building effort. (Besides, if you want to increase your self-esteem, wouldn't it make you feel better to play an average-looking person who accomplishes great things regardless?) And GMs and players alike need to realize that there are only a few dozen women who look like supermodels in the world, and several billion who don't, yet that doesn't make the vast majority any less interesting or worthy of telling a story about. "Beauty is more than skin deep," goes the old adage.

Roleplaying games are all about getting "under the skin" of a group of interesting characters and living their world, not contributing even more to the focus on appearance that's choking our culture. Let's make gaming back into the escapist fun it's supposed to be--female gamers, and women everywhere, will thank you for it.

Sasdly, this sexist double standard does exist, just like in the rest of society.
First you must correct society's ills, before gaming will get any better.

I've never had a female PC or player. And, as a GM, I don't do the best job regarding my NPC females because they are, on average, attractive rather than not.

But, from what I've heard about, both here and elsewhere, the first step for most DMs is just getting basic respect for both their games and what females NPCs can do for them.

First, sex can kill your game. Sex should be the exception, not the rule. If all the female NPCs are sluts, your male PCs are going to put all their effort into getting girls, rather than getting gold. That will kill your game faster than anything so don't go down that road.

Second, if every NPC looks and acts the same, that won't be as good as if they are interesting and different. If you can't stand to have unattractive NPC women, at least vary their hair, body type and personalities. That variety will make your male PCs see them as individuals rather than as cookie cutter dates.

Third, stay on track. The point is the adventure, that's what's fun, not highlighting the scenery. Gender should be interesting but it should fit into the game, not *be* the game.

Ah, but there's the other side of this coin. Most games and game systems do a really TERRIBLE job of modelling (no pun intended) the effect that a really good looking person has on a room when they walk in. Players don't get sweaty-palmed and nervous approaching a gorgeous member of the opposite sex, or lose their concentration at an important moment when they see someone really attractive.

The reverse is often also true--most players don't show any discomfort when they deal with an NPC described as "really ugly."

Some game systems or editors encourage the beauty issue directly--a friend of mine proposed a Star Wars supplement where the alien species was intelligent, scheming, evil --and really good looking. The line editors bounced the idea. In George Lucas' world, evil is always ugly and the good guys are pretty, or at least cute.

and to dwhoward, above: What's wrong with a game based around horny characters who only want to get laid? What makes that better than a game based around greedy characters who want to get gold?

Not that either are likely to be very interesting....


Interesting article, GC. It takes a different slant from your article on sexism doesn't it?

I have to admit, when I've played women, I've played to the good-looking and two stick out in my mind - one an outrageously wicked spy who used sex as one of many weapons for the good of the state. The female players and (female) GM in that group would alternate between shock and narrow-eyed recognition every now and then -I knew I got it right when that happened. She fell for someone and everyone looked cynically at me at first. She got reckless in 'proving' her love, finally risking betraying the state she'd worked for to get revenge on his killer. She's recalled with fondness by others now.

The other was a paladin. And one who didn't shy away from lecturing about morals. Courtly love? Extramarital affairs? You did what? Unfortunately she never met the right man before her final crusade into Hell. But the occasional conflict between passion and faith did make things interesting.

I did play a couple of less than attractive women as well. One was a very small, very mousy assassin who faded into the background surprisingly well - everyone ignored the plain serving maid which worked well for her - until the game folded for unrelated reasons.

The other was a tattooed monk with some revenge issues with a few people - her physique had more to do with Vasquez from Aliens than from Manga - people did get a bit freaked out at first but the party's dynamics on that game were a little.. odd.

With the right GM, beauty can be as hell as ugliness - in terms of inaccessibility, people only wanting one thing or making assumptions about your IQ. Actually come to think of it, with the right players, it can become just as bad... *grin*

The problem you face in GMing a situation where the PCs are confronted with someone of incredible beauty is either 'Ho, hum' or a mixture of lust and revulsion since she's obviously a trap/succubus/insane sorceress/shape shifter. Some female players do get wound up about the issue - you have to be cautious in your approach in dealing with these things.

My 2 cents - Sound your players out about the issue, these people are supposed to be friends right? If you find someone gets uncomfortable, draw a veil over the proceedings. Not everyone wants to know in graphic detail what happens...

MD - A game about PCs finding romance or sating their lusts boring? Only if you're aiming for something else. You can go for any kind of game! From a swashbuckling farce a la Three Musketeers or Much Ado About Nothing to a Gothic tragedy or courtly adventure a la La Morte D'Arthur...

Damn, going on too long again... good article GC!

I'm not sure about this article GC. Not that I don't believe the problem you depict exists and should be dealt with, but more because men also have to deal with this problem. Your article bothers me a bit and here are a few things I'd like to add in reaction to your article:

1. Not all men are pigs who only look at "super-model-like" girls.

2. We too have to deal with urealistic portrayal of "ideal males". Well built (but not too much), no body hair (except light facial hair), slightly tanned, not too tall, not an ounce of fat, etc. And let's not get into what an ideal male should think/feel/do.

3. I am sorry but my gaming groups have never been like what you describe (except that one time I played a copycat Buffy the Vampire Slayer in Ravenloft (but even then I played the smart beautiful girl who acts dumb to trick the even dumber male vampires))

4. I'm sorry but sexism is part of life, many people are stuck in their sexist ways and buy into the belief that there are ideal models of masculinity and feminity. Even if most of my friends (male and females) and I try to avoid following this pattern, we are all sexist at times.

5. Beauty should not come into play except when one is very gorgeous or very ugly. Cute, average and not so pretty characters usually shouldn't get any grief (beyond a -/+ 1 or 2 on some social skills).

6. Beauty in Star Wars? WTF? As if a Rodian can find any human pretty or vice versa. Most aliens have a hard time telling members of another species apart, how can they react to their cuteness? I mean, even if you're covered in puss, some species won't notice. An albino Noghri? They're already ugly to start with (from a human perspective), so what difference does your fur and eye color change to non-Noghri? Don't Noghri rely alot on body scent also for sex appeal? Just like Prince Xizor's species (the Falleen?) I'm sorry for you GC but that was a really bad bunch of roleplayers.

7. Unless I have really bad scores I usually don't assign the lowest to appearance, because YES LOOKS ARE IMPORTANT. Still, there are oh so many ways to be pretty (beyond Hollywood's criteria).

8. Sometimes, I like playing charismatic and appealing characters. Many heroes depend on that (scoudrels, spies, swashbucklers, preachers, seductors/seductress), that's just the way these archetypes are built.

9. In many games, when there are points given or taken for different "levels" of beauty, there are also guidelines as to what effects these "levels" of beauty have on NPC's. It's up to the players to remind the GM (when he/she forgets) what those effects are.

10. I am personnaly tired of having to boost all my women friends' egos all the time because they don't feel pretty enough. Most women have something special, be it in their facial features, their body language, their attitude, their voice or whatever that makes them attractive. So beauty should depend on more than body weight and braw size (even in the gaming world).

11. Most people (not only women) should stop wanting to be someone else and be happy of who they are. But then why roleplay?

12. Ultimately it all depends on what you focus on when you're around the gaming table.


13. REALISTICALLY LADIES, IF YOU HAD TO PICK: JOHN CANDY, JAMES DEAN, GEORGE BURNS OR SAMMY DAVIS JUNIOR . Which of these dead guys would you have prefered when they were alive? I'm guessing James Dean should win by a landslide if you're all honest with yourselves.

Nuff said.

Cthulhu Matata

Good article GC. It coincides with my research paper on feminism and motion pictures. There is a change in the demographic of the gender in game and the attitude towards women. But, the change is slow.

A lot of gender expectations comes from learned behavior through parents, friends, media, and etc. It is only within the last 10 years that TV shows are showing female action heroes starting with the X-files (maybe Star Trek:tNG).

Education is the big key in keeping sexism in check among gamers. The GMs have a responsiblity to provide a entertaining storyline, challege the player to think outside the box, and hold the players accountable for their own actions. It is not easy, but everybody will benefit.

Yes, I do know what it is like to play a female character. One of my favorite tatics in dealing with obnoxious behavior is arranging moments of embarassment and/or disaster. All the while, the victim blames the GM (who is in on the deal, but can explain it so the other players agree with him) or poor dice rolling.

Being a min-max player, generating a character is tough if I do not have a solid concept for a character. The one stat that gets the knocked is physical appearance in both of my male and female characters. It is hard to play a dead character for four hours, and I suck at the dice rolls.

Anyways, don't worry GC. The gaminig environment is changing.
Write the ariticles; I'll enlighten the public and my fellow games.

Now, what is your take on the wargaming industry and playing enviroment?

You know, this whole article rings true, but I gotta say you could have written the same article about male characters and substituted combat effectiveness for physical beauty.

Think about it. Male characters are supposed to be powerful. They're supposed to kick butt, whether it be through magical means, physical means, psychic means, or some combination of the above. It doesn't matter much how they look, true, but if they can't take out a dozen bad guys is a couple rounds, they're considered ineffective.

And yes, there are those absent-minded professor types, but they are comic relief, not main characters (much like the Vasquez-type Amazonian wariors are color characters, not leading ladies).

Again, I'm not saying female characters aren't stuck in this rut. I'm just pointing out that female characters aren't the only stereotyped ones.



Body Image, oy! Normally a topic I let ride on rote,
but this has some interesting aspects to it.

JKB's point needs to be seen and raised. There are all sorts of stereotypes and architypes running though games, for all sexes, ages and races. That's okay, or rather many of them are there for some mythological purpose, a good Referee knows how to use such expectations to screw their players, etc. What I see as the glaring bit of the problem is that it is a necessary context in terms of women and not so in terms of men.

Gandalf is old and wise. Now, he can be sexy old or he can be ugly old. Glenda, the Good Witch of the North, is beautiful and kind. For female characters, apperance matters, apperance is a basic compoent of their description. This is not the case with male characters.

Second, men are accustomed to being floored by their attractive female compatriots. Sure, the overall gender privlidges may be nice, but a greater number of men will act a greater degree stupider when around Ms. Sexy than is proportonately true for Mr. Sexy. Thus, gunning the attrativeness of the character is a part-concious, part-unconcious way of grabbing power, a power that can really only come with a female character.

Now, this is also true of women, but to a lesser degree becuase of the lack of mystery, but that fits into the final point. We all want perfect characters. What we view as essential to the perfection of those characters is important. And yes, some people are that shallow, or more likely that unaware to think that for a woman, looks are that vital.

Or at least that's my two-bit while eating lunch sociological explanation. For the record, I have played only two characters who were phenominally attractive, one man and one woman. (Woman - Cybergeneration - she was a Looker, it's pretty much perforce. Man - Mage, and a real kick in the head he was - Attr. maxed out, Char and Mani bottomed out - this was amazingly fun) Everone else, solidly above average


Have you thought about a new group lately? This is an old problem, but the most heinous and irritating problems can be borne with equanimity if one is surrounded by the fellowship of like-minded gamers.

As folks said above, this problem goes way back. Think "Once upon a time, there was as beautiful princess ..." We're talking indoctrination since childhood, so this isn't something that's easy to change in folks.

And the folks writing above are right - men are supposed to be buff and/or powerful. Gandalf gets away with being skinny, wrinkly and old because he's supposed to be powerful. Take away the power and this guy wouldn't qualify for most marginal TV dating show (honestly his age would already bounce him). And even among the powerful, there are appearance standards - take away his flowing white hair and beard and piercing blue eyes, and make him an old bald fat guy with liver spots, watery eyes, lots of nosehairs, etc., and he'd be disqualified from most RPG illustrations.

Yeah, I'm sick of game company illustrations - I mean, not only are we missing ordinary-looking folks, out-of-shape folks, older folks, non-Caucasian folks - but the pretty faces that fill those books aren't too pretty -- they're usually poorly proportioned and amateurish in terms of artistic quality. But I'd be a hypocrite to lobby the RPG folks on this, because I don't buy game company products, and wouldn't even if their products changed.

I don't like game company systems that much either. I find attempting to measure intangibles like appearance, intelligence and wisdom. silly. I prefer games in which we describe characters verbally, with the basic assumption that we're all adults capable of attracting folks upon occasion, just like real life. But if I'm forced into a game with numbers, I'll stack the numbers to get that same result, because I find it makes for more interesting stories (others will have to explore the mature joys of RPG celibacy - me, I'm not ready yet).

I harbor no illusions that a change of illustration will bring women into gaming. I think that the biggest stereotype that keeps women out of gaming is that gaming is an anti-social escapist, violence-focused activity and that women should engage in useful, non-violent social activities like shopping, chatting and cooking. A societal sea-change is needed there, both in gaming and outside of it.

But I ride it out. How? With the right group. You said that in your experience everybody else is playing female supermodel characters while their male characters may look like regular guys. My experience is not so uniform. I've played in groups where everybody was supermodel quality (was it coincidence that these were vampire games?) and those where it never came up. I've never had it implied to me that female characters are only useful if they're beautiful. So there's my small Gallup poll of one.

You're right that there are systems which penalize high appearance, and refs who follow that line. My Champions ref has been consistent in having the high-appearance characters fend off multudinous unwanted advances, stalkers, etc.. Needless to say, the attraction of a high-attractiveness character has diminished in that game. The right group is important.

The double standard in your Star Wars game was obviously frustrating - but did you point it out to your ref and fellow players? Many gamers I know will bend over backwards to be fair if you point out that they have not been consistent. Then again, sounds to me like that group may have had other problems, not limited to sexist double standards.

I hit the double standard in a game, too. One of my fellow players is a woman who likes to play Miss Universe characters. In the first game we played with her, she played a character who looked like Miss Universe - and my friend and I played two "ordinary" female characters who were sovereigns in their own lands (we should really address classism in RPG someday, don't ya think?). My fellow ordinary-looking ruler and I had to take a little corrective action with the referee, who was under the misunderstanding that all men would only make passes at Miss Universe. When we pointed out that (a) this was very boring, since we wanted this game to have a lot of romantic intrigue, and (b) unrealistic, since powerful women like Queen Elizabeth and Maggie Thatcher managed to find spouses in a world full of models and most guys find Miss Universe too intimidating and make passes at those they realistically think they have a chance with. Once pointed out, our ref changed things. Again, the right group.

So maybe I'm not up to consciousness-raising in the "wrong" groups. Maybe no societal change will ever be accomplished if I give up on the guys who like to play Red Sonja and the women who like to be Ms. Universe in their spare time. But for me, gaming isn't about the political persuasion. It's about standing up for what I like in a game - and looking elsewhere if folks are looking for different things out of their game. I can play with Ms. Universe and Red Sonja, as long as there's room for my vision of my character, too.

I have to agree with Gamerchick and the other. Yes it is sexist and plain neanderthal.

Wow...lots of discussion on this one. Just to respond quickly to a couple of points:

- Yes, it's very true that men (and male characters) deal with the exact same pressures, only with a slightly different angle put on them. I believe that EVERYONE has to contend with body image at one point or another, and that eventually most people "should stop wanting to be someone else and be happy of who they are." However, I am not male and have not experienced that angle on discrimination personally, so I focused on the experiences of my own gender. Maybe I should've been clearer on that in the article.

- I also realize that yes, the group I discuss in the article was a very, very bad one. This article was written quite some time ago (lag time between deadlines and publication and all that), and I have since found other groups that don't suffer from this problem nearly as much.

- The point of this article was to ask questions, not provide answers. I don't think it's possible to EVER stop judging people on appearance entirely, nor should we. I'm just pointing out that. If you were offended or didn't feel you fit into these particular generalizations, you're probably not part of the problem. But what I wrote is clearly provoking discussion, so I feel as though I've succeeded. (c:

Carry on, and thanks so much for the insightful comments!

Well, for one thing, an ugly woman in D&D has a lot more recourse than one in real life. Forget plastic surgery--just study magic and make yourself a hat of disguise, and look pretty! Or use Alter Self to the same effect without blatant illusion. Polymorph Other-ing yourself would also be a more permanent option for more powerful wizards. One could probably expect that the "high society" at least would very rarely see a fat, ugly girl with a face like a ball of dough with a couple raisins stuck in it.
I WAS rather surprised once when I described a chunky, plain, well-muscled woman tending the bar and got "eeeew!"s from all around the table. However, my gaming group is rather... new, so I don't take the reaction too seriously.

And from the DM side, everyone in your campaign shouldn't have the same reaction to a classical beauty. After all, there are sure to be a few Captain Kirks around who like green skin and scales or somthing. Stereotypes go both ways, and it might be a nasty shock to the busty "Charisma 20" blonde to be turned down in favor of a kobold.. or outshined by a polymorphed dragon!
And, if all else fails, there's always the ol' Ugly Stick. (DMs, remember Cha isn't the same as beauty.. brainless blonde bombshells and battle-scarred leaders are easy to find.)

A person's opinion depends on the games played, I guess.

In response to the reply post to my first post, I've seen 3 games where the introduction of sex degenerated the game quickly into something uninteresting and unplayable. I have seen zero where the game survived the introduction of sex. I'm not saying it's impossible but my experience tells me that sex can easily ruin a game. Further, most games are not constructed around sex and, by making it the focal point of a game that didn't intend it, it distorts the system.

Also, there is a difference between gender causing player-to-player problems and PC-to-PC problems. If a female player is uncomfortable at a game because of a gender issue, that is totally unacceptable. But I have no particular problems with all female PCs being attractive and being rejected as unattractive, as long as it is not blatantly offensive to what I imagine an average player would be offended by.

Finally, I don't really use my game as a place to right all wrongs that I see in this world. In fact, some of my NPCs and NPC governments are downright bigots both racially and gender-wise. At the end of the day, I prefer that my game be fun rather than socially correct. I only object when things start moving into the player-on-player realm. I would not mandate that the PCs treat an unattractive PC female well. Now there is a fine line between in-character PC actions and player-motivated PC actions but I just make judgement calls to determine when this line is crossed.

In the end, I think that the point is to eliminate the few blatantly offensive gaming practices (or people) rather than striving for some politically-correct utopian game milieu.

-- Quite often, men don't understand the pressure that our culture places on a woman to have the body of Barbie or at least Cindy Crawford --

As per god damn usual, the woman's lament is once again trotted out - that the poor little darlings are subject to pressures that us thick-as-shit men just don't understand.

Pressure, I'll talk about pressure. Why is it that men have more than double the suicide rate of women (in most Western countries I think it is more like four times the suicide rate of women)? Women might go stick their fingers down their throat so they can bring up that morning's breakfast, but men go swallow a bottle of pills or jump off a building.

Sure women are under pressure to conform to, or live up to certain images portrayed in the media, movies, advertizing and the like (often put forward by other women, by the way) - but so do men! Try living up to the image of the standard buffed sporting or action hero, or the expectation that real men don't show their feelings.

So, what's the difference between men and women? The difference is that men don't whine about it .. they just go blow their brains out.

Okay, well, for my money: I always figured I was playing a "fantasy" game and, since I can't be drop-dead gorgeous in real life (well, not so far in this life time anyway), if I'm going to fantasise, I fantasise that I'm gorgeous. I don't do it to the detriment of my character. Our group did wind up with several girls who always chose gorgeous characters "with unusual eyes" (for some reason) and for a while this seriously degraded our fun. In the end, I stopped choosing this sort of character so often, mostly I think because I grew up a bit (not to cause offence to anyone else). I'm a little more comfortable with who I am now and what I look like and what I can achieve with what I look like.

I don't like the thought that anyone feels pressured to play any sort of character in what is primarily "a game" ie, it's supposed to be fun. If it ain't, you're playing the wrong game or with the wrong people. Change!

Anyway, good article.

The group I’m in has 3 males playing female characters and 2 females playing male characters and 3 males playing male characters (the DM job rotates and a couple play part time, we don’t have 9 characters playing at once). The tallest male is a 5’-5” ugly Drow elf followed by a 5’-4” human monk (looks are not important to him), 3’-4” Gnome and a 2’-10” halfling. The females are a 6’-3” human Paladin (who is more concerned with ridding the world of evil than how she looks), a 6’-0” half orc (who is very orc looking), and 6’-0” human. Dice rolls from the appropriate range for that race determined the heights.

My Character is the 6’-0” human female. In someway she is stereotypical – lowest intelligence in the group, Blonde hair, blue eyes with 18’s where they count –strength and dexterity. (She can kick any of the male’s butts). She is a fun character to play. She is a little vane about her looks (ok, a lot vane); she is loud, and occasionally annoying. She has a distorted view of how she looks – she views herself looking like Heather L., in reality she looks more like China.

We have a lot of fun with our characters and their looks are part of that. My character likes to stand by the half/orc when they’re in town – it makes her look a lot better. The halfling likes to lurk in crowds where my character is – the pickings are easier when folks are distracted (she is loud and does not like to be touched).

I fill we have a good balance between interaction between characters and adventuring. Our group ranges from 17 years old to 44 years old. Some of us have been playing for 23 years and some 23 days.

I'm the oldest guy in a family of women. I have two younger sisters. Hell, even our pets are female. So in regards to those who are fed up with hearing the sob story of women, too bad. The simple truth is, women are required to be physically attractive to be considered of value.
Yes, I said 'Value'. Just look at the vast wealth of societies beyond our own Western, Pop-culture perspectives. Women are still out there being married beyond their will; and only then if their father has enough dowrey stored up.

So, yeah, men have pressures too. Sure, their suicide rate may be higher, but does that show a greater deal of pressure, or a greater deal of cowardice? I see in the world a place were men are herded toward a powerful archetype, yes, but I also see a world where women are not allowed to break that 'beutiful princess' stereotype.

Just look at our examples of today: I can name several unnattractive, unpowerful Hollywood men (Steve Buscemi, Jason Alexander, Tim Curry, John Candy and George Burns) who are accepted at a glance. But try to name any homely women on the big or small screen.
What's worse is the artwork in comic books and source books. Women are never ugly. Men? Sometimes (however rarely, but there is a major difference between rarely and never).

The truth is, Men are given more options to be seen as beutiful. Women aren't. The call for change in the subculture of gamers is a good first step. Hopefully, when feminism has been around as long as the Civil Rights movement, predjudice will start to rot away for everyone, just as it started to for men a long time ago.

Let's see non stereotypically beautifull women...

Cathy Bates (really good actress), then there's the actress who plays in the practice (don't watch it often enough to remember her name) she's quite overweight but has won awards and plays a strong successful character.
And then there is Alisson Hanigan and her character of Willow. She isn't your typical porcelain doll. I find her attractive but she's far from the Icon of hollywoodian perfection. Why do I and many guys like her? She's smart, she's funny, she's sensitive, she takes action and is soo completely out of reach like all idols (Pitt, Gellar, Damon, Clooney, etc.).

Even if I (and most othen men I guess) find Hale Berry and Shakira breath taking, it's not only because they are esthetically beautifull. They are talented, they have spunk and character. There not just cute barbydolls.

In Quebec and Canada we have local celebrities and politicians who aren't that nice to look at but manage to be female rolemodels because of their talent/skill/strength of character or whatever.

But you're right AH they are less common than ugly men succeeding.

Even if she doesn't know her, Gamerchick will be pleased to know that after a 10 year absence from gaming, my syster has come back and will play again. She always plays unsterreotypical female characters. Usually more brawns and brains than looks and charms.

So the tally at the gaming table has shifted to a 50/50 gender ratio and will go to 60/40 when one of the guys trops playing for a few weeks.

Wow I'm making absolutely no sense, must be less cafeine in my mug today.

This is an old feminist argument, and somewhat myopic.
Just as women are objectified for sexual appeal, men are viewed as 'success objects." What do women tend to look for on men? Shoes, watch, car, job, athletic performance or humor - some kind of attention getting performance value. Not everyone, mind you - we are talking general trends here, just as with the men.

But make no mistake, this is the general trend. And men who don't measure up don't ask for help. They kill themselves in greater numbers and they are homeless in greater numbers. It is naive and myopic to think that men are exempt or free from societal expectations.

True 'equality' and liberation occurs when both genders have the freedom to choose their lifestyle in a way that is not infringed upon by a societal expectation. These things cannot be viewed in a vaccuum, separately. They are part of the same continuum and both men and women tend to try to uphold those stereotypes.

Sure, their suicide rate may be higher, but does that show a greater deal of pressure, or a greater deal of cowardice?

How cold. I suspect that it shows that men have been socialized not to expect help from others, or to think that it is shameful to ask for it when they need it. Women have not. Women's "attempted" suicides supercedes mens (who tend to be more successful at it) suggesting that women are really just asking for help when they need it.)

Both women and men are to blame for reinforcing a culture that forces men to view death as preferable to being needy.

Having no females in any gaming group I've been a part of, sexism and the issue of gender has never had any vital impact on our gaming, more or less, most of the times, females and males are treated more or less equally, with occasional benefits or perks thrown in when someone remembers and wants to add a little twist.

I've played some females (not many since I really don't feel I have enough of a handle on it to do it for any extended time and because my gaming group would invariably begin to bother my character some if I used a female extensively); one of my shortest (but for her span, most memorable) was the typical elven archer, of slightly above average beauty, good ballistic skill (Warhammer FRP) but I also added a quirk which made her one of the most annoying and least wanted characters; I gave her a Valley Girl accent, and would talk in it every chance I got, including making the ditzy head motions - even though she was capable and intelligent, with plenty of skills and martial prowess, she might as well have been a Kender because of ONE role-playing quirk I added, as far as the other players were concerned.

My favorite female character I've played, though probably not my most useful (or even the most fun, game-wise, though character-wise, it was), was a middle-aged black cook and mother of three, who left her husband and children at home as she set out to 'find her calling' - while admittedly I made use of some of the stereotypes you might expect, I really enjoyed playing her, and even the other players kind of enjoyed being around "Mama CC", even though she couldn't swing a weapon or disarm a trap or even write - she was hilarious but also had a lot of personality and I based her more or less on Martin Lawrence's 'Big Mama' (the real one) and Florida Evans/Nel Harper, with a little Della Reese (she was more or less a devout Baptist even though she followed a Warhammer god, I got it to fit, believe it or not).

I think so much in rpgs have to do with the quality of the game, the system, the campaign, and of course, the players and referee - sometimes a gaming group can excel at numerous things that would amaze you, some incredible in-game character development, but draw a total blank on some things like creative backgrounds and personalities and tying together why a character has a high charm, a low strength but all her skills only deal in tailoring and parrying. I personally find character creation of the most fun and rewarding parts of rpgs but some players simply cannot be bothered to come up with a family, friends, background or quirks, and its a shame because those things can be vitally important to a stalled game.

For what it is worth, I've had women gamers in my group - a group that has been around since the 80's. My wife is a gamer as well. Funny thing is, despite the fact we play GURPS, which has well supported rules for how NPC's and/or PC's should react to beauty - most of the characters in my games played by females, tend to be plain women. What I find to motivate my female players is fighting against injustice. All things considered - my interest in prehistoric cultures along with alternative viewpoints on religion (Read WHEN GOD WAS A WOMAN) - my wife feels comfortable with just about any role playing situation she's been thrust into. Having said all this to refute the comments made above? I should also point out that the group we are a part of are all older more mature people. Younger players have a viewpoint I don't know too well. Oh, one more thing? Mission Impossible predates the Xfiles enough to serve as an example of women characters on TV who were more than just damsels in distress. ;)

Valerian: Exactly. I *want* to play a character more attractive than me.

Nephandus: Exactly. Men are success objects; what women experience in lookism men experience in classism.

BTW, I should add that while I’ve been playing devil’s advocate and zeroing in on one or two points, these are still great articles that I’ve enjoyed reading.

While I'm sorry for Gamerchick's personal experience, I can say that in our own groups, the female characters come in all shapes and sizes - by intention. And that's from both male and female players. Nobody makes a big deal about it.

I do remember groups where gamerchick's experience used to happen, but then, we were 14 years old and younger. We're in our 30's now.

Gamerchick says:
"Pick up your average RPG sourcebook and look through it for pictures of women."

Neph says:
Fair enough, but don't be so myopic that you forget to look at the pictures of men. If the goal is to see if female characters are being DISPORPORTIONATELY represented in a stereotypical way, then the feminists really have to quit bailing out 1/2 the canoe, and account for the rippling muscles and derring-do that seems to accompany the boys.

What about RPing pretty BOYS? Anyone who's a fan of anime or JRock knows the type... the sort who gets mistaken for a girl sometimes (could be some good RPing there), has girls following him around sighing (probably only opportunity for roleplay if the guy in question is gay), and is a magnet for irate gay-bashers, irregardless of his actual preferences. Nobody seems to want to play the beautiful boys... pity.

As a DM, I run an NPC as a quasi party member to round out the numbers. She's female, but only because the figure I wanted to use to represent her was female. :) Personality wise, her gender hasn't entered into the game at all. That's probably because, being male myself, I'd rather not bother.

On the other hand, our group has a PC who plays a female character that he insisted upon turning into as much of a skank as possible. I nixed it though, in the one episode of harsh, repressive DMing that I've ever engaged in. Informed the player that as a gamer I did not like the stereotype of gamers as losers who can't get dates and act out their fantasies in RPGs, and I wasn't going to let him continue to prove those stereotypes correct.

Re: Cadfan's last post.

Great way to put a morron back in his place. I sure am tired of these twits who make us all look like jerks.

About Arin's comment - I've seen a few pretty boy characters as PCs in games in my time, but unfortunately they've all followed the most annoying stereotype of anime pretty boys so far - that of having no personality beyond angsty brooding. Every single one of them has been annoying as hell.

I've recently started a new Exalted game that has a couple of bishi types, the Dawn and the Eclipse, and while neither of them suffer those annoying qualities, their pretty boy qualities haven't set them muc apart from more 'manly' characters so far (even though one of them is flamingly gay).

About Yonjuuni's comment - This one.... is different. He's a High Elf, which *should* mean cool detachment, no interest in things of a carnal nature either way, and no sense of humor if you follow the stereotypes.... but he behaves like a hyperactive teenager. He's hyper, gay (although he only 'flames' when he's drunk), possessed of a warped sense of humor, gets annoyed when people call him short and *insists* that he's tall for his race, and is like a housecat in that he'll attach himself like Krazy-Glue to the person who least wants him around. In short, he's... perky. Way more perky than a gay, used-to-be-noble-but-got-disowned-because-of-his-gayness, hopeless-romantic High Elf bard has any right to be. In short, he might not ever see the light of play (which is a pity because playing him would be a *blast*), but putting this boy together was half the fun!

As a female gamer, I can understand where GC is speaking from. I'm not going to discuss body image, because I'm exhausted by that arguement and expressing my views on the subject won't change anyone's mind.

What bothers me somewhat is how women are portrayed, not how they look. Look around in EVERY fantasy artwork site on the internet. Women are painted scantily clad in impractical clothes that would be absolutely useless in combat or adventuring. Obviously whoever has them wear these clothes values their skills a lot less than they value being able to gawk at their bodies and have them around for a good view.

The trouble is, this expectation extends into real life for lots of male players.

Now, I've been learning various matial arts since I when I was supposed to be playing with barbies, and I'm no pushover in the arena. I joined an RPG society that does the whole gig: the hall, costumes, simulations, DM on a throne, etc. I was playing a fighter/thief, so I opted for black slacks and a long sleeve black turtleneck etc. A total of four other players thought my costume wasn't 'useful' because the party decided they wanted to use my high charisma score to seduce (persude) men. Forget the fact that I'm a better fighter and have better agility than any of them... my main role was to be eye candy. I quit, of course, and went back to my PC gaming.

I simply have never found that experience among the many, many women I have gamed with. Most of the good looking table-top players played women who were plain or unremarkable looking - sometimes ugly.

Most of the female LARPers, many of whom were quite overweight, insisted on wearing sheer black tops, which made their bellies look like rising dough. They were playing sexy women, but ended up looking like something out of a Fellini movie. Frankly, I'd rather they took the overweight men's lead, and cover up their fat asses.

I am a guy (not in itself strange), I also like roleplaying female characters (Ok getting a bit weird), but here is how I look at my characters, If they fit in at there hometown/city/hole in the ground they wouldn't be adventuring right, so all of my female characters have some outstanding feature, either they are stunningly georgous and were constantly harassed at home or more frequenly they have scars, ratty hair, a big nose or some other strange feature, I find that in givingmy characters these features they have a roleplaying edge over the burly, hairy man with axe type players (not that there is anything wrong with burly hairy men or in axes)

Educating the players in your group would be the correct route, but we also need to make sure that we're not stepping on anyone else's toes with our issues. Correcting older player's is good but most likely pointless because these are people who have steeped in the sexist propaganda for longer than I've been alive. (I'm 25, the oldest guy in my D&D grp is in his early 60's) It's the newcomers to gaming that you should be focusing your efforts on if you want to see changes in the future. They are the new blood that will keep us fresh and will be instrumental in removing the hidebound ideals of the old guard.

I think it is also important to note that gaming is in such a state due to the lack of female gamers. I have a hard time imagining sexual sterotypes surving with an influx of females into the hobby. Besides, as a male I find nothing more boring than being surrounded by table full of testosterone teeming teenagers and soon to be Viagra popping geriatrics playing female characters. They never seem to nail the roleplaying of portraying a woman as a human rather than as a archetype.

I am reminded of the smashingly good time that I had for a few sessions when my bimonthly AD&D group of 7 males and one female was joined by 2 African-American females. The group dynamic is changed drastically when you actually have women playing women. I think it was the best time I've ever had in my 12 years of table top gaming and I was very sad to see the two women leave our group.

I challenge all of you to drag a new person to your gaming sessions over the course of your lives. Don't look in the normal places, try to find someone that you normally wouldn't look at twice to RPG with. The more dissimilar, the better. Women (and those of other ethnic groups) will bring a freshness and uniqueness to your games that is not lightly dismissed. The different life experiences that you will be bringing to your table will enrich not only your group but also your life and inject new life into our hobby.

Please no more political righteousness, I thought I was rid of it when I graduated from Concordia twelve years ago…

I mean sure leave room for everyone, but going out of your way to actually find someone is a bit too much for me. It's hard enough to find good gamers as it is. If you have to certain gender/ethnic/social/age quotas, you'll never run a game.
* By good gamers I mean those whose play style and gaing attitude are enjoyable for you.

Leave room for difference, but don't exagerate in the opposite direction, one of the many unwanted side-effects of political righteousness in the 90's was the hightening of intolerance in non-handicapped-white-heterosexual-males who felt "left-out". Can we just be people and not care where we come from or what set of reproductive organs we have?

That being said enjoy your games

It is a sad comment on the importance of gaming in one's life, when they think they are changing the world by bringing women to the gaming table.

I'm with Sam - enjoy your games. That's what they are for.

Agreed. Diversity is nice, sure, but I'm more inclined to take players where I can get them and encourage others when I come across them and they demonstrate interest, rather than mounting some sort of massive recruiting campaign. It *is* a game after all...

My compliments to Nephandus, who has a reasobale grasp on the issue.
Gaming is an industry. It is based on making money. It is almot completely male dominated, and that directs the market activity. Men like attractive women. Attractiveness in our culture means having sexualized attributes, and so, the women in the books are drawn to act on those drives. Less clothing, for the peurile, is erotic. And we all know that sex sells.
I have a suggestion for the feminist contingent of the gaming world: make your own material. Start a FUBU style game resource company, and have all the men clad in thongs. As long as men have hormones and testosterone, women will be drawn like valejo women. That's the fantasy that most gamer men want. Also, don't game with male chauvinist pigs (a group to which I probably belong in today's PC climate).
A female character with a high beauty can do what fifty angry sweaty berzerkers cannot. A beautiful woman can wrap most men around her finger easily, obtaining many things easily that male character would hvae to kil lfor. Sigmeund Freud said, 'Three things fascinate us: Criminals, great cats, and beautiful women. They do so becasue they represent the free, the unruled, the primal.'
Women with 18 strengths, by the way, is more fantastic than anything else. You would have to practice Mandingo style breeding to get a 1-1000 shot at it, even in a world that is muscle driven. The female form does not support the bone structure or muscle mass necessary for such incredible strength. Also, with this comes superior agaility and reflexes. It is no accident that the warrior class has almost always been the male, with onlyone or two exceptions.
Another note: many women dont game becasue, quite frankly, male gamers scare them, either with lack of social skills or hygene, or both.
A woman playing a character should play what she wants to play, just like a man. If shhe chooses to play a character that is obese or unsightly, that is her choice. But please understand that men do have an advantage in the attaractiveness arena, as has been pointed out. Men can substitue power for looks. Women respond to power in a man, as protection and shelter are things they seek from us. Thus, a man can be unappealing but get away with it. Women have aharder road to hoe on this. I would not, as a referee, place an onus on her for playing a 'plain jane', but she would lose some of the incredible benefits that accompany being alluring and desireable.
One anecdote I will share: In my ravenloft game, a priestess of Hel joined the group for awhile, an npc. SHe had a 20 comeliness (2e game). One of the players got his Shania Twain poster down and actually seated it on one of the sofas, as if she was there gaming with us. It was funny as hell. Later, she seduced the necromancer (played by the guy who owned the poster), and he was on cloud nine for a week. Why? Well, that shouldn;t take a rocket scientist. Gaming is about the fantastic, and most honest men would admit that being seduced by Shania would be on or near the top of their fanatsy list. It may be 'sexist' or even 'Neandrithal', but that's how men are. I consider myself such an atavism, and will never even consider changing.

anyway, that's my long-winded two cents

Just to throw in my two cents:

After a very disappointing, failed Hârnmaster campaign became known as "Pôrnmaster: Lewis does Tashal" I've taken pains to keep the graphic sex content low. Actually, none-existant. Sex as part of character interaction hasn't disappeared, but it doesn't disturb the game anymore. Just this Saturday a PC knight and a soon-to-be-widow of a baron sealed their intent to marry by spending the night together. This I described in few words and less detail. The knight just awoke at dawn, the scent of perfume still lingering in his bedroom and a heavy gold ring lying on his commode.

I've found that most of the excessive sexism disappears once we poor guys actually start interacting with real women. The stereotypes stick, though. A friend of mine even goes so far as to outlaw plain female PCs in the game where looks ARE everything, CyberPunk 2020. No, it's not fair, but the setting demands you be very beautiful or incredibly ugly, nothing in between. Now if he only remembered this goes for men too...

I did not have something to say!

Hmmm... I've never had a problem with physical beauty in my group. In fact, my gamers tend to enjoy the bizzare and mundane more than the beautiful as far as Character appearance (And since I draw them when they submit them to me, I should know). There are very few heroic cuties at all.
One of my favorites was my female Paladin by the name of Hannah Dark-Eyes. In her mail and armor she was indistinguishable from a man (I don't go in for boob-cupping breastplates, too many weak spots). Hannah was a tall woman, athletic, small chested from swordplay, not particularily pretty- but handsome. Plain human: brown hair, brown eyes. She wasn't particularily angry about anything other than the fellow Paladin that betrayed her temple and had all the members of her faith (save a handful) slaughtered. Hannah, with some help from her friends, brought down the weasel (in a sword duel, no less) and she ended up rescuing her future husband from his clutches. Tevish himself(PC Vampire Rogue-Mercenary), said husband, was rather frightening looking since every tooth in his mouth has been filed to match his fangs (A tradition in his home city) and his eyes dialated completely out to the rim of his iris most of the time. Stereotyping PCs, NPCs, Monsters- etc is why I chucked all the "Good and Evil" from the campaigns I run. We use "Lawful, Neutral and Chaotic" as well as "Honor points" to determine a character's status. You may have a paladin serving a destructive God who slaughters children without thought, and you may have an assassin who takes cases on cut pay to wipe out husbands who torture their wives, or wives that beat their husbands. Real-life is too much of spectrum of behavior to not have it spill into the dungeon world.
Female PC's and romance: As a rule I do not think that it's a good idea to divorce romance from female characters (or male characters, or neuter etc characters for that matter)- even if they aren't the sexpot type. We do have romance in our games occasionally-- (which, unlike some people, I think is a pretty big part of gaming- not sex usually, but romance or desire as motivation for a PC).
Being a woman myself, I'd like to add, that beautiful fantasy girls don't usually bother me. Most of the time I can appreciate their beauty and move on. I do notice, however, that alot of fantasy artwork is heavily stilted into the sword-wielding-silicon-bimbo or dewey-eyed-cleric (or mage) stereotypes. That sort of regurgitation of prejudice disturbs me. It severely limits simple people's perceptions of the fantasy genre, gaming and gamers in general.
End ramble
PS- Another thing that disturbs me is that people automatically assume that you're a homely broad-butt when you write about being a gamer that just happens to be female. What gives? I have met very few female players or DM's that fit that particular mold.

I'm 16. I'm a geek. I'm also a Christian. You heard me right. Not every man who goes to church thinks that RPGs are the devil's best friend. I think the devil's in Washington. Anyhow, here are my weak two cents.

We as males have a really massive sex drive. We always have. We always will. It's a good thing we do, cuz if we were so unphysical and sexually less driven than women were, they're wouldn't weren't be that many kids left in the world.

Guys are told not to think or feel-just do. Women don't have uclers or heart attacks or stress-related illnesses as much as men do. Guess why? Because if a woman is mad or sad or feeling bad (hey it rhymed!!!) in any way, she can cry and whine and rant and scream their bloody head off. WHY? you ask, my friends? Women are allowed emotions. Men get no such luck. Most of the women who wrote here will live more years than I, partly because they get the right to say what they feel.

Women, be thankful for what you have. There always has been racism, and sexism, and wrongful prejudice and there always will be. Many think men are stupid. We do not understand, but it isn't because we don't care, it isn't because we're dumb. We just don't think XX. We think XY. Do not say you never judge, that's a lie. You judge all the time. Any man's or woman's mind is always judging, always sizing things up. That is how you know up from down. It is how you learn.

Men, be patient. You cannot and will not understand women. If you did I would be both amazed and worried, because to understand two different beings, that means you have been both. I doubt it to be possible. I cannot prove you have not been someone else and you can't prove you can. My point is that they're right. We do not understand, and neither do they. It is a waste of time to try.

Now, how to deal with this in your gaming group? I dunno, I'm not there. Just realize that its' a game, not a forum for any to complain about what they do not like in this world. As for the game masters, I reccomend you be realistic about how NPC's ought to react.

Also, if you switch from sexist to racist, that is more prevalent in the game system. Orcs are primitive, and shouldn't be too smart. 100 years ago they'd have said the some of a Indian, or to be politically correct, a Native American. Isn't it odd how we bicker about names? I guess a rose would smell good if you called it a cowpie, but would anybody actually sniff it? All i'm saying is that there aremore stereotypes than you can count, and don't you're the next Martin Luther King, Jr.

This is escapism, right? Let's not worry about politics or equality. Let's just play nice, play fair. The players should agree upon a line that shouldn't be crossed. If that happens, deal with it. If it doesn't, don't. Be very delicate. If one of you ladies gets offended because we say something stupid or careless, don't castrate us on the table, alright?

As to your PS Atribeapart, way too true. I also think that when I say I write and read sci-fi and fantasy, most people at church think I am the Devil's son, and most in public think I'm a nerd who tries to sleep with elves in his writings. Personally I go for at least some romance first, y'know? Women also love to think men are pigs. However, I'm not a pig, I eat meat. I guess that means I'm a dog. Of course, what do I know? I'm just a boy, right?

And then with the Star Wars bit, I honestly think tha as peculiar. I do not think I woudl sleep with a lizard, but then again Jabba the Hut thought wanted Leia, but still I find it bad roleplaying to care about how a lizard looks just because it's a girl reptile. I wouldn't wish to know how or look to check, for that matter. The lizard is a great allie, particularly on a desert, as they don't drink much and being so small probably don't take up a lot of food, either. Honestly, I'd rather have the lizard then a babe on the road with me, because most of the cute girls I know wouldn't carry there own luggage, and clouding your brain with hormones before a fight does not do well. (As a side note, Aren't the Jedi celibit? Why would they be sexist? Besides, to your lizard peoples ideals, an albino might be hot? Who knows?)

"Never asked a question unless you are prepared to receive an answer. Even that which you do not wish to hear."
Neurotically yours, Theo

This is good article, and I have something to say about that. Most characters (PCs and NPCs, males and females) in our games is just "normal" looking.

In my most active campaign I have two female NPC party members. The first one of them is elf, and so she is good looking, but nothing very special and she is not anything like slut archetype or helpless archetype. The second one? She has average appearance, her profession is only mapmaker and she knows quite well how to use sword. The most attractive male in party is NPC human necromancer.

In other previous campaign (we probably will continue it) in our own home-brew RPG which was mostly GMed by me but also my friend occasionally GMed it. Our party has two female characters, the first one is (or was) NPC, who was created very randomly so that her race became to be very beatifull/handsome, charismatic and evil/cruel. I decided that her profession is actually bard (no... not D&D bard this one has very few usefull skills in fight) with assasin tendencies. Race is so that it is very suitable for that profession and she actually is not as evil as most others of that race (Well, this example could make it clearer: imagine gate and there is guardian, she wants in, so she will try to talk herself in, and if not successful then drop a hint about bribing and if that is not enough then she starts to consider killing the guard; but most other members of her race would first try to talk themselves in, and if not successful then try to kill the guardian). The second female is not human and only very learned person would even know that she is female.

I'd just like to point out that, at least in DnD, charisma is not always determiend by looks. Take one of my characters for example.

He's a weretiger, and was created with random rolls. As Fate had it, I rolled a 19 for his charisma score, which as you all know si high for a humanoid and practically impossible for a beast race. The logic behind the CHA score suggests that the score comes from looks alone, which would be impossible for a creature that humans, elves etc couldn't find attractive and in fact, fear as a walking Death.
However, my DM and I came to the conclusion that the charisma score is not just looks, but rather, a combination of physical features and attitudes/abilities. We got this from the fact that charisma affects things that beauty alone would have trouble doing. Convincing a Lord that you, too, are a noble requires a quick tongue and the ability to read people, not just a pretty face. Charisma is the ability to manipulate and affect people with both word and action. Its not just appearance.

Thusly, we were able to explain my weretiger's high charisma as a result of his good looks(for a beast race) combined with his deep, commanding voice and the ability to read people's emotions through scent, making him a master of manipulation. So you see, your charisma isn't just good looks.

Beautiful/Attractive characters also have problems moving unobtrusively. Their very looks draw attention, so it's rather hard to blend into a background. Whenever such a PC is run, I usually assign some penalty based on the looks when they try to "shadow" someone. Ditto for PC's that are 6' tall with big swords, or the ones that dress flashy.

But I think we'd all secretly like our characters to be good looking, wouldn't we?

I asked my group that if there was a movie made of our characters, who would play who? We ended up with Stuart Townsend, Johnny Depp, Viggo Mortensen, Liv Tyler and Sean Connery in his younger days.

All really good looking people. Nobody said "Oh, I'd love to be played by Rowan Atkinson," Or Tom Green. Or Bob Hoskins. Or Vinnie Jones. Or Marty Feldman. Or Barbara Striesand. Not even the half-orcs.

Actually, now I think of it, Vinnie Jones would make a pretty good half-orc.

My interest in anime ALWAYS comes to play while gaming. Everyone is attractive...

It's not intentional, believe me. I guess, since my artwork has a anime-flair, that's where it comes from...

Hey, I love playing my human male monk that oddly resembles the love child of Nell Carter and Telly Savales. You should have seen the look on my fiancée’s face when I suggested she play a character that looks like Roseanne Barr. Did you know that a D20 makes a nifty suppository?

No Diving!

(did ya see her, drinking Rab...)

I think my female characters are always 6'0" D-cup amazons with armor that does nothing but expose them (the cups) along with a steel-mail thong that is considered 'battle-gear" for one simple reason...

I think all men wish they had boobs...maybe not forever. But just for one day...

If I may quote from Coupling (The UK version, not the crappy American version): How great would that be? Because every time you have sex there would be four breasts! Two 'guest breasts' and two you can take home afterwards, like a souvenir.

Uh .. can you run that past me again Olly. I fail to see the problem ?

Mystic Assassin, did you know you can buy costumes like that ? I saw a late night program 'real sex' the other night. The models there were modelling this real chainmail skimpy stuff. Apparently its not that hard to make because its already used for making butchers gloves. The problem is persuading your partner to wear it.

Ahem . but enough of that.

To take this article seriously for a moment.
GamerChick ! I must take issue with you !
Inasmuchas you seem to want to downplay the importance of looks, or more bluntly sexuality, in roleplaying.
Now, I agree that you get the occasional male who has trouble seperating his private fantasies from public roleplaying, and the occasional woman who lets her character be abused. This sort of stuff needs to be slapped down, softly first, and then hard.
BUT ! sexuality is a central feature of human behaviour, and its crazy to exclude it from role play. If you keep in touch with articles on sexual behaviour, you will know that Men think about sex every few seconds on average, and women are only a little behind.

I think that the best way to deal with it is to portray it realistically, with all the advantages and disadvantages.

For example, If you have a pretty pc in a party, the men in the party will naturally want to associate with her and will have feelings of protectiveness and rivalry with other men. This is because they are MEN and programmed to do it over millions of years of evolution. This female pc will have advantages, in that she will find it easier to manipulate and motivate men, but she will have certain disadvantages of attracting unsolicited attention, perhaps fatally.

Men are attracted to young and beautiful women, while women are attracted to rich and powerful men. Of course personality and charisma come into the equation too, but if you don't believe the truth of my statement, then just look at real life to see what people do who have the power to have whatever they want. Michael Douglas and Catherine zeta jones, Arnie and his pretty much younger wife. Thats just the way it is.

So my feeling is, slap down any abuse in player behaviour where it becomes uncomfortable, but don't try to exclude human sexuality altogether. Its one of the most powerful motivating factors in behaviour.

I know...the last time I went to A-KON, they had a booth there with a guy who made it...



Who made the Nov 20th 12:15 post? Although grossly generalized, it was well put (I agree with most of your opinions and assertions, some I disagree with).

And I know what some of us are thinking.

"So my feeling is, slap down any abuse... "

Hmmmm. Interesting choice of words?


Sharky ........ Err... Nov 20th was me.

I keep forgetting to fill in the name field or ticking the 'remember my name' box.

And don't you 'grossly generalize' me my lad. Its all you can get across in a few words. I rely on the common sense of readers to apply my argument broadly.

MA , just to prove what an urbane and grown up lad I am, I won't ask for your pics. Also I'm scared of wifey, she might cut off my internet rights... and uh I don't want to say any more.

I'm pleased to say, I don't even know what Mr. Assassin is talking about. My Spidey-Sense tells me it's not 100% wholesome, though.

Oh, and Mohammed (May I call you Mo?), before I forget, I'm just so happy that someone has ended a sentence with the phrase 'My lad'!

I thought it was only me and pirates that did that!


What do you say to a woman with two black-eyes?
NOTHING! You already told her TWICE!


Yeah...the wife-oid might be even more disturbed that you think. I mean, looking at pics of grown men wearing skanky-warrior-mail in public...shameful. How could you do such a thing?

Attachments: (skanky.jpg)

I think I may have wandered into the wrong discussion... Although that's certainly a Google Search in the making: Skanky Warrior Mail

People can call me mo if they like,

And I wish to clarify my earlier statement vis a vis chainmail pictures. I assumed there were some ladies in the party wearing chainmail.

And MA you can't tell jokes like that unless you're sure who you're talking to. Me lad.

Actually, Mo, just to clarify... You're not a pirate? Are you?

On November 20, 2003 12:15 PM, said:
BUT ! sexuality is a central feature of human behaviour, and its crazy to exclude it from role play.

Says Nephandus:

Eeww! Think about what you’ve said for a moment. Imagine it being played around the table – with your FRIENDS.

Don’t you think that’s kind of icky? If sexuality is at all convincing or compelling, then it turns you on. Do you really want to sit around the table and reveal that you are getting a boner from the scenarios and banter? My god, people, that’s what the Internet is for. Don’t wander into the whorehouse and expect me to tantalize you with juicy tales of your exploits (I’ve seen it happen many times) because, as a GM, that’s where I cut the camera, and where I start wondering what you are getting out of the experience.

And what’s with all this other Men are From Mars claptrap I’ve been reading in other posts above. It plays right into the neo-conservative feminist hands – depicting genders as these unknowable entities to each other. Get OVER it. We’re all people. At any time during the day we can feel horny, greedy, sleezy, happy, sad whatever, sometimes all within an hour. There’s no big mystery – you CAN understand women, once you come to the realization that they are just people, like anyone else, who have needs like anyone else.

I suspect a lot of the problems we’re seeing here may have a lot to do with the age of the participants, rather than any immutable laws of gender mystery.

Now, what I’ve said does not necessarily hold true for LARP games – where sexuality is the norm, and where many of the participants get into RL relationships that mirror their in game ones. I’m beginning to think that LARP is like a low-risk dating club. What's interesting from a gender depiction role in that is that many of the women tramp it up in the costuming - despite the fact that they really don't need to (or, given their weight, their costuming choices are unwise).

On November 20, 2003 12:15 PM, said:
BUT ! sexuality is a central feature of human behaviour, and its crazy to exclude it from role play.

Says Nephandus:

Eeww! Think about what you’ve said for a moment. Imagine it being played around the table – with your FRIENDS.

Don’t you think that’s kind of icky? If sexuality is at all convincing or compelling, then it turns you on. Do you really want to sit around the table and reveal that you are getting a boner from the scenarios and banter? My god, people, that’s what the Internet is for. Don’t wander into the whorehouse and expect me to tantalize you with juicy tales of your exploits (I’ve seen it happen many times) because, as a GM, that’s where I cut the camera, and where I start wondering what you are getting out of the experience.

And what’s with all this other Men are From Mars claptrap I’ve been reading in other posts above. It plays right into the neo-conservative feminist hands – depicting genders as these unknowable entities to each other. Get OVER it. We’re all people. At any time during the day we can feel horny, greedy, sleezy, happy, sad whatever, sometimes all within an hour. There’s no big mystery – you CAN understand women, once you come to the realization that they are just people, like anyone else, who have needs like anyone else.

I suspect a lot of the problems we’re seeing here may have a lot to do with the age of the participants, rather than any immutable laws of gender mystery.

Now, what I’ve said does not necessarily hold true for LARP games – where sexuality is the norm, and where many of the participants get into RL relationships that mirror their in game ones. I’m beginning to think that LARP is like a low-risk dating club. What's interesting from a gender depiction role in that is that many of the women tramp it up in the costuming - despite the fact that they really don't need to (or, given their weight, their costuming choices are unwise).

"And what’s with all this other Men are From Mars claptrap I’ve been reading in other posts above..."

That entire paragraph is brilliant, Nephandus. Well said.

I can tell a joke like that because its been approved by my girlfriend. Not only that, but when I told her the joke, her answer to the riddle was "...nice tits?"

What must you keep after giving it away?

The Shark bites (booooo)! What is it?

I've always attributed it to the fact that, as the dregs of the social barrel, most gamers, men and women, aren't generally involved with extremely attractive people. As a population of gamers we really have the face the fact that the average gamer isn't an attractive person. I've lived in quite a few states and I try to frequent different shops instead of picking a "home" gamestore. Most of my experiences have been the same. Gamers, especially roleplayers, tend to be unattractive, hygenically challenged in the extreme, and outright socially stunted. This leads to a glaring lack of sex in a lot of their lives. When you really look at it, the sheer amount of sex in most RPG books and RPGs themselves stems from exactly that. Gamers don't get laid in real life, so they get it in RPGs. I hate to put it that way but that's always how it's come across to me.

Hey Phandus, did you ever LARP with a 280-lbs. woman who was role-playing an acrobatic rogue? Yeah! Try sneaking into a clearing with her (the night window break-in was HORRIBLE). LARPing takes character creation to a level where physical ability is a restricting reality. I was a 210 lbs. defensive noseguard for our high school football team (all state twice, and division champions senior year, Go COLONELS!!!). I loved the more active weekends when the battles were long and the enemy fleet of foot. We'd sprint through the woods at break-neck speeds to escape the Vampire Lord/Demon King we'd just stolen from, only to realize that the "Diva" (requested title!) had kept ALL the stolen magic items on her person... My character was killed several times directly because of saving her. I saw the Diva recently at our friends 4th of July barbecue (Pygmies stay out) and she'd lost almost 150 lbs. and was married (Hey MA, "nice ****" appropriate here). She's given up LARPing now that she can run a marathon and actually look respectable in the Spandex bathing suit and thigh-high boots (her usual costume) she always wore. Go figure. I do actually have a point to my post. Do LARPers have a responsibility to the other LARPers, of maintaining a certain level of athleticism when playing physically demanding roles? How about the flip side? Do LARPers who choose to play wizards and mages have a responsibility to possess enough cognitive skills to understand the utter BASICS of the magic systems. My feelings on the matter are mixed as I used to LARP with a handicapped friend (Chuck... you didn't think that his name was a joke did you) and a deaf couple (the Jesse’s). But Chuck never played an elven ranger 7th/fighter 10th armed with Maple Syrup and the Jesse’s never played bards or during the night hours. I thought that was considerate and responsible of them.

This post was not homosexual in tone... right?

What is it with you and being affraid people will think you gay?
Got something you wanna tell us Shark?

And PsiWulf7, while the population of gamers my look like that where you come from, don't overgeneralise it to the whole world. Up here, we sill have gaming toads, but I myself isn't one and many a gamer I know isn't either.

Sure some of them could loose a few pounds, but this is North America, most people are overweight, not just gamers.

"Gamers don't get laid in real life, so they get it in RPGs. I hate to put it that way but that's always how it's come across to me..."

That hasn't been true of the majority of gamers I've known since college. Stereotypes, being what they are, have some truth to them: otherwise they'd never have arisen. But I'd like to explode this one. There hasn't ever been a particularly unattractive or hygenically challenged person at my gaming table. I've seen the types you mention at conventions and gaming stores, but I've never really gamed with them except at LARPs. Gamers are a diverse community, more diverse (I think) than some people realize. And if you want a look at a gaming community full of relatively attractive people, go to a Vampire LARP sometime. I don't know what they're like in your area, but down here the Vampire players are more often good-looking than not.

Heh, there are great looking people in Vamp LARP, but they are also the WORST offenders for cramming fat women into sausage skin sheer tops that make their bellies look like someone is squeezing dough through sheer pantyhose. Maybe this is just a newer element of Goth culture that has arisen since I left it a decade ago, but man - it is fugly.

The stereotype is just that - and I don't quite fit it either. I do shower. I did get girls - and good looking ones. I was cool, in a way - though not so much any more. But everyone here knows what we are talking about - Sam - you too. You cannot enter a gaming store without meeting some canned spaghetti and BO smelling Comic Store Geek in some incarnation or another.

LARP, imo, is half RPG experience, and half a low risk dating group for people with low esteem. They can have the taste and flavor of real flirting, and often with better looking people than they would normally try for - and because it's "not real," it doesn't matter.

If I ever LARP, my PCs main weapon will be a blowgun with tranquilizer darts...

Uhhhh, Karma I guess.

soooo.... once more?

Do LARPers have a responsibility to the other LARPers, of maintaining a certain level of athleticism when playing physically demanding roles? How about the flip side? Do LARPers who choose to play wizards and mages have a responsibility to possess enough cognitive skills to understand the utter BASICS of the magic systems.

Sorry, I've been away for a bit. The answer to my riddle is 'Your word'.

Now you're all talking about LARP, which I know nothing about, so I'll be quiet.

[Sings to himself, in a corner] I've been shagging Arwen Evenstar, all the live-long day, I've been shagging Arwen Evenstar, whilst Strider was away...


It's like backyard wrestling

Sorry, never done it.

LARPing is just like when you were a kid and you first found out your parents had sex to conceive you and your siblings (don't even portend to immaculate conceptions there, bucko!). You're not sure at first how you're ever going to look at them the same way again. They are strangers to you. But you must pretend that they're your parents in the meantime. Yes, pretend... That's right, Mr. Closet, pretennnnddd.

It's just like backyard wrestling!

My parents didn't have sex to concieve me, Shark. I was born in a manger under a wandering star, with sheep and cows and wise men and everything...

[Sings] Blasphemy, blas fer you, blas fer everyone in the room...

I defend what I said about not excluding human sexuality. Yeah I know it can get icky but its up to the DM to manage that. Theres no need to go into graphic detail. What I meant was , simply, that if you exclude sexual motivation then you get a pretty slanted view of human behaviour, which is no good for roleplaying.

On the comments about roleplayers male & Fem being overweight, lonely, unhiegenic etc. Well theres an element of truth in it. And none of us can live up to the heroes we fantasize about, or we'ed be doing it. But there's no need to think that gamers are so different from other members of society. After all you see the little old ladies taking home historical romances from the library.

I've been thro the sexually frustrated Geek stage. I'm now happily married to a pretty girl, but that doesn't mean an end to fantasy ( heroic, sexual, or heroically sexual).

The rule of thumb is, in fantasy games, ' don't try to exclude sexuality, but keep it clean, and don't make other players uncomfortable'.

Sensible Mo

And Olly stop shagging Arwen Evenstar. Its messing up my image of Middle-Earth. Some of us is serious Tolkien fans. I feel I should defend her honour and she's not even real. The human mind is a strange thing.

And Shark. Helloo sailor. It may surprise you, but some men like overweight babes. I know the current culture is for the slim athletic type, but there's a lot of other stuff that goes on out there in the real world with real women.

Sophisticated Mo.

I'm sorry if I've shattered your illusions about Middle-Earth, Mo, but the movies and the books only show you the 'nice' places. I've been there, I know. You haven't seen the drug dens in Rivendell, the stripclubs in Minas Tirath, the S&M bars in Mordor, I have. I've been there. It's not all majestic music and sweeping landscapes, you know...

Although you are right, I probably shouldn't go blabbing that around, a gentleman never kisses and tells. And besides, Aragorn'd kill me if he found out, bullet-wounds-healing-up trick or no bullet-wounds-healing up trick.

And Shark, some men do like overweight babes. Not me, mind, I hate fat lasses. They take up too much room and they stink. Mind you, a bit of lady-fat is OK. You can pull it over, like a duvet.

Hey, these fat chicks scarred me. I, like, can't even think about women anymore. I'm just confused. That's all. A little confused! You guys with your fancy vacations and sophisticated tastes. It's guys like you that make me want...well... something more.

[blecchh, I'm gonna drop this whole gay spiel shit real soon. Even I can only stomach the joke so long]

p.s. Fat chicks need lovin' too! Heyyyyy!

I'm so glad you're dropping the whole gay thing, Shark.

[Voice changes to that of a screaming queen]

Oooooh! 'Ello, now I can finally be myself!

That said, I wish to make it clear that I was joking, and I am in reality, incredibly butch and manly. I couldn't be gay if I tried... really... stop looking at me like that... I BLOODY AM STRAIGHT!


That said, I'm not a gayist though. I bloody love gays. Not in that way, obviously, but y'know what I mean. Man love just ain't Craiiig Daviiid's vibe, man. But I'm not against gays, me best friend's a gay. And he's black. And he's in a wheelchair. And he wears a turbine. In fact, he's every minority group you could ever think of, all rolled into one. And I think he's proper bo' I tell thee.

Must be very heavy to wear a turbine. I saw some at the Niagara Falls generating station that were as big as a house!

See Olly even Nephandus says a turbine isn't that wrapped cloth around the head that's a turban.

Un maudit turban pas une turbine, espece d'epais!!!

Oups, lost it there for a moment.

Watch Bo' Selecta, you philistines! I will not explain this joke to ignorant children any more!

Your french is good and thoughts are accurate, mein friend.

Here's a toast to Allemagne!


Toastingly yours,




...I am the ghost of MA who was slaughtered because he would not STAY ON TOPIC...




Ass! Ass! What have they done to you!


Don't worry, Ass, I'll make you a new body to inhabit, flesh golem stylee, and have you back on your feet in no time!

Now, let's see... find a corpse... find a corpse... find a corpse... Ah, found one.

[Digs up grave. Cracks open coffin, shoos away ghouls salivating over the smell with a bottle of maple syrup]

Oh looky here, it's John Lennon. How'd you like to have John Lennon's hands, Ass?


must...cut off...hands...


hands...been...all over Yoko...



must...cut off...hands...


hands...been...all over Yoko...


My God! Look over there!

[Rushes over to a tombstone. Digs. Opens coffin, points maple syrup at hungry ghouls]

Here's Shakespeare and all. You want Shakespeare's legs?

uhhh... want...Shakespeare's...frilly...collar...

All right, Shakespeare's frilly collar, and... er... let's have a look around here...

[Digs, cracks open coffin, throws Shakespeare's superfluous legs to hungry ghouls.]

You want Princess Di's legs, instead?

Di's...legs...crushed crash...

Hmmm... For a liveless slab of unthinking dead flesh, you're quite clever... Hmmm... let's have a look around here... There must be someone we can use...

[Reads names from tombstones]

Marilyn Monroe? Henry VIII? Lee Harvey Oswald? Bob Hope? Norman Bates' Mum? Ah, here's one! Tom Green!

Spam. Spam eggs, Spam Spam, and Spam. Fields of Spam. Mountains of Spam.



Henry...psychotic bastard...created...Anglican faith

Lee Harvy...uhh...hey man nice shot

Bob...deader than I

Mum...has the crabs

Tom...I would rather stay dead...with my TWO dead balls

"Lee Harvy...uhh...hey man nice shot"

that sounds like a vote to me. Give him Oswald's eyes.

oh, and Cocytus, we're out of eggs.

You think so, Asha? All right, Mr. Oswald's eyes. How about Marilyn Monroe's feet, Ass? She had six toes on one foot, you know, that's got to come in handy.

Oh, and whilst he's dug up, let's just check on how my little business transaction is going, shall we?

[Cracks open Tom Green's coffin. It's empty]

Lousy, rotten, cheap, crappy Columbian hit-men!

P.S. Sorry about the lack of eggs, please except this spam in consolation.

Its okay, I'm not undead anymore...I uhh...

I found...some vitamins.

Oh, they're good, them, aren't they. Go from stone dead to live and kicking in just two easily swallowed capsules. I could give some to John Lennon, if you like... Here you go Johnny boy.

John Lennon: (Squeaky Liverpudlian voice) Ey! It's me, John Lennon! I'm bachk from der dead, like! Schmickels!

All right, John?

John Lennon: Ah'm all right, but where's Ringo? An' George? An' McCartney?

Well, Ringo does the voice of Thomas the Tank Engine, now, and George is dead, sadly. Paul's all right, though.

John Lennon: McCartney? Yer wha? He'd be nowhere without me. Bleedin' Frog Song? What der hell was all dat about? Schmickels! An' Ringo? What's he doin', doin' der voice of Thomas the Tank Engine? He talked a louda shite!

Well, that's not very nice, John.

John Lennon: Since, Ah'm back from der dead, I better go see our lass. Otherwise, she'll kill me... she'll have a job on, Ah'm already dead, like! Schmickels!

How is Yoko, John?

John Lennon: She always was good fer nothin' the useless meth. She can't see me, 'cos ah'm a ghost, like! Great dat, imagine dat! Schmickels!



Olly said:
"Well, Ringo does the voice of Thomas the Tank Engine, now."

Get it right. He was the conductor, not the voice of Thomas. Ringo got the role right after George carlin left the show. I know that sounds lie a joke but it's not. Trust me.

Damn youse! I've been a good boy to stay on topic lately and you ruined it Olly. Damnit.

Okay, let's see what I can do.

I agree with the whole gamers don't get laid in real life so they want to do it in game comment. I don't remeber who said it and I'm too lazy to look. At risk of seeming sexist I must say that this, I believe, is the reason all of us keep posting on the good Gamerchicks articles. She's gonna come kick all our asses for flooding her email with crap.

Hand's off Ass, I mean it! There will be no lip removal THIS time!!!!!

::maniacal laughter::

Ummm... that was all funnier than sh1t! but uh... okay, the topic, the topic...

Tom Green is not a pretty girl. Marilyn Monroe was, but she wasn't a gamer. Also, it seems I wasn't the only one banned... hehehe.

Really, I think women (and guys) play sexy chicks because it's hard to imagine 195 lbs. 45 yr. old Mrs. Strauss trying to fight off a handful of ogres while keeping her balance over a pit of lava. That's why guys usually describe even their male characters as jacked, buffed, chiseled, whatever (what is it with the gay inuendo?). We simply don't buy the image of Mr. Bean and Roseanne Barr adventuring beside Aragorn or 007.

Now, large endowments (both sexes) are just an extension of ego. It has little to do with the need to "get laid in game." That's really a cheap poke at a group of people who have issues regardless of the fact that they game. It's why drag racing cars have chicks painted on the side. It's why pro-wrestling features ... just about full nudity. It's why the porn industry is the largest consumer market in North America.

How many people choose to game with rusty swords, undersized armor, lame horses, or the fewest hitpoints possible. Almost no one (I said "almost," lay off). Don't go blaming the fire-down-below for people's desire to roleplay the strongest, the fastest, and the sexiest characters they can imagine.

I mean, would you play a hero that looks like Olly?

There is a great precedent for having characters who are in less than the best shape, of advanced age, or extremely unattractive. Generally, we used to call them wizards.

The point the article should have made (but didn't) is the double standard. In my games I've seen plenty of old, unfit, or ugly characters, but they're all men. Never saw a women like that -- I was unique in creating characters who dared to have average looks, and even I never went below that with a female character.

The whole idae, I think, comes back to things that have allready been said. People want to play characters that are cool, ultimately characters that are cooler than they are. Now it is fun, sometimes, to play a acharctere that is really stupid or ugly, or whatever but for the most part I want to be as cool as Aragorn. Especially Viggo. Or maybe be with Viggo. Like in a naked way...... Then we could get some roleplaying on. I'd be like: "Oh, that is one legendary sword you have there." And he'd be like: "I've been trained in dozens of styles of 'swordplay'." And I'd be like: "Well, why don't you prove it you sexy thing. No keep the beard. It's sexy and manly like when you played Lucifer. Can you do the growl for me baby?"


I think I digressed a little there.

I see I'm not the ONLY one who has a problem with "inner-monologue"

It all depends on the woman's state of mind. Some may think they are too weak to do anything, they may just think they arent pretty enough people shouldn't just go off looks, they should go on skill instead go out and explore dont pay attention to other gamers that are playing side by side you. For instance i play Runescape online RPG and i know a ton of chicks who are much stronger than I

I my games, the women (PCs and NPCs) are almost all great looking. And the men are, um... almost all great looking. If a game has an appearance stat, all the PCs get a free starting boost just for being PCs.

In my games, the men (PCs and NPCs) are almost all strong and capable. And the women are, um... almost all strong and capable. The PCs always start out notably so, just for being PCS.

Playing weak or homely PCs is fine if you like that sort of thing; and RPing flawless heroes like Superman or James Bond gets really boring really fast; but I subscribe to the Princess Bride school of role-playing. Plenty of drab, boring stuff going on in RL. When I sit down to role-play, I want the good parts version, and so do my players.

We don't pretend it's artistic or uplifiting. It's just fun. Ain't nuthin' wrong with that.

Girls should not make a false image of themselves, when ever i play a game my PC look almost like my clone(if i can get him to look real ebough). I also think the just cauz they r girls dont mean they are weak or no good at the game. i know quite a number for female PC's that could kik my ass at anything, but then agian ide make it hard for them to win.

Why'd you quit, why not just stand up to the knobs and be strong? Personally I think that if all of the women gamers want to change things they're going to have to stand up to it. Nothing is going to change by walking away. I've played with two female gamers, one was strong and earned my respect, the other cried or put up a fuss every time things didn't go the way she expected it to ( respect there!).

Shit! It's a role playing game, use it! Work with it! Play it out!

Right now I'm GMing a game where one of the players is playing a female and I'm doing my best to make it realistic him (her). He/she recently approached a local gangster (who owned a strip club) looking for work as hired muscle. Of course, it never occurred to the 'Player' that a gorgeous blonde bombshell waliking into a strip club and asking for work would be taken the wrong way.

Well effing said! Shut up and play.

That being said: GC I've read all of your articles and enjoyed every one of them. Thoughtful, insightfull and well done.

"Feminism encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice
witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians." -- Pat Robertson

Feminism is anti man, which means anti christ. Anti christ, of course is satanism. Uh, what is the difference? Do you have a problem with Jesus or something? Jebus77 <---- wonders

What is the difference between encouraging guys to "use" female characters and female rolemodels in games and promoting feminism? there is the relation to the forum :) Look me up

Good call, md. Honestly, Gamerchick, I think you're making a very misguided statement by saying that GMs should try to make good looks into as much of a drawback as a benefit. Every game system I've ever played with charged points for being beautiful and / or attractive, and none of them ever made it useful mechanically except "Seventh Sea" (which did a good job).

If GMs make being pretty *more* useless, then people who want to play beautiful characters are getting screwed. It's not fair to come down on people who choose to play pretty girls -- and more importantly, *pay the points for it* -- even if it is because you want to fix a social inequity. To pick a famous example, the majority of White Wolf's games ("Exalted", the old World of Darkness games, etc) force players to spend as many points for high Appearance as they would for high Dexterity, which governs how fast and nimble they are. This is arguably slightly unreasonable (which is why they fixed it in the new World of Darkness), but can be adjusted by making Appearance useful; your proposed approach would make it outright ridiculous.

Furthermore, it's not just a gamer issue -- it's one that is majorly important in our society. Sure, it's important to try to raise awareness of the fact that our society tells us that girls have to be beautiful to be worthwhile, but calling it the fault of sexism or gaming or fantasy is missing the point and will only alienate people who feel unfairly blamed (e.g., male gamers).

None of this, of course, is to say that I don't respect your opinion. It's nice to see someone thinking about this. It's just that I think you're missing the mark.

It's my opinion that beauty is neither a benefit nor a penalty. Someone with a weak personality (charisma, in DnD terms) would tend to have people try to own and/or control a beautiful person. This kind of person just doesn't have the tools to make use of his or her appearance.

That is certainly arguably true, but it is not an argument that has a place in games that charge points for beauty. If a system puts Appearance on the same level as Dexterity (for example), then Appearance should be as useful as Dexterity. There are arguments for beauty being that useful, and in my opinion those arguments should be honoured if you're going to be using such a system.

That's why I don't use a system that puts Appearance at the same level as Dexterity. :)

I allow folks to write up whatever description they want for their characters.

That's your prerogative, of course. But sometimes a game has major flaws despite being the best of its kind. Either you can go to the trouble to houserule it or you can take it as it is and work within its paradigm. I prefer to do the latter if the mechanics are really entrenched, unless the problem is really egregious.

In terms of realism, I'd personally say that although Appearance certainly shouldn't be an *immensely* valuable stat, it's highly misguided (or perhaps merely unobservant) to say that it doesn't matter. You can say so with little game impact because beauty has such a subtle effect; and doing so may be politically correct; but in real life it just doesn't work that way. Beautiful people get discounts / free stuff, random help from strangers, extra attention in social gatherings, etc, which translates into an overall "social bonus" that's best modelled (I find) by things like the new "World of Darkness" beauty merit or the old "Seventh Sea" beauty advantage (these give extra dice to all social rolls for pretty characters). And ugly people get just the opposite. Attraction plays a lot more of a role than people like to admit, especially gamers. But, as noted, it's your call, and I guess if you're in a game in which everyone can just decide what their character looks like, everyone's equally pretty and beauty doesn't matter anyway.

Oh certainly, pretty people get added attention.

Of both positive and negative types. They balance out.

The model, for me, of low-charisma high-appearance is the "trophy"...

The person who is fought over, who rarely has control of his or her own life.

I wanted to play a female player for a change (i'm male irl) and decided if I'm going to play a girl, I'm going to be a pretty girl.

Since i play BESM mostly you have to spend character points for appearence, so most of our parties wind up being average-looking at best. I have a balance of male/female players and gender doesn't seem to be a problem when another player is in need of assisstance. In fact the NPC was a 1/2Elf, with lv1 Appearence, and two of the party just so happened to like elven women which has led to rivalry between them to win her heart. She thinks nothing of them other than friends and allies (and just between you and me neither is her "type").

So instead of downgrading appearence in you game, make it a part of the story. A physically beautiful person will ALWAYS stand out in the crowd of average-looking people making it easier to locate them(insert evil laughter).

One stereotype that should be looked into is the elven women. They aren't human so why are they attractive to some (if not all) humans?
And i have only encountered ONE female dwarf in my seven years of gaming. You never see a female dwarf in the movies, you hear about them but never see them. Maybe the director thinks a bearded woman would take away any seriousness to the story?(sorry my other personality took over there for a line, stupid gamer's build up from not playing RPGs enough)

Why not make a Sleeping Beauty quest?

"Mirror-Mirror on the wall whose the fairest one of all?"

"It's (insert pc) o'evil queen."

"I must destroy (insert pc)!!"

Good song... if I guessed your allusion correctly..

"Not a Pretty Girl" by Ani DiFranco... for those not in the know

MMORPGS and MMO 's : Ok I finally figured out what went wrong with the MMORPG's in the world. As many of you know there use to be a game called Ultima Online back in 1998 where you could create a character and adventure without having to bring a group with you or the group's individual powers and skills that enhanced you are your group. You could go anywhere and do anything even making a living as a murderer here in Ultima Online. That is, until one day something called Trammel came about and changed the way mmorpgs would be for a LONG time to come. The problem with today's MMORPGS's is the GROUP BASED POWERS. Yes I have figure out what would make everything much better. Take for example DAOC or Dark Age of Camelot. IF you put a healer a skald and a theurgist in a group together they can all benefit from each other's special powers and abilities. Now, you have a theurgist and a healer that run at blazing speeds, a theurgist and a skald who regenerate hit points, and a skald and a healer that have a damage absorber. I mean come on here and get real – now every girl power club member is going to want to play this game because they all suck individually but benefit with all of these powers combined. Take out the group based power sharing nuts and lets play. That's right, now you have to play with the character you made and fight with what you know and have against each other player. No more of this left wing teen nuts where you play as your favorite girlfriend and your friend gets his favorite girl star, you both shave your balls put makeup on and go slaughter the barbarian players with your combined powers. What a joke the MMO industry has turned out to be. Safe zones and combined powers. What kinds of pansies thought this up? I think it is time to delete your lesbian porn off your computer, put away your girl power stickers and get into a game in a setting much like Ultima use to be without being able to combine your powers with others all because you messed your character up and don't know how to play. MMO games have become lame excuses for gays to hang out and push left wing issues and that is all. NO I DON'T WANT TO PLAY ANYMORE. MESSAGE ME WHEN YOU ARE OVER YOUR GAY EXPERIENCE AND IT IS TIME TO PLAY WHAT CHARACTER YOU MAKE AGAIN. LAME!!! Visit me sometime :

MMO games have become lame excuses for gays to hang out and push left wing issues and that is all.

This is beyond any shadow of a doubt the most brainless, offensive post I have seen on this site in a long time. I hope and trust Morbus will delete it; in the meantime, please go away and don't come back.

Uh, dude you quoted the best line of the whole post - "MMO games have become lame excuses for gays to hang out and push left wing issues and that is all." That sums the whole idea of MMO games up in fact and obviously you are a noob who was not around during 1997 when the real MMORPG era started with ultima online. Damn right I was out killing people in Ultima including your girl power fan club making a living off retarded people who need other friends in their groups to get combined power benefits. The brainless effort is in the group system nowadays and it is a big market issue. The game Devs know that most of the crowds are ignorant people like yourself who dont have any gaming skills and need buddies to enjoy anything good out of a game. It makes me wonder - do you people have their moms hold their dinkies when they use the potty too? Or is it just a girl thing where it doesnt matter if you can play or not, as long as you got 7 other people with you and boys are icky? Grow up fatty and dont come back until you do some research and start posting relevant information. Not everyone is retarded like you and doesn't understand what is going on. Look at your post a few lines you slow short bus rider. Good luck in the winter special olympics Cocytus.

Grow up fatty and dont come back until you do some research and start posting relevant information.

Your sense of irony is as keen as ever, sir. Your most recent posts -- both of them -- have nothing at all to do with Gamerchick's excellent article.

Your post of a year ago seemed to have something relevant to say:

What is the difference between encouraging guys to "use" female characters and female rolemodels in games and promoting feminism? there is the relation to the forum :)

But then you showed up a year later and started ranting on a matter that is at best tangential to the thread.

Continue flaming me if you want: this will be my last response to you. I have seen nothing to make me think you have anything to contribute to this topic. If you would like to continue your rant against the decrepitude of MMORPGs, click The Forums --> Post new topic. I'm sure someone will be happy to engage your views.

You're right about one thing: I don't know much about MMORPGs, and I don't care. I don't play them.

You're right about one thing: I don't know much about MMORPGs, and I don't care. I don't play them.

Then you don't need to be here posting because you are just an overreacting troll who took offense to a factual statement about the evolution of MMORPG's. The bottom line is you are an undereducated fool and need to vent somewhere else. This isn't a place for you to bring your personal problems and flame on relevant posts with anti topic remarks.

Then you don't need to be here posting because you are just an overreacting troll who took offense to a factual statement about the evolution of MMORPG's. The bottom line is you are an undereducated fool and need to vent somewhere else. This isn't a place for you to bring your personal problems and flame on relevant posts with anti topic remarks.

Ahhhhh, the irony of you calling Cocytus an 'undereducated fool' and a 'troll' is delicious!

Yes, there are plenty of things wrong (in my view) with the current generation of MMOGS (I prefer not to include RP in this acronym and nothing in your posts indicates I should do otherwise either).

However, let's not imagine correlations between game design/play style and the supposed politics (sexual or otherwise) of the designers/players and call these fanciful speculations 'factual statements', eh?

Unless you can post a link to some peer-reviewed research published in a respectable scientific journal that backs up your assertions I suggest you shut up before you make yourself look an even bigger fool than you already have.

Oh, and 'anti-topic'? What did your little rant have to do with the topic of this thread?

Anyhow, I find it amusing that you talk about the 'evolution of MMORPGS' as I have a sneaking suspicion that you're a fan of 'Intelligent Design'...

PS -

Fans of Jebus77 may like to catch some more of his trolling on this board where he describes feminism as a 'satanic religion'.....

I really don't want to post anything on this thread. However, silence is consent. I find the comments of Jebus77 offensive as well. I don't think they contribute anything other than evidence for the kinds of problems that gamerchick was originally trying to expose.

If you don't like co-operative play; if you have resentment towards homosexuals and women; if your self esteem is wrapped up in how long or "well" you have played a computer game -- fine. Thanks for the information, but how does that demonstrate a deficiency? Play the games you like, avoid the ones you don't and let others do the same. If you post something that is hateful towards others, expect people to respond with criticism of your post.

My questions were rhetorical. I won't be waiting for a response.

So, lurkinggherkin, politics have nothing to do with Online games, how people play them or how a game universe will operate? I don't think any of us have to wonder if the word politics is being using in today's MMORPG's because we all know that politics is the bottom line in online gaming when it comes down to guilds, clans, and groups. You are either being very naive or underestimating my understanding of the online social atmosphere which I happen to be very aware of. I don't think you brought a valid argument to the table here so I will not carry on my dispute with your remark about politics since you are defending an off topic post. For Gilgamesh, even if you will not return to follow up I would like to address something you said that was interesting.

co-operative play; if you have resentment towards homosexuals and women; if your self esteem is wrapped up in how long or "well" you have played a computer game -- fine

So you are backing up my statement about the evolution of MMORPG's here. Clearly, MMORPG's have evolved into online drama sets that revolve around co-operative play and SELF CENTERED around homosexuals and women. They have nothing to do with gaming skills or how well a person can use gaming skills to pursue their "role" in online games. I am very glad you brought that up though, because I was looking for the description behind the word "evolution". I did not want to come out in a foolish protest and describe what MMORPG's have become so bluntly, but I thank you for your assistance in getting that definition out for us.

Final though about lurkinggherkin's post. If you so want to defend what feminism is why don't you hang out on the board from the link you gave at the bottom of your post? I do not think this is any place to bring demon worshipping and the whole satanic issue. Feminism is a religion you can ask woman that. None of the feminist want to worship a male figure, so they have made feminism their "religion". They are anti man, which is anti Christ, and anti Christ is obviously Satanism. There is nothing new here I was just explaining the relationship between those religions. You are either good or bad, hot or cold, so the book of wisdom tells us. Anything that is not christian or "of god" is just a branch of Satanism. Even if you were a naive person like yourself, with a little research you could figure out that a self centered religion around a particular gender which considers themselves godlike would be something evil and tyrannical. Research is the key word here, and research is what you lack. Flame some more because the magnifying glass is over your inability to factually back up your statements. Hardly anything I state is from opinion, in fact 90% of it comes from research taken out of context and compiled together.

If jebus77's opinions and rant weren't so sad (and such a fine example of Neanderthal thinking), they would be hilarious.

Seriously, I quote: "Hardly anything I state is from opinion, in fact 90% of it comes from research taken out of context..."
Do I need to say more?

Please, Mr. Jebus, take your uber-right-wing, homophobic, tunnel-visioned opinions and post them somewhere else. you're not welcome here.

I can't believe I just wasted 13 minutes on reading and responding to this...

"37% of all quoted statistics is made up"

Zipdrive you don't need an introduction because you are identifying yourself as a sicko right off the get go defending left wing conspiracies. Now that you brought up the right wing bashing, lets see what your defense is really supportive of. Oh lets see here, you want to defend homosexuals telling me I am unwanted after mentioning feminism is just another satanic demonized religion because their ideas support lesbians. Turn your attention over here to this link: . Yes thats right Mr. or Mrs. or whatever zipdrive. The feminist agenda includes legalizing and supporting female pedophilia and says that it is ok for an adult woman to have a sexual encounter with a pre teen child and get away with it as long as both parties are female. I am not sure what exactly YOU have on your computer but I wouldn't want to think you have images of women and young girls on it. You being a sicko is just this. Maybe you even hope if we are able to get Hillary Clinton as president she can push more left wing assaults on morality and ultimately promote the feminist agenda to make stuff like this existent and then even work on making it legal for men to do the same thing. Nah, probably not men, but you probably believe that since you want to convince everyone that a left wing agenda includes normal men on it. The fact is the whole left wing feminist satanic anti-christ man hating agenda includes legalized molestation of our children, so the person who is not welcomed here is you. And the reasons are obvious you perverted sicko because people like you belong in mental facilities on lock down. You are the one who speaks from a neanderthal mindset thinking stuff like this would ever be legalized and people like you could get away with it. I suggest you research a little more zipdrive because homosexuality is a disease which comes from a lack of nutrition because medical research now shows that homosexuality and gender identity disorder may be caused by SOY TOXINS and environmental poisons! Go get a bottle of soy bean capsules and delete that pre teen porn off of your computer (and your zipdrive) before you get in a legal situation you dont want to be in.

PS: I wouldn't mention how long it takes you to read through posts anymore either, 13 minutes to read my posts (all of them even) means you have the reading skills and mentality of a 5th grader.

Guys, I apologize (to everyone but Jebus77) for starting this. Skimming the entire thread, I noticed he said nutso stuff like this several times before, and the general reaction was exactly what he deserved:

They ignored him.

I recommend we stop feeding the troll.

They did not ignore me Cocytus, they ignored you. How many replies do you have and how many replies do I have? You are not a troll, you are a flamer because you do not have anything significant to add to the board here because you have gotten off topic as I mentioned before. Stop the flaming because it is considered board spam. What is nutso is you supporting a pedophilic agenda and speaking against me. God you people are ignorant and sick all the same. I will say a prayer for you.

{sighs deeply, faintly bemused and saddened}

Jebus77, you might recall that I wrote:

Unless you can post a link to some peer-reviewed research published in a respectable scientific journal that backs up your assertions I suggest you shut up before you make yourself look an even bigger fool than you already have.

You have failed to take my advice and demonstrated my latter assertion very convincingly - just as I knew you would. It's very easy to push your buttons - like Pavlov's Dog.

I wasn't so much 'defending feminism' as posting one of the many examples I found on the 'net of you trolling on a board with your banal little narrow-minded Taliban-like opinions.

I don't intend to continue arguing with you any further or post any more dirt on you that I found as it would be unseemly of me to engage in a battle of wits with an opponent who is so clearly unarmed. Not to mention that I'm already bored of you. I might be tempted to comment further when you post that link to your peer-reviewed published research article. Although, unless the professional research journals have recently lowered their standards considerably I don't expect to see one. Deductive logic isn't your strong suit, as you very clearly demonstrate:

They are anti man, which is anti Christ, and anti Christ is obviously Satanism

I could just as easily (and moronically) say that 'anti man is anti Anton LaVey (author of the Satanic Bible), and anti Anton LaVey is obviously anti-Satanism which is clearly pro-Christianity'

{Before you start imagining me to have something against Christians I'd like to point out that my wife is a church-going Christian - though thankfully of a more enlightened sort than yourself}

My final comment (and unless you come back with something a LOT better than your typical drivel this WILL be my final comment): have a read of this -

It might just broaden your mind a little....

(Sorry for feeding the troll, folks....but some things need to be said. I promise my next post will be something to do with gaming!)

oh, man, are so funny :)
were do you come up with that stuff? i showed your post to some of the people at work, and we laughed so much.
you should definately be a professional stand up comedian.

The link provided above was shut down because more and more lesbian sickos were jumping on the band wagon thinking it was legal to have sex with female children. Here is the news article link --> This one wont be shut down because it is part of media, yet it still describes the sick world of homosexuality. But hey, its alright if you're a girl right?

I assume, Jebus, from the way you wield "left-wing" like a curse word, you consider yourself a devout Christian, and all this stuff you're railing against to be anti-Christian.

If you are a Christian, you believe God is all powerful and all knowing.

If you believe God is all powerful and all knowing, but that "ungodly" things still happen, you believe he is ALLOWING them to happen for some reason.

The standard answer for why God allows humans to commit ungodly acts is that human beings were never meant to be slaves or automatons, and must be allowed to come to him of their own free will.


What he HELL do you think you're doing second-guessing your own God by coming in here with guns blazing, trying to ram your self-righteous tripe forcibly down the throat of anyone who comes within range?

Well, I have been fortunate enough to have played in a campaign where a girl, playing a female character, had a comeliness of I think it was 9, just slitely bellow average, and a male character had a comeliness of 3, the lowest you could possibly get. You see, we had to roll 3d6 w/ no rerolls, and he rolled 3 ones. So, he became known as private FUGLY. My character still ended up sleeping w/ the girl's character, and we never let Private Fugly hear the end of it. Of course, I got a lot of grief for sleeping with the girl, but at least we picked on Fugly more than the girl... so, thankfully, we're not ALL lost to that stereotypical BS, but it is a problem, still.

In a later campaign, which I happened to gm, someone used a miracle and the character who convinced her to do it, wrote out a whole "argument" for what he wanted to happen using Letters (a, b, c...) so what then resulted was all male drow, ended up having A B C branded into their forehead in a bright orangish reddish glow... So, logically, I thought, their comeliness dropped by two or four points. Then, he got pissed at me for it. I just thought this was bogus. Especially, since the comeliness stat doesn't really have any bearing on anything, and it still pisses me off that a player can be that concerned about how he looks when in a game, it doesn't really affect anything. So, I feel your pain.

Oh, Man I love that! But yeah, Damn! even women are falling into that whole "my female character must be Miss Universe in appearence."
Shark, that suppository line was pure genius!

The idea of human beauty is built right into our genetics, in both genders. I know it sucks and its not fair, but I don't think you can undo genetics with a blog post.