What It Feels Like For A Girl


It always strikes me as strange that some gamers play every race, character class, and minute variation that their favorite system has to offer, yet never dare vary the gender of their character from their own. There's nothing wrong with having a favored character gender, any more than there is with having a favorite race or class, but there's nothing wrong with branching out either.

It always strikes me as strange that some gamers play every race, character class, and minute variation that their favorite system has to offer, yet never dare vary the gender of their character from their own. There's nothing wrong with having a favored character gender, any more than there is with having a favorite race or class, but there's nothing wrong with branching out either.

For that reason, I have nothing but respect for gamers who vary their characters' genders from time to time. But, like everything else in gaming, there is a right and wrong way to go about playing a character whose chromosomes don't match your own. The advice I'm about to give on transgender roleplaying can certainly go both ways, but since men constitute the majority of gamers, for this article I'll focus on how to play a memorable and believable female character without insulting every woman within a five-mile radius of your gaming table.

So you want to play a female character. For that, I salute you. No matter your gender, playing a woman (or being a woman, for that matter) in a hobby where players and characters alike are predominantly male can be a big step, and I think it's great that you've decided to take it. But in the end, you may be surprised to learn that taking that step is easier than you ever thought it could be. In most ways, making a female RPG character is no different than making a male one, except there's a different letter in the "gender" space. There aren't (and shouldn't be) any limitations on what races, classes, or personalities a female character can have. Over the years I've played female characters of just about every race, class, and concept imaginable, and I haven't even been gaming as long as many others. Let your imagination have free rein, and come up with something really great no matter what your character's gender. This isn't to say that male and female characters should be exactly the same; my point is that differences mostly come not in the character creation process, but in the actual role-playing itself.

Men and women are different; it would be stupid to argue otherwise. Therefore, male and female characters need to be roleplayed differently. How you alter your role-playing for a female character is mostly your call, to be inferred from your character's personality, the overall "feel" of your group, the situations the game gets into, and your personal strengths and weaknesses as a role-player.

An extensive and well-realized background will do wonders for your female character. This is true for PCs of any gender, and it's some of the best advice I can give you. When you know where your character came from and what kinds of circumstances she had to deal with, you're more than halfway to understanding her motivations and thereby having an insight in how to roleplay her. Go beyond the standard "born, grew up, became an adventurer" spiel and really dig into what makes your character tick. Take the time to think about her experiences prior to the adventure and write out a nice, long, detailed background. Here are some background questions you may want to ask yourself, and suggestions for how the answers you find might affect your roleplaying.

Where did your character grow up? Was it a city, a small town, or something else? What were the people who lived around her like, and how did that affect her behavior later in life? Was she an outcast in her hometown? (If so, she may still harbor bitterness, a desire for revenge, or other nasty emotions that can be a lot of fun to roleplay!) Or did she have mainly good experiences and a lot of friends? More often than not this is the case (especially in fantasy or medieval settings, where traditional gender roles predominate more than in sci-fi or modern settings), since women often form friendships and connections quicker and easier than men. She may have concerns from home weighing on her mind during her other adventures; how does that affect her relationship with the other adventurers?

What was her family like? Ask yourself all the normal background questions here - parents, siblings, extended family, how she got along with them, who she was close to, you know the drill. Especially, concentrate on a female character's relationship with her mother. Did they get along well and have a deep, abiding bond? Were they at each other's throats all the time? Was it a combination of that, or some less definable emotion? Did she never even know her mother? What did her mother teach her, either directly or by example, about being a woman? Was her mother submissive, or strong and independent? How have these lessons affected her--does she follow her mother's example, or strike out on her own? Is her mother still alive, and if so are they still in contact with one another? Once you know these things, you'll know a lot more about where your character learned her kind of femininity, and how you should roleplay that.

Why did she become an adventurer? This is where you really need to go all out and come up with a really good and interesting story. Women often have a deeper connection to their hometown and their family than men do, and need an extremely good reason for leaving. Many male characters will need no more motivation than the desire for money or adventure; not so with female ones. What makes your character so desperate that she would leave her home and family and put herself in danger? Is she running from a bad or abusive situation in her hometown? Does she have a driving goal that can only be accomplished through adventuring? What does she stand to gain from hanging out with a bunch of men? Think long and hard about this question; the answer will tell you a lot.

Finally, how does she feel about being a woman in a male-dominated field? Does she enjoy it? Does she act timid around men, try to prove that she's better than them, or think of them as her equals? Is she a tomboy, or does she assert her femininity more than she would normally? How do the men she works with tend to see her? What do other people think about her when they find out about her job? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages to being a female fighter, thief, mage, or whatever? Is she an outcast because of it? Is she more well-known and recognizable because of it?

Perhaps most importantly, don't make the mistake of thinking that for a female character to be realistic, she has to be a man with breasts. You know the kind I'm talking about - armed to the teeth, emotionless, stone cold, far more violent and ill-tempered than the men in their party. The sentiments behind this kind of character aren't entirely misguided; most of the people who play them just want to avoid the stereotype of the weak, weepy woman and play a chick who's taken seriously. What they don't realize is that by avoiding one stereotype, they've created another. It's perfectly okay for a female character to be emotional, or fall in love easily, or hate snakes and spiders, or not really want to kill anybody, or get squeamish around blood. I'd even go so far as to say that it's okay to play a female character who's a nag or a tease. Female characters can and should have those little quirks we associate with women - they only become stereotypes when those gimmicks are all that a character is about.

As a matter of fact, the only time I was genuinely offended by a portrayal of a female character took place in a Shadowrun campaign where two male players decided to play women, and were quite fond of mentioning this to me at every chance. I was impressed until they actually played the characters, and both (they were made separately, may I add!) turned out to be one-dimensional vicious, butch, man-hating lesbians who walked around with katanas threatening to castrate every man they came across for relatively little reason. The players insisted on referring to them as "strong women," and never quite understood why I spent most of the campaign glaring at them from the other side of the table.

These are just a few suggestions, and they probably will not always apply. That's why my biggest suggestion for making realistic female characters is this: If you're not female, talk to a real live girl about it - preferably one who knows her gaming, at least somewhat. Ask her what she thinks of the character's background, and for any roleplaying tips she might have on how this particular woman might behave. Getting a firsthand critique of your female characters from the inside out will almost undoubtedly help you to improve them.

Women can't be pigeonholed into neat, simple categories any more than men can, and because of that it's hard for me to give you advice that's going to apply to every female character all of the time. In the end, you're the one that has to decide how to roleplay her. But I can tell you for sure that the more time you spend working on your female characters, the better they'll be. Try to think and behave as a woman would - easier said than done, I know! Observe the women around you - friends, relatives, teachers, classmates, co-workers, even random women on the street. (Okay, if you start looking at strangers, maybe you shouldn't stare too long...) Note how they react to things in their everyday lives, and (if you're male) how that differs from the way you react. Apply those observations to your chick characters. If you really want to get in-depth, read up on psychology and human behavior. Or maybe just talk to women, and get an idea of how our minds work. It's not as though there's a shortage of us on this Earth, after all.

Playing a female character is a challenging experience, and it may not be for everyone. Or it may be the kind of thing you try once and never do again. Whatever you take away from it, however, it will almost undoubtedly be rewarding and enlightening. I'd recommend it to any gamer interested in experiencing the full spectrum of the hobby - or anyone who just wants to come away with a slightly better idea of what women really want.

I can't roleplay a convincing human male, let alone a female elf.

First love, then crossing gender barriers, you certainly do set lofty goals for the gamers out there don't you Gamerchick? :)

I think roleplaying an alternate gender is a more difficult task than roleplaying a romance, (and I won't even begin to look at roleplaying a romance as another gender.) but more importantly I think one has to recognise the reasons you would WANT to play another gender.

After all, if you feel you've exhausted all the possible roleplaying experiences with your own gender, either you haven't thought through the options very well or you must be one of the most prolific roleplayers on the planet.

The simple truth is that any attempt to roleplay a female by a male is going to have the same problems as playing an elf, dwarf, orc etc, but worse. Because there are innate differences in the way sexes think, just as there would be between us and these mythical races, we have to rely on archetypes to see us through.

The differenc is however that normally when races characteristics and predispositions are alien to the player (such as the way imaginary creatures such as elves think) these will be determined by the game world and game designers. This enables them to give everyone an adequately similiar picture (e.g it would be foolish to attempt to roleplay an Orc from the Warhammer world in Middle Earth, as they are innately different and the designers tell us this through their writing/background). For gender, this is far less often the case.
This is because games designers tend to steer well clear of the topic of gender, often only giving it the smallest of recognition or simply stating that it makes no difference within the rules and is up to the player to decide. This maybe because it's too diffficult, maybe because they simply don't want to appear to be excluding any possibilities or offend part of the target audience.

But whatever the case without these strong 'clues' as to how genders of certain races behave in the game world, including that of humans, not only are we forced to fall back upon our preconcieved notions and stereotypes/archetypes of our world we also have the problem of no cohesive vision towards the genders and gender differences of the game world. There are no certainities, no rules to follow, break or make exception to, no norms to rebel against, no benchmarks set.

With such an open criteria I imagine it becomes impossible to entirely accurately portray a character of ANY gender (be it your own or the opposite) in the eyes of everyone even in a small gaming group. For this reason I believe the majority of characters which are roleplayed are often without real gender.
Any gender facets they display most often are simply aspects of the actual person roleplaying the character that comes through naturally. On occasion some characters gender might show through strongly and perhaps contradictory to the gender of the person playing that character, but this will happen at particular points in a story set up for such occasions and not elsewhere. The work involved in keeping up such a complicated facade the rest of the time is too great and will cause them to slip back into their normal method of action with no particular gender orientation being obvious and no large amount of thought towards gender going into each and every action.

Some people can play a different gender, some people can't (and really shouldn't *shudder*). If you're like me and not that great at roleplaying a human of your own gender chances are good that you won't be impressing anyone with your portrayal of the opposite gender.

Caliban definitely has a point about the lack of material to springboard off of in most RPGs when dealing with gender. Personally I don't have a problems with this as the intended effect of not complicating things by introducing gender is worth it. No matter what a designer does with gender in their fantasy world it's going to piss of a lot of people IRL. Even discounting loss of sales it's just one more thing to take heat for (as if the people who are bitterly racist WRT fantasy races aren't obnoxious enough).

While I will agree with the general point ventured by the other posters thus far - that playing a member of another gender is a lot like playing a member of another race - I would argue that the only people you need to impress with the accuracy of your depiction are your gaming mates. For some groups, this may be easier than most.

I'm a male gamer, and I have a tendency to play more female characters than male. My wife is a gamer as well, and she plays about even amounts of male and female characters. The rest of our group - six strong - is pretty varied; one male player who has only played one or two women to date, another who plays as many female characters as me, a third who's just joined recently and has only played male characters to my knowledge... and another female player who has only played female characters AFAIK.

Given the make-up of our group, any truly unrealistic concepts are likely to be noticed early. To date, NO ONE in our group has managed to play a character of a different gender which has strained our collective suspension of disbelief. It may just be that we're good players, but it may also just be that we don't have unreasonably high standards. You be the judge.

My, that's a good challenge for any aspiring d20 writers?
How to play the opposite sex. Imagine the possibilities...
(/levity off)

Cool article, GC! I think Skyrender hit the nail on the head for balanced groups, certainly this was true in my old RPG group where a female player was called on her female character's behaviour by a male player! And he had a valid point too - the female player smacked her forehead when she'd realised what she'd done.

Behold irony. Rather than invoke 'gaming police', it may be more conducive to ask players of the opposite sex how 'a typical woman' would react. Be prepared to be very surprised when they ask you about men...

So, how to raise the bar in an arena in a demographic that is predominately 14 - 21 males? Anyone feeling that brave? In a forum where there has been plenty of debate on sexism in games (ranging from articulate and intelligent conversation to sexist hysterics - from both genders I hasten to add)? In an arena where you get games like F.A.T.A.L (do yourself a favour and miss it - probably the most offensive game I've ever read) to Maidenheim to Superbabes to Macho Women with Guns.

Interestingly, the strong female archetypes in gaming and gaming-related fiction are kick-ass warrioresses like Kitiara from DragonLance and Xena. Very few females who use magic (which makes Willow and Tara a pleasant change) or cunning subterfuge?

Is this due to a literary inversion in fantasy literature or due to nobody doing a good job?

So GC - any ideas?

Yeah it is a great challenge, but is it a necessary one? I'm not certain. And is it for everybody? Certainly not. I mean it's cool to try out stuff in RPG and not always play a Human Cleric with the personnality of a dwarf (Right Ronald!). Still, do you have to go through that much trouble to have a good roleplaying session?

I like playing a character that is different from me, but does it have to be difficult for it to be fun? Maybe I'm just a lazy role player.

You're right Satyre, Tara and Willow are really cool characters, too bad Willow will probably become this year's big vilain... And you're wrong to some point about strong female archetypes: Lea in Star Wars, Bavmorda and Razel in Willow, all the Drow Matrons of Salvatore and the Dark elf wizardess from Elaine Cuningham's daughter of the Drow, Robyn (the Druid Queen) in the Moonshae Trilogy, Kilashandra in "crystal singer", etc.

I think it's just that kick ass warrior types are the more common fantasy heroes.

Conversely, in Japanese anime and videogames - particularly CRPGs - female characters follow different stereotypes. It used to be common to relegate female characters to spellcaster roles - and in many cases, they end up developing Helpless Heroine syndrome when the villains capture them. There's also a much greater number of female heros - and villains - in anime and CRPGs than in western literature and shows, but at the same time they end up becoming their own stereotypes. People playing in any RPG based on these themes (like Returners FFRPG or BESM) will exhibit these tendencies, I think... like my group.

Actually, I'm female... and I have almost an equal number of female and male characters.

Perhaps, ironically enough, I almost tend to favour the male characters, at tiems, over the female ones. Then again, where I tend to roleplay, it's actually pretty much a female-dominated community ((IC-wise, I'm talking)) rather than the traditional male-dominated. So perhaps some of my wanting to run the male characters is to get maybe a little bit of a 'mix' into the bunch? *chuckles* I dunno.

But my characters are equally split, almost... half of them are male, half of them are female... and I play both genders, IC, just as much, with little to no 'favouritism' towards one or the other gender, really.


Thanks for the reply Sam. Interesting to see the names you mentioned are mostly sci-fi or what I would call NPC material. Notable exceptions with Elaine Cunningham's drow wizardess and Robyn. I should compound my error by mentioning Marion Zimmer-Bradley's Lythande as well as Eowyn from Lord of the Rings. Manga though is an area where there is a little more balance but then again there's Urotsodokoji! Different strokes I guess.

I also hope Willow steps back from the brink earlier than the end of the series. What would be cool is if she does step back but then steps forward again. She could then cross over to Angel and that would be... interesting.

I have to smile at the comment Sam makes about lazy playing - but again, I'm compelled to ask the question - are there quick ways to play a member of the opposite sex believably without descending into caricature of those you know or cliche?

An enquiring mind wants to know...

Yup there is, PRACTICE and FEEDBACK.

Those will eventually allow you to play any type of character more easily, but how quick it is just depends on you learning curve and acting talent.


While it can be interesting to play another gender (and if you haven't tried it, it's certainly worth doing), I have found it much more interesting to cross race than gender or sexual orientation.

The best learning experience I have had was in playing an African-American character in a modern-day game (I'm a Euro-American myself). The research for that taught me much more than crossing genders did.


You run the same risk with cross ethnicity as you do cross-gender. One day you'll meet and Irish who thinks you're playing a stereotyped Irish Character or an Algerian or Scandaniavian or Latino American.

Although I admit having played the role of a runnaway black slave in boot hill, was a nice experience. I'm not sure I made a nice tribute to those who suffered the same fate as my character, but the experience was a good eye opener.

But then roleplaying is not only about giving a good show, it's also about learning from experiences you will probably never have for real (as you pointed out yourself). That is its main appeal to me (after the safe escapism).

You can also achieve that by role reversal, like having a "What if" game or a "What if country".
Like what if North Africa had become the do had become the dominant civilization instead of Rome? or what if a country was run by domineering females or what not.

You don't have to switch gender to experience the "other side" all the DM has to do is change the context that determines the gender/ethnic/rank/age associated roles and you're in for a nice ride down the road to learning and understanding.

Also, I like throwing a complete matcho NPC in the face of the female players and watch them try out new ways of dealing with an all too frequent occurrence in our supposed enlightened society.

I must admit it all too often turns into an occasion for them to vent some well earned frustration without having to answer to charges of assault and battery ;-)

It's your game

It's interesting you mention those Shadowrun characters, because I used to game with a woman whose characters were always man-hating, castrating warrior bitches. Sometimes, a minority is betrayed by one's own... (This player had some issues, anyway...)

I am female, and find that I only play female characters. I have attempted to play a male once or twice, and found it uncomfortable. Most the chicks I play are not man haters or such.....

Jade - There is nothing wrong with your style of play.
Can I ask why you felt uncomfortable being a bloke?
Feel free to tell me to stick it if it's intrusive.

Sam, I agree with you. I'm just wondering for those poor benighted souls who don't have the benefit of a gamer (or three) of the appropriate race/sex/religion/ fashion sense in the area, whether there is a way for them to be reached outside of this kind of forum...

Understanding is the first step to eliminating bigotry. Whilst I've played in games where my characters have been accused (rightly) of racism but when it came to religious persecution nobody batted an eyelid (hey, they were good guys, just not OUR brand), I'm curious how to unobtrusively encourage a little tolerance without being too preachy. ; - )

Or am I doomed to failure in even trying? There's been a lot of words on the benefits of role-playing in business training but there seems to be little of those benefits in evidence in gaming? Sam advocated cultural changes in gaming worlds - AFAIK there are few industry releases that take on these issues.

Hey, gaming publishers! Got another idea for you... ;)


Who needs the gaming industry?

Changes can be brought on by the PC's and the DM with ease. I mean, in a male dominated society, the antics of the female members of the party can inspire other women and effect societal changes.

You'r lowly priest or priestess of a non-influential faith, as he/she gains levels and fame, might change the faith of the people. Lately the priest in my high-level campaign was obliterated by a sphere of anihilation. He has recently been canonized by the church and enventually a sect or faction of the church might grow. Or the cathedral they are building in his fief might become a spiritually powerfull place, we'll see.

Colleges of magic get wiped out, provinces grow and fade all because of the campaign you play.

Again in my high level campaign, there might soon be a holy war between a Lawfull neutral inquisition controled kingdom and that of the heroes wich is Neutral good with lawful tendencies. All in the name of faith, individual freedom and the right of worship. The PC's were pivotal in provoking the high level inquisitors and then reporting to the king what the Eastern Fanatics might have in store for his kingdom.

Hell, in one of my games a gnome once started an agricultural coop, to help the locals when crops were bad.

Imagine the impact key figures of your campaign can have on: Law inforcement, Crime, Commerce, Law, customs and what not. This can all lead to new ways of defining sex/race/class/age related roles and place in society.

That is the main advantage of table RPGs over internet RPGs, you can (if the DM allows) have an impact on the way a society (or part of it) develops.

Your actions are supposed to have an impact.

I know I'm way off the initial topic here but still…

How many times have you seen a DM show the impacts of PC's spending a dragon's hoard into the local economy?
Can you imagine the inflation rate? The amount of luxury products that would eventually pop up at the local market? Poverty and richness shifting? Crime rate? Trade routes? I mean, when the PC's spend 1000 GP's for one night at a small inn. Can you imagine how empty the inn's stocks are after that? Can you imagine how tempting a target the inn is for the local thieves?

Have you seen this done often in your campaigns? Then why do you think the gaming industry has (almost) never dealt with it.

Once again, it's your game, you decide what to do with it.

Cthulhu Matata


Thanks for the ideas for the next three articles I'm penning... *evil grin* Now to answer your question and try to get this back on thread before it becomes the Sam & Satyre show...

Personally, I've not got many rules in GMing but if the PCs aren't having an impact on the campaign world, this means one of two things:

1. They aren't trying.
2. The world is a BIG place and they're a small part of it.

Personally, I'm always in favour of the impact of PCs on the environment. You get all the good things like conflict with the status quo, gunslinger mentality from those who try to make an impression, intrigues and skullduggery based on reputation - all good stuff.

Back to the playing women well debate - why do we need the gaming industry to help lead people's attitude in gaming? Hmmmm. Maybe the vast majority of gamers use games that come from gaming companies rather than home-grown? You might play their game a different way and more power to you if you do but rest assured the vast majority do not.

Those of us who read this debate and change their ways may give us a quiet reform. However, if you want to see large-scale shifts in gaming, you have to get the idea out on a larger scale.

And that's why we need the gaming industry.



“As a matter of fact, the only time I was genuinely offended by a portrayal of a female character took place in a Shadowrun campaign where two male players decided to play women, and were quite fond of mentioning this to me at every chance. I was impressed until they actually played the characters, and both (they were made separately, may I add!) turned out to be one-dimensional vicious, butch, man-hating lesbians who walked around with katanas threatening to castrate every man they came across for relatively little reason. The players insisted on referring to them as ‘strong women,’ and never quite understood why I spent most of the campaign glaring at them from the other side of the table.”

Heh. :) You’re one of the good ones, so to speak. This is the same problem I have with male-written “strong female characters” in every medium. Just today I randomly saw five minutes from the middle of the *Heavy Metal* sequel on TV. The heroine walks into a strip bar, cold and emotionless, and goes up to the bar. Some kind of slug-man walks up behind her and says something to her that we don’t hear. Without turning around, she elbows him in the face hard enough to launch him out of frame in a spray of blood and bone shards. This told me all I needed to know about the movie and I stopped watching it.

Contrast that with the Taarna segment of the first *Heavy Metal*. Almost the same scenario--attractive female warrior in skimpy outfit whose entire race has just been murdered walks into a bar in a dangerous neighbourhood--but instead of instantly destroying any male who looks at her, she goes about her business and only decapitates one of the green guys when he makes it verbally explicit that he intends to rape her.

Also, the scene in the original had much better music. :)

Reading descriptions of what the writers and directors were thinking when they made the Harley & Ivy episodes of *Batman: The Animated Series* showed me that they were still self-misandrist drooling fanboys, just higher up on the show business ladder.

The hell of it is that in the eighties I loved strong female characters--actual *characters*, as opposed to humanoid vagina dentatas. Back then, when there was still *real* work to be done in portraying women fairly in fiction, I *rooted* for female characters. If a heroine was surrounded by bad guys bigger than her, I’d hope she’d kick ass, not because of some self-hating fetish, but because I genuinely cared about the character and wanted her to be OK, just as I would with a male character in the same situation. Today, I actively avoid exposure to female-male fight scenes, because I know it’s just an excuse for misandry.

Sudden thought:

I’m assuming that the reason you were offended by those two gamers was because they were playing hateful characters, and not because you feel only women should be able to play that type of character, and that it’s somehow wrongly empowering to men to let men do the same. Based on your previous articles, I think I can give you the benefit of the doubt on this.

Had to add my two cents.... I'm a gamerchick, who just rolled up a secondary character... a male. However, this isn't your ordinary macho type(leaving aside the fact that neither bards or elves, both of which he is, tend to be much affected with machismo)... matter of fact, he's short, slight, has been mistaken for a woman several times, is afraid of spiders, and is bisexual leaning towards homosexual However, he kicks surprising amounts of ass for a short, frail-looking, femmy bard. My point is, what're everyone's thoughts on playing homo- or bi-sexual characters?

I always play human males in just about every RPG possible since that's the type of character I feel I can genuinely portray. Playing a different race or gender for the most part leaves too many rooms for me to fall into one of oh so many eyerolling stereotypes.

From experience with past groups I've spent time with, males playing female characters almost always (with rare exceptions) fell into one of two categories of stereotype:

(Apologies in advance to any who might be offended)

The SuperBitch, who asserts herself through sheer power, physical or otherwise and is virtually genderless by virtue of abstaining from even the most casual and light of social interaction with any gender...

Or conversely, the SuperBimbo who exudes physical perfection to a degree that even Image Comics would find too graphic and often flirts with/manipulates anything organic and humanoid for gains material and otherwise.

As for portraying characters of alternate sexual preferences, I would treat it no differently than portraying a different race or gender. As long as it's done with realism and not tainted with tasteless stereotype exaggerations- especially difficult in my opinion when it comes to alternate sexuality- I don't mind it at all. It's not my cup of tea personally since I tend to stick with playing what I can portray believably, but roleplaying is one of the few avenues where differences shouldn't matter in real life.

You know, as much as playing gender stereotypes might seem offensive.. I can't help wondering if (in some cases) it's as liberating for the player as the ability to throw fireballs, or anything else that makes one's character more than ordinary.

I mean, okay, suppose you're a guy playing one of those flirty megasluts. Think about it: does a guy ever really get to do all those things the megaslut does? Especially if he's some stereotypical fat geeky RPG nerd? I know that I, personally, would enjoy being able to manipulate people with my sexuality and have anyone I want, even if only temporarily.

I find it less likely that someone would want to play a megabitch, but I suppose it's possible that the same thing could apply there.

And even playing a character stereotypically badly is (in theory) better than not really playing the character at all.. isn't it?

On February 8, 2003 02:22 AM, Arin said:
“My point is, what're everyone's thoughts on playing homo- or bi-sexual characters?”

I’m a fan of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

I am uncomfortable with more than a slight amount of sexuality in my RPGs – at least, in D&D, and it makes me question the player who insists on persuing that avenue rather than swords and sorcery fun. As a DM, I don’t enjoy the little player trips to the brothel, where they expect some kind of detailed titillation from me. Hetero, bi, or homo, it’s almost never important to the story. I’m there to facilitate a game, not to diddle them under the table. Sexual fantasies belong in Internet chatrooms – not in my D&D game. If they want their character to be gay, then fine, but I will not allow that factor to dominate every scenario or social interaction - and I make that point clear to them before we begin.

"[W]omen often form friendships and connections quicker and easier than men." "Women often have a deeper connection to their hometown and their family than men do, and need an extremely good reason for leaving." "Finally, how does she feel about being a woman in a male-dominated field?"

It's interesting that these statements are cropping up in your article. Don't you think you're making some sexist generalizations -- not just about women, but about fantasy settings? There are tons of settings in which some or all of the above statements are simply not true. Encouraging people to address these situations in every case is encouraging them to bring their sexual stereotypes into games that aren't always (or even frequently) going to support them.

My favourite game, "Exalted", has a female stock character named Arianna. Arianna is extremely stereotypical and boring -- the interesting thing about her is that her history goes into a great deal of detail about how bitter she is about having been a woman in a man's world. But when you look at the actual "Exalted" setting, there are very few canonical places where she could have feasibly grown up in the environment she claims -- I haven't found any, in fact (although I can't say I've been looking super-hard, so I could be wrong, so please don't nitpick here, as I have a larger point).

The larger point is: whoever made that character decided that her character was angry about sexism because they *automatically defaulted* to the assumption that an intelligent woman would be limited and frustrated by the sexism of her society. Even if I'm wrong about Arianna not having a canonical backdrop, I've seen this happen before in inappropriate settings in which there was no doubt that sexism was gone, or the society was matriarchal and sexist against men, or whatever.

I'm not going to get into to validity of your assumptionsd in terms of *our* world, although I think that even in our context, some of them are questionable. I just feel the need to point out that they're assumptions based on our society and our culture, which are simply not relevant to the alternate realities we play in unless we choose to make them so. It's silly to encourage roleplayers to create their characters by asking questions about their past without examining whether the question is appropriate or even relevant to the setting.

Although this is an excellent article for some cases, I suspect that, in others, the evident underlying assumptions would create more problems for a character-builder than the questions would solve.

I run several small groups. I have at least one woman (my wife) playing in all of them. What she wants in the game and in the story is romance. Romance will lead to sex, in or out of marriage. However, I am not a fan of PDAs nor do I want to introduce such elements into my games. It is possible to include sex in a game without being overtly descriptive. Saying "the Warrior Prince is agile in ways that you never thought possible and yet as gentle as a mother with a newborne babe" more than gets the point across without resorting to overly graphic details.

In one of my campaignes, a female player playing a Dragon Man Journeyman Priestess, slept with the Crown Prince of the Kingdom. She got pregnate and he decided to marry for love rather than duty. (He married her instead of a more political marriage) The kingdom is currently gearing up for civil war as a result. The PC is now three months pregnant, the queen, and trying to protect her lover the king and unravel the prophesy of the his death.

The sex and romance in that game became a central part of the campaigne. It wasn't planned out or anything. The characters just got together... kinda like real life...

As for bi or homo characters... I lived in Durango Colorado for a while which (at the time) had a huge gay gaming community. Some of the best roleplaying that I've ever experienced was played there. I usually play a straight male (as I am most knowledgable with being one) but I have tried female and gay characters as well (they're a hoot!).

One of my fav characters of all time was a gay priest (Imagine that) who used a steel shod bible to pound religion into his opponents. (Talk about a bible thumper;-). I played him because everyone else in the group was extremely homophobic... It was a learning experience for everyone....

"When the winds of change blow hard enough, the most trivial of things can turn into deadly projectiles."

I have a used a female character in rolepaying a good deal and it was great fun. It got girls more interested with playing in our group because their characters "could be friends" with mine. I know that sounds lame, but they had never RPed before and it helped get them started. I only had one idiot player have his character harass mine because she was female.
I always hear that guy created female characters are simply male-charaters with a name/gender change on their character sheet(or in the screenplay or in the novel.) On the surface some players thought that she was your standard angry bad-girl/gun-bunny but I had a good backstory and I was really trying to develope her and the gamemaster really got into her as we played.
I also made a character named Cyndi Shanks who was a stereotypical gun bunny just to "give the crowd what they wanted" for a few short games.