Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sex and D&D

Man, you take a little break to collect your thoughts and the next thing you know the bloggers are going crazy again.  We all need to need to switch to decaf!

So the latest dramarama is WotC jokingly or not posting a list of choices to include in the next iteration of D&D.  One of which was gender-based attribute limits.

Don't bother to look for it, it is gone now.

Now, the first thing I suspected was it was just a joke. Something no one wanted to take seriously.
Of course they started getting a lot of notice for it (planned maybe?  Nah...even I am not that cynical), so it was taken down as a choice.

This lead to the next level, blog posting, here three different takes.
Now in reality I don't care.  Anyone with any passing familiarity with me or this blog know I love female characters.  I have played more than a few in my day, more than that even.  I think that the few female fighters I have played only 1 ever rolled a 17 for Strength.  But that is not the issue is it.  The issue is should it be there at all.

The people on the side of realism say, "yes, it should!  look at the evidence!" and they point to the real world.
People on the side of gender inclusion, or at the very least, people on the side of "less rules = better play" say there should be no differences".

I am, at least on the opinion side of things, on the side of equality.  Mostly because a.) I really don't need a rule for this, I have plenty ok and b.) I want to encourage more women to play the game, I don't want to give them any reasons why they might not want to.

In practice though, I am falling short.

In AD&D we did use this at first, but we countered it with giving female twice the amount to develop a psionic wild talent (per the old AD&D 1st ed rules) since we logicked out that since psionics are a dominate sex-linked trait on the X chromosome then women had twice the chance to have it than men.  The balance of course didn't pay off since there was always a good chance that female character had some psionic power.

In Ghosts of Albion "Female" is a minority and worth a 1 point Drawback.  Women also have 1 level less of Status and have a 1 Point Obligation to cover the loss of their freedoms.
All of this is of course appropriate to the time in which Ghosts of Albion takes place.   I will also point out that one of the most physically powerful characters is the ghost of Queen Boadicea and the most magically potent character is Tamara Swift; and this is all from the mind of Amber Benson (who even got higher billing on the book cover than i did!).

So yeah.  I might not have a leg to stand on this one.  I do see both sides.
This is not Dead/Evil Lesbian Cliché bad or even  Women in Refrigerators bad.
For me.  I 'd rather not see it since I am going to ignore it anyway, and it is one less thing I barrier to the game I'll have to overcome to get people to play.

How about you?  What are your thoughts?

1 comment:

Alexis Smolensk said...

For the record, I make no change in a female character's stats, combat ability, spellcasting, experience or any other feature that would change the success of a female character vs. a male. The only distinction I make is that the female's appearance (height, weight) is different.

It's a coincidence that I happened to write my post at this time. I conceived of it last week, and waited for Valentine's Day to write it. Perhaps Valentine's Day had something to do with the coincidence.