Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Men and Female Characters

I admit it, I've played female characters before. Only once seriously, though...for a Shadowrun game. It made sense at the time. In retrospect, it was probably a mistake. The last female character I played was an elven Fighter/Magic-User named Black Sybian. She ended up killing one of the other party members in a drunken four hour session. Probably one the the finest moments in my history with rpgs. Anyway, I really dislike it when dudes play female characters; it just sorta bugs me. I couldn't really decide why that was the case when I thought of typing up this post, but then I realized it was probably because every single "serious" female character I've ever seen played by a guy was a raging slut. Some more subtly than others, but generally overtly promiscuous and disgusting.

As I get older, it occurs to me that this could simply be the product of adolescent stupidity. Obviously, that's not the case because some of the shit that has happened in recent games I've run or played in is just as stupid, if not more so. Then again, no one was making female characters and requesting they be raped in-game (not making that up). Far be it for me to give an exposition on my hangups with sexuality (they pretty much don't exist), but that's the kind of crap I'd prefer to never see in any game. Is this hypocritical on my part? Murder, theft, pillage, arson, necromancy and more murder was a common theme with my last AD&D group. Sometimes it got boring or annoying, but we had fun. Yeah, the players would say their characters were getting whores in town. So what. If the players had began describing ways their characters were violating the whores, or molesting the barmaid, I'd probably tell them to STFU. I don't want to hear that. And almost inevitably, when a female character is played by a man, this sort of shit creeps in. Much more emphasis on what the character is (not) wearing, descriptions of physical features far beyond what I'd consider normal, and they're all lesbians. If roleplaying has taught me anything it's that every single woman is a homosexual nymphomaniac whose advances are welcomed by all other women. Seriously, who wants to play in a game like that?

If played satirically, like Macho Women With Guns, it can be fun. But usually it's a 30-something fatbeard virgin playing the naked elven lesbian very seriously. Disturbing. It's rare to see anyone take a mature attitude toward this sort of stuff, and I don't think I've ever directly experienced it. However, women playing male characters, whatever...don't care in the slightest. Most girls I've met who play rpgs were much more mature, though, so perhaps that has something to do with it. Actually, in high school I played in a game with a bunch of college students and working adults, two women in the group. Both were hideous and with wretched personalities (the classic rpg nerd prototype). So of course they played female characters with 18 CHA, casting charm spells on all the men in town and raping them. I dealt with this for about two sessions, but decided to depart after one of the girls made friends with a horse and wanted the DM to roleplay out the inevitable sexual encounter. Not even making that up.


  1. I never play female characters. I may have had one or two back in junior high (where I was always trying new characters just because I had never played this or that combination of race and class(es) before). I don't really know why. I haven't had a lot of experience with the 'fat guy wants to have a nympho lesbian' character... but the people I play with tend to have some pretty silly exchanges at the table and sex jokes are pretty much par for the course. I never take the potty talk terribly seriously but would dial it way back if I thought someone present would be uncomfortable with it.
    I've been in some groups where I dropped out because people didn't seem to treat one another with respect (or at least that is how I felt).
    I don't really know why I don't play female characters. I suppose my analyst might think it pretty significant -- I dunno. I think it's because I often want to allow myself to do whatever I want to with the character... like play him as dumb, or vain, or whatever... and somehow I don't want to be that guy playing a dumb, vain female character but playing a dumb, vain male character seems like fun. I guess I'm just a prisoner of my own PC-ness.

  2. My last character was an amazon in a Wilderlands Campaign. She had high str but low con and cha so I figured she was a bit stout. Anyway, she outfitted herself like any fighter would, although I took the cultural spear. I just played her the same way I would play any fighter. Her gender and culture did pose some challenges for the character, but that was all part of the immersion. I see no big deal in it.

  3. I breathed a sigh of relief when you didn't play Black Sybian in character for many of the reasons you provide here.

    But then again everyone was so lit-up (I have a cellphone picture of a 2/3rds drained bottle of Jack and a marching order made up of plastic army men to prove it), that we might not have noticed how creepy that would have been.

  4. Yes it opens it up for some creepy stuff indeed.

    I'll have to say in the few instance where I've had male players play female characters I saw none of this. Or the other bizarre stuff you mention.

    Currently, I have two male players each with a female character (we are a small group so they are playing multiple PCs each). One was inherited from a woman who left the group.

    The other, well for some reason we kept mucking up the pronoun when referring to this PC, saying she instead of he. One day when the player of (the now female PC) was granted a boon from the fey (yes a wish so to speak) he asked to switch sexes for this PC. You have to know the player, it was a good way to get back at us for the accidential "shes" and teasing aboubt his (now her) name. Needless to say, as the GM I figured this was way freaky cool to the fey. They expect humans to ask for gold and power. They didn't mess with his wish and even threw some extra stuff in.

    However, to this day the new female PC is not played in any weird or slutty manner. Still the same aloof spell caster. :) And she certainly wears as much armor and gear as her class allows.

    On that note. We copy and paste images from the web for PC portriats. It is near impossible to find female portraits that are not cleavage fests and that somwhat accurately represent what these PCs might look like.