Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Female Gamer Roundtable Is Go!

Here's we go...

Ok, any woman can answer--try to answer as many questions as you have time for. If you're a guy, be quiet for now. (If you have some gender situation I haven't anticipated, do whatever you feel is best.)

Also, everybody who answers please stick around to see if any new questions pop up in the comments--the idea is to let this forum go anywhere the women participating want it to go. I may throw the comments open to questions from the y-chromosome contingent after a while if I feel it would be helpful and nobody objects.

1. (from Dungeonmum): How did you get into RPGs?
(2-9 are from Oddysey)
2. If you DM/GM, how, when, and why did you start?

3. If you don't DM/GM, why not?

4. Who was your favorite character to play, ever? Why?

5. How often do you play male characters?

6. If sometimes you play female characters and sometimes you run male characters, how do you decide what gender of character to run?

(With no restrictions on player/DM type/practicality...
7.What would the ideal campaign look like?

8.What would the ideal adventure look like?

9.What would the ideal treasure look like?

10. Would you consider putting out your own RPG product, why or why not? What about just contributing to a product?

11. Do you have any thoughts on why more women don't play RPGs? Do you care?

12. Have you ever experienced sexism in the gaming community? How?

13. What's your favorite part of the game? Or favorite parts?

14. What's your preferred game, why?

15. There's this stereotype about women and math...how are you with the "crunch" in games? Do you avoid it or jump in?

16. Did/do you ever feel "performance anxiety" in front of a gaming group? (These last two questions are from Zak--these are things Mandy's talked about.)

17. Anything you'd like to see more of, in your own game(s)?

18. Anything you'd like to see more of in the industry in general?

19. Mandy asks: "How do you feel about highly sexualized images in game art? Like, say, this. (Full disclosure: my own position is I'm totally ok with it, and like looking at it, and want to be able to draw like that, and don't think it's degrading in any way.)"

20. Do you feel like you can make any "guys tend to do this, female gamers tend to do that" statements? If so, what?

21. Any questions you'd like to ask the other women here?


New questions from the comments:

22. Taichara asks "Why did you decide to answer these question?"

23. I wanna know this one--Pretty much everybody who has answered so far has played both male and female characters. I've played females twice, but only pretty much because Keith Baker and/or the girls made me do it (I liked it, but mostly as a one-shot thing). Guys don't usually play women. Got a theory?

New questions:

24. Loquacious asks: "What do you hate most about gaming and why?"

25. (zak): Do any of the answers other participants gave surprise you or pique your interest/curiousity, etc? If so, which ones?


  1. 1. I was surprised it took as long as it did, actually. I was into White Wolf games theoretically when I was 13 but never played. I only collected books and then cards, before disappearing into comics for a decade. For D&D, my entry point was art and making some for an amazing DM/GM: mordicai!

    2. Not yet.

    3. I will, once I get more playing under my belt. I feel like I am still getting acquainted with possibilities. Learn the rules, then break them, right?

    4. A kenku rogue that spoke French. Because I was able to wordplay in another language.

    5. Only once but I've only ever had four characters.

    6. Conceptualizing the character properly just lets the character tell you what gender to use. My first male character, I just knew, had to be male. He was, for no reason except that he named himself.

    7. The ideal campaign is steady. I've had games with so much time between them that I have needed a lot of work to get back into the story. I wish my game was regular like church. Or the dentist.

    8. The ideal adventure is a living thing and goes to a place you couldn't predict. The danger that surprises you. You vanquish the spirit or slay the dragon, but almost die crossing the bridge. You steer clear of the chalk circle in a room because maybe it's a trap except right, it's a healing circle! I like not knowing when the hammer is going to fall. Or if it's going to be a hammer at all.

    9. The ideal treasure, for me, is specific. I hate winning generic loot. I want to find character treasure, not game treasure.

    10. I am too new to the experience to be thinking of this yet.

    11. There is a lot of equality in the people I play with.

    12. Only online, in the comments of articles. I don't trawl forums, though. It's probably there.

    13. When the story takes form, to the evident satisfaction of both DM/GM and players. Like, the "here we go" moment.

    15. It was an adjustment at the beginning, but only at the very beginning. Honestly, it's more about paying attention. I find that people are just bad at the numbers, really. I've had to watch overlapping zones and keep track of bonuses or they get missed, in general. That could just be me. We are a story group before a game mechanics group.

    16. Absolutely, when I first played. The more you play, the more you understand that participation, with your character and also just the world around you, makes a better experience for everyone. When I was terrified, I was bored. Because I was "waiting for a turn" and didn't understand that you can react to anything and that there are no wrong things to do (beyond general player manners) and that the game rewards and values everyone.

    17. More psychological trickery?

    18. DIY Everything. I think it's amazing when people hack their world to make missives or mood boards for their game. Better than shelf adventures.

    19. I am not alienated by them but again, I play with a progressive group. We don't really operate inside that world. Also, to be fair Harlequin romance covers have the same uncomfortably sexual covers as their counterpart in fantasy.

    20. Nope.

    21. Wanna play?

  2. Zak did you come up with the rest of the Qs? Here's my As:
    1.I got into RPGs after I met my boyfriend (now husband). We were in our teens, he'd been playing D&D with his group of mates since they were kids. I was welcomed into the group without any strange looks, in fact, they all seemed quite apologetic about the hobby, I wasn't sure why at the time. I'd always wanted to find out more about it as I thought it sounded very cool, but never had the opportunity. The reason I posed this question was that I wanted to find out if anyone (female) got into gaming via any other route than dating a guy who played, as that seems the most common way.
    2.I have been a DM I think about 3 times. I bought a 1E box set in a charity shop and played a few games with some friends who were noobs. I thought this would be less scary than with veterans but it was even tougher than I anticipated as I had to teach them at the same time. I think I was pretty poor at it TBH.
    3. The idea really appeals to me, but then, I know that it is a lot of hard work and you don't start off good, you need to hone your skill and I'm basically just too lazy to do all of that. That all being said I will be keeper to a PbEM CoC game some time in the next few months, something I've not done before, but I've had a lot of support and encouragement from the other players, had done my homework and think I should be able to do it. PbEM is certainly less pressure than tabletop, I reckon.
    4.My favourite character was my first: a centaur called Epona Gullfaxi. She was the hardest, meanest bitch in the crystal sphere, had a gae bolg that could make kebabs out of monsters and had a best friend who was a werebear called Clare Bear. They liked to have pyjama parties and paint each others' toes. I think I liked her because she was so wacky. Someone said 'you can be whatever you want to be' and I thought fuck it, this is fantasy. So I went for something decidedly not human or even humanoid. All the characters that followed were a little odd, only recently I've started to rein that in as it's not always beneficial to be a nine foot woman with a horse's arse in a crowd.
    5.I try and alternate between male and female characters. I don't have any trouble playing males, most of the time, although I think there's difficulties in each. When blokes play females they're always total sluts (in fact they're the same whatever gender the PC, it's just only females get called sluts if they like sex). I think the trouble with playing a male is getting the other players to believe that my PC really is male, that the things my PC says and does are typically masculine. And if I have a female PC she always gets leered at or has to use her 'feminine wiles' to win over someone or a situation. Maybe I'll roll up some stud-like male who does the same, try and keep a balance.
    6.I just go with my gut really, if I'm rolling up a PC I'll just choose whatever image first comes to mind.
    7.The ideal campaign would be weird enough to keep my interest but not so much so that I couldn't keep a focus on what goal to pursue “We must find the . . . hey, look at that!”. Standard fantasy does it for me, but I'm not averse to anything off the beaten track, as long as I can easily visualise it (guess that's all down to the DM skills)
    8.The ideal adventure would be unpredictable, challenging, surprising, rewarding and ultimately fun.
    9.The ideal treasure would not be tons of gold or gems. I much prefer artefacts, something I can use that not everybody has.
    10.Not something I've considered (see number 3), wouldn't mind contributing though.

  3. 11.I do care that more women don't play RPGs. I'm the only girl in my groups. There have been others but they've not stuck around for long. I guess it can be quite intimidating, when you're completely new to the game and everyone else knows what they're doing. I've already told my own form of entry – I was welcomed into a group without question, although the members of that group were worried about my reaction to it. I've seen the same when other people (women) have been introduced to D&D, everyone's worried that they'll hate it or think it's weird. Would they do the same with a guy? Perhaps just friendly openness and and invite to play would be enough. People (women) do kind of stare in horror at the rules though, and when there is a pause over those or the mechanics get clunky and generally the game slows down, that is when interests switch off. IMO the DM has a lot of responsibility for keeping the interest, perhaps with newbies they can focus (but not too much) on that player, immerse them as much as possible in the descriptions and dialogues that are going on, hold their hand as far as rules are concerned then drop back a bit as the player gets more experienced, let them do their own immersing.
    I mentioned above that I played in my teens. That stopped for years until we had kids. When we realised that going out and getting drunk would be a rare opportunity we resurrected the hobby, got our friends to come round and play regularily. I found my passion and interest was far greater than before, playing every weekend is what did it.
    12.No. Or maybe I did but I didn't recognise it.
    13.My favourite part of any game is when things become completely unstuck and it isn't clear what we have to do. When we try something wacky and the DM rolls with it and the game follows a strange new path.
    14.I've only played D&D and CoC, I like 'em both but CoC is definitely far more roleplay focused.
    15.Ugh, I hate maths. Yes I live up to that stereotype, I'm a fluffer ;)
    16.Yes I do. Another reason PbEM is an advantage. For example, one PC of mine has extremely high charisma, it seemed like a good idea at the time when I was creating her, but it means I have to play a highly charismatic beautiful woman and . . . it's hard work: coming up with fast talk and banter and rabble rousing speeches, not to mention seducing and persuading and threatening. You can roll dice for all these things but really it's whether the DM is convinced by your performance that counts. 'I hit it with my axe' is a lot quicker than 'I bolster the morale of the villagers with an entrancing speech that brings them to tears, it goes like this . . .'
    17.In my own games as in the games I play? One word, sandbox.
    18.Nothing springs to mind, but I think greater publicity, just to draw more people into the hobby and make it less marginalised would be fantastic.
    19.I like sexualised art, it would be boring if art wasn't a little bit sexy. Isn't the word 'sexy' just a byword for interesting nowadays? Those particular pics just made me laugh though, they're not degrading, just . . . extreme caricatures . I'm more a Frazetta kind of gal. He sexualised both men and women.

  4. 20. 1.Male players do this:
    Pore over the rules
    Keep everything they find (treasure, magic items etc) unless it's a desperate situation
    Want to kill everyone
    Want all the treasure at all costs
    Distrust everyone (NPCs)
    Get drunk
    Get laid
    Take risks
    Use all the time-tested strategies with puzzles etc
    Female players do this:
    Avoid the rules wherever possible
    Use all their magic items straight away
    Keep out of the fight if they think it's dangerous, maybe even try and befriend an NPC if it seems helpful
    Cherry pick through the treasure for the coolest stuff, or avoid looking for it if there's too much danger
    Try and connect with people (NPCs)
    Get drunk, if they think it's safe
    Get laid, if the NPC is suitable, regardless of beer goggles (unless the DM decides)
    Take caution
    Come up with non-standard solutions to puzzles (because they don't know the standard, possibly because they are also newbs)

  5. My husband (Evan from Places Deep) want me to give these questions a go.

    1. I have been role playing online since middle school, plus my mom used to play D&D with my father and their friends before I came along. I knew about D&D when I made new friends in high school and when wanted to give tabletop games a try we started a group.

    2. I have DMed once or twice for friends, where I came up with the adventure on my own, but I did not like it.

    3. I have more fun playing the game.

    4. I played a Warlock in a 4e game that was bad ass. She wore neon pink leather with spikes, had half of her head shaved and had a runaway princes as a slave to aid her with her spells. What I loved most about her was how crazy powerful the Warlock class is. I'm all about the kill count.

    5. Almost as often as I play female ones, but I backed off a little when I got teased by some of the male players at the table.

    6. It really just depends on the character I want to play when I'm rolling.

    7. Skipping the town stuff and getting right into the dungeon delving. I want to rob tombs, crypts, and crumbling ruined castles while killing baddies. I want to be rewarded with heaps of gold, gear, power and new discoveries.

    8. See above.

    9. A dragon's hoard.

    10. If I got back into art I would love to contribute to an RPG product.

    11. They're probably just too busy, but I don't really care.

    12. Not really.

    13. Killing things, discovering new things and getting treasure.

    14. Call of Cthulhu (though the thrill in this kind of game isn't the killing of things, it's the terror and insanity).

    15. I don't avoid it, but I do use a calculator.

    16. Yeah, especially if I don't really know the people I'm playing with. When I get to know them and see them make asses of themselves as well then it's all good.

    17. Reaching level two.

    18. Lower prices maybe? Aside from that, not really.

    19. They don't bother me at all. I think they look pretty cool actually. What's wrong with a woman being sexy and self confidant enough to let it all hang out?

    20. Only that I've noticed some women I've shared tables with seem to have self important Mary Sues.

    21. Nope.

  6. Part One, because I wrote too much apparently *snrk*

    1. One of my mother's fellow social workers brought me a bunch of his books to look at after I was looking for material on dragons. He DMed our first campaign until I took over when his kid was born.

    2. See above; and I've been DMing ever since. I could count on one hand the number of times I've been a player in the last near-two-decades and have fingers left over.

    3. N/A

    4. That would probably either be the blacksmith who took great joy in cunningly crushing obstacles with a warhammer bigger than some of her fellow party members, or the off-kilter young cleric who decided that the ranger in his party must be the Squirrel God. Both characters were entertaining as hell to play.

    5. Most of the time I play male characters, mainly because of preference and partially because I had to play females in my first game which annoyed the fuck out of me.

    6. I don't "decide" so much as it just happens. I also have a much cleaner balance of genders in my campaign NPCs vs. party NPCs or my rare PCs.

    Also, I couldn't help but notice the contrast of wording in this question -- "play" female characters vs. "run" male characters ...

    7. Dungeon spelunking until the word spelunk lost all meaning, liberally populated with interesting NPCs and equally interesting monsters (who can also be the NPCs, why not). Add the founding of petty kingdoms (or mage schools, or guilds, or a string of theatres -- oh, my players --), some ancient empires and a bit of backstabbing and warfare on occasion and it's golden.

    8. A wonderfully exotic "dungeon", whether a hole in the ground or bored through the solid flames of the Plane of Fire. If it involves exploration of new and unknown terrain -- from forest to planets -- even better.

    9. As long as it's baroque or at least well-described, most anything at all.

    10. I've considered it many times! But my ability to do a layout for my material is nonexistent and my time nearly so, combined with (in some cases) eyeballing the market and thinking it's not really the time. I have contributed to other people's products.

  7. Part Two --

    11. No thoughts, don't care, think the entire "there's not enough/many females playing rpgs" trope is a dead horse. An annoying dead horse.

    12. Except, vaguely sort of, for one comment left by an arsehole on my blog, no.

    13. Worldbuilding. No question.

    14. AD&D Second Edition (*gasp* *horror*). It gives me all the crunchy bits I could want but not so bogged in interlinked crunchy bits that if I change one thing the whole mess collapses like a house of cards. It's much more customizable without the arcane density and cruft of earlier editions. And as I prefer (A)D&D to pretty much any other game, 2e it is.

    15. The stereotype can burn in the Pit. I love tinkering with rules, crunch and math and can spend hours playing with it -- the only time I get annoyance factor is with trying to convert 2e critters to 3e (daaaaaamn you Planescape daaaaaaamn yooooouuu), or writing 3e critters from scratch. And that's not really the "math", it's just boring to do all that work with no intellectual engagement in said work.

    16. Aside from wondering and sort of worrying if we'll all mesh together whenever there's a new group, not really.

    17. My last few groups haven't been as big on the "end game"; I'd like to see more of that, but I won't make anyone do it.

    18. Not really. The industry basically has everything covered at this point, one way or another.

    19. I don't really care (although that figure in the blue looks to have a horribly distorted/inflated arse, and anatomy distortion does on occasion annoy me regardless of [non]sexualization). Might be better to say I don't notice or care, but there are reasons for the not noticing.

    Though calling a spade a spade, there is one example of such that annoyed the dogsnot out of me and still does, and that would be the cover of Savant and Sorcerer for Exalted 1e. It's a prettily-done cover, sure, but what it remotely has to do with the subject of the book is beyond me. Covers that don't match annoy me; covers that I'm damn positive are only chosen to try and provoke "debate" (read: pointless controversy unrelated to the book contents) annoy me even more.

    20. In my experience? No. Good points, bad points, excellent playing and hellsblasted godmoding are right across the board.

    21. Only one, I suppose -- why did you decide to do this roundtable?

  8. @Taichara

    "Run vs, play" Odyssey asked that question--with that wording--might wanna ask her.

    That cover you pointed to is by the same artist--maybe you knew that.

  9. @alicia

    when you ask "wanna play" is that a serious question? do you wanna organize a con or pbem game?

  10. @Zak:

    I just might ask, at that --

    As for the cover: I do indeed know it's the same artist for the cover and the examples (he has certain tells in his style), but it's not the artist who decided that would be the cover and likely why. (note that I wouldn't care if the artwork was on the interior, but relevant cover art please.)

    That both examples and cover come from the same source is nonetheless rather ironically amusing, yes.

    21. (answering my own question) I saw no reason not to, having been asked by someone I get along with well.

    22. No real theory, because I haven't given it much thought. One could trot out an old chestnut or other that maybe males don't want to look "feminine" or play "girly" characters or have their characters hit on by fellow player's characters or some other such thing, but I don't know that it would necessary hold water and generalizations are a bad thing.

  11. Adding to my answers.

    22. Because my husband wanted to know how I would answer them and I had some free time.

    23. My theory as to why men don't play female characters has a lot to do with how the female role is viewed in our society. It's weak, and somehow not as good as the male role, so it's socially accepted for a woman to want to better herself by emulating a man, but it's wrong when a man chooses to lower himself to emulate a woman. If a man does lower himself to the same level as a woman he will be seen as having something wrong with him by the society as a whole and will be ridiculed. So men don't play female characters a much because they don't want to be teased and called "gay." I'm not saying that I agree with this way of thinking, I'm just stating how I think it is.

  12. 1. I first got into RPGs because my boyfriend was a DM and wanted me to play with him and his friends.

    2. I've only tried it once or twice.

    3. I don't DM because I don't yet know enough about the basic mechanics of the game and and basic game structure myself to feel confident in leading others in that manner

    4. I usually play rogues but am currently playing a pretty badass barbarian that I am enjoying alot. This is probably because I like kicking butt melee style in game and this character really allows me to do that.

    5. I don't think I ever have.

    6. N/A

    7. A good mix of exploring/adventure elements and combat without relying too heavy on combat to drive playing (which I find lots of games do)

    8. Same as above

    9. Sparkly...jk. Something that has special relevance to a character or a party member that shows that the DM isn't just throwing treasure around because they should but because they are actually concerned with how loot effects character development and plot.

    10. Probably not. I'm not familiar with the steps involved in this and haven't really even thought about it or looked into it.

    11. I'm not really sure. Perhaps it has to do with society's perception and stereotypes regarding gaming and the type of people who enjoy it. Do I care? not really but sometimes its frustrating to be the minority in a party full of testosterone fuelled guys, all out to get with the local barmaid and kill the biggest monster.

    12. Not really. I usually play with the same couple of groups that I know fairly well.

    13. I love the attachment that develops between a player and their character, almost subconsciously.

    14. DnD Pathfinder. I dont really have experience with anything else

    15. I hate math. Failed it twice back when I was in high school. But I find the math involved in gameplay fairly simple and straightforward.

    16. Yes, all the time. I am relatively new to the game compared to the people I play with and hate not understanding what is going on and feeling as though I will look dumb and inexperienced.

    17. More consideration of pacing within the game, so that the players aren't stuck on one huge battle for forever and then other stuff gets glossed over because of time.

    18. I'd like to see more resources geared towards new players and people that are thinking about DMing because the mass of stuff out there can be very intimidating and its difficult to know where to start and what to do. The players handbook has information but it isn't very straightforward and doesn't lay things out in the easiest manner for a new player to jump in.

    19. I don't know. I like some of it but some of it I find a bit too much. I think there is a bit of an under-representation of more "normal" looking women but I don't feel the over-sexualized images to me as a female gamer at all.

    20. Guys - Hit on the barmaid, always (weird when the barmaid is being played by a male DM, just sayin), Rush into combat when a more diplomatic solution may be available, guys are more likely to suggest splitting up the party ( you two go check that out, we will go check this out) than girls. Girls - I don't normally play with other girls so I wouldn't know any but I find that I am impatient compared to my fellow players

  13. @Kristina

    I personally don't play women in long games 'cause it's too funny. Or--it's too easy for my group (almost all girls) to see it as funny.

    But I should shut up, 'cause I'm not a woman.

  14. @Dungeonmum:

    Apologies if this post is outside the rules, but what is a Gae Bolg?

  15. C'nor, its a spear.


  16. @ Zak: for the reasons you gave above, it's too 'funny' to play the opposite gender (that of the other players), I find myself in the same situation. I think I sometimes prefer a fem PC as in a way it draws less attention. Strange really, that one can get away with playing a 9ft centaur, as long as she's female, yet a human male PC stretches credibility too far.

  17. Hi all, I am having trouble posting my comment. Length limits? Characters I can't use? Thoughts?

  18. Okay, trying this again with a shorter chunk.


    1. How did you get into RPGs?

    When I was eight, the boy down the block had a D&D birthday party. We were given high-level characters and had to defend our citadel against marauding ice giants and dragons. My job was designing the traps. I loved it! Unfortunately, this boy and his friends soon decided I had cooties and wouldn't play with me. I didn't find another group until college.

    2. If you DM/GM, how, when, and why did you start?

    I started GMing in college. I was in an enormously crappy Vampire: the Masquerade game and I said to myself, "I can do better than that!" So I did. I've been running games for ... oh, lord, fifteen years now?

    3. If you don't DM/GM, why not?

    My partner and I are the regular GMs for our group, but sometimes one of our players will run a short-term or one-shot game in which I'll be a player. I also have never GMed an online game, and I probably never will. It seems like a huge investment of extra time in front of the computer. I try to limit my computer time when I'm not at work!

  19. 4. Who was your favorite character to play, ever? Why?

    "Favorite character" often boils down to "most recent character!" But right now I'm particularly fond of Danya, a Dornish resistance leader I played in a _Midnight_ game. She was smart and tricky as hell: she had the resistance convinced that she was the prophesied hero sent to overthrow the great evil, and the great evil convinced that she could be used to control and undermine the resistance. Of course, it turned out she actually WAS the prophesied hero, which caused massive complications for her little scheme. Also she had a giant two-handed sword. I love me some uber-damage.

    5. How often do you play male characters?

    As a PC: occasionally in one-shots or short-term games, but never in a long-term game. As an NPC: 50% of all my NPCs are female, just like 50% of the human beings in the world are. I actually track how many female and male NPCs I introduce so that I make sure I am portraying a world in which there is gender parity.

    6. If sometimes you play female characters and sometimes you run male characters, how do you decide what gender of character to run?

    As a player, I will only play a male character if there would still be at least 50% female characters in the group. Even though our group is currently 2/3 male, all but one are happy to cross-gender, so this does happen periodically. However, since I'm usually the GM, it's only occasionally relevant!!!

  20. 7.What would the ideal campaign look like?

    A complicated world in which actions have both expected and unexpected consequences. The opportunity for dramatic change in characters' circumstances or attitudes. Moral questions that don't have obvious answers. The chance for players to build something the GM never thought of. Battles that matter to the characters and players as more than a chance for XP and loot. Unforgettable NPCs the players want to keep interacting with and whose issues the players care about.

    8.What would the ideal adventure look like?

    Same as above, but distilled down to focus on one idea or challenge. I usually run adventures with an A, B, and C plot that interact. For example, I just ran a VERY awesome adventure, if I do say so myself. The PCs had to defend their ritual circle against an attacking demon army until the ritual was complete (A plot). The local duke had booted all the priests off their island, which gave the demons room to attack, so they had to figure out why and fix it (B plot). And a fairy prince was courting one of the PCs, who was not interested in him, but couldn't afford to offend him while such important things were afoot (C plot, though there were several other plots going on at this level). All these things related out to the larger campaign, but were solvable in the course of the adventure's four sessions. At the end, there was closure, but also new issues and questions.

    9.What would the ideal treasure look like?

    I want the treasure to be kind of cool now, but to suggest how it could be very awesome later on. For example, several months ago, the PCs acquired three soul-berries. You eat it, and you get a soul. They have been debating for months about how to use the berries. Could they defeat the demon leader by giving him a soul? How could they get him to eat the berry? That's way more interesting than a magic sword. (Though one of our players just sacrificed his awesome magic sword to close up the hellmouth that, er, the PCs created.)

  21. 10. Would you consider putting out your own RPG product, why or why not? What about just contributing to a product?

    I've thought about it a number of times, but it's just not worth my time in terms of either popular impact or economic benefit. If I want to make money, I'll do more freelancing. If I want to have an impact on how people play, I'll blog or give lectures or otherwise focus on connecting with people. I would probably contribute to a product if it weren't too much effort and the rewards made sense, though.

    11. Do you have any thoughts on why more women don't play RPGs? Do you care?

    I do care a lot. I do have thoughts, which are too long to share here. The very short version is that people learn very young how they're supposed to behave, and most girls learn that RPGs are not for them. Some choose to ignore that lesson, and good for them (us!!). But that's the lesson our culture teaches, and I fucking hate it. Also RPGs seem to attract an unusually vocal group of misogynistic assholes; my personal theory is that because RPGs aren't a mainstream activity, we can actually see the nasty crap women have to go through instead of having it be culturally invisible. This actually gives me a weird kind of hope. But seriously - did I really have to learn what "rape" meant at nine years old, because the boys in my group thought it would be funny to rape my character?

    12. Have you ever experienced sexism in the gaming community? How?

    There's an extensive interview process for joining my group - and even with that, sometimes our female players get disproportionately ignored or talked over or shut down. Fortunately our group is interested in fixing that and making sure all players, male and female, get an equal chance to participate. I can't even get into the sexist bullshit I see in the online gaming community, though. This is a big part of why I avoid discussions of RPGs online - I just can't get into the same goddamn argument over and over again. ("But it's REEEAALIIISTIC that PCs must be men, because it's not like women could go adventuring in the Middle Ages." Oh yeah, it's realism you care about? You're fighting a motherfucking dragon, asshole.)

  22. 13. What's your favorite part of the game? Or favorite parts?

    When my players stay up until 2am talking about the session they just had, because it was SO EXCITING and they have to figure out what to do next.

    14. What's your preferred game, why?

    I love the grandeur and mystery and CRAZY FREAKING MAGIC of Nobilis. It's also super-easy for players to learn, which is why I use it for con games and new players. It's quite hard to GM, because there's very little guidance about what to do, but if anyone's interested I've got a pre-written scenario I'd be happy to share. Once you get the hang of it, it's a blast.

    15. There's this stereotype about women and math...how are you with the "crunch" in games? Do you avoid it or jump in?

    OH GOD THAT FREAKING STEREOTYPE I HATE IT. (Did you know that when women are told they will perform just as well as men on a math test, they do?) In any case, I was on the math team in high school, and did lots of math in college and graduate school. I'm perfectly capable of managing any kind of crunch. However, I don't want to spend time crunching in session. We tend to use relatively crunch-heavy mechanics for between-session things - for example, one player maintains an extremely complex loot-distribution spreadsheet - and very light mechanics for in-session play where my time and attention are limited. Even if the mechanic takes one extra second, that's one extra second every time it comes up ... and it's one second where seven people are waiting for me to finish so we can all move ahead.

  23. 16. Did/do you ever feel "performance anxiety" in front of a gaming group?

    I feel the same kind of heightening that I do when I perform improv (or teach, for that matter) - my attention gets focused, my mind starts working faster, my body is on full alert. It doesn't feel like anxiety, though. It feels great!!

    17. Anything you'd like to see more of, in your own game(s)?

    Two sessions ago, the players stuck around for three hours post-game to debate what in the world they were going to do. Last session, we had to end session 45 minutes early because we couldn't top the awesome emotional and narrative power of what had just happened. I would like to be able to deliver that level of awesome at every single session. It's why I constantly try to improve as a GM.

    18. Anything you'd like to see more of in the industry in general?

    I'd love to see more tools and supports for improvisation during play. For example, we've got printed-out lists of names from different cultures and regions of our game. Referencing those during play makes it easier to come up with NPCs on the fly. There are already some tools for this but they generally take more work to use than they're worth.

  24. 19. How do you feel about highly sexualized images in game art?

    I don't like those pictures in specific - not my style, not my thing. I generally enjoy sexy pictures on an individual level. But - I'm also reminded of the larger cultural narratives that those sexy pictures reflect and reify. "Girls are for doing" - no thanks. Of course no individual picture is the problem, but a pattern of fuckable girls and protagonist guys carries its own message. Give me more men I'd like to do, and women I'd like to be. Then I can look at my sexy lady pictures and enjoy them without also being mad.

    20. Do you feel like you can make any "guys tend to do this, female gamers tend to do that" statements? If so, what?

    After playing with our group, I don't feel comfortable making generalizations about gender. For example, among our male players we've got the following characters. One married the love of his life, and they have four children, but she's off doing very dangerous and important things. Another married the love of her life, also with four children, one of whom was severely disabled and was recently magically cured. One is a priest who can't marry. One married the cross-dressing adventurer sister of another PC, but discovered he is infertile. One is gay, has two children with his wife, and both of them have a string of other lovers. As for our female players? One's character is unmarried, but has had the children of a god's avatar (long story). She has also been in a long-term lesbian relationship with the woman who taught her magic. The other's character has four children, two of whom are in the father's custody, except they are on opposite sides of a major war and her children are likely to meet each other on the battlefield. Do you see a gender pattern in that? I don't.

  25. 23. Why do women play male characters, but not vice versa?

    Men are generally very sensitive to the status-lowering effects of doing "girl" things. Women are sensitive to the status-raising effects of doing "guy" things. There's a whole research literature on this, but it's something we learn by the age of three or four years old. For example, toy companies won't show girls playing with "boy toys" beyond that age because then boys will refuse the toys - even if both boys and girls are shown playing with the toy. However, girls are happy to play with toys whether they are shown girls, boys or both, and (I think - don't quote me on this) prefer toys played with by both genders. So, how about we stop teaching our children that boy things (and people) are better than girl things (and people)???

  26. @dungeonmum: I think it's because we're taught from a very young age to think of ourselves as male (NOT FEMALE) or female (NOT MALE), but we don't have to be taught to think of ourselves as human (NOT CENTAUR)!!!

  27. How did you get into RPGs?

    My dad introduced me to gaming when I was 12 or so. RPGS seemed better than books because *I* got to write the story.

    (2-9 are from Oddysey)
    2. If you DM/GM, how, when, and why did you start?

    I've GM'd off and on- I started because I was bored and TheDude (my husband) was running a lot of games. Seemed fun.

    3. If you don't DM/GM, why not?

    I'm currently not GM'ing because my setting isn't done, and I don't have a system yet.

    4. Who was your favorite character to play, ever? Why?

    Jak, a dysfunctional army medic turned werewolf.

    5. How often do you play male characters?

    About a third of the time

    6. If sometimes you play female characters and sometimes you run male characters, how do you decide what gender of character to run?

    Whatever character concept happens, I chose whatever feels right for it. It's rare for me to say "this time I'll play a girl" or vice versa.

    (With no restrictions on player/DM type/practicality...

    7.What would the ideal campaign look like?

    8.What would the ideal adventure look like?

    9.What would the ideal treasure look like?

    All of these are questions I'm trying to answer for the campaign setting I am currently developing.

    10. Would you consider putting out your own RPG product, why or why not? What about just contributing to a product?

    No on putting out my own. Yes, I've contributed to plenty. (TheDude wrote & developed games for a while.)

    11. Do you have any thoughts on why more women don't play RPGs? Do you care?

    Same reason why more guys don't dance- it's just not for them.

    12. Have you ever experienced sexism in the gaming community? How?

    Sometimes, yes. There's often a sense that girls are only there because of boyfriends/husbands- or can't get the math.

    13. What's your favorite part of the game? Or favorite parts?

    I love the social aspect, and the ability to deliver another part of myself without judgment.

    14. What's your preferred game, why?

    I like environment rich games that reward exploration and ingenuity.

    15. There's this stereotype about women and math...how are you with the "crunch" in games? Do you avoid it or jump in?

    it honestly depends on the system. I have no problem with Hero System, but other systems are less "obvious" to me and I struggle with them.

    16. Did/do you ever feel "performance anxiety" in front of a gaming group? (These last two questions are from Zak--these are things Mandy's talked about.)

    Sometimes. I imagine everyone deals with the pressure of being "on" in some way. How keenly and how often you feel it is a matter of personal makeup.

    17. Anything you'd like to see more of, in your own game(s)?

    More blowing stuff up (for a good reason)

    18. Anything you'd like to see more of in the industry in general?

    Accessibility to "female stuff" - clothes, gear, etc that have a woman in mind.

    19. Mandy asks: "How do you feel about highly sexualized images in game art? Like, say, this. (Full disclosure: my own position is I'm totally ok with it, and like looking at it, and want to be able to draw like that, and don't think it's degrading in any way.)"

    Generally the same- see my post, The Skin Trade, for a more in-depth explanation.

    20. Do you feel like you can make any "guys tend to do this, female gamers tend to do that" statements? If so, what?

    Guys fart, burp etc without any real regard to company. Girls tend to ask more questions.

    What do hate most about gaming, and why?

  28. Before I dive into this, I'd like to go on the record as saying 20+ questions are waaaaay too many for a single post, especially if the answers are going to be in the comments section. I was rather expecting there to be a handful of questions/topics to be explored in-depth.

    That said, I'm working on my responses in Word, because I talk a lot and don't want to lose my work.

  29. Note: The post Loquacious mentioned in her answer to #19. can be found here.

  30. @ Zak and everyone - I agree with Erin Palette, 20 questions is a bit dense to get through for one person, let alone an unknown quantity. I guess that's why there's little dialogue going on here. Perhaps we should have focused on one question per post, or perhaps divvied out the questions and got people to write guest posts based on their responses.

    @ Replayable - you're so right! My daughter is frequently reminding me that we are girls, they are boys, boys have short hair, girls have long hair, blue vs pink etc (I try and smash stereotypes for her but when you're 3 black and white is much more comfortable). At the same time she is quite happy to play make believe that we are animals or TV characters or vegetables or whatever. Quite scary really.

  31. @loquacious - OH HEART I LOVE THAT POST

  32. I agreed to throw in my two cents in this discussion but the weather turned quite cold and wet and generally yucky here and my fibromyalgia and arthritis just can't deal. So I'm postponing all my answers and further questions until after I'm feeling better and am not huddled up in 4 layers of clothing and blankets trying to kill as many aliens as possible on the xbox--which requires much less attention and brain activity.

    P.S: I'm more of a Frazetta girl myself that link was just one example.

  33. 1. How did you get into RPGs?

    I was really interested in the hobby since I learned about it in highschool. When I got into college I joined a couple of groups when I was having trouble with depression. The group that I ended up staying with is a group of really great guys who never really made me feel awkward about being a female gamer. I have played with a couple of groups that did and that usually sucked. Overall I have had good experiences.

    2. If you DM/GM, how, when, and why did you start?

    I have tried running a Call of Cthulu module once and hope to run another from the same book soon. The group I play with most people run something at some point so I feel I would like contributing.

    4. Who was your favorite character to play, ever? Why?

    I enjoy most of the characters I play. I have had a couple of characters that I enjoyed more than others. My favorite might be a character from Mage who was a mechanic Son of Aether. She had a motorcycle that she wanted to make fly and did make hover over water in a sweet car chase once. She was pretty badass and a cool independent person and had hair that she would dye different colors at random stages in the game.

    5. How often do you play male characters?

    Almost never the only male characters I have ever played were pregens.

    7.What would the ideal campaign look like?

    I don't know that I have an answer for this the best campaigns make people have fun.

    8.What would the ideal adventure look like?

    Same answer as above.

    9.What would the ideal treasure look like?

    The ideal treasure is unique and adds something new to the game. Treasure with souls of past owners is always fun.

    10. Would you consider putting out your own RPG product, why or why not? What about just contributing to a product?

    I don't know that I have the creativity to do this. I can work in collaboration with people. I can play and love my characters and don't mind playtesting. I also tend to be long winded.

    11. Do you have any thoughts on why more women don't play RPGs? Do you care?

    I think that there is a stigma about RPGs that makes it so some people just don't want to be associated with it. I also think a lot of people just don't get what it is about.

    12. Have you ever experienced sexism in the gaming community? How?

    Yes. I have had people who seemed freaked out I was a woman who played. I also have friends who have made sexist comments during games, but in general I am not offended by these things, or they are said with the specific intent of riling me up in good fun. I have played my own sexist characters too. At least a couple of my characters were obvious stereotypes of how people see certain types of people. I could make a long winded speech about how this is a reflection of society in general but I will leave it at that.

    13. What's your favorite part of the game? Or favorite parts?

    Getting to hang out with my friends. Hands down this is why I do it.

    14. What's your preferred game, why

    I like most games. I don't think I can say I have a preference for playing.

    For GMing I prefer Call of Cthulu because I understand the rules better than other games. (I find the rules very simple and have made more characters for that game.)

    15. There's this stereotype about women and math...how are you with the "crunch" in games? Do you avoid it or jump in?

    I love math and am working at getting my degree in it so for me it is fine. The only problem is I am pretty good at higher levels of math almost at the detriment of easier math at times.

  34. 16. Did/do you ever feel "performance anxiety" in front of a gaming group?

    All the time. This is why I haven't GMed more. I like to plan things out more than I have time for in normal role playing games and often freeze in combat situations.

    17. Anything you'd like to see more of, in your own game(s)?

    I'm never good at answering this particular question ever. I don't have any specific ideas that would improve things in anyway.

    18. Anything you'd like to see more of in the industry in general?

    same answer

    19. How do you feel about highly sexualized images in game art? Like, say, this.

    I don't particularly enjoy cheescake shots but I am not attracted to women. Deep down I think there is a part of shots like that that bothers me but I am not sure I could say what.

    20. Do you feel like you can make any "guys tend to do this, female gamers tend to do that" statements? If so, what?

    I find that female and male gamers tend to be very similar in gaming. Though I have only played with a few female gamers and only in a few games but I have not noticed a difference in play. Different people play differently.

    New questions from the comments:

    22. Why did you decide to answer these questions?

    Because I am interested in what others feel about this and because I would like to tell my part of this.

    23. I wanna know this one--Pretty much everybody who has answered so far has played both male and female characters. Guys don't usually play women. Got a theory?

    Actually I have noticed this as the exact opposite in my usual group so I don't have a real answer for this.

  35. 1) A classmate tried to set up a Vampire: the Masquerade group. It didn't work out but it did get me interested. I found a D&D player willing to DM a group a few months later and made my own group.

    2) I started DMing about 4 years ago I think, when our DM had to leave. I was the most experienced player at that moment and was the most interested in trying DMing for a while.

    4) My current PC, a fighter. She started out as a mercenary who liked her drink and is now an officer in an army and has a family. Character growth yo.

    5) Only as NPC's, as I've only had 3 PC's myself. In campaigns it's 50/50 I think.

    6) Well this applies to both my PC's and NPC's so... I start with a name, then add any other characteristics. With NPC's I sometimes start with a specific task they need to do, then add the name and the rest.

    7) One where everyone has fun, doesn't really matter what's in it.

    8) A good balance between roleplay/rollplay/fun/loot.

    9) Something unexpected but useful/awesome.

    10) My current campaignworld is one I've created with another DM and there are several very artistic players. Perhaps we might publish it one day.

    11) I've mostly played D&D with other girls, so there's more a lack of guys in our campaigns and the ones who wanted to join were usually girls too. So I'm guessing it's mostly knowing who plays D&D or not. It's quite different to admit to a same-sex person you're a geek than to a person of the other sex.

    12) Not really.

    13) The roleplaying and creating a world together with your group.

    14) Don't really have a preferred game, I started with 3.5 and that became homebrew.

    15) I'm not very good at crunch, I admit, but I can puzzle it out.

    16) Yes! I mostly play online because my players live quite far apart. So I was really nervous when I had to DM irl.

    17) I tend to be the one who knows all the rules/spells/etc. so I wouldn't mind it if someone else would just look it up herself.

    18) More concerning role-play instead of roll-play.

    19) I prefer my characters to have realistic armor when gaming, but I don't mind looking at the pics.

    20) What I've seen is that my female players tend to be more focused on the roleplay and the male players on the rollplay. I'm a rollplayer myself so it doesn't always count though.

    21) Nothing I can think up right now.

    22) I think it's interesting to see what other female gamers think.

    23) Can't really answer it really, one of the first guys I played with had a female cleric. I guess it's more difficult for guys to admit to their feminine side than girls to their masculine side because feminine is considered weak and masculine kickass.

    24) Schedules getting in the way of playing, mostly.

  36. @ Mandy - That sucks. Hope you're feeling better soon. Kick some alien arse while you're recovering. x

    PS I know you like Frazetta, I remember reading you talking about the Conan stuff ;)

  37. @dungeonmum

    Hey--you seem to have a lot to say and some free time to post, you wanna take over the blog for tomorrow and give me a post with some questions or topics to kick off round two?

  38. @ Zak

    Wow, thanks. Give me a bit of time, and your email address. Things are a bit hectic here in the dungeon but I'll see what I can do.

  39. @dungeonmum

    Zakzsmith at hawt male dawt calm

  40. 1. College. All of my friends were female theatre technicians. We had a late night run in with the trenchcoat dudes when we were having a metallica sing-a-long in the commons. We became friends, and I like games, so I got into it.
    2. I GM'd one game, but it fell apart as the players were all too busy. I ran a couple of paranoia one-shots.
    3. I don't GM because I'm too busy with the rest of my life to dedicate that kind of time to world-building and story-building.
    4. Okay, so I'm not really a White Wolf girl anymore, but my best friend ran an amazing game of Changeling that defied all the kid-stuff stereotypes of the game and gave my character (a Nocker-scientist kid named Jack) a lot of time to struggle with his desires and his anger. He was on a streak of vengeance, as his laboratory had been blown to smithereens, and he was under the belief that he had been forcefed a magic-eating butterfly. Sounds all ridiculous and childish, but my friend had made this really dark world, inhabited by tormented children.
    5. Frequently. More often than female characters.
    6. Eh, I think up a stereotype I want to play with and put it under duress. I think that's why I play men more often.
    7. I'm open to a lot of different types of games. I've played a shintao vinara in an over-the-top silly hack-and-slash, I've played more thoughtful roles. The most important things are having an understanding with your group, what the tone of the story is, and playing with people you get along with.
    8. I like a little mystery, a little doing things other than just hitting it with my axe. I like having recurring NPCs and story arcs.
    9. Weird shit my GM has made up, things that don't exist in the books, and have some kind of personality to them. (not insofar as they've got to be intelligent- they just have to have flavor.)
    10. Sure? If I had time. The one game I ran, I worked with a friend to create monsters that don't exist in the books. It was exciting to have all these new ways of affecting characters.
    11. I'm sure I'm in a weird culture. My GM is a lady, and two of the five players are ladies. When I play, I often play with mixed groups. I think there is maybe some lack of confidence in gaming, as guys tend to be indoctrinated earlier in life, and so ladies have to play catch up. There's also an ATTITUDE from some dudes. I played some White Wolf with guys like that. The alternately lapping at your heels and then ignoring you or discounting your opinion/abilities because you're a lady. Dudes like that are a waste of my time, and if I didn't have lots of awesome gamer dudes in my life, I would have quit gaming.
    12. Yes. See 11. I left an entire crew because I was sick of it.
    13. Spending time with friends, making terrible jokes, interacting with other characters. Doing mad damage.
    14. 3.5. I also like some wacky shit like Feng Shui, but I don't have a lot of time to play, so I take what I can get.
    15. It takes some time for me to remember how to calculate things at first. But once I've gotten a handle on my weapons, I'm good.
    16. Nope. Sometimes I feel disappointed if I've created a character that is ineffective in the setting.
    17. Storyline. Stuff that's not dealing damage and getting to the next location.
    18. Less barely covered female sexpots, or more barely covered male sexpots.
    19. See 18.
    20. Not really?
    21. Why do you game?
    22. I like gaming. I'm pretty sure my crew isn't your usual crew.
    23. The whole fantasy scenario is kind of backwoodsy. If you take a historical standpoint, there weren't a lot of ladies out there adventuring- I think we forget that we've got every right, as this is imagination and not reality, to rewrite gender roles. I think a lot of times dudes forget they can be anything but dudes.
    24. I frequently create characters who want storyline, and I don't always get that for them. It's dissatisfying.

  41. 1. I played a lot of video games as a kid, then I had surgery and couldn't play or leave the house, so we started playing D&D.

    2. How, when and why I DMed are all elsewhere on this blog:

    3. N/A

    4. Siamese half-orc alchemists. A couple that were siamesed together because of a lab accident. Frankie's vampire boyfriend killed them. Tizani, my cleric, has a lot of personality though.

    5. I played a half-male once...And a couple others, but mostly female because the men never seem to live as long.

    6. Mood.

    7. Zak's. Then mine. Then Darren's. Like Viriconium.

    8. See above.

    9. I like power and influence and knowledge more than physical items. Books, I guess.

    10. I feel I have contributed to Vornheim.

    11. I probably care. But not a whole lot of thoughts about the subject are coming to mind at the moment. I'm a little worn out by the whole erotophobic asshole thing on my own blog.

    12. See above. Also: a lot of the initial reaction to 'I Hit It With My Axe' was unfuckingbelievably sexist and I sure as hell fought back. But I never experienced it in real life, only on-line.

    13. Anticipating all the different possible plot twists and political schemes and seeing the little microcosm of psychology it creates among my friends.

    14. I really liked the one game of Rolemaster I played and I do really really like Call of Cthulhu, but we play D&D the most, so I suppose, by default, that is my preferred.

    15. A little "avoid" a little "jump in" depending on my anxiety level and the amount of caffeine or sleep I've had.

    16. At first, definitely, now not as much. When I DM I feel performance anxiety at the beginning of the game.

    17. Mmmm...no...I guess not...Robots? That might be a whole different game

    18. I don't feel like I'm informed enough about the industry to answer. I just have my own little bubble of DIY games.

    19. See http://mandymorbid.blogspot.com/2011/02/hell-hath-no-fury.html

    20. Nope.

    21. I don't feel like I pay enough attention to the on-line gaming community never mind the even smaller female gaming community to be curious.

    22. Because it seemed like a good idea.

    23. Maybe they don't want to seem either:
    -effeminate or
    by trying to imitate a female. It's much more socially acceptable for girls to act a little bit like boys now.

    24. What I hate is the type of people I encountered on-line when 'Axe' first went up.

    25. Not really, no, but I am surprised only on a 1.

  42. I forgot to subscribe so I could read and respond to follow up replies. I'm really interested in seeing a more intimate "roundtable", as this has certainly sparked some interest.

  43. Part the first
    1: My husband plays, I now play in a game he DM’s. I was interested before we got married, but was trying to let him keep some of his own activities.

    2. Nope.

    3. Not much experience as a player, none as DM, and no opportunity. Also at least 2 players in my life have WAY more experience, I’d get overrun.

    4. The druid I have now, ‘cause it’s the 1st character I’ve had that’s leveled. Also she has a wolf and that’s just cool.

    5. Not to date.

    6. N/A

    7. A continuous story, I think a one shot could be cool, but I get attached to my characters, I want to keep them awhile.

    8. Engaging, whole world kind of thing. Not just a series of fights, but encounters that require skill checks, etc.

    9. Something powerful and pretty cool, does something unexpected, unexpected powers. Unique.

    10. Not really, check back if I ever feel I reach a level of competence.

    11. From what I hear, it sounds like most guys get started in pre-teen/teen years, the sexes are pretty separate then. The only girls I know who play are just getting into it through their husbands (but not all the wives play). I think it’s kind of sad that more girls don’t play.

    12. No.

    13. Story /plot building things, whether battles or other challenges. Random battles just because are needed for experience, but there less engaging for me.

  44. Part the second:
    14. Only played D&D so far a little tiny bit of 4th ed, currently a mixup of mostly 3.5 which I think i like better.

    15. I fit the stereotype, numbers and I don’t get along, I do my best and do a lot of counting up on my fingers. I can’t avoid it, I’d be pretty ineffective.

    16. Yes, and I get kind of grumpy when something happens that the experienced players all know about so I do something silly or less well advised. (I also get grumpy when the experienced players can be assumed to have done something, but the inexperienced ones are supposed to announce it)

    17. Not that I can think of.

    18. Ditto.

    19. Fine by me, just wish there was more male eye-candy too.

    20. In my current group guys tend to jump into melee more, while the women hang back a bit and favor distance weapons (which is aggravating because once they get the melee going we’re less effective). This is also to do with the characters, the female players are generally more vulnerable (less well armored etc) the male sorcerer often hangs back with us, but will get into the fray now and then. I am not generalizing to other groups.

    21. None at this time.

    22. For kicks, to keep from doing work I ought to be doing, to allow my brilliant insight to enlighten….yeah, no. But I do think it’s kind of nice to let us have a voice, and I figured I’d share my 2 cents.

    23. I think that there are a lot of social messages that males are stronger, more powerful (and, please don’t lynch me, in a physical sense, very generally, this has a tendency to be true) so guys don’t want to play a “weaker” character. Women may like their gender and thus choose to play women, or may decide to play the “stronger” character (based on above social messages). Also socially it’s more acceptable for girls to be tom-boys than for boys to be seen as feminine (just how it is now, not how I think it should be)

    24. Feeling inexperienced and like I’m at a disadvantage because of it.

    25. Not specifically, but I haven’t given more than a once over to the answers.

  45. @mandy - Whoa, just read your post (and Zak's "Degraded" post) and all of a sudden I'm reading question #19 really differently. Who in hell is this guy who wants to tell me I'm degraded????? Yes, I get pissed off when I am reminded by sexy pictures of the sexism I face every day (and as a psychology researcher I do believe that conscious attitudes are only part of the problem, so conscious ignoring can only be a part of the solution). BUT it pisses me off BECAUSE I LIKE SEXY PICTURES. For that matter, I like SEX!! And there is nothing wrong with that!! WTFOMGBBQ???????????

    @everyone - I have a question!! I've noticed many of you game with your partners or SOs. How do you deal with the relationship in and around game? How does it affect / is it affected by the whole gender thing?

    To answer my own question: I can run games where my husband is a player, but he can't run games for me because we end up talking about the game on our own and that isn't fair to the other players. In our main game, we co-GM, but we also run a one-on-one game where we get to experiment and practice all the awesome stuff we aren't yet ready to debut for our group. Our one-on-one games are really awesome not just for our GM skills, but also for our relationship. We've made some amazing stories together. As for the gender piece, when we run games for strangers together, we sometimes see them buying into gender stereotypes (like assuming my partner is in charge, or that he is the rules/crunch expert, or that I'm only around because he is). Our group has learned, though, that we each have different skills as a GM and that we're equal partners at running games. He runs mass combats (and has developed some really neat systems for them), but I run small group fights because I'm less likely to forget about cool powers the enemies can use. I tend to provide new obstacles and challenges, while he's more skilled at wrapup and resolution. And our players know that he's the nice GM who will generally let them succeed, while I will make things exciting but very hard! So it's really great to have a division of labor, as co-GMs, that isn't conventionally gendered, and to be treated as an individual rather than an adjunct or accessory.

  46. 24. Edition wars. System wars. Gamestyle wars. One-true-wayism of all stripes, basically, because it causes divisions and bitterness when there's really "no one true way".

    25. I'm seeing about the spectrum of responses I expected, actually.

  47. addendum, @replayable:

    When I had an SO we gamed together, but there were no gender issues and we left the relationship pointedly away from the table as a courtesy to the other members of the group.

  48. 1. (from Dungeonmum): How did you get into RPGs?
    A friend asked me if I wanted to player Vampire. I don't know how he got the idea, but although I had never done any RPGs before, I loved the idea right frmo the start.

    3. If you don't DM/GM, why not?
    I just can't seem to come up with complete stories. I'm great at beginnings, but not at endings. I also suspect that I wouldn't be able to manage a group of players. Serious lack of confidence there, I know.

    4. Who was your favorite character to play, ever? Why?
    Hard to decide. But I think it's my favourite Cthulhu character, a professional Poker player named Liam. I'm astonished that he's still not only alive, but pretty much sane. I like him because I get to act out my ruthless side - he can be brutal without many regrets when he needs to be. I also like his ability to lie and to see when other people lie.

    5. How often do you play male characters?
    Always. I blogged about why here

    6. If sometimes you play female characters and sometimes you run male characters, how do you decide what gender of character to run?
    No answer here...

    (With no restrictions on player/DM type/practicality...

    7.What would the ideal campaign/adventure look like?
    Definitely not a dungeon crawl. I like my characters to live a story, to get into trouble not (only) because of monsters, but because of their personality.

    9.What would the ideal treasure look like?
    I'm not much into winning treasure in my RPGs and it really depends on my characters.

    10. Would you consider putting out your own RPG product, why or why not? What about just contributing to a product?
    Not really. Just not interested.

    12. Have you ever experienced sexism in the gaming community? How?
    Never, I'm happy to say.

    13. What's your favorite part of the game? Or favorite parts?
    I love it when the story is really getting on the way and is carried along by the players, without much interference by the gamemaster.

    14. What's your preferred game, why?
    Cthulhu - I play with a very awesome gamemaster who really can scare the hell out of me. I just love it that the characters are doomed from the start (but often hold on for a surprisingly long time).
    7th Sea - because you can do really outrageous things. Swinging on a chandelier, steering a four-horse carriage standing on the coach box, jumping from a cliff - no problem.
    Deadlands - it's Western meets Steampunk meets Cthulhu. What's not to like.

  49. Part 2...

    15. There's this stereotype about women and math...how are you with the "crunch" in games? Do you avoid it or jump in?
    I'm okay with it. But to serve another stereotype: I'm terrible at orientating myself. I get fucking lost playing Tombraider. So don't rely on me if you want to find your way out of a dungeon or something.

    16. Did/do you ever feel "performance anxiety" in front of a gaming group? (These last two questions are from Zak--these are things Mandy's talked about.)
    No. But I absolutely would as a gamemaster.

    17. Anything you'd like to see more of, in your own game(s)?
    If I write a background for my character, then please use it. I come up with ideas how to mess with the character for a reason, you know.
    Most of the GMs I play with are good about this, though.

    18. Anything you'd like to see more of in the industry in general?
    Less endless supplies of sourcebooks you need to play a game. I know, they want to make money and so it won't happen, but you didn't ask for realism.

    19. Mandy asks: "How do you feel about highly sexualized images in game art? Like, say, this. (Full disclosure: my own position is I'm totally ok with it, and like looking at it, and want to be able to draw like that, and don't think it's degrading in any way.)"
    I'm totally ok with it, either.

    20. Do you feel like you can make any "guys tend to do this, female gamers tend to do that" statements? If so, what?
    I haven't played with enough female gamers to really answer this. I'm not a really significant example because I tend to act not very much like a female in general.

    23. I wanna know this one--Pretty much everybody who has answered so far has played both male and female characters. I've played females twice, but only pretty much because Keith Baker and/or the girls made me do it (I liked it, but mostly as a one-shot thing). Guys don't usually play women. Got a theory?
    I've played with a lot of guys who play women, some all the time, some only occasionally. I've been meaning to ask them why they do it. I know that some of them will only play women they find attractive (I do that as well, but not all the time).
    Some guys say that they would feel ridiculous playing a female. Some have the same reason I have for playing males: women don't have all that much to do in the RPGs we play, at least if you want to keep it realistic. Again, I elaborated a bit more here

    24. Least favourite thing about gaming
    Endless rule discussions and discussions about if anything can or can't be done. It's the gamemaster's thing to decide and when he has decided, people should just shut up. I'm fine with bringing up a point you feel is justified and a good GM will listen to you, but if it doesn't convince, then just drop it.

    25 playing with a SO
    I had a horrible experience with both my own SO at the time and with a GM's SO (who couldn't bear to loose and had to be babied the whole time). I kept away fmo playing with SOs for a while after that. I can play very well with my own SO and that changed my mind, so I won't condemn this in general.
    We are comfortable with playing against each other and we take care not to let the relationship enter the game or better, it just doesn't. I've come up with a rule: if you can play Munchkin with your SO, then you can play RPGs together. Anyone who gets upset when he/she's backstabbed by his/her SO in a card game, probably won't be able to keep the relationship out of an RPG either.