PDA

View Full Version : Women in medieval fantasy



boulet
09-29-2008, 10:51 AM
In another thread, Foki Firefinger was saying :

Playing fantasy roleplay, in most most when based upon Medeival times, the women NPCs were acourse 2nd citizens to the male NPCs. I have found though that a lot of guys have been playing female characters, so that they can get away with some things a little more. In medieval times, who would suspect a innocent appearing women as the leader of dangerous group of bandits. Or a fresh young looking girl being a notorious spy. It is funny watching male players using feminine wiles.I didn't want to side track the original thread but it got me wondering how much fantasy games are actually enforcing this secondary citizen trope. I think generally the industry has tried to appeal across the gender fence (especially after White Wolf turned on the brights on how many potential female gamers are out there). So probably trying to fit the historical cliche is counter productive. Not that I'm completely ignoring that yeah it's probably better being a woman nowadays than under Charlemagne. But if you take a look at some phenomena on the fringe, it's not as grim as it seems : Viking women were entitled to divorce for instance. Many women played a significant, sometimes heroic role in medieval time and antiquity. I think of : Euridice III of Macedon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurydice_III_of_Macedon), Boudica, Sainte Genevieve, Jeanne d'Arc, Queen Elizabeth, Catherine de' Medici and many many others. They took part in wars and battles. Sometimes prone to lead a fight, sometimes trying to settle a peace for the greater good. I find it interesting how women can be prominent figures in Antiquity and Middle Age, and not Just behind the scene, manipulating men.

I'm interested too about fantasy RPGs treatment of the issue of gender. It seems rarely explored upfront. GMs are left to guess what is supposed to be the role of women in the fictional worlds. Sure it means more freedom in a way. But I prefer the approach of Greg Stolze in his game Reign where clearly wanted a fantasy setting where women had major role, and he tied it inside his setting trying to provide verissimilitude.

What's your take on the subject ?

tesral
09-29-2008, 11:13 AM
It varies. Where in my world are you? The Domains where woman are second class and better keep it in mind, or the Perfecture where men are property? PC means "Player Character" and nothing else.

There is an endless variation between those two extremes. I want my cultures to vary and be true to themselves.

fmitchell
09-29-2008, 12:17 PM
Perhaps this is a tangent, but:

One possible justification for an emerging egalitarian attitude is a shortage of labor. In the GURPS default fantasy world of Yrth, "Caithness" is a barely-tamed wilderness where magic doesn't work so well, so its human residents, male and female, have to be hardy folk that can take care of themselves. (In more "civilized" domains, particularly conservative Muslim kindoms, women are second-class or at least "protected".) A long-running war that kills the menfolk, or ties them up on the battlefield, would allow women to take more of an active social role, perhaps even a warrior's role.

Getting back to the original question, I think modern gamer women don't want to roleplay foot-binding or burka-wearing, so most fantasy realms with a mixed group will let female characters stand with the menfolk just as a matter of course. Heck, many modern gaming men above a certain mental age would probably feel uncomfortable with strict genre-enforcement of gender roles, just as they would with racial stereotypes. Even if a GM wants historical accuracy, he can still subvert gender roles with the influential noblewoman, the capable peasant girl, and the ever-popular woman-in-man's-clothing.

Foki Firefinger
09-29-2008, 12:37 PM
In my game worlds, NPCs female roles vary from region to region. Also race to race. I play elves fairly equal with their genders and dwarves or gnomes equal but each with their own traditional roles. Halflings are very simulair to humans. Human cultures can vary greating from one country, region, city, etc and so forth. The areas can be any where from total servantude of female to an Amazon-like culture. An oriental culture could be very strict to how females act. For example, I have a female kensai who kept her gender secret because she was the survival from a set of twins (one male and the other female) and her mother tried to pass her off as a son. To save the families honer, she had to marry and had her "wife" sworn to silence on her honer. It got really hard trying to conceal her gender in the public bath houses and such and she really had to juggle such occasions and try always to find excuses not do disrobe in front of fellow adventurers.

Bearfoot_Adam
09-29-2008, 02:47 PM
Well with my game I think it will depend on race as well. I haven't decided anything yet so these are just concepts at the moment.

Humans- Human society has clearly defined gender roles, Men are the hunters, heavy laborers, Lumber jacks, trappers, and the like. Women are the farmers, child rearing people, knitters and and other western historically known woman's crafts. However women have the right to own property, legal recourse, and inheritance and title are passed down matrilinearly. Only men enter into military service.

Dwarves- For them I feel I will steal from Pratchett and say that though gender exists biologically in society they are all just dwarves.

Elves- Haven't really gotten these guys figured out yet. But right now I'm feeling like they recognize gender but it plays no distinct role in society.

fmitchell
09-29-2008, 03:22 PM
Humans- Human society has clearly defined gender roles, Men are the hunters, heavy laborers, Lumber jacks, trappers, and the like. Women are the farmers, child rearing people, knitters and and other western historically known woman's crafts. However women have the right to own property, legal recourse, and inheritance and title are passed down matrilinearly. Only men enter into military service.

I'd encourage you to give humans a diverse range of cultures, including gender roles. One kingdom could be a matriarchy where women outnumber men in the armed forces (perhaps because the menfolk got slain in a previous war), another could treat women as priceless possessions and "protect" them behind veils and curtains. Reserving alternate gender roles for "demihumans" and nonhumans not only leads to artificial cultural homogeneity, it also hints that alternate roles are somehow "alien". (Plus, I think we fantasy gamers use "demihumans" as a cheap way to create different cultures, just as Star Trek at its worst creates an "alien" planet by adding forehead ridges and some exaggerated but universal personality trait.)

tesral
09-29-2008, 03:25 PM
I'd encourage you to give humans a diverse range of cultures, including gender roles.

Greyhawke Cultures (http://phoenixinn.iwarp.com/fantasy/fantpdf/01_Manual_Culture.pdf)

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
09-29-2008, 03:39 PM
I myself dont get too caught up in gender roles when running games, unless we are talking about the Drow. In this case, women treat mean like shit! Otherwise, gender roles are about what you expect, with varying exceptions. In point of fact, i dont recall an issue every coming up in my 30+ years of gaming in regards to gender roles.

I had a female friend years ago that really went through a man-hating phase, and rightfully so, it could be argued. Ha! This guy was a jerk and then some. Well, she even rubbed me and our gamers wrong at times. So i got together with many of the other gamers, who were friends with her as well, and it was decided that we would play an all Drow campaign called House Wars. Roleplay at its finest. Figured we could work on her character flaws of being weak & passive, and make her roleplay a strong dominant leader type of Drow Princess, we all playing the subserviant male scum. The males played males and she and her friend played females(princesses). Of course at first, she killed a couple of key males(but there were plenty fo Drow ready to replace them, just not as powerful), thereby learning they are worth more alive than dead.

In time, 6 months or so/2-3 days a week/6 hours a day, so would really play the role well of a House Priestess(domineering, evil, bossy, conniving(all Drow traits), and the males in the game pretty much kept their lives. Keep in mind that the male players were in on this *therapy* whereas she was not. It was good therapy and at the same time, she learned how to be strong towards others. Wow, she was an evil ***** in the game, but in the end, she not only no longer harbored the resentment towards men, she told me on the side that she was now able to exercise her right to inject opinions and defend herself. This was a strong, independent woman, who beleived in herself.

I told her years later about the ruse, in which she thanked me. Said it changed her life for the better. I wish technology was such all those years ago when we all got into the male/female roleplay of the Drow. It was wicked, and a bit shocking, id bet.

Shared with me that she loves telling the story of House Wars with her friends, even to this day.

This is a real short version for i didnt want to write a novella. And yes, the men roleplayed their characters well. Who ever said one cant learn from DnD?

Addendum: I was a HUGE Drow fan and had everything ever printed. We spent hours the first day in discussion of Drow culture and behavior, and i believe we nailed it. All in all, this was the most memorable game i ever ran, still thinking on it even today.

nijineko
09-29-2008, 04:06 PM
It varies. Where in my world are you? The Domains where woman are second class and better keep it in mind, or the Perfecture where men are property? PC means "Player Character" and nothing else.

There is an endless variation between those two extremes. I want my cultures to vary and be true to themselves.

ditto. it all depends on which spot you happen to be visiting of my worlds. even in campaigns where i am running it in "generic" greyhawk, there are numerous human cultures to choose from, which actually change depending on what time one is playing in.

MortonStromgal
09-29-2008, 04:41 PM
There are plenty of women leaders and such throughout history. If you consider PCs are a cut above then any female PC should have the chance to be one of the old boys. Just with the exceptions of Joan of Arc and Boudica they didn't do a whole lot of conquering or at leased didn't have some good sages to write about it.

Grumpy Old Man
09-29-2008, 09:49 PM
Always figured we were playing hero or anti-hero so a woman would have to be a strong non-subservient type. I would expect only NPC's to be subservient when appropriate or a player character playing a role inside the game as part of a disguise.

Skunkape
09-30-2008, 01:16 PM
I generally don't have one gender or another be 2nd class citizens in any of my countries, I always go race instead. I know it's not historically correct, but I'm also not doing historical gaming in any of my games so...

Kalanth
10-03-2008, 08:39 AM
With my world sex is not the issue with the races. There may be a nation here or there that does not treat women as we do in the modern United States, but for the most part I don't touch that issue. I have two female gamers at my table and I don't want them to be put off or not enjoy the game because I want to show a semblance of realism.

On the other hand, the issue in my gaming world revolves around race and racism. Humans have large cultural diversity, but regardless of that if you enter the Elven or Dwarven kingdoms you are likely being spat on and treated like a slave. That goes for half-elves and gnolls as well in the world.

GoddessGood
10-03-2008, 09:14 AM
I attended an interesting leadership workshop in which we discussed the perceptions we have of other people and how that colors our reactions to them. It's made me think harder on what other cultures look like to foreigners. In the skit they presented no one spoke, but just carried out a series of behaviors.

In the middle of the stage, there were two chairs and a table to one side of them with a plate of food on it. A man walked into the room with a woman following close behind him. The man approached the chairs and sat down on one, placing his feet on the other. The woman sat on the floor next to him. The man took the plate from the table and had a bite of the food. He then handed the plate to the woman and she ate.

The speaker then asked us what sort of society we saw in action here. We all said that this one a male-dominated society where the woman was subservient. She shadowed him as they walked, she sat at his feet and she even ate last. The speaker smiled and told us that looks are incredibly deceiving.

It turns out, he said, that this is a nature venerating culture in which they believe earth we walk upon is the embodiment of the goddess of life. They believe that women, because of their ability to copy the goddess and create life, are sacred and only they are allowed to sit upon the ground. A man may walk upon the ground, but when he gets to his destination he must lift his feet up. The women are leaders in this culture, and the man was walking in front of her to protect her from attack. When they arrived, he tasted her food to make sure it was not poisoned and then she ate it.

Aside from being surprised how out of the box that leadership seminar was, I really liked the whole narrative they set up.

Kalanth
10-03-2008, 09:22 AM
Psh, GoddessGood, I am more interested in the society they portrayed. I like that, and I think there may be a social change coming in one of my countries. :)

GoddessGood
10-03-2008, 09:27 AM
No, the real fun was in the hallway discussion I overheard after the session speculating about that society and how they must have had some weird bedroom rules.

Kalanth
10-03-2008, 12:12 PM
No, the real fun was in the hallway discussion I overheard after the session speculating about that society and how they must have had some weird bedroom rules.

Fascinating! You have my head spinning from just the shear possibilities in such a society!

tesral
10-03-2008, 01:27 PM
We expect to see what we expect to see to belabor the obvious. I like to build societies that bend and even warp what people expect. It's fun.

Gender roles are important. It is also important to remember that any society that restricts one gender, in effect restricts both. While it may not look that way, it is the case. Chains bind at both ends.

Inquisitor Tremayne
10-03-2008, 04:47 PM
It has always been my assumption in RPGs that women have the same opportunities as males in a fantasy setting. Which is why you end up with women of all classes being prominent figures. It seems the divisions in RPGs usually is defined by your social class and or race.

Grumpy Old Man
10-08-2008, 04:28 PM
It has always been my assumption in RPGs that women have the same opportunities as males in a fantasy setting. Which is why you end up with women of all classes being prominent figures. It seems the divisions in RPGs usually is defined by your social class and or race.
You mean all the men are good looking, all the women are pretty and all the children are above average?

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
10-08-2008, 07:05 PM
Women in medieval fantasy?

In all my 30+ years of gaming, gender roles has never been an issue... in fact, it has never even been brought up. That's 1000's of games guys(guestimation... probably not that many, but LOTS and LOTS). In fact, ive never experienced it, ive never seen it, nor have i ever even heard of such a thing. This fact makes me damn proud to be a gamer for this game is and will always be equal opportunity for people from all walks of life.

Its the only game i can think of where people check their politics, religion, age, race, gender, sexual choices, and everything else at the door and enter into a gaming room full of fantasy and adventure, each one of us sharing the adventure in fantasy and imagination, watching each others back so them damn Urk'ses(my attempt at dwarven) dont strike us down with rusty weapons.

:peace:

tesral
10-08-2008, 10:41 PM
Women in medieval fantasy?

In all my 30+ years of gaming, gender roles has never been an issue... in fact, it has never even been brought up. That's 1000's of games guys(guestimation... probably not that many, but LOTS and LOTS). In fact, ive never experienced it, ive never seen it, nor have i ever even heard of such a thing. This fact makes me damn proud to be a gamer for this game is and will always be equal opportunity for people from all walks of life.

Its the only game i can think of where people check their politics, religion, age, race, gender, sexual choices, and everything else at the door and enter into a gaming room full of fantasy and adventure, each one of us sharing the adventure in fantasy and imagination, watching each others back so them damn Urk'ses(my attempt at dwarven) dont strike us down with rusty weapons.

Pretty much the deal. In game, it comes up in the course of encountering this society or that. But at the table, it is a matter of no matter.

I build some social systems grossly unfair. It sucks to be what ever is on the bottom of the heap.

Frankly women in Medieval reality didn't have it that good. They were a step up from slaves in many cases. Men didn't have it much better. Ye goode olde days stank, literally when you consider the frequency of soap usages and the state of public sanitation.

So yes, I clean up the games a bit. We don't need smell-o-gaming. Bathing is a popular past time. In 80% of the cases men and women have it about equal. But, and here is the important but, I model more off Ancient societies (Roman period) with early Renaissance technology. Calling my game a Medieval Fantasy is likely a mis-use of the term.

Grumpy Old Man
10-09-2008, 03:02 PM
Funny you mention bathing, my characters usually have soap and use it regularly while most people never think about it. Became an issue 2 campaigns ago when I had to fight 6 goblins with a dagger wearing nothing but a happy face. What an awful time to interrupt a guy. One of the female characters made a comment about the cold water making a part of me shrink, cracked the table up when my young farmer/fighter told her matter of factly that it wasn't any bigger when the water was warm. Later in the game the same player had her character take a bath and I got even by telling her a few minutes into her proceedings to take her dirty armpits downstream to do that. Why? she asked. Because I'm trying to catch fish for supper and you are scaring the survivors away and the rest are ruined. Her character stopped talking to my character and the DM had to get between her and me. Only seemed fair, she started it.

nijineko
10-09-2008, 03:50 PM
In the middle of the stage, there were two chairs and a table to one side of them with a plate of food on it. A man walked into the room with a woman following close behind him. The man approached the chairs and sat down on one, placing his feet on the other. The woman sat on the floor next to him. The man took the plate from the table and had a bite of the food. He then handed the plate to the woman and she ate.

The speaker then asked us what sort of society we saw in action here.

oddly enough i picked up on the checking the poisoned food bit, which then led me to think he might be a bodyguard type. but i didn't know what to make of the sitting on the floor versus chairs aspect. i wonder what this says about me, that i would immediately think of the poisoned food aspect....

tesral
10-09-2008, 05:35 PM
oddly enough i picked up on the checking the poisoned food bit, which then led me to think he might be a bodyguard type. but i didn't know what to make of the sitting on the floor versus chairs aspect. i wonder what this says about me, that i would immediately think of the poisoned food aspect....

That I should bring a taster if I visit you?

nijineko
10-09-2008, 09:07 PM
*smile* i'm actually a pretty good cook when i have all the ingredients i want and bother to do so. the only thing you have to watch out for is when i'm custom mixing my own spices for something. it's liable to be strong, very strong.

but i've never poisoned anyone. only... don't let me make that recipie for inferno chilli i've been hunting all the ingredients for. luckily (for everyone) i haven't been able to find everything i need. once i do i'll also have to look up the local ems and hospital numbers. just in case. it's really really hot chilli, you see.

i think it's just because i read so much that i twigged to the tasters role.

Greylond
10-09-2008, 09:43 PM
On the issue of Medieval Bathing. The idea that people in the Middle Ages didn't bath often is pretty much a myth. Here's some links;

http://www.godecookery.com/mtales/mtales08.htm
Excerpt

Contrary to popular legend, medieval man loved baths. People probably bathed more than they did in the 19th century, says the great medievalist Lynn Thorndike. Some castles had a special room beside the kitchen where the ladies might bathe sociably in parties. Hot water, sometimes with perfume or rose leaves, was brought to the lord in the bedchamber and poured into a tub shaped like a half-barrel and containing a stool, so that the occupant could sit and soak long. In the cities there were public baths, or "stews" for the populace.

http://www.gib.gi/museum/baths.htm

The original city of Gibraltar founded in 1160 by Abd-al-Mumin would have included both private and public baths, but these, situated in the Gibraltar Museum, date from 1333 and are contemporary with the Moorish Castle Tower of Homage.

http://www.medieval-life.net/bathing.htm

Hot baths were very popular and most towns, as late as the mid-1200s had public bathhouses. Wood fires heated the water, but this posed two problems. First, out of control fires could consume several blocks of buildings. And as the forests were depleted, firewood became expensive and the rising costs of heating the water forced most of the bathhouses to close. Some tried burning coal to heat water, but the fumes proved to be unhealthy.

http://www.geocities.com/karen_larsdatter/baths.htm

So often, we think of the Middle Ages and Renaissance as a period in which people never bathed -- yet this is not the case. Not only did our ancestors bathe (and probably a bit more often than we give them credit for), but some of them did so with "special naked friends."

http://www.gallowglass.org/jadwiga/herbs/baths.html

Like the nonsensical idea that spices were used to disguise the taste of rotten meat, the idea that bathing was forbidden and/or wiped out between the fall of Rome and the Enlightenment has been touted by many gullible writers, including Smithsonian magazine. However, even the Smithsonian in the person of Jay Stuller has to admit that "Gregory the Great, the first monk to become pope, allowed Sunday baths and even commended them, so long as they didn't become a 'time-wasting luxury' . . . medieval nobility routinely washed their hands before and after meals. Etiquette guides of the age insisted that teeth, face and hands be cleaned each morning. Shallow basins and water jugs for washing hair were found in most manor houses, as was the occasional communal tub..."

There's lots of more places with info about the subject but suffice to say that the Middle Ages wasn't as "Smelly" as most people seem to believe...

nijineko
10-09-2008, 10:11 PM
thanks for the research! and that doesn't even touch upon the middle eastern, lesser and greater asia, africa, the islands, or the americas, all of which had examples of cultures holding bathing in high regard.

Greylond
10-09-2008, 10:18 PM
Oh yea, I know, I've got lots more links but I figured that was enough for now...

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
10-10-2008, 12:57 AM
Very cool that you gave us these links. I feel a bit more educated. Thanks.

Kalanth
10-17-2008, 09:17 AM
You mean all the men are good looking, all the women are pretty and all the children are above average?

In my minds eye, unless otherwise stated, yes. I go out of my way to describe someone that is revolting in appearence or less than attractive but generally not so much for the more handsom or beutiful in the world. Never really thought about it before now, but maybe that is a product of what is drilled into society today in that we all need to be thin and muscular to be considered normal / attractive.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
10-17-2008, 10:17 AM
I never agreed with the "it's societies fault" or "it was drilled into us by society" bs. I believe we are all(many of us, anyway, both male and female) are built to look for healthiest and best looking(falls under healthy) in order to carry on our genes to the next generation. "This" programming is built into our genes, not built into us through commercials, etc. We are still animals, after all. This is my belief, anyway. However much that may be worth... maybe nothing.

My two coppers... spend them or skip them on a lake. It makes no never mind.

Kalanth
10-17-2008, 10:26 AM
I never agreed with the "it's societies fault" or "it was drilled into us by society" bs. I believe we are all(many of us, anyway, both male and female) are built to look for healthiest and best looking(falls under healthy) in order to carry on our genes to the next generation. "This" programming is built into our genes, not built into us through commercials, etc. We are still animals, after all. This is my belief, anyway. However much that may be worth... maybe nothing.

My two coppers... spend them or skip them on a lake. It makes no never mind.

And that is fine, nothing wrong with that. However, I have this subconscious thought and definitely put no conscious thought into the beauty of my people in the game worlds that we RP in. It is interesting to think that it potentially stems from outside influence. After all the society impact is peer pressure just as much as your friends all drinking and heavily leaning on you to join them.

Those that are more impressionable than others see the trend in pop culture and start to believe that is what they should be or they receive that from other sources. Per my wife she had an eating disorder when she was young because of friends telling her she was to skinny, which is a part of the societal impact on her life. There are factors to support that society has such an influence and you could also support that it is a non-factor, but that changes based on the person.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
10-17-2008, 10:53 AM
And that is fine, nothing wrong with that. However, I have this subconscious thought and definitely put no conscious thought into the beauty of my people in the game worlds that we RP in. It is interesting to think that it potentially stems from outside influence. After all the society impact is peer pressure just as much as your friends all drinking and heavily leaning on you to join them.

Those that are more impressionable than others see the trend in pop culture and start to believe that is what they should be or they receive that from other sources. Per my wife she had an eating disorder when she was young because of friends telling her she was to skinny, which is a part of the societal impact on her life. There are factors to support that society has such an influence and you could also support that it is a non-factor, but that changes based on the person.

Apologies to you Kalanth, i was speaking in generalities with my last comment, not specifics. When i read your initial post and responded, it read as though you were doing same, i didnt realize that perhaps this topic hit in any emotional way.

Kalanth
10-17-2008, 12:21 PM
Apologies to you Kalanth, i was speaking in generalities with my last comment, not specifics. When i read your initial post and responded, it read as though you were doing same, i didnt realize that perhaps this topic hit in any emotional way.

Take that apology back, sir! :D I was trying to stimulate conversation on what I found to be a facinating observation on your behalf.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
10-17-2008, 12:25 PM
Take that apology back, sir! :D I was trying to stimulate conversation on what I found to be a facinating observation on your behalf.
Consider it taken back... :bounce:

I believe this look says it all...LOL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plWnm7UpsXk&feature=related

I couldnt resist. Freakin' hilarious.

Grumpy Old Man
10-17-2008, 01:29 PM
Its been my experience that most players don't think twice about the comeliness of their players. I tend to make tracks in the other direction and specify traits to make my characters memorable in a visual sense. My last Dwarf Fighter was called Shaggy Potz because his long black hair and beard hid his entire face and he only pulled his hair back to show you his eye or eyes if he was introducing himself and making eye contact was the polite thing to do. The tangled hair was deliberate to make himself appear fiercer to opponents and allowed him to look at people without them being able to see he was studying them, prehistoric sun glasses so to speak. I am presently playing an female Elf who is not only a little over sized for an Elf but is homely. Against the grain for the so called beautiful race. She also has a voice like a cement truck full of gravel before they add the sand, cement and water to it. I do this as counterpoint to the last 3 women I played with whose characters were lithe, willowy, exuded sexuality, was heartbreakingly beautiful, their words, not mine.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
10-17-2008, 01:41 PM
The amount of detail i describe always equated to function, be it comely, homely, rotund, or thin, perhaps somewhere in-between or to the extremes, for whatever brought flavor to the game, i was sure to employ.

What! :eek: No comment on my youtube link? You gotta admit it's funny. :lol:

Greylond
10-17-2008, 01:46 PM
Yea, when I get a group of players who routinely uses Charisma and Comeliness as dump stats I know that it's time to start throwing the Social Encounters their way...

Kalanth
10-17-2008, 04:51 PM
I enjoyed the dramatic kitten!

The average description at my table goes something like this:

Kalanth stands about 6 feet tall and has short cut red hair. He wears dark black plate mail armor with a matching shield hanging on his back. To his side is his long sword, the leather wrapped hilt showing its excessive use and wear.

Notice that any and all description regarding how he actually looks in the face and weight wise is left out. The players might add weight in, but then they describe it as an exact number saying things like:

He is about 170 lbs.

I have two women at the table who jumped right into a matching description style even though I had them go first in the introductions. Nothing relates to their facial features or girth in anyway and it commonly stems from the group being six strong, five of six being overweight by either a small amount or significantly. We find it easier to be vague than specific.

Might there be an impact from the way I grew up in that? Maybe and it certainly is something I might focus on a bit more in the future as I am trying to push a romantic story-line in the current campaign. Even in that there was no description of what the NPC looks like visually, allowing the player to fill in the blank on his own.

mrken
10-17-2008, 08:39 PM
I thought the cat was hilarious!!!

In my game I have Charisma and Comeliness. Love it when guys go low there. They always have the women ignoring them, unless they are as ugly as the guys. lol

tesral
10-18-2008, 12:35 AM
I I do this as counterpoint to the last 3 women I played with whose characters were lithe, willowy, exuded sexuality, was heartbreakingly beautiful, their words, not mine.

Tony McKenzie. A hard boiled cop in a B-13 game that seemed to be populated with D&D wannabes. Indian Princess Winterfall Summershower was the last straw. None of the PCs were COPS in a cop style setting. Sure they all worked for the police department, but were not cops. I had to make a real cop.

Back to fantasy. I describe my PCs traits carefully. Beautiful? Sometimes if that is the character I'm going for. My current PC is charismatic, but more than a touch disturbing to look at. The red eyes have a lot to do with that.. Tall sharp featured, red eyes that glow softly. He is no one you will soon forget, but pretty? not really.

In my world the people are not universally beautiful. You get the usual types of people in the usual types of locations. The ugly to beautiful.

Guardian of Hell
10-18-2008, 01:03 PM
Just from the first page of posting, since that was all I read.

There are two extremes when it comes to this subject...Thieves' World and Wheel of Time. In Thieves World, Sanctuary portrays woman as 2nd class citizens that are more or less [most often] slaves/property of the men. Whereas in Wheel of Time, women are the dominant hand in power, ruling most of society or in most ways controlling it. Preferably, I prefer the latter for the sake of something new, but overdo that and it seems like too much. Most books or stories fall somewhere in between those two. Take it as you will, Jordan did an amazing job though.