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How to keep women in the game?

doctorbadwolf

Explorer
My main suggestion would be not assuming there is a rule for "women" and treat them as individuals. This, plus the communism thread, and some other posts are looking awfully suspicious.
I missed a communism thread!?

Man...that makes me genuinely sad. I mean, your comment here tells me I should be glad, but still...I love communism!
 

doctorbadwolf

Explorer
"Quasi-realistic" is another way of saying "not realistic".

And it's not about whether a particular setting is or isn't 'okay'. If everyone in the group is happy with things, then by all means, set your game in Aggressively Unrealistic Medieval England and deviate from real history all you like. Port over a thinly-disguised version of GoT. Heck, run a strictly traditionalist game of Murder-Hobo Lords of Gor if that's what the GM and players clamor for.

But it's disingenuous to take a vastly unrealistic setting - cherry-picking bits here and there of "medieval Europe", slapping in new ones that never existed, and excising realistic elements that are boring or distasteful - and then insisting that elements A and B are there because realism demands it. As you note, it's a fantasy setting. So when a GM is happy to have wizards throwing fireballs, open borders, and a distinct lack of enforced monotheism, but insists that women can't be fighters or a lifted skirt clouds men's minds without fail or consequence, well. That's not actually a game with a historically-accurate setting. That's a game where the GM wants particular gender roles, but won't cop to it, instead letting History take the rap. (Poor History!)

Turning back to the actual subject of the discussion: it's a little difficult to get players to stick around for a game when the game itself, or its setting, takes away from their fun. And for rather a lot of people, "your PC is going to have to put up with the same crap as you do in real life! because realism!" is not something that makes a game sound like a fabulous way to spend a weekend.
Yep. Also...like...the extreme sexism of the general understanding of medieval Europe isn't even all that accurate, especially as a model of how the world has always worked, everywhere. That just...ain't a thing, folks.

If you married a woman in Scandinavia, in 800 AD, she could be the one who technically owned the home you share, she was legally and culturally still part of her family, she could divorce you with relative ease, the kids are hers at least as much as yours, maybe more, she could inherit property, speak at the Thing, rule a kingdom, or fight for a lord. That last one didn't happen as much as recreationalist like to imagine, but it happened, and there is no evidence of any rules against it, or stigma upon it.

Druidic Celtic lands were similarly egalitarian-ish. Certainly moreso than late medieval society, or America circa 1800 AD.

those are both societies from which big standard DnD draws inspiration.

and even later on, a lot of the "rules" were not as strict as we often imagine. Most of them could be flouted by anyone with the right sort of panache. Look at Mademoiselle Maupin*, for the best example ever. She didn't care about the silly gender norms, so she ignored them openly, and did it with such charm and style that she was celebrated, rather than stigmatized. Surely PCs are at least as cool as she was, when she first set out into the world.

Not height of her Opera career, level, of course. I mean, not many PCs are so cool they can duel the jerk in the opera production, then sleep with him, then headline the 17th century France equivalent of Coachella.

But maybe they are, "take the holy orders because your girlfriend got stuck in a convent, set something on fire, Sneak your gf out of the convent, shack up with her for a while, then go sing insults at d-bags in taverns and duel the ones that get in your face about", cool. Maybe.

*https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julie_d'Aubigny
 

Lord Mhoram

Explorer
(And congrats on almost 3 decades of marriage.)
Thanks.

We met in 86 (or 87) - she started gaming when the first hardcover AD&D came out, and I had started a few months earlier with basic (though not together). We met playing HERO, I moved into the area and she was running the game. :)
 

cmad1977

Explorer
No I don't. The door is already wide open and inviting, they can decide if they want to come in. I'm an adult, and so are they. If they can't handle adult conversation, thats on them.
Ok. If penis jokes count as adult conversation...well.. we have different definitions of adult.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

aramis erak

Explorer
As for historical vs non, not everyone plays only D&D... so if one's dissmissiveness of the concept is based upon the crazy that is D&D, realize that's your hangup for being stuck on D&D, not a flaw in those that like historical, semi-historical, or alternate-history games.

Pendragon is much more realistic than D&D in a great many ways... including combat lethality... and includes modeling the physical differences and societal learned skills differences in the core rules. (Women have a smaller size, and higher dex, and different starting skill levels, as well as several things they can do without losing glory that men lose glory for doing)

GURPS WWII is likewise a realistic setting, set in a time when discrimination was still rampant, but the changes in society were happening. (WWII is the era when married women moved into the workforce en masse in the US, for example.)

..Not to over-generalize, but IME, female gamers tend to stick around longer when there are more than one in the group.
There is probably some truth to that. And if the whole group gels and everyone is on the same level in terms of social interaction.
I've noticed that, too. Both elements.

It all boils down to respect. (and not the faux respect so often demanded these days. I mean genuine respect)
 

doctorbadwolf

Explorer
No I don't. The door is already wide open and inviting, they can decide if they want to come in. I'm an adult, and so are they. If they can't handle adult conversation, thats on them.
Sounds super inviting and not at all unwelcoming for new female gamers.
 

jimmifett

Villager
Sounds super inviting and not at all unwelcoming for new female gamers.
Exactly. Open and inclusive to all, just don't go in expecting the group to start censoring how they play for the new comer, all it does is build animosity. You hear fun and see players having a fun time, come have a seat at the table and join in, have fun. But don't start telling other adults that have been there that they are having wrong-play and need to conform to the new-commer's sensitivities.

Now this goes without saying, for the existing players, don't intentionally be a jerk either. Don't tell the new person how to play their character, gang up on them, let the new person play how they like to play.

If you have to put on kid gloves just to bring in and keep women, you are doing a disservice to the woman and treating them like precious children that need to be protected. They are adults too, and can be the raunchiest, silliest person at the table. Let them have agency and decide for themselves if they like a given group based on how it really acts, not how it pretends to be just to have a woman present.
 

Lylandra

Explorer
As for historical vs non, not everyone plays only D&D... so if one's dissmissiveness of the concept is based upon the crazy that is D&D, realize that's your hangup for being stuck on D&D, not a flaw in those that like historical, semi-historical, or alternate-history games.

Pendragon is much more realistic than D&D in a great many ways... including combat lethality... and includes modeling the physical differences and societal learned skills differences in the core rules. (Women have a smaller size, and higher dex, and different starting skill levels, as well as several things they can do without losing glory that men lose glory for doing)

GURPS WWII is likewise a realistic setting, set in a time when discrimination was still rampant, but the changes in society were happening. (WWII is the era when married women moved into the workforce en masse in the US, for example.)
Not wanting to attack you, but now it is you who sound dismissive of those who play "non-realistic/historic" fantasy. Without having any statistical proof, I'd guess that there are more fantasy TTRPGs out there which do not, for example, give male and female PCs different stat allocations, than those which do. And not every "gritty" or deadly medieval tech setting is based on our history or even our earth. Early DSA comes to my mind, which was very low-magic and also quite deadly but didn't care for what was between your character's legs.

If you want to play with aspects of a certain time period, then, okay, you can perfectly incorporate default sexism. But again, this ( strictly historic --- quasi-historic --- period flavoured --- non-historic ) is only one of many different axises on which a roleplaying game setting/system can differ.


It all boils down to respect. (and not the faux respect so often demanded these days. I mean genuine respect)
agreed. And it seems like the women in your group really enjoy the game (which again, I can totally understand since a lot of women really like historic novels), so... have fun ;)
 

PMárk

Villager
Yep. Also...like...the extreme sexism of the general understanding of medieval Europe isn't even all that accurate, especially as a model of how the world has always worked, everywhere. That just...ain't a thing, folks.

If you married a woman in Scandinavia, in 800 AD, she could be the one who technically owned the home you share, she was legally and culturally still part of her family, she could divorce you with relative ease, the kids are hers at least as much as yours, maybe more, she could inherit property, speak at the Thing, rule a kingdom, or fight for a lord. That last one didn't happen as much as recreationalist like to imagine, but it happened, and there is no evidence of any rules against it, or stigma upon it.

Druidic Celtic lands were similarly egalitarian-ish. Certainly moreso than late medieval society, or America circa 1800 AD.

those are both societies from which big standard DnD draws inspiration.

and even later on, a lot of the "rules" were not as strict as we often imagine. Most of them could be flouted by anyone with the right sort of panache. Look at Mademoiselle Maupin*, for the best example ever. She didn't care about the silly gender norms, so she ignored them openly, and did it with such charm and style that she was celebrated, rather than stigmatized. Surely PCs are at least as cool as she was, when she first set out into the world.

Not height of her Opera career, level, of course. I mean, not many PCs are so cool they can duel the jerk in the opera production, then sleep with him, then headline the 17th century France equivalent of Coachella.

But maybe they are, "take the holy orders because your girlfriend got stuck in a convent, set something on fire, Sneak your gf out of the convent, shack up with her for a while, then go sing insults at d-bags in taverns and duel the ones that get in your face about", cool. Maybe.

*https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julie_d'Aubigny
All that is true and honestly, I like those examples, a lot. Yes, historical times weren't as sexist as we'd think today, or not in the way we're thinking they were. Yes, women had a lot more rights than we generally think and the social structure wasn't as rigid.

However, those and other examples are still the oddities, the outliners, mostly because most of the sexism came from the biological differences which influenced the culture much more than today, since they were much more physical times. So yes, sexism wasn't nearly as bad as we'd think, but the situation wasn't nowhere in the vicinity what progressives today would think as ideal and honestly, the way they're sometimes speaking about it is bordering on deliberate history falsification, IMO (don't get me wrong, you didn't do this, your post was quite sensible!).

I also think that this kind of sexism makes a lot less sense in a world with abundant magic. I like Wheel of time for that, it had sexism, but a different kind. So, in a D&D world, we get magic and adventurers as a thing and both dampens the impact of sexism based on physiology, I think.

Also yes, catering to the audience, who might don't want to deal with real-world baggage in the fun game is a perfectly valid reason. However, wanting do do a more "historically accurate" game, maybe with a low-level setting, or just because the discussion it generates in-and-out game about those cultural norms and issues is interesting to the players and GM is valid too. Just don't do it, if it genuinely hurts anyone at the table, because that doesn't worth it, but, I mean, discussing those things before starting the campaign is among the most basic things, no?
 

doctorbadwolf

Explorer
Just don't do it, if it genuinely hurts anyone at the table, because that doesn't worth it, but, I mean, discussing those things before starting the campaign is among the most basic things, no?
Right. I can't fathom not having such a discussion before starting a game.
 

doctorbadwolf

Explorer
Then you would not have liked the communism thread.
I don't know, man. I really enjoy a pissing off the sort of people who are super scared of the dirty pinko commies. It's...kind of my animus.

I don't love communism discussions for the chance to wax philosophical about how great communism is.
Nah, I love commie threads because they're full of people who hate, but have very, very, very limited understanding of what communism actually even is.

It's...the best. I literally don't even know why, I just really like poking at jingoist McCarthy types. It's like candy with a crack center.
 

Caliban

Rules Monkey
Right. I can't fathom not having such a discussion before starting a game.
Oh, I can. Been there, done that. But usually because the DM and the players all come from a similar background (or are just that self involved) and the DM assumes everyone else in the group are going to want the same things they want out of the game and doesn't even think about discussing it.

Or because the DM says "I'm running this kind of game, otherwise I'm not DM'ing". This is more likely in a situation where there is a scarcity of willing DM's and you are willing to try anything just so you can play. Being a social outsider can make you willing to put up with a lot of stuff.
 

Gradine

Archivist
I don't know, man. I really enjoy a pissing off the sort of people who are super scared of the dirty pinko commies. It's...kind of my animus.

I don't love communism discussions for the chance to wax philosophical about how great communism is.
Nah, I love commie threads because they're full of people who hate, but have very, very, very limited understanding of what communism actually even is.

It's...the best. I literally don't even know why, I just really like poking at jingoist McCarthy types. It's like candy with a crack center.
I see! Then you would have definitely liked the communism thread!

It did not have an especially long shelf-life, however.
 

doctorbadwolf

Explorer
Oh, I can. Been there, done that. But usually because the DM and the players all come from a similar background (or are just that self involved) and the DM assumes everyone else in the group are going to want the same things they want out of the game and doesn't even think about discussing it.

Or because the DM says "I'm running this kind of game, otherwise I'm not DM'ing". This is more likely in a situation where there is a scarcity of willing DM's and you are willing to try anything just so you can play. Being a social outsider can make you willing to put up with a lot of stuff.
I don't miss those days. Luckily for me, they were brief, mostly Junior High School. By HS I had a diverse group of friends, and went to a school that didn't have the social cliques of teen movies.
 

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