If there's one game where stat differences are justified, what game would that be?

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MGibster

Adventurer
Having difference in stats between genders among player characters just doesn't work for me. It limits options for those who wish to play a female character, I think it really displeases most women and girls who might want to participate in a game, and it doesn't really add anything to the game to begin with.

But I suppose there are exceptions to every rule. If someone wanted to play a Lady in Pendragon they're going to have stats that differ from that of a knight because the two have very different roles. However, there wouldn't be any difference in stats between a male and female knight.
 
You could slip in something of the kind in one of two ways that *might* not go over too badly:

1) Have SIZe and BuiLD stats chosen by the player, together they determine your characters weight, and put limits (min & max) on STRength and DEXterity. They're independent of the player's choice of assigned sex, but will probably result in gender-stereotype-conforming PCs.

2) Setting. If a culture has strong/restrictive gender roles then people conforming to them will strive to achieve ideals, leading to development in the desired directions. It's not that you couldn't build a PC amazon or dandy, just that they'll be consistently mistreated.
 

Yardiff

Explorer
You could slip in something of the kind in one of two ways that *might* not go over too badly:

1) Have SIZe and BuiLD stats chosen by the player, together they determine your characters weight, and put limits (min & max) on STRength and DEXterity. They're independent of the player's choice of assigned sex, but will probably result in gender-stereotype-conforming PCs.

2) Setting. If a culture has strong/restrictive gender roles then people conforming to them will strive to achieve ideals, leading to development in the desired directions. It's not that you couldn't build a PC amazon or dandy, just that they'll be consistently mistreated.

I was going to suggest something like your number 1. Also I'd attach some stat bonuses to classes, so a couple points from SIZE and BUILD and one or two from class.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
It's just a game after all, right?
It's just a game.

It's just a movie. It's just a book. It's just a joke. It doesn't matter if I meant it as a *joke* right?

It is "just" a thing, until that thing harms someone. Until that thing imposes limits for no good reason. Until that thing gets repeated enough that we let the sense of the fiction bleed into reality. Our stories don't take place in a vacuum. They take place within a cultural context, a social context. Our stories say things about the story-tellers. Our games say things about the players.

What do you (the reader, not acpitz specifically) want your game, your stories, to say about you?

If anyone here wants to do such a thing at their table, well it is their table. But, if you *really* want to claim it doesn't matter, then flip it - make it so *women* have the strength, and the men are weaker.
 
. But, if you *really* want to claim it doesn't matter, then flip it - make it so *women* have the strength, and the men are weaker.
One set in the alternate universe of Je ne suis pas un homme facile, for instance. Or, for us older fellas who may not have netflix, any of those 70s battle of the sexes spoofs, like Queen Kong or Star Maidens.
 

Celebrim

Legend
If anyone here wants to do such a thing at their table, well it is their table. But, if you *really* want to claim it doesn't matter, then flip it - make it so *women* have the strength, and the men are weaker.
Seems like a reasonable thing to do for a science fiction novel. You could then speculate on the conditions that caused this state of being to come about, presumably paralleling the conditions that make say females the larger stronger of the sexes in eagles and spiders.

I doubt anyone is going to feel threatened by that speculation.
 
I

Immortal Sun

Guest
Seems like a reasonable thing to do for a science fiction novel. You could then speculate on the conditions that caused this state of being to come about, presumably paralleling the conditions that make say females the larger stronger of the sexes in eagles and spiders.

I doubt anyone is going to feel threatened by that speculation.
Why would we need to speculate about it in the fiction? Because it's different than normal? It's sci-fi/fantasy. It is because it is. Unless the reversed-sexual-dynamic is the underpinning element of the setting, it doesn't need to be "explained" any more than why the world has dragons or magic.
 

Celebrim

Legend
Why would we need to speculate about it in the fiction? Because it's different than normal? It's sci-fi/fantasy. It is because it is. Unless the reversed-sexual-dynamic is the underpinning element of the setting, it doesn't need to be "explained" any more than why the world has dragons or magic.
First, because science fiction and fantasy are different.

And secondly, because even in fantasy, it helps to have an explanation for why the world has dragons or magic. In fantasy however, that explanation is allowed to be (but does not have to be) mythic as opposed to scientific. For example, we can in fact answer the question, "Why are their dragons?" with respect to Tolkien's Middle Earth.
 
I

Immortal Sun

Guest
First, because science fiction and fantasy are different.

And secondly, because even in fantasy, it helps to have an explanation for why the world has dragons or magic. In fantasy however, that explanation is allowed to be (but does not have to be) mythic as opposed to scientific. For example, we can in fact answer the question, "Why are their dragons?" with respect to Tolkien's Middle Earth.
I'm...hard pressed to apply that to any fantasy I can think of without "splat" support books. Like, LOTR and The Hobbit don't explain why there are dragons. Dragonheart doesn't explain why there are dragons, or magic.

Star Trek doesn't really explain warp cores. Dilithim-something-something-sci-fi-sounding. Especially TOS, which is more "cowboys in space" than hard sci-fi. Andromeda doesn't explain why we have AI, other than "someone invented it" and "it's complicated".

A great deal of the primary elements of sci-fi and fantasy are really glossed over, and really only expanded upon in supplementary splat material for the really hardcore nerds.

Cutting to the chase, the issue I'm having is that "explaining what led to women being the strong sex and men the not-strong sex" sounds an awful lot like when people complain about the inclusion of a minority character or a non-traditional lead character and demand it needs "support" or "explaining". Why can't it just be​?
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
The point isn't to moralize or repress someone's real-life gender identity. The point is that in this world, and in particular my take on it, "men come from Mars, women come from Venus". That doesn't mean I think all real-life men comes from Mars or that real-life women can't come from Mars (if you excuse my mixed metaphors). It means I'm basing the game on a stereotype that I think adds value and sets the game apart. Not every game needs to be politically correct or cater to modern-day sensibilities. In fact, I play fantasy as escapism, including escaping modern-day sensibilities. One such is "don't slaughter your neighbors and loot their gold". Another is "female players have every right to envision their gender being just as strong and big as the male gender". Furthermore I'm not saying you can't play a hulking woman in your game, you absolutely can. I was asking if there was a game where you would consider gender stereotypes and if so, what game. Then I went ahead and started the answering by giving my own answer. Before you get offended you will have to consider the fact I have zero intent to offend. I don't consider the fictional restriction of gender roles something that inherently constitutes a personal offense, so don't treat it as one.

Now then, I see the indirect path being brought up. Yes, it would totally work to first ask the player to envision the hero's size and build, and then only allow maximum strength to those who hulk out both. The exact configuration of what hides underneath the loincloth is after all of secondary importance. Thank you for the suggestion.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
To keep using 5E as our example game:

Rate your "size" and "build" on a scale from 0-5. Zero means "average", "slim" or any similar adjective. Five means "massive", "brutish", or "hugely muscular".

You can choose any value you want freely, just as long as you like the resulting imagery of your character.

Then generate your character normally, except that your starting Strength and Constitution ability modifiers are maximized by the lowest of your two ratings.

This way, this particular game is set apart from your regular game in that you can't start out as a waifish slender ninja type character with 20 Str and 20 Con.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I doubt anyone is going to feel threatened by that speculation.
Oh, they won't say it feels threatening here. This is a put your money where your mouth is, rhetorical question of self-exploration thing.

To see whether folks are actually threatened, you have to *do* it, not just talk about it. And you have to lay all the implicit social baggage that comes with the stereotypes into the game as well.

And yes, not everybody will feel uncomfortable. But some will. And some will notice the sheer amount of baggage they have to flip around for it, and perhaps learn something form that.
 
I

Immortal Sun

Guest
The point isn't to moralize or repress someone's real-life gender identity. The point is that in this world, and in particular my take on it, "men come from Mars, women come from Venus". That doesn't mean I think all real-life men comes from Mars or that real-life women can't come from Mars (if you excuse my mixed metaphors).
But the point of the trope "men come from mars..." is to suggest exactly that, that all men and all women are inherently different by no other virtue than being men or being women. But I'm confused, you find this term applicable IRL, but then a moment later you say it's not 100% applicable? Then why apply it to begin with?

If we're creating an RPG and our first assumption is to say "All orcs are born evil."
And then our second assumption is to say "But player character orcs can be the exception."
Then our first assumption is false, and need not be included.

It means I'm basing the game on a stereotype that I think adds value and sets the game apart.
The real cringe starts here, and it gets worse as you keep typing. However, I want to ask: "what value?" Not in a rhetorical "what value!?" to imply that there is no value, but in that I understand it adds personal value to you, but I'm unclear as to what value this is bringing to the campaign or Brand New Game you're envirioning?

Can you perhaps explain what value you feel is added? Maybe a couple points? Lets say, 3 items of value it adds.

Not every game needs to be politically correct or cater to modern-day sensibilities.
I am actually cringing right now. These are the sorts of lines that almost always precede people saying or doing some really terrible stuff.

In fact, I play fantasy as escapism, including escaping modern-day sensibilities.
Yeah, not helping the case here.

One such is "don't slaughter your neighbors and loot their gold".
You know, I get this might be tongue-in-cheek, but I've never actually done this in a game, or thought this IRL.

Another is "female players have every right to envision their gender being just as strong and big as the male gender".
Yeah look I hate to cut your post up and I'm gonna stop right here.

If your goal is just to make an anti-PC TTRPG, I mean, own up to that. People might think less of you for your ignoble goals but that's the price you pay for publicizing your views. Because honestly at this point I'm questioning the purpose of this game.

You haven't framed it in the context of "I want to make a hyper-realistic Hyborean-Age TTRPG." or "I want to make a dystopian sci-fi RPG where all the men are super-soldiers and the women super-babes." But you've framed it in the context of wanting to make a game where "men are from mars" because you think that's how "things are IRL" and want to escape from political-correctness and the oppressive rule of law. Which frankly sounds like nothing more than a puerile male power fantasy. But hey, if that's your goal, just say so. If I am misreading you, well I'm sorry but that's really how it reads. Maybe you meant something else in your head, I know it happens when we're trying to explain something we know to others.

But at this point I'm calling a duck a duck.
 

Nagol

Unimportant
But the point of the trope "men come from mars..." is to suggest exactly that, that all men and all women are inherently different by no other virtue than being men or being women. But I'm confused, you find this term applicable IRL, but then a moment later you say it's not 100% applicable? Then why apply it to begin with?

If we're creating an RPG and our first assumption is to say "All orcs are born evil."
And then our second assumption is to say "But player character orcs can be the exception."
Then our first assumption is false, and need not be included.
Sure it does! The two premises taken together aren't mutually exclusive. The first informs the players that they need not concern themselves with the slaughter of orcs -- even non-combatants. Game play is not expected to pursue those moral underpinnings. The second says player choice is not restricted by the first decision.

The real cringe starts here, and it gets worse as you keep typing. However, I want to ask: "what value?" Not in a rhetorical "what value!?" to imply that there is no value, but in that I understand it adds personal value to you, but I'm unclear as to what value this is bringing to the campaign or Brand New Game you're envirioning?

Can you perhaps explain what value you feel is added? Maybe a couple points? Lets say, 3 items of value it adds.
The value I see is those atmospheres, themes, and pursuits that set this campaign apart from other campaigns. Enforcing any constraint offers value in that it allows the players to examine the impact it places on the game world / consequence of action through gameplay. Additionally, such constraints modify expected benefit / risk ratios for player choice and make different choices more or less optimal compared to default play which force players to reexamine strategic and tactical choices for games they've already 'solved'.

I am actually cringing right now. These are the sorts of lines that almost always precede people saying or doing some really terrible stuff.


Yeah, not helping the case here.


You know, I get this might be tongue-in-cheek, but I've never actually done this in a game, or thought this IRL.
Really? D&D is full of it. It obfuscates is somewhat by having the neighbours look different and labeled evil. Often, it even has the neighbours attack someone else first. But those sentient orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, kobolds, lizardmen, dragons, etc. are the PC's neighbours. And the PCs go forth to kill and take their stuff.

A lot of my fantasy games have non PC elements (though I run a PG-13 game). Bad things happen to people including non-combatants and kids. Slavery of various flavours will often exist. Patriarchies, matriarchies, class-based societies, and tyrannies are more likely to be encountered than enlightened benevolent monarchies or democracies. Secret police, scapegoating, violent secret societies, insular xenophobes, all occur in different campaign territories with different impact and different levels of societal acceptance..


Yeah look I hate to cut your post up and I'm gonna stop right here.

If your goal is just to make an anti-PC TTRPG, I mean, own up to that. People might think less of you for your ignoble goals but that's the price you pay for publicizing your views. Because honestly at this point I'm questioning the purpose of this game.

You haven't framed it in the context of "I want to make a hyper-realistic Hyborean-Age TTRPG." or "I want to make a dystopian sci-fi RPG where all the men are super-soldiers and the women super-babes." But you've framed it in the context of wanting to make a game where "men are from mars" because you think that's how "things are IRL" and want to escape from political-correctness and the oppressive rule of law. Which frankly sounds like nothing more than a puerile male power fantasy. But hey, if that's your goal, just say so. If I am misreading you, well I'm sorry but that's really how it reads. Maybe you meant something else in your head, I know it happens when we're trying to explain something we know to others.

But at this point I'm calling a duck a duck.
From my perspective, you are reading way too much into the post you are responding to. And if I were to run a game where men are from Mars and women are from Venus then obviously, the women are stronger. The Martian surface gravity is so much less than Venusian that would make it a no-brainer...
 
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Celebrim

Legend
Oh, they won't say it feels threatening here. This is a put your money where your mouth is, rhetorical question of self-exploration thing.
LeGuin's "Left Hand of Darkness"? Brin's "Glory Season"? I'm struggling to understand just what you are going here or what you think will happen. I'm hesitant to project or imagine how anyone - much less a hypothetical someone - would react to something else, and I wonder equally whether this discussion of the "sheer amount of baggage" itself smacks of denigrating stereotyping.
 

Gradine

Archivist
Now’s a good time to remind everyone that there are more genders than “male” and “female”, and that any system that explicitly codifies rules for only those two is necessarily going to be exclusionary.
 

acpitz 1

Villager
It's just a game.

It's just a movie. It's just a book. It's just a joke. It doesn't matter if I meant it as a *joke* right?

It is "just" a thing, until that thing harms someone. Until that thing imposes limits for no good reason. Until that thing gets repeated enough that we let the sense of the fiction bleed into reality. Our stories don't take place in a vacuum. They take place within a cultural context, a social context. Our stories say things about the story-tellers. Our games say things about the players.

What do you (the reader, not acpitz specifically) want your game, your stories, to say about you?
As you say, "Our games say things about the players."

If players are not grown-ups and cannot make the difference between fantasy and reality, then yes, you should not explore any mentally challenging areas that might need some control of ones emotions and such. Then it's better to play teletubbies RPG or something other laalaa-land.

Then again if your group is adults that can handle the difference between fantasy and reality, then yes, it's just a game that can provoke some thinking and sometimes even open up new perspectives.

If anyone here wants to do such a thing at their table, well it is their table. But, if you *really* want to claim it doesn't matter, then flip it - make it so *women* have the strength, and the men are weaker.
Yes. In fantasy settings you can do what ever you want. If you want to make women stronger than men, then by all means do so and play the game with in that framework. Nothing prevents to do so.
 

S'mon

Legend
It does not make much sense to have stat mods by sex in Conan - it would disadvantage playing Belit Valeria or Red Sonja type PCs.
OGL Conan used stat mods by race. It worked ok but as a part-Celt I resent Cimmerians receiving an INT penalty! :)
 
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