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Author Topic: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games  (Read 42311 times)

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Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #75 on: July 08, 2011, 08:51:10 AM »
WoD not having levels or classes is a point in its favor, but compared to the DH engine, I'm less fond of how anything and everything can be had if you simply wait and bank enough XP. It encourages hoarding XP until you can afford that awesome top-end supernatural power you were saving for or expensive merit. While DH is constrained by careers/classes, its system of gaining levels based on XP spent encourages you to spend it, sometimes on things that aren't directly optimal or contributing towards your current skillset, because even 'wasted' XP is still pushing you incrementally towards the higher-level talents. In D&D, a 'wasted' level is gone forever, draining 5% or more of the power you'll ever earn in your existence, or in WoD, you've 'wasted' the fruits of a session or two.

So here's another topic that's sure to get folks' opinions going one way or the other.  Should a system based RPG implement bonuses and penalties based on a character's gender?  Example:  In older D&D editions, female characters were limited to a 17 Strength and thus could not achieve any of the 18 xx/100 levels.  The reasoning was that while woman are capable of being strong in real life, men are capable of greater physical strength maximums than women are.  A lot of female gamers didn't like this, though... calling it sexist.  I'm personally divided on the matter.  On the one hand, they should have given men a restriction as well to make things fair (perhaps men could only get a 17 Dexterity since women tend to be more agile?)... however, I do not consider the portrayal of the limitations of the female body to be "sexist".  That's probably not the right word.

Personally?  I have no issue with a female character having an 18, 20, even 22 Strength.  What I don't like is when said female character is portrayed as looking like a bikini model.  I wouldn't accept a male character with a Strength that high being skinny either, but I'm sure some people would call my particular point of view there "unfair" or even "sexist".  I go for a certain amount of... I won't say realism, but I will say "common sense".  There's only so far my belief will suspend itself in the name of "fantasy".  Things have to generally make sense to me.

Not sexist in the general sense that men are, on average stronger, but I would call it sexist to say that a woman, or man, could never achieve that level of strength/dexterity. Despite the flaws of the Alexandrian essay, it does highlight well that D&D adventurers are unrealistically exceptional individuals; by level 5 or 6, the average adventurer is equalling or smashing Olympic sports records - and that's only 25% of the way through a 'complete' career. PCs are defined, mechanically and socially, by being above-average, so there's no reason to constrain them physically to the limitations of average people any more than it would to prohibit female adventurers entirely based on the average social attitudes of the time.

The "Olympic weightlifter who looks like an underwear model" is an entirely different issue, though - that's a matter of personal taste. Some people like the 'Waif Fu" archetype...some might think overmuscled bodybuilders are hot.

Offline ofDelusions

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #76 on: July 08, 2011, 11:00:50 AM »
Strength maximum definately would not with DnD's style. After all, we are talking about a game where level 20 barbarian can survive a jump from top of mount everest and kill multiple Tarrasques in a charge using a shovel.  Modifiers to stats for gender? I'm okay with that by I find unneeded, as well bringing realism in to unrealistic high fantasy game.

On another topic, has anyone here tried Tome of Awesome version of DnD? My group transitioned to it last winter and I kinda like it. The classes are, well, awesome, even if all the fluff text is extremly tongue in cheek.
Generally the Tomes raises the powerlevel of all the not superoptimised characters a lot.

Offline MasterMischief

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #77 on: July 08, 2011, 05:05:43 PM »
I personally do not care for Characteristic Maximums.  Sure you can say that the average male is stronger than the average female, but we are not talking about averages here.  I would not even talk about 'adventurers' here.  When I play, I want to recreate cinema and literature.  I am talking about Heroes and Legends.  By definition, they are exceptions.

Offline Myrleena

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #78 on: July 08, 2011, 05:39:02 PM »
The few times I've considered using gender modifiers, I've always been of the opinion that one is better than the other at something.  As a pure example, say, males get a +1 Strength, and females gain a +1 Dexterity.  Just an example, of course.

But for the most part...no, I don't like them.  I am amused by Anima's method, which simply says that females are generally smaller than others, so if you wish, you can subtract one from your character's Size.  And that is...either a good or bad thing, depending on the situation.  A small enough character has advantages when hiding, but disadvantages when being grabbed.  So yeah, I prefer that method.

Offline LunarSageTopic starter

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #79 on: July 08, 2011, 06:25:55 PM »
Alright, what about gender bias in character?  Is it wrong to have NPCs react with amusement or even negatively when seeing a female PC in armor wielding a sword?  Do historical medieval attitudes regarding gender have any place in fantasy worlds?  There's precedence for such attitudes based on depictions of characters in fiction, such as novels or movies... yet every time such a thing comes up in a game that I've been in, one or more of the female players gets offended.  What is the likelihood that an entire world (even in fantasy) is going completely ignore gender roles and not have an ounce of prejudice towards a given gender?  I'll note that most of the female (and male) players that had a problem with in character gender bias against females had no problem at all with the gender bias against males in the Drow setting.  In fact, males' persecution in Drow society would get applauded by the players half the time.  I don't like double standards, so this never sat right with me.  I feel that if gender bias is ignored on one side, it should be ignored on all sides... and that's not a good idea in my opinion because where does it stop at that point?  Do you then remove every single negative aspect of society that may in some way offend someone from the game?  Pretty soon no one is racist anymore... no more class systems either (due to it being unfair to the poor)... extreme examples, for certain, but honestly, why is gender bias worse than racism or other unpleasant aspects of society?

I love to hear others' views on these kinds of things.

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #80 on: July 08, 2011, 06:32:21 PM »
Alright, what about gender bias in character?  Is it wrong to have NPCs react with amusement or even negatively when seeing a female PC in armor wielding a sword?  Do historical medieval attitudes regarding gender have any place in fantasy worlds?  There's precedence for such attitudes based on depictions of characters in fiction, such as novels or movies... yet every time such a thing comes up in a game that I've been in, one or more of the female players gets offended.  What is the likelihood that an entire world (even in fantasy) is going completely ignore gender roles and not have an ounce of prejudice towards a given gender?  I'll note that most of the female (and male) players that had a problem with in character gender bias against females had no problem at all with the gender bias against males in the Drow setting.  In fact, males' persecution in Drow society would get applauded by the players half the time.  I don't like double standards, so this never sat right with me.  I feel that if gender bias is ignored on one side, it should be ignored on all sides... and that's not a good idea in my opinion because where does it stop at that point?  Do you then remove every single negative aspect of society that may in some way offend someone from the game?  Pretty soon no one is racist anymore... no more class systems either (due to it being unfair to the poor)... extreme examples, for certain, but honestly, why is gender bias worse than racism or other unpleasant aspects of society?

I love to hear others' views on these kinds of things.

That really depends on your setting. I can see a cultural slant towards gender equality simply based on the fact that a man or a woman is equally likely to be capable of shoving a fireball down your throat if you upset them, just as easily as I can see it being considered 'unseemly' for women to go adventuring at all, or for women to adventure as martial classes instead of casting classes (which would, ironically, do massive things for women's rights due to how more powerful casters are than mundanes without the oversight of an all-knowing GM for balance). There's simply so many different variations, and as long as you're up-front with your players beforehand about attitudes towards gender in the world, they don't have any grounds to stand on when complaining.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2011, 06:34:01 PM by TheGlyphstone »

Offline Brandon

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #81 on: July 08, 2011, 08:36:22 PM »
Alright, what about gender bias in character?  Is it wrong to have NPCs react with amusement or even negatively when seeing a female PC in armor wielding a sword?  Do historical medieval attitudes regarding gender have any place in fantasy worlds?  There's precedence for such attitudes based on depictions of characters in fiction, such as novels or movies... yet every time such a thing comes up in a game that I've been in, one or more of the female players gets offended.  What is the likelihood that an entire world (even in fantasy) is going completely ignore gender roles and not have an ounce of prejudice towards a given gender?  I'll note that most of the female (and male) players that had a problem with in character gender bias against females had no problem at all with the gender bias against males in the Drow setting.  In fact, males' persecution in Drow society would get applauded by the players half the time.  I don't like double standards, so this never sat right with me.  I feel that if gender bias is ignored on one side, it should be ignored on all sides... and that's not a good idea in my opinion because where does it stop at that point?  Do you then remove every single negative aspect of society that may in some way offend someone from the game?  Pretty soon no one is racist anymore... no more class systems either (due to it being unfair to the poor)... extreme examples, for certain, but honestly, why is gender bias worse than racism or other unpleasant aspects of society?

I love to hear others' views on these kinds of things.

I think it depends on the setting more then anything. For me, I am an equal opportunity person. You can flip a coin to determine whether enemies, allies, or acquaintances are going to be male or female and occsionally when I feel like it I even put in Androgynous or hermaphrodite characters. IMO it helps keep the world fresh and interesting while also making the players feel like they arent held back by their or their characters gender. I think the best way you can do this is to not draw attention to it. Present the character as Korl the dragon slayer or Vors the diviner, then explain what they look like, how they carry themselves and youre done. The more you draw attention to a characters gender the more, for lack of a better word, gratuitous gender will feel in a game

I do run some societies as male or female centric, for example my dark elf societies are very matriarchal, but this makes sense in the context I play them as. Dark elves (I dont use the word drow anymore) are a matriarchal society because their goddess has shaped the society to be that way but in drow families there are always a few higher standing males too (I use the archetype women are all divine inspired while males fill the other roles of a house). The poor guys are just treated as high standing slaves. In these cases I do make gender out to be a big deal because it is

On the other side of the spectrum I make Devil culture very male centric. There just arent that many female devils out there so by design default female devils are lower ranked in the aristocracy. I would love to see some female models released for the various Devil types but thats just not how they are designed at this time

« Last Edit: July 08, 2011, 08:48:15 PM by Brandon »

Offline MasterMischief

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #82 on: July 08, 2011, 11:28:03 PM »
I have never really been interested in exploring gender roles in my Fantasy games.  In Historical games, sure.  There were female pirates in my pirate campaign, but they had to deal with the stereotypes and misogyny.   Most of the Fantasy worlds I used seemed to present males and females as equals and I was o.k. with that.  I had plenty of other issues to explore.

Offline NotoriusBEN

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #83 on: July 09, 2011, 01:19:34 AM »
I dont see the reason to dissuade players by limiting one gender or the other. Instead I see it as opportunities to exploit the gender.

I know it may seem cliche` but a woman who plays her cards right can and will find *some* mook she can talk her way past if nookie is mentioned, just as the male hero can swoon the femme fatale (though the latter is abused to no end, and should be thoroughly avoided by any respectable GM, or at least poison or taze the bastard for being so ballsy)

Related, is the Wheel of Time Universe. Females for the most part are the only acceptable practioners of magic. Without going into the 3000 year history, men go terribly insane from using magic, and nothing is scarier than a madman that can move mountains or immolate cities with a thought. In the game (3.0 related, but terribly implemented) male characters that wish to channel are allowed, but they have to live with the consequences of the madness mechanic.

Offline LunarSageTopic starter

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #84 on: July 09, 2011, 12:46:32 PM »
Alright, I can see people's views on the matter, but I'm curious about the other part I mentioned.  If gender disparity is a bad thing in a fantasy RPG world, why not go whole hog and get rid of every other unpleasant aspect of society, such as racism and war?  Why is war as an example considered ok to portray but discrimination against women in what is essentially a medieval society so wrong?  Is it because we're so afraid of offending someone that we have to portray fantasy society as a whole to be this super enlightened utopia that has absolutely no prejudices?

Heck, I remember in Advanced D&D if you played the Amazon class, you got bonuses to hit any male on the first attack because men tend to underestimate women warriors.

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #85 on: July 09, 2011, 01:14:51 PM »
Um....you didn't get a single response that said gender discrimination is universally bad. Who are you arguing against?

Offline LunarSageTopic starter

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #86 on: July 09, 2011, 02:08:16 PM »
Um....you didn't get a single response that said gender discrimination is universally bad. Who are you arguing against?

I got plenty of responses that said they wouldn't have it in their games.  People generally seem to have said that they would use it in historical games but not fantasy.  My question is why get rid of the one negative aspect (gender disparity against women) but leave other aspects (like war or gender disparity against men) in those games?

Offline MasterMischief

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #87 on: July 09, 2011, 02:17:38 PM »
I generally do not have child molestation, baby seal clubbings or drug addictions in my games either.  Why all the hate against child molestation?

The implication seems to be leaving out gender issues is...
1. Done intentionally
2. Hypocritical
3. Lazy

People have done terrible things to one another throughout history.  I did not get into role playing games to make sure I explored every single one of them.

Offline LunarSageTopic starter

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #88 on: July 09, 2011, 02:26:41 PM »
I generally do not have child molestation, baby seal clubbings or drug addictions in my games either.  Why all the hate against child molestation?

The implication seems to be leaving out gender issues is...
1. Done intentionally
2. Hypocritical
3. Lazy

People have done terrible things to one another throughout history.  I did not get into role playing games to make sure I explored every single one of them.

Alright fair enough, but what determines what's ok to portray in a game or not?  I consider murder or genocide to be a worse thing than gender discrimination, yet people will unhesitatingly put those things (murder and genocide) in the game while avoiding gender discrimination.  This is what puzzles me. 

Offline Myrleena

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #89 on: July 09, 2011, 02:28:00 PM »
In my games, the majority of people just don't care.  Then there are the chauvinistic individuals that do look down on the female gender being an adventurer.  Or vice versa, with females disapproving of males as adventurers, depending on the society.  Then we have the elves in my tabletop game.  The particular group had been isolated for centuries, but the last time they'd been in contact with humans, the humans had been wiping them out and taking them for slaves.  When they saw the half-elves in the group, they were horrified, and thought that they must be the children of rape victims.  It entirely depends.

Offline MasterMischief

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #90 on: July 09, 2011, 02:43:56 PM »
Alright fair enough, but what determines what's ok to portray in a game or not?  I consider murder or genocide to be a worse thing than gender discrimination, yet people will unhesitatingly put those things (murder and genocide) in the game while avoiding gender discrimination.  This is what puzzles me.

Mostly what the GM is interested in exploring, what everyone at the table is comfortable exploring and to a lesser extend, what the players are interesting in exploring.  Players can introduce characters that have very strong feelings on a particular issue and bring it to the forefront.

Rape was something I was uncomfortable with for a long time.  It was something I would specifically state I did not want to see in a game.  I am not so rigid now, but I think most people I have played with are not interested in exploring it still, so I simply do not bring it up.

For me, personally, part of the appeal of historical campaigns is realism.  Obviously, that is still a matter of level because I do not role play characters using the bathroom.  But in those campaigns, I do explore sexism, racism and religious intolerance because that is what makes those periods interesting for me.

Offline Brandon

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #91 on: July 09, 2011, 03:15:00 PM »
Alright, I can see people's views on the matter, but I'm curious about the other part I mentioned.  If gender disparity is a bad thing in a fantasy RPG world, why not go whole hog and get rid of every other unpleasant aspect of society, such as racism and war?  Why is war as an example considered ok to portray but discrimination against women in what is essentially a medieval society so wrong?  Is it because we're so afraid of offending someone that we have to portray fantasy society as a whole to be this super enlightened utopia that has absolutely no prejudices?

Heck, I remember in Advanced D&D if you played the Amazon class, you got bonuses to hit any male on the first attack because men tend to underestimate women warriors.

Well there is no racism per say in my games. A character can be a foreigner or an outsider but that has everything to do with societal belonging rather then racism. A person is either one of those because they arent part of a country or they arent part of a community, not because theyre a human, elf, etc

There are wars though, and I use bubbling tensions between countries and all out battle as plot points. Stories about adventureres stopping wars before they begin, being the mercenaries that change the tide of a battle, or even the diplomats that forge a peace or stop a conflict before it begins are all plots that can make the PCs feel like they really accomplished something.

I dont involve those other aspects because I dont want to and I see no plot potential in them. I guess I kind of think of it like this, if you make it a perfect world then what kinds of problems are there for the PCs to handle?
« Last Edit: July 09, 2011, 03:45:17 PM by Brandon »

Offline ofDelusions

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #92 on: July 09, 2011, 05:34:27 PM »
I would be fine if an npc badmouthed my char because she is a woman as long as the GM didn't intend for the said npc to have long life expectancy. And in many cases I think the women being able to kill people with tflick of wrist as easily as menfolk do tends to lessen the sexism somewhat. In gritty low magic world (praedor, Conan) or historical games I am absolutely fine with it. Really depends on what kind of feel you want for the setting. Funnily, two of the most crapsack worlds there are (40k and Exalted) tend not to have much sexim.


Offline LunarSageTopic starter

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #93 on: July 09, 2011, 06:09:58 PM »
I do not role play characters using the bathroom.

Interestingly enough, I have done this (RPed going to the bathroom in a Pathfinder game).  I didn't get into detail, but the DM (who is an avid fan of realism in RPGs) asked us all how we were wiping our asses and everyone but me looked at him dumbfounded.  I showed him on my character sheet that I had bought two yards of silk and had cut it into small squares for just such a use.

Offline ofDelusions

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #94 on: July 09, 2011, 06:21:28 PM »
Interestingly enough, I have done this (RPed going to the bathroom in a Pathfinder game).  I didn't get into detail, but the DM (who is an avid fan of realism in RPGs) asked us all how we were wiping our asses and everyone but me looked at him dumbfounded.  I showed him on my character sheet that I had bought two yards of silk and had cut it into small squares for just such a use.

Thats what you use prestidigitation(sp) for.

Offline LunarSageTopic starter

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #95 on: July 10, 2011, 09:33:09 AM »
Heh, I was playing a non caster.

Offline meikle

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #96 on: July 10, 2011, 09:51:32 AM »
Alright fair enough, but what determines what's ok to portray in a game or not?  I consider murder or genocide to be a worse thing than gender discrimination, yet people will unhesitatingly put those things (murder and genocide) in the game while avoiding gender discrimination.  This is what puzzles me.

You know why misogyny is a dumb thing to put into roleplaying games?

Because it alienates women.  Seriously.  If you want to explore the deep implications of sexism in your games, go for it.  If it's an assumed part of the setting, I will never play it, because I'm not interested in sitting down and having a fun evening of being mechanically penalized for playing a woman.

I'm pretty sure this very topic is explicitly why Exalted's Creation is a setting with no major homophobia, sexism, etc present (which isn't to say there isn't any, just that's it's isolated and often runs both ways); because saying "if you play a character that resembles your innate qualities, you'll be at a disadvantage" -- whether those qualities are gender, race, sexuality, or whatever -- is a good way to make people with those qualities not want to play your game.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2011, 10:01:30 AM by meikle »

Offline Black Howling

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Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #97 on: July 10, 2011, 10:51:04 AM »
You know why misogyny is a dumb thing to put into roleplaying games?

Because it alienates women.  Seriously.  If you want to explore the deep implications of sexism in your games, go for it.  If it's an assumed part of the setting, I will never play it, because I'm not interested in sitting down and having a fun evening of being mechanically penalized for playing a woman.

I'm pretty sure this very topic is explicitly why Exalted's Creation is a setting with no major homophobia, sexism, etc present (which isn't to say there isn't any, just that's it's isolated and often runs both ways); because saying "if you play a character that resembles your innate qualities, you'll be at a disadvantage" -- whether those qualities are gender, race, sexuality, or whatever -- is a good way to make people with those qualities not want to play your game.
Actually the south is largely male dominated if you read their setting information. I could name some other places as well that have that feel, like Halta's Matriarch; but my point is that creation isn't free of it. Most any setting has gender disparities because they make sense. It's totally up to the ST/GM if they are actually put in. I know many players, male and female, that like to deal with those sort of things. Rising where it is harder makes it more fun to adventure for them. Though I would frown on making such things mechanical, as any game places PC's above the normal par.

Offline meikle

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #98 on: July 10, 2011, 11:10:04 AM »
If your point is that Creation is not free of sexism, you're just repeating something I said myself.

Exalted does not show any mechanical disparity between genders, sexualities, etc; you are just likely to find a place that is male dominated (the West, thanks to the Sea Mothers or whatever they're called) as you are to find one that is female dominated (An-Teng, where 'your mom' is the one who makes all of the final decisions about your life if you're a man).

In any situation, Exalted is also a game that immediately puts PCs into a position where they are able to rewrite the mores of a society with which they disagree.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2011, 11:23:06 AM by meikle »

Offline Black Howling

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Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #99 on: July 10, 2011, 11:21:35 AM »
"Which isn't to say there isn't any"; the rightful ruler of the entire world is a woman.

"The south" does not have a single culture.  In fact, I'm not sure where 'largely male dominated' comes from, considering Chiaroscuro's leading deity is Grandmother Bright, An-Teng's culture favors women above men, etc

All of the PCs begin in a position to not give one fuck about what society thinks.  (Except maybe Dragonbloods, but the Realm is matriarchal and gay-friendly  beyond a utilitarian need to maek babby, etc)

etc, etc.
Sorry but the contradiction you had made was a little confusing. But as for my words on the south, read the book. :-) It says it pretty openly. I think that the first few paragraphs of the southern section explains it. Also, the west? It's just as full of prejudiced, Gender disparities and social stigma's as any other setting. I don't think I know one that isn't. Or one that doesn't have female dominated societies in certain areas. I know any drowic society in settings I see are female dominated. Don't know about Eberron, but it's how mine always come up. Also, the multitude of city states run by a female?

Hehe. It goes both ways.  And I don't think it ever balances itself out.