Re: "Don't mention the gyrda!"

From: donald_at_GFE0k29WduqNqJeFv4KGPKvQOvP51CFrWYZROEC_i1oT-GkaEUPQV9fulr7X1JJL2BHLH
Date: Thu, 24 Jul 2008 18:29:21 GMT

In message <> Alison Place writes:
>Hello, Donald,
>Different but equal the Orlanthi might be, but it is built into the
>nature of the Orlanthi (and especially Uz) societies that males are
>more expendable than females, and therefore get to do more exciting
>(and therefore gameable) stuff. Young guys going off on raiding
>expeditions, for instance, is built into the Heortling mindset, just
>as learning healing, spinning, weaving and how to tend the fire is
>built into it for women. Which one would you find more exciting?
>Which would you tell stories about?

Either/both. Cattle raids get pretty boring after a while.

>Yes, what the women do is essential for keeping everyone fed and
>clothed, but it's not the stuff of sagas. Just as getting out there
>and ploughing the fields, or finding lost sheep at night in the rain,
>is just as important for the men to do, but not set into heroic songs.
>The grinding tedium of everyday life is just not particularly exciting,
>to us or to them.

We have a world where magic is an essential part of life. The grain priestess and the plough priest must work together to perform the rituals that feed the people. What if there are problems? Maybe enemies disrupt the routine of the annual HQ. The traditional gaming resposne is to send a bunch of warriors to beat up those enemies and then round it off by saying that the farmers can then get their job done. If however you write the story round what the ploughman and the grain priestess have to do the warriors become just followers and protectors.

There's a scenario idea Jane Williams and I have been kicking around where the players are Kallyr and four different grain priestesses. All with different ideas about how to hit the Lunars in Tarsh by reversing Hon-Eel's HQ to introduce maize.

Also the story I posted to the Glorantha Digest just before it closed exploring how thralls fit in Heortling society. I'll see if I can find it in the archives assuming they are still up and post a link. That written from a female viewpoint and concentrates on the matters that are important to her.

Then there was the character I created because someone claimed many of the ILH2 cults were useless for gaming. She is an ordinate and preceptor of Felkenna (the faultless wife). She's going to Pavis to join her husband in the Lunar army. Her objective is to start a family but her goddess has sent her to convert/liberate Yelmalion women. She's Dara Happen so dresses similarly to the Yelmalions but normally without a veil. So she's asked why and her immediate reply is "The Goddess has freed us from that nonsense". I probably should add tactless as a personality trait. Then there's what effect the appearance of a preceptor (A priestess in RQ terms) with a specific goddess given agenda is going to do to the 7M temple hierarchy. Pity that game never got past the initial session. She has no combat abilities at all though I can imagine her finding a need for some suitable charms before too long.

So it's not that women's activities are boring but a false assumption that women cannot do anything interesting unless they act like men. Given that there are half a dozen soap operas on TV several times a week which concentrate on women's stories there have to be enough stories for a few RPG sessions.

>Now, the Esrolians should be different. They, I am sure, consciously
>extol the heroism and wisdom of their female leaders, just to remind
>the men why it's such a good idea for women to lead them. A tradition
>of female officers should also give lots of opportunities for tactical
>and strategic brilliance, and for personal heroism.
>It's generally assumed that women, as a whole, don't prefer hack-and-slash.
>My gamers really do enjoy planning, discussing political or social
>consequences of actions, etc. (two of our six are female). Mind you,
>every one of my PCs has also been at least halfway competent at some
>sort of combat, either physical, or spiritual (a shaman). So far, I
>suspect that most of the women who play are like me - happy when
>necessary to inflict heavy damage with a flail, and crow over a critical
>hit to the head. It's just that doing that as a first resort is boring.

I was really talking about gaming as a whole rather than just tabletop RPG. At one extreme are the miniatures wargamers who are still almost all male while at the other are the combat light larp groups which are nearly in balance.

>By the way, good for you for playing female characters. None of the
>group with whom I've played ever have. Maybe I should suggest it, for
>whatever we do next. I'm not sure how they'd react to the suggestion,
>but now, I'm curious.

I think there may be a bit of not wanting to be the first male in a group to play a female character. So I'd suggest everyone plays the opposite gender in a particular game.

>You mention the teenage male market. The teenage years are still a
>prime time for recruitment. How can gaming companies spread the word
>that their products are a fun way for girls to spend time, too?

The interaction between gaming company marketing and girls is both dire and flops badly. Think a 'My Little Pony' collectable card game. Well it wasn't licenced as such but that's basically what it was and that's not the worst idea I've seen.

>That's when
>I started, because my friends (science fiction fans, all of them) were
>also wanting to try gaming. I don't know. Yet, many of the premier
>fantasy authors and many of the buyers are women, which should imply
>that young women should also enjoy the right kind of RPG scenarios.

I suspect that it is still a minority of girls who would be interested.

Donald Oddy


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