Re: female characters & Blood Over Gold

From: Alison Place <alison_place_at_sZDCEzjwmxc0w34rCxUVHz_0t3LIjS_JRB9eI6pDyZ9qXogMt6epyfgIV24WEvg>
Date: Sat, 26 Jul 2008 10:34:49 -0700 (PDT)

     Thanks for the info on 'Blood over Gold', Bryan. So, the sons are the default heirs, while the daughter is alliance/rule-through-marriage material in most people's minds. Why was making the daughter a non-traditional choice necessary? Why are they Trader PRINCES? Intrigue, bargaining ability and cleverness are certainly not restricted to males. Why isn't the daughter interestingly flawed like her brothers, and therefore just another potential choice with drawbacks?

     Mind you, I am intrigued, and should ask Fandom II if they have it. Once again, our old campaign has hit the snag of having done most of what we could do in one location with the current group. Too many contacts, too many friends, options of interesting, and gameable conflict more and more difficult to think up. Wenelia might do well as our next setting.

     How one defines heroic during societal breakdown is an interesting question. Is it heroic to hold tight to the old ways, even if you'll die, or is it stupid? Do you stay on your inherited lands, or move wherever you need to? Who will rise to the mark in exceptional circumstances? Phrased that way, the gaming options open for female characters expand. With the exception of the recent series on the Dragonrise, however, I can't think of a published campaign talking about societal catastrophes. Griffin Mountain, Borderlands, Sun County, Zola Fel River Voices (all of which I've played), and now Blood over Gold - they are all about people working in existing societies. I won't argue that there's some flux, but the cultures as a whole aren't being turned upside down.

     I think that this is the campaign type with which most people are most comfortable. We are used to a safely defined background, with some foreign elements of conflict and difference included, e.g. Prax or Balazar with Lunars. It takes less work to remember, and requires less work to keep going. When the women in these societies are homey types, there's fewer places for traditional women to have a good, ongoing PC role in a campaign. So, we game the non-traditional ones, the ones who join Humakt, Storm Bull, Vinga, Yelorna, Babeester Gor, etc. They're still good characters, but they're not representative of the majority of their female relatives.

     I realise that there's the counterargument that many of the males, aren't, either. Yet, they're more in line with the norms, as we've defined them. The young guys may well grow up, marry, give up on these stupid adventures and be retired - it's happened in our campaigns, and I've heard it happens in others.

     I think it's safe to conclude that this is likely to be a topic that's resurrected (like mysticism ;-) ) for years to come.


> A little more effort to design interesting roles for female characters, though, would be encouraging. Preferably not just as exceptions to the rule, e.g. Light Lady Vega of Sun Dome County in Prax. For instance, 'Blood over Gold' has been released lately, and received very good reviews. The review that I read implies that the sons of House Caroman are the potential heirs. Are there any women in commanding roles? Would female PCs be effective in this campaign?

     I can probably answer this reasonably well. First of all, female characters should do just fine. The adventures are pretty open in how you deal with them--very deliberately. How you solve things will affect the House, so it was a design intent on Jeff's part to allow various ways to solve things.  

     Note that the Trader Princes didn't win their position by military might, but by negotiation and cleverness. House Caroman has its military arm, but the default mode of the campaign is that the characters are hired as a group of trouble shooters to deal with situations for which the existing branches of the house are not well suited. Hence, it is not about crushing the chaos creatures or the like.  

     Finally, I don't think I'm giving too much away if I say that the Prince has three children, two sons who are for different reasons not entirely desirable as heirs, and a daughter who probably would be, if the Trader Prince tradition allowed females to rule a house. Blood Over Gold does not say who succeeds, it leaves it open to be decided in game. And there is no obvious right answer. Deal with one son, make a figure head out of one son, buck tradition and make people accept the daughter, somehow keep the old prince alive, stage a coup and take over themselves, help someone else stage a coup, marry one of the children and rule through them, sell the place out to the highest bidder, just sit back and wait for things to work themselves out, take the place over in the name of some other power altogether.....its pretty wide open. At least by my interpretation of it.  


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