praguepride
 member, 1581 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Tue 24 Mar 2020
at 23:47
Is it weird to ask for specific gendered characters?
I ran a game and got very used to a pretty even mix of guys and gals in the player's cast. It gave me a lot to work with where I could use a full range of NPCs as rivals and romantic interests.

I had to shut the game down due to IRL but now that I've spun it up again it is all cis male PCs. I'm fine with that but there are plot lines I want to run with male NPCs that just don't really apply anymore and I kind of want to open up an Wanted-Player ad to specify that I'd prefer a female character or at least a non-cis white male but I'm curious to hear what others on the board would think about a request like that.

In my mind it's no different than a D&D game saying "hey, please no more fighters" but I kind of want to open up a discussion about whether it is appropriate to treat sexuality and gender like classes and races in an RPG setting.
SunRuanEr
 subscriber, 226 posts
Tue 24 Mar 2020
at 23:58
Is it weird to ask for specific gendered characters?
You know, some friends and I had the same discussion, recently because we needed to 'even-up' the gender balance in a game so that it was a better reflection of the society it was set in... and the best conclusion we could come up with was "Maybe it's okay, but maybe it isn't."

On the one hand, if you just go 'Wanted, female characters' it's probably going to turn a lot of people off from the game (even if they would have applied with a female character anyway). On the other hand, if you don't specify you run the risk of everyone submitting a male character for certain types of games (even people who would probably be fine playing a female one, because they think male is more likely to get int).

If you're going to specify what you're looking for, I think you absolutely have to be clear and upfront about why you're looking for a specific gender/race/whatever so that it doesn't just come off like... I dunno, some sort of GM dating ad. In the end, we wound up not specifying on our ad, and just hoping that we got lucky, because we figured that the potential backlash from asking just for female characters just wasn't something we wanted to risk.

Alternatively, if it's one of those game systems that are inundated with RTJs, you can always just mentally give preference to the ones that present the characters of the type that you want... but that cycles back to potentially missing out on great players that might have initially pitched one concept, but would have been willing to play a different one, too. Unfortunately, I think you're just kind of darned if you do, darned if you don't.
tmagann
 member, 620 posts
Wed 25 Mar 2020
at 00:00
Is it weird to ask for specific gendered characters?
In reply to praguepride (msg # 1):

You're the DM, you can make any requirements you want. But make sure you're clear up front. Players don't need to apply if they don't like the options, and it's better to be clear up front than have folks drop out later.

Personally, I think it's skirting the edge. Especially if it's concerning sexuality...and might be better with an Adult tag in that case.

This message was last edited by the user at 00:00, Wed 25 Mar.

donsr
 member, 1884 posts
Wed 25 Mar 2020
at 00:02
Is it weird to ask for specific gendered characters?
i have  found an Ebb and flow in that way. My games have a good  mix of   strong male and Female NPCs...and thus, have the mix of   Female and MAle PCs.

 they last year or so , of the players who 'stuck ' and become   regulars, i have had  more Female characters   then male..before that.. it was more   male characters.

 i also  had some folks want to play was weird , off the wall alien..and..no...so they never  reply after  my  'interview ' of the RTJ.

 Bottom line?  let folks play what they  want to play, as long  as it doesn't  effect the flavor  ot tone of your  game.
evileeyore
 member, 303 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Wed 25 Mar 2020
at 00:04
Is it weird to ask for specific gendered characters?
It's fine.  But be up front about why you want those specific genders, ethnicities, cultures, etc.
KingHenryBlack
 member, 36 posts
Wed 25 Mar 2020
at 00:39
Is it weird to ask for specific gendered characters?
   Speaking for myself, I've played both male and female characters (in a handful of multiple ethnicities) in my time as a player, never really expressed a desire to stick to any one particular way of playing. My thing is usually the concept of character, and then plugging in the rest later on.

   As long as the GM/DM is up-front about what they are looking for, I'm willing to play along. (Sometimes, I consider it a challenge to try something different, to expose myself to a different mindset or another culture)

   Yeah, just be real about what you're looking for, and if people are interested ... they'll show up and make characters. :)
Dream Sequence
 member, 55 posts
 Certainly the loveliest,
 most civilized of us all
Wed 25 Mar 2020
at 01:18
Re: Is it weird to ask for specific gendered characters?
evileeyore:
It's fine.  But be up front about why you want those specific genders, ethnicities, cultures, etc.

Very this.  If you're looking for a certain type of character because it's important to your story to have that type represented for whatever reason, be honest about that.  If you're looking for a certain type of character because it makes your particular kinks stand up and take notice, be honest about that too.  Either is okay, as long as you're not trying to deceive anyone, and they can make an informed decision about whether they'd be a good fit for what you're looking for.  Be forthright about your intentions and you'll be perfectly fine, I think.
Sithraider
 member, 187 posts
 Momento Mori
Wed 25 Mar 2020
at 07:38
Re: Is it weird to ask for specific gendered characters?
I agree with evileeyore and Dream Sequence. Ask but be up front.

My personal take on the thing is that I don't really care about most stories if there isn't a romance/love story in there somewhere. It's like, the second biggest drive behind mating for humans. I'm straight and cis male but I've played characters and written for NPCs on all sides of the spectrum and from G - Adult. I've learned more about myself in this medium than I ever could IRL.

So, to be redundant, don't be creepy and ask for what you are looking for. I don't even worry about whether or not the players gender matched the characters, or their sexuality. I just pick the characters that meet my story needs, or ones that I find overwhelmingly interesting.

~cheers
tibiotarsus
 member, 134 posts
 Hopepunk with a shovel
Wed 25 Mar 2020
at 12:04
Re: Is it weird to ask for specific gendered characters?
In reply to Sithraider (msg # 8):

Asexuals are humans, buddy. Lots of kinds of love aren't romantic and would make snappy stories - fraternal, maternal, love of country, love of ideals, true deep agape for friends as seen in Lord of the Rings.

Anyway, my take on this is firstly, why not do these plots with male PCs? You'll get a fresher take less likely to carry any unseen cultural/personal prejudices with it. Magical pregnancy? Very obviously Not Okay. A spy whose job is to seduce the enemy and become a sleeper agent, basically submissive to said warlord - or being a high-class prostitute - until called upon? Put a guy into that situation, see how he deals with having to magic or poison himself infertile, all the Japanese mushroomy stuff coded into "female" adventurer tropes. You'll probably get more interesting and realistic things about gender and sexuality out of a tale if you're not mushing people into gendered roles.

Secondly, echoing the "be up front" about the why and don't expect much uptake from any serious/good RPers if the slot appears to be on the lines of "bikini babe, to be objectified and dismembered" or "character the GM can get off to" (eesh). Advertise for something specific and intriguing like "party grandma", "trans wizard to do amazing and terrifying new things with a weirdly gendered magic system traditionally linked to cis body movements" or "heavily pregnant stealth specialist".

Also, if you already have enough fighters or humans or white men in your game, I think it's fine to state that. Got enough. Different stories wanted. Again, be specific ("female guard from Wakanda-like country wanted") and vet applications carefully. I've been badly burned by guys wanting to crossplay and specifically bringing in female themes only to then Wheel of Time it and play A Cishet Guy's Ideas About Women, Right Here rather than people who happen to be female and as such have to navigate a system often stacked against them (I mostly use historical/Earth settings). A fantasy realm has a lot more liberty, something that's not used enough.

Lastly...try and watch your NPC list - if it has the Hollywood Gender Ratio (2/3 male), then that's discouraging to look at should someone be looking for a place where their lady ____ will be dealt with fairly.
SunRuanEr
 subscriber, 227 posts
Wed 25 Mar 2020
at 15:16
Re: Is it weird to ask for specific gendered characters?
tibiotarsus:
Lastly...try and watch your NPC list - if it has the Hollywood Gender Ratio (2/3 male), then that's discouraging to look at should someone be looking for a place where their lady ____ will be dealt with fairly.

There's a part of me that completely agrees with this, and the other part of me gasps and goes 'People actually look at NPC lists?'

I mean, I agree that people should, and that GMs should treat their NPC list as a continuation of their ad, a representation of the sorts of characters they write. Personally, the cast list is the very first thing I look at when thinking about applying to a game... but at the same time, in practice, it feels like nobody else ever seems to look at cast lists when they apply. If I had a quarter for every time a character had been pitched with a first name already in use/very similar to one already in use, or had selected a portrait already being used... well, I could at least buy lunch today!
Sithraider
 member, 189 posts
 Momento Mori
Wed 25 Mar 2020
at 15:50
Re: Is it weird to ask for specific gendered characters?
tibiotarsus:
In reply to Sithraider (msg # 8):

Asexuals are humans, buddy. Lots of kinds of love aren't romantic and would make snappy stories - fraternal, maternal, love of country, love of ideals, true deep agape for friends as seen in Lord of the Rings.


I apologize, really, I wasn't trying to imply romance are the only kinds of love. Only that to me those are the best stories. And who could argue that Sam isn't one of the best and most loving character of the genre? My favorite scene in my RpoL experiences was one of sisterly love and self sacrifice.

And I hadn't even thought about my NPC list being to gender/ethnically narrow. Crud, thanks for that bit of wisdom.
Lord Caladin
 member, 381 posts
 It all about the journey
Wed 25 Mar 2020
at 18:15
Re: Is it weird to ask for specific gendered characters?
not weird, ....
Zag24
 supporter, 604 posts
Wed 25 Mar 2020
at 19:21
Re: Is it weird to ask for specific gendered characters?
I am about as PC as an old, straight, white guy can be.  I would find it somewhat objectionable if it were the headline of your Player's Wanted ad, but I find it perfectly reasonable for you to say something like, "I have a plot line in which a male NPC becomes a romantic interest of this new player character, so, please, only submit characters who would have such a romantic interest -- either straight female identity or gay male identity."
Gaffer
 member, 1608 posts
 Ocoee FL
 45 yrs of RPGs
Wed 25 Mar 2020
at 20:18
Re: Is it weird to ask for specific gendered characters?
I sometimes specify character gender in my Wanted-Players posts, the same as I do occupation, class, or nationality. I would never suspect any ulterior motive in such requests.
tibiotarsus
 member, 135 posts
 Hopepunk with a shovel
Thu 26 Mar 2020
at 09:36
Re: Is it weird to ask for specific gendered characters?
Sithraider:
I apologize, really, I wasn't trying to imply romance are the only kinds of love. Only that to me those are the best stories. And who could argue that Sam isn't one of the best and most loving character of the genre? My favorite scene in my RpoL experiences was one of sisterly love and self sacrifice.

And I hadn't even thought about my NPC list being to gender/ethnically narrow. Crud, thanks for that bit of wisdom.


Fair enough, I was only pointing out the common "desire to be romantic/breed=human" thing has...drawbacks. I actually saw a smart take on t'internet that pointed out (correctly, I can verify as an archaeologist) that in terms of specifically human traits that have shaped evolution, our brains and civilisations, it's the ability to cook. Even our fellow hyper intelligent, tool/language-using scavenger buddies (that's corvids, not chimps, by the way) can't do that. So Sam and his Magic Potatoes have more humanity than all of us. XD

As for Cast Lists...at least two people read them! The first time I saw a balanced one was a real eye-opener for me, because my own reaction was "that's a lot of women...[counting]...no, wait, that's a normal amount of women..." which just goes to show how insidious the HGR and what it says about who gets to be a named supporting character/speak/be more than the token ____ is, and I've made an effort to try and balance that ever since (and have got good stories out of it). Obviously you're going to have less people from further away depending on the rurality of a setting and a world's technology, but before land routes were a safe prospect you'd be surprised at the strength of contact between, say, Persia and Viking Ireland, or Roman North Africa and Brittany, because good ports are good ports.

As for a limit on Steves or what have you, there's a point where the realism of letting multiple people in a story have the same forename gets silly enough that you just have to put them on a team together.Having a default common name can also save time if your players ask about NPCs, and then they can make real use of in-game cultural stuff like trait names, patronymics etc. Flavour!
Hunter
 member, 1568 posts
 Captain Oblivious!
 Lurker
Fri 27 Mar 2020
at 05:16
Is it weird to ask for specific gendered characters?
In reply to praguepride (msg # 1):

It'd probably get a few raised eyebrows, but I don't see how it'd be an issue.