01 July, 2012

Females in a game campaign

I guess this is sort of a follow on from my last post...not exactly, but it shares a few themes.

I roleplay because I like imagining situations that I could never get into in real life whether due to legal ramifications (letting out my aggression beating up on people/stuff or killing things), moral implications (screwing over other people remorselessly), physical reality (casting spells) or just generally getting into situations that make me think in different ways.

Roleplaying to me is not about the experience, and the rules of the game combine with the interactions of the people involved to create that experience.

With that in mind, Leah and I have joined a new group of players to start an old school Warhammer Fantasy campaign. This is a group that has been playing together for years, so we're the new couple. They haven't had a female gamer in their midst, and to looks like they haven't been sure how to take a female player. Apparently one of the players has played female characters in the past, but without an actual female on the table I get the feeling that his "female" would have been played more for comedic and parody values rather than a truly female perspective.

For our new campaign, most of the existing group of players played males, I think they were a bit scared of playing a female in front of a real one. Leah played a female.

I went into the game with an open mind and a blank slate. Completely random characters...so in my mind, that meant randomly rolling everything, including a 50/50 chance on gender. I even found some tables to randomly determine sexuality and other attitudes to help define my perspective of the character.

I got a female...I've played them before. It's part of the escapism that I enjoy about roleplaying.

That leaves us with five players: 4 male, 1 female...and five characters: 3 male, 2 female.

I think that the female character being played by Leah has taken the rest of the group by surprise. It's nice to see some stereotypes broken.

Anyway, here's the group of characters and what we know about them so far.

Leah's character is Ruslana, a Kislevite outrider who loves her horse. En route to the southern border princedoms where the campaign will occur.
What was the first thing the GM did?? Have us attacked by pirates and had the horse taken by them.
What was the first thing Ruslana did?? Went beserk, successfully grappled the pirate captain and slit his throat (which under the Warhammer Fantasy 2nd Ed rules is quite an achievement), claiming control of the pirate ship, then killed our ship's captain for having the audacity to give away her horse. Then she claimed rights over our ship as well...that was tense.

Joona is another Kislevite, he's just as impetuous as Ruslana, just as violent. His player is usually the one who sets things into motion and this means he is often the character who either gets everyone killed or gets killed before everyone else as a sacrificial lamb to avoid things getting further out of hand. The player has resigned himself to this type of role, but is surprised to see a girl play his game even more extremely than he does.

Nikoli is the third Kislevite. A muleskinner with three mules, two of these were taken by the pirates, but while he was annoyed, we wasn't willing to die for a couple of mules. He seems a bit of a pragmatist, someone who just gets on with things while there is chaos going on all around. I'd like to see his reactions in a few more interesting situations. 
Vincenzo is a Tilean actor. With the first game being predominantly a combat session, he didn't get much chance to shine. The player of this character is one of the regular GMs for the group, so I'm hoping he'll be willing to help push the sandbox campaign fun directions.  

Eliska is my character, a city born news-sheet seller. Out of her depth, and on the run from a mysterious past (which has been rolled, written up and doll-housed). I spent most of the game trying to rally troops, and command the ships crew in a fight against the pirates. More failures than successes (as is often the way with this edition of Warhammer Fantasy), but I generally made a few good rolls at a couple of potential turning points and we fought off the pirates successfully, ending up with two ships to our name. My aim for this character is to play a political game, hopefully heading toward a shadowy guild-mistress or noble. I've done this with male characters before, but it'll be fun to see how a female's story goes along these lines.

...or if it will make any difference when the GM hasn't really run many stories for female characters and certainly hasn't had female players in the group.

It will be interesting to see where this campaign leads...hopefully Leah and I can blow away some stereotypes while having some fun.
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