Archive for the ‘Gaming’ Category

So, they are killing my game.  As of early Saturday AM, est, city of heroes/villains will be no more.  This saddens me, but like a true die hard fan, I am going to grind it out till the bloody end starting tomorrow.  Much red bull, some booze, smokes, and junk food, oh yeah.  I can understand the economic and business aspects of NC Soft nuking it, but that doesn’t make me like it any better.  To put it pretty honestly, that game helped me out a lot when I was dealing with some shit…medical mostly.  Post burn, post burn surgery, back shit, its not like I could go out and DO stuff, but I COULD play CoX, so, I did, a lot, and it took my mind off things, not to mention, in its own way, inspired some of the best actually Not Game Based Writing I have ever done.  Man, I am gonna miss it, and I am not really sure if there is another similar game I want to even play.  I have lots of folks asking me to do Star Wars, and man, it LOOKS cool and is well done, but I am a comic geek, not a Star Wars Geek.


Anyway, tomorrow and friday, I will be staying on till the bloody end.  Fuck you NC Soft, but thanks for the memories.




So, sometimes things are timely and amusing with regards to my gamer posting…and provide me with subject matter for such posts…gotta love that shit…

In any event, as of recently, the LARP game I am involved in found itself in need of a entirely new ST (storyteller) Staff.   The players staged a coup on the former staff and was left…staffless!  Panic ensued!  An election for a new ST team  was hastily organized…four candidates emerged, each running on its own platform, and each with its own style of running shit.  The top three would become the new staff, the person with the most votes would be the Head Story Teller, those with the second and third most votes would be the assistant ST’s…and low and behold, when the votes and ashes cleared, the new Head ST of said game was…


Again.  You see,  this is not my first time to this dance.  I have been involved with this game since 1995 or so, and in those many years, I have been a part of the ST staff (usually as HST) 4 times previously.  Generally I actually prefer to PLAY, but when duty calls, I sort of feel it is my gamer duty to step up when needed, and on this occasion, my skillz were needed.  My two Assistants are both male, and actually bear a striking resemblance to these guys:  

In fact I have said “Holy Crow, my AST’s are Jay & Silent Bob!”  But in any event, ah yes, the new sheriff in town is a…chick.  And thus far while things have gone smoothly and yep, the players obviously thought I was the gal for the job, there are things that have and will continue to amuse me…lemmie list a few….


1: Dude players who think they can get one over on me ‘cause they assume I don’t know all the rules.  Truth is, I don’t know all the rules…but there is a book for that, and shockingly enough, I can read.  Now, oddly enough,  most folk don’t assume my dude AST’s don’t know the rules- and one of ‘em seemingly has all of ‘em memorized, the other one?  Not so much…he too has to read.  But yes, that amuses me.

2:  Dude players who think complimenting me on shit will get ‘em kudos.  Ha.  Hahaha.  Telling me I look nice is not gonna do it.  It’s just not.  Especially when I know for a fact that I look like crap because why the hell would I dress up to story tell a game?  You never see dudes trying to butter up the dude ST’s by saying they look nice.

3:  Dudes who assume my harsh treatment of their characters is due to my PMS and not their idiocy.  Now, while my charming nickname within our gaming organization is “the Player-Slayer” that has nothing to do with my actions as an ST.  When being an ST, I really do not go out of my way to run plots or NPC’s that will kill my player’s characters.  However, if they are idiots and step in it?  Shit happens.  And it has nothing to do with the Moon Hut of the She Wolf Sister…it has to do with the players being idiots and stepping in it.  Just like in real life, there are some NPC’s, places, and situations that popular wisdom suggests “do not fuck with this” and if you fuck with it, especially in a  big way or often, there will be consequences.   So when those consequences come knocking…it’s consequences, not PMS…unless my male AST’s ALSO happen to be in the Moon Hut too…

4:  Gamer Chicks who assume since I am chick, the sense of sisterhood amid Gamer Girlz will inspire me to make shit easier for them than I will for the dudes.  Smirk.  See, when gamer chicks of this ilk realize that boobs and flirting will not help them with me, they sometimes try to appeal to my sense of sisterhood.  Which makes me giggle.  I am all about the gals playing and working as hard as the dudes and being as good or better on their own merit, and in the world of gaming, I so believe in equal treatment under the Rules.  Oops.

5:  Dudes & Chicks whom, for whatever reasons- from boobs don’t work on me to oh, man, chicks can’t game!- who refuse to deal with me and will try to do/run anything and everything with one of my male ST’s.  On one level this is totally fine with me, because the less asshats I gotta deal with, the bigger the smile on my face, and frankly…uh…I know what they are up to anyhow because my Dudely ST Henchmen report in to me what is going on and what folk are up to.  Go Teamwork!  However, it amuses me because both my Henchmen are far more likely to just kill player characters for stupidity than I am on many occasions.  Hahahahaha!  Oops!

6:  And my personal favorite…when folk, often male but not always, let the packaging fool them.  Now, how to put this delicately….a lot of gamers are larger people.  I would honestly say the average height of the gamers in this larp, men and women alike, is about…5’9”?  I am several inches shy of that height myself, and sorta on the scrawny to wiry side.  Often people, mostly men but not exclusively so, and mostly people who are visitors to our game, but not exclusively so, will attempt to use their actual physical size to intimidate me by getting up in my personal space.  Utter fail right there.  Not only does it piss me off because it’s flat out rude, I have actually thrown someone out of game for consistently doing it to female players…which is to say I have issue with this tactic… not because of me, but because it makes women gamers uncomfortable.  Hell, who honestly likes to have someone who is much bigger than them towering over them, right up close, and yelling in their face?  No one I reckon.  However, what people who do this with  me forget is…97% of the human population is bigger than me, and I have a 6’2” older brother and am used to that shit…so it ain’t gonna work…and may get thine ass booted from game.  Oops.

The flip side of this is the women gamers who, and yes, I have seen it happen time and time again, will hang all over/grab on/ sit on the lap of a male gamer- usually in character- not particularly caring if the male gamer is okay with this.  That is not okay either in my book- that whole unwanted contact and attention thing, in character or out, is not okay.  I have not thrown a woman out of game for this…but I would.  Awhile back when I was not ST’ing a female player was all over and grabbing on a male player (as her character towards his character), and it really, really bothered him.  His character has no interest in sex or flirting at all, and the player is gay.  He complained about her conduct and nothing was done, where frankly, if a male had done that to a female, he would have been blackballed from the game and probably the whole organization…in fact, that has happened.  Well, with the New Sheriff in town, women who do this will get the same treatment.  Equality and all…

I am sure as my tenure as HST goes on, I will find more examples, but there is a start.  Point being…gamers, it is wise to be reasonably respectful to one’s ST regardless of gender ‘cause in the realm of the game…they are kinda like…god.

So, continuing on with Sexism in Gaming, were I have admittedly been rather harsh to male gamers of a certain ilk.  Now, I turn my focus to a contributing factor to sexism in gaming that isn’t something that falls directly on the fellas, but rather upon female gamers of a certain sort.  These gals might even be good gamers-though usually this is not the case, they are often average to bad-however, regardless of their skill level in whatever game(s) they play…they do not help the rest of us in the least…

Now, I am all for anybody, male or female, using everything in their arsenal to succeed if they so choose.  People do it all the time: folk who are very smart will use that to their advantage, and this holds true for gaming as well as anything else.  Same goes for folk who are charismatic, or devious, or sneaky, or charming, or good looking, or funny- those qualities can be used to get ahead, do well, “win” in gaming as well as in life.  I have no problem with this.  I would not expect a very clever person to dumb it down in a Political Game, or someone who rocked at strategy to not use that skill in War Gaming, or someone with religious or occult knowledge not to play to that in a Supernatural Based Game…not for a second.  I wouldn’t expect a person who is a musician or very social type to never play a bard…nor a person who was really in their daily life into working out or martial arts or what have you to play a character who is an ass-kicker…and yep, sure enough, I would never expect someone who is good looking to never play a good looking character….

However, sometimes, with a certain sort of women gamer…there are some…issues… and I shall now get into that…

Because gaming of all kinds is still dominated by men, and because of everything from the way the gaming industry often depicts women and well, the way women can just be socialized anyhow, there is a section of women gamers (both girls who game because uhhh, their men/male friends do, and real life…I guess…Gamer Girlz) who are truly one trick ponies and have but one weapon in their arsenal…

Well, two maybe….usually stuffed into a push up bra, tight t-shirt, or corset

And that is all they ever use.  Sex.  Sex Appeal.  T&A.  Giggly flirty bimbo action.  That’s it.  Regardless of the game, regardless of the genre, regardless of anything…In or Out of Character- this is what they do, this is what they use, and this is all they ever present as what they have to offer.  They are involved in a Live Action Game?  Every character they ever play is in the heels, short skirt, Fredrick’s of Hollywood corset and fishnets or a skimpy leather deal or chainmail bikini.  MMORPG?  Their avatars all look like they wandered in from a porn set.  Table Top games?  Their characters are gorgeous, they often dress sexy/slutty to the game, and they flirt with every other player,  character or npc to the point where its distracting.  Strategy/Card/Console Games?  “Oh, tee hee, can you (male gamer) show me how that works?”

Now, why they do this?  Well, that answer is obvious.  They enjoy the attention they get by doing so- even if after people grow wise to their One Trick Pony M.O., that attention is negative.  But, for other girl gamers…who actually have a lot more going on as gamers and can play everything from a Sexy Siren to a Bad Ass Leg Breaker to a Brilliant Mastermind -in any sort of game- and are actually

Ren rockin' the Non_Sexy...

there to GAME and not flirt with/frustrate/pick up men?  Well, this shit ain’t doin’ us, as Women Gamers, any good.  In fact, it don’t help at all.  And since Women Gamers can have a real rough time getting taken seriously in the first place…the reaction of the Actual Woman Gamer to a One Trick Pony can be…incredibly hostile.  There is not going to be any love shown for a gal who comes in, shoves her tits in the face of every man there, and gets ahead by blowing the ST/GM/Event organizer.  None at all.  I have seen One Trick Ponies get their asses stomped for this (after all, really hard to fight back in corset and heels!)   And sure enough, it is likely, especially in LARPS or at Con’s and such,  ALL women are going to get looked at, hit on, take some sexist BS…but actual Women Gamers will prove their legitimate right to be there by their gaming…not their flirting and boobs.  Such women are there to Game, dammit, and for every inch the One Trick Pony gives, for every stereotype she fufills, for every bullshit bit of bullshit Women Gamers already have to put up with they fall into or live up to or reinforce?  Well, every woman gamer who actually is there to game, and can do so, then has to undo or put up with….and frankly, many of us already take enough shit really…just for being female.

And sometimes, I can’t really blame the dudes for thinking the only reason women game is to turn dudes on / be flirty/ show themselves off blah blah blah when this is the kinda thing they see outta women in their gaming…espeically if those women gamers never show them anything else.

This is not to say I’ve never played characters in any genre I play who show some skin in an appealing way…but usually?  I don’t.  In my gaming days I have played everything- in larp to TT to MMMORPG- from a dude to a gal in tactical gear to a gal in a suit to a “we’re not sure if that’s a gal at all” who generally dressed like this guy, right down to the braids and jacket.  Short skirts and such? Yeah, I’ve played characters who wore them, but those sorts are definitely in the minority.  Because I am there to game…like a great many women gamers…and we’d really enjoy less bullshit when we show up to do so… And some gamer gals?

They don’t assist in that Quest at all…even if they are playing healers!

Shocking, I know.

I’ve just not had much to say.  Life has been interesting and strange and, eh, inevitable and life-ish as it were.  Been pondering continuing on with my sexism in gaming series, just gotta set fingers to keyboard and all that- and yep, I plan to actually pick on the girl gamerz too at this point, cause often, they don’t help the dang situation.  In fact, that post will prolly happen real soon.

In the mean time…loving this song.  Thank you, Walking Dead…



What?  So sue me…

 So, today, I wrote a post over in my LJ in which I wondered about an eerie fascination some women folk have with a character I play who is a seriously nasty piece of work and is not the type of person- fictional or real- that women should find….er…sexy.  Ever. Yet, for some reason I do not quite grasp, they do.

 And but whom should I end up talking about this phenomena (aside from Rootie)  with but, well, Hugo.  I asked him what his take on the Women Liking Bad Boys and Feeling They Could Fix Them theory was, as well as the White Knight who Feels He Can Save the Weak/Needy or Fallen Woman.  Hugo has written on these things before and pointed me towards some of his posts, which are good, and interesting, and I am linking them.

 Go read them.  THEN come back here….



You DID read them, yes?  There may be a quiz later you know…

 So then, well before too, the old noodle got to churning and an amazing realization dawned in my pasta like grey matter:

 One, yep, this whole routine is sexist, because well, it assumes women by nature fall into caretaker, “I have so much love to give”, nurturer roles or damsel in distress roles, and men fall into “bad boy” roles or I need to rescue and protect roles….

 Think about it: How often do you see these timeless tales….in reverse?  Men thinking they can tame the bad girl and fix her with their endless awesome amounts of love and nurturing, and women donning their armor, convinced they can slay the dragons and save the man is distress?

 Not too often, eh?  It is not, oh, a huge reoccurring theme in movies, books, sonnets, songs or…life.  The scale is tipped heavily by what people assume is, by nature and nurture, the essence of women and men.

 Which prolly explains really well why I do not…get it.  ‘Cause in the epic saga of my life, well, the mean, leather-wearing, hard drinking occasionally drug using foul-mouthed ill tempered fist fighting snarly surly anti-social type has always been…me.  That shit scares White Knights I guess, and does not necessarily lend itself well at all to the ‘delicate lady in distress’ trope, and well, were my door to swing that way, any woman who came along with the theory that her love and devotion could break me of my wild ways….well, now she’d get a stern and quite possibly snarky lecture….a few years back, she prolly woulda gotten a pop in the mouth for her efforts (and, if like many women who do fall into this save the bad boy –or girl in this case- a pop in the mouth did not dissuade her…well, a restraining order.) 

 It could be, what with my amazing empathy and all, that I do not get it in any way, shape or form that someone A) might think the “bad” sorts even WANT saving, B) That love will conquer jack shit, much less that shit, C) Or why someone would set themselves up for undoubtedly a serious amount of pain, trauma, insanity and quite possibly physical harm even trying.  Hell, I know how I react when people attempt to pull that kinda shit…so why would a guy be any different, and why would such a woman be so convinced that HER Mojo would some how be…that good?  And heck…what does it say about those women themselves when fucked up, half cocked and hostile are seen as “attractive” traits.  Sure enough, dangerous can get the adrenaline pumping, but it really should not inspire love and a willingness to possibly receive grievous bodily harm…

 The simple fact is, I think, the world would do its future generations a lot of good if they would quit letting kids watch Disney movies, ect.,  without discussions of fantasy vs. reality and start teaching young women and men that a partner is a partner, and not a project. 

 Loving someone is not saving them, taming them, fixing them, or rescuing them.  That shit is for shelter animals, not humans…and until people figure that out, there is a good chance decent people will continue to get their hearts (and possibly faces) broken by “bads” and their armor (and feelings) tarnished by “in distressers”.

 So now I am gonna kick back amid these words of advice, put my boots ON the table, and offer these words of wisdom:  Ya can’t save what doesn’t want or need saving, and if you insist on saving someone….save yourself.

 And well, for the hell of it, That Charming Game Dude and His Equally Charming Sister.  (Pfft, you think I prefer reading over looking at the pictures?  Come on…)

Some things are just not fixable, or dateable...

Talk about no reality, where do I get off playing a 6'6" blonde dude who dresses that slick!

In the realm of gaming, there seems to be a subsection- and yes it is a subsection- of gamers who honestly within their gaming have some very strange ideas about fantasy vs. reality, and while in truth I have seen this attitude out of men more than women in gaming- it is by no means restricted to men.  You see, there are people out there who are far too interested and obsessed with dragging reality, or at least aspects of it that suit them, into gaming.  I never have and never will understand this.  Gaming of any kind: D&D, White Wolf, WoW, Star Wars, City Of, CyberPunk, so on so forth…it is pretend.  It is fantasy, and it is for fun and entertainment, and while I am certainly guilty of taking my fun and entertainment very seriously, I sure as heck don’t go dragging reality into it.  In MMORPG’s, I gender bend.  If in D&D I want to play a fighter, sure as hell I will make one, and she might only be 5’6″, but dammit, if I want to have her use an axe and a sword and give her stats that back that up, well dammit, I will.  Sure enough, there are no women around in Real Life that have an 18.00 natural strength- there are very few men that do either, but these are games, and in half of them, people have spells or powers or cybernetics or gear or supernatural conditions that make them way above and beyond our Real Life Mortal Meat Sacks- so I am not so sure why for some folk this can be such a problem.  These games are  pretend and for fun, and the only “reality” that exists in them is in the rules of the game.  The games allow for women to play burly fighters who use more than archery or dexterity, and men to play nimble, lithe, siren song masters of dexterity and flexibility who never count on strength.  And  sure enough, in Real Life there might be men and women who can do that, but they are the rarity,  by in large?  Nah, it’s not going to be the case…but that is half the fun of gaming:  Being What You Aren’t.  Hell, none of us are wizards now, are we?

Yet time and time again, I have seen people, mostly men, but some women too, who have a problem with this- and more often than not- it comes about when one is playing a physical character, and is also seemingly more common in LARP games than in other kinds, but it can be found anywhere.  For those who I am confusing endlessly, a LARP game is one in which people actually portray and act out their characters.  They costume, sometimes do accents, all that- they have a sheet with their characters stats on it, but all the role-playing is done by them, like an actor playing a part.  Often times people will even make the person they are walking around as look vastly different in description from how they, themselves look in reality.  This can get confusing, but it is done.  People will gender bend, or be taller or shorter, fatter or thinner, a different ethnicity from what they really are- which is allowed and fine.  I tend to make my LARP characters look like me for the most part because- well, it is easier.  I don’t have to spend extra time describing what I am supposed to look like.  Which, well, is short, and female, and well, just over all small.  Yet I like to play physical characters.  I have found, in my years of larping, if I play to what people think I should do or what they assume – via their own visual impressions and preconceived notions- no one bats an eye, but when I don’t….

“Who is that?”

“Oh, that’s the Brujah Primogen, don’t piss her off man, she’ll put you through a wall…”

Blink.  “But you’re so…small.”

“Dude, I am playing a supernatural undead creature of the night, the laws of mortal biology do not apply to my character…”

(I also find it grimly amusing that if one makes their character skinnier, or better looking, or richer, or way smarter, or whatever than they ever could really be, it is not mentioned, you make ’em tougher when you are a small chick…heh, THAT can be mentioned!

So yes, I have seen, in gaming, people, more often men than women, but some women too, drag reality into the fantasy, or flat-out scoff at women as various roles within gaming.  Tanks? Fighters, hell, anyone who gets in there and mixes it up?  Some folks minds won’t bend this way- even when the games have been designed to allow it.   There are female fighters in almost all table top games via the NPCS (non-player characters), people are allowed in almost all games, from City Of to D&D, to make ANY class of character they choose- from ranged to melee, from sword to spell.  The reality of the rules is that women can do whatever the guys do, and whatever they want.  The reality of gamers can be a different story.

True Story:  A Renegade found herself at Dragon Con, and had signed up to play in the Vampire The Masqurade Larp.  I went to get a pregenerated character they had created for those of us who were wanting (and paying) to play.  I was asked what were my top three clans if Vampires that I wanted to play.  I replied Assamite, Brujah, and Tzimisce.  The first two are more physical clans, the third, well, they are just some twisted sick fuckers, so how can I not like ’em?  Well, amid the pregen characters for women players, they had Toreador (socilaite artist types), Setites (twisted vice loving deviants)  a couple of Malkavians (who are all insane), and a couple of Ventrue (big time business people).  That, out of the 13 clans, is what they had for women.  I was not impressed. Fortunately one look at some of my ink got the dudes running the game to change the gender on one of the Assamites for me- but yep, out of the gate, what they had for women were socialite artists, vice lovin’ deviants, a couple of crazy people, and a couple of business women.  Nothing physical, and nothing that truly- to an experienced player- would be a challenge or in a position of authority.  Hummmm.

And you get that attitude elsewhere in gaming:  Women should play healers and caretakers or social types.  They shouldn’t be strategists or leaders or aggressive types (and sorry, there is nothing in fantasy OR reality that says women cannot excel in these areas).  There are gamers who do believe that because some classes may not fit with what the reality for a woman is, they should not play or even want to play them in games; regardless of what the rules allow.  To that, I say the following:

“Is not a monty macked out tricked out Meat Shield still a monty macked out tricked out Meat Shield regaurdless of gender? ”


“Sure enough, in real life I will never have a strength of 18, but you know what, you are NEVER gonna have a charisma higher than 6 but you went ahead and gave it to your character anyway.”   

Hey, if people want to get all reality on me, I don’t mind pointing it out either…espeically in a fantasy setting like D&D, where one thing that would be an absolute reality for a lot of these asshats would be…a high mortality rate. 

The simple fact of fantasy for fun games is that the only Reality Neccessary is that found in the Rules, and the experience of gaming would be a lot more fun for everyone if people all realized that.  Now, once again, a great many people- male and female- I have gamed with are Not Like This, but man, I have totally run across enough who got their life vision- for reality and gaming- outta a dang Gor novel that it bears mentioning.


*heh, and as a funny side note, In City Of, I have six melee type toons, a tank, three brutes and two scrappers.  Only one of them is a male character, and the baddest of ’em all?  Ahem, yep, a girl. 

Ah yes, “Fantasy vs. Reality” was supposed to be next, but when a golden opportunity knocks me in the face, I cannot pass it by…

As you all know, I play (avidly) City of Heroes/Villains.  So, last night I get together with the crew, who have no idea what they actually want to do, so whilst they are BS’ing away on Vent, I suggest something, they agree, I build the team that will give us smashing success, we blast through the Strike Force that I have chosen in no time, people get their awesome rewards for doing it, they say they would like another, so I, seeing we now lack a meat shield because of the toons they wish to play, switch to a meat shield who actually NEEDS this strike force like she needs a hole in the head, but the team needed her…we BLOW through it with me in the lead, faster that the previous run, no death, smooth as silk, levels are gotten and everyone is happy, then, over vent, one of the fellows in our group who is generally good to play with, even if he tends to be more complementary to the other male players than the two very solid women players in our crew, asks Mr. E what his dream team would be….

This discussion moves to our mailing list, where He, Mr.E, and another man in the group set about building their dream teams, discussing numbers and stats and how or why they would do this or that.  Is any female in the group invited into this conversation?  No.  So I insert myself in it.  Now granted, all these fellows are mathguys and can look at what powers do and figure out what seems like it would be solid on paper.  I have never bothered.  I have learned all this through trial and error in the seven years I have been playing the game- which, I might add, is a far longer and far more consistent run of playing it than any of them.

So, while they are busy building their perfect beasts and reveling in their own awesomeness, I post my dream teams.  Crickets, then, the questioning of my logic begins.  My response was calm and rational, I justified each and every one of my choices via reasoning and logic, and then added “all of your teams, on paper, would work, but the game itself works differently, what works on one AV will not work on another, I know this from playing, and not merely trying to exploit the rules….

Blarg blarg blarg rarw gar….

“Gentlemen, let me remind you of something:  I am and have always been willing to try things differently, let others plan things, let someone else take the lead, but when I do that, nothing gets planned, or led, or ends in success.  Have I not always built us successful teams- when you listen and do not try to do it all your way, and have we not succeeded when people listen to my advice?  I will take this time to-again- remind you, that in gaming, especially this game, I am NOT Mr. E’s sidekick or apprentice, and I have more level 50’s (max level in the game) than the three of you combined, more master badges and successful runs under my belt than the rest of the entire crew combined, and I would think that maybe, just maybe, this would be proof enough that I know what I am doing and I know what I am talking about.  I learned from the best, and now I am trying to share that with you.  Maybe, instead of looking to Mr.E like you always do, you should be looking towards the person he learned from and is still the far more successful player.  You can usually find me standing near by him, I am the shorter one, with long hair and the scar.” 


There was some silence after that, then one or two sincere apologies, and a one or two snarky “well, sorry for questioning your awesomeness” remarks (to wit, I replied “damn straight you should not question my awesomeness, it is evident and what I have accomplished here speaks to it!)

But, the simple fact is, well, not only do I game, but I am married to a guy who also games, and while in ANY game we have ever played together (in D&D, he is the uber mage, I am the uber fighter, in Vampire, we have both had characters who have been Princes, and Archons, and characters of serious power, so on, so forth), even when we have both had serious success, and in the case of “City” I have had way more than him…other male gamers will always look to his skill, success, and awesomeness before mine, or fail to recognize or give credit to my work and success at all.  And considering the fact that my whole crew is assholes….I cannot think of any reason why this would be other than…I’m a female, and this is gaming.

I dunno, it gets frustrating.  We succeed because I am the one who puts in the time to set up teams and events (which no one else does), I am the one that when someone says “I want or need this” I make it happen.  I am the one who makes sure we have all the bases we need to succeed covered.  I am the one who plays toons I don’t even like to fill in the holes we have. I am the one who helps people level, hell, even farms for them, I am the one who helps people get what they need, and I am the one who by far an away has had the most success in this game, period.  You’d think that would count for something….but apparently, because I don’t “do the math” or have a dick, it doesn’t.


Funny thing is, I will say flat out I am the best player in our group when no one is gonna get a hurt ego over it, and the second best after me, and will prolly be as good as me when they have more experience with the game?  Also female. 

Anyway, there is the sidebar Sexism Post, I will get back on track soon.  Grumble.

I remember once upon a time I was sitting in a college dorm room with the rest of the crew that constituted my D&D group (2 women, myself and my roomie, 4 men) and one of the fellows was thumbing through a Dragon Magazine and started laughing hysterically.  Of course, we all inquired about the cause of the laughter, and he passed us the magazine which featured a cartoon.  The cartoon depicted a “woman warrior”, a babe in a chainmail bikini and Wonder Woman style bracers.  She had various arrows stuck in the “protective armor” over her boobs and on her bracers and the caption was “Good thing I was wearing my armor!”

 And it was funny, but eye roll worthy as well.  It also very well illustrates what I am about to talk about now:  Sexism as Part of the Gaming Industry.  You see, part of the problem with sexism in the world of gaming?  It’s right there in the products.  It seems that fantasy games tend to be guiltier of this than other types of games….but yep, all of them have a least a little.  But the biggest offender of them all is also the granddaddy of them all: Dungeons & Dragons and every other wanna be D&D game that has come on down the line.

 Now, I will admit it, I have just about every D&D book there is from second edition on down the line, even some of the earlier ones, and while I like some of the art, by in large, it is all pretty sexist stuff.   Women warriors are often drawn in silly armor period, in and out of D&D…hell Lisa has complained before about the stupid armor they give women characters in WoW, but let’s leave the armor out of it for moment.  There are a lot, and I mean a lot, of half naked women in D&D…be they clerics, monsters, elves, wizards, whatever.  Lots of T&A in the very core rule books themselves, and lots of women as weak and in need of saving there too.  Also, consider the ONE matriarchal society in the world of D&D.  The Drow (aka dark elves)…evil as HELL (and black skinned, but that’s a whole different story).  Are they powerful and advanced and feared and all that good stuff, yes, they certainly are…but they are flat out pure evil…and the women are usually shown…not wearing much.  And while other games and even D&D itself has moved away from this attitude & art somewhat…it was the forerunner of them all, and it did set the tone…hey, I have seen how those female elves dance in WoW, and they really should be getting money stuffed in their…armor?

 But you see, there is and was baseline sexism in D&D, and every other game or gaming book, from Magic The Gathering to Cyberpunk, since then has at least to some extent grabbed on to the idea that hot fantasy women in almost nothing sells.  Heck, I draw a lot of fantasy art myself, I do.  And I have submitted some to these kinds of games, but I tend to draw women in actual armor…now, it could be they just think my art sucks and I would accept that, but sometimes I wonder if it’s because the women I draw are wearing the same sorta gear you’d put a male character of the same class in.  Now, I will discuss in my next post, “Fantasy vs. Reality” how this is such a drag for women gamers, but the basic fact is…

 This is what the gaming industry and fantasy genre think of women and what they should be in fantasy gaming:

 So we’re starting off at a point of disadvantage from the get go due to the very source materials themselves.  Yes, some games have come a long way in options and versatility for female characters as well as players.  For instance, in City of Heroes, one can make a female character in full armor or tactical gear….but the option is still there to make her wearing almost nothing- but you can do that to the men too.  The basis, basics, and baseline however is that there is inherent sexism in the very gaming products themselves, both in the way women are depicted visually and as characters, and those sorts of depictions have set a tone for gaming and gamers period.  I have walked into D&D games and had some snarky asshole male gamer ask me where my chainmail bikini was, or give me shit for wanting to play a fighter rather than a cleric or a mage, but that sort of thing will be discussed more in “Fantasy vs. Reality” , but the simple fact is, the world of gaming is set against us from the get go due to the way fictional women are depicted in it. 

*For the record, I do not now nor have I ever actually owned a chainmail bikini!

Before we get any further into our Quest to Discuss Sexism in Gaming (N00Bs welcome), there are two basic fundamentals that must be looked and evaluated before we continue on:  One is the sexist attitude and sexist products put out by the gaming industry itself, and the other is nature of gamers themselves.  I will be doing the nature of gamers themselves first.  One, because I want to, and two, the Gaming Industry is made up of both gamers and people who wish to sell products to gamers, and thus keep them in mind when making those products. 

 So yes, gamers then.  There is the stereotype of course:  The geeky, often over weight and poorly groomed, perhaps unhygienic fellow who was always a social outcast, had no luck with girls, was usually picked on by everyone from those girls, to jocks, to everybody else who was reasonably normal.  He may or may not also be a nerd, but being an actual nerd is not required.  Physically inept,  socially stunted, and all around mess of a human being.

 Now, that is the stereotype.  But, sadly enough, the stereotype exists for a reason.  Yes, there are plenty of gamers who are not that guy, but there are plenty who flat out are, or have enough of his less than enduring qualities that it warrants mentioning.  Women gamers may also have a similar traits, and I may very well get to women gamers at some point, but right now, we are talking about the men…and see, people say the men never get discussed!

 But yes, so there it is…sure enough, on one or more levels, a great many male gamers, both boys and adult ones, are socially and physically awkward in various ways and on various levels.  Often they are outcasts, or mocked, or even tormented (or have been).  Part of the draw for many people who spend time gaming in fantasy worlds is to, for whatever reason, get out of the real one for awhile and be something that in real life you just aren’t.  And in these worlds, well, these guys can be whatever they want in whatever genre of game it is they are playing:  a brilliant general, a dashing pirate, a Machiavellian schemer, all kinds of things, but almost universally, these characters they play are powerful, successful, and often needed, wanted or popular- things gamers many not be in any way in real life.  They also via gaming meet “their own kind”, other people, often male (for while there are women gamers, overall, the activity is still definitely male dominated), who share many of their own problems and traits…and it is there that they get their socialization, that pecking orders are established, friendships made, acceptable behavior defined, and bonds made.

 Often, for the first time in their lives, these fellows have bonds with a peer group, and one with common goals, interests, and sense of identity.  Just like in any group, a code of conduct is- if not defined- somewhat formulated at least in the minds of the group’s members.  Its own method of ranking via popularity and skill develops.  Routine is established, and it functions like other groups of people, but in this case, the group is often made up of outcasts and the somewhat to very socially inept or mistreated.

 This is problematic for women gamers in a few ways: 

One: their presence can be seen as a threat or disruption to the overall sense of (male) community. 

 Two:  they-while they may be socially awkward themselves- are often now dealing with socially awkward men who have been germinating with their own kind for quite some time. 

 Three, they are treading on and infringing upon territory which these men can be quite territorial about and often their investment in and status amid the group is a huge part of their ego…for instance, if an “alpha male” gamer is bested in some manner by a woman…his reaction will probably not be all that different from a High School Star Quarterback who has a woman walk out onto the field and throw for a touchdown better than he does.  Yes, sure enough, the activities are entirely different, but they are both male dominated, and loosing to a girl is still loosing to a girl- be it on a football field or a having some woman come along and yank a Princedom out from underneath him in a Vampire game.  In fact, the male gamers reaction or out lash can be even worse, because often he lacks success and status in other areas.

Four:  Many male gamers have not always had the best luck with- or even treatment by- women, and thusly, they may not be inclinded to treat women nicely in return.  

Five:  Overall, the presence of women- a fair amount of them- in gaming- at all- is still fairly new.  Yes, there have always been women gamers, but not at the numbers there are now, and while gaming is still over all dominated by men, the influx of women is, to various extents, changing it- and the decorum that is to be expected- and just like any time an old boys club gets busted up by those pesky women, there will be people who resent it and will try to drive them out using the most cruel, sleazy and vulgar of tactics.  The world of gaming is no different.

Heck, I am sure I even missed some, but yes, there are but a few reasons!

 And I do think in part to the very nature of gamers themselves, many male ones in this case, does in fact contribute mightily to the overall problem of sexism in gaming.   It is true indeed that sexism exists everywhere, but I think due in part to the over-all “geekiness” of gamers, it can be far more blatant, juvenile, crass, encouraged and even flat out cheered as the norm and women who dare to tread in gamer land are just expected to put up with it and get shouted down or harassed when they don’t because well, Geeks Will Be Geeks and Who Invited Those Bitches Anyway?  A simple truth is poorly socialized men and sexism makes for a volatile mix- and In Gaming, it is often far more the norm and the reality than merely a stereotype or a joke…

 So yes, one of the huge problems when it comes to Sexism in Gaming is the Gamers Themselves.*

 After all, sometimes the Stereotypes exist for a very good reason.

 *Ah yes, there are women gamers who do not help with this problem at all, but that will end up being a later post in the series!

Sexism In Gaming: Part One

Posted: May 30, 2011 in Gaming, Sexism

Once upon a time there existed a mythical wondrous and dangerous land, a place filled with brave, handsome heroes and deadly, blood thirsty villains; noble knights, fearless fighters, dashing rogues, devout clerics and wizened wizards, a place where good fought evil, and evil fought good, and the lines between the two were as simple as the alignment one chose at the beginning of the character creation session and such things were almost as important as a high dex score and good stats on your sword or finding those cool tomes that gave you an extra level!  And for a long time this was a Mans Land…a place where virgins were sacrificed and villages pillaged and some Great Lord’s daughter was always in peril (and if you were a bad guy, well, she ended up in even more peril, but if you were a good guy, heck, you sooo had a chance at Thank You Sex with the fair maiden)!  It was no place for women!  It was an ugly world, filled with bloodshed and monsters, rape and destruction, and while there was the occasional unicorn, by in large this mythical realm was designed for and belonged to men and men alone.  And they liked it that way.  And when you consider often the social standing of the men who came to occupy this mythical world, one can almost understand why they would want a place of their own; a place free from daily real world life and stress and social pressures…a place where they could be mighty knights or feared monsters.  You can almost understand why they would not want to share it with anyone who was not like them- in all ways…except for perhaps the very, very occasional unicorn…who maybe, just maybe, might date them.

But then across this mythical land rolled a black and dreadful blight.  It settled into the hills and valleys like a mustard gas cloud, it rolled across the battlefields of legend and lore like the Pale Rider and his associates unleashed!  It swept through the villages and forever changed the landscape of this once mighty and mystical land.  It had many names and faces:  White Wolf.  Magic the Gathering.  CyberPunk.  Shadow Run. Consol Games and MMORPG’s…and with it, came…women.  And seeing this the unicorns tossed aside their horns and joined with the new-comers, and the new-comers saw the wonder of this mythical land and wished to test it out for themselves.  They too became noble knights and fearless fighters, dashing rogues and devout clerics and wizened wizards…or blood thirsty emissaries of death and ruthless tyrants.  And while often these foreigner females were social outcasts or vastly different from the norm or the majority like their male counterparts, they were still different, alien, foreign, and often…unwanted in the land.  And that was made evident.  Even if the characters being played by these bold women were strong and noble, or vicious and deadly, as players, they were forever reminded of the fact that they were different.  Told women could not game, or that they were only allowed in because maybe, just maybe, they’d put out.  They were mocked or endlessly hit on, subject to crude sexual comments both as players and as the characters they were playing.  This forced some from the realm.  Others learned to ignore it.  Others learned to turn it to their advantage.  Others swore it would not drive them out, for they had just as much of a right to explore, play in, and conquer this realm, be it fantasy, gothic, futuristic, designed at a table or pixilated on a screen, as anyone else. 

Yet still, the deep-seeded hatred of the intruder exists.  You can see it whenever a woman enters the realm.  When she sits at the table, her D&D character sheet in hand.  When she walks into the Vampire Clan Meeting, game face on.  When she strolls into the Magic Tournament like a gunslinger, her proven and well worn deck as familiar in her hand as a lawman’s six shooter.  When she sets up her War Hammer Army and glares across the fabricated battlefield at her enemy. When she sits at her PC or Consol, mouse or controller in hand and headset on, knowing her mere voice will mark her as other.  You can see it then.  She may be good, she may be the best, actually, but she is other, and will be reminded of that in a myriad of ways.  She is, after all…a girl…and this is not her world, and all too often, she will be reminded in countless ways of just how much she is not wanted there.

I know this world.  I have been roaming its vast lands and high halls for close to 20 years now.  I have seen its people, those who founded it and their heirs, the unicorns, and these hated invaders…I am one of them after all.  From that first table top D&D game to Cons, Larps, Tournaments, Raids and Strike Forces, I have wandered, as a Knight, a mercenary, a mage…as cleric, a vampire, a werewolf, a Magic Player, a cyberpunk, a medic, a hero, a villain…and as a woman.   I know this place well.  I have seen it all…and this place?  This place I have come to?  It is sexist as hell and there is no doubt in my mind a great deal of the men who are also here hate the fact that not only have women dared to tread upon this land, but cannot stand the fact that some of them not only tread, but do so with great authority and skill, and would, by their own hand, be Lords, Kings, and Combatants Most Skilled within the Realm.  And they will not let anyone or anything take that from them.  Not the unwanted advances.  Not the mocking of their skill.  Not the rape jokes.  Not the undermining of their work.  Not the harassment or hate.  None of it.  They will not give up and go home.  They will not be beaten- and that is all the more infuriating.   I have seen this first hand as I have wandered and chronicled the goings on of this place, The Realm of the Gamers….and over the next few posts, I am going to share what I have learned.  Sexism in Gaming is alive, well, and rampant, and the time has come to expose it all…

*Sidebar:  Before anyone says it, why yes, there are plenty of male gamers who are nothing like what I will be discussing here.  Plenty.  I have had the pleasure of gaming with numerous fellows who were not sexist and just enjoyed playing with whomever, regardless of their biological sex or gender.  So these posts, they do not apply to those fellows…but there are enough sexist douchebags in the realm of gaming that it absolutely warrants mentioning and so I am.