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Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-23, 05:07 PM
How do I talk about this without sounding like a freak?

I've always thought about the ideals of beauty and/or masculinity in D&D, and in RPG's in general. Am I the only one who's actually tired of anorexic wizards, buxom warrior women in chainmail bikini's and muscle-bound Conan clones?

Honestly, it seems like almost all RPG characters, regardless of class, race, or any of that stuff, don't have an ounce of fat in their bodies. I know that the activities most PC's engage in is physically strenous, yes, but that can't account for 100% of PC's out there, can it? I mean, Tolkien flat out said in his descriptions of hobbits that they're inclined to be fat, and enjoy good food, and they're the greatest heroes in Middle-Earth. And yet they had to get liposuction to be considered an attractive race in D&D.

I know that all RPG's have an element of escapism in them as well. An overweight person might play a skinny person for this reason, but if that's true all across the board, then there must be a whole lot of overweight gamers out there.

Me, I've wondered about this often. Part of it is because I have an...appreciation, I suppose you could say, for the overweight female form. As such, the amazons we see on the covers and between the pages of our books doesn't stimulate me in any way. This is part of why I like dwarf women better, since they're always depicted in a much more curvy fashion. A friend of mine is the exact opposite, preferring women who...for lack of a better term, are flat-chested. He actually hates the busty characters we see in most modern fantasies. In fact, all his characters to date have been flat-chested women.

What are your thoughts? I know I'm probably skirting close to some sensitive issues here, but I've always wondered why all RPG characters, PC or NPC, have to have perfect bodies in order to be considered worthwhile. Yes, physical strenuousness does guarantee a certain amount of fat-burning, and yes, I can understand a character working themself into a Heracles-like physique (Note that not many "strong" women have bodies like that. I've seen pictures of female body builders, and I don't think they're ugly.) but I can't believe that RPGland is a world where physical perfection is the norm.

MammonAzrael
2009-02-23, 05:15 PM
It's marketing. Pretty people will generally be more accepted than normal, scarred, strange, fat, or ugly people. And most importantly, those pictures will have a greater chance to draw in new players who're just thumbing through the book out of curiosity/boredom/etc. If our society held different standards of beauty, those would be the most reflected in the artwork.

And remember, the various pictures are generally assumed to be of PCs which aren't the norm, but the distilled awesome the race has to offer (unless you're a Samurai, then you're the object lesson of life paths not to take :smallwink:)

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-23, 05:18 PM
I guess that makes sense. Perhaps I'm misassociating marketing with actual player characters. But so far the only person I've known to do something different has been myself.

It all seems so...shallow.

Which isn't to say that I'm not shallow myself. The latest backstory I've written was kind of fanservicey for me.:smallredface:

bosssmiley
2009-02-23, 05:32 PM
People like to look at fit and good-looking members of their species of whatever sex. That's pretty much a given. Unfortunately there's a stark orthodoxy in fantasy art over what the ideals of fit and good-looking are, this being largely determined largely by contemporary cultural mores and by the personal fetishes of popular fantasy artists (I'm looking at you Elmore, Vallejo, Bell, and Frazetta :smallannoyed: ). These images get popularised through imitation and, like it or not, the oiled-posing-pouch and/or chainmail bikini look have become iconic of our genre.

In recent artwork (*cough* Wayne England wall of action *cough*) this hegemonic ideal has come to mean ripped and mesomorphic - often to the point of absurdity - for males, and either yoga trim or downright scrawny for females (see the 3E and Pathfinder female iconic characters).

The female dwarves in the 4E D&D go some way to catering for the tastes of the woefully under-represented "I like my women like I like my fireplugs" demographic ( :smallwink: ), but the hegemony of absurd sexual dimorphism, now with the added fashionable weeaboo taint of big-eyed bishie and moemoe tastes, endures.

Then again, hey it is fantasy art: who said the people have to look at all realistic? Certainly not Erol Otus. :smallbiggrin:

Keld Denar
2009-02-23, 05:36 PM
but if that's true all across the board, then there must be a whole lot of overweight gamers out there.

This. Lots of this. Seriously, ever been to a D&D Convention? *shudder*

And yea, I'll admit, a lot of it is kinda fanservicy (what? Mialee is HAWT! lulz). Its just kinda the norm. You don't find many Boris Vallejo illustrations that depict unsightly people, because that is not what people pay for. Granted, the artwork is a small part of why one would buy a D&D rule manual (except Complete Scoundrel....Krusk in a pimp cloak 4tw) but its still there, and a part of the game and fantasy in general.

averagejoe
2009-02-23, 05:48 PM
I've always thought about the ideals of beauty and/or masculinity in D&D, and in RPG's in general. Am I the only one who's actually tired of anorexic wizards, buxom warrior women in chainmail bikini's and muscle-bound Conan clones?

No. No you're not.


Me, I've wondered about this often. Part of it is because I have an...appreciation, I suppose you could say, for the overweight female form. As such, the amazons we see on the covers and between the pages of our books doesn't stimulate me in any way. This is part of why I like dwarf women better, since they're always depicted in a much more curvy fashion. A friend of mine is the exact opposite, preferring women who...for lack of a better term, are flat-chested. He actually hates the busty characters we see in most modern fantasies. In fact, all his characters to date have been flat-chested women.

Not for this reason, though. It isn't a matter of the popular tastes and ideals go against mine, it's just that the sexualization of characters as a marketing technique is something that irritates me. Adolescent fantasies are not something I've ever had much patience for, even when I was an adolescent, and I tend to feel they break verisimilitude without really adding anything.

Then again, maybe it is a matter of taste. I, admittedly, find equal amounts of beauty in most people, and I find actual skill, talent, and functionality to be a much better test of worth. I dislike things which are purely decorative, so I guess based on this I'd like to see women who actually look like their adventurers and warriors and not just eye candy. Which isn't to say they can't be pretty, but they should be non-made up, their clothing and hairstyle should be practical, and all that good stuff. Body type and such are, to me, far less important than this.

Tsotha-lanti
2009-02-23, 05:56 PM
You're wondering why commercial products in western society cater to the screwed-up western body-image and beauty ideals?

I'll let Jean Kilbourne (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1993368502337678412&ei=AXc3SbuFJJGQ-QGUlLX1BA&q=killing+us+softly+3) field that.

As for the male characters, they aren't actually sexualized. Big muscles represent power and physical strength - both of which are sexualized, though, but there's a huge and obvious difference there.

Also, "adolescent fantasies" ? Yeah, right.

Urthdigger
2009-02-23, 06:01 PM
I agree with the posters who say it's mostly advertising, for the same reason models go for slim: People who like thin people are the largest demographic. On that subject, while I wouldn't say I have a favoritism towards weighty women, I do think people look better with a little bit of weight to them. If I can see your bones, or you're nothing but muscle wrapped in skin, that looks unnatural to me.

Anyway, when it comes to characters I can say I honestly don't know what any of my party members in any campaign have looked like. Or even my own characters for that matter. For the most part it's irrelevant what your character looks like outside of a few details (Race being a big one, as well as any unique stuff like tattoos). I think for a lot of players, how they look in the game is open to interpretation, if they even care at all.

Lappy9000
2009-02-23, 06:12 PM
If I can see your bones...that looks unnatural to me.Myself and my Gahndi clones are highly, highly offended

:p

TheCountAlucard
2009-02-23, 06:15 PM
Humorously enough, my group has subverted this a little. When one of my players was making his Warlock for my campaign, he asked if he could roll for height and weight. When we did so, the dice determined that he was about six feet tall and weighed about 240 pounds. However, he had put a 10 into his Strength score, so he decided that the Warlock was a little on the portly side.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-23, 06:17 PM
Yeah, I have a plan for a warlock similarly. Backstory's kinda creepy though.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-23, 06:43 PM
You know what else really bugs me? The fact that metabolisms in D&D seem to be ridiculous depending on the race you are. I think the only races where it's okay to be pudgy are dwarves, and maybe humans. Halflings can't be plump anymore, lest the Tolkien estate sues them, I can understand that. But elves? Eladrin? Tieflings? Heck probably even dragonborn too!

While I know the elves and eladrin are based on Tolkien's work, and they were "perfect" (if you've read The Silmarillion, you know they're anything but perfect, at least emotionally and psychologically), this is D&D. Elves and eladrin aren't meant to be the favored race out of all of them. They aren't meant to be perfect. But then it seems that every eladrin and elf out there has the metabolism of a Blissenbach (the Blissenbachs are friends of mine back home, and almost all of them manage to be thin as a rail without even trying.)

The only real reason you don't see bigger tieflings out there is that they're supposed to be the "sexy" race.

And the dragonborn? I really, really don't know what to make of them, to tell you the truth. I think they're a great addition (unlike my brother, who thinks they're a blight on D&D and should never have existed), but I'm not sure where I stand on them in terms of attractiveness.

TheThan
2009-02-23, 06:54 PM
Dwarf male: I like my women like I like my beer, stout and bitter!

Dwarf female: I like my men like I like my beer, dark, and rich!

Starbuck_II
2009-02-23, 07:30 PM
How do I talk about this without sounding like a freak?

Just put one word in front of another without putting a foot in your mouth usually works for me.


What are your thoughts? I know I'm probably skirting close to some sensitive issues here, but I've always wondered why all RPG characters, PC or NPC, have to have perfect bodies in order to be considered worthwhile. Yes, physical strenuousness does guarantee a certain amount of fat-burning, and yes, I can understand a character working themself into a Heracles-like physique (Note that not many "strong" women have bodies like that. I've seen pictures of female body builders, and I don't think they're ugly.) but I can't believe that RPGland is a world where physical perfection is the norm.

I never make perfect bodies meself usually go for the ratio for weight/height I am (5'11 at 190 pounds) for humans and scale appropriately (unless DM makes me roll).

I do find female body builders kinda ugly: not all, but some go too far (same for men).
Now the heavy lifters at the Olympics weren't ugly. But I've seen some people who do too much body building and they look like very much a Cha of -5.

I do appreciate curves, but there are limits. I'm not big on flat chested. I like something there. But then that is due to being raised partly by older brother.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-23, 08:51 PM
I know what you mean there. If someone looks like the only way they could have gotten a body like that was through steroids it looks kind of disturbing.

Prometheus
2009-02-23, 09:14 PM
I find generally that when I try to play old or ugly characters I get complaints from several of the females in the group. Many of my players are even less inclined when I try to put any parameters on them (I once tried to assert that elves weren't in my campaign setting! Oh the folly!) Sometimes it's not always top-down, but also bottom-up.

Generally speaking, the only people in medieval times that were obese or noticeably overweight were those that didn't work and ate plentifully. The only adventurer that would include was one that was a noblemen or one that was a wizard with an instance on being lazy. Not every adventurer, certainly, but you'd imagine that someone who wanted to play either of those characters would most likely be obese to show it.

Marketing has a lot to do with why they don't show overweight characters, but not everything. Heroes are supposed to be ideal representations of human beings, and while I don't think anorexia is appropriate, certainly any degree of overweightness would be a serious excursion into mediocrity. Only when you have the "everyday hero" like Parson from Erfworld do these kinds of traits become a compliment of sorts.

Tsotha-lanti
2009-02-23, 09:18 PM
People who like thin people are the largest demographic.

:smallfurious:

Yes, people develop these "preferences" in a complete vacuum, not at all influenced by advertisement and the (heavily Photoshopped or cleverly shot) images of impossibly thin-yet-curvy models they're bombarded with for their entire lives.

Sure.

And the moon is cheese.


Also, "heavy women are beautiful too!" is no less objectifying. That's not the point! Women don't exist to be attractive and sexual objects. It shouldn't matter if they're thin or fat or neither, ugly or pretty or neither, and there's no real RPG art shouldn't depict real people of both genders (and "conventions of the genre" are no excuse; I'm looking at you, superhero comics and superhero comics games). Holy hell, people.

Good stuff on the subject. (http://kateharding.net/)

Also good stuff. (http://girl-wonder.org/girlsreadcomics/)

Innis Cabal
2009-02-23, 09:18 PM
Do you know how much weight you would lose if you traveled all around the world by foot? How much muscle you'd gain by swinging around a weapon or carrying even more then 40 pounds around all the time?

I'm not saying this as an excuse, but think about what is really going on when your adventuring. Its exercise, alot of it.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-23, 09:28 PM
This is true.

And apparently I'm a male chauvanist pig.

arguskos
2009-02-23, 09:29 PM
This is true.

And apparently I'm a male chauvanist pig.
Welcome to the Club. We've got T-Shirts (but watch out for overzealous men-haters... those sticks they beat us with HURT). :smallwink:

Also, this was a /joking post. Please don't hurt me.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-23, 10:29 PM
Frankly, I think it's impossible for someone to not objectify a member of the opposite gender (or the same, as the case may be). I certainly don't objectify the women I know personally, like my mother, or my female professors and the like, but that's because I know and respect them as people. I don't know if you can call a fantasy a person. And that's what comic-book art and RPG art really are, are fantasies. I mean, would Wonder Woman really have the same readership if she looked real instead of some artist's fantasy?

More to the topic of RPG's I find it odd that while there are fat people of certain races (dwarves, mostly, with the occasional human NPC), the other races seem to have ungodly metabolisms. The most obvious culprits are elves, and the newly created eladrin. Either their metabolisms are so powerful that they don't need to exercise to stay slim, or their traditional diet consists of a celery stick and a glass of water at each meal. Seriously, I know Tolkien's elves, who were the inspiration for D&D's elves and eladrin, had the bodies of gods, but the elves and eladrin of D&D aren't semi-angelic beings (I know that's more of a description of people like Gandalf and Tom Bombadil, but elves were still Tolkien's favorites.)

Tieflings seem to succumb to this too. Aside from a few exceptions I've heard of (all of them individual characters and not representative of the race as a whole) tieflings are mant to be trim too. I think, but I'm not sure, it has to do with them being the "kinky" race. They're meant to be the alluring, exotic people you're told not to like, but you do nonetheless. Though honestly that description applies more to female tieflings, since male tieflings get bony ridges on their face (which I think is actually pretty cool).

Lappy9000
2009-02-23, 10:37 PM
What I find highly amusing is when someone creates a character that doesn't look particularly attractive (or downright ugly, depending on who you ask), but has Charisma out the wazoo. It's always interesting when a far-from-pretty character can win over allies with sheer force of personality.

I personally like flawed characters, or just ones that stick out from the norm. If I ever play a female character, she'll likely be modest-looking and actually wear armor if she's martial. That's why so many women get killed in fantasy. Chainmail Bikinis are not appropiate battle gear.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-23, 10:42 PM
Damn straight it's not appropriate battle gear. I'm planning on adding an interesting little note to a duchess NPC I've created. She's the Commander in Chief of her city-state's army, but she's a politician and not a fighter. She has a chainmail bikini...that she wears when she wants to liven up things in the bedroom with her soon-to-be fiancee.:smallbiggrin:

Mushroom Ninja
2009-02-23, 10:50 PM
Dwarf male: I like my women like I like my beer, stout and bitter!

Dwarf female: I like my men like I like my beer, dark, and rich!

Dragon: I like my dwarves like I like my beer, IN MAH BELLEH!


Back on topic: Yeah, I always find the hypersexualized females in the books somewhat annoying. As much fun as fanservice is, I would prefer that it stay out of my D&D books.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-23, 10:57 PM
Yeah, but if fanservice were not in the books, what sweaty hormone-driven new players would even look at them?

Ascension
2009-02-23, 11:03 PM
It shouldn't matter if they're thin or fat or neither, ugly or pretty or neither, and there's no real RPG art shouldn't depict real people of both genders (and "conventions of the genre" are no excuse; I'm looking at you, superhero comics and superhero comics games). Holy hell, people.

See, I agree that depictions of people in fiction could certainly stand to be diversified, and the association of conventionally ugly people with evil traits is particularly disgusting, but on the other hand I don't think we should disallow the depiction of conventionally attractive people. I mean, sure, body image has been massively warped by the media, but conventional standards of beauty wouldn't have become conventional in the first place without being desirable in some way, and role-playing games, fantasy RPGs in particular, are an escapist pastime, and PCs are generally supposed to be paragons of... heroicness. It doesn't bother me that they're more fit than the standard population, they should be. As Innis Cabal pointed out, the only people who really have an excuse to be out of shape are ones that use magical flight a significant portion of the time, because otherwise the adventurer's life is a highly strenuous one, physically speaking.

Enforcing fatness for adventurers would be just as unrealistic as enforcing anorexic slimness. Just do your best to describe a diverse blend of NPCs and don't worry too much about what sorts of body types your players choose for their characters. Don't read them the riot act if they, horror of horrors, decide to be "beautiful." As long as you ensure the rest of the world is realistic, you've done your job, and hey, maybe eventually they'll catch on and start making more logical characters. Or maybe not, and the PCs will continue being irrationally attractive. Either way they represent only a tiny segment of the campaign setting's population, and a tiny sample defying greater statistical trends is acceptable. Let it slide. Calling out your players as tools of a market-driven society in order to give yourself a smug sense of superiority would just be kind of tacky.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-23, 11:12 PM
I don't know if that's what Tsotha-lanti was saying. I think he was saying that objectifying women regardless of body shape was a stupid idea.

Mushroom Ninja
2009-02-23, 11:15 PM
Yeah, but if fanservice were not in the books, what sweaty hormone-driven new players would even look at them?

Drugs? Rock'n'Roll?

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-23, 11:19 PM
How would those attract new players to D&D though? You can't really put drugs in a D&D book, and the only rock'n'roll in the D&Dverse isn't due for another month or two, if memory serves.

Ascension
2009-02-23, 11:19 PM
I don't know if that's what Tsotha-lanti was saying. I think he was saying that objectifying women regardless of body shape was a stupid idea.

Well, I quickly got off track in my response, yes, but it does seem to me that "no real RPG art shouldn't depict real people of both genders" is pretty much saying there's no room for pretty boys/girls.

Crow
2009-02-23, 11:22 PM
Just popping in to plug my services. See the sig.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-23, 11:22 PM
And I don't deny that they have their place too. After all, you need beautiful people to make ugly people look ugly, right?:smallbiggrin:

ericgrau
2009-02-23, 11:33 PM
I know someone who was thinking of playing a summoner who was as wide as he was tall. His logic was that he always had summons do everything for him so he never had to lift a finger.

But in general I'd save adventurers tend to be fairly physically active so being fit just comes with the trade.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-23, 11:37 PM
Yes, that's already been established.

With the latest backstory I've created, the character's obesity does come from overindulgence, but it stays on because of the unique Infernal pact she's made.

Colmarr
2009-02-23, 11:41 PM
I can say I honestly don't know what any of my party members in any campaign have looked like. Or even my own characters for that matter.

Really?

I have to say that visualising my character is one of the first things I do (usually immediately after determining the characterís stats).

And visualising the other PCs always takes place shortly after the campaign starts. I simply canít put myself into the story until I can mentally ďseeĒ the protagonists.

Which is not to say that the protagonists are always beautifulÖ

Fiery Diamond
2009-02-24, 12:01 AM
:smallfurious:

Yes, people develop these "preferences" in a complete vacuum, not at all influenced by advertisement and the (heavily Photoshopped or cleverly shot) images of impossibly thin-yet-curvy models they're bombarded with for their entire lives.

Sure.

And the moon is cheese.


Also, "heavy women are beautiful too!" is no less objectifying. That's not the point! Women don't exist to be attractive and sexual objects. It shouldn't matter if they're thin or fat or neither, ugly or pretty or neither, and there's no real RPG art shouldn't depict real people of both genders (and "conventions of the genre" are no excuse; I'm looking at you, superhero comics and superhero comics games). Holy hell, people.



I concur. With this whole post. Besides, my fantasy girls have zeh good personality as what makes them so likable, regardless of their physical attractiveness. Objectifying is bad.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-24, 12:03 AM
But it's unavoidable. I mean, most of us have fantasized about the kind of person we'd like to have sex with, and it's often very different from the person we fantasize about marrying, but that's just me.

Dixieboy
2009-02-24, 12:14 AM
Women don't exist to be attractive and sexual objects.

Actually, biologically speaking, they do :smallredface: (Just like men function as the big guy who wins over said objects screws them and moves on, both roles suck and are unrealatable to the society we have build)

And without influence by the media most people would naturally prefer those of average weight over the more heavyset. Whatever you like it or not there is a few things you will naturally look at on a girl: hips, breast and waist, this is to ascertain whether or not she is "Fit for breeding" this is not something you consciously do, yet you do it. (Please forgive me for rambling without a source, which is very, very bad, but i have read books on the subject which all say the same thing, and i do not know the English title of these books and i'm too lazy to find out)

Look at Roman culture, they preferred thin girls with small breasts and wide hips
So did the Greek (Albeit there was less of a focus on smaller breast and smaller waists)
I have yet to see an image of a fat geisha (I apologize for the use of the word fat)

Look at paintings, drawings and statues through time, if something was supposed to be beautiful it was most likely thin (Referring to the female figure)

For the record, my characters are almost always a bit on the heavy side :smallannoyed: (Mebbe reflecting me? Whatever)
I had a character that weighed over 400 lbs, granted he was large size

Reinboom
2009-02-24, 12:17 AM
I mean, would Wonder Woman really have the same readership if she looked real instead of some artist's fantasy?

I think Wonder Woman was a bad choice here.
Note, she's an immortal amazoness who is from a tribe that is eternally blessed with beauty (and various powers).
She defines her own reality which calls for her only to be unnaturally pretty.
:smalltongue:


Damn straight it's not appropriate battle gear. I'm planning on adding an interesting little note to a duchess NPC I've created. She's the Commander in Chief of her city-state's army, but she's a politician and not a fighter. She has a chainmail bikini...that she wears when she wants to liven up things in the bedroom with her soon-to-be fiancee.:smallbiggrin:

Ow... do you realize what that would pinch if it was bedroom made? Ow.
Cloth under it, minimum. I can never see chainmail as the actual bikini though. Just ow.


But it's unavoidable. I mean, most of us have fantasized about the kind of person we'd like to have sex with, and it's often very different from the person we fantasize about marrying, but that's just me.

If the divide was just that, then attacks would be centered on spanking more. As well as various oddities, like catgirls, catboys, or those speaking M&Ms from commericals.


I believe casting ideals effect this more, though, not sure what those ideas are. My acting study is limited to that of 'acting for animation' courses I took, and my film study is almost nil.
What I mean by this is that, look at television or movies. At the people who are cast.
Noting that PCs are the center of a story, a show. There could easily be other types of characters that are chosen, however, players tend to choose what they want to watch/play (or design what they rolled to be such).

Of course, now I might just be talking out of my ear of what I just went in to the other.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-02-24, 12:19 AM
I can't speak for other people's reasoning, but I pretty much only play tall and skinny characters. My heaviest was a Catfolk Warblade at 200 pounds, but even my halflings are 4'. Part of the reason is that I avoid beatsticks, but primarily it is because I can't picture playing something so different from me(6'3", 150). Whenever I think of a character, it starts skinny unless there's a reason to do otherwise.

horseboy
2009-02-24, 12:23 AM
People like to look at fit and good-looking members of their species of whatever sex. That's pretty much a given. Unfortunately there's a stark orthodoxy in fantasy art over what the ideals of fit and good-looking are, this being largely determined largely by contemporary cultural mores and by the personal fetishes of popular fantasy artists (I'm looking at you Elmore, Vallejo, Bell, and Frazetta :smallannoyed: ). These images get popularised through imitation and, like it or not, the oiled-posing-pouch and/or chainmail bikini look have become iconic of our genre.

We can probably add Rob liefeld (http://progressiveboink.com/archive/robliefeld.html) to that list.
I mean, would Wonder Woman really have the same readership if she looked real instead of some artist's fantasy?Depends on how into bondage (http://superdickery.com/index.php?view=article&catid=34%3Asuffering-sappho-index&id=527%3Abest-wonder-woman-bondage-yet&option=com_content&Itemid=24) they are.
What I find highly amusing is when someone creates a character that doesn't look particularly attractive (or downright ugly, depending on who you ask), but has Charisma out the wazoo. It's always interesting when a far-from-pretty character can win over allies with sheer force of personality.I had that happen once. Wanted a big, scary guy but went ahead and rolled randomly for height, build, weight, and appearance stat. It took some finagling but still kinda got what I had planned, thanks to Impressive Scars and Glorious Past. That way he could still, somehow have a patchwork look and still have a 96 Appearance.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-24, 12:25 AM
I think Wonder Woman was a bad choice here.
Note, she's an immortal amazoness who is from a tribe that is eternally blessed with beauty (and various powers).
She defines her own reality which calls for her only to be unnaturally pretty.
:smalltongue:

True. Very true. What'd be a better example then?

Ow... do you realize what that would pinch if it was bedroom made? Ow.
Cloth under it, minimum. I can never see chainmail as the actual bikini though. Just ow.
Yeah, I know. Yes, there'd be cloth under it, more likely something a bit thicker, to keep it from pinching the skin, and it'd likely come off after foreplay. Yes, I know, the chainmail bikini is impractical. That doesn't make it any less funny.

I can't believe I just said that.

If the divide was just that, then attacks would be centered on spanking more. As well as various oddities, like catgirls, catboys, or those speaking M&Ms from commericals.
Buh? :smallconfused:

I believe casting ideals effect this more, though, not sure what those ideas are. My acting study is limited to that of 'acting for animation' courses I took, and my film study is almost nil.
What I mean by this is that, look at television or movies. At the people who are cast.
Noting that PCs are the center of a story, a show. There could easily be other types of characters that are chosen, however, players tend to choose what they want to watch/play (or design what they rolled to be such).

Of course, now I might just be talking out of my ear of what I just went in to the other.
No no. You raise a good point. Though that may simply be an extension of the media's general preference for the beautiful people. *shrug*

Colmarr
2009-02-24, 12:31 AM
Look at Roman culture, they preferred thin girls with small breasts and wide hips
So did the Greek (Albeit there was less of a focus on smaller breast and smaller waists)
I have yet to see an image of a fat geisha (I apologize for the use of the word fat)

Look at paintings, drawings and statues through time, if something was supposed to be beautiful it was most likely thin (Referring to the female figure)

Western renaissance art almost entirely disagrees with you.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-24, 12:32 AM
Could you elaborate please, Colmarr?

Dixieboy
2009-02-24, 12:35 AM
Western renaissance art almost entirely disagrees with you.

Ah, pwned i was, my bad wording has put me down, those girls are however still painted as average/thin Which is what i should've said instead of thin, however my language does not difference between the two and as such i forget such things

http://www.vincesear.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/sacred.JPG This pretty much shows what he means

BEWARE contains bewbies

Reinboom
2009-02-24, 12:48 AM
True. Very true. What'd be a better example then?

Black Cat (http://www.viewaskew.com/kevin/musthave.jpg) would be a good example. Those things would cause so many back problems...

Also, a HUGE note must be given to power girl. However, she 'defines her own' being from Krypton, and kryptonians might just be... ick.
But, ... ew (http://photos1.blogger.com/img/198/4480/400/power%20girl%20bust.jpg).

Colmarr
2009-02-24, 12:49 AM
Could you elaborate please, Colmarr?

Certainly.

During the western renaissance (14th to 17th centuries IIRC), there was a strong trend toward "larger" body types in art, particularly for women.

Note: Some of the art works linked in this post contain nudity (as in common in Renaissance work). Don't click them unless you're willing to see it.

Peter Paul Rubens is the name I personally associate with it most* (eg this painting (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Peter_Paul_Rubens_004.jpg) and Venus at the Mirror (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rubens_Venus_at_a_Mirror_c1615.jpg)) but many of the artists of the time exhibited similar tendencies.

See, for example, Botticelli's La Primavera (http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/botticelli/botticelli.la-primavera.jpg), Titian's Sacred and Profane Love (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tizian_029.jpg) and Francois Clouet's Dame au Bain (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dame_au_bain_Francois_Clouet_end_of_16th_cent ury.jpg).

My point was simply that, contrary to Dixieboy's generalisation, art has not always associated beauty with thinness.

* and it coined the term Rubenesque to describe a woman who was "larger" yet still beautiful.

EDIT: I see Dixieboy has ninja'd me to an extent :smallsmile:

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-24, 12:50 AM
I see.

Well, kind of. I'm not going to deny I find them stimulating...:smallredface:

Dixieboy
2009-02-24, 12:51 AM
I did use the words "Most likely"
And agreed with you i have done.

Though i retain my point

horseboy
2009-02-24, 12:52 AM
No no. You raise a good point. Though that may simply be an extension of the media's general preference for the beautiful people. *shrug*

Then there's William Dafoe and Edward James Olmos. Which does kinda prove the point. They're well known because they're easy to pick out cause, well, they're not pretty boys.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-24, 12:53 AM
Certainly.

During the western renaissance (14th to 17th centuries IIRC), there was a strong trend toward "larger" body types in art, particularly for women.

Note: Some of the art works linked in this post contain nudity (as in common in Renaissance work). Don't click them unless you're willing to see it.

Peter Paul Rubens is the name I personally associate with it most (eg this painting (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Peter_Paul_Rubens_004.jpg) and Venus at the Mirror (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rubens_Venus_at_a_Mirror_c1615.jpg), but many of the artists of the time exhibited similar tendencies.

See, for example, Botticelli's La Primavera (http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/botticelli/botticelli.la-primavera.jpg), Titian's Sacred and Profane Love (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tizian_029.jpg) and Francois Clouet's Dame au Bain (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dame_au_bain_Francois_Clouet_end_of_16th_cent ury.jpg).

My point was simply that, contrary to Dixieboy's generalisation, art has not always associated beauty with thinness.

Ah yes. I wondered if Reubens would show up somehow.

I have been wondering why no one's taken a stab at this particular question though.


More to the topic of RPG's I find it odd that while there are fat people of certain races (dwarves, mostly, with the occasional human NPC), the other races seem to have ungodly metabolisms. The most obvious culprits are elves, and the newly created eladrin. Either their metabolisms are so powerful that they don't need to exercise to stay slim, or their traditional diet consists of a celery stick and a glass of water at each meal. Seriously, I know Tolkien's elves, who were the inspiration for D&D's elves and eladrin, had the bodies of gods, but the elves and eladrin of D&D aren't semi-angelic beings (I know that's more of a description of people like Gandalf and Tom Bombadil, but elves were still Tolkien's favorites.)

Tieflings seem to succumb to this too. Aside from a few exceptions I've heard of (all of them individual characters and not representative of the race as a whole) tieflings are mant to be trim too. I think, but I'm not sure, it has to do with them being the "kinky" race. They're meant to be the alluring, exotic people you're told not to like, but you do nonetheless. Though honestly that description applies more to female tieflings, since male tieflings get bony ridges on their face (which I think is actually pretty cool).

Ascension
2009-02-24, 12:56 AM
My point was simply that, contrary to Dixieboy's generalisation, art has not always associated beauty with thinness.

Those women are still far from corpulent. Anyway, it's my understanding that the idea of plumpness as attractiveness came from the fact that only the wealthy could afford to eat enough and work little enough to stay plump.

Actually, there's another strike against fat characters in typical fantasy settings... anyone not from a wealthy background should probably be more concerned about stat penalties from malnutrition...

Reinboom
2009-02-24, 12:57 AM
Bony ridges on tiefling males faces?
Sexy.
:smalltongue:

Alcopop
2009-02-24, 03:42 AM
:smallfurious:

Also, "heavy women are beautiful too!" is no less objectifying. That's not the point! Women don't exist to be attractive and sexual objects. It shouldn't matter if they're thin or fat or neither, ugly or pretty or neither, and there's no real RPG art shouldn't depict real people of both genders (and "conventions of the genre" are no excuse; I'm looking at you, superhero comics and superhero comics games). Holy hell, people.



I'm sorry, how exactly is "heavy women are beautiful too" objectifying? No where in that statement does it say that "(heavy) Women exist to be sexual objects". It says, Woman of a Heavy body type can be considered attractive (/as well/). It does NOT say that their purpose is to be attractive, or that they are solely attractive and nothing else. Youíre presuming too much.

It's talking about body type and concepts of beauty not people. best to make the distinction.

At OP, I guess it boils down to selling a product, popular "taste" (or at least whatís perceived as popular taste) and convention.

Interestingly we can see a lot of people here whos tastes don't meet this "standard" (for lack of a better word). I for one am more attracted to woman of petite builds.


Ah, pwned i was, my bad wording has put me down, those girls are however still painted as average/thin Which is what i should've said instead of thin, however my language does not difference between the two and as such i forget such things

It has to do with whatís considered healthy, if you were skinny back in those days it means you were poor and badly fed. Being fat these days, as a gross generalization, denote the same things.

Tsotha-lanti
2009-02-24, 07:02 AM
This thread is getting painful to read.


Well, I quickly got off track in my response, yes, but it does seem to me that "no real RPG art shouldn't depict real people of both genders" is pretty much saying there's no room for pretty boys/girls.

"Depict real people" means "no pretty people" ! Your logic is impeccable!


But it's unavoidable. I mean, most of us have fantasized about the kind of person we'd like to have sex with, and it's often very different from the person we fantasize about marrying, but that's just me.

You do not understand the word - and I'm not going to educate you on basic feminist theory in a RPG forum. I provided some good links, which provide more good links, and so on and so on. Alternatively, I suggest googling "feminism 101" and going from there.


I'm sorry, how exactly is "heavy women are beautiful too" objectifying?

It's "as objectifying as" "thin women are beautiful."

It's the idea that women's attractiveness has any sort of inherent value or importance. Beauty as a value is a product of and a contributor to objectification. It doesn't matter whether you say "thin women are beautiful" or "fat women are beautiful", you're still valuing them based on appearance.

By becoming aware that we are all taught to think like this - women and men both - and then realizing the idiocy of it, you can start to contribute, in a small way, to society being less objectifying.

And you cannot talk about people's bodies without talking about people, directly or indirectly - especially in the context of western society, where the word "fat" automatically makes people think of qualities like "stupid", "ugly", "sick", "greedy", and so on. (Excellent post on the subject. (http://kateharding.net/2007/02/27/youre-not-fat/))

Links again (because no, I am not here to educate, I am here to argue points):

http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/
http://kateharding.net/
http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/
http://girl-wonder.org/girlsreadcomics/

Tengu_temp
2009-02-24, 07:37 AM
You can't really put drugs in a D&D book

Man, you don't know? Rub the ink-heavy illustrations and then smell them. Have fun.

Quincunx
2009-02-24, 08:16 AM
Tengu: You are an evil, evil man.

To all those with metal fetishes: Remember, if you must go for the hair-snagging inconvenience of a cold chainmail bikini, make it a) easily removable or b) with strategic cut-outs.

(Robin Hood and Maid Marian embrace)
*CLANG!*
"Oh, that's my chastity belt. It's an Everlast."
". . .I noticed. . ."

--Robin Hood: Men in Tights

dixieboy: In English, you're talking about studies that surveyed male preferences in female waist-hip ratio, studies that linked high estrogen levels (=good breeders) to classic female shapeliness, studies that quantified average attractiveness as. . .well, the averaged face, and beauty as the averaged face with one unusual feature, and so on. The study of the face had the benefit of being repeated across cultures and probably does not have much Western bias.

The venerated heavy figures were Neolithic fertility figures everywhere, the laughing Buddha, Gibson girls of the U.S.A. circa 1900, Central American art of an era I can't remember at the moment, and I'm drifting off topic. Biology told these people to look for the shapely, but culture told them to look for wider versions of that shape.

To those who are artists: Are idealized bodies easier to draw than ones with flaws? At the least, when I search for tutorials on drawing, they focus on drawing a figure slender enough that the prospective artist can see how the skeletal structure influences the drawing. I don't believe it's coincidental that Erfworld over there, with one the highest-caliber artists in my webcomic rounds, is the only one that draws a realistic and overweight protagonist.

I'd love to get into a discussion about my womanly wedding tackle and whether or not you all enjoy it--scratch that, I wouldn't--I'll just say that so far as characters are concerned, I'll only change one major physical characteristic at a time. It's hard enough to think about how the world changes through the mind of a gnome than to think like an exceptionally tall or heavy gnome.

Tequila Sunrise
2009-02-24, 08:44 AM
I've always thought about the ideals of beauty and/or masculinity in D&D, and in RPG's in general. Am I the only one who's actually tired of anorexic wizards, buxom warrior women in chainmail bikini's and muscle-bound Conan clones?
Long story short: archetypes and marketing. The archetypes that involve heavy bodies (Santa-Buddha-Jolly Fat Man) aren't immediately suited to adventuring. Then of course, there's the "sex sells" maxim that's been proven true again and again. Skinny people are in fashion for most people, so any company with half a brain will include skinny people in their product if possible.

Myself, I like curvy women but dwarves don't do anything more for me than bulimic supermodels. For a while I've wanted to play an overweight warrior with self-esteem issues, but somehow it hasn't happened yet.

TS

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-24, 10:14 AM
I know. I have similar plans for a warlock but at the moment I'm still playing tough and lean male paladins.

I visited those feminism sites that have been posted, but so far I still don't understand why this thread is offensive.

Quincunx
2009-02-24, 11:14 AM
Not for the usual reasons, I'm happy to say. The usual way for a thread like this to be a crashing disaster is for someone to say, or use different words but have the train of thought, "I don't like this kind of eye candy! Give me my kind of eye candy!" or "If there are girls here I wanna do them!" or indiscriminate filthy puns and jokes*.

Zousha, you're treading the line near offensive because of your constant use of absolutes ("unavoidable [to fantasize]", "impossible for someone not to objectify", although you've eased off of that in this page of the thread) and are only not being offensive because I've read you elsewhere and know that you're currently incapable of imagining someone else's viewpoint--at least to the point where you understand that your generalizations are your opinions, not axioms. But heck, it is a general problem and not incited by the topic at hand, you are at least thinking about the topic at hand instead of blind acceptance, and this is a roleplaying board--there's few better practice grounds for learning how to think your way into other people's heads.

Oh. Whoops. "Yeah, but if fanservice were not in the books, what sweaty hormone-driven new players would even look at them?" was offensive, yes, and also humorous. It's much easier to get that combination of offensive-yet-humorous when you're aiming it at the majority or the group in power. I'll let a self-identified sweaty, hormone-driven new player drop by and let us know if it was too offensive to be humorous.**

*I'm told this is a bad thing. (look of innocence) (ineffectual one) (/sarcasm)

**The entire post, sans the first footnote, is a sarcasm-free zone, but especially this paragraph is. Just because I think that comment is the way things work here doesn't mean it is.

Fenix_of_Doom
2009-02-24, 11:30 AM
Long story short: archetypes and marketing. The archetypes that involve heavy bodies (Santa-Buddha-Jolly Fat Man) aren't immediately suited to adventuring. Then of course, there's the "sex sells" maxim that's been proven true again and again. Skinny people are in fashion for most people, so any company with half a brain will include skinny people in their product if possible.


It's worse,if you make an ugly(or perceived as) character and print it in a RPG book, you'll get complaints.
See, I think her name was, Mailee. She's the elf wizard from the D&D PHB.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-24, 11:37 AM
So...I'm not being offensive because of content but because I think in absolutes? I think that's true. I certainly didn't start this thread with the intention of offending anyone. I'm sorry.:smallfrown:

Charity
2009-02-24, 11:39 AM
or indiscriminate filthy puns and jokes*

I am like a moth to a candle...

This is a prevelant feature of our society that the cult of youth and overt sexualization has so long been shoved down our throats that we can no longer recognise that it is out of place or indeed that it originated in a head other than our own.
Fight the system date blindfolded.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-24, 11:54 AM
I'm really starting to feel guilty about my preferences. If I can't think about this sort of thing without objectifying women, what does that make me? A piece of ****, that's what it makes me.:smallfrown:

Greenfaun
2009-02-24, 12:00 PM
First of all, I feel no discussion of large women in fantasy art is complete without a link to the art of Jed Dougherty (http://www.jedsart.com/gallery.htm) (NSFW link, many of his paintings are nudes). His fantasy women range from expansively voluptuous to ridiculously muscular, but they're definitely not typical fashion-model types.

As for the issue of portrayal of women in fantasy art, I feel like I could write a long essay, but I'm not going to. I'll keep reading the thread with interest, though, and maybe later I'll have a more organized useful contribution to make to it.

Halaster
2009-02-24, 12:12 PM
To finally address the question why some races can be overweight and others can't, it's more of general point. D&D has way-out-extreme stereotyping of its races. With the exception of humans, who cannot be stereotyped, if only for PC reasons, all races have one culture, one mentality, one body type, one clothing style, one you-name-it.
Sure makes roleplaying easier, but not exactly more diverse. I think this is one of the great weaknesses of fantasy roleplaying. Less fantasy-ish stuff tends to be less heavy on this "one race - one facet" stuff, although, don't get me started on WoDs "Vampires look like they did in life, only they don't eat anymore, so all vampires are all thin and goth-like".

Satyr
2009-02-24, 12:25 PM
So, most fantasy authours (probably rightly) presume that their readers or players are superficial idiots. Is anyone surprised about this?

No, the depiction of characters doesn't make sense. But that is a self-fulfilling prophecy; as most people assume that a certain aestheitc standard includes ridiculous sillouettes or brilliant teeth in fantasy artwork, the assumption of the shallow, superficial customers gets supported and at the same time forms and preserves the public immage, as stupid and artificial as it may be.

Ascension
2009-02-24, 12:33 PM
"Depict real people" means "no pretty people" ! Your logic is impeccable!

My logic was poorly phrased, I'll give you that. The thing is, since you say genre conventions are no excuse, that would mean that an anime-based game's cast shouldn't be bishie, and that a superhero game should feature as many Nite Owls as Batmen. While that's more certainly more realistic, the games we're talking about aren't meant to model realism. If BESM and D&D and Mutants and Masterminds were meant to model reality you'd be absolutely correct, but they're not. You can certainly argue that the genres they're based on are sexist, and you'd be right for the most part, but it's the genres' fault, not the games' fault.

If realism is the goal, then we need to keep setting firmly in mind. Obesity would certainly be a factor in the "realistic" superhero game, but what about medieval fantasy? Unless the introduction of magic has molded a distinctly different society (which is plausible, given Create Food and Drink and similar, but many fantasy games don't bother trying to model the full effects of magic on society) then we're looking at a society where only the wealthy can afford to be obese. The fat warlock and rotund mage I can understand, even a plump bard, and an inactive noble would certainly put on pounds, but the fighting man's continued survival depends on physical fitness. The aforementioned "overweight warrior" wouldn't have self-esteem issues, he would have death issues. The archetypal peasant hero? Likely to be a picture of malnourishment. Let's roll for that, why don't we? Oh, iodine deficiency? Have fun with that goiter, Stabby McFighter.


It's "as objectifying as" "thin women are beautiful."

It's the idea that women's attractiveness has any sort of inherent value or importance. Beauty as a value is a product of and a contributor to objectification. It doesn't matter whether you say "thin women are beautiful" or "fat women are beautiful", you're still valuing them based on appearance.

By becoming aware that we are all taught to think like this - women and men both - and then realizing the idiocy of it, you can start to contribute, in a small way, to society being less objectifying.

I agree with you that it's objectifying, and sexual objectification is objectionable, but my question in response... and a question I haven't seen answered yet in scanning through the sites you linked, is this: What's the alternative? "No women are beautiful"? Followed shortly, no doubt, by "No men are handsome"? I get why it's wrong to appreciate someone based solely on physical beauty, but is it offensive to recognize physical beauty? Can we not appreciate it as a form of beauty? Or is our job not complete until there is no such thing as physical attraction, and we interact solely on intellectual terms? Or is the goal rather to generalize physical attraction to the point where we find any human form "beautiful"? Should be be aiming for "All are beautiful"?

I'm not necessarily trying to argue against you, I'm just trying to grasp your viewpoint. The concept of beauty is so firmly ingrained into the cultural consciousness it's hard for me to visualize a world without it.

valadil
2009-02-24, 12:38 PM
I've always thought about the ideals of beauty and/or masculinity in D&D, and in RPG's in general. Am I the only one who's actually tired of anorexic wizards, buxom warrior women in chainmail bikini's and muscle-bound Conan clones?

Honestly, it seems like almost all RPG characters, regardless of class, race, or any of that stuff, don't have an ounce of fat in their bodies.

Where are you getting the "almost all RPG characters" business? Is it from people you play with or from the pictures in your books? First off, I regularly play old, fat, and just plain fugly characters. If the people you play with are always going with pretty characters, talk to them. Back in high school someone pointed out that all the male characters were between 6'2" and 6'6". I don't think anyone even realized we were doing it, but afterwards our characters became a little more normal vertically.

If your ideas about appearance come from the pictures in source books, I think those pictures represent the stereotype. If I see a book cover with a hulking dude with an axe, a skinny chick with a rapier, and a frail dude with a wand I know what's going on there. I can easily recognize the product they're trying to sell with that sort of imagery. It's just marketing.

Telonius
2009-02-24, 01:28 PM
A decent way to fix this in your campaigns ... use the random height and weight generators in the PHB, perhaps skewing them a little one way or the other.

A decent way to fix this in the marketing... wait till we're in a bit deeper of a recession. If chubby people are seen as rich people, it'll be back in fashion.

Ascension
2009-02-24, 01:39 PM
A decent way to fix this in the marketing... wait till we're in a bit deeper of a recession. If chubby people are seen as rich people, it'll be back in fashion.

But junk food is still cheaper than health food, there are now ways to remain sessile even with a low paying job, and cultural perceptions of beauty give the rich an incentive to maintain their figure. I don't think we'll go back to associating weight with wealth without something really drastic happening to shake society to its foundations.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-24, 01:40 PM
Where are you getting the "almost all RPG characters" business? Is it from people you play with or from the pictures in your books? First off, I regularly play old, fat, and just plain fugly characters. If the people you play with are always going with pretty characters, talk to them. Back in high school someone pointed out that all the male characters were between 6'2" and 6'6". I don't think anyone even realized we were doing it, but afterwards our characters became a little more normal vertically.

If your ideas about appearance come from the pictures in source books, I think those pictures represent the stereotype. If I see a book cover with a hulking dude with an axe, a skinny chick with a rapier, and a frail dude with a wand I know what's going on there. I can easily recognize the product they're trying to sell with that sort of imagery. It's just marketing.

It's kind of both. I agree with what you've said about marketing. That seems to be the prevailing theory.

But if I, who am known by my group to play buff to muscle-bound paladins with hard-to-determine accents, playing a fat warlock girl out of the blue is likely going to draw a lot of stares.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-24, 01:43 PM
But junk food is still cheaper than health food, there are now ways to remain sessile even with a low paying job, and cultural perceptions of beauty give the rich an incentive to maintain their figure. I don't think we'll go back to associating weight with wealth without something really drastic happening to shake society to its foundations.

Actually, from my understanding of the matter it's not so much health food vs. junk food, but rather moderation in portions. Even health food can be bad for you if you have three helpings of it in a single meal.

Ascension
2009-02-24, 02:08 PM
Actually, from my understanding of the matter it's not so much health food vs. junk food, but rather moderation in portions. Even health food can be bad for you if you have three helpings of it in a single meal.

Be that as it may, I still don't think we can draw the conclusion that a poor economy will lead to a thinner America. We'll just buy cheaper food and keep eating as much and keep avoiding exercise like we already do.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-24, 02:11 PM
Too true, Ascension. Too true.

valadil
2009-02-24, 02:24 PM
But if I, who am known by my group to play buff to muscle-bound paladins with hard-to-determine accents, playing a fat warlock girl out of the blue is likely going to draw a lot of stares.

What's wrong with drawing stares? I like my characters to be memorable, don't you?

Actually I don't even think about my character's appearance most of the time. I just make something up when I introduce him. I'd rather think about who he is than what he wears.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-24, 02:26 PM
Yeah, but I myself don't want to be remembered as the group's resident sicko.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-02-24, 02:29 PM
Yeah, but I myself don't want to be remembered as the group's resident sicko.I've played as a bloodthirsty Conanesque Halfling, a necrophiliac undead Dread Necromancer, and a female 10-year old summoner. That group still games with me.

Tengu_temp
2009-02-24, 02:36 PM
It's worse,if you make an ugly(or perceived as) character and print it in a RPG book, you'll get complaints.
See, I think her name was, Mailee. She's the elf wizard from the D&D PHB.

People don't complain about her because she's ugly, people complain about her because elves are supposed to be more attractive than humans on average, while she looks like some bizarre, alien half-cricket thing.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-24, 02:38 PM
I've played as a bloodthirsty Conanesque Halfling, a necrophiliac undead Dread Necromancer, and a female 10-year old summoner. That group still games with me.
So you're group is aware of this and accepts it. So far, all I've ever played with my group has been buff male so vanilla it's not funny paladins with pseudo-European accents (One's supposed to be from our world's version of Austria, and I constantly make him sound like he's Russian, and the other's supposed to be British, but I constantly make him sound Irish. My inability to keep the accents consistent frustrates both myself and my fellow players.)

Tsotha-lanti
2009-02-24, 02:38 PM
I agree with you that it's objectifying, and sexual objectification is objectionable, but my question in response... and a question I haven't seen answered yet in scanning through the sites you linked, is this: What's the alternative? "No women are beautiful"? Followed shortly, no doubt, by "No men are handsome"? I get why it's wrong to appreciate someone based solely on physical beauty, but is it offensive to recognize physical beauty? Can we not appreciate it as a form of beauty? Or is our job not complete until there is no such thing as physical attraction, and we interact solely on intellectual terms? Or is the goal rather to generalize physical attraction to the point where we find any human form "beautiful"? Should be be aiming for "All are beautiful"?

There's two answers, both of which work on their own but also work together, and to which I subscribe:

1. Yes, we should get rid of ideas of human beauty, because it is a heavily loaded concept that carries with it such a burden of twisted and negative and downright evil connotations. The notion that there is such a thing as objective (and thus absolute) beauty, separate from the personal preferences of a viewer, is irrelevant.

2. Beauty should not enter into ... anything meaningful. Even nude art isn't about "beauty" in the sense of depicting swimsuit models, it's about "beauty" in the sense of depicting the human form. Unless you're specifically discussing the attractiveness of a person to yourself (which often gets into objectification all on its own), your opinions on what is and isn't beautiful shouldn't be relevant to anything. It's pretty obvious that how aesthetic you find something really is irrelevant to almost everything meaningful. Beauty is not a value. The corollary, obviously, is that one should not presume others are interested in what they find attractive (and oh so, so many people are, even including many "allies" on feminist forums).

"Recognizing" physical beauty is, in fact, imposing your judgements on someone. Certainly, it's "harmless" in the case of pictures of fictional characters, in that there's no real or concrete victim, but the behavior is still harmful, because it is not limited to pictures of fictional characters.

"All are beautiful" is... well, it's better, in that if the word becomes that broadly applied - actually, really, by everyone - it loses any meaning and any negative connotations. A society where everyone honestly thinks everyone and everything is beautiful could be pretty damn nice, really, but I'm more for the "beauty is irrelevant" approach. Both are as difficult (impossible?) to achieve from where we stand now. My S.O. is the only person whose attractiveness is relevant to my life, and my opinion of it is pretty much independent of their appearance - no matter how they looked, I'd find it beautiful on account of their still that same person. (So, again, the concept really becomes so separate of the actual traditional meanings it might as well be meaningless.)

The second point, really, is more important than the first, because what's key here is awareness of how we are taught to think and how stupid it is.

And yes, it is hard to visualize many sorts of worlds that some feminists think we should strive for. A world without patriarchy is pretty literally impossible to imagine. A world where there never was patriarchy is even more. A world without any sort of repression/oppression/coercion is actually philosophically impossible for me to accept, yet some people think it is an ideal goal.



Incidentally: My own experience (meaningless anecdotes FTW), from playing a text MUSH for over 6 years now, is that almost all characters are attractive, or pictured attractive by the player. The maybe 1/10th of characters who aren't have their ridiculously unattractive appearance as a shtick. Nobody's really plain (except this one character whose shtick was being plain!), and most unattractive characters are ridiculously so - and other players/characters still treat them as if they were attractive or at least of unremarkable appearance, inexplicably. Of course, the sad reality is that 90% of players lack the ability to actually roleplay being attractive, since it requires a pretty special kind of flair when you can't just say "I'm beautiful!" or powerplay to dictate reactions for others.

Weirdly, that parallels anime/manga a lot. Ugly characters are grotesquely, cartoonishly ugly, and it's their entire characterization.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-24, 02:48 PM
I know you're right Tsotha-lanti, but I can't help myself! I surf around DeviantArt to ogle pictures of overweight women, regardless of whether it's fanart or photos or photomanipulations. I've been doing it for years.

How is a perv like me supposed to ignore all the standards I've held since I was a kid and stumbled upon FatLaneOnline?!

Shademan
2009-02-24, 02:50 PM
nice debate going on here I notice... figured I'd just toss in my experiences on RP'ing and weight and beauty.
I rarely play pretty characters, sure that Drow rogue was handsome (I guess, I can't really see ANYTHING attractive about men... but hey) but apart from that, ugly grizzled, plain or simply weird-looking fella's. In a D20 modern game I play(ed) a rather attractive ex-police woman (yes, I went there. I DARE to play females!) but her charisma was low due to some minor...things (heavy drinking, missing the right arm, very angry very often and violent!)

As for weight, my characters are usually skinny and if they are strong they are often stringy, but thats because I'm quite thin meself so I identofy easier with that. I did play a pleasingly plump kobold wizard, and though that campaign didnt last I feel he could be a fun character. Other characters I have usually lack a bit of body fat because they don't eat enuff'. They are lower class after all. But next time i make a character I shall make him big and meaty. Just to sucker-punch conan and wonderwoman in the nether-regions.

Tsotha-lanti
2009-02-24, 02:55 PM
Be that as it may, I still don't think we can draw the conclusion that a poor economy will lead to a thinner America. We'll just buy cheaper food and keep eating as much and keep avoiding exercise like we already do.

McDonald's is one of the few companies whose profits keep increasing despite the world economy.

Draz74
2009-02-24, 02:55 PM
People don't complain about her because she's ugly, people complain about her because elves are supposed to be more attractive than humans on average, while she looks like some bizarre, alien half-cricket thing.

People don't complain about her because elves are supposed to always be attractive; people complain about her because she looks like a half-cricket, AND she wears less than half of the clothing that a real adventurer would find practical.

Scantily clad chicks: shallow, enforcing gamer stereotypes, and hideously impractical (even suicidal) for adventurers. Yet tolerated most of the time because people like looking at them.

Only, Mialee is missing that last part.

If you're going to look like a half-cricket (and who's to say elves don't in some setting?), at least look like a clothed half-cricket. :smallyuk:

Eldariel
2009-02-24, 02:58 PM
See, I think her name was, Mailee. She's the elf wizard from the D&D PHB.

Mialee. And she's a mutant frog.

valadil
2009-02-24, 03:08 PM
Yeah, but I myself don't want to be remembered as the group's resident sicko.

Playing an average or weird looking character makes you a sicko? I know it's an escapist fantasy game, but you don't always have to live up to some ideal. Play a flawed character. Not someone who you'd want to be, just someone whose eyes are interesting to see through for a while.

If the group finds this weird, make up a backstory and say you're playing the character for that story. Maybe your ugly character went off and became a druid because the animals didn't care how he looked. Play the gruff and whiny cleric/fighter who really wanted to be a paladin but didn't have the looks/charisma for it. Those characters are way more interesting (though wangstier) than the ones with perfect herculean physiques.

Shademan
2009-02-24, 04:06 PM
wait! I DID play a extremely charming, dashing Bond-like type of rogue once!
haha, damn could he charm those ladies with his high charisma and Charm skill.
thats right! he was so damn hot he had his own SKILL for it!
Casopartix the goblin... I'll never forget that one.

Alcopop
2009-02-24, 05:14 PM
1. Yes, we should get rid of ideas of human beauty, because it is a heavily loaded concept that carries with it such a burden of twisted and negative and downright evil connotations. The notion that there is such a thing as objective (and thus absolute) beauty, separate from the personal preferences of a viewer, is irrelevant.

2. Beauty should not enter into ... anything meaningful. Even nude art isn't about "beauty" in the sense of depicting swimsuit models, it's about "beauty" in the sense of depicting the human form. Unless you're specifically discussing the attractiveness of a person to yourself (which often gets into objectification all on its own), your opinions on what is and isn't beautiful shouldn't be relevant to anything. It's pretty obvious that how aesthetic you find something really is irrelevant to almost everything meaningful. Beauty is not a value. The corollary, obviously, is that one should not presume others are interested in what they find attractive (and oh so, so many people are, even including many "allies" on feminist forums).

So basically we're ignoring the fact that people ARE physically attracted to each other?

It's like saying sex is a purely spiritual thing or that we can eat and drink air if we believe. it's ungrounded in reality.

I'm afraid this is human nature we're talking about, this is science (aestheticism). And in the cold horrid real world we don't have the luxury to gauge attractiveness solely off ideals of character and personality (as wrong or right as it is.)

I do agree with you that current standards of "attractiveness" are absurdly twisted. however, to condemn your notion of "objectification" is to deny human nature.

I see no issue with judging appearance as long as you don't draw unrelated conclusions from it, or any meaningful values.


I'm really starting to feel guilty about my preferences. If I can't think about this sort of thing without objectifying women, what does that make me? A piece of ****, that's what it makes me.:smallfrown:

There is nothing wrong with what you're doing. as said, it's human to judge attractiveness and there is certainly no crime in having personal taste.


Actually, biologically speaking, they do :smallredface: (Just like men function as the big guy who wins over said objects screws them and moves on, both roles suck and are unrealatable to the society we have build)
size

Exactly, it's unpleasant news but important to consider in debates such as this. We have a grounding as hard wired intelligent animals, we have certain inescapable behaviors. judging attractiveness (Health, vitality, style, fashion and proportion) is part of this.

horseboy
2009-02-24, 05:17 PM
I'm really starting to feel guilty about my preferences. If I can't think about this sort of thing without objectifying women, what does that make me? A piece of ****, that's what it makes me.:smallfrown:No it makes you human. The concepts that feminization strive for are Ideals. Like all Ideals they are ultimately unobtainable. What matters is that they are strived for.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-24, 05:32 PM
Playing an average or weird looking character makes you a sicko? I know it's an escapist fantasy game, but you don't always have to live up to some ideal. Play a flawed character. Not someone who you'd want to be, just someone whose eyes are interesting to see through for a while.

If the group finds this weird, make up a backstory and say you're playing the character for that story. Maybe your ugly character went off and became a druid because the animals didn't care how he looked. Play the gruff and whiny cleric/fighter who really wanted to be a paladin but didn't have the looks/charisma for it. Those characters are way more interesting (though wangstier) than the ones with perfect herculean physiques.

It's not playing an average or weird looking character that I'm worried about. It's about playing a FAT character who is specifically described as such. As Innis Cabal said, the average adventurer gets enough exercise simply by adventuring to stay trim at the very least. If a character is still obese after that kind of a workout, they're either eating more food than is biologically possible to hold in your body, or something is wrong with their body that causes this. Sure, the entire D&D world isn't populated with Conans and Amazons, but if there's one thing this discussion has shown its that there's a reason there aren't fat adventurers. You can't adventure without burning calories.

Incidentally, one of the "paladin" type characters I'm playing is a fighter/cleric. He's the British guy with an Irish accent. The DM has permitted me to take the Knight of Solamnia prestige classes (Knight of the Crown, Knight of the Sword and Knight of the Rose) from the Dragonlance Campaign Setting book. It's for that modern roleplay I was talking about in "[3.5] Justifying Obsolete Combat Styles in the Modern World."

horseboy
2009-02-24, 05:52 PM
It's not playing an average or weird looking character that I'm worried about. It's about playing a FAT character who is specifically described as such. As Innis Cabal said, the average adventurer gets enough exercise simply by adventuring to stay trim at the very least. If a character is still obese after that kind of a workout, they're either eating more food than is biologically possible to hold in your body, or something is wrong with their body that causes this. Sure, the entire D&D world isn't populated with Conans and Amazons, but if there's one thing this discussion has shown its that there's a reason there aren't fat adventurers. You can't adventure without burning calories.
Michael Phelps does consume 12,000 calories a day. I wonder what an adventurer would put away. Given the "standard" PC diet of Meat, cheese and bread (AKA the Out-of-towner Special) you'd think it pretty high.
Pot bellies would be easier, since they're not always caused by eating too much.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-24, 06:42 PM
What do they tend to be caused by? Beer?

MammonAzrael
2009-02-24, 06:56 PM
I only think something would be off if it's a martially oriented character. An obese Wizard is incredibly likely. All they need to do is wiggle their fingers, eat, and sleep. They don't even need to walk thanks to spells like Mount, Fly, Phantom Steed, etc.

Of course, things like Ring of Sustenance could also be part of the reason behind the low-obesity rate of adventurers. The Ring provides them with what their body needs, but not any excess.


What do they tend to be caused by? Beer?

Kingpin-style over developed abs? Maybe they're masters of Sumo?

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-24, 07:13 PM
I only think something would be off if it's a martially oriented character. An obese Wizard is incredibly likely. All they need to do is wiggle their fingers, eat, and sleep. They don't even need to walk thanks to spells like Mount, Fly, Phantom Steed, etc.
True, but don't those take up spell-slots better used for Magic Missiles?

Of course, things like Ring of Sustenance could also be part of the reason behind the low-obesity rate of adventurers. The Ring provides them with what their body needs, but not any excess.
Kind of like lembas?

Kingpin-style over developed abs? Maybe they're masters of Sumo?
The Kingpin's abs have been so many different things I'm not sure WHAT'S goin' on down there!

MammonAzrael
2009-02-24, 07:28 PM
True, but don't those take up spell-slots better used for Magic Missiles?

Eh. If you're reduced to Magic Missiles, then the Wizard that sits there and gets fat is just gonna Rope Trick his way back into his higher level spells. I mean, how much time asleep does the average Rope Tricking Wizard spend?


Kind of like lembas?

Yes, but you don't have to listen to commercials staring an effeminate Orlando Bloom. :smallsmile:


The Kingpin's abs have been so many different things I'm not sure WHAT'S goin' on down there!

And I think we're all better off that way. :smalleek:

Khatoblepas
2009-02-24, 07:31 PM
Of course, things like Ring of Sustenance could also be part of the reason behind the low-obesity rate of adventurers. The Ring provides them with what their body needs, but not any excess.

I'd argue this would be why parties with access to rings of sustenence at high levels would be MORE likely to be overweight. :P.

If the body has what it needs, where's all the calories from royal banquets and Heroes' Feast going? Man, in a party of all clerics and wizards, they ain't walkin' or exerting ANY kind of effort.


True, but don't those take up spell-slots better used for Magic Missiles?

Utility over force, always. Magic Missiles won't act as a magemobile when he's too hurt/tired from study/lazy to get places himself.

Ascension
2009-02-24, 07:36 PM
There's two answers, both of which work on their own but also work together, and to which I subscribe:

1. Yes, we should get rid of ideas of human beauty, because it is a heavily loaded concept that carries with it such a burden of twisted and negative and downright evil connotations. The notion that there is such a thing as objective (and thus absolute) beauty, separate from the personal preferences of a viewer, is irrelevant.

2. Beauty should not enter into ... anything meaningful. Even nude art isn't about "beauty" in the sense of depicting swimsuit models, it's about "beauty" in the sense of depicting the human form.

[...]

"Recognizing" physical beauty is, in fact, imposing your judgements on someone. Certainly, it's "harmless" in the case of pictures of fictional characters, in that there's no real or concrete victim, but the behavior is still harmful, because it is not limited to pictures of fictional characters.

Interesting. I see your point. A society void of discrimination between the "beautiful" and the "ugly" would be a society largely free from the body image issues that plague us today. My primary fear, though, is that if we start striving for a society that doesn't distinguish between "beautiful" and "not beautiful" people, we'll throw the baby out with the bathwater and end up with a society with little appreciation for beauty in anything. Art... architecture... I'm probably just being paranoid, but I'd hate to lose those things.


"All are beautiful" is... well, it's better, in that if the word becomes that broadly applied - actually, really, by everyone - it loses any meaning and any negative connotations. A society where everyone honestly thinks everyone and everything is beautiful could be pretty damn nice, really, but I'm more for the "beauty is irrelevant" approach. Both are as difficult (impossible?) to achieve from where we stand now. My S.O. is the only person whose attractiveness is relevant to my life, and my opinion of it is pretty much independent of their appearance - no matter how they looked, I'd find it beautiful on account of their still that same person. (So, again, the concept really becomes so separate of the actual traditional meanings it might as well be meaningless.)

It's an interesting thought... if our concept of beauty shifted drastically, became more cerebral than physical... I can't help but think that it would likely be accompanied by a shift in the nature of entertainment (certainly advertisement would have to be completely reinvented)... but I also can't help but wonder how long it would last. I'm reminded of the bit from Mill's Utilitarianism, "Men often, from infirmity of character, make their election for the nearer good, though they know it to be the less valuable; and this no less when the choice is between two bodily pleasures, than when it is between bodily and mental. They pursue sensual indulgences to the injury of health, though perfectly aware that health is the greater good." He goes on to say that people who in youth appreciate higher pleasures often "sink into indolence and selfishness" in old age, but adds that "they addict themselves to inferior pleasures not because they deliberately prefer them, but because they are either the only ones to which they have access or the only ones which they are any longer capable of enjoying." In a society striving to focus completely on cerebral pleasures it seems that access to "lower" pleasures would have to be severely limited... as long as humanity can get its jollies from dumb crap it will.

Hmph. This is the annoying thing about reform. Given how firmly entrenched the current cultural norms are, would-be reformers have pretty much got to force an unwilling society to bend to their demands if they want to make any headway.


The second point, really, is more important than the first, because what's key here is awareness of how we are taught to think and how stupid it is.

But awareness alone isn't enough. I can say that the culture I was raised in is stupid, that it has shaped me into something undesirable, but admitting it alone isn't going to change the shape I've been molded in. I can speak all high and mighty now about how sexual objectification is loathsome, but I'm still going to find myself engaging in it. Hell, I'll be honest, I've read erotica today. I certainly regret lusting in the way I often do, but regret alone hasn't been enough to stop me yet. Action needs to be taken... I'm not sure what kind of action, but it needs to be drastic. If society's going to be remolded, well... at the rate it's happening now it'll never come to pass. This change must be a revolutionary change.


And yes, it is hard to visualize many sorts of worlds that some feminists think we should strive for. A world without patriarchy is pretty literally impossible to imagine. A world where there never was patriarchy is even more. A world without any sort of repression/oppression/coercion is actually philosophically impossible for me to accept, yet some people think it is an ideal goal.

And it's even more difficult to envision the means of achieving that goal... or at least more difficult to come up with a realistic way of achieving it. Barring the sort of apocalyptic upheaval that would completely necessitate the total restructuring of society it seems unlikely that much will change... certainly not within our lifetimes.


Incidentally: My own experience (meaningless anecdotes FTW), from playing a text MUSH for over 6 years now, is that almost all characters are attractive, or pictured attractive by the player. The maybe 1/10th of characters who aren't have their ridiculously unattractive appearance as a shtick. Nobody's really plain (except this one character whose shtick was being plain!), and most unattractive characters are ridiculously so - and other players/characters still treat them as if they were attractive or at least of unremarkable appearance, inexplicably. Of course, the sad reality is that 90% of players lack the ability to actually roleplay being attractive, since it requires a pretty special kind of flair when you can't just say "I'm beautiful!" or powerplay to dictate reactions for others.

Emphasis mine. I've noticed this as well, throughout media, especially in terms of protagonists. Protagonists who aren't a young, reasonably attractive, heterosexual male often end up almost entirely built around the ways in which they differ from that norm... She is a female action hero, he is a gay hero, she is an ugly hero, he is an old hero... I'm reminded of a story from when my parents were working in a preschool, they had two students with the same first name, one was white and one was black, but once, when someone called for one of them by first name alone, the question came back "Eric in the red shirt or Eric in the blue shirt?" It has been repeated many times as an example of what we should be striving for in terms of racial equality, but the same basic theme could easily be repeated for gender, sexual orientation, etcetera. We won't be an equal society until white, black, male, female, homosexual, heterosexual etcetera protagonists are all defined by the color of their shirts, so to speak, not by their adherence (or lack of adherence) to some standard heroic archetype.


Weirdly, that parallels anime/manga a lot. Ugly characters are grotesquely, cartoonishly ugly, and it's their entire characterization.

I've seen this most blatantly in the work of Leiji Matsumoto. The bishie members of Captain Harlock's crew and the gonk (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Gonk)ish ones seem to be members of two entirely different species.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-24, 09:14 PM
I've gone back to that backstory I was workin' on a while ago, tweaking it for possible future use. What's bugging me about it though is that it seems too...fanservicey. How can I make this more realistic and less degrading to women?

Abellia Otumbar*, Infernal Tiefling Warlock: Abellia was a relatively well-off young lady. She lived with her parents, Hamnet and Pamina, who were retired adventurers. Hamnet was also a practicing wizard, and had a number of mystical tomes that Abellia often paged through while he taught her the art of magic. One tome had always interested her, containing much information about the Lower Planes, particularly the summoning of devils. Her father had warned her against using the rituals outlined in the book however, since bargaining with the Lower Planes brought nothing but trouble, as he put it.

Abellia heeded her father's advice for the most part, until one fateful night. Her parents were out of town for the week for their annual adventuring party reunion, and decided that Abellia was old enough to be home alone for the week. The first day after they left however, Harold Clay, her boyfriend of three months, broke up with her in a very messy and public manner. He claimed that she wasn't good enough for him anymore, and that he was embarrased to be seen in public with her. Harold was the scion of a rich family in the town, so Abellia couldn't really argue. He always got what he wanted. Almost immediately afterwards he was seen kissing a girl who had a reputation for being shallow and selfish. Harold had only broken up with Abellia because he was bored with her.

This devastated Abellia, who had wanted to find love more than anything, even more than learning magic. She was so distraught that she wasn't thinking clearly, and she decided that since she couldn't cast spells to get back at Harold (her father hadn't taught her any truly useful spells, since she was still in her teens and still a beginner in the mystical arts) she pulled out the Lower Planes tome and opened it to a ritual for summoning fiends. She rifled through her father's labe for the materials she needed. Animal blood, incense, nine tallow candles and a boar's skull. She used the blood to draw the circle with a nine-pointed star in the middle, and placed a candle on each point. She set the skull in the middle, lit the incense and candles, and began to chant.

At first, nothing seemed to happen, but then the room began to get hotter, and the candles burned brighter. Unholy sigils traced themselves onto the boar skull, and it rose in the air. Then it ignited, which startled Abellia, but she didn't beak the chant. She could smell brimstone overtaking the sweet smell of the incense, and then a sickeningly sweet smell overtaking that. Soon, the boar skull was charred to ashes, and out of the ashes rose a figure of a man. "So you are my summoner?" He inquired in a smooth, soft voice.

Abellia was immediately surprised. Instead of some frightening monster of horns and scales, before her stood a tall and very handsome young man. He was dressed in very little, showing an ungodly amount of skin. Abellia was immediately terrified of him, yet attracted to him at the same time. The devil introduced himself as Q'adzag'gonex, and heard Abellia's current problem out. He offered to punish Henry in exchange for her soul, but Abellia was so in awe and yet ashamed of what she'd done that she flat out refused. She figured she was too smart to be tricked out of her soul.

Instead, she simply asked for a sympathetic ear. Q'adzag'gonex wasn't really interested in hearing some slip of a girl's petty woes, but he couldn't leave the summoning circle until she dismissed him, so he agreed. Abellia talked his ear off for nearly half the night, cooing fondly about the romantic times she'd spent with Harold and blubbering about the cruel break-up she had just gone through. By then Q'adzag'gonex was really getting tired of Abellia, but he couldn't just demand to be released. That'd be bad form among devil-kind. So he desperately decided to make her a different offer.

Q'adzag'gonex explained that among the minor dukes and barons of the Nine Hells, of which he was one, there were fiendish nobles whose purpose was to propagate sin among mortals. These fiends were allowed to made a different kind of pact with mortals. Q'adzag'gonex offered to give Abellia the same kind of power he offered her before, but instead of asking for her soul in exchange, the devil instead asked that she become an exemplar of the particular sin he was in charge of. Abellia thought for a long while. Would she really be willing to give her life over to vice for great power? She quickly passed that thought though, since she reasoned that as long as her soul remained hers, she could still atone before death. She didn't even bother to ask the devil which sin he embodied. He was so handsome, she immediately assumed it was Lust, and what was lust, but a natural product of love? She agreed to his terms.

Q'adzag'gonex smiled and vanished, leaving an unsightly burn mark on the floor. Abellia spent the rest of the night cleaning it up and disposing of the evidence of her little summoning. Then she went to bed and slept until noon. She was very tired after the bargaining. But when she awoke, she felt strange. She felt a strange warmth pulsing through her body, and soon discovered she had gained the powers of a warlock! After a few hours of practice, she cast her first Eldritch Blast. But after she managed to cast it, her stomach started growling loudly. She hurried to the kitchen, and somehow, the rest of the day passed by in a blur. When she finally awoke from her dreamlike state, she found herself sitting at the dining table, a stack of empty plates in front of her, and the family's larder empty. Her bloated stomach only confirmed her fears. She'd spent the entire day eating!

The next day was a whirl of activity. She re-stocked the larder, and noticed that Harold and his new arm candy were sniggering at her new paunch. Then, she summoned Q'adzag'gonex again, demanding answers. The devil answered her calmly and applauded her for her good work so far. Q'adzag'gonex explained that the sin he embodied was in fact Gluttony, and Abellia's now voracious appetite was testament to this. She railed at him angrily, demanding that the pact be annulled, or something done about her body. She claimed that no one would ever love her if she ballooned into a fat cow.

Q'adzag'gonex touched her on the lips, shushing her gently. With honeyed words, he said that the pact was binding and completely unbreakable. But he told her not to fear. Anyone truly deserving of her love would look past her body and see the real her underneath. Abellia listened, and her fears were soothed. Q'adzag'gonex made sense, even if his pact had condemned her to a lifetime of hedonism. She accepted her state, but requested one thing of him before she dismissed him. She asked for a kiss, and when the devil complied, it was the most passionate and beautiful kiss she'd ever felt in her life.

* Working name currently.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-24, 11:48 PM
So no one has an opinion?

Tsotha-lanti
2009-02-25, 03:19 AM
So basically we're ignoring the fact that people ARE physically attracted to each other?

Nope.


I'm afraid this is human nature we're talking about, this is science (aestheticism).

Now you're just making things up. There is no such science.


Michael Phelps does consume 12,000 calories a day. I wonder what an adventurer would put away. Given the "standard" PC diet of Meat, cheese and bread (AKA the Out-of-towner Special) you'd think it pretty high.

Real strong people eat a lot, and do not look like bodybuilders. The only way to reduce you body fat that way is to work out obsessively with machines and to have incredibly specific diets with all sorts of dietary supplements (and steroids). Powerful adventurers would, if anything, look more like weightlifters and World's Strongest Man contestants - "fat" on top, but can lift a horse.

Real warriors would not look like either bodybuilders or weightlifters (except the lower weight-class weightlifters, who can be pretty slim). They're not all about muscle mass, they're about skill. Most of my martial arts instructors (with one huge exception) have been either slender or chubby, but because they know how to use their body, they hit very hard indeed.

Heck, even humping 80 pounds of harness strapped on to your body to distribute it evenly is not that big of an achievement - modern soldiers may hump the same weight on marches, hanging almost entirely off their shoulders, which is an awful way to carry things. The main thing here is getting accustomed to it through practice - just like swinging a sword. When you start a weapon-based martial art, the weapon can feel pretty heavy. A few weeks in, with no real increase in actual strength, the weapon will feel way lighter.

Tengu_temp
2009-02-25, 03:27 AM
So no one has an opinion?

If you want to avoid stereotypes about women, give her motivations in life other than love.

Alcopop
2009-02-25, 03:56 AM
Nope.
...


Now you're just making things up. There is no such science.
.
I've heard the term thrown around and used it in haste. Itís more of a branch of philosophy. The applicable sciences would be something like Sociology & Psychology

This however does not affect my points at all; points that apparently you've totally missing, or are at least not responding to. Iím open to what youíre saying and trying to carry on a thoughtful discussion. I would expect one to show the same level of respect instead of merely shrugging off points and attacking irrelevant semantics.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-25, 10:20 AM
If you want to avoid stereotypes about women, give her motivations in life other than love.

I see what you mean. Perhaps she also wants to adventure, like her parents used to? Or is that too cliche as well?

I also need a good excuse for her to do something as rash as summon a devil for a sympathetic ear. Now that I'm looking at it again, she IS acting rather stupid.

Tsotha-lanti
2009-02-25, 11:13 AM
...

I am not the Poster of la Mancha. I do not tilt at strawmen (or respond to blatantly mischaracterizing what I say). Sorry.


I've heard the term thrown around and used it in haste. Itís more of a branch of philosophy. The applicable sciences would be something like Sociology & Psychology

Both of which are "sciences" only in the loosest sense of the word (being that neither really makes predictions), and neither of which purpots to examine any sort of objective "beauty" - they examine how people conceive beauty. Big surprise that sociology does, considering it's a completely subjective socially-created concept.

Quincunx
2009-02-25, 11:36 AM
I am not the Poster of la Mancha. I do not tilt at strawmen (or respond to blatantly mischaracterizing what I say). Sorry.

Sir, you are straining my resolution that nothing is quotable. If that expression should escape my lips at any time in the next two years, you have my permission to thwack me over the head and demand royalties.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-25, 01:17 PM
I see what you mean. Perhaps she also wants to adventure, like her parents used to? Or is that too cliche as well?

I also need a good excuse for her to do something as rash as summon a devil for a sympathetic ear. Now that I'm looking at it again, she IS acting rather stupid.

I'm also pondering having her take "Princess of Hell" as her epic destiny, eventually hitching up with her patron, Q'adzag'gonex and jointly ruling his hellish domain together.

For this to be a plausible direction though, she'd have to spiral further down into debauchery and selfishness, eventually becoming okay with the torture of souls that's par for the course in the Nine Hells. I think that's a bit of a stretch for an Unaligned character, but I don't want her to become Evil either. How would an unaligned "devil" survive in Hell?

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-02-25, 01:26 PM
How would an unaligned "devil" survive in Hell?I hate the 4.0 alignment system, but try this:
Devils and Demons are wasteful. They slaughter, torture, and rape whatever they can get their hands on. Their energies are devoted to expanding their list of victims. She, however, doesn't care about the suffering of others. She simply wants more raw power, and would actively give to charity if it would improve her strength. It's not that she doesn't want to torture, or that she cares about the suffering of others, it's more of an academic exercize for her. She'll torture, or not, as the situation demands, not for her own baser pleasures.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-25, 01:39 PM
Don't devils do so with the express purpose of eventually molding the worthiest of evil souls into new devils? Devils aren't Chaotic Evil, so they'd likely try to keep a record of the souls they have.

And there's who's being tortured to consider. As I said in the backstory, Q'adzag'gonex is a devil associated with the vice of gluttony. Likely the souls that get tortured in his realm were gluttons in life, much like Abellia is becoming because of the nature of her pact.

Alcopop
2009-02-25, 07:48 PM
I am not the Poster of la Mancha. I do not tilt at strawmen (or respond to blatantly mischaracterizing what I say). Sorry.

I apologies for my second post, I certainly did not wish to construct a straw argument and did not give enough consideration to your post.


Here, exactly, is what Iím responding too.


It's the idea that women's attractiveness has any sort of inherent value or importance. Beauty as a value is a product of and a contributor to objectification. It doesn't matter whether you say "thin women are beautiful" or "fat women are beautiful", you're still valuing them based on appearance.

Iím arguing however, that itís inescapable, due to certain fundamental behaviors within people. As long as no meaningful conclusions are drawn from these judgments then I donít see any real ďobjectificationĒ going on. I.E. judging a woman solely off her appearance and thinking her, thusly, as something that only exist for sex.



Both of which are "sciences" only in the loosest sense of the word (being that neither really makes predictions)

More semantics.



and neither of which purpots to examine any sort of objective "beauty" - they examine how people conceive beauty. Big surprise that sociology does, considering it's a completely subjective socially-created concept.


I disagree. While beauty, being the complex thing that it is, should generally be thought of as subjective. These studies look at an objective bases within human nature on concepts of beauty, as relating to sexual attraction. To simplify, what makes a good partner = what we find attractive (though I agree that this has been warped by modern society)

Letís not forget here that we are the human ANIMAL we have instincts and behaviors just like any other creature.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-25, 08:21 PM
I'd rather not get bogged down in feminist debate, if that's alright with everybody. :smallredface:

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-25, 11:04 PM
*whistles shyly*

Sure is quiet here...

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-26, 02:23 PM
I've been thinking about the deal Abellia was offered. I'm thinking the initial offer of "sell your soul for power" would not be something Q'adzag'gonex (Q) would offer Abellia right off the bat. Q wouldn't have gotten to a position of power if he made the same kind of bargains amateur tempters make. Maybe he says right from the beginning that he's not going to ask for her soul, to lull her into a false sense of security. Ultimately, he shouldn't be falling in love with her. He's a devil and devils don't think like that. He's manipulating her soul into Hell because he's angling for advancement, and the fact that Abellia immediately gets promoted to a high-ranking position in Hell right when she arrives is just icing on the cake. He gets a promotion and a powerful soul serving directly under him, and she gains a position of power and authority unlike any other, as well as the attentions of a handsome fiend.

But in the end, Q is only paying attention to her because he wants her soul and is only going through the motions of romance to placate her when she gets upset as well as to keep stringing her along. I'm kind of thinking of the five stages of grief as to how she deals with her problem.

Denial: "I'm not a pig. I can control myself."

Anger: "It's not fair! I can't find happiness like this!"

Bargaining: "Come on, Q! Can't we change the deal a little? I can still eat, but I don't want to look like this forever! Please!"

Depression: "Why was I so stupid! No one's gonna love me, not the way I want to be loved. Everyone who looks at me's either going to pity me or be disgusted!"

Acceptance: "Is this really that bad? I mean, Q's power can let me do whatever I want. If people can't appreciate me, fat and all, they're not worth my time."

Would that be a good way to go?

Also, I've been pondering what else she may do sin-wise between the pact and her epic ascension. I've been pondering the possible angle of taking her own revenge on people like Harold and his new girlfriend. In addition to her own gluttony, Q praises her when she leads other souls down that path as well.

This is a largely self-indulgent idea, I know, but what if her first dark deed after recieving her powers, was to come back to her hometown after Harold and his girl get married, and then she kidnaps them and force-feeds the two of them until they're as big as she as, all the while laughing at their pleas for mercy?

Doomsy
2009-02-26, 07:24 PM
To be brutally honest and to make a point already probably made earlier, adventuring is a hard, physically demanding lifestyle. It demands a certain amount of minimal physical fitness. Given that 'adventuring' includes pitched battles, rough traveling, and general derring-do, if you are badly out of physical shape it will either beat you back into it or you will end up getting eaten by the troll after not beating it in the hundred yard dash to the keep.

With magical aids leisure and the chance for expanding waistlines does improve, but we're still talking minimally fit here. Given the lifestyle, though, 'portly' or 'stout' is probably the best that can be hoped for - and that would probably melt away after a few months on the road.

Of course, none of this is supported by the actual mechanics or system, but we're talking about a game where a single spell can take you from 'dying' to 'punching kobold in the face with no scars or fatigue'. So yeah.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-26, 07:32 PM
That's why Abellia's weight is tied into her pact. A normal warlock would burn calories easily, but because Abellia's pact stipulates that she must become a visual representation of Q'adzag'gonex's particular sin which is gluttony, and so she can't lose whatever weight she's gained, regardless of dieting or exercise.

Tsotha-lanti
2009-02-27, 10:43 AM
To be brutally honest and to make a point already probably made earlier, adventuring is a hard, physically demanding lifestyle. It demands a certain amount of minimal physical fitness. Given that 'adventuring' includes pitched battles, rough traveling, and general derring-do, if you are badly out of physical shape it will either beat you back into it or you will end up getting eaten by the troll after not beating it in the hundred yard dash to the keep.

Yeah, we see this all over D&D. I mean, look at Raistlin-- oh wait. Well, Flint-- er.

Never mind that a minority of RPGs (even fantasy RPGs) actually function around the D&D-style party. That argument doesn't even begin to address any other setup.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-27, 11:01 AM
Exactly, Tsotha.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-27, 03:50 PM
I'm trying to think of gluttonous acts that don't pertain to food that she could to to shake things up a bit.

Also, I've been thinking about the pact some more. Should there be some sort of clause in there about eventually acting as Q's agent in the mortal world? If so, she'd need ways to cause gluttony in others as well.

I think having her corrupt others should be part of the later stages of the deal, maybe when she becomes paragon. How she should corrupt others however, is where I'm getting stuck.

I have this scenario running through my head where she kidnaps her old boyfriend and his wife and force feeds them until they can't walk, but that sounds a little extreme, and isn't so much corrupting them as torturing them. And the time it'd take would probably cut into adventuring. I know I want her to bring obesity down on Harold and the girl he dumped her for. Sort of a "see how you like it?!" sort of thing, even if Harold didn't dump her for that reason and it's just a delusional revenge fantasy. But how to do it without it seeming too much like a poorly-written Dimensions Magazine story?

Quincunx
2009-02-27, 05:26 PM
Why not warp and mangle the connection between the physical and the psychological? Take your insecure woman who conjured a devil just to have a sympathetic ear (which as a concept is just about right--it sounds like adolescence taken to an extreme). Maybe every sweet nothing that's meant to feed her soul and build up her self-esteem feeds her like calories instead because of the diabolic pact. Changing body shape, no traceable reason, even lower self-esteem, more empty words from the devil to soothe that hurt, changing body. . .a lovely feedback loop. Turn that curse backwards and apply it to the snuggly, happy couple, so that they can only survive on the sweet words they say to one another; now separate them for a weekend, then imprison them together. See how happy they are after three days of otherwise empty stomachs! See if they keep feeding one another happiness! Just keep twisting what feeds what. Wizards' minds losing points of INT if they fail to consume tomes of new knowledge--magical beasts starving in the middle of magical zones, devouring all in sight--famine, not just excess.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-28, 02:42 AM
Quincunx, this is exactly what I'm looking for! I like the way you think!:smallamused:

Asbestos
2009-02-28, 03:43 AM
Someone said something about 'science' and 'asthetics'...

Enjoy some wikipedia links, I'm going to bed and may spend time looking up 'more accurate' links later, but these pretty much agree with everything I've learned.

Ladies, its all in the hips... and the waist. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waist-hip_ratio#Attractiveness)

Everything else, its in the machine code of the universe. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_ratio)

Oh, and its good to have your right look like your left too. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symmetry_(physical_attractiveness))

That last link is weaksauce, could use more animal studies, sadly the stalk-eyed fly article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diopsidae) doesn't mention that females prefer symmetrical males to asymmetrical ones, even if the latter have longer eyestalks. Guess I'll go journal diving tomorrow.

Fiery Diamond
2009-02-28, 06:02 PM
Well, this has been interesting.

Shall I give my 2cp?

Ideals are something we should attempt to achieve. Ideals, by their very nature, are impossible to actually achieve. Therefore, stating that an ideal is impossible to achieve does not mean that supporting and encouraging that ideal is foolhardy and somehow wrong.

However...

The elimination of the word beautiful (or the concept) is not something which I consider an ideal. Rather, we should recognize that "physical beauty" is something that is subjective, rather than objective. Additionally, we should strive to not draw conclusions about people based on what we think of how "physically attractive" they are. Rather, how beautiful a human is should be thought of as rather irrelevant to anything else. We should strive to appreciate our fellow humans based on things such as quality of character instead. Beauty isn't something that should be ignored, but rather something that isn't thought to be particularly relevant.

Did that make sense?

Doomsy
2009-02-28, 10:24 PM
Yeah, we see this all over D&D. I mean, look at Raistlin-- oh wait. Well, Flint-- er.

Never mind that a minority of RPGs (even fantasy RPGs) actually function around the D&D-style party. That argument doesn't even begin to address any other setup.

So what are the stats for Raistlin again? If we're going to do this mechanically, we're in for some fun. If we're going to do this nitpicking, we're still in for some fun. My point was that magic allows for the chance to be overweight, not that it would result in it. Most battle ready medieval fantasy characters that actually engage in melee are generally fairly fit. This ranges from Tolkien to A Song of Ice and Fire to most of the genre. I'm not saying it does mean that a magic user will be unfit compared to a knight, but that one role demands a minimal amount of physical prowess and one does not. A wizard could practice fencing, sword fighting, or olympic weight lifting as a hobby if he wanted to. If you want to destroy stereotypes, play a Dolph Lundgren wizard - highly intelligent and built like a monster. It does happen and I'm not saying it does not. It's just highly unlikely that a combat-ready individual is going to be obese. The closest character I can remember to that in a fantasy novel is Fat Belwas(Belbas? Not sure) from A Song Of Ice And Fire.

And he was more like a sumo than actually obese.

I'm not sure where you got 'party mechanics' from, in regards to my post, but I'm not going after your straw man. I was referring to D&D mechanics in particular because that is the most common used in the forum, but most that I have encountered do not really have a fat gain/loss system in place. Maybe FATAL does. Or some others with a laundry list of stats to monitor.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-02-28, 10:32 PM
So what are the stats for Raistlin again? If we're going to do this mechanically, we're in for some fun. If we're going to do this nitpicking, we're still in for some fun. My point was that magic allows for the chance to be overweight, not that it would result in it. Most battle ready medieval fantasy characters that actually engage in melee are generally fairly fit. This ranges from Tolkien to A Song of Ice and Fire to most of the genre. I'm not saying it does mean that a magic user will be unfit compared to a knight, but that one role demands a minimal amount of physical prowess and one does not. A wizard could practice fencing, sword fighting, or olympic weight lifting as a hobby if he wanted to. If you want to destroy stereotypes, play a Dolph Lundgren wizard - highly intelligent and built like a monster. It does happen and I'm not saying it does not. It's just highly unlikely that a combat-ready individual is going to be obese. The closest character I can remember to that in a fantasy novel is Fat Belwas(Belbas? Not sure) from A Song Of Ice And Fire.

And he was more like a sumo than actually obese.

And this is most definately true. That's why I wrote the background with a caster in mind and made obesity a specific item in the pact. She can't lose weight while she still has the pact.

Morrandir
2009-03-01, 02:26 AM
And this is most definately true. That's why I wrote the background with a caster in mind and made obesity a specific item in the pact. She can't lose weight while she still has the pact.

If you intend to have this as one of the conditions, you may want to consider a sort of upper limit on her weight for practicality's sake. If she becomes, ah, "rooted to the spot," shall we say, she becomes fairly useless to... Q, since, well... she has to stay put. Alternatively, if that doesn't become an issue for some reason, her sheer bulk almost definitely would be one.

Just something to keep in mind.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-03-01, 02:57 AM
Yes, I know. Even an FA like me finds immobility not only impractical but disgusting. And as for sheer bulk...thaaaaaaaat's something I still haven't figured out how to implement. :smallredface:

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-03-01, 12:39 PM
How would the stats for 4e deal with obesity anyway? I know that, based on 3e's Deformity (Obese) feat in the Book of Vile Darkness it'd likely have something to do with a high CON (which suits an Infernalock just fine) and a low DEX (not sure how much infernalocks need this).

Asbestos
2009-03-01, 06:19 PM
How would the stats for 4e deal with obesity anyway? I know that, based on 3e's Deformity (Obese) feat in the Book of Vile Darkness it'd likely have something to do with a high CON (which suits an Infernalock just fine) and a low DEX (not sure how much infernalocks need this).

Don't need Dex for anything other than skills and initiative, their Int should be decent enough to give them an ok AC.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-03-01, 08:32 PM
Especially since she's a tiefling, and they get an INT boost. Now all I need is to get a subscription to D&D Insider to see just what the Prince(ss) of Hell Epic Destiny is all about.

dyslexicfaser
2009-03-02, 03:24 AM
I do recall reading once that large muscles are a drawback for a swordfighter. Ideally, you'd want supple muscles; a 'wall of muscle' type character like you see in many fantasy illustrations, Conan for example, might serve well as a brawler, but that's about it.

If anyone knows more on the subject, I'd be happy to be either vindicated or proven wrong.

I believe I'd have to side with FeverFox on the subject of objectification. It's not ideal, but even if you consciously will yourself not to be effected, even if you just note a person's level of subjective, physical attractiveness and then try and move on, a person's first impression is at the physical level. Tsotha-lanti's position is lovely, but... it's a position that I aspire to, but have never managed.

Doomsy
2009-03-02, 06:31 AM
I do recall reading once that large muscles are a drawback for a swordfighter. Ideally, you'd want supple muscles; a 'wall of muscle' type character like you see in many fantasy illustrations, Conan for example, might serve well as a brawler, but that's about it.

If anyone knows more on the subject, I'd be happy to be either vindicated or proven wrong.

I believe I'd have to side with FeverFox on the subject of objectification. It's not ideal, but even if you consciously will yourself not to be effected, even if you just note a person's level of subjective, physical attractiveness and then try and move on, a person's first impression is at the physical level. Tsotha-lanti's position is lovely, but... it's a position that I aspire to, but have never managed.


It does not take that much force to cut someone with a sharp object. Something more like a dancer is more appropriate to fencing and such. When it comes to armored melees, a heavier but not tankish build might help, depending on your weapon choice. Lances, spears, axes, greatswords, and other weapons are basically applying the force across a very small cutting area to sheer through armor, skin, and muscle. Ideally, with bladed weapons, you actually don't want to hit the bone - as was mentioned in Snow Crash, if you get your sword stuck in someones brainpan or thighbone mid battle, chances are his friend is going to come running up to you with that look in his eye and a weapon in hand while you're busy trying to pull your own out. Ideally, you want to hit with enough force to cripple or kill but not cut so deep you get tangled up.

With armored enemies, chainmail on up, you deal with armor that can stop your blows and prevent the cutting edge. Bigger weapons deal with this by applying more force and weight behind a swing to basically crush ribs or flat armor segments. In that case, more muscular power might be more effective, along with its general usage in things like mauls, battle hammers, or just hitting someone with a roofing hammer. Crushing weapons and all.

Roderick_BR
2009-03-02, 08:37 AM
Here, Here. I enjoy variation as well, and has created several kinds of characters, including shorty fighters, overweight wizards, and warrior women that wear actual armor.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-03-02, 11:33 AM
I wasn't really planning on having my warlock get into melee combat. She'd likely prefer hanging back and blasting foes with fire and stuff. Less effort for her and safer too.