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Agrippa
2013-09-07, 06:14 PM
Let's say, hypothetically you enter into a game in which the DM, GM or what ever he, most likely he in this case, has a few house rules. One of them is that no female character may have more than a 16 to Strength before racial bonuses. The rationale is that in real life on human female can every reach the brute strength of men in the top 75%. Would you tolerate this house rule, or just get the hell out?

Kol Korran
2013-09-07, 06:17 PM
that house rule is way not cool, and just the start of a whole lot of other problems. I'd say my goodbyes and leave.

TaiLiu
2013-09-07, 06:18 PM
Oh, no. That sounds terrible.

Terraoblivion
2013-09-07, 06:19 PM
Get the hell out. Seriously, the only reason anybody would do this is blatant sexism. Any appeals to realism are plainly ludicrous given how poor D&D realism is, even before getting into the deliberately fantastic stuff. Not that appeals to realism for enforced gender modifiers is ever appropriate, it's just extra ludicrous in a game where you can stabilize dying people by drowning them or move an item at relativistic speeds simply by passing it along to others.

Also, why would you even ask about the scenario? It's just such an obvious no-no that it shouldn't need asking.

kaminiwa
2013-09-07, 06:29 PM
Also unrealistic: Magic. Any character above maybe 10th level. The entire economy of D&D.

I've never understood the obsession with STR. Why not give men a CON cap since they don't routinely deal with child birth? Do males roll 2d10 instead of 3d6 for intelligence, since men have a wider bell curve on IQ? Are we giving females a +2 to Sense Motive and Bluff?

It's... pretty blatantly sexist when it only cuts one way.

Agrippa
2013-09-07, 06:34 PM
I was inspired by this thread (http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=62831) at Dragonsfoot. Well, by Mjollnir's post to be more precise. Whose views I do not endorse or agree with.

Arbane
2013-09-07, 06:41 PM
In a D&D-type game?

I'm a bad person, so my first impulse would be to play a female, go wizard, dump strength, and break the game in half.

My second impulse would be to play a female drow. (Drow women are taller and stronger than the men, IIRC.)

My third impulse would be to point out that in D&D3, Strength can go from an average on 10 to the mid-30s on a sufficiently twinked-out character. "Realism got left bleeding in the dirt a long way back."

And I guess my zeroth impulse would be to say, "Dude, what? Just....no." Normally, women may be weaker than men on the average, but there's nothing "normal" about player characters, and the female ones can go everywhere, do everything, and kill everyone the menz can.

originalginger
2013-09-07, 06:43 PM
If the DM had a similar cap for male characters in other areas, I am not sure I would be all that upset about it. Say, cap STR and CON at 16 for females, and INT and WIS at 16 for males. Guys are stronger, but girls are smarter. Somewhat sexist, sure, but it would add a level of strategy to choosing the gender of your character.

ALSO that would only be at character creation, if through the course of gaining levels, new abilities, stat bonuses, etc. the female reached 30 INT, so be it.

Black Jester
2013-09-07, 06:45 PM
Depending on the circumstances, the question if there is something of a counterbalancing element, and the amount I think the GM in question is trustworthy not to be a horrible person, well, maybe. It is not a houserule that makes the GM more endearing but it is not necessarily because that is a horrible person; it could be badly understood 'realism'.
It's not like there is no possible reasoning whatsoever why gender-based ability adjustments are necessarily bad, but they have the unfortunate tendency to follow the same tired and usually inappropriate gender stereotypes, but especially in a fantasy setting that is not necessarily so; there is no reason why, for example, female dwarves are significantly stronger and more robust than their male counterparts.
And you could probably use the same (but generally more harmless) cliché argumentation to limit the maximum ability scores of male characters for Wisdom and Charisma to 16 as well. It's not a good houserule by any means, but it is not necessarily an expression of utter misogyny either. If it is, well I would suggest to leave the group.
If it is more like a realism issue, well, you could argue that realism in any game that include flying, fire-breathing newts and you know MAGIC is not one of the most important issues of the game anyway, but if it s somehow important to that game or setting, there are more elegant and less dingy-looking ways to include gender-based adjustments.

Terraoblivion
2013-09-07, 06:47 PM
So how did his views inspire you? To see if there were people out there who might express the same kind of regressive opinions on gender roles?

And originalginger, no, just no. Gender is far too personal and important a subject to make a matter of strategy, not to mention that pretty much any rule you could come up with would just be repeating prejudice and not reflect any kind of reality. Just leave it at equality and back away from the whole issue if you want not to be sexist.

Black Jester
2013-09-07, 06:51 PM
Depending on the circumstances, the question if there is something of a counterbalancing element, and the amount I think the GM in question is trustworthy not to be a horrible person, well, maybe. It is not a houserule that makes the GM more endearing but it is not necessarily because that is a horrible person; it could be badly understood 'realism'.
It's not like there is no possible reasoning whatsoever why gender-based ability adjustments are necessarily bad, but they have the unfortunate tendency to follow the same tired and usually inappropriate gender stereotypes, but especially in a fantasy setting that is not necessarily so; there is no reason why, for example, female dwarves are significantly stronger and more robust than their male counterparts.
And you could probably use the same (but generally more harmless) cliché argumentation to limit the maximum ability scores of male characters for Wisdom and Charisma to 16 as well. It's not a good houserule by any means, but it is not necessarily an expression of utter misogyny either. If it is, well I would suggest to leave the group.
If it is more like a realism issue, well, you could argue that realism in any game that include flying, fire-breathing newts and you know MAGIC is not one of the most important issues of the game anyway, but if it s somehow important to that game or setting, there are more elegant and less dingy-looking ways to include gender-based adjustments.

Agrippa
2013-09-07, 07:00 PM
So how did his views inspire you? To see if there were people out there who might express the same kind of regressive opinions on gender roles?

I wouldn't say that it inspired me in a good way. Frankly I find his house rule on female Strength moronic and abhorent. I was just wondering if anyone here could stomach playing in a game/campaign like that, or if like me they'e just walk right out the door. I was certainly hoping that.

Terraoblivion
2013-09-07, 07:04 PM
I wouldn't say that it inspired me in a good way. Frankly I find his house rule on female Strength moronic and abhorent. I was just wondering if anyone here could stomach playing in a game/campaign like that, or if like me they'e just walk right out the door. I was certainly hoping that.

Ah, okay. So basically what I guessed. And I'd personally say that if somebody doesn't walk out should such a houserule be stated it says some pretty bad things about them.

Coidzor
2013-09-07, 07:04 PM
Let's say, hypothetically you enter into a game in which the DM, GM or what ever he, most likely he in this case, has a few house rules. One of them is that no female character may have more than a 16 to Strength before racial bonuses. The rationale is that in real life on human female can every reach the brute strength of men in the top 75%. Would you tolerate this house rule, or just get the hell out?

I'd take that as a hint that the DM not only doesn't understand real life but also doesn't understand games and as such will have even worse boneheaded decisions and houserules just waiting to be discovered.

So it depends on whether I wanted to plumb the depths of the other person's mind, but if I did play, it wouldn't be for mutual fun, that's for sure.

Black Jester
2013-09-07, 07:30 PM
Ah, okay. So basically what I guessed. And I'd personally say that if somebody doesn't walk out should such a houserule be stated it says some pretty bad things about them.

Am i the only one who think that such a generalizing condemnation is somewhat inappropriate?
Don't get me wrong - i don't think that this rule is a good idea. I wouldn't use something like that in most games*, and I wouldn't recommend it either. Buuut: without knowing were the GM comes from, what is his reasoning and which purpose such a rule could have or if/how it is counterbalanced seems a bit narrow-minded to me. If there is no good reason, yes I agree, it is a stupid and offensive rule - and even then, it might make more sense to discuss this than to just walk out and assuming the worst intentions from anyone.


*: HarnMaster, one of the games I play too rarely has a somewhat comparable effect, whereby a character's Strength is influenced by the size and stature of a character, with taller and broader characters tend to have a higher strength and a lower agility. Male humans tend to be taller and stouter than females. It is not a huge factor, but it exists, and it somewhat mitigates the fact that female characters are otherwise slightly better on average. However, HarnMaster is supposed to be more realistic games than most fantasy games and thus in context, the inclusion of sexual dimorphism actually makes sense; it also really doesn't prevent very physically strong female characters).

valadil
2013-09-07, 07:35 PM
I don't think I would object to a game system that had slightly different rules for male and female characters. Not five minutes ago the wife commented on the American ninja warrior show she was watching, stating that she felt sexist but the women are all at a disadvantage in the show. They're weaker and shorter than the men, and with so many events being jumping and climbing based, that really hurts them. I don't think it's sexism that keeps men and women on separate sports teams past the age of puberty.

But I would object to a GM that used these rules for sexist reasons. Whenever I've seen a GM try to assert this sort of rule it's been for misogynistic reasons. So I don't think I have a problem with the simulationist aspect, but I wouldn't trust that that's all that's going on and it would definitely set off red flags.

I also wouldn't agree with the rule as a D&D mechanic. It's too extreme. A D&D halfling male starts at 25 lbs and a height of 3'4". Their max strength is 16. A human female is on average 2 feet taller and 5 times that weight. There's no way they should have the same strength penalty (well, max strength score) as a halfling. If you wanted to say that women have a -0.2 penalty to their strength, but it's just for flavor and gets rounded off for all practical purposes, that's fine. On a scale of 3-18 though, there aren't enough points to represent the difference.

Finally, D&D is about epic fantasy heroes. If someone wants to be a badass female paladin, more power to them. Why restrict that sort of thing to male characters only?

Terraoblivion
2013-09-07, 07:35 PM
It's silly, sexist and ridiculous and rushing to realism is particularly silly when things like completely incoherent systems of government or economies that barely even exist don't raise an eyebrow. These are far bigger issues than sexual dimorphism and ones that don't carry inherently offensive traits, yet people who want to be "realistic" tend to ignore them in favor of sexual dimorphism or weird insistence that women didn't do anything in the past. Basically, realism isn't a defense when you don't rush to be realistic in far more central aspects and even if you do, being inclusive is more important than modeling this little wrinkle out in exacting detail. Not like other abstractions aren't inherently part of any system anyway.

So, no, I don't care what excuses or counterbalances or similar people might come up with. It's goofy sexism either way. And goofy sexism that doesn't understand how different aspects of human bodies interact at that.

NichG
2013-09-07, 07:36 PM
It'd certainly make me raise an eyebrow and wonder just what the heck is going on with that DM. But would it prevent me from having fun in that game? Who knows. Its more an indicator of weird DMing tendencies and an obsession with minutia and their own internal worldview than an outright 'problem' for me. I'd be concerned about what else the DM is going to do along the same line more than anything else. Moral outrage isn't really a factor for me at all, but bad gaming definitely is.

If nothing else though, there's a high probability that this guy would generate a lot of 'so yeah, I had this absolutely crazy DM...' stories.

Zahhak
2013-09-07, 07:37 PM
If by "tolerate" you mean "physically assault", then yes.

Xzeno
2013-09-07, 07:45 PM
Well, it really depends on exactly what's going on and why.

Is the DM's intent, whether he knows it or not, implicitly sexist and driven by sexist assumptions and values? If not, I think a calm discussion about why it's a bad idea would suffice.

Of course, there's an approximately 0% chance that it isn't being driven by implicit sexism. In my (narrow, non-empirically relevant) experience, whenever someone describes women's role in medieval Europe to justify their fantasy sexism, it is always accompanied by a silent "those were the good ol' days." So I'd say realistically speaking, I'd drop the game immediately, but if the DM was genuinely not doing it for terrible reasons, I'd see if we could come to an agreement.

But I would never actually play the game with the rule in place.

You know, it's funny. I usually DM. After my last campaign, my players commented that they liked how I always did really interesting things with the notion of gender and defied a lot of gender roles. I was surprised, because I do play tabletop games for escapism to some degree, and gender roles are one of the things I seek to escape from. I never think about them much when I run games.

Terraoblivion
2013-09-07, 07:49 PM
Of course, there's an approximately 0% chance that it isn't being driven by implicit sexism. In my (narrow, non-empirically relevant) experience, whenever someone describes women's role in medieval Europe to justify their fantasy sexism, it is always accompanied by a silent "those were the good ol' days." So I'd say realistically speaking, I'd drop the game immediately, but if the DM was genuinely not doing it for terrible reasons, I'd see if we could come to an agreement.

Not to mention that the "medieval" gender roles they describe are a bastardized version of the most oppressive strains of bourgeois, Victorian culture transplanted on top of an agrarian society and not actually anything resembling medieval Europe with its female guildmasters, frequent remarriage and queens serving as regents.

TuggyNE
2013-09-07, 07:56 PM
In isolation, I would probably tolerate this stupid rule, though not silently, and only if I couldn't convince them out of it. It's bad, but it's not, by itself, a deal-breaker. (And Terraoblivion, just because a rule is without merit does not a priori mean it's of enough importance to outweigh any other possible consideration.)

However, in practice, the odds of this being the only problem with the game are rather low, so I doubt I'd stay very long.

obryn
2013-09-07, 08:01 PM
No way. That would send up all kinds of warning signs, to me.

If a player is convinced women should be weak in fantasy elf land, let them be terrible and put a low score in strength.

One of my favorite old school rpgs is called Powers & Perils. It's crazy and I love it anyway. It has actual tables where women have penalties to Strength/Intelligence and bonuses to stamina and empathy. I considered running it for a while because I'm insane, but decided if I did, I'd have to let players pick either column. It's one of those weird historical artifacts and a product of its time, but that doesn't make it cool today. (AD&D limits women to 18/50, for another example.)

-O

originalginger
2013-09-07, 08:05 PM
And originalginger, no, just no. Gender is far too personal and important a subject to make a matter of strategy, not to mention that pretty much any rule you could come up with would just be repeating prejudice and not reflect any kind of reality.

I never said that I necessarily agreed with such a rule, and as a DM, I would never implement a rule that differentiated between genders, my players are allowed gay or transgendered characters if they want, and can play whatever gender they see fit . That said, in fantasy, the worlds are created by gods, and there would be nothing stopping those gods from creating the genders with massive discrepancies in their abilities, and if it has relevance to the world and is implemented with taste, I see no issue with in, at least in principal.

I have done campaigns dealing with racism, religious oppression, slavery, genocide, all kinds of things. In my current campaign, the entire Tiefling race is born into slavery, and has been from time immemorial. Halflings and Gnomes are tribal people, considered by the 'superior races' to be disgusting savages, nothing more than animals and are killed without thought in bids for their land. Dwarves will kill Elves and Eladrin on sight, as well as anyone seen traveling with them, and the Elves and Eladrin will do the same. Sensitive and personal things, difficult subject matter, and other 'taboo' subjects shouldn't be avoided, but they shouldn't be treated with disrespect either. It is all in how it is presented, and the reasons behind it.

Agrippa
2013-09-07, 08:26 PM
Not to mention that the "medieval" gender roles they describe are a bastardized version of the most oppressive strains of bourgeois, Victorian culture transplanted on top of an agrarian society and not actually anything resembling medieval Europe with its female guildmasters, frequent remarriage and queens serving as regents.

Unfortunately most people still go by the wrongheaded Victorian beliefs about the medieval era than actual history. I still don't get why.

Terraoblivion
2013-09-07, 08:35 PM
In isolation, I would probably tolerate this stupid rule, though not silently, and only if I couldn't convince them out of it. It's bad, but it's not, by itself, a deal-breaker. (And Terraoblivion, just because a rule is without merit does not a priori mean it's of enough importance to outweigh any other possible consideration.)

It's not just without merit. It's offensive and it is offensive to a group that happens to include me, so I don't get the privilege of just ignoring it either. Not just that, the kind of person who thinks that it's a good rule is probably the kind of person who holds other offensive views about women and I'm not going to humor, condone or implicitly support that.

SimonMoon6
2013-09-07, 08:37 PM
I'd be okay with "female" being a +0 LA template that provides -2 STR and +2 CHA.

And didn't 1st edition have racial and gender maximums for stats?

Mastikator
2013-09-07, 08:43 PM
Having 18 strength means you can lift 300 lbs (136 kg) over your head. In 2012 Tatiana Kashirina lifted 151 kg over her head in snatch.
That means she needs to have 19 strength according to D&D rules.

In other words that rule is blatantly sexist and unrealistic. The DM is bad and should feel bad. Don't bother trying to reason with this individual, just leave.

Octopode
2013-09-07, 08:49 PM
I'd be okay with "female" being a +0 LA template that provides -2 STR and +2 CHA.

And didn't 1st edition have racial and gender maximums for stats?
So basically, double down on the sexism?

Also, 1st being sexist/speciest doesn't excuse that in the present.

Toy Killer
2013-09-07, 09:15 PM
Honestly, with the prevalence of people picking humans as their race for 3.5 (which, I suppose, is have the point, as humans are usually the most common race), I've started to take a good hard look at racial bonuses (not LA adjusted races, mind you) and wondering if I could easily get away with it being purely cosmetic.

In the nature of this thread, I think it rings very true. Can you seriously say half-orcs are just uglier, stupider and stronger then other people?

Like wise, +/- 2 is a pretty hefty penalty to impose on half of the people in the game world. I can't even justify it for trying to invoke a feeling of a sexist culture, I mean, half the point then would be to prove to those people that they were wrong. You character sheet would immediately prove them right (in a meta sense).

Coidzor
2013-09-07, 09:19 PM
Am i the only one who think that such a generalizing condemnation is somewhat inappropriate?
Don't get me wrong - i don't think that this rule is a good idea. I wouldn't use something like that in most games*, and I wouldn't recommend it either. Buuut: without knowing were the GM comes from, what is his reasoning and which purpose such a rule could have or if/how it is counterbalanced seems a bit narrow-minded to me. If there is no good reason, yes I agree, it is a stupid and offensive rule - and even then, it might make more sense to discuss this than to just walk out and assuming the worst intentions from anyone.

The example comes with a stated reason which is a poor one which reflects poorly upon the hypothetical person making it. It might not be an indication that the person is a horrible misogynist, but it doesn't reflect well on their abilities as a DM or their understanding of gaming for someone to broach the subject in the first place, in general.

Mr.Silver
2013-09-07, 09:26 PM
Besides the obviously sexist generalisations at work in the stats, almost all these rules contain a second, slightly more subtle problem: they treat being male as the default.
The rule in the OP caps female characters' strength instead of raising that of male characters. SimonMoon's formulation goes a step further and makes being female a template, something you have to add on to an otherwise 'normal' (and male) character.



Not to mention that the "medieval" gender roles they describe are a bastardized version of the most oppressive strains of bourgeois, Victorian culture transplanted on top of an agrarian society and not actually anything resembling medieval Europe with its female guildmasters, frequent remarriage and queens serving as regents.
Very true.

TuggyNE
2013-09-07, 09:30 PM
It's not just without merit. It's offensive and it is offensive to a group that happens to include me, so I don't get the privilege of just ignoring it either. Not just that, the kind of person who thinks that it's a good rule is probably the kind of person who holds other offensive views about women and I'm not going to humor, condone or implicitly support that.

I have to admit, I'm not super-great at figuring out what things to be offended by (even if they directly affect me, which of course this doesn't), so I mostly fall back on what things should or should not be. This is something that should not be.

However, I'm not convinced it's quite enough to immediately go all table-flipping raeg; even things that are not just factually incorrect, but really wrong, can vary in priority. And I consider formally noting my disagreement with a stupid houserule to be rather a far cry from condoning it.

That said, the way the DM reacts to the opposition to this is also significant: if someone in the group is (justifiably) offended and upset and considers this unacceptable, does the DM say "my way or the highway" (implicitly or explicitly), or are they willing to compromise a bit? If the former, well, no reason to side with the stupid one if someone's getting kicked out, so I might as well go too (and explain why).

TL/DR: Loyal opposition, up to the point loyalty kicks out.

crayzz
2013-09-07, 09:40 PM
However, I'm not convinced it's quite enough to immediately go all table-flipping raeg; even things that are not just factually incorrect, but really wrong, can vary in priority. And I consider formally noting my disagreement with a stupid houserule to be rather a far cry from condoning it.


a) No one's flipping tables; they're walking out on a game.

b) This sort of thing is a major red flag; even if it's not enough to walk out, it's an indicator that there's more or worse up ahead.

c) "to condone" is to overlook or tolerate. Did you mean "condone" to mean "support"? Even if you note you're disagreement and keep playing, you're still tolerating blatant sexism. It's not the sort of thing that should be tolerated.

Coidzor
2013-09-07, 10:24 PM
Unfortunately most people still go by the wrongheaded Victorian beliefs about the medieval era than actual history. I still don't get why.

A lie travels around the world by the time the truth gets its boots laced up and then once it starts moving the lies are all entrenched and become belief. At least that's my understanding, plus the lies get regurgitated more often than anyone bothers to actually bring up the truth of the matter.

shadow_archmagi
2013-09-07, 10:28 PM
Nope nope nope

DM sounds like poop

Gavran
2013-09-07, 10:56 PM
Sexual dimorphism is a thing. The extent of it depends on the setting, and the setting depends on the DM.

Here's a thought experiment: a fish race where the males are so insignificant that they get absorbed and used as nothing more than extra organs by the females. Is that sexist? No, it's reality and it merely is.

I haven't personally seen research to demonstrate whether men are actually (typically) stronger than women*, so I won't begin to insist it's true - though it has been in my anecdotal experience - but whether or not it is true is completely irrelevant to the fantasy setting where the game is taking place. There is nothing sexist about recognizing sexual dimorphism, and claiming it is sexist when it exists is... hugely irrational.

That said, I personally feel that some choices (gender, race, age) ought to be chosen 100% for RP reasons. Houseruling more mechanical impact on what should be an RP choice definitely bothers me.

*Also worth nothing that my experience (and I presume, that of most others) is biased towards men and women in "average" condition, and doesn't at all suggest that a female has any less potential strength than a man. And indeed, PCs are not average folk. If one were using D&D to attempt to realistically model real life human sexual dimorphism, which is a thoroughly silly perversion of a fantasy storytelling game, then the differences between male and female PCs should probably be insignificant.

Sergeantbrother
2013-09-07, 11:17 PM
I would be fine playing in a game with this rule.

obryn
2013-09-07, 11:19 PM
I haven't personally seen research to demonstrate whether men are actually (typically) stronger than women*, so I won't begin to insist it's true - though it has been in my anecdotal experience - but whether or not it is true is completely irrelevant to the fantasy setting where the game is taking place. There is nothing sexist about recognizing sexual dimorphism, and claiming it is sexist when it exists is... hugely irrational.
What you're missing that we're not talking about the real world. We're talking about magic fantasyland with dragons and fireballs. Those are way less plausible than strong women (who actually exist, btw, in the real world, unlike unicorns).

The sexism argument isn't about some abstract denial of reality. It's about what we want in our elfgame pretend time.

-O

Coidzor
2013-09-07, 11:21 PM
Here's a thought experiment: a fish race where the males are so insignificant that they get absorbed and used as nothing more than extra organs by the females. Is that sexist? No, it's reality and it merely is.

Not much of one, as it lacks parallels and doesn't really translate anything to ruling that women suck. Creating up a fantasy race that does X or Y or Z is within the realm of the expected. Hamfistedly showing that the DM is a misogynist or has internalized enough misogyny that they might as well be an out and out he-man-woman-hater, on the other hand...

Surrealistik
2013-09-07, 11:29 PM
Ah, okay. So basically what I guessed. And I'd personally say that if somebody doesn't walk out should such a houserule be stated it says some pretty bad things about them.

Going a little far I think. If the DM is otherwise skilled, the game mechanics otherwise uncompromised and sexism doesn't materially burden his narrative I don't care; likewise if there are similar retarded/arbitrary caps on male stats.

Granted, if he was a complete stranger, and I had no other information about his views or his capabilities as a DM this would likely give me pause, but realistically I'd probably talk to him first, and/or those otherwise in the know rather than throw up my hands and walk outright.

oudeis
2013-09-07, 11:45 PM
Oh come off it, everybody. Trying to make a simulation system more 'realistic' ≠ 'misogyny'. Nor does it automatically equate to the perhaps more accurate charge of sexism, or Victorian mores, Promise Keeping, opposing reproductive freedoms, or vetoing Lilly Ledbetter legislation, whatever your personal experiences or philosophies might lead you to believe. This DM may very well be all of these things, but until Agrippa provides more details or cites anecdotal evidence of his moral knuckle-walking all this ^ is a little premature.

TuggyNE
2013-09-07, 11:56 PM
a) No one's flipping tables; they're walking out on a game.

Mild hyperbole, since it was elsewhere stated by one poster that anybody who didn't walk out had something wrong with them, and another poster (jokingly?) suggested they would physically assault the DM in question. (Blue text, y'all! It does wonders. Or green text if you actually mean it.)


b) This sort of thing is a major red flag; even if it's not enough to walk out, it's an indicator that there's more or worse up ahead.

Probably. I doubt it would take too long for any such worse effects to show up in the likely case, though, so at that point….


c) "to condone" is to overlook or tolerate. Did you mean "condone" to mean "support"? Even if you note you're disagreement and keep playing, you're still tolerating blatant sexism. It's not the sort of thing that should be tolerated.

More precisely, condoning is overlooking or tolerating without attempting to protest it. It's the act of tacit approval, of allowing something objectionable without remarking on it.

I specifically and repeatedly said that was not something I would do. But there are many problems that are not significant enough to immediately try, condemn, and execute those responsible; there are even many problems that are not significant enough to warrant breaking up friendly gatherings over. I consider this one of them, albeit only by a smallish margin. At the point where the person is knowingly persisting in offending someone, though, there's no real reason to give them any more rope, unless they are (for some strange reason) a quite close friend or something.

obryn
2013-09-07, 11:58 PM
Oh come off it, everybody. Trying to make a simulation system more 'realistic' ≠ 'misogyny'. Nor does it automatically equate to the perhaps more accurate charge of sexism, or Victorian mores, Promise Keeping, opposing reproductive freedoms, or vetoing Lilly Ledbetter legislation, whatever your personal experiences or philosophies might lead you to believe. This DM may very well be all of these things, but until Agrippa provides more details or cites anecdotal evidence of his moral knuckle-walking all this ^ is a little premature.
It kind of is an issue, though? For one reason or another, the DM has chosen to have this rule in place. That's intentional, rather than accidental. And whether it's because he or she believes that strong women can't exceed the D&D strength scale (despite real-world examples of such) or because they think women shouldn't be adventurers, it's an issue of some sort either way.

-O

Fiery Diamond
2013-09-07, 11:59 PM
If by "tolerate" you mean "physically assault", then yes.

This was my reaction, too.

Also, to those who think that we're overreacting: sexism, like racism, is wrong. Like, puppy-kicking sadist levels of wrong. Even giving this hypothetical DM the benefit of the doubt, it means he's internalized enough sexist attitudes to not realize he's being sexist (if, for example, he truly thinks he's doing it for realism purposes in a fantasy game with dragons and magic). Not giving him the benefit of the doubt, he's a complete *******. So no, assuming terrible things about him is not overreacting, it's accurate by definition.

Jade_Dragon
2013-09-08, 12:00 AM
Seems kind of dumb if you ask me. If you start applying things like that to female characters, then you have to start applying similar types of restrictions to male characters. Before you know it, you're just pointlessly generating a million trivial, annoying rules. Also, D&D and other RPGs aren't 100% accurate to RL. I think it's okay to ignore certain things when creating rules.

(Plus it's kind of a dumb thing to do if you ever want to get/keep a girlfriend.:smallwink: Just saying.)

Emmerask
2013-09-08, 12:01 AM
entirely unreasonable imo.

now if it would be a 12 year old boy or girl and he wants an 18 str score to start, that would be something i would talk about with the player ^^

Joe the Rat
2013-09-08, 12:10 AM
Are we playing AD&D? If not, sod off.

If yes, I'll accept the rules-as-written (caps at 17, in case you were curious), but it's still a stupid rule.

obryn
2013-09-08, 12:16 AM
Are we playing AD&D? If not, sod off.

If yes, I'll accept the rules-as-written (caps at 17, in case you were curious), but it's still a stupid rule.
If you're a dwarf or half-elf female, it's 17. For human women, it's 18/50.

This is still besides the point, because nobody has ever played AD&D completely by RAW. (And I tried!)

-O

Vitruviansquid
2013-09-08, 12:18 AM
My reaction to such a proposition would be something like, "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. No." for a variety of reasons.

1. The DM is playing around with the game's rules for the sake of "realism," sends up the red flag that tells me the DM is the type who's okay with making the game rules less fun and interesting for the sake of their vision of "realism," and I don't get along well with those kinds of games.

2. The DM's playing around with the game's rules with no respect for balance. Some characters are getting a penalty without a bonus to make up for it. You could as easily give players the sense that women aren't physically strong by having women characters who aren't physically strong in your campaign - but why not let a player play an *exceptional* woman who is strong?

3. The DM's playing around with the game's rules with apparently no regard for how it will impact player behavior. All this means is that players who want to be strength-based characters won't roll female, or players who want to be female won't roll strength-based characters. Ideally, house rules should make more things viable, more things interesting, or more things fun. This does none of those.

4. Last but not least, the rule's sending a "DM is sexist" red flag up as well. Now I know there's the possibility that a very socially oblivious DM wants to have this rule out of consideration for sexual dimorphism, or who knows what else, but it seems very strange and uncomfortable for me to have a DM make a rule specifically about women's strength and not the uncountable other things I believe would be a bigger issue in a game that shoots for realism.

Tetsubo 57
2013-09-08, 12:30 AM
I would bid that GM a farewell.

Rhynn
2013-09-08, 12:40 AM
And didn't 1st edition have racial and gender maximums for stats?

Yeah. Except for half-orcs, no female demihumans could have Strength 18. (Half-orc males and females are completely equal.) In no ability score do female demi-humans have a higher minimum or maximum: the only difference is lower maximum Strength (by 1 to 3 points; the male/female for dwarves & half-elves is 18/17, elves 18/16, gnomes 18/15, halflings 17/14).

Female humans could have Strength 18/50 (same as male gnomes), while male humans could have 18/00. Only fighters, rangers, and paladins can have Strength 18/01-100.

Scow2
2013-09-08, 12:50 AM
This was my reaction, too.

Also, to those who think that we're overreacting: sexism, like racism, is wrong. Ehh... I'd say it's wrong as long as it's not true. As far as I can tell, it's not true (Or at least not in the manner predicted). There ARE undeniable physical and mental differences between males and females. I am not qualified to say what they mean, though, because it's a lot sketchier (Aside from females having load-distribution issues along the spine males don't, and, without medication, have serious once-a-month problems that screw up the mind and body and are responsible for all sorts of horrific myths. Unfortunately, I'm not as aware if males have any issues as obvious and personality-and-behavior-affecting as the female reproductive cycle's affect on the mind and body)

I need more study in neuropsychology and physiology.

obryn
2013-09-08, 12:58 AM
Ehh... I'd say it's wrong as long as it's not true. As far as I can tell, it's not true (Or at least not in the manner predicted). There ARE undeniable physical and mental differences between males and females. I am not qualified to say what they mean, though, because it's a lot sketchier (Aside from females having load-distribution issues along the spine males don't, and, without medication, have serious once-a-month problems that screw up the mind and body and are responsible for all sorts of horrific myths. Unfortunately, I'm not as aware if males have any issues as obvious and personality-and-behavior-affecting as the female reproductive cycle's affect on the mind and body)

I need more study in neuropsychology and physiology.
What in the world does this have to do with D&D?

-O

Gavran
2013-09-08, 01:05 AM
What you're missing that we're not talking about the real world. We're talking about magic fantasyland with dragons and fireballs. Those are way less plausible than strong women (who actually exist, btw, in the real world, unlike unicorns).

The sexism argument isn't about some abstract denial of reality. It's about what we want in our elfgame pretend time.

-O


whether or not it is true is completely irrelevant to the fantasy setting where the game is taking place.
Precisely. We aren't talking about the real world. Therefore a real world human female has no personal reason to take offense about the stats of pretend world human female. If the DM houserules that human females have less STR than human males, then in that world it is a fact that human females have less STR than human males.

Is it good gameplay? I've already said I don't care for it, because it's neither well thought out nor conducive to the things I value in the game. There are people who really enjoy simulationist things, though, and it is not mine to deny them that.

If said person won't alter the rule if it bothers a player? Then he's probably not that great of a person.

Is it sexism/does agreeing to play by that rule indicate that you're a bad person? Not at all.


Not much of one, as it lacks parallels and doesn't really translate anything to ruling that women suck. Creating up a fantasy race that does X or Y or Z is within the realm of the expected. Hamfistedly showing that the DM is a misogynist or has internalized enough misogyny that they might as well be an out and out he-man-woman-hater, on the other hand...
In a fantasy game, humans are a fantasy race. Can you cleave men in two with a sword? Slay dragons? Cast magic spells? No, because human(real life) != Human(RPG).

Sexual dimorphism exists. It can't be sexist, because sexism is a human concept that has no bearing whatsoever on biology. Being offended by a fantasy portrayal of sexual dimorphism that may even be accurate in reality is absurd. You might as well insist that human females should have Y chromosomes. Equal, but different, y'know?

Ravens_cry
2013-09-08, 01:20 AM
I would certainly try to argue them out of it.
While women do not have the capacity to develop upper body strength the way men do, look at world weight lifting records, that's but one aspect of what Strength usually means in a role playing game. Add magic items/cybernetic enhancements/biological upgrades to the mix and it matters even less.
Most games do not have the granularity for any effect the biological differences in potential to matter.
It's a case of oversimulation (http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=1200) at best.

Rhynn
2013-09-08, 01:30 AM
Precisely. We aren't talking about the real world. Therefore a real world human female has no personal reason to take offense about the stats of pretend world human female. If the DM houserules that human females have less STR than human males, then in that world it is a fact that human females have less STR than human males.

So you're saying that representations in media have no relation to the real world?

I think you lack the background information for this discussion.

The short of it is that women (or people of color, etc., etc.) in media (comics, movies, games, etc.) are representations of women (or people of color, etc., etc.) in the real world, and their portrayal echoes attitudes/memes from the real world as well as reinforces them by repetition.

Gavran
2013-09-08, 01:53 AM
So you're saying that representations in media have no relation to the real world?

I think you lack the background information for this discussion.

The short of it is that women (or people of color, etc., etc.) in media (comics, movies, games, etc.) are representations of women (or people of color, etc., etc.) in the real world, and their portrayal echoes attitudes/memes from the real world as well as reinforces them by repetition.

I'm saying that it upsets me when militant feminists (and supporters of any good cause who go too far) start insulting people who don't agree that the tiniest perceived 'slight' against them is grounds for outrage. It is an absolutely true and sad fact that women (or people of color, etc., etc.) are depicted to be inferior sometimes and it's true that allowing that perpetuates the problem. My stance is not that of misogyny or even anti-feminism. My stance is that sexual dimorphism is not sexism. Further, that it cannot be.

The theoretical DM is short-sighted, kind of bad at making up houserules, and wants to play the game, as the above poster put it, in an overly simulationist kind of way that doesn't appeal to me and many of the other posters here. This is all indicative of exactly one thing: if you don't like it, you should move on. Attacking the moral fiber of the theoretical DM and anyone that would continue to associate with him/her despite the fact that everything about him/her, but this one fact, is completely unknown is a worse crime against humanity than the DM's portrayal of sexual dimorphism is against women.

Edit:
Regardless, this kind of discussion is frowned upon precisely because it can invoke strong, negative feelings and as such I will not be continuing in it. I would, in fact, scrub my posts if not for the fact that doing so feels dishonest.

Coidzor
2013-09-08, 02:26 AM
Precisely. We aren't talking about the real world. Therefore a real world human female has no personal reason to take offense about the stats of pretend world human female. If the DM houserules that human females have less STR than human males, then in that world it is a fact that human females have less STR than human males.

No, it's not quite so cut and dried as you would like to present it. There's parallels, reflections of belief, and all that other fun headology malarkey.


I'm saying that it upsets me when militant feminists (and supporters of any good cause who go too far) start insulting people who don't agree that the tiniest perceived 'slight' against them is grounds for outrage.

Why on earth are you bringing up that kind of thing? It has nothing to do with this discussion. It's even more of a stretch than your rejection of the notion that a person's decision to portray women in X way reflects their attitudes.

Rhynn
2013-09-08, 02:46 AM
I'm saying that it upsets me when militant feminists (and supporters of any good cause who go too far) start insulting people who don't agree that the tiniest perceived 'slight' against them is grounds for outrage.

Shifting goalposts. You go from "there's no reason to be offended/upset" to "the reaction is disproportionate." The first is wrong, the second is a matter of opinion (and privilege).


Therefore a real world human female has no personal reason to take offense about the stats of pretend world human female.

This statement, right here, is very problematic. It trivializes the effect of media on culture and attitudes.

Also, "militant feminists" ? As far as I know, even Cell 16 didn't shoot or bomb anyone. I'm surprised you didn't just go for "feminazis."

Platymus Pus
2013-09-08, 03:13 AM
Gender is far too personal and important a subject to make a matter of strategy.
Succubi are effective for a reason.:smallyuk:
I'd say that giving physical and mental limitations on a person based on gender is too personal.:smallmad:

Gavran
2013-09-08, 03:18 AM
Ugh. I can't ignore posts that are directly to me. If we must continue this, can we do so in PM so that nobody has a reason to take offense?

Militant was hyperbolic, I apologize, but there are people who very much seem to be looking for fights and that was what I was trying to express. As for why I'd bring that up, I suggest you read the entire contents of the thread. I am not here to point fingers, but I would not be in this thread if it contained only polite and personal objections to playing with, or even tolerating the DM.

I did not say the reaction is disproportionate, because I firmly believe the reaction is entirely irrational. If you'd point out what I said that gave you a different impression I will correct it. If it was the quoted text that gave you that impression, note the word "perceived" signifying that I don't recognize it as a true offense. Further, I never said there's no reason, I've said there's no rational reason. Anyone can be upset about whatever they choose.

Since this discussion has begun, I decided to look for studies that attempt to discover the truth of the matter. From what I've read, it seems that men are in fact generally more physically capable than women. Now that I have read of those studies, I believe that. Is anyone offended by that fact, or that I believe it? I'll allow that it's unfair, but it wasn't my decision any more than it was yours. I'll also posit that it's an absolutely wretched tool to measure human value with, and that there is in this male-dominated, fellow-nerd-populated thread, at least one woman with more physical strength than me.

I'm not an enemy, and I'm not ignorant. Neither of you have expressed the tendencies I'm standing in opposition to (attacking the theoretical DM's person/that of those associated.) I don't require that you agree with me that it's irrational to be upset by it. We're not perfectly rational beings. It's when irrational offense turns to misplaced scorn that I can't abide.

DeadMech
2013-09-08, 03:25 AM
This reminds me of the day I felt like I had too much faith in humanity and decided to read the FATAL rulebook for a laugh to correct this. (Mission accomplished)

Are men and women different. Yes. Are men typically stronger than women. Probably. By how much I don't know. Neither do I know if this is biological or behavior in nature. I don't see many high school girls encouraged by peers, role models, parents, or educators to hit the gym in their spare time to lift weights. If they were would the gap between lifting records narrow? Don't know but seems logical.

Even still this isn't real life. This is fantasy. It's one part history, five parts mythology, and add personal creativity to taste. I find the rules of D&D limiting enough on my creativity I don't need this as well.

If I want to play a bearded sorcerer able make international trade deals by day and bend reality by night then no-one should be able to tell me I can't. In the same vein if I want to play an amazon who conquers all that she sees before her by the might of her spear arm then I'm bloody well going to do that as well.

I can't even begin to imagine what my sister would say if she wanted to play something and was told that she couldn't because she's a girl. Because it's not already hard enough to convince women to try out this sort of stuff without penalizing them for it as well.

Zerter
2013-09-08, 03:29 AM
This houserule is pretty stupid, but I don't really have a problem with the sentiment. There are real differences between men and women on several levels and sure, you might decide to reflect this in a role-playing game. Not that one is not equal to the other, just like a Wizard and a Cleric are equal to each other as well, but also different.

Zanos
2013-09-08, 04:01 AM
I think it's interesting that people are drawing are parallel between sexism and racism in this thread when most systems, D&D included, are extremely racist. If you're going to compare sexism and racism, it seems rather hypocritical to be offended that some theoretical fantasy women aren't as strong and not be offended that theoretical fantasy races aren't as smart or strong or wise or whatever.

That said, these are RPG's and typically fantasy ones. Your female fighter/barbarian/wizard/whatever should not be restricted. I don't find the rule offensive, but it's in poor taste and I probably wouldn't play in that campaign world unless it had a lot of redeeming qualities.

Lorsa
2013-09-08, 04:09 AM
If a DM was trying to impose houserules on humans based on skin-color it would be racism. Of course, if there were real-world orcs they might be able to take offense at the rules disadvantages for them.

As for the topic question; what I would like to do is to put him in a cage with Cristiane Justino and have him prove his point.

Felhammer
2013-09-08, 04:16 AM
If you are going to have gender differences then caps are the wrong direction. At character generation, each gender should have a bonus to which ever stat they are better at. For example, males have an easier time at being strong compared to women but some women can become just as strong as even the strongest man. By the same token, women could be far more limber than males but some special men could become the equal of women if they dedicated themselves to the task.

The video game Morrowind did this. IIRC, Breton Males were slower but stronger than Female Bretons. Male Kajiit were stronger but Female Kajiit were hardier. Male Nords had better Endurance, while Female Nords had better Willpower.

The point is that if you are going to do gender differences, then they need to have some kind of balance, otherwise who would play gender X if it was worse in all ways than gender Y?

Yuki Akuma
2013-09-08, 04:19 AM
Short answer: No.

Long answer: Holy **** no.

A better houserule would be to give men a bonus to Strength and women a bonus to Constitution or something (don't even touch mental ability scores, holy crap).

Black Jester
2013-09-08, 04:20 AM
It's silly, sexist and ridiculous and rushing to realism is particularly silly when things like completely incoherent systems of government or economies that barely even exist don't raise an eyebrow.

Yes, if you pick out this specific area to be more 'realistic' than others, that's both suspicious and it is just not a very good rule either
(For a game like HarnMaster where so much attention is given to economic simulation (with an own sourcebook focused on rules to run a small hamlet/ noble manor and articles dedicated to livestock, several crafter's guilds and, of course, households, it's a different matter. That's what I meant with context - in a game like HarnMaster (did I mention that the game uses rules for wound infection and malnutrition?) 'female characters have lower strength' (which in HarnMaster is more a correlation than a direct causal link anyway) is not standing out as a very specifically picked topic; actually the lack of sexual dimorphism as an influence on size would be somewhat suspicious in a game where malnutrition affects it as well. In such a hard simulation within a game (which is basically a tiny niche RPG genre, or when was the last time staple rights of provincial towns or the hoof and mouth disease have been plot-relevant in any campaign you played?)



These are far bigger issues than sexual dimorphism and ones that don't carry inherently offensive traits, yet people who want to be "realistic" tend to ignore them in favor of sexual dimorphism or weird insistence that women didn't do anything in the past.

Yes, but there are also much bigger issues (or at least worse offenders) than a stupid rule like that. Generalization makes it impossible to differentiate, after all. And there is a huge difference between an inconsiderate rule like this and the blatant misogyny of something like FATAL, which I know is a cheap comparison.
Speaking of cheap comparisons, it is a bit like calling any form of authority you disagree with 'fascist'.

Now when it comes to gender roles and who did what in which historical epoch, I'd rather have my Lise Meitners, Grace O'Malleys, Julie La Maupins, Trung Sisters or even Rosa Luxemburgs or any other historical female characters whose awesomeness partially derives from the defiance of traditional gender roles instead of ignoring these obstacles and thus diminishing their achievements. Overcoming sexist prejudices and gender clichés in any setting can be more empowering and more rewarding than the defeat of any dragon and as such is a powerful storytelling device not despite, but because of the relevance of gender issues.

NichG
2013-09-08, 04:27 AM
Let me just point out that 'being offended' is very different from deciding to act on that sentiment. Acting offended tends to solidify views on both sides of a divide - you are sending the message 'I will not accept this' and also telling the other person that you aren't going to budge, which in turn makes them less likely to budge.

'Being offended' serves the purpose that it distinguishes those things important enough to you to make sacrifices for, and mentally prepares you for doing so. 'Acting offended' however, just means that the DM will continue doing what they're doing without you there, and will be left with an impression that helps them separate the world into 'us' and 'them'.

Unless you have the ability to influence large amounts of people by 'acting offended', its rarely a useful response compared to calm discussion.

Gettles
2013-09-08, 05:02 AM
Nope.

1. Do I trust that the DM has the background in biology and history to properly distinguish the differences between between males and females without resorting to half-baked cliches and misogyny? No, I'm assuming he's talking out his ass.

2. You have too much realism in my magical elf game. I really can not think of a single reason that someone would feel that their sense of "realism" is of such importance that they would need to make this rule. Unrealistic things are probably happening all the time, but a woman being stronger than a man is where the cut off point is? It strikes me as odd.

Frozen_Feet
2013-09-08, 05:18 AM
Honestly? I wouldn't even bat an eyelid, and find ~95% of people in this thread to be hilariously sanctimonous and over-reacting.

This is one detail. It isn't enough to judge game as a whole. To use it as a reason to walk off a table is ridiculous.

It's one thing if the game master constantly displays sexism or other disagreaable trait constantly. It's entirely another if the game and/or game system doesn't adhere to political correctness. I'm fine with playing a nazi and joking about gassing jews; that doesn't mean I condone holocaust. This kind of thing is not even a blip on my radar.

Also, I find many counter-arguments towards "realism" to be offensive. This is the general roleplaying forum, not the D&D subforum. You can't use idiosyncracies of one system to state that realism has no place in all games. I've seen and played a lot of games where exaggerated sexual dimorphism is in play, and they still don't come off as sexist or misogynist.

You want an example? Noitahovi ("Court of Witches"), a recent Finnish roleplaying game. It's about a society ruled by a matriarchy. Women hold both mystical and natural power and men are second class citizens. But guess what? Men still get a higher strenght score. I find this detail to enhance the setting - it shows the game's society is not just a mirror-image of some medieval stereotype.

But it's pretty damn hard to argue the game is sexist towards women, when men in the game are only useful for sex and lifting heavy things. :smalltongue:

VariSami
2013-09-08, 05:29 AM
No. Period.

However, IF such a system were to be implemented, how about differentiation between point buy costs? This would in all likelihood be mechanically unbalanced, bringing the argument for gender not being a tactical decision against it. Of course, the ideology behind any such systems still remains questionable as well. IF, however, realism were to be sought without secondary misogynist agendas, it might be one of the better possibilities.

Why? Well, the original supposition in the first post is clearly based on a misunderstanding of statistics, as people have already pointed out. Even if the difference holds on average, it does not create limitations as to what levels any given individual might have. However, there might be genetic (mostly hormonal) differences which make it harder for different genders to achieve given levels in different abilities, and these might be reflected in the statistics, to a degree. Then again, social factors also affect these sorts of things as had been pointed out, and oftentimes it might be nearly impossible to differentiate effectively between the two (one more argument against implementing ANY sort of gender differentiation on a rules level).

However, this was merely a passing thought on the matter. It would still contain all the problems that come from a combination of (even) minimal optimization and different abilities being connected to different classes. Basically, if being an effective female fighter was made harder, players of female characters would probably opt for non-fighter classes, enforcing the stereotype of females as non-fighters. And this would be the fault of the rules which are the primary source of such stereotyping.

Slightly off-topic but relevant in my opinion: How many of you have actually encountered Str 17+ female characters in your games? I think I have used a few as NPCs but they are admittedly a tiny minority. The point here being, even without a rule for such a thing, I would predict that the stereotypes are being upheld to some degree (unconsciously).

Which really makes the habit of a certain friend refreshing. She has admitted to preferring to make dark-skinned, ultra-muscular, tall and bald female fighters online. I hear their existence can cause quite a ruckus, though...

Edit: Frozen_Feet's comment about the comments being D&D-centric has been noted. This is one of those comments, but I would appreciate hearing of story-wise similar stories even though there might not be an actual strength score at play.

Arbane
2013-09-08, 05:48 AM
Of course, if there were real-world orcs they might be able to take offense at the rules disadvantages for them.

We prefer the term "Mordor-American."

Frozen_Feet
2013-09-08, 05:50 AM
Hilariously enough, in my maritime campaign, the wife of our second cleric player character (started as an NPC Fighter, became his henchman) had the highest possible strenght and wisdom... while having lowest possible intelligence.

I used her general obliviousness and infinite good will to explain how she could be such a goody-two-shoes among genocidal maniacs. I also may have played her as something of a dumb blonde. *whistles* In any case, she was the one who carried the battle in many occasions and served as a human shield for her wimpy husband to hide behind.

It was a fun dynamic.

There was another strong (physically) woman earlier in the game - the monstrously strong, boisterous and alcoholic captain of a cargo ship. I had great fun subverting expectations of my players when I introduced her - I made it seem she was a lady in distress with a mob of filthy men harassing her, when in truth those men were her sailors and she was being a jerk towards them, being drunk out of her wit and acting violent.

I loved the expression on my players' faces when the realization hit them.

They: "So this 'helpless lady' is, in fact, the captain of the ship we're trying to get to?"
Me: "Yes."
They: "God pity us all."

I've also played many female characters myself who were unexpectedly strong - my avatar is of one such character.

Dovius
2013-09-08, 06:38 AM
Seeing as my favourite character up to this point was a 7ft female Fighter who could bench-press the rest of the party if she felt like it: no, screw that rule.

Also, the real life justification is total bull****. You're playing a game in a world with magic, physics-breaking beings and laws of reality explicitly only subject to the whims of the person controlling the game; why the f*ck wouldn't women be able to get that strong?

JadedDM
2013-09-08, 06:40 AM
I've learned the hard way that any DMs that employs such a rule are likely to be rather sexist themselves.

Or to put it in another way, I personally have never gamed with a DM who used such a rule and didn't turn out to be sexist.

So yeah, I'd walk; even if I had no intention of playing a woman character, even if all the players and their characters were men, I'd still walk because it's a huge red flag that you're likely dealing with a bigot.

And who wants to ruin their fun pretend times game with bigotry?

Personally, I've made every effort to remove the patriarchy from my homebrewed setting. And as a privileged cis-gendered male, it has not been easy. Every time I think I've eradicated it all, I later discovered that nope, there's still some left.

Still, it's getting there. I want anyone and everyone to feel welcome in my games, regardless of their race, sex, gender, or whatever.

Aasimar
2013-09-08, 07:39 AM
I would not.

comicshorse
2013-09-08, 07:41 AM
It's a warning sign but that on its own. No, of course not

Haarkla
2013-09-08, 07:44 AM
Would you tolerate a DM who places Strength caps on female characters?
Yes. If that's your biggest problem with your DM, get gaming. Gygax himself used such a rule.

Personally I have never found the need for such a rule, as players tend to give female characters a lower strength score, on average, even without a specific rule.

Frozen_Feet
2013-09-08, 07:45 AM
You're playing a game in a world with magic, physics-breaking beings and laws of reality explicitly only subject to the whims of the person controlling the game...

But what if you aren't?

That is the prime problem with "realism has no place in games!" argument. The second problem is that sexual dimorphism isn't always about realism.

In my setting, humans are different. There are at least four distinct subspecies with differences as great as neanderthals and cro-magnons. These differences are based on real, researched differences between ancestral strains of human, albeit exaggarated for purposes of the game. Does this lead to conclusions that are not always politically correct? Yes. But if you take offense to that, you're missing the god-damn point. Examining societal implications of those exaggarated traits form majority of the roleplaying part of the game.

Same goes for Conan d20, or Noitahovi. Are settings of those games horribly sexist and occasionally racist? Sure. But they're that on purpose. The purpose of Conan d20 is to model the world of Conan the Barbarian short stories, which was violent, miserable and politically incorrect in every respect; trying to clean that away would be injustice to the source material. Noitahovi, meanwhile, is about turning many male-dominated fantasy tropes on their head, but it's not an inversion. It seeks to create an authentic, obviously historically inspired setting where women are in power despite biology being just the same, not because some arbitrary "women can be just as good!" sentiment. In fact, Noitahovi's setting couldn't exist under such sentiment. It relies on the thoughts that men are physically more imposing, but it's women who hold spiritual and social power, while men are impotent in those.

I'm sorry, but this whole "I want everyone to be welcome to my table" undercurrent running through this thread stinks of political correctness. Smoothing over inequalities and evils of fictional settings in order to make people "happier" precludes a metric ton of possible settings, scenarios and roles. It flat-out prevents serious examination of social ills through roleplaying.

I understand if that's not what everyone wants to play. Nazi jokes and dead baby comedy are not a thing for everyone either. But I, at least, can distance myself from fictional events to the point where I can laugh with the audience at jokes aimed specifically towards making me feel bad. I read Sinfest, after all, and still enjoy it. :smalltongue:

AttilaTheGeek
2013-09-08, 07:46 AM
No! What?! No! I don't understand how anyone could ever think it's okay to give women a completely arbitrary penalty just for being women.

Edit to add: That's like saying "anyone who wants to play a person of color takes a -2 Charisma penalty". It is absolutely not okay.

Frozen_Feet
2013-09-08, 07:53 AM
No! What?! No! I don't understand how anyone could ever think it's okay to give women a completely arbitrary penalty just for being women.

But it's not arbitrary. In real life, women as overwhelming trend are physically weaker than men, to the point they have different standards for fitness tests and excersice regimens.

That is the rationale given in the original post; if you deny that, you are denying reality. The core complaint through this thread has been that "reality" has no place in unrealistic games, which I contest as well.

Are there, in real life, women who are stronger than some men? Certainly. But the maximum strenght records for women and men are still far apart. That is a fact, absent of any value judgement whatsoever. The core fallacy underlying this thread is that anyone who introduces rules like this is automatically making a value judgement about female characters, which isn't necessarily the case.

zlefin
2013-09-08, 08:01 AM
the first page is full of such foolish hate and vitriol.
I'd ask the DM why he has such a rule, and his rules history is.
These days, such rules are very uncommon in games.
However IIRC, in older games they often existed. I believe different strength caps were in the old AD&D, which version i'm not sure exactly, but some books I have from the 80s or so.
They are also sometimes found in older games from the 80s/early 90s.
If his play experience goes back that far, he might just be using such rules as a continuation.
I'd insist that for game balance reasons, they receive some compensation for such a limit.
I would also note that the rule should consider species variations in sexual dimorphism as well.

Craft (Cheese)
2013-09-08, 08:22 AM
Let's say, hypothetically you enter into a game in which the DM, GM or what ever he, most likely he in this case, has a few house rules. One of them is that no female character may have more than a 16 to Strength before racial bonuses. The rationale is that in real life on human female can every reach the brute strength of men in the top 75%. Would you tolerate this house rule, or just get the hell out?

Nitpick: If that 75% statistic is true (probably isn't), then mathematically speaking they should be capped at 12 STR, not 16.


As for the thread topic, I'm gonna go against the grain and say: Yes, with caveats. I'd argue with them about it, sure, but if that was the only problem I had with their game then it wouldn't be a deal-breaker. It is a red flag though, so I'd be cautious about joining a game where the DM advertised this "feature", but if the game otherwise sounded cool then I'd at least give it a chance.


Now, if the DM let his sexism unfairly abuse my character in other ways, that's a different story. A STR cap is peanuts compared to some other dumbass things, like:

"Female PCs exist to be kidnapped by the bad guys and then rescued by the male PCs. Enjoy spending each session locked in a dungeon somewhere and watching everyone else play as they try to rescue you. No, you can't try to break out yourself. Why are you upset? I thought girls loved being the center of attention."

"If for some strange reason you're actually adventuring with the rest of the party, Female PCs are sacks of imaginary flesh I can use to enact my fantasies. All NPCs will attempt to kiss/grope/rape you, especially monsters. I will describe in detail how the traps rip/burn off your clothes. Also, every female NPC in the world is a lesbian. Just wait until I bring in an NPC who can cast Dominate Person, no saving throw!"


(Hyperbolizing a bit, but I actually saw this mentality when I made the mistake of letting my boyfriend's 12-year old nephew DM for us. Had to cut the session short and have a very, very long talk with his mother afterward. But that's a story for another day.)

Jalor
2013-09-08, 08:22 AM
No.

A -4 Str thread? On GiantITP? What, am I going to go on /tg/ and see threads about how Nale/Tarquin/Belkar aren't really evil?

awa
2013-09-08, 08:32 AM
personally for humans in d&d with its narrow ability range i consider it unnecessary at best. (for non humans with extreme sexual dimorphism i have no problem with it.)

What i strongly disagree with is the idea that if this one thing is unrealistic (like throwing fireballs) Then no other attempts at realism should be attempted i never understood that mentality and it bugs me quite a bit.

Black Jester
2013-09-08, 08:37 AM
Which really makes the habit of a certain friend refreshing. She has admitted to preferring to make dark-skinned, ultra-muscular, tall and bald female fighters online. I hear their existence can cause quite a ruckus, though...


In my usual go-to Werewolf group, one of the PCs - and the pack leader no less - pretty much follows the same description - except the bald part, and the part that brings her from 'really strong' to 'inhumanly strong' is based on exploiting an underpriced merit, but otherwise she is outstanding
...and most of the drama of the character comes from the dysfunctional relationship between her and her daughter (also a PC, but very much not the ultraviolent type) and her steady moral decline towards the end justify any means. Her physical strength and combat prowess was impressive, but it was not what made the character outstanding (especially not in Werewolf game, because, well they are werewolves. They are supposed to beat up Cthulhu and take his lunch money. In mid "level" game.)


Yes strong (both physically and metaphorically) female characters are awesome and can be incredibly interesting, fascinating and rewarding to play or to play with (I use ' I really enjoy to play with you(r character)' basically as the highest praise for any other player (or character)). But it is not like every female character must be strong or tough or even particularly smart to be impressive or interesting. I'd rather have strong and weak female characters and those who are neither. I'd rather have women (or gays or people of colour, or even cis men) treated as people with flaws and strengths and depth instead of putting anyone on a pedestal or demonize or idolize anyone. And yes, this includes accepting social issues and even biological differences, because sometimes representing people fairly and balanced and with depth is more important than escapism, even in a fantasy roleplaying game.

So for me, a rule that states that women and men are different isn't as problematic (even though the example in this thread is rather stupid) as, let's say, the more or less complete omission of homosexuality in most RPGs (on the other hand, seeing some fantasy game authors' lack of subtlety, that might not be such a bad thing).




I'm sorry, but this whole "I want everyone to be welcome to my table" undercurrent running through this thread stinks of political correctness. Smoothing over inequalities and evils of fictional settings in order to make people "happier" precludes a metric ton of possible settings, scenarios and roles. It flat-out prevents serious examination of social ills through roleplaying.


Um no. Not excluding people due to their gender, sexuality or whatnot is not some rare privilege but common courtesy. Treating other people in general with a the same degree of politeness and dignity you would expect to receive is not some kind of outlandish demand, it is the most elemental step stones of social behaviour. Not being carelessly insulted is about as much a human right as not being casually stabbed in the eye.
Now, I am certainly not flinging away from controversial issues or topics in an RPG; to the contrary, I like to use controversial issues as a mean to get my players invested in the game and sometimes to provoke an emotional reaction, even if it hurts (mostly me). I have run games where issues like human trafficking, forced prostitution and unethical medical experiments on humans have played a major role (yes, that was the same story line. It was horrible for all the right reasons), and I am certainly not ashamed of that (I am not overtly proud of that, either).
But there is a huge difference between using for instance Howard's or Lovecraft's horrible racist bullsh*t as a means to an end or as a challenge for the characters to overcome (again, this can be a very rewarding and empowering experience when it is done right) and accepting the same horrible racist bullsh*t as a matter of fact without questioning it or any form of criticism. And if I am not involved or informed or talented enough to handle an issue with the respect and carefulness and critical distance it deserves, I rather ignore it, and I would strongly recommend anyone else to do the same (depending on their framework of course; just because I am not comfortable to include certain issues doesn't man someone else couldn't).

Khatoblepas
2013-09-08, 08:37 AM
No. It's a very silly rule. If the DM wants to make his NPCs by this rule, go ahead, but sometimes a female hero is Buff As Hell.

I'd accept it if he can make an entire table detailing the sexual dimorphism of all the races in his setting. Humans, with their relatively small dimorphism, should be the baseline as usual at +0,-0. Other races might have more dimorphism, such as female gnolls being Strong. And then he should be prepared to have gender be an optimizable trait. Do you want to play A, B, or C? Then you play a Male X or Female Y or Kathuna Z.

It's way more trouble than it's worth, really.

Aasimar
2013-09-08, 08:46 AM
I once tried to join an online starwars game set right after the empire rose.

I made a female ex-soldier character whose backstory included her having been a squad leader in the Coruscant defense force for the republic.

The GM liked the character mechanically, but vetoed her having held any sort of position of authority in the Old republic, because she was a woman and he did not recall seeing women in positions of authority in the movies.

Suffice to say I did not join this game

awa
2013-09-08, 08:46 AM
black jester i think your post came out wrong you have the quoted portion once with out quotes so that i thought initially it was your view point rather then one you were arguing against.

Black Jester
2013-09-08, 08:53 AM
black jester i think your post came out wrong you have the quoted portion once with out quotes so that i thought initially it was your view point rather then one you were arguing against.

Thank you, iI did not see that and yes, I hope my intentions are more clear now.

Autolykos
2013-09-08, 09:06 AM
I'd expect him to have thought long and well about the implications this would have on the game and the world, and discuss those. If he somehow managed to convince me the rule would make sense under these circumstances and improve the game, I'd accept it. If he's otherwise an exceptional GM or a very good friend, I might put up with it.
But those are pretty big ifs right there.
I think it is a poorly thought out rule mechanically, for being imbalanced. It hampers gameplay because it needlessly limits player options. And as an added bonus, it touches a big red political hot button in a rather insensitive way. It's just no-win and should, under normal circumstances, never meet paper.
But I wouldn't be so quick to judge. There are no good and lots of very, very bad reasons for such a rule in 99% of cases, but there may be exceptions where it makes sense. Conan D20 and Noitahovi have been mentioned.

endoperez
2013-09-08, 09:17 AM
Not to mention that the "medieval" gender roles they describe are a bastardized version of the most oppressive strains of bourgeois, Victorian culture transplanted on top of an agrarian society and not actually anything resembling medieval Europe with its female guildmasters, frequent remarriage and queens serving as regents.

Is there anything online about this? I'm going to look into Women in the Days of the Cathedrals by Régine Pernoud if I can find it, but a few quick notes about common misconceptions would be nice in the meanwhile.

Trekkin
2013-09-08, 09:26 AM
No I would not. Just no.

I can't think of a single good reason to try to mechanically model any version of sexual dimorphism, especially not in the types of games I usually want to play. I want to help tell a cool story, not get bogged down in discussions over biological minutae.

I can, however, think of many terrible reasons to do so. I'd flee before the inevitable fallout.

Octopode
2013-09-08, 09:26 AM
I once tried to join an online starwars game set right after the empire rose.

I made a female ex-soldier character whose backstory included her having been a squad leader in the Coruscant defense force for the republic.

The GM liked the character mechanically, but vetoed her having held any sort of position of authority in the Old republic, because she was a woman and he did not recall seeing women in positions of authority in the movies.

Suffice to say I did not join this game

Aside from the fact that "It wasn't in the movies" is a ridiculous metric in a series where the movies make up an tiny portion of the total universe, out of all of the "main" characters in the prequel movies the one with the most authority is a woman.

Aasimar
2013-09-08, 09:30 AM
Aside from the fact that "It wasn't in the movies" is a ridiculous metric in a series where the movies make up an tiny portion of the total universe, out of all of the "main" characters in the prequel movies the one with the most authority is a woman.

I did point out both Princess Leia and Mon Mothma (leader of the rebellion), as well as Amidala. But the guy wasn't having it.

Frozen_Feet
2013-09-08, 09:36 AM
Um no. Not excluding people due to their gender, sexuality or whatnot is not some rare privilege but common courtesy. Treating other people in general with a the same degree of politeness and dignity you would expect to receive is not some kind of outlandish demand, it is the most elemental step stones of social behaviour. Not being carelessly insulted is about as much a human right as not being casually stabbed in the eye.

The first problem here is the assumption that political incorrectness within a game automatically translates to lack of courtesy outside of it. Just because my game is about nazi vampires eating babies, doesn't mean I'm going to be a jerk to a jew who comes to the table.

The second problem is the thought of "careless insult". I am not a god-damn psychic, and neither are you. I can very much know when I'm stabbing you in the eye, but there is a huge number of things that might insult you and I won't know any better until I have already done so and you make a fuzz about it. Words and thoughts are intangible like that.

This might not be apparent to you if you've played with same people for 10+ years, and already know each other. But I deal with new players regularly, and to not "carelessly insult" anyone would require me to know beforehand what might insult those people, and what might not. That is impossible, so such rights can not be given. They have the right to say they disagree and ask me to apologize, but those are very different things.

What I'd consider basic courtesy here, would be giving the GM the benefit of doubt via application of the generosity principle; that is, assume he is not out to offend before further evidence. Lot of people here would apparently do the opposite, which I consider very poor form.

Not throwing a fit every time you disagree with someone is just as much "elemental stepping stone of social behaviour" as courtesy is.

Theoboldi
2013-09-08, 09:45 AM
No. Mostly because there is absolutly no point to this rule, even if you are going for 'realism'. I can't see any way how this would enhance gameplay, both in terms of roleplaying and in terms of balance. I will not play with an DM who creates such arbitrary and useless rules.

And I also find it rather offensive, but that's beside the point.

Khedrac
2013-09-08, 09:46 AM
What system is this, and what system did the DM first play?

Iirc 16 max strength was RAW for AD&D 1st Ed - and removing the gender differences was the most common house-rule (not as most people think removing the demi-human level limits).

If your DM learnt to play on AD&D then he is probably going back to this old rule. Now the question I would raise for 3.5 is whether this is the starting max or the absolute max - it makes a difference - refer to the weightlifter above.

If I remember O level biology correctly (so 27 years ago) then on average female humans are less strong, lighter and shorter than male humans - they also have a better balanced biochemistry which could translate into a con bonus.

Lots of RPG systems from the late 70s/early 80s had similar rules (e.g. RuneQuest) but I and my friends (nearly) always house-ruled them away because we were playing Heroes and Heroines not average people.

If you DM wants to keep the differences for "realism" (or because (s)he actually wants to look and gender issues in the adventures) then ask which of his/her fantasy races are female-dominated physically (like Drow and Gloranthan Trolls). If human males and physically stronger than females, perhaps dwarf females are physically stronger than the males. If not dwarves then elves - after all drow are just an offshoot so if they have such a bias should not normal elves have a lesser bias at the very least?

Aasimar
2013-09-08, 09:50 AM
That's a very valid point.

I'd have no problem with a gm saying that on average, his level 1 human female commoner npcs had strength scores between 8-10 and the males between 10-12. Perhaps with a con bonus to compensate or maybe int, wis or cha.

Where my problem comes in is restricting heroic adventurer types who are not necessarily anything like your run of the mill humans

Hyena
2013-09-08, 09:54 AM
Hell no. It's so stupid and offensive, it goes from "Dude, what's your problem" to "Oh, I know what your problem is. Bye."

shadow_archmagi
2013-09-08, 10:08 AM
Honestly? I wouldn't even bat an eyelid, and find ~95% of people in this thread to be hilariously sanctimonous and over-reacting.

This is one detail. It isn't enough to judge game as a whole. To use it as a reason to walk off a table is ridiculous.


It's a really bad detail though. As has already been said:

A. There are indeed really strong women in the real world. They're less common then really strong men, but adventurers are meant to be uncommon, so there's no real basis for realism.

B. From a mechanical standpoint, it achieves little. Effectively all it does is make sure any player who wants to be a female melee specialist reconsider. It doesn't really improve balance or anything. It's a special rule just to nerf something that didn't need nerfing.

There's definitely a reason why that rule went away in subsequent versions of D&D, and why very few roleplaying games use it today. I can't speak regarding finnish RPGs specifically designed around playing with gender roles, but if a GM just threw this houserule onto a system that wasn't designed with that exact purpose in mind? It'd tell me that GM is ignorant of good design principles at least.

Spiryt
2013-09-08, 10:11 AM
I'm don't know enough to say about 'tolerating'....

But this doesn't have any damn sense.

3.5 is completely unrealistic anyway, stats don't represent anything 'real' in any meaningful way, characters are supposed to break all kind of 'realistic' boundaries.

And so on.

Women having -2 to strength would be defend-able, cap doesn't have any kind of sense at all.

Coidzor
2013-09-08, 10:19 AM
But it's not arbitrary. In real life, women as overwhelming trend are physically weaker than men, to the point they have different standards for fitness tests and excersice regimens.

That is the rationale given in the original post; if you deny that, you are denying reality. The core complaint through this thread has been that "reality" has no place in unrealistic games, which I contest as well.

It is arbitrary because it's adding it in where it's not part of the system. It's nothing but the random whim of a dudebro, and taken as an example of said dudebro's random whim, it does not reflect well upon his decision making and game-running skills.

I don't have to deny reality, I just have to remember context, which is key. Bringing up systems where the culture of the world is sexist and would present roleplaying barriers is a related but ultimately separate topic, and largely depends upon whether the player is afforded any opportunity to overcome said barriers and how that plays out. If you're playing Conan and can't model any of his female companions or allies or even Red Sonja... then there's a problem, no?


I think it's interesting that people are drawing are parallel between sexism and racism in this thread when most systems, D&D included, are extremely racist. If you're going to compare sexism and racism, it seems rather hypocritical to be offended that some theoretical fantasy women aren't as strong and not be offended that theoretical fantasy races aren't as smart or strong or wise or whatever.

Unless you just go out and say that orcs or goblins are black, fantastic racism of the general "We usually try to kill them, they usually try to kill us" variety is a completely different animal from expressing attitudes about women by warping the game rules.

Autolykos
2013-09-08, 10:23 AM
I did point out both Princess Leia and Mon Mothma (leader of the rebellion), as well as Amidala. But the guy wasn't having it.Okay, at this point he's just being willfully stupid. That alone is IMHO a pretty good reason to walk away.
You can not, under any circumstances, profit from associating with stupid individuals. (http://www.extremistvector.com/content/stupid.html)

Subaru Kujo
2013-09-08, 10:37 AM
If it was an ADnD 1st edition RAW (why would you do that?) campaign , yeah, but I'd be keeping my eye out for other idiocy.

Ravens_cry
2013-09-08, 10:46 AM
That's a very valid point.

I'd have no problem with a gm saying that on average, his level 1 human female commoner npcs had strength scores between 8-10 and the males between 10-12. Perhaps with a con bonus to compensate or maybe int, wis or cha.

Where my problem comes in is restricting heroic adventurer types who are not necessarily anything like your run of the mill humans
Now you are just opening up a whole 'nother can o' worms.
I think the best idea here is to just let well enough alone.

Aasimar
2013-09-08, 10:47 AM
Of course...I'm just saying I wouldn't particularly care if a gm with specific ideas chose to represent them along those lines, with variants in the npc population, rather than direct effects on the possibilities for pcs.

The Fury
2013-09-08, 11:11 AM
If it were me I'd just say, "I don't think that I'd enjoy playing in this game," and then proceed to not play in it.
After all, if this is the first impression of the campaign and DMing style it's a bad one.

lesser_minion
2013-09-08, 11:17 AM
I don't think that the existence of this houserule on its own is justification for shunning a DM, much less assaulting him, as was suggested earlier. If I felt that a DM was actually sexist, then I wouldn't play with them. But the existence of this houserule doesn't show that because we know that there are other houserules in play.

As long as the end result is reasonably balanced*, there is nothing wrong with a ruleset that makes a distinction between male and female characters. Clamouring for different genders to be handled identically within the rules will not lead anywhere even remotely worth going. And even a ruleset that did ultimately end up being sexist could still potentially be justifiable, for example, if the game as a whole is actually about exploring and dealing with gender issues.

* And for the avoidance of doubt, I mean balanced within the same general fields, such that this strength cap doesn't actually limit the potential of female characters as warriors.

As for realism, I don't think that clamouring for realism to be excised from games -- or even from a specific game that isn't an abstract strategy game -- entirely will lead anywhere worth going either.

Alabenson
2013-09-08, 11:32 AM
No, no I would not tolerate a DM who instituted that houserule.

Setting aside the obvious sexism of the rule itself, it shows that the DM is prone to attempting to impose "realism" (here defined as what being what the DM thinks is realistic) onto a system that is not designed to model it. A houserule like this is a flashing warning sign that ahead lie an assortment of houserules, bannings and rulings all geared towards making a game with wizards and fire breathing dragons more "realistic".

ellindsey
2013-09-08, 12:32 PM
The problem with justifying this rule as realism is that it isn't. Putting a cap on strength for female characters is not an accurate way, game mechanics wise, to represent women being on average less strong than men. If the DM were writing up tables for randomly determining the stats of NPCs, and had a different chart for random NPC stats for men versus women, I wouldn't mind. Instead, the DM by introducing this rule is stating that no woman in the world can ever be that strong, no matter how genetically unusual or dedicated she may be to training and exercise. In which case I would show the GM a picture of Sarah Robles (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Robles) and then leave the game.

Certainly, your average woman might not be that strong, but player characters aren't supposed to be average, normal people.

Secondly, issues of realism aside, the fact that the GM felt a need to introduce this rule (assuming this wasn't in the rules to begin with) would be a warning sign to me. This is not a rule that helps game balance, not a needed nerf on an overpowered combination or class. This rule only exists to block players from being able to play certain character concepts. It would make me concerned about what other random, arbitrary changes the GM might make to support his view of game-world realism.

SaintRidley
2013-09-08, 12:40 PM
I'd walk. I'd rather not game than deal with that and the mountains of other crap that would undoubtedly be awaiting my discovery.

Ghost Nappa
2013-09-08, 12:46 PM
I'd be okay with "female" being a +0 LA template that provides -2 STR and +2 CHA.

And didn't 1st edition have racial and gender maximums for stats?
No. A Model that is a simple -2 STR, +2 CHA using "female" as a template is making a lot of undue assumptions about BOTH men and women that I cannot properly discuss.

HOWEVER, a model that at certain levels, rewarded characters for having a high-modifier to stat, and perhaps had different values at different times....I could see that working. You wouldn't deny characters bonuses and such model could help give a mechanical explanation for why a society might have gender roles, or why you might have a different preferred class between genders.

For example:

If a Male character, at Level 1 or any point beyond that achieves a STR stat of 15 or higher, he receives a permanent* +1 STR Misc. bonus. This does use up the normal Atrribute bonus given out at Level 4. You get to pick your usual enhancement bonus before this check is made.

*This otherwise permanent bonus is lost should something happen to lower the stat below 15.
(15 is an arbitrarily chosen number for this model. Ideally, any odd-numbered number would be fine.)

Now, give them to both sexes. Here's an example of such a thing would work:

Level/MaleStat/FemaleStat
1/STR/INT
4/WIS/DEX
8/CON/CHA
12/INT/CON
16/DEX/WIS
20/CHA/STR

The model would acknowledge sexual dimorphism by having different bonuses based on sex, but not does not deny bonuses BECAUSE of Sex. Both men and women can get a free +1 to any stat, but at different intervals. You also do not have to be afraid of "losing out" on a bonus, because of the pre-requisites(as soon as you are meet the level requirement and the stat . You can change the order that each gender receives the bonuses, but I tried to alternate between physical and mental stats for both, favoring an order that plays (horribly) into gender roles.

This is not a perfect model but I think finding a mechanical way to incorporate an aspect of a character is fine insofar as you're not making your players uncomfortable or angry.


But it's not arbitrary. In real life, women as overwhelming trend are physically weaker than men, to the point they have different standards for fitness tests and excersice regimens.

That is the rationale given in the original post; if you deny that, you are denying reality. The core complaint through this thread has been that "reality" has no place in unrealistic games, which I contest as well.

Are there, in real life, women who are stronger than some men? Certainly. But the maximum strenght records for women and men are still far apart. That is a fact, absent of any value judgement whatsoever. The core fallacy underlying this thread is that anyone who introduces rules like this is automatically making a value judgement about female characters, which isn't necessarily the case.

So much this.


Different example of such a system:

"Physical" Gender Scores: STR/CON/WIS
"Social" Gender Scores: DEX/INT/CHA

If a character of the "Social" gender gets DEX/INT/CHA to 13, or STR/CON/WIS to 15, they receive a permanent +1 Misc. Modifier to that stat.

If a character of the "Physical" gender gets STR/CON/WIS to 13, or DEX/INT/CHA to 15, they receive a permanent +1 Misc. Modifier to that stat.

This second model allows for species and races that do not match human sexual dimorphism. If you have a species of Giants where the women are the bigger of the pair and are the ones wooing the men, you don't have to adjust the system.

Like above, this does gives bonuses to both genders, but rather than spacing them out across different levels, you're able to receive them from the get go. I have split the three mental stats because I am trying to balance out casters (I do not want to be responsible for making casters all of gender)...although granted, Bards have every reason to be female under this system. You would check after racial mods and enhancement bonuses to see if you qualified.

Terraoblivion
2013-09-08, 12:49 PM
Also, talking about realism there is the fact that a game striving for realism is still an imperfect model of reality with many things abstracted out or disregarded as relevant, so it is still a deliberate choice to say that women are weaker in the name of realism. So not only is it not particularly realistic, adding it to a system that isn't striving for realism is hard to justify, even adding it when aiming for making a "realistic" system is a deliberate act of saying that not only do you think women are weaker than men, but that it is an important thing to focus on.

And thanks, Mr. Silver. Pointing out the problem of making men the default by making a houserule limiting women is very appreciated and I'm honestly kinda embarrassed that I didn't even think of it until you pointed it out. Because, yeah, that's one of the many problematic assumptions inherent in houserules like this.

JusticeZero
2013-09-08, 12:57 PM
If I were to do something like that, i'd say something like "Male ___'s have str+1, con-1; female ____'s have con+1, str-1." But I don't think it's a good idea to do it. Maybe for a specific non-human race that is already inherently wonky and nonstandard, if anywhere. (The last time I saw anything of the sort, the race in question was male: +Int, Female: +Str.)
The GM can play with the world, but this is a game and i'm there to have fun playing a character that already inherently blows the edges off the envelope. If I feel like making a shortish girl who can fling boulders around and tear through an army with a sword bigger than she is, I will, because that character would make me happy at that time and it's a freaking game. All the reasons have been said already; the main one for me is that that would almost certainly be the beginning of a parade of horribly designed house rules to "fix" the unrealism of the game.


Which really makes the habit of a certain friend refreshing. She has admitted to preferring to make dark-skinned, ultra-muscular, tall and bald female fighters online. I hear their existence can cause quite a ruckus, though...
...this woman is now my hero.

originalginger
2013-09-08, 01:05 PM
After reading this thread to it's current point, I am going to somewhat amend my previous statements. First, to be clear, I think an absolute cap on any stat for any character is silly, motivation notwithstanding. I have no issue with caps at initial character creation so long as through the course of play that cap can be surpassed. Moreover, the motivation given in the OP is indefensible, as real life has little bearing on RPG fantasy games.

Having made that clear, I see no reason why distinct differences between the genders shouldn't be perfectly acceptable if it supports the setting and narrative. So what if in 'fantasy land' men are measurably stronger than women? I personally could find a million ways to use such a mechanic to examine with my players the implications of gender roles on society, and preconceived notions of social status.

My group's current campaign deals heavily with racism, class distinction, genocide, and the horrors of war. I am not a racist just because in my setting Tiefling and Dragonborn are born into slavery and bought and sold like a product. I am not a supporter of violent conquest just because the Humans in my setting annihilate Tribal Halflings and Gnomes for access to their land. I am not a supporter of genocide just because the Elves and Eladrin joined forces to rid the world of the 'Dwarven Scourge'

At risk of verging on real world issues (and I am not the first in this thread) the only African American in my gaming group chose on his own to play as an escaped Tiefling slave, and one player with Semitic heritage chose to be a Dwarf, both knowing beforehand how those races fit into the politics of the world. They decided that roleplaying fictional characters in a fictional setting that face similar discrimination and struggles as their own descendants would be a good intellectual exercise. I agreed.

Difficult issues, sexism included, should not be avoided, they should be faced head on. The act of putting yourself in the shoes of another person can be very enlightening, and facing these real world struggles together, in the safe environment of a game, is an excellent way to explore these issues as a group.

I am fully aware that not everyone would want to play in a campaign with such serious tones, and it is everyone's right to play or not play as they see fit. However, many of the knee-jerk reactions of offense and sweeping generalizations made here seem unnecessary and closed-minded to me.

Frozen_Feet
2013-09-08, 01:13 PM
It is arbitrary because it's adding it in where it's not part of the system. It's nothing but the random whim of a dudebro...

... your choice of words alone shows strong a priori assumption that the reason the rule was introduced is sexist. You know what they say about assuming?

The same still goes for a lot of people in this thread, especially those nitpicking of balance. In absence of knowledge of the game scenario crafted by the GM, can you say such rule serves no purpose? No, you can not. If all you know is this single rule, you have insufficient information, and it doesn't warrant the kind of knee-jerk reaction people here display.

Terraoblivion
2013-09-08, 01:32 PM
... your choice of words alone shows strong a priori assumption that the reason the rule was introduced is sexist. You know what they say about assuming?

Deliberately reducing the ability of female characters to compete in traditionally masculine fields is sexist due to "realism" is sexist whether the GM intends for it to be or not. Sexism isn't a product of intent, but of actual actions, so it's perfectly possible to be sexist without realizing it or wanting to. Same with being racist, homophobic, transphobic or any other form of bigoted.

Frozen_Feet
2013-09-08, 01:44 PM
Not true. All forms of bigotry include value judgement, and adhering to reality does not necessarily imply value judgement of female characters.

Spiryt
2013-09-08, 01:45 PM
Anyway, if this stuff is supposed to have any shade of sense or consistency, men would need to have Strength cap, of say, 20, 22 or some other rather random number.

Jon_Dahl
2013-09-08, 01:46 PM
If it was an ADnD 1st edition RAW (why would you do that?) campaign , yeah, but I'd be keeping my eye out for other idiocy.

This is what I was going to say. I'm a sucker for retrogaming and running AD&D 1e RAW would just melt my heart. I would not complain about the STR cap.

I always try to come to the table without any real-world opinions. The game is make-belief, so basically anything goes. Any sexism in the game will not effect the world around us. If the game is otherwise all right, I'm in.

My first reaction to STR caps for females would be that the game is gritty and over-the-top macho. That sounds like a game that might work - why not?

Unfortunately many people think that the game has something to do with the GM as person. My gaming philosophy is that the GM is free to say whatever he wants, it's her/his game. Only if the game sucks or gets boring, then I'm out, but you can't get me to leave the game by telling me something that does not reflect my views about right or wrong. And honestly, I think this makes me a better roleplayer than those who are immediately whining if their sacred cultural morals are violated.

obryn
2013-09-08, 01:46 PM
... your choice of words alone shows strong a priori assumption that the reason the rule was introduced is sexist. You know what they say about assuming?

The same still goes for a lot of people in this thread, especially those nitpicking of balance. In absence of knowledge of the game scenario crafted by the GM, can you say such rule serves no purpose? No, you can not. If all you know is this single rule, you have insufficient information, and it doesn't warrant the kind of knee-jerk reaction people here display.
It's about choosing who you want to play elfgames with. I find it hard to imagine a context where such a rule is implemented for any reason, and I'd still want to play that particular elfgame with that particular DM. Either they're fumblingly trying to make some sort of point, or I'll get to hear the DM going on about biotruths they don't understand, or they're inflexible about bad rules, or they're just terrible. Any way you slice it, no thank you.

-O

VariSami
2013-09-08, 01:47 PM
After reading this thread to it's current point, I am going to somewhat amend my previous statements. First, to be clear, I think an absolute cap on any stat for any character is silly, motivation notwithstanding. I have no issue with caps at initial character creation so long as through the course of play that cap can be surpassed. Moreover, the motivation given in the OP is indefensible, as real life has little bearing on RPG fantasy games.

Having made that clear, I see no reason why distinct differences between the genders shouldn't be perfectly acceptable if it supports the setting and narrative. So what if in 'fantasy land' men are measurably stronger than women? I personally could find a million ways to use such a mechanic to examine with my players the implications of gender roles on society, and preconceived notions of social status.

My group's current campaign deals heavily with racism, class distinction, genocide, and the horrors of war. I am not a racist just because in my setting Tiefling and Dragonborn are born into slavery and bought and sold like a product. I am not a supporter of violent conquest just because the Humans in my setting annihilate Tribal Halflings and Gnomes for access to their land. I am not a supporter of genocide just because the Elves and Eladrin joined forces to rid the world of the 'Dwarven Scourge'

At risk of verging on real world issues (and I am not the first in this thread) the only African American in my gaming group chose on his own to play as an escaped Tiefling slave, and one player with Semitic heritage chose to be a Dwarf, both knowing beforehand how those races fit into the politics of the world. They decided that roleplaying fictional characters in a fictional setting that face similar discrimination and struggles as their own descendants would be a good intellectual exercise. I agreed.

Difficult issues, sexism included, should not be avoided, they should be faced head on. The act of putting yourself in the shoes of another person can be very enlightening, and facing these real world struggles together, in the safe environment of a game, is an excellent way to explore these issues as a group.

I am fully aware that not everyone would want to play in a campaign with such serious tones, and it is everyone's right to play or not play as they see fit. However, many of the knee-jerk reactions of offense and sweeping generalizations made here seem unnecessary and closed-minded to me.


I think at least Frozen_Feet has already made a similar point and I agree with IT but not with the houserule type. The reason is simple: story and mechanics are two different things. In-story sexism is thematic and can be either appropriate or inappropriate depending on how it is handled. However, applying sexist-toned houserules is a meta level choice, and the meta level is concerned with the intentions of the players, not their characters. As such, the question is why would *you* do that. Taking the already used Nazism example, if someone were to houserule that Nazis receive +2 to Str and Cha, people would ask "why". And the answer should be given as the maker of the rule. It might be "Well, in-story they are genetically modified (like the Empty Vessel Inspired in Eberron, for example)." Or it might be "Because the Übermensche must be superior to inferior beings."

The problem with applying mechanical advantages or disadvantages based on common traits lies with the fact that they are more likely to be based on stereotyped perceptions of the carriers of such traits than in-story reasoning. The differences between the sexes between the Drow and other fantasy races have been brought up already. The difference between applying such rules to them and to humans is the fact that their traits are less reality-based. This is not the argument from the inherent unrealistic parts of the rules. Rather, it depends on the freedom of fiction compared to transporting reality into fantasy.

Gamgee
2013-09-08, 01:48 PM
I would question him on it, and if he wouldn't change it I would then leave. THE strongest person I ever knew was a female. Hands down. Not necessarily physically (though she pretty strong in that way too).

Not to mention when we get to the hard data in real life women can be just as strong or stronger than men. It all depends on the individual in question. There are some very large and bulky women who can throw down a male like nothing and then hone their strength to become super strong. Sometimes society will judge them for not looking beautiful, but that's another discussion. If there was a difference amongst average women/men it will be negligible.

I could go on for so many different reasons using so many vectors of attack on why it's a dumb idea that has to be repealed. From a thematic point it makes no sense in a world of fantasy where we can all play idealized characters. It either doesn't belong due to how weird the setting is compare dot real life, or because of the themes.

I could go on, but most of everything has been touched on in this thread.

Terraoblivion
2013-09-08, 01:50 PM
Not true. All forms of bigotry include value judgement, and adhering to reality does not necessarily imply value judgement of female characters.

No, bigotry doesn't requite a conscious value judgement. Repeating bigoted beliefs or behaviors in good faith is still a bigoted act. It doesn't give you an identity as a bigot as an inherent trait, it just means you performed a bigoted act. Apologizing and refraining from continuing to do so when called on it would usually solve any issue from minor bigotry based on not understanding the issue. Especially if the apology and changed behavior shows a degree of understanding of why it was a bigoted action.

Tengu_temp
2013-09-08, 02:07 PM
Woah, this thread got volatile quickly. Not really unexpected, though.


Yes. If that's your biggest problem with your DM, get gaming. Gygax himself used such a rule.


You do realize that instead of casting the houserule in a good light, all this does is cast Gygax in a bad light, right?

Not that I think Gygax was such a good DM in the first place.

Arcanist
2013-09-08, 02:13 PM
Unfortunately I learned fairly recently that a person with beliefs (no matter how ridiculous or absurd) will hold to them against all logic. Sure, I could play with a guy with misogynist beliefs. So long as he doesn't force those beliefs down my throat.

In this specific case? Of course he is forcing them down my throat. In fact, he is penalizing people in his game that go against his beliefs. My response would be to ask him to stop doing so and if he refuses I will just walk away and wait for another game to start up.

Kalmageddon
2013-09-08, 02:16 PM
Let's say, hypothetically you enter into a game in which the DM, GM or what ever he, most likely he in this case, has a few house rules. One of them is that no female character may have more than a 16 to Strength before racial bonuses. The rationale is that in real life on human female can every reach the brute strength of men in the top 75%. Would you tolerate this house rule, or just get the hell out?

I would ignore all moral impication because it's just a game and exactly how physically strong a female can or can not be is irrelevant, and just wait and see if when the game starts he's a competent DM and can make me and my group have fun. If he can I'll stay, if he can't I'll leave. <--- healhty approach to tabeltop gaming.

I would scream my indignation at the top of my lungs and storm off, then sue the DM, then come here and post about it to recieve virtual pats on the back. <---- not healthy.

Spot the difference. :smallsigh:

Terraoblivion
2013-09-08, 02:18 PM
I would ignore all moral impication because it's just a game and exactly how physically strong a female can or can not be is irrelevant, and just wait and see if when the game starts he's a competent DM and can make me and my group have fun. If he can I'll stay, if he can't I'll leave. <--- healhty approach to tabeltop gaming.

So...Just accepting regressive beliefs that hurt actual people is healthy? Also, nice hyperbole in the second part. At least I haven't seen anybody advocate screaming or legal action.

obryn
2013-09-08, 02:23 PM
Because it's never a bad time to post The Racist Tree, I will post The Racist Tree.

However, it is behind a link because of some bad language. So be warned, this link has some swearing.

http://i.imgur.com/upuAg.jpg

-O

Kalmageddon
2013-09-08, 02:24 PM
No I would not. Just no.

I can't think of a single good reason to try to mechanically model any version of sexual dimorphism, especially not in the types of games I usually want to play. I want to help tell a cool story, not get bogged down in discussions over biological minutae.

I can, however, think of many terrible reasons to do so. I'd flee before the inevitable fallout.

Ever played Morrowind? One of the greatest games ever made.
Has sexual dimorphism, for every race.
It works, makes playing a male or a female character different on more levels.

Is still fun, enjoyable and free from moral implication for everyone except the more obsessed and militant individuals that care waaay too much about this sort of things.

Now, Morrowind is a video game, but is there really a difference? Only because you play a tabletop rpg with other people you feel compelled to take a moral high ground on the off chance that someone might judge you based on that?

Tim Proctor
2013-09-08, 02:26 PM
I don't think I'd have a problem with it so long as males were limited in some aspect also (my Wife when I asked her say Wisdom should be limited to 16 to compensate for having a penis).

Spiryt
2013-09-08, 02:26 PM
So...Just accepting regressive beliefs that hurt actual people is healthy? Also, nice hyperbole in the second part. At least I haven't seen anybody advocate screaming or legal action.

From what I've read in this thread, the whole point is - we have no real data if said DM actually hold any 'regressive beliefs', or 'just' has terrible ideas about houserules and attempts at so called realism.

If he actually has no real mean intentions or whatever, I would just try to explain to him why this houserule is completely pointless, in the first place.

Kalmageddon
2013-09-08, 02:27 PM
So...Just accepting regressive beliefs that hurt actual people is healthy? Also, nice hyperbole in the second part. At least I haven't seen anybody advocate screaming or legal action.

It doesn't hurt anyone unless someone gets hurt by it. It's a case by case scenario. It's not objectively bad or good. It depends
Also...
It's just a game.

Seriously, why do people like you treat everything like it's some kind of ideological propaganda... :smallsigh:
Are you so frail in your beliefs that they get threatened by such small things?

obryn
2013-09-08, 02:28 PM
I would ignore all moral impication because it's just a game and exactly how physically strong a female can or can not be is irrelevant, and just wait and see if when the game starts he's a competent DM and can make me and my group have fun. If he can I'll stay, if he can't I'll leave. <--- healhty approach to tabeltop gaming.
See The Racist Tree, above.


I would scream my indignation at the top of my lungs and storm off, then sue the DM, then come here and post about it to recieve virtual pats on the back. <---- not healthy.
And do you think this is at all accurately describing anyone here?


Ever played Morrowind? One of the greatest games ever made.
Has sexual dimorphism, for every race.
It works, makes playing a male or a female character different on more levels.

Is still fun, enjoyable and free from moral implication for everyone except the more obsessed and militant individuals that care waaay too much about this sort of things.

Now, Morrowind is a video game, but is there really a difference? Only because you play a tabletop rpg with other people you feel compelled to take a moral high ground on the off chance that someone might judge you based on that?
I don't think it actually adds anything to the game, as a rather fanatical Elder Scrolls fan.

But once again you're caricaturing your opposition. It's a really puerile way to approach what could be a valuable discussion.


It doesn't hurt anyone unless someone gets hurt by it. It's a case by case scenario. It's not objectively bad or good. It depends
Also...
It's just a game.
Bingo. It's just a game. So why introduce rules to marginalize some potential players and reduce possible character ideas?


Seriously, why do people like you treat everything like it's some kind of ideological propaganda... :smallsigh:
Are you so frail in your beliefs that they get threatened by such small things?
You make some terrible arguments, man.

-O

Tengu_temp
2013-09-08, 02:30 PM
I would ignore all moral impication because it's just a game and exactly how physically strong a female can or can not be is irrelevant, and just wait and see if when the game starts he's a competent DM and can make me and my group have fun. If he can I'll stay, if he can't I'll leave. <--- healhty approach to tabeltop gaming.

I would scream my indignation at the top of my lungs and storm off, then sue the DM, then come here and post about it to recieve virtual pats on the back. <---- not healthy.

Spot the difference. :smallsigh:

Really now? Do you really believe that:
1. Those are the only two ways to react to this?
2. That a DM making such a rule says nothing about his personal beliefs?
3. That this doesn't hurt female players or male players who want to play female characters? How would you react to a houserule that says "male characters get -2 intelligence and nothing in return, because all dudes are stupid"?


Ever played Morrowind? One of the greatest games ever made.
Has sexual dimorphism, for every race.
It works, makes playing a male or a female character different on more levels.

Is still fun, enjoyable and free from moral implication for everyone except the more obsessed and militant individuals that care waaay too much about this sort of things.

Now, Morrowind is a video game, but is there really a difference? Only because you play a tabletop rpg with other people you feel compelled to take a moral high ground on the off chance that someone might judge you based on that?

Actually, I found that pretty damn dumb and offensive in Morrowind and Oblivion, and certainly not a good part of the games.

Kalmageddon
2013-09-08, 02:31 PM
But once again you're caricaturing your opposition. It's a really puerile way to approach what could be a valuable discussion.

-O

It's not a valuable discussion.
It's a discussion about a (hypothetical?) scenario of which we don't know anything except a potentially misleading element.

It's just people like you that try to make a big deal out of it, when you have no stakes in it and nothing to prove.
The OP question could have been answered by a simple "yes" or "no", instead look at the last few pages.

Do you thing stuff like this is important? Priorities, my man. They are good. Try them.

Coidzor
2013-09-08, 02:31 PM
... your choice of words alone shows strong a priori assumption that the reason the rule was introduced is sexist. You know what they say about assuming?

The same still goes for a lot of people in this thread, especially those nitpicking of balance. In absence of knowledge of the game scenario crafted by the GM, can you say such rule serves no purpose? No, you can not. If all you know is this single rule, you have insufficient information, and it doesn't warrant the kind of knee-jerk reaction people here display.

Well, the given scenario, 9 times out of 10 is going to be evidence that the GM in question is pigheaded and has unsavory attitudes towards women. If it's not then, well, communication would ensue and it'd be more complicated than this sort of thing could cover anyway, even if we spent page upon page hashing out nuance. And if the GM goes back to "This is my prerogative," and all that other GM-as-dictator malarkey? That's just further blackmarks against him in my book, whereas you seem to think that this is... good-ish?

And if the GM doesn't want to inspire confidence in his abilities, he can do a lot of things. I'm not going to mindlessly fellate the ego of someone that's GMing simply because they're GMing. That's a silly notion.


Not true. All forms of bigotry include value judgement, and adhering to reality does not necessarily imply value judgement of female characters.

It does when "adhering to reality" isn't actually adhering to reality. :smallamused:

Theoboldi
2013-09-08, 02:32 PM
It's just people like you that try to make a big deal out of it, when you have no stakes in it and nothing to prove.
The OP question could have been answered by a simple "yes" or "no", instead look at the last few pages.


So you are saying that we should not try to understand and discuss why we make certain choices, even when morality gets involved, just because it manifests in whether or not we join a tabletop game?

Terraoblivion
2013-09-08, 02:36 PM
Even beyond the hurt to people who have their concepts nerfed or voided by the sexism of the rule, ignoring a houserule like this or accepting it as not important sends the signal that views like that are socially acceptable, which in turn has a real impact on the lives of actual women away from the game. It's just one instance and taken in isolation it's harmless, but it doesn't exist in isolation and pretending it does is either an expression of deep ignorance or a smokescreen to silence criticism.

tensai_oni
2013-09-08, 02:36 PM
Kalmageddon:

Strawman Argument (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strawman_argument)

Read the link. You're commiting this over and over.

Kalmageddon
2013-09-08, 02:36 PM
Really now? Do you really believe that:
1. Those are the only two ways to react to this?
2. That a DM making such a rule says nothing about his personal beliefs?
3. That this doesn't hurt female players or male players who want to play female characters? How would you react to a houserule that says "male characters get -2 intelligence and nothing in return, because all dudes are stupid"?


1. Personally? no. Looking at this discussion? Yes, apparently. And I don't see any point to this question anyway.
2. It doesn't say anything about it and you would be impuslive and offensive to think that. It could be for a variety of reasons, including the potential lore of the setting, game balance or... Anything, really.:smallconfused: Sort of a limited imagination there, uh, buddy?
3. Not necessarily, no. I depends on a case by case scenario... Me personally I wouldn't care about it in the slightest and actually it could make for a pretty funny premise, living in a world of cavemen-like men too dumb to live. :smallbiggrin:

Surrealistik
2013-09-08, 02:37 PM
Definitely leaning Kalmageddon's way in the sense that the thing of core importance is the overall quality of the DM; some singular and relatively minor mechanical element of gender/racial bias/discrimination regardless of whether males, females, blacks, whites, asians, etc... are subject to it is secondary if there is an alternate explanation (such as verisimilitude, even if misguided) to conscious bigotry with which I can give him the benefit of the doubt. This is doubly true if I'm familiar with the DM and know him to be otherwise skilled and unbigoted (at least not consciously). I do not find these elements to merit prejudice to the extent I'd instantly refuse to play.

Now obviously, if there were blatant sexist/racist elements that have no reasonable explanation whatsoever aside from a conscious, discriminatory belief/outlook steeped in these things, I'd walk, regardless of which gender, sexuality, race, or combination thereof happened to be in their crosshairs.

Lastly, as mentioned earlier, in a vacuum, knowing nothing else about the DM _except_ for this rule, I'd probably try to speak with him and/or his prior players to get a better sense of his style. Obviously I'd be concerned about a potential affinity for sexist/arbitrary/stupid house rules and narratives that might ruin my enjoyment of his game, but I can't honestly say I'd go to the (IMHO) extremes a lot of people here are advocating.

Ravens_cry
2013-09-08, 02:39 PM
A video game can have much finer granularity on its statistics because it crunches all the numbers. It's OK for a video game to have things like .1% differences, especially if it hides those numbers. A tabletop game though, that's just too fiddly. The biological differences of maximum potentials are significant in the statistical sense, but are lost in the noise in a game with, say, 5% increments.

Tengu_temp
2013-09-08, 02:41 PM
1. Personally? no. Looking at this discussion? Yes, apparently. And I don't see any point to this question anyway.

Considering that most people just went "no, I'd walk out" and nobody said anything about yelling... Yeah. You're exaggerating. This is exactly what I meant by my question.


2. It doesn't say anything about it and you would be impuslive and offensive to think that. It could be for a variety of reasons, including the potential lore of the setting, game balance or... Anything, really.:smallconfused: Sort of a limited imagination there, uh, buddy?

Spoiler alert: the two most likely reasons are "I'm sexist against women" and "I'm so blinded by 'realism' that I don't see how my houserule is sexist against women".


3. Not necessarily, no. I depends on a case by case scenario... Me personally I wouldn't care about it in the slightest and actually it could make for a pretty funny premise, living in a world of cavemen-like men too dumb to live. :smallbiggrin:

Insincere answer.

Kalmageddon
2013-09-08, 02:41 PM
So you are saying that we should not try to understand and discuss why we make certain choices, even when morality gets involved, just because it manifests in whether or not we join a tabletop game?

I would say that using a tabletop gaming scenario is inadequate and shows a worrying lack of ability do discriminate what is just for fun and carries no deeper meaning and what is actually important in everyday life.
And thinking that anyone that would play a game with the house rule presented in the OP or DM in such a way is a morally inferior person is pretty sad, shortsighted and offensive.

Kalmageddon
2013-09-08, 02:42 PM
Insincere answer.

Well then, since you simply refuse to believe that someone might think in a different manner, I'll leave you to your beautifully simple world where everyone is carbon copy of everyone else. :smallwink:

Volthawk
2013-09-08, 02:44 PM
Depends on the further rationale and justification. If a DM says "because that's how things are in real life"? Something's off, but further reactions would probably depend on how things go from there, although I'd probably be a bit more perceptive of problems than if I wasn't aware of the rule (just because it suggests more odd house rules that may end up having a larger effect on the game in some odd search for realism).

If it's because humans are different in this setting so they show more extreme dimorphism (so even at the extremes that RPGs tend to represent, it still affects things to this extent)? OK, sure, that's how humans work in the setting, I can work with that, see where it goes, since that implies that the DM is a bit more aware about the situation around it and has a reason for doing it.

Also, I'd be curious as to how widely this rule affects things. I mean, would say, giants be capped at 16? Ancient wyrm female dragons?

Autolykos
2013-09-08, 02:50 PM
Insincere answer.That's a pretty tall claim to make. Your scenario seems to be pretty close to the premise of Noitahovi (mentioned earlier), and I strongly suspect it is not exclusively played by women.

Vitruviansquid
2013-09-08, 02:50 PM
I think I am seeing only two strains of answers to Agrippa's question here, and they're basically:

1. Given that Agrippa has only let us know about this one particular house rule, I'm going to judge the situation based on it. And I would say it isn't cool.

2. Given that Agrippa has only let us know about this one particular house rule, I'm going to explore whether or not there are other house rules or information that makes it cooler than it seems to be.

Now, the way I see it, whether you're offended enough to walk depends highly on a lot of factors outside the game, such as how much sexism you deal with in real life, how many alternate games you can find in your area, how well you know the GM, and so on, so I'm not really going to accuse people of being thin skinned or callous based on whether they walk.

But really, is there anyone in this thread whose reaction to the house rule is "oh man, that's awesome. I consider that a positive feature of the campaign I am about to play, no matter what else I would know about the campaign?"

Because if not, I think Agrippa's question has been answered.

Kalmageddon
2013-09-08, 02:51 PM
Definitely leaning Kalmageddon's way in the sense that the thing of core importance is the overall quality of the DM; some singular and relatively minor mechanical element of gender/racial bias/discrimination regardless of whether males, females, blacks, whites, asians, etc... are subject to it is secondary if there is an alternate explanation (such as verisimilitude, even if misguided) to conscious bigotry with which I can give him the benefit of the doubt. This is doubly true if I'm familiar with the DM and know him to be otherwise skilled and unbigoted (at least not consciously). I do not find these elements to merit prejudice to the extent I'd instantly refuse to play.

Now obviously, if there were blatant sexist/racist elements that have no reasonable explanation whatsoever aside from a conscious, discriminatory belief/outlook steeped in these things, I'd walk, regardless of which gender, sexuality, race, or combination thereof happened to be in their crosshairs.

Lastly, as mentioned earlier, in a vacuum, knowing nothing else about the DM _except_ for this rule, I'd probably try to speak with him and/or his prior players to get a better sense of his style. Obviously I'd be concerned about a potential affinity for sexist/arbitrary/stupid house rules and narratives that might ruin my enjoyment of his game, but I can't honestly say I'd go to the (IMHO) extremes a lot of people here are advocating.

Thank you.
Sometimes reading discussion like this makes me sad, this restores a bit of hope.
Too bad this is going to get buried under tons of people that need to prove something to themselves.

Theoboldi
2013-09-08, 02:51 PM
I would say that using a tabletop gaming scenario is inadequate and shows a worrying lack of ability do discriminate what is just for fun and carries no deeper meaning and what is actually important in everyday life.
And thinking that anyone that would play a game with the house rule presented in the OP or DM in such a way is a morally inferior person is pretty sad, shortsighted and offensive.

Why are you treating this not being important in everyday life as a fact? Some people obviously consider it important. In what way do you have moral authority to claim this?

Arcanist
2013-09-08, 02:53 PM
I'm curious if there would be a problem if his justification was that:

"I just wanted to add more stat variability to the game and giving everyone a -2 penalty to any ability score and a +2 to another ability score would make your starting choices far less impacting."

Theoboldi
2013-09-08, 02:54 PM
I'm curious if there would be a problem if his justification was that:

"I just wanted to add more stat variability to the game and giving everyone a -2 penalty to any ability score and a +2 to another ability score would make your starting choices far less impacting."

Why only limit it to women then? :smallconfused:

Autolykos
2013-09-08, 02:56 PM
Why only limit it to women then? :smallconfused:The OP never said this was the only house rule.

Agrippa
2013-09-08, 02:56 PM
Woah, this thread got volatile quickly. Not really unexpected, though.



You do realize that instead of casting the houserule in a good light, all this does is cast Gygax in a bad light, right?

Not that I think Gygax was such a good DM in the first place.

I should note that even Gygax threw out that rule for his games in the early 80's and apologized for the female Strength cap of 18/50 (http://www.ancientscrossroads.com/adnd_tools/str_table.htm). Which would make this DM even more backward. As for Gygax's DM style, I think thats better left for another thread.

lesser_minion
2013-09-08, 02:58 PM
So...Just accepting regressive beliefs that hurt actual people is healthy? Also, nice hyperbole in the second part. At least I haven't seen anybody advocate screaming or legal action.

Someone actually did advocate physical violence earlier in this thread.

Kalmageddon
2013-09-08, 02:59 PM
Why are you treating this not being important in everyday life as a fact? Some people obviously consider it important. In what way do you have moral authority to claim this?

I don't have any authority, but I do have the freedom of speech to claim it as long as I want.
And I'd like to point out that these people getting all rallied up against an ambiguously sexist rule in D&D are the same ones that have no probelm in playing the same D&D where killing other sentient beings, often with the sole justification that "they are evil" (and sometimes not even that) is a regular part of the expeirience.

But obiously killing doesn't even come close to de depths of depravity that is potential sexism.
As I said. Priorities and context. D&D throws any moral principle right out of the window, as does any game where killing is justified and rewarded with xp and loot.
Are they any less enjoyable because of that? No, of course not. We like killing enemies in games, there's nothing wrong with that and one would be crazy to accuse someone of advocating murder because of it. So why is it ok to call sexist someone that plays a (in this case not even explicitly or assuredly) sexist game? It's the same context.
That of a meaningless game with no pretence of moral teachings.

Theoboldi
2013-09-08, 03:00 PM
The OP never said this was the only house rule.

Fair enough. Though since it is the only one mentioned, I assume that it is the only one.
And even then I don't think it's a good way to establish versimilitude. But that's another discussion entirely.

Arcanist
2013-09-08, 03:00 PM
Why only limit it to women then? :smallconfused:

Perhaps I should reword my question to make it exclusionary to this specific scenario. I meant with any character (regardless of race and gender).

For example a Dwarf can have a normal Constitution and be bad at holding their liquor, but really good at public speaking and an Elf can be clumsy and muscular and so on and so for.

lesser_minion
2013-09-08, 03:02 PM
Fair enough. Though since it is the only one mentioned, I assume that it is the only one.
And even then I don't think it's a good way to establish versimilitude. But that's another discussion entirely.

The OP himself actually said that the DM in question has "several" houserules.

Tengu_temp
2013-09-08, 03:05 PM
This Thread Drinking Game - each time a strawman argument is used, take a shot! Each time someone who already posted a lot in this thread accusses others of skewed priorities because they spend too much time posting here, take two shots!


I should note that even Gygax threw out that rule for his games in the early 80's and apologized for the female Strength cap of 18/50 (http://www.ancientscrossroads.com/adnd_tools/str_table.htm). Which would make this DM even more backward. As for Gygax's DM style, I think thats better left for another thread.

Well, that's good. I regained some respect for him. It's important to realize your past mistakes.

Autolykos
2013-09-08, 03:06 PM
Fair enough. Though since it is the only one mentioned, I assume that it is the only one.
And even then I don't think it's a good way to establish versimilitude. But that's another discussion entirely.Yup, and I completely agree with that. On its own, the rule is just plain bad and has no redeeming qualities.
But if it is used carefully in a context where it makes sense, you could get it to work. If this rule is the only thing I know about a DM, it lowers my expectation of his skill as a DM quite a lot. But it is not, by itself, enough to say he is a bad DM, let alone an evil sexist.

Theoboldi
2013-09-08, 03:07 PM
The OP himself actually said that the DM in question has "several" houserules.

I suppose I should rephrase my words. I thought that this houserule was the only one that specified a difference between genders. I assumed that the other houserules all were about other things, like for example casters having less spell slots or critical hit tables or something like that.

Coidzor
2013-09-08, 03:07 PM
Too bad this is going to get buried under tons of people that need to prove something to themselves.

Pot, meet kettle. :smallamused:


I'm curious if there would be a problem if his justification was that:

"I just wanted to add more stat variability to the game and giving everyone a -2 penalty to any ability score and a +2 to another ability score would make your starting choices far less impacting."

That rationale seems a bit weak and doesn't seem like it would really accomplish that aim. But it takes things in a new direction to explore, sure.

Arcanist
2013-09-08, 03:08 PM
This Thread Drinking Game - each time a strawman argument is used, take a shot!

Do we take shots anytime anyone uses a fallacy of any kind? :smalltongue:

DeadMech
2013-09-08, 03:09 PM
One poster brought up an example where in his world some races are second class citizens or slaves and his players who had perfectly valid reasons to be offended by this instead choose to play as these races to overcome it.

I'm fine with that. That was a choice by the players. If I want to make to make a Joan D'arc type female knight and give her a lower str score then I can. I'd probably pick a selection of feats that make my dominant int or dex stat add bonuses instead. But in that case it's my choice to do so. It's my trope to play with and break as I see fit.

In both these cases however the limitation isn't mechanical but flavor. In the game world I might expect the characters in both examples to be treated rudely by the npc's but I would also be fully in my right to prove just how wrong those npc's are.

Some people propose different stat generation systems. Ones where females can roll stats just as high as males can but at a statistically lower occurrence. I'm fine with that. Especially when it only affects the npc's of a game. My sister might still disagree.

When I think of medieval settings I picture worlds where the vast majority of the population are serfs working the land. Men, women, and children doing back breaking manual labour to bring in the harvest most of there lives. I picture a world where the average mother wouldn't think twice before picking up a pitchfork to defend her home and family and where it wouldn't be that uncommon for a marriage dowry to include a weapon for the wife to use for just that sort of occasion.

At the end of the day if you want to use a rule that treats men and women differently or if you want to create a setting where women are second class citizens then there isn't really anything I can do to stop you. Some games include terrible things happening to good people. Murder, rape, misogyny, racism. All that stuff. If you are including it in your setting I hope you are trying to point out that this stuff is wrong. At the very least you should make your players aware of these facets and be willing to drop them if your players take issue with it. Even in our "modern first world civilization" staggering numbers of women still face sexual harassment and sexist social and economic barriers. Some people still face oppressive racism. So you shouldn't be all that surprised when someone is offended by it in their game.

Theoboldi
2013-09-08, 03:10 PM
I don't have any authority, but I do have the freedom of speech to claim it as long as I want.
And I'd like to point out that these people getting all rallied up against an ambiguously sexist rule in D&D are the same ones that have no probelm in playing the same D&D where killing other sentient beings, often with the sole justification that "they are evil" (and sometimes not even that) is a regular part of the expeirience.

But obiously killing doesn't even come close to de depths of depravity that is potential sexism.
As I said. Priorities and context. D&D throws any moral principle right out of the window, as does any game where killing is justified and rewarded with xp and loot.
Are they any less enjoyable because of that? No, of course not. We like killing enemies in games, there's nothing wrong with that and one would be crazy to accuse someone of advocating murder because of it. So why is it ok to call sexist someone that plays a (in this case not even explicitly or assuredly) sexist game? It's the same context.
That of a meaningless game with no pretence of moral teachings.

If you cannot back up your argument about why one should not react to this houserule seriously without pointing out completly unrelated flaws of your opponents, I will not accept it as an answer.

Tim Proctor
2013-09-08, 03:10 PM
Do we take shots anytime anyone uses a fallacy of any kind? :smalltongue:

I thought it was when someone wrote 'Female' or 'Strength' cause that is what I've been doing.

The issues are without the other rules, and without a further knowledge of the DM and Players I don't think anyone can make a real decision. If the DM limited Males and Females in different manners as well as races then it wouldn't be an issue, if all the house rules were for Women like they have to spend their first skill points on 'Cooking' then there would be an issue.

endoperez
2013-09-08, 03:11 PM
We like killing enemies in games, there's nothing wrong with that and one would be crazy to accuse someone of advocating murder because of it. So why is it ok to call sexist someone that plays a (in this case not even explicitly or assuredly) sexist game? It's the same context.

This isn't equivalent.

Murderer is someone who commits an illegal act, kills a human. A better comparison would be to claim that a person who kills enemies in a game is violent.

Is it alright to call someone violent when he plays in a game that has more killing than normal games? Maybe.
Is it alright to call someone violent when he GM's a game that's been changed so that there is more killing than usually? It's not a binary stance, but yes, a person who designs a violent rule/game probably either wants to see it in action, or implements it because it's one of the themes he wants to explore.

Tengu_temp
2013-09-08, 03:12 PM
Do we take shots anytime anyone uses a fallacy of any kind? :smalltongue:

Only if you want to be drunk in 5 minutes instead of 10.

Actually, I added a second point so cut those times in half.

Terraoblivion
2013-09-08, 03:15 PM
I'd like to point out several flaws with your last statement Kalmagedon. Starting with the obvious. Nobody said that legal action ought to be taken against you or that the government should scrub your words, so freedom of speech isn't relevant here. It isn't freedom from criticism, which would be a major violation of freedom of speech by cutting out a large and diverse class of speech, it's freedom from government sanctions and censorship.

Beyond that, not everyone plays D&D in a way where murdering people because "they're evil" is a valid motive, just like not we're talking about a general RP principle and not strictly speaking about D&D, so assumptions might well be different. There is also the major point that saying that women are unsuited for physically demanding tasks has a real tangible impact in ways that stabbing monsters with swords doesn't. The difference really should be quite obvious, given how women exist and are common in society and women being unsuited for physically demanding tasks is an idea that's commonly thrown around, while monsters don't exist, swords are rare and stabbing people is a universally condemned behavior.

Arcanist
2013-09-08, 03:21 PM
I thought it was when someone wrote 'Female' or 'Strength' cause that is what I've been doing.

We would be dead (see below).


Only if you want to be drunk in 5 minutes instead of 10.

You do realize it is a fallacy to assume that someones entire argument is invalidated by the presence of a fallacy, right? We would be dead from alcohol poisoning by now. Just something I thought should be pointed out before playing the Fallacy drinking game :smalltongue:

zlefin
2013-09-08, 03:23 PM
this inspired me to look some things up
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_differences_in_human_physiology

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Olympic_records_in_weightlifting
both of those link to some other similar things I read; I didn't want to clutter with every link I looked at.

what we'll find in the future as culture changes, and training regimes change, who knows.

lesser_minion
2013-09-08, 03:23 PM
At the end of the day if you want to use a rule that treats men and women differently...

As I said once already, the question is whether or not male and female characters are being treated fairly. There is no need to treat them exactly the same.

The question of what realism has to offer games is an interesting one, but that should really be discussed without throwing the question of gender in gaming into the mix.


Nobody said that legal action ought to be taken against you or that the government should scrub your words, so freedom of speech isn't relevant here. It isn't freedom from criticism, which would be a major violation of freedom of speech by cutting out a large and diverse class of speech, it's freedom from government sanctions and censorship.

"I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it". I see nothing about government there.

Toofey
2013-09-08, 03:23 PM
Only if they satisfied the corresponding male stereotype and gave men a maximum wisdom of 16.

Tengu_temp
2013-09-08, 03:25 PM
You do realize it is a fallacy to assume that someones entire argument is invalidated by the presence of a fallacy, right? We would be dead from alcohol poisoning by now. Just something I thought should be pointed out before playing the Fallacy drinking game :smalltongue:

Good, another fallacy shot!

And yes, I do realize. But in this particular case? The fallacies flying aroung are just the icing on the cake.

Sergeantbrother
2013-09-08, 03:26 PM
What if a female DM introduced this rule?

Theoboldi
2013-09-08, 03:28 PM
Good, another fallacy shot!

And yes, I do realize. But in this particular case? The fallacies flying aroung are just the icing on the cake.

Oh dear goodness. Did I use any fallacies? It's like in The Thing, everyone might be using fallacies! :smalleek:

Arcanist
2013-09-08, 03:29 PM
Good, another fallacy shot!

And yes, I do realize. But in this particular case? The fallacies flying around are just the icing on the cake.

This is icing on the cake. The rum cake :smallcool:


What if a female DM introduced this rule?

With sexism it doesn't matter what your gender is. A woman can be just, if not more, misogynistic than a man can... It is the most painful kind of irony really :smalltongue:

Terraoblivion
2013-09-08, 03:29 PM
What if a female DM introduced this rule?

Then they'd still perform a sexist act, so it doesn't really matter other than adding a mildly curious twist to things. Women can be sexist too, after all. It's quite common, really.

Coidzor
2013-09-08, 03:29 PM
What if a female DM introduced this rule?

It'd bear further investigation, sure, but some of the worst misogynists are also women, so it's not like the person in question being female precludes the possibility that the decision was made for all the wrong reasons.

Spiryt
2013-09-08, 03:30 PM
what we'll find in the future as culture changes, and training regimes change, who knows.

Culture and training regimes won't change much at all.


Genetic doping and other manipulations can of course change a lot, but I'm not sure it's the road average people would want to go... Seeing that more 'conventional' PEDs are already generally shunned.

Tengu_temp
2013-09-08, 03:34 PM
What if a female DM introduced this rule?

I'd ask "why?", and depending on the answer... Well, I'd probably leave the game anyway, but some answers might change my mind. Or, if I had a bad feeling about the DM, I'd just leave without bothering to ask.

So pretty much the same as with a male DM.

Sergeantbrother
2013-09-08, 03:35 PM
It'd bear further investigation, sure, but some of the worst misogynists are also women, so it's not like the person in question being female precludes the possibility that the decision was made for all the wrong reasons.

What would be the objectionable motive though? Is it sexist to believe that men are stronger than women? Is it bad to want to bring a sense of realism to some aspect of the game? If that is bad why should we have great swords do more damage than daggers? Is she trying to make playing unpleasant for females? That would seem odd considering she is a female.

I just don't see why everyone assumes that the motive for this must be sexism, even if a woman did it.

originalginger
2013-09-08, 03:36 PM
One poster brought up an example where in his world some races are second class citizens or slaves and his players who had perfectly valid reasons to be offended by this instead choose to play as these races to overcome it.

I'm fine with that. That was a choice by the players. If I want to make to make a Joan D'arc type female knight and give her a lower str score then I can. I'd probably pick a selection of feats that make my dominant int or dex stat add bonuses instead. But in that case it's my choice to do so. It's my trope to play with and break as I see fit.

In both these cases however the limitation isn't mechanical but flavor. In the game world I might expect the characters in both examples to be treated rudely by the npc's but I would also be fully in my right to prove just how wrong those npc's are.

Some people propose different stat generation systems. Ones where females can roll stats just as high as males can but at a statistically lower occurrence. I'm fine with that. Especially when it only affects the npc's of a game. My sister might still disagree.

When I think of medieval settings I picture worlds where the vast majority of the population are serfs working the land. Men, women, and children doing back breaking manual labour to bring in the harvest most of there lives. I picture a world where the average mother wouldn't think twice before picking up a pitchfork to defend her home and family and where it wouldn't be that uncommon for a marriage dowry to include a weapon for the wife to use for just that sort of occasion.

At the end of the day if you want to use a rule that treats men and women differently or if you want to create a setting where women are second class citizens then there isn't really anything I can do to stop you. Some games include terrible things happening to good people. Murder, rape, misogyny, racism. All that stuff. If you are including it in your setting I hope you are trying to point out that this stuff is wrong. At the very least you should make your players aware of these facets and be willing to drop them if your players take issue with it. Even in our "modern first world civilization" staggering numbers of women still face sexual harassment and sexist social and economic barriers. Some people still face oppressive racism. So you shouldn't be all that surprised when someone is offended by it in their game.


As the poster who used that example I will say that I implemented no stat adjustments for any race or gender, and the group, who have been playing together for years worked on creating the setting together. Had any of them expressed that something about the setting made them uncomfortable, we would have worked together to fix the issue to everyone's satisfaction before ever rolling a single die.

Instead we acknowledged that there were some heavy themes in the game, and agreed that it was an opportunity to explore those themes together, and it has led to some wonderful, if sometimes heated, discussions and debates, and great opportunities to learn together about the real history that serves as our inspiration.

Context is key, and I suppose our long-time friendships and mutual respect comes into play a lot, where a less close-knit group might have fallen apart by now.

Spiryt
2013-09-08, 03:38 PM
I just don't see why everyone assumes that the motive for this must be sexism, even if a woman did it.

That point had been already addressed though -

It easily may not be sexist, it's just still rather horrible houserule.

Black Jester
2013-09-08, 03:39 PM
The game is make-belief, so basically anything goes.

This argument - or some variation of it - has appeared several times now in this discussion.
the problem is, it is actually quite wrong. A certain degree of realism is mandatory for any form of decent roleplaying game. Without a certain degree of realism games will fail horribly, and deservedly so.

The basic assumption of any RPG - or any story for that matter is "if not explicitly stated otherwise, you can safely assume that real life assumptions are still true". This is necessary to communicate contents. If the GM tells you "there is a cat on the tree" he will probably assume that you visualize a small, furry creature with pointed ears and a tail, and not, let's say, a monstrous horse-sized, six-legged one with an octopus for a head. Of course, a make belief world will deviate from this norm . Perhaps cats in this world can talk or fly or wear pants or truly are horse-sized, six-legged creatures with an octopus for a head which use psychic powers to create the illusion that they look like small, furry creatures with pointed ears and a tail (and wouldn't that explain so much?).

Yes, I know that a cat is not necessarily furry or has a tail. Nonetheless, the standard assumption of "cat" for most people will most likely look like a European shorthair than a manx or those pitiful naked things or even a lion, the same way the standard association for "bird" is more likely a robin than a penguin.

This mutually shared common notion is necessary to create a world everybody could relate to and could visualize. And that is the function of 'realism' for roleplaying games: the assertion that familiar elements are still the same, so that the GM don't have to explain all the time that up is still up, swords are pointy metal bars used to mutilate other people and, in related news, water is wet.

And yes, this not an objective measure, because it is based on experiences, expectations and perceptions and the like, but it is the basically assumed compromise. As such, it is not perfect, but the shared assumptions tend to be relatively stable, at least within one culture or language group. and yes, that can be a trap, if you meet something that is both true and defies expectations ("A bisexual noblewoman in pre-revolutionary France who became a duelist, seduced a nun and sang in the opera? That's so contrived!")

So, basically, a fictional setting does not mean that there is not a common framework you have to refer to make it feasible for your players and the basic assumption of this framework is just realism. You can change the framework and thus deviate from the realistic baseline, but if you don't point it out, the reference is lost or confusing. The same happens if you deviate too much from it, because you constantly create a dissonance between expectations and results and that is the recipe for frustration.

Arcanist
2013-09-08, 03:39 PM
What would be the objectionable motive though? Is it sexist to believe that men are stronger than women? Is it bad to want to bring a sense of realism to some aspect of the game? If that is bad why should we have great swords do more damage than daggers? Is she trying to make playing unpleasant for females? That would seem odd considering she is a female.

I just don't see why everyone assumes that the motive for this must be sexism, even if a woman did it.

JAQ'ing off (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=JAQing%20off) is poor debate form. If this is not the case, I apologize for the assumption on my part.

Theoboldi
2013-09-08, 03:41 PM
JAQ'ing off (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=JAQing%20off) is poor debate form. If this is not the case, I apologize for the assumption on my part.

I prefer calling it the socratic method. :smalltongue:

Arcanist
2013-09-08, 03:48 PM
I prefer calling it the socratic method. :smalltongue:

The difference between the two is that the Socratic Method actually tries to find an answer where as JAQ'ing off tries to influence the audience to draw conclusions, while hiding behind the statement of "just asking questions".

Which is why I apologized preemptively if that was not his intent.

Autolykos
2013-09-08, 03:52 PM
JAQ'ing off (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=JAQing%20off) is poor debate form. If this is not the case, I apologize for the assumption on my part.It would less of a problem if people learned that "Mu" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mu_(negative)#.22Unasking.22_the_question) and "This isn't even wrong." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Not_even_wrong) can also be valid answers to a question.

RPGuru1331
2013-09-08, 03:53 PM
Also, the socratic method existed by putting words into the mouth of a fictional opponent.

NichG
2013-09-08, 03:55 PM
I'm curious, for those who say they would leave because its a bad houserule, what is your threshold for deciding how bad a rule has to be before you leave?

For example, would 'Humans can't have a Strength over 18 ever' be enough to make you leave? Or something really silly but incredibly specific like 'Illumian Rogues have their Hide capped at +12'?

Is it different if its not the DM that created the rule, but the DM is making a bad choice about going one way or another about something that is usually ambiguous in the rules? Like, for example, allowing Drown-Healing to work in D&D?

johnbragg
2013-09-08, 03:58 PM
This argument - or some variation of it - has
The basic assumption of any RPG - or any story for that matter is "if not explicitly stated otherwise, you can safely assume that real life assumptions are still true". ..... Of course, a make belief world will deviate from this norm .

So, basically, a fictional setting does not mean that there is not a common framework you have to refer to make it feasible for your players and the basic assumption of this framework is just realism. .

Your point is true, however it is limited by the fact that we are roleplaying after a half-century of fantasy roleplaying, and about a century of sword-and-sorcery fiction serving as inspiration and source material. For most of that half-century of fantasy roleplaying, females have had the ability to equal males in combat. Conans are more common than Red Sonjas, but Red Sonja is at no mechanical disadvantage. (There were some trivial exceptions noted upthread, but the dominant tradition is Xena can be as strong as any male hero.)

At this point, that's part of the common framework. If you want to do something different, you owe the players (or a decent respect for the opinions of mankind) a reason why. Having male characters roll physical stats on 2d10 and females on 3d6 would be an interesting game mechanic, but I'd require some GM explanation for why this is going to make the game better.

"In reality, men are stronger than women, on average and at the extremes" is true but doesn't make the game better.

Terraoblivion
2013-09-08, 04:01 PM
What would be the objectionable motive though? Is it sexist to believe that men are stronger than women? Is it bad to want to bring a sense of realism to some aspect of the game? If that is bad why should we have great swords do more damage than daggers? Is she trying to make playing unpleasant for females? That would seem odd considering she is a female.

I just don't see why everyone assumes that the motive for this must be sexism, even if a woman did it.

Because it's inherently sexist. There's no non-sexist way to do it. Also, people seem very caught up on intent when intent is incidental. If an action encourages essentialist gender notions or reinforces strict gender roles, then it's sexist. And if people do it out of bringing a sense of realism to the game, then there is still the question about why this specific thing is what they wanted to make realistic along with how exactly you can meaningfully talk about realism in a system that heavily abstracts strength, which is pretty much every system ever. It also faces the problem that any strength that has a meaningful impact worth modeling is within the band that both men and women can achieve, who can pull the heaviest truck just isn't relevant for any practical pursuit other than truckpulling contests. Contrary to what a lot of RPGs would have you believe, massive strength isn't particularly helpful in a fight, so if your system values strength greatly it's already either unrealistic or only concerned with a band where there is no difference between what men and women can achieve.

Vitruviansquid
2013-09-08, 04:05 PM
House ruling should be done as little as possible to as small a degree as possible. Because each house rule is a new thing everyone has to remember, each house rule makes the game ever so slightly more difficult to run. Also, because each house rule upsets a system that was not balanced with the rule in mind, it is far easier to break stuff with house rules than it is to fix stuff, especially when the house rule maker isn't the same as the person who developed the basic rules to begin with

This all means that each house rule should bring a simple and obvious benefit to the game that cannot be had without the house rule. For different players, benefits to the game would be different. For example, I like my roleplaying games to offer a lot of choice for what kind of character you can be. If you made a house rule that effectively bans strength-based female characters, I would be pretty bummed.

RPGuru1331
2013-09-08, 04:18 PM
I'm curious, for those who say they would leave because its a bad houserule, what is your threshold for deciding how bad a rule has to be before you leave?

For example, would 'Humans can't have a Strength over 18 ever' be enough to make you leave? Or something really silly but incredibly specific like 'Illumian Rogues have their Hide capped at +12'?

Is it different if its not the DM that created the rule, but the DM is making a bad choice about going one way or another about something that is usually ambiguous in the rules? Like, for example, allowing Drown-Healing to work in D&D?

It's not about the quality of the rule as a mechanical thing. It's offensive and sexist. I'm not going to deal with that nonsense on such an explicit level in my entertainment.

Waar
2013-09-08, 04:25 PM
The way i see it this realy is two separate problems.
1: game balance, unless this was counterbalanced by other house rules I would probably walk. (if you want unbalanced genders make up your own species or go away :smallyuk:)
2: Sexism: this part is trickier, and my decision would probalby be determined on case by case basis, after significant questioning/discussion. Though observed reactions on me arguing to remove this house rule could certanly be enough to make me walk away.

I have played and enjoyed both rpgs and video game rpgs in which some statistical difference between geners was present, though I did not consider this difference an advantage to those games.

edit:

Also, because each house rule upsets a system that was not balanced with the rule in mind, it is far easier to break stuff with house rules than it is to fix stuff, especially when the house rule maker isn't the same as the person who developed the basic rules to begin with

I'm going to call bs on this part (though I agree with the rest of your post) It's quite probable that the part of the game I feel needs fixing the most is either in the way of how my group does thing (randomly generated strating stats come to mind) or a glaring mechanical error, additionally mechanical nerfs (in comaprison to a theoratical balanced state) do at worst stop that specific mechanic from being used, while buffs could att worst make all other options worthless.
So reducing something you find over powerd is a quite safe provided that it does not hit to many options (like "nerfing" a gender option would :smallyuk::smallwink:)

Rolan
2013-09-08, 04:27 PM
Let's say, hypothetically you enter into a game in which the DM, GM or what ever he, most likely he in this case, has a few house rules. One of them is that no female character may have more than a 16 to Strength before racial bonuses. The rationale is that in real life on human female can every reach the brute strength of men in the top 75%. Would you tolerate this house rule, or just get the hell out?

Nope. Haven't read the rest of the thread yet, but just nope.

Sure, women are weaker on average and median. Heroes aren't the average or the median. I would probably agree to a stat penalty, even (along with a matching bonus to CHA and/or CON). But a limit? That's just stupid, and I'd question the DM's suitability.

clarkvalentine
2013-09-08, 04:46 PM
Feels weird coming back into this community just for this mess, but here goes.

I'd walk so fast the GM wouldn't even know I'd been there to begin with. Leaving aside the hamfisted classlessness of it, it's a big ol' red flag for even worse nonsense almost certain to come.

Guys, if you can't stretch your suspension of disbelief to include an 18 strength woman, you need to work your imagination a bit harder. Verisimilitude is not worth throwing "You're weak, and never forget it!" in the faces of the women at your table, women who've already dealt with probably an even dozen subtle and not-so-subtle instances of sexist BS before they even got to the table that day.

No. Just no. The games I make and the table I run are as free of that crap as I can make it, and I don't play with GMs who run their games otherwise.

NichG
2013-09-08, 04:50 PM
It's not about the quality of the rule as a mechanical thing. It's offensive and sexist. I'm not going to deal with that nonsense on such an explicit level in my entertainment.

I recognize that there are those who would walk because of the bigotry, but not everyone who has said they'd leave the game gave that as their reason. This is why I was specifically asking about those who would walk 'because of the bad houserule aspect'.

zlefin
2013-09-08, 05:10 PM
Because it's inherently sexist. There's no non-sexist way to do it. Also, people seem very caught up on intent when intent is incidental. If an action encourages essentialist gender notions or reinforces strict gender roles, then it's sexist. And if people do it out of bringing a sense of realism to the game, then there is still the question about why this specific thing is what they wanted to make realistic along with how exactly you can meaningfully talk about realism in a system that heavily abstracts strength, which is pretty much every system ever. It also faces the problem that any strength that has a meaningful impact worth modeling is within the band that both men and women can achieve, who can pull the heaviest truck just isn't relevant for any practical pursuit other than truckpulling contests. Contrary to what a lot of RPGs would have you believe, massive strength isn't particularly helpful in a fight, so if your system values strength greatly it's already either unrealistic or only concerned with a band where there is no difference between what men and women can achieve.

I dispute your assertion that it is sexist. I would ask what definition of sexism you are using; as it does not seem to be the same one I am using.
Also, such a rule need not enforce strict gender roles, only loose gender roles.

Spiryt
2013-09-08, 05:12 PM
It also faces the problem that any strength that has a meaningful impact worth modeling is within the band that both men and women can achieve, who can pull the heaviest truck just isn't relevant for any practical pursuit other than truckpulling contests. Contrary to what a lot of RPGs would have you believe, massive strength isn't particularly helpful in a fight, so if your system values strength greatly it's already either unrealistic or only concerned with a band where there is no difference between what men and women can achieve.


Massive strength is absolutely helpful in a fight, that's why any combat competition has weight categories.

And women are, strictly speaking, very visibly lagging behind their men counterparts in pretty much any athletic endeavor, from long distance running to actual truck pulling.

That's why we have generally don't have 'mixed' sport events, fights or whatever at any sensible levels.

It's generally effect of way higher levels of testosterone and other male hormones - and their influence on muscle performance, ability to regenerate from training/exertion, generally more developed muscular coordination etc.

For details one would have to ask actual sport scientist.


There's obviously absolutely no point of modeling it in game, unless someone wants really realistic basket weaving and swimming simulator.

But reducing the topic to truckpulling doesn't have sense.

Delusion
2013-09-08, 05:36 PM
I'd walk out unless something else was really drawing me into the game.

More than half of the characters I play are female knights, warriors and paladins so that house rule would be direct nerf to type of character I perhaps like playing the most.

And that even before we get into the whole redflag thing about possible more sexism to come.

Terraoblivion
2013-09-08, 05:48 PM
I dispute your assertion that it is sexist. I would ask what definition of sexism you are using; as it does not seem to be the same one I am using.
Also, such a rule need not enforce strict gender roles, only loose gender roles.

Sexism is anything that creates gendered inequality or limit the social roles of people based on gender.

And Spiryt, weight classes have more to do with weight. The heavier you are the more force you can apply when hitting. Also not all forms of sports fighting really cater to people with a physique like heavy weight boxers. And this is not even going into how sports fighting is heavily codified in ways meant to reduce injuries and not really an accurate representation of a real fight. Also, for any kind of armed fighting, once you're strong enough to use and carry your equipment, hitting and having the stamina to avoid tiring is far more important than hitting really, really hard. A properly sharpened sword is going to cause quite a bit of damage if you can land a proper hit whether you're a strong person or not, strength only matters in terms of being strong enough to control the thing and you don't need to be a heavy weight boxer or weightlifter for that. This is even more pronounced in any form of combat using firearms.

I mean, don't get me wrong, being strong is a requirement for using most weapons well, but the kind of strength we're talking about the kind of strength needed for weightlifting or truckpulling or similar. More like the strength needed for acrobatics, something I seem to notice that woman are perfectly capable of doing. The very extremes of strength are achieved by training very, very hard to achieve the greatest possible strength at performing a specific task, not a broad spectrum of tasks or something like combat that requires a large variety of different movements.

AgentofHellfire
2013-09-08, 06:00 PM
Not to mention that the "medieval" gender roles they describe are a bastardized version of the most oppressive strains of bourgeois, Victorian culture transplanted on top of an agrarian society and not actually anything resembling medieval Europe with its female guildmasters, frequent remarriage and queens serving as regents.



Hrm. I'm not a huge fan of prescribing archaic gender roles to fantasy games myself (although I generally am not a fan of "medieval fantasy", really), but I have to wonder if you're picking up on the couple of exceptions that existed and declaring them to be the rule.

I mean, in the Victorian era you had people like Marie Curie--does that mean women were as a rule able to become respected scientists?

Also, I'd like a link or something about the frequent remarriage bit, especially since arranged marriages were definitely a thing for the upper classes.

AgentofHellfire
2013-09-08, 06:08 PM
Sexism is anything that creates gendered inequality or limit the social roles of people based on gender.


This is a bit of a ridiculous definition, as I've argued with you more heatedly in the past. The main reason being that it makes any poorly argued misogynist stance--and one found offensive--isn't sexist because it alienates people from the sexist ideology. At which point we start calling the gender-prejudiced equivalents of the KKK today (emphasis on today, they're way less powerful now and something of a laughingstock), non-sexist.

Unless you, y'know, want to add intent as a relevant factor.

Quorothorn
2013-09-08, 06:10 PM
Because it's inherently sexist. There's no non-sexist way to do it. Also, people seem very caught up on intent when intent is incidental. If an action encourages essentialist gender notions or reinforces strict gender roles, then it's sexist. And if people do it out of bringing a sense of realism to the game, then there is still the question about why this specific thing is what they wanted to make realistic along with how exactly you can meaningfully talk about realism in a system that heavily abstracts strength, which is pretty much every system ever. It also faces the problem that any strength that has a meaningful impact worth modeling is within the band that both men and women can achieve, who can pull the heaviest truck just isn't relevant for any practical pursuit other than truckpulling contests. Contrary to what a lot of RPGs would have you believe, massive strength isn't particularly helpful in a fight, so if your system values strength greatly it's already either unrealistic or only concerned with a band where there is no difference between what men and women can achieve.

To avoid simply saying "yeah, this":

To me, such a houserule would basically be a perfect storm of Bad. It reveals a poor grasp of balance, poor grasp of 'realism' in a tabletop game setting, and its origin is inevitably rooted in misogyny. The last of those is ultimately the biggest deal-breaker to me, but the whole thing is basically a pile of fail from my perspective. There is no reason for having such a houserule that I would really accept, whereas there's a small host of reasons against it.

Now, if this was a game I had previously had some interest in joining, I must have had some reason for that, and so I (presumably) would talk to this hypothetical GM and try to convince them to drop the houserule. If they refused, I really can't see myself participating in such a game: too many red flags. Heck, even if that particular houserule got sorted, it's such a bunch of red flags on its own it would make me wary about the whole thing, unless the hypothetical GM really did change in response to having the absurdities of such a houserule pointed out to them.


I dispute your assertion that it is sexist. I would ask what definition of sexism you are using; as it does not seem to be the same one I am using.
Also, such a rule need not enforce strict gender roles, only loose gender roles.

....seriously?? "It's not enforcing rigid gender roles, just loose ones!" This is actually the excuse you're going with, here?

RPGuru1331
2013-09-08, 06:10 PM
Boxing is nominally a combat sport, and if you are going to go march your army out there without arms or armor, I damn well hope they know how to box. I mean, they'll die instantly when someone fields an army with guns, or swords, or armor, but hey. Maybe the other army is also naked except for their shorts. *Then* the all-male army has an advantage.

Because seriously, if equipment is a factor, you just need to carry it. And it doesn't require a superhuman physique to do so.

Mr Beer
2013-09-08, 06:12 PM
It really depends on a number of factors. Is this game itself "high realism" right the way through? Are there female players? How do they feel about it?

It's absolutely true that women are weaker than men and a strictly accurate depiction would have a STR penalty as well as a cap. But then not much about D&D is even vaguely realistic so I see this as very unneccessary.

Assuming there are no aggreived female players I would not refuse to play on this basis alone, I would take it as a dubious sign though.

Terraoblivion
2013-09-08, 06:12 PM
Hrm. I'm not a huge fan of prescribing archaic gender roles to fantasy games myself (although I generally am not a fan of "medieval fantasy", really), but I have to wonder if you're picking up on the couple of exceptions that existed and declaring them to be the rule.

Europe becoming way more sexist with the French Revolution is quite well-documented. There are several interesting articles and monographs on how sexism was heavily used in revolutionary propaganda and how the revolutionaries came to see themselves as representatives of rational, male minds against a regime that was characterized as soft and feminine. There is also quite a bit on how the gendered dichotomy became a central part of bourgeois identity across Europe in ways it had been for neither the peasantry nor the nobility before.

Further, female guildmasters and master craftsmen is a recurring feature of medieval guild rosters and descriptions of guild events and it is never remarked upon as something special. Not just that, it is quite well-documented that male craftsmen would usually teach their wives the craft in order to be able to use the extra labor at home.

Really, go read the relevant academic literature like I have. I recommend the article about how Marie Antoinette porn was a central feature of revolutionary propaganda in the 1780s for picking an interesting and quirky angle, but there's plenty.

RPGuru1331
2013-09-08, 06:12 PM
This is a bit of a ridiculous definition, as I've argued with you more heatedly in the past. The main reason being that it makes any poorly argued misogynist stance--and one found offensive--isn't sexist because it alienates people from the sexist ideology. At which point we start calling the gender-prejudiced equivalents of the KKK today (emphasis on today, they're way less powerful now and something of a laughingstock), non-sexist.
Unless you, y'know, want to add intent as a relevant factor.
Uh, no, that's not what those ideologies do. Those ideologies make sexist ideologies that are less extreme seem more moderate, and therefore, 'acceptable'. Nice try.

awa
2013-09-08, 06:14 PM
Don't want to get to much into this argument becuase Ive seen the gender arguments on this site before and am largely uninterested in this quagmire.

But i got to say that is a lousy definition of sexism because biology would fall under it.

AgentofHellfire
2013-09-08, 06:16 PM
Uh, no, that's not what those ideologies do. Those ideologies make sexist ideologies that are less extreme seem more moderate, and therefore, 'acceptable'. Nice try.

Isn't necessarily true if they start using some of the language of the moderates in a half-assed manner. Then moderate arguments become associated with the extremists who deliver it poorly.

Terraoblivion
2013-09-08, 06:17 PM
Don't want to get to much into this argument becuase Ive seen the gender arguments on this site before and am largely uninterested in this quagmire.

But i got to say that is a lousy definition of sexism because biology would fall under it.

Other than reproduction and sports on a very high level, which is ultimately just an exercise in pushing the body to its very limits for no real purpose, biological differences between men and women don't have a material impact on life. One is ultimately meaningless except for arbitrary cultural value, while the other has much smaller impact in practice than people like to pretend, especially in the presence of modern medicine.

awa
2013-09-08, 06:20 PM
had an urge to respond but then i remembered Ive seen this play out before and resisted the urge.

RPGuru1331
2013-09-08, 06:24 PM
Isn't necessarily true if they start using some of the language of the moderates in a half-assed manner. Then moderate arguments become associated with the extremists who deliver it poorly.

And in the real world, that sequence happens basically never.

Quorothorn
2013-09-08, 06:49 PM
Other than reproduction and sports on a very high level, which is ultimately just an exercise in pushing the body to its very limits for no real purpose, biological differences between men and women don't have a material impact on life. One is ultimately meaningless except for arbitrary cultural value, while the other has much smaller impact in practice than people like to pretend, especially in the presence of modern medicine.

And of course, "but sports" is not a valid argument until one can represent a tennis match with D&D rules. Which, you know, will never be the case unfortunately.

Surrealistik
2013-09-08, 06:52 PM
To be fair, extreme cases that demand the upper limits of human physical ability (or beyond) are actually pretty common in heroic fantasy (well, those that focus heavily on hack and slash/adventuring).

Black Jester
2013-09-08, 07:18 PM
Your point is true, however it is limited by the fact that we are roleplaying after a half-century of fantasy roleplaying, and about a century of sword-and-sorcery fiction serving as inspiration and source material.

I contemplated if I should include include a notion of hyperreality in the explanation but I thought it would become too cluttered.



For most of that half-century of fantasy roleplaying, females have had the ability to equal males in combat. Conans are more common than Red Sonjas, but Red Sonja is at no mechanical disadvantage. (There were some trivial exceptions noted upthread, but the dominant tradition is Xena can be as strong as any male hero.)

Actually, it is not that simple. Sure, on the rule level alone you are right, but if you include la more general depiction of gender roles in roleplaying games, especially considering artwork and flavor texts.
I have no empirical data for that, but i would bet that the depiction of women in D&D artwork will usually focus more on appearance features (even especially stupid ones like bare midriff or low neckline armor) while the depiction of men will focus more strongly on looking strong or 'badass'. So while the rules are mostly neutral (which is also a result of the degree of abstraction), the general approach is probably not as balanced as it might seem just because it is not spelled out explicitly, the implicit weighting is still present.

And Red Sonja is a horrible, horrible character concept. "Woman got raped, so she gets super powers as long as she never has sex (except with a man who can outfight her and thus potentially rape her again) and therefore she wears about the most stupid (and titillating) outfit possible for someone expecting to fight". So, you can have a character who is sexualized to a ridiculous level but at the same time is supposedly chaste. So many issues... I really want to like Sword and Sorcery stuff, but whenever i come to read some of it, it never seems as good as it should be.



At this point, that's part of the common framework. If you want to do something different, you owe the players (or a decent respect for the opinions of mankind) a reason why. Having male characters roll physical stats on 2d10 and females on 3d6 would be an interesting game mechanic, but I'd require some GM explanation for why this is going to make the game better. "In reality, men are stronger than women, on average and at the extremes" is true but doesn't make the game better.

Yes, of course. You should always be able to explain any house rule you introduce. That should go without saying. And honestly, the mechanical aspects are not nearly as interesting as the actual contents of the game (i.e. gender roles and relations for various fantasy cultures). The one game I play (not nearly often enough though), HarnMaster, that actually uses sexual dimorphism as a fixed rule element, has this more of a correlation (mass affects strength (and agility but in the other direction), sex affects mass and that's actually fitting or a system as fiddly and as focused on outstanding realism (did I mention how HarnMaster has rules for the soil quality of any given fiefdom and how soil fertility affects harvests?) Concerning the reprentation of gender roles I say: gender issues are too relevant (and too interesting) to just ignore them and since the game doesn't take place in a vaccuum without interconnections with the real world. It is better to respect these issues and address them instead of pretending they don't exist.
(And therefore, we need more gay dwarves).

The gay dwarf thing is a result of the very common idea that among dwarves, there is a significant excess of male dwarves compared to female ones, often up to a ratio of 3:1 or something like that. Which can lead to a few interesting options, like polyandry (dwarven women who marry a small 'harem' of male dwarves, a large number of sexually frustrated dwarven bachelors (which would explain why so many dwarves are basically high functioning alcoholics) or just a quite large number of gay dwarf couples. It would be an interesting concept when the basic assumptions are so different ("Wait, you expect your women to be monogamous? How do you care for children without three loving fathers? That's ridiculous!" ) and you could have something like the Sacred Band for every dwarven settlement. And that would be awesome.


Sexism is anything that creates gendered inequality or limit the social roles of people based on gender.

But you see, characters doesn't really exist. They aren't people. They are figments of the mind, and all sorts of horrible things could happen to them and they won't mind. If discriminating against a female character no matter the intentions or circumstances is automatically sexist, than any form of combat is basically condoling violence, if not worse.
That's why differentiation is so important. Absolutes aren't very helpful.





And Spiryt, weight classes have more to do with weight. The heavier you are the more force you can apply when hitting.

And since in your very own words every representation of physical strength is basically an abstraction, so physical mass not affect that. If I understand you correctly, biological dimorphism should not affect Strength because Strength is abstract, and because Strength is abstract, mass, which allows you to hit harder (and push heavier loads and pull heavier stuff) , again, your own words does not affect Strength, because it is mass and not strength, even though it basically lets you do the things that in an abstract system are described by a Strength attribute. I admit, I am tired and I might not understand you correctly, but that seems a bit contradictory to me.

Terraoblivion
2013-09-08, 07:21 PM
And of course, "but sports" is not a valid argument until one can represent a tennis match with D&D rules. Which, you know, will never be the case unfortunately.

Indeed, which just makes appeals to realism even sillier.

And Surrealistik, no, they don't. The kind of actions required to push yourself to the very limits of humanity don't come up in heroic fantasy. You don't see people do proper high jump stances or wearing special belts to avoid hurting their kidneys when lifting very heavy stuff, for example. However, a large number of superhuman feats of heroism do happen, but they're framed and done in very different ways and are often beyond those of olympic athletes. So rather than fuzzing about the exact differences in capabilities, it makes more sense to simply accept that this kind of heroic characters don't stick to real world physical limits anyway. So really, gender differences are pointless in that sense too, they pretty much only applies to things people don't do in heroic fantasy, while people do other stuff that humans can't do anyway.

Surrealistik
2013-09-08, 07:37 PM
And Surrealistik, no, they don't. The kind of actions required to push yourself to the very limits of humanity don't come up in heroic fantasy. You don't see people do proper high jump stances or wearing special belts to avoid hurting their kidneys when lifting very heavy stuff, for example. However, a large number of superhuman feats of heroism do happen, but they're framed and done in very different ways and are often beyond those of olympic athletes. So rather than fuzzing about the exact differences in capabilities, it makes more sense to simply accept that this kind of heroic characters don't stick to real world physical limits anyway. So really, gender differences are pointless in that sense too, they pretty much only applies to things people don't do in heroic fantasy, while people do other stuff that humans can't do anyway.

Sure they do; feats of great strength that are pretty much at the cusp of human capability come up reasonably often depending on the level range. Forcing/keeping open a portcullis, press or other similar element, moving astonishingly heavy weighs, wrenching doors open, holding them shut against several others, bending steel, jumping incredible distances, wrestling beasts; these are all things I've encountered at low levels first hand that's conceivable for a peak level athlete to do, where gender differences might actually have a material impact. Hell, in some of these instances, yes, the act is even roleplayed with proper technique and equipment so far as they are consistent with the setting (not that their inclusion/exclusion changes the fundamental nature of what is possible).

Sure, when you're essentially demigods and the like beyond say L5, and the stuff you do starts to become effectively impossible, that's obviously different, but early on (or all throughout depending on the system), yeah, there are plenty of achievements that are consistent with what is actually plausible at the highest ends of human physical ability.

Is that just cause to bring needless gender specific modifiers into the game? No. I think they're largely silly and pointless personally. That aside though, it _is_ false/disingenuous to claim that plausible albeit extreme physical feats (where gender differences could feature) aren't commonplace in hack and slash/adventuring fantasy in certain systems/echelons of play.

JusticeZero
2013-09-08, 07:38 PM
Someone asked about whether people who did not cite a sexism reason were unaffected by it.
No. If a GM wanted to run a game, and the RAW had a stats difference between males vs females, and the GM did not immediately houserule it out, I would be annoyed at the game and less inclined to enjoy it without very good reason.
If a GM had gender parity and an egalitarian setting, but kept throwing house rules about the realism of this or that, I would play, but mostly out of morbid curiosity, and i'd walk the first time it got silly.

The second case annoys me more than the first, but they both irk me.

Coidzor
2013-09-08, 07:54 PM
What would be the objectionable motive though? Is it sexist to believe that men are stronger than women? Is it bad to want to bring a sense of realism to some aspect of the game? If that is bad why should we have great swords do more damage than daggers? Is she trying to make playing unpleasant for females? That would seem odd considering she is a female.

I just don't see why everyone assumes that the motive for this must be sexism, even if a woman did it.

Whatever their motive was, depending upon what their motive was. Potentially. Generally, yes, verisimilitude is the watchword and GMs who want to add in realism by mucking about with the system are a dodgy sort, generally the more into the system you go the more likely you are to mess things up unless you've got the proper support and critique and editing to the point where you've basically created your own variant of the game rather than a set of houserules. Hello Mr. Strawman. Who can say without more information just what is going on in the head of the hypothetical DM, I just know it's not usually a place I'd want to visit even if I liked the DM as a person. Hell, I wouldn't want to get into the head of my DM even if we were lovers. Actually, especially not if we were lovers. XD You might be surprised that some of the most potent opponents against the sort of feminism that's accepted as humdrum baseline humanity have been women then, I suppose? :smallconfused:

It's not that the motive *must* be sexism, it's that the motive is probably derived from sexism within 3 or 4 degrees because that's what it almost always ends up being when this sort of thing is brought to light in actual practice.

Tyndmyr
2013-09-08, 08:03 PM
Wait...so, let me get this straight. There are people who crack open 3.5, read about the magic, the wizards, the dragons, don't blink at the idea of char classes, levels, monsters like jello...that wants to kill and other less plausible scary things, the fact that concepts like facing no longer exist....

and their suspension of disbelief is broken by how the str stat isn't gimped for women?

SowZ
2013-09-08, 08:11 PM
In my game I have an optional template that gives -1 Might and +1 Agility. Many people feel like they are being more realistic by giving it to their female characters and I'm fine with that if it helps their verisimilitude. But it is just called slight build so people who don't want to deal with strength differences don't have to and there isn't any inherent baggage associating it to any gender. It's there for people who want it, though.

I don't think a player giving their female PCs less strength is sexist. They might want their character to feel more realistic to them so whatever. The DM putting such limits is totally different though and shouldn't need to happen.

Also, whoever said that men have higher Strength and Con and women have higher Charisma and Intelligence is spewing smoke. Brain mapping studies and social experiments don't indicate either gender as being smarter. A number of studies indicate women should have better reflexes/hand eye coordination if they worked out as much as men which strikes me as more likely to be genetic than Charisma/social differences, which could more easily be cultural. Other studies show that women have more developed social/word centers in their brain though this could easily be culture/nurture. The brain grows where we use it. So an argument could be made for Dex and Cha.

As for Int, most studies on the topic indicate that with women of equal competence/confidence as men, they are better at making snap decisions because of more connected brains. That is more quick wits than intelligence, though. Women show a greater aptitude for algebraic math but men are typically better at spatial math, for example. Impossible to say which is more of an 'intelligent' type of math.

Where Con is concerned, women often have higher pain tolerance and endurance/heart health is almost 100 percent conditioning. A woman who works out quite a bit would usually still have a lot of trouble in a boxing match versus an average man but she would absolutely wipe the floor with him in a long distance run.

Men pretty much objectively have higher strength than women, though. Not a single woman of 15,000 in the entire history of the Army's long running ROTC program has ever been able to match even the male average in the ROTC physical fitness test, (which covers lifting, pull ups, push ups, running, etc.) If you compare the female results on the physical test to the male results, extrapolate the numbers and deviations indicate that only 1 in 2 million female members of the ROTC program should be able to place in the top 50% of male scores. Straight extrapolation like that doesn't really work in the real world, but 15,000 women all scoring lower than the male average is a pretty good argument for men having more muscle mass inherently.

So as for the best data, Men getting +2 Strength and Women getting +2 Dex would be more realistic. Also, it would be nice to do it that way as opposed to giving women +2 Dex and -2 Str and Men just having flat stats. Men getting no bonus or penalty is not that cool since it implies men are the standard and women are somehow defined by how they are different than men even though women are about half the population.

awa
2013-09-08, 08:19 PM
the world records for long distance running on wikipedia seem to favor men heavily so i question the idea that women are better long distance runners.

Terraoblivion
2013-09-08, 08:27 PM
the world records for long distance running on wikipedia seem to favor men heavily so i question the idea that women are better long distance runners.

That wasn't what was said. What was said was that while a woman who works out, but isn't training specifically for it, might still have a problem in a boxing match with an average man, she would beat said average man in long distance running. Nothing was said about athletes in the specific statement you're referring to. If you want to criticize, at least read the basics of what was said.

As for my personal view...Why would you try boxing if you're not trained for it? It seems dangerous to do as a sport and like a pretty bad plan for self-defense.

Arcanist
2013-09-08, 08:38 PM
And of course, "but sports" is not a valid argument until one can represent a tennis match with D&D rules. Which, you know, will never be the case unfortunately.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! :smallbiggrin:


Ioun Racket
Ioun Racket, or "Tennis" as mostly referred to on less magical worlds, is a game where two players trade blows against a small round object (a ball usually works) across a fence. Each player takes a single round to perform a single attack against the ball aimed at the target and a second attack against it to coordinate the ball.

This game starts when one player throws the ball at their opponent (AC 10) and the next player must make an attack (using their Dexterity modifier in place of their Strength) to send the ball back at the challenger with the next strike gaining a +1 bonus to AC each round. You gain a +1 to hit for every 10ft movement speed above 30ft. (Max +4) and a -1 penalty for every 10ft movement speed below.

Optionally, when attacking you may use your Strength modifier instead of your dex and increase the AC to hit by 5 to perform an aimed shot making it much harder for the opponent to hit (increasing their difficulty to hit by +5 as well).

Should you miss an attack against the ball your opponent gains a point and vice verse. 4 points win you a game. Winning 6 games (while being up by at least 2 points) wins you a set and winning 3 sets wins you the match. If the match has more games in it than your Constitution Modifier + Wisdom Modifier + Base Fortitude, you become fatigued for the remainder of the match.

Not perfect, but it should meet your needs for a short term player. Hey! It even rewards Strength (despite the actual game requiring dexterity, intelligence, wisdom, and a high movement speed). As it is, these rules can also be used for Ping-Pong :smalltongue:

How does one make rules for shot put? or the 100-meter dash? Or better yet, cross-country? Certain sports in real life are incredibly difficult to translate using the D&D rules because they require very dynamic actions in them which are generally not possible under any d20 system. If you would really like to test it out, try Baseball or Football.

EDIT: Thanks SowZ and Quorothorn for taking my joke literally and actually making Tennis into the D&D system... Sometimes I lose hope in humanity and then stuff like this happens to remind me that all isn't lost :smallredface:

SowZ
2013-09-08, 08:41 PM
That wasn't what was said. What was said was that while a woman who works out, but isn't training specifically for it, might still have a problem in a boxing match with an average man, she would beat said average man in long distance running. Nothing was said about athletes in the specific statement you're referring to. If you want to criticize, at least read the basics of what was said.

As for my personal view...Why would you try boxing if you're not trained for it? It seems dangerous to do as a sport and like a pretty bad plan for self-defense.

Boxing at any more than an amateur/hobby level is a pretty bad plan anyway and long term will likely hurt your ability to defend yourself. Boxing is one of the most dangerous sports in the world and most pro boxers can't handle any more than 20-35 fights or so before having to retire. Not just because people aren't paying to watch you but because, unless you totally dominate, almost every boxing match you do has permanent and fairly serious injury at the highest levels. Over time, those injuries add up and you generally retire from the sport weaker, slower, and dumber than when you started. Imagine if you were beset by a street gang of four or five thugs who beat you up and kicked you for ten minutes. You'd probably have some lifelong issues from it even if that meant an annoying neck crick or a finger you can't pop anymore without it hurting.

Anyway, yeah, as to the guy above you, a woman who trains for long distance running competing against a man with the same level of training in running will probably lose to the man. But that isn't because his heart is stronger of his endurance is better. It is because stronger leg muscles let him cover more ground per second. She could probably run about as long as he could. But if she is shorter and has smaller muscles she is at a disadvantage.


CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! :smallbiggrin:


Ioun Racket
Ioun Racket, or "Tennis" as mostly referred to on less magical worlds, is a game where two players trade blows against a small round object (a ball usually works) across a fence. Each player takes a single round to perform a single attack against the ball aimed at the target and a second attack against it to coordinate the ball.

This game starts when one player throws the ball at their opponent (AC 10) and the next player must make an attack to send the ball back at the challenger with the next strike gaining a +1 bonus to AC each round.

Optionally, when attacking you may increase the AC to hit by 5 to perform an aimed shot making it much harder for the opponent to hit (increasing their difficulty to hit by +5 as well).

Should you miss an attack against the ball your opponent gains a point and vice verse. The game ends when one player accumulates 4 points.

Not perfect, but it should meet your needs for a short term player. Hey! It even rewards Strength (despite the actual game requiring dexterity, intelligence, wisdom, and a high movement speed). As it is, these rules can also be used for Ping-Pong :smalltongue:

How does one make rules for shot put? or the 100-meter dash? Or better yet, cross-country? Certain sports in real life are incredibly difficult to translate using the D&D rules because they require very dynamic actions in them which are generally not possible under any d20 system. If you would really like to test it out, try Baseball or Football.

Say that you use your Dex to hit for standard attacks but your Str for the aimed power attacks. Then say that you get +1 to hit against the aimed power attacks for each increment of 10 ft. your movement speed is above 30, (max of +4,) and that you get -1 against the aimed attacks for each ten feet below it.

Then say that you have to win 6 games to win a set, (but you have to be up by two,) and 3 sets to win a match. If the match has more games in it than your Constitution Score+Base Fortitude+Wisdom Mod (to represent maintaining focus) you become tired.

More complicated, but everything is accounted for now.

Quorothorn
2013-09-08, 08:49 PM
CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! :smallbiggrin:


Ioun Racket
Ioun Racket, or "Tennis" as mostly referred to on less magical worlds, is a game where two players trade blows against a small round object (a ball usually works) across a fence. Each player takes a single round to perform a single attack against the ball aimed at the target and a second attack against it to coordinate the ball.

This game starts when one player throws the ball at their opponent (AC 10) and the next player must make an attack to send the ball back at the challenger with the next strike gaining a +1 bonus to AC each round.

Optionally, when attacking you may increase the AC to hit by 5 to perform an aimed shot making it much harder for the opponent to hit (increasing their difficulty to hit by +5 as well).

Should you miss an attack against the ball your opponent gains a point and vice verse. The game ends when one player accumulates 4 points.

Not perfect, but it should meet your needs for a short term player. Hey! It even rewards Strength (despite the actual game requiring dexterity, intelligence, wisdom, and a high movement speed). As it is, these rules can also be used for Ping-Pong :smalltongue:

How does one make rules for shot put? or the 100-meter dash? Or better yet, cross-country? Certain sports in real life are incredibly difficult to translate using the D&D rules because they require very dynamic actions in them which are generally not possible under any d20 system. If you would really like to test it out, try Baseball or Football.

:smallbiggrin: Haha! Though as a fan of the sport, I must say that does not nearrrrly cover the complexity and art of it all!

I suppose cross-country could use the rules for chase scenes, I'm 90% sure one of the books has rules for that, which I believe are based around relative CON and movement speed?

I also feel there was a 3.0 booklet that had rules for random festival-like activities and games, including drinking contests and jousting. Hm...

-----


had an urge to respond but then i remembered Ive seen this play out before and resisted the urge.

And then about two hours later...


the world records for long distance running on wikipedia seem to favor men heavily so i question the idea that women are better long distance runners.

Hm. Resisting indeed.

Terraoblivion
2013-09-08, 08:56 PM
Boxing at any more than an amateur/hobby level is a pretty bad plan anyway and long term will likely hurt your ability to defend yourself. Boxing is one of the most dangerous sports in the world and most pro boxers can't handle any more than 20-35 fights or so before having to retire. Not just because people aren't paying to watch you but because, unless you totally dominate, almost every boxing match you do has permanent and fairly serious injury at the highest levels. Over time, those injuries add up and you generally retire from the sport weaker, slower, and dumber than when you started. Imagine if you were beset by a street gang of four or five thugs who beat you up and kicked you for ten minutes. You'd probably have some lifelong issues from it even if that meant an annoying neck crick or a finger you can't pop anymore without it hurting.

Yeah, I know. What I meant is that if you're completely untrained at it, it just isn't a very effective way of fighting, being relatively immobile and focusing purely on straight punches that you don't know how to do well. If you're trained, you can probably make some use of it should you be assaulted, but if you don't there are better things to do than try to imitate boxers.

But, yeah, boxing isn't something you do if you value your health even a little bit. I can't think of many activities that are more dangerous and harmful.

SowZ
2013-09-08, 09:06 PM
Yeah, I know. What I meant is that if you're completely untrained at it, it just isn't a very effective way of fighting, being relatively immobile and focusing purely on straight punches that you don't know how to do well. If you're trained, you can probably make some use of it should you be assaulted, but if you don't there are better things to do than try to imitate boxers.

But, yeah, boxing isn't something you do if you value your health even a little bit. I can't think of many activities that are more dangerous and harmful.

Yeah, I wasn't trying to contradict you or anything. I spoilered it because it was fairly irrelevant.


Sexism is anything that creates gendered inequality or limit the social roles of people based on gender.

And Spiryt, weight classes have more to do with weight. The heavier you are the more force you can apply when hitting. Also not all forms of sports fighting really cater to people with a physique like heavy weight boxers. And this is not even going into how sports fighting is heavily codified in ways meant to reduce injuries and not really an accurate representation of a real fight. Also, for any kind of armed fighting, once you're strong enough to use and carry your equipment, hitting and having the stamina to avoid tiring is far more important than hitting really, really hard. A properly sharpened sword is going to cause quite a bit of damage if you can land a proper hit whether you're a strong person or not, strength only matters in terms of being strong enough to control the thing and you don't need to be a heavy weight boxer or weightlifter for that. This is even more pronounced in any form of combat using firearms.

I mean, don't get me wrong, being strong is a requirement for using most weapons well, but the kind of strength we're talking about the kind of strength needed for weightlifting or truckpulling or similar. More like the strength needed for acrobatics, something I seem to notice that woman are perfectly capable of doing. The very extremes of strength are achieved by training very, very hard to achieve the greatest possible strength at performing a specific task, not a broad spectrum of tasks or something like combat that requires a large variety of different movements.

Still, the average soldier carries enough weight that only particularly strong women can do it competently without having to sacrifice carrying less ammo, or a lighter gun, or less armor. This is becoming less and less of a problem with ultra-light guns and lighter and lighter body armor every few years. But at least for this generation, and probably one more, men are more apt at being soldiers.

It'll eventually balance out, though. Once equipment is very light, women should make better soldiers than men. At the same levels of training/confidence as the men, women tend to have better reflexes, better snap decision making skills, and better precision with hand motions leading to being better shots assuming they can handle the recoil.

Anyway, I am against the whole idea that we should never reinforce gender roles even in fiction. I'm an author and I want the freedom to create sexist cultures in a science fiction setting or write a historical piece without making the lead character a heroine throwing off gender roles if I don't want to. Or writing a post apocalyptic world where some groups view women as property. I've heard the argument, "You are making a fictional world, why not make it one without sexism?" It's a baseless argument. Some Sci Fi authors use the genre as a way to inspire and explore an idealized future. Okay. I don't want to do that.

I want to use Sci-Fi and apocalyptic stories to examine current cultural issues and make them a little more obvious through exaggeration. Yeah, the goal might be to get people to think which is different than just being a sexist **** and writing sexist characters because you are projecting yourself. But that doesn't mean that establishing gender roles is always bad in all times and all places. Like most things, there is a time and a place for it.

Arcanist
2013-09-08, 09:09 PM
I suppose cross-country could use the rules for chase scenes, I'm 90% sure one of the books has rules for that, which I believe are based around relative CON and movement speed?

I also feel there was a 3.0 booklet that had rules for random festival-like activities and games, including drinking contests and jousting.

I... I want to make the d20 Olympics :smallconfused:


Anyway, I am against the whole idea that we should never reinforce gender roles even in fiction. I'm an author and I want the freedom to create sexist cultures in a science fiction setting or write a historical piece without making the lead character a heroine throwing off gender roles if I don't want to. Or writing a post apocalyptic world where some groups view women as property. I've heard the argument, "You are making a fictional world, why not make it one without sexism?" It's a baseless argument. Some Sci Fi authors use the genre as a way to inspire and explore an idealized future. Okay. I don't want to do that.

I want to use Sci-Fi and apocalyptic stories to examine current cultural issues and make them a little more obvious through exaggeration. Yeah, the goal might be to get people to think which is different than just being a sexist **** and writing sexist characters because you are projecting yourself. But that doesn't mean that establishing gender roles is always bad in all times and all places. Like most things, there is a time and a place for it.

SowZ, I would kiss you, but I'm not that kind of guy :smallbiggrin:

Coidzor
2013-09-08, 09:11 PM
I... I want to make the d20 Olympics :smallconfused:

Well, at least some good came out of this thread if nothing else. :smallamused:

Arcanist
2013-09-08, 09:23 PM
Well, at least some good came out of this thread if nothing else. :smallamused:

It's sort of like the Space Olympics (http://www.hulu.com/watch/34464) except managed better and there is Gravity... Although there shouldn't be... :smallamused:

"THIS IS THE BEST IDEA EVER"
-Famous Last Words

Sergeantbrother
2013-09-08, 09:36 PM
I hadn't originally thought it was a good idea to have such a house rule, and have never included one in games I have run, though upon reading this thread I may have to reconsider that. Instituting this rule may help to weed out some of the overly zealous politically correct types, assuming I am playing with people I am unsure of.

_Zoot_
2013-09-08, 09:47 PM
Still, the average soldier carries enough weight that only particularly strong women can do it competently without having to sacrifice carrying less ammo, or a lighter gun, or less armor. This is becoming less and less of a problem with ultra-light guns and lighter and lighter body armor every few years. But at least for this generation, and probably one more, men are more apt at being soldiers.

It'll eventually balance out, though. Once equipment is very light, women should make better soldiers than men. At the same levels of training/confidence as the men, women tend to have better reflexes, better snap decision making skills, and better precision with hand motions leading to being better shots assuming they can handle the recoil.


While this is generally true that some equipment such as guns and armour are getting lighter, soldiers are in fact having to carry more and more equipment and carry more now than they ever have in the past, this trend has increased dramatically over the last twenty years. So while I agree that at some point in the future our soldiers will be required to carry less, it will not be to such a level as to make it manageable for anyone that does not train for it.

As such, it is highly unlikely that the equipment required for modern war will ever be light enough to matter in this gender argument. The simple fact of the matter is that while guns and armour are getting lighter, they only make up a small amount of the equipment that soldiers have to carry, they are also not going to ever be 'light' simply less overwhelmingly heavy.

On top of that, there is still a large part to be played by brute strength in war these days, while I'm not saying it is a level that would be unattainable for women, I am suggesting that it would come more easily to men.

Out side of the military matter above, in which I happen to have some detailed knowledge, I really don't have much knowledge. It seems to me to be silly to limit the strength of fictional women who have acess to the same magic and wonderful powers that everyone else does. I mean, while it might be that the 'average' woman might not be as strong as the 'average' man, as has been said we are not dealing with 'average' anyone.

On top of that, it is once again my opinion that it would be stupid to try to show that aspect of sexual dimorphism by limiting one gender, simply make it so that you see more men with high STR than women, as is seen in real life.

Coidzor
2013-09-08, 09:57 PM
I hadn't originally thought it was a good idea to have such a house rule, and have never included one in games I have run, though upon reading this thread I may have to reconsider that. Instituting this rule may help to weed out some of the overly zealous politically correct types, assuming I am playing with people I am unsure of.

Just remember, you may just get what you bargained for.

JusticeZero
2013-09-08, 10:04 PM
if you're completely untrained at it, it just isn't a very effective way of fighting..If you're trained, you can probably make some use of it should you be assaulted, but if you don't there are better things to do than try to imitate boxers.
In practice, untrained fighters tend to default to whatever they see in culture - back in the days of the Westerns on TV, people would have a bit of a punch out, someone would fall down, and his friends would take him away. Then TV fighters tactics changed some and fighters did too. In America, most people who don't know how to fight will sloppily imitate either a boxer or an MMA fighter's stance. Thailanders use a MT stance. They model whatever they've seen, in spite of lacking the skill. Which is a good argument in favor of better *active* role models in the media, rather than these annoying passive characters.

clarkvalentine
2013-09-08, 10:16 PM
When see people derisively using the phrase "political correctness," I substitute the phrase "common courtesy" and find that their meaning becomes very clear.

Terraoblivion
2013-09-08, 10:38 PM
Yeah, I wasn't trying to contradict you or anything. I spoilered it because it was fairly irrelevant.



Still, the average soldier carries enough weight that only particularly strong women can do it competently without having to sacrifice carrying less ammo, or a lighter gun, or less armor. This is becoming less and less of a problem with ultra-light guns and lighter and lighter body armor every few years. But at least for this generation, and probably one more, men are more apt at being soldiers.

It'll eventually balance out, though. Once equipment is very light, women should make better soldiers than men. At the same levels of training/confidence as the men, women tend to have better reflexes, better snap decision making skills, and better precision with hand motions leading to being better shots assuming they can handle the recoil.

Anyway, I am against the whole idea that we should never reinforce gender roles even in fiction. I'm an author and I want the freedom to create sexist cultures in a science fiction setting or write a historical piece without making the lead character a heroine throwing off gender roles if I don't want to. Or writing a post apocalyptic world where some groups view women as property. I've heard the argument, "You are making a fictional world, why not make it one without sexism?" It's a baseless argument. Some Sci Fi authors use the genre as a way to inspire and explore an idealized future. Okay. I don't want to do that.

I want to use Sci-Fi and apocalyptic stories to examine current cultural issues and make them a little more obvious through exaggeration. Yeah, the goal might be to get people to think which is different than just being a sexist **** and writing sexist characters because you are projecting yourself. But that doesn't mean that establishing gender roles is always bad in all times and all places. Like most things, there is a time and a place for it.

There is a rather clear difference between creating a society with strict gender roles to explore the implications of that and presenting them as either natural or normative values. I'm totally fine with the former if it's done well, it's the latter that is a problem and that doesn't really contradict what I said. The former weakens the normative hold of gender roles if done well, while the latter strengthens it.

SowZ
2013-09-08, 10:47 PM
There is a rather clear difference between creating a society with strict gender roles to explore the implications of that and presenting them as either natural or normative values. I'm totally fine with the former if it's done well, it's the latter that is a problem and that doesn't really contradict what I said. The former weakens the normative hold of gender roles if done well, while the latter strengthens it.

Sure, that makes sense. Some people don't think so. I'm not necessarily criticizing you, either. I was arguing against the idea that I have heard which is, "In a fictional world, why not eliminate sexism?" The purpose was to make the point that there is a time and place to make gender differentiation, at least in fiction.

Waxillium Lande
2013-09-08, 11:01 PM
It bears mentioning that I am a fairly good fencer, but Mariel Zagunis in her heyday could have beaten me without me landing a single touch in fifty points- and she could (and did) beat the best male fencers. So for at least swordfighting, gender isn't really an issue. And before anyone says that fencing is only dexterity based... no. Just no.

SowZ
2013-09-08, 11:45 PM
It bears mentioning that I am a fairly good fencer, but Mariel Zagunis in her heyday could have beaten me without me landing a single touch in fifty points- and she could (and did) beat the best male fencers. So for at least swordfighting, gender isn't really an issue. And before anyone says that fencing is only dexterity based... no. Just no.

The best of the best of either gender aren't all that relevant to the discussion. Still, I'd like to have seen how she would have done in Sabre.

Mr Beer
2013-09-09, 12:06 AM
It bears mentioning that I am a fairly good fencer, but Mariel Zagunis in her heyday could have beaten me without me landing a single touch in fifty points- and she could (and did) beat the best male fencers. So for at least swordfighting, gender isn't really an issue. And before anyone says that fencing is only dexterity based... no. Just no.

What did she use, a foil? Seems like an overly narrow way to define "swordfighting". I agree strength isn't as important as speed, hand-eye coordination and skill but I'm sure it's a factor in say, a fight to the death with broadswords.

SowZ
2013-09-09, 12:10 AM
What did she use, a foil? Seems like an overly narrow way to define "swordfighting". I agree strength isn't as important as speed, hand-eye coordination and skill but I'm sure it's a factor in say, a fight to the death with broadswords.

Even Sabre fencing is more strength reliant. Hence quicker, more brutal matches.