Tuesday, March 10, 2015

D&D Is A Girls Game

Whoa!  Did Rook just cast aspersions on D&D?
No, you sexist pig.  If you think that title is somehow derogatory to Dungeons and Dragons, or indeed roleplaying, you need to check your baggage before taking this flight.

My first introduction to Dungeons and Dragons actually came from two females.  The first was my first high school band director.  She had played D&D for years, before and during college, and would regale me with stories of her exploits.  I was fascinated.  If it had not have been for Ms. Burns I would not have known that fireballs have a huge explosion range and should not be fired in close quarters where the blast can take out your entire party.
Then there was my friend Callie Hallmark.  Callie had read all the Dragonlance novels printed at the time, the Moorcock Elric novels, and had run and played D&D.  I would pick her brain for D&D information before I ever picked up dice to play and play some games with her as well.  Callie was also responsible for my seeing the Exorcist for the first time, for which I am eternally grateful.
Before these women educated me on the finer (and more explosive) points of roleplaying my experiences were limited to solo play gamebooks (I was a fiend for them) and video games, which can hardly be called proper roleplaying.
Of course once I started playing it was in an all dude group and I should therefore be forgiven for thinking that, for the most part, RPG was a boy's hobby.  When we went to the game stores we mostly saw dudes hanging about and playing.  It was hard to get a girl to play in our area and if I did invite one, like a girlfriend, it never ended well.  I came to feel that girls were not just a minority in the hobby, but were some sort of aberration, which is not fair of me at all, I admit it.
Years later when I met my wife (meaning met the woman to whom I am married, not some sort of weirdo arranged marriage thing) she was a gamer, but I did not know that up front.  She is the person that got me to play MMORPGs, something I assumed was an evil trap designed to lure people away from the tabletop.  Which it might be, but that is not my topic right now.

The point is that women, girls, females, transgendered persons, heterosexuals, homosexuals, asexuals...all sorts of people play RPGs.  It was just that growing up in a small town where any sort of intellectual activity was treated with the same sort of attitude that having a pet frog was treated in Salem, I didn't see many female gamers.  Apparently in the early days of the hobby the grand founder, old Gary G. didn't think women gamed or had any interest in gaming.  Too busy cooking and doing their hair, I suppose.

Only it's not true.  Because women are some competitive people.  They can be downright cutthroat, man.

                Chadwick was forced to visit a specialist cleric very shortly after this conversation...
"So basically, little guys, girls just don't play games.  That's all I'm saying."
"Hold me back, Carl..."
"Now, Betty..."
"No, you better hold me back or I'm going to tie his nuts into a bow and shove his dick right up his sexist ass!"
"Ha ha, you crazy girl."
The typical chick in chainmail of gamer art might be considered a male fantasy, all Red Sonja and titillating imagery, but I've known female gamers that absolutely play that character.  It's a fantasy game.  If a dude who is far, far from fit wants to play a character that looks like Conan and beds wenches with no strings attached why would we think a woman wouldn't want to do the same?  Why would we think a woman wouldn't want to play as a dude?
And why, oh why, would we think we needed to make kobolds into Kardashians or spell out that women are allowed, even welcomed to play the game?
People can, and do, do what they want in a free society.  You want to play, you play.  That's the way it is.
"Looking a little timid there, Bob.  What's wrong?"
"I think we have a ghost, for I smell a fart and it was not me."
"Oh, that was totally me."
And I don't mean the girl has to be the cleric.  That's an unfortunate thing that somehow got started, probably due to D&D toys and art back in the early 80s.  The D&D action figures from the 80s had one female character, their Teela if you will, a good cleric named Mercion (and no, she did not wear a chainmail bikini, she wore plate and carried a staff).  The D&D cartoon of the 80s featured two female characters, both variants of the Thief class.  It seemed to be that TSR was saying that it was okay for girls to be gamers, but they needed to play the less martial classes, the nurturers and the sneaks.

Well that's bullshit.  Chicks play Magic Users.  At least in my experience.  Not always seductive sorceresses and beautiful witches either.  I'm talking full on, summon up a dragon to eat your ass, Magic Users.  Something about a wand, I suppose...
"That's right, keep looking at my nipple in the mail...automatic initiative for me, pervo."

And they play warriors.  I'm talking about fully armored, stab you in the face type warriors, and yes sometimes they play Red Sonja, but the point is people of all types like RPG.  Look at the SCA.  People like to pretend and those with ample imaginations (you thought I was going to make a breast joke, didn't you) enjoy playing a persona, getting into the game, having fun and throwing some dice around.

My wife plays an elf.  Bastard sword and shield, chain wearing, occasionally spell casting elf with a strange affinity for gnolls.  My buddy's fiance plays a straight up, two swords and chain armor wearing fighter.  Strictly speaking my character is the one most likely to wear a dress.  For I am a Magic User and that is just the way we roll.

I personally think Role Playing is a very pro-female activity.  From a young age, like in kindergarten, I witnessed girls creating entire, logical, fantasy worlds.  They called it playing "house".  Don't play house with a girl when you are 5.  You will not be in charge.  She is the DM and you won't even have a player's handbook to help you understand the rules.  Boys like rules, you see.  We are the ones that are expected to play sports, which is all about the rules.  Well the first rule of D&D was always that the rules are just guidelines and creative expression is what counts.   I was shocked to find out that Gary G. did not think there would be a large crowd of female gamers (or any really), since it was, in my earliest experiences, females who told me about the game.

Thanks, ladies.

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