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Independent Game Forums => Adept Press => Topic started by: Ron Edwards on August 21, 2002, 10:28:59 AM



Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Ron Edwards on August 21, 2002, 10:28:59 AM
Hello,

Well, it looks as if the third print supplement for Sorcerer will be a reality in the early part of 2003. The previous thread about this was Third print supplement - maybe (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2562), and the supplement's content is defined very much as I described in the first post in that thread. It'll be the first Sorcerer material that isn't released as PDF first.

The working title - and this is pretty damn close to set in stone - is "Sex and Sorcery."

The baseline, fundamental topic is actual-people emotional dynamics among the role-playing group, and how they relate to the in-game imaginative content of play (the "story").

A key concept is that Humanity may be defined in plural ways - focused on one thing (e.g. "Love") but with many different ways and means (often contradictory!) to rise and fall.

Gender interactions play a very strong role throughout, but they are emphatically not the whole of the topic. However, and this might scare some people, I have one chapter devoted to a kind of "female" story and another devoted to a kind of "male" story. Don't freak out on me yet. It's a much less 1:1 situation than it sounds, and I say so in the text.

One device used throughout is the "Testimonial," based on the answers to a little survey I've been spreading around lately. Suitably edited and anonymous, they'll provide a pretty strong dose of reality to some of my claims or suggestions.

Some of the topics from the Forge include the Lines/Veils discussions, the cross-gender play discussions, my "circles" diagram, and more.

Fun tidbits include really good martial arts rules, a breakdown of my Chapter 7 material in the main rules that I didn't dare include at the time (reeeally raw), an amazing section (if I say so myself) on sexual-reproductive sorcery, a full fantasy setting (insectoid-surreal Heavy Metal stuff, much more detailed than the settings in Sword), and yet more cool stuff on GMing (crosses, bobs, weaving, in addition to Bangs).

All questions are welcome! Except those regarding previews of the actual material.

Best,
Ron


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Zak Arntson on August 21, 2002, 10:46:06 AM
I'm excited about the martial arts rules (well, everything else in the book too, actually), but how do they tie into sex/gender? The other two supplements' additional system/play considerations were tightly tied to their themes (if I'm recalling correctly).


Title: Re: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: wyrdlyng on August 21, 2002, 11:58:14 AM
Quote from: Ron Edwards
The working title - and this is pretty damn close to set in stone - is "Sex and Sorcery."


Ah, another book to leave sitting out on the coffee table when the in-laws come over. I can put it by my printed out copy of Urge and Practical Thaumaturgy.


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Ron Edwards on August 21, 2002, 01:14:39 PM
Hey,

It took a bit of finagling to fit the martial arts stuff in thematically, but I think I made it work.

One chapter, called "In Utero," is supposed to exemplify one type of "female" story/topic. It ends with some specialized rules for mating and sorcery, as they relate to the specific In Utero material. The chapter following that, "Paragon," is supposed to exemplify one type of "male" story-topic, and the example is a kind of Chinese/wuxia setting. So the martial arts rules at the end of the chapter correspond to the specific material in the Paragon story stuff, paralleling the similar structure of the In Utero chapter.

Best,
Ron


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Jason L Blair on August 21, 2002, 01:31:08 PM
Other titles under consideration include: "Sex and the Single Sorcerer," "The Joy of Sorcery," and "Everything You Wanted To Know About Sorcery...But Were Afraid To Ask."

My favorites are "Everybody Summons" and "Changes: Your Guide To Your Body and Your Sorcery."


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Ron Edwards on August 21, 2002, 01:40:59 PM
Ha! Jason thinks he's kidding.

In my notes are ...

"Sorcerer and the Single Girl"
"Sex and the Single Sorcerer"
"Our Sorcery, Ourselves"
"Sex, Sorcery, and You"

I was getting kind of giddy by then.

Best,
Ron


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: jburneko on August 21, 2002, 01:51:24 PM
Well, while we're throwing titles around I personally REALLY liked the original working title, "Sorceress."  Simple and evocative.

Jesse


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Jason L Blair on August 21, 2002, 02:01:36 PM
Quote from: Ron Edwards

"Our Sorcery, Ourselves"



Oh, Ron...Oh Ronny baby, you gotta. You just gotta! Best supplement title EVER.


Also, I too like the title "Sorceress" but am not sure it's the perfect fit for all you want to cover.


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Ferry Bazelmans on August 21, 2002, 11:28:37 PM
*makes scribbled note on want-list*

How about Sorcerers are from Mars, Demons are from Venus? :)

Fer


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Ron Edwards on August 22, 2002, 11:22:04 AM
Hi folks,

So happens that I hate "my game title" threads. The current title is "Sex and Sorcery," hands down. "Sorceress," while eminently marketable, misrepresents the content in several ways, and all the others were parodies. So let's drop that topic, eh?

I'm interested in any responses from people who got a chance to play the In Utero scenario at GenCon. Thoughts? Comments? Impressions? A whole chapter is devoted to it in the supplement.

Best,
Ron


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Fabrice G. on August 22, 2002, 10:15:14 PM
Hi Ron,

I didn't play the In Utero demo scenario, but I have a question.

Quote
However, and this might scare some people, I have one chapter devoted to a kind of "female" story and another devoted to a kind of "male" story.(snip)...an amazing section (if I say so myself) on sexual-reproductive sorcery...


Well, I can't help myself but think about Rosemary's baby (the female uncertainties and fear of pregnancy) and Eraserhead (the male fear of being a father/arrival of the baby). I definitely can see it as two great Sorcerer stories. Am I on the right tracks or am I dead wrong ?

Anyway, I'm waiting for the thing already.

Fabrice.

ps: do you plan to release the In Utero before the S&Sex or will it be included in the book ?


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Zak Arntson on August 23, 2002, 06:41:28 AM
Ron, I see you've put "male" and "female" in quotes when referring to the In Utero and wuxia settings. I can see In Utero being naturally female-biased because pregnancy/fertility revolves around women. But are you assuming a biological basis for male-dominated wuxia? Or a cultural bias (i.e., in nearly all action/wuxia films the main characters are male)? Or something else? (you know, like culture/biology are intertwined sort of thing)

I know you've been forthright in the past (i.e., talking straight about the role of women in pulp fantasy, providing literary examples of pulp women heroes), so I'm real curious about how you present In Utero and wuxia.

Or do I have to wait for the book?


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Clay on August 23, 2002, 08:45:36 AM
A little help for the ignorant:  What exactly is the wuxia style of movie?  Keep in mind in your description/examples that martial arts pictures very rarely cross my threshold, as it's usually Adelfa who thinks to stop off at the video store.  When I wanted to watch Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon I had to specifically request it, and go to the store to make sure that it came home with me.


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: wyrdlyng on August 23, 2002, 08:55:42 AM
Briefly Off-Topic: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a good example of wuxia. They are usually action films set in different times of China's history or based around Chinese myths. They are commonly characterized by high-flying heroes (a lot of wire action) and lots of martial arts/weapon styles. Good examples are Chinese Ghost Story, Zu: Warriors of the Magic Mountain, the Bride with White Hair and to an extent Big Trouble in Little China (the 3 storms, the big fight at the end).

You can find a lot of these films on Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com), btw.

Now back to our topic...


[Edited to add link.]


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Mike Holmes on August 23, 2002, 09:11:39 AM
Quote from: wyrdlyng
They are commonly characterized by high-flying heroes...


IIRC, Wuxia translates as "Flying People".

Mike


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Ron Edwards on August 23, 2002, 10:37:23 AM
Hi there,

Fabrice, you're dead-on target with both Rosemary's Baby and Eraserhead, regarding the "female" story. Notice that the male protagonist of the latter doesn't make it a "male" story - one example of the terms not being a 1:1 correspondence, or simple in any way. I'm happy to answer more questions about what I am using for the "female" story concept.

The "In Utero" chapter won't be released before the book is published, and it represents a fairly substantial upgrading of the con demo, as well.

Zak, I knew when I used it above that "wuxia" was going to cause horrible problems as a term. I wish I hadn't used it, as most movies in that category represent the blended male-female issues that I deal with in the Azk'Arn chapter - in other words, the "male" and "female" stories that I describe are not incompatible, and movies like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and especially The Bride with White Hair, are excellent examples of the combinations.

To be absolutely clear: I do not consider most wuxia movies to exemplify my interpretation of (one of) the "male" story as I use the term in the book. I don't use the term in the game text and it was nothing but a huge red herring in this thread.

The "male" story described in the second chapter and exemplified in the fourth chapter is based largely on the "four rings" model that I described in a thread here earlier this year. Most westerns are good examples; so are dramas like The Godfather and many others. The example of Paragon, my fourth chapter, is actually far more Shaw Brothers (e.g. The Five Deadly Venoms) than it is modern wuxia - ie, more simplistic and appropriate for a focused example.

Best,
Ron


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Ron Edwards on August 23, 2002, 10:52:18 AM
Hey,

I just realized I'd forgotten to put in a chapter list for you guys.

Ch 1: getting social dynamics among the real role-players out of the closet, then defining Lines & Veils, and finished by a very graphic revelation regarding Ch 7 in the main book in order to illustrate Lines & Veils

Ch 2: "Male" and "Female" story models/topics explanation - this is supposed to be much like Ch 2 in Sorcerer & Sword, which gets people all fired up about playing this kind of stuff, as well as about the source/inspirational literature and film.

Ch 3: In Utero, exemplifying a "Female" story topic - additional rules bit = lots of sexuality in rituals (not what you might think, either)

Ch 4: Paragon, exemplifying a "Male" story topic - additional rules bit = martial arts to colorize combat, Shaw Bros style

Ch 5: Azk'Arn, a sword & sorcery setting which combines the "male" and "female" story concepts - solid setting material (and it's a hell of a setting, too), examples of how the hero concepts create in-play and prep-to-play events

Ch 6: Very scary rules, going way past the edge - specific to male and female characters, specific to male and female players, not for the timid; followed up with how they would apply to Azk'Arn.

The "testimonials" are intended to go between the chapters.

Floor's open for more questions!

Best,
Ron


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Fabrice G. on August 23, 2002, 10:58:40 AM
Hi Ron,


Quote
Fabrice, you're dead-on target with both Rosemary's Baby and Eraserhead, regarding the "female" story. Notice that the male protagonist of the latter doesn't make it a "male" story - one example of the terms not being a 1:1 correspondence, or simple in any way. I'm happy to answer more questions about what I am using for the "female" story concept.


Great !!!

The way I begin to see it, each story concept could use themes/premises that are usually connected (ie that cause more emotional responses/interest/concern) to each sex.

Thus the "female" one may use the pregnancy, fear of the arrival of babies, etc. ; where as the "male" one may use the father figure as in The Godfather.

Or it may be about the role (and type of interaction) of each sex in that kind of stories...

I don't know if I'm even close...but I would really like it if you could explain (just a bit) what your approch is here.

Fabrice.

[edited to note that Ron posted the chapter breakdown while I was posting this.]


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Jeffrey Straszheim on August 23, 2002, 11:42:55 AM
Quote from: Ron Edwards

The "male" story described in the second chapter and exemplified in the fourth chapter is based largely on the "four rings" model that I described in a thread here earlier this year.


This sounds interesting, but I can't find that thread. :)


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: lumpley on August 23, 2002, 01:01:13 PM
So then let me be the first: rules specific to male and female PLAYERS?  What is EVEN up with that?

(If anyone can do it and make it not ugly and bad, it's you, sir.  But that's a big IF there.)

-Vincent
Intrigued and skeptical


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: jrs on August 23, 2002, 01:36:01 PM
Jeffrey, I *think* that this is the topic where Ron talks about the "four rings" or "circle" model.  (Ron, correct me if I'm wrong here; point us to the correct topic if this ain't it.)

Relationship map issues
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1486

Vincent, I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one balking at the idea of gender based rules for players.

Julie


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Ron Edwards on August 23, 2002, 01:36:37 PM
Hi there,

Fabrice, the thread in question is Relationship map issues (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1486). Pretty dense stuff, so you might want to print it out.

The deal is that such a story tends, historically, to have male protagonists. Not always - but if a female character is the protagonist, certain other issues and "edges" to the story are introduced onto the baseline.

Reproductive issues, regardless of what stage, regardless of whether the sexuality is being confirmed or denied, tend historically to have female protagonists. Again, in the instances when they don't, the presence of the male protagonist introduces further nuances or perturbances onto the baseline.

Vincent, my friend, have faith in me. The game is Sorcerer, after all - transgression and expansion of our perceived selves is part of the picture.
The essence of the supplement is to permit our sexuality and social concerns to be acknowledged as an influence on the role-playing.

Let me alleviate some concerns, if possible. The supplement as a whole and Ch 6 especially is not a tract or treatise on why or how to play - offering the "rules" in Ch 6 is a thought experiment for people who want to think about it, not a recommendation for actual play.

Some people shudder at the thought of a role-playing game that involves demons as a central concern, not just an "option." I ask them to use that shuddering reaction as a springboard into more effective play. Quite a few people unfairly regard this reaction on their part with amusement.

To the person who reacts similarly to my statement regarding gender (and the admittedly freaky rules-experiment in Ch 6), I ask ... have I found that thing which might be called ... your demon?

Best,
Ron


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Clay on August 23, 2002, 04:11:05 PM
Then I'm all about buying this supplement as soon as it comes out.  I really like this style, and was completely blown away by Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.  The Sorcerer mechanics really seem to be ideal for the style.


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: wyrdlyng on August 23, 2002, 07:08:43 PM
Mostly on-topic but interesting nonetheless:

There was a storyline in the early issues of the Hellblazer comic (which is an awesome resource for Sorcerer, especially the earlier issues) in which a society of male "sorcerers" had bound and channeled the natural energies of the earth (leylines or dragon lines) and were using it as a weapon to kill through fear. Our protagonist gets connected with several female "sorcerers" who sought to liberate the energy and use it to shift the roles of gender to be in balance. It was a really good story culminating in a ritual which could've changed the world for the better if Constantine had been able to overcome his fear of such a world. (Male feelings threatened by increase in female powers.)

The whole storyline dealt with gender and its effects on magic. It was really good and might be a useful resource.


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Ron Edwards on August 23, 2002, 07:35:03 PM
Hey,

Alex, my girlfriend at the time referred to that storyline as "the orgasm that saved the world ...."

Vincent, extensive conversations with Julie (jrs) have had a big impact on me, both regarding the "rules" themselves and their presentation. In fact, I wouldn't even call them "rules." Have faith.

Best,
Ron


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Fabrice G. on August 23, 2002, 11:24:01 PM
Hi Ron,

Quote
The deal is that such a story tends, historically, to have male protagonists. Not always - but if a female character is the protagonist, certain other issues and "edges" to the story are introduced onto the baseline.

Reproductive issues, regardless of what stage, regardless of whether the sexuality is being confirmed or denied, tend historically to have female protagonists. Again, in the instances when they don't, the presence of the male protagonist introduces further nuances or perturbances onto the baseline.


Then I wasn't so wrong....good !

Considering gender storyline, you might want to check Eddy Campbel and Alan Moore's From Hell. It is not specificaly about that topic, but a whole chapter is devoted to the symbolic domination of men through the architecture of London. Pretty interesting stuff.

BTW, when should we expect this to be published ?


Fabrice.


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Ron Edwards on August 24, 2002, 04:21:28 AM
Hi Fabrice,

I know From Hell pretty well. It's an excellent work, in terms of craftsmanship, but I think that both it and the Hellblazer reference mentioned by Alex are simplistic by my standards - more in tune with 80s-90s politics than with myth and literature. But let's not get into that. More to the point, domination of "one gender" by "the other" is off-scale for the supplement, which operates strictly at the protagonist, single-story level rather than sweeping statements about the Whole Gender and Society.

As to publication, I'm shooting for late January, 2003. Both text and art are well under way.

Best,
Ron


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Fabrice G. on August 24, 2002, 09:15:43 AM
Hi Ron,

Quote
More to the point, domination of "one gender" by "the other" is off-scale for the supplement, which operates strictly at the protagonist, single-story level rather than sweeping statements about the Whole Gender and Society.


Well, noted and understood. Anyway, I prefer it that way.
Any source litterature you can share ?

Glad to know everything is running okay. Damn....6 whole month !


Fabrice.


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: lumpley on August 24, 2002, 12:52:19 PM
Hey Ron.

a. If you're undermining and transgressing the players' genders, ooh baby.  That's the good stuff, yeah.  That's not my demon, that's my demon's (or maybe just my) Need.  (I imagine a rule like: if you're a man, if a woman's talking you can't interrupt, and if a woman interrupts you, shut up immediately.  That's one of our Ars Magica rules.)

(In fact, since our Ars Magica rules are all social and negotiated, probably most of them are gender-sensitive.  But more than that, they're player-sensitive; we negotiated them ourselves, for our personal genders and sexualities, plus histories and personalities and tastes and so on.  The big IF here is: can you impose from a rulebook gender rules that are responsive enough, or will they inevitably be crude and clumsy?)

b. Anyway but if you're like prescribing meaning based on the players' genders, that's what's ugly and lame.  Almost for sure.  A rule like: if you're a man, you get experience points if NPCs come around to your character's opinion, and if you're a woman, you get experience points if your character and NPCs find common ground, yuck.  That's not my demon, that's just sneer-at-able.  (Unless you're using that sort of rule to highlight and thus undermine the stupid parts of the player's gender, sort of like my intention for my vampire game, in which case see a.)  

c. I see a third possibility and it's my Demon, yes.  That's where you're prescribing meaning based on the players' genders, and you're right, and I don't want to hear it.  My own gender transgressions are just me running away from being a man, like the cowardly weak little boy I am.  Humanity in real life means being Masculine or Feminine, depending on whether you have a penis or a uterus, my demon Misandry has led me down the path, and I'm this close to being taken over by the GM.

Which, yikes.

-Vincent


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Ron Edwards on August 24, 2002, 07:35:28 PM
Hi Vincent,

Actually, I'm standing over here ... which is off in a space or zone that's a bit, I dunno, N-dimensionally off from where you're looking. It may take some work to get our zones to overlap.

Here's a question - and this is not representative of the kind of "rules" I'm talking about for Ch 6. It's an attempt on my part to see what you're saying.

Let's say an RPG came out and there were four character races available (#1-4), and four classes (A-B-C-D). Now, what if the rulebook said this:

A male player can only play a character of races 1 or 2, but may choose any class. A female player can only play a character of class A and B, but may choose any race.

Bad? Ugly? Wrong?

I specify, for purposes of this hypothetical question: none of the categories, race or class, correspond to any specific male or female stereotypes or ideologies. None of them carry "weight" regarding sexism.

You might say, what's the point, then? The point is my question: is this limitation itself, because it is based on player gender, necessarily ugly, bad, or wrong?

Best,
Ron

P.S. I cannot stress enough that this is not a preview of Ch 6 in the third supplement. It's an attempt to understand Vincent's framework of reference, in order to discuss the Ch 6 stuff later.


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: lumpley on August 24, 2002, 08:14:18 PM
I'm going to restate.  Men can only play race 1 or 2, women can only play class A or B.  Race and class don't mean anything, gender-wise, so that it would be just as pointful if men could only play race 3 or 4 and class A-C, and women could play any race or class they want except 1-A and 1-D.

That's bad, because (as you say) it's pointless.  You might as well limit who gets to play what by the players' hair color or sunsign or handedness.  Any of which I'd object to.

-Vincent


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Ron Edwards on August 25, 2002, 06:30:53 AM
Hi Vincent,

I'm not going to let you get away with the "Oh, no point to it? Then bad!" argument, because it switches issues; ie, you have not answered my question. I am not discussing elegance or effectiveness of the game design.

In game design terms, it's pointless - sure. It's a sore-thumb relative to the rest of the game - sure. It may not be good design; ie, there's not much "right" about it, in terms of contributing to elegance or focus. None of these warrant the shocked, upset, and sudden reaction that you are struggling with, or the terms you used to describe it.

I am sticking with the issue, and you are asked to answer: given what I've described, is it directly, and unequivocally ugly, bad, or wrong in the moral sense?

Best,
Ron


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: lumpley on August 25, 2002, 07:10:35 AM
Cool.

Morally bad?  No.

-Vincent

Metadiscussion:
Shocked and upset is pretty far from my intrigued and skeptical.  I've been speculating about your chapter 6 by imagining what kinds of gender-specific rules I might write, cause how else could I speculate?  If I'm shocked, it's because I've shocked myself.

I want to know what you have to say.  Gender, sexuality and roleplaying are three of my favorite things.


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Ron Edwards on August 25, 2002, 08:10:42 AM
Hey,

Cooool. I'm with you, Vincent - that "metadiscussion" point is crucial, and hope some day to learn more about what you thought of, on your own, that prompted the reaction.

OK, but let's go on with the job at hand. That question was the first of a two-parter. Here's the second part.

Same four classes, same four races. (I was thinkin' about this last night; if anyone wants, let's say the classes are corsair, brigand, bandit, and burglar, and let's say the races are cat-person, lizard-person, winged-humanoid-person, and, um, smallish minotaur.)

Everyone realizes, I hope that the previous example made no restrictions whatsoever based on character gender, but only on player gender.

So let's reverse it. Flush the previous example; player gender carries no restrictions. But now, what if:

A male character may only be of races 1 or 2, but may be of any class. A female character can only be of class A and B, but may be of any race.

Let's leave aside any specific setting-justification for this set of limits, but say for clarity that nothing about the setting is especially sexist or stereotypical (ie, "females of race X are semi-sentient and do nothing but stay in the caves having babies," etc).

Same question applies. Yes, it's arbitrary and, bereft of thematic content, not going to win any awards for game design elegance. But the question remains: is such a stricture, in its essential existence, ugly, bad, or wrong in the moral sense?

Best,
Ron


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: lumpley on August 25, 2002, 04:00:36 PM
Restate: There are male winged-humanoid-person corsairs in the setting, but I can't play one; in fact I can't play any male winged-humanoid-person characters or male smallish minotaur characters at all.  I can play female winged-humanoid-person and smallish minotaur characters, in fact female characters of any race, but only if they're corsairs or brigands.  Right?

Not morally bad.

-Vincent

Off the top of my head: can something devoid of thematic content even be morally bad?  Or good?


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Ron Edwards on August 25, 2002, 09:49:30 PM
Hey,

Ummm, I guess. I didn't work out all the permutations in my head, just made it up as I went along.

Whew! OK, so now that we're into the idea that nothing intrinsically is wrong with limiting in-play options based on (a) player gender or (b) character gender, the next question is ...

Can such limitations be made to play a constructive role in the enjoyment of the game? I argue that character-based gender restrictions already apply in some games - from the simple in-setting options for female and male occupations in Hero Wars, to the somewhat basic notion in Agone that all minotaurs are male. No one seems to get up in arms about these kinds of character-gender limitations. So ... can player-based gender restrictions or options be similarly constructive or consistent with in-play material?

That's what I'm after - not to dictate what those options might be - far from it! - but rather to investigate the issue.

Best,
Ron


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Uncle Dark on August 26, 2002, 01:41:14 AM
Ron, Vincent,

If I may...

Isn't what you've agreed is that it's OK to base play limitations on player gender in this rather egalitarian case?  Would the it be different if the rule was "male players can play anything, but female players may not play race 1 or 2, or class C or D?"

In any case, all that is very different from saying that female characters can't be members of class C or D, or that all females of race 1 or 2 must be NPCs.

These strike me as important points, because (in the first case) it becomes a matter of unfair restriction of the players, and (in the second) it points to weird things in the setting, which may or may not push player buttons.

Not that pushing players' buttons is an inherently bad thing, either.  But it is one you want to be careful with.

Of course, maybe I'm just being obvious (or oblivious) here...

Lon


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: lumpley on August 26, 2002, 05:25:54 AM
Lon, absolutely, if female players have fewer or lamer options than male players, I'm gone*.

Ron, do you mean, now we introduce thematic content?  So do you mean, can player-gender-specific rules contribute to a game's meaning?  (You say "enjoyment," and I'm having trouble figuring it out.  Is introducing meaning an example of "playing a constructive roll in the enjoyment of the game"?)

-Vincent

*Thinking about it, the reverse may not be true, for me.


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Ron Edwards on August 26, 2002, 02:23:38 PM
Hello,

Lon, with respect, I think you might not be grasping the interaction I'm having with Vincent. The idea is not to arrive at what would be "good" or not. The idea is to clear the air regarding player-gender specific rules, so that when we do discuss the parameters for them, no one gets all bonkers and challenges the very idea of doing so in the first place. It has nothing to do with being egalitarian or not - it has to do with fundamental principles of what-is-at-issue.

So far, Vincent and I, anyway, have arrived at the point in which such rules (or whatever you wanna call them) are not - intrinsically - a wrong thing to have in a game. That's the topic, and that was the conclusion. Discussion of parameters for such a thing is a totally new topic, and I am perfectly fine with the idea that there will be possible "bad" versions. But I'm not talking about that yet.

Vincent, for purposes of this discussion of Sorcerer, played at the depth or focus that we're talking about, Yes:

thematic content = a game's meaning = "enjoyment" = "introducing meaning" = "playing a constructive role in the enjoyment of the game"

All pretty much the same thing in this context (not role-playing in general).

Best,
Ron


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: lumpley on August 27, 2002, 05:34:45 AM
Ron,

Nice.  So there we are.

Can I speculate a bit?

In our Ars Magica game, we've got me (male), Emily (female), and Meguey (female).  Our characters' fathers are thematically important.  On our characters' sheets are "distant father: let me do whatever the hell I wanted" (my character's), "close father: abused and manipulated me" (Emily's), and "close father: dying and dependent on me" (Meguey's).

Now in our case it just happened that way: male player -> distant father, female player -> close father.  But we could have set it up on purpose instead, if we'd wanted.  It could have been a rule, ie.

Is that the kind of rule you're talking about?

-Vincent


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Ian Charvill on August 30, 2002, 12:05:34 PM
Two thoughts strike me (and I'll warn you I get kind of anti at the end of the post):

I can see no moral problem with limiting the choices of characters within game by their sex - even to the extent of saying no female warriors, male characters may choose freely - because otherwise you're saying certain cultural structures can't be represented within a role playing game.

Even in an extreme way - women characters cannot own property and must place themselves sexually at the disposal of any man who asks, for example.  The morality comes in how the game treats this.  An obvious premise would be "what would you do to fight injustice?".

On the other hand I'm really struggling to come up with a concrete example of a rule that wouldn't be morally suspect when it's based on the sex of the players.

I guess what you're trying to go for are rules which create a different but equal situation but the example above doesn't do it for me.  The moral problem with the example above (men can't play races X and Y, women can't play classes A and B) because of this:

Female Player: I want to play class A.
GM: You can't.
Female Player: Why not?
GM: Because you're a girl.

I would walk from a gaming table where I heard that exchange go on.

Ian


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: lumpley on August 30, 2002, 12:56:19 PM
Ian,

I don't want to muddy the waters too too much here, but: it doesn't have to be a moral wrong to drive me away from the game.  "You can't play class A because you're a girl" is stupid, lame, and politically distasteful, and yes I'd walk away, but I don't think the guy's, y'know, a sinner.  Just dumb or a jerk.

There are certainly ways to make it immoral, like: "you can't play class A because you're a girl and characters of class A have to make decisions based on data and critical thought, which girls can't do."  That guy's a sinner.  

Ron's construction specifically excludes cases like that.

In my fathers example, the reverse rule (male player -> close father, female player -> distant father) would be just as valid, but would lead to different characters and different thematic content.  I think that's interesting; I can see setting up a game to intentionally explore those issues.

-Vincent


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Fabrice G. on August 30, 2002, 12:57:19 PM
Hi Ian,

I don't have any clues about what those rules are going to be, but I'll chime in if you agree.


Quote
Female Player: I want to play class A.
GM: You can't.
Female Player: Why not?
GM: Because you're a girl.


Well, if it was only in that sense, I would see a problem too (call it women segregation), but actually, it will also apply to men. So here, no gender is abused (for lack of a better word).

IMO, the distinction between what character  a player canplay based upon his/her gender can make sense.
Hum, lets say that I design a special kind of sorcery, mostly based on the uncertainty of pregnancy and birth...and say that I restrict that kind of sorcery to the female player because I feel  that it adress something relevant to woman, and much less to man. Is this bad ?

I think that if the rules are designed in this fashion, it's becoming a great tool to allow a reinforcement of the player-character link via some common real concern. Of course, I don't deny the right to anyone to be offensed by such material or the risk of abuse of such rules (but that's another matter).

Anyway, that's just my opinion, and I think that the rules in questions are miles away from my exemple.

Fabrice.


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Mike Holmes on August 30, 2002, 01:03:17 PM
Well, at the risk of inciting an old flame war, there are those who feel that men should not be allowed to play females, and vice versa. Now, this is limiting based on sex. One could say it's a completely equal case for both sexes, however, by restating it as "no player may play a character not of their own sex". But that's a slippery slope, isn't it? I mean if you can get away with that, can't you get away with "no player may play a character which they are not suited to play in a manner which is pleasing to the other players?" (the usual complaint brought up by the people who do not like to allow cross-gender play). And if you allow this, don't the player's subjective ideals come in? Allowing any limit based on any criteria?

Interesting, no?

Mike


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Fabrice G. on August 30, 2002, 02:07:51 PM
Hi Mike,

Quote
Interesting, no?


Yes, actually.

I'm not as closed to cross gender play as my previous post might suggest. I've GMed stories where some male players had female characters, and played in some too. I've had both really good and terrible experiences.

Quote
"no player may play a character which they are not suited to play in a manner which is pleasing to the other players?"


Actually, I think that's a very common non-written rule among many groups (count it part of the social contract). I, for one, seriously dislike seeing bad women archetypes being reenacted again and again. I saw (and was responsible for) a lot of really stupid stuff, so now I'm very carefull of who will play a cross gender character. I want to know if the player is feeling up to the task, and willing to try not just being a jerk. I often don't feel up to it, so I mostly play male characters.

But sex is not the problem here, as we are our own audiance, each player is playing for himself and the other players. And believe me, a player who is not playing by the taste of the group will be told so one way or another.

But that's not the main point I see in these rules. IMO, they're about allowing to emotionally engage the players about some topics they have in common with their character.

All in all, for me it all depends on the meaning and the goal of these rules...as long as their use has been discussed among all the players beforehand.

Fabrice.


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Jack Spencer Jr on September 01, 2002, 07:50:43 AM
Quote from: Ron Edwards
Ha! Jason thinks he's kidding.

In my notes are ...

"Sorcerer and the Single Girl"
"Sex and the Single Sorcerer"
"Our Sorcery, Ourselves"
"Sex, Sorcery, and You"

I was getting kind of giddy by then.

Best,
Ron


Am I reading it correctly that a decent portion of this book will cover relationships? Well, since two of the bigger relationship tags are either being related to someone or who you've slept with I would probably call this book "Blood & Sex"

Or is that too over the top?


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: Ian Charvill on September 01, 2002, 09:40:44 AM
Quote from: lumpley
Ron's construction specifically excludes cases like that.


I'm not so sure - you may be treating male and female players equally by discriminating against them both in different ways but the basic premise of denying a person access to certain things because of their sex just bothered me on a basic level but then I thought of something.

Quote from: lumpley
In my fathers example, the reverse rule (male player -> close father, female player -> distant father) would be just as valid, but would lead to different characters and different thematic content.  I think that's interesting; I can see setting up a game to intentionally explore those issues.


The thing that struck me that one of the things about Sorceror is that it is about transgression.  Therefore I don't see Ron adding rules that reinforce gender roles but rather rules than break them.

The parallel with your Ars Magica thing would be in saying "OK, in this saga all the women had close ties to their father, while the men all had distant fathers, in the next saga the women have to have distant fathers and the men have to have close fathers.

I.e. using rules to force people to tackle unconscious gender stereotyping.

E.G. D&D - men can't play half-orcs or dwarves; women can't play clerics or mages (or something, I don't speak D&D that fluently).

Ian


Title: Third print supplement - actually
Post by: lumpley on September 03, 2002, 06:18:06 AM
Hey Ian.

I think the reason it doesn't bother me is I'm not saying anything about men or women in the real world, really.  I'm not saying that all and only women have close relationships with their fathers, or that women want close fathers and men don't, or anything like that.  All I'm saying, I guess, is that I'm interested in (real) womens' experiences of close fathers, and that seems a perfectly legitimate setup for a game.

(Interesting: the gender of the character doesn't matter a bit.  If Emily plays a man with a close father or a woman with a close father, either way I'm getting a woman's take on close fathers.)

It should be consensual, not GM-imposed, of course.  "Hey, let's play a game where y'all's characters have close fathers and mine has a distant father, sound fun?" not "You get 30 points for Attributes but you and you can't spend any on Distant Father, for so it is written."

I just thought of a comparison.  I read Francesca Lia Block and John Crowley, whose books seem (casually, off the top of my head, but maybe it's just Color confusing me) thematically related.  Their takes are very different, at least partly because of their genders, and both are interesting but I wouldn't want them writing each others' books.  By which I mean, the gender of the author of a book sometimes matters; why not the genders of the players?

-Vincent