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Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: Ron Edwards on December 03, 2002, 01:17:37 PM
Hi there,

I finally got a spare moment to jot this down for public discussion. Basically, it's full disclosure time for the Horrible, Awful, Sexist Pig Discrimination rules as promised for the Sex & Sorcery supplement.

Here's the good news: it has nothing to do with character creation options. Nothing at all to do with "Male players have these options for their characters, and female players have these other options for their characters." I've said this before, but people keep persisting in clutching their hair and alternately grieving and swearing that such things would be intolerable or horrifying or whatever.

Yeah, OK, intolerable. Horrifying. I agree. Now be happy, because I'm proposing something else.

Take a look at Sorcerer, as a rules set. You have three or four interacting vectors of rules-impact. One of them, clearly, is Humanity going up or down due to character behavior. Another is the array of rituals, specifically Contacting, Summoning, and Binding, all of which incur Humanity checks. Another is the range of possible consequences for Humanity hitting 0, most especially the possibility that it's conceivably desirable and fun to do so (although never trivial). And finally, the Binding rules, which significantly link relationships among sorcerers and demons in order to push Humanity-oriented decisions.

Well, Azk'Arn, the insectoid-fantasy, Heavy-Metalish setting I'm presenting in the supplement, has a pretty hefty gender-specific content in terms of demons. Basically, demon reproduction is what sorcerers tap into - they might act as surrogate mothers, they might act as surrogate prey for developing parasitoid larvae (for a while), they might set themselves up as drones to serve a demonic "mother," and so forth and so on. All of this is gender-heavy in-play stuff, but none of it restricts or defines what a given player or character might do, in terms of gender. So far, this is just plain setting. No funky rules yet.

Couple twists:

- Going to Humanity 0 has two possible consequences, player's choice, neither of which entails "losing" the character, at least not immediately.

- Humanity is extremely plural, being both reproductive and social, each of which entails two internal avenues for gaining or losing Humanity. I won't go into it in detail here - just realize that this setting is very dense in this regard, and there are tons of "paths" either to gain or to loss.

Now.

1) Male players' characters, if they perform a Binding in conjunction with a female player's character's help, do not suffer Humanity checks for Binding. Conversely, female players' characters, if they perform a Contacting in conjunction with a male player's character's help, do not suffer Humanity checks for Summoning.

2) If any player's character performs a Banishing without the help of another player of the other gender, that character incurs a Humanity check roll instead of a Humanity gain for the Banishing.

3) If a player-character hits Humanity 0, "the story" of what happens (I'm keeping the options secret at the moment) must include a player-character played by a player of the opposite gender of the first player, or the Humanity-0 character is lost per the standard Sorcerer rules.

Please note that any of these might be reversed in gender and have the same effect. That's the point. That is the point. I am not making any specific gender statement with these rules, except for the all-important one that male and female players have incentive to interact with one another across the gaming table, to achieve in-game effects that would otherwise be inaccessible.

For those of you who are staring, crestfallen, at how basic and straightforward and "un-innovative" this is, consider this: what role-playing design has ever admitted that such an action (male players and female players cooperating on something) could be given an incentive?

Best,
Ron

P.S. By the way, if anyone has any criticisms or suggestions, I'd really like to know about them. The text is nearing submission time, so hippety-hop.


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: Paul Czege on December 03, 2002, 01:59:19 PM
1) Male players' characters, if they perform a Binding in conjunction with a female player's character's help, do not suffer Humanity checks for Binding. Conversely, female players' characters, if they perform a Contacting in conjunction with a male player's character's help, do not suffer Humanity checks for Summoning.

2) If any player's character performs a Banishing without the help of another player of the other gender, that character incurs a Humanity check roll instead of a Humanity gain for the Banishing.

3) If a player-character hits Humanity 0, "the story" of what happens (I'm keeping the options secret at the moment) must include a player-character played by a player of the opposite gender of the first player, or the Humanity-0 character is lost per the standard Sorcerer rules.


Regardless of the genders of the characters? It's a gender-based affirmative action social contract.

Paul


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: Ron Edwards on December 03, 2002, 02:08:46 PM
Hi Paul,

Right, regardless of the genders of the characters.

Right, it's an affirmative-action gender social contract. Precisely. Sorcerer has always relied on a curious mix of Do as Thou Wilt plus Donkey Treat Over Here.

Best,
Ron


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: jburneko on December 03, 2002, 02:21:56 PM
Question:

Since these apply to the gender of the PLAYERS and not the gender of the CHARACTERS, what is the net effect on the Premise/lit-101 analysis of the story creation process and/or the resultant story in hindsight?

Hope that made sense.

Jesse


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: Ron Edwards on December 03, 2002, 02:35:03 PM
Hi Jesse,

Um, that's what the whole supplement is about. Premise during play relies on social and creative interactions among all the players. By cutting out, denying, ignoring, or diminishing the power of male-female interactions, you're similarly diminishing the potential range and power of the Premise for that group.

Basically, I'm treating these real-people interactions as a very powerful engine, potentially more powerful than any other. To extend this metaphor, why should we keep sput-sputting along with our dinky auxiliaries (non-gender interactions) when the main engine is just idling there?

As a side point, I am referring to men and women at the role-playing table utterly irrespective of sexual preferences. If all of them were gay as three-dollar bills, my point stands.

Best,
Ron


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: jburneko on December 03, 2002, 02:52:55 PM
Ah, then as usual, I'm eagerly awaiting the full analysis of the supplement.

I ask because if you reverse what you said and have it apply to the characters and not the players, it seems to have a much more focusing effect in terms of Premise.  I don't want to use the words, 'in character' or anything else to suggest a more Character-Sim focus because that's not what I mean.  I'm very much talking about the metagame level of addressing Premise.

How to put this...

If my girlfriend and I sit down to write a story together and we agree that gender roles and relationships are central to the Premise then when we create a scene involving two male characters followed by a scene involving one male and one female character, shouldn't we, as story creators, be focused on how two males relate with respect to the Premise in the first scene and how one male and one female relate with respect to the Premise in the second, regardless of the fact that BOTH scenes were created by one male and one female?

It just seems your mechanic shifts focus AWAY from addressing the intended gender focusing of the Premise and the creation of a thematically driven character, since you're nullyfying the gender of the character from a hypothetical hindsight audience or reader who would be, theoretically, blind to the genders of the authors.  If that makes any sense.

Jesse

Edited Note: Unless, all you're trying to say is that if you and I, being two males, sat down to write a story with a given Premise, and me and my girlfriend, being one male and one female, sat down to write the same story with a given Premise then the result, due to our gender interactions, would be different and you want  to promote and harness that difference in play, then, okay, I see your point.


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: Ron Edwards on December 03, 2002, 02:57:02 PM
Hi Jesse,

That's just it. The Premise of play doesn't have to be gendered at all. I devote a fair amount of space in the book to examining when it is, and the whole Azk'Arn setting is one big Hoo-wa of gender-based Premise, but the role-playing in question doesn't have to be.

I'm claiming that real, actual play is always gendered, and that the interactions thereof are an amazing potential engine for getting good stuff to happen in the game. But what happens in the game ("the story") may or may not be gender-type stuff. That's simply not a relevant issue in terms of this particular rules-suggestion.

H'm, I'm really glad you brought this up. I better make that clear in the text of the final chapter.

Best,
Ron


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: jburneko on December 03, 2002, 03:00:20 PM
Oops, cross post/edited.  See my edited note in my previous post above.  I think I get what you're saying.

Jesse


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: Ron Edwards on December 03, 2002, 03:13:17 PM
Hi Jesse,

You got it! Your edited addition nails it.

Best,
Ron


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: jburneko on December 03, 2002, 03:24:45 PM
Okay, now that we're on the same page, here's the next question.  Why these, SPECIFIC, rules?  For example, why not simply say, if a male player and a female character interact for ANY ritual, the humanity check can be bypassed?  Or have the genders swapped for addendum #1 above?

Or am I probing too deep into the text of the supplement?  If, I am, then I'm cool.  I just want to be sure these questions are addressed somewhere.

Jesse


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: Gordon C. Landis on December 03, 2002, 03:51:41 PM
Ron,

Give the too-commonly "only male players" RPG group an IN-GAME reason to get females involved in their play?  One that also works just fine in the (hypothetical, IME) opposite situation?  Why, what a devilishly clever idea!

I'll stress the realization in your response to Jesse - that it'll be important when communicating this idea to be real clear about WHY it exists.  Not to model anything in the game world and not to directly make a gender-oriented Premise or story element richer/better/etc.  Not about the characters, but rather about the players.  This rule (by my understanding of what you've communicated) exists to help the players ensure that their game play actually does include the differing perspectives they, as males and females, bring to the table.  It's designed to highlight something that is basically already happening, to make it more visible to - and useable by - the play group.

Good stuff - I'm thinking about ways to do a GM/player gender-rule that encourages women to GM.  And of course, many variations - rich vs. poor players, college-educated vs. HS-only, technical vs. artistic . . .   Or the pervy side of me wants a meta-role, where players of whatever gender "take on" a male-player or female-player "slot" in this context.  I can feel Jared - and maybe you - shuddering across the T1 lines :-)

Gordon


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: Ron Edwards on December 03, 2002, 03:56:31 PM
Hi Jesse,

These specific rules happen to dovetail nicely with some of the in-game Azk'Arn setting stuff. Otherwise, there's no reason for which is male and which is female. It's actually part of the point that which gender gets what isn't important, only that the two genders get different (and complementary) things.

Best,
Ron


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: jrs on December 03, 2002, 07:21:55 PM
Quote
1) Male players' characters, if they perform a Binding in conjunction with a female player's character's help, do not suffer Humanity checks for Binding. Conversely, female players' characters, if they perform a Contacting in conjunction with a male player's character's help, do not suffer Humanity checks for Summoning.


I've a question about the above-- why the asymmetry?  Gender one refrences one ritual (binding), while gender two references two rituals (contacting & summoning).

Julie


Title: Re: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: Le Joueur on December 03, 2002, 09:38:37 PM
Quote from: Ron Edwards
I finally got a spare moment to jot this down for public discussion....

Take a look at Sorcerer, as a rules set. You have three or four interacting vectors of rules-impact....

...The all-important one that male and female players have incentive to interact with one another across the gaming table, to achieve in-game effects that would otherwise be inaccessible.

...Real, actual play is always gendered, and that the interactions thereof are an amazing potential engine for getting good stuff to happen in the game.

A spare moment?  That, I'm not buying.

I believe, here, we are seeing the whole purpose of the 'Infamous Five Threads.'  Last time you tried to explain this concept, so many people got so wrapped up in subordinate non-issues that what you attempted to explain was completely lost.

Considering the audience, I'm not surprised if it looks like a totally new concept.

What is this idea?  Here's how I put it to my wife; it makes role-playing games into a marital aid.  Not a new idea to us, we often joke that my six-year old son is not my son, but that of a particularly well-played non-player character.  Suffice to say we do a lot of one-on-one, consenting adult gaming without 'drawing the veil.'

How does this relate to the 'Infamous Five Threads?'  Well, try explaining how to make a role-playing game into a socializing gimmick.  Harness sex to sell a game; make its play dependent upon sexual interaction.  (That's not necessarily about having sex, but about making the connections that lead in that direction.  Talk about 'a new dating possibility.')  Here's what you'd have to cover:[list=1]
  • Sex is Mainstream, pretty much defines the limits, but there's no sex in Dungeons & Dragons.  (You sit down, Foglio!)
  • Don't even think about 'picking up chix' at your Friendly Local Gaming Store.
  • Get past the meta-game level if you want to talk about people meeting people.  'I met my wife through gaming' is true for me, but I'm told I'm usual.
  • Vanilla and Perverted, if that doesn't scream sex, maybe the fact that it talks about 'attention to the game' along a (then unspecified) social paradigm, about coherent design of rules' 'Points of Contact,' is a necessary ingredient to see how a game could inspire (and not impede) interaction between the sexes.
  • How does the Forge aid your love life?  Or anyone else's?  How do we make it a place where these 'new' kinds of games can be discussed and supported (either in play or in design)?[/list:o]Now it all makes sense.  I'm glad you've finally done this Ron; I really appreciate it.

    We've been designing something in parallel since before I joined up here.  I've mentioned it around here a number of times; Back here (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=32981#32981), I started talking about 'consenting adult games,' later I spoke of the range of Scattershot's supplements (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=11356#11356) noting a Romance product for between adults of the age of consent, and most recently I included it (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=21122#21122) as a boundary of 'number of players' from a romantic couple to a large LARP.  So, I've been about the same thing (without delving into rules that work on this way) for a while with little interest or discussion, so thanks.  (Our 'sexist rules?'  The Romance Novel game has 1 male gamemaster and 1 female player.)

    So rules that get people "hein' and shein'?"  Go for it!

    Fang Langford


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: Bankuei on December 03, 2002, 09:41:20 PM
Ron, I really like the fact that the players with less of their gender at the table will become much more influential to the game.  Whether 1 guy and 3 girls, or 3 girls and 1 guy, whoever is in the minority becomes much more pivotal in terms of action.  Now, does the GM also count for this little bonus as well?

Chris


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: Ron Edwards on December 03, 2002, 10:30:15 PM
Hi there,

Fang, you cunning ... whatever-you-are. That is bang-up insightful of you. A great deal of this supplement arises from my own reflections on very active sexual activity associated with my gaming. Actually, that's saying it backwards. Sexual whatchamacallit, y'know, getting laid, is something I sort of ... how does one put these things ... well, I put a lot into it and got a lot out of it, with lots of people for a long time. Gaming was comparatively a small part of my life. So including the gaming into the sexual adventuring (rather than the other way around, which is what it looks like from a die-hard role-player's perspective) seemed perfectly valid and had the rather wonderful side effect of "legitimizing" gaming to everyone around me, partners, non-partner friends, and acquaintances alike. Not that I cared much about it, but that effect was almost instantaneous.

"Hi, I'm me. Um, yes, that's my romantic life that's seeping around everywhere; it kinda shows up wherever I go; mind the wet spot. Oh, and I game too, it's a neat hobby." Unilateral response: "Hey, that gaming stuff looks pretty cool."

In the interest of decency and self-respect, I want to add that I'm referring to the years 1984-1996 or so.

Julie, whoops, the asymmetry is a typo. The relevant ritual for female players is Contacting alone.

Chris, thanks for pointing out the GM. I hadn't considered that, and I should have.

Best,
Ron


Title: I am the Madman, You are the Walrus, Goo Goo Gajoo
Post by: Le Joueur on December 04, 2002, 06:58:15 AM
Hey Ron,

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Fang, you cunning ... whatever-you-are.

I'm the Madman (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=39719#39719).  How can you forget?  The Madman, Madman, Madman (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=39719#39719).  (I sound like an episode of Dora, the Explorer - by the way, is that supposed to rhyme only in New York City?  And can we start calling Adventurer Croft, Laura, the Explorer?  Is it the sequel?)

Mostly, I was responding to my own sense of "Yeah, and...?" about the Infamous Five Threads.

As an aside, my wife constantly compliments me on personifying my romantic non-player characters by saying that she's never, and I mean never, considered having an affair; she'd just be looking for 'the me' in whomever she lay with.  She can get that in gaming.  I know...we make all our friends sick too; but hey, we're newlyweds, we've only been married 13 years....

Fang Langford

p. s. I'm still waiting for my fruity Starburst (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=43743&highlight=fruity+starburst#43743)!


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: MK Snyder on December 04, 2002, 09:09:01 AM
Umm, on first reading, it looks like Ron is trying to get more women to roleplay with a game that is "Rosemary's Baby"+"Alien."

Have I got that right?

And we thought using D&D was going to be tough...

I'll repeat J's suggestion that it would be better to not recruit new players in game stores for this one. In fact, Ron, just to let you know, using the Premise of Reproduction as a rationale to require the participation of both sexes could be seen as highly offensive to gamers who happen to be female. Most of the gamers who happen to be female that I know, and have read, do *not* want to be recruited for their femaleness. They just want to feel fully accepted as gamers.

Thus, to recruit women to be players primarily because they are women; and primarily for a reproductive role; not to mention one that is repellent and evil...oh, man. Have the personal body armor and bail money handy.

These observations are being offered with full disregard for the concept that this is a profound and logical development for the specific game, Sorcerer; within that frame of reference, it is appropriate.


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: Ron Edwards on December 04, 2002, 10:59:11 AM
Hi Maryanne,

That would be a valid criticism if I had a specific agenda to attract or interest more women in role-playing. I don't, though. It's certainly not one of the stated or unstated goals of the supplement. (In fact, the more I think of it, the very concept of men "doing something" to "make" women get more into gaming is pretty dubious from the get-go.)

Jesse's stated the whole shebang pretty well, I think - given men and women at the gaming table, real-person inter-gender interactions can be enlisted to power-up and enhance the content of play.

Do bear in mind that this thread concerns a secondary feature of the sixth of six chapters.

Here are some older threads to give a more complete view:
Third print supplement - maybe (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2562)
Third print supplement - actually (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3128)
Sex & Sorcery: male and female story types (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3969)
Sneak preview: Sex & Sorcery excerpt (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3938)
Sneak Preview 2 (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3984)

A couple of threads about film and literature relating to all this can be found too (they have "Sex & Sorcery" in the thread titles), and also a search for "In Utero" in this forum will yield a lot too.

Best,
Ron


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: lumpley on December 04, 2002, 11:40:46 AM
As a former hair-clutcher, griever and swearer: I'm not now clutching my hair, grieving or swearing.  (Out of fairness to me, I'd come around already.)

It seems to me, though, that you're rewarding something that your target audience already does.  The mixed-gender group playing Sorcerer in Rosemary's Baby + Alien land has pretty probably already enlisted its gender dynamics, at the social contract level.  Making it explicit in the game rules part of the social contract could:

a. be redundant, giving dice for actions the players would've taken anyway;

b. disrupt the unspoken social contract in such a way that, until the group adjusts, play is stilted and uncomfortable; or

c. be supercool

depending on the group.

Not that any of those are a Bad Thing.  And if it gets a group to notice and talk about its gender dynamics, I'm for it with no bones.

-Vincent


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: Gordon C. Landis on December 04, 2002, 12:08:37 PM
Quote from: Ron Edwards

Do bear in mind that this thread concerns a secondary feature of the sixth of six chapters.

Maybe it's just me, but I think it's an incredibly exciting and interesting secondary feature, and not especially because of the gender/sex angle.  It represents a concrete way to focus the real people involved in the imagined experience on each other, as real people.  In a way that will add interest and (possibly, if that's what they want) "weight" to the imagined experience.  This is normally only accomplished by the so-called "good GM" knowing his players well, and/or the players knowing each other well, and etc.  Having a game mechanism that can help seems like a pretty big deal to me.

My last post was a little (too?) jokey partially as a way to cushion the possibly sensitive gender/sex issues, and I didn't want that to override the fact that I really think this is a cool, important, potentially very valuable approach.  I can see it going in very interesting places.

Gordon


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: Clay on December 04, 2002, 12:38:25 PM
I like these proposed rules.  It is very deliberately protagonizing characters, in that it forces people to team up, rather than letting one person become the focus of events for a while.  Even if it were not gender based, I think these rules would be excellent.


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: Mike Holmes on December 04, 2002, 01:07:00 PM
Hmm. You know, I've been surprised that Sorcerer hasn't come under fire from the Religious Right. But, hey, if anything can get you that attention, this may just be it! Not just demons, anymore, but sex too, involving the real players (nevermind that it's just in-game, people are going to see this as encouraging out-of-game sex)!

(only half winking on this one)

Mike


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: Fabrice G. on December 05, 2002, 02:24:56 AM
Hum... and now as a Sorcerer fan (tm), if I want to use those clever rules I will have to go on the tremendous quest for french female player !

And He said it's just a secondary feature of the sixth chapter !?!

What will it really takes to use that book ? :)

Anyway, given the context you showed us already, this approch makes perfect sense.

Now all I hope is that I will see the beast sooner than later.

Take care,

Fabrice.


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: Clay on December 05, 2002, 01:24:00 PM
Quote from: Fabrice G.
Hum... and now as a Sorcerer fan (tm), if I want to use those clever rules I will have to go on the tremendous quest for french female player !


I think that you could theoretically work it with a German or Spanish female as well, or an American if you can find one. Or is there something (other than your obvious linguistic preferences) that makes it better to play with a French female?  I could see a French wife being a real hinderance to adding an international aspect, for instance.

You can't see this, but I've got a huge grin on my face as I'm typing this. I wish you luck in your quest for a French female player - we should all be so lucky as to find one.


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: Fabrice G. on December 06, 2002, 01:44:36 AM
Hi Clay,

off topic but i couldn't resist: Hey, I'm all for cultural diversity in play, I'll accept all kind of female player in my group (not that my girlfriend will be too happy about that ;) ).

Back on topic now.
As jokingly as my previous post was, it was based on a real concern. There's really few female player in my town that I now off. I don't know about the situation in the USA, but in France the percentage of female player is quite low. So combine that with the fact that I live in a not-so-big town... My point is that as much as I like those rule suggestions, they will be quite hard to implement as first there's the quest[/i) thing.

To be more precise about the rules, I think they're quite "new edge". Aside the whole narativist thing, it will be another bit to be explained to the casual player. Well, explicitely taking into account the gendre of the player, and ruling it having in-game effects...that will be something.
But, from my (little) multi-gender group experience, it should be worth it because, as mentioned previously (by Jesse I think) the perception  and the treatment of the Premise will be different between male and female players.


Take care,

Fabrice.

[Edited because I misunderstood Clay statement, and to elaborate on my take about the rules].


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: Ron Edwards on December 06, 2002, 10:48:38 AM
Hello,

I just reviewed the thread for anything I'm missing, and I found something.

MK wrote,
"... just to let you know, using the Premise of Reproduction as a rationale to require the participation of both sexes could be seen as highly offensive to gamers who happen to be female."

Well, that one is a clean miss. There ain't no such animal in this supplement. See my post to Jesse, above.

In-game sexual/reproductive content is one thing; metagame, real-people sexual/reproductive content is another. The first may or may not exist, where as the second definitely exists regardless of what's up with the first. This distinction is made very clear in the supplement itself.

Best,
Ron


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: Christopher Kubasik on December 06, 2002, 02:52:20 PM
Hi Ron,

Could you please "unpack" the paragraph that begins, "In game sexual/..."

I have to admit I'm not sure I know what you're getting at there.

And I'll post here what I mentioned to you on the phone last night:  When i read all these posts I immediately thought of the game Twister.  Yes, eight men might play it, or eight women.  But a mix of men and women simply makes the game more fun to play.  The rules remain the same, but an awareness of sexes involved just is more... Fun.  (At least for me.)

Yes?  No?  Off base for these new rules, or what?

Take care,

Christopher


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: Seth L. Blumberg on December 06, 2002, 05:57:27 PM
So you're using the sexual element of the interactions between characters as a justification for rules that depend on the gender of the players?

Not to Sim this out, or anything, but...WTF?


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: Ron Edwards on December 07, 2002, 09:02:13 AM
Hello,

Christopher, great Twister analogy. Let's see about that unpacking. Hmm, OK, Bob is a player playing the character Bartholemew, and Meghan is a player playing the character Morgana.

1: Bartholemew and Morgana, the characters, have hot, squishing, loud sex with one another. This is a fictional event, right? It's made-up. Characters do it, not players. Now, given my rules-set, let's say this has nothing to do with Humanity 0 or sorcerous rituals or anything. In that case, it's just another day in the Sorcerer scheme of things and no "gender rules" are involved at all.

2: Bartholemew and Morgana, the characters, cooperate on a ritual, say a Contact. No sex is involved. No sex. They have tea together or paint symbols, whatever. Why look! The gender rules do apply, and Morgana is exempted from the Humanity check for the Contact.

Seth, nope, you're bonkers. No in-game justification regarding sexual interactions is involved at all. Looking at my rules-set presented in the first post, I don't see any sexual interactions among the characters. Where the dickens are you getting that?

Folks, if you have a substantive criticism or point, I'm all ears. But don't waste my time with gut reactions or cries for explaining myself on my part.

Best,
Ron


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: Uncle Dark on December 07, 2002, 10:40:32 AM
Ron,

Perhaps the fact that so many people aren't getting it the first time through is a substantive criticism (albeit implied).  I mean, we aren't talking Joe Gamer here.  These are people who enjoy thinking in deep, convoluted ways about designing and playing RPGs.

Your original posting was very clear about who was doing what, about what was a player action and what was a character action.  It was clear in a very logical way.

But some pretty smart monkies are still not getting it.  The question becomes, "why?"

I see two possibilities:
1) The whole sex/gender issue is one that is very emotionally loaded.  People bring huge (often unconscious) assumptions to the table when sex/gender is discussed, and clean logic does not always penetrate it.  You may need (or may already have, forgive me if I'm going over old ground here) a beat-them-with-a-blunt-instrument section of text to disarm those assumptions.

2) The metagame play here is so disconnected (arbitrary?) from the in-game play that people are having a hard time seeing why the players' gender matters for character actions that they're inventing spurious connections to make it make sense.  I dunno how to handle this one right now.

Lon


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: xiombarg on December 07, 2002, 12:25:13 PM
Quote from: Uncle Dark
But some pretty smart monkies are still not getting it.  The question becomes, "why?"
I gotta agree with Lon on this one. Sure, different genders bring different perspectives to the table, so encouraging mixed-gender groups is good, and it's an interesting and new idea. But why do it? I mean, if it's not about sex, why shouldn't you be doing it anyway regardless of the content of the game? And... to pick another loaded area... why not do the same about race? (Admittedly, the concept of "race" is murkier than the idea of gender...)


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: Ron Edwards on December 07, 2002, 02:00:39 PM
Hi Kirt,

You tangled up yourself in a pretzel only to end up saying what I said in the first place: regardless of whether in-game content is about sex-stuff, male-female interaction among the real people is a valuable component of powerful play.

That's it. Adding in-game gender/sex content (not as a constraint) is optional.

Oh, and Lon, you ain't seen anything like the blunt instrument I'm bringing to the text in this regard. (Ha ha! You know, I've been waiting all my life to be able to say that to Lon. I didn't know I was waiting for it, but I was.)

Best,
Ron


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: Uncle Dark on December 07, 2002, 04:49:01 PM
Ron,

I can't wait to see your blunt instrument.

Lon


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: Henry Fitch on December 08, 2002, 06:39:35 PM
Maybe I'm misunderstanding this. Basically, your reasoning is that real-world gender interaction makes the game better, so you'll give an in-game benefit to those who use it? Seems like the kind of rule that a lot of all-male groups will just ignore. Sort of like how a lot of "cheaper version" RPGs used to limit characters to a certain power level, as an in-game incentive for the real-world action of shelling out more money, but as far as I know most people who didn't want to buy the expensive version just guessed at the experience requirements and went ahead anyway.


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: Seth L. Blumberg on December 09, 2002, 10:04:17 AM
Quote from: Uncle Dark
I see two possibilities:
1) The whole sex/gender issue is one that is very emotionally loaded....

2) The metagame play here is so disconnected (arbitrary?) from the in-game play that people are having a hard time seeing why the players' gender matters for character actions that they're inventing spurious connections to make it make sense....

I'll take door #2, Lon.

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Well, Azk'Arn, the insectoid-fantasy, Heavy-Metalish setting I'm presenting in the supplement, has a pretty hefty gender-specific content in terms of demons. Basically, demon reproduction is what sorcerers tap into....

This is what confused me. I saw this, and the rules about player gender for the same setting, and (being a sapient lifeform, and therefore being driven to find patterns even where they do not exist) assumed there was a connection. I urge you to make the lack of connection between these things extremely explicit in the text. (Yes, yes, "blunt instrument," ha ha, but that was about Lon's issue #1, a different matter entirely.)


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: Christopher Kubasik on December 09, 2002, 01:26:52 PM
Hi Henry,

Let me take a shot at this:

Yes, all male groups can ignore these rules.  (In fact, they will have to.)

They're in place because Ron anticipates that mixed-player-gender rituals between PCs will simply make the play more fun.

Let me offer again the game of Twister.  Eight men can play.  Four men and four women can play.  I see the first as being an exercise in simple contortion, the second as laughter and fun.  Same rules, different experience.  Why?  Mixed gender.  Something happens when actual men and actual women do things together that's different than mixed sex.  Ron seems to think this will add fun.  I suspect he's correct.

Take care,
Christopher


Title: Gender rules revealed [Sex & Sorcery]
Post by: Ron Edwards on December 09, 2002, 01:32:14 PM
Hi there,

I spent a fair amount of time yesterday examining this issue regarding the supplement as a whole. It goes like this.

Chapter 1 is all about role-players, in terms of how characters aren' real and don't really do anything, and also in terms of among-group comfort levels regarding content. Think of this as coming up out of the water entirely just for a minute.

Chapter 2 is about the two story types I've described earlier. This is interesting, because it's a bridge: from players to game-content. Think about this as being chest-deep (back) in the water.

Chapters 3 and 4 develop those two story types in detail. Now we're submerged.

Chapter 5 (Azk'Arn) combines the two story types. We're still submerged.

Chapter 6 is about the players again, as such. We've come out of the water again, looking back at Chapter 1 again, in light of some of the recent underwater experiences.

It's silly to say that in-game content has nothing to do with among-players interaction - the whole point of the supplement (Chapters 1 and 6) says the opposite.

However, the side-issue of the player-gender rules (and they are a side-issue, no matter how many of you try to read them as the "point") is firmly set in Chapter 6 alone. You could combine them with heavy in-game gender content, or you might not. It doesn't matter, because the people-level (out of the water) is the "real" one. It's nifty to think about how that might relate to in-game-content (stuff in the water), and actual connections may well arise via play for a given group, but how you feel about that, and how that plays out in your own group, is up to you.

Best,
Ron