My original idea for this week's blog was to look at the strong female characters of the Oz stories. Heroines and villainesses, rulers and sorcerers. But then I thought of the gamers in my audience (all 3 of you) and wanted to give them something a little more concrete than a book review. So then I thought about the issue of gender at the gaming table.
Tabletop RPGs, like many other geek activities, is predominantly a male activity. (In fact, the only geek activity I can think of that is predominantly female is cosplaying). I'm male, though I have gamed with women (notably my wife). My Monday night OSRIC campaign has one female player. Since her character has the highest Strength score in the party, we all call her "Boots", as she's the one with the best chance to kick down doors. My Thursday night IronClaw game has two female players, one of whom is playing a female Rhinoceros Pit Fighter.
But I know I'm not typical. There are horror stories floating around the net about female players being sexually harassed by the other players or even the Game Master. Like the group that played the world of Gor (JFGI) and had the one female character that spent most of her time getting traded around by the male characters.
The other night, I found this interesting little item: Heartbreaks and Heroines, a feminist RPG. I found it via this great big honking thread on RPG.Net, which is probably still growing as this gets posted. What is a "feminist RPG"? Apparently one that puts women in the primary roles and focuses on the emotional journey of becoming a hero and finding your place in the world.
But wait, if all feminists really want is equality and parity with men, why have a game that emphasizes women? The answer seems to be to create a deliberate imbalance in one segment (the players of one game) in order to create parity in the gamer population at large.
While the project is fully funded, I'm sure the designers would appreciate an extra buck or two to help propel the project even further.