Equal But Different: Femme Friendly RPG Awards

by Wyrdwoman

To be keeping in with this issue's Awards theme, I decided to scrap my earlier notes and provide a few cheers and a few boos towards various games based on their treatment of females. In no particular order, then...

Cheers go to:

Amber (Phage Press)

Unfortunately, it is a bit cliche to suspect all women gamers as Amber players, BUT, what there is of a system does not discriminate men over women (or vice versa) and the examples of women within the RPG show strong women, not the lacey-frail "Don't hurt me!" whiners.

Storyteller System (White Wolf)

The whole of it may suck for different reasons, but one does have to note the women portrayed in it are not wimps, are not purely sex-objects (and those who come close are doing it on their own, rather than having nothing else to fall back upon) and while some of the art is revealing, it's not that nipple-happy. Women aren't deliberately made to be victims, as the genre (monsterous) would suggest.

Immortals (Precedence)

Now, here's an awesome game for some femme dominance... take that as you would. Some of the most interesting characters are female (the Solitaire, the Nimrod pride) and the men tend to be *cute*. We like.

Feng Shui (Daedalus Entertainment)

For a genre that is presented as male dominated, almost every time you see a woman in it, she is kick-butt to the extreme, either in sorcery or the fighting arts. The game is a bit violent, though not necessarily splatterpunk, and while I could hope for a bit more catering to the feminine opportunities, I'm not complaining.

HoL (Dirt Merchant / Black Dog Games)

You must think I've lost a screw or two, but you know, there's no women on HoL, and that's because they didn't want to cater to that kind of art. For that matter, we'll throw in a gratuitous plug for WearRug: there's no dumpy balding women. It's a weird sort of logic, but it's not FEMALE logic. <ahem>

Castle Falkenstein (R. Talsorian)

With a nod of the head to Chaosium's Call of C'thulhu for not penalizing women in a time where women could rightfully have been unlikely to adventure, Castle Falkenstein makes a point that women are granted more freedom than our version of the time period allowed.

Righteous BOOs go to:

AD&D (registered trademark of TSR, etc.)

All versions. We happen to think orc mamas are some of the strongest, nastiest things around, and we think the stats should reflect that. Besides, it has pansy elves in it.

Look, it may be the oldest, but it has become quite clear that the audience they're looking for is the adolescent male.

Champions (Hero Games)

Bah. The system doesn't penalize the female so much as the hooter art does. But I guess they are appealing to a juvenile audience.

Talislanta (Bard, WoTC, Daedalus, Plaid Rabbit)

Now, don't get me wrong, it's a neat idea...but it's got the skimpy-clothed women, the races whose women sell themselves into (implied sexual) slavery, where womens' charms are purely to seduce men... let's hear it for progress. Not.

This is a quick survey and overlook of the games, but if you have a favorite pick, cheer or boo, let the JNM(mnj) team know.

Next issue, more on the debate. Witch women and innocent victims. Sexist stereotype or righteous archetype?

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j n m ( m n j )
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