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Credible women NPCs for men-GMs

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Jack of Tears said:

 

Well, like I said it is a generality, plus this is roleplaying, wherein one isn't going to always be playing to the norm.  The current female player in games tends to play the bloodthirsty, sadistic, asocial types -  the characters female gamers portray aren't generally going to run to the typical female behavior in the setting ... pcs, by their nature after all, are uncommon individuals.  

Good point. I guess the next step would be to discuss what would the norm for women be in the Imperium. After all, the "human nature" contains at least as many cultural elements (=susceptible to change) as natural ones and the Imperial society is quite different from our 21st century Western ones. So, how would a 41st millenium women behave like ? What would her expectations be ? 

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H.B.M.C. said:


It isn't the path to Slaanesh. It is certainly a pathway, but not the only one. The real path to Slaanesh is any and all experiences taken in excess. Slaanesh isn't the Chaos God of Multiple Orgasms, Slaanesh is the Chaos God of Excess

Indeed. :) But our hardwiring being what it is, sex is - in my view - easily the biggest hook in Slaanesh's tackle box. ;)

And thanks for notifying me that I got to meandering off topic... so here's my take on that:

The 40k setting is blessed with pervasive attitudes that are often quite foreign to us, and this allows the GM (and players) room to maneuvre: our definitions of gender roles and what could be called 'typical gender behaviour' need not apply in the face of Imperial ideology. Citizens of the Imperium are a different animal from us in many ways, so everyone should at least have an excuse to do with gender as they please.

So far, I haven't encountered a non-credible character, male or female, and the several women gamers I know haven't mentioned them either (not proof positive, but a fair indication). It would actually seem that, regardless of setting, it's not a matter of creating credible female or male characters, but credible (possibly human) beings.

This is not to say that sex and gender should be ignored, of course. Giving thought to gender dynamics can seriously flesh out an imaginary society .And this world-building scale is the one where generalizations are actually useful, since the exceptions (which tends to include PCs) are too marginal to have meaningful impact. In world-building I prefer to extrapolate from the basics, ie. the physical. In the war-driven Imperium I see a relatively clear division of labour between women and men. Crassly simplified, men provide the muscle mass with which the Imperial military machine can clog enemy barrels, while women have the duty to produce offspring to sustain the Imperium. This system would expect its members to adhere to their respective gender roles of Warrior or Mother, and deviation might be judged anything from mildly scandalous to downright heretical, depending on the society at large.

Now, characters of either gender can be anything they like, their credibility is unlikely to hinge on that. But if their gender is to have relevance, a neat way of bringing it into the game is through contrast with dominant ethics. Also, differences in prevailing attitudes are a good way to add character and depth to cultures on a planetary (or smaller) scale: for exampple, in societies with high mortality rates (eg. death worlds) being a mother might be a woman's literally sacred duty, whereas on pleasure planets (and other places of luxury) no one might give a **** what you do! Either way, they keep gender from being a mere mark on a character sheet, and planets more than a quaint name. :)

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 Someone mentioned early on in the thread that "Chaste" is a fairly specific and explicit word to use in description. According to dictionaries and Wikipedia: No it bloody well isn't.

Wiki's outlining of it is pretty straightforward. 'Respectable and non-deviant in relation to sex within the society at large'. So, with that in mind, the Adepta Soritas aren't sporting chastity belts and never having sex; they're just vigilant and not at all scandalous. I.e. they're a publicly visible, professional organisation which can't be known to be at all scandalous but yet they're still pragmatic and effective because they're an official body of the Imperium. I.e. this allows them to not be domineering super-lesbian child abusers as per you'd expect of super-facist nuns with guns. Instead they can be the latter, but still be well adjusted, highly willed members of a highly organised society!

With creating credible NPCs, I find it difficult to entertain cliches without being obvious about them. My fear, however, is that most of my NPCs will come of as androgynous though. This is good, for me, as I'm not a huge fan of roleplaying chat-up scenes with my RP mates. And, since I'm not an author, I don't need to worry too much on the credibility front as long as I'm not going overboard.


"I'm a woman therefore I do this" isn't good. "I'm a woman, I am doing this" is good because I'm not big on running militantly feminist characters...similarly I don't have folks running about saying "I'm a man, therefore I'll handle this!"

 

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Xisor said:

Wiki's outlining of it is pretty straightforward. 'Respectable and non-deviant in relation to sex within the society at large'. So, with that in mind, the Adepta Soritas aren't sporting chastity belts and never having sex; they're just vigilant and not at all scandalous.

The problem with the wiki definition is that it is quite relative : chaste = who abides by the norm on sexual matters. So, what says the 40k norm on these matters and what would the Imperial society view as scandalous ? Sex before marriage ? Sex for other motive than simple procreation (and thus familial planning) ? Infidelity ?

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