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Telmia

High-Five For Diversity!

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I just wanted to say, with the characters now all revealed, how awesome I think it is that the gender divide is even.

Growing up with nerdy media it always bugged me how imbalenced things would be with gender, there was a lot of "let's fight over the one girl character" when it came to various video games, for example.

I mean it seems like a little thing but it helps me feel more welcome when the characters aren't a bunch of varied men and then Token Woman. FFG have been awesome with keeping the artwork and characters diverse with the whole line so this is just me saying I love that this is the case, as do the rest of my players :)

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Yeah, it's quite a change from the prior Beginner Box characters.

 

EotE only had one female PC, a female Twi'lek that had some pretty badass character art.

 

AoR had two female PCs, both Human this time around.

 

Truthfully, I wonder if they could have worked things with the pre-gens in all of the Beginner Boxes to make them gender-neutral, much like the old WEG character templates, and thus allow the player to choose if the character is male or female.

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I wish people wouldn't put so much emphasis on the character's gender. If you'd put as much thought into your RPG skills as you do this it wouldn't matter.

For some people a character's gender can be VERY important. I for one was able to play female characters for years when I did not feel I could come out as Transgender, this once a week release kept me sane and alive.

But even discounting similar situations, the fact that both binary genders are represented the same number of times is a big equality step in a steriotyped male hobby.

Edit: although D&Ds character gender section explicitly stating that you can play any part of the gender spectrum is even better.

Edited by Vixen Icaza

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I wish people wouldn't put so much emphasis on the character's gender. If you'd put as much thought into your RPG skills as you do this it wouldn't matter. 

The problem is the legacy of RPGs as a male-dominated hobby. It's pretty indisputable that roleplaying is still significantly shaped by this history although it is slowly getting better. Gender can be ignored as an issue as soon as there isn't a disparity in representation.

 

Providing positive reinforcement for steps such as parity between male and female characters hopefully means that we can eventually move towards a point at which we don't have to worry so much about gender as an issue.

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Indeed, as others have said it's because unfortunately nerdy media is often pretty sexist due to it's history. It does seem to be getting better which is good- comics, video games and RPGs all seem to be getting more inclusive. But it means diversity in stuff like this is still noteworthy and actually stands out, in a good way!

Inclusivity can mean a lot to people for different reasons, but I think it's also good as it attracts new people who might have felt unwelcome before. I mean let's be honest, there's a pretty nasty stereotype attached to RPG players and it's not like people are flocking to the hobby. It can help when the game makes that extra effort to show off diversity and prove that it's not actually all about white dudes.

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Pre generated characters has as much to do with RPG parity as the man on the moon. The reason why RPGs have been a mostly male dominated is because of the fighting and such. Here is where stereo typing actually makes sense. Men tend to be the more violent of the species, so naturally a game with fighting in it would be more male dominated. On the flip side, if there was a game where skills were based on nurturing and caring, this game would be mostly be female dominated. Go ahead and take my reasoning wrong (I'm sure most of you will) but that's why there is a sex schism in RPGs. And for the record, I was raised by a single mother, I have a female boss who is probably the best boss I've had in my professional career, and I am a strong advocate of LGBT rights.

 

Make your own characters. Be your own sexes. If you like a male pre gen character and you're female, then by all means change the sex. Its a RPG where creativity is key. Just don't look at this as another obstacle to cross when there are far more serious topics for women and the LGBT community to fight for. 

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Really? You don't think it might have more to do with the hypersexualization of female characters that has dominated this hobby for decades in everything down to the art in the books? And I'm sure you've read the horror stories about misogynistic dungeon masters from women who had tried to join the hobby in previous decades. 

 

In GMing three primary groups of roughly equal male-to-female balance along with a couple players elsewhere in the gender spectrum, I have seen no general preference of combat for men. The most tank-like character in any of the games I've ever been in is a female barabel marauder played by a friend who identifies as gender neutral. 

 

By using the introductory Beginner Game to present a balanced number of character options in terms of gender, FFG will be sending a message that this hobby is not geared towards men at the expense of women. To do otherwise would be to reinforce the stereotype of this as a male-dominated hobby, which needlessly turns off women from RPGs. That said, I think it would be cool of FFG to represent some other gender options aside from the binary too. But it's a step I guess.

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I wish people wouldn't put so much emphasis on the character's gender. If you'd put as much thought into your RPG skills as you do this it wouldn't matter. 

 

I don't necessarily put a lot of emphasis on my character's gender, but sometimes gender is important to the character. Some of my characters can go either way, man or woman. Some of my characters just seem right as a dude and some just seem right as a chick and neither would seem right with their respective genders flipped.

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In my games there are tons of active and important NPC's (above 115) and I try to put some parity about gender, race and also age sometimes.

 

I want to pass the Bechdel test XD

 

Without have relevance inside the story but I prefer believe that this wide variety improves the story.

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I wish people wouldn't put so much emphasis on the character's gender. If you'd put as much thought into your RPG skills as you do this it wouldn't matter. 

 

I don't necessarily put a lot of emphasis on my character's gender, but sometimes gender is important to the character. Some of my characters can go either way, man or woman. Some of my characters just seem right as a dude and some just seem right as a chick and neither would seem right with their respective genders flipped.

 

Same here. I tend to pick which ever seems to fit the narrative better, or open up positions for a more interesting narrative.  When it comes to pregenerated characters, gender and/or sex is a defining characteristic for most humanoids, however and for many part of getting into a character's headspace - not to mention that without a gender-neutral pronoun it's quite difficult to write a genderless backstory and essentially doubles the amount of artwork required unless your dealing with a non-dimorphic species.  I've used both gendered and non-gendered pregenerated characters for convention games, and have universally found that players seem better able to 'get into' characters that include all statistics, including gender - even the players who pick up the character sheet and go "this character, but male/female" (switching). 

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http://www.heidelbaer.de/productimages/large/FFG1801_SWRPG_Force_Destiny_Core.jpg

 

I've just seen the above. I'm curious as to whether the character on the far right is one of the playable ones in the beginner box; and/or whether anyone knows whether the full character art is available for her?

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Pre generated characters has as much to do with RPG parity as the man on the moon. The reason why RPGs have been a mostly male dominated is because of the fighting and such. Here is where stereo typing actually makes sense. Men tend to be the more violent of the species, so naturally a game with fighting in it would be more male dominated. On the flip side, if there was a game where skills were based on nurturing and caring, this game would be mostly be female dominated. Go ahead and take my reasoning wrong (I'm sure most of you will) but that's why there is a sex schism in RPGs. And for the record, I was raised by a single mother, I have a female boss who is probably the best boss I've had in my professional career, and I am a strong advocate of LGBT rights.

Being able to fight is more lauded by males as a good thing than females on the whole, so male players are perhaps more likely to want to play a character that beats up or kills people / things. I will grant you that much though I don't think it's well established how much of that is cultural versus how much is innate. But statistics are tricky things. RPGs don't only focus on fighting because it has historically had more of a male player base. They do so because it's an easy aspect of conflict to resolve that cannot be handled through role-playing. There is always this never quite settled question of where dice begin and role-playing leaves off when interacting with NPCs in an adversarial manner. Not so with combat. Nobody ever acts out a gun-fight at the table to determine the results but interrogations are handled with role-playing often. Plus RPGs evolved from war-games so they're still shaking that history off to some extent. So to bring this back to statistics, whilst what I said may be true in the wider world, it doesn't mean you can draw conclusions about the subset of females (and males) who play RPGs - they will attract different kinds of people rather than evenly draw from the populations.

Anyway, where my opinion really diverges from your own, is the suggestion that women would be more interested in games where they got to be "nurturing and caring". Society may stick women in such roles more often than men, but that doesn't mean that after a day looking after a hyperactive toddler or screaming baby, a woman wants to fantasize about being a character who cares for and nurtures others. If anything, I think they'd be MORE inclined to want violent outlets than the men. One day I'll create an RPG where all you do is strangle children and scratch yourself in public, and it will be the most popular RPG with young mums ever! ;)

IF there is a difference, and I will only allow this in general terms rather than even remotely suggest one should expect any individual to conform, I would say that female players are less often satisfied with a numbers game. I.e. gain XP, increase damage, go up a level. These are popular with some people and the role-playing an afterthought. Whilst many or most males are bored with that sort of thing, ALL female players I have gamed with are bored with that sort of game. So people in that subset of gamers who like 'Kill Things, Take Their Stuff' games, you probably see a lot less female interest (IN MY EXPERIENCE) and because those games are universally about fighting, the correlation can be taken to mean female players lack interest in fighting. In my experience, conflict is fascinating to all human beings in a game and whilst many players (male and female) will not be overly engaged in "My fighter attacks the Level 12 Owlbear for 20 points of damage", most players regardless of gender, are on the edge of their seats when a young Jedi fights to the death against their own fallen to the dark-side father and would be rolling those dice with a passion.

Anyway, my take on it. The most important thing is that generalizations can sometimes be drawn with caution, but individuals should NEVER be prejudged according to someone else's expectations. Meaning games should be welcoming to all.

Edited by knasserII

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I wish people wouldn't put so much emphasis on the character's gender. If you'd put as much thought into your RPG skills as you do this it wouldn't matter.

 

I don't necessarily put a lot of emphasis on my character's gender, but sometimes gender is important to the character. Some of my characters can go either way, man or woman. Some of my characters just seem right as a dude and some just seem right as a chick and neither would seem right with their respective genders flipped.

Same here. I tend to pick which ever seems to fit the narrative better, or open up positions for a more interesting narrative.  When it comes to pregenerated characters, gender and/or sex is a defining characteristic for most humanoids, however and for many part of getting into a character's headspace - not to mention that without a gender-neutral pronoun it's quite difficult to write a genderless backstory and essentially doubles the amount of artwork required unless your dealing with a non-dimorphic species.  I've used both gendered and non-gendered pregenerated characters for convention games, and have universally found that players seem better able to 'get into' characters that include all statistics, including gender - even the players who pick up the character sheet and go "this character, but male/female" (switching).

My characters are all over the place with gender. I don't agree with a couple of people here that it is irrelevant - I think it's usually very important to who a character is. The thing to avoid is the reverse process where one decides on the gender for some stereotype, etc. What I sometimes do when I've got an idea for a character is stop myself and ask "what would they be like if I changed their sex?" That's not me saying it's irrelevant to who they are, it's me forcing myself to mix things up and do different interpretations of characters.

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I just wanted to add my 2 milli-credits, I am glad to see the industry moving away from stereotypical art that depicts women with big breasts in a chainmail bikini as well as moving away from stereotypical roles for women being damsels in distress who can't take care of themselves. I am also pleased to see FFG providing equal numbers of male and female pre-gens. This is a good step toward equality. I have several women in the Star Wars and D&D games that I run and they all play heavy hitting characters. Many look forward to being able to "kill something" as a stress reliever. I just wanted to add my 2 milli-credits, I am glad to see the industry moving away from stereotypical art that depicts women with big breasts in a chainmail bikini as well as moving away from stereotypical roles for women being damsels in distress who can't take care of themselves. I am also pleased to see FFG providing equal numbers of male and female pre-gens. This is a good step toward equality. I try to keep the distribution of my NPC even so that there is some sense of equality. Well, except for standard forces of the Star Wars Empire, they are very huMANocentric ;)

 

Also, I have several women in the Star Wars and D&D games that I run and they all play heavy hitting characters. Many look forward to being able to "kill something" as a stress reliever. My experience is that women really don't like the old stereotypes and I don't try to force stereotypes on anyone.

Edited by BillW

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