Geek Girls Rule! #2
As you know, from the last column, I came to gaming relatively late in life, the age of 19 to be exact. I’d always wanted to game. It sounded fascinating; hanging out with other geeks, pretending to be great heroes, adventurers, other races. Ever since I found out about D&D, I’d wanted to play. In 1990, I met a new crew of geeks, who gamed and partied hard. They took me under their wing, and we started playing AD&D. They had all been playing together for years, and had a lot of patience with the hesitant newbie who was too embarrassed to really get into character and who had to be constantly nudged with “Don’t tell us, show us.”
By and large my gaming experiences have been positive. I rarely ever game with more than one other woman, and only know a handful of other female gamers (most of whom are now in my all-girl Victorian Vampire game). By virtue of the guy heavy nature of gaming society, I spend a lot of time with guys. Below are a few of the more notable and annoying archetypes with whom I’ve had run-ins:
He-Male Woman Hater: Deeply misogynistic. They don’t understand why women don’t like them, but know that women are at fault, not their poor manners, open hostility and bad hygiene. Mike in Randy Mulholland’s “Something Positive” is/was a prime example. Any attempt to bring a female gamer into the group will be met with cries that girls don’t game, and that any female presence will ruin the experience.
“Plays His Sexual Fantasy” Guy: I have, fortunately, played with only a handful of this guy, and he’s often also a He-Male Woman Hater. He always plays his sexual fantasy, usually a hot elf chick in battle lingerie. He has no idea how women really act, and plays his characters like the girls in those cheesy videotapes they flog on late night television. Actual quote from one of these idiots: “I go into the woods and do girl stuff.” I was pretty sure that “girl stuff” involved masturbating with “her” quarter staff.
“What sick shit can I do now?”: A companion to “Plays His Sexual Fantasies” Guy, this guy hates that behavior, and his characters go out of their way to do horrible, brutal things to PHSFG’s characters. He is never anything but respectful to the female characters played by real girls in the game, but will take any and every opportunity to brutalize PHSFG’s characters. Unfortunately, aimed at your character or not, having to listen to the detailed brutality can be just as disturbing for the other party members as for PHSFG. I don’t know which is more disturbing, that this guy can come up with just horrible, twisted shit, or that oftentimes PHSFG seems to never be phased by it, like he thinks that’s just what happens to hot chicks.
“Hey, Baby”: This guy would never dream of hitting on you in real life. However, his character will hit on your character constantly, regardless of the genders of both of your characters. Frequently, the most intense and disgusting propositioning will take place when both your characters are female. Both of you having male characters will sometimes act as a slight deterrent, as many of these guys are terrified of being perceived as gay, but nothing ever really stops them.
“If I Give Your Character Stuff, Maybe You’ll Do Me”: This is when the GM thinks that by taking it easy on the female gamer’s character that he’ll get lucky. The character in question will always find gold, magical items and enchanted weapons and armor. Damage from hostile spells and creatures will slide off her or bounce past her, often to the detriment of other members of the party. On the rare occasion that there is more than one female gamer, this can lead to major problems between them.
“I Don’t Play Favorites”: On the flip side of the coin, is the GM who goes out of his way to prove he’s not playing favorites. If he’s in a relationship with the female gamer in question, her combats are harder, she rarely finds anything good and has to turn into a rules lawyer to get a fair break. I find copious note-taking is a must. (PS. He’s gotten much better.)
Don’t worry, guys. Girls will get their moment in the sun, too.