Okay, if the words in the title of this article make no sense to you put together like that (girls? my game?), do us all a favor and quit reading now.
For the rest of you, let’s hit a few basics:
1. Ask them to play.
Actually, that’s it. Just ask them like you’d ask any guy, and quit looking at her tits. Seriously, talk to her face, not her chest. Explain the campaign concept, the world, any background you think she might need to know to make an informed decision, who the other players are. Just like with guys. And don’t assume a militaristic or gritty setting will put her off, some girls really dig on those.
Now that you’ve asked a girl to join your game, and she’s said yes, how do you keep her there? Well, the same way you keep your male players, and no, I don’t mean by being the only game in town. I mean by being a really excellent GM who has an interesting and engaging storyline, character involvement and the potential for character growth, and who makes sure everyone gets roughly the same amount of face time. Also, don’t treat her like an idiot. She has a vagina, not anencephaly. If she wants help she’ll ask. And make sure your other players are going to be cool with her and, if not, make sure she can hold her own and is ok with doing so. While some of us are perfectly content to play verbal tetherball with a He-Male Woman-Hater’s ego if need be, some are not.
Another thing I almost included was “Don’t touch,” at least not without invitation, but that’s kind of a hard thing to say. I mean, if you and the other guys engage in rough-housing and jolly, high-spirited caperings, she might feel a little left out if not included. However, give her a chance to jump in or not. And remember, horsing around with you guys does not in any way constitute flirting or signal sexual readiness any more than it does between the male members of the group.
Also, the inclusion of a girl in your game does not necessarily mean that you can’t use charged events like rape as plot hooks. You may want to think about how you use them, though. Talk with all your players and see if they’re okay with it. People always assume it’s the girls who will have a problem with rape storylines, but I’ve known guys who couldn’t deal with them either. And a word to the wise: is Rapey McRapeyPants really a character anyone needs to play regardless of the genders of the players involved?*
Honestly, though, like I’ve said, the best way to keep your Girl Gamer is to treat her like your Boy Gamers. Give her just as much input on things and face time as the guys, don’t assume she’s an idiot just because she has those growths on her chest, and please, dear Gods, quit staring at them or at least try to be subtle about it.
*And if I hear one more person tell me that the Rapey McRapeypants character is “historically accurate” while their character possesses a +4 Sword of Elven Might, I’m going to set them on fire. Because burning people’s pretty historically accurate, too, asshole.