Geek Girls Rule! #54 – I Run Games

I GM fairly frequently, well at least once a month with the Girl Game, but pretty often outside of that.  This weekend, I’ve set myself up to run two games.  Tonight (Friday) I’ll be running up to Stax’s place to run one of three choices I emailed her earlier today, all fantasy-based, for her and one or two others.  Tomorrow, I’ve issued an open invite for anyone who wants to swing by, grill stuff and game out on my lawn.

Frequently, usually on messageboards, people will tell me I’m the only Female GM they know.  And I find this bizarre.  I mean, I know more girls are getting into games every day.  But even in the Story Games community, women who run games are a definite minority.  Now, AmberConNW does have quite a few female GMs, seeing as it’s about a 50/50 split along gender lines, ok, maybe 60/40, and everyone is encouraged to run at least one game.  I usually run two.

Now, I have to say that as a Female GM, regardless of where I’ve been running, I don’t think I’ve run into problems any different from my male GM-ing friends.  I don’t find that the players are any less respectful of me, or my rules-modding, than they are to male GMs at all.  Maybe it’s the company I keep, I don’t know.  I highly encourage women to GM if it interests them.  It may not, I mean, not everyone wants to run games, regardless of gender.  It can be a lot of work. 

In the past I’ve run several games in the Harry Potter universe, both at AmberconNW and for local groups.  I’ve run GURPS vampire games, GURPS Fantasy.  I’ve run Little Fears, both locally and for ACNW.  I’ve run Teenagers from Outer Space.  And oodles of Bridge System games for people just on a pick-up basis.  And, of course, Amber.    The Mister is also trying to convince me that I need to run a Harry Potter LARP for the kids of people we know.  I say that I have no especially deep self-destructive urges right now, but will take it under advisement.

Tomorrow, I’m hoping to have enough people to run a game I’ve been itching to run for months.  Essentially, the players will be the children of people in a Medieval Keep out in the middle of nowhere, a way station in the wilderness, if you will.  The game starts after they come out of hiding after an attack of some sort, and realize that all the adults are dead.  I’m going to have them playing kids ages 9-16, and their character concepts will be built around what their parents/foster parents/trades masters did.  You know, concepts like “Son of the Blacksmith,” or “Daughter of the Brewer” or vice versa.  I figure in a small environment like that, gender lines do tend to break down, because you don’t have the luxury of gender segregation, every hand is needed.  Historical accounts of medieval villages tend to support this.  Gender segregation has, in western lands, largely been a trait of the upper classes.  I’m considering there may have been a very minor noble in attendance, and allowing someone to play his child.  But we’ll see what people want.

I can’t remember when this concept first started percolating in my brain, but I’m very excited about it.  I could have sworn I’d discussed it with Mr. Geek Girl What Rules, but he swears that last night’s drive home was the first time he’d heard mention of it.  I’m pretty sure I discussed it with someone previously.  If it goes well this weekend, I’ll probably run it at AmberconNW this fall. 

For tonight, two of the choices take place in a world I’ve been writing stories in for a while.  In this world, a civil war in the Summerlands leads to a Fae Diaspora into our world, and the Fae become the new immigrants, everywhere.  During a PTA game at a Story Games meet-up we explored the possibility of Fae Enforcers for Al Capone in prohibition era Chicago.  That game, “Guns & Glamour” was so freaking much fun.  Hopefully we can get those same folks again for another episode.  We left with some pretty hefty cliff-hangers going on.  Tonight’s options are, again, a Gangster-Fae sort of thing, or the Fae in Weimar Germany.  Can you just imagine? 


So, other girls who run, share your stories with me.  Have you had any difficulties with gamers of either gender because of YOUR gender?  What’s your favorite system?  Your favorite game?

9 thoughts on “Geek Girls Rule! #54 – I Run Games

  1. Eeeeexcellent. I really like the kid idea, for some reason.

    In college, I knew several female GMs, one who GMed on IRC (and this wasn’t all that long ago), and a whole boatload of gamers. My fav was probably a post-Nemesis Star Trek game where our GM was male but all of us players were female. I really liked that system–it’s out of print but it’s Decipher’s from a few years ago, and they did a great job with it.

    I’ve never run into problems because of my gender with gaming in person, but I realize I’m pretty fortunate. Most of the sexism’s been pretty insidious, but isn’t it usually these days?

  2. Obviously I’m not a girl, but I find that Amber (and related conventions) have skewed my perception of gender ratios in RPGs. Having a game without women seems weird. They also, on average, seem to be better players and better GMs.

  3. I’ve GMed both tabletop and LARP. I do exclusively White Wolf (old world of darkness) simply because I haven’t had the time, energy and money to branch out.
    The people I game with are pretty much open minded. I like LARP because it is really open to women and very accepting. I’ve never had a problem because of my gender just problems because of idiot “I gotta win” gamers.

  4. I’m the only girl GM I know, and I game with an exculsivly male circle. It’s a bit annoying, but now that I’ve found a group that’s into narrative story telling, I do much better. I find I actually prefer GMing to playing, most of the time. It’s more of the work I like (planning, world building) and less of the stuff I don’t. I think it’d probably be nice to play in a game with other females, but I’ve learned gender is far less important than gaming style. If your playesr don’t game the same way you do, everyone is sad.

    My current favorite game (and the one I run right now) is Fae Noir. Actually, sounds a LOT like the game you’re setting up. Arcadia returns to the human world right in the middle of the Great War. The game takes place 1920’s-ish, with humans and Fae living together. It’s fun, very gritty, with a bunch of good ideas and setting, and not much else to it. The system’s kinda…difficult…but it handwaves well.

  5. I’ve looked at Fae Noir, and the system did turn me off it.

    I collected my girl gamers by posting in my LJ asking if any women had always wanted to game, but had never done it or weren’t doing it because of issues with gamer guys, and immediately got 15 people interested.

    It is a different dynamic, and a much better class of munchies.

  6. Did you run the Harry Potter games using the Amber system? I am very interested in this concept.

    I’ve GMed a little, and I’m itching to do so again, but my tastes tend to run counter to my fellow players. I do enjoy games focused on children (your idea for the Keep, by the way, sounds fantastic), which for some reason creeps many of the guys out. I’d like to run some Changeling, or Buffy, or a Dragon-Blooded high school game. I had the most fun running an Exalted campaign for a while when my husband wimped out–I brought in all sorts of kids and in that case, the players really clung to them and it was excellent. I’ve also ran a boffa-style LARP for awhile.

    As for gender-hate, I got some of that in the LARP, and so did the other ladies there (half of plot was female). To be honest, those guys were just women-haters all-around, in a game or real life. Now, I play in smaller venues (around a table!) and don’t have to play with jerks. I heavily support a local gaming message board, so that I can always have good (not sexist) gamers to fall back on.

    I’ve just started in my first ladies-only game, and I find it to be…weird. But I think that is because they are just not as focused on mechanics as I am, and because I don’t really know any of them, rather than because they are female. There ARE a lot of hilarious out of game comments that wouldn’t happen with guys around, which is great.

  7. I have run the Harry Potter thing with GURPS and with Amber. With Amber I used it more as a set of guidelines than really sticking with the rules, but it turned out fine. With GURPS we played by the rules. It’s just an all around fun universe.

    I haven’t had anyone get weirded out by any of my ideas for games where they play kids yet. I did creep myself running a Little Fears game “in Amber” where I had Corwin possessed by the King of Lust, and just could not make myself “bad touch” one of the characters who was playing Dierdre’s daughter. Gave myself full body shudders with that one.

  8. One of my favorite GM’s, Kat, who tends to run one of my favorite systems, Everway, is a woman. Unfortunately I only get to see her at conventions. The last time we went to GenCon (2002? something like that) she ran a game of Everway for us. The only person at the whole table that commented on her gender … was one of our female players! And then it was to say nice things to her.

    It’s not that the rest of us didn’t notice her gender, I just honestly think it didn’t occur to us to comment on it. Besides, we were too busy trying to think our way through the logic puzzle that was her scenario.

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