Another question from Reverb Gamers:
REVERB GAMERS 2012, #9: Have you ever played a character of the opposite sex. Why or why not? If yes, how did the other players react?
I have played several female characters in my Dungeons & Dragons games throughout the years. It has always been because the character introduced herself to me that way. I know, if you are not a tabletop, pencil-and-paper role-playing gamer, you probably won’t understand that. If you are a writer or other creative type, then you probably can relate. The character comes forth in my mind, and makes herself known, sometimes in small steps, other times nearly-complete. Either way, it is I who get to know the character, rather than tell her who she is.
Typically, other players didn’t think anything of the cross-gender role-playing. They’d just accept it and move forward. There were times, however, where it caused some consternation.
One time was while I was running a game at a friend’s house. His friends joined us, and started laughing when my NPC, a female druid named Daphne, was introduced to the party. Granted, this was a table of young teenage boys, so immaturity was rampant.
She took it in stride at first. While annoyed, she let it pass, hoping the group would settle down as the adventure got underway. However, the sexual comments, both implied and specific, kept coming. She got angrier at each one, and warned the party that she was not to be trifled with. The first battle showed her to be a capable combatant and spellcaster. Thinking she finally earned their respect, she relaxed a little.
But, it was short-lived. Another joke was made at her expense, and she issued an ultimatum, “These jokes will stop! One more, and the prankster will be taught a lesson!” They became quiet, honestly afraid of what may happen, but she could tell they would push her one more time… but only one more time.
As expected, a joke came again. She turned to the person, and angrily whispered, “That is it. Joke about seeing me without clothes, do you? Oh,no – you will SEE NO MORE!“
She cast a Blindness spell on the fool. ”Make a save vs. spells,” I told him. ”What? Are you serious,” he asked. ”Oh, yes. Daphne is pissed, and she warned you. Now, roll,” I answered.
He rolled. He failed. ”Your sight fades into grey, then black. You see nothing, and stumble around, afraid that you will never see the sun again.” ”WHAT? But, why did she do that?!?”
“I warned you, dolt,” Daphne said. ”Perhaps now you will learn respect for women.”
The player’s eyes started tearing up. ”What the heck can I do now?!? I’m blind! He was my favorite character!” He grabbed his dice and character sheet and left. He didn’t wait around long enough for me to tell him that the spell would end when Daphne willed it.
I felt a little guilty, personally, about it. I never saw them again, other than my friend. I remember him saying that his friend had torn his character sheet up when he got home and threw it away in anger. Maybe, though, he learned a little lesson about treating women properly.
One can always hope.