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Otaku On Acid
I'm curious how comfortable are you as players with playing in a group or as a crosser? A crosser would be a character that is different from the character running him in a major phenotypic way i.e., gender, color, sexual orientation. Now assuming they weren't just playing a sterotypes for laughs where would you gms draw the line?
I regularly play female characters, and since I'm bi it's hard for me to end up playing a character that is very significantly different from my sexual orientation. I trust the group I play with to be mature about their characters.

phelious fogg
When I choose a female character I dont actualy play it significantly different than I would a male one. I just try to use the "if its a male gaurd can I distract him" routine once in a while..
It's far more acceptable online than in real life, from what I've observed. It also takes real talent and insight to pull off (either way, women can make male characters which are just as two dimensional and crappy as the nyphomanic lesbians all too often made by men), something that most RPers lack.

When it's done right, it's perfectly acceptable to me and I'd venture to say the majority of people. Personally, my attempts have been lukewarm at best. It does tend to pan out better online, in any case.
I suppose the main difference is that my female characters tend to become bitchy once a month. Hey, my close female friends tend to get bad cramps, so it rubs off on my characters.

Morphling The Pretender
I find this a very strange question, considering that Race in this game regards different human strains.
Think of the differences: I am a 5' 9" white geek with glasses, a speech impediment, a gut, and lots of jokes. One of my characters (we have 2, for those with characters who are useless at times) is a 9 foot 1/2 latin female troll ganger / thrash-n-punk musician / street fighter / adept.

Why doesn't this make people uncomfortable? It isn't an issue, the same way that the gender of any character isn't ususally an issue. Andrea's gender doesn't come up disordinantly. I wouldn't act over sexual or under sexual. Though I try to act as I believe she would, it's only framed by gender, not defined by it. I think that's the important distinction between an interesting character and a scary transexual psuedo-experience.

And I agree, it is friggin scary when a person overuses his character's alternate gender. Ugh. Memories. Gonna die.
Alright. I'm going to pre-empt the usual answer that pro-cross(whatever) types usually give here; yes, if it's done right, there's no problem with it.

That said, if it's done wrong, playing up a character's sex/preference/ethnicity/religion/etc. is an excellent way to offend and upset others around the table, and by definition it's tricky to do right; most females don't play up their femininity, most gays don't play up their sexuality, etc. So what becomes a de facto part of characterization is something that you have to apply a very deft touch with, not a skill all gamers have.

So if I'm running a game for people I don't know, sorry, it's just off limits. I really don't feel up to the risk. If I'm running with people I know and trust, and the game is more soap-opera style than action-adventure, I'd be open to letting people play whatever they like. (Interestingly enough, the situations where I'd be cool letting a player play cross(whatever) are the same where I'd be less worried about power imbalances. So when you ask if it's alright to let someone try crossing, ask if you'd let them play a drake or vampire at no cost. Similar idea, really.)

But again, that's when everyone is cool with each other from the getgo. The default answer is sorry, no, I don't want to risk anyone being offended, and the odds of drawing a wierdo really aren't worth the risk.
In my games it's very very common.
All of my female characters, and NPCs for that matter, are lipstick lesbians with 38DDD tits and no reservations about sucking tool once in a while "just for fun". I guess what I'm saying is that I'm very comfortable with people playing different genders then their own, since it works out so well for me.
Playing opposite-sex characters is so common in our campaign, I rarely notice it any more. It is common for characters in this campaign to behave as professionals, and the few that haven't been professional have always been the same sex as the player. Our fastest male samurai is played by a woman, and our smartest and most sophisticated female magician is played by a male.
Strictly forbidden when I am GM and actively discouraged when I am a player.


a) I never met a person who whas

i) Not homosexual
ii) Could play the other gender in a convincing matter

b) I am homophobic

c) I can't see a female in the average male roleplayer (or a male in most of the female ones)

I don't allow my players to play another gender, not because I don't trust them being able to accept it without problems (we're all, sadly, male, so no woman can be offended, and we are long-time friends) because my experience with them shows me they just don't play it right, and they have admitted I'm right. If some of them really wanted to, though, I'd probably let him.
Digital Heroin
I don't buy into the whole deal that people can't play the opposite sex right. I have extensivly played online chat based roleplaying (in genres ranging from horribly run X-Men to my still continuing Trek play), for over half a decade, and over the course of that time I have played several female characters.

The most notable, and lasting of these characters, was one Kara O'Riley (a Star Trek character with Shadowrun inspired cybernetics). I started playing Kara several years ago, and for the first year never once used that handle to speak out of character to people. When I finally started talking out of character under the O'Riley handle, a good number of people who I have known for years online were outright suprised. Despite the fact my writing and tagline styles were the same, I had apparently exuded a female vibe when under that handle. To this day, despite the fact I openly ackowledge I play Kara, and despite the fact that when I talk OOC under the handle I use male descriptors, some people still don't realize I'm a guy.

Despite the fact that I can do an uncanny impression of Hank Azaria in the Birdcage, I am a very ardent heterosexual (ok, Kevin Bacon is dreamy nyahnyah.gif ). So, if I am convincing enough to fool people for years online (often without intending to), who's to say I can't do the same offline? And if I can do it, chances are there are at least a hundred thousand other gamers out there who can do it to.

All you need in an offline game is a group that's smart enough to know it's just a game. People shouldn't have their creativity castrated just because some jackass out there might get off on playing a lesbian (or insert other stereotype here).

NB: Kara, for reference, is a highly sexual creature, with partners of either sex. I just don't play that up, as it's not pertinant to the game.
QUOTE (Otaku On Acid)
I'm curious how comfortable are you as players with playing in a group or as a crosser? A crosser would be a character that is different from the character running him in a major phenotypic way i.e., gender, color, sexual orientation. Now assuming they weren't just playing a sterotypes for laughs where would you gms draw the line?

I play female characters about half the time, so gender-crossing is no problem for me. Several of players IMG do, too.

I've heard only 10% of Everquest players are female, but something like 20% of all characters are female. That doesn't bother me, but I do make a point not to become too entranced with female characters on the game. wink.gif Two of my tabletop roleplaying players run female characters in EQ despite being straight (as far as I know.)

As for color, I've seen all shades, both in table top games and on-line games. The most amusing cross I saw was the openly racist white male who played a black (Erudite) male character in Everquest.

I have seen one GM (male) get very nervous and aflutter (<--deliberate word choice) at the idea of male players running female PCs, and banned such crosses, but most GMs don't care.

[Edit: Zazen's post reminded me of this.] Everquest females are almost unavoidably 38DDD wonders, but with one exception, the male players I know do not make their tabletop RPG female PCs that exaggerated. I recall one long-time male-played female SR character that was actually disfigured by fire, and did nothing to hide her scars (or piercings), but the rest have been good looking.
QUOTE (Digital Heroin)
So, if I am convincing enough to fool people for years online (often without intending to), who's to say I can't do the same offline? And if I can do it, chances are there are at least a hundred thousand other gamers out there who can do it to.

Actually, I'm more than capable of playing a convincing female character in an online setting. I used to be rather good at it and had a several year track record which was figured out by exactly one person (back when I cared to try it). However, it doesn't necessarily translate well into face to face roleplaying as my previously failed attempts can testify.

A lot of it has to do with the group, as well as the quality of your portrayal. Some groups simply do not have a dynamic which allows for cross gender RP. Others may find even poor portrayals acceptable.
It's allowed in my game, but we've only seen female-playing-male in our group, aside from when I'm playing a female NPC. I did have one female character in online freeform, but I very rarely used her, so I can't say how convincing I am in that case. Though I do write an in-character chat thing every once in a while on my site, and it includes somewhere around 30 characters who appear at various times, and people keep wondering where I find people to play all of those characters at once...
I actually was in a game once, two male players one female, where everyone was playing a character of the opposite sex.

Experienced players eventually develop characters with very disparate personalities that become fun to play and entertaining for the whole group. Most often, major physical/social/mental differences between player serve as reminders to roleplay and lead to a better job of roleplaying that personality.
One of my favorite characters ever was a female (BTW I'm a straight white male, if anyone cares) and my group switches around all the time. It's rarely been a problem and it's usually a real benefit - I find the players who try this end up pushing their limits more, and growing as roleplayers. In contrast, the folks who often play very similar characters (profession, race, sex, whatever) are still in very much the same place skill-wise as they were when we started gaming several years ago.

I highly recommend it.
I, like a few other people here it seems, have active female charcters in online enviroments, and in those enviroments other players know me to be a female playing a female PC. And I have been doing it for over 4 years now. I must be somewhat convincing...
As far as a tabletop setup, one of my most devolped PCs was female (though by the time that game wapped, it was me, our male gm, and 2 female players playing female PCs). Infact, it seems gender bending is, while not totally encourged, somewhat common in our games. One senerio that comes to mind is a lesibain playing a straight guy, trying to pick up a gay guy in a club (so we could jump him and take his keys).
But the real diffucilty comes in trying to make a charcter (at this point any charcter) 3d. More so with cross-ed charcters. Its all out pulling you out of that comfort zone and making you WORK to roleplay.
Actually, Lindt hit upon something in my mind that rings very true. One of the problems with cross gender vs. regular gender characters is that most characters start off somewhat 2 dimensional. There are a handful of points which define the character (human, teenage, drunkard) and the character is fleshed out within these points. However, when you add opposite gender or sexual orientation to the mix, you are navigating around that point far more than you would someone of a like gender/orientation.
I tend to play females in the Other Game.

Why? Because I have to be a man in RL. I play Laura mostly like a man- she is a knight after all. But I am perfectly willing to use her high Charisma to her own ends.
QUOTE (Anymage @ Nov 18 2003, 01:21 AM)
That said, if it's done wrong, playing up a character's sex/preference/ethnicity/religion/etc. is an excellent way to offend and upset others around the table, and by definition it's tricky to do right; most females don't play up their femininity, most gays don't play up their sexuality, etc.

Rule #1 "You don't have the right not to get offended."

With that in mind, players need to approach playing rpg's with a grain of salt. Remembering that it isn't real, you don't take things personally and enjoy the game a whole lot more.

Rule # 2 "What happons IC stays IC."

There are rules in the game for NPC racists. If someone role plays a racist really really well, well just remember that it's role playing and not to be taken as a real-world view. No need to call a player a Nazi if his/her character is one.
Yeah, I played female character once.
She tended to be a little bitchy, while not using her charms for controlling men.
Anyway, playing her to full extent was too draining, so I changed to her brother. Who came to and took her home, after quilting her. She deserved it for stirring up trouble in group *sigh*

But I usually avoid playing females, because I play to relax, not to drain myself.
Crimson Jack
I like playing both male and female characters. I really get into the psyche of my character. That said, I have never played a lesbian character. They're not the norm in my encounters with women in life, so I don't superimpose that into the world of SR. It always feels cheap when cliche tricks are used on characters.

"Oh, you're a big boobed lesbian who has no problem flirting with guys?"


"How exciting."

That seems more D&D for some reason. Perhaps because I've always held SR in high regard for its attention to details. It's a cool game and I won't tarnish that image in my head with retarded story elements.

just my opinion though... when I GM, people can play whatever they want. smile.gif
I've noticed that my black characters often end up with stereotypical traits right out of old blaxploitation flicks. It ends up being a cartoonish caricature rather than a real three-dimensional character, but it's still very fun for me to relive Dolemite or Disco Godfather or whatever.

I don't have any black players in my group so I sometimes wonder if my afro-wearin' bitch-slappin' jive-talkin' characters cross the line of tastefulness.

Now problems here, except for my players dropping over in shock when I don't play an elven female, of any description.

Some stereotype, sheesh.

And completely off topic - does anyone have a song that describes your stereotypical character?

Mine is "Missionary Man" - Eurhymics.

"I was born an original sinner, I was born without an original SIN,
And if I had a dollar bill for every run I'd done, there' be a mountain o' cred stackin' up to my chin..."

L> A thought. Hell, I'm going to be making up lyrics to that song all day now.
Ol' Scratch
Mine would be "Woke Up This Morning" by Alabama 3. I just like that bluesy feel for most of my character.

One of my all-time favorite lyrics for a Shadowrunner comes from "Rock 'n' Roll Lifestyle" by Cake, however. "Aging black leather and hospital bills, tattoo removal and dozens of pills. Your liver pays dearly now for youthful magic moments,
but rock on completely with some brand new
[cybernetic] components."
There's a very lengthy, and very good, large number of threads on this at 's discussion forums (they're the guys who do Knights Of The Dinner Table, which if you've not heard of go to a comic shop and order immediately or forever deprive yourself of a thoroughly good giggle). Just in case anyone wanted to check it out.

Personally I've played a few female characters, I tend to try not to stereotype on purpose with all my characters so the females shouldn't be any worse (at least I hope not). The old 'flirt with the guard' routine is used extensively by the female roleplayers I know, so i'm buggered if I'm not going to if I get the opportunity and the charisma rating!

But other than that, why should anything be different? If you want to pay attention to bodily rythmns, then do so, but our actual female players don't. Is it really the kind of depth you want from your game? The only other thing either of the female players have come up with that I rarely see males do as part of character goals or background questions was 'does the character want/have children, or can they have them in the first place?'.

That aside, their backgrounds are not especially 'feminine' except for the occaisional ex-corp princess on the mean streets type. They all want bigger guns, or more money, or to save the world, or to bring down Mr X, or get cybermanced, or own a corp, or whatever. So I really don't think its a problem unless they do start stereotyping offensively. In which case tell them and give them a chance to alter their behaviour!
For the poeticly-inclined characters, Sting's Fragile works pretty well, though my characters tend toward much harder theme songs.

If blood will flow / when flesh and steel are one
Drying in the color of the evening sun
Tomorrow's rain will wash the stains away
But something in our mind will always stay
I tend to play male characters without thinking of making the character female. I did play a female character once (The geisha/assasin retainer of another character).

If I was to play a female character I think I probably would play a lsebian as then my sexual tastes would remain the same. I've never made a bimbo/slut style character though, and I never plan on doing it.
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