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RPG Superstar 2015

Female and gay gamers, what character representation and fanservice do YOU want?


Off-Topic Discussions

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Silver Crusade Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

What would you like out of art that's meant to be inspirational for characters you'd like to play?

What would you like to see out of art that's intended to be a touch fanservicey with you in mind?

What would you prefer to see avoided in both?

What are some elements you'd like to see in art form that bring a setting to life for you or make it more appealing?

What artists and styles do you prefer?

Full disclosure: Gonna start placing art orders sometime soon(though it will be ongoing for a pretty long while before it's done) for a setting project. I'd like it to be as inclusive as possible within the context of the setting, especially if it can give some folks something they've wanted for a long time.


I thought Seltyiel was...

Oh wait, my opinion is irrelevant here. XD

Good luck with this, I'm curious to see the results. As well as about the projecct. PM maybe?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Questions are a bit broad - could you give some sense of what you're looking at/for, or maybe some examples. It's a bit easier to give a useful response if there's something concrete to say, "yeah, I like this, or, no, I don't like that". So much about art & (self-)image is subjective and abstract, and doesn't work well in generalization.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

One word? Centaurs. Youthful, long-haired, muscular male centaurs with a romantic faith and impetuous idealism.

I once had a centaur cleric of Sune in a Forgotten Realms campaign.... sigh.


More leather boys. That and more Boris Vallejo and Brom style naked beefcake warrior types.

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stardust wrote:

One word? Centaurs. Youthful, long-haired, muscular male centaurs with a romantic faith and impetuous idealism.

I once had a centaur cleric of Sune in a Forgotten Realms campaign.... sigh.

CENTAUR!!!! Sagittarius FOR LIFE!!!!

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Although I'm not in the target audience, I have to say I fully support the existence of this thread, and hope it results in more sensible depictions of female adventurers, for players to aspire to be, and am not remotely upset or threatened, if female/LGBT players get more fan-service to enjoy.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Variety. Bodies of different shapes and sizes. Much easier to make sure everyone's happy, that way.


Snorter wrote:
Although I'm not in the target audience, I have to say I fully support the existence of this thread, and hope it results in more sensible depictions of female adventurers, for players to aspire to be, and am not remotely upset or threatened, if female/LGBT players get more fan-service to enjoy.

fan service and sensibility rarely travel together.

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

One thing I forgot to mention, and I really should have, is that straight up answers from other posters shouldn't be up for debate. Discussion perhaps, but preferably everyone should be able to put what they feel out there without having to worry about it being picked apart or criticized.

Not that any of that's started yet, but y'know, preventative measures for whatever they're worth.

Mandisa wrote:
Questions are a bit broad - could you give some sense of what you're looking at/for, or maybe some examples. It's a bit easier to give a useful response if there's something concrete to say, "yeah, I like this, or, no, I don't like that". So much about art & (self-)image is subjective and abstract, and doesn't work well in generalization.

Actually, very good point. It'll take me a while but I'll try to get an examples post up today to give some sort of reference point. My one worry there is that it certainly won't be able to cover every sort of base there is as far as what folks do and do not like. Still gonna be reliant on others throwing those details out there for that. Not sure about going into detail about the setting*, as that could reduce the usefulness of this thread to others that may be reading.

*(what I can say though is that -tauric creatures exist, Brom's Dark Sun artwork is definitely an influence(one among many, but it's there), and wide ranging variety is certainly a critical target here!)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Mikaze wrote:
It'll take me a while but I'll try to get an examples post up today to give some sort of reference point. My one worry there is that it certainly won't be able to cover every sort of base there is as far as what folks do and do not like. Still gonna be reliant on others throwing those details out there for that. Not sure about going into detail about the setting*, as that could reduce the usefulness of this thread to others that may be reading.

Well, setting gives a better sense of aesthetic - there's stuff I like in art geared towards an anime audience that I don't like in my PnP RPG art, or in say, SF/F novel cover art. And don't get me started on video game art...

I'll throw out a couple examples of some empowering/"I'd like to play that" book covers: C.S. Friedman's Magister Trilogy and Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate books

Characters aside, even though Kamala's dressed in rags (Magister, left) and Alexia's swathed neck-to-toe (Parasol Prot.) they still have some air of defiance in pose and attitude. There's a sense of self-control and control of the environment that appeals, and the costumes are slinky/form-fitting, but don't undermine the attitude in a slutty way. In fact, Siderea (Magister, center) is actively/aggressively promoting her sexuality, (cue tentacle caressing) but hers is the most compelling cover IMO.

As for what to avoid, Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series. Love these books, but I dismissed them *3 times* based on the dopey cover art. The covers are standard urban fantasy slutty-chic, with touches in each one that hint at Mercy's as-written greasemonkey nature. Lots of real-life garages/toolshops have played off the hot-chic-working-on-cars motif, so it's kinda sad that these covers go for the cliche rather than going for something more interesting. It's only once you've read the books that the schtick with the tattoos/props comes across, and really, who notices the wrench when all that boobage is in your face?

Sovereign Court

9 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

For me, a lot of it is about context, and a lot is about proportion.

Context
The exact same figure in two different settings will have a vastly different impression, depending on the setting. If the setting is obviously some social occasion, a woman in high heels and a sexy dress posed to show herself off to her best advantage makes complete sense. The same woman, dressed and posed the same way in the middle of some wilderness or battle, is going to look stupid to me.

Proportion
If every woman is a well endowed, thin 20 something, but the men vary from fat to thin, young to old, it's very obvious the women are there as eye candy, not characters. Having a thick, heavyset woman in the social scene, dripping with jewels or an old matron commanding a battle instead of an older man would be a nice nod in the direction of seeing women as characters, not just eye candy. When was the last time you saw art of an unattractive woman where she wasn't somehow evil in a tabletop RPG product? ...I can't remember the last time, honestly. Mailee? heh.

Note on fantastical elements / magic / "A wizard did it"
I see a lot of "Her outfit makes sense if you assume it's magic!" arguments for ridiculous fanservice outfits in art. If the only thing that requires magic to make sense in the art is the fanservice element...you're going to annoy me, more likely than not.

If the chick is wearing a nimbus of pure light, or engulfed in flame or something over the top magical all over, that's one thing. If the other characters have similar improbabilities illustrated on them, again, that's at least reasonable. But when the main fantastical element in the art requiring magical explanation is how her breasts manage to not pop out of her top mid-battle, I start to be annoyed with how the chick has to be dressed for sex to go adventuring.

Guys I want to see in art
I don't really have a "type". Best I can narrow it down is I like average body types. Bodybuilders look kinda gross to me, and I don't like really skinny guys either. It usually comes down to attitude for me. For example, Bruce Willis has this great little sideways quirk of a smile. ::melts::


Jess Door wrote:

For me, a lot of it is about context, and a lot is about proportion.

Context
The exact same figure in two different settings will have a vastly different impression, depending on the setting. If the setting is obviously some social occasion, a woman in high heels and a sexy dress posed to show herself off to her best advantage makes complete sense. The same woman, dressed and posed the same way in the middle of some wilderness or battle, is going to look stupid to me.

Hey, I've seen (in games) plenty of pitched battles break out in the middle of fancy balls.

Not that I disagree, it just jumped to mind when I read that. The pose would be different and the guys should be dressed for dinner not battle too.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm both female and gay. Does this mean I'm disqualified for this thread or doubly qualified?


That's what I'm wondering.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

"Female and gay gamers..." - you could interpret it as being specifically directed towards lesbian & trans gamers :)


2 people marked this as a favorite.

What if I'm both lesbian and trans? Does that disqualify me?

Paizo Employee Associate Editor

4 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm reading it as and/or—so welcome aboard, Umbral Reaver and Kelsey!

Fionnabhair wrote:
Variety. Bodies of different shapes and sizes.

This. A thousand times this. The same variety for women that we see for men!

Also, muscly melee women. And badass women with butch stances—no crazy spine-twisters or weak feet-together/bent-knee stances that would make your sensei yell at you!


Okay, so I'm not female and I'm not gay (maybe, though my orientation is in question since I discovered that I have a strong attraction for androgynous types regardless of whether they're actually male or female) I will say I find the variation of women especially sparse.

Maybe I'm just shameless, but that is no excuse for there to only be one type of female adventurer form. (Average height skinny waist, at C cup minimum) Where are the tall women? Where are the short petite women? I like boobs, but sometimes I like a woman less top heavy. Other times I wanna have those love handles and the soft, plush flesh.


Toss in some half naked men in loincloths and you'll make the gay gamers happy. Probably female gamers too, but I'm just guessing on that part.


You know that nearly-naked half-orc from the Races Chapter of the CRB? That, lots of that.

Actually, all of the males from that line-up, possibly without the elf.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

So much what Jess said. Did she read my Mind!?

Anywho, I don't want to repeat myself so I'll just quote myself :P

Ion Raven wrote:
A man who's suave and strong. You know without the overbearing muscles but more than the lanky bards or wizards often depicted. Seltyiel would be awesome if he weren't so emo. There aren't enough clean but masculine men depicted in the sword and sorcery artwork, especially some that show off a tight but athletic body. If you ever get someone that would fit the build they're covered in armor an usually a Paladin and usually chaste as a monk, and if not chaste they usually end up being full of themself. It's like there is no middle ground for men, they're almost all the extreme all the time. =/


I want more of this.

Liberty's Edge

Mikaze, are you writing a setting, or a game, or a little of both? Inquiring minds (with attached wallets) want to know.

Also playtesters.


If Mikaze sold a setting, I might buy it.

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Hell I'm still not sure I'm not going to just be giving it away. Then again, art's expensive. Also, it's just a setting, though I'd rather not shackle this thread entirely to that, because everyone's input is going to be valuable to plenty of other folks that might be reading!

Thanks for the feedback all. A lot of the stuff Jess touched on I think I was watching out for already, but it's always good to have a reminder. :) (and yeah, I liked Mialee for breaking out of the norm as well)

Also, examples post might have to wait a bit, because day job. Sorry, but I'll get 'em up as soon as I can. (especially annoying because I can't see deviantart links from here)


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I have to say I like the generically attractive hourglass figure a whole lot (that is, curvy; not twigs with a pair of melons taped on), but what disappoints me is the lack of such figures that are properly dressed. As I seem to have to repeat myself often, I do not like to be vilified for liking a rather conventional kind of attractiveness.

A woman with a high hotness stat can still be hot while wearing nice clothes that are suited to her. Cleavage is nice. Cleavage is not a requirement.

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

edit-ninja'd!

Jess Door wrote:

For me, a lot of it is about context, and a lot is about proportion.

Keeping all of this in mind, especially the matter on equal variety for male and female characters. On context.....high heels on people going into combat are one of the few things that make me nerdrage at the drop of a hat. Freakin' Catwoman redesign...

Umbral Reaver wrote:
I'm both female and gay. Does this mean I'm disqualified for this thread or doubly qualified?
Judy Bauer wrote:
I'm reading it as and/or—so welcome aboard, Umbral Reaver and Kelsey!

Exactly, so come on in and input! :)

Quote:
Also, muscly melee women. And badass women with butch stances—no crazy spine-twisters or weak feet-together/bent-knee stances that would make your sensei yell at you!

This makes me wish I had been able to get those examples up sooner. Had a number of pieces of the same character by the same artist that may have ranged from one end of the spectrum to the other, and I'm curious where different folks draw their lines. (nothing to the Liefeld extreme, at the very least)

Ringtail wrote:

You know that nearly-naked half-orc from the Races Chapter of the CRB? That, lots of that.

Actually, all of the males from that line-up, possibly without the elf.

Considering the environment, that's probably going to happen!

Ion Raven wrote:

So much what Jess said. Did she read my Mind!?

Anywho, I don't want to repeat myself so I'll just quote myself :P

Heh, this is actually the post that gave birth to this thread. :)

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2014

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Mandisa wrote:

Well, setting gives a better sense of aesthetic - there's stuff I like in art geared towards an anime audience that I don't like in my PnP RPG art, or in say, SF/F novel cover art. And don't get me started on video game art...

I'll throw out a couple examples of some empowering/"I'd like to play that" book covers: C.S. Friedman's Magister Trilogy and Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate books

Those links I can actually see. I think what I'm gunning for is closer to the Magister covers than the others, so feeling pretty good about this.

About context and expected aesthetics:

Spoiler:
Basically, general tone of this setting is a bit of your classic Conan-age sword-and-sorcery city-state kind of scene, set in a desert valley with a large amount of supernaturally sustained jungles and oases about. General tone ranges, generally gritty but not overly grimdark, with enough range to support heroic/romantic or gritty/cynical games. A lot of values dissonance and grey areas to mine for those gamers that want them, and a lot of potential for pure heroics as well. Mixed population, culture clashes, institutionalized slavery, tons of cults both benign and malignant, evil-but-even-handed rulers who are vastly better than what came before, etc.

The major cultures and their aesthetics present, stripped of detail and presented in as small a summary as possible, are:

Four major human cultures, three of those which are in charge of the city, one very much not.

Folks evocative of Ancient Egypt, who have a serious "divine race" self image going, and hold onto it even as they've had to learn to adapt and live alongside those neighbors too powerful for them to live over. Their fashions range from generally realistic takes on common garb from that period to over-the-top "gold jewelry and clothing and cool hats all around" for those that can afford it, to accentuate their divine self-image.

Folks evocative of northern and middle-African cultures, from ancient Timbuktu to close-to-modern Kenya. A wide-range of cultures as opposed ot the unified Egyptian culture, and perhaps more adaptable because of it. Fashions pull from reality touched up towards the fantastic, going from culture to culture. They're probably the most immediately relatable culture out of the box when it comes to mindsets closer to our own.

Folks only slightly evocative of "fantasy Arabia", if they had their culture and fashions designed from the ground up by Jean Giraud/Moebius, quite a bit more alien and fantastic when compared to their real world analogues than the others.

And the original inhabitants of the area that have been oppressed by the other cultures almost out of necessity, as they're supernaturally tied to the place and the methods for keeping it thriving. No real world analogue, except that they're descended from an ancient intermingling of the first two ethnic groups that eventually became their own. Peaceful "living in union with the land" type folks, who have basically had their culture split in two between those that fought back against the invaders of their land and were forced out into the wilds and those who were subjugated, the latter of which have just now gotten a somewhat improved lot in life as the current rulership, while still keeping them enslaved, has been granting more protections to them and even offereing free status to some. Their wellbeing is tied in with that of the land itself, and they're needed to keep the area's ecosystem thriving. So this city has a long-standing culture of seeing these people as an ultimately submissive and vital resource. And osme long-standing views are being shaken up a bit by recent developments(that current ruler again).

Life in the city ranges from pleasant to harsh depending on who you are and where you live. Outside it ranges from Dark Sun levels of brutal to verging on near-paradise if you're a native and you know what dangers to look out for.

Gender equality is pretty high up there. Some cultures are a bit more patriarchial, some matriarchial, and some things change a bit depending on who is in charge and where, but generally it's roughly equal, so their cultures perhaps aren't informed as much as ours by long entrenched inequalities. There are plenty of powerful men and women, plenty of heroes and villains from all of the cultures, and so on.

That's just for that setting though. The feedback and opinions here are going to inform projects beyond just that, hopefully!

Umbral Reaver wrote:

I have to say I like the generically attractive hourglass figure a whole lot (that is, curvy; not twigs with a pair of melons taped on), but what disappoints me is the lack of such figures that are properly dressed. As I seem to have to repeat myself often, I do not like to be vilified for liking a rather conventional kind of attractiveness.

A woman with a high hotness stat can still be hot while wearing nice clothes that are suited to her. Cleavage is nice. Cleavage is not a requirement.

While the fashions might not be all that conventional(by usual "western European fantasy" standards at least), hopefully I'll be able to get some conventionally beautiful characters dressed reasonably in there. :)


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I am not the target audience of this thread, but I love what you're doing here and wish you the best.

... and just to be clear, some of us straight guys are bothered by scantily-clad women, too. I specifically don't want sexualized (and sexist) art in my RPG materials. I could rant for hours and hours about this, but I'll just say that I am happy to put money behind material that isn't sexist and womanizing as a means of supporting it and saying I want to see more. I am reminded of a certain webcomic.


Chris, I hope you've perused the kotaku-male-entitlement thread!

And yeah, it's not that I mind scantily-clad women, I just don't want them to be the only choice.

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

There's probably most likely going to be scantily clad women, but they should be contextually appropriate. There'll also be scantily clad men in similar contexts, as well as submissive male characters in the same contexts as submissive female characters, and also plenty of strong and confident examples of both men and women. (while also keeping those matters from getting binary)

It's far from a sexless setting, but it won't be oversexualized either, hopefully. Of course how much is too much(or even too little) ranges from person to person. Part of the "why" behind this thread really. :)


Mik, I wasn't named in the thread title, so I feel a little bit like I'm butting in, but IMSNHO sexy is fine, but sexualized a turn off. (Splitting hairs, I know.)

It was about a million years ago in another thread, but have you seen Smylie's Artesia? Best example of the difference I can think of.

President, Jon Brazer Enterprises

I tried to design my female dhampir with "sensible, strong, and well protected" in mind. What do you think of her in this image and this image? I admit the original artist made her more well-endowed than I desired. I plan to ask future artist for less endowment.

On a side note, would images of the male fetchling ranger or male wanderer wizard (or the male umbral kobold alchemist) with their shirt ripped off be considered in bad form?


Dale McCoy Jr wrote:

I tried to design my female dhampir with "sensible, strong, and well protected" in mind. What do you think of her in this image and this image? I admit the original artist made her more well-endowed than I desired. I plan to ask future artist for less endowment.

On a side note, would images of the male fetchling ranger or male wanderer wizard (or the male umbral kobold alchemist) with their shirt ripped off be considered in bad form?

I think the original artist knows how to draw implants but not breasts; If you're paying for the work, don't be afraid to tell them what you want. (A pro will show you sketches before investing time.) Neither of those strike me as insulting, but you might want to check with a real woman.

As for your side note, it wouldn't scare me off, but I'm, like, secure in my masculinity.

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Damn my DA-hatin' work filter. Will view ASAP after work!

Hitdice wrote:

Mik, I wasn't named in the thread title, so I feel a little bit like I'm butting in, but IMSNHO sexy is fine, but sexualized a turn off. (Splitting hairs, I know.)

It was about a million years ago in another thread, but have you seen Smylie's Artesia? Best example of the difference I can think of.

Nah, I get what you're saying on the distinction. :)

And yep, Artesia is actually an old favorite. I really need to catch up since I've only read the first three volumes. It's been a real treat seeing Mark Smylie doing RPG artwork again over at Kobold Quarterly too!


Wish you luck, Mikaze. If it's good art, then it's good art. Keep in mind, my gaming room is Frazetta'd because I like it. But if you do good work, then someone will pay you for it.

I'm all for the melee women in actual armor like the one from Deviant Art shown above...


Hm. Intriguing. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

Mikaze wrote:
Mandisa wrote:

Well, setting gives a better sense of aesthetic - there's stuff I like in art geared towards an anime audience that I don't like in my PnP RPG art, or in say, SF/F novel cover art. And don't get me started on video game art...

I'll throw out a couple examples of some empowering/"I'd like to play that" book covers: C.S. Friedman's Magister Trilogy and Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate books

Those links I can actually see. I think what I'm gunning for is closer to the Magister covers than the others, so feeling pretty good about this.

About context and expected aesthetics:

** spoiler omitted **...


Judy Bauer wrote:

I'm reading it as and/or—so welcome aboard, Umbral Reaver and Kelsey!

Fionnabhair wrote:
Variety. Bodies of different shapes and sizes.

This. A thousand times this. The same variety for women that we see for men!

Also, muscly melee women. And badass women with butch stances—no crazy spine-twisters or weak feet-together/bent-knee stances that would make your sensei yell at you!

Have you read battleaxes? I really loved that comic. Seven warriors touched in a sensitive subject, but the women were dressed for battle.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Pawns Subscriber

I'm dotting this thread for interest.

-- Andy


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Andrew Tuttle wrote:

I'm dotting this thread for interest.

-- Andy

This crowd is at least, on occasion, interesting.


I hope one doesn't necessarily have to be gay to comment on this thread. Does anyone falling into the LGBT or straight but not narrow categories count?

I don't have pictures, but one of the most attractive women I've seen in sci-fi or fantasy was Vasquez, from 'Aliens'. Attitude and a$$-kinking, tough and beautiful without an overabundance of bared flesh.

I lean toward athletic builds in women, gymnasts and dancers in particular. With men, it varies, but Fabio types and bodybuilders rate high for ick factor. Snake Plissken, even Bob Hauk (Escape from New York) would be guys I find intriguing.


Dale McCoy Jr wrote:
I tried to design my female dhampir with "sensible, strong, and well protected" in mind. What do you think of her in this image and this image? I admit the original artist made her more well-endowed than I desired. I plan to ask future artist for less endowment.

Lose the boobplate, or whatever it is she's wearing. She suffers from the same problem you see in so many comics, where the outfit must have been painted on, 'cause that's the only way you're gonna boobs that look like that under clothing.

In the second image, she's also got a slight spine-twisty problem, too. You can see that her lower body is directly facing the dragon. Her torso, however, is twisted to face the audience, so we've got a clear view of those boobs. Her face is almost completely in profile, however; that's not always easy on the neck, nor does it look like a natural pose. I do love the fierce expression on her face, though.

The Exchange

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Neat thread, if I may be so bold as to offer my unsolicited opinion?

When designing PCs/NPCs in my campaign I try to offer a diverse description of forms, both male and female. I am more likely to describe a woman as short and curvy, somewhat "plump", and tell you how beautiful she is, than I am to describe "Seoni Syndrome". Men can be tall, short, slim, soft, barrel chested, etc and still be good looking, and the same goes for the fairer sex.

I have seen a thousand different shapes and sizes to men and women, and found many different examples of attractiveness. I do wish more art reflected this reality.

EDIT: This is not to say that I don't have unattractive characters running around either, and they come in all the above shapes and sizes to boot.

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2013

Hennet, the 3.5 iconic, always seems like gay fanservice to me. Leather pants, perfect hair, mysterious facial expressions - there were times I actually got the feeling that WotC was encoding some gay fanservice in his depiction that other people might overlook. Maybe that was just me. He was also in great shape, but did not have stupid inhuman proportions.


Hennet, huh? Interesting.

Shadow Lodge

Boomer's got a lot to say about Hennet.


I'm neither gay nor female but two of my IRL players are both. Sadly, they aren't PbP gamers but I posed your question to them. Their answer, having seen the avatars/art available now, was "more diversity and more realistic bodies - for both men and women."


A friend of mine, gwm, about once every two to three weeks on facebook has to say something or other about Jason Statham and chocolate syrup.

Could be wrong as I'm not a woman, but I think that a young maiden hugging her unicorn's head and giving the unicorn an apple is closer to what you'd want to achieve through fanservice than a picture of some buff chiseled shirtless dude.


If we are to use Star, Cosmo, or Women's Health as models for what women want to look at, it is pictures of attractive women. Who could blame them.

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