Hi all so I'm wrapping up a Carrion Crown and JR campaigns and looking to take a break from PF. One of the ideas thats picked up some traction from the group as a next campaign is a Greek style campaign. Basic idea is the PCs are establishing a colony in Thrace. Magic, monsters and all that good stuff. I have been looking at M&M as a potential system rather than PF but was wondering what were people's actual experiences at the table running this system. There are a few odd things that I'm not sure about such as gender restrictions for the classes (even though I can understand the authors intent they strike me as off-putting to players). So wondering if anyone had any thoughts about actual play using M&M?
The "gender restrictions" you mention only apply to a handful of character classes which reflect well-established archetypes from Greek myth and legends - and in Greek mythology, male and female protagonists do tend to fill separate niches or roles.
Thus, the M&M rules restrict three classes to male characters: Barbarians (who represent Hyperborean warriors), Spearmen (who represent traditional Greek hoplites)and Centaur warriors... for the same reasons its rules restrict the Nymphs and Amazons classes to the female gender!
Aside from these very specific cases, all other M&M character classes (Noble, Thief, Hunter, Sorcerer, Elementalist, Priest and Lyrist) are equally open to male and female characters. That being said, if you want to introduce non-Amazon Spearwomen, female Barbarian warriors (a niche which the Amazon already fills - indeed, in the original M&M rules, the Amazon was presented as the "female Barbarian") and fighting Centaurides (female Centaurs) to your version of the M&M world, you're perfectly free to do so.
Do the (few) gender-restricted classes (Nymphs, Amazons etc) carry some implicit sexist clichés? Probably, but, as a faux-retro game, M&M is all about clichés and the clichés attached to some character types come from the source material, not from the game itself. Also keep in mind that these stereotypes actually apply to both genders (the big, brutish northern Barbarian is no less a stereotype of masculinity that the alluring Nymph is a stereotype of feminity). This issue was even discussed at length in one of the first issues of the official Minotaur webzine, which presented an alternate version of the Amazon class emphasizing Will over Grace among its primary attributes and offered a variant perspective on the traditional archetype of the warrior woman. This variant version of the class was later included in the 2012 edition of the M&M Companion.
I hope this will put your mind at ease and allow you to enjoy M&M as it was intended - a faux-retro RPG of high adventure à la "Jason and the Argonauts", with easy-to-use rules and a unique blend of Greek myth, Hollywood kitsch and pulpish fantasy.
hi olivier, thanks for the response and reasoning. I mentioned it actually as it was really the only thing from reading over the players manual that arched an eyebrow. I understood some intent and especially as you mentioned M&M being a faux retro RPG it even makes more sense. Still certainly for my group I would ditch those restrictions. I'll have to check out the Companion. I have to say I was quite impressed with M&M and think it'll be a lot of fun.