No Disabled PCs?


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Shadow Lodge *****

So I know there's some serious discussion going on and I'm not trying to derail it, but I am curious, where is there a wheelchair in the rules for sale?

***** ⦵⦵⦵

Eric Clingenpeel wrote:
So I know there's some serious discussion going on and I'm not trying to derail it, but I am curious, where is there a wheelchair in the rules for sale?

Either the mechanics drone with the saddle mod or the 5 credits for any real world tech item you want rule.

Mind you, I'd be amazed if in 15 years people aren't using some sort of exosuit wired directly to the brain. Much less in the year whatever starfinder takes place in.

Sczarni ***** ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Maybe powered armor?

Wayfinders *

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The only thing that I will say is that an organization such as the Starfinders would be happy to have a Stephen Hawking type as a member. But it would be EXTREMELY irresponsible of them to employ him as a field agent without technological compensation for his motor function limitations. And unless you have actually experienced even a limited amount of mobility impairment, DO NOT think you know what it is like. Another member of my group and I walk with canes, and we have had to abandon sites due to access difficulties. I get frustrated that my knees make me include the presence of stairs in my route calculations, and determining the acceptability of the risk in using them. Something as simple as changing the chairs and tables can render a site unusable. And in a universe with cybernetic enhancements to movement and exoskeletons available, I sure as heck would choose to use them.

**

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
I think you'd be missing out on a lot of the game and social interactions if you had the sensitivity level set to the maximum for all things all the time.

Being respectful is not the same as erasing disability or diversity. For the sake of some sanity, I'm restricting my explanation to things that we can control ourselves. The level of offense of opting to play at a paraplegic is not the same as using a gun with electricity damage.

...and you can be sure that if I'm GMing a scenario with an opponent that triggered the wounding critical at a table with a person who lost their arm to osteosarcoma or veteran with a war injury, I'm going to ignore that particular nuance of the result. But you're right, I might have a veteran at the table who had several comrades with debilitating injuries, and it could be just as offensive and I wouldn't know it.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
But people also get flak for erasure if all of their characters look just like them.

A player shouldn't be given a hard time for playing a character that mirrors their self perception or life experiences. It is the authors of game settings and adventures who need to hold their writing to a higher standard where everyone does not look like and hold the opinions of the author so that the diverse players feel included. And this is an aspiration. There are plenty of people who would find PFS scenarios still far to Caucasian-centric. You also have to balance your writing with what you know and are comfortable writing. Is it better to stick to a culture that mirrors your own at the risk of not being as inclusive as you'd like or is it better to try to expand your range, knowing that you're going to take some missteps?

Representation is never going to be universally perfect, and we don't need to flagellate ourselves for enjoying the game.

But we can try to be aware.

Grand Lodge ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

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Blake's Tiger wrote:
...and that is why these stories should be left to those with personal experience, if they want to tell them.

I know a disability is not the same, but by that thinking does that mean no one can gender-bend without offending? How about playing a LGBTQ character? Of course there is the obvious case of Charles Xavier. I have been struggling with a back disability for nearly two years. Does that make me "qualified" to play a partially disabled PC? In one history of Iron Man he became paralyzed and had to use the suit to compensate. Was that disrespectful? Can I duplicate that imagery with my character? I am legally blind without my glasses. Can I play a blind character? What about someone with an ethnic or religious real-world analog?*

I understand what you are saying, but it seems like we have to be careful telling someone they are not allowed to play a character because they lack experience/context in the real world. There is a line between playing respectful characters and controlling how others enjoy their game. Just saying we seem to be approaching that area. Seems like that are opportunities to explore topics like these and depict them in a positive light which could encourage and give supportive strength to those who don't see themselves represented much in our game. Personally, I don't have an issue with someone playing a character inspired by Stephen Hawking, but I do have a problem with it if the point is to exploit their disability to make the game more "real" and have it be a distraction to the game.

If we were talking about a more ancient/fantasy world like Pathfinder where a disability is likely to be as debilitating as it is in real life I wholeheartedly agree, but in a future world like Starfinder where most physical and some non-physical disabilities will be addressed almost as easily as corrective laser eye treatments it seems like disability compensation could be empowering. But, of course, I do not consider myself disabled in the traditional sense so maybe I lack the experience/understanding/insight to comment.

*I really hate "what ifs" when it comes to things like this so I am not asking you to defend or refute a laundry list of possibilities. Just using it as an example of how something like this is going to be dissected.

**

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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I'd say the further removed(along real world axes) from your own personal experiences your character is, the more thought, care, and research you should be willing to put into the character. You should at least know what tropes are offensive.

**

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
NielsenE wrote:
I'd say the further removed(along real world axes) from your own personal experiences your character is, the more thought, care, and research you should be willing to put into the character. You should at least know what tropes are offensive.

Oh, thank you. I spent 30 minutes trying to craft an appropriate response, and when I hit preview, here this was.

The only thing that I would add is that when making a character, ask yourself, "Why is this particular character someone I want to portray publicly?"

If the answer isn't, "Because it reflects my own life experience," then additional introspection is recommended.

***** ⦵⦵⦵

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NielsenE wrote:
I'd say the further removed(along real world axes) from your own personal experiences your character is, the more thought, care, and research you should be willing to put into the character. You should at least know what tropes are offensive.

Some days it seems like everything. Everything is offensive.

I'm not saying that there isn't a line, but if you had to listen the the loudest voices I don't think it would be possible to have a character that wasn't offensive for something. I don't think research and introspection are going to help much on something that subjective.

**

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Some days it seems like everything. Everything is offensive.

A non-exhaustive list of things guaranteed to not be offensive: respect, justice, kindness, compassion, mercy, patience, empathy, generosity.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
I don't think research and introspection are going to help much on something that subjective.

I think that if you do so in good faith, you will be surprised with how far that gets you. Add in the ability to say, "I'm sorry. I didn't realize. How can I do better?" and you'll get even further.

***** ⦵⦵⦵

Blake's Tiger wrote:


A non-exhaustive list of things guaranteed to not be offensive: respect, justice, kindness, compassion, mercy, patience, empathy, generosity.

Oh so ______ can't be people with flaws now they need to set an unrealistically high standard of superhuman behavior is that it? This is why every ______ looks like the same cookie cutter character.

Quote:
I think that if you do so in good faith, you will be surprised with how far that gets you. Add in the ability to say, "I'm sorry. I didn't realize. How can I do better?" and you'll get even further.

Yeah.. no.

People seem to have an unrealistic idea about how obvious and well known their own thing is. Especially when it comes to implications around that thing.

Rationally I realize that to some degree you only hear from the squeeky wheels. But there's enough noise that it makes it hard to filter out the signal.

It doesn't help that some people don't believe in the relevancy of intent.

Someone's sense of what is or isn't offensive has a lifetime of information/biases behind it. I don't think you're likely to move someone anywhere without being very specific about it.

Grand Lodge ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

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Blake's Tiger wrote:
I think that if you do so in good faith...

One person's good faith is another person's offensive. Questioning someone's specific action/s is reasonable, questioning someone's intentions with a lack of supporting actions is pretty much going to explode in argument every time.

**

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Bob Jonquet wrote:
One person's good faith is another person's offensive.

You've mixed apples and oranges (or left out a word or two).

What is offensive or hurtful to a person is offensive or hurtful to them. It just is.

Making a sincere and honest attempt to understand how your representation of a group of people significantly different from your self might affect members of that group is not offensive. Your ultimate conclusion might be mistaken and/or you might offend despite your efforts, which is what I think you were actually getting at. And sometimes, you might not have a clue in the world that something you've chosen to say or portray is offensive to someone. When those things happen, what is important is your response to offending someone.

A. "I'm sorry. How can I do better?"
B. "Hey, I'm just playing a character."
B. "You just have soft skin. Get over yourself."

I believe that one of those answers is intrinsically better than the other.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
[sarcasm]

And with that I will now hide this thread.

Sovereign Court

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NielsenE wrote:
I'd say the further removed(along real world axes) from your own personal experiences your character is, the more thought, care, and research you should be willing to put into the character. You should at least know what tropes are offensive.

As someone belonging to a marginalized group, who has been specifically burned by PFS before (though the parties involved have taken some steps towards addressing the issue)... this is pretty much where I stand on the issue, both for fellow players and scenario writers.

I'd love to see people take enough of an interest in what folks like me go through to try to experience it in a safe environment, to represent it in their work, or even to casually (but respectfully!) include it as an aspect of their character's experiences. (Not everything has to be about how this character is [x], after all... normalization can be just as important.) It's when it's done lazily, disrespectfully, or even hatefully that a line has been crossed.

***** ⦵⦵⦵

Kalindlara wrote:
It's when it's done lazily, disrespectfully, or even hatefully that a line has been crossed.

These are highly subjective evaluations.

Grand Lodge ***** ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

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I actually hope you don't hide this thread, Blake's Tiger. You've said a lot of thoughtful things -- even if I disagree with you. One of the things that I love about the current Starfinder rules is the ability to play a blind or deaf character who can fully support the team, and whose condition is just one part of who they are. I'm not deaf -- though I know people who happen to be deaf who are very proud of what being part of deaf culture means to them.

I think that it is possible to portray a character with disabilities -- or better yet -- differing abilities -- and be respectful. I do think that it takes more research and thought than playing someone like you. But it's a bit like playing someone of a different gender or orientation or culture. I know someone who gets incredibly annoyed by Tien characters with asian accents, but when I did a Tien character with a mock British accent, they were fine because that was not the stereotype.

Do we want to portray characters who are mirrors, reflecting our own experiences? Sometimes.

Do we want to portray characters who are windows, giving us an insight into someone else's experiences? Sometimes.

And sometimes we can even be a sliding door, offering the other players at the table a chance to slip into another viewpoint.

I want to treasure authentic voices, but I also want to treasure a chance to bring diversity into my games in other ways. Life would be so boring if every character that I did was a Charli Poshkettle -- the most 'me' character I've ever created.

I say let the windows open on to other experiences, but tread carefully. I think the most important thing is having your characters be whole people, not stereotypes.

Yours respectfully,
Hmm

Grand Lodge ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

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tl;dr
Playing a character with a disability is not inherently disrespectful. Portraying a character with a disability disrespectfully is disrespectful. Don't judge a player's intentions until they have demonstrated what they are and then react accordingly and appropriately just like any other time a player demonstrates bad behavior in the portrayal of their character.

Explore! Report! Cooperate!

**

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Thanks to everyone for contributing to the discussion. It’s important that as a community we can debate and discuss in a civil way. This thread is a good example of how we can “disagree without becoming disagreeable.” I’ve been thinking about the issue that originated this discussion and I wanted to consolidate and summarise my arguments for allowing sub-par ability scores.

1: Sub-par ability scores help some players better realize their character concepts. Many players base their role-playing off of their character’s ability scores, and allowing a broader range of ability scores helps those players create a broader range of character concepts. Creativity and imagination should be encouraged.

2: Sub-par ability scores help some players better represent some physical and mental disabilities. There may be some alternatives that satisfy some players, but to other players there are disabilities that are difficult to portray without some actual mechanical limitations.

2a: There are many characters with mental and physical disabilities in science-fiction/fantasy stories: Professor X, Tony Stark, Barbara Gordon (Oracle), Bran Stark, Fitz (Agents of SHIELD), and thousands more, and these characters are often placed in situations of adventure and danger.

3: The risks of allowing sub-par ability scores is minimal. Two such risks have been claimed: a) Players will use sub-par ability scores as an excuse for bad behaviour at the gaming table; b) Players will create characters with such sub-par ability scores that those PCs are no longer able to contribute meaningfully toward successful resolution of the scenario’s goals. Neither of these risks is of sufficient magnitude to outweigh the benefits of allowing sub-par ability scores.

3a: Abusive, disruptive, or discriminatory behaviour at the gaming table violates the tenets of Organized Play whether or not the player claims it is “justified” because “that’s what my character would do” or “that’s just how my character is.” This standard is long and well-established, and applies whether or not there’s a claim that a particular mechanical feature (including a sub-par ability score, such as a low Charisma) supports the bad behaviour.

3b: There are *many, many* ways a player could create a character that fails to meaningfully contribute to the group. They could be in a Tier 7-10 scenario and insist on using all Level 1 equipment, observe combats and skill challenges without attempting to influence their resolution in any way, intentionally learn and cast only comparatively useless spells, refuse to leave Absalom Station, or a host of other possibilities. The hypothetical risk of a character with sub-par ability scores being unable to contribute is only a drop in the bucket to these possibilities.

4: Characters are explicitly allowed to be deaf or blind. These disabilities, particularly blindness, likely hold far, far more impact in a scenario than many sub-par ability scores could. Without special means to compensate, blindness reduces the location of enemies to guesswork and provides them with total concealment, while making other meaningful parts of scenarios (such as Chases) far more difficult (sometimes verging on impossible). No PC *has* to be blind, so allowance has already been given to a (strictly mechanically speaking) sub-par character concept.

5: Characters who have sub-par ability scores are legal for play if this occurred during a scenario through ability score drain (unless drained all the way to zero). Players are completely free to decide whether to rectify this condition or not, and may continue to play these characters in future scenarios while maintaining the drained ability score. Thus, the strange situation exists that unintentional sub-par ability scores are always allowed (even if capable of remedy) while intentional sub-par ability scores are not.

The concrete benefits of allowing characters with sub-par ability scores far outweigh the speculative risks. I recognise that the Organized Play team has made a decision. I also recognise that they remain free to alter or reverse this decision at any point in the future.

My suggestion is as follows: temporarily rescind the recent ruling that bans sub-par ability scores. Adopt a “wait and see” approach. If actual evidence mounts that this is causing problems, we’ll know the ruling is warranted instead of being based only on hypothetical concerns about bad players causing problems. I may be naively optimistic, but I think the vast majority of SFS players, the vast majority of the time, show up to play in good faith and to have fun as a group. I sincerely doubt the proportionately tiny fraction of the community who would like to explore variant character concepts by using sub-par ability scores present a risk substantial enough to justify the restriction.

Thanks for listening.

***

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Quote:
My suggestion is as follows: temporarily rescind the recent ruling that bans sub-par ability scores.

This is not a recent ruling. This has been the rule for two years now.

I understand the desire to portray a character with a particular set of mechanics, but SFS scenarios are not designed with near-zero ability scores in mind. Ability scores so low can drastically alter the difficulty of particular encounters, particularly those that involve ability damage/drain, for the whole table. That's not fair to the other players or to the author and developers.

Characters with near-zero ability scores would work best in a campaign with a GM that designs encounters with the possibility of such scores in mind. SFS is not that campaign.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

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I want to thank everyone for their input on this.

The Organized Play has no intention of changing our ruling on this matter. The upcoming guide update will add language that clarifies Optional Character Flaws are not to be used in Organized Play.

Thanks for everyone's input, but as Tonya mentioned earlier, the team considers this matter closed.

Wayfinders *

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Blake's Tiger and Bob Jonquet, your statements about respect leading to not offending are, unfortunately, a little too idealistic. You cannot avoid offending someone who WANTS to be offended, and I have encountered more than one person who has objected to both the lack of representation of people of their subgroup (however they define it) and representation of that subgroup by someone who is not a member of that subgroup. You can fool all of the people sometimes, but I have yet to see anyone please all of the people at the same time.

Jhaeman, prior to your most recent 'suggestion', the two greatest authorities on the campaign had both stated that this was not a 'knee-jerk' or 'recent' ruling, but rather the intent of campaign management all along. The error was in failing to explicitly, rather than implicitly ban it. One of them felt the need to reiterate that after you continued to ignore their statements. As for your arguments:

1) Many people here have suggested using creativity and imagination to roleplay the character's disabilities as they should exist in the setting, rather than relying on the crutch of crippling statistics.

2) see above
2a) Professor X does not regularly take the field except in the periods when his paralysis has been removed. Tony Stark's paralysis was offset by the technology of his armored suit, and his alcoholism rendered him enough of a threat to those around him that he set aside the Iron Man role to seek treatment. Barbara Gordon did not regularly take the field during her time as Oracle, she served in a support role, and if she was facing enemies directly, it was because they came to her, not the other way around. Bran Stark did not chose to leave places of safety, he was forced out of them by enemies, and in at least one case, his disabilities contributed to the death of a companion. None of these characters sought out field work without using available technology to compensate for their disabilities. I am leaving Fitz out of this because I am not familiar enough with the character's history to know what disabilities and field activity are being referenced, but I will note that in the first season, the preference was for FitzSimmons to work away from the action unless there was an immediate need for their unique skills on site. Again, much of the danger they faced sought them out, rather than the reverse.

3) This is clearly a matter of opinion, and one where the experiences you are relying on are very different from those of other players. If true, count yourself lucky.

3a) A semi-valid point. A clear, factual ruling, and a subjective 'standard' (see my earlier paragraph for why offensive is subjective) can have the same result. But the argument tends to be much shorter when the authorities can point to a line in the rules explicitly banning the behavior in question.

3b) The character I am speaking as is 8+, and still uses a Static Arc pistol as her primary damage dealing weapon. Of course, I may have fired enough shots to empty one battery, though probably not enough if the battery was from Zeizerer Arms. No one thinks she doesn't pull her own weight, though. Any person behaving as you describe would get a discussion with local organizers... possibly after receiving a chronicle sheet with no experience, boons or money on it. As a GM, I would feel no need to pull my punches with such a character, despite disliking causing character deaths.

4) Is an argument based on everyone needing to be equally good at all roles, and in all situations. I have rarely seen a Chase where everyone has to act at all times in order to succeed. And technology and feats can generally reduce the effects of those disabilities in gameplay. It's not a normal experience that a blind person would have today, but this is a world where far more advanced technology is available, and the bleeding edge of modern tech is nearing the point where something would be available for some circumstances.

5) While possible by reading the rules, it seems clear to me that the intent is not to encourage retaining impaired stats indefinitely, but rather to avoid the ridiculous situation of "Oh dear! Your strength was drained from 18 to 17, and you don't have enough money to get that fixed right now. I guess your character is dead, because you couldn't resolve the situation."

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:
It's when it's done lazily, disrespectfully, or even hatefully that a line has been crossed.

These are highly subjective evaluations.

What's your point?

***** ⦵⦵⦵

Kalindlara wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:
It's when it's done lazily, disrespectfully, or even hatefully that a line has been crossed.

These are highly subjective evaluations.

What's your point?

To not be too hard on people that you think are over the line or aren't doing as good of a job doing something as you need to think they do.

Dark Archive

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Jhaeman wrote:

My suggestion is as follows: temporarily rescind the recent ruling that bans sub-par ability scores. Adopt a “wait and see” approach. If actual evidence mounts that this is causing problems, we’ll know the ruling is warranted instead of being based only on hypothetical concerns about bad players causing problems. I may be naively optimistic, but I think the vast majority of SFS players, the vast majority of the time, show up to play in good faith and to have fun as a group. I sincerely doubt the proportionately tiny fraction of the community who would like to explore variant character concepts by using sub-par ability scores present a risk substantial enough to justify the restriction.

Thanks for listening.

Heyya its me the op from the thread that started this mess. While I was a bit unclear describing why I asked that question in the op, I later clarified that some of my players wanted to play 1 in all stat man.

In that thread the first person to answer was BigNorseWolf who said

"Guide page 21

Starfnder Society Roleplaying Guild characters buy their ability
scores as detailed on page 18 of the Starfnder Core Rulebook.
Starfnder Roleplaying Guild characters must use the Buying Ability Scores rules and should never use the optional methods of
Ability Quick Picks or Rolling Ability Scores

The flaws are optional rules on a different page so not allowed."

The thread should have ended there because I misread the guide. Also bear in mind starfinder as a ruleset requires you to have an ability that says you can do something. I can't fire lasers out of my eyes at level 1 just because the guide doesn't say I can't.

StarDaddy came in and just reiterated what BigNorseWolf said

This isn't a new ruling. It is just enforcing the guide as written. They said they are going to change the language on it to make that more clear. That is all.

Secondly I am the actual evidence you are talking about in your wait and see approach. New players came to my table with the guide we all misread it and they were going to play 1 in all stat man. The guide could've been worded better but the new players were going to do that. This clarification stops that.

*** Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston Metro aka MadScientistWorking

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Bob Jonquet wrote:
Blake's Tiger wrote:
I think that if you do so in good faith...
One person's good faith is another person's offensive. Questioning someone's specific action/s is reasonable, questioning someone's intentions with a lack of supporting actions is pretty much going to explode in argument every time.

Speaking as a marginalized person this is just an excuse and deflection to deal with the fact that you just made someone uncomfortable and upset. Intentions be dammed. The person who is uncomfortable and upset is not obligated to deal with you in the least because it often just accelerates into far more abuse and hassle than its worth. And given my experiences even with the past few years on this forum the community doesn't have any standing to have earned trust. It still has issues treating my and Kalindara's existence as a joke so why would I want to trust people.

And that trust can be earned. Its just that you can't literally sit there saying you have to cooperate. You're the one that needs to make concessions and you're the one who needs to listen without interjecting into the conversation.

Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:
I do think that it takes more research and thought than playing someone like you. But it's a bit like playing someone of a different gender or orientation or culture.

I mean this with the utmost honesty and respect. What do you think it entails roleplaying someone with a different gender?

*** Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston Metro aka MadScientistWorking

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Also, I will say this too but it's not like people like myself notice the positive and intentions don't matter in that case either. Was it intentional that Paizo wrote Skittermanders to have similar characteristics and behaviors to me? I don't know. I would be really confused if it wasn't intentional but I find no indication that it was. Do I appreciate it? Yes I love it that the cute adorable furballs are like me.

Grand Lodge ***** ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

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Adam Yakaboski wrote:
Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:
I do think that it takes more research and thought than playing someone like you. But it's a bit like playing someone of a different gender or orientation or culture.
I mean this with the utmost honesty and respect. What do you think it entails roleplaying someone with a different gender?

This is something that I've thought about a lot, because I am so terrible at it. I'm the most cis of cis women, solidly identifying with the gender I was assigned at birth. Most of my RPG characters are female, because I enjoy being a female adventurer. However, when I have stepped out of my comfort zone, I've tried to imagine the whole person -- their baggage, their goals, their fears, their flaws and their quirks. Being a man is not easy for me, so I need to go deep inside them to know who they are and what drives them.

An example of this is my non-PFS character Harmose. Feel free to read that detailed profile, and click all the spoilers. He's bisexual, poly-amorous and a flirt -- but not promiscuous. He didn't jump into bed with everyone, he was choosy. He wanted the people he slept with to be people he cared about, and people worth taking the time to cultivate.

He had some traits in common with me -- being good with people, talking up a storm. He had some things different than me, like his casual lying and his ability to make up ancient Osirion sayings and folk wisdom on the spot to suit his purposes. He was fiercely loyal to his team, and willing to put himself into grave danger -- even though he was pretty terrible at combat. He viewed himself as a student who had a lot to learn, and was passionate about making up for the gaps in his education. Even more importantly, he was a necromancer who hated undead. I made him complicated, which made him interesting to me.

When I build a character of another gender, I have to build them from the soul out, to help me better grasp who they are. Does this make sense?

Hmm

Sczarni ***** ⦵⦵

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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I try to imagine how gender is viewed from the culture I'm roleplaying.

Drow, for example, and matriarchal. My Half-orc female, being "rescued" by the Society, carries that same sense of superiority with her. Males are simply less capable at everything, and male Half-orcs are nothing more than fodder.

Although, generally, since Starfinder's setting is largely egalitarian, usually gender (or sexuality) isn't a big focus of many of my SFS characters.

Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Captain, Missouri—Cape Girardeau aka Arnim Thayer

For me character comes first. Personality, background, goals; these are far more important to me when role-playing than gender or even race. I am from the most vilified form of gamer: I am a cis, white male—in short, a typical “grognard”—who has been playing RPGs for... well, probably far too long. Most of my characters are boring. They are male humans. What make each of them different from each other is the trifecta I mentioned above. This does not mean I haven’t played characters of the opposite gender or of a different race though.

When I play a character of the opposite sex, I treat that as a secondary consideration. It has to fit the backstory and make sense. In PFS, I have a “Legacy” character named Rose Thornwood, the half-elf daughter of my retired elven Wizard/Ranger Kelvinathus Longthorne. She joined the Society to try and learn more about the father she never knew, Following in his footsteps to better understand him. That she is a woman has no impact on how I play her; if “she” was a “he,” I’d play the personality the same. Because I am not female (or half-elf), I can play her journey of self-discovery as just that. She is trying to find her own place in the world, and to understand the motivations of her father enforce her.
I have another female character based on Junia Deckland (of Black Waters/School of Spirits). Her personality I model after my teenage daughter, fiesty and defiant. Again, her motivations are based on her background; rescued by Pathfinders, she has a sort of “hero worship” of them. That she is annoying her mother by joining them is just icing on the cake.

Both of them are vibrant characters with their own personalities, flaws, and goals. Neither of them has ever (to my knowledge) offended another player, me being male playing a female character. I count that my treating them as living beings (and not as some form of joke or statement) is a large part of that acceptance, despite that. If we treat our characters with proper respect, then what gender, race, religion, etc. should not be offensive to other players.

Then again, I’m talking about the role-playing aspect. None of this has anything to do with lowering ability scores to pseudo-simulate a mental or physical disability. To me, that is just wrong.

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