Gender roles in AW:DA

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Gender roles in AW:DA
« on: March 06, 2014, 11:34:28 AM »
First thoughts I like the way three law systems interconnect and that gender roles aren't fixed (I liked especially part about the children, where there's a mix of what all children do, what boys&girls do, what children from different families do). I am happy that in common knowledge chapter both women and men are important and described (as children are).

But...
Common idea of Dark Ages is that it was patriarchal society and I am afraid that playbooks do not give more idea that the character may be female. That brings the question like: if I play War herald, may my warriors be women? Is it common? Is it an exception? I'd like to see something to help me as the GM (or my male friends as GMs) to come up easy with female characters, so that a female character (especially a fighter) weren't an exception.

And - if she's an exception, I'd like to read a word or two about this.

I like the part about "Race" and how it's a constant option in all the playbooks to choose "very pale skin, very dark skin".

 

 
 

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niamh

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Re: Gender roles in AW:DA
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2014, 12:13:32 PM »
My read of the playbooks is that gender isn't required to be male or female for any of them, and is very much dependent on the setting of the game and what the MC/players what the world to look like.  Yes, the dark ages were considered patriarchal historically but that doesn't mean you have to run a historically accurate game.  The world is what you make it and if you want women to be warriors and Queens to marry women to increase the chances of being a mother to daughters, you can do that.
If you want to run a game where the only female warriors are posing as men, you can do that too.



Re: Gender roles in AW:DA
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2014, 12:50:16 PM »
I'd like to see something more than "gender is not required". I'd like to see something like: it's a great option, choose it! (In AW "gender" was part of characters in Look, and people I played chose something else than man/women, cause it was one of the options to choose). 

I don't want to constantly remind fellow players that male is not default. It's tiresome.

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lumpley

  • 1293
Re: Gender roles in AW:DA
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2014, 01:06:55 PM »
I've been trying to figure out how best to handle gender. The Apocalypse World way worked very well, and I may decide to go back to it later on, but right now I'm leaving space for something else to jump out at me.

Meanwhile, you're absolutely right, Petra.

-Vincent

Re: Gender roles in AW:DA
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2014, 01:14:02 PM »
Man, I totally read the description of the three laws as straight up, "Gender definitely matters. Make sure your game addresses gender, if it's at all interesting to you."

I agree that I'd like more focus on gender, though. What I'd particularly is a playbook or two for someone of the second sex, male for the Old Law, or female for the Law of Eagles or the New Law. I'm hoping the Summer-Crowned fits that.

I think that gender being a Look would not work in this game. In AW, what it means that gender is a Look, is that by default it's about presentation, and by default doesn't matter in the post apocalypse world. In this game, it definitely does matter. It's important for all three of the Laws. Gender is about social role, not look, and about conflicting social roles.

To back-seat game design, what I would do is make it a choice, on each playbook, as part of Rank, right next to choosing your genealogy.

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lumpley

  • 1293
Re: Gender roles in AW:DA
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2014, 01:25:19 PM »
The needs of the design in regard to gender are quite particular, more extensive than you'd think, and I'm not going to be able to articulate them. Often, the only way to articulate a design problem is to solve it.

This is to say that I'm open to suggestions, but I'll have to reject almost all of them for weird, picky, invisible reasons.

The right solution will cut across the problem, not solve it.

-Vincent

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niamh

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Re: Gender roles in AW:DA
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2014, 01:33:49 PM »
My only concern is I don't think the gender design should lock any particular gender out of a playbook (either way) or move.  Since the genealogies allow for either gender to be in the position of power, i don't see any reason to limit it.

Re: Gender roles in AW:DA
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2014, 01:39:57 PM »
Sure. I understand that any design problem is going to be harder than it looks from the outside. I hope my thoughts help, but I know it's pretty unlikely they'll actually solve the problem.

I'd just really like this to be a game that can handle issues of gender, as it relates to social hierarchy. Apocalypse World's solution isn't really good for that, I don't think, because any social hierarchy in Apocalypse World is ad hoc, made up by the characters. Gender being a look implies that it is not a social hierarchy issue. The Laws imply that it is.

Sagas of the Icelanders has a solution that relates gender to social roles, but it's very different because there is only one set of social rules, and it's more or less anarchic. In the Dark Age, there are three, and all three are all about who's better than who, and who should have authority over who.

@niamh, I agree. I'd like to see playbooks for the gender that's out of power in their particular law, in addition to playbooks for the gender that's in power in their law. I like the three laws because it means you can do that without being specific to which gender is which.

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lumpley

  • 1293
Re: Gender roles in AW:DA
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2014, 01:42:11 PM »
Agreed. My goal is to provoke people into playing a diversity of characters, not to lock it down in any way.

Oh wait I have an idea.

Thanks, Petra, Niamh, Adams!

-Vincent

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niamh

  • 22
Re: Gender roles in AW:DA
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2014, 01:42:34 PM »
Sagas of the Icelanders has a solution that relates gender to social roles
I actually deeply dislike how Sagas built their gender role solution. 
I'd like to see playbooks for the gender that's out of power in their particular law
Yeah, this would be really interesting.

Re: Gender roles in AW:DA
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2014, 03:46:23 PM »
Thread Necromancy, but the following seems incredibly pertinent to this question:

"Researchers at the University of Western Australia decided to revamp the way they studied Viking remains. Previously, researchers had misidentified skeletons as male simply because they were buried with their swords and shields. (Female remains were identified by their oval brooches, and not much else.) By studying osteological signs of gender within the bones themselves, researchers discovered that approximately half of the remains were actually female warriors, given a proper burial with their weapons."

More here: http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/09/female-viking-warriors-proof-swords

Re: Gender roles in AW:DA
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2014, 10:31:31 AM »
Yeah, that article made me glad for the scholarship at last and ticked that we still have such a weird bias in archaeology. And yes, more will be said about gender in the game.

Re: Gender roles in AW:DA
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2014, 10:38:19 AM »
I don't want to seem negative, but that article overstated a lot the results of the study.
Unfortunately, I would add, because female vikings are awesome

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Jwok

  • 59
Re: Gender roles in AW:DA
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2014, 01:22:08 AM »
I thought about gender right away with Dark Ages. The punky queerness of AW is super awesome, but really doesn't fit with the Dark Ages idea.

Saga of the Islanders does do a neat thing in that it brings gender front and center, showing different expressions of gender in a culture where gender matters a lot. That's not to say that these gender roles are good/bad, particularly when viewed through a contemporary lense, just that their rigidity are paramount to the setting being evoked. Something about this gender rigidity seems like it would fit in AW:Dark Ages. Co-creating gender roles/expectations as a part of world creation could be kind of fun as well, but seems a little loosy-goosy for the design of this game thus far.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2014, 01:28:49 AM by Jwok »
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Re: Gender roles in AW:DA
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2014, 12:41:31 PM »
I did some consulting on gender roles in Sagas (you can probably find the posts elsewhere on this very forum!), so I'm glad it carries well. Gender in AW:DA holds a different place than in AW or Sagas, yeah.