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    Default Let the gender in games be moved here PLZ

    For those arguing in 978 comic forum, could you move it to here, so we can discuss the comic over there?
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    Default Re: Let the gender in games be moved here PLZ

    Heh.

    Let's have a go at it...

    When gender differences and their impact on character scores are discussed, the one thing that always comes up is the strength difference between men and women. Now I'm not going to deny that such a difference exist (on average) but there are significant gender differences that exist that are barely brought up in such conversations:

    - on average, women have a better life expectancy (even while slightly discriminated against), this is not reflected in the age tables.
    - men (and especially young men) are prone to reckless behavior and a disregard for the consequences of their actions as can be proven by the high car insurance premiums that insurance companies charge them (in jurisdictions where gender discrimination is allowed in these cases), their enormous over-representation among the incarcerated population and crime statistics (especially violent crimes) and other studies that prove that males are prone to reckless behavior. This lack of common sense should be translated by an penalty of at least -1 on wisdom, if not -2
    - Men have higher death rates from cancer, women also tend to cope better with deprivation (with men dying first when cities are besieged and food supply is cut off), this apart from the fact that women are capable of surviving childbirth (the equivalent for males would be pissing out a golfball through your penis), that should warrant a constitution bonus for women.
    Last edited by Corneel; 2015-03-26 at 04:06 PM.

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    Default Re: Let the gender in games be moved here PLZ

    Quote Originally Posted by rafet View Post
    For those arguing in 978 comic forum, could you move it to here, so we can discuss the comic over there?
    If you want to talk about the comic "over there" then I would suggest just talking about it. If people find what you have to say interesting, they will respond and the topic will change.

    After a particular strip has been up for an extended length of time, people pretty much always go "off topic" in that thread. Sometimes they go so far off topic it ends back up on topic. Part of the social dynamics. This is what it is. You can blame me personally since I started it this time, although my comment was specifically tied to the comic.

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    Default Re: Let the gender in games be moved here PLZ

    Quote Originally Posted by Corneel View Post
    Heh.

    Let's have a go at it...

    When gender differences and their impact on character scores are discussed, the one thing that always comes up is the strength difference between men and women. Now I'm not going to deny that such a difference exist (on average) but there are significant gender differences that exist that are barely brought up in such conversations:

    - on average, women have a better life expectancy (even while slightly discriminated against), this is not reflected in the age tables.
    - men (and especially young men) are prone to reckless behavior and a disregard for the consequences of their actions as can be proven by the high car insurance premiums that insurance companies charge them (in jurisdictions where gender discrimination is allowed in these cases), their enormous over-representation among the incarcerated population and crime statistics (especially violent crimes) and other studies that prove that males are prone to reckless behavior. This lack of common sense should be translated by an penalty of at least -1 on wisdom, if not -2
    - Men have higher death rates from cancer, women also tend to cope better with deprivation (with men dying first when cities are besieged and food supply is cut off), this apart from the fact that women are capable of surviving childbirth (the equivalent for males would be pissing out a golfball through your penis), that should warrant a constitution bonus for women.
    And given that constitution is the one attribute that should NOT be dumped, unlike Str which can be supplanted by Dex even for melee classes and is basically entirely irrelevant for mages, an argument can be made that the majority of adventurers - you know, STILL ALIVE adventurers - should be women :P

    (to be clear, I am a proponent of not assigning scores to genders, especially considering stuff like intersex ppl and trans ppl etc)
    (just pointing out how every single sexist argument can be turned on its head with application of another subset of actual facts)
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    Default Re: Let the gender in games be moved here PLZ

    EDIT: Hm. I think the OoTS-forum might not be the best place for this?
    Last edited by Murk; 2015-03-27 at 09:12 AM.

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    Default Re: Let the gender in games be moved here PLZ

    Long as it stays a civil and informative discussion, I don't see why not, since it's a direct outgrowth of previous discussion, unless The Giant says "please don't." In which case, you know, it's his forum. :)

    I don't see an ounce of reason why adventuresses couldn't match adventurers in the Stickverse or other DnD worlds, and I don't think we need artificial egalitarianism to get there, either. DnD is especially friendly to this.

    Women also tend to avoid dangerous occupations like the plague, and show a marked preference for a less lucrative job which provides much better work/life balance, than a lucrative gig that involves lots and lots of heavy hours. (part of why even when women go into medicine, you see a lot more of them as pediatricians and general practitioners, rather than specialists/surgeons). HOWEVER, I think we can discount the latter, and indeed entirely discount this line of reasoning. Simply because "Adventurer." These are by definition highly unusual, and strongly risk-tolerant people who aggressively run the ragged edge of risk/reward. I know *lots* of women who fit this category. I know very few of them who have children, otoh, and male risk-taking behavior tends to plummet sharply once family life starts to happen. Let's also assume that fantasy birth control regulates out the huge hormonal mood swings which affect some women the same way contemporary medicine does, so we can discount all of that thanks to Carl Sagan. Among adventurers, I'd call WIS even. Among general population, women should either get a WIS bonus, or else a WIS floor which is higher (may amount to same thing given your preference in stat-building).

    So let's posit some situation where "family people" tend to orient to that, and among those who don't, adventurers of both sexes are quite common and possibly 50/50. It's back of envelope, but hey. In the premodern world even *without* birth control, roughly one in five combatants were female. In fantasy world it's also entirely possible to have larger families without the underlying health issues given a sufficiently sympathetic village cleric. Lesser Restoration cures a lot of ills modern medicine still can't handle easily, Heal all of them by definition.

    Now, ability scores.
    Constitution is a mixed bag. Using the 2e variant ability scores into two variants, one could use overall health versus durability. Men have reinforced bone structure and a generally heavier skeleton (and have since prehistoric days since we evolved the ability to strike with fists). Men also have roughly 40% greater skeletal muscle, which makes a huge difference in carry capacity. An unconditioned male can easily engage in manual labor that will rapidly-exhaust most well-conditioned women (part of which is that too many women condition with aerobics rather than strength training, but the differences are there -- women tend to just as good aerobic fitness, but also tend to fall apart and "gas out" much quicker when engaged in "aerobics under load" unless specifically trained for it. c.f. "rucking" vs "hiking"). (This also means that women are much more tolerant to privation: less muscle means lower caloric demands). Women are also great on assembly lines, having a truly great capacity for long-duration low-impact drudge labor, which men have a hard time matching.

    This would show up regularly adventuring. I don't hit students full-power anyway without notable padding, but I must be much, much more careful not to break my female fighters than my male ones. An impact that would rock one of my male fighters and have him wincing for a couple of days will flat drop most of my female fighters, even when they're better conditioned. Women are also better shots, period - it's not even close. The "sluggers vs shooters" dichotomy is not "patriarchal" reasoning, but a very apt description of latent capacity. Rutten would crush Rousey. Annie Oakley would hand Doc Holliday his butt in a can, and then shoot the bottom out in mid-air.

    On the other hand, males are "socially disposable." When men die in accidents, people shrug and nobody except friends and kin care. When women die in accidents, it makes the news. Women frequently receive much more sympathy and much lighter sentences for similar crimes.

    If we were to use stats directly (note that in the main thread, I didn't), I'd give:

    Male. Bonus to Str and Con, bonus to carrying capacity.
    Female. Bonus to Dex and Cha, bonus to aimed weapons and will saves.

    (Note that I"m not dealing with penalties, because we're dealing with highly unusual people and genetically gifted people -- "average stat" adventurers don't tend to survive in this shark-tank.)

    In the presence of edged weapons, strength counts. But it counts less than you'd think, and technique counts a lot more. High-level fighting is also hugely psychological (for a great current-day title on this, google "The Liar, the Cheat, and the Thief.") Men will (tend to) have an advantage as heavy-foot and while grappling, because mass matters. Men will tend to draw the most powerful of the warbows, and men will be much more likely to survive when load-bearing-and-exhausted. Make combat mounted and that evens out rapidly - skill with the horse outweighs all these considerations. Women have a huge advantage with crossbows and lighter bows, and can skirmish every bit as well with spear or other bodyweight-in-motion weapons (I consider normal spear a finesse weapon for that reason).

    These differences are all basically fungible with a given amount of magic. So in my book this comes down to "does the culture produce enough food that there is plenty of surplus labor and lots of gals who are highly risk-tolerant and oriented to things other than family?" If so, I'd expect to see a 50/50 ratio or close to it -- any culture where "shield maidens" (in whatever form) are a thing, will have lots of them. DnD is easy this way because its assumptions are generally high-magic and famously healing-friendly. Other rpgs, Pendragon especially, make this very rough, since establishing your family line is a fundamental part of the process, and the unmodded game also assumes an actual low-magic world with, well, medieval medicine.
    Last edited by happycrow; 2015-03-27 at 10:23 AM.

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    Default Re: Let the gender in games be moved here PLZ

    Quote Originally Posted by Murk View Post
    EDIT: Hm. I think the OoTS-forum might not be the best place for this?
    The OotS forum is not the best place for a discussion about gender in OotS?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rakoa View Post
    The OotS forum is not the best place for a discussion about gender in OotS?
    I think we've moved away from gender in OoTS to gender in RPG. I had an elaborate response written about why I enjoy roleplaying differences with a numerical aspect, and why I'd enjoy stat differences between whatever as much as possible. Then I realised that had nothing to do with OoTS at all, so I removed it.
    Not to say you can't continue, or that it isn't an interesting discussion. I'm just not a part of it. Sorry ;)

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    Default Re: Let the gender in games be moved here PLZ

    Quote Originally Posted by happycrow View Post
    ...lots of good stuff, see above for full text...
    I agree with this post.

    Cultural conditioning and training can make a world of difference in the numbers of women who might pursue a combat-oriented career. If this is an aspect of the world it should be demonstrated in the story so that the reader understands. It need not be an overt statement, but it should be demonstrated in some way.

    Example:
    As they passed the courtyard the ring of steel on steel brought back familiar images of their own time in the training yard.
    "You are faster, he is stronger!" shouted the weaponsmaster. "If you want to survive, use your speed and do not attempt to match him blow-for-blow!"
    The helmed figure nodded. Her slender form bulked up by training leathers was still a third smaller than her opponent, but her determined stance as she brought her weapon into line gave her a formidable appearance. She, like the other girls in the courtyard, displayed no fear of her male opponent as practice swords struck armor and glanced off of other swords.

    But there is the concept of 'protection of females' which has been glossed over. Most of what we see as gender bias stems from cultural attempts to protect women from things that will kill them. Are they fair? No. But then fairness has nothing to do with survival; the lion doesn't care if it eats a male or a female. Women might have to share husbands, but it is always better to send the expendable male to kill the lion rather than the much more valuable female.

    This is also the basis of the woman as a sexual object. In a society which has difficulty maintaining its population, not to mention growing it, women must spend the greatest portion of their adult lives in child-bearing and child rearing. This is not male-chauvinism, but a reflection of the very real fact that from menarche to menopause each woman must attempt to produce as many children as she can so that her society can be maintained.

    And this is where I have a fundamental disagreement with the majority of 'equal representation' arguments. Women who seek a career in dangerous occupations certainly exist, but they are outnumbered by males in those occupations. When a culture has grown to the point that women are easily as expendable as males, (such as some may argue our society has done,) then I think we'll see more females in dangerous professions. Until women are as expendable as men they will be protected and culturally conditioned to believe their proper role is to work to sustain their societies. But there will be a lag between expendability and cultural recognition of it.
    Last edited by brian 333; 2015-03-27 at 02:39 PM.

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    Default Re: Let the gender in games be moved here PLZ

    One of the many purposes of a fictional fantasy universe is to give us a place to tell stories and play games that differs from our own world. The DnD universe in particular has stated for over 20 years that the physical differences between males and females that have informed our real world societal expectations do not exist in that world.

    You can, if you like, choose to impose sociological and historical information from our real world on your fictional fantasy world in order to justify the exclusion of women from your stories and games, but if you do so, you are deliberately choosing to exclude women from your stories and games. You can elect to label it as "realism" if you want to, but the idea that you might want "realism" to exist in parallel with wanting dragons and magic mystifies me.

    At the end of the day, DnD is designed to be set up to allow you to have equal participation of women if you want to, and it's designed to allow you to exclude women if you want to. It's also designed to allow you to have a matriarchal society that mistreats men... if you want to. It's open-ended and you can do what you want with it.

    If you argue that your games and stories should exclude women from it, that's because it's what you want from your games and stories. I feel that in such instances you should ask yourself why you want that and reassess your priorities, but I can't force you to and I'm tired of trying to explain it. The information is out there, it's quite easy to figure out.
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    Default Re: Let the gender in games be moved here PLZ

    Quote Originally Posted by ahdok View Post
    One of the many purposes of a fictional fantasy universe is to give us a place to tell stories and play games that differs from our own world. The DnD universe in particular has stated for over 20 years that the physical differences between males and females that have informed our real world societal expectations do not exist in that world.

    You can, if you like, choose to impose sociological and historical information from our real world on your fictional fantasy world in order to justify the exclusion of women from your stories and games, but if you do so, you are deliberately choosing to exclude women from your stories and games. You can elect to label it as "realism" if you want to, but the idea that you might want "realism" to exist in parallel with wanting dragons and magic mystifies me.

    At the end of the day, DnD is designed to be set up to allow you to have equal participation of women if you want to, and it's designed to allow you to exclude women if you want to. It's also designed to allow you to have a matriarchal society that mistreats men... if you want to. It's open-ended and you can do what you want with it.

    If you argue that your games and stories should exclude women from it, that's because it's what you want from your games and stories. I feel that in such instances you should ask yourself why you want that and reassess your priorities, but I can't force you to and I'm tired of trying to explain it. The information is out there, it's quite easy to figure out.
    In other words, even if, "realistically", there would be a lot fewer (base human) women than men with the STR and CON scores to be adventuring-quality fighters, that's really not important in a game where I get to play a gnome who flies around zapping people with lightning. So if my wife wants to play an 18 STR Barbarian, the only thing stopping her is the lousy Will save.

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    Default Re: Let the gender in games be moved here PLZ

    Quote Originally Posted by johnbragg View Post
    In other words, even if, "realistically", there would be a lot fewer (base human) women than men with the STR and CON scores to be adventuring-quality fighters, that's really not important in a game where I get to play a gnome who flies around zapping people with lightning. So if my wife wants to play an 18 STR Barbarian, the only thing stopping her is the lousy Will save.
    Yes. My first and foremost argument is that when making fiction, you can do whatever you want. The arguments you make to support your decisions are simply crutches that prop them up, nothing more.

    ---
    ---

    My second and somewhat less relevant argument is that the sociological trends of our real-world society are deeply rooted in a history based largely upon physiological differences that DnD as a game explicitly writes out from the outset. Extrapolating an entire sociological framework devoid of that influence leaves you with a broad open canvas that allows you to build and design any end-result as you desire. You can invent reasons for pretty much any cultural identity you want as cultural development is often influenced heavily by specific events and individuals. It's extremely flawed to argue that any particular societal trend would be the only logical result. Yes absolutely a society with our approximate real-world social structures is a viable outcome, but so it pretty much any other set of social structures you can conceive. They're all "realistic"

    {scrubbed}

    Anthropology and sociology isn't exactly my area of scientific expertise, but the point remains that you can't logically say "oh well, the fact that the PHB says that men and women have the same mechanical scores doesn't matter, society would still place men into these roles" - it's baloney, any societal structure is viable.

    To take it even further... even if in the DnD universe men and women were mechanically different, it's still baloney to argue that a society has to develop with the same values as our own. People here are arguing "oh society in a DnD world has to protect the women, because they're the magical baby-factories, so obviously men go out and do the fighting." Baloney. Let's say we have a society where men are stronger than women and there's monsters everywhere. I argue that the development of society is that men and women live together until the age of 30, and make children in that time. Then once we hit the age of 30 and have some kids around, the men stay at home and raise the kids, while the women go out and kill monsters. That makes perfect sense, the survival of your society depends first and foremost upon defending your children, and secondly upon cutting down the monster population. Men are "stronger" so are more likely to be able to fend off monsters without going out to level up, and they thusly do the more important task of child-protection. Women who are a little weaker and thus "more expendible" now go out and do the more dangerous "monster fighting" part. Sure a lot of them die, but your society ends up surviving better that way around. All of a sudden we have a viable realistic logical society where all the adventurers are women.

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    ---

    My third argument is that all of us have been raised in a heavily patriarchal society where our media and entertainment outlets have had a storied several thousand year history of being very much written by men for men. The most often classic cited example I see (And I know it's done to death) is that male characters in fantasy videogames tend to be built like fridges, and wear heavy plate armour that covers them from head to toe in inch-thick steel, whereas female characters in fantasy videogames have a metal bikini and some wristbands. It's undeniable that these aesthetic choices exist largely for male viewing pleasure.

    Stop right this second and analyse your thought process. If you're sighing and shaking your head and thinking "not this again" I want you to very carefully think about whether or not you've been arguing that having lots of female adventurers is "unrealistic". If you're doing both, then it's a clear double-standard. the most realistic and logical design of plate armour for women is actually the same as it is for men - historical women who joined armies and fought in battles in those time periods wore the same sets of armour as men, not only because it's easier for a blacksmith to make all their armour the same way, but also because it offers the best protection.

    However, I brought it up because irrespective of what you think about it, it's a fairly clear-cut proof that these entertainments are designed for a largely-male audience.

    Now, as a manly-heterosexual-male-man myself, I have to admit, having all this lovely eye candy around is rather nice for me. Having an endless supply of male-power-fantasy stories available to satisfy my every whim is all rather nice... for me, and it's also rather nice for everyone else it caters to. And, it's a somewhat ingrained part of our society that we're all (male or female) very used to this being the case. Every facet of our society is like this... male news presenters can be "young and dynamic" or "old and wise" but our television outlets tend to move female news-anchors on once they age a bit and stop being pretty to look at. Lillet produced some examples in the other thread of some very famous studies about people's perceptions of male and female involvement in discussions which show that people perceive that women are taking "about half" of the time in any discussion when they're involved in somewhere between 17% and 35% of the discussion. Women get paid less than men for the same work. Everywhere.

    Again this is all very nice for me, because I have privilege. I'm the guy who benefits from our society being like this... but given this situation there are two different ways I can choose to look at it and react to it.

    1) I can decide "this is all very nice for me" and do nothing about it, or even do what I can to support the perpetuation of this. I can look at an argument about female representation in stories and say "hell yeah, 1 out of 6 characters being female is 'realistic' and here's a big list of phoney-baloney irrelevant reasons to support my claim." I can ignore the fact that It's a completely fictional world that can have any sociological, historical or logical structures that I want and argue that no, it can't because the only thing that "makes sense" is for it to conform to the societal structures that cater towards my needs and desires at the expense of others. I can even delude myself into thinking that I'm being logical and rational about this, because I'm so rooted in the systems that brought me up and ingrained into me from a very early age that it's "normal" and "logical" for everything in the world, even down to the fictions that we write to be designed for my convenience and please at the expense of people who aren't in my group of privilege. It's really really easy to do, because when these systems are designed to make your life nicer, they're invisible to you.

    Or...

    2) I can decide "well, this isn't really fair" and do something about it. I can accept the idea that women might be equal partners in my fictional story roles. I can tell myself it's logical and rational because I can conceive of histories and events that would lead to such a society. It's really easy to do for DnD, because the very rulebook for the world in which I'm setting my stories tells me that men and women are physically equal, and I can infer from this that they're societally equal too, if that's what I want. There isn't even a physical reason impairing me from doing that. As a writer, I can write stories and comics and games where women have an equal or a dominant role, and at least do a little bit to redress the ridiculous lack of balance there is in what we have and who it's written for. And best of all, I can feel good about it, because it's fairer and better that way. And you know what, when I do this, it's even more fun... because our society so is sick and fat with male power fantasies that it actually feels a little "fresh" and "different" to have stories that ignore that trap. And hell, as a writer it'll even benefit my bottom line, because more than 50% of the population is female, and less than 5% of our media is 'daring' enough to accept that they have value.

    A lot of people go with (1) because they can't see it or they can't be bothered to take the effort to actually look at the way we're conditioned to accept it and think about whether or not it's there. Not just men, a lot of women go with (1) too, because that's just the way we've been conditioned from birth to think. A lot of men go with (1) because even though they can see it, the idea of women having equal value and participation in our society and stories is inherently threatening to them... surely if women get equal treatment, then that means there's less ice-cream for the men. Yes, that's true, but it's awfully selfish. But increasingly our media is starting to realise that (2) is an option. Independent creators are starting to write stories and games where women feel valued because it's actually more fun and interesting, or because they think it's a more moral approach to content creation. Larger companies are starting to realise that writing stories where women have a greater participation actually improves their bank balance, because women have money to spend, and will spend a greater proportion of their money on things they find interesting. And there are a lot of men who aren't threatened by (2) because they can see just how much stuff there is for their entertainment already.

    ---
    ---
    ---

    When making fiction, you can do whatever you want. If you can't accept or believe that there might exist a fictional world where women and men are equal partners in adventuring, I say you're delusional. I can offer you some words to try to convince you otherwise, but I can't make you accept them and I don't want to.

    I'm fine with that. Enjoy your games... But I'll be over here with my lesbian-cat-monk PC and I'm going to get my DM-girlfriend to define how much buttermilk I can eat before I have to start making constitution checks.
    Last edited by Haruki-kun; 2015-04-01 at 08:34 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahdok View Post
    I'm fine with that enjoy your games... But I'll be over here with my lesbian-cat-monk PC and I'm going to get my DM-girlfriend to define how much buttermilk I can eat before I have to start making constitution checks.
    I see your cat-monk and raise you a half-elf-half-gnome illusionist with a natural 3 charisma.

    Legitimately rolled character even. That was a weird session.
    Last edited by Keltest; 2015-03-27 at 08:22 PM.
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    Default Re: Let the gender in games be moved here PLZ

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    I see your cat-monk and raise you a half-elf-half-gnome illusionist with a natural 3 charisma.

    Legitimately rolled character even. That was a weird session.
    He's not very likable, I'm afraid. :p
    Last edited by ahdok; 2015-03-27 at 08:30 PM. Reason: changed "She" to "He" given further information.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahdok View Post
    She's not very likable, I'm afraid. :p
    He devoted a lot of time to making sure his disguise didn't slip. Taking off the mask in combat was our Godzilla threshold.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    Default Re: Let the gender in games be moved here PLZ

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    He devoted a lot of time to making sure his disguise didn't slip. Taking off the mask in combat was our Godzilla threshold.
    That's pretty funny. I can totally see a fight going badly, and his mask falling off, at which point the bandits just surrender out of surprise, horror or losing their lunch...

    In our 5e campaign, my girlfriend has a Paladin with rolled stats, who has INT 3 and WIS 6...
    When she casts "find steed" her celestial horse has higher stats than her in 5 out of the 6 attributes.
    Her battlecry is "DIE HERETICS, IN THE NAME OF- hey boss... what god do I worship again?"
    Last edited by ahdok; 2015-03-27 at 08:33 PM.
    S&P is a comic I draw that's not as popular as this one.

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    Default Re: Let the gender in games be moved here PLZ

    Quote Originally Posted by ahdok View Post
    Yes. My first and foremost argument is that when making fiction, you can do whatever you want. The arguments you make to support your decisions are simply crutches that prop them up, nothing more.

    ---
    ---

    My second and somewhat less relevant argument is that the sociological trends of our real-world society are deeply rooted in a history based largely upon physiological differences that DnD as a game explicitly writes out from the outset. Extrapolating an entire sociological framework devoid of that influence leaves you with a broad open canvas that allows you to build and design any end-result as you desire. You can invent reasons for pretty much any cultural identity you want as cultural development is often influenced heavily by specific events and individuals. It's extremely flawed to argue that any particular societal trend would be the only logical result. Yes absolutely a society with our approximate real-world social structures is a viable outcome, but so it pretty much any other set of social structures you can conceive. They're all "realistic"

    {scrubbed}

    Anthropology and sociology isn't exactly my area of scientific expertise, but the point remains that you can't logically say "oh well, the fact that the PHB says that men and women have the same mechanical scores doesn't matter, society would still place men into these roles" - it's baloney, any societal structure is viable.

    To take it even further... even if in the DnD universe men and women were mechanically different, it's still baloney to argue that a society has to develop with the same values as our own. People here are arguing "oh society in a DnD world has to protect the women, because they're the magical baby-factories, so obviously men go out and do the fighting." Baloney. Let's say we have a society where men are stronger than women and there's monsters everywhere. I argue that the development of society is that men and women live together until the age of 30, and make children in that time. Then once we hit the age of 30 and have some kids around, the men stay at home and raise the kids, while the women go out and kill monsters. That makes perfect sense, the survival of your society depends first and foremost upon defending your children, and secondly upon cutting down the monster population. Men are "stronger" so are more likely to be able to fend off monsters without going out to level up, and they thusly do the more important task of child-protection. Women who are a little weaker and thus "more expendible" now go out and do the more dangerous "monster fighting" part. Sure a lot of them die, but your society ends up surviving better that way around. All of a sudden we have a viable realistic logical society where all the adventurers are women.

    ---
    ---

    My third argument is that all of us have been raised in a heavily patriarchal society where our media and entertainment outlets have had a storied several thousand year history of being very much written by men for men. The most often classic cited example I see (And I know it's done to death) is that male characters in fantasy videogames tend to be built like fridges, and wear heavy plate armour that covers them from head to toe in inch-thick steel, whereas female characters in fantasy videogames have a metal bikini and some wristbands. It's undeniable that these aesthetic choices exist largely for male viewing pleasure.

    Stop right this second and analyse your thought process. If you're sighing and shaking your head and thinking "not this again" I want you to very carefully think about whether or not you've been arguing that having lots of female adventurers is "unrealistic". If you're doing both, then it's a clear double-standard. the most realistic and logical design of plate armour for women is actually the same as it is for men - historical women who joined armies and fought in battles in those time periods wore the same sets of armour as men, not only because it's easier for a blacksmith to make all their armour the same way, but also because it offers the best protection.

    However, I brought it up because irrespective of what you think about it, it's a fairly clear-cut proof that these entertainments are designed for a largely-male audience.

    Now, as a manly-heterosexual-male-man myself, I have to admit, having all this lovely eye candy around is rather nice for me. Having an endless supply of male-power-fantasy stories available to satisfy my every whim is all rather nice... for me, and it's also rather nice for everyone else it caters to. And, it's a somewhat ingrained part of our society that we're all (male or female) very used to this being the case. Every facet of our society is like this... male news presenters can be "young and dynamic" or "old and wise" but our television outlets tend to move female news-anchors on once they age a bit and stop being pretty to look at. Lillet produced some examples in the other thread of some very famous studies about people's perceptions of male and female involvement in discussions which show that people perceive that women are taking "about half" of the time in any discussion when they're involved in somewhere between 17% and 35% of the discussion. Women get paid less than men for the same work. Everywhere.

    Again this is all very nice for me, because I have privilege. I'm the guy who benefits from our society being like this... but given this situation there are two different ways I can choose to look at it and react to it.

    1) I can decide "this is all very nice for me" and do nothing about it, or even do what I can to support the perpetuation of this. I can look at an argument about female representation in stories and say "hell yeah, 1 out of 6 characters being female is 'realistic' and here's a big list of phoney-baloney irrelevant reasons to support my claim." I can ignore the fact that It's a completely fictional world that can have any sociological, historical or logical structures that I want and argue that no, it can't because the only thing that "makes sense" is for it to conform to the societal structures that cater towards my needs and desires at the expense of others. I can even delude myself into thinking that I'm being logical and rational about this, because I'm so rooted in the systems that brought me up and ingrained into me from a very early age that it's "normal" and "logical" for everything in the world, even down to the fictions that we write to be designed for my convenience and please at the expense of people who aren't in my group of privilege. It's really really easy to do, because when these systems are designed to make your life nicer, they're invisible to you.

    Or...

    2) I can decide "well, this isn't really fair" and do something about it. I can accept the idea that women might be equal partners in my fictional story roles. I can tell myself it's logical and rational because I can conceive of histories and events that would lead to such a society. It's really easy to do for DnD, because the very rulebook for the world in which I'm setting my stories tells me that men and women are physically equal, and I can infer from this that they're societally equal too, if that's what I want. There isn't even a physical reason impairing me from doing that. As a writer, I can write stories and comics and games where women have an equal or a dominant role, and at least do a little bit to redress the ridiculous lack of balance there is in what we have and who it's written for. And best of all, I can feel good about it, because it's fairer and better that way. And you know what, when I do this, it's even more fun... because our society so is sick and fat with male power fantasies that it actually feels a little "fresh" and "different" to have stories that ignore that trap. And hell, as a writer it'll even benefit my bottom line, because more than 50% of the population is female, and less than 5% of our media is 'daring' enough to accept that they have value.

    A lot of people go with (1) because they can't see it or they can't be bothered to take the effort to actually look at the way we're conditioned to accept it and think about whether or not it's there. Not just men, a lot of women go with (1) too, because that's just the way we've been conditioned from birth to think. A lot of men go with (1) because even though they can see it, the idea of women having equal value and participation in our society and stories is inherently threatening to them... surely if women get equal treatment, then that means there's less ice-cream for the men. Yes, that's true, but it's awfully selfish. But increasingly our media is starting to realise that (2) is an option. Independent creators are starting to write stories and games where women feel valued because it's actually more fun and interesting, or because they think it's a more moral approach to content creation. Larger companies are starting to realise that writing stories where women have a greater participation actually improves their bank balance, because women have money to spend, and will spend a greater proportion of their money on things they find interesting. And there are a lot of men who aren't threatened by (2) because they can see just how much stuff there is for their entertainment already.

    ---
    ---
    ---

    When making fiction, you can do whatever you want. If you can't accept or believe that there might exist a fictional world where women and men are equal partners in adventuring, I say you're delusional. I can offer you some words to try to convince you otherwise, but I can't make you accept them and I don't want to.

    I'm fine with that. Enjoy your games... But I'll be over here with my lesbian-cat-monk PC and I'm going to get my DM-girlfriend to define how much buttermilk I can eat before I have to start making constitution checks.
    I have never agreed more.
    Last edited by Haruki-kun; 2015-04-01 at 08:34 PM.

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    Default Re: Let the gender in games be moved here PLZ

    Historically, the reason women had to spend so much effort in childbirth was because infant mortality was so insanely high. Even in the 19th century, tromp around a cemetery...most of the headstones are little ones, and they all tend to die in bunches corresponding to sickness. Just like today's developing world.

    Fantasy world? Utter non-issue.

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    Default Re: Let the gender in games be moved here PLZ

    Quote Originally Posted by Gusion View Post
    If you want to talk about the comic "over there" then I would suggest just talking about it. If people find what you have to say interesting, they will respond and the topic will change.

    After a particular strip has been up for an extended length of time, people pretty much always go "off topic" in that thread. Sometimes they go so far off topic it ends back up on topic. Part of the social dynamics. This is what it is. You can blame me personally since I started it this time, although my comment was specifically tied to the comic.
    I'm not sure anyone has actually even addressed the topic!

    The topic appears to be (I have to guess since no one actually addressed it): Should gender affect state totals in D&D?

    What I see people actually addressing is whether women and men are different in real life, what those differences are, what the causes of the differences are (specifically nature or nurture and from this conversation it apparently has to be entirely one or the other), and how those alleged differences between women and men can best be reflected by adjusting rolls and tables.

    None of those address the question of why a fantasy game where the players more often than not play fantasy races should reflect any differences in the real world between human men and women.

    It is not important for this fantasy system to accurately reflect real human mortality, actual weapons advantages and weaknesses, the actual range and firing rate of bows and crossbows, or anything resembling the laws of physics.

    However, apparently, gender differences should be accurately represented in this fantasy game by biasing die rolls...it seems everyone is accepting that, regardless of what they think about men and women, that should their differences be real and inborn or something, that these differences should be present in a fantasy!
    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    It would have been awesome if the writers had put as much thought into it as you guys do.
    The laws of physics are not crying in a corner, they are bawling in the forums.

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    Default Re: Let the gender in games be moved here PLZ

    Once again I remind you that I am not opposed to more females, or any other classification of persons, in fiction. This is, for me, wholly a matter of the intent of the author. My original point was to demonstrate that The Giant has been from the very start inclusive of females and of persons of various sexual orientations. When you say, "Not inclusive enough," I have to ask, "As compared to what?" If the only thing you have to support your claim is your desire for fifty:fifty representation, then I must ask. "Why is this so in your fiction?" It certainly does not reflect anything I understand as 'normal', although admittedly what I perceive as normal may not be so.

    But where you say 'realism' I say 'verisimilitude'. I don't want my fantasy to be realistic; that would be an oxymoron. However, when you mention water in your fantasy I expect it to have similar properties to water in my world. When you mention magic I have no real world corollary, and thus I have no expectations for magic. I do have gender expectations, and even expectations for those who exist outside my gender expectations.

    If you create a society that differs enough from mine that I cannot readily identify with it, then I ask you to explain it to me. You don't need to spend half the novel doing so: I'm not as dense as you may think. However, so far the only reason given is, "Because D&D says so." Well and good. For the sake of verisimilitude, I would ask you to explain in a bit more depth than a simple resort to authority.
    Last edited by brian 333; 2015-03-27 at 11:28 PM.

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    Default Re: Let the gender in games be moved here PLZ

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    If you create a society that differs enough from mine that I cannot readily identify with it, then I ask you to explain it to me. You don't need to spend half the novel doing so: I'm not as dense as you may think. However, so far the only reason given is, "Because D&D says so." Well and good. For the sake of verisimilitude, I would ask you to explain in a bit more depth than a simple resort to authority.
    Allow me to explain it in sufficient depth:

    It's a comic strip.

    No other explanation is necessary, because unless you have some weird mental disorder that prevents you from understanding the concept of fiction, you already know the "explanation" for any aspect of any story that differs from reality: Because the author wrote it that way. Because you are a real person in the real world reading a made-up story in a made-up world, and the real person who made up the made-up story decided to make it up that way for a variety of real world reasons.

    Do you need an explanation for why there are dragons when the real world doesn't have dragons? Because it's a story. Do you need an explanation for why those dragons can fly when logically a creature of that size shouldn't be able to do so? Because it's a story. Do you need an explanation for why a human wiggling their fingers and saying certain words causes lightning to shoot out of them and fry that dragon to a crisp? Because it's a story. Do you need a reason for why that finger-wiggling human is a gay woman and not a straight man? No, you don't, because it's the least absurd thing in this paragraph and you accept all of the others without question. But if you do, then it's because it's a story.

    Grant Morrison once said in an interview with Rolling Stone:
    "Kids understand that real crabs don't sing like the ones in The Little Mermaid. But you give an adult fiction, and the adult starts asking really ****ing dumb questions like 'How does Superman fly? How do those eyebeams work? Who pumps the Batmobile's tires?' It's a ****ing made-up story, you idiot! Nobody pumps the tires!"
    "Verisimilitude" is a highly overrated concept. If it is not a requirement for the many things that don't exist in the real world and could never exist (dragons, wizards, zombies, time travel), then it certainly has no power to prevent things that do exist in the real world from making an appearance.

    What's even worse is this idea of statistical verisimilitude that I keep seeing—where the numerical percentage of characters with certain traits must match the "likely" percentages in the real world, based on whatever filter the proponent chooses to determine what is likely. This argument is utter unadulterated garbage. It's garbage because stories are about protagonists and protagonists are usually unusual. There are only like 4 Force-wielders in a galaxy of trillions at the start of Star Wars, yet by the end of second movie they've all appeared as part of the narrative. Is anyone complaining that Star Wars breaks verisimilitude because such a small minority group is so over-represented? No, because it happens to be a story about those people who belong to that group. Likewise, if a story has a percentage of LGBTQ+ characters that is higher than the statistical occurrence of LGBTQ+ people in the real world, does that break verisimilitude? No, because it happens to be a story about those people who belong to that group.

    The inherent garbageness of the statistical verisimilitude argument cuts both ways, incidentally. It's not really valid to say, "Half of all the people in the real world are women, therefore half of the characters in your story must be women or it breaks verisimilitude." Not true; it might happen to be a story about people who are male—say, a love story between two gay men. A much, much better argument is, "Half of all the people in the real world are women, and those women buy comic books, too, so you better get your thumb out of your ass and draw some women."

    An all-male (or predominantly male) story might be a valid artistic choice but doing so opens one up to an assortment of social and economic pressures in the real world. The artist then needs to decide how much he or she cares about those reactions and what it says about them and their work. It's totally valid to then say, "Screw it, my story doesn't have any women in it, deal with it." However, if one does that, one needs to be prepared to accept the consequences of that decision, which may include low sales, poor critical response, being labeled a sexist (or worse), etc. If one believes in one's artistic vision enough to weather that storm, then hey, have at it.

    Me? Not only do I not want to sail into that particular tempest, I wasn't even aware I was on that course until it was pointed out to me. And it's tough to turn a ship as big as OOTS around, especially at this late date in the narrative's journey where there are so few characters left to enter the story, but I'm still trying. It would have been totally valid, artistically, for me to plant my flag and say, "No, OOTS needs to be predominantly male for Reasons," and then it would have been equally valid for people to say, "OK, well, that's not really my cup of tea so I'll go throw my money at some other more diverse comic strip." I have no reason to die on that particular hill, however, as I happen to agree with the general notions of representation that have been raised and am somewhat embarrassed that I didn't notice the problems involved sooner.

    When you say (earlier in your post) that you have expectations about gender, what you're really saying is, "I expect a story to cater to my existing worldview," or, to put it another way, you're saying that you want it to be your cup of tea. So if I have some readers whose cup of tea is more diversity and some readers whose cup of tea is less diversity, then how do I decide which type of tea to brew? Easy. I brew my cup of tea and let the chips fall where they may, and that happens to be a narrative with plenty of diversity. If I got the tea recipe wrong before, I guess I'll just have to put a new pot on now.
    Rich Burlew


    A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2, the sixth set of monster miniatures for your tabletop game—now including digital tokens to use in your favorite virtual tabletop. Available from Gumroad!

    ~~You can also support The Order of the Stick and the GITP forum at Patreon.~~

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    Default Re: Let the gender in games be moved here PLZ

    Also, I see some references to events that involve real world political aspects. Stay away from those, please.

    Oh, and in the future: Please don't tell other posters on which thread to discuss a particular topic. If you want to talk about the strip in the Discussion thread, then just go ahead and do so. Don't tell other people to stop talking about other topics. If you think other posters are dangerously far off topic and would like them to stop, issue a report to the moderating staff and someone will come take a look.
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    Default Re: Let the gender in games be moved here PLZ

    Rich, I heartily agree with you (and with ahdok). I would like to add to the point about wanting a story that reinforces one's worldview. Wanting a story that only reinforce's your worldview is like always taking your coffee exactly the same way, with exactly the same bean from exactly the same place, every time. Or like always having a McDonald's quarter-pounder with cheese if you want a hamburger.

    The consistency can be nice. In fact that's probably exactly what you like about it - you're getting the exact same thing every time, with no variation.

    A story that challenges your worldview, however, does a lot of things for you. It can force you to question what it is you hold dear about that view, consider whether it's a good view, consider if there's a better view, deepen your understanding of your existing worldview. You might, for instance, like Folger's Columbian dark roast, black. But maybe you try a real dark roast coffee, really from Columbia - or Puerto Rico, or Peru. You're not sure about it. It's a bit different from what you're used to. Or maybe your friend makes that Puerto Rican dark roast and adds a cube of sugar - real, pure sugar grown in Puerto Rico - to the cup. Now, the coffee might not be to your liking. Or it could be the best damned cup of coffee you've ever had.

    Or maybe you like your quarter-pounders. But maybe there's this place that sells bison burgers. There's a different flavor to them, but they're delightfully lean. You might not even want to try them, just have a visceral reaction against the idea of it - it just doesn't sit well with you. You won't even try it. Or even listen to someone talk about eating bison.

    But you'll never know until you try. And you'll never deepen your worldview, vis a vis hamburgers, or coffee, or anything else, unless you at least give consideration to the idea of bison et cetera. Your worldview cannot be deepened unless you are at least exposed to the possibility of something different and able to give it due consideration. And that's one of the primary reasons for stories at all. Giving us something new to chew over.
    Linguist and Invoker of Orcus of the Rudisplorker's Guild
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Fantasy literature is ONLY worthwhile for what it can tell us about the real world; everything else is petty escapism.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    No author should have to take the time to say, "This little girl ISN'T evil, folks!" in order for the reader to understand that. It should be assumed that no first graders are irredeemably Evil unless the text tells you they are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    When you say (earlier in your post) that you have expectations about gender, what you're really saying is, "I expect a story to cater to my existing worldview," or, to put it another way, you're saying that you want it to be your cup of tea. So if I have some readers whose cup of tea is more diversity and some readers whose cup of tea is less diversity, then how do I decide which type of tea to brew? Easy. I brew my cup of tea and let the chips fall where they may, and that happens to be a narrative with plenty of diversity. If I got the tea recipe wrong before, I guess I'll just have to put a new pot on now.
    That is the most amazing metaphor ever written.

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    Default Re: Let the gender in games be moved here PLZ

    My next attempt at this whole messy business was going to be to point out that this comic strip contained a fine example of a character with a very restrictive and narrow view of the way the world works, and how it should work, who was completely unable to accept that the views of other people might be valid, even in the face of patient calm reasoning... and she was called Miko.

    My plan was to ask people: When confronted with that kind of character and both perspectives, as a neutral outside party, how does the inflexible person come across to you?

    However...

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Allow me to explain it in sufficient depth:

    It's a comic strip.

    No other explanation is necessary.

    (Plus the entire rest of this post.)
    Rich has managed to say everything I was trying to say for the last three days in less than a third as many words, and in a fashion simple enough to make sense, but poignant enough to be memorable. This is an uncommon talent, and I feel incredibly humbled and grateful that such a talent would choose to give me a story and entertainment, for free.

    Quote Originally Posted by woweedd View Post
    That is the most amazing metaphor ever written.
    It's also some of the most common advice I see given to aspiring writers... "Don't try to cater to everyone, write what you want to write, and your audience will grow around it if it's good enough. If you start altering your work to cater to the whims and demands of your audience, it starts to feel less genuine, because it's not your natural style.

    It's good advice.
    Last edited by ahdok; 2015-03-28 at 07:07 AM.
    S&P is a comic I draw that's not as popular as this one.

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    Default Re: Let the gender in games be moved here PLZ

    Do I understand the discussion right? I thought we were talking about something having to do with D&D and its portrayal of genders of all the normally playable races as basically having the same stats...

    Now The Giant comes in and everyone is talking about OOTS.

    Regardless of whether or not D&D should do anything specific about gender...what does that have to do with the writing of OOTS...which is equal parts parody and pastiche of D&D as it is (or was, we're still in 3.5 right?) not D&D as someone wants it to be.

    I can't even comprehend what the proposed change to OOTS would be and why someone would suggest it should be made.
    Last edited by Reddish Mage; 2015-03-28 at 10:08 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    It would have been awesome if the writers had put as much thought into it as you guys do.
    The laws of physics are not crying in a corner, they are bawling in the forums.

    Thanks to half-halfling for the avatar

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    Default Re: Let the gender in games be moved here PLZ

    As far as I could tell, the conversation was sparked by issues of Haley and whether or not she could win in melee, and digressed into general conversation about gender representation. I talked about OOTS more because that's what I can really speak to, but everything I said still applies to any other fictional creation. If anything, the because-it's-a-story answer applies even more to D&D products than comic strips, because they need their published books to be open to all possible player-generated stories. Players who want to add gender-specific adjustments back in are free to do so, but it would be foolish of WOTC to include them in the rulebook in the current social climate. And that's the only reason required for why there are not those adjustments in the worlds of D&D.
    Rich Burlew


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    Default Re: Let the gender in games be moved here PLZ

    Quote Originally Posted by happycrow View Post
    If we were to use stats directly (note that in the main thread, I didn't), I'd give:

    Male. Bonus to Str and Con, bonus to carrying capacity.
    Female. Bonus to Dex and Cha, bonus to aimed weapons and will saves.
    I don't see myself ever doing this, but if I did I'd definitely have all the bonuses be +1* so that it's a lesser effect than race choice. Since I'm pretty sure the difference between being a male or female human should be less than the difference between being a human or an elf.

    * Except of course the carrying capacity one since it's not a d20 modifier. Maybe x1.1?

    Quote Originally Posted by ahdok View Post
    Anyone want to run the numbers on what the average array is using this method?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    As far as I could tell, the conversation was sparked by issues of Haley and whether or not she could win in melee
    Against a golem? There are so many actual reasons why the answer to that is no, how the heck did sex sneak its way into the conversation?
    Revan avatar by kaptainkrutch.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cirrylius View Post
    That's how wizards beta test their new animals. If it survives Australia, it's a go. Which in hindsight explains a LOT about Australia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sith_Happens View Post
    Against a golem? There are so many actual reasons why the answer to that is no, how the heck did sex sneak its way into the conversation?
    People were afraid that she would become a "damsel in distress" if she were every to rely on one of her more martially inclined teammates to get her out of a fight.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    GnomeWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Nov 2013

    Default Re: Let the gender in games be moved here PLZ

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    People were afraid that she would become a "damsel in distress" if she were every to rely on one of her more martially inclined teammates to get her out of a fight.
    I can understand the fear, because supposedly strong women becoming helpless for no good reason is pretty much endemic in the media even today. It's the number one cause of me yelling at my TV.

    Still, it ignores two major points.

    1) As everyone has pointed out, it's a D&D party and so full teamwork has to be expected. If anything, OOTS is a shining example of "going solo gets you killed".

    2) The Giant is a better writer than that. As eloquently shown by the follow-up comic we actually got. My first thought on reading the comic was "Well, that settles THAT little argument..."

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