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Thread: Intersex PCs

  1. - Top - End - #211
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    Default Re: Intersex PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I really wish our language had a word for physical sex that lacked that baggage of either sex or gender as well as gender neutral pronouns, it would make these sort of discussions, and life in general, so much easier.
    Just a quick pop-in to say that a common term for this would be phenotypic sex (that which can be directly seen).

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    Default Re: Intersex PCs

    The trans community use AGAB, or Assigned Gender At Birth.

    Which is typically synonymous with "sex", insofar as it's based on a doctor looking at someone's privates and making a decision, which is usually what someone means when they say "biological sex".
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    Default Re: Intersex PCs

    Both phenotype and AGAB work, but share two problems. First, they are a mouthful to say, and second they exclude people who have medically (on in an RPG magically) transitioned.
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    Default Re: Intersex PCs

    "Phenotypic" does mean what I think you want to mean. Would a stranger seeing this person think that they're male, female, uncertainly androgynous, or something else? (Where "something else" is a robot or a sentient shade of blue or something else to which biological ideas like physical sex are irrelevant.) And in practice you can just have a "gender" line on your sheets (because as was mentioned way up thread, "sex" will just be a magnet for "yes please" jokes), explain in the rulebook that it's for what someone taking a quick look at you would guess (because "phenotype" is a word that even many RPG dweebs who like arcane terminology might not be familiar with), and leave the blank long enough that someone who really wants to fill in something like "androgynous" or "nonbinary" is free to do so. It won't be too hard to communicate in the rulebook that you're more concerned with presentation and build than chromosomes or genitalia.

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    Default Re: Intersex PCs

    I just use 'sex'.

    AGAB as a word has the problem that it is still about a gender, a social construct and how people treat someone growing up. It is good for the Trans-community to be be able to differentiate between what gender a society applied and used and what gender a person feels they belong too.

    But that is not exactly what Talakael is looking for. Even if the results are nearly always the same as society does assign a gender based on their observation of the sex after birth.



    phenotype has the weird problem that it is usually contrasted with genotype and implies the latter is completely ignored. That would result in many kinds of intersex poeple to be not classified as such when only considering pnenotype. So it is not completely the same as "biological sex" or "sex". Though, unless you actually try for procreation, it should not matter. So phenotype does capture well most what could possibly be relevant for a character sheet.
    Last edited by Satinavian; 2021-01-18 at 02:06 AM.

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    Default Re: Intersex PCs

    This thread's premise still feels like a long exercise in splitting hairs. Why not just have the players write down the gender their character identifies/presents as and then, if the shape of their body comes up, deal with it in that instance? As has been suggested before, I'm pretty sure.
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    Default Re: Intersex PCs

    Because gender is social and it makes not much sense to discuss gender of a character without also discussing the society the character comes from and what gender actually means there.

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    Default Re: Intersex PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    Because gender is social and it makes not much sense to discuss gender of a character without also discussing the society the character comes from and what gender actually means there.
    I'm confused here. Are you saying that in D&D the PC's gender should reflect the gender his/her society would assign to him/her and not whatever gender he/she personally identifies as?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    This thread's premise still feels like a long exercise in splitting hairs.
    Welcome to half the gender discussions on the internet. The other half are essentially "you're either a boy or a girl, that's just SCIENCE" and happen in places you're probably happier avoiding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frogreaver View Post
    I'm confused here. Are you saying that in D&D the PC's gender should reflect the gender his/her society would assign to him/her and not whatever gender he/she personally identifies as?
    I say that the whole idea what "feminine" or "masculine" even mean, aside from the physical, is something a character has from their society. When a character will identify as a gender, that will always reflect and be based on the society. Even when the society disagrees because the concept of transgender is not well established there.

    When you don't know the culture the character comes from, then the statement "the characters gender is female" carries basically no information. Aside from maybe pronoun use. If the characters language even has pronouns based on gender.
    Last edited by Satinavian; 2021-01-18 at 04:24 AM.

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    Default Re: Intersex PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    Because gender is social and it makes not much sense to discuss gender of a character without also discussing the society the character comes from and what gender actually means there.
    The relationship between a character's identity and their society's gender norms is a very individual thing and needs to be discussed at the table. But as far as the character sheet is concerned, the character is the gender that the player says they are and no one but the player has any say in it. That's the long and short of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anymage View Post
    Welcome to half the gender discussions on the internet. The other half are essentially "you're either a boy or a girl, that's just SCIENCE" and happen in places you're probably happier avoiding.
    I wish those happened only in places I could avoid without just dropping off the Internet altogether.
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    Default Re: Intersex PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    The relationship between a character's identity and their society's gender norms is a very individual thing and needs to be discussed at the table. But as far as the character sheet is concerned, the character is the gender that the player says they are and no one but the player has any say in it. That's the long and short of it.
    I don't disagree with that at all.

    But what exactly does this tell the other players about the character ? If they don't know the culture for referrence, the characters gender provides less information as the characters favourite colour.
    Last edited by Satinavian; 2021-01-18 at 06:10 AM.

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    Default Re: Intersex PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Both phenotype and AGAB work, but share two problems. First, they are a mouthful to say, and second they exclude people who have medically (on in an RPG magically) transitioned.
    bit of a mouthful I agree but as I understand the term, Phenotypic would be the sex you transitioned into (when post-op).

    Quote Originally Posted by Anymage View Post
    Welcome to half the gender discussions on the internet. The other half are essentially "you're either a boy or a girl, that's just SCIENCE" and happen in places you're probably happier avoiding.
    Yeah, momma Jones (YT OBGYN) actually had to do a video explaining that her "you don't get to be offended by science" merch isn't transphobic.
    It's technically agnostic, but effectively supportive šause guess what? most science agrees it is a real thing. And you don't get to be offended by that.

    (For instance, apart from the intersex spectrum inbetween M/F and the less usual chomosome pairings (XXX, XXY, XYY, X, Y), apparently about 1 in 450 or so has a different phenotypic sex than their chromosomes would suggest.
    And that's just their private parts, let alone the wide spectrum of brain development, personality, and self image.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by EGplay View Post
    (For instance, apart from the intersex spectrum inbetween M/F and the less usual chomosome pairings (XXX, XXY, XYY, X, Y),
    This is the fact that always makes me laugh when people say that there are only two genders. Ignoring the identity layers doesn't make me laugh because... yeah. But the fact that one the other side of all that is this scientific fact they state with such confidence and is completely wrong.

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    Default Re: Intersex PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    I don't disagree with that at all.

    But what exactly does this tell the other players about the character ? If they don't know the culture for referrence, the characters gender provides less information as the characters favourite colour.
    Not having a "gender" box or replacing it with a "pronouns" one are valid choices.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    This is the fact that always makes me laugh when people say that there are only two genders. Ignoring the identity layers doesn't make me laugh because... yeah. But the fact that one the other side of all that is this scientific fact they state with such confidence and is completely wrong.
    Yeah. You have one side that says that gender is a purely artificial, arbitrary social construct while also saying that someone who wants to change theirs comes from a deep, innate place. And the other side saying that gender is a fixed empirical fact while also crapping on people who are walking, talking evidence favor of gender having a strong innate component. In real life I've generally learned not to bother with these discussions.

    In games? My ideal is when it isn't so obtrusive that people will comment on it or make any sort of stink, while still allowing people who want to explore the space to do so. There might be wrinkles (like two choices for a binary system are way easier to program into something than a whole host of bespoke pronouns), but there's no point to excluding anybody.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    Not having a "gender" box or replacing it with a "pronouns" one are valid choices.
    We live in a world where most forms call it "gender" rather than "sex" because of the obvious jokes. Never mind that a list of pronouns would be a pretty long field. Once released out into the wild (and Talakeal's group does not sound like a bunch of social justice hippies), how much are you expecting anything other than a bunch of apache attack helicopters?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anymage View Post
    Yeah. You have one side that says that gender is a purely artificial, arbitrary social construct while also saying that someone who wants to change theirs comes from a deep, innate place. And the other side saying that gender is a fixed empirical fact while also crapping on people who are walking, talking evidence favor of gender having a strong innate component. In real life I've generally learned not to bother with these discussions.

    In games? My ideal is when it isn't so obtrusive that people will comment on it or make any sort of stink, while still allowing people who want to explore the space to do so. There might be wrinkles (like two choices for a binary system are way easier to program into something than a whole host of bespoke pronouns), but there's no point to excluding anybody.
    In my experience most people on both sides of hot button political issues take extreme and obviously wrong positions simply as a way to deny the other side any traction. For example, most psychologists agree that all human behavior is a combination of genetic factors, learned behaviors, and experiences / environmental factors, but when debating things like addiction or sexuality people tend to boil it down to arguments of choice vs inborn identity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anymage View Post
    We live in a world where most forms call it "gender" rather than "sex" because of the obvious jokes. Never mind that a list of pronouns would be a pretty long field. Once released out into the wild (and Talakeal's group does not sound like a bunch of social justice hippies), how much are you expecting anything other than a bunch of apache attack helicopters?
    Not to take this discussion into a forbidden area (we have been so good so far) but I would say my group is pretty close to "social justice hippies" and I have had players in the past whom I would certainly put into that category.

    But yeah, while the online gaming community might be pretty progressive about such things, society at large doesn't seem to be. If I, for example, asked my coworkers what pronouns I should call them by, I think they would either laugh at me or be offended by asking as they don't see any difference between sex and gender and would likely take such questions as an insult to their masculinity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    This thread's premise still feels like a long exercise in splitting hairs. Why not just have the players write down the gender their character identifies/presents as and then, if the shape of their body comes up, deal with it in that instance? As has been suggested before, I'm pretty sure.
    My intent in creating the thread was asking about whether or not it was appropriate to play a character with a nontraditional biological sex. AGAICT the answer was an overwhelming "of course" so we started discussing character sheet layout and genderqueer characters.
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    Default Re: Intersex PCs

    Out of curiosity, what terminology do other languages use on typical forms?
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    I mean, if you're really keen on the specifics, you could ask what gender they were born as, and what they dress as.

    But, in medieval fantasy, I don't really think it's that relevant, unless you run a very specific kind of adult game that includes some of the most infamous 3rd party books. If a player wants to portray something other than their genetically assumed gender, they can use either mundane disguises or magic to portray their appearance exactly as they want.

    Other than that, it's not something that will be relevant in a game, the same way a lot of things in a player's extended backstory won't be relevant to the game. If they want to add something to their character, it's up to them, but it's not going to affect the gameplay in any significant way.

    In other types of games, it may be more relevant (anything that has to do with future or contemporary for example). But people in medieval times are not very likelly to be aware of things like that, and would realistically interact with such a character is a purelly binary way.

    Overall, if you suspect that introducing a type of character in your game would ruin the tone of game you're going for, don't shy away from banning it, the same way you'd ban a player from playing an elf in a historic-based game or a Furry in a humanoid city-based game for example. You can work with your players to make a concept they will be happy with, but never let your players bully you into permissiveness.
    Last edited by Asmotherion; 2021-01-21 at 04:24 AM.

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    Default Re: Intersex PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Does anyone have any experience with running a game for intersex PCs or the like? Any advice on how to avoid the pitfalls, or ideas about what the pitfalls even are?

    Thanks.
    not running but i have had a few tiefling whose hips don't match the body frame. Tieflings from demons often have a symmetry problem so it was passed off as a racial thing. Unless you are running a porn game i wonder how it will effect anything... so few monsters affect only one gender.

    What is the point?

    It feels like debating orc or ork.


    Make sure the player fully understands the game being played. Stamp down on fetchish crap as soon as it comes about. Gender rarely comes up in game; most GMs i have met are too scared to rp NPCs that are sexist.

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    Hmm, this was a freeform chat role play, but I came up with a minotaur race where the cis women were all fully completely functional in each phenotype.
    The reason in-universe was that minotaur in that world were once unaging and all male. But even an unaging race of mighty warriors will have their numbers dwindle, so they cried out to their gods for an answer. And, lo, Aphroditus answered, creating women with both traits in return for the minotaur's immortality.
    As for in general, I don't really see much need for much actual rules for it? There's very few RPG where this matters, and even if it comes up, it can easily be handled in role play with very little, if any, crunch behind it. The above could be explained in a bit of fluff text and a couple lines, at most. in the racial traits, for example.
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    Default Re: Intersex PCs

    Just as a wrinkle to add to this discussion: I recently ran a game with a close friend who's still kind of working out their precise gender identity, but is definitely not feeling their assigned gender. They made a character who was a runaway prince that they either decided later or only told me later was asexual and assigned female at birth. But they didn't want it to be a thing, didn't expect it to come up in the game, and didn't see it as relating in any way to their character's separation from his family.

    And I got a little frustrated over how I was supposed to handle that. Because I wanted to respect my friend's choices and interests in this game; they were definitely there for the roleplaying and expressive aspects and only halfway interested in the actual gameplay, but I like having them there. But if we're viewing this fantasy world through the lens of human history - which is definitely the lens I wanted to establish their character's home kingdom through - then a royal heir who is either incapable of or unwilling to produce offspring is a major concern for the family; continuation of the bloodline is the most important goal of a traditional monarchy.

    And that, I think, is why I'd agree with some of the previous posts here: if you're going to include material in your game where gender and/or sex is a major issue, you should also include plenty of material where it isn't. And you should make it clear to players which is which. And I think it can be worth having both. As much as most folks probably don't want to play escapist fantasy that makes them deal with the frustration and anguish they already face in their day-to-day, it might also be pretty rewarding for them to be able to vicariously triumph over the people who bring on or worsen that frustration and anguish. Just make sure everyone at the table is aware of and cool with the way the world works.
    Last edited by jinjitsu; 2021-01-31 at 10:10 PM.

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