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Girls can't roll dice (a collection of small tales)
Then I came to university, and I got into RPGs hardcore. At my peak I was in 4 sessions a week, running 2 more, plus regular one shots/playing NPCs for friends, yes it completely wrecked me, but it was so much fun, pretty much all my friends were met through RPGs and the tabletop society at uni.
I became president of the society, now still am for a second year (though i'm comfortably down to 3 games a week plus weekend one shots and NPCing).
Unfortunately you can't play this much without developing a good selection of stories about That Guy
So that's the set up, I guess being the only girl in most groups made me a little defensive so I felt the need to properly establish myself (if that makes any sense), anyhoo here's a list of fun encounters:
(They aren't all super gendered, it's just I've been accumulating ones that are and thought it'd make a good post subject)
Girls are sensitive so they shouldn't be allowed to run Grim-Dark.
I ran a Dark Heresy 1st ed game (I know, I was a fool), and warned ahead of time it would have dark themes. Imaginative torture? funky.
A few months into the campaign I set them up with an adorable NPC, she was sent by her older brothers to rob the PCs and would be beaten if she returned empty handed. They found out that the branding on her arm meant she was used as a 'special sort' of slave, strangers would barter them for time with her. Props to them they protected her and it helped their characters grow a moral compass (before they met her they were intergalactic murder hobos)
They weren't subtle in doting for her, and an evil gal took notice. Captured her, then invited PCs to a dinner party, where they were placed behind a glass screen and told that the girl would be hurt if they didn't share information. The PCs decided to call her bluff, and the girl promptly had her arm dipped in boiling oil (dw I hooked her up later with machendrite so she could bond with the Tech Priest)
After the session ended the Tech Priest player was really bothered by events, but assured me he enjoyed it (he loved that NPC) and was glad she was alive (I would never have killed her but I wasn't going to tell him that). The Rogue Trader player? he was pissed off. This guy was That Guy. And boy he was pissed.
He explained that I wasn't allowed to hurt NPCs like that. (He was the worst 'I'm CN I swear' 'I cut this guy's eyes out for fun' kind of player), the group had tortured people loads of times, there was horrific war injury all around them, this session wasn't all that new. Long conversation short, I increasingly got the impression that he wasn't angry at the events, more that I specifically shouldn't have let them happen. He kept saying he thought I was more sensitive than that, I was too sensitive to let that happen, I should retcon and apologise before more people find out that I'm not as sensitive as they think I am.
I knew what he was driving at, and tried to push him to state it, acting as though I didn't get what he was talking about, until finally he said "you know, you shouldn't be doing that sort of thing because you're, you know, you're.. a girl", 'you're a girl' said in the same way that one might whisper 'she has gonorrhoea'. I floundered and went home awkwardly apologising (i was a timid person), our third player ended up having a talk with him and he came back all excited the next week, excited to rape and murder the evil woman who had done the torturing. Sounded like he took all the bad feelings and pushed them into abusing this evil gal which he took great pleasure in. I had her run away off planet because it was making me sick which made him moody but I wanted it over with. Our 'Grim Dark' campaign continued, by which I mean he abused NPCs and I avoided table conflict by giving him innocent meatbags to punch and a system devoid of abuse which wasn't player-caused.
Other tidbits from that guy:
He knew Warhammer so well that he refused to let me imagine anything outside of cannon, even though in session 0 he and everyone were told that I'd be imagining a few populated planets/growing a few grey areas. He didn't allow new NPCs not well established in cannon (his bitching, oh his bitching if I tried to mention some commander and he'd bring up the list of characters of that rank and my new NPC wasn't there) so I researched and included established characters from the Warhammer universe. Cue the most obscene metagaming as he uses personal details about their lives which he knows from novels to get what he wants. "I intimidate him by talking about his dead wife" "what?" "his wife, she died horribly in X book which is set before this game" "your character doesn't know that" "doesn't matter" "so what do you do?" "I DESCRIBE HIS WIFE'S DEATH"
me: "you have ship X" him: "can it look like ship Y, I prefer how that one looks and I want to draw us in it" me: "hmm sure but it's a Y shaped ship X, it only has ship X's capabilities" (Y is 40 times more expensive than X) later on, him: "we use our ship's missile launchers", me: "you don't have those?", him: "ship Y does. you said we could have ship Y, plus I already drew them on."
His metagaming was everything, to the point where he mocked other players for not taking advantage of outside knowledge, bringing up wiki pages and such during sessions to perfectly combat encounters and aggravate other players who were playing as though they didn't know the enemy was weak to fire, because their character didn't know. I tried to combat this with homebrew Xenon races whose stats he didn't know, cue anger when I messed with his beloved established universe
I one cancelled a session because I was sick, he rescheduled it without asking me then sent angry messages when he and the other players met and I wasn't there. I hadn't seen the messages informing me of the rescheduling because I was sick in bed.
I was so glad when he left due to scheduling conflicts (this was only my third or so gm experience and I wasn't very assertive, boy I've changed, nowadays I'd tell him to fuck off, personal growth and all that)
It's not me, it's the setting.
4 player game, 3 guys and me, playing 2 female 2 male characters. The GM made NPCs grab my character inappropriately, make comments, refuse me services. I'm all for that kind of setting, but it was actively preventing me from playing the game, let alone enjoying it.
I wanted to know if there was a reason he was singling me out for this, and he said it was a sexist setting (we were told this session 0). I didn't understand why it was happening to my character but not the other female character (male player). The GM got angry and tried to swing it as me disliking that player and wanting his character to be hurt. I didn't, I just wanted consistency.
The setting was also warned to be really racist but there was nothing against the character of colour. I obviously didn't bring this up as it would be spun as me wanting racist things to happen
No, let me roll for you
Is this the titular tale? It might be. There was a new That Guy on the block. He joined the society, I welcomed him as I do with everyone, he was completely new to RPGs. A friend ran a quick Wushu game (our classic move for total noobs) and I had free time so I partook. The system lets you describe what you do, and rewards adding detail, it's a real fun storytelling heavy, mechanically light system.
His character was obscenely overpowered, his 'details' were just to give himself new superpowers, even when we tried to nerf him to let other people be involved. There's someone to rescue in a tower of a castle, him "I use my dragon wings to fly above the castle and rip it apart with magic and carry the tower off with the prisoner inside, done." (there are 7 people in this game, an unspoken rule is you don't make it all about you when your power is theoretically limitless, it's very common to add obstruction details to make the storytelling more fun) another player who's trying to make it a good experience for everyone "Unfortunately there is a forcefield of some sort over the gardens which we need to deactivate, then you can get through" him: "It's okay I have magic claws which can rip it open" player "that would alert the guard who we'd have to fight" him "no I have magical stealth skills so they won't be alerted" player "they'll realise when it goes down" him "no I use dragon magic to send them all to sleep for a day and nothing can wake them". Implying that he should let someone else have a go just led to "I'm playing the game, stop limiting my character" Rinse and repeat for 2 hours, props to the gm for keeping it together.
I'd been a player in a pathfinder campaign for over a year (it ran for another year after this), our weekly session began as this wushu game ended. Cue That Guy deciding to walk in to spectate. Bit weird, we have several rooms and at any one time a couple of games running with a few rooms empty so people can RPG in peace without people coming in distracting them, I'd explained this to him when he joined, ah well. Long story short he decided to sit next to me and for a couple of hours told me how to play. I explained that I was both playing a character whom I'd played for over a year and literally the president of the society, I knew what I was doing, he was having none of this. Also, he had never played the system, or any system other than the game he just finished.
him "to attack roll a d20"
me "I know. I have played this game for a year."
him "good job, now add your strength score"
me "no, I need to add these numbers"
him "she got 23"
me "No, I got 18"
him "that's 18 damage"
me "no, it's 18 to hit now I have to roll damage"
him "I know." *he rolls a d20* "14."
*I roll my d12* "that's 11 damage"
him "lol, why do you want to do less damage?"
This went on for. so. long.
At one point I cocked a die. 2 tables pushed together, little indent between the two, it happens sometimes, it landed wonky so I had to reroll. So he tried to show me how to 'roll properly'. We were RPing in game, but he was pissy that I wasn't listening to him as he rolled dice over the party as we tried to talk to NPCs. He tried to take my hand to show me how to throw them. I just smiled awkwardly. The GM and I are good friends, but we were both very quiet and not good at personal conflict so tried to act as though it wasn't happening. I really don't blame the GM, this clearly bothered him a lot and he checked I was okay after.
I eventually just let the dude roll and had to tell him what dice to use because when I tried to pick them up myself he'd 'oops we went to pick them up at the same time and our hands touched' and it made me really uncomfortable. I think he thought he was flirting? It made me not want to participate but when I was quiet he either tried to narrate my character for me (which can fuck right off) or wanted to chat, no matter how many times I told him I was listening to the game.
I know he never mentioned it was because I was a girl, but there were 4 others around that table, one who was relatively new and I was actively teaching the game, and I greeted him as president, I don't know why else he would have singled me out other than gender. Oof that one put me off socialising for a little while.
All girls play Tyranids. And T'au. And Chaos. And Necrons.
Small one for general tabletops, I rarely play a game of Warhammer where someone doesn't wander in and make the comment. Oh, she's playing Space Marines? AAALLLLL girls play space marines. Literally doesn't matter which of my armies I'm playing. I also commonly hear the Oh you're playing barbarian/bard/a halfling/an elf/a magic usea male charactea female character? Such a typical girl. How does that even work?
Semi relevant but this one applies to Overwatch too, doesn't matter the hero you're playing, it's likely that someone will observe that you're such a typical girl for picking them
You're playing (literally any MTG colour), all girls play (whatever MTG colour the girl is playing), why are girls all the same lmao
Not like that, like this!
The most frequent of bothersome interactions. I'm perfectly capable of building a character, and of playing a character, if I want help, I'm capable of asking for it myself. But oh boy, the number of times I've been session zero in a group as the only girl, and guess who get singled out to be shown how she should be building. Even when there are new players.
A lot of my friends were guilty of this, and when I pointed it out most said they were trying to help make me feel included, heads up that if you want someone to feel included, don't do something which explicitly makes them feel singled out. The implication that I don't know what I'm doing after all this time rubs something awful even though I know it often comes from a place of help.
This usually happens when I try to make something funky, like yes I know this spell combination isn't optimal but it's character accurate and this is a one-shot so scram, I don't hear you correcting anybody else's imperfect builds.
Honestly the number of times this has happened has made me really resistant to actual helpfulness, I wish it could just stop.
Every post on this sub needs the token rape story
Less of a fun story, but to summarise it I was the only female player in a 5 man group, two of them had female characters, myself and the other 2 guys were playing men, male GM. It was a one-shot 'which could turn into more', surprisingly it didn't. We were summoned to bbeg's location by letter, but first we decided to go to a seedy bar to find a bounty hunter who we thought could give us info (our only lead other than the letter). We get grabbed and shoved into a van. Okay, didn't question how we got from an underground bar in a tunnel system to a van on the street but let's roll with it.
When we get to the mystery location (the place we were summoned to) they open the doors, and while the 3 men are trussed up the GM describes the horrid things the guards are doing to the 2 women. As players we are pissed off, at first due to the obvious railroading to get us to go to this place (he could have just had the bounty hunter tell us to go here and cut off our other options instead of literally carrying us there), but then we were all grossed out by what he was describing.
The two players of the female characters were really uncomfortable, and one made the mistake of saying it felt they were being punished for playing women. The GM got really angry. He insisted it was 'his world' and we should let him do what he want, then he came out with the wonderful phrase "It can't be sexist, if it were I would have her raped" and he points at me, lovely.
He ended up getting real angry and storming off, one of his friends came to get his bag and I haven't seen him around since, glorious.
Telling me what to do, classic female DM
I ran a one-shot for 4 newbs. 2 of them were lovely, they're regulars in games I help run, the other 2... not so much. The two dickbags weren't keen on me telling them what was happening. A DM controlling the world? Unheard of. It was a short campaign over the course of one week in game, they had a Saturday deadline when an event was happening in their magical town, and a few other things happening on particular days, they started in the town on the Sunday before, i advised them to pay attention to when things were scheduled to happen. E.g. market day is Wednesday, you can only get supplies on that day, this town's shops open on this day and it's the only place you can get X, this person is only available to meet on Tuesdays, you only have time to travel to one town per day in this little sandbox world.
It was an idea I'd been toying with, it meant they had to choose plot routes because things were happening at the same time so they had to choose sides, and lots was happening so they could decide what they wanted to achieve in the time, save the countess's life? Help the Thieves Guild steal the crown Jewels? Deal with the bandits attacking the farms? I told the party this ahead of time, it was only a 3 hour sesh, they agreed they'd play that way and pick story options as I set them out.
When the game started these two decided that it was stupid, and things happened on days they wanted them to happen.
"we want to go to the meeting with the king"
"you could have gone to it yesterday, you went to meet the Thieves Guild instead"
"look, can't we just go now?"
"fine, it'll take a day to set up another meeting and you can do something else today, you won't have any days left after that"
"we go now"
"the guards stop you going in, there are loads of other things happening today you can do"
"we break in, we want to talk to him, then we can go tell the thieves guild what his plans are"
"if you do that you'll get arrested"
*they break into the king's chambers*
*surprised pikachu faces*
I had them released because the two nice players were keen to do the plots I'd set out, they finished the thieves guild questline they'd started, it was... fine.
The two decided to have a good bitch in our one-shot group chat afterwards, ironically just below where they'd agreed to do the game the way i explained. Maybe they forgot I was in there as well as the players, maybe they wanted me to see.
Some comments were along the lines of:
"I mean I've heard of what these female DMs are like, they're always like this, it's a control thing."
They mused about whether it was because I'm ugly, or not getting sex, and because I was a slut and used to getting my own way, try that for duality of character
Me being on my period was mentioned a bunch too
I deleted the whole chat and haven't seen them since, ah well.
I've replayed that little one shot world a few times, including with those two nice players, it's really fun, they apologised a load but they did nothing wrong.
Possibly important note
I'm the only female friend of a lot of the guys I meet through playing. Many of these guys are often raised on a steady diet of porn and anime, so of course if they see a girl, fancy her, then it's her job to indulge that. Cue tantrums if she doesn't.
A guy screamed at me and left a game because my character flirted with an NPC
I was a bard, I had mythic leadership, you get it. I was also a literal book with appearance over 30. The meme was that she slept with everyone, how you ask? Well, wouldn't you like to know... Turns out this guy joined to get close to me, then insisted that I was only playing the character like that (a character I'd had for over a year at that point) to mock him and his feelings for me, he left very quickly (but not before the DM had made a whole story arc around the new player's backstory to properly welcome him to the group, leaving us awkwardly in a strange place with no link to anything happening there)
Make your character pay attention to me
Super fun, the guy here was not a good fit for RPGing in general. He openly doesn't enjoy the activity, god knows why he wanted to play but he did. He played 'lol so random' characters and played on his phone when he wasn't interested in what was happening. He had a love interest, a tall beautiful elf inexplicably enamoured with his shit-covered (for the lols) 'cleric' (when he left we decided his god had abandoned him for his shenanigans)
She was an unsubtle attempt by the DM to make the player interested in events, and it worked for a session or two, until he got bored of following plot and pushed her off a cliff. Yeah, that sort of player. I had joined this campaign a couple of sessions before she was introduced and saw the worst of his playing, he left maybe 6 after the love interest left (she survived the fall but didn't want anything more to do with us). He vaguely said he wanted to get her back, rolled a dice, it was a 14 or something, he didn't say what he was doing or rolling for and went back to his phone when we kept moving the session without her.
He decided a couple of sessions later that I was his new love interest, and in the maybe 5 times a session where he would look up and get involved with the game he would announce things we were doing together.
GM: "What are you doing in your downtime?"
Guy "Oh well me and A are going into the forest"
Me "Um no, I'm going to the library to read up on (plot relevant thing), you can come do that"
Guy "Haha well then I pick you up and carry you there"
He turned off the game whenever he had to roll something, so I just said if he wanted to try he could roll CMB and he said nah and went back to his phone
My character wanted nothing to do with him, though made jokes about using him for scientific study, mainly as a way to get around the creepiness by turning it into a joke
In combat he would hit me 'by accident', obviously stating his intended target ooc, when I called him out he said that counted as metagaming.
I asked him why he wouldn't leave my character alone. "there aren't any other girls here" was the answer. Yeah, I was glad when he left.
Date my character. But I rolled a nat20!
My group met the setting's queen. One (with -2 Charisma) decided he wanted to seduce her. I was mid scene setting when he interrupted me.
"I rolled a 20"
"um, for what?"
"to get her to date me"
"she hasn't even greeted you yet"
"but I rolled a 20"
"What is your character doing?"
He laughed off the encounter when the rest of the party told him to drop it. For the next few sessions he complained about me 'railroading' by not accepting the roll. He's quite nice now, not so much back then.
Stare at my boobs for 4 hours
Simple one, I ran a one-shot, it went fine. One player spent the whole time staring at my chest. He did the whole stare around the room when I looked at him as though he wasn't doing it. I mean like eye contact to boob staring was maybe a 1:10 ratio. A friend suggested I dress less revealing in future. I was wearing a jumper. It's not like I can take them off and put them somewhere.
Sure, just sit down and start playing, don't ask or anything
I may be a tiny bit to blame for this guy's feelings, but only a tiny bit. We kissed at a party when we only knew each other through an esports team, this was as part of a party game where I also kissed a dozen other people (and most of the rest of the team), he definitely knew this was why I was doing it before we kissed, ya girl here supports informed consent. He then told me that I had taken his first kiss and a few days later told me of his undying love. This was an issue. (He had never had a female friend and eventually he and I talked out his 'feelings' and turns out he had his first crush and freaked out)
Unfortunately before we talked it out, he decided to forcibly insert himself into my life. He joined my sports teams, found out where I studied and 'bumped into me' a whole bunch, and he decided he wanted to join a long-term pathfinder campaign I played in. This means he printed out a character sheet, filled it out, and sat down. I distinctly remember the GM's face as he asked "oh, so you'd like to join us? oh okay...", that poor GM. He put up with a lot of crap.
This Guy was not a good fit for the campaign. He couldn't conceive of not being the main character, to the point where he would narrate NPC and other character reactions to him.
GM: "A woman comes down from the sky towards you, she seems to float on air as she looks at each of your faces"
Guy "she's immediately scared of me as she sees my sword"
GM: "um, no, she doesn't seem scared"
Guy "she's hiding her fear, fine, she admires me"
GM "um, so anyway..."
And the story would move on, it really bugged us all but we would try to make the best of it.
This dude, goddamn. He would bring his laptop and skype his friends/play FPSs when he wasn't directly involved in the game, he was the typical 'tell me when it's my turn' kind of player, and when his turn rocked around it would be time for him to explain how the scene was all about him when no, he had a chance to be involved when we were RPing and he was playing overwatch, we assumed his character was standing silently at the back.
He would turn up 1-2 hours late to our regular sessions, one time he messaged saying he would be half an hour late, then messaged at the end of the 4 hour sesh that he decided not to come because he wanted to make food. He sent us food pics and everything. That was his main blessing, he rarely showed up.
I feel awful for inadvertently bringing that guy into that formerly lovely campaign
You can do no wrong
This one made my group resent me, it sucked. An early campaign I was a player in, I genuinely can't remember what class my character was (back in the day of the premade characters), she was essentially a human warrior though. And she got... everything. I found an amazing axe which gave me surprisingly big bonuses, my min damage was our fighter's max damage. We went to find a smith to get armour and he gave me discounts 'because he knew my father' or something so I had the best armour, special 'magic armour' which gave me no debuffs.
The GM fudged numbers for me too, I rarely got hit, like, ever, I feel like around 50% of shots aimed at me hit one below my AC, then again shots were rarely aimed at me. I remember one fight between the GM and a player stemming from their 18 to hit not hitting, but my 15 to hit did hit the same enemy. He blagged something about weapon type and positioning, but honestly he would do that all the time. I swear he didn't give things HP, he just waited until I landed a hit then described what a good job I'd done killing it as though no one else had participated.
The worst part was that when I joined another group with one of the same players, he talked smack about how I 'demanded preferential treatment' and 'got whatever I wanted'. He thought I was manipulative, and though I fudged numbers too. It took ages to get that group to trust me as a player, though I can appreciate his frustration.
Slutty Character=Slutty person
As it says really, a guy insisted that my sexy book spending her free time going off to find an attractive bibliophile was more morally abhorrent than murder, and decided that it meant I was an immoral person. He happily killed people ic but tried to tell a guard I was seeing prostitutes? "Ha she's just doing this because she's covering for being a slut irl" He tried so hard to joke with the table... who were having none of it. I told him where he could shove his opinions, the table agreed, he left because he 'didn't have time for RPGs'. A year before I would have awkwardly apologised and changed my character's actions to avoid conflict, but now I don't hesitate to point out people being arseholes. That kids, is called character development.
What few female characters there are get killed
I had a DM who made only 1/10 NPCs female, if that, and invariably had them murdered/kidnapped to motivate the party/important male NPCs. I was the only girl in the party, and it was really bothering me that the only time a woman ever came into the story, it was because her fathepimp/husband asked us for help saving/avenging/protecting her. These male characters all had full stories and relationships with the party and world.
I took the DM aside and explained it made me uncomfortable, and used examples from his sessions. He never had a female character pass 'The sexy lamp test'. Any woman could be replaced with a sexy lamp, if a quest involved a woman, their involvement boiled down to 'he stole my sexy lamp, get it back', 'he smashed my sexy lamp, avenge it', male NPCs interacted with women, but it was either 'he's a lovely guy, look how he cares for his sexy lamp' or 'he's such a bad guy look at all those sexy lamps he kills'. I explained this and the DM thought for a while and agreed and said he struggled to write female characters, the next arc had far more interesting women to interact with, he asked for feedback, myself and the other players enjoyed it more, it was nice.
Not a horror story in the end, it's just nice to think that some bad situations don't have to be bad, most people are willing to improve themselves, plus I'm more assertive, good times all round.
A couple of guys from the other stories have since been 'reformed' I guess, I've since helped them you know, view women as people, learn how to act in social situations, though I've got to be careful to not let myself become obligated. Most of them came to uni and had growing to do, I'm proud of how far they've come.
I'd like to finish by clarifying that I've played games near constantly for the last 4 years, I've met so many good friends. I've played dozens of campaigns with hundreds of people. Sure when they're put together these stories seem daunting but they're really the small minority of cases, I've cultivated a good group and soc which doesn't put up with this behaviour so most bad times are short lived, still thought this might be fun reading, I'll edit if I think of more.
Most people are good people, bad people.. are entertaining
Not sure how to interpret this reponse from therapist. Feeling hopeless and abandoned
Today I sent my therapist this email (the linked article is not relevant to this post):
I was going to try to call today but I wasn't sure if that was crossing a boundary. I saw this article and thought it was interesting and relevant enough to me to justify reaching out to show you: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/targeted-parenting/202005/is-social-anxiety-really-empathy-based-superpower
I also want to say that I am not doing well. I'm unbearably miserable. I have no one to turn to. I need more help than I am getting. I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing (walking, sitting with feelings, reaching out to whomever I can think of, getting involved in online communication). But it isn't helping. I'm exhausted and have barely any appetite, probably from being in this much emotional pain.
I can't tell if EMDR has changed anything. It's been what, a couple of months? Shouldn't I feel different by now?
And a few hours later, this reponse:
"The article is interesting and I am curious as to what you take from it.
Yes you should be feeling some differences by now. If you aren’t, then perhaps the differences you initially acknowledged haven’t stuck. You have two choices here. I am keenly aware that you are now paying full fee. If you are not noticing any improvements and you feel you are wasting your time, then perhaps you might benefit from medications and seeing a psychiatrist? I know that’s not what you want but disappointingly EMDR is not having the effect it has for you that it has for my other clients and I don’t understand why.
I am away for the weekend at the moment so can’t access your file but after 4 or 5 sessions of EMDR, if the correct target has been reprocessed, improvements should be identified. So you can either persevere with me in the hope that something will shift for you in the future with more EMDR or try someone and something else. I’m really sorry that you are not experiencing the improvements that are normally noticed by others and I am baffled as to why.
I wonder if it is because it has been done via Skype & not face to face? Once again though, I have helped other clients to resolution via Skype in the last few weeks. This is frustrating for me & terribly disappointing for you, I understand that but you have tried all the other therapies that I can offer with other therapists so I can’t offer you anything else. I’m really sorry I can’t offer you anything else so let me know what you decide to do. I fully understand if you decide to try something and somebody else.
I can't tell if it's just my state of my mind but this seems really flippant. I'm feeling fucking awful, awful enough to reach out, and all she can say is she doesn't understand why it isn't working, and there might not be any point in continuing? What the fuck?