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Well guys, for years I've roleplayed women NPCs with minor roles and such. Besides fanservice, love interests or villiains, I have never used a "GM PC" that was not of my gender and age (22), specially, all of mt female NPCs have been used on non-class based RPGs.

Since the Class in D&D is an important factor of roleplaying a PCs personality, I find it curious on how to roleplay a bard, a female one specially.

My setting is a Post Apocalyptic Fantasy, taking place in Tokyo, 1360 years after mankind dissapears. The place is now filled with ruins of buildings with trees, grass, lakes, sometimes perilious desserts and jungles, and people lives like near the beggining of the Victorian Era, but with less commodities. There are only THREE settlements on the game, the rest of the places are highly hostile and most of encounters will be combat based.

About the bard, she's 16 years old, unusually pretty and attracts the sights of men (and even some women) with her charming eyes and smile, happy-go-lucky, spends most of the time in the Inn playing music for the townspeople even against the desires of her parents, haven't really fleshed out the rest. I really like how the character looks on my head but I don't know how to make her feel more "teenage" since she's the youngest of all the adventuring group.

The thing is, what is a bard supposed to be like? Specially in a world where 70% of the population are either ghosts, aberrations or plain living nightmares... What should I roleplay while they're in combat? I can imagine describing the actions of warriors and such exchanging weapon wsings against large claws of beasts but I don't know how to do this with a character who will spend large ammounts of time singing, dancing and prancing. And, tho most male bards are often depicted as rogueish, what's usually the conception of a female bard's attitude? Specially one that's not yet of age.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Jack Lesnie, Dakeyras, Phil, gomad, KRyan Jul 19 at 16:21

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Just one idea in passing: if the world is so bad, I imagine entertainers (Bards) could be well liked to forget about the dread of everyday life. This could give her diplomatic advantages. –  leokhorn Jul 19 at 17:18
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The roleplaying a woman part is covered here: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/4196/… The other parts are probably separate questions (playing a kid, RPing a bard in combat). –  mxyzplk Jul 19 at 17:26

1 Answer 1

I would challenge you to try thinking of your female NPCs the same way you think about your male NPCs. Right now, her main character trait is that she's "pretty and attracts the sights of men." That's pretty reductive. I doubt you'd start out describing any of your male characters that way. That doesn't mean she can't be pretty if you want her to be, but you can definitely do better.

To start with, you can ask yourself two questions that will help you flesh out this character.

What does this character want?

You've described a really dangerous and unpleasant world. 70% of the population are monsters and nightmares? I wouldn't want to go outside in a world like that. So why does she? What is so important to her that she's willing to risk post-apocalyptic Tokyo to achieve it? Is it a simple love of music, a craving for adventure, a need for revenge against the nightmare monsters that killed her brother? By figuring out what motivates her, you'll immediately make her character much deeper because she'll be in the narrative for a reason, not just for fanservice.

How does she respond to this world and the people in it??

Part of the problem with saying that she's "pretty and attracts the sights of men" is that it's a very passive description. It's much more interesting to describe how she responds to the men she attracts.

Even today, in our pre-apocalyptic world, women of all ages are constantly coming up with strategies to avoid being harassed. This post (and that entire website) are a good sampling of the techniques used. Meanwhile, your character is very pretty, living in post-apocalyptic Tokyo, playing shows every night in the local bar. It is likely that she has experienced more than her fair share of unwanted advances. How does she protect herself? How has this shaped her personality? How does it affect the way she responds to the players when she meets them?

And what about the rest of the world? Some good questions to ask: Where does she get food? what weapons does she use to defend herself against monsters (and other survivors)? Does she go out at night? Is she Japanese/does she speak Japanese? Was she born before the apocalypse, or is this all she knows?

All in all, any bard who grew up in a world like yours probably would end up rogue-like, male or female. You can make her happy-go-lucky, but if you do then you need to come up with a good reason why she's survived this long. Does she have a protector, or group of protectors? Is she so good at spellcasting that she doesn't think of monsters as a real threat? Whatever you decide, her character should largely be determined by her strategies for survival.

Women aren't a separate race that require an extra splat book to play. They're just other humans (or dwarves, or kobolds or whatever) with the same sorts of concerns as all your other characters.

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