Take the 2-minute tour ×
Role-playing Games Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for gamemasters and players of tabletop, paper-and-pencil role-playing games. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I am one who wants to play both female and male characters. Up until now I have played two male characters but only for small quests (5 sessions max). At the moment we are playing "Shackled City" and it seems that this will go on for a long time.

In this game I role play a 16-year-old human male fighter who is a noble. Being with other men in game isn't a problem but interacting with women is. Savoir-vivre helps but I still find myself never too pleased with what I say or do. My DM says that this is because I'm lacking testosterone but I say I need more practice. ^_^

I have a conflict between nobility and age. I figure that as a 16 year old man he would talk to women no matter the social status (isn't it what you did at 16?) but as a noble the opposite is expected. It's not so much that I want him to be hitting on them, but flirting to boost his ego and making sure that he is being noticed. Being noticed is important to him because at this moment he is just an adventurer (noble, yes, but still just a 6th-level adventurer) and not yet a hero with a long background.

My DM is male (and also my boyfriend—it's really funny seeing us play the opposite sex). I feel that men and women talk in different ways and I think that is where I lack. Judging form the answers so far I'm playing him too subtle, and I see that I portray him as a very mild noble—kind to commoners and silent to jerky nobles who are his elder.

share|improve this question
6  
I definitely think that (rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/4196/…) while being the exact opposite of the question asked (men better roleplaying women) has some universal insights on concept of different gender gaming. Good luck! –  GPierce Jun 24 '11 at 13:15
add comment

8 Answers 8

The answer depends on just how stereotypical one wants to get.

Male noble stereotypical traits:

  • Take charge
  • might-makes-right attitude.
  • Women are divided into several groups:
    • Women of quality & virtue for marriage
    • Women of quality but not virtue for flirtation and/or fornication
    • Women of Virtue but not quality. Typically in habits and cloistered. Corrupt one if you can.
    • Women of low social status: beneath contempt, let alone notice, unless one is horny. Then, just don't get caught by other nobles doing the help. Their consent is helpful, but not essential. (Yes, raping a commoner was often considered a nobleman's right, even tho' it wasn't done all that much, and could get one in quite a bit of trouble.)
    • Prostitutes
    • Women who fight - they're either good, crazy, or both. Beware them.
  • You've several direct motivations... which order varies by individual, but food is usually first and sex second or third.
    • Power
    • Prestige
    • Sex
    • Food
    • Intoxication
    • Sleep
  • Comfort may or may not be a motivation; if it is, it often trumps power and prestige.
  • Commoners damned well better do what you tell them and better not have an opinion.
    • Squires and Men-At-Arms are not commoners, even if of common birth.
    • Clergy are not commoners, even if of common birth
    • Anybody your liege tells you to listen to, you listen to, no matter how humiliating it may be... at least until you can get your revenge.
  • Show off when you can
share|improve this answer
add comment

Pick a male character from a film, TV series, and/or book, that is male and see what things they do that differ from what you (as a woman) would do. For example, Look at Barney from How I Met Your Mother, Neil Patrick Harris is openly gay yet he still manages to get a "Bro" feel and large interest in women to his character. Another example would be to look at Gerald of Rivia in the Witcher books.

Another way is to look at romance books and do the exact opposite that any male hero in there does. Plus remember: men do not get subtle. Ever. Oh yes, I do love a good stereotype... Why do you ask? ;>

On a more serious note, look at how men act around you and other women in bars/nightclubs/on dates. Take an anthropologist approach and look at behaviour patterns. You could even go and do research by asking questions to guys.

share|improve this answer
3  
Nobles who do not get subtle end up marginalized at best. If this noble was from a family with any hope of advancement, he would have gotten some training -- though he may have shirked. –  dhasenan May 17 '12 at 19:48
add comment

The answer to this would be heavily dependent on the culture and time period involved. Expectations of nobility and controls imposed on younger people vary heavily on those two factors.

That said, let me offer some advice here.

Being with other men in game isn't a problem but interacting with women is. Savoir-vivre helps but I still find myself never too pleased with what I say or do.

Yeah, that's pretty much how your character should feel when interacting with women too. I mean, most people have self-confidence problems, and men are certainly no exception to that. Self-criticism and doubt can factor heavily into a believable character. Especially as a teenaged character. Even though societies gave more responsibilities to people at a younger age in the past, biology hasn't changed that much.

Keep in mind that depending on the culture and time period, nobility might well have a highly distorted view of commoners. Maybe your character was told all sorts of horror stories about common people--not even just by adults above them, but by their peers who didn't know any better than they did. If your character spent their whole life stuffed away in a manor by over-protective noble parents dealing with other nobles and a combination of soldiers and courtiers in service of their father... well that's bound to leave someone fairly ill-prepared to deal with life outside of those confines.

Certainly such a character probably shouldn't view the commoners he's likely to encounter as an adventurer as equal or worthy of respect beyond that required to achieve his immediate ends--even if, in fact, they are equivalently valuable human beings. This tension could create a lot of resentment towards your character by the women he interacts with, and by others in the party who might not be from a noble origin.

And it really shouldn't be relegated to women--if the character takes the presumably common class-oriented view on nobility/commoners, then it would be applied to everyone he meets. Everyone he meets would have to be viewed through the lens of class. Including other members of the party. While that doesn't have to be represented as condescension, it can easily be represented as resentment towards PCs and NPCs whom your character recognizes as more skilled or powerful than their station ought to allow them (in the noble world-view).

Status, image, and power tended to be important to nobility. While it may not be critical to your character (after all, people who would choose the adventuring life of a d&d Player Character would not be your typical person at all), it would certainly be important to the people who raised him and to the subset of society with whom he interacted with for the first 16 years of life before going adventuring. That's bound to have an effect of some sort. Maybe it only tinges his views, or maybe it is a deeply ingrained set of responses. Maybe your character accepts that view, maybe he rejects it. But that sort of thing is bound to have a serious influence on everything from his relations with other party members to his interactions with women.

Another thing to consider might also be his family's reaction to his decision to head off adventuring rather than focusing on his duties.

share|improve this answer
add comment

You're over-thinking it. Men, let alone young me, are not all alike. Some are brash, others are timid. Some are inventive, others are hidebound. Some are optimists, others are doomsayers. They also exhibit different degrees of 'masculine' and 'feminine' characteristics.

To be a bit simplistic, 'masculine' and 'feminine' traits are extremes on a continuum, or several continua for different traits. Real people exist somewhere on the scale between the two, and the population of actual men and actual women overlap on that scale. The same can certainly true of fictional men and women.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Really, make a well rounded person with motivations and wants and desires, and a philosophy to life… And then after that is done go about adding some "male" traits. When a character seems like a gender stereotype is when the stereotypical behavior is what is defining them, rather than something that incidentally is also part of the character.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Great question!

  1. Focus on one short-term goal.
  2. Think in terms of action, not relationship. View people in terms of what you do with them (or even to them).

The rest is more a function of the character's environment than his physical sex. How are male nobles raised in this society? What's expected of them? What's allowed. aramis's post is perfect.

share|improve this answer
add comment

In a tolerant culture, you find so much diversity that there is very little that is uniquely male or female. I know women that are enormous football fans, that drink beer, and lift weights. While I know men that act relatively effiminate and cook masterfully. Even in terms of attraction, there are men that prefer men and women that prefer women. In a tolerant society it is difficult, outside of a few biological factors, to find something that is uniquely male or uniquely female making it hard for someone to say you are truly playing a male character wrong. You may be playing one that is especially effiminate, or perhaps one that is trying much too hard to be macho, but you find both of those things in the real world.

Now, in a less tolerant society there might be consequence (ranging from teasing at a miniumum to stoning) for breaking gender stereotypes. But what those stereotypes are depends very much on the culture. For instance, it was considered a sign of sensitivity (which was viewed as a positive) in Heian period Japan for an upper class man to weep openly and even profusely at certain events.

Now, if you are asking how to play a stereotypical man based on modern society, then just play up the stereotypes, but not too much. There are a few traits common to men but unusual in women that most people overlook (men tend to stand with their feet more broadly spaced, cross their legs differently, laugh less frequently but harder), but those are the types of details that just get omitted in most role playing and even prose writing as being too minor to be worth pointing out (unless, say, hinting that it is really a woman disguised as a man...). If you are curious about those details, Desmond Morris discusses them in depth in his book People Watching.

Also, and interested look is provided by the movie "Boys Don't Cry" which is loosely based on a true story of a women pretending to be a man.

Incidentally, as far as the conflict with the "noble" thing remember the difference between what one does in public and what one does in private. Nobles of all time periods (and both genders!) have often had affairs and lovers from the lower classes, they just were not acknowledged publicly or discussed publicly. A noble might be reluctant to flirt in public with a commoner, but happy to do so when in private. A noble might not discuss their affair in mixed company or near "commoners" but might be happy to brag when surrounded by his (noble) friends (that he considered peers and who were of the same gender...) In most societies, the stigma that would befall a noblewoman caught in an affair was worse than if a nobleman was caught, but it is well documented that both genders were involved in affairs with the "lower classes".

share|improve this answer
add comment

Well, you did mention you have a boyfriend, so why not play the character like him?

No, really. You have met (I assume) many male friends in your lifetime - some good, some bad - and you've seen how they act towards other people. It is perfectly acceptable, encourageable, even, to base your role-playing on those people that you've met. The absolute best character acting comes from remembering how a real person you've met would handle a situation, and having them do just that.

Granted you don't have access to "a nobleman of noble birth in a noble setting", but what you DO have are situations where you've seen men trying to impress people of higher rank, or impress other men with their 'ability to flirt'. And while you don't need to play up that steriotype, you can certainly play into it a bit to get into the head of your character.

But, I should hasten to point out, you should also consider the idea that he might not actually like playing to the steriotype. He might be more comfortable painting still-life and writing poetry beneath an oak tree than flirting it up in a bar and brandishing a sword...but what he likes and what is expected of him are very different things, and you can certainly easily play someone who is expected to act one way, but feels very strongly in another way.

Not to say that a male character won't have a certian...male-ness to them...but while playing that up (and you certainly should, for the fun it can bring!), don't forget the deeper, personal things that a guy might like, or even what he might be deeply ashamed of liking.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.