Friday, March 8, 2019

Random Gender & Sexuality

On Wednesday I mentioned that I do Gender, Sexuality, and Age randomly when making characters. Today I want to explain how I do this, why, and why - if you're comfortable doing it - I recommend you give it a try.

Random Gender
I normally break gender down into three groups: Male, Non-Binary, and Female. I assign equal weighting to each and roll. Often I do this with a D100, but with 3 choices like this a D6 can work just fine. I get that there are myriad options in Non-Binary, but when making a character for a world like Star Wars or other technologically or magically advanced place I like the simplification because I like to think that in such a world someone born one sex and identifying with another would be able to manage a perfect transition into their proper form. Besides, if and when I get a result of non-binary I can make the choice then depending on what feels right for the character.

Random Sexuality
Sexuality is done in a very similar fashion. I make a list - in this case it was: Ace, Straight, Bi/Pan/Omni, Demi, Gay. Once more each is assigned equal weighting and roll. Bi/Pan/Omni are linked together because the three are very closely related in that they are people attracted to multiple genders.

Your list can have more or less as you want. A large part of this is personal preference, but I also want to limit this to things I feel I can do justice to when playing.

Random Age
For age I tend to have three categories: Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult. There are other age ranges, but I tend to find anything below Young Adult to be too young for being a PC in most games, and while I've seen people play older characters well as beginning characters I always feel weird having all that experience...without the accompanying experience points. Strange hang up, but there it is.

Why Equal Weighting
In the real world these groupings are not equal. There are more of X, Y, or Z than A, B, or C. However, I don't take that into consideration for a couple of reasons. The first is because I'm interested in a random result, and while 90/10 is technically random I more or less know the result before even trying so why bother? The second is because of all the people in the game world, this character is one of four to six people the story is focusing on. That means we're already dealing with an outlier, and at that point everything else may as well be equal.

Why I Recommend It
Randomizing or changing character gender identity and sexuality is a question of comfort for both the player and the game table. Most groups, in my experience, don't care if someone plays a different gender - provided they do it respectfully. There is a large difference in Tom playing Lauralen the Female Rogue that is an actual person, and Adam playing Devilynne who bounces breastily down all the hallways providing ample upskirts and other graphic depictions of fan service. That said, playing a gender different than what you identify with, or a sexuality different than your own, can be great for both character range purposes in future games - or if you ever GM - and eye opening in how it can give a different view of the world.

The second part there may not happen for everyone, but I consider Gender and Sexuality to be part of the foundations of a person. They feed so much into how we view the world by impacting what social obligations may be on us, and what type of people we feel attracted to and how that shapes us. Changing these can also just give you a chance to try and interact with different parts of yourself in a more safe and controlled manner which can also be very enlightening.

Who knows, maybe you'll find a whole new way to have fun in RPGs. If nothing else, it gives new angles to tackle old favorites from.

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