I ran across a new role-playing website today called Gamegrene (now in sidebar) and thought that the post A Tale of Two Characters was particularly interesting. It was about gender stereotypes in gaming. She described two characters and asked the readers to figure out which character was which gender. As readers of the Thoughts may realize, I'm against most "isms" and genderism is definitely on the list.
Personally I've always been drawn to playing tough women so for me it is always a stretch to try to play something a little more "stereotypical." Meanwhile my sister excels at the roguish vixen. So in our last D&D game we switched it up a bit and I played the sweet, somewhat helpless witch while she was my tough, smelly, brawling twin sister. (Oddly, this is the first time we've played siblings after a good 20+ years of gaming together.)
I figure in role playing there is always the chance to stretch and do something fun and different, including a different gender. I'll give you three characters I've played and tell me if you can figure out which one of these is a male. Bonus points for figuring out the gender of the other PC named in #3.
1) A party cleric who was really good at healing. Turned out that was because it happened to be a necromantic skill. The party took exception when the character decided to raise a bugbear as a minion and it began to decompose and smell. The character casually turned to the bugbear and said, "stay at the back and strip off all your flesh." The party got the collective wiggins.
2) An elven mage who tended to walk three steps into a room before thinking to check if it was safe and one time foolishly forgot to pack any food for a dungeon crawl. Once the party killed the dragon the hungry character poked at the flesh and inquired hopefully of the DM, "Is it tender?" Later in life, once they weren't quite so young and stupid, the same character used a wall of fire to trap a troop of orcs and then dropped a wall of something hard on them (can't remember what). Squish.
3) A quick-draw bounty hunter who once shot a Jedi because they were "in the way and not doing anything about the prisoner escaping." War veteran in the infantry, learned to pilot after being granted a ship by a planetary ruler for a particularly (politically) important rundown. Teamed up with and overprotective of an engineer named Dylan who is no longer allowed to touch weapons because they just end up 'shooting self' or 'shooting friend'. Every. Freaking. Time.