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  • #16
    Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
    I only agree with that first part (i.e., "don't do rules on pregnancy,") to the extent that it is subject to the considerations of the second part (i.e., do whatever makes sense for your table.)
    Just to be clear, that was the intention. Roll there was meant to be interpreted as dice roll if you so wish.

    Making rules on the fly is fine for some things, and pregnancy is that kind of thing. You want to have penalties? Have penalties. You want to avoid combat? Avoid combat. You want to have a random chance of shit happening? Go ahead.

    But making a rule ahead of time get the agency on a very sensible subject out of the player's and ST's hands by default. If a rule exists, the default is to follow it. So pregnancy must have no rules. It doesn't mean it won't have no roll.

    Otherwise, Heavy Arms explained it very well.


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    • #17
      Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
      One of those strange things that frequently gets ignored until someone realizes it might matter: the WoD doesn't have rules for swimming (or at least most of the editions/gamelines haven't had them, and even explicitly aquatic characters doesn't have much beyond normal movement, but they can do it in water)
      I found explicit rules for swimming in the Systems and Drama Chapters of Mage Rev., Vampire Rev., V20, and M20; I found swimming explicitly mentioned in the write-up for Athletics in W20, Werewolf Revised, Vampire 2nd Ed., and Mage 2d Ed. That said, I didn't look anywhere else because I don't want to spend all afternoon combing through a dozen books. Suffice it to say, the rules for swimming are neither buried nor only found in esoteric books; at a minimum, they're findable in the latest two main books for Mage, and Vampire (the flagship WoD line.)

      Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
      the game didn't feel like we needed more rules than "make an Athletics check with an appropriate Attribute if it seems important.
      At least swimming is explicitly called out in the write-up for the Athletics ability, and it's a relatively simple task (locomotion through a fluid medium) that, when compared to analogous actions like running can fairly be reduced to a single roll. Now, you can reduce pregnancy to a single roll, but I'd question whether that would be doing justice to that particular life-altering, transformative, potentially deadly, months-long process/ordeal.

      Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
      You can already call for a Stamina roll if a pregnant PC is exerting themselves in a risk fashion if you feel it's appropriate. The rules provided in the texts are explicitly meant to be representative of what the system can do, not exhaustive.
      First off, My position here is not that it is either impossible or impracticably difficult to portray pregnancy in the WoD absent formalized rules handed down by the developers. However, and to go back to your example above, at least swimming is something that is mostly well understood by most people; unfortunately, the same cannot be said of pregnancy. As well understood as pregnancy may be by medical science, that knowledge hasn't filtered out into the populace all too well. I will submit to you that a person's ability to make calls on the fly about how to faithfully represent a phenomenon within the game is necessarily going to be limited by (among other things) what they actually happen to know about that phenomenon. In this way, representing pregnancy would probably benefit more from a blurb or two in the book than something as simple and easily understood as swimming.

      Second, it bears worth to point out one again the bizarre stuff the games will give you systems for, in order to highlight the fact that they don't give you systems for some other more common things. To wit, Mage Revised (to name one example,) has at least some system for what happens when someone gets Bubonic Plague or Ebola (both of which, absent treatment, will kill someone in like half a month in real life,) but there's no system at all for something that happens all the time, takes months to resolve, and creates an ever-increasing and significant impairment throughout? Let's really think about this: how many people have you ever met who have had Bubonic Plague or Ebola? Speaking for myself, I can't say I've ever met one. However, I'm pretty sure that both of our respective mothers have been pregnant at least once.

      Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
      And, of course, people play these games for reasons other that purely mechanical impacts. A player that wants to explore how their character reacts to being a parent doesn't need rules around pregnancy to experience that.
      I've already said above, numerous times, that there's no one-size-fits-all answer here, and that the needs and tastes of different tables will necessarily dictate the degree of crunch that comes into portraying pregnancy in a game. However, if they just want to explore what it's like to be parent, they can start the game with kids, or handwave the pregnancy during downtime, or the character goes off to be pregnant and the player plays a different character until the bun comes out of the over. The reason to make a character that is pregnant, or decide that one's character becomes pregnant, is to roleplay a character that is pregnant.

      Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
      If I make a character from Seattle that just moved to Oklahoma City, there's no mechanics for adjusting to a new home with a very different culture, but there seems to me an obvious point to playing that: it would be enjoyable to explore.
      I think that you're trying to say that not everything that might seem narratively satisfying or fun to a player necessarily needs rules and rolls to be satisfying and rewarding (to which my response is what I wrote above about there being no one-size-fits-all solutions, and different strokes for different folks)--but also try to realize that comparing a move from one city in the CUSA to another, to being pregnant, is incredibly dismissive. First, you can always move back to Seattle, but there is a point of no return in pregnancy at which, regardless of whether the pregnancy is taken to term, the person's body is quite literally forever changed (one friend who had a not-particularly-difficult pregnancy called it a "minor form of body horror".) Moreover, I don't know that "relocation to a new city" is tracked by anyone as a cause of death in humans; whereas the maternal death rate is tracked; in the U.S. it stands at like 19 per 100,000 live births, which is considered a lot. The U.S. is tied with a handful of other countries at 56th on the list, and the majority of the world's population is worse off still (China and India, who collectively make up 1/3 of all the people in the world, are at 33 and 119 maternal deaths per 100,000 births.) All of this to say, you're potentially not giving the discussion it's due when you compare the implications, challenges, and literal mortal danger of pregnancy to moving from Seattle to Oklahoma City.

      Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
      The books similarly don't have the dice show any difference, or reduce the mobility, of a character based on the size of the heels on their shoes. Fighting in flats is the same as fighting in 6 inch pumps; or the ST has to make a rules call on something not explicated in the rules like the rules say they should.
      Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
      Making rules on the fly is fine for some things, and pregnancy is that kind of thing. You want to have penalties? Have penalties. You want to avoid combat? Avoid combat. You want to have a random chance of shit happening? Go ahead.
      Putting a pin in the potential rabbit hole of whether the complications of fighting in heels hold a candle to fighting while in the third trimester of a pregnancy (actual mobility issues aside, the reason people at a certain stage of pregnancy are told to avoid exerting themselves is because otherwise negligible increases in blood pressure and heart rate can cause a serious cardiac incident, a stroke, etc.), if you tell a player the rules you came up with on the fly for what the mechanical difficulties will be of fighting in heels, they can just take off the heels. But a pregnant character can't just take off the pregnancy; these is a potential "debuff" that lasts months, and probably gets more severe over time.

      Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
      But making a rule ahead of time get the agency on a very sensible subject out of the player's and ST's hands by default. If a rule exists, the default is to follow it. So pregnancy must have no rules. It doesn't mean it won't have no roll.
      First, I'm not advocating for there being rules on how to become pregnant (I'm not sure whether that's what you mean by taking away agency from the player and ST). Second, Storyteller and Player necessarily need to decide and discuss what the rules (if any; again, not telling anyone what kind of game they have to run) are going to be before the character becomes pregnant, because those determinations will probably have a bearing on whether the character decides to go in that direction with their character in the first place. If we're going to agree that a character should only become pregnant when, and only when, that character's player wants it to happen... then the Player is necessarily entitled to know what it is they're signing up for, because unless there's gonna be a time jump or a hand wave, they're going to be stuck with these rules for many in-game months.

      Again: everyone needs to do what's right for their table, but I maintain that the lack of even optional rules for this in most games is a huge blind spot, and is very telling of the (shall we say) demographic markers of a majority of game developers (especially in past decades), and we should all be careful to not be dismissive or reductive of this matter when we draw comparisons to other activities.


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      • #18
        Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
        I found explicit rules for swimming in the Systems and Drama Chapters of Mage Rev., Vampire Rev., V20, and M20; I found swimming explicitly mentioned in the write-up for Athletics in W20, Werewolf Revised, Vampire 2nd Ed., and Mage 2d Ed. That said,
        So, using those rules, tell me how to resolve one character trying to swim out of the ocean on unto the beach while being chased by a shark.

        I'll wait.

        ....unfortunately, the same cannot be said of pregnancy.
        A gaming book isn't going to resolve a lack of good sex ed.

        ...but there's no system at all for something that happens all the time...
        Breathing happens all the time. There's only rules for not breathing. Is that bizzarre?

        I'm pretty sure the answer here is still very simple: the developers looked how how pregnancy wasn't likely to come up in most games (as you note, it's extremely limiting) many supernaturals can't get pregnant (ex: vampires) or have strong control over their bodies (ex: mages) to only get pregnant on their terms. Games were pregnancy is going to be something on-screen are games that are going to downplay a lot of the "rules" people might use to avoid side-lining the pregnant character(s). And of course, getting it right is extremely hard.

        So, they either don't put it in because nobody is likely to use it, or they take up 3 or so pages to offer enough options to do it right... and most people are still unlikely to use it.

        There's a ton of things that happen all the time that aren't in the rules. The games focus on stuff that the developers think is going to come up frequently.

        Let's really think about this: how many people have you ever met who have had Bubonic Plague or Ebola?
        A dozen (don't get bit by prairie dogs!), and two.

        And I'm pretty sure both of us don't live in place where there's the highest risk of either disease.

        I've already said above, numerous times, that there's no one-size-fits-all answer here, and that the needs and tastes of different tables will necessarily dictate the degree of crunch that comes into portraying pregnancy in a game.
        Then how are the devs supposed to make rules that are actually useful?

        I think that you're trying to say that not everything that might seem narratively satisfying or fun to a player necessarily needs rules and rolls to be satisfying and rewarding (to which my response is what I wrote above about there being no one-size-fits-all solutions, and different strokes for different folks)
        The "different strokes for different folks" thing is straining credibility. "I acknowledge that there's a huge range of how to handle this, but no rules is wrong for the game," isn't a coherent stance.

        --but also try to realize that comparing a move from one city in the CUSA to another, to being pregnant, is incredibly dismissive.
        I'll wait for someone that's been pregnant to tell me if I'm being dismissive of pregnancy by my choice of analogies and comparisons regarding how things function in RPGs.

        Because this just feels like an obvious distraction asyou know exactly why I said it, what I meant by it, and you're going off on an ad hominem tangent anyway.

        they can just take off the heels
        That's not the point and you know it.

        But a pregnant character can't just take off the pregnancy; these is a potential "debuff" that lasts months, and probably gets more severe over time.
        Yeah, "pregnancy is a debuff," is totally respectful of what people that go through pregnancy deal with.

        Again: everyone needs to do what's right for their table, but I maintain that the lack of even optional rules for this in most games is a huge blind spot, and is very telling of the (shall we say) demographic markers of a majority of game developers (especially in past decades), and we should all be careful to not be dismissive or reductive of this matter when we draw comparisons to other activities.
        *looks at the position of the only openly female identify person in the thread, looks at this, shakes head*

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          So, using those rules, tell me how to resolve one character trying to swim out of the ocean on unto the beach while being chased by a shark.

          I'll wait.
          You’re moving the goal posts. I’m still going to indulge the exercise this time, but I’m not going continue entertaining ever wackier permutations of this scenario ad infinitum. Either find another way to illustrate your point, explicitly state the point rather than trying to analogize it, or move on. I’m also not going to go through this exercise multiple times for various different editions of various different game lines (I think that would take an unreasonable amount of time and energy,) so I’m going to use the latest edition of Mage, i.e., M20.
          Okay, so what you’ve described is a feat of both distance swimming (trying to get to the shore from x distance away,) and a chase (getting ashore before the sharks get to the character.) The rules for swimming and for chases are on the Dramatic Feats table on page 403. That table provides some basic Attribute/Ability combinations and difficulties, then, for swimming (how fast and for how long,) refers you to pages 400-401 for further explanation. For being chased (or chasing) the table refers you to the write up on Resisted and Extended actions, which is on page 390. Presumably, you asked me to do this for rhetorical purposes, so I’m not going to go through the process of summarizing or synthesizing the rules for you; it should suffice that I birddogged the systems for you, and that they in fact exist.

          Thanks for waiting.

          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          A gaming book isn't going to resolve a lack of good sex ed.
          The value of having rules for pregnancy is not that it would be doing some social good in real society by educating RPG gamers about a topic poorly understood (embarrassingly so really,) by the general public. The point is that pregnancy is a common but complicated and multi-facet experience/process that most people don’t understand well, so the average person or RPG player would benefit more from having rules that describe its implications in game system mechanics terms than something relatively simple for which most or many people have a good (if not first-hand) frame of reference (e.g., breathing, looking for your lost keys, ordering a pizza, washing your car.)



          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          Breathing happens all the time. There's only rules for not breathing. Is that bizzarre?
          Breathing is not something you should have to roll for under any but the most harrowing and extreme circumstances in any game. I doubt even GURPS, Phoenix Command, or the crunchiest of RPGs make you roll to simply breathe. Breathing is an autonomic process that you don’t need to be taught how to do; babies do it seconds after they’re born; every living creature on the planet literally does it in their sleep. Breathing is such a basic thing to do that there are rules for how long you can deliberately stop yourself from trying to breathe (i.e., holding your breath.)
          I can’t tell whether this was a good faith part of your argument, or whether you’re trying to be flippant and dismissive. Regardless, it feels like you’re not taking this discussion seriously; if you think that I’m so off base and so out on a limb that you don’t need to engage seriously with me, and you want to just troll, then say this is too ridiculous for you to even entertain, and do me the courtesy of not wasting my time.

          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          I'm pretty sure the answer here is still very simple: the developers looked how how pregnancy wasn't likely to come up in most games (as you note, it's extremely limiting)
          I’m glad we can agree that, as a matter of practical fact, pregnancy can be extremely limiting (this will come up later in my reply.) That said, the game has rules (i.e., the developer made rules,) for other conditions and phenomena that are extremely limiting, and potentially permanent (as opposed to pregnancy lasting, on average, nine months.) For instance, the Flaw Impediment (Book of Secrets, p.39) is a variable-point flaw, but can go as high as six points. I’ll let you read the exact text of what a six-point impediment entails, but suffice it to say that it is extremely limiting.
          Another extremely limiting flaw is right after Impediment, “Aging”. At the highest end (10 points,) you lost five dots from your physicals. Here are some other flaws that, when taken at the maximum level provided in the writing, present extreme challenges or limitation to the player: Degeneration; PTSD; Paranormal Prohibition/Imperative; Vulnerability; Jinx/Infernal Contraption. Clearly the fact that something might be very limiting isn’t dispositive of being given a system. And if your response to that is that these things might be in here for the purposes of giving them to NPCs, I will submit to you that NPCs can be pregnant.


          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          many supernaturals can't get pregnant (ex: vampires) or have strong control over their bodies (ex: mages) to only get pregnant on their terms.
          But most of the gameline supernaturals can get pregnant (or make someone pregnant) more or less as that standard assumption. Sure, vampires and wraiths can’t get pregnant, but here is who can (absent specific issues with fertility): most shifters, imbued hunters, the Kuei Jin, changelings, and I’m not entirely sure about the Amenti and Fallen, but I also don’t know why they wouldn’t (the Amenti have the deluxe resurrection spell, so they’re not technically undead I don’t think; the Fallen are possessing biologically human hosts.) And of course humans, which include mages—and I don’t think it’s any kind of position to say that mages can avoid getting pregnant, because, first off, a player’s character shouldn’t be railroaded into getting pregnant in the first place; and second, a mage’s player may affirmatively want their character to get pregnant. If you’d read my prior posts, you would have seen where I argued that there’s great dramatic potential in roleplaying a pregnancy—particularly for very particular splats (Verbena and Black Furies immediately come to mind, but I’m sure there are others.)

          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          So, they either don't put it in because nobody is likely to use it, or they take up 3 or so pages to offer enough options to do it right... and most people are still unlikely to use it.
          I won't seriously consider this appeal to popularity (or unpopularity, I guess,) if you can’t substantiate it; have you polled some representative sample of RPG players, or even just WoD players, that supports this position, or this just your reckon? Even assuming arguendo that most WoD players do in fact feel this way, I’d wager most people don’t play quadriplegic characters, but that is presumably the sort of thing that is meant to be represented by the six-point version of “Impediment”—which is a thing that exists in the game.

          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          The games focus on stuff that the developers think is going to come up frequently.
          This is what I was getting at the end of my last reply. The developers, being mostly guys who can’t get pregnant, are implicitly biased towards their own concerns, viewpoints, and experiences—and that created blind spots. I’m not saying they’re misogynists or anything else super inflammatory like that; just that this is probably one of those blind spots rather than a deliberated upon affirmative creative choice. Moreover, I don’t know what’s so hard to swallow about this; there’s a general consensus that the arguably racist tropes and ideas throughout the WoD (magic Gypsies, a number of the Garou tribes, the Kindred of the East, etc.) were the result of the developers’ implicit biases as mostly a bunch of young white guys living the U.S.—is it so hard to believe that this would extend beyond simple ethnocentrism? Androcentrism is a thing, you just don’t hear it as much as other stuff because it just gets lumped into ‘patriarchy’.

          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          A dozen (don't get bit by prairie dogs!), and two.

          And I'm pretty sure both of us don't live in place where there's the highest risk of either disease.
          That's a little bit of an understatement--these things are wildly rare. The CDC’s website says that there are an average of 7 reported cases of Bubonic Plague every year in the U.S. (range is 1-17.) Assuming you live in the U.S. (where prairie dogs come from,) every time you met one of those people, you probably met a whole number of percentage (maybe even double-digit percentage) of everyone who got the plague in the U.S. that year. With regard to ebola, the CDC’s site is a little more cagey, but as of June 2015, there had been 4 cases of people getting ebola in the U.S., and 11 total people treated for it in the U.S. (ever.)

          Now compare that to pregnancy—there were 3.6 million live births in the U.S. in 2020; and, mind you, that’s live births, so it doesn’t even account for pregnancies that weren’t taken to term. And yet there are rules for ebola and the Plague. And mind you, I think it's cool as hell that there are those rules, and don't have problem with them being there. I'm not under the impression they chose to put in evola and the Plague rather than describe pregnancy.

          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          Then how are the devs supposed to make rules that are actually useful?
          They do the job: attempt to thread the needle between accurately simulating the real world thing in the mechanical ‘language’ of the game, without making the system disproportionately more complicated than other things in the game. Talk to someone who has been pregnant; talk to someone who is pregnant; heck, go grab a book from the library, or a pamphlet from Planned Parenthood to help. Part of my point is that this information is not hard to find. And after the devs have given it the ol' college try and done their best--people will either use the system, use only some parts of the system with tweaks (i.e., house rules,) or they won’t use it at all (just like so many other things that people house rule around as they will.)

          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          The "different strokes for different folks" thing is straining credibility. "I acknowledge that there's a huge range of how to handle this, but no rules is wrong for the game," isn't a coherent stance.
          The point of me saying ‘different strokes for different folks’ (and so on,) is not that I think the rules should be such that they can be all things to all people. Rather, the point of my saying that (and things like it,) is that I’m not going to take normative position as to what people should or should not be doing at their home tables; I am not taking position on what the “Right” or “Wrong” way to play game is. If the devs had made absolutely perfect rules for pregnancy, my position would still be: storytellers/players, do what’s right for you—but if you wanna go there, here’s some tools for faithfully portraying this incredibly common condition (ultimately desired by some, but not by others,) which were built by the people who made the game to be internally consistent with the rest of the game’s rules.

          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          I'll wait for someone that's been pregnant to tell me if I'm being dismissive of pregnancy by my choice of analogies and comparisons regarding how things function in RPGs.
          Great, so it’s like Schrodinger’s cat—it’s not tone deaf and borderline sexist until a qualified individual observes the statement and says it is or isn’t? And what would a dogpile even accomplish? It’s just you and me having this discussion and I'm already sensing that you’re defensive.

          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          Because this just feels like an obvious distraction asyou know exactly why I said it, what I meant by it, and you're going off on an ad hominem tangent anyway.
          It’s not a distraction—the fact that you see my position as so frivolous or absurd is indicative of my point regarding why there probably isn’t a system like this. Mind you, it had never occurred to me either until someone posted this question, so it's not like I'm free from this bias either. That said, find me something comparable to pregnancy in incidence, gravity, duration, cultural or religious significance, and potential for mechanical impairment, but that only affects a very particular class of person; hell, find me something comparable to pregnancy on even 3 or 4 of those bases. I will submit to you that adjusting to life after moving from Seattle to Oklahoma City is way off the mark.

          And as far as my approaching ad hom territory—if you think that’s case, feel free to report me to the admins. I haven’t said anything hateful to you, I haven’t insulted you, I’m not really coming at you hard at all, and I’ll defend my positions to anyone.

          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          That's not the point and you know it.
          Stop with the “not the point and you know it” stuff--it basically implies that I’m arguing in bad faith and attacking you on semantics or collateral matters rather than engaging with your points in the spirit in which you’re making them; as if your position is so true and correct on its face that anything I say in response can only be derailing or trolling. It’s entirely possible that we’re just so far apart on this matter that we can’t have a fruitful discussion about it, but your assumption that I’m trying to pull rhetorical tricks on you or something is obnoxious and unproductive. You're not so obviously right that the only way I can disagree with you is via bush league rhetorical fuckery.

          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          Yeah, "pregnancy is a debuff," is totally respectful of what people that go through pregnancy deal with.
          I appreciate you trying to turn this around on me, but we both know (or at least I hope you know) that “debuff” is gaming jargon. Wikipedia defines it as “effects that may negatively impact a player character or a non-player character in some way other than reducing their hit points.” Well, as I pointed out above, you and I agree that pregnancy can be extremely limiting, I’ll thank you to spare me the false umbrage over my use of judgment-neutral technical jargon to describe the collective negative effects that could inure to a pregnant character trying to fight or otherwise physically exert themselves.


          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          *looks at the position of the only openly female identify person in the thread, looks at this, shakes head*
          Yes, I see your threadbare fig leaf, and I’m not impressed. People who can be pregnant are not such a monolith that I would take a single person’s opinion as representative of the whole. If every member of these forums who has been pregnant were to come in here and start weighing in, and a majority clearly fell on one side or other of the arguments involved (i.e., if it wasn’t close,) I would probably be persuaded on matters having to do with whether WoD customers and fans who can be pregnant would have actually wanted such systems in the game (regardless of form or level complexity,) because, other than RPG gamers, I doubt many people have very strong or thoughtful opinions about whether D&D (because that’s what this would be to people who don’t play RPGs) has rules for pregnancy. However, I still don’t think it’s a good look or a good take to compare pregnancy to moving cities or wearing heels--in any context--and I doubt you’d say something like that in front of an actual pregnant person (to extent you’re interested in not being seen as rude.) It's not some terrible trespass, and I don't think you're some awful misogynist, but it seems than a little a tone deaf.


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          • #20
            I really don't like to start things appealing to authority...

            So: I'm a woman. I'm a disabled person. I'm a psychologist by formation. I'm a bank clerk by profession, working at the second biggest bank in Latin America and 77th in the world. I also work in the feminist movement inside this institution and am an activist for both feminism and disabled rights. I'm an RPG player since the mid-90s and ST since 2007. I specialized in gender in a prestigious university and kept up to date on the matter since, working it into my own works with and analyses of games. I study Game Design since 2009.

            Just so everyone know that I may have some idea of what I'm talking about. I'm not going to cover everything, for some things others can do a better job than me.

            Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
            The point is that pregnancy is a common but complicated and multi-facet experience/process that most people don’t understand well
            Precisely because that, trying to make adequate rules for it is more likely to result in incomplete rules, encourage people that don't understand it to try anyway and end up harming more than helping.

            Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
            a player’s character shouldn’t be railroaded into getting pregnant in the first place; and second, a mage’s player may affirmatively want their character to get pregnant
            The first function of a rule is to take agency out of the player's hands and put it on the dice. That's why you say that you shot at, not that you hit it.

            Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
            The developers, being mostly guys who can’t get pregnant, are implicitly biased towards their own concerns, viewpoints, and experiences—and that created blind spots.
            True. No one is saying that the developers didn't made pregnancy rules because they knew what they're doing. Still, they're a bad idea.

            I would personally dedicate a page to discussing pregnancy on some books. This IS a huge thing. But not give rules.

            Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
            They do the job: attempt to thread the needle between accurately simulating the real world thing in the mechanical ‘language’ of the game, without making the system disproportionately more complicated than other things in the game.
            The sole reason I'm not really angry at you is that I knew this fallacy was at the core of your interpretation.

            It isn't about accurately simulating the real world. It never was. Especially not in WoD or CoD.

            RPG rules are about drama. They're about delivering the experience of the game and resolving conflicts. They're tools to tell a story. The Simulation Theory of RPG is a relic from the end of the 80s and the 90s, and is simply wrong. It is bad design.

            Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
            Talk to someone who has been pregnant
            Have you? Because I have.

            Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
            I’m not going to take normative position as to what people should or should not be doing at their home tables
            But like it or not, rules are normative positions. They are the default, the starting point. No other decision comes after them, not even the decision of not using them. Here lies the danger.

            Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
            It’s just you and me having this discussion and I'm already sensing that you’re defensive.
            Thanks for ignoring previous posters.

            Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
            Mind you, it had never occurred to me either
            Had to me. Several times. And to other female players I talk with a play with. So let me say that I agree with almost everything Heavy Arms said, that's why I was not posting anymore.

            Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
            If every member of these forums who has been pregnant were to come in here and start weighing in, and a majority clearly fell on one side or other
            So the authors have their biases, but you'll only change your MALE opinion on the matter if a sizable sample to YOUR satisfaction of women disagrees with you?

            That's what Heavy Arms tried to warn you before it was too late. There is a thing on every minority advocacy that we can call Stealing Protagonism. It is usually a well-meaning attitude that actually harms A LOT. You're doing it. You're talking about consulting women to make the rules and not thinking about consulting women on the very matter of the discussion. On the contrary, instead of going to women and asking us what we think, you're purposefully ignoring my opinion and arguing with another man in "my" behalf. You already decided from your head that the rules are necessary.

            It's what my signature means, the shout of the disabled movement: nothing about us without us.

            Rules on pregnancy would make what happened to me more frequent. STs would be able to roll things without consulting the affected parties, probably ignorant of the weigh of what they're doing. And women would feel even less safe playing the game. If you don't believe, talk to other women before you continue this.


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            • #21
              Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
              I can’t tell whether this was a good faith part of your argument, or whether you’re trying to be flippant and dismissive.
              I'm being flippant to highlight the absurdity of your argumentation. Really, you only have one salient point: "The point is that pregnancy is a common but complicated and multi-facet experience/process that most people don’t understand well, so the average person or RPG player would benefit more from having rules that describe its implications in game system mechanics term..." but then all your back up of why "no rules" isn't a functional solution is rubbish. You dismiss analogies or stuff no in the rules based on nitpicks instead of the actual point being made, and then don't hold yourself to the same standards when you cherry pick rules from the books to highlight stuff that does get rules. By your own logic you're trivializing permanent disabilities by comparing them to the temporary state of pregnancy.

              ...the Kuei Jin...
              It's worth noting that while they are not incapable of getting pregnant or having viable sperm, this is not their default state and requires a purposeful realignment of their spiritual balance in order to do. This something that they essentially have to specifically try to do, not something that's "natural" to their state of being.

              ....and I don’t think it’s any kind of position to say that mages can avoid getting pregnant...
              Mages were an example of a second category unaddressed in your list: supernaturals that can easily control their biology. Not only does this mean they can just not get pregnant if they don't want to, but they can mitigate or eliminate anything the perceive as negative side effects of pregnancy, and can skip past all sorts of complications. Life 2/3 basically turns any mechanics around pregnancy pointless. The WtA books describe pregnancy as much easier on Garou than humans because of their natural health and healing. Only late stages were they need to spend time in their breed form is presented as a significant issue (though far worse for Garou that have to give birth in Crinos).

              have you polled some representative sample of RPG players, or even just WoD players, that supports this position, or this just your reckon?
              The attempt to put in pregnancy rules on the old New Bremen chat went over like a lead balloon... even as a lot of players went through pregnancy in character because the nature of persistent chats like NB and those that followed put more stress on the daily lives of characters and offers more time to dedicate to things that come up far less frequently when it's just a few friends gathering for a couple hours and focus more on adventures or narrative plots.

              NB was run by someone that worked on WoD books back in the day and even had developer credits, and couldn't come up with something that anyone wanted to use instead of just letting people play out pregnancies how they wanted with the ST team adjudicating pregnancy related rules calls ad hoc.

              Pregnancy rules (mostly for kinfolk) in the big WtA LARP groups were highly contentious back in the day as well, for the same reasons.

              Official (within those organizations rather than from the books) rules applying to communities of hundreds didn't have any notable positive impact, and a lot of negative ones.

              I’d wager most people don’t play quadriplegic characters, but that is presumably the sort of thing that is meant to be represented by the six-point version of “Impediment”—which is a thing that exists in the game.
              But it's not a matter of how much something gets played, but if official rules are needed for it.

              The developers, being mostly guys who can’t get pregnant, are implicitly biased towards their own concerns, viewpoints, and experiences—and that created blind spots.
              There's enough talk of pregnancy in the books that I don't think it's at all fair to say they omitted rules for it out of a "blind spot" based on gender. And you'd think the women involved might point that out (since the founding WW members were not all men).

              I’m not saying they’re misogynists or anything else super inflammatory like that; just that this is probably one of those blind spots rather than a deliberated upon affirmative creative choice.
              Yet you've cited nothing but systemic sexism as evidence for this.

              WW was hardly the first - but RPGs had a strong overt sex-bias due to the commonality of "bioessentialism" in the original TSR folks - to make overt design decisions like not having different mechanics based on sex, but it was a deliberate decision as games were still doing that even in the early 90s (and video game still do it sometimes even if it's finally falling out of fashion there).

              A group of young mostly men wrote a setting where there's multiple groups that view pregnancy as a sacred act, and some even a spiritual duty. I think that's enough to say they didn't just skip over pregnancy because they weren't going to experience it.

              They do the job:
              Why is it hard to consider that they solution they took might just be the end result of doing the job? It's not like pregnancy rules have started taking off in newer game designs, or with design teams with more people that have given birth in them. No pregnancy rules is the norm even in games that have slaughter all sorts of sacred cows from the past 40 years of game design.

              Rather, the point of my saying that (and things like it,) is that I’m not going to take normative position as to what people should or should not be doing at their home tables; I am not taking position on what the “Right” or “Wrong” way to play game is.
              And you're failing to really consider what the impact of official rules in the books mean to people when it comes to what happens at their home tables because advocating for official rules is de facto arguing for that normative position; you just put the onus on the devs instead of saying you being the one saying what's "right" and what's "wrong." Most people play the books by the rules. If there's pregnancy rules in a game, people playing that game are very likely to consider that the "right" way to do it until something convinces them otherwise, very likely an extremely bad gaming experience, before trying something else.

              Great, so it’s like Schrodinger’s cat—it’s not tone deaf and borderline sexist until a qualified individual observes the statement and says it is or isn’t?
              I'm not the one looking like they're trying to White Knight all over this topic.

              My wife and my mother both found your rejection of the heels thing rather distasteful in light of you're whole "dismissive towards pregnancy" thing because it came off as very dishonest about the concerns of the issues women face. The fact that you insist on pregnancy as a Huge Dealtm to get past other issues came off as very telling. But both of the reacted very poorly to the "you can take off heels" thing as failing to recognize how many women don't want to be wearing heels in the first place.

              But I was being generous and at least leaving space for someone on the board that's part of this community chime in. You can't really defend yourself to my mom, and I'm not sure you'd want me to go through steps to convince you that something I put in a post is my wife's own words and not just me typing something up.

              It’s not a distraction—the fact that you see my position as so frivolous or absurd is indicative of my point regarding why there probably isn’t a system like this.
              That's pretty circular logic. You're basically saying that because I disagree with you that my post was dismissive towards pregnancy, it's proof I'm under the influence of unexamined sexist bias, and it is not at all possible that you're deflecting.

              And I see your argumentation as absurd because I do. Even if I see merit to the point you're trying to make, you're going about it very poorly in my view.

              That said, find me something comparable to pregnancy in incidence, gravity, duration, cultural or religious significance, and potential for mechanical impairment, but that only affects a very particular class of person; hell, find me something comparable to pregnancy on even 3 or 4 of those bases.
              Off the top of my head? Natural black hair (incidence, duration, cultural significant, and potential for mechanical impairment via less time in the day from making it conform to white standards, or discrimination for leaving it natural) seems to work as an example of something without mechanics despite all that importance.

              I will submit to you that adjusting to life after moving from Seattle to Oklahoma City is way off the mark.
              Because you're setting an arbitrary mark that has nothing to do with the point being made: people play stuff because it's interesting even if it doesn't have a mechanical impact. The real world weight of those situations isn't the issue, and is even less relevant in an RPG where events aren't dictated by real world simulation machines.

              And as far as my approaching ad hom territory—if you think that’s case, feel free to report me to the admins. I haven’t said anything hateful to you, I haven’t insulted you, I’m not really coming at you hard at all, and I’ll defend my positions to anyone.
              I said ad hominem because I meant ad hominem. That's not inherently rule breaking, or hateful, or insulting. It just means you're making points that are directed at me, not my statements.

              Stop with the “not the point and you know it” stuff--it basically implies that I’m arguing in bad faith and attacking you on semantics or collateral matters rather than engaging with your points in the spirit in which you’re making them;
              1) Your post included the intent I meant to convey, so you did, indeed, know it.

              2) Let me avoid implications: I do fully think you're attacking my statements (when you're not just going at me) based on semantics, nitpicks, and collateral matters rather than engaging with my points in the spirit in which I'm making them. I can point directly to a paragraph of yours where that's exactly what you did.

              You're not so obviously right that the only way I can disagree with you is via bush league rhetorical fuckery.
              Then cut it with the bush league rhetorical fuckery?

              I appreciate you trying to turn this around on me, but we both know (or at least I hope you know) that “debuff” is gaming jargon.
              Like this little bit of literal semantics. You are going at me for being "dismissive" while at the same time lumping pregnancy in with having Slow cast on you. It's hypocrisy because of what that jargon means. It was pure bad faith And. You. Know. It. Hiding behind Wikipedia ain't gonna change it. I turned it around on you, not tried to, because you completely deserve to have it turned around on you.

              Yes, I see your threadbare fig leaf, and I’m not impressed.
              So... people that can get pregnant aren't a monolith, but you still feel 100% comfortable speaking for them as a whole, even if someone in the thread might fall into that category and disagrees with you?

              If every member of these forums who has been pregnant were to come in here and start weighing in, and a majority clearly fell on one side or other of the arguments involved (i.e., if it wasn’t close,)
              Wow.... not even like, five... you'd need all of them to even reconsider your opinion... and you wonder why I'm reacting to your positions the way I am?

              However, I still don’t think it’s a good look or a good take to compare pregnancy to moving cities or wearing heels--in any context--and I doubt you’d say something like that in front of an actual pregnant person (to extent you’re interested in not being seen as rude.)
              I showed this thread to my mother yesterday. I'm pretty sure she's been pregnant... more than once even... even if she's not right now.

              I'd have no problem showing it to any of my pregnant gaming friends, or ones that were or will or might be.

              Because yes, the context does actually matter. Their uteri have not addled their brains such that they can't comprehend that I didn't compare moving cities to pregnancy in a literal fashion, but that lots of people play characters in ways they enjoy that involve non-mechanical aspects of the game. I'm sure they'd have some issues with how I generally go about my posts, but they get the point even if you'd rather assume offense on their behalf.

              It's not some terrible trespass, and I don't think you're some awful misogynist, but it seems than a little a tone deaf.
              But enough of a misogynist that my true motivations are rooted in sexism and not what I say they are.

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              • #22
                I'll add only that Werewolf: the Apocalypse has some problematic features that are tied to the semi-hereditary nature of the Garou. When Werewolf: the Forsaken was written, it initially handled things the same way (i.e., werewolves are children of werewolves, meaning that for there to be additional generations of werewolves, werewolves had to have sex with humans or, in WtA, sometimes with wolves, and they then had to raise families complicated by the fact that werewolves and their Rage issues were involved, which all has strong overtones of abusive relationships); when the opportunity to write a second edition of Forsaken presented itself, they took that opportunity to shift the burden from “kinfolk being children of werewolves” to “kinfolk being children of kinfolk”, allowing all of the problematic elements involving werewolves being involved in matters of sex and pregnancy to be more easily bypassed — that is, it took those issues from being an “opt out” thing (“these things happen all the time; but if you don't want to deal with it, you can choose not to deal with it”) to an “opt in” thing (“these things might happen occasionally; so if you want to deal with it, you can choose to deal with it”).

                Unfortunately, the issue is too deeply rooted in Werewolf: the Apocalypse at this point for that game to make a similar course correction. The devs for WtA are stuck with attempting to make the best of a bad situation; and I don't envy them.

                All that is to say that I wouldn't be looking to WtA as a “role model” for how to handle matters of sex and pregnancy; I'd be more inclined to view it as a cautionary tale.


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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                  I'm being flippant to highlight the absurdity of your argumentation.
                  If you think the position is so absurd that you're acquitting yourself well by being deliberate flippant, but rather than just saying that and moving on (and allowing my patently absurd comments to stand as a monument to my inanity or whatever), you instead decide that you're going to engage in the discussion for sole purpose of trying to dunk on people, or otherwise for sport, you're basically going out of your way to waste my time. Stop wasting my time.

                  Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                  The first function of a rule is to take agency out of the player's hands and put it on the dice. That's why you say that you shot at, not that you hit it.
                  Just to be clear, do you think I'm proposing that there should be a rule for determining whether or when a character becomes pregnant? I ask because you wrote this in response to my saying that characters shouldn't be getting pregnant in the first place without their player's consent; I think there's a solid chance I'm misreading this bit of your response, but I want to emphasize that I am not saying there should be rules for determining whether a character does or does not become pregnant; rather, rules for how actually being pregnant would affect a human character at different stages of same.

                  Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                  Thanks for ignoring previous posters.
                  By your own admission in the line following this one, you "agree[d] with almost everything Heavy Arms said, that's why [you] was not posting anymore." I wasn't ignoring what you've posted, and explicitly acknowledged that you'd weighed in, but I noted you didn't respond to my previous reply to you, and figured you were, in fact, not posting anymore/departed from the discussion.

                  Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                  But like it or not, rules are normative positions. They are the default, the starting point. No other decision comes after them, not even the decision of not using them. Here lies the danger.
                  I'm sorry, but I don't understand what you mean by 'no other decision comes after them.' There are plenty of rules that people don't play with, or they use modified versions of in their home games. I've never played a werewolf game where we used 'animal magnetism' because everyone tends to agree it's a gross, rape-y power. Similarly every WoD game I've ever played with my core group of friends has included a single reflexive dodge during combat. There rules are the starting point, but then we departed from the rules as written in these specific ways.

                  Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                  I showed this thread to my mother yesterday. I'm pretty sure she's been pregnant... more than once even... even if she's not right now.

                  I'd have no problem showing it to any of my pregnant gaming friends, or ones that were or will or might be.
                  Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                  Have you [talk to someone who has been pregant]? Because I have.
                  I've run my posts by, and shown this thread to, a handful of women a number of times both before and after I've post--some gamers, some not; some have been pregnant, some haven't; a very small handful are in the literal business of providing reproductive healthcare services. The positions and opinions here are mostly mine though they've been guided by those discussions; I ran my takes by those people because they're ultimately who I'm directly socially accountable to when I start to drift out of my lane and into this one, and naturally I'm interested in adjusting my positions to the extent that they're problematic, ill-informed, what-have-you. The consensus thus far has been some combination or mix of "why are you wasting your time with this argument", and (substantively) that if a character is going to be pregnant in a game there should be rules and thought around it, and that the lack of thought around it is patriarchy in action. The only thing everyone had a strong reaction to (regardless of whether they were gamers, or think it's dumb that anyone is even having this discussion in the first place,) is that the comparisons to pregnancy thus far have been inappropriate or offensive; more offensive than I would have thought if I had not shown the thread to anyone and asked for thoughts. Mind you, I'm not citing this as an appeal to authority in support of my position of being absolutely correct, but rather to rebut the implication that this is all just my male ipse dixit, and that I haven't done any work of running this by members of the actual class of person who has standing to be personally aggrieved.

                  Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                  The attempt to put in pregnancy rules on the old New Bremen chat went over like a lead balloon... even as a lot of players went through pregnancy in character because the nature of persistent chats like NB and those that followed put more stress on the daily lives of characters and offers more time to dedicate to things that come up far less frequently when it's just a few friends gathering for a couple hours and focus more on adventures or narrative plots.

                  NB was run by someone that worked on WoD books back in the day and even had developer credits, and couldn't come up with something that anyone wanted to use instead of just letting people play out pregnancies how they wanted with the ST team adjudicating pregnancy related rules calls ad hoc.

                  Pregnancy rules (mostly for kinfolk) in the big WtA LARP groups were highly contentious back in the day as well, for the same reasons.

                  Official (within those organizations rather than from the books) rules applying to communities of hundreds didn't have any notable positive impact, and a lot of negative ones.
                  This is the probably the most persuasive thing I've seen on the matter so far; the fact that his has basically been play tested at scale and proved unpopular.


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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
                    If you think the position is so absurd that you're acquitting yourself well by being deliberate flippant, but rather than just saying that and moving on (and allowing my patently absurd comments to stand as a monument to my inanity or whatever), you instead decide that you're going to engage in the discussion for sole purpose of trying to dunk on people, or otherwise for sport, you're basically going out of your way to waste my time. Stop wasting my time.
                    You don't seem to be willing to grasp there is a difference between your position(s), which I think have some merit however much I think are ultimately incorrect, and your argumentation in defending those positions, which is what I think deserves the flippancy I've given it.

                    Also, this is a forum about playing pretend fun games. It's an exceedingly frivolous endeavor in any honest estimation of the world, that only has merit due to our mental amusement at it. Or in other words, we're basically here to "waste" our time on things that basically don't matter because it's still fun. I can't force you to read or respond to my posts, that's an active choice you're making to do with your time. You can always ignore me if you think it would be a waste of your time to engage with me.

                    So, I'm left to conclude that you want to engage with me, and thus I'm not actually wasting your time within the context of why we're here, and this is just more ad hominem argumentation to get away from the actual points at hand.

                    I'm sorry, but I don't understand what you mean by 'no other decision comes after them.' There are plenty of rules that people don't play with, or they use modified versions of in their home games. I've never played a werewolf game where we used 'animal magnetism' because everyone tends to agree it's a gross, rape-y power. Similarly every WoD game I've ever played with my core group of friends has included a single reflexive dodge during combat. There rules are the starting point, but then we departed from the rules as written in these specific ways.
                    This screams of confirmation bias based in playing with long standing RPG gamers that have been through all the problems with following the RAW and know to read carefully to avoid various pitfalls.

                    That's the result of a learning process, that takes time for most people to develop. The vast majority of players just do what the books say, or what someone they trust to say what the books say says. Some of that is a lack of interest in learning rules, but more is because people need experience before they get to the "always be tinkering" mentality of reading a RPG book.

                    Mind you, I'm not citing this as an appeal to authority in support of my position of being absolutely correct, but rather to rebut the implication that this is all just my male ipse dixit, and that I haven't done any work of running this by members of the actual class of person who has standing to be personally aggrieved.
                    Eh, it mostly just comes off as CYA after getting called out:

                    A: "If you talked to women you'd agree with me!"
                    B: "I am a woman..."
                    C: "I totally talked to women about this."
                    A: "Um.. I talked to lots of women that absolutely agree with everything I said esp. anything around C being offensive."

                    It's not really much of allaying feelings of your posts being less that well reasoned.

                    This is the probably the most persuasive thing I've seen on the matter so far; the fact that his has basically been play tested at scale and proved unpopular.
                    Great, so, what's your revised position then so we can move on?

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
                      Just to be clear, do you think I'm proposing that there should be a rule for determining whether or when a character becomes pregnant?
                      No, I figured out your idea earlier. My point stands for the whole process. The effects of each stage, the differences between each woman and each pregnancy, risks and limitations that apply or not, and so on.

                      Because, just so you know, pregnancies vary to the extreme. Some women start feeling weak 2 weeks after conception and are basically bedridden from then on, with pain, nausea and several other symptoms in an ever evolving biological nightmare. Some go through the whole process without even noticing, they don't feel pain, don't have a noticeable gain in weight, don't suffer complications despite continuing their normal physical activities, and the baby comes out as easy as going to the bathroom.

                      Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
                      I wasn't ignoring what you've posted, and explicitly acknowledged that you'd weighed in
                      As a rule of thumb it is bad form to make statements as that even if at present only one participant seems to be engaged in the discussion. One tip I can give you is to pay some attention to likes in the posts, not because this is some form of popularity contest, but because they are a sign of "silent engagement" of other people.

                      I'm not holding that against you, it is just a trick for using forums.

                      Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
                      I'm sorry, but I don't understand what you mean by 'no other decision comes after them.'
                      Miss-typed. I meant to say 'before them'. I'll correct the original post later, sorry.

                      Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
                      I've run my posts by, and shown this thread to, a handful of women a number of times both before and after I've post
                      Good to know.

                      Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
                      there should be rules and thought around it
                      Two different things, rules and thought. As I said myself, I think they should dedicate some space to thoughts about that. Those thoughts may, still, conclude that no rule is a better option.


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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                        Eh, it mostly just comes off as CYA after getting called out:

                        A: "If you talked to women you'd agree with me!"
                        B: "I am a woman..."
                        C: "I totally talked to women about this."
                        A: "Um.. I talked to lots of women that absolutely agree with everything I said esp. anything around C being offensive."

                        It's not really much of allaying feelings of your posts being less that well reasoned.
                        One of the women you've implied I either didn't consult, or made up as a beard for my opinions here, linked me to this article after I showed her the last couple of replies: http://www.dnd.kismetrose.com/DMRomancePregnancy.html It's a blog article by a woman gamer about not only the roleplaying potential of pregnancy, but all sorts of rules (for d20/Pathfinder) for how to run it, and pitfalls to avoid--which I will note include rules for becoming pregnant (which I would have thought was a no-no, though she stipulates that everyone agreed ahead of time that there'd be these rolls to determine whether someone became pregnant, so consent still factors in.) Embarrassingly, it only occurred to me after I got linked to that article to Google "pregnancy in RPGs"; had I done that, not only would I have found that article, but also a lot discussions on this subject on various forums going back years. I thought the exercise we're engaging in here would be rare and esoteric; I was wrong. This is well tread territory. After reading through a few of those threads on other forums, I will note that there is less questioning about whether there ought to be rules for pregnancy in the first place, than there are discussions that amount to workshopping what the actual rules themselves (and often enough, someone chimes in with 'I have been pregnant, and here's what I think you need to have in your rules...' sort of thing.) There's also more than a few horror stories of players having their character being railroaded into being pregnant without any prior warning or discussion about it even being a possibility (which is sad, but predicable.)

                        Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                        Great, so, what's your revised position then so we can move on?
                        My revised position (re- whether pregnancy is something that should have WoD rules) is that this may not be the sort of thing most WoD players are actually interested in, and I'm persuaded of this by your anecdote about New Bremen. I could take position that maybe they just had bad pregnancy rules, but it sounds like they just abandoned the endeavor, so it was probably more than just 'bad rules'. Notably, I don't know much or anything about New Bremen (other than having the heard the name, and probably landed on the front page a few times back in the day,) but I'm assuming that you used it as support for your point based on the notion that it was popular enough and a well-populated enough WoD game that its player base constitutes a statistically significant sample group from which to make larger sweeping declarations about the fanbase as a whole. I don't actually know one way or the other, but I don't think you'd try to win this argument by literally tricking me.

                        With regard to the issue of why there is no mention of pregnancy rules in WoD in the first place, I started off very sure that reason there weren't pregnancy rules in there was because the overwhelming majority of the devs back in the day were young white guys, and pregnancy just wasn't something that they thought about very often or at all, and that therefore it was the product of an implicit cis male bias. I'm prepared to concede that argument. I still think that my former take is plausible, but after your New Brenan anecdote, I'm more prepared to believe that the devs thought about it and made the deliberate creative choice to steer clear. I also thought more about the fact that the first gameline was vampire, and was the template for the other games (like, I'm sure a lot of the systems and drama language was just copy/pasted,) so the fact that vampires cannot get pregnant set up an assumption that could easily have just carried forward into every other WoD game.

                        With regard to my larger ideological position (i.e., that this is a potentially interesting and rewarding thing to roleplay; that people need to ultimately do what's right for their table; that player consent is important, and that for that consent to be meaningful it needs to be informed--i.e., the rules must be stated on the front end; all the principled positions) the fact that I formed my opinion based on consultation with people in a position to be aggrieved or not by a bad take, makes it unlikely I was going to be convinced otherwise. The further fact that the topic of rules for pregnancy in RPGs is obviously not categorically offensive or totally out there to gamers that can become pregnant, tells me this is not absurd.

                        I'm not sure whether this is satisfying to you, but please don't let me stop you from moving on.


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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
                          The further fact that the topic of rules for pregnancy in RPGs is obviously not categorically offensive or totally out there to gamers that can become pregnant, tells me this is not absurd.
                          Here's the main point, directly from the link you posted:
                          "My first suggestion, of course, is to decide on the rules with the group."
                          My first suggestion, of course, is to decide on the rules with the group.My first suggestion, of course, is to decide on the rules with the group.

                          What you missed here is that we didn't disagree with everything you thought. We disagree with the idea of official rules.

                          A lot of my games had pregnancies happening. A lot of my players decided their characters would go through it or their partner would. It happened in D&D, WoD, L5R, 3D&T and other systems. Sometimes we did fine without rules. Sometimes I made rules after talking with my players.

                          But we never had or wanted official rules. You can, as she said in the article, look for rules elsewhere if you need. You need rules that do what your table needs them to do, and that is a degree of customization far beyond reason in official rulebooks.

                          Official rules are a problem. They inform starting points, they foment behaviors, they precede and sometimes preclude agency. And this thread started by asking after official rules.

                          Non-official rules or rules made on the fly are ok, and I asked LastCourier why the need precisely to offer an adequate, customized advice.


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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
                            ...but I'm assuming that you used it as support for your point based on the notion that it was popular enough and a well-populated enough WoD game that its player base constitutes a statistically significant sample group from which to make larger sweeping declarations about the fanbase as a whole.
                            It's hard to quantify exactly because NB's software was essentially one login per character rather than per user. The admin and ST teams had to separately track information like email and IP addresses to make sure people weren't breaking rules (like making a character to find out private information to the benefit of their main character). According to Conrad the highest point of activity was ~400 individual IP addresses logging in during one week, and the chat had ~2,000 unique IP addresses over its run. Not sure how you want to treat that as statistical significance, but I hope it's enough to assure that it's not a small sampling.

                            I'm not sure whether this is satisfying to you, but please don't let me stop you from moving on.
                            The lack of satisfying content in there is what monteparnas just posted: you're continuing to ignore that the objection is to official rules, not people creating rules for their home games.

                            You continue to come at this under a presumption that those disagreeing with you are disagreeing with the broad concept of pregnancy in RPGs, not the specifics we're talking about.

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                            • #29
                              My two cents:

                              I wouldn't mind a supplement that deals with pregnancy. However, I would have a few stipulations:

                              1. The supplement shouldn't be about pregnancy; to the extent that pregnancy is addressed, it should be within some wider context; say, a more in-depth look at Child Mages, and finding some way to stay reasonably true to the official source material about them while fixing some of the more problematic elements such as the assertion that everyone starts out Awakened, but most are forced into Sleep sometime around their birth. (We've haggled over this issue before, so I'm not going to get into it again; I bring it up merely as an illustration of what sort of supplement might make sense to include material about pregnancy in.)

                              2. Whoever writes it should either be an expert, or have an expert on tap, about whatever that larger context of the book is.

                              3. Make it a STV supplement, so that it is inherently unofficial.

                              4. Several games and supplements that I've seen lately have included a section about techniques for letting gamers who are uncomfortable with the course that the story is taking to do something about it. Things like forcing a “fade to black” when a scene is getting too graphic for their comfort, or a “rewind” when the plot takes a twist that's traumatizing to the player. Something like that should at least be considered for the hypothetical supplement that I'm envisioning; and even if it doesn't make the cut, there should at least be a frank discussion about understanding and respecting the boundaries of your fellow gamers: something like the aforementioned player's experience with a forced pregnancy and forced abortion should be pointed to as an example of what what not to do.

                              5. Related to this, no explicit “pregnancy check” rules. Pregnancy only occurs when the player and Storyteller agree to it. The closest you should ever come to this would be to point out that Life Magick can be used to promote fertility or barrenness, but that even that should be subject to player and Storyteller veto. (This is where the sorts of techniques I referred to earlier might come in handy, with a Rewind letting everyone backtrack to before the spell was cast and to come up with some alternate course of events.)

                              6. I could see some game systems to help reflect what it's like to be pregnant, for use after the player and Storyteller mutually agree to go ahead. On the one hand, I'd want them to be fairly basic (because, as I said, this sort of thing shouldn't be the focus of the book); but on the other hand, I'd appreciate it if they would take pains not to treat pregnancy as some sort of Flaw, or other inherently negative trait. Just musing here for the moment; but maybe it could be framed as working through a creative process, where the creation is a new human life. And instead of talking about the penalties of having a swollen belly, for instance, talk about the effort that's directed by the mother toward bringing the child to term.

                              That last bit was inspired in part by what Chronicles of Darkness did when they shifted from their first edition to their second edition: specifically, Flaws (a game system inherited from World of Darkness, though changes mechanically from a one-time point discount to an ongoing source of xp) were part of the original “new World of Darkness”, albeit a part that went largely ignored by most (to the point that while they were developing the second edition, I pointed them out to one of the developers, and he admitted that he had forgotten that they were there). Flaws aren't in the second edition; instead, you have Persistent Conditions, which do the same thing but are presented differently. That's the sort of shift in perspective that I'm thinking about.

                              7. Focus on what sorts of stories can be told. Whatever mechanics are introduced should be presented in the context of enabling the story, not as a “reality simulator”. monteparnas is right about that: especially when dealing with the Storyteller System, the goal shouldn't be simulation; it should be drama. (I wouldn't quite go so far as to say that simulationist games are inherently bad design; if a gaming group likes simulations, I'm not going to tell them they're wrong to like it. But if your goal is a “drama engine”, then simulationism is definitely out.)

                              And again, if it's something like a Child Mages supplement, all of the above would form no more than part of one chapter, with the other part of that chapter dealing with the pregnancy from the perspective of the still developing child-to-be, and the chapter ending with how to handle birth. And then you get to the rest of the book, with the next chapters dealing with infancy, toddlers, and more generally early child development — and how being Awake would factor in. One thing I'd like to see addressed would be the question of exactly when the child has developed sufficient mental facilities to be a playable character, and how to roleplay someone who is so young — especially with Magick in the mix.


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                              • #30
                                I’ll throw in my two cents, another vote against pregnancy rules. If a character is pregnant, it should be part of a role playing plot line that the player wants their character involved in, so it should be handled through role playing. Dice mechanics aren’t necessary.

                                Some days you just get a headache. Why? Who knows, but it happens to everybody sometimes. We don’t need a Stamina roll every day to see if your character has some random ailment with some minor penalty, though doing so might be realistic in a sense.

                                But it might be interesting to say that your character has the sniffles today, there need be no mechanical penalties. Likewise, if a pregnant character’s player wants her to have morning sickness that day, the character can complain about feeling nauseated. Maybe even throw up after the fight. Not because of a roll, but as part of role playing the character, because it would be fun and flavorful.

                                The only pregnancy I’ve even seen in table top gaming happened during down time, which you would expect for a woman involved in physically strenuous life threatening activities to take a break if they get pregnant.

                                I’ve not been pregnant, but my wife has on several occasions and I’ve seen, and had described to me, her symptoms often.

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