Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Pregnancy rules

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Dataweaver
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • monteparnas
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • CaptOtter
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    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*

    Leave a comment:


  • CaptOtter
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • monteparnas
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
    However, if one is playing or running a game in which the outcome of dramatic conflicts is mediated by rules and rolls, I'd question what the point even is of roleplaying a character being pregnant if there's literally no actual effect on how the pregnant character interacts with, or moves through the world.
    How is there no rules for something the same as there being no effect on how the character interacts with or moves through the world?

    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), even though there are rules for drowning. Does that mean nobody in the WoD can swim unless they're part of one of a few specific splats? Obviously not, it just means that the game didn't feel like we needed more rules than "make an Athletics check with an appropriate Attribute if it seems important."

    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.

    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. 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.

    For example, if a character is an Akashic and typically mixed it up in close combat (with all the athletic pizzaz that probably entails,) and they get into a fight while they're 9 months pregnant, but there's nothing in the dice or the rolls that gives any deference whatsoever to the ways that might affect a person's mobility, or the idea that they may need to change their fighting style to avoid getting hit in the stomach (or whatever else,)
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • HorizonParty2021
    replied
    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
    I know a lot of those tools and some more, but unfortunately I'm not sure it will help. I've been trying, but I really became a very annoying player, I just can't stop trying to teach the ST how to do their job, and only recently I noticed how much it is the fear of going through that same kind of BS again.

    As much as it is just a game, a good story draws you into it, and precisely because that you become emotionally invested, and pregnancy is an emotionally draining theme by nature.

    To be honest, had he talked with me about it, it wouldn't be completely out of question to go through it. I have zero problems with this stuff and worse in a story, happening to my characters. I've already full on played as the victim of a Nefandus that ended up seeing her daughters dying in a nuclear explosion, destroyed body and soul. I would have some input to make and that's it. Railroading me into a pregnancy and abortion without any input, that was more traumatic than I realized at the time.
    In my early days of WoD gaming, I often got into the same argument with a fellow storyteller. He emphasized that it's world of Darkness in which you are DOOMED hero doing their best and facing Personal Horror. I kept saying that it didn't have to be that, especially with Mage and that Constant Horror isn't scary, just oppressive, "Oh, my vampire frenzied and killed his true love - again.". The troupe kept getting larger until this one guy came along who was not a nice person to begin with and reveled in the personal horror aspect, more so for other characters and the players playing them than his own. In Mage, he would approach the ST and whisper, "If you want me to play the Nephandi infiltrator-corruptor I can.". He would take Mind, the overpowered Sphere. Most of us had Willpower 5, making the role of tricking people into entering the Caul easy, rules-wise. The Caul is disgusting.

    My character being railroaded by RAW into becoming a Nephandi, I tried to roleplay this to the best of my ability, "So what's our goal?". I took the answer to the logical conclusion. The story being set near the capitol of a nuclear armed country, I proposed to cause an ICBM launch against another nuclear armed country. Then, I was personally criticized by the same player for taking the game too far.

    The troupe got a lot smaller after this guy imposed his hardcore demands on our campaigns. I was an inexperienced storyteller with few books to reference and less space to accommodate play. Given the choice, most people came to me for games instead of the ST with all the books. At the time, we were all trying to navigate adolescent sexuality. It just naturally occurred to me to respect what female gamers were dealing with IRL, the game being an enjoyable escape.
    Last edited by HorizonParty2021; 09-15-2021, 03:19 PM. Reason: punctuation

    Leave a comment:


  • CaptOtter
    replied
    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
    Just because a phenomenon is natural but complex doesn't means it needs rules and dice rolls.
    There are enough 'rules lite' games out there--even diceless RPGs--that I would seriously call into question how much rules or rolls the hobby actually "needs". However, if one is playing or running a game in which the outcome of dramatic conflicts is mediated by rules and rolls, I'd question what the point even is of roleplaying a character being pregnant if there's literally no actual effect on how the pregnant character interacts with, or moves through the world. For example, if a character is an Akashic and typically mixed it up in close combat (with all the athletic pizzaz that probably entails,) and they get into a fight while they're 9 months pregnant, but there's nothing in the dice or the rolls that gives any deference whatsoever to the ways that might affect a person's mobility, or the idea that they may need to change their fighting style to avoid getting hit in the stomach (or whatever else,) I can understand how that might not be satisfying to someone else at the table (maybe even someone who has actually been pregnant) who might fairly take the position that it breaks their immersion into the game to see pregnancy handled like it's just a big belly that doesn't have any material effects on any of the person's capabilities. However, by that same token, I can also see a table agreeing to handwave that everything is going to be fine with the pregnancy regardless of what happens in the game (i.e., the character could get shot, but the players and ST would have prenegotiated that there won't be any problems with the pregnancy.) My point is that this is not a one-size-fits-all thing.

    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
    Pregnancy is a powerful narrative tool, and badly conducted is a powerful way to destroy your game, your players' confidence and the general mood of the day.
    I agree, but this same sentiment can go for basically anything. Everyone's red lines are different; the obvious and common ones (or at least the issues most often discussed within the ambit of conversations about player consent and content warnings,) are things like sexual violence, child abuse, genocide, and blatant/extreme overt racism; but it can be anything (I know people whose only red line is that dogs cannot be hurt,) because people can have had any and all kinds of experiences in their lives, and they're entitled to say what they don't want to see in the game they're playing for fun (just like the ST and other players are entitled to tell that person that that particular game is going to be fundamentally incompatible with their stated desires.)

    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
    I had already an ST that made my character pregnant without my input on the matter and it was horrible. Later he made her have an abortion for a plot of his in the same manner and it was absolutely disgusting. I ST nowadays because since that I have a hard time trusting an ST enough to play.
    This might be one of the shittiest things I've ever heard happening at a table, and I echo other people in this thread in saying that I can't very well blame you for having ST/GM trust issues after that.

    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
    Don't do rules on pregnancy. Roll with whatever makes sense for the characters and the story, and really, with the input of the players.
    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.)

    Leave a comment:


  • Ramnesis
    replied
    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
    Pregnancy is a powerful narrative tool, and badly conducted is a powerful way to destroy your game, your players' confidence and the general mood of the day. I had already an ST that made my character pregnant without my input on the matter and it was horrible. Later he made her have an abortion for a plot of his in the same manner and it was absolutely disgusting. I ST nowadays because since that I have a hard time trusting an ST enough to play.
    That's so far past the line on so many levels... Railroading. Loss of agency. Character violation. I'm not surprised you have trust issues from it.

    Leave a comment:


  • monteparnas
    replied
    Originally posted by HorizonParty2021 View Post
    If you want to give someone new a chance to ST, you could use this as a guideline. It talks about Lines and Veils: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjG-YbG_Q1k
    I know a lot of those tools and some more, but unfortunately I'm not sure it will help. I've been trying, but I really became a very annoying player, I just can't stop trying to teach the ST how to do their job, and only recently I noticed how much it is the fear of going through that same kind of BS again.

    As much as it is just a game, a good story draws you into it, and precisely because that you become emotionally invested, and pregnancy is an emotionally draining theme by nature.

    To be honest, had he talked with me about it, it wouldn't be completely out of question to go through it. I have zero problems with this stuff and worse in a story, happening to my characters. I've already full on played as the victim of a Nefandus that ended up seeing her daughters dying in a nuclear explosion, destroyed body and soul. I would have some input to make and that's it. Railroading me into a pregnancy and abortion without any input, that was more traumatic than I realized at the time.

    Leave a comment:


  • HorizonParty2021
    replied
    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
    I had already an ST that made my character pregnant without my input on the matter and it was horrible. Later he made her have an abortion for a plot of his in the same manner and it was absolutely disgusting.
    That is really callous.

    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
    I ST nowadays because since that I have a hard time trusting an ST enough to play.
    If you want to give someone new a chance to ST, you could use this as a guideline. It talks about Lines and Veils: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjG-YbG_Q1k

    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
    Don't do rules on pregnancy. Roll with whatever makes sense for the characters and the story, and really, with the input of the players.
    Personally, I would just have the pregnancy (chosen by the player) happen during downtime when everyone is learning new Spheres.

    Leave a comment:


  • monteparnas
    replied
    Just because a phenomenon is natural but complex doesn't means it needs rules and dice rolls.

    Pregnancy is a powerful narrative tool, and badly conducted is a powerful way to destroy your game, your players' confidence and the general mood of the day. I had already an ST that made my character pregnant without my input on the matter and it was horrible. Later he made her have an abortion for a plot of his in the same manner and it was absolutely disgusting. I ST nowadays because since that I have a hard time trusting an ST enough to play.

    Don't do rules on pregnancy. Roll with whatever makes sense for the characters and the story, and really, with the input of the players.

    Leave a comment:


  • HorizonParty2021
    replied
    The first question I would ask is whether miscarriage caused by violence should be avoided in the story altogether. That's something to discuss as a group if one of the players' characters is pregnant. It could be that both Traditions and the Technocracy have rules against harming a pregnant woman of the opposing faction.

    I would also look at how pregnancy affects Willpower recovery. Mages can recover WP in one of two ways. They can meditate. Are there symptoms of pregnancy that would prevent meditation deep enough to recover WP? The other way to recover WP is to act in accordance with her Nature. Suppose her Nature is Vigilante or Martyr and there's a call to action. Would the player be unable to recover WP because she's avoiding conflict until the baby is born? The question that naturally follows is whether being pregnant increases her WP recovery rate, reflecting her determination to obtain what she and her baby need despite mobility issues.

    Can Spirit Magick be used to cause a deceased member of your Tradition to reincarnate as this child if the Magick is done before conception? What's the difficulty and what happens if you botch?




    Last edited by HorizonParty2021; 09-15-2021, 12:40 AM.

    Leave a comment:

Working...
X