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  • More Female Antediluvians

    So, this is one of the '90s elements of the game that hasn't aged well.

    Women: Arikel, Ennoia (2)
    Sources Disagree: Troile (1)
    Men: Absimiliard, Augustus, Cappadocius, Haqim, [Lasombra], Malkav, Saulot, Set, Tremere, [Tzimisce], [Ventrue], Zapathasura (12)

    Yeah. Almost all of the Antes are guys, and the only consistently female ones are the beauty-fixated ultimate seductress and the Ante who's closest to being "one with nature." That feels a little problematic today.

    The upside is that it's easily fixable. Gender means less to the Antes than it does to RPG consumers, but plenty of Kindred scholars might still have gotten the Antes' genders wrong due to incomplete scholarship and/or conscious and unconscious biases. I actually liked how accounts of Troile's gender are so contradictory and treat that as canon in my games. Different Brujah regard their founder as male or female, depending on who one talks to.

    But what's the real truth, so far as the Antes' genders? Well, some thoughts:

    Women: Arikel, Ennoia, [Lasombra], Malkav, Troile, [Tzimisce], Zapathasura (7)
    Men: Absimiliard, Augustus, Cappadocius, Haqim, Saulot, Set, Tremere, [Ventrue] (8)

    Lasombra being female makes a nice contrast to Ventrue, who feels all but mandated to stay male.

    Malkav works well as a woman. Plenty of "mad seer" tropes associated with female characters.

    If Yorak could actually be female deep down, why not her sire too?

    Zapathasura because the Ante seems like s/he could work just as well as either gender.

    Absimiliard being a man obsessed with his lost beauty was a refreshing change of pace for the '90s. The others strike me as having a more patriarchal than matriarchal vibe, but I could see some of them being women too. Which Antes do people think work best with a gender swap?


    Blood and Bourbon, my New Orleans-based Vampire chronicle.

  • #2
    I think there’s a few scattered sources that imply Malkav was a woman. Cappadocius also went by Laodice sometimes apparently, which is a female name, suggesting he might have presented as both male and female sometimes like Troile did.

    Lady Tzimisce gives off big “terrifying Freudian yonic monster” vibes. I like it.

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    • #3
      I'd always presumed Malkav was female, and usually the Brujah and Gangrel founders as well. Lasombra I always waffled back and forth on. I think gender is probably irrelevant to the Tzimisce Eldest. The only ones I really ever consistently visualized as male were the Assamite, Setite, Salubri, and Venture ones, as well as Tremere and Augustus Giovanni.


      What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
      Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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      • #4
        Very few Antes are confirmed as male or female. In fact the only one that seemed Guaranteed was Absimiliard, Saulot, Haquim and Set were male, and Ennoia was female. And Analects of the 3rd Garden had a wonderful bit of lore about Sutekh being Female when first meeting the other Antes.

        Everyone else had a note of uncertainty to whether they were male or female, and a lot of this has to do with contradictory evidence and tales about Antes. Toreador could have had two individuals who folks regarded as their ante, or one could have been the founder and the other a childe. A lot of them just have traditionally accepted identities, like Cappadocius was often talked about as male but it wouldn't surprise me if Cappy was female and people just projected an identity upon its mummified corpse, especially after it deep dove into Monotheism.


        It is a time for great deeds!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Eldagusto View Post
          A lot of them just have traditionally accepted identities, like Cappadocius was often talked about as male but it wouldn't surprise me if Cappy was female and people just projected an identity upon its mummified corpse, especially after it deep dove into Monotheism.
          Cappadocius looked at least sometimes like an old man with a long white beard, as described in Giovanni Chronicles.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by QueenHerla View Post

            Cappadocius looked at least sometimes like an old man with a long white beard, as described in Giovanni Chronicles.
            I figured many of the images of themselves the Antes display are not their real selves. Did this old man image look human or corpselike?


            It is a time for great deeds!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post
              So, this is one of the '90s elements of the game that hasn't aged well.
              Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post

              Yeah. Almost all of the Antes are guys, and the only consistently female ones are the beauty-fixated ultimate seductress and the Ante who's closest to being "one with nature." That feels a little problematic today.

              I feel like calling this a "90's element" is a bit disingenuous, the writers made characters and wrote backstory, despite some modern ideas there is no binding contract that requires enforced diversity and balanced numbers just for the sake of having it. A story should just flow from the writers inspiration.

              As for having the two female Antes be "Hot Chick" and "Nature Chick", considering that the base line character traits were set in what 10,000 BCE to 7,000 BCE what exactly do you think is open for character generation, depending on the date you can't even take the character concept of "farmer" because agriculture hasn't been invented yet. Admittedly this changes if you go with the whole notion of the Exalted setting be the WoD prehistory, but that is another conversation.

              If you want to complain about gender stereotyping in writing and backstory, take a look at how the characters were handled post creation.

              Nos Ante = So vain his embrace twisted his visage and that of all his progeny
              Cap Ante = obsessed with death to the point of letting his entire clan get eaten
              Ass Ante = forms blood cult to kill everything else
              Malk Ante = was a talented Seer, but madness got worse with embrace, entire clan labors with the results
              Salubri Ante = enlightened, utterly mad and got serious long term plans rolled into one
              Tzimisce Ante = transhumanism nightmare fuel
              Lasombra Ante = Transhumanism but in the dark, potentially connected to different dimensions

              Then lets look at the girls.....
              Toreador Ante = does her own thing while looking hot, clan focuses on looking fabulous while doing their own thing.
              Gangrel Ante = does her own thing, clan like wise does their own thing

              I don't care about the character gender balance, what I do care about is the question of are the characters regardless of gender worth learning about?

              You can even take this a step further and analyze how most of the male antes have situations that utterly suck because of their embrace or they are so focused in their fields of interest that it defines their character. The female Antes just kind of exist.... unless some one is going to suggest that the gangrel ante dealing with the occasional case of ghoul fleas some how is on balance with the permanent issues of malkavs madness or nos countenance.

              I would suggest you try to fill in the gaps for the female Antes or perhaps homebrew the backstory for the second generation vamps who could have been female. I would rather have a few great characters than a dozen bland palette swap characters.

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              • #8
                What's "problematic" is that the one possibly Trans Ante is such an emotional wreck that it's become a clan weakness. (I mean, the comorbidity rate of Trans people and other issues is very high, so it makes sense, I just think it's on the nose/a little bit of a mean stereotype)

                -Gender is rather irrelevant between vampires.
                -I'd like to think that there were a lot of antes, but a lot of them died during the time that the third gens tried to eat the second gens. I saw a conversation that said 'Most ancient societies were patriarchal" and then "No, Most ancient societies were matriarchal until the patriarchal ones took them over". If the Latter is true, it's a good explanation for the women dying and the men surviving.
                -Important thing you're missing: Vampires look to embrace impressive people that will serve them well. Since most of the Antes were embraced long ago in patriarchal societies where men are more visible than women , It makes a lot of sense for them to be male.


                As for your list
                I feel Lasombra is way too "I got a bigger dick than you" to be a woman, but I'm not really opposed to the idea and if it became a canonical change it would depend on how it's done. As for Malkav, I find the same issue with Triole: Why do you want to make a character known for hysterics and madness into a woman (people confuse for a man)?


                V5 is not VTM

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                • #9
                  Out of all the stereotypes the different clans promote, the physical sex of the antideluvian is probably the least offender, especially when calling of them male when the myths about said antideluvians were written during a less woke time. And, by less woke time, I mean the Medieval ages and earlier in game, not the 90s when the book was written. Vampires can be (and often are) sexists too.

                  Plus, it rather ties quite neatly into the whole Cult of Lilith. Can't really have an entire feminist-vampire movement if the default already is all about gender equality and equal representation.

                  The presumed male dominance and female sexualization of the clan antideluvians is a plot point, not a problem.

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                  • #10
                    Indeed.
                    Actually
                    The more "Woke" the setting is, the more Wrong it is.

                    World of Darkness is a universe where everything's supposed to be worse. Making the setting "Woke" kinda implies that "Wokeness" is bad. (Especially considering the executions of adding Wokeness to the World of Darkness of late have left a lot to be desired)

                    The players and their characters, if they want to, are meant to be able to choose to rail against the system if it doesn't suit them. Having all the problems fixed by retcons, new information, and Author NPCs is one way to rob players. Players want to fight against what's wrong with the world, not have 0 problems.
                    Last edited by MyWifeIsScary; 03-16-2020, 02:28 PM.


                    V5 is not VTM

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                    • #11
                      I always pictured the Toreador founder as one of those "so pretty it's almost obnoxious" semi-androgynous guys, sort of the way Old Testament angels would be described at times.

                      The Nosferatu founder I presumed to be in the vein of Nimrod or Orion, with Caine's curse being to make him a permanent outsider like the creatures he hunted.


                      What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                      Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I don’t think having more female Antes makes the setting “woke”, it’s not like the Antediluvians are the vampire presidents actively writing down Kindred laws or anything. They’re mysterious, terrifying god-monsters with their own inscrutable agendas.

                        The cult of Lilith is more than just a feminist vampire movement, Lilith is supposedly the inventor of Disciplines, which would arguably make her the first blood mage, and she’s a good figure to throw behind if you hate Caine. Though personally I think Lilith has way grander agendas than “get revenge on Caine for dumping her”.

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                        • #13
                          I don't think it is an issue that the Antedeluvians' sex ration is imbalanced. Nor do I think it's a problem if someone wants to change it. It does not materially impact the setting at all. And for 99%+ of games run out there, it is irrelevant.

                          Other related points:

                          Since the Antedeluvians lived before historical times, in a pre-Deluge or pre-Cataclysmic world, what the world was actually like in reality (Stone Age hunter gatherers) is quite irrelevant. It could be like Exalted. It could be like Conan's Hyborian Age. It could be the Golden Age of Saturn/Cronus of Greek Myth. It could be like Hyperborea of Mike Mignola's Hellboy. It could be like some occultic mythical Atlantis using technology far beyond our comprehension. Or something like the Bronze/Iron Age civilization that the writers of the Bible came from. Or some other inspiration. I'm sure some people ignore the idea that there was some kind of Flood or other Cataclysm and that these were simply some form of historical hunter gatherers, and that's fine too (although rather boring IMHO).

                          We really need a term that distinguishes OTHER third generation vampires like Augustus and Tremere (and technically Troile) and those that existed before the Deluge. Including them with actual "Antedeluvians" can confuse things.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                            Since the Antedeluvians lived before historical times, in a pre-Deluge or pre-Cataclysmic world, what the world was actually like in reality (Stone Age hunter gatherers)
                            8000BC wasn't all hunter gatherer, it had a lot of agricultural societies with labour devides and such. The few that developed writing and became "Civilisations" really took the spotlight from the groups that didn't bother with writing. What can you do with people who don't have writing? You can make a lot of shit up whilst never being disproven. I'd stick to World of Darkness modifiers rather than go all out on some other fantasy though: A closer umbra and more spirit interaction with the normal world, Mages and Fae running riot with nothing to tie them down. Wars of Rage. Vampire blood gods rulling over swaths of land... It's basically everything you'd want from a legendary game, except people haven't worked out metals yet.


                            V5 is not VTM

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Eldagusto View Post
                              Very few Antes are confirmed as male or female. In fact the only one that seemed Guaranteed was Absimiliard, Saulot, Haquim and Set were male, and Ennoia was female. And Analects of the 3rd Garden had a wonderful bit of lore about Sutekh being Female when first meeting the other Antes.
                              I'd forgotten about that. That's great.

                              Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                              The players and their characters, if they want to, are meant to be able to choose to rail against the system if it doesn't suit them. Having all the problems fixed by retcons, new information, and Author NPCs is one way to rob players. Players want to fight against what's wrong with the world, not have 0 problems.
                              Well, this is largely for "fun" for us as readers. What genders the Antediluvians originally were is effectively unknowable, as Eldagusto excellently points out, and will be twisted by different Kindred to suit their purposes and biases. Some feminist-leaning Tal'Mahe'Ra Kindred might hold that all of the Antediluvians were female and right to rebel against their majority-male sires and grandsire, while some Bahari might believe the Antediluvians were all male and hold that fact as "evidence" for why female Kindred should revere Lilith instead.

                              But I'd say making more power players female is at best a superficial fix to the world's problems and at worst compounds them by lulling people into a false sense of progress. There are plenty of (U.S.) politicians on both sides of the aisle whose touted female appointees continue to pursue policies harmful to women.

                              Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                              We really need a term that distinguishes OTHER third generation vampires like Augustus and Tremere (and technically Troile) and those that existed before the Deluge. Including them with actual "Antedeluvians" can confuse things.
                              The term "pretender" already exists to describe neonate and ancilla Kindred of elder generation who act as if they're peers to real elders. Augustus, Tremere, and Troile all fit the technical definition of the term as "pretender Antediluvians." ("Third Generation pretenders" is more accurate, but sounds worse.)

                              Originally posted by Thoth View Post
                              I feel like calling this a "90's element" is a bit disingenuous, the writers made characters and wrote backstory, despite some modern ideas there is no binding contract that requires enforced diversity and balanced numbers just for the sake of having it. A story should just flow from the writers inspiration.
                              I call it a '90s element because if VtM were getting released today, I doubt the writers would make such a large number of the setting's most powerful figures male. That just isn't flying in today's RPG industry climate.

                              Enforced diversity can be done badly. There are lots of writers, for White Wolf and other gaming companies, who've seemed to me as if they view their jobs as a form of activism and would benefit from dialing the ultra-woke rhetoric down a few notches.

                              But anything can be done badly in the hands of a bad writer. There are settings that depict deeply sexist societies and institutions where women hold limited power, yet still manage to make female characters narratively relevant and to treat them with dignity (eg, no "Women in Refrigerators" tropes) despite the suffering they experience because of their gender. When a "sexist universe by a non-sexist author" is done well, it can be done very well.

                              I don't care about the character gender balance, what I do care about is the question of are the characters regardless of gender worth learning about?
                              I do care about gender balance, and don't see any of the Antediluvians' characters suffering by making them female. As others have pointed out, the Antediluvians are Cthulhu-esque blood gods fairly beyond the concept of gender, while the number of female vampires in the Dark Ages books gives lie to the idea that women get Embraced less often even in patriarchal mortal societies.


                              Blood and Bourbon, my New Orleans-based Vampire chronicle.

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