While reading various blogs on the internets I was led to this wonderful web series called the Feminist Frequency. It is a vlog run by a feminist as you can guess by the title, and she discusses different ways women are used and presented in pop culture today. One bit struck me the most, and that was how much easier it is to rely on violence to solve problems over critical thinking. It made me re-evaluate my approach to how I will play and even roll up my next character.
A little background, I am abrasive; I have been told I am as cuddly as a brillo pad. It happens, I come from a larger family, and my grandmother was a no nonsense type of person. I don’t like to beat around the bush and I usually meet people head on, this doesn’t always end well. In fact it has never ended well, with newer people. Most of my characters have been amplified versions of this, they have little to no people skills outside of others not being able to handle the truth and yelling (I am sure this is something I should delve in deeper with a professional about.).
I have always been the first to fight in fact in our last session I attacked another player because he brandished a weapon at me, at least I thought he brandished a weapon at me, turns out after game the other player confided in me he was just playing with the characters new toy. In this instance I tried to beat this character into submission, which honestly didn’t fair to well for me thanks to the dice. Once the fight was finished I then used my brain to trick them into doing what I wanted, I should have done that to begin with, as it would have saved us time and energy but flexing arms is easier than using brain cells. My characters have always been more willing to fight to the death than run away from the fight, which is a weakness, one that I cannot abide. This may be from my issues with asking for help, or it could be a byproduct of me being a woman and the deep seeded need to prove myself. Honestly the second idea is plain ridiculous, the people I game with are some of the closest friends I have ever had, my children will call them uncles, and yet it prevails (much like England..sigh I have made this joke already). My next character is going to play on that idea that she is the only daughter of a soldier, she will have a 12th knight thing going on where she is pretending to be male, and she will be abrasive, tough and in your face, but maybe this time she will run away when it is needed. I might look into more charismatic ways to use this person, instead of just a straight up bash them in the face way, I mean even Paladins who are front line fighters work off of charisma, and if are rolled a certain way never have to lay a hand on anyone. Currently all of my past toons have died, horrible but glorious deaths, and yet I keep playing them the same way thinking I will get a different outcome, that is the definition of insanity.
What I am trying to say, is maybe more games should incorporate the idea that critical thinking could get you out of more fights than your fists. Mouseguard and Burning Wheel are two great systems for non-violent combat. I am happy to say that our GMs are always open to the out of the box thinking of trying to talk to your way out of a fight instead of using your physical powers. Granted we can’t and shouldn’t take fighting out of most RPGs, in some cases it is needed, and some campaigns run completely on battle. I am just saying a lot of games could benefit from allowing their players to think more critically, it leads to a more robust experience and a more fulfilling game. Now if more video games could accept this idea, maybe we could receive peace on earth; we will have a gamer president, and if he was a Burning Wheel player over a FPS player imagine the debates and rebuttals!