Generally speaking, being a female gamer, comic book reader, convention attender, geek, etc… is really fun, because there aren’t that many of us. Whenever I go into certain comic book shops, the dudes who work there often flock around me, trying to be the first to help me out. And they are so encouraging and kind.
However, there are occasions when being a lady geek has it’s disadvantages. At Gamestop, the workers nearly always assume I don’t actually know what I’m talking about, and am really only there to purchase something for my boyfriend.
D & D, oddly enough, has brought to light a new weirdness of being a lady geek.
You see, I’ve spent a fair amount of time trying to make myself a bit more ladylike. I’ve got a whole category on this blog dedicated to “nurturing the delicate flower”… but the delicate flower came out uncontrollably at the D & D table last time we played.
My character is named Jakita.
I honestly built her with Jakita Wagner in mind – she’s a badass superhero in an obscure comic book.
Sad thing: everyone keeps making banana jokes.
Basically, I wanted Jakita to be tragically pissed because of something that happened in her past. She is a half-elf, born to a noble father. The thing is… her mother was not so noble. In fact, Jakita’s father and mother met because noble families often hire elves to teach magic and/or swordsmanship to their children. Turned out that Jakita’s father couldn’t help but fall in love with his instructor. Together, they birthed a bastard child, left her with the nobles, and ran off together, never to be seen again.
So… Jakita is the only (though obviously illegitimate) heir to her family’s large and prestigious keep.
Her human grandparents work to ensure that she’s given every opportunity to grow up the way she would have had she been something other than a bastard child. However, after losing their son, they are fairly controlling and protective of the only thing they have left of him. They spend significant effort to secure an appropriate marriage for Jakita, so that when she starts to fancy a young store-owner in the keep, her grandparents arrange for an “accident” to put an end to such nonsense.
As she’s cradling her lover’s head in her hands, Jakita spontaneously takes an oath of vengeance, her broken heart finding solace in the prospect of destroying evil like that perpetuated by her grandparents. Thus, after burying the only man she will ever love, Jakita sets off on foot to make her way in the world without the aid of her noble (well, sort of) birth.
I tell you all of this, because I envisioned Jakita as kind of a bitch. Understandably and sympathetically so, but a bitch nonetheless.
In the first few gaming sessions, I didn’t really play Jakita that way – mostly because I didn’t have any clue what the hell I was doing. I still don’t. I can’t figure out what the damn player’s handbook is talking about because it’s this whole language – to attack a creature, you have to roll 1d20 to see if you hit. You add your DEX modifier, plus your proficiency bonus to the roll and if the total exceeds the creature’s AC, you hit. However, you can also roll something called a natural 20, but let’s pretend you don’t, because I don’t understand that one at all still. Then, once you hit, you roll 1d8 and add just your DEX modifier the total… unless you wanna expend a spell slot to use Divine Smite, in which case, you deal additional radiant damage equal to 2d8 plus 1d8 for every additional Paladin spell level for the slot you’re using (which, is obviously different from your Paladin level, by the way).
It’s the most complex nonsense in the history of the world.
So I was way too busy figuring out how to hit monsters to really play Jakita as she ought to be played.
Well, I decided that would change.
Jakita was going to be pissy.
So I made her pissy.
I considered this manifesting itself in her racism, because she is racist… in particular against humans, but, really, against everyone except for Elves. Because her human grandparents screwed her so royally (haha), she has decided to try to become fully elf.
Well, there are no humans in our group, so I needed another reason to be pissy, and, from what I could tell, there were two options: I could make Jakita pissy at Matt’s character for his lack of moral convictions and his pirate background, or I could make her pissy at David’s character, who is literally devil-spawn. David had missed the previous time we’d played, and I don’t know him that well, so I didn’t want to act like a bitch to him. So I was left with Matt.
And I think a dude would be fine with it, but I honestly felt like a bitch when I made my character act like a bitch. Now, granted, Matt’s character totally deserves it, because he does messed-up stuff like smacks store-owners because he can get away with it… and yet, I had the terrible feeling that I was actually in conflict with Matt. I felt the need to tell him I wasn’t mad at him in real life. To which, he responded that he also wasn’t mad in real life. But I don’t know if I can do it. Because it’s a terrible feeling to be all, “Jakita ignores Grim completely. In fact, she gets up and walks away when he sits down next to her.”
See how the delicate flower is screwing me?
I know – it’s kind of adorable that I even care, but I honestly started thinking, “Dude, if Jakita dies, I can build an easy-going character who avoids conflict.”