The Intricities of Group Dynamics, or "Wow, there’s more girls in here."

2009 February 26
by Dante

As previously mentioned, we have a new D&D group here in colorful Colorado. We have been into our current adventure for two sessions now, and an exceedingly rare circumstance has occurred within our gaming group: the girls outnumber the guys!

A Fortunate Circumstance, to be sure!

I have been Dungeon Mastering for many years now and never had more than two girls in our group at a given time, so this experience is a little new for me.

I have some hard data at my disposal that proves there are many more female gamers in our midst than we originally thought. Stupid Ranger and e from Geek’s Dream Girl are currently writing a book on the topic, so I’ve gotten the chance to read excerpts from real female gamers telling their tales of geeky adventure. There seems to be a lot of correlation between groups of male players and groups of female players as far as group dynamics go.

The more things change, the more they stay the same…

I have noted a few interesting points about our specific group of players. Please keep in mind, this is not sweeping generalities based down gender lines, just what I can see from my seat behind the screen.

The lone male player in our group is the more tactical fighter type (well, rogue to be exact) that revels in the crunch of battle and vanquishing the foes. The ladies in the group (including the lovely Stupid Ranger) seem to focus much more on the flavor aspects of their abilities… what the flourish of blades looks like, how precisely the flaming sphere immolates its targets, and so on.

I have also seen similar divisions when the roleplaying aspects of our campaign take priority. Our guy distills things down into facts and specifics, the ladies seem to enjoy engaging me in in-character dialogue, or enjoy interacting with one another in-character.

This is one of my favorite aspects of our campaign thus far, because we have both sides of the coin represented in our group dynamics. You mix in Stupid Ranger’s natural propensity to overdocument the details of the sessions and nobody ever forgets what the current goal for the party is!

There’s even plenty of room for a proto-Vanir!

Normally, our irreverent “off-the-wall” quotient was filled skillfully by our good buddy Vanir. This was one of the aspects of our gaming group that I was very afraid would be lacking… however imagine my surprise when one of the ladies in the group wondered aloud about the sexuality of her tiefling warlord, and decided there and then that she would be a lesbian tiefling warlord with very small boobs and very large horns.

To make matters even better, members of our group immediately chimed in with “oh yeah, that’s a great idea and that’ll work with our backstory” and off they went into figuring out the wheres and what-for’s of how their characters knew each other in the past. (Possibly in a biblical sense, but I’m sure that will come out in future sessions!)

For the record: I am unsure if anyone can ever fill the giant roleplaying shoes left by Vanir at our gaming table. I’m just saying options seem to be presenting themselves from unlikely sources!

A quick moral

I’m going to go on record and call for Dungeon Masters everywhere not to discount or devalue the presence of female gamers at your gaming table. I have heard some very poor tales in the past of women being undervalued or downright denied access to roleplaying games.

In fact, our very own college group had a “no girlfriends” policy until Stupid Ranger showed up.

This myopic thinking and exclusion can only damage your game and the larger roleplaying society, not to mention your ability to meet women and procreate. That’s all I’ve got for now!

7 Responses leave one →
  1. Dominic permalink
    February 26, 2009

    In our regular Thursday night session, we have three girls (and four guys). They make the whole game much more balanced and interesting, on the whole. Thanks for the post!

  2. Vanir permalink
    February 26, 2009

    I won’t stand for this injustice!

    From now on my character is a DOUBLE lesbian!! And I’m multiclassing mage / rogue / lumberjack!!!!

    You will pay for this treachery!!!!

  3. Geek's Dream Girl permalink
    February 26, 2009

    This is an awesome post. Also, Vanir, I’d be really interested in seeing the character sheet for your Double Lesbian Mage/Rogue/Lumberjack. Does she get an AC bonus when she wears plaid flannel shirts?

    *walks away whistling the lumberjack song*

  4. Donny permalink
    February 26, 2009

    I’ve kept a 50/50 ratio going for nearly 5 years now!

    In some ways, it rocks, but sometimes I just want to throw them all off of a bridge.

    Anyone want to trade? 🙂

  5. spiritsofeden permalink
    February 26, 2009

    I generally get a 3/1 ratio, but most of the dudes I know would play female characters anyway if the group looked uneven in genders (we’ve long since tired of the “big muscley bros go adventuring” party makeup). That blog gender identifier thingy also says I’m female, so I’d like to think that qualifies my groups as being more or less 50/50.

  6. Dante permalink
    February 26, 2009

    I think that pretty much sounds like a challenge to produce a character sheet, Vanir!

    It’s interesting to see other people posting their group gender ratio… seems to be a lot more even split than I expected!

  7. freyja3120 permalink
    March 2, 2009

    My group now has more girls than guys (three to two), with the dm (me) being one of the females. I find it to be largely similar to when I had an all male group to run for. Most of the differences are due to actual personality, rather than gender.

    We do get bragging rights, though!

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