Why are all mainline campaign leaders male?

General feedback and discussion of the game.

Moderators: Forum Moderators, Developers

User avatar
Turuk
Sithslayer
Posts: 5283
Joined: February 28th, 2007, 8:58 pm
Contact:

Re: Why are all mainline campaign leaders male?

Post by Turuk » June 6th, 2014, 5:01 pm

Chewan wrote:
taptap wrote:Why are the enemies so often female?
So, the role of women in BfW is grounded on tiring nevertheless very important historical facts,
the bias shown by young nevertheless staunchly conservative authors,
and the yet missing sprites and portraits. Well, and the quality requirements and time it takes
for UMC making it into mainline, and, thus, setting new standards.
Velensk wrote:if you want Wesnoth to have them it can. I don't particularly see the need
Of course, there´s no particularly need for female protagonists, as well as for much else.
However, similar to other non-essential but very nice and interesting features, selecting the gender
of the game leader (as soon as conditions permit) is – referring to the remark by SkyOne – not a bad idea.
The role of women in Wesnoth is not grounded in those historical facts nor has the bias of the original authors set the tone for male vs female leads. It just played out that way over time, as noted by the explanations of other users.

It is not the standard for mainline, and as Sapient pointed out we are open to including new mainline work - but that means that someone will have to do the work in bringing a UMC campaign up to mainline quality or making a new one. I would be more than happy to help anyone in that regard with testing and polishing. It has been done, look at beetlenaut. You can also look through the Scenario & Campaign Development forum to see the process for each current mainline campaign as it was built.

As far as the idea for gender option at start, you can submit a feature request for it and an intereste developer could look at the process to implement it. We are all volunteers though, so there is no timeframe for that sort of work.
Mainline Maintainer: AOI, DM, NR, TB and THoT.
UMC Maintainer: Forward They Cried, A Few Logs, A Few More Logs, Start of the War, and Battle Against Time

User avatar
iceiceice
Developer
Posts: 1056
Joined: August 23rd, 2013, 2:10 am

Re: Why are all mainline campaign leaders male?

Post by iceiceice » June 6th, 2014, 5:01 pm

Telchin wrote:Could you enlighten me what you mean by female warriors being tiring tropes? I don't say that you're necessarily wrong, but it's not like BfW tries to make its campaign protagonists super unique (just count how many of them are orphans).
Okay, I think most would agree that "The South Guard" doesn't have the most inspired plot of all time, it's fairly cookie-cutter as is appropriate for a campaign aimed at beginners.

But I'm not convinced it's any less cliche than a typical episode of "Xena: Warrior Princess".

(I realize this is a pretty ridiculous comparison... I'm having a hard time coming up with good examples though. The point is, "warrior princess" is a definitely a tired trope in fantasy stuff.)

TheCripple
Posts: 103
Joined: March 19th, 2011, 3:30 am

Re: Why are all mainline campaign leaders male?

Post by TheCripple » June 6th, 2014, 5:59 pm

iceiceice wrote:
Telchin wrote:Could you enlighten me what you mean by female warriors being tiring tropes? I don't say that you're necessarily wrong, but it's not like BfW tries to make its campaign protagonists super unique (just count how many of them are orphans).
Okay, I think most would agree that "The South Guard" doesn't have the most inspired plot of all time, it's fairly cookie-cutter as is appropriate for a campaign aimed at beginners.

But I'm not convinced it's any less cliche than a typical episode of "Xena: Warrior Princess".

(I realize this is a pretty ridiculous comparison... I'm having a hard time coming up with good examples though. The point is, "warrior princess" is a definitely a tired trope in fantasy stuff.)
Which itself is no less cliche than Conan: Anything. It's fantasy, finding cliche is really not hard - we've got the Tolkien clones, the Howard clones, the fifty billion subtle variants on the same pseudo-medieval setting, etc. There are plenty of female characters who are interesting, and there's no reason for Wesnoth not to have them. I'd even point to a few that do exist, though largely as antagonists (which, in the case of Descent into Darkness, puts them squarely into the category of "the good guys").

User avatar
zookeeper
WML Wizard
Posts: 9740
Joined: September 11th, 2004, 10:40 pm
Location: Finland

Re: Why are all mainline campaign leaders male?

Post by zookeeper » June 6th, 2014, 6:01 pm

Personally, I think it'd be great to have campaigns with female leads and more campaigns with females in important roles (other than "the elf lady"), both for inclusivity and plain variety.

It's just that "we" as in the developers don't tend to write the campaigns which get mainlined, and we can't reject a campaign simply because it's yet another campaign with a male protagonist. It also doesn't help that we'd much prefer new campaigns to feature races other than the same old humans and elves; it's much less obvious how gender differences should be portrayed on orcs and trolls (or if there are any).

User avatar
Turuk
Sithslayer
Posts: 5283
Joined: February 28th, 2007, 8:58 pm
Contact:

Re: Why are all mainline campaign leaders male?

Post by Turuk » June 6th, 2014, 6:27 pm

zookeeper wrote:Personally, I think it'd be great to have campaigns with female leads and more campaigns with females in important roles (other than "the elf lady"), both for inclusivity and plain variety.
I would love to see this as well, and more than a faction of females who have split off from a society that doesn't recognize their strength/value or built their own matriarchal society. It would take an approach where a character could be male or female, no matter their role.
Mainline Maintainer: AOI, DM, NR, TB and THoT.
UMC Maintainer: Forward They Cried, A Few Logs, A Few More Logs, Start of the War, and Battle Against Time

User avatar
Telchin
Posts: 330
Joined: December 20th, 2010, 10:01 am
Location: Czech Republic

Re: Why are all mainline campaign leaders male?

Post by Telchin » June 6th, 2014, 8:01 pm

Personally, I think it'd be great to have campaigns with female leads and more campaigns with females in important roles (other than "the elf lady"), both for inclusivity and plain variety.
I agree. That said, there are already several campaign with females in important roles - TRoW has lady Jessene, UtBS has multiple female characters (including the villain), in DW the male protagonist is on a quest to find a powerful female and AFAIK NR also has multiple female characters (but I never got far enough in that campaign to meet any of them).
On the other hand, there are also campaigns with no female characters and no campaigns with female leaders (which is the point of this thread).

@Velensk - now I sort of understand what you mean and I suppose you've read more literature than me, though I'm not sure that a female charcter filling otherwise male role is necessarilly detrimental. For example the Alien movies are known for having a female main character (Ellen Ripley played by Sigourney Weaver), but when the script for the first movie was written, all roles were unisex and their genders were decided during casting.

Chewan
Posts: 135
Joined: December 19th, 2013, 1:40 am

Re: Why are all mainline campaign leaders male?

Post by Chewan » June 6th, 2014, 8:23 pm

I don´t think the TO was referring to humans only, and there´s no need to remain in the realms of reality
if it is about the pioneering innovation of a female orc or troll leader:
Their women just have to be hiding somewhere since they are definitely no supernatural manifestations.

As long as writers hesitate to follow zookeeper´s and Turuk´s idea to improve the representation of women warlords
(or to create a faction of Amazons), those inconvincible and girlish players could just act
as if the male army leaders were actually women... disguised as men!
They would bravely take the risk of being convicted by the honorable society of Wesnothians
for witchcraft, fraud and wearing male clothes – after successfully defeating all the enemies, of course.
There is no lack of historical examples in this respect.

User avatar
taptap
Posts: 980
Joined: October 6th, 2011, 5:42 pm

Re: Why are all mainline campaign leaders male?

Post by taptap » June 6th, 2014, 9:09 pm

Depending on your choice of literature, films, games... you may find certain female tropes tiring incl. the supposedly strong ones. Especially these: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AlwaysFemale.

Some writer I like once said something like: Reading women (it was a lecture for literature students) have to develop an "inner man" (a male reading persona) in their studies, because a lot of the literature they study works by blatantly appealing to this persona and builds on implicit understanding among males. However, this is mainly a one-way street and male writers / readers / critics invested in this would be rather disinclined to develop an "inner woman" for better comprehension of a female writer, this is just not literature then. (Look for some really vile book reviews to spot this.) Imo, this pretty much applies to gaming as well.
I am a Saurian Skirmisher: I'm a real pest, especially at night.

User avatar
Turuk
Sithslayer
Posts: 5283
Joined: February 28th, 2007, 8:58 pm
Contact:

Re: Why are all mainline campaign leaders male?

Post by Turuk » June 6th, 2014, 9:26 pm

Oberon, what if I edit Heir to the Throne around for your daughter to have Li'sar and Konrad switch places and provide you a copy? Would that help at all for her enjoyment?
Mainline Maintainer: AOI, DM, NR, TB and THoT.
UMC Maintainer: Forward They Cried, A Few Logs, A Few More Logs, Start of the War, and Battle Against Time

User avatar
Sapient
Inactive Developer
Posts: 4453
Joined: November 26th, 2005, 7:41 am
Contact:

Re: Why are all mainline campaign leaders male?

Post by Sapient » June 6th, 2014, 10:49 pm

Chewan wrote:
Sapient wrote:a real flagship campaign for girls I think it should be written by girls and for girls
Yep, oberon´s girl should not fiddle with boys' stuff.
To be honest, I wasn´t aware of the gender specific nature of BfW-campaigns myself.
I am glad for playing a game for "real men", hopefully female UMC authors will keep themselves to themselves.
I'm not even sure how to respond to this, because your interpretation of what I said is so different from what I actually said. I'll just say that you grossly misrepresented my statements. I am very much in favor of the idea of having a new campaign with a female protagonist. I just disagree with you that doing a gender-swapped ripoff of an existing campaign would be the best way to go about it.
http://www.wesnoth.org/wiki/User:Sapient... "Looks like your skills saved us again. Uh, well at least, they saved Soarin's apple pie."

Velensk
Multiplayer Contributor
Posts: 3987
Joined: January 24th, 2007, 12:56 am

Re: Why are all mainline campaign leaders male?

Post by Velensk » June 6th, 2014, 11:19 pm

Telchin wrote:@Velensk - now I sort of understand what you mean and I suppose you've read more literature than me, though I'm not sure that a female charcter filling otherwise male role is necessarilly detrimental. For example the Alien movies are known for having a female main character (Ellen Ripley played by Sigourney Weaver), but when the script for the first movie was written, all roles were unisex and their genders were decided during casting.
You see, this is exactly the kind of thing that doesn't appeal to me. I really don't believe in unisex characters and I think that trying for it is not only not particuarly realistic (though as I said there are some that are close enough to the opposite gender for it not to matter) but neither appealing nor illuminating. It's quite possible to have impressive female characters without making them act close enough to a man for the role to be either (even in an action setting) and I find writing more beautiful for capturing this than taking the easy way out.
"There are two kinds of old men in the world. The kind who didn't go to war and who say that they should have lived fast died young and left a handsome corpse and the old men who did go to war and who say that there is no such thing as a handsome corpse."

User avatar
StandYourGround
Posts: 256
Joined: May 13th, 2009, 2:16 am
Location: On a blue ball spinning through space at incomprehensible speed

Re: Why are all mainline campaign leaders male?

Post by StandYourGround » June 7th, 2014, 12:05 am

Turuk wrote:Oberon, what if I edit Heir to the Throne around for your daughter to have Li'sar and Konrad switch places and provide you a copy? Would that help at all for her enjoyment?
Doesn't the story to Heir to The Throne already end with {edit: spolier tag}
Spoiler:
She's also already a more interesting character than Konrad, since she actually has some character development along the way.
I will now resume lurking silently.

User avatar
Turuk
Sithslayer
Posts: 5283
Joined: February 28th, 2007, 8:58 pm
Contact:

Re: Why are all mainline campaign leaders male?

Post by Turuk » June 7th, 2014, 1:15 am

StandYourGround wrote:
Turuk wrote:Oberon, what if I edit Heir to the Throne around for your daughter to have Li'sar and Konrad switch places and provide you a copy? Would that help at all for her enjoyment?
Doesn't the story to Heir to The Throne already end with {edit: spolier tag}
Spoiler:
She's also already a more interesting character than Konrad, since she actually has some character development along the way.
Agreed, but it would let his daughter play almost the entire campaign as a female character, which she may enjoy more.
Mainline Maintainer: AOI, DM, NR, TB and THoT.
UMC Maintainer: Forward They Cried, A Few Logs, A Few More Logs, Start of the War, and Battle Against Time

User avatar
StandYourGround
Posts: 256
Joined: May 13th, 2009, 2:16 am
Location: On a blue ball spinning through space at incomprehensible speed

Re: Why are all mainline campaign leaders male?

Post by StandYourGround » June 7th, 2014, 5:26 am

Better than that could be done... I have nothing against being able to pick a character to play at the start of the campaign, and playing brand new scenarios that way... why not do that with HtTT anyway? Play as Lisar, and quell a little rebellion here or there, then get sent by mommy to try to beat this new rebel before he gets the Sceptre of Fire...
I will now resume lurking silently.

User avatar
Telchin
Posts: 330
Joined: December 20th, 2010, 10:01 am
Location: Czech Republic

Re: Why are all mainline campaign leaders male?

Post by Telchin » June 7th, 2014, 8:21 am

You see, this is exactly the kind of thing that doesn't appeal to me. I really don't believe in unisex characters and I think that trying for it is not only not particuarly realistic (though as I said there are some that are close enough to the opposite gender for it not to matter) but neither appealing nor illuminating. It's quite possible to have impressive female characters without making them act close enough to a man for the role to be either (even in an action setting) and I find writing more beautiful for capturing this than taking the easy way out.
I don't demand that all characters must be unisex or that all female characters must behave like men. I was more attacking the implied notion that "all characters are male by default and only should be female if they fill a feminine role". (I don't say that you personally believe it, Velensk. It's just a common trend in fiction by male authors.)
It's OK if some female characters behave "girly" (and some male characters behave "macho"), but often the same niche could be filled by either gender and in that case the character usually becomes male, simply because the author is male. For example, would the story of DiD change if Malin was female? I doubt people of Parthyn would treat female necromancer leniently out of some misplaced chivalry. Don't get me wrong, I don't demand Malin to emasculated ;) , just pointing out that some characters in mainline Wesnoth could be gender-swapped without any ill effects on the story. (Liberty actually changed gender of one minor charter from male to female between versions.)
Note that I'm white straight cis-gender male and I'm not free of this inclination either. The protagonists of my UMC are molluscs, so their gender is irrelevant and yet I refer to them as male. (In my defense, I reused the name "Inky" from TRoW and DW and DW refers to its Inky as male.)

Post Reply