A while back Wizards of the Coast published an article by Monte Cook discussing elements of older editions of D&D that could/should make the transition into D&D Next. A poll accompanied the article with a few options that raised eyebrows for varying reasons but the big one was Ability Score restrictions based on gender.
Holy shit. Really?
Gender/race restrictions existed in older editions of the game but it was a completely different time. I’m not saying there was ever a good time for such things but I think you get my meaning. Social and gender perceptions for the time, etc. The option created a massive storm of online discussion, arguments, and hurt feelings resulting in WotC altering the poll with apologies for the oversight as from their stance the option never should have existed in the poll to begin with.
I agree with this move for a number of reasons but I’ll limit my thoughts to one: I play games to have fun, not engage in political or deep social discussions. There is a time and place for that but time spent playing games are meant to be an escape. The possibility of including such gender restrictions (which they did not, thankfully) only serves to drag drama to the table and alienate half of the gaming community, which most folks do not need help with, honestly.
Lady gamers face many unenviable factors in gaming situations (pig-headed assholes, condescending attitudes, half-naked-chainmail-bikini-clad imagery). It is not something I would want to face day in/day out and while I would never presume to know or walk in their shoes, I have to hope that some companies are moving towards the side of least offense. With so many big-boobed barbarian queens and leather bikini rogues running around, it makes me giddy to stumble across a piece of art for a campaign setting or adventure where the ladies are depicted in full armor, doing what heroes do. I know I am not the only one and I hope the trend turns this way more often.
I’m glad WotC clarified their position on this. I’m sure somewhere, someone is still festering over it but you know what? You can’t make everyone happy. Hell, I’m willing to bet people are pissed they removed the option from the poll.