Whew, if you could only see my writing queue for this blog. Witchknight is helping me put the finishing touches on an “exploring 4e” article about Paladins (he has more knowledge of Essentials builds than I do and it’s a way to get him to write the article for the Witchknight, something he has a little experience with). I’m also working on “Teachable Moments: Skyrim Edition” because I need to feel that I’m getting something out of the hours I’ve put into that game. Finally, I’m working on an article about dynamic campaign generation, as that’s how we built the new game we’re running through MapTools.
Of course, very little about this blog is actually planned. Most of the time, I just write about whatever random gaming-related thoughts inspire me. So it is with the Bechdel Test.
In order to “pass”, a movie must meet three criteria:
- It must have at least two women in it;
- Two or more of those women must engage in a conversation (a more strict version of this rule requires that the women be named characters);
- That conversation must be about something other than a man or their relationship with that man.
The Bechdel Test doesn’t address sexism. It’s quite possible for a movie to pass and still be incredibly misogynistic. The point is that it’s a simple measure of gender bias and representation. Once you’re aware of the rule, you start to realize how often women are unnecessarily excluded from plots.
I was reminded of the Bechdel Test by a friend this morning and it collided with my musings on sexism in D&DNext. So here are some of my Bechdel Tests for D&D.
The “Jim Hines Art Judgement”
When a piece of D&D art depicts an adventuring party, it passes if:
- The party contains at least two female characters;
- At least one of the characters is neither a healer or a spellcaster;
- All of the female characters are wearing pants and gear appropriate to their role within the party;
- All of the female characters are in natural, comfortable poses;
- None of the female characters are in greater danger than their male counterparts.
The “Red Sonja Rule”
A D&D module or plot arc passes the test if:
- It contains at least 40% female NPCs;
- None of the female NPCs are defined by their relationship to a male;
- At least one of the female NPCs is in a position of authority, power or respect;
- The plot or module does not include sexual assault, arranged marriage, pregnancy or loss of female virginity.
The “Sleeping Beauty Standard”
A D&D module or plot arc that centers around a female villain passes the test if:
- The villain does not “bewitch” or seduce;
- The villain does the majority of her own fighting;
- The villain does not employ “reverse sexism”;
- The villain has motivations beyond prior abuse or neglect.
What are your Bechdel Tests for D&D?