5 comments on “D&D Bechdel Tests

  1. If I commission an artist to draw my adventuring party, it wouldn’t pass rule 1 of the “Jim Hines Art Judgment” even though I have 2 female players. There is only 1 female PC, a half-elf archer. Interesting. The other female player plays a male dwarf.

  2. I think a good rule of thumb for npcs is a mix of the second two rules. How many female npcs are in your game? How many are defined at least in part by sex, in their motives, role in the story, or description? Because if that number for major npcs is gettng up above 0, or if the ratio of ‘extras’ with those traits is up aboe say 20%, then you should be re-thinking your npcs.

  3. I’d say a good rule of thumb for npcs is a combination of the 2 latter rules. What proportion fo your female NPCs are defined by sex, in description, role, or motivations? Main characters, and otherwise?

    Assuming you have sufficient female characters in the game, Look at the ratio, and if it’s up past about 15%, ask yourself- is your adventuring party currently dungeon crawling through the Burlesque House of the Damned?

    If not, why on earth are all these women acting like this?

    (If they are, well, that’s another issue, as are the many excuses which could be made if they are not).

  4. Do you inverse these tests if you’re dealing with Drow (or Amazon-like) NPCs (i.e. primarily strong female societies)? Or is it okay to be female-biased but not male-biased?

    • Given that most media is heavily male-biased, I would be surprised and disappointed to see a Drow piece where they worked hard to maintain male presence. At the end of the day, Bechdel-style tests aren’t intended to be used as a straightjacket. They’re intended as a thermometer for inclusiveness.

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