International Women's Day - Women in Gaming
It’s International Women’s Day! My social network has been flooded with tweets and posts celebrating my friends’ favorite women in their lives and their fandoms. I couldn’t help but whip up a post myself, and the challenge was keeping it short. There are so many great women in gaming right now! I’m just going to call out a few that have really touched my life or inspired me.
Shanna means a lot to me, personally. She’s the co-owner of my favorite RPG company, and a writer/editor for Numenera, the game that got me to GM for the first time. Reading the Numenera corebook about had me in tears on several occasions - I was struck by seeing so many women depicted in the art, established as leaders of communities, as villains and heroes, as scientists and scoundrels. The level of weird in the setting seemed tuned just for me, and the elegant rules of the Cypher System were the exact Goldilocks Zone that fit my storytelling propensities. But more than that is the community and standards of kindness that she and the rest of the team fostered. She really puts herself out there and engages with the community, to the delight of the fans but at the expense, perhaps, of her sanity (oh, internet trolls). She’s a kind, enthusiastic, fun person - and her creations are glorious.
Plug: Shanna & the rest of the amazing Monte Cook Games team (who also have stellar women!) have a new Kickstarter, Worlds of the Cypher System: Dinosaurs? Masked superheros? Ascending to godhood? You don’t want to miss this. Shanna’s the lead designer on the “Predation” world - wild tech & dinosaurs & pterosaurs, oh my!
You’ll have seen her stunning work in RPG books such as Numenera, Pathfinder, and Dungeons and Dragons. As a biologist, it really just melts my heart to see a creature brought to life with such an attention to anatomy and detail, as though I were peering into a loving naturalist’s notebook. She’s simply the best - don’t listen to me, go look at her stuff!
Senda & Emily
Co-hosts of the She's a Super Geek Podcast (part of the RPG Academy Network)
Senda & Emily embody the “Show, Don’t Tell” paradigm of enacting meaningful change. Rather than whine about how few female GMs there are in RPG podcastland, they decided to go through the blood, sweat, and tears to showcase female GMs on their own actual play podcast. She’s a Super Geek features rotating game systems and GMs, with new episodes coming out every other week. They’re both talented GM’s and storytellers in their own right, and their dynamic as friends is so fun to listen to - they’re just hilarious. The podcast is extremely well-done and meticulously edited, but more than that I find it’s always really entertaining, whether it’s funny or creepy or suspenseful. It’s only flaw is that there simply isn’t enough of it, so go support their Patreon!
Plug: Support their podcast’s Patreon! Last week for patrons they released a SONG about the game that I got to be in on their show - they are the coolest and apparently have killer lyric-writing skills (Emily) and a sweet Soprano set of pipes (Senda).
Host of the Campaign Podcast (part of the One Shot Network)
Kat is just amazing. Her GMing on the Campaign Podcast (an actual play of FFG’s Star Wars Edge of the Empire) has inspired a whole community of folks to explore more about the Star Wars universe, to try gaming for the first time, to try GMing for the first time, to improve their storytelling, to make fan art and fan rap and fan playlists, and on and on. She has a great personality and wide-spanning nerd interests (go listen to the First Watch episodes on One Shot to hear her and James d’Amato chatting!). She’s a constructive force in the community, uplifting us all through her own hard work and through supporting other creators. I’d support a separate Patreon just to hear her yammer on about Star Wars or probably any topic, so go tell her that if you would too - she’s a bit bashful about how very captivating and insightful she is.
Plug: Support Kat’s tireless work through the One Shot Network’s Patreon - they release a host of great stuff to patrons, like GM notes and art and lost episodes and other crazy things. It’s so worth it. Further, check out this great party game she and James d’Amato created called Noisy Person Cards - it’s also a fantastic tool to become better at doing voices at your game table! Currently it is a print-and-play version, but rumor has it that that there will be a Kickstarter soon, so keep an eye out!
Tammie Webb Ryan
Community and Administrative Manager for Monte Cook Games, shoulders on which the RPG community stands to see farther, Lothlorien goddess of serenely thwarting jerks
I know I’m double-dipping in the MCG pot here, but Tammie deserves a special shout-out. Tammie, for a long time, had been the main contact person for anyone trying to reach MCG, whether for general inquiries, compliments, complaints, lost packages, feelings of mistreatment, litanies of general anger at the world, etc. Through various social media, I have caught glimpses of what comes across her desk, and I have seen her handle awful commenters with grace and not a trace of bitterness. She juggles so many issues and roles at the company, and puts up with internet trolls on a daily basis. f you come volunteer for Monte Cook Games at Gen Con, she orchestrates all of us wily, confused, caffeine-fueled volunteers into a beautiful symphony of cohesion. She’ll be the first to make sure you’ve eaten recently, will direct you where you’re supposed to go in the labyrinth of the convention center, will make sure you have any resources you might need for your volunteering. I think I can safely say she’s our rock in the storm of Gen Con, and she’s a big part of what keeps me coming back, and with a bigger crowd of volunteers every year. People like Tammie make life a better place, and I’m so lucky to have met her.
Plug: While Tammie is a long-time player and editor of games, she GM’d for the first time this January and blogged about it! Very exciting. Come say hi to her at Gen Con, or other cons she attends! She’s a fantastic person, and someone to aspire to be like.