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A Case For Female Nobility
by Wendy Lord

A while back, I was in the process of creating my Avatar, when I ran into what I considered a problem. I had decided to base my Avatar on an actual historic figure, Asta Gudbrandsdatter, the mother of two Viking kings. She was the mother of St. Olaf and of Harald III the Hard, and lived a thousand years ago. As a mother of two kings and herself a princess, I naturally decided to choose the Noble Order as her Order. However, the problem came when I looked at the titles of rank. All of them are very masculine, and my Avatar is a woman.


I originally took my complaint to Chis Clark, and he suggested that I write to Gary Gygax to see what he would suggest. I did this and Gary wrote me back saying, "Now, what kind of role-player are you?" I realize that role-players should be able to adapt to any type of role. However, I am not a very experienced role-player. I hadn't played for many years (about 20 years actually!) and was just in the process of rediscovering the fun of role-playing!

Anyway, Gary went on and gave me a list of some feminine changes that could be used for the Noble Order. Some of the titles remained the same and some had changes. Gary's list for the feminine equivalents of the Rank titles of the Noble Order goes as follows:


Franklin

Gentlewoman

Arminger

Esquire

Knight (Dame, but...Spencer had Britomart as a "knight", so)


...and that takes up to 2nd Rank...

Lady

Baronesset


Gary also wrote, "First we must deal with the fact that historically speaking virtually all active nobles were males. Indeed there are some outstanding female ones, of course. That's true of Noblewomen "born", but not of those climbing the ranks, so to speak....In general, I assumed that males playing female Avatars, and females doing likewise, would simply assume the Rank titles given or else make adjustments similar to those noted above. In all, to remain anywhere near historical standards so as to maintain some degree of verisimilitude the rank titles given are about all I can do. As with military Ranks, they are pretty well "gender neutral" in all-or as close as I can come and still be historically grounded a bit."


I thought there might be other players out there who may have run into a similar problem as myself, and who might benefit from what Gary had to say on the matter. I hope this helps you out the way it helped me. I also want to thank Gary for the time he took to help out someone he didn't even know. I now realize that if I ever have a similar problem with feminine vs. masculine titles, that I can make my own changes. The game is flexible enough to be able to do this.

 

 

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