Designing a race for a new game; is marginal gender imbalance okay?

6 posts / 0 new
Last post
Hello again. In designing the game I've been designing for a long time now, I've designed a race which would, unfortunately, strictly (albeit very marginally) favor one gender over the other mechanically. The reason they are imbalanced is due to flavor; as a marsupial race, the females would have pouches, mechanically giving them free and permanent access to a utility belt. While the actual utility belt as an item is extremely useful (it allows quick access to items without having to dig through a backpack), it is also quite inexpensive - as of now, it costs 3 gold coins to buy in a game where even low-level adventurers can expect to be individually paid several hundred gold coins per "mission." As such, I'm torn between three obvious options, detailed below.

1. I could take away any mechanical impact of the pouches by saying that, under normal circumstances, they're too tight to use for storage, and the only time they wouldn't be too tight would be after giving birth. Pro: It gets rid of the imbalance. Cons: The way it works is inelegant and lazy, and it makes the race's physical appearance feel almost entirely arbitrary.

2. I could leave the race the way it is, and simply count on there being players willing to play male members of this race due to the ease of replicating the trait making its imbalancing effect marginal. Pro: It would leave the flavor of the race intact and allow the mechanics to sensibly reflect the flavor; it would also be extremely easy for the males to "catch up" to their female counterparts. Con: The two genders would still be imbalanced, even if marginally so.

3. I could give the males their own beneficial trait that only they get. Pros: It would make the race more interesting, and more importantly get rid of the imbalance. Cons: It would be difficult to come up with a flavor-friendly trait for the males at all, let alone one which would be as marginal as the pouches.

My idea for which option I should take shifts a lot (I'm kind of favoring option 2 right now), given the fact that I seem unable to justify any one over any other to any significant degree.

For any advocates of option 3, I have no idea at all of what I would actually give the males, so if you think option 3 is best, you'll probably want a better idea of what this race is. As such, I'll upload the information page for the race as a spoiler below; it will contain mechanical information, but you can ignore that if you want, since you'l probably draw ideas from the flavor text more anyway.

Show

Poruqe



Renown across the whole world for counting among them the finest bards and artists, the Poruqe are almost naturally accepted into many societies for their friendly disposition, open minds, and aesthetic talent. While many Poruqe tend to enjoy the finer things in life, many also become adventurers out of a desire to witness firsthand the glorious sights and events that inspire great works of art, and perhaps be a part of that glory themselves. Being ones to muse and ponder, however, they are also somewhat easily distracted as they become lost in their own minds, often contemplating a thing of beauty.



Features & Traits



Size: -1, 0


Temperature Threshold: 10-100 Degrees


Attribute Bonuses: Knowledge +5, Willpower +5, Instinct -5


Skill Bonuses: Artisanship +5, Deception +5, Diplomacy +5, Hidden Lore +10, History & Culture +10


Special Senses: Enhanced Hearing, Enhanced Scent



Beauty Appreciation: Gain a bonus to the MaSR of any check involving the creation or application (application, in this case, meaning displaying, such as with a picture or dance, or telling a story) of a work of art. This bonus is equal to twice your Willpower Modifier.



Marsupial Pouch: Poruqe Females are always treated as though equipped with at least one Utility belt.



Poruqe Glory: Whenever you spend Hero Points, you may regain HP equal to your Willpower Modifier per Hero Point you spend.



Poruqe Grace: Gain a bonus to Deception and Diplomacy checks involving Speech, as well as checks involving graceful movement (GM's discretion). This bonus equals your Willpower Modifier.



Poruqe Historian: When making a History & Culture check, you may reroll the result, but you must take the second result. You may do this a number of times per day equal to your Willpower Modifier.



Physical Description



The fur that covers the bodies of the Poruqe is often beige or gold-colored (though brown- and red-furred Poruqe are not unheard of) and the front of their torsos are dominated by white fur. Standing digitigrade on feet which are longer than the legs that they are attached to, with the legs themselves being proportionally stout and thick (the legs, especially the upper legs, are the only areas where most poruqe will see visible muscle growth), the Poruqe are nevertheless graceful in their movements. Above the legs is a slender torso, extending from the back of which is a thick, tapering tail which balances the body into a straight posture. Poruqe are marsupials, and as such, females have a pouch on their torsos. On narrow shoulders rest long, lean arms. Poruqe are often of a lean, occasionally athletic build; Poruqe who are of portlier builds are rare indeed, and it has never been recorded that a Poruqe has ever had bulky, muscular builds, no matter how strong the individual becomes. The head of a Poruqe features a narrow, dog-like muzzle, and ears that begin standing up straight but start to droop down near the middle of the ear; on the top of the head is a mane of thick fur of a darker color, usually bronze, brown, or dark red.



When Roleplaying a Poruqe



Poruqe revel in the majestic, often musing about things of beauty and grace (which, granted, may vary from individual to individual). Many Poruqe end up becoming artists, storytellers, or entertainers. The more adventurous sort who engage in combat will often try to emulate the heroes whose deeds have become the subject of such forms of art; others will actually incorporate beauty into their combat styles, fighting in melee with the grace of a dancer or casting spells with an extra bit of flair; and still others simply view the concept of battle as a thing of beauty in and of itself.


A pouch for femmes only is probably alright, as long as you can't hide a gnome mage or something in there to apply unlimited buffs whille you fight.

 
A pouch for femmes only is probably alright, as long as you can't hide a gnome mage or something in there to apply unlimited buffs whille you fight.

 



Ah, and not a day after I, in frustration with the lack of input here, copied and pasted this thread elsewhere (link provided so you guys know what was discussed at EN World)...

Where was I? Oh, yes. As stated in the first post, the pouch will function as a utility belt, so it would  be able to hold about 4 potions or similar-sized items. There is a race in my game which might be able to fit in there, but that race would probably prefer its limited ability to fly over being carried, and even then there would be no rules for putting characters in a pouch.

So there's no need to worry about that. As stated on page 2 of the EN world thread I linked to, I'm "worried about the reactions of all the munchkins out there when they see that they can get a free utility belt simply by being a female poruqe." But, from what I gather from your post, you're saying that wouldn't be too much of a problem?
As long as the utility belt is as cheap and freely availiable as you claim.

I mean most games don't consider carrying capacity and such to be major balancing factors but if you're using them as such then you may need to reconsider.

Other than that though it doesn't seem like it'd be a huge issue.

I mean okay if someone is going from a pure power perspective then yes the femmes have an edge and any sufficiently obsessed munchkin is gonna play only female porques as opposed to males. Furthermore the classic image of kangaroo involves the pouch and tends to focus on the female so again that might skew the ratio. 

From a mechanical perspective this is probably within tolerances, however I imagine many people will play femmes just for the novelty of the pouch. Not to mention the humor potential. 
As long as the utility belt is as cheap and freely availiable as you claim.

I mean most games don't consider carrying capacity and such to be major balancing factors but if you're using them as such then you may need to reconsider.



It's not so much a matter specifically of carrying capacity as it is a matter of inventory acccessibility. Regarding utility belts, as I posted in the other thread, "In terms of its effect on gameplay, it would make the difference between just pulling a potion, small tool or weapon from an easily accessible spot in a second or two, and stopping in the middle of combat to take off your backpack and spend at least a turn, possibly two or three, frantically making perception checks as you try to locate the same aforementioned small item among all the other miscellaneous tools, weapons, and loot you've somehow managed to cram in the backpack."

Other than that though it doesn't seem like it'd be a huge issue.

I mean okay if someone is going from a pure power perspective then yes the femmes have an edge and any sufficiently obsessed munchkin is gonna play only female porques as opposed to males. Furthermore the classic image of kangaroo involves the pouch and tends to focus on the female so again that might skew the ratio. 

From a mechanical perspective this is probably within tolerances, however I imagine many people will play femmes just for the novelty of the pouch. Not to mention the humor potential. 



That it's "within tolerances" seems to be the general consensus at the other thread, as well. The classic image point you made is also a valid one; even if I manage to balance out the males with a feature of their own, people would probably gravitate toward female Poruqe anyway. Your mentioning of the "humor potential" intrigues me; I hadn't really considered that before you had mentioned it, and while I admittedly haven't really given it much thought so far, I'm drawing a blank as far as what, specifically, would be so humorous about it.

Unless you or anyone else has anything else to say, I'll probably go with option #2.
Well besides the obvious a-gnome-named-joey jokes, there's the wouldn't-that-hurt and the how-the-heck-did-that-get-in-there, also hands-off, don't-look, and oh-crud-it-melted.