Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Women as PC and NPC

A Mongolian Woman, painting of Dashtseren GUNGAA
More than many other medieval cultures, the nomadic one can offer opportunities for interesting role play of a traditional woman, that is not only as a shamaness, an artist or a kind of tomboy. A recent blog entry about women on the Celestial Empire blog reminded me that I wanted to write a bit more about this topic in order to encourage women as PCs -and hopefully as player as well.

First statement: Nomad women are no Barbie girls, they can be as terrible as she-wolves.

Second statement: Nomad women have much more freedom, at least of expression, than many of their sisters from other medieval settled civilizations.

Some tasks are of course traditionally reserved to them, like cattle milking or raising babies, as others are reserved to men. But women must take care of the camp when men are away: they command the servants and the slaves and have to be able to protect the cattle and the children from all the dangers of the Steppes, including predators like wolves. They are helped in this task by dogs, which obey to them. They are skilled at survival. Women need therefore not only various skills, but also a strong willpower, both things which make women PCs interesting to play. In the domains they are assigned to, they are the rulers, but outside of this, they must not stay shy and self-effacing.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Wolf Totem

Détails sur le produitWolf Totem is a Chinese book written in 2004 by Jiang Rong (Lü Jiamin from his true name). It was a best seller in China and has been translated in 25 languages. A film has been made out of this book this year (director Jean-Jacques Annaud). It tells the history of a young Han Chinese deported to Inner Mongolia who learns about the traditional life of the Nomads while living among them and becomes fascinated, if not obsessed, by the wolves.
The author is a Han who spent 11 years of his life among the Mongols of Inner Mongolia, where he had been deported for “reeducation” during the Cultural Revolution, like a lot of educated people at that time. He witnessed the last true nomadic life in this borderland before it disappeared and became –apparently- a fervent admirer of the Mongolic way of life. The book he wrote is a novel, but is largely inspired by his own experience. He wrote a formidable account about the nomadic life, the world’s vision of Mongols and their relations with the wolves. That the action takes place in the 20th Century doesn't actually matter.