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#1 BigJackBrass

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 12:27 PM

Victoriana is going well and I don't have any immediate plan to ditch it for the next New Shiny, but I have been tinkering with an idea that grew from the frustratingly tricky work on SLIDEWAYSIII.

One way to create a character in HeroQuest is to write a short description of them, then pick key words and phrases from the text which then become the skills and abilities of the PC. It's not unique to HQ but that game does describe the process nicely. I started thinking about pre-gen characters and how to find a compromise between making a quick character to hand to someone and allowing them some input in the character they'll be playing; and it struck me that giving someone a Wikipedia page about an historical figure and then having them select the key abilities from it might be interesting.

Plenty of games have involved playing versions of historical, mythical or even fully fictional characters, of course, such as the Pacesetter adventure Timestorm or Tom Moldvay's The Future King, but all too often people pick the easy targets. Elvis Presley, for instance, could make for a great character, with all the potential for Kung Fu coolness you could ask for, yet history is full of less obvious, less conventional choices. My problem is in coming up with a selection of women who might be fun to play. The actual genre doesn't matter, just assume that somehow an apparently random range of people have been plucked from across time and thrown together to battle a weird menace. Here are some of the first people I made a note of, just to give you an idea:

Neal Cassady
Samuel Johnson
Edward William Barton-Wright
Blue Demon
Fuller Pilch
G.K. Chesterton

All well and good... and all blokes. I need women! If you have any suggestions for female historical figures you think would work splendidly as player characters then please post a link to their Wikipedia page here (important, as I need the page to use as a handout) and let me know why you think they'd be such a hoot. No prizes for submissions, but all help much appreciated :)
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#2 Blaggard

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 12:52 PM

Not neccessarily world famous but here's one to start you off.

http://en.wikipedia....Betty_Carstairs

Might appeal to at least one of your lady players.

:wink:
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#3 Isis

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 12:59 PM

And here I was thinking the title of this thread was in regards to some sort of swinger party BJB was planning on having...:D

How's about:
Historical - Mary Shelley - noted young writer, serious party girl and daughter of one of the first feminist writers;
Mary Kingsley - kickass female explorer, anthropologist and writer;
Marie Curie (a lot of famous ladies seemed to be named Mary...) - incredible scientist and winner of not one, but TWO Noble prizes;
Hypatia - Greek mathematician who ran her own academy, hugely popular except with the mob who had a problem with her religion;
Fictional/Mythical - Alice, Dorothy or Wendy - although we're straying into Alan Moore territory there...;) ;
Orlando - originally a man then a woman, seemingly immortal;
The Morrigan - warrior queen / goddess of usually Celtic myths, sometimes represented as a triple goddess;
Red Riding Hood - a girl with a penchant for talking to animals and a slack attitude to care for the elderly;
and a completely random one, Molly Millions - everyone's favourite razorgirl. :D

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#4 Isis

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 01:33 PM

And how could I forgotten the famous American aviatrix? ;)
Betty sounds fantastic, Blaggard.

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#5 Thing

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 02:10 PM

Mary Mallon
Boudica
Isis
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#6 philbass

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 02:13 PM

Any of the Mitford sisters https://secure.wikim...Mitford_sisters with Nancy's acerbic wit perhaps making her the most appropriate https://secure.wikim...i/Nancy_Mitford - I note that Emma likes to play eccentric aristocratic female characters. You don't have to like them, but they are fascinating for all the right and wrong reasons.

Staying close to the aristocracy, then Lady Diana Cooper is also a possibility
https://secure.wikim...dy_Diana_Cooper, or the spoof of her in Evelyn Waugh's books https://secure.wikim...iki/Mrs._Stitch

Freya Stark is also interesting if you want to stay in the 'explorer/adventurer' space https://secure.wikim... ... reya_Stark

The first woman in space and a solid member of the proletariat to counter my aristocratic leanings, Valentina Tereshkova https://secure.wikim... ... Tereshkova. It was a publicity stunt by the USSR, but her achievement was significant all the same.

Finally - heroine or villain, freedom fighter or terrorist, you could have one of the female revolutionaries made famous in the film 'The Battle of Algiers' about the Algerian War of Independence https://secure.wikim... ... a_Bouhired - perhaps not appropriate, but maybe another side of the coin to the traditional view of 'heroine'

PS Did you have Mrs Amelia Underwood from 'Dancers at the End of Time' etc in SLIDEWAYS I and II? I can't remember...

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#7 PrestoJeff

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 04:32 PM

Joan of Arc
Morgan Le Fay
Lucretia Borgia
Bonnie Parker
Florence Nightingale
Emma Hamilton
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#8 Pheonix

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 06:21 PM

Grace O'Malley, or Granuaile, Pirate Queen of Mayo. Yes there was actually a pirate queen at one point. She even met with queen Elizabeth the First in 1593, unheard of for an Irish pirate and rebel. Fascinating character in a lot of ways. I can send you information on her if you need it BJB

Amielia Eirheart. Her disappearance leaves a lot of room for her to pop up somewhere needed.

Hatshepsut, the most famous famous female Pharaoh of Egypt

Queens of the Amazons Penthesilea, who participated in the Trojan War, and her sister Hippolyta, whose magical girdle, given to her by her father Ares, was the object of one of the labours of Hercules.

Helen of Troy

Mata Hari, the most incompetent spy ever.

Maxine Jollity. Nuff said
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#9 philbass

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 11:59 PM

Maxine Jollity. Nuff said


I was thinking exactly that last night - plenty of scope for a BJB to play out a Twittersphere romance with @MaxineJollity. Perhaps Max and Maxine met via online dating:

'Eeee-mail? Eeee-mail? Its what postman brings t'house' [said in Fred Truman's Yorkshire accent]

I see a lot of Les Dawson in Maxine...

https://secure.wikim.../Cissie_and_Ada

Sorry to swerve off topic

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#10 BigJackBrass

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 01:52 AM

Some excellent suggestions there (he says, swiftly brushing past all notions of Maxine Jollity). I'm certainly more interested in the historical figures than the fictional ones. Amelia Earhart, funnily enough, was the first and last lady I thought of before deciding that I could use some help. The tricky part is coming up with women like Betty Carstairs, remarkable and full of potential to play in a game but not overused or so famous that they have almost become caricature (the Elvis problem again); and, more importantly, choosing people who are appealing as characters to female players.

Putting it in slightly more concrete terms, tell someone to pick an inventor to play in an RPG and they'll probably go for Thomas Edison, whereas I'm hoping to base a game more around the likes of Michael Faraday or Tommy Flowers. Famous, but not too famous.

Several pages added to my file so far; keep them coming! :-) Thank you all. I'll let you know if this ever produces an actual game session.
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#11 BigJackBrass

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 02:07 AM

PS Did you have Mrs Amelia Underwood from 'Dancers at the End of Time' etc in SLIDEWAYS I and II? I can't remember...

PhilBass

No, although Catherine Cornelius sets the whole thing off. I had planned an adventure called Then She Appeared heavily involving Una Persson, but by that stage I was increasingly bothered by the problem of overshadowing the PCs with lots of "big name" NPCs, so I dropped a lot of the Moorcock references as the series went on.
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#12 thad

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 02:42 AM

More women from fiction (yes, you said you wanted historical, we'll get there):
Dana Scully http://en.wikipedia....iki/Dana_scully
Sarah Conner http://en.wikipedia....nn ... minator)
Leia Organa http://en.wikipedia....iki/Leia_Organa
Leeloo http://en.wikipedia....loo#Major_roles
Ellen Ripley http://en.wikipedia....ki/Ellen_Ripley
Amelia Peabody http://en.wikipedia..../Amelia_Peabody (for the older female archeologist)

Historical (okay, I could just point to some lists), but trying for relatively known:
Pocahontas http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Pokahontas
Cleopatra http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleopatra
Sophie Germain http://en.wikipedia..../Sophie_Germain (mathematician extraordinaire!)
Hedy Lamarr http://en.wikipedia....iki/Hedy_Lamarr (invented precursor to wireless communication!)

Sod it, more lists of scientists, Nobel laureates, mathematicians and Inventors
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#13 Hagen

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 05:42 AM

Lola Montez - an odd favorite of mine. Dunno why she leaps to mind sometimes.

Wilhelmina Murray - a literary character. :P

Lizzie Borden - good for about 81 whacks.

Eleanor Roosevelt - Nuff' said.

Margaretha Geertruida "Grietje" Zelle - Another famous female!
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#14 BigJackBrass

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 09:04 AM

Hedy Lamarr http://en.wikipedia....iki/Hedy_Lamarr (invented precursor to wireless communication!)


Posted Image

"That's HEDLEY!

:D
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#15 philbass

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 12:16 AM

Putting it in slightly more concrete terms, tell someone to pick an inventor to play in an RPG and they'll probably go for Thomas Edison, whereas I'm hoping to base a game more around the likes of Michael Faraday or Tommy Flowers. Famous, but not too famous.


With famous, but too famous in mind, how about two women who participated in Nobel winning research but weren't given a share of the prize

Lise Meitner - critical (no pun) to nuclear fission
https://secure.wikim... ... se_Meitner

Jocelyn Bell - astrophysics
https://secure.wikim... ... ll_Burnell

(I heard a podcast interview with Jocelyn Bell and it was very interesting. Isis, I don't want to encroach into your area, but her descriptions of the early days of radio telescope were fascinating, hence I thought of her)

Going back to the 19th century how about Ada Lovelace - Lord Byron's daughter, correspondent with Babbage and world's first computer programmer - bags of potential.

https://secure.wikim... ... a_Lovelace

For an even more bohemian spin, then how about Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas

https://secure.wikim... ... rude_Stein

https://secure.wikim... ... _B._Toklas


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#16 Isis

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 02:26 AM

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell is a very nice lady, I've met her. She's also a bit scary, but then she's had to be to get where she is in the very male-dominated world of academia. :D
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#17 Slartibartfast

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 02:32 AM

I don't know whether this counts towards your women or not but Chevalier d'Eon was an interesting character...

Chevalier d'Eon

Diplomat, soldier, spy, freemason, lady-in-waiting, nun...
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#18 kendoyle659

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 04:08 AM

Here is someone who could be a bit interesting

http://en.wikipedia....ki/Ranavalona_I

edited to fix link
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#19 Isis

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 06:59 AM

Broken Wiki link there. : (
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#20 BigJackBrass

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 09:33 AM

I don't know whether this counts towards your women or not but Chevalier d'Eon was an interesting character...

Chevalier d'Eon

Diplomat, soldier, spy, freemason, lady-in-waiting, nun...

I see what you mean...

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell would be a fine choice, but I'm avoiding anyone who is still actually alive :-)
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