So I’ve been writing a game which takes place in Ancient Rome, more precisely around 200 CE. Basically MC is a Rome’s first female emperor. Originally I thought that the game would be female locked. Then I thought about Elizabeth I who was known to say that she was basically a man in a woman’s body. So that got me thinking that MC could be either someone who’d think they’re a man in a woman’s body or not identifying as binary genders at all (but still raised as a woman, which understandably creates all the more anxiety within MC). The main dilemma would still be that they’re an emperor who’s distinctively physically not male in an environment which is heavily masculine.
Then I thought I’d make it purely non-locked and basically now I’m torn. I’m still not quite sure whether I should just let the player decide their physical gender or not. It’d take a lot of focus away from the dilemma regarding the first Empress thing but I could go either way at this moment. So I’m making a poll. Power to the people and so forth.
(I’ve already researched the ways how this first Empress thing could’ve happen, so no need to correct me on that. It would’ve been hard but not impossible.)
Would the story even work with a male protagonist then? I’m always in favor of more choice but if it means sacrificing the story’s primary focus, what will you be left with if majority vote decides to include male protagonists?
It’s been suggested before (and maybe done? I don’t recall) that a game be written that’s “assigned gender locked.” So the MC could potentially be assigned female at birth, but have a variable gender identity. I honestly don’t know how that would gel with your setting, but it’s something to think about
i think from my own opinion but you should go with your original idea for the story sometimes it doesnt please everybody but the people it does please will love it and you will love it (as writers love there stories) cause you went with your idea so if you want it female genderlocked or non binary or whatever else you want it to be you do it for you also in saying that if you make it genderlocked female i most likely wont play just due to the fact im male and its hard to get into the story as in picturing myself as the mc if im always reading she or her but my point still stands you wanna make it female genderlocked you should do it
I would prefer we get to pick our gender. You have to include us getting bashed for our gender in the story you could just as easily make it getting bashed for not being a manly man. Imagine a failure of a legionnaire becoming emperor of Rome- they could easily rise above it and become an inspirational hero like Marcus Aurelius or they could go power mad like Caligula. Who says you have to be a woman to be weak?
I’d suggest to look deeper at what story you’d like to convey. Looking at your description, I believe you want to explore the idea of Rome’s 1st Empress, which is a man in a woman’s body?
I see the potential here. If I’m to write this, I’ll give the player a choice on their gender, and then proceed to just put them into the shoes of this Female/NB Emperor, emphasizing “a man in woman’s body” if they chose male.
Yep Which I think could make sense with your idea here; you’re dealing with a particular character background who has to deal with expectations based on what the character was assigned at birth, but I don’t think the concept demands that the character must identify a certain way. I wouldn’t see anything stopping someone while playing it from thinking “my character considers himself to be a man” so you could just make this explicit
Queen at Arms, a visual novel, does something along these lines, and I really appreciated both the options for MC’s gender (which is not necessarily the same as their designated gender at birth, depending on reader’s choice) and the various supporting characters’ responses—particularly characters in a romantic relationship with MC.
Might be worth having a look at the game, or at some of the reviewers’ remarks.
I suggest make it based off the real emperor during the crisis of the third era who is most likely transgender from the looks of it. Turn off the thing to you about the office of the Roman Emperor its accumulation of offices and titles and Powers it’s very hard to expression it. Pretty much need a combination of being there military commander have massive Military Support.
Basically the way I would be most interested in the game is if the gender options to start with were something like:
Nonbinary AFAB (agender, bigender, what have you)
Possibly intersex (of any gender identity)
Now I recognize that writing intersex is a lot of extra work, so maybe that’s not something you want to stick your nose into. It would fit with the theme, though, if you’re interested in exploring that facet of andro-normativity (I just made that word up on the spot so don’t hold me to it).
I see what you’re saying, that’s why I thought that it wouldn’t be impossible to write a male option there too. He would have to have some sort of feature which would make him seem unfit to be the Emperor in the eyes of Roman society.
Thank you for the suggestion, I love visual novels. Have to check this out.
It wasn’t just about accumulation of offices in the late Empire, that’s why I chose the 200 CE. Emperors inherited the position, too.
Thank you all for the suggestions, all of these could work. The poll is surprisingly even, I thought it would be more lopsided.
Meh it depends how much time you have to spend on this work. If it turns out as a long CYOA their identity as a none male shouldn’t detract significantly from them being a none male emperor, but just be a part of the plot too if you get me? So yeah I think it’d be cool to have the work have you be physically female, but then you can choose how you identify, such as cis, none binary or trans.
From there you could have multiple things develop from this. I mean being a female leader in a sea of male leaders would be hard enough, but maybe someone else who wants to be leader could try and use your sex or gender identity against you? Maybe you could use your sex/gender identity to implement more inclusive/tolerant policies in your society(depending on how you choose to have your society’s views start out obvs). There’s lots of ways you could go with this, but even if it isn’t gender locked there’s not exactly many(any?) roman themed CYOAs out there, so it’ll be breaking new ground either way, good luck .
Maybe I should’ve made that the other option: all the other genders except cis male (within reasons). Let’s say the other one is a vote for that, too, because if I were to exclude cis males, I’d most likely try to make that work.
Lots of things can make one unfit to be Emperor. Romans were very superstitious. Maybe you have a terrible birthmark or facial scar. All else fails, go with the old standby of a prophecy that says Rome (as we know it) is doomed if you take the throne. Then we have to take some kind of stat penalty to make it worse. Maybe we’re a weak legionnaire, maybe we can’t get along with people in general, maybe we just stutter. Or the whole gender identity can be the problem- but I still think it should apply to male or female. Imagine a man having to run the female Navy in choice of broadsides or the Amazons, that might be fun.
But like CPK said there are few Rome games and it would be fun to play a well done one. So good luck.