Letting NB characters romance same-sex locked ROs... good idea, terrible idea?

Master of disguise?

The question about what you’re wearing (today) was very much about how you present in terms of what do people perceive you as.


Yes, But is very misguided in how is articulated. It is easy to believe that is a disguise situation and not a portrayal about presentation.

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You make it sound like they’re not one and the same. If they’re not, then you don’t have a list of RO’s, you have a catalogue.

But in the end they are just story characters. One should simply handle the situation with your own senses and understand that in this kind of topic their are a multitude of methods and beliefs to go by, so simply do, don’t or go full gas and say fuck it.

Honestly I prefer don’t, or at least if you’re going to use terms like heterosexual or homosexual go by textbook terms, human opinion on the subject is a headache and a half.

But hay, what do I know.


How many ROs are you thinking of offering to the player?

Yeah, rereading it a bit, you’re right. :sweat: I feel kinda foolish now. Anyway as for the disguise part for the formal manor dinner that was the part where I figured a female disguise would actually serve my character well since people, men, women and others across all social classes simply tend to be much less guarded and much more loose lipped around good looking, well-dressed women than they are around guys, no matter how well-dressed or pretty, on average.


I agree here.

Sex is not the only and not even the most import part of a relationship. But it still matters to a lot of people, I would guess it matters to most people.

Sincerely, I would steer away from those waters. Let the characters like who they like and avoid explicit labels. But if you must go there, then go by the textbook definition.

Alternatively, you could make those characters bi or pan. By the way, the modern definition of bi does not presuppose attraction to man and woman, but to male and female. Bi = sex doesn’t matter. Pan = gender doesn’t matter.

A guy can be bi and still prefer only cis man, trans-man and masculine-presenting partners, and thus perceived as a gay man. The same goes for a bi woman. Bisexuality is a spectrum.

Obviously, these labels are about self-identity and are very flexible. However, there’s still some general consensus on what they mean.

I think it’s treading on thin ice to say that gay men and lesbian women wouldn’t care about the sex of their partners. Sure, to a lot of them it wouldn’t. But it’s not something we can take for granted.

So, unless your aim is to make a statement—to which I would say: go for it! —then I would stay clear from this kind of polemics that might take the focus away from the actual story you’re trying to tell.


I editted this post because a part of it could be misunderstood and did not add anything worthy to the conversation.


The proof of how thin on ice the matter is. It is I a cis woman and straight. However, by your definition I am not a woman. Due I am not womanly. I don’t use make up or clothing that normally goes with the “girly” girl package. I am biological a woman and I see myself as one. However, someone that only see woman as Womanly pink creatures would say I am not woman enough to them


Let’s be sure to keep this thead on-topic to the question. :slight_smile: Thanks!


I identify as queer/lesbian. Personally, I wouldn’t mind dating a NB person who identified as more female, but I’m also pretty lax in that regard. I think that because the characters are your characters, you get to decide the specifics of their sexuality. Like you said, it’s up to individuals, so write what you feel is right for each character. If you have a gay guy who can also be into NB people and a lesbian who excludes anyone not strictly a woman from her sexuality, I think that would be fine, for example. Try writing some viginettes and see if it feels right for the characters.


I’ve had a read through this thread and I agree it’s definitely a difficult issue. Also this ended up longer than I expected, but I don’t want to double-post and it’s very late for me, so heads up that the parts within the headers are fairly chunky and some things may be weirdly phrased.

For context, I’m bisexual and agender, if that helps. Personally, if someone who called themselves gay, lesbian, or straight was attracted to me, that would be an inherent deal breaker for me because I’d feel like they were misgendering me. I am not a woman or a man, and someone trying to date me while being monosexual would come across to me personally as misgendering.

However, I don’t think it’s as simple as “one member of the nonbinary community feels uncomfortable with that personally and therefore I should avoid it as a dev”. If anything, I think it’s a lot more complicated than that, and it comes down to a discussion about the very term “nonbinary” and how it’s been used both by wider society and within CoG.

Thoughts on Nonbinary as a term used within CoG and WiP

I think the problem largely arises from the fact that, for programming purposes, nonbinary MCs in CoG are largely treated as one gender, the same way male and female MCs are two different genders. But in reality, the nonbinary community is comprised of people of diverse genders and people of no gender, so whereas people who feel their gender is closer (but not) to men or women may feel more comfortable dating someone who calls themselves gay, straight, or lesbian, whereas people who are genderless or have less affinity to one of the binary genders may feel more uncomfortable.

Off the top of my head, the various nonbinary genders I can list are demi-woman, demi-man, genderflux and genderfluid, agender (though personally I wouldn’t say that’s a gender, per se), bigender, nonbinary (as there are some who are specifically nb as opposed to a different gender), transmasculine and transfeminine.

That’s a lot of genders and non-genders (i.e. agender) shoved to fit into one word, so it’s inevitably going to be really hard when you’re dealing with a nonbinary MC. I’m very aware of the fact it’s usually just nonbinary as a third option because programming pronouns is hard, especially if you use “they” which means you also have to deal with grammar and conjugation.

There’s also a whole other problem of nonbinary being seen as “woman lite”, which isn’t a problem I’ve really noticed within any CoG/HG/WiP games, but for instance @Haribospoon 's comment could be taken that way. There are two really great threads explaining why “nonbinary and women” is a phrase I deeply loathe, since it feels like it undermines my identity as a nonbinary person, although I accept there’s nonbinary women, femme nonbinary people, and other nonbinary people who may feel very differently. Here’s the first and the second.

Treating nonbinary characters as woman-lite or man-lite is a non-starter, because you’ve misunderstood what it means to be nonbinary so your nonbinary characters are inevitably going to be tainted by that, whether they’re the MC or another character.

And while some players may exclusively play as their own gender, restricting content from nonbinary characters because you’re worried female players may use them to “trick” the game into letting them play romances with gay ROs as opposed to that being within character for that particular RO is more than a little disgrunting to hear as someone within the nonbinary community. Many players create MCs who are their own character and may not be of the same gender of themselves - and given the absolute dearth of nonbinary characters outside of CoG, I would like to think most people would play as characters other than their own gender, especially nb characters, at some point.

Personally, I see two practical ways of approaching this issue, outside of flat-out going “ok this [gay/lesbian/straight] character won’t be attracted to non-binary people”. And tbh, they’re pretty much the same thing, just integrated into the game in different ways.

Romance Toggles and In-Game Discussions of Sexuality

The first one is to present it as an option when you start a new game with a nonbinary MC - a simple “would your MC be comfortable with some gay, lesbian, and straight characters potentially being attracted to them?” and have a easy yes/no answer. Yes toggles you out of those romances, no toggles you in. I’m not super familiar with ChoiceScript programming, but it could set your gender to something like nonbinary_no or nonbinary_yes, or you could just have a different label for romances to make it somewhat easier.

Another option would be to tackle it in-game, between the MC and whatever character they’re romancing. This might work for @malinryden, as I’m fairly sure I know which character they’re referring to, and they’ve handled nonbinary-related conversations excellently in FH so far (still genuinely in love with all the conversations between an nb Sidestep and Ortega related to Ortega’s sexuality and its impact on their relationship).

It depends on the characters, their personalities, and the context of the game, but you could have the non-nb partner broaches the subject of their sexuality and asks if the nb partner is willing to enter a relationship with them knowing that they’ll still be gay/lesbian/straight. If the nb partner is unwilling to accept this, then this would either break off the romance or, if you were planning for the non-nb character to realise their current identity didn’t quite fit how they experience attraction (as it is a very common experience in the LGBT+ community), it could set it to a back-burner pending further character development.

The latter option would almost certainly need sensitivity readers who are nonbinary and gay/lesbian/straight respectively, but it’s entirely do-able. I only present it as an option because I’ve gone through quite a few labels for my sexuality across the years, but it may make some readers uncomfortable and would need to be handled delicately, if it’s an option at all.

Needless to say, it’s definitely a difficult issue, and if anyone wants to ask me some more questions about anything I’ve said, I’d be glad to answer them.

I realise the very last part of my second suggestion might be controversial, but I only mention it because male/female Ortega realising they weren’t straight in FH if the MC wasn’t female/male respectively seemed to be received quite well, so I’d like to think it wouldn’t necessarily be cause for conflict. Not in every single romance, of course, but it’s a fairly common narrative within the LGBT+ community and it’d be interesting to see it represented occasionally within CoG.


Just wanted to add something to my previous point about why I’m in favour of option 3. (Went to work, but I’m back now…)

If someone is attracted to only the same gender, being also attracted to masc/fem ‘‘nonbinaries’’ is kinda still not a part of the definition of gay/lesbian.
That seems to be more of a ‘‘bi/pan with a preference’’ thing.

Kinda linking that to BL, cuz I read that, but there’s too often a ‘‘I’m not gay, but I like you uwu’’. That’s always bugged me a lot, cuz if they weren’t at least bi, how would that even work?

I’m assuming being bi/pan, you’d not have a 50/50 attraction EXACTLY, but maybe like girls a bit more, etc. So someone that is bi/pan could have a preference for girls/guys, but still be open to NB or somthing like that.

To me gay/lesbian is either,
1- The proper term, so only into the same sex/gender.
2- A way someone can say ‘‘bi with a preference’’ sometimes when you don’t feel like explaining more. But it would still be technically bi/pan.
(3- Could be bicurious, that works too I assume)

So yeah, again, I don’t think a RO that is explicitly gay or a lesbian should date a NB, unless maybe it’s the MC (dating an NB while being ‘‘gay’’), cuz at this point, you’re a person, and they’re a set thing.
I dunno, seems disrespectful to the RO’s preference… as dumb as it sounds xd
I get it’s a game, but it still feels that way. You wouldn’t want an NB character being referred to as man/woman by other characters in the game, so why be not equal and make a gay one not really gay.

I dunno, might be a ramble. Hope it’s helpful at least.

(Note: I’m using quotes as a way to highlight terms…)
edit: typos


personally, it’s a terrible idea to me. same sex is well, same sex. gay/lesbian dudes/dudettes are attracted to other dudes/dudettes otherwise they wouldn’t be gay. The only way i see it working is if that character you’re romancing is bi/pan-curious.

Otherwise it just doesn’t sit right. almost like that character is ignoring the mcs identity, yknow? “oh yea, i’m gay, i’m attracted to men only… also here’s my s/o who’s nb”
if that was me i’d be highly uncomfortable in that situation, with my partner saying they’re attracted to one binary sex but being with me at the same time.

does that make sense?


Just as others are struggling with writing a non-binary NPC who is also a potential RO, I am struggling. Also like others, I feel I do not possess any answers that is perfect.

This is giving me a lot to think about, because my NB NPC is both bisexual and agendered. (bisexual was chosen to try to open their romance to as many readers as possible, while agendered was something that the character was from the very beginning.

They too would feel misgendered if someone who was gay, lesbian or straight was attracted to them, because these people are attracted to a gendered person, which my NPC is not.

So, in essence, my NPC character should only be attracted to other bisexual individuals (or so the logic would seem to lead to this conclusion).

This is problematic, because there are not any other NB choices available. I can’t change this NPC being agendered… that would destroy this NPC.

So the question I guess is this: for mechanical game purposes would treating them as “playersexual” be acceptable so that anyone who wishes to be in a relationship with them can be so, without it invalidating that this NPC is a bisexual agendered NB person?

If this NPC flirts with all genders, even though a gay MC is in a relationship with them, would that invalidate the MC?

If so, am I, as a writer, being forced to invalidate one or the other to make the game work?

As I said, there is a lot to think about here.


So there’s a lot of great opinions & discussion here but I just got off a 10 hour work day, so I’m just going to throw in some quick context since I’m seeing requests for it:

  • There are three characters who would ID as L/G. One gay man, one lesbian, and one gender variable character who is either L or G depending on player’s choice.
  • I haven’t settled on all the ROs yet, but in addition to the three above, there are also three more gender-variable characters who are written as bi. (Like someone else mentioned, bisexuality encompasses NB genders.) As well as a canonically non-binary character who is also bi.
  • I’m definitely not going to change these characters’ sexualities. Some of these characters I’ve had for 10+ years, and their sexuality is just as much a part of their character as their hopes, dreams, and ambitions. The gay m- okay can I just call him A? A is fairly new, so he’s still kind of on thin ice re: his identity as gay, but I’m having a really tough time picturing him with a woman.
  • I’ve also definitely seen that allowing NB characters without a solid binary presentation to romance L/G ROs is not going to fly. I thought as much, which is why I asked the question in the first place.

Edit: God in the meantime I just remembered Sid from One Day At A Time exists. How do we feel about that?

Double edit: I’ve really got to say I deeply disagree with the notion that if a gay man is attracted to someone who IDs as NB , they’re actually bi/pan with a preference. As many others have said, non-binary is more of an umbrella term for all kinds of different gender identities and presentations. Like I said in my original post, it’s the kind of thing that is generally left up to individuals in real life.


You put a lot of what I’ve been thinking into words better than I could have. You’re totally right that ‘nonbinary’ isn’t always technically a gender- I wasn’t really thinking about that since I’m currently drowning in variables. Everything is a string value right now. There are no genders, everyone is a ${person_noun}.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, ideally, I’d like to see this play out in character by having the RO ask if the MC is uncomfortable with them being attracted to them based on the RO’s sexuality. But it’s a bit trickier in A’s case, since the circumstances of you meeting him are… complicated. He’s a journalist who writes an article about you, so he knows about/sees you long before you are actually aware of him, which means all he has to go on is the way you look. Right now I have it programmed so that if you’re male, what he writes about you has a different, um, flavor to it than what he writes about a female character (ie, he’ll describe all genders with blue eyes as having ‘eyes as blue as the ocean’, but for male MCs, he’ll add, ‘and how I long to drown in them’, etc etc). He’s the only one who has this issue, but I certainly wouldn’t want to expose NB people who would be uncomfortable with this to that, since I know not even male MCs might be comfortable with it (and will have the option to express this & be heard).

Obviously I’ll have to find more avenues for the MC to customize their gender identity & presentation in-game, regardless of how that affects RO relationships. I read the first chapter or so of Creme de la Creme and The Eagle’s Heir, and both had some interesting examples. I’ll also have to give Fallen Hero another read- I started it a while ago but got distracted by life and just never picked it up again, which was a shame, since someone clearly put a lot of care into it.

Sorry for the rambling. All I really wanted to say was that I appreciate all the thought you put into this answer… so thank you! It’s given me a lot to think about.


This is my own taken on things, and I understand that there is a wide variety of philosophies on how to write things.

Basically, the approach I follow is to write the characters like I want to write them. So, in my mind, for example, “character A” is straight. When I set up the game, I try to introduce a situation where the reader gives me an inclination of what kind of attraction he/she/they have (“at school I kissed John, but I was secretly also in love with Mary”). According to that, I shape the options I give the reader later (so, I will not give a lesbian reader the option to kiss a guy… as sometimes this can “destroy immersion”).

Other than that… I let any reader romance any of the RO. I may perceive a character a certain way, but that does not mean somebody else perceives that character the same way. Who am I to stand in the way of a reader enjoying an interactive story the way that they want to enjoy it? Ultimately, I try to give as many options as possible, and then hopefully people can roleplay the stories they want to live… rather than forcing on the reader my interpretation of who the characters are (I do take it that many of my RO are rather “meh”… this is clearly one of the weak points in my stories… I guess not defining them enough also makes them less interesting?)


Off the topic, but I loved Hero or Villain :heart:

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As someone who does identify as the L, I personally would not be comfortable being in a relationship with someone who does not explicitly identify as a woman. It feels invalidating of both my sexuality and their gender, so if it were me I’d keep the ROs as same-sex only.

But if you really want the lesbian and gay ROs to be available for NB MCs without changing their sexualities I can see a couple options working, though they’re somewhat invasive:

  • An option to differentiate between the MC’s sex and the MC’s gender
  • An option to define if an NB MC presents as male or female.

So, for example, an NB MC who is AFAB or female presenting could start a relationship with a lesbian RO. Ideally there’d be a discussion about what that means for both of them, like if makes the RO feel any less lesbian/gay or the MC feel any less nonbinary. I think the latter option is less invasive and explains why someone who is binary attracted would see an NB person as a potential partner.


As far as I see it there are three problems.

In real life people identifying as gay og lesbian do get together with enbies. And that’s because as other have said in real life the many different types of enbies there are some are close to male and female. Some people want to represent that. Not to mention that some non-binary people also identify themselves as gay and lesbian.

That said I can also add to @theredwoman and must say that in real life I would not feel comfortable being with someone who didn’t express themselves as some kind of bi or pan og another non-mono attraction or another enby. At least that’s the way it is right now.

In real life you can have all these deep conversations, but you can’t in a game and neither can you put all non-binary identifies into the game as there are more than 80.


Presentation is one thing, but assigned gender is irrelevant to the conversation. What gender a nonbinary person is assigned generally has nothing to do with their identity. An AFAB person could identify or present masculinely, or an AMAB person could identify or present femininely. Defining the MC’s presentation or narrowing down their identity from just nonbinary makes sense for the situation, but bringing the MC’s assigned gender up wouldn’t accomplish anything in this context.