So today, I'm here to talk to you about something I know a lot about being a single bachelor and all, you know. All those ladies I get to date and take out and not actually sit at home playing computer games and nomming chocolate and junk food.
Ok,... it's clear, I think the lie worked.
Anyway, Today, I've decided to talk Romance. Along with this, I assume it's only proper place to discuss the roles of the Males and Females in the world of TESO, and if the land of Tamriel is one of an egalitarian nature.
So let's hit what we've come to expect from the romance that the media has engrained on us.
Ok,... so without being silly,... Romance within Fantasy, do we expect something as mundane as meeting in a Tavern, going home, getting to know the person, bringing them flowers, chocolates, gifts and the likes. Or are we talking more so about the "Saving a Prince / Princess"-esque stories we're so used to, from games like Final Fantasy, Legend of Zelda, or Mario,... (if that's your kind of fantasy romance story?) How many people are willing to be the "Helpless" one in that situation?
Are your characters inclined to romantic interaction? And can you happily distance your RP life from real life, all of these are valid questions when entering into a kind of romantic roleplay experience.
When I was 16, I was playing World of Warcraft, and I met a roleplayer, she was starting a guild, and at this point, she could have been anyone, but I joined her, and at the time, I was playing white knights, totally. I spent my time being overly protective of her, and this later seeped into real life, where I watched her go through a bunch of meaningless stupid relationships, every guy bringing her down, telling her she wasn't worth what she was, but at the same time, she would roleplay romance within games, sometimes with her significant other and sometimes with others, which I watched cause jealousy in her parters, both RP partners and boyfriends. I stepped back and watched for a long while, but returned from time to time, claiming my character had simply been off fighting his own demons, or conscripted into wars or this, that and the other, the two characters would leave messages for one another to meet in secluded areas, a Princess and her fallen White Knight, a romance that couldn't happen due to all those who watched over her, those that felt she had an obligation to her people, she lead thieves guilds and was a pretty famous member of Argent Dawns roleplay community, she was a leader, and he was now a fallen lone wolf, there were plenty of characters that didn't want her character communicating with mine, due to personal IRL reasons, or due to their characters reasons, the latter being a more fun thing to play, even if there were IRL reasons behind them. I remember my character watching her lose a fight with her mentor, and standing before her and shielding her from any more blows, Romance, Love or Friendship, these feelings and attachments can make very emotional and provocative Roleplay scenarios.
I'm 24 now, and she's just turned 23, we still speak, and after her last break up with a boyfriend from WoW. She's talking to me, getting to know me as me, as her friend and not as the character I was in WoW, even though at the time, those elements were simply exaggerated expressions of how I wanted to feel at the time.
We both played strong characters, who played out weakness at points, which points to the strength that only two people in a romantic relationship can have, when one is in danger, the other will step up. The two may not agree on ways to approach something, their love/friendship may be ill-conceived with friends or faction members, do your characters have the strength and conviction to see it through? Is there a Tybalt to your Romeo and Juliet? Male and Female characters have the capacity to both be amazingly strong and just as weak, although society as a stereotypical majority (be it in the game or in real life) may deem one as more inclined toward one of the traits, if we view life and humanity / elves / beast folk as an Egalitarian would, you have no way to determine who is the stronger of the two. And how do you discern those traits between same sex relationships? There could be very equal partners, or there could be one 'follower' or 'weaker' personality. Those roles are very much determined by a characters personality, not by their gender.
Another question that comes up is, can you step back and assess whether a characters actions are their own actions, or are they inspired by a players own thoughts and feelings? Is it all situational? Sure, it's a dangerous situation to be in, if you're roleplaying out a romance with someone you aren't romantically inclined to and her/his boyfriend is the jealous type!
So as I'm not a lore buff, I'd like to know what the residents of Tamriels views on Sexuality are? And are there Gender inequalities? Although our heroes have the opportunity to be either male or female, it wouldn't make sense to give us the option to be all powerful but still create a world where one sex is thought less of than the other? Or would it? If males or females were confined to only certain roles in society, seeing a strong female or male character, who has achieved a lot against all the odds, and societies misconceptions of them, does this make them stronger / smarter / more accomplished, than a character that has had it all handed to them?
And is there anyone that can pull themselves away from their personal beliefs to play a bigoted antagonist? Someone who thinks less of one Race / Gender, I know there are a lot of people out there who plan to play Altmer who hate anyone who isn't an elf, but that's a part of the lore. I know I may be stepping on toes, but trust me. I recognise myself as an Egalitarian Humanist, I'm the least accepting person of prejudice, BUT an antagonist needs to be someone you don't like. A pimp, loan shark, someone who will exploit people in weaker situations than themselves.
This is a bit of a deep one, but I hope everyone will handle it with maturity, and throw your views in the comments below as always! You know I appreciate it. Oh and stories, if you've had romantic interactions in Roleplay, that have maybe turned into real life love stories. I know they're out there!
Much Love Folks!