Transvestite Flaw

I am (was?) inclined to join you, but there are two reasons I don't.

Firstly, Ars Magica both is and should be a game both for those who wants to play out Mythic Europe as the harsh mistress that medieval Europe was, and those who just want to play a game of fun, without challenging their essential being, their moral conviction, or their personal faith, or (probably more importantly) have it challenged by somebody else.

And this is really not just about gender issues. It is also about religion, ethics, power structures, et cetera.

Secondly, I do not think it is necessary to keep the flaw with its specific assumptions and implications to achieve the goal that you address. It is sufficient to award one virtue/flaw point for PCs who are at the receiving end of medieval intolerance, if (and only if) the player and the troupe agree that they want to play such stories. IMHO, that's all that we want to preserve.


I think renaming the flaw to something like "Gender non-conforming" is a good idea. With that name it can cover a wider range of non-conforming behaviour than just choice of clothes. Some examples would have to be included in the description.
I think the flaw, or something close to it, should be kept in the game, but perhaps with a note that it should only be used if you want those kind of issues to actually be issues in the game.
(As a Minor Personality Flaw, it isn't supposed to be a big deal in the game anyway.)

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Yeah I think changing the flaw to "Gender Non-Conforming" works the purposes of the what it represents.

On those saying "but the Medieval world..." well that doesn't really work as there are already things in the game that go against that standard. Like super visible, potent, easily proven magic.

But also the fact that the Hermetic Order doesn't care about gender. Maga are just as equal and potent as magus.

Something like this could totally be useful for some people in some games, but for other people and in other games, this is not that great. Also its not a word used now. And for new people coming into the game that does have an impact.


I’m with Colleen on this one.

If I can share some inside-the-industry baseball. Paizo has worked long and hard over the last few years in particular to make games in which previously under-represented players can see themselves. Our editorial team—which I was fortunate enough to be a part of for a year and a half before moving to Starfinder—is constantly educating the rest of the creative staff on better and more inclusive language that avoids hurtful and dehumanizing terms like “transvestite.” Paizo’s editors would never allow a book with the word “transvestite” to go to print. That’s not who we are now.

This is a legacy issue in Ars Magica. Atlas isn’t doing a new edition, they’re doing errata. The Flaw cannot be removed, because there are published characters that use it. Flaws can’t be renamed “Hooks”. Both of these things are beyond the remit of the project. Even renaming it is a challenge, because of those published characters. But it can be renamed, and it should, for one simple reason: because it is hurtful. Transgender individuals deserve better than to be called “transvestite.” Ars Magica can and should do better.


Bravo. Bravo. Bravo. Sometimes we should just do the right thing.

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I think a simple change in how it is categorized will work wonders. Right now it is listed as a Personality Flaw, which is an error. It should be a Story Flaw, and as such should not be mandatory to a condition but instead applied because that is what type of stories the player wants. Calling it a Personality Flaw implies that there is some deficiency in the persons psychology. And there isn't. The issue is with society at large, and how you wish to engage with the consequences of history.
One should not have to take a Flaw if their character is a crossdresser, transgendered, homosexual, pagan, Jewish, or whatever. Not at all, ever, should it be mandatory. The player makes that decision based on what sort of storyies they want to participate in.
And being limited to one Story Flaw is lame. Just a side note. I frequently disregard this rule.


Lots of the Personality Flaws aren't actually flaws at all, if one sees a flaw as meaning there is something wrong with that person.
I mean, "Compassionate", "Humble", or "Temperate" are all usually seen as positive personality traits.

Personality Flaws and Story Flaws are both tools for stories. The difference being that Story Flaw is something external to the character which drags them into stories, while Personality Flaws are something internal which has the potential to create stories.

The word "Flaw" is really the wrong word for both Personality Flaws and Story Flaws, but changing that is a too big change for a mere errata, as has already been mentioned.


Well, "transvestite" and "transgender" aren't quite the same thing anyway, so they certainly shouldn't be conflated or misused - and that's even before considering the potential of the words to be offensive.


You’re right.

I am surprised that so few "veterans" of Ars Magica on this forum seem to get this basic concept...


Let me ask you ... would Paizo allow a book with the word "obese" to go in print? Because, you know, fat-shaming is hurtful, and psychological problems due to body weight are significantly more common, and on average more serious, than those due to gender.

In fact, in the context of Ars Magica it's much more hurtful than the Transvestite Flaw, because it plainly states "You are large because of fat, not muscle. You are at –1 to all rolls that involve moving quickly or gracefully and at –3 to all Fatigue rolls." Imagine an overweight girl dreaming to be a dancer ... and reading this. Do you all agree it should be removed from the game?

I could go on. "Obsessed". That's terrible! How many people with Obsessive or Obsessive-Compulsive disorder would be hurt? What ... "Pious -- You are a fervent follower of your religion" is a Flaw? I mean, Ars Magica 5th edition must look a disaster to Paizo.

Frankly, I think it's one of the best rpg core books on the market, and that too many people seem to suffer from the Oversensitive Flaw -- which, I should note, makes someone oversensitive to one, very narrow issue. (I also think that the Ars Magica 5th edition line beats everything that Paizo has ever made, hands down, despite the lower commercial success).


I don't want to walk on egg shells when I'm playing a game. We should never intentionally offend, but there is a point where we should expect a little from our audience.

If I am playing with people who can't get the nuance that a flaw means it limits your character in some way, I'm thinking this is too hard. Generous is a flaw for example. Most people would think being generous is not a bad thing, but realise in a gaming environment, it may mean a magi passes up vis he could arguably claim, etc.

Also, transgender and transvestite are very different terms. As written in the book, the person is a transvestite, and I think the term is the most accurate to sum up the presentation of such a person in the middle ages.

I think there is an argument to remove the flaw from the book completely, as it's not worth the potential trouble it creates.


I don't see how the post tagged as Solution is in anyway a solution. How does that come about anyway? Because it seems blatantly false.

Why don't you think it works?

The aspects, like magic, which are ahistorical do not, in themselves, diminish the aspects which are. Ars Magica goes a long way in promoting a medieval mindset and medieval customs, to go with the supernatural elements. It also goes a long way in leaving the choice of how historical to the troupe, and that is great.

Taking a particular flaw (or «flaw») in or out of the game is not going to make an awful lot of difference to the troupe, who still have to figure out what is and isn't offensive in their community, and to make their own decisions.

It is much more help in advice and questions which help the troupe make their own decisions about their own medievality.

Did someone kick your dog or something?

Do you really think not being a jackass to people who are bullied and commit suicide at a higher level in a game is a bad thing? That is being "over-sensitive:?. No wonder Collen didn't want to post here. I think they were right to be worried about the response from some of you.


I have no idea why I have the power to solve the question, I am neither OP nor creator of the thread. Certainly, I had no intention of doing so. It is quite possible that I have accidentally clicked a check box. Anyway, I have now unsolved it. I apologise if I have undone somebody else's intentional solution.

While ezzelino went a bit more flamy than I would, I agree with his thoughts about what is and is not offensive, and how far does one go?

Drows have racist underpinnings. Good elves white, Bad elves black. Why have they not had a skin tone change in the recent Paizo products?

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It doesn't matter why Drow haven't had a skin tone change in Paizo products because this is a thread about the Transvestite flaw in Ars Magica 5e and how it could be harmful in its current state.


We have the opportunity here to change something offense, harmful and derogatory, and someone blatantly stating "too many people seem to suffer from the Oversensitive flaw" Is to me a signal this person is not arguing in good faith.


Its all cool, no worries. I didn't realize it was like a human clicking a box act that did it, rather I thought it was like a system or something. When it comes to random click of boxes I do it all the time too, so my bad if it seemed I was yelling at you.

That said, kudos to you for HAVING THE POWA!!!!