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Joined: 25 May 2008
Age: 30
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Location: Brisbane, Australia

23 Mar 2021, 12:28 am

Perhaps this could go into the gaming or writing section, but I am more interested in identity blind spots I might have. Although I don't get a chance to play often, one thing I have been really interested in is RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons, a lot of creating character concepts, and some part in working on ideas of homebrewing things. Within D&D character ideas I have especially had on my mind is some elements of gender representation, the game has races such as Changelings that can appear like another person and adopt their gender like wearing clothes, female dwarves have been known to spot beards, and some elves are even known to change gender. But, I have kind of had the thought of what if there were races were explicitly non-binary as a normal thing, that is without having them be something like a robot, the idea would be to normalise the identities, not have them just be replacements for a non-binary person, and theoretically they trans themselves in cases where they might be binary.

I was first going over my prototype idea, but I kind of realised that it might not be representative of all common non-binary identity, so I decided to split it up and create 4 different ideas, going off of the colours that make up the non-binary flag for what the represent: Yellow for outside of the boundary, white for genderfluid, purple for a mixture of both binaries, and black for agender.

For genderfluid the answer was kind of easy, the D&D Changelings already have it written in their lore that they can be fluid with gender presentation, as a bonus their true form ghostly white which would match with the themes. Although, I think that it is also written that this is only when transformed, and nothing about their "true" form, so if they returned to their true form someone would probably assign a gender to them. So my idea was just add onto the idea of the Changelings, with Fluid Changelings (all names still being considered), a fluid changeling would also be able to alter the sex of their true forms, to match a fluid gender even when as such. The 5th edition Changeling is also kind of bare in the only real traits they get is their ability to shapeshift along with another language, which could be strong in certain role playing aspects, but really does not do a whole lot in anything like combat. My thought was to give them the Fey ancestry trait that elves have that gives them resistances to being charmed, from being natives of the chaotic changing fairy plane of the Feywild, a place home to not just fairies but shapeshifters.

The mixture of male and female (masculine and feminine) was mostly the prototype I had in mind, which came from thinking of a mix of androgynous elves and orcs/Half-orcs that I imagine as the opposite end of the spectrum of strongly showing sex characteristics. So an intersex race of pointed ears of both the races, purple skin to differentiate them, both male and female sex characteristics, usually in same magnitude, running from none to very. The extra flavour ideas were from a deity I made for my own setting, being the deity of the dawn and dusk, one who presides over opposites, balance and wear they meet, where the deity would be both male and female. So I am currently just calling them Twilights, with the idea as native to an idea I created of Twilight planes, which would be places where the Feywild meets its opposite, the Shadowfell that is a plane of perpetual darkness (both of these are part of the D&D lore and are sort of like alternate versions of the places of the normal D&D world). So my idea would be that Twilights respect showing both sides of masculinity and femineity, that it is considered normal and actually the ideal to show both.

The agender race came to me in thinking about Hollow Knight's player character, as a being of void, creating my idea of a Voidling. The Shadowfell is a plane of perpetual shadow, that has undead, monsters twisted from emotions, and it sort of borders the negative energy plane that will suck out all life and anyone who goes in will be unlikely to be returned but be replaced with a creature of shadow and negative energy called a Nightwalker. A lot of words to just say that I thought a Voidling that too has its body pitch black as if made of shadow, originally maybe from the setting version of the void, and home in the Shadowfell, although not evil. My idea was their natural bodies can lack expressive details, so they would usually wear masks, and off that idea I thought they might culturally cover most of their skin, and usually hoods when not wearing helmet like masks. So something like Tusken Raiders and Jawas from Star Wars, or Shy Guys from Mario. They would most commonly have no concept of gender, being agender or some would say void gender, and reproduce in asexual manner from the void or something. Mechanically I thought of them as having a resistance to necrotic damage but a weakness to radiant, some races are sensitive to sunlight so maybe some element of that, but rather than having dark vision that allows to see better in the dark they would have blindsight to a distance so they would not require any light at all. Although that aspect would also make them broken in naturally seeing through invisibility.

The last one, of outside of the binary gender spectrum, gave me a lot of thought, my idea from the beginning was not to just have something like a robot, but how do I create the idea of something to cis to be outside of a gender binary, while distinct from having no gender. My brainstorming along with the one response when I was putting my prototype idea several months ago that got one response that thought liked the idea of of dusk and dawn to being something connected to the sky/galaxy, which led me first to the name of of something like Starchild. Something that could sound vaguely Lovecraftian, like a creature that has a nature outside of what ideas would be, which would be yellow to match the themes, say that they have tendril like hair, and naturally have a bunch of different genders, none of which fit the idea of a binary. My current musings something like based on 3s, so something like3 3s (9), or based on any 3 combination of 9 different traits. I am not sure, I don't have a lot of knowledge of what genders separate from the binary are like, so I am not sure if it is something a little insensitive.

These are just ideas that have been bumping around in my head, and I am not sure they would upset other non-binary people, so I thought to post it to get some feedback of any problematic ideas. The idea will not be to say that all agender people are shadow people or people of genders separate outside of masculine and feminine are Lovecraftian monsters, but maybe create ideas of cultures where the identity could be the normal.

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To consume the flames of a kingdom's fall


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Joined: 3 Jan 2021
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25 Mar 2021, 3:12 pm

I absolutely love those ideas!!

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Joined: 27 Oct 2014
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25 Mar 2021, 5:33 pm

I've always wanted to explore this idea in some way. I'm fleshing out a major human culture with a non-binary understanding of sex and gender. In general their understanding of medicine and their 'medical magic' allows for things that are on or beyond our world's limits. It isn't a focus of the stories I've been writing so I only add to this stuff slowly but I like to make the entire world 'lived-in' even if I don't give much attention to some things.

I've also considered having a fantasy race with a 'warrior caste' which are physically large but sexually ambiguous individuals to explore how shifting warriordom away from men might impact male identity.