Female NPCs don’t only exist to be swooned, you know
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Female NPCs don’t only exist to be swooned, you know
Support the show (https://paypal.me/MurtazaBohari)
Around 2 years ago I joined a Roll20 campaign. I rolled up a human Bard named Dieter, his backstory being that he was once a history professor at the local university and having grown bored with his life and nearing his 40's, decided to adventure out and seek some thrills. The star of this story is a Devotion Paladin; a character that I looked upon as a harem anime MC. He was a young 20-something year old going around the world trying to save lives, protect the peace, did not ever want to be constrained by authority, and most importantly as I will go into detail had a tendency to try and win the hearts of every female he came across. Also sported an anime avatar on both discord and Roll20, but hey, I do it too. The other players aren't too important to this story; but they are a Wizard looking for some macguffin that I cannot remember, and a female dexterity Fighter archer who was a peasant that hunted and now became an adventurer to earn enough coin so her family can buy their own land.
Things are going well a few sessions in. Plenty of roleplay and everyone knows how to play. However I began to notice a pattern where the Paladin very much acted like some harem protagonist. Every female NPC we came across he would take charge in speaking with them, asking questions about them, smiling, complementing, etc. The male NPCs on the other hand he seemed to go completely silent and allowed the other party members to speak. It was like a lightbulb that would shine brightly when females were around and go completely dark when males were.
I noticed he would also heal the female Fighter every chance he got. Like if she were to take a few hitpoints of damage he would immediately use his Healing Hands and Cure Wounds on her. This treatment of course never came to the Wizard or I. I distinctly remember a quest where we hunted down a group of man-eating spiders, and as my Bard was a Valor-subclass he was in the front lines tanking along with the Paladin in most battles. Dieter got hit pretty hard in this battle, taking about 20 something worth of damage. The female Fighter on the other hand took like 5 damage. After the battle he would go up to her, ask her how she was, and as how he described it, "stroked her head and patted it" to heal her up. Okay buddy, no need to worry about me, I'll just Cure Wounds myself I guess.
The culmination of what I suspected was proven when at some point we came across another female NPC during one of our quests to take down a troll. We came across the female as she was fighting the troll and swooped in to save her. The DM describes her as a woman no older than 20, pretty, nice polished armor, and a regal air about her.
Previously the DM had put rumors about how the second princess of the kingdom had not been seen around much, and my brain clicked immediately. I tell the DM that I suspect this figure to be her and based on how old Dieter is and his dealings with the court and nobility, he would recognize her. The DM laughs, is very pleased, and tells me yes, it is. He would ordinarily make me do a History or Insight but because I had surprisingly pieced things myself he would just give it to me.
The Paladin jumps at this opportunity like a horny teen.
"Princess! What are you doing here!? This place is dangerous." The paladin said.
"Errr... Do you even know she is?" asked the wizard.
"Well yeah, I can piece together the info myself." The paladin replied.
"I don't think so. If Dieter tells you then that's fine but you don't know who she is." The DM said.
"Okay do you tell us?"
"No." I told him.
"I have my reasons."
"Can I at least roll History like you said DM?"
He rolls and fails. He seems frustrated by this and my refusal to divulge the information. The Paladin still takes it upon himself to white knight the princess, ask her if she's okay, if he can get her anything, just over the top with trying to please her. It is only after we're safe and camping that I ask if I could talk with the princess in secret. The DM okays this and now creates a whisper room to prevent the paladin from trying to metagame.
Basically, Dieter kept this a secret because he suspected the princess wanted to adventure much like himself. He's proven correct as he reveals he knows who the princess is and asks why she's doing it. She reveals she wants to protect the kingdom in her own way instead of being stuck in the confines of the palace. Dieter nods, seeing himself in her and promises not to reveal her secret.
The paladin seems frustrated by this turn of events and not knowing what was said during what he called our "secret roleplay". He complains a bit about keeping secrets and such from the party and I just ignore him. The princess joins us with an alias as our new NPC Rogue, since we were sorely lacking in that department and I assume the DM thought it was a cool way to get us connected with the kingdom eventually as well as have a fifth combatant.
More sessions go on and Paladin does his usual. Asking the princess how she is every day, healing her whenever she takes any damage, complimenting her beauty and such. There's a point where she even gets annoyed at him as he's asking how she is in the morning and she frustratingly tells him, "Listen, I need to get changed. Can I get some alone time?" She's a great NPC though and interacts with all the other party members. Dieter looks to her as a bit of a daughter-figure since they shared similar ideologies.
There comes a point where the party is taking on an Orc warband raiding villages and strong enough to kill kingdom soldiers and even another adventuring party sent after them. It's a quest that takes a few sessions, but at the final confrontation the Paladin is charging in and taking on the orc war chief. He's incredibly excited and sees this as his big shining moment as he throws all his spell slots, channel divinities. The party on the other hand is taking down the scrubs but a few bad rolls takes the princess down. She rolls a nat 1 on her death saving throw and is practically about to get killed as these orcs are very willing to attack downed creatures. Dieter attacks one of the orcs about to kill her and just does enough damage to take him down and heal the princess back up. The Paladin eventually kills the chief, we mop things up, and win.
I'm guessing this is the whole reason for what comes up next. A session later she and Dieter are speaking and she asks what Dieter thinks of her. Dieter tells her she's almost like a daughter to him, which the DM says she looks frustrated, even annoyed at that, and seemingly wants to say more but doesn't. The implications are pretty obvious and I play it off as Dieter having no clue. After the session the Paladin player messages me.
"Hey man can I kindly ask you to back away from the princess?"
"Because I think it's weird that an elderly man and a young female get romantically involved. You know what I mean?"
"I mean it's not THAT weird. My character is 38, she's 20."
"It is though. And honestly I think there are other...better dynamics."
"I don't really like taking out of character reasons for in character stuff man. If it makes you feel better though Dieter has no interest in her and what happens ultimately is what happens in roleplay. Besides, your character has like five other NPCs he can get romantically involved with."
He doesn't respond after that. The gist of the conversation is that he wants my character to back off and he's making excuses when to me it's very clear he just wants to be involved with the princess.
In any case the princess eventually gets found by a group of knights and is forced to return home. The knights are angry with us, but she defends us and tells them "Would you arrest those that have saved my life countless times?"
Which is a cool damn moment and I really liked her for that. She thanks us and tells us we can visit the palace anytime and that she is in our debt.
Then comes the quest where the Paladin quit. We were exploring a tomb that we had come across earlier and had marked it to venture into later on. To cut things short, we fight through a myriad of enemies and puzzles and finally enter the final room. The other PCs are trying to decipher some ancient language on the walls that they have an idea of how to read while Dieter and the Paladin move a bit ahead. The final room has an ancient, but shimmering looking sword on a pedestal.
Obvious traps are obvious.
But the Paladin? He goes to grab it. And when he touches the stairs leading up to the pedestal a wall slams down sealing the doorway, separating us from the party.
The statues in the room come to life and it's me and Paladin against a bunch of giant statues.
My character rolls high and promptly runs hard and fast seeing as how we're outnumbered. Dieter manages to find a small cliff leading down to a river. I realize this river will get us back to where the party is. Dieter jumps down to the river, takes damage, but is safe.
The Paladin is not so lucky. A crit from one of the giant statue warriors knocks off half of his hit points. The other statues attack him before he gets his turn and he is knocked out. The other party members are desperately trying to open the door, Dieter cannot see the Paladin from below the cliff and can only swim back to meet with the party. He and the party reunite and try to open the door but we cannot. We're forced to do a short rest and it is only after waiting an hour does the wall slowly return to its original position waiting to trap another brazen adventurer.
Unfortunately the Paladin is basically paste as the statues proceeded to pulverize him. We end the session there and all of us are talking post-game about how that was really freaking unfortunate. The DM apologizes, saying he was expecting the entire party in the last room. We had unfortunately split the party and went for the sword. The Paladin is saying "It's okay... yeah... it happens" but he sounds utterly devastated and he leaves the call rather quickly. Well, PC deaths happen.
The next day I find a message written in the Discord and the Paladin player has promptly left. It goes something like:
"I've decided to quit the game. It's not fun for me to have to roll another character and frankly I noticed certain people in this game had it out for me. People that I would make small requests to and would rudely reject me even though I was asking very little of them. The last fight proved this in my opinion and I don't want to play in a game where I get screwed by my team members.. Bye."
...Yeah. Unless he was talking about other players, it seemed very likely he was referring to me and the whole ordeal with the princess. And in the last fight I guess he blamed me for fleeing, even when we had all agreed the two characters should flee and I had no role in the statues getting a crit on him and him rolling poor initiative.
But so ended the tale of Kirito Tenchi Isei. The man who white knighted 100% of females we came across, probably and actually had several NPC girls who would jump at a romantic relationship with him, but still got upset anyway because he never got the princess.
And Dieter never got with the princess either.