I had kind of a depressing experience tonight playing Stars Without Number. My telepath character spent a really long time negotiating with some insectoid aliens whose queen seemed to desperately need our help, except it seemed like everything she said was a lie, and even while reading her mind, I somehow didn't notice. After we agreed to help them, her people ambushed us and tried to feed us to their kids. We killed the ambush group, and next session, the rest of my party plans to scour the site and murder every alien they see.
There are a couple of things going on here that annoy me. One is that I spent an hour-plus on a complete narrative dead end, having a conversation that didn't matter about things that weren't true. That just doesn't seem like an interesting story choice to me. Getting tricked by a crafty opponent can be terrific for a story. There are ways to foreshadow betrayal so it feels inevitable, yet terrifying. But this was such a protracted, pointless conversation, with nothing useful to learn, and the attack afterward felt so arbitrary and at odds with everything that happened before it.
But the other thing that bothers me is that I'm a woman in a party that's otherwise all-male, and I feel like such a girl-gamer cliché right now, stupidly trying to talk to and make friends with the rapacious monsters who just wanted to eat us.
I haven't had a ton of gender-based problems as a gamer. I've played with a lot of groups where I was the only woman, and a lot of gender-split groups. Some have been more talky, some have been more fighty, and it usually depends a lot more on the individual game than on the gender mix. I'm generally over gamer gender stereotypes. But it's hard not to feel a little out of place when I'm both the only woman and the only social character in what's turning out to be a "kill everything in sight" game where all the guys are on the same page, and I'm not.
So I'm curious what kinds of situations other people have run into around gender stereotypes and gaming expectations. Has this kind of dynamic ever been a problem for you as a player, or for games you've been in? When you run up against a gender-split decision in how to proceed in a story, do you handle it any differently from any other kind of split decision in your games?