When I was at Dreamation on that first night, I overheard a story that was both funny and disheartening. A woman player was relating her experience from the previous year, when she had been convinced to run Tales of the Fisherman's Wife
. For those of you who don't know this game — and I didn't, not really — here's the description from designer Julia Ellingboe's site:
Tales of the Fisherman’s Wife is a quick two-four player game inspired by ukiyo-e art and Japanese ghost stories. When the Fisherman leaves for sea, he and his Wife exchange 6 words to weave a story while they are apart. The Wife creates a story from his 6 words, which she tells him when he returns. But the Fisherman and his Wife have caught the attention of otherworldly beings who try to seduce, possess (or supplant), devour, or serve them. While the Fisherman fishes, the “Wife” player plays the part of the being attached to him, and the Fisherman player plays the being attached to the wife. Players take turns playing out what happens while the lovers are apart and vulnerable to the demons or spirits. When they reunite, one of them may not be what she seems.
Basically Tales of the Fisherman's Wife
can (and likely may) contain content that could be considered sexual, if not necessarily sexually explicit. Anyone who's run or played the game can feel free to correct me on that point.
Anyway, I assume that the listing said something about it being an adults-only game and the general subject matter was out there. So the GM's standing at the table getting ready for her session when a male player approached her and said, "Is this the porn game?"
As you can imagine, this immediately creeped the GM out, but she continued with the game anyway. The player in question, however, definitely grooved on sexual content and introduced it to the game in an uncomfortable manner. The game was played through, but the GM said she was texting away to her significant other (who was back at their room) saying, "Please save me," and the like.
Now it's funny that he asked, "Is this the porn game?" That's the amusing part of the story. What's less amusing was that the GM felt obligated, for whatever reason, to continue a game in which a player was doing things that made her uncomfortable. Pretty much everybody I've related this tale to have said, "I wouldn't have done that," or "I would have shut him down the minute he asked me about porn," but I wonder if the dynamics were changed because the GM was female and the player was male. By which I mean to say that the male player may have just expected the female GM to accommodate his perviness whereas he might not have had the same expectation of a male GM.
Am I completely off-base thinking this? Are male players (of which I am one) putting burdens on female players and/or GMs that we wouldn't place on other males, or am I reading too much into this one incident, one that I only know of secondhand?