“It’s a boy, it’s a boy!” And somebody said “but it hasn’t got a winkle!” And then I said “A boy without a winkle? God be praised, it is a miracle. A boy without a winkle!” And then Sir Thomas More pointed out that a boy without a winkle is a girl. And everyone was really disappointed!”-Nurse, Blackadder II
Portrayal of gender at Reginae Regis
During the game, the gender of your character matters (a lot!) the gender of the player does not!
For the purposes of this game, the court recognises two genders, male and female, which is assigned at birth based on physical characteristics. The roles are absolute and binary.
No character in this game can have concealed their assigned gender – the high emphasis on the importance of male heirs from birth and the close family structure of the court mean it is impossible. No character will be cross-dressing or otherwise disguising their gender
While this may limit the options for some potential players, this does mean there should be no room for confusion over the gender of a character due to the gender identity or characteristics of the player. Gender of the character will be communicated through dress, title and name – someone in a dress is a woman, someone in hose and breeches is a man, all clergy are male. Players of any gender can play a character of either available gender. Costume is the only requirement, there is no need to change your body shape in any way.
Gender in our setting
A strong focus of this game is the complex but rising social power of noble women in the Tudor era. This is the first time in centuries that England has struggled to maintain a good selection of male heirs for the throne. England may soon have a Queen Regent or a Queen Regnant for the first time since Empress Mathilda, Queen of the Romans in the mid 12th Century. Notably she was a contested queen during the previous civil war known as The Anarchy. This association of female rulers with civil war is a powerful one in England in the aftermath of the War Of The Roses.
A lot of the English political landscape at this time is due to the prevailing belief that the peaceful transition of the throne to a male heir is the key to prevent civil war – exactly as power passed from Henry VII to Henry VIII.
Due to this reason, many people would prefer to have a male infant on the throne with a Regency Council rather than an adult woman. However, others point out that Regency Councils have their own problems (Richard III’s exploits with the Princes in the Tower for example) and so a strong Queen might be preferable.
Women experience severe limitations in their legal rights and social privileges but their social role affords them some options that men lack. You can read about female characters here.
Men have fewer legal restrictions and many more privileges, but they still are expected to conform to the court’s expectation of their gender role. You can read about male characters here.