Saying No To The White Mage

I will not be your white mage. I will not carry the healing potions. I will not learn a medicine skill. I won’t be your healer. I will not be your medic, your doctor, your white mage. I am not in the business of making you feel better.

I’m a gamer. A role-player. I’ve been playing since I was a child, and I regularly play now. I also write games. I wrote the game Shelter in Place, which won an ENnie. I’m developing games for publication now. Games! I enjoy them!

And I don’t play healers.

I’m not telling you not to play a healer. You do what you want. Me, I’m not going to be a healer.

The trouble I’ve had with being a lady and being a healer is that nothing has relegated me to the back seat of a game faster than taking on that role. If I was the healer then I needed to stand back, so that I can be protected. Wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to the healer.No room for fighting or diplomacy skills if you are the healer. I’d have only one job then – to make the other characters feel better so that they could do the cool stuff.

No way.

I found that even taking first aid would get me squished in the back-seat healer role. A couple throw away points in a skill and I could no longer participate in the plot or the action. I would become a tool. The same role I had could be played by a magic potion.

And I was often encouraged to take that role. “But no one else has taken medicine!” I’d hear, as if I somehow made other people make that choice.

“Then someone else can change their stats,” I’d say.

So no, I won’t be your healer. But I’ll carry the sword, I’ll talk our way out of trouble, I’ll be your pilot and your engineer, I’ll be your zombie slayer, I’ll be your monster. But I’m not taking medicine. You can shove your medicine skill right up your corebook.

In a world where women are often relegated to side-character status in the world of fiction, roleplaying is our opportunity to write new stories on our own. These stories aren’t being written and they haven’t been filmed, but they can break boundaries, and I intend to play them that way.