ConTessa – Helping Girls Get into RPGs

In the modern age, more and more activities and fields are opening up to the idea of women being participants and players. Things like e-sports and video games aren’t just boys’ clubs anymore. Girls are starting to get in on the action, earning nerd cred or just finding new ways to enjoy themselves.

Tabletop gaming is one of these areas. Formed back in the 70s when Gary Gygax created Dungeons & Dragons, it has since become a small industry. All you need are a copy of the rules, some dice, your character sheets, and a willingness to engage in impromptu chicanery and shenanigans.

While women have had a presence behind the scenes or in the making of the games, playing them is another question entirely.

In most cases, the games are seen as nerdy activities. For many years, there was a negative stigma to playing in these. As acceptance grew, the stigma shifted, and now girls are mostly negative.

The organization called ConTessa intends to change that.

On their website, they say they dedicate themselves to improving the diversity of tabletop gaming. Women, minorities, and other marginalized people are invited to run events that anyone can enjoy.

The group is focused mainly on the US, where the negative stereotypes of women in tabletop gaming run very high. They’re usually bored significant others dragged into the game and making a mess of things, according to the predominant view.

The idea of an actual female roleplayer is still an odd concept to most of the community. Things are changing, at least.

In many ways, girls have been in the RP scene for a long time now. Message boards and IRC channels dedicated to letting girls play characters of their design their favorite fictional universes have always been around, an outcrop of the fanfiction phenomenon.

Now, the thing about tabletop gaming is that this is a very group-by-group thing. One group might welcome players of all stripes, while another is a close circle of friends that is very insular. ConTessa helps bridge the gap through online conventions and events, making it easier to keep the space safe.