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Epic Slant Press LLC is a small publishing company based in North Carolina that currently focuses on books and games. Positivity is the driving force that guides each and every project that the company takes on. The team strongly believes that with a positive outlook anyone can achieve great things. Epic Slant Press LLC strives to support small and local businesses, aid fellow entrepreneurs, and donate a portion of all profits to charities and good causes.

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Wishing Ferrel were male

FerrelThis might come as a shock to some of you but I am actually a guy in real life. I know I keep that on the down low with the whole releasing of my real name and all the pictures… but it is true, I am male. Ferrel, on the other hand, is female. Which might be confusing! A guy, playing a female character? Who would do such a thing! That is an excellent question and, to be quite honest, at this point I’m not totally sure what my motivations were but it is fun to look back and discuss it.

The time before time

Long ago in a time before high speed internet and computer graphics there were chat rooms, MUDs, and Bulletin Board Systems. The internet and I were young and foolish. I had a few different characters but mostly I played a female elf. There seemed to be benefits to being female. People talked to you more and treated you different! I did not actively take advantage of this fact but I also didn’t correct the assumptions that people made. Now my buddy, who shall remain nameless, would go out and take advantage of these poor, sex-starved men. You know who you are!

Ferrel is born

My first run at EverQuest was not an exceptional one. Dresden, Khallid and another friend of ours picked the best group combination you could: Warrior, Warrior, Paladin, Paladin. We were a terror to behold. Two paladins could surely heal as well as a cleric, right? My poor paladin Telbain never stood a chance. Eventually, we got the memo: our group sucked. Going back to the drawing board, we did something a bit more reasonable. We picked Warrior, Monk, Enchanter, Cleric. I was to be our cleric and we were going to min/max the heck out of the game. That meant, without a shadow of a doubt, playing a high elf. Now at this time high elf males were not super awesome looking. They wore dresses and looked pretty feminine so I said to hell with it, I’ll be a female this time. In addition to that, as sexist as this sounds, it just sort of made sense that the healer would be female. Thus Ferrel was born. That was back in early 2000.

Ferrel as an institution

Over the years I’ve been Ferrel in EQ, EQ2, Eve Online, WoW, Warhammer Online, Age of Conan, Rift and who knows how many other random MMOs. I have occasionally brought Mr. Telbain back to play a knight type class but beyond that it is Ferrel. Not only is Ferrel my character name but she also exists in my fantasy intellectual property and has become my online alias. I would venture to say that more human beings (and some sexy sentient computers) know me as Ferrel than as Adam. Changing my alias seems weird and counter to what is best for my brand. More importantly, I identify mentally as Ferrel. Not Ferrel the elf, mind you, but Ferrel nonetheless. You may have noticed but all my online icons have been changed to a dashing image of me! Well, at least me as drawn by Amanda. The reason being is that I’m actually pretty sick of playing a girl.

Adam Ferrel TrzonkowskiGender Reassignment Surgery

At this point I’m certain you’re just saying, “Roll a male character and name it Ferrel.” I just can’t bring myself to do that. Ferrel is a female and the sheer notion of seeing her running around as a him is most unappealing to me. She doesn’t have body dysmorphic disorder and is comfortable being a female elf (and I am in no way making light of people who might have that disorder or feel they should be different than they are). I wouldn’t want her to be anything other than herself. It would just feel wrong. Sort of like taking Aragorn and deciding he is a girl in my version of the Lord of the Rings. There shall be no male Ferrel. So I am stuck with playing a female character into perpetuity. At least as long as I want to be Ferrel and I do want to be Ferrel. It is kind of an odd situation.

Am I being crazy here? Does anyone else have this sort of thought?

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9 Responses to Wishing Ferrel were male

  1. Hirvox says:

    Back when I still played WOW, my main was a female troll. And while I did use her as my primary pseudonym in anything remotely WOW-related and would never consider changing her so radically, I do maintain a layer of mental isolation between me and her. She’s not my avatar, just a character. I’m not sure whether I even have one.

  2. spinks says:

    I never really understood this thing about people using the same name for characters in every game. I usually think of a new one for each character, and only reuse names if I’m not really that attached. So I guess I don’t really get it, I’d just start a new character and think of a new name.

    At the end of the day, if the identity no longer fits, move on. Leave Ferrel in the past.

  3. When I actually roll up a character named Green Armadillo (which I generally only do in superhero or sci-fi games, seems a bit wrong to inflict that on a fantasy world), he is always male. Beyond that, in games that I actually expect to play for any extended period of time, I generally give my characters “original” names.

    (By “original” I mean names I have not used before. Typically, these are obscure quest hubs in other MMO’s, because it amuses me that all the WoW-haters have no idea that, for example, the Temple of Telhamat is the second Alliance quest hub in Hellfire Peninsula.)

    So really, the only place this tends to come up is in betas or if I’m speed rolling alts to test out classes. When that happens, I will borrow names from my characters in other games as appropriate – for example, female bards tend to get dubbed Lyriana/Narilya (note anagram) after my EQ2 main. But yes, I suppose it’s easier for me because I don’t use my characters as my identity anywhere external to a specific game, so I’m free to pick whichever gender has models that look more reasonable. (As you note in your EQ1 tale, often one gender model simply looks better than the other.)

  4. Aurelis says:

    I have character naming issues, but they’re for different reasons! I don’t have an attachment to the name ‘Aurelis’ in the sense of it having a history or it holding a special meaning to me, nor do I really have anything that would really keep me from changing it (like self-branding, in the case of the name “Ferrel”).

    For me, I just like the name. I also hate thinking of new names because I’m extremely picky about names. I don’t want to be BubblegumPrincessLollipop… although I do like to roll as candy-themed names for just-for-fun characters, but I’d never use it as a main character. I like the way “Aurelis” looks, I like the shortname ‘Aure’, and I like the way it sounds (though no one seems to pronounce it like I do). When I was late to the Rift forum sign-up party out of laziness and the name Aurelis was taken, I had a mental fit (and still do every time I think about posting in a thread, because I refuse to post as Aurelys).

  5. Starseeker says:

    I’ve had this issue, in the beginning of internet days in the days of online chat DnD I played a male, because OMG a female playing DND? it was unheard of. or you were simply there to be someones flirt magnet when you were trying to play. Either way, I played males because they got treated differently. When I went into online gaming i had a whole slew of names of characters of mine that I had come to love, almost none of them were female. Starseeker started out in DnD as a male monk, but the video game version was born in eq2, and started off as a male half elf bard…well, male half elves were kinda ugly in eq2, so I used the gender change potion, and Lord Starseeker the female was born (yes they let me keep my male title lol). The game version doesn’t look anything like the dnd version. So I made them sorta two different characters in my head. Starseeker kinda became my online persona, and so I now play a female toon and get alot less questions about ” hey your a girl why are you playing a guy?” My answer always used to be: If I have to stare at a character for 8 hours, I’d rather it be a guy. lol but now the questions are annoying…easier to just play a girl.

  6. I have a stable of names I use for my characters. A few of them are names of D&D characters I played in college, so I have definite character types for them. (For example, Illusidaine, originally an Elven Wizard/Cleric, is always an Elf in games. In DDO, she’s a Drow Cleric/Sorcerer. In LotRO she was a Champion, though.) The original Psychochild character I played a long time was of the Demon “race” in the first text MUD I played, so I sometimes riff off that. But, he’s always male in whatever incarnation.

    Maybe it’s time to branch out? Pick a new character name and go with it. Keep Ferrel as a personal name if you think there’s enough recognition with it. But, roll a new male character with a new name. Have fun with it. :)

    • Ferrel says:

      I feel like I really have name recognition with Ferrel with my guild. It would be manageable but the situation we normally have is ignoring the character almost fully. So for example. We have an officer who has a few characters. The two he plays most are Hanibal and Horas. We call him Scip. His EQ2 character was Scipio! So Scip it is regardless!

      Although in that case I could still be Ferrel and have a character named whatever!