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Pathfinder Society Member. 18,984 posts (19,803 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 2 Pathfinder Society characters. 7 aliases.


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Jaelithe wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
No worries, but it's the potential reliance on historical precedence to exclude them from existing that makes me bristle.

Honestly, I don't see how historical precedence could be used to exclude them. They're here now. They were there then.

It's one thing to say, "I really don't want to hear about your determined seduction of so-and-so. In short, you are successful; we fade to black." It's quite another to say, "You can't play a homosexual/transgender character, because they're not historically verifiable." That's so far beyond unreasonable I'm not sure how I'd respond if a DM told me that.

Now saying, "You're a hero(ine). But declaring your love for this person who happens to be the same sex as you in the Dauphin's throne room isn't the brightest idea in the world" is reasonable, historically speaking.

The fact that some don't like that is, frankly, TFB.

Depends on the situation. It could make a very nice emotional capstone for a campaign. There would have to be a very good motivation and the Dauphin would have to owe you. Not be done lightly, but it could work.


sunshadow21 wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Though I'd have trouble seeing the Christian God concealing his omniscience and omnipotence. Or the Jewish or Islamic variant, for that matter.
I've also never seen that type of god show up in a traditional fantasy setting. Some specialized fantasy setting or a setting that mixes fantasy and historical, sure, and I've seen some DMs work some variant of it into a standard world like Golarion, but even that is rare. The pantheons of old offer more room for storytelling, more wiggle room, and far less headaches on pretty much most subjects that might come up as potential sources of conflict.

One thread of this discussion has been about quasi-historical campaigns. Thus real-world religions.


Jaelithe wrote:
thejeff wrote:
I think we're talking past each other.

I think you're right.

I've never had a problem reconciling all this ... but, then again, I don't grant certain spells, I don't run a high fantasy game in the sense you're describing, and I don't have an issue with gods possessing a certain purview and/or portfolio that allows them their take on the truth, while another god doesn't see it that way. And if a particular God is omniscient and omnipotent, but conceals that from the others for purposes of His own, well ... that allows for the wiggle room a campaign needs.

I think that first part makes enough difference for me.

Though I'd have trouble seeing the Christian God concealing his omniscience and omnipotence. Or the Jewish or Islamic variant, for that matter.


sunshadow21 wrote:
Jaelithe wrote:
Digitalelf wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
gods do withdraw power from those who don't roughly follow the dictates of their faith.
I can just imagine the player's reaction if a GM EVER said to the player that his cleric PC can't cast spells any more, or was denied any specific spell that the character prayed for... Would go over like the proverbial passing of gas in church...

So you're saying that a GM has no recourse to rebuke a player through loss of spells or powers even if said player's character is ignoring his alignment, thumbing his nose at his god's dictates and using his spells in a way of which the god disapproves?

In a word ... ridiculous.

(You added your last paragraph above while I was replying. Oh, well.)

My personal response to a situation that went beyond occasionally denying individual spells would be to simply tell the player that the deity providing them power has changed based on their character's actions, and let the player deal with any and all fallout from that change. It enforces a certain amount of playing true to the chosen god without depriving someone access to a basic class feature.

I certainly would deny it, given sufficient provocation and warning. Then we'd decide how to handle it - Atonement and return to the god's good graces, a change to serving a different god or something else entirely.


Jaelithe wrote:
Tormsskull wrote:
LazarX wrote:
I don't see where that makes any difference. Or have their been any public statements by Jehovah, Buddha, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, that I've missed?

You don't see any difference in a GM determining what a fantasy god thinks versus a GM determining what a fantasy god based on a real-world and currently worshiped by real people god thinks?

Real world religion thrives on ambiguity, god-of-the-gaps and all that. In a world where you can do the equivalent of calling up god on the phone (or at least his personal assistant) and ask him his opinion of something, the ambiguity and gaps are going to disappear.

Doesn't sound like a solid basis for a successful campaign, IMO.

What an atheist thinks real world religion thrives on and what a believer thinks are likely to be two different things.

And yet I've run successful campaigns, employing real-world religion, for three-plus decades.

Real world religion is not unified in its perspectives. Even the monotheistic Abrahamic faiths do not have identical mores and revealed truths. "Allah forbid that He should have a son!" directly contradicts "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Jews, Christians and Muslims all claim to worship the God-King of the Omniverse ... but you don't see a lot of Jews at Mass, Catholics in the mosque or Moslems at Temple.

Even with gods derived from the real world, is Odin going to give the same answer as Tengri? Does Ahura Mazda see things the same way Vishnu does? Is the Jesus of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John the Isa of the Koran? Does the Buddha walk with Jesus in that Hinterland between Heaven and Nirvana?

A decree from a god's servant, or even a god him or herself, doesn't definitively settle questions of good and evil, right and wrong, even in such a setting, because a decree from another god's servant in direct contradiction might leave two sides at each other's throats. God or the gods speak; people hear and interpret to the best of...

1) Leave the graphic sex out of it. No one is suggesting graphic sex in game - unless everyone actually is comfortable with it.

2) I think we're talking past each other. Different real-world religions certainly believe different things. Even atheists get that. Even from my atheistic perspective however, it seem unlikely they're all right, since they're generally claiming the others are wrong. In your quasi-historical campaigns, are Allah, YHWH and the Christian God the same being sending different messages or different gods each claiming to be the one true God? Or is one of them right?
In reality, since there is less blatant direct contact than there is in a PF game, it's easy to accept that one or even all of the various religions and denominations is misunderstanding the real message. It's harder when, as discussed above, there are ways of checking.

Of course, as I've said before, if you're not playing full blown high fantasy Pathfinder, the situation is different. It's easy to imagine a setting with some magic where humans misinterpret revelations as they have in the real world, but that's not a world with priests Communing with God and summoning angels to consult.


LazarX wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Again, I'm quite happy playing with moral ambiguity and with different cultural mores. I'd just rather not do it with a system in which some can literally ask the supreme moral authority for the answer. The typical fantasy world isn't one of those, since the various Gods aren't actually supreme.
Pathfinder may be the system, but AFAIK on Golarion, not even clerics get to directly quiz their god on anything. At most, they might get an answer from a highly placed intermediary.

You can use a Phylactery to see if an action will affect your standing with your deity. That's the lowest level approach.

Higher level Clerics and other divine casters can Commune and ask more direct questions. Possibly answered by intermediaries admittedly, but are those intermediaries really going to get basic questions like: "Is slavery ok?" or "Should we burn homosexuals at the stake?" wrong?

You can also use Planar Ally to summon and talk directly to some of those intermediaries. That should help with the trickier questions that don't boil down to "Yes/No" quite so easily.

It really should be hard for clerics in PF settings to be seriously wrong about their god's intent.

And as I said, I don't care so much about Golarion, since there none of the gods are actually the supreme moral authority. There can be conflicts and differences of approach between them. That's much harder to justify in a quasi-historical high fantasy setting. Which is why I don't like that approach and prefer to keep my real-world religions more vague.


LazarX wrote:
Tormsskull wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Not really. The gods in Golarion, outside of Razmir, are notorious for NOT making public statements on their positions. There are at least two factions of Sarenrites that are in violent disagreement, yet the goddess continues to supply the priests of both with spells.
Quasi-historical, meaning using real world religions, not Pathfinder gods.
I don't see where that makes any difference. Or have their been any public statements by Jehovah, Buddha, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, that I've missed?

It's the merging of real world monotheistic religions and their claims to an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent God with the kind of access to the divine that PF magic (and especially divine) magic gives you that causes the problem for me.

In a polytheist world like Golarion, the Gods themselves are fallible. They can disagree amongst themselves and are not the final word on anything. And even there violent clashes between sects of the same religion bother me - unless it's that religion's thing. Certain gods might even encourage it.

It's harder to accept when it's an actual Supreme Being giving His blessing to what most of us now consider to be evil. Leaving aside the sexuality side, do Clerics participating in slavery remain in good standing? Is the Inquisition really the will of God? Or does God not actually withdraw his favor for sinning?
How do different religions work out? Are the Christians, Muslims and Jews all right about what God wants? When you can actually ask, how does that work?
Does God not actually take a stance on moral issues? Despite every Church ever claiming the opposite?

Again, I'm quite happy playing with moral ambiguity and with different cultural mores. I'd just rather not do it with a system in which some can literally ask the supreme moral authority for the answer. The typical fantasy world isn't one of those, since the various Gods aren't actually supreme.


Quote:

My hair like Jesus wore it,

Hallelujah, I adore it.

Long hair for me.

For women I'm interested in I prefer long or very short.

I like long haired cats and dogs as long as they're someone else's. If I have to deal with it, short hair.


LazarX wrote:
thejeff wrote:


One of the drawbacks to running a quasi-historical game, at least using something like the PF system, is that you have to decide what God thinks of such things in your world.
Not really. The gods in Golarion, outside of Razmir, are notorious for NOT making public statements on their positions. There are at least two factions of Sarenrites that are in violent disagreement, yet the goddess continues to supply the priests of both with spells.

Yeah and that's always bothered me.

Of course, in Golarion, we're way outside of "quasi-historical" game.


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Aranna wrote:
Wait... People actually play as someone who wants to switch genders?! Why? Why not start out with the gender you want to play as?

Because you want to play as someone who wants to switch genders? Because you want to play through the experience of both deciding you want to change and of how that changes you?


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Kirth Gersen wrote:


  • More CO2 -> higher sea levels -> spurred growth for corals, etc. due to new habitat -> more CO2 sequestered in CaCO3 -> cools back down (-)
  • More CO2 -> more acidic oceans -> dying reefs -> less CO2 sequestered -> warmer climate.

    Not to disagree with your larger point, just one of the sadder consequences we've already seen.


    Jaelithe wrote:
    A game set in a quasi-historical setting, though, has inherent constraints Golarion doesn't. Ignoring certain of them so breaks verisimilitude for some that it doesn't work. An anachronism such as open expression of variant sexualities (variant in the sense of not matching that of the majority, with no moral judgment attached) is one of these.

    The trouble for me is that trying to run a quasi-historical high fantasy game breaks verisimilitude in so many ways that playing around with variant sexualities doesn't really make any difference.

    History wasn't high fantasy. Nothing like PF magic existed. The implications and effects of that on the history go far beyond anything open homosexuals would cause.

    Now, if you're playing a more realistic low fantasy kind of game, that's different. But in a game where I can call up a Solar (or other celestial appropriate to the diety: angel, if you will) to truly proclaim to the populace that God has no problem with homosexuals and where the high level clerics can Commune to verify that, it's hard for me to accept "social pressure" as the reasoning. Unless of course God truly does have a problem with it, in the setting.
    The same goes, even more so, for so many other historically accepted problems, from slavery to the divine right of kings to "sterilize your surgical tools to keep from infecting people".


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    For those talking in terms of pre-modern or historical settings, I hope it's not just LGBTQ issues you avoid on those grounds. Women's lib is modern too. As are modern attitudes towards formal class structures. Widespread acceptance of slavery and/or serfdom. Noble classes with more legal rights than the masses. All or most of it understood to be ordained by God.

    It's not just one, still controversial, subset of the differences between the modern world and a historical setting that beyond the pale, right?


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    GreyWolfLord wrote:

    Take this 97%, I explained it already. The source of the number and what it represents is pretty simple (32.6% with .7% as the disagrement would be 97%, or more accurately 97.85%). I have no qualms with something like that. However, with twisting of stats it becomes something it is not in the hands of politicians. This is about an opinion of someone...anything that deals with opinions instead of science...if someone states it's at 97% be very WARY of it.

    It's like an election, any election that states 97% of people voted for this one guy...something is instantly suspected of being illegally manipulated. A vast majority can be believeable (even perhaps up to the 80th percentiles at times), but something that major...always be wary of it.

    In addition, as I said, NO SCIENTIST (at least one that is worth their PhD, which should be all of them...but you never know) would EVER state something of such a soft nature (physics, math...those are hard. Biology, geology, earth science, atmospheric sciences...those are softer...opinions...those are EXCESSIVELY SOFT IN NATURE) near anything close to being as such an absolute (like 97%). You have a bigger deviation just in what is happening in regards to climate change (much less it's causes) among scientists than 97% in any case. Heck, you can't even get 97% of physicists to agree upon some facets of gravity...and if you can't get them to completely agree upon...

    You wouldn't get 97% to agree on all the details most likely, but that's not what's being asked about climate change either. I'd bet you'd easily find 97% of biologists supporting evolution or 97% of geologists supporting plate tectonics. That's a lot closer to "supporting human caused climate change" than internal debate within the field about the exact mechanics of gravity.
    Quote:
    There are some pretty majorly bad things happening this very day, but you know what, no one knows about them (did you know how many animals have gone extinct in the last 6 months?). Why...because they are too busy mocking Al Gore and others for saying Manhattan would be underwater right now instead of dealing with the REAL problems that are occurring this very instant and are having some very REAL effects on nature and the world. These are problems addressed in many of the same papers and predicted as what and how they would happen (did you know the California drought was predicted YEARS ago?)...but everyone ignored them because...the politicians stole the show and pointed everyone towards extremes for sensationalism instead of the reality of what was going to happen.

    The people mocking Gore aren't the ones who'd be dealing with the REAL problems anyway.

    We've been through the "Al Gore and others for saying Manhattan would be underwater right now" thing before in this thread and unless some better evidence turns up, he didn't say it.


    DM Under The Bridge wrote:
    Take the claims that "An estimated 2 to 5% of the population is transgender" (source: http://www.transgenderlaw.org/resources/transfactsheet.pdf). This has not happened before. This wasn't the case in your grandfather's time and it wasn't the case before that. Their rise in numbers is new and very much a late modernity phenomenon, unless you can prove at least 2% of a previous culture's pop was transgender previously and in the relevant contexts (third gender islanders doesn't matter if a game isn't set on those islands. Would you not agree?).

    That claim is far higher than anything I've seen elsewhere and doesn't seem to be sourced to anything. Numbers I've seen are much lower, topping out at 0.5% or so. The larger number might be referring to anyone with any degree of gender dysphoria - gender fluid or genderqueer rather than transgender perhaps. Of course, those would be harder to see in the historical record.


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    DM Under The Bridge wrote:

    A long post, I hope those that read get something from it. I thank you for reading as it took 9 minutes to write.

    As the dm they can run a game vastly different to our own current existence, where our social politics and attitudes we might have do not hold sway. I think it is one of the great potentials of roleplaying that we are not just stuck playing ourselves right now in this time or limited in playing people of late modern attitudes. Instead we can control characters in very different contexts to what we are used to. Of course we don't have to fight off goblin invasions (although that might be similar to the life of a pest control officer) but it goes far deeper than that into very different times or completely non-Earth settings.

    I support Jaelithe and his position that in running games located in a historical setting the beliefs will be of that time and place, and not of 2015 wherever and however we find ourselves now, and will not include certain groups that are active today.

    Some will not like this, the attempt to be and play quite authentically (or even just partially authentically) in settings that are not familiar and everyday in attitudes and social politics. I am glad there are games that offer something different to our norm, and that is also what I try to bring in my many games. If there are problems with acceptance then words such as "this isn't the world we are used to" can help players to understand they aren't confined to the familiar but they also aren't located in the familiar (one of my players was struggling to play a medieval Japanese fisherman turned bandit robbing people along the silk road, but they learned how to make it work and developed a character straight out of the old story Water Margin).

    One of the problems I find with transgender npcs being put into many games is if the setting is pre-modern and in that it is pre-anomie and pre the questioning of gender norms, roles and identity their inclusion, even as minorities, makes very little sense. If you are running a...

    Transgender goes back long before modern times. Some cultures had specific roles for those not fitting as male or female. Even in western history there are cases that may fit. If, as modern science suggests, gender dysphoria is a medical condition with disconnect between physical sex and mental gender, that's not caused by "modern questioning of gender norms or roles", it's far more fundamental than that. That questioning may make it more acceptable to be open about it and to try to transition rather than hide & suffer. It may even make it more likely to realize why you're miserable.

    OTOH, as I said, some cultures recognize other genders already and it would be easier - even without modern medical treatment.


    Kalindlara wrote:
    Jaelithe wrote:


    Paizo's policy of inclusiveness is in its way both laudable and a prudent manifestation of political correctness and business savvy, considering its primary marketing demographic. I tend to doubt that we'd see as much of this were it conclusively proven to hurt sales. It's a business, after all.
    As for their policy, you can assume a purely fiscal motivation if you'd like. The passion with which many of the staff argue for inclusion suggests a deeper commitment to me, but since neither of us work there, it's hard for either of us to speak definitively.

    Well, I doubt it's a purely fiscal motivation. OTOH, if it was shown to seriously hurt sales, I doubt they'd be pushing it as far as they have.

    Early steps were fairly tentative and as they've met a positive response they've expanded.

    I don't blame them for that at all. It's a business and it does no one any good to outrun their customers.


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    Jaelithe wrote:
    Kalindlara wrote:
    Kobold Cleaver wrote:
    Obviously, there's an agenda: Paizo wants to write a setting where all minorities are represented, and has built their setting's traditions around this, and is willing to put aside some realism to make it work. I'm not sure why "agenda" would be a positive or negative quality. It's just what Paizo's chosen to do.

    The word "agenda" often seems to imply that it's a deviation from something; e.g., there wouldn't be all these POC/LGBT/etc. in my fantasy world if not for their agenda.

    What's often forgotten is that excluding these things involves an agenda as well.

    No, it doesn't in the least. Not including something does not imply exclusion, but could have to do with it not occurring to you, it not being appropriate in context, or other reasons that haven't occurred to us. It does not have to mean, "Mua ha ha, let's keep those people out." Posts in this thread are all the evidence one needs of that.

    Paizo's policy of inclusiveness is in its way both laudable and a prudent manifestation of political correctness and business savvy, considering its primary marketing demographic. I tend to doubt that we'd see as much of this were it conclusively proven to hurt sales. It's a business, after all.

    "Agenda" is a loaded term. It's probably best to leave it out.

    It is quite possible that someone is not including LGBT people because it hasn't occurred to them. That goes away once they start talking about it. As for them not being appropriate in context - there have been LGBT people throughout human history. However quasi-historical your setting it, it makes sense to have them in it. It might also make sense to have them be closeted and persecuted, but that's your call.
    It gets more complicated when you have divine powers bestowing power upon the worthy - then you have to decide whether the attitudes of the day qualify as worthy in the eyes of that divine power. And not just LGBT people or those who persecute them, but also those who support slavery or torture or the inquisition or serfdom or sexism or racism or all the other horrors of the past that religious authorities of the day often stood behind.


    Tormsskull wrote:
    Jaelithe wrote:
    OK, then ... let me make it clear: I would not have God, in the context of the game, deny a homosexual access to divine power simply because he or she is homosexual. I would not have God deny a transgender person access to divine power simply because that person is transgender. Such makes no sense to me.

    I think I see both sides of the argument, and as long as you know the answer to these questions that certain aspects of your fantasy world ask, then you're okay.

    If a character is gay, and also a cleric, and wielding the power of their god, then it would probably be pretty difficult for other people to shun the gay cleric. What would be their argument? In the real world, its something like "God does not condone this." But in the fantasy world, clearly the god that grants the gay cleric their power does condone it.

    If that's the fact in your fantasy world, then explaining why there is an anti-gay mindset is more difficult.

    If I'm trying to make a pseudo-historical campaign, I always take away the god grants clerics their spells angle, because it causes too many problems. I treat divine magic in that kind of a case as just another power that anyone can master. Of course their are still churches that explain it as power granted from god, but it actually isn't.

    That's pretty much what I was trying to get at.

    And it goes beyond LGBT issues and into other issues - both things historically condoned by religion that we don't think of as acceptable and vice versa.


    zainale wrote:
    my take is that your a wizard that knows only one spell if you take spell knowledge so you have it written in your book you got to memorize it it take a slot of one of your extracts one lvl higher then its lvl and you need to have what ever it is it needs to be cast. so make sure it is something you can live with for the rest of your game. and there is a trait or feat out there that does allow a wizard to read and learn from the alchemist's formula book. came across it in noted it but did not bother to memorize what it was >.<

    It doesn't really matter. The individual spell may be useful, but the real point of the discovery is that it opens up crafting feats.


    Jaelithe wrote:
    thejeff wrote:

    Do you allow characters to do things like flirt with the waitress or the princess they just rescued?

    Obviously it's fine and very common to keep anything explicit out of the game or at least at "fade to black" levels, but that doesn't preclude some level of romance.

    I assume you're asking whether homosexual and transgender characters are allowed to flirt.

    The answer is, why not? Flirting is a far cry from graphic narrative description of sexuality, with which I'm not comfortable in any form at a table including people with whom I've not been sexually intimate.

    I have run games for a solo participant—a significant other—in which those assumptions of restraint were off the table. That's a very different thing for me. I can honestly say that, in the context, it was incredibly arousing for both of us.

    And if that's too much information, I apologize.

    That was specifically in response to Painful Bugger (What a horribly inappropriate - or perhaps horribly appropriate - alias for this thread). The usual question of whether any sexuality or romance is allowed or whether it's assumed any reference to homosexuality will be "explicit". So specifically, whether heterosexuals are allowed to do so, to make the point that you can have LGBTQ people doing the same without it being explicit.


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    Jaelithe wrote:
    Kalindlara wrote:
    I think calling thejeff immature is a bit much. You can disagree without name-calling.
    Never called him immature. Never implied it. Simply said that the players I've encountered have accepted the setting for what it is, without trying to push their own agenda onto it.

    It's not an agenda. And it's more than LGBTQ issues, as I suggested.

    I'm perfectly willing to accept the mores of the time as the mores of the time. I'm less willing to do so once you start tying them to high fantasy divine power. Without that connection, it doesn't bother me at all. With it, it's hard for me to see why these things become the mores, unless God does approve. Which I'd be uncomfortable with.


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    Painful Bugger wrote:
    It's as much a non-issue in my games as race, fictional prejudices aside, and its never brought up. I'm of the firm belief that any explicitly sexual topics should be avoided or lightly touched upon as it makes things at the table awkward depending on how specific people will react to it. Not everyone you'll game with can handle this with grace and maturity. If a player, me as the DM, told me that their character is gay or trans the most they will get out of me is "okay that's fine, what's your alignment. The monster is casting something." I had enough headaches with how people behaved in my games before in inappropriate manners that I just sandbag that line of thinking.

    Do you allow characters to do things like flirt with the waitress or the princess they just rescued?

    Obviously it's fine and very common to keep anything explicit out of the game or at least at "fade to black" levels, but that doesn't preclude some level of romance.


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    Jaelithe wrote:
    thejeff wrote:

    OTOH, if the one doing so is a great hero, obviously favored by Allah, just having saved the realm from the forces of evil, it might not end so badly. Not a good way to start your career though. :)

    One of the drawbacks to running a quasi-historical game, at least using something like the PF system, is that you have to decide what God thinks of such things in your world. If the religion considers homosexuality sinful, as it tended to do historically to one degree or another, are they right? Is that reflected in a cleric getting or keeping his powers?

    Crying anything but the call to prayer in that situation is not likely to end well. During the time I was stationed in Turkey, a US Air Force NCO in a drunken stupor did just that, breaking into a mosque, ascending to the summit of the minaret, and doing his worst imitation of a muezzin, bad mouthing both Islam and the Ataturk, Mustafa Kemal—founder of modern Turkey and something of a Moses-George Washington amalgam to Turks—at the top of his lungs. After begging him to come down, an oskir shot him dead and he toppled to the ground. When the US commander demanded of his counterpart an explanation of what he planned to do about the soldier's actions, the Turkish general replied, "I'm going to give him a medal for showing restraint and asking the man to come down three times before shooting him, when he would have been justified in killing him immediately. He profaned Islam and the Ataturk."

    Actually, I really don't have to decide for Christians in this era. As clerical celibacy for singles had long been the required (though often not the practiced) norm (since at least the late fourth century and likely earlier), it wouldn't matter if one were hetero-, homo-, bi- or transsexual: You're not having sex of any kind without it being a sin unless you're married ... and since this is a period in which marriage to someone of the same sex would likely not even be considered because of the social stigma and...

    Well, a foreign infidel doing so certainly wouldn't go over well. A local Muslim Hero of the Realm, possibly an Imam himself, having just publicly saved the city from a djinn with the aid of miracles, announcing his homosexuality in a less blasphemous fashion, might actually provoke a change in the faith rather than just be shot out of hand.

    As for the Christians, that gets to my larger point: If you're using something like PF, where clerics and other divine casters get and lose their powers from God directly, then you have to actually decide for your setting what God thinks of it. And that's going to affect the social stigma. If the Church doesn't censure it because God doesn't censure it, then it wouldn't be a problem. If the Church censures it, but in error because God doesn't, then it's a valid thing to play out - reforming the faith. If the Church and God both censure it, then that's another thing entirely.

    All of this ties directly to why I'd be uncomfortable with even a quasi-historical game with nearly as much access to divine power/contact as PF has. It's too easy to poke directly into big questions and demand answers. Not just this, but plenty of things that religions has approved of that are pretty sketchy by modern standards - The Inquisition, the divine right of kings, slavery, etc, etc.
    A quasi-historical game without explicit divine magic/intervention doesn't raise the questions as directly. It's much more possible to see religions as misinterpreting or falling into corruption.


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    Jaelithe wrote:

    Thor's been my favorite super-hero since I was about eight or nine. (I still hear the guy who voiced him for the Incredible Hulk and the Marvel Men series, and consider that the truest voice of Thor.) Before that, I had the standard Superman obsession until about three, followed by Spider-Man until exposed to more of Marvel's stable, at which point and subsequently Thor had and will have my allegiance. (I've grown progressively more indignant at his dilution and figurative emasculation over the last decade-and-a-half or so.)

    My bias in his favor likely disqualifies me to rate the two films in which he's the primary protagonist.

    Then, again, even I didn't much like the second one.

    I actually quite liked both Thor movies, the second probably more than the first. Despite there definitely being things I didn't like about each.


    Jaelithe wrote:
    I run a quasi-historical campaign set in mid-to-late twelfth century Northern Europe and the Mediterranean basin. Homosexuality and transgenderism are a presence therein, even as they were in our own historical reality. (Rumor has it, for example, that Richard I ["Couer de Lion"] may well have been homosexual or bisexual, though one of the current prevailing theories—one I think most likely—is that he was, for all intents and purposes, aresexual ["in love with war" {to coin a neologism}], and not much if at all interested in women or men.) I'm not desirous, however, of watching players push their real world socio-political agenda by attempting to force my hand in running an openly gay or transgender character during this era. It's fairly obvious that in most cases such an attitude would rapidly become problematic. Anyone has the right to create a character and portray him, her or it however he or she wishes, within reason. I just don't think, to use an absurdly extreme example, climbing a minaret in Almohad North Africa and championing gay, bi or transgender rights at the top of one's lungs is likely to end well. On the other hand, quietly portraying a character who lives as he or she would wish in defiance of social and religious convention? That's stuff of which stories are made.

    OTOH, if the one doing so is a great hero, obviously favored by Allah, just having saved the realm from the forces of evil, it might not end so badly. Not a good way to start your career though. :)

    One of the drawbacks to running a quasi-historical game, at least using something like the PF system, is that you have to decide what God thinks of such things in your world. If the religion considers homosexuality sinful, as it tended to do historically to one degree or another, are they right? Is that reflected in a cleric getting or keeping his powers?


    Yoshu Uhsoy wrote:
    thejeff wrote:

    Though Ars Magica is designed for a game where everyone plays mages and any non-casters are just flunkies, IIRC. Not exactly what everyone wants.

    For the OP's idea: It seems very limited and boring to me. Spells just do nonlethal damage, no other effects? No utility. No healing. No summoning. Just zap nonlethal damage.
    With no spell levels, what's a "more powerful spell"? If you were going to go that route, I'd just tie it directly to caster level - higher level = more damage.

    No No No!

    That is not what I meant. When you cast a spell it does non lethal damage to you, But also does the spells effect to the person you are casting it on. This method limits your spells per day and goes up when you are higher level.

    Sorry if that was not clear.

    Ah. That makes more sense.

    You've got to watch out for healing spells in such systems. It can work though.


    Though Ars Magica is designed for a game where everyone plays mages and any non-casters are just flunkies, IIRC. Not exactly what everyone wants.

    For the OP's idea: It seems very limited and boring to me. Spells just do nonlethal damage, no other effects? No utility. No healing. No summoning. Just zap nonlethal damage.
    With no spell levels, what's a "more powerful spell"? If you were going to go that route, I'd just tie it directly to caster level - higher level = more damage.


    Paul Watson wrote:

    Ok, fine, I'll bite.

    How many papers in geography studies say that the Earth is round? Barely any. Clearly geographical studies is split over whether he Earth is flat because if it was important they'd be researching it, right? Or, possibly, most climatoligsts see the evidence is already so overwhelming that they've moved on and don't see the need to publish more on settled science (and 97+% of all relevant papers agreeing is about as settled as science gets on something being actively looked at). The science of "Is AGW real?" is pretty much done. Those researching it are trying to find out exactly what the mechanism is, not whether it exists.

    That's a lot of it. There are a whole host of things to research about climate change that don't directly relate to whether humans are causing it or not. You could be measuring ice extent or sea temperature at a certain depth or even patterns of atmospheric carbon concentration. All tied to climate change, but there would be no reason to discuss whether it was human caused or not in that paper.


    Aranna wrote:

    Thank you Orfamay Quest for your advice. I will indeed look at IPCC.

    Oh and thanks for explaining this misleading 97% really is. Really it is just 97% of the people who want to place blame or excuse blame... and so it really shouldn't be surprising that most of them are the ones who wish to place blame, it's just human nature. Odds are if you are a scientist and don't see any problems then you will be researching something else. The fact that only 32% (the real number) of climate studies claim human cause is the real issue isn't it... far far from the majority the left wants to claim. 67% don't place blame, isn't that the more interesting number? If the world is at stake you would expect far more than 32% of climate researchers to be sounding an alarm.

    I don't think it's "blame" that matters. It's that if it's human activity that's causing the problem, there's one set of approaches to take to deal with it, if it isn't human activity, then there's an entirely different set of solutions.


    Voss wrote:


    Blame the mechanics of feats for this. If you take weapon focus [blah] at any point, you are locked into whatever [blah] is, otherwise the previous feat was a complete waste of resources. And frankly the fantasy genre is more supportive of 'the hero wields Named Weapon' than 'the hero sorts through his golf bag of random stuff.'

    Though the fantasy genre isn't really all that supportive of "hero sells his Named Weapon to buy a better Named Weapon".

    It is fairly supportive of "Hero may usually use X weapon, but is pretty damn badass with whatever's at hand."


    I don't normally consider Niven "hard" SF, though he does often have around with interesting ramifications of common SF tech. As much as I love the Moties, the science isn't hard. And I really dislike the "feudal hereditary empire in space" thing that it's set in. OTOH, Moties are cool and the gradual revelation of their history and nature works very well.


    LazarX wrote:
    Lemoncherry Candyapple wrote:
    Is it great that Golarion is a happy place of total gender equality? Yes, I really do think it is... However, especially when dealing with players who expect it to not be and make a character that rises above the inequality... what should that GM have told her?

    Very simple. I would say something on this order. "While there probably are places in Golarion isolated enough to have a culture like that, The part of the setting that the game is taking place isn't anywhere near enough to such a place that such a character would have made it to here."

    That's much better than telling her she's "wrong", when in fact, she may not be.

    Figure out such a place and have her come from there. It's a perfectly good trope, if that's what the player wants. The iconic barbarian is an example.

    Then hopefully try to work a trip back home into the campaign to contrast her success and how the larger world works with the backwater she came from.


    Some love it. Some can never get through it.

    It's definitely uneven. Some parts are little more than summaries. Others are much closer to normal narrative.

    There is a lot of language and a number of scenes in it that I really love. "Even now a Silmaril is in my hand."


    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Kthulhu wrote:
    Samy wrote:
    Personally I don't think fiction should sanitize away all trigger issues. I think there should be tools in the toolbox provided also for those DMs and tables who want to deal with issue X or Y, just as long as the vast majority of the content presented is safe for all.

    Couldn't agree more. If Paizo is going to try to wipe away anything that someone might find offensive, they might as well shut down now. It doesn't matter how blandly inoffensive you try to make something...there WILL be SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE who takes offense to it.

    If you make it TOO blandly inoffensive, that someone will be me.

    There's a very long way between "these days I'm firmly of the opinion that unless a story *must* involve rape, it probably shouldn't" and "wipe away anything that someone might find offensive". I don't think you need to worry.


    James Sutter wrote:
    *Yes, The Loving Place is rape-y, and it's a choice that I'm deeply conflicted about now. At the time, it was inspired by the fact that a lot of Giger-esque body horror has that "unnatural birth" element, which is inherently nonconsensual. In the years since I wrote the book, though, I've come to understand just how harmful/triggering any rape/nonconsenual elements can be for readers, and these days I'm firmly of the opinion that unless a story *must* involve rape, it probably shouldn't. So again, apologies to anyone blindsided by it, and I hope that you can skip over that paragraph and appreciate the rest of the book.

    OTOH, if you're going to have a rape-y place, safely isolated on another planet where it can be easily ignored by anyone who doesn't want to deal with it is a good way to do it.

    And a lot of people seemed to like the horrible creepy nastiness of it.


    KenderKin wrote:

    It really doesn't seem like anyone who might call themselves any permutation of original gamer is really arrogant enough to make a big deal about it.

    The least that can be done is not to argue about what a person chooses to refer to themselves as.

    ***Is that the secret fistbump handshake with cookies inside it??***
    Cool but messy.....

    It's the Secret Handshake of the Mysterious Brotherhood of Trolls.

    Hard to keep secret, but plenty mysterious.


    R_Chance wrote:
    knightnday wrote:


    Did I miss some postings or has anyone outside of DrDeth said anything about being an "OG"? I mean, I've seen people saying I've played since X years or Y box, but no one saying that they mowed Gygax's yard and was rewarded by him GMing a game for them, or having claimed to have written something for Chainmail.
    I assumed "original gamer" was just another term for old timer myself. I started in 1974 but I wouldn't consider myself an "OG" in the sense of being in some kind of inner circle or being published, just an "old geezer" (I'm 56). OG in that sense would be a literal handful of people. We played Chainmail (both straight medieval and fantasy) and transitioned into D&D. No contact with GG and company other than buying the game from the FLGS...

    Given the OP for this thread mentioned AD&D, I think a looser definition was intended at first.


    4 people marked this as a favorite.
    Mr. Bubbles wrote:

    Woah wait hold up, so not only are you guys saying gender roles or gender identity do not exist in Golarion, but it's impossible for a "transphobic character" to be a "hero" or anything more than some mud-farming a&%%~&@?

    Doesn't that seem... You know... Kind of boring? History is rich with examples of a*#!@+@s-turned-heroes, or people becoming paragons of a gender-specific ideal or hell, people breaking out of their gender roles to become something great.

    When you say bigots = bad, gender roles do not exist and men = women in everything forever and ever, you're eliminating a hell of a lot of depth you can explore with not just a character concept, but with your own setting.

    At least the good thing is you guys can't force DMs to portray the setting - even if it's "your" setting - to exclude these things from their game, which seems like the ideal stance to take on this issue; worked for Jade Regent when you guys said "All NPCs are assumed bisexual until stated otherwise", should work here.

    Still, it would help to know *where* gender roles exist in Golarion, how they exist, and what kind of races or nations feel about people who don't fit into the gender binary.

    No. I don't think anyone's saying that at all.

    Though I would say that bigots are bad. Isn't that almost a tautology? Though obviously bigots can have other good qualities, but their bigotry is bad.

    Beyond that, most of the rest is left as "bigotry is rare, women can do anything" more so that players can play characters of different races, genders and orientations without having to deal with prejudice, because it's a game and it's often not fun to do. It's left possible, but somewhat vague, to have such prejudices in various places so that players can play with facing and overcoming prejudice themes if they want to, but they're not forced to by default.

    Specifying "*where* gender roles exist in Golarion, how they exist, and what kind of races or nations feel about people who don't fit into the gender binary" would mean if you wanted to play a female barbarian from the Mammoth Lords, for example, you'd have to play breaking out of your gender role whether you wanted to or not.


    Kirth Gersen wrote:
    thejeff wrote:
    PF doesn't support everything, but it does cover a lot and thus can't drive any one style as forcefully as you say the Bond game did.
    GURPS covers a lot more than Pathfinder does, if that's your thing -- but in many cases, it does so poorly, and I don't think it has anywhere near the fanbase that Pathfinder does. Chess does one thing and one thing only, but it does that well enough that the fanbase is worldwide, and the nation of Iceland was willing to offer Bobby Fischer citizenship on the strength of his playing.

    Yes and no. GURPS handles multiple genres, which is different.

    PF handles fewer genres, but still a fairly wide range of play. I'm not at all sure booting out everything but AP-style play would improve its position, even if it made APs play better. Hyperfocus can be interesting, but has more limited appeal. It's not like the Bond game you mentioned took the rpg world by storm. It was successful, but didn't dislodge D&D.


    kyrt-ryder wrote:
    thejeff wrote:
    Kirth Gersen wrote:

    Ideally, the imagination stuff and the rules are mutually reinforcing -- that is, playing by the rules as written leads to exactly the kind of imaginary stories you're trying to create. The old Victory Games 007 rules were the best at that I've ever seen -- a lot of the rules, upon reading them, were apparently nonsensical or even asinine, but if you followed them, game play almost inexorably had the "feel" of a James Bond movie.

    Pathfinder is sort of the opposite -- the rules don't actually support the kinds of stories that the APs are trying to tell. As a result, it's a lot of extra work to get them to mesh, and in some cases that's detrimental to the immersion (the level of railroading that's needed in some of the APs goes beyond anything that a lot of people are comfortable with, for example).

    Of course the flip side of that is that you can tell many different kinds of stories with those rules. Most styles require some work and GM intervention, but you can do railroaded APs, you can do wide open sandboxes, you can do deadly dungeon grinds and court intrigue with only occasional violence.

    PF doesn't support everything, but it does cover a lot and thus can't drive any one style as forcefully as you say the Bond game did.

    The problem is that all of those styles you mention require explicit buy-in from the players during character creation. Many characters either don't function or completely shatter the game. Fighters flailing around with Wizards charming/dominating/divining in a Court Intrigue Game for example.

    That's true. It's a good idea to have buy in for whatever style of game is going to be run. Helps ensure the players actually want to play it.

    Sandbox with players who don't self-motivate doesn't go well regardless of what classes they play.


    Kirth Gersen wrote:

    Ideally, the imagination stuff and the rules are mutually reinforcing -- that is, playing by the rules as written leads to exactly the kind of imaginary stories you're trying to create. The old Victory Games 007 rules were the best at that I've ever seen -- a lot of the rules, upon reading them, were apparently nonsensical or even asinine, but if you followed them, game play almost inexorably had the "feel" of a James Bond movie.

    Pathfinder is sort of the opposite -- the rules don't actually support the kinds of stories that the APs are trying to tell. As a result, it's a lot of extra work to get them to mesh, and in some cases that's detrimental to the immersion (the level of railroading that's needed in some of the APs goes beyond anything that a lot of people are comfortable with, for example).

    Of course the flip side of that is that you can tell many different kinds of stories with those rules. Most styles require some work and GM intervention, but you can do railroaded APs, you can do wide open sandboxes, you can do deadly dungeon grinds and court intrigue with only occasional violence.

    PF doesn't support everything, but it does cover a lot and thus can't drive any one style as forcefully as you say the Bond game did.


    BigNorseWolf wrote:
    TheJeff wrote:
    In this context: Gender is the sex in your head. When it doesn't match the sex in your body, there is internal conflict - the body doesn't match who you are. Gender Dysphoria.
    And in our world that unfortunately results in far external conflict. On golarion with little if not no gender roles and orientation isn't that big of a deal that conflict would be almost entirely internal and thus VERY hard to bring out.

    You can still have people who won't accept that who they think of as their daughter or sister is really their son or brother. Even without conflict you can still have an old acquaintance who doesn't know about the transition. You can still have someone still trying to transition or affected by what had to be done to get there.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    BigNorseWolf wrote:
    thejeff wrote:
    I don't even begin to know how to respond. There's a fundamental gap here I'm not seeing.

    Its the space between my ears.

    Offers otoscope

    Quote:
    Whether there are gender roles or not, a women crossing one of those gender boundaries doesn't become a man. A female soldier doesn't become male when she joins the army. Nor does who she wants to sleep with change that.

    Thats correct. But combine ALL of the following

    Gender is different than sex
    There is no gendered behavior
    There are no gender roles

    Then what is gender? It seems to have been left as almost a null set.

    In this context: Gender is the sex in your head. When it doesn't match the sex in your body, there is internal conflict - the body doesn't match who you are. Gender Dysphoria.

    Changing the body, with hormones and possibly surgery alleviates that. Theoretically a magical transformation could remove it completely.

    But it's an internal thing, not directly fitting a societal role or expected behavior, though it can tie into those.

    Disclaimer: That's my understanding from outside, much of it gleaned from discussion here. If it's wrong or phrased badly, assume ignorance, not malice.


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    Kirth Gersen wrote:
    Tormsskull wrote:
    The best solution is to put out a best effort at balance, and then leave it in the hands of each GM and each group to make the rules fit their group. And that is what Paizo did.

    I would counter-argue that the Paizo staff are so used to the gentleman's agreements and unspoken nerfings and so on that they aren't even consciously aware of them anymore. Most of those guys started playing when I did, and from what they've reported they play the way we used to, so I can totally sympathize. But the downside is that, since the unspoken fixes are second nature, they're never pointed out in the rulebooks. Down the line, people are not able to see where those practices are, in fact, being used to sidestep massive imbalances that are written directly into the rules.

    I think they therefore make no effort to balance anything at all, not even a token one, and that "The DM will fix it" is more a guiding principle than a last-ditch resort.

    I think that a fair amount of the fanbase has been brainwashed into thinking that "The DM fixes everything" is the most divine, noble principle ever enshrined -- to the point where they actively want the rules to be as imbalanced as possible, to give them more opportunity to enact that principle. I also think that a fair proportion of those aren't honest enough to admit it -- maybe not even to themselves -- and therefore claim that there is no imbalance to begin with.

    OTOH, it's unclear to me how much these problems come up in novice games. They seem to me more linked to a certain kind of optimization/build focused game. Really it's only when the guy playing the caster starts figuring out all the God Wizard tricks that you really run into problems.

    If you and your buddies pick up the game for the first time and start playing characters like your favorite fantasy characters, you're generally not going to see the real problems. At least until high level. Which your early campaigns aren't going to reach most likely.

    It's the combination of experienced players who don't get the gentlemen's agreements that breaks things.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    BigNorseWolf wrote:
    thejeff wrote:
    One obvious approach would be to have something from the transman's past come back to haunt him. Family or other people who knew him as a woman and don't accept that he isn't.
    Ok, but if there are no gender roles, there is no gender behavior, and gender identity is completely separate from orientation, what would being known "as a man" or for that matter, "as a woman" even mean?

    I don't even begin to know how to respond. There's a fundamental gap here I'm not seeing.

    Whether there are gender roles or not, a women crossing one of those gender boundaries doesn't become a man. A female soldier doesn't become male when she joins the army. Nor does who she wants to sleep with change that.

    Do you identify people as male or female only based on their jobs?

    I get that there can be difficulty getting that across in a text story or more so a module, without being heavy handed, but are you really arguing that being known "as a man" to your family for example wouldn't mean anything in the absence of strict gender roles?


    I've got vague memories of some people saying they'd played with Gary, but it was usually "once at a Con" or something and in the context of what old school gaming was really like.


    BigNorseWolf wrote:
    thejeff wrote:
    ]More importantly, how does being trans have anything to do with working in a "stereotypically male dominated profession"? Gender roles aren't gender identification. A woman isn't a transman if she wants to take a stereotypically male job. A transman isn't less of a transman if he wants a stereotypically female job.
    What I was wondering is how one, as a writer, would show the gender identification or how it would play out story wise. I'm not implying that anyone isi less of anything, just that it seems really hard to show.

    One obvious approach would be to have something from the transman's past come back to haunt him. Family or other people who knew him as a woman and don't accept that he isn't.

    Or of course someone still trying to transition.


    Bandw2 wrote:
    thejeff wrote:

    I'm really amused by the way this discussion has gone over the last few pages:

    "Martials can't really keep up with casters, especially with all the utility stuff casters can dop."
    "They can do all that stuff with magic items."
    "But WBL means casters get just as much gear, so they stay ahead."
    "Well, you could divide up the loot differently."
    "Nobody would accept dividing the loot unfairly."
    "My group does."
    "So, in such a group, you could use gear drops to help balance."
    "This requires a lot of trust and game knowledge, which isn't usually found in new players, making the system harder on new players while not harder on vets, this is a flaw in the system"
    "Molly-coddling to reward characters for sucking!"

    you ignored me and Chengar Qordath.

    That's fair. Though I think we agree it's a flaw in the system. Dividing loot differently can be used to mitigate that flaw.

    So can house rules, but those also require trust and system knowledge.


    I'm really amused by the way this discussion has gone over the last few pages:

    "Martials can't really keep up with casters, especially with all the utility stuff casters can dop."
    "They can do all that stuff with magic items."
    "But WBL means casters get just as much gear, so they stay ahead."
    "Well, you could divide up the loot differently."
    "Nobody would accept dividing the loot unfairly."
    "My group does."
    "So, in such a group, you could use gear drops to help balance."
    "Molly-coddling to reward characters for sucking!"

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