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Homosexuality in Golarion


Pathfinder Campaign Setting General Discussion

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First I want to say that I honestly appreciate the inclusion of homosexual characters in Pathfinder, Queen Ileosa and Sabina for example, as most RPGs seem to ignore this group completely. However it seems to me that Paizo has fallen into the trap of only making female gay characters. What I would like to see are some gay male characters and transsexuals in Golarion, the women have had their fun, let the boys and anyone in between in on it as well!

Also, I would like to see some information on how these groups are generally treated in the various societies on Golarion (most of what I've seen up til now seems to be quite progressive, but I doubt that is true for the entire world).

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

It's not really a trap, it's just playing off the whole fantasy thing. No, I don't mean traditional sword & sorcery fantasy, I mean male heterosexual fantasies.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Well, if you check out the write-up of NPCs in Sandpoint from Rise of the Runelords...

Spoiler:
The local paladin of Abadar and the man running the playhouse are a couple; the "open secret" among most of the other residents.

Personally, I'm fine with it and all, but I just wonder whether it's gratuitous or not. Will the Queen's relationship to her bodyguard be all that explicitly important in the coming adventures?

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
James Keegan wrote:
Personally, I'm fine with it and all, but I just wonder whether it's gratuitous or not. Will the Queen's relationship to her bodyguard be all that explicitly important in the coming adventures?

Possibly...

Spoiler:

James as eluded to her being stuck in a Grey Maiden's helmet and being disfigured. Something must have happened.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Sceptenar wrote:
First I want to say that I honestly appreciate the inclusion of homosexual characters in Pathfinder, Queen Ileosa and Sabina for example, as most RPGs seem to ignore this group completely. However it seems to me that Paizo has fallen into the trap of only making female gay characters.

Ah, but have you read Burnt Offerings? (They are relatively minor NPCs however...)

I guess you could say CotCT does play a bit into the Psycho Lesbian trope though. Not that there's anything wrong with it turning up, it's just that you don't want it to be the sole(or primary) representation of a group.

But considering how often Paizo has broken with the norm with their NPCs and iconics already, I have faith this won't be the case.

Oh, and along the lines of the OP's last question: In Sandpoint there's a family known for sticking to old Chelish values and are known to frown upon the local gay couple that everyone else seems not to mind. Are these highly conservative Chelish views a product of Cheliax pre-diabolism, post-diabolism, or both?


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Sceptenar wrote:

However it seems to me that Paizo has fallen into the trap of only making female gay characters. What I would like to see are some gay male characters and transsexuals in Golarion, the women have had their fun, let the boys and anyone in between in on it as well!

Also, I would like to see some information on how these groups are generally treated in the various societies on Golarion (most of what I've seen up til now seems to be quite progressive, but I doubt that is true for the entire world).

Sandpoint has two male gay characters. The owner of Sandpoint Theatre Cyrdak Drokkus (CN male human bard 6) and Sir Jaspes Korvaski (LG male human paladin 3/expert 1). I'll quote from page 66 of PF AP #1: "Although Cyrdak enjoys flirting with all of Sandpoint's young women his romantic relationship with Jasper (area 40) is one of the town's worst kept secrets."

Judging from the fact that Sir Jasper is still considered a paladin of good standing and is holding a day job as the manager of a prestigious business (The Sandpoint Merchantile League) I'd say that Sandpoint natives have little or no scruples whatsoever regarding homosexuality.

What I'd like to see is a major cross-dressing villain in the vein of Frank-N-Furter from the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Yeah; check out Sandpoint for the first same-sex couple we've had in Golarion. There's been a few more here and there; Sabina & Ileosa are merely one of the more recent ones.

As for whether homosexuality is gratuitous or not... I say no more so than bothering to describe a character's hair color or a building's history or a deity's favorite animals. It's all part of the world's flavor, and as such none of it is "gratuitous" in my opinion. Sabina being a lesbian and Ileosa being bisexual are part of their characters. Those elements may or may not play into the actual adventures at a later point (they certainly had a role in the love triangle between Vencarlo, Grau, and Sabina several years before the campaign's events take place, for example), but they're mostly in there to give GMs more information and flavor to build his or her campaign off of.

EDIT: Woah... I got scooped a few times between starting and finishing this post!

I'll further go on record to say that at LEAST one of our iconics is homosexual. Not that we've explicitly revealed who it is yet, since that doesn't really matter at all for the purposes of Pre-Gen PCs.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
SirUrza wrote:
James Keegan wrote:
Personally, I'm fine with it and all, but I just wonder whether it's gratuitous or not. Will the Queen's relationship to her bodyguard be all that explicitly important in the coming adventures?

Possibly...

** spoiler omitted **

I guess it could be useful in the sense of making the bodyguard character seem more tragic and the queen more evil and despicable. But until that scene comes (and even then, only if the characters are somehow in the know about the personal lives of the royals) it may seem like a tacked on,"...and did we mention they were hot lesbians?"

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Navdi wrote:


What I'd like to see is a major cross-dressing villain in the vein of Frank-N-Furter from the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

I'm actually working up an Eddie Izzard-ish NPC contact for my PCs.

James Jacobs wrote:


I'll further go on record to say that at LEAST one of our iconics is homosexual. Not that we've explicitly revealed who it is yet, since that doesn't really matter at all for the purposes of Pre-Gen PCs.

Harsk : So Lem, you've been working out?

Lem : What? No. What?

Harsk : cough Nothing...

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Furthermore... we've included several NPCs in Pathfinder who are intended to be candidates for PC/NPC romances. In these cases, I've been trying to make sure that when talking about that type of thing to keep sexual orientation out of the picture. Shalelu and Grau and Trinia and Foxglove can swing any way the GM needs to make his/her plots work!

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
I'll further go on record to say that at LEAST one of our iconics is homosexual. Not that we've explicitly revealed who it is yet, since that doesn't really matter at all for the purposes of Pre-Gen PCs.

I'm going with Kyra or Merisiel. It's been hinted at one of Seoni's companions likes her (I think it was you) and she's too wrapped up in her own things to notice. It hasn't been stated who, most assume it's Valeros because of his comment in her background because it makes for an amusing scenario.


Yuck

Qadira RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

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XxAnthraxusxX wrote:
Yuck

... says the guy who comes dressed to the party as a 'fungus skeleton'.


Maybe i am just homophobic. Not trying to offend anyone , that is just how i feel.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

SirUrza wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
I'll further go on record to say that at LEAST one of our iconics is homosexual. Not that we've explicitly revealed who it is yet, since that doesn't really matter at all for the purposes of Pre-Gen PCs.
I'm going with Kyra or Merisiel. It's been hinted at one of Seoni's companions likes her (I think it was you) and she's too wrapped up in her own things to notice. It hasn't been stated who, most assume it's Valeros because of his comment in her background because it makes for an amusing scenario.

Seoni's pretty popular. More than one iconic has a crush on her, I suspect.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

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XxAnthraxusxX wrote:

Is it really necesary to have everything on earth f!! friendly? Sexual orientation is something that has no business being incorporated into an rpg.... if you feel the need for such perversion you could add it yourself.

I don't hold anything personally against the gay community like some people do, but i for one am sick of it being shoved into the face of the world through the popular media.Nobody really cares to see that, and a certain level of decency that once seemed to exist is rapidly fading away.Keep it to yourselves.

Just for clarification, do you object to the sexual relationships of straight characters being mentioned or just the gay ones? Should other characters relationships not be included -- for example, I think one of the Hook Mountain Massacre rangers had a thing for Shalelu's mom, is that right? Was that relationship offensive to you?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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XxAnthraxusxX wrote:

Is it really necesary to have everything on earth f%# friendly? Sexual orientation is something that has no business being incorporated into an rpg.... if you feel the need for such perversion you could add it yourself.

I don't hold anything personally against the gay community like some people do, but i for one am sick of it being shoved into the face of the world through the popular media.Nobody really cares to see that, and a certain level of decency that once seemed to exist is rapidly fading away.Keep it to yourselves.

Without getting too riled up by your post...

Yes. It is necessary. Just as it's necessary to move beyond having every PC and NPC in the game be white. And why it's important to show women in positions of power (be they bad like Queen Ileosa or good like Mayor Kendra or whatever.) It's called diversity, and it's a Good Thing. If diversity isn't something that you're interested in, Paizo products might not be for you.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Also... I'm keeping a close eye on this thread. If it turns into a flame war or hatemongering... I'll start using my moderator powers on it.

Keep it friendly, folks!


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XxAnthraxusxX wrote:
Is it really necesary to have everything on earth f@# friendly? Sexual orientation is something that has no business being incorporated into an rpg....

Removing sexual orientation from rpgs means no heterosexuals, either, genius.

XxAnthraxusxX wrote:
...if you feel the need for such perversion you could add it yourself.

No need to be hostile.

XxAnthraxusxX wrote:
I don't hold anything personally against the gay community like some people do, but i for one am sick of it being shoved into the face of the world through the popular media.

Oh, I assure you that you DO hold something against the gay community.

XxAnthraxusxX wrote:
Nobody really cares to see that,

Apparently, from the OP some people do like to see the full slice of life.

XxAnthraxusxX wrote:
...and a certain level of decency that once seemed to exist is rapidly fading away.

I agree, but I think it's your post that has brought the level of decency down in here.

XxAnthraxusxX wrote:
Keep it to yourselves.

Take your own advice.


I hope the above was not overly hostile, James. I don't want to see a flame war either, so I am going to dismiss myself from this as of now.

I don't understand why someone who is offended by this topic feels the need to come in to the thread and have a look. I just don't get it.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

James Jacobs wrote:

Also... I'm keeping a close eye on this thread. If it turns into a flame war or hatemongering... I'll start using my moderator powers on it.

Keep it friendly, folks!

Yes, let's let this be a thread in which people can disagree respectfully.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
SirUrza wrote:


I'm going with Kyra or Merisiel.

I'm pulling for both!

Along the lines of asking what different countries and cultures attitudes towards homosexuality, what about the various deities and their churches?

I admit that could quickly become a complicated issue with no easy answers for each god. In my homebrew setting there was some heated disagreement between some sects of the churches dedicated to the three most popular gods of Good(one for each ethos, two female, one male). The central NG goddess was popularly considered as taking the male LG god as her consort by some, while others considered her as taking both him and the CG goddess as consorts. Most considered her as taking neither of course.

More "conservative" sects balked at the latter, many other sects had no problem with that interpretation. It lead to heated arguments among their clergy, but it never broke out into violence or resulted in persecution what with intervening gods of good and all. They never clarify the truth of the matter to their followers though, but that's the entire point: It shouldn't matter.


Is sex really something that goes down in alot of campaigns?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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XxAnthraxusxX wrote:

Let me be clear. I view homosexuality as abberant abnormal outright disgusting human behaviour. Including it in a game is somewhat questionable. For instance, i would not want my children exposed to such hideous material.

You might have a different point of view and i respect that. I am not qestioning any one individuals right to do as they please behind closed doors. But i don't see any need for alternative lifestyles being incorporated into a game.

Fair enough. And I hope you respect the fact that I view your views on this subject as outright disgusting as well. If it's that big of a deal to you, you should vote with your wallet.

AND: This thread is dangerously close to getting off-topic.


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XxAnthraxusxX wrote:
Is sex really something that goes down in alot of campaigns?

Oh, dear. In PBP games on this very filthy, horrid, messageboard there have been acts of such indecency and sin that you would probably want to carve your eyes out.

Osirion

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XxAnthraxusxX wrote:
Is sex really something that goes down in alot of campaigns?

Well folks do have kids get married and court each other..Do you want a living world or not? And you post does come off as kinda homophobic and just rubs m the wrong way . Take em out if ya hate em in there that much.


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XxAnthraxusxX wrote:
Maybe i am just homophobic. Not trying to offend anyone , that is just how i feel.

Funny, you told people to be open minded about psionics, yet you can't take your own advice when it comes to flavor that is barely a sentence in a characters description?


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XxAnthraxusxX wrote:
Is it really necesary to have everything on earth f*% friendly? Sexual orientation is something that has no business being incorporated into an rpg....

It's about as relevant as anything else. Romance, unrequited love, scandal (especially among nobility), and so on are pretty prevalent in RPGs. I mean dude, the Drow are into BDSM for gods' sake. Let us not forget Amazons and the Spartans for that matter, either.

Furthermore, homosexuality has always existed. So it seems pretty reasonable to at least address the issue.

XxAnthraxusxX wrote:

if you feel the need for such perversion you could add it yourself.

I don't hold anything personally against the gay community like some people do.

For someone saying they hold nothing against it personally, calling it a "Perversion" likely isn't the best method.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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XxAnthraxusxX, no offense to you, but I'm gonna be suppressing your offensive posts to this thread. You're not playing nice. Please don't post further offensive posts to this thread.


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No i don't want a living world if it means i have to retire from adventuring and raise children. I am playing the live action version of that game already. As rewarding as it may be.


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So, getting past the topic of "Implication of gay sex in game bad, excessive violence and demon worship = okay"...

Here's a question from the OP that wasn't addressed: How is sexuality viewed in Golarion?

Cheliax apparently holds a conservative view. Sandpoint may be aberrant in that it's a small town, and two well respected members of the community are; everyone is okay with that because they Could "just know these two men as being very nice".

So, what are the views elsewhere? Is there any odd cultural habits beyond the typical "approve/disapprove"? For instance, we all know the Greek/Spartan opinion towards homosexuality. Is there any culture in Golarion that might be similar, or have any other odd taboos?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I can see either side of the debate, honestly. For instance, I've tried running Porphyry House Horror (the book of Vile Darkness special adventure with much more "adult" themes than homosexuality) for my group and I've never seen a more uncomfortable bunch of players. My comfort level is different from my group's, so I've started to take a more serious look at how much needs to be put on stage.

I am (personally) fine with gay or lesbian characters in media (including D&D) but I do, on the other hand, wonder how much really needs to be spelled out. There is no "average" D&D group, but I'm curious how many groups are comfortable enough in a role playing environment to engage in PC/NPC or PC/PC romances beyond,"Okay, on your time off you go on some more dates with NPCnamehere, and you're all hunky dory. Are you buying anything in town while you're there?" I've never sat at a table where that kind of interaction was role played out in real time.

Again, on the other hand, I remember the Shayliss Vinder encounter from Burnt Offerings and the potential in that encounter. Shotgun (or, I guess, crossbow) weddings or tense personal confrontations that rely more on diplomacy than on the sword can be a pretty funny break between adventures and it did seem to breathe a lot of life into Sandpoint.

I don't know. I'm a little conflicted. I guess I have nothing useful left to add to the conversation.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Rechan wrote:
Sandpoint may be aberrant in that it's a small town,

I kind of thought Sandpoint might have adopted the views of its Varisian and Shoanti citizens, but I could be completely off base with that.

Could just be the Magnimar way, since they veered further away from Cheliax than Korvosa did, IIRC.


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In regards to the other posters:

I did not notice the line about the paladin of Abadar in Sandpoint, thanks for pointing that out. But they are really background characters, I would like to see someone a little more important "play for the home team" so to speak.

Sexuality is such an important part of human personality that it almost has to be adressed on some level to create a believeable character, and the role playing and history opportunities it presents are too great to be ignored.

But since men have had their time in the sun that only leaves the in-betweeners. Don't get me wrong, I don't want Pathfinder to turn into a sex game of any sort, but I do feel that the world needs these kinds of characters to be believable. Considering that 1 in 10,000 men and 1 in 30,000 women (an estimate by the Amsterdam Gender Dysphoria Clinic) seek sexual reassignment there should be at least one in a large city in D&D and several in a metropolis. It may not be for everyone, but I think this kind of background is interesting, both from a role playing and immersion perspective.


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James Keegan wrote:
I can see either side of the debate, honestly. For instance, I've tried running Porphyry House Horror (the book of Vile Darkness special adventure with much more "adult" themes than homosexuality) for my group and I've never seen a more uncomfortable bunch of players. My comfort level is different from my group's, so I've started to take a more serious look at how much needs to be put on stage.

Of course, there are whole host of issues that players can get very squeamish about. I once had a (female) player upset because an NPC had lost her child via miscarriage, and the loss caused her to go insane.

I also don't think the implication here is any sort of graphic discussions of sex "on screen". The general "hand waving" when things "Fade to black". In one of my games, there's an elven swashbuckler who just Can't Help Himself, and we just 'yadda yadda yadda, Petras returns the next day with an empty gold pouch". Of course, fun is had when I reversed his gender.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Rechan wrote:

So, getting past the topic of "Implication of gay sex in game bad, excessive violence and demon worship = okay"...

Here's a question from the OP that wasn't addressed: How is sexuality viewed in Golarion?

Cheliax apparently holds a conservative view. Sandpoint may be aberrant in that it's a small town, and two well respected members of the community are; everyone is okay with that because they Could "just know these two men as being very nice".

So, what are the views elsewhere? Is there any odd cultural habits beyond the typical "approve/disapprove"? For instance, we all know the Greek/Spartan opinion towards homosexuality. Is there any culture in Golarion that might be similar, or have any other odd taboos?

Homosexuality is (as certainly evidenced by this thread) a hot topic, and event though Pathfinder products will periodically have homosexual characters, don't expect to see much in the way of "which nations are pro/con" in the future. For the most part, you'll have to read between the lines for the info. For Varisia, for example, sexuality is generally more open and diverse. In a place like Cheliax, it's not... particularly recently, when a LOT of what's been going on in Cheliax has been oppressive.

The baseline, though, is to assume that sexuality is viewed in Golarion as a fairly liberal way, along with racial and gender equality. Sexism, racism, and other personality traits will certainly arise in NPCs and nations now and then, since that's all part of the human condition... but again, we'll be tackling those on a case-by-case basis. And so far, sexuality has been little more than flavor in the background. You can ignore it without impacting the overall campaign all that much.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Mikaze wrote:
Rechan wrote:
Sandpoint may be aberrant in that it's a small town,

I kind of thought Sandpoint might have adopted the views of its Varisian and Shoanti citizens, but I could be completely off base with that.

Could just be the Magnimar way, since they veered further away from Cheliax than Korvosa did, IIRC.

That's a pretty spot-on analysis, actually. Magnimar's absolutely less conservative than Korovsa, and Riddleport's even more free-spirited than Magnimar.

Andoran

I'm not really sure how much it matters at all, really. I think forcing PCs to have sex with an NPC as part of the required path through an adventure is probably pretty unlikely (at least, I hope it is; such a thing would be in kinda poor taste), but having some of it going on in the background does add a level of believablity to the whole thing. As long as the APs don't get X-rated, I really don't care who does who as long as they don't do it to me, my character, or children.

Andoran

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I don't know if this is a good or bad way to put it, but I will. It's funny how homosexuality is more taboo then orc on woman rape, someone on demon unions, and so on.


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Timespike wrote:
I'm not really sure how much it matters at all, really. I think forcing PCs to have sex with an NPC as part of the required path through an adventure is probably pretty unlikely

Gives new meaning to being railroaded. ;)


Hate to get further off topic but...

SirUrza wrote:
I don't know if this is a good or bad way to put it, but I will. It's funny how homosexuality is more taboo then orc on woman rape, someone on demon unions, and so on.

I think part of it has to do with American culture.

Look at the hubub over GTA: San Andreas. The game lets you run over hookers with a car, stab old laddies, etc. But the level of public outcry over this is NOTHING compared to the shrieking panic over a PG-13 HIDDEN cutscene of your character having sex (with all his clothes on).

Qadira

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As a note on sexuality and relationships in game affecting game play. I've seen two cases where the relationships of PCs directly affected the games and how they were played out.

In the Age of Worms game that I DM on of my players had a background where he liked to frequent the local brothel. I wrote in that he managed to get on of the girls pregnant and this led to a much tighter feel for the game as he began efforts to look after her and the child. It got even more tense when the child and mother where later abducted in order to lure the PCs into a trap.

In the crimson tide game in which I play, another party member fell for the charms of one of the NPC's who is now accompanying us through the jungles of the Isle of Dread. He and the entire party are much more intereseted in keeping this NPC alive as a consequence.

Both are perfect cases where "Sex" led to situations both for roleplay and conflict. None of the sex was played out but the relationships as a consequence were definitely instrumental in the game play.

I see no good reason why these forms of social interactions should not be catered for in both hetersexual and homosexual relationships. It only makes for better plot motivation in some circumstances.

Cheliax

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Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

On topic, I am glad Golarion has it and it gets dealt with. I am glad it is in some of the adventures. Just like i am glad their is romances and NPC's for the PC's to fall in love with or vise versa. To me it adds to the world to make it a living breathing world. As for the topic, different cultures have different views on it. Where talking about a fantasy setting, I would think their would be many views and to some it would be consider pretty minor. I like worlds to have a nice mix of everything, to me it makes them feel more real.

I won't even comment on the knee jerk reaction or discussion about sex in American culture or I am liking to go off on a rant about it. I never got how sexuality and nudity is more taboo than violence. But anyways not to derail the conversation.

Osirion

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I had a western civ instructor who talked about homosexuality amongst the Romans, and how a common perception was that men could do everything better, which of course led to the belief that no one could do the deed like another man.

I think its interesting, because when compared to current (American) culture it seems on the surface to be progressive, the whole accepting of homosexuality thing. On the other hand its misogynistic. I think its a cool place to start for an adventure with a complicated social issue, if you have pretty liberal players.

Obviously not for everyone. I know its a little off topic, but its what came to mind.


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I know it's a homebrew campaign that I am in and all but I'm gay. Shhh! I don't think my DM knows yet! He keeps tossing cute ladies at me to see if I go for them.

Qadira

Riese wrote:
I know it's a homebrew campaign that I am in and all but I'm gay. Shhh! I don't think my DM knows yet! He keeps tossing cute ladies at me to see if I go for them.

Shut up, Riese! That's supposed to be a secret!


XxAnthraxusxX wrote:
Is sex really something that goes down in alot of campaigns?

Actual sex scenes...not in my experience. The drama surrounding relationships I say that its fairly common. There is a lot of drama and angst to be had in fantasy relationships and yet becuase they are not real you can really play with it. For example your characters love interest has eyes that wander and they wander a little of often to some fair maiden ... and then the little tramp becomes important to the story line and you can't kill her! Even worse is if she does manage to die and then comes back! Nothing is more annoying then believing that the little hussy finally bought the farm and then she comes back from the grave! How annoying is that!

Some of the games I've played in have been really enhanced by a heavy dose of the drama involved in fantasy relationships. On the other hand the ones I DM are extraordinarily gamist. Relationships almost never come up and the PCs are so busy just trying to stay alive that they really don't pay much attention to romance.

Both styles of gaming are fun in their own ways and I think its important that Pathfinder provide the details necessary to run with both versions. Makes for more interesting reading for the DM as well and thats certianly a fairly important consideration in my opinion.

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