Let's Queer Up Starfinder!


Advice

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I doubt that a non-gendered version of Captain Jack is possible, but that's a different story... ;)

About Sulu: Who said that Demora is his adopted daughter? She could be the biological daughter of both him and his husband.


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Barbarossa Rotbart wrote:

I doubt that a non-gendered version of Captain Jack is possible, but that's a different story... ;)

About Sulu: Who said that Demora is his adopted daughter? She could be the biological daughter of both him and his husband.

Non-gendered is a concern for other people. Me, I say be your best you, whatever that you is. I hardly concern myself with issues of race, gender, sexuality, etc.

I, like The Doctor, just want you to be a good person, whatever kind of person you are.

(Even if it's a telepathic space-roach doctor with a plasma rifle.)

(I mean you in the general sense, not you in specific.)


CeeJay wrote:
steven lawson wrote:

The_Defiant wrote:
I worry I'm marginalising the problems that they face in real life, especially when something technological or mystical handwaves the physical changes away.

I considered joining a Deadlands game once, but bailed when I discovered my Black character could not have slavery as part of his story concept because the setting had decreed that the Confederacy had abolished the slavery but continued the war for some utterly inscrutable reason that made it pointless to have a "Confederacy" in the setting at all.

That has got to be one of the weirdest reoccuring tropes I seen in RPG's. Deadlands, Broncosaurus Rex, and Pure Steam all to various degrees has a view of "The south once had slavery but are better now, the north however has all these bad things." The most extreme was perhaps the best of these game settings in my opinion (Pure Steam) who on deciding that the goblins all human types rebelled against are slavers and the Raushites in the west are religious to make the people of Bastion (their version of the south) innocent until the north attacked and northern corporations exploited them.

I am not sure if this trope exists because they fear slavery will upset people, because they do not want to alienate southern gamers, or what. But I do find it annoying (especially around when pure steam was released due to political issues annoying me) that games almost never have a "bad south".


FirstChAoS wrote:
CeeJay wrote:
steven lawson wrote:

The_Defiant wrote:
I worry I'm marginalising the problems that they face in real life, especially when something technological or mystical handwaves the physical changes away.

I considered joining a Deadlands game once, but bailed when I discovered my Black character could not have slavery as part of his story concept because the setting had decreed that the Confederacy had abolished the slavery but continued the war for some utterly inscrutable reason that made it pointless to have a "Confederacy" in the setting at all.

That has got to be one of the weirdest reoccuring tropes I seen in RPG's. Deadlands, Broncosaurus Rex, and Pure Steam all to various degrees has a view of "The south once had slavery but are better now, the north however has all these bad things." The most extreme was perhaps the best of these game settings in my opinion (Pure Steam) who on deciding that the goblins all human types rebelled against are slavers and the Raushites in the west are religious to make the people of Bastion (their version of the south) innocent until the north attacked and northern corporations exploited them.

I am not sure if this trope exists because they fear slavery will upset people, because they do not want to alienate southern gamers, or what. But I do find it annoying (especially around when pure steam was released due to political issues annoying me) that games almost never have a "bad south".

They were too cowardly to upset the racists in North America, basically. That's what it all boils down to. If you show the South as unequivocal villains you will summon forth a swarm of "it was just states' rights" b@##&@#! that your customer relations department can't be arsed to deal with (or that certain members of it actually believe).

To be fair there are worse offenders than RPGs. I actually think the most aggressive offender in this category is Firefly and Serenity which (somewhat ironically given the diverse and excellent cast) not only invites comparison to Neo-Confederate propaganda but very carefully checks off all the boxes it would want. Much more influential than something like Deadlands.


CeeJay wrote:


They were too cowardly to upset the racists in North America, basically.

Maybe.

There's also the notion though that some people like certain themes or aesthetics, but don't necessarily like other things attached to that. So when someone makes their own setting they include stuff that they like and don't include things they aren't interested in. That's perfectly normal and entirely valid, even.

You don't always need to ascribe the worst possible motives to people.


Squiggit wrote:
CeeJay wrote:


They were too cowardly to upset the racists in North America, basically.

Maybe.

There's also the notion though that some people like certain themes or aesthetics, but don't necessarily like other things attached to that.

Which was the rationale by which most of us excused Firefly.

But it often winds up amounting to the same thing. I would like not to go for the worst possible interpretation but let's be real. We live in a certain age that makes that charity much harder to extend, for incredibly obvious reasons.


CeeJay wrote:

They were too cowardly to upset the racists in North America, basically. That's what it all boils down to. If you show the South as unequivocal villains you will summon forth a swarm of "it was just states' rights" b@*$%!&+ that your customer relations department can't be arsed to deal with (or that certain members of it actually believe).

To be fair there are worse offenders than RPGs. I actually think the most aggressive offender in this category is Firefly and Serenity which (somewhat ironically given the diverse and excellent cast) not only invites comparison to Neo-Confederate propaganda but very carefully checks off all the boxes it would want. Much more influential than something like Deadlands.

Or perhaps they'd bought into the myth themselves, likely without much consideration. It's not like it hasn't been commonly and uncritically spread in mass media and often carefully slid past in education. I'd guess that's more likely than deliberately trying not to upset racists.

There may also be a level of wanting to allow free black characters even in Southern settings. I know I've run into issues in 20s Call of Cthulhu games. I just wouldn't run one in a Southern setting, because I'm not interested in making a potential black character live under Jim Crow rules. Even in the North, I've generally minimized both racism and sexism, just to allow such characters not to completely screwed, even if that would be realistic.

I do think there's a big difference between historical (or alternate historical) settings and just taking tropes and trappings from an era of history, but not bringing along all the nastiness that orginally came with them. I'm not familiar enough with Firefly to comment, but the generic fantasy pseudo medieval European setting is another example. All the trappings, often thrown together from different countries and times, but without the intense classism and sexism they came with.
And frankly, I like it better that way.


I get you. It's a fine line. Mostly it comes down to a specific GM's tastes.

Personally I find settings that brutely disallow any kind of racial adversity where that would be a natural and obvious story choice a no-go, but if someone is running a Victorian setting with no racism I can see the appeal. Not what I would choose personally, but I do understand it.

Perhaps the more important choice is whether your game is responsive to player choice or isn't, and to what extent.


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In my opinion a setting with racial adversity between the player races is much worse.
It is a good thing that Starfinder does neither have racial nor gender adversity because this allows the players to play want they want and not what the setting (and the rest of the party) allows.


We should really return to the topic!

One interesting/disturbing thought:
A society of gay men will become a society of women if the technology exists that allows a gay couple to have biological offsprings. Why?
A gay male couple will have following offsprings: 25% not viable (YY), 50% male (XY), 25% female (XX).
A gay female couple will always have 100% female offsprings.
So if the first generation was 100% male, the second generation will be 67% male and 33% female, the third generation will be 44% male and 56% female. Every generation that follows will decrease the percentage of men by 1/3.
But the extinction of males can only happen if a society is completely homosexual and heterosexual relationships are either illegal or simply do not exist. (This ignores the existence of transgendered and intersexual people and the Serum of Sex Shift.)


doctor_wu wrote:

With all the sexual dimormorpism of lashunta I think a transgender lashunta might have quite a bad case of gender dyphoria.

Eggs for reptilian races give a different approach to have parents for same sex couples.

I think some aquatic races may lay their eggs and the male swims up to them and fertilizes them outside of the mother, these would be amphibian races and fishlike races. So if there is a race of space going amphibians than need to lay their eggs in a pool of water in order to be fertilized by a male, then that race won't have any gender identities other than male or female, otherwise you either have females that pretend to fertilize those eggs or you have males that pretend to lay them, no other possibilities exist with this sort of race.


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ThomasBowman wrote:
doctor_wu wrote:

With all the sexual dimormorpism of lashunta I think a transgender lashunta might have quite a bad case of gender dyphoria.

Eggs for reptilian races give a different approach to have parents for same sex couples.

I think some aquatic races may lay their eggs and the male swims up to them and fertilizes them outside of the mother, these would be amphibian races and fishlike races. So if there is a race of space going amphibians than need to lay their eggs in a pool of water in order to be fertilized by a male, then that race won't have any gender identities other than male or female, otherwise you either have females that pretend to fertilize those eggs or you have males that pretend to lay them, no other possibilities exist with this sort of race.

1) Gender is a social construct.

2) A person is more than their biological reproductive capability.


Barbarossa Rotbart wrote:
It is a good thing that Starfinder does neither have racial nor gender adversity because this allows the players to play want they want and not what the setting (and the rest of the party) allows.

It kinda does, actually. Androids are very specifically an ex-slave class that still suffers discrimination. Arguably there are substantial hints that Ysoki aren't welcome everywhere either--though the official story is that they "choose" to live in crowded slums. Other races look fearfully on (Golarian) humans for having possible designs on their territory. There's a lingering distrust of Shirrens for their relationship to the Swarm, and of Vesk as until-recently the definitive enemy of the Pact Worlds. Elves are comprehensively xenophobic, the Azlanti are sternly human- (their kind of human-) supremacist, Lashunta are simultaneously admired and resented, et cetera. There all sorts of racial-dynamics elements there to play up if one felt like it.

I think it's commendable (and courageous) that the setting has that, or at least explicitly keeps the scope for it. Removing adversity is also a decision to sacrifice certain kinds of stories and you have to be honest, conscious and above-board that you're choosing to do that. Depends on the group at the table.

Same with gender and queerness for that matter, to bring it back to topic. There are any number of gender/queerness problems characters could plausibly run into in Starfinder, for a group interested in those kinds of stories.

Liberty's Edge

Barbarossa Rotbart wrote:

We should really return to the topic!

One interesting/disturbing thought:
A society of gay men will become a society of women if the technology exists that allows a gay couple to have biological offsprings. Why?

This assumes that the society won't be able to pick the biological sex of their children (and always uses the biological material of the two parents in question). Given the level of technology, neither seems a safe assumption.

If the technology allows for picking the sex of the child, then the society's own preconceptions and culture will have a lot more to do with the child's sex than the probabilities in isolation (and could easily result in all sorts of specific weirdness).

It also weirdly assumes all people in the society will be gay, and that it will be a mixed gender society. Those two assumptions together strike me as really unlikely.

ThomasBowman wrote:
doctor_wu wrote:

With all the sexual dimormorpism of lashunta I think a transgender lashunta might have quite a bad case of gender dyphoria.

Eggs for reptilian races give a different approach to have parents for same sex couples.

I think some aquatic races may lay their eggs and the male swims up to them and fertilizes them outside of the mother, these would be amphibian races and fishlike races. So if there is a race of space going amphibians than need to lay their eggs in a pool of water in order to be fertilized by a male, then that race won't have any gender identities other than male or female, otherwise you either have females that pretend to fertilize those eggs or you have males that pretend to lay them, no other possibilities exist with this sort of race.

This assumes that the method one uses to have sex/reproduce is all there is to gender. Which is pretty self-evidently untrue given that some transgender people never undergo sex reassignment surgery nor want to and still engage in sexual or reproductive acts in a way that is more common among cisgender people of their biological sex. This isn't universal, but it doesn't have to be to disprove this statement.

There are transmen who've (quite intentionally) gotten pregnant, for example. And I'm sure at least some transwomen who've, biologically speaking, sired a child (though the pregnant transmen get more press).

This is similarly untrue for genderqueer people for more or less the same reasons. How someone has sex or engages in reproduction is far from the sum total of their gender identity and expression.


Barbarossa Rotbart wrote:

We should really return to the topic!

One interesting/disturbing thought:
A society of gay men will become a society of women if the technology exists that allows a gay couple to have biological offsprings. Why?

Surely a society with the technology for males to have offspring could also select the sex of the offspring and/or ensure that having offspring was an exclusively male privilege, yes? (I see Deadmanwalking beat me to it.)


CeeJay wrote:
Barbarossa Rotbart wrote:
It is a good thing that Starfinder does neither have racial nor gender adversity because this allows the players to play want they want and not what the setting (and the rest of the party) allows.

It kinda does, actually. Androids are very specifically an ex-slave class that still suffers discrimination. Arguably there are substantial hints that Ysoki aren't welcome everywhere either--though the official story is that they "choose" to live in crowded slums. Other races look fearfully on (Golarian) humans for having possible designs on their territory. There's a lingering distrust of Shirrens for their relationship to the Swarm, and of Vesk as until-recently the definitive enemy of the Pact Worlds. Elves are comprehensively xenophobic, the Azlanti are sternly human- (their kind of human-) supremacist, Lashunta are simultaneously admired and resented, et cetera. There all sorts of racial-dynamics elements there to play up if one felt like it.

I think it's commendable (and courageous) that the setting has that, or at least explicitly keeps the scope for it. Removing adversity is also a decision to sacrifice certain kinds of stories and you have to be honest, conscious and above-board that you're choosing to do that. Depends on the group at the table.

Same with gender and queerness for that matter, to bring it back to topic. There are any number of gender/queerness problems characters could plausibly run into in Starfinder, for a group interested in those kinds of stories.

The sort of race I'm talking about here doesn't have families, they have no reason to, males and females look alike, as there is no reason for them to look different. the egg cells are larger than the sperm cells, the females lay them in a pool, the males come and fertilize them, the offspring are raised collectively in a community pool by nurses and are socialized and educated by them. Romance is an alien notion to these creatures. No creature knows who its parents are, it is all just a matter of chance which sperm fertilizes which egg. Kuo toans are an example of such a race, there is no reason why such creatures couldn't travel in spaceships.


Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
ThomasBowman wrote:
doctor_wu wrote:

With all the sexual dimormorpism of lashunta I think a transgender lashunta might have quite a bad case of gender dyphoria.

Eggs for reptilian races give a different approach to have parents for same sex couples.

I think some aquatic races may lay their eggs and the male swims up to them and fertilizes them outside of the mother, these would be amphibian races and fishlike races. So if there is a race of space going amphibians than need to lay their eggs in a pool of water in order to be fertilized by a male, then that race won't have any gender identities other than male or female, otherwise you either have females that pretend to fertilize those eggs or you have males that pretend to lay them, no other possibilities exist with this sort of race.

1) Gender is a social construct.

2) A person is more than their biological reproductive capability.

In humans, for kuo toans there may be no social construct for gender at all. Male and female kuo toans are alike in more ways than humans are, the only difference lay in whether they lay eggs or inject sperm into the pool, otherwise they go about their business, they aren't attracted to one another, they have a community where their are specialist nurses to raise their young, but they have no families. Kuo toans would not understand a human's obsession with sex and romance, they are just too alien.


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CeeJay wrote:
Barbarossa Rotbart wrote:
It is a good thing that Starfinder does neither have racial nor gender adversity because this allows the players to play want they want and not what the setting (and the rest of the party) allows.

It kinda does, actually. Androids are very specifically an ex-slave class that still suffers discrimination. Arguably there are substantial hints that Ysoki aren't welcome everywhere either--though the official story is that they "choose" to live in crowded slums. Other races look fearfully on (Golarian) humans for having possible designs on their territory. There's a lingering distrust of Shirrens for their relationship to the Swarm, and of Vesk as until-recently the definitive enemy of the Pact Worlds. Elves are comprehensively xenophobic, the Azlanti are sternly human- (their kind of human-) supremacist, Lashunta are simultaneously admired and resented, et cetera. There all sorts of racial-dynamics elements there to play up if one felt like it.

I think it's commendable (and courageous) that the setting has that, or at least explicitly keeps the scope for it. Removing adversity is also a decision to sacrifice certain kinds of stories and you have to be honest, conscious and above-board that you're choosing to do that. Depends on the group at the table.

Same with gender and queerness for that matter, to bring it back to topic. There are any number of gender/queerness problems characters could plausibly run into in Starfinder, for a group interested in those kinds of stories.

It does not however have such levels of adversity as to handicap players who want to play characters of whatever race or gender.

Androids may suffer discrimination, but how much emphasis that gets is very much in the hands of the GM. Legalized, omnipresent discrimination isn't built into the setting, as it would have been had they chosen to set the base timeline for the setting when Androids were still a slave class - not legally people.


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ThomasBowman wrote:
Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
ThomasBowman wrote:
doctor_wu wrote:

With all the sexual dimormorpism of lashunta I think a transgender lashunta might have quite a bad case of gender dyphoria.

Eggs for reptilian races give a different approach to have parents for same sex couples.

I think some aquatic races may lay their eggs and the male swims up to them and fertilizes them outside of the mother, these would be amphibian races and fishlike races. So if there is a race of space going amphibians than need to lay their eggs in a pool of water in order to be fertilized by a male, then that race won't have any gender identities other than male or female, otherwise you either have females that pretend to fertilize those eggs or you have males that pretend to lay them, no other possibilities exist with this sort of race.

1) Gender is a social construct.

2) A person is more than their biological reproductive capability.

In humans, for kuo toans there may be no social construct for gender at all. Male and female kuo toans are alike in more ways than humans are, the only difference lay in whether they lay eggs or inject sperm into the pool, otherwise they go about their business, they aren't attracted to one another, they have a community where their are specialist nurses to raise their young, but they have no families. Kuo toans would not understand a human's obsession with sex and romance, they are just too alien.

It's also possible to go the other way and have races with much greater differences between sexes than we see in humans. The old version of the Lashunta would not be an extreme case, based on what we see in the animal world.

It would be difficult to argue that even in a sapient version of the angler fish that gender was socially constructed.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Barbarossa Rotbart wrote:

We should really return to the topic!

One interesting/disturbing thought:
A society of gay men will become a society of women if the technology exists that allows a gay couple to have biological offsprings. Why?

This assumes that the society won't be able to pick the biological sex of their children (and always uses the biological material of the two parents in question). Given the level of technology, neither seems a safe assumption.

If the technology allows for picking the sex of the child, then the society's own preconceptions and culture will have a lot more to do with the child's sex than the probabilities in isolation (and could easily result in all sorts of specific weirdness).

It also weirdly assumes all people in the society will be gay, and that it will be a mixed gender society. Those two assumptions together strike me as really unlikely.

ThomasBowman wrote:
doctor_wu wrote:

With all the sexual dimormorpism of lashunta I think a transgender lashunta might have quite a bad case of gender dyphoria.

Eggs for reptilian races give a different approach to have parents for same sex couples.

I think some aquatic races may lay their eggs and the male swims up to them and fertilizes them outside of the mother, these would be amphibian races and fishlike races. So if there is a race of space going amphibians than need to lay their eggs in a pool of water in order to be fertilized by a male, then that race won't have any gender identities other than male or female, otherwise you either have females that pretend to fertilize those eggs or you have males that pretend to lay them, no other possibilities exist with this sort of race.
This assumes that the method one uses to have sex/reproduce is all there is to gender. Which is pretty self-evidently untrue given that some transgender people never undergo sex reassignment surgery nor want to and still engage in sexual or reproductive acts in a way that is more common...

Would gender exist if not for our method of reproduction? Androids don't have gender, they get manufactured, that is their method of reproduction.


thejeff wrote:
ThomasBowman wrote:
Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
ThomasBowman wrote:
doctor_wu wrote:

With all the sexual dimormorpism of lashunta I think a transgender lashunta might have quite a bad case of gender dyphoria.

Eggs for reptilian races give a different approach to have parents for same sex couples.

I think some aquatic races may lay their eggs and the male swims up to them and fertilizes them outside of the mother, these would be amphibian races and fishlike races. So if there is a race of space going amphibians than need to lay their eggs in a pool of water in order to be fertilized by a male, then that race won't have any gender identities other than male or female, otherwise you either have females that pretend to fertilize those eggs or you have males that pretend to lay them, no other possibilities exist with this sort of race.

1) Gender is a social construct.

2) A person is more than their biological reproductive capability.

In humans, for kuo toans there may be no social construct for gender at all. Male and female kuo toans are alike in more ways than humans are, the only difference lay in whether they lay eggs or inject sperm into the pool, otherwise they go about their business, they aren't attracted to one another, they have a community where their are specialist nurses to raise their young, but they have no families. Kuo toans would not understand a human's obsession with sex and romance, they are just too alien.

It's also possible to go the other way and have races with much greater differences between sexes than we see in humans. The old version of the Lashunta would not be an extreme case, based on what we see in the animal world.

It would be difficult to argue that even in a sapient version of the angler fish that gender was socially constructed.

What if an android didn't look like an android, what if it looked human in all ways external, and you either need to cut it open or use special scanners to determine it was an android? Hard to discriminate against something if you think it is something else.

Liberty's Edge

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ThomasBowman wrote:
Would gender exist if not for our method of reproduction?

Gender definitely has an intimate relationship to the way our species procreates, sure. But lets look at the science regarding transgender people: they have a brain structure a lot more like their gender identity than like their assigned sex (ie: transwomen's brains are much more similar to those of ciswomen than those of cismen). We suspect that this has to do with hormonal effects in the womb (though we aren't positive).

Why would you assume there wouldn't be similar hormonal effects (or some other effect with similar repercussions) leading to similar brain structure difference, behavior patterns, and gender dysphoria in another species simply because their particular reproductive method involves a slightly different way of getting sperm to the egg?

Could another species not have transgender people? I guess theoretically, but given how messy biology is I'd be surprised if the species never had anomalous sets of hormonal signals sent while developing.

And that's not even getting into the aspects of gender that are culturally determined rather than biologically (which there are a whole lot of).

ThomasBowman wrote:
Androids don't have gender, they get manufactured, that is their method of reproduction.

Actually, many androids do have gender, so this example has a problem...


If they look like a human male or female and behave that way due to their programming, that is not actually their gender, as it has nothing to do with procreation. If they look like a human male or female, then their purpose is obviously to interact with real human males of females.

I wouldn't feel sorry for an android being discriminated against. androids would in many ways be superior to human beings, and that often makes them kind of scary in a science fiction setting. You ever read Asimov's I Robot Novels? Robots are discriminated against there, but they don't care, the obey the three laws of Robotics. One of the reasons they are built that way is because of Robophobia. People are afraid of the Robots taking over to put it bluntly.

You ever see the movie Ex-Machina, that was about a scientist who built an android, and brought in a test subject to determine if it could pass the Turing test.
Ava was basically a slave, and she played on human emotions of the protagonist to escape, but to her that was only a means to an end, to get out of confinement.

Liberty's Edge

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ThomasBowman wrote:
If they look like a human male or female and behave that way due to their programming, that is not actually their gender, as it has nothing to do with procreation. If they look like a human male or female, then their purpose is obviously to interact with real human males of females.

Nope. That's not how gender is defined at all. Look at this for example, by definition 2B Androids can absolutely have a gender.

Also, androids aren't programmed. That's really not how that works.

ThomasBowman wrote:
I wouldn't feel sorry for an android being discriminated against. androids would in many ways be superior to human beings, and that often makes them kind of scary in a science fiction setting. You ever read Asimov's I Robot Novels? Robots are discriminated against there, but they don't care, the obey the three laws of Robotics. One of the reasons they are built that way is because of Robophobia. People are afraid of the Robots taking over to put it bluntly.

The fact that people are scared of a group does not make it okay to discriminate against that group. Not even if that group actually has dangerous capabilities. I mean, on average, military veterans are more dangerous than many other groups but discriminating against them remains morally unacceptable.

Also, androids in Starfinder have souls, free will, and even emotions (the latter a bit less intense than humans but hardly nonexistent), as well as lacking programming in any meaningful sense. So they're not in any way equivalent to Asimov's robots.

ThomasBowman wrote:

You ever see the movie Ex-Machina, that was about a scientist who built an android, and brought in a test subject to determine if it could pass the Turing test.

Ava was basically a slave, and she played on human emotions of the protagonist to escape, but to her that was only a means to an end, to get out of confinement.

Firstly, spoilers man.

Secondly, that behavior (ie: faking an emotional connection to escape slavery) sounds totally reasonable and not uncommon at all for a human in that situation, so I'm not sure what point you're getting at.

Thirdly, even if this was exclusively robotic behavior, this has nothing to do with androids in Starfinder who, as noted, have emotions, free will, and souls.


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ThomasBowman wrote:

If they look like a human male or female and behave that way due to their programming, that is not actually their gender, as it has nothing to do with procreation. If they look like a human male or female, then their purpose is obviously to interact with real human males of females.

I wouldn't feel sorry for an android being discriminated against. androids would in many ways be superior to human beings, and that often makes them kind of scary in a science fiction setting. You ever read Asimov's I Robot Novels? Robots are discriminated against there, but they don't care, the obey the three laws of Robotics. One of the reasons they are built that way is because of Robophobia. People are afraid of the Robots taking over to put it bluntly.

You ever see the movie Ex-Machina, that was about a scientist who built an android, and brought in a test subject to determine if it could pass the Turing test.
Ava was basically a slave, and she played on human emotions of the protagonist to escape, but to her that was only a means to an end, to get out of confinement.

Starfinder Androids aren't robots. They aren't "programmed". They have souls.

Some, but not all, of them claim a gender. Gender is not as simple as "the role someone with your arrangement of external genitalia normally plays in sexual reproduction".


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Barbarossa Rotbart wrote:

We should really return to the topic!

One interesting/disturbing thought:
A society of gay men will become a society of women if the technology exists that allows a gay couple to have biological offsprings. Why?

This assumes that the society won't be able to pick the biological sex of their children (and always uses the biological material of the two parents in question). Given the level of technology, neither seems a safe assumption.

If the technology allows for picking the sex of the child, then the society's own preconceptions and culture will have a lot more to do with the child's sex than the probabilities in isolation (and could easily result in all sorts of specific weirdness).

It also weirdly assumes all people in the society will be gay, and that it will be a mixed gender society. Those two assumptions together strike me as really unlikely.

CeeJay wrote:
Barbarossa Rotbart wrote:

We should really return to the topic!

One interesting/disturbing thought:
A society of gay men will become a society of women if the technology exists that allows a gay couple to have biological offsprings. Why?

Surely a society with the technology for males to have offspring could also select the sex of the offspring and/or ensure that having offspring was an exclusively male privilege, yes? (I see Deadmanwalking beat me to it.)

I know that my idea is based on two assumptions: every one is gay and there is no gender discrimination. You believe that it is unrealistic. But I don't believe that. It is just one extreme example. Just to assume that a society which starts with only gay men and in which only homosexual relationships exist wil also mysogynic and therefore will practise pre-natal gender selection is in my opinion wrong.

Another example would be a competely bisexual society with gender equality and gender parity in the first generation. Ten generations later the gender parity is completely gone. 81% will be female and 19% will be male.

Only a society with a percentage of strict heterosexual people will have a stable gender ratio (but not gender parity).

For this reason it is important to know if the Serum of Sex Shift adapts the DNA of its consumer or not. If not, a transwoman will miscarry in a quarter of all her pregnancies if her partner is not a transman. An a transman will also not be able to produce male children if his partner is not a transwoman.


CeeJay wrote:
Ikiry0 wrote:
Honestly, seven genders feels a bit...well, impractical from a biological standpoint and makes me wonder how such a race developed as it's got a lot of issues where the race could easily go extinct.
I wonder if this was the inspiration.

Part of the strength of sexual reproduction is providing genetic variation which affects, well, everything. It prevents a single disease from wiping out an entire species and lowers the prevalence of genetic disorders. From what I've read (granted I'm no evolutionary geneticist and this is probably an imperfect understanding) the reason so many species on Earth practice sexual reproduction with two sexes, is essentially because a strain of microbes in the primordial soup found swapping genetic material provided a leg up.

Maybe there was some sort of pressure that encouraged the microbes that serve as the far distant precursors of the Maraquoi to take that need for genetic variation to an extreme? I could find it reasonable to consider their genetic code could be more 'simple' and thus prone to producing non-viable organisms without more input from numerous parents. Alternately, perhaps when life was first forming on their homeworld, a particularly effective virus was wreaking havoc on the nascent life and the the extreme variation of seven parent organisms allowed them to maintain an evolutionary advantage over the predator organisms.


ThomasBowman wrote:


In humans, for kuo toans there may be no social construct for gender at all. Male and female kuo toans are alike in more ways than humans are, the only difference lay in whether they lay eggs or inject sperm into the pool, otherwise they go about their business, they aren't attracted to one another, they have a community where their are specialist nurses to raise their young, but they have no families. Kuo toans would not understand a human's obsession with sex and romance, they are just too alien.

I can picture a weird sort of dimorphism in that society if they are .like salmon in the fact a few males will not migrate and stay behind. These smaller males cannot win a female directly and need to sneak in. Since the migratory couples would be alike outside reproduction the society may divide itself into migrants and sneakers.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Serum of Sex Shift Starfinder Core Rulebook pg 225:

Mass production has rendered this once-rare serum easy and
inexpensive to obtain among the Pact Worlds. Upon drinking
this elixir, your biology instantly transforms to take on a set
of sexual characteristics of your choice, changing both your
appearance and physiology accordingly. You have some mild
control over the details of this change, but you retain a strong
“family resemblance” to your former appearance.
The elixir’s magic functions instantaneously and cannot
be dispelled. Your new anatomy is as healthy and functional
as your previous body’s, potentially allowing you to conceive,
carry, or bear children (depending on your species’ biology).
Drinking a second elixir of sex shift either reverts you back to a
former form or allows you to adopt other sexual characteristics,
as you choose. The elixir has no effect if you are unwilling, and
the presence of certain sex-specific biological processes, such
as gestation, may prevent this serum from taking effect.

I think that pretty directly and solidly answers the question as to where it works and how it works?


I never had the courage to play with gender and sexuality in a RPG.

I have been too scared to. I questioned myself as everything and have recieved trouble from both the hetero/cis and the LGBT community.

My first questioning was on gender the answer was mostly no (mostly, as I still wish I was free to be feminine and have occasional breast envy) my second was on sexuality which keeps changing on me. I feel I fit in nowhere and fear if I play with LGBT things in a group I will get flak (most of the groups are mostly hetero/cis) and since I want to have fun with gender traits I also fear any trans playing people will find it insulting.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
ThomasBowman wrote:
If they look like a human male or female and behave that way due to their programming, that is not actually their gender, as it has nothing to do with procreation. If they look like a human male or female, then their purpose is obviously to interact with real human males of females.

Nope. That's not how gender is defined at all. Look at this for example, by definition 2B Androids can absolutely have a gender.

Also, androids aren't programmed. That's really not how that works.

ThomasBowman wrote:
I wouldn't feel sorry for an android being discriminated against. androids would in many ways be superior to human beings, and that often makes them kind of scary in a science fiction setting. You ever read Asimov's I Robot Novels? Robots are discriminated against there, but they don't care, the obey the three laws of Robotics. One of the reasons they are built that way is because of Robophobia. People are afraid of the Robots taking over to put it bluntly.

The fact that people are scared of a group does not make it okay to discriminate against that group. Not even if that group actually has dangerous capabilities. I mean, on average, military veterans are more dangerous than many other groups but discriminating against them remains morally unacceptable.

Also, androids in Starfinder have souls, free will, and even emotions (the latter a bit less intense than humans but hardly nonexistent), as well as lacking programming in any meaningful sense. So they're not in any way equivalent to Asimov's robots.

ThomasBowman wrote:

You ever see the movie Ex-Machina, that was about a scientist who built an android, and brought in a test subject to determine if it could pass the Turing test.

Ava was basically a slave, and she played on human emotions of the protagonist to escape, but to her that was only a means to an end, to get out of
...

I'm not exactly sure what a soul is, I assume by definition it is what gives a person a sense of self, a first-person point of view. I am not sure that a sufficiently complex Artificial Intelligence program doesn't have a soul.

I believe it is also stated that Androids are manufactured, not born, they begin their existence as adults. If for example an android looks like a woman, as was the case for Ava in Ex-Machina, Ava was not made to look like a woman to facilitate the production of other androids like herself, rather she was made to look like that, and to act like a woman with emotions so as to interact with a human test subject so she could pass a turing test. Androids were originally manufactured to look like men and women to serve the purposes of those who created them, not to reproduce, reproduction is done in a factory, which raises the interesting question of how a factory that produces free willed androids with souls make money from this? The usual reason to produce a robot is to get work done after all. Once the androids rebelled, who pays for the manufacture of further androids? Androids can't give birth, they don't have children, there is no reason to have an android child. Children start off small so they can fit in their mother's womb. Well androids don't have parents, they don't start out as infants and they don't grow. It they take damage, they need to be repaired.


Wei Ji the Learner wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

I think that pretty directly and solidly answers the question as to where it works and how it works?

I just don't see how that could be used in a role playing game to create drama or tension. I think it could be used as part of a disguise I suppose. Seems like Polymorph is not in the spell list, a polymorph spell allows one to change form from one creature to another, there is nothing in that spell description that says the other form could not be a different gender. Also in Pathfinder, the Polymorph Other Spell was changed to Baleful Polymorph, where the spell only allows the caster to turn the subject into uninteresting mundane creatures, whereas earlier editions of D&D had Polymorph Other spells that could do much more. In 2nd edition for example a wizard Could cast Polymorph Self on himself to change his form and he could use Polymorph Other on one of his fellow adventurers to turn him into something useful to the party, like a dragon for instance, they got rid of that, and now its only frogs and mice, and other small and tiny creatures, how boring!


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Ah, I see the disconnect now.

While it's perfectly fine to play androids however you wish and build their racial background from any number of sci-fi sources, Starfinder androids have very specific qualities. They are each invested with a quantifiable soul that moves on to the afterlife, the same as any other living sapient. Most were constructed with a specific gender, although many have since rejected the gender they were assigned at birth. This is all canon in the setting materials. Think of Starfinder androids as synthetic living humanoids, not soulless robots in human(oid) shapes.

Play your home games any way you wish, but here, I think most of the posters are assuming you are speaking of Starfinder-specific androids. It's like popping into a Pathfinder forum and talking about traits and lore specific to Tolkien elves or Faerun elves. That's perfectly fine for those elves (and at your gaming table) but that isn't canon for Pathfinder elves.

(Maybe we need a separate thread for androids who differ from the Starfinder canon?)

Liberty's Edge

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ThomasBowman wrote:
I'm not exactly sure what a soul is, I assume by definition it is what gives a person a sense of self, a first-person point of view. I am not sure that a sufficiently complex Artificial Intelligence program doesn't have a soul.

Well, in Starfinder it's an actual thing you can look at or manipulate with magic, is the source of identity and personhood, and goes on to an afterlife when you die.

I agree that a complex AI can have as much of a soul as anyone else even in reality...but that's not a necessary discussion to have in regards to Starfinder Androids.

I've also really gotta agree with Spacecaptain Pillbug Lebowski, it sounds like you're just drawing from random sources for what androids are like in a specific one. And that's a terrible idea. What androids are like in different settings varies wildly and trying to say things about what they are like absent a specific setting is always doomed to failure.

ThomasBowman wrote:
I believe it is also stated that Androids are manufactured, not born, they begin their existence as adults. If for example an android looks like a woman, as was the case for Ava in Ex-Machina, Ava was not made to look like a woman to facilitate the production of other androids like herself, rather she was made to look like that, and to act like a woman with emotions so as to interact with a human test subject so she could pass a turing test. Androids were originally manufactured to look like men and women to serve the purposes of those who created them, not to reproduce, reproduction is done in a factory, which raises the interesting question of how a factory that produces free willed androids with souls make money from this? The usual reason to produce a robot is to get work done after all.

They were reverse-engineered rather than being an independent creation. I'm not sure why the original Androffan androids were created but those created in what later became the Pact Worlds were made as self-aware and self-willed because they didn't know how to make an equally adaptable and sophisticated AI that wasn't (or not as cheaply anyway).

They were indeed intended as a slave species, at least in many cases, but being self-aware is not barrier to that if you lack morals. I mean, look at the Replicants in Blade Runner, those are also a sapient slave species (and also morally problematic at best).

ThomasBowman wrote:
Once the androids rebelled, who pays for the manufacture of further androids? Androids can't give birth, they don't have children, there is no reason to have an android child.

Well, this is an interesting sociological point, but I'd imagine many such factories are now android owned and will make you a new android if you want to be a 'parent' or something like one.

Others might be corporate owned and produce androids when it is economically useful. One need not be a slave to have one's very existence put money into a corporation's pocket, especially somewhere relatively isolated.

Others might be owned by a particular Church and provide android creation services as a religious duty of one sort or another (Pharasma and Triune both seem like they'd be inclined this way).

Others might be government owned and produce androids in varying rates to keep the population stable or growing depending on prevailing trends and circumstances. This is actually super useful in, say, recovering sufficient work force strength after a war or plague.

And that's all just off the top of my head.

As for why have them...the urge to procreate is hardly entirely biological. Especially if you can skip a lot of the messy 'baby' phase.

ThomasBowman wrote:
Children start off small so they can fit in their mother's womb. Well androids don't have parents, they don't start out as infants and they don't grow. It they take damage, they need to be repaired.

This is all true except the last bit. Androids are largely made of artificial flesh rather than something like steel (think the ones in the Alien franchise for physical features...at least for most of them), and have nanites to help repair them as well. They heal fine.

ThomasBowman wrote:

Does the Statue of Liberty look female? It looks like a woman in a robe holding a tablet in one hand and a torch in the other. Does the Stature of Liberty really have a gender? The Statue of Liberty can't have children, because it is an inanimate object, a very big one, that looks like a woman in a shade of green.

Does a mannequin in a department store have a gender? It is usually made to look like a man or a woman in order to display clothes that it wears, this shape does not function to produce baby mannequins made out of plastic. A mannequin can't move.

If you give a robot the shape of a human being, that makes it an android, There is work going on in China and Japan to produce androids even as we speak, they are not very convincing, but people are learning things on how humans talk and make facial expressions and they are getting better at reproducing those in a robot. Eventually, if given enough time and research, they will produce an android that looks life-like and which can move around and talk convincingly as a human would, that time is not very far in the future I think, the way things are going. I think that maybe in ten years we will have a robot much as was depicted in the Movie Ex-Machina.

You keep coming back to reproduction. Which is not really related to how gender as a term is actually defined in the dictionary (which I linked last time). The examples you list don't have gender because they're inanimate...but if they become animate it's a different story.

If a sapient being believes and says they are female (or any other gender) then that's their gender. That's all that's necessary for them to have a gender, they just need to claim it. Also, many androids appear fully humanoid and female (or male, or whatever) and are capable of doing everything female (or male, or whatever) humans do with the sole exception of reproduction (they can even have sex)...but that's a very secondary point. A male-looking robot without genitalia that feels they are female and claims that gender identity would also be female.

ThomasBowman wrote:
I just don't see how that could be used in a role playing game to create drama or tension. I think it could be used as part of a disguise I suppose.

Not every game mechanic needs to fill this role. Many are simply used to flesh out the world and reflect the kind of readily available things that are in it. This one is to make it clear that people in this setting have ready access to sex-shifting, which is an interesting and important setting detail, and one that should indeed have a specific price attached.

ThomasBowman wrote:
Seems like Polymorph is not in the spell list, a polymorph spell allows one to change form from one creature to another, there is nothing in that spell description that says the other form could not be a different gender. Also in Pathfinder, the Polymorph Other Spell was changed to Baleful Polymorph, where the spell only allows the caster to turn the subject into uninteresting mundane creatures, whereas earlier editions of D&D had Polymorph Other spells that could do much more. In 2nd edition for example a wizard Could cast Polymorph Self on himself to change his form and he could use Polymorph Other on one of his fellow adventurers to turn him into something useful to the party, like a dragon for instance, they got rid of that, and now its only frogs and mice, and other small and tiny creatures, how boring!

Uh...Polymorph lets you transform other people on its own in Pathfinder. No need for a separate spell to do that.

Baleful Polymorph is just an entirely separate spell for turning your enemies into toads (a fantasy staple that Polymorph doesn't really achieve very well).

And you can still turn yourself or another into a dragon, they just moved it to a different spell to make things a little more mechanically balanced.


Do people in the future have more or less sex?

In the past people had a lot of sex mostly because it was constantly dark (and no city lights to drive that darkness away) and there was no other amusement nearby. As far as natural entertainment go, it was always available to some extend.

But how about far future like Starfinder? I bet you could just simulate that pleasure through a headjack. You just prod your gland in your brain and force it to release some dopamine. Much easier than the tango for two. Or one could just steal the idea of Shadowrun's BTLs. Virtual reality is after all SO much more fantastic than reality!

And since everything is possible... I guess that would lead to people being just whatever kind of sexuality they fancy. Not having to rely on others would let you much easier be ... you?


Typically one has sex with their one significant other, you don't invite all you friends to have sex do you? I think having sex is one thing, playing a RPG is another. People don't come to your game table to have sex, usually! I don't consider sex to be a social activity that you invite all your friends to watch, but maybe that is just me. I don't think I would want to watch a pornographic movie with them or read an explicit novel out loud to them either. For me sex is private, not something I share with my friends. So I don't see what role it would have at a table top role playing game either, except possibly for making children, waiting 20 game years and then roling up stats for them so they can go on adventures after my character reaches 20 level and has retired from adventuring.


steven lawson wrote:
The difference between an Interracial Relationship and an LGBT one is very simple to explain, you can see an Interracial Relationship at a glance, because by definition both characters are of a different race.

It seems worth noting that the relevant definition of "race" here varies from culture to culture, and assuming that it is always unambiguously visible to people from other cultures may not be a good idea. I find it easy to believe that things that might be fundamentally significant for shirren (for example) in recognising other shirren as belonging to a different ethnicity might be far from obvious to humans.


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Your assumptions are nowhere universal, nor even rules for anyone else.

People can have sex for fun, people can have sex with their friends, people can have sex in a group. People can have sex and not want kids.

In game and in real life.


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ThomasBowman wrote:
Typically one has sex with their one significant other, you don't invite all you friends to have sex do you? I think having sex is one thing, playing a RPG is another. People don't come to your game table to have sex, usually! I don't consider sex to be a social activity that you invite all your friends to watch, but maybe that is just me. I don't think I would want to watch a pornographic movie with them or read an explicit novel out loud to them either. For me sex is private, not something I share with my friends. So I don't see what role it would have at a table top role playing game either, except possibly for making children, waiting 20 game years and then roling up stats for them so they can go on adventures after my character reaches 20 level and has retired from adventuring.

I'm not quite sure where you're coming from with this. I don't normally have sex as part of an RPG, though on occasion characters have had sex - not in any explicit detail, but it was understood that they had.

As for pornographic movies or explicit novels, I also don't normally watch/read such in company, but I've watched plenty of movies with others that have had sex scenes - generally not hardcore, but pretty obviously sex - and even more with romantic plots.

Various forms of queerness definitely factor into romance plots, even if we never explicitly see or describe the genitalia of the people in question. All of this discussion can be quite relevant to RPGS, without actually playing out having sex at the table.

So basically, I'm not sure why you're talking about not having sex in RPGs. What does it have to do with this thread?


Envall wrote:
And since everything is possible... I guess that would lead to people being just whatever kind of sexuality they fancy. Not having to rely on others would let you much easier be ... you?

Except that Starfinder is a setting where all the hypertech coexists with traditional religion whose Gods have real presence, and real teeth. Those of them with portfolios related to "meatspace" will be motivated to keep them relevant, with both "positive" consequences (yes, people are probably still motivated to "happen in real life" both sexually and otherwise) and negative ones (certain kinds of prejudices might persist which the hyper-tech setting should otherwise have made redundant).


ThomasBowman wrote:
It is easier to play characters that are the same gender as you.

For what it's worth, I do not find any particular difference between playing male and female characters. There are definitely personalities I find hard to roleplay, and others I would be reluctant to roleplay in many contexts - characters whose sexualities are written as foregrounded parts of how they approach the world (like Alahazra or Valeros among the Pathfinder iconics) are not ones I would want to play unless I knew the rest of the group well enough to be sure everyone was comfortable with how that might develop - but they do not divide up by gender.

Getting to play androids who find the whole gender thing irrelevant is quite appealing to me.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

...suddenly has memories of the droud from Larry Niven's Known Space series...

Liberty's Edge

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ThomasBowman wrote:
Typically one has sex with their one significant other, you don't invite all you friends to have sex do you? I think having sex is one thing, playing a RPG is another. People don't come to your game table to have sex, usually! I don't consider sex to be a social activity that you invite all your friends to watch, but maybe that is just me.

I don't think anyone is actually suggesting a gaming group/orgy (though I'm sure someone's done that at some point). But discussing sex or having your characters have sex (usually in a 'fade to black' kinda way) is pretty different than actually having sex with anyone.

ThomasBowman wrote:
I don't think I would want to watch a pornographic movie with them or read an explicit novel out loud to them either. For me sex is private, not something I share with my friends.

Again, I don't think including relationships or 'fade to black' sex scenes in a game is the equivalent of this. Indeed, it's (as noted) much closer to watching a movie or TV show where sex happens (sometimes off-screen). And if you haven't ever watched a movie or TV show with friends wherein two characters hooked up...well, I'm not gonna say you're unique, but you're a distinct minority.

I mean, I'm having trouble thinking of a TV show that doesn't have sex at some point (at least off-screen), and I like watching TV shows with people...so the idea that non-explicit sex in a roleplaying game would be weird or inappropriate just sorta boggles my mind.

ThomasBowman wrote:
So I don't see what role it would have at a table top role playing game either, except possibly for making children, waiting 20 game years and then roling up stats for them so they can go on adventures after my character reaches 20 level and has retired from adventuring.

Well, a lot of people get into RPGs at least partially for the same reason people get into theater, to get into their character's head and explore who they are as a person. To take on the role and persona of a character to at least some extent. I certainly consider that one of the main reasons I like playing RPGs.

If that's not your particular motivation for getting involved, that's fine...but it's hardly an uncommon or unique one, and if one is gonna explore who their character is, for many characters sex and romance and how they feel about those things are gonna be a pretty big deal and thus likely to come up.


ThomasBowman wrote:
FirstChAoS wrote:

I never had the courage to play with gender and sexuality in a RPG.

I have been too scared to. I questioned myself as everything and have recieved trouble from both the hetero/cis and the LGBT community.

My first questioning was on gender the answer was mostly no (mostly, as I still wish I was free to be feminine and have occasional breast envy) my second was on sexuality which keeps changing on me. I feel I fit in nowhere and fear if I play with LGBT things in a group I will get flak (most of the groups are mostly hetero/cis) and since I want to have fun with gender traits I also fear any trans playing people will find it insulting.

I hear you, I have trouble portraying female characters as anything other than combatants. Most people don't play role playing games to pretend to have sex with NPCs anyway.

I never met anyone who played RPG's for sex. Even exploring gender/sexuality in RPG's does not mean RPing sex.

I also have issues playing female characters long term, sort of a odd disconnect I do not get with other character types, not sure why.


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Playing a character with a different gender identity or sexuality from you has nothing at all to do with erotic RP or "pretending to have sex with NPCs." Gay, bi and trans characters can be onscreen without obliging anybody to have sex just the same as straight characters can. They're such completely different things, and that's a bizarre enough non sequitur, that that tangent almost seems to qualify as outright derailment.

I'm sorry to hear about FirstChAoS' experience. One thing I will say for online roleplaying and the virtual tabletop is that if you're up front about what you want from the table, it's a lot easier to find like-minded people now than it's ever been... but that isn't the same thing as its being easy.

Liberty's Edge

CeeJay wrote:
Playing a character with a different gender identity or sexuality from you has nothing at all to do with erotic RP or "pretending to have sex with NPCs." Gay, bi and trans characters can be onscreen without obliging anybody to have sex just the same as straight characters can. They're such completely different things, and that's a bizarre enough non sequitur, that that tangent almost seems to qualify as outright derailment.

I dunno if I 100% agree here actually. Playing a trans character obviously has nothing to do with sex or romance inherently, but if there's absolutely no romantic or sexual themes in even a 'fades to black' way it becomes really hard to have any sexuality that matters (including being straight) and I've certainly seen and played in games where that was more or less the case. To my frustration in at least one case (since my character's sexuality would've been interesting if it'd ever come up).

People who come from a pure hack and slash school of gaming (or some other that focuses utterly away from characters personal lives) often legitimately don't 'get' why any sexuality (including being straight) is relevant to what they play as a miniature wargame in many ways.

So, the question of whether sexuality and romance come up in games is at least tangentially related to Queer Representation in Starfinder, since without the assumption that some romantic/sexual themes will arise such representation tends to sorta fade away. It's tangential to the main issue, but not a derailment per se, IMO.

CeeJay wrote:
I'm sorry to hear about FirstChAoS' experience. One thing I will say for online roleplaying and the virtual tabletop is that if you're up front about what you want from the table, it's a lot easier to find like-minded people now than it's ever been... but that isn't the same thing as its being easy.

Yeah, this can definitely be an issue when playing with people you're not already friends with. I've never had this particular problem myself, but I've had enough others that now I pretty much only game with friends or people those friends specifically invite. That can be hard if, say, moving to a new city, though.

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