Meet the Iconics: Shardra Geltl

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Today we introduce the next of the new iconic characters from the Advanced Class Guide: Shardra the shaman. Shardra will also be a playable character in the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Wrath of the Righteous set due for release in February 2015.


Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

It's a sorry lot for a proud dwarven daughter to be raised a miserable dwarven son, but everyone receives one lot in life, and Shardra Geltl never knew to expect better. Childhood was kind, her sisters loved her, her brother protected her, and always she had the whispers of tools and books to keep her company. Adolescence, though, came bearing heavy burdens. Her siblings moved on with their own lives, replaced by harsh teachers and taskmasters. She weathered a staggeringly awkward first kiss as her childhood best friend grew into a handsome lad, followed by a painful arranged engagement to a lovely girl from the neighboring Dechl clan. But the mines and refinery of Xolgrit fed the war machine of Rolgrimmdur far above, and militant efficiency demanded all citizen-soldiers accept and excel in their roles, no matter how miserable.

But Shardra still had the whispers to keep her company on lonely nights.

Books quipped bits and pieces of their tales, bowls jabbered gossip shared over breakfast, and picks stammered the poems of the rocks they clove. And while the odds and ends of Xolgrit kept her company, the stones of the Old Road, carved long ago by dwarves still hunting for the sky, sang legends. More and more often, the shy dwarf slipped away to wander the crumbling paths, learning the deeds of her ancestors away from the clamor of duty and expectation. She assumed the whispers were her friends, there to keep her safe and offer respite from the dull ache of life. Then one "trustworthy" stone crumbled beneath her feet, dropping her into darkness.

The fall was short. Her arm met stone with a wet crunch, but the ache from the shattered bone faded away as the whispers rose in deafening song. All around stretched an ancient cavern. Hot springs bubbled across its floor, while mosaics and beaten gold masks decorated the walls. Mundane beasts and fantastic creatures wandered past, unperturbed by her presence.

A single tuatara waddled forward as she cradled her limb. It borrowed a tongue from the whispers and spoke. "What are you?"

"I—" She opened her mouth to speak, borrowing too from those old, quiet chants. And although the whispers had a word for all things in creation, they had no words for the expectations of others. "I don't know."

From that day on, the whispers poured themselves through Shardra's reptilian friend, speaking louder and more clearly with a mouth to form the words. She soon named the creature Kolo—an old dwarven word for the beauty in everyday things—and told Kolo of Xolgrit and Rolgrimmdur, and of the beauty of the stars in the night sky, and how to tell past and present and future apart. And Kolo taught her how to speak to spirits and borrow their favor to mend her broken bones, and of dwarven faith from long before they mingled their worship with the deities of the surface world. It taught her how to glean deeper secrets from the artifacts of the dead, and how to greet the Ladies of Crag and Ember—powerful elementals who laid claim to the hot springs and the surrounding tunnels. Most precious of all, Kolo taught her of the rivethun—dwarves who drew great power by embracing the disjunction between their bodies and souls—and she learned to brew the alchemical tinctures her past sisters used to quiet the rages of adolescence and bring their minds and bodies into harmony.

As Shardra's mystical skills and budding femininity began to show, her parents lamented their loss of a son and the addition of yet another dowry. Their irritation changed to joy as their daughter's dealings with the spirit world guided Xolgrit's miners to rich new veins of ore and long-lost treasure troves. The Geltl clan's fortunes reversed as Shardra's confidence, skills, and womanhood blossomed, and eventually clans from Xolgrit and beyond offered handsome brideprices.

Shardra's gifts attracted more than suitors, however. Lonely spirits and treasure hunters alike came to Xolgrit hoping to profit by the young shaman's insight. Neither settled peacefully into the community's rigid order. The string of lootings, possessions, drunken brawls, hauntings, and soured beer drew the attention of Rolgrimmdur, and the city-state dispatched a squad of soldiers—under the command of Captain Itcel Dechl—to put down the ragtag mercenary gangs squatting in town. Shardra herself turned her magic on its source, driving the spirit invaders back to the hot spring and demanding the Ladies of Crag and Ember keep their subjects under control.

Unsatisfied by her easy victory over a band of drunken thugs and grave robbers, Captain Dechl and her soldiers traced Shardra's path through the Old Roads, and eventually claimed the sacred shrine (and the wealth covering its walls) as a cultural treasure for Rolgrimmdur. The elemental Ladies raged at the presumption, swearing in turn to reduce Xolgrit to rubble. Both sides declared the dwarf maiden a traitor and cast her aside as they charged into battle. Shardra lashed out, seizing control of an earth elemental and using its might to collapse the ancient shrine.

With nothing left to fight over, the opposing armies fled.

Lacking any evidence of Shardra's actions but burning with frustration, Dechl used what remained of her authority to accuse the spirit-talker of heresy. Although friends and family staunchly defended her innocence, Shardra took the allegations as a chance to act on plans that had grown increasingly tempting. She left Xolgrit and her tutors, childhood friends, and family by paths only the stones remembered. Shardra reached the surface a guarded but curious woman, more interested in stories of the long dead than the bickering of the living. With Kolo the crag tuatara at her shoulder, Shardra now wanders the world, uncovering lost treasure and listening to the tales it has to tell. Permanent ties still chafe, even ones as shallow as a favor owed or an unpaid tavern bill, but her heart softens toward any who wander. Despite her love of the world's vast mysteries, a small part of the shaman yearns for the joy and companionship she once felt with her sisters, and Shardra corresponds with her family often, ever watchful for any discovery that might provide an excuse to write or visit her distant, glittering home.

Crystal Frasier
Contributor

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The Exchange

Ceres Cato wrote:
Andrew R wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Andrew R wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Andrew R wrote:
Frankly i do not see why people care so much about how others view and portray themselves if it doesn't effect others
Because we don't live in a society where it doesn't.

Really? if i wear a dress how does that effect you?

One can not toss a pebble into a pond and expect an absence of ripples.
By that all actions are wrong because all actions cause ripples so end the world to stop the ripples.
I once saw a man in high heels. Thought he looked rather fetching in them. Totally unrelated, but he had nice feet.

I always joke i could rock heels since i always walk on my toes to begin with

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Ipslore wins the Kobayashi Maru scenario.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Andrew, you're right that it shouldn't effect anyone else if you decide to wear a dress, or to live your life as a woman, or marry someone of your same gender, or smoke marijuana, or marry a person of a different race, or any number of things that a vocal minority disapproves of and is willing to back up with violence.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ceres Cato wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Andrew R wrote:
Frankly i do not see why people care so much about how others view and portray themselves if it doesn't effect others
Because we don't live in a society where it doesn't.
But we can strive for one! Every day!

Yes we can. just remember that you've volunteered for a generations long journey. :)


2 people marked this as a favorite.
LazarX wrote:
Yes we can. just remember that you've volunteered for a generations long journey. :)

I have nothing but time.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
LazarX wrote:
Ceres Cato wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Andrew R wrote:
Frankly i do not see why people care so much about how others view and portray themselves if it doesn't effect others
Because we don't live in a society where it doesn't.
But we can strive for one! Every day!
Yes we can. just remember that you've volunteered for a generations long journey. :)

But someone has to start, right?


Ceres Cato wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Ceres Cato wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Andrew R wrote:
Frankly i do not see why people care so much about how others view and portray themselves if it doesn't effect others
Because we don't live in a society where it doesn't.
But we can strive for one! Every day!
Yes we can. just remember that you've volunteered for a generations long journey. :)
But someone has to start, right?

We have started; by establishing that we want change and encouraging others, we've started.


Crystal Frasier wrote:
Andrew R wrote:
the only problem with that kind of example is that it might lead some to think they are right that transgendered/intersex people are "broken" and need to be "fixed"....
The kinds of people who interpret it that way already view trans people as broken, and ignore anything we say to the contrary.

Not all I think. Some are just ignorant.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
TanithT wrote:
Here's my best tongue in cheek guess, with the disclaimer that this paper will probably not appear in a peer reviewed journal any time soon. ;)

I know you don't have time for this, but I would love to read a series of "The Evolution of..." articles from you. This was great. Thanks for taking the time to think it up and write it up.


Lissa Guillet wrote:
Ceres Cato wrote:
Second:I am terribly confused by all of this, sorry.
It's ok. It can be confusing and using this as a teaching moment is why many transgendered people are refreshing this page constantly.

+1 to all of that. (Especially the refreshing the page constantly part :)

Shadow Lodge

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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
KSF wrote:
Lissa Guillet wrote:
Ceres Cato wrote:
Second:I am terribly confused by all of this, sorry.
It's ok. It can be confusing and using this as a teaching moment is why many transgendered people are refreshing this page constantly.
+1 to all of that. (Especially the refreshing the page constantly part :)

As much as I try to stay away. :)


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Crystal Frasier wrote:
Ceres Cato wrote:

Thanks Crystal, but one question remains: Do you think it's mostly an issue if your environment is concerned with these things? Or would it be easier if there was no expectation regarding your gender?

This somehow reminds me of my mother, who always was angry with me that I wouldn't play with dolls, or later in my teens, when I wouldn't do any "girl" things like spending friday nights in discoteques and meeting boys. No, I had to spend my friday nights with other boys playing stupid imaginary fantasy games.

No, it is definitely not an environment or gender expectations issue at all. I have know butch trans women and femme trans men and everything in between. The fact that my experience with hormones immediately cleared up so many emotional issues and cranked my chronic depression down from a ten to a three, and the fact that I share that experience with literally hundred o trans people I have met over the past twenty years, tells me that there is likely a biological aspect.

Just to add another data point in support of this, I experienced the same thing when I started HRT. It was immediate and it was amazing.

Edit to add: And to add a data point to another aspect of this that's being discussed - when you know.

Prior to the summer before I turned 12, it wasn't something I consciously thought about. Or abstractly. Though I did do things like go through my mother's jewelry and makeup. And I vaguely wanted to be like various women I'd see on TV - Olivia Newton-John in Xanadu, Pam Dawber on Mork & Mindy, Jane Seymour in anything. (Okay, I'm old.) But those thoughts were never concretely, "I'm a girl," or "I need to be a girl."

Then, somewhere in the four months prior to turning 12, those sorts of thoughts did become conscious, and insistent and were at the forefront of my mind pretty much every day between then and when I started HRT.

The details vary from trans person to trans person. Some realize something is up sooner, some later.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
KSF wrote:
TanithT wrote:
Here's my best tongue in cheek guess, with the disclaimer that this paper will probably not appear in a peer reviewed journal any time soon. ;)
I know you don't have time for this, but I would love to read a series of "The Evolution of..." articles from you. This was great. Thanks for taking the time to think it up and write it up.

Thanks! It would actually be pretty fun, though to really do it right rather than tossing up tongue-in-cheek post to a message board would take some more in-depth research into the currently canonic taxonomy of Golarion.

Putting an evolutionary picture together from the bits of the puzzle you can see is always a fascinating process. You don't always guess right, new supporting evidence keeps getting found for different pet hypotheses, and the academic arguments would probably precipitate duels if we were still living in an era where that was legal.

It would be pretty interesting to speculate how that sort of thing would work among the scholars, historians and nature specialists of Golarion, especially given the ability of magic to divine as much or more from a bone or tissue remnant as we can in the modern day.


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TanithT wrote:
KSF wrote:
TanithT wrote:
Here's my best tongue in cheek guess, with the disclaimer that this paper will probably not appear in a peer reviewed journal any time soon. ;)
I know you don't have time for this, but I would love to read a series of "The Evolution of..." articles from you. This was great. Thanks for taking the time to think it up and write it up.

Thanks! It would actually be pretty fun, though to really do it right rather than tossing up tongue-in-cheek post to a message board would take some more in-depth research into the currently canonic taxonomy of Golarion.

Putting an evolutionary picture together from the bits of the puzzle you can see is always a fascinating process. You don't always guess right, new supporting evidence keeps getting found for different pet hypotheses, and the academic arguments would probably precipitate duels if we were still living in an era where that was legal.

It would be pretty interesting to speculate how that sort of thing would work among the scholars, historians and nature specialists of Golarion, especially given the ability of magic to divine as much or more from a bone or tissue remnant as we can in the modern day.

Of course the frustrating thing for such scholars is when they've done as much research as they can and finally present their results, some old elf in the audience interrupts them to say "Sorry, you're wrong about that. My grandfather created them after a particularly wild party about 800 years back."


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LazarX wrote:
Andrew R wrote:
Frankly i do not see why people care so much about how others view and portray themselves if it doesn't effect others
Because we don't live in a society where it doesn't.

Unfortunately I've dealt with this since I've started dating my girlfriend, who is a transwoman. We've been stopped twice by police who assume that she is a prostitute and I'm her client. This is unfortunately a thing that happens across the US to transcouples. In addition, I've lost friends over this and even had a woman at a bar we went to verbally accost us because she thought my girlfriend was "belittling women by pretending".

So, it's easy to say that others shouldn't care about how they are viewed or portrayed, but in reality, it's something that affects us. Whether it's people putting us down or using violence, it affects us. Since I've left home, I've had people spit in my food, verbally accost me, and ambush me with the intent of murder because I'm a minority that tends to date white women. So, when I see a positive Hispanic character in a sea of negative stereotypes, it makes me feel accepted and a lot better about myself. That's why this iconic's background is a focused on her transition. It might not matter to you since it doesn't affect you, but for those that it does, it shows a positive role model in a culture that deems them freaks. And I think that with more like this, we'll get to a point where few will even bat an eye about it.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

That sucks and I'm sorry to hear that. :(


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Segallion wrote:

Thank you so much for this discussion so far. I think I have learned a bunch from Crystal and the other posters that share that experience. So please keep up the enlightenment.

As a GM I want to better be able to represent these types of characters, hell as a person I want a better understanding so as to NOT hurt someone's feelings with my ignorance.

Are there websites, or materials that would be a benefit learning more about this subject that you could recommend?

Thanks again in advance!

GLAAD has a few points here.

They also have some tips for allies, some of which should sound familiar if you've been following the discussions in this thread.

The Sylvia Rivera Law Project has a bit here.

(Note the usage of the term "Trans 101" at both of these sites. It's a common term used for teaching/learning the basics about trans people.)

There was a discussion about books on the subject on the LGBT Community thread about a year ago. It's around this post, maybe starting a little before that, and continuing after.

And in general, there's some good discussion about trans issues from time to time in the LGBT Gamer Community Thread (in addition to lots of good discussions about LGB issues, of course).

I wrote a long post a couple of weeks ago in that thread on trans terminology here. It's accurate to the extent of my understanding. (I don't claim to know everything on the subject of being transgender, even though I am transgender.)

That should be enough to get you started.

Anyone else want to add anything?

Liberty's Edge Contributor

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Ceres Cato wrote:
By the way and regarding the topic (which is Shardra): I'm still unsure if the voices in her head are the voices of long dead transgendered dwarves or if I understood something terribly wrong. And are those dwarves still around somewhere?

The voices Shardra can hear are not long-dead transgender dwarves. They are the spirits she can hear, and which ultimately provide her with her divine magic in a similar way that a god provides a cleric with their magic. In Shadra's case, her spirit focus is lore, and her gift works like animism or psychometry (psychic object reading), where she can understand manufactured objects in the same way a druid can understand animals or the natural world (ie: It's more just a description of her gifts than a real mechanical effect; drawing real knowledge from objects or animals still requires a spell). She can only converse directly with the spirits when they focus through Kolo, who has its own personality and perspective, and can describe the "gossip" of the spirit world to her.

Shardra knew she was transgender before Kolo gave it a world. Having a name for it--and a way to do something about it--just gave her confidence and the pride of knowing she wasn't alone (or crazy). The Rivethun still exist, they just aren't as common because they are equal parts social group and religious order (for a religion that dwarves have largely left behind) there just haven't been any in the tiny town of Xolgrit in a few generations.


7 people marked this as a favorite.
Crystal Frasier wrote:
Having a name for it--and a way to do something about it--just gave her confidence and the pride of knowing she wasn't alone (or crazy).

+1


the back story is cool, but to be honest, I'm not a fan of her hat, it looks like she mugged a wrestler for his championship belt and put it on her head, hehe

The Exchange

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Odraude wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Andrew R wrote:
Frankly i do not see why people care so much about how others view and portray themselves if it doesn't effect others
Because we don't live in a society where it doesn't.

Unfortunately I've dealt with this since I've started dating my girlfriend, who is a transwoman. We've been stopped twice by police who assume that she is a prostitute and I'm her client. This is unfortunately a thing that happens across the US to transcouples. In addition, I've lost friends over this and even had a woman at a bar we went to verbally accost us because she thought my girlfriend was "belittling women by pretending".

So, it's easy to say that others shouldn't care about how they are viewed or portrayed, but in reality, it's something that affects us. Whether it's people putting us down or using violence, it affects us. Since I've left home, I've had people spit in my food, verbally accost me, and ambush me with the intent of murder because I'm a minority that tends to date white women. So, when I see a positive Hispanic character in a sea of negative stereotypes, it makes me feel accepted and a lot better about myself. That's why this iconic's background is a focused on her transition. It might not matter to you since it doesn't affect you, but for those that it does, it shows a positive role model in a culture that deems them freaks. And I think that with more like this, we'll get to a point where few will even bat an eye about it.

My point was that all of those people should not care because what you are doing doesn't effect them. not that you should not care about what they think. If THEY followed what i'm saying your life would be much easier....


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Sadly, people don't work that way.


Odraude wrote:
Sadly, people don't work that way.

Honestly, I have no doubt that you wish you could be able to sock those people in the jaw.


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Just read Crystal's Table Talk interview on Shardra. Was pleased to see a nod to Doom Patrol. Crystal, was it Kate Godwin you were thinking of there?

Shadow Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
KSF wrote:
Crystal Frasier wrote:
Ceres Cato wrote:

Thanks Crystal, but one question remains: Do you think it's mostly an issue if your environment is concerned with these things? Or would it be easier if there was no expectation regarding your gender?

This somehow reminds me of my mother, who always was angry with me that I wouldn't play with dolls, or later in my teens, when I wouldn't do any "girl" things like spending friday nights in discoteques and meeting boys. No, I had to spend my friday nights with other boys playing stupid imaginary fantasy games.

No, it is definitely not an environment or gender expectations issue at all. I have know butch trans women and femme trans men and everything in between. The fact that my experience with hormones immediately cleared up so many emotional issues and cranked my chronic depression down from a ten to a three, and the fact that I share that experience with literally hundred o trans people I have met over the past twenty years, tells me that there is likely a biological aspect.
Just to add another data point in support of this, I experienced the same thing when I started HRT. It was immediate and it was amazing.

Ditto. Within a few days of starting HRT I had to cut my antidepressants in half because I was *seriously* overshooting. (And a year later I was off antidepressants completely.) The mental effects were not subtle.

KSF wrote:

Edit to add: And to add a data point to another aspect of this that's being discussed - when you know.

Prior to the summer before I turned 12, it wasn't something I consciously thought about. Or abstractly. Though I did do things like go through my mother's jewelry and makeup. And I vaguely wanted to be like various women I'd see on TV - Olivia Newton-John in Xanadu, Pam Dawber on Mork & Mindy, Jane Seymour in anything. (Okay, I'm old.) But those thoughts were never concretely, "I'm a girl," or "I need to be a girl."

Then, somewhere in the four months prior to turning 12, those sorts of thoughts did become conscious, and insistent and were at the forefront of my mind pretty much every day between then and when I started HRT.

The details vary from trans person to trans person. Some realize something is up sooner, some later.

And on a contrary note, I was one of those who had no idea I was trans until I was into my 30s. (While not typical, this is not as rare as you might think.)

Now, I was able later to go back and dig up memories I had repressed -- at some level I had known since I'd been about eight -- but as far as my conscious mind went I had absolutely no idea. Until I did.

Similarly, I had very little dysphoria around my physical body, even after starting my social transition. Until I did.

(EDIT: For overstating things. Because hair. There was always hair. :) )

All these things are so intensely individual you can get into a lot of trouble trying to generalize too much. (Which, let's be clear, no one in this thread has done.) The most important thing to do is to listen to everybody's individual story. And to believe what they tell you about themselves, even if it doesn't match what you think you know.

Of course, that goes for life in general, not just trans stuff.


pH unbalanced wrote:
And on a contrary note, I was one of those who had no idea I was trans until I was into my 30s. (While not typical, this is not as rare as you might think.)

That's the kind of experience I was thinking of when I said "some later." I should have been more clear, sorry.

Shadow Lodge

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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
KSF wrote:
pH unbalanced wrote:
And on a contrary note, I was one of those who had no idea I was trans until I was into my 30s. (While not typical, this is not as rare as you might think.)
That's the kind of experience I was thinking of when I said "some later." I should have been more clear, sorry.

Oh, no worries. I didn't mean you specifically -- that was the general "you".


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Wow, that was awesome. I know that the berdache and two spirit people were thought to have divine connections due to them walking in two worlds. Not only is it great to see a trans iconic just for representational purposes, but you tied this one into existing mythology/history! That's really impressive. You guys are so cutting edge you're vorpal.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

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KSF wrote:
Just read Crystal's Table Talk interview on Shardra. Was pleased to see a nod to Doom Patrol. Crystal, was it Kate Godwin you were thinking of there?

Whatever makes you think the seminal works of Rachel Pollack ever would have inspired me as a young writer?


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Odraude wrote:
...and even had a woman at a bar we went to verbally accost us because she thought my girlfriend was "belittling women by pretending".

I...I-I have no words for this degree of stupidity. It reminds me of the logic used during the witch burning scene in The Holy Grail. I found some words

I think this hits my berserk button harder than some of the other bits of hostile behavior, because of the thinly-disguised hate that surfaced. This idiot was trying so hard at misandry that she missed the f$#!ing point.

Odraude, it's awesome that you've stuck with her--supportive partners usually come along only after the fact.


Okay. For general purposes is the term "rivethun" available for general use (OGL)?

If not, may I ask it be made to be? I could see it as helping support more open concepts becoming a little more ah, standard or supported?


Crystal Frasier wrote:
KSF wrote:
Just read Crystal's Table Talk interview on Shardra. Was pleased to see a nod to Doom Patrol. Crystal, was it Kate Godwin you were thinking of there?
Whatever makes you think the seminal works of Rachel Pollack ever would have inspired me as a young writer?

:)

I've got a copy of Unquenchable Fire autographed by her. Turns out the comic book shop I used to go to way back when was run by her nephew. I had no idea she was trans at the time. (And her nephew never let on, just referred to her as his aunt.)

And Kate Godwin was one of the inspirations for the name I settled on. One of the first trans characters I remember seeing that felt close to my understanding of myself, including how she dressed and how she appeared and acted throughout most of Pollack's run. (Not including her briefly worn superhero costume.)

Didn't think I could like Shardra any more than I already did :)

Liberty's Edge Contributor

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Valeros: Why do you think so many game companies passed over the opportunity to have you as an iconic?

Shardra: I suspect they liked my powers but couldn't handle me.


Landon Winkler wrote:

I'd totally also take a ground bat familiar.

Cheers!
Landon

I had never heard of that species before. Very cool! Thanks!

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Crystal Frasier wrote:

Valeros: Why do you think so many game companies passed over the opportunity to have you as an iconic?

Shardra: I suspect they liked my powers but couldn't handle me.

Alternatively:

Shardra: I have a Tuatara. Your argument is invalid.


I think my reaction to this iconic can be summed up in six words.

Shardra is so cool. Thank you!


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Crystal Frasier wrote:


Genes aren't biological destiny, any more than blueprints are a house you can live in.

FYI, I will be stealing and paraphrasing this.

"You don't live in blueprints. You live in the home that is built."


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Odraude wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Andrew R wrote:
Frankly i do not see why people care so much about how others view and portray themselves if it doesn't effect others
Because we don't live in a society where it doesn't.

Unfortunately I've dealt with this since I've started dating my girlfriend, who is a transwoman. We've been stopped twice by police who assume that she is a prostitute and I'm her client. This is unfortunately a thing that happens across the US to transcouples. In addition, I've lost friends over this and even had a woman at a bar we went to verbally accost us because she thought my girlfriend was "belittling women by pretending".

So, it's easy to say that others shouldn't care about how they are viewed or portrayed, but in reality, it's something that affects us. Whether it's people putting us down or using violence, it affects us. Since I've left home, I've had people spit in my food, verbally accost me, and ambush me with the intent of murder because I'm a minority that tends to date white women. So, when I see a positive Hispanic character in a sea of negative stereotypes, it makes me feel accepted and a lot better about myself. That's why this iconic's background is a focused on her transition. It might not matter to you since it doesn't affect you, but for those that it does, it shows a positive role model in a culture that deems them freaks. And I think that with more like this, we'll get to a point where few will even bat an eye about it.

very well said! I'm just a normal straight guy, but I have a lot of gay, bi, trans, pansexual, etc. Friends and they are great because they're different! I don't have to understand all the reasons they are the way they are, just love them for who they are. If only everyone could.


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I guess it's just easy to remember that human beings are built in two parts: soul and shell.
For most people the two match, for others they do not.

Some are attracted to the soul in an opposite shell, while others are attracted to a soul in the same shell.

Some don't even care about the shell at all, and are focused on loving the soul...

To each their own.


Kryzbyn wrote:

... Some don't even care about the shell at all, and are focused on loving the soul...

To each their own.

"Get the shell out of here?"


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Samy wrote:

I think the thing that bugs me about Shardra is that it's not explicitly stated that she's trans. It's subtext that one can choose to pick up on, but I think the text is hedged enough that one can also choose the interpretation that she's not trans.

I mean, I would never have even thought she was trans if I hadn't read this thread. All I took home from the text was that she was born biologically female but her parents tried to raise her as a male, and that her awakening was just her asserting her original biological gender. Which is an interesting enough angle in itself. And frankly, that's the way it still reads to me.

I'm fine acknowledging that officially, apparently her genitalia actually changed. But the picture I have painted in my head so far, she's not trans, she just had messed up parents.

I was thinking the same thing!

Kryzbyn wrote:

I got into a pretty candid discussion with Crystal and Lissa in the LGBT thread. I asked a bunch of what I learned were un-cool and insensitive questions, but they were extremely patient and answered them.

It was incredibly educational and I'd encourage anyone who's uncomfortable asking questions here to give that thread a look-see.

Link?


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I read through the background and had an amazing moment. Like I said up-thread, I was amazed by the writing and what it accomplished for me. I should have also described it so others could understand what I experienced.

I have Asperger's Syndrome, the mildest form of Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Essentially ASD is a form of learning disability in regards to basic communication skills. In severe cases communication of any sort becomes all but impossible. In the mild form that I have my difficulties were with understanding and using body language, intonation, and limits (when to stop giving information).

Even though I didn't know what I had—we only figured it out around thirty because my nephew was diagnosed with it and we realized that I had all the same symptoms—I knew that I had difficulties making the clear, concise statements in my mind come out anything but confused. So I began thinking about what I was reading and began writing to help work on my conversational skills.

D&D was a godsend. It combined reading and writing with direct conversation. Description was all important as was teamwork and social skills.

Fast forward to my reading Shardra's story. At first the opening lines and paragraphs made no sense to me. I was actually pulling out my analytical skills and questioning whether tenses had been misplaced or words dropped accidentally before posting. I began trying to trace out meaning by putting words in that weren't there and editing it in my mind.

Then I got to the sections where she discovered what she truly was—gender she knew, but shaman and rivethun? not so much—that I GOT IT. I then experienced the reading equivalent of looking at that silhouette of a vase and suddenly seeing two female profiles facing each other. The words in the opening paragraphs suddenly made perfect sense and required no editing or adjustments.

I can't think of a time where this sudden dawning of comprehension occurred so rapidly. I was highly impressed. I actually could see—for that brief moment—what life could be like for someone with gender dysphoria. That is an amazing thing and I, as an amateur student of communication skills, would once again like to say so.


Odraude wrote:
Sadly, people don't work that way.

Truth and a half, given your experiences are not unlike my own as a minority who also dates outside of 'my own'. I could easily afford to be subscribed to all of Paizo things if I had a penny for every Jungle Fever reference to pass in my vicinity. The most unexpectedly dismay inducing part is the amount of not merely scorn but bald-faced overt hostility received from women who wouldn't give me the time of day in the first place about not keeping my affections for someone of my own ethnic group.

I'm not one to bag on another's tastes via a visit love, so you get nothing but props from me. My own personal tastes have led to a broken heart scenario that was both awkward and unfortunate because of my own head space and the physical aspects. I felt bad enough but helped point in the direction of a more suitable suitor. Which worked out. So yay!

Which, in relation to Shardra, might be why some are as hung up on the proverbial wedding tackle, to know whether or not it's a worm in the kit or a box of a different kind. It will not necessarily be the point of the tale told, but for some it will impact character interactions.

Then again, I say this as a person who has played characters of any number of race, gender, and orientation combinations, and evidently thrown off the calibration of many a friends' *dar.


Ravingdork wrote:


Kryzbyn wrote:

I got into a pretty candid discussion with Crystal and Lissa in the LGBT thread. I asked a bunch of what I learned were un-cool and insensitive questions, but they were extremely patient and answered them.

It was incredibly educational and I'd encourage anyone who's uncomfortable asking questions here to give that thread a look-see.

Link?

Link

My exercise in foot-in-mouth starts about a 1/4 of the way down.

Dark Archive

So I was just reading through some Osirioni stuff, for, like, no reason at all, and noticed that Golarion has a greenish stone named veinstone (sometimes made into stuff like Pact Stone Pyramids) that is hard enough to make into weapons.

I wonder if Shardra's dagger is veinstone?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Just looks like jade to me. Maybe the blade is still metallic?


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Most greenstone actually IS a type of jade. The Maori of New Zealand used it for ornaments, tools, and weapons.


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Captain K. wrote:

This sexuality discussion could be resolved if the Iconics get together and Feiya spams Misfortune > Evil Eye > Cackle > Unnatural Lust on everyone and sees who makes their saving throw.

Then records the zany fun on some crystal ball or whatever.

Anyway, here we go on Iconic sexuality.

Valeros - Het male, but he does drink a lot and is an adventurer. Has been seen to towel whip people like a jock so has almost certainly 'experimented'.

Seoni - super sexy lady but utterly insane and oddly LN. Meriseil doesn't think she puts out to anyone. Possibly an odd kind of pricktease chastity.

Merisiel - openly bi, in a gay relationship with Kyra.

Kyra - unhappily gay, in relationship with Merisiel.

Ezren - unknown, but he is the only Wizard ever known who works out at the gym. Could be a bear, could just be expressing typical wizardly vanity.

Harsk - maybe straight, but it probably isn't a thing. He's a buttoned-down dwarf and straight-edge to boot. Not a sexual person.

Seelah - terrible old romantic. Het. One day her prince will come. Vanishingly unlikely for a commoner, but luckily she is a high level Paladin so she actually might meet her beatific Aasimar noble.

Lem - he's had to duck and dive, fit in where he can, adapt. He's a charming Bard, things happen. Cheliax aristo ladies, dodgy slavers, life's rich pageant.

Sajan - hasn't met 'the one' yet. Probably straight if he thinks about it at all.

Amiri - maneater. Doesn't like boys, she likes men. Up your game.

Lini - genuinely insane person, it's hard to tell what she likes. I suspect it involves Wildshaping.

Seltyiel - gay as the day is long. His backstory is all about rejection from his point of view, none of it mentioning his own effete behavior. Gay gay gay, and defensive about it. Luckily he's a mass-murdering Magus for when the pressure gets too much!

Alahazra - a very nice girl who only wants the simple things, a sweet house, a decent husband, polite kids. Her Oracle curse is that none of these things will ever happen.

This has got to be the best post I have read in forever.

XD expecially the Alahazra's.


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Is it possible to have a different take here? Or is a different view not to be "tolerated"?

So we have a tragic story about parents (or the representative nursemaids) who allowed her to grow up a very confused person. It seems that she actually IS female, but had the unfortunate circumstance of being born with a deformity that made this unclear, or else her parents had the poor judgment of demanding the actual girl be something she actually genetically was not. Regardless of what they believed, or how she self-identified at any point, she actually IS what she was born. Belief does not make a thing so any more than belief that 2+2=22 makes that so.

We have a character warped by her circumstances to not really know who she was because she actually is a SHE but was told to behave like a HE. I'm not sure how "biologically male" is "wibbly-wobbly, as regardless of appearance, she actually IS something genetically specific even if she and everyone else is confused. This is far more of a problem in a post-modern relativist worldview than I would expect to find in the pre-industrial societies that are the inspiration for Pathfinder.

I think it worth questioning, though, is this character is being held up as the "Greatest of Iconics", because of the content of her character (courageously facing down mercenaries who sought to take what was not due them), or because she is ACTUALLY a genetic woman who took the truth of that regardless of her previous confusion about being a boy or her parent's confusion or warped lie about what she was? Or is it for no other reason than that she is "trans" which can be whatever you want it to be? IS there a difference between fantasies about characters who are actually strong or smart or quick using those talents to confront monsters and fantasies based on trying to bury the truth of one's identity beneath a preferential belief? Why would this character be upheld as any greater an Iconic than Harsk, or Kyra, or Sajan who are all following noble, self-sacrificing paths?

Are we celebrating the character merely on grounds of their sexual beliefs and practices, or because of an appreciation for a fuller fleshed character that has to do with courage in the face of lies, greed, and fear?

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