Homosexuality in Golarion


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

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Andrew R wrote:
It has been interesting but too many knee jerk reactions from all sides makes threads like this often short lived.

I think this thread has special dispensation. It's a controversial subject, and as a result, passions will run high and emotions rubbed raw. It's also an important subject, and one worth discussing despite (or perhaps even because of) the knee jerk reactions.

To put it another way, we aren't braying at each other about how broken wizards are or how to fix monks - we're hashing out very real issues that affect many of us in our every day lives. Yes, it is being done in the context of a fantasy roleplaying game, but I don't believe that diminishes the importance at all. So I'm glad the moderators haven't yet thrown up their hands in frustration and locked this sucka down.


Mikaze wrote:
RJGrady wrote:
This really is the worst discussion thread.

It's honestly one of my favorites on these boards.

Yes, it's been a painful read at times. Infuriatingly so. Yes, it does get dragged down into needless fighting at points. And yes, it has been a target for trolls and homophobic threadcraps.

But when it's good...it's good.

It's been educational, inspirational, entertaining, and comforting, sometimes by turns and sometimes at once. Hell, it's been productive.

It's a big part of why many may feel protective of this thread. It may not always be the best, but I can't help but feel this thread has done much more good than harm, taken as a whole.

At the very least, I know I learned some things from this thread. And while I'd hesitate to directly credit it with some personal growth over the past few years....I think some of it might be traced back here.

I think I rather love this thread a bit, even if it doesn't always love you back. :)

I certainly can't think of another thread that my characters like Victoria would have come up in otherwise, and for me it is fun to read and share these sorts of things, and to brainstorm ideas, and to get new perspectives on things so we can evaluate and create deeper characters for the enjoyment of ourselves and others.

And while I've seen that there is sometimes hate on both sides, it has also shown that there's a lot of good thoughts in the world, and serves as a minder that despite the hate, love and knowledge can make it better.

'Cause love swings both ways.

Silver Crusade Assistant Software Developer

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Generic Villain wrote:
Andrew R wrote:
It has been interesting but too many knee jerk reactions from all sides makes threads like this often short lived.

I think this thread has special dispensation. It's a controversial subject, and as a result, passions will run high and emotions rubbed raw. It's also an important subject, and one worth discussing despite (or perhaps even because of) the knee jerk reactions.

To put it another way, we aren't braying at each other about how broken wizards are or how to fix monks - we're hashing out very real issues that affect many of us in our every day lives. Yes, it is being done in the context of a fantasy roleplaying game, but I don't believe that diminishes the importance at all. So I'm glad the moderators haven't yet thrown up their hands in frustration and locked this sucka down.

That's really not what this thread is for. It sometimes happens and we usually ask everyone to stop. If you want a real life thread, add it to Off Topic, please. For discussions of Homosexuality in Golarion, this is the right thread for that.


Is it okay if characters from non-Golarion campaigns are mentioned as well, upon the same general themes, for purposes such as examples, comparisons, etc? I mean, a solid amount of the NPCs I mentioned weren't from Golarion-specific campaigns, but it seemed like they belonged in this thread, because they were still examples from Pathfinder games, etc.


I applaud paid I for including such diversity but one thing I would like to see is a character that isn't gender fluid but literally both genders because although they are rare the real world has hermaphrodites that have both genders in one I know that seems odd but I am horrible at creating characters and since I feel like both male and female I would like to be able to play a character who is both I mean I think Ren would be a good name for one but that and the hair and eye colour is all I could think of lol did I mention I suck at creating characters so a pregen would be awesome


Paizo wow what all did auto correct ruin in my post

Silver Crusade Contributor

Intersexed individuals do exist in Golarion; I believe that they're most common among the Vudrani.

(Also, the faultspawn tiefling subrace, who are most common among the Vudrani, are especially prone to being intersexed. Not sure which side is the bigger contributor...)

At least one such PC exists in my campaign now, with more to come. ^_^


In my current campaign a player is playing a bi sexual female dwarf (her interests in men is really just to keep her father a dwarves lord happy) and we are finding it hard to create a relationship/social dynamic that contrasts the rigid traditions of the dwarves and sexual freedom.

We read a few academic articles about homosexuality in viking culture (a similar culture to dwarves), it was interesting but often vague and didn't really give us a way to move forward.

The responsibilities of completing goals in the adventure paths and the isolated regions that dwarves live in maybe part of the problem.

Has anyone found success in creating a dynamic that deals with rigid traditions and sexual freedoms in relation to dwarves?

Any constructive advice would be most helpful

Dark Archive

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Morzadian wrote:

In my current campaign a player is playing a bi sexual female dwarf (her interests in men is really just to keep her father a dwarves lord happy) and we are finding it hard to create a relationship/social dynamic that contrasts the rigid traditions of the dwarves and sexual freedom.

We read a few academic articles about homosexuality in viking culture (a similar culture to dwarves), it was interesting but often vague and didn't really give us a way to move forward.

The responsibilities of completing goals in the adventure paths and the isolated regions that dwarves live in maybe part of the problem.

Has anyone found success in creating a dynamic that deals with rigid traditions and sexual freedoms in relation to dwarves?

Any constructive advice would be most helpful

Dwarves in Golarion might be a tad more monolithic culturally than in some other settings, since there aren't a bunch of dwarven subgroups like 'hill dwarves' or 'gold dwarves' running around (excepting, of course, the Duergar), and dwarves generally have their own sub-pantheon of gods which are explicitly a family, with a husband-father, wife-mother and passle of children and uncles and whatnot.

'Traditional' marriages might be the rule, with the exception being that they are just that, traditional, a matter of binding different clans together and cementing alliances and producing heirs, but not necessarily anything at all to do with love (again, particularly among the duergar / followers of Droskar, who might regard a marriage as just another dreary chore / onerous duty they must perform half-heartedly, at best).

If this is the case (and this is just one view on how dwarven marital traditions might ape those of their racial gods, unlike elves, who have an assortment of elven and shared human gods, none of them seemingly related to one another, or sharing any marital ties), then it's entirely possible that behind-the-scenes sexual relationships outside of marriage could be tacitly accepted, with a nod and a wink, so long as nobody blabs and causes embarrassment to the spouse being 'cheated on,' by bringing up out loud what pretty much everybody knows it going on all over the place anyway.

It could even be *more* open than that, as in ancient times when a man could have one or more wives and three hundred or so official concubines, and so long as he didn't sire (or recognize...) any children by his concubines, the wife/wives basically put up with it, since their children wouldn't have to compete with any 'bastards' that showed up. This doesn't feel terribly 'Lawful Good' to me (less Torag, more Shelyn, and Calistria nods approvingly), and dwarves are pretty prideful folk, so I'm not sure it would be suitable for *most* Golarion dwarves. If the bisexual dwarf comes from a clan that has this sort of open relationship (marry to produce heirs, recognize only those heirs, sleep with whoever else you want, but don't be making babies with them!), then same sex relationships might even be encouraged, since they guarantee clean lines of succession and no bastards (since the spouses various same-sex partners won't be getting knocked up by them, barring some fantastical magical mishap...).

But that's probably 'too good to be true,' and it might be more likely, and more dramatic, if the dwarven PCs family expects her to settle down with a nice dwarven boy for the good of the family and start making the babies and furthering the bloodline and all that stuff, which could lead to siblings showing up occasionally to try and 'talk sense into her' or even hired representatives of dear old dad, ready to drag her home, as her 'walkabout' has gone on long enough, in his eyes, and it's time for her to woman up and do her 'duty' by her family. (Assuming dad isn't a complete ogre, he might have convinced himself that he's rescuing her from her non-dwarven adventuring companions, 'Who have clearly led her astray, and poisoned her mind with their Elf / Human / Halfling nonsense! Who wouldn't want to marry Sven, and seal our family to the RichDiamondMine Clan? I'd marry him myself if I could!')

That might be more palatable, if the disapproving family isn't completely draconian about it, just kind of confused, as they honestly haven't allowed themselves to accept (or even hear) that the PC doesn't *want* to come home and marry a boy-dwarf and have babies yet (if ever).

The nature of the 'evil dad trying to marry off his daughters' can be turned a bit around if it's the *mom* that's trying to arrange good marriages for her daughters, both for the good of the clan, or for political reasons (perhaps an alliance between the PC's clan and her betrothed's clan will help protect and expand the otherwise fragile peace? Perhaps it will create a ruthless unstoppable monopoly? Perhaps some from column A and some from column B, and revealing the seamier side of it to the rest of the family might turn them against it, since they were being sold a shiny future full of rainbows and puppies?), or just because that's what dwarf-moms do, scheme and plot to arrange the best matches for their girls, and at some point she'll whip out the shocking comment, 'Do you really think I wanted to marry your father? Selfish child! You belittle the sacrifice every woman in our family has had to make, going back to the dawn of time!'

It might be interesting if the homosexual angle of it was literally irrelevant to the family. They'd be just as upset if she went out adventuring and slept around with other boy-dwarfs, because the point is that she's supposed to stay home and marry WhatsHisName.

On the other hand, if your player actively wants to explore a situation where her actions are controversial, then handwaving it and having her family be all, 'Yeah, we've known since you were six and threw all your dollies away and started wearing armor and trying to grow a beard, sis.' could be kind of frustrating. A 'coming out' story where everyone is all 'meh, whatever' can be as disappointing in it's own way as one where there's shouting and doors being slammed. Once your sure what the player is looking for, then you can tailor the reaction from her family / culture / whatever to suit.

Golarion surely has plenty of room for any range of reactions, since even the dwarves aren't robots, and there are as likely to be some 'philes as some 'phobes.

Silver Crusade Contributor

Wow. Nice work! ^_^

Now I want to play a dwarf princess-in-exile...


Set wrote:
Morzadian wrote:

In my current campaign a player is playing a bi sexual female dwarf (her interests in men is really just to keep her father a dwarves lord happy) and we are finding it hard to create a relationship/social dynamic that contrasts the rigid traditions of the dwarves and sexual freedom.

We read a few academic articles about homosexuality in viking culture (a similar culture to dwarves), it was interesting but often vague and didn't really give us a way to move forward.

The responsibilities of completing goals in the adventure paths and the isolated regions that dwarves live in maybe part of the problem.

Has anyone found success in creating a dynamic that deals with rigid traditions and sexual freedoms in relation to dwarves?

Any constructive advice would be most helpful

Dwarves in Golarion might be a tad more monolithic culturally than in some other settings, since there aren't a bunch of dwarven subgroups like 'hill dwarves' or 'gold dwarves' running around (excepting, of course, the Duergar), and dwarves generally have their own sub-pantheon of gods which are explicitly a family, with a husband-father, wife-mother and passle of children and uncles and whatnot.

'Traditional' marriages might be the rule, with the exception being that they are just that, traditional, a matter of binding different clans together and cementing alliances and producing heirs, but not necessarily anything at all to do with love (again, particularly among the duergar / followers of Droskar, who might regard a marriage as just another dreary chore / onerous duty they must perform half-heartedly, at best).

If this is the case (and this is just one view on how dwarven marital traditions might ape those of their racial gods, unlike elves, who have an assortment of elven and shared human gods, none of them seemingly related to one another, or sharing any marital ties), then it's entirely possible that behind-the-scenes sexual relationships outside of marriage could be tacitly accepted,...

Thanks Set that's a very good analysis of dwarves culture, marriage and religion.

I haven't been using these forums long (6 months), and was thinking about leaving for good, not enough conversation, too much "I'm gonna prove you wrong," or insulting comments you might have just changed my mind, thanks.

Yeah, marriage to cement alliances is definitely apart of dwarven culture in this campaign world, and yes love has nothing to with it.

And a good dose of politics, grey politics are involved.

Our gaming group had a discussion about it and said it could create scandal among the dwarves and she couldn't be open about it, but your comment "They'd be just as upset if she went out adventuring and slept around with other boy-dwarfs, because the point is that she's supposed to stay home and marry WhatsHisName." This opens more doors for another option, great I will bring it up at our next game.

This is the question that the player asked me:

Q: does Dwarven polygamy exist? IE: one husband, two wives?

Yangrit (if it isn't yet obvious) is a lesbian character (based on a close friend of mine)... but she faces the prospect of an expected marriage to a fellow male artisan (Grunyar).

The GM has chosen for the visiting fellow artisan (in the letter) to be a female friend (Valmae Sammerist) and not my soon-to-be husband. If I (as Yangrit, as a dwarf from a traditional clan) pursue other (marital) options, should I expect the GM to play conservative or should Yangrit (based on the proximity and interaction with trading human colonies) try for a closer relationship with my 'friend'. Note that Valmae and Yangrit are so close, that she knows Yangrit is gay.

So... My basis being that I (Yangrit, who knows her own story) could introduce the 'fact' that Valmae (her close female artisan friend) not only knows Yangrit but.... (*Taddum!*) that she is also in love with Grunyar. So thereay be a pssible role play to achieve such an
arrangement as 1 husband 2 wives.

The dilemma is .... it seems obvious that if Yangrit 'plays her cards right' we'll have a forge of amenable artisans at the Glassworks (Yangrit wrote a letter to her father, and he is buying the Glassworks and converting it into a dwarven forge, and sending dwarven artisans to work there). Meaning we can adventure without 'needing days at the forge' for Yangit.

BUT, if I over play this hand (in the pursuit of role-playing)...we'll be ostracised from the great advantage of the dwarven temple forge, and the DM's NPC's will all be for nought.

Silver Crusade

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I wouldn't confuse traidtionalist with any sort of weird attitudes about sex/gender politics with dwarves in this setting. I think Shardra's background shows a far more egalitarian view of how dwarves handle such things.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder PF Special Edition, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
SunshineGrrrl wrote:
I wouldn't confuse traidtionalist with any sort of weird attitudes about sex/gender politics with dwarves in this setting. I think Shardra's background shows a far more egalitarian view of how dwarves handle such things.

AFAIK, it's the only look that Paizo has given us on this question, unless Dwarves of Golarion touched on the topic.


SunshineGrrrl wrote:
I wouldn't confuse traidtionalist with any sort of weird attitudes about sex/gender politics with dwarves in this setting. I think Shardra's background shows a far more egalitarian view of how dwarves handle such things.

That's right, there aren't any oppressive aspects to Golarion.

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.

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.

The theme of 'oppression' is used in stories, great stories. And in roleplaying games you can play an oppressed character without personally believing in oppressive social structures that occasionally dot the landscape of Golarion.

Not everyone treats Golarion as a didactic or allegorical utopian fantasy world and nor should they be forced to.

Edit: Does Golarion have oppressive themed stories to tell? Fantasy versions of Amistad and Schindler's List, of course it does and we are better off for it.

Silver Crusade

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Really noone is proscribing against changing the world how you see fit. If, however, you're asking questions about the default setting, you're going to get answers about the default setting.

Liberty's Edge Assistant Developer

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Dwarves are more concerned with family lineages, bearing children, and social class than they are with the gender of a particular spouse. Heterosexuality is the assumption moreso than a requirement.


SunshineGrrrl wrote:
Really noone is proscribing against changing the world how you see fit. If, however, you're asking questions about the default setting, you're going to get answers about the default setting.

Shadra's story has oppressive elements to it, a dowry! And pretty much being exiled from her home.

I suggest you re-read Shadra's Iconic background a second time. Before making false accusations.


I would say that dowries being a thing is a sign that dwarves have a slightly sexist culture (the basic consequences of dowries aren't exactly obscure). That's the most I can see, though, and it's not necessarily as harmful as it tends to be in real life. The dowry seems to just be a custom they stick to, avoiding most of the other baggage. Exile was for her causing her homeland trouble, not for her transgenderedness or for her being a woman (which is a somewhat confusing distinction to make, but you get what I mean).

Liberty's Edge Assistant Developer

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Morzadian wrote:
SunshineGrrrl wrote:
Really noone is proscribing against changing the world how you see fit. If, however, you're asking questions about the default setting, you're going to get answers about the default setting.

Shadra's story has oppressive elements to it, a dowry! And pretty much being exiled from her home.

I suggest you re-read Shadra's Iconic background a second time. Before making false accusations.

Shardra was exiled (unofficially) for standing against the military and (officially) for consorting with evil spirits. And the fact that her family had to put together a dowry for her when they realized she was a daughter doesn't have anything to do with homophobia, just the aforementioned "heterosexuality is the assumption" attitude among dwarves.


People need to stop focusing on what was and what will be and focus on what is, people will be a lot happier when they stop giving a s+#@ about who someone was and just appreciate them for who they are :-)

Liberty's Edge Assistant Developer

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To hew a little closer to your original question, dwarves are primarily concerned with whether or not Yangrit will continue family lineages and for who, and it's entirely possible her family are a+#%&#+s who interpret that as "You MUST marry a man," even if that's not the default for dwarven society. If her parents didn't have many kids, it's entirely possible they may even send angry letters or eventually "wedding planners" to bring her back to an arranged marriage.

If you want to fore some interaction with a kidnapping plot, it's also possible (depending on what adventures you're running) to tweak the plot a little and have her family controlling some resource the PCs need to achieve their goals. Maybe their libraries have the secret passwords to open a dungeon, or maps to the next adventure site. Maybe her family own whatever macguffin they need (or to really force the issue, maybe the groom's family owns it and makes the macguffin part of his brideprice). In that case, you'll also need to figure out what the groom's perspective is on all this which, in part, is going to involve figuring out how long the marriage has been arranged.

If you want to go a more gonzo route, you can have her family be okay with her liking women, but insist on magically transforming her into a man and marrying well, and maybe if she sires some respectable children she can change back in a few decades.

For Yangrit herself, it's entirely possible, given the dwarven tendency to simply assume everyone is born along the mean and to generally not talk about problems or their feelings, it's entirely possible for little queer dwarflings to grow up never realizing that being gay or transitioning to a new gender is actually an option. Depending on how much contact she had with the larger dwarven cities growing up, she may simply assume her parents would never understand, when in reality her "confirmed bachelor" uncle is gay and still loved, but no one ever talks about it. Sometimes an anti-climax like that is exactly what a group needs to get a little breathing room in the middle of a tense campaign.

The absence of systemic oppression--especially in good societies--doesn't means that oppression doesn't exist in other societies, or that individuals in those societies can't just be a~&+!$~s. It simply means the majority of that society are going to try and be understanding and empathize with others' needs. Yangrit's parents can easily be lawful neutral and just have stalactites up their backsides, or even lawful evil and only seen her as a tool to expand their own power.


Didn't read the whole tread just the first few post just wanted to mention if it wasn't already that Aeron kirth and Sociel vanic in the worldwound campaign are a male gay couple.

Also Irabeth and Anivia tirabade are married and are both women although Anevia used to be a man who drank a magic potion to become a woman.


Crystal Frasier wrote:
Morzadian wrote:
SunshineGrrrl wrote:
Really noone is proscribing against changing the world how you see fit. If, however, you're asking questions about the default setting, you're going to get answers about the default setting.

Shadra's story has oppressive elements to it, a dowry! And pretty much being exiled from her home.

I suggest you re-read Shadra's Iconic background a second time. Before making false accusations.

Shardra was exiled (unofficially) for standing against the military and (officially) for consorting with evil spirits. And the fact that her family had to put together a dowry for her when they realized she was a daughter doesn't have anything to do with homophobia, just the aforementioned "heterosexuality is the assumption" attitude among dwarves.

Yes, yes of course.

And oppression (or superstition)) is a universal tool of taking away people's freedoms or denying them knowledge. Whatever one assumes those freedoms to be.

Yes I agree, oppression and homophobia are not mutually exclusive. Although homophobia is often the result of oppression.

Crystal, thanks for the clarification, it will help us make the right decision on how homosexual dwarves are treated in our campaign world.


Crystal Frasier wrote:

To hew a little closer to your original question, dwarves are primarily concerned with whether or not Yangrit will continue family lineages and for who, and it's entirely possible her family are a@@#$&%s who interpret that as "You MUST marry a man," even if that's not the default for dwarven society. If her parents didn't have many kids, it's entirely possible they may even send angry letters or eventually "wedding planners" to bring her back to an arranged marriage.

If you want to fore some interaction with a kidnapping plot, it's also possible (depending on what adventures you're running) to tweak the plot a little and have her family controlling some resource the PCs need to achieve their goals. Maybe their libraries have the secret passwords to open a dungeon, or maps to the next adventure site. Maybe her family own whatever macguffin they need (or to really force the issue, maybe the groom's family owns it and makes the macguffin part of his brideprice). In that case, you'll also need to figure out what the groom's perspective is on all this which, in part, is going to involve figuring out how long the marriage has been arranged.

If you want to go a more gonzo route, you can have her family be okay with her liking women, but insist on magically transforming her into a man and marrying well, and maybe if she sires some respectable children she can change back in a few decades.

For Yangrit herself, it's entirely possible, given the dwarven tendency to simply assume everyone is born along the mean and to generally not talk about problems or their feelings, it's entirely possible for little queer dwarflings to grow up never realizing that being gay or transitioning to a new gender is actually an option. Depending on how much contact she had with the larger dwarven cities growing up, she may simply assume her parents would never understand, when in reality her "confirmed bachelor" uncle is gay and still loved, but no one ever talks about it. Sometimes an anti-climax like that is exactly what a group...

Wow, I'm really impressed.

Yangrit (or the player that plays Yangrit) will be over the moon about these concepts.

Thank you for your generosity, it will help us navigate these obstacles considerably.

Project Manager

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Morzadian:

As Lissa pointed out above, "traditionalist" doesn't mean the same thing in Golarion that it does in the real world. Golarion doesn't have a history of misogyny the way Earth does, so assuming that "traditionalist" = "sexist" is a mistake.

That's not the same as saying that there's no oppression in Golarion (there is slavery, there are oppressive governments, and there are corrupt rulers). There is even gender-based oppression in some areas.

But that's different from automatically equating "traditional" to "patriarchal." If you take somewhere like Cheliax, which recently started worshipping Asmodeus (who's a misogynist), there likely is growing misogyny there. But given that that development is a relatively new thing, when you talk to a Chelaxian who's a "traditionalist," you're talking to someone who's more egalitarian than is currently fashionable.

You also can't assume, in a different world, that a focus on procreation automatically comes with a side of homophobia, or even with an emphasis on monogamy. Those associations, in the real world, were formed over millennia of cultural development intertwined with the morals of religions that don't exist in Golarion. A society that is intensely focused on procreation is, in most cases, going to privilege heterosexual pairings, yes--but it doesn't automatically follow that they're going to be homophobic. (Something can be outside a preferred paradigm without being seen as evil/illegal/etc.)


Crystal Frasier wrote:
If you want to go a more gonzo route, you can have her family be okay with her liking women, but insist on magically transforming her into a man and marrying well, and maybe if she sires some respectable children she can change back in a few decades

Or just marrying a man, having the required kids and then going about her life. Or not marrying, or some form of time-limited contract marriage. If the kids are taken in/raised by the clan, the marriage doesn't even have to last throughout raising the children.

Also, while there may well be commonalities, there are a lot of dwarven settlements in Golarion, many of which have been largely separated for thousands of years. Plenty of time to develop different traditions, possibly influenced by the other races they're living near.

Silver Crusade System Administrator

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Lets try to keep it on topic please. This thread is about how homosexuality/bisexuality and probably gender dysphoria are viewed in Golarion cultures.


Jessica Price wrote:

Morzadian:

As Lissa pointed out above, "traditionalist" doesn't mean the same thing in Golarion that it does in the real world. Golarion doesn't have a history of misogyny the way Earth does, so assuming that "traditionalist" = "sexist" is a mistake.

That's not the same as saying that there's no oppression in Golarion (there is slavery, there are oppressive governments, and there are corrupt rulers). There is even gender-based oppression in some areas.

But that's different from automatically equating "traditional" to "patriarchal." If you take somewhere like Cheliax, which recently started worshipping Asmodeus (who's a misogynist), there likely is growing misogyny there. But given that that development is a relatively new thing, when you talk to a Chelaxian who's a "traditionalist," you're talking to someone who's more egalitarian than is currently fashionable.

You also can't assume, in a different world, that a focus on procreation automatically comes with a side of homophobia, or even with an emphasis on monogamy. Those associations, in the real world, were formed over millennia of cultural development intertwined with the morals of religions that don't exist in Golarion. A society that is intensely focused on procreation is, in most cases, going to privilege heterosexual pairings, yes--but it doesn't automatically follow that they're going to be homophobic. (Something can be outside a preferred paradigm without being seen as evil/illegal/etc.)

Even in human history there are contrasting examples of oppression. From the sounds of things we were looking at it from a wrong context.

We researched academic articles on vikings and homosexuality with 'Sturlunga saga' being one of them, instead we should of looked at Renaissance Italy as Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo had sexual freedom (same sex relationships) without fear of persecution, and their society was quite advanced like the dwarves with the rise of status of artisan/art (a thought triggered by your post).

Yes where the real world ends and Golarion begins is always hard to know. Andoran and France's age of enlightenment, Taldor and the roman empire etc.

Yes having a massively expanded (hinduism inspired) pantheon of deities and avatars with many different pantheons existing without major religious wars creates a safe distance between Golarion and our world.

Jessica, your comments about Cheliax is very interesting in how context changes what traditionalist means, I will bring this up at my next gaming session, most definitely.

Thanks, its nice to have an intelligent, thought provoking conversation on this topic, really made my day.

Community Manager

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Removed some off-topic commentary and their replies. Accusatory and baiting posts aren't welcome on the Paizo boards—they do not help foster the community we want here. In addition, Paizo has always strove for, and continues to strive for, representation across all spectrums of ethnicity, gender, and sexuality in our game products, and if that's not something that works for you and your game, you are welcome to change it in your own personal game. But we will continue striving to be more inclusive and have a place for everybody at the gaming table in our game products.
As always, if there are questions about our Community Guidelines, please feel free to email community@paizo.com.

Silver Crusade

How would homosexuality be viewed in some of the more mysognistic religions? Esp male homosexuality. I mean it might be, say for the religion of Kostchtchie that female homosexual behaviour is okay, but only because it's hot for men to watch. And they would both have pelasure men. Because Kostchtchie is a woman hater.

However would he view male homosexulaity as true bonds between men (as long as the sex was rough and violent) or would he see it as a man degrading himself to be taken like a woman?

Project Manager

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Depends on the culture. Remember that the Greeks were about as misogynistic as you can get, but they didn't frown on male homosexuality (although they did have fairly rigid bounds within which it was okay). Homosexuality as depraved femininity as opposed to "healthy" heterosexual masculinity is the result of a very specific confluence of cultural influences, not the only way a misogynistic culture can view homosexuality.

Even things like rough/violent sex being "manly" while tenderness is "feminine" are very much particular cultural constructs from our culture, not the only logical way that things can turn out. (For much of Western history, for example, women were seen as wanting sex more than men, which was used as a justification for limiting their behaviors.) Masculinity has been a lot of things throughout history -- the roughness/impatience/violence aspect of it may be dominant in this time and this culture, but masculinity as constructed (mostly through advertising) in 21st-century America looks very different from masculinity as constructed in many other cultures and periods in history.

So, to get back to your question, how a misogynistic culture in Golarion treats male homosexuality is very much dependent on the shape which masculinity takes in that culture, which in turn is influenced by a lot of cultural factors, and is going to look different in each instance.

Silver Crusade Contributor

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From a world-building perspective, how would you recommend integrating such a form of unequal acceptance?

I'd actually done something similar for Cheliax (male/male being accepted while female/female was discouraged), since one of my players had a concept that called for it.


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Kalindlara wrote:

From a world-building perspective, how would you recommend integrating such a form of unequal acceptance?

I'd actually done something similar for Cheliax (male/male being accepted while female/female was discouraged), since one of my players had a concept that called for it.

Honestly, I think you nailed it right there: Put it in place when a player has a concept that requires it.

Leave it fairly open otherwise.


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It would very much depend on the specific culture. Some misogynistic cultures in history held that women were for children, men were for love. The only reason for marriage was children and inheritance and joining families, and true affection was only possible between equals, which meant between men. This could be sexual or non-sexual depending on the particular proclivities of the individual men. This is one possible attitude for a male-dominated culture to have that doesn't exclude homosexuality. In such a situation, female homosexuality might be benignly ignored, except that a woman was expected to marry a man and have children regardless of who she would prefer to be with, whether that preference was for a woman or for another man.

Other misogynistic cultures crack down heavily on homosexuality as a part of controlling sexual expression.

Content note: gender-targeted violence:
In specific examples, I would suspect Kostchtchie is not the type of patron to allow benign attitudes of any type towards women. In societies that worship him, I expect women are in a constant state of terror, afraid to anger their male overlords in any way lest they be violently punished. Since it's not possible to do away with women in a mortal society, or that society will die, it would probably hold as the ideal relationship model the kind of domestic abuse that we see as horror stories on the news.

The other major misogynistic viewpoint would be Hell and Asmodeus. I suspect that Hell would regard homosexuality with much greater approval, as long as one of the pair was dominant over the other. A coupling of equals would be opposed. In addition, the nature of homosexual relationships would be favored by Hell because it would oppose the fertility of the Abyss and its aspect of the divine feminine. Since homosexuality in its essence cannot produce children*, Hell would favor such relationships, just as it appears to favor BDSM relationships which can (doesn't always) decouple sexuality from fertility entirely in favor of interactions that eschew intercourse, as well as supporting the hierarchy and domination ideals of Hell. There are more positive portrayals of BDSM in the setting as well, of course, such as those associated with Calistria, which is much more intensely focused on consent, much like real-world BDSM culture. However, I doubt that the practitioners in Cheliax and Nidal have ever heard of Safe, Sane and Consensual, or even Risk-Aware Consensual Kink, and would probably look at you funny if you tried to explain it.

(*This is a generality, of course, with specific exceptions that don't override the overall nature of it. Obviously a coupling between, say, trans man and a cis man is still a homosexual relationship, even though the possibility for pregnancy exists. In a universe where there are magical forces behind the concepts of masculinity, femininity, fertility, etc. these exceptional cases exist and are not in contradiction to the overall situation, but rather represent the messy, complicated areas where these fields overlap. My use of essential language is not intended to marginalize the real-world people who have relationships that are special and unusual. Our real world has no magical forces of femininity and masculinity, after all.)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder PF Special Edition, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
captain yesterday wrote:
People need to stop focusing on what was and what will be and focus on what is, people will be a lot happier when they stop giving a s!+@ about who someone was and just appreciate them for who they are :-)

If it were that simple, we wouldn't be having this discussion. It's not a simple matter of innocent oppressed, and evil bigots, no easy black and white that Americans love to look for. It's a complex issue and simplistic statements aren't going to help.

Liberty's Edge

Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
However, I doubt that the practitioners in Cheliax and Nidal have ever heard of Safe, Sane and Consensual, or even Risk-Aware Consensual Kink, and would probably look at you funny if you tried to explain it.

That's probably true in Nidal, which has had millenia to get twisted, but I doubt it holds for Cheliax. They've only been Infernal pawns for a handful of decades, and the conversion was neither as deep or widespread as it is often portrayed. I highly doubt they've forgotten the concept of safewords in that amount of time.


Yeah, if it were that simple, it would imply that centuries of brutal real-world oppression were completely senseless and driven by artificial forces such as lust for power over others and fear of the unknown rather than any actual fair reasoning.

Spoiler:
I get what LazarX is saying, though I don't think he's right and I don't think he's interpreting CY quite correctly.


Shisumo wrote:
Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
However, I doubt that the practitioners in Cheliax and Nidal have ever heard of Safe, Sane and Consensual, or even Risk-Aware Consensual Kink, and would probably look at you funny if you tried to explain it.
That's probably true in Nidal, which has had millenia to get twisted, but I doubt it holds for Cheliax. They've only been Infernal pawns for a handful of decades, and the conversion was neither as deep or widespread as it is often portrayed. I highly doubt they've forgotten the concept of safewords in that amount of time.

Well, they've had slavery for centuries. That suggests the concept of consent has been at least a little bit iffy for quite a while.


LazarX wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:
People need to stop focusing on what was and what will be and focus on what is, people will be a lot happier when they stop giving a s!+@ about who someone was and just appreciate them for who they are :-)
If it were that simple, we wouldn't be having this discussion. It's not a simple matter of innocent oppressed, and evil bigots, no easy black and white that Americans love to look for. It's a complex issue and simplistic statements aren't going to help.

I think it really is that simple.

It's just not easy.

Project Manager

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Well, and this is my personal take, not Golarion canon:

Cheliax: Doesn't much care one way or the other about female-female relationships if the participants are people without any real power, or if it's a noblewoman indulging herself with a servant on the side, as long as everyone keeps to their place. I tend to assume there's a misogynistic aspect to Chelish culture because of Asmodeus, but it's not a central part of their culture, and it's more new/fashionable than it is deeply ingrained. So I picture it as being sort of Victorian -- you have a female ruler, and a penchant for perversion, and an upper class that's free to do pretty much whatever they want, as long as no one noble feels like calling another noble on it. (And scandal is titillating, and in its way, fashionable as well.) But if you DO make a powerful enemy, the same stuff that made you a scandalous public darling can be turned against you (e.g. Oscar Wilde). Given the emphasis on nobility, there's also an emphasis on carrying on the family line, so heterosexuality is privileged from that standpoint, but it's assumed everyone's coming up with clever ways to cheat, nepotism for one's paramours (het or non) is rampant, and everyone's looking for something to gossip about. When one falls from public esteem, all that stuff might come back to bite one.

And at the same time, ironically, there's also a strain of misogyny among the anti-Thrune contingents, because the current Thrune is a queen.

That irony makes Asmodeus really happy, I'd imagine.

So, male-male relationships = cool, as long as you make sure to provide an heir. Female-female relationships = unacknowledged, largely.

Drow: Drow think men are disposable brutes, and fairly useless without strict direction. Largely an inversion of Greek society -- the public sphere belongs to women, except that instead of men's sphere being home and hearth, it's the barracks. Drow think men are very much controlled by their impulses, except in drow society, men not being able to help themselves is an excuse to limit their behavior rather than women's. (Curfews, male drow wandering around without a female superior being subject to questioning, etc.)

Female-female relationships = normal and accepted, although they might be distrusted if there's not a clear hierarchy between the parties. E.g. if you're a powerful matriarch and you're sleeping with a subordinate, that's cool. If you and another matriarch start sleeping together, your family may worry that she's somehow getting the better of you. Male-male relationships = eh, whatever, men are weak, let them shtup each other, who cares, as long as women don't need them for something else at the moment.

Taldor: Mildly sexist, although most of it is about class rather than gender. Patriarchal, but that's changing now that the empire is in decline. Similar to Europe, in that in theory noble women have more freedom from a gender perspective, but in reality, lower-class women have a lot more purely out of necessity--the lower classes don't have the luxury of enforcing gender roles. Upper-class women's roles are similar to those of Roman noblewomen--husbands may be transitory, divorce is fairly easy, so it's your allegiance to your birth family that matters. I see Sarenite religion as leaning female (not in an enforced way, just that they worship a goddess and a slight majority of top positions in the church hierarchy are occupied by women), so dislike/distrust of the church of Sarenrae may also spur a few attempts to control women.

So, sort of similar to Cheliax, in that as long as you're carrying on the family name, you can do what you want, but less so if you're possibly going to get pregnant by someone embarrassing.

Gnolls: They're hyena people, so they behave like hyenas. Female gnolls are larger, meaner, and in charge. They demonstrate affection for male gnolls in their family by not beating them up as much as they beat up other dudes.

Female-female relationships = cool. I picture them being a bit bonobo-like in that regard, where sex is used to cement alliances as well as for procreation and pleasure. Male-male relationships = not unless the matriarch said it was okay. But then again, if you're a male gnoll, NOTHING's okay unless the matriarch said it was okay.

Keleshites: Matrilineal, and family is everything. So, given that family is everything and membership in a family, as well as inheritance, comes through the women, you care a lot more about who your daughters marry than your sons. I wouldn't say there's any hostility in it, and men's roles aren't constrained--it's just that if your family has any assets worth protecting, your family cares a lot more about the choices of its daughters than its sons. So on one hand, women have more power because, in essence, they determine who is and isn't family, and what happens to the family's wealth, but on the other hand, that power comes with constraints--there's a lot more pressure on them to make choices that are good for the family over what might satisfy them personally. Sons may be indulged because their choices don't matter as much, but it's also a bit patronizing. And, of course, you don't want to piss off your mother, because she's the one who can choose to disinherit you, and without your family, you're nothing.

Marriage is important from an alliance perspective, but there's no reason it has to be heterosexual marriage (marriage and procreation aren't necessarily inextricably bound -- someone who already has kids may still get married for alliance purposes, families with same-gender children who prefer partners of the same gender may match them up if it's convenient and find other ways to guarantee heirs, and so on). Same-sex relationships are fine as long as they're not with a feuding family, or getting in the way of an alliance marriage, but most Keleshites aren't going to force a daughter who prefers women to marry a man--they're just going to be like, "Okay, are there any women in that family you could see yourself marrying, then?"

Nidal: Conflicted attitude toward women. Zon-Kuthon has fought with Shelyn a lot, but on the other hand, he hasn't killed her or tortured her or anything and is maybe a bit afraid of her. So I'd imagine there's the stereotype that men are generally better at cruelty, but when a woman excels at it she really excels. (Sort of that stereotype that it's harder to get a woman to kill, but once you do, there's no off switch.) But Kuthites are all about creativity in hurting people, and gender roles are a useful tool for that, so I imagine they have myriad ways in which you're failing to be a proper man or a proper woman. At the same time, you have Desna in there as this secret religion practiced by non-Kuthites, so I think there's maybe a mild strain of backlash in which femininity is seen as gentle and healing in opposition to the focus on cruelty and sadism practiced in the name of a male god, and that's going to affect how they see most relationships.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder PF Special Edition, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jessica Price wrote:
Depends on the culture. Remember that the Greeks were about as misogynistic as you can get, but they didn't frown on male homosexuality (although they did have fairly rigid bounds within which it was okay).

A lot of people have a mistaken idea that the Greeks considered male homosexuality a form of normal or accepted sex between peers. What it actually was was an accepted form of male submission, in which the submissive partner was pretty much considered damaged goods, having yielded his manhood to the dominant, and it was only acceptable if the submissive was young enough not to have grown his beard yet. So it was essentially, Classical Age NAMBLA.

Project Manager

I know - there was a power imbalance. But it's not universally true that the submissive partner was considered damaged goods. You could, as a young man, be a submissive partner, as long as you didn't allow it to continue as you reached manhood. I.e. when it was already societally acceptable for you to be submissive (because you were young), it was acceptable.


It should also be noted that there was some variation between City-States as to what was OK and what's not. When we think 'Ancient Greece' we're mostly thinking of the Athenian way of doing stuff, but there was plenty of variation.

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