Homosexuality in Golarion


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

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Shadow Lodge

But it is a controversial topic. Obviously. Some people don't want to use their game time as social commentary hour. Some people just wanna relax, kill some monsters, and take their stuff. Does the otyugh's dying breath have to be about his gay lover if all anyone in the group really wants to do is move on through the dungeon?

Liberty's Edge

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I feel like I should just develop a copypasta containing the meat of every argument we keep rehashing here and just repost it every time we get another person coming in to the thread saying the same damn thing 20 other people have before them.


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{le sigh}

Paizo has only mentioned an NPC's gender identity or sexual preference when it impacts how they may interact with other NPCs or the PCs... that's it. There is no mention (or advocacy) of LGBT politics. Including the occasional LGBT individuals and couples in the game as normal people with the same capacity for greatness and failure as non-LGBT people isn't a political statement or advocacy.

And the argument is still moot, as Paizo has always maintained and continue to maintain that LGBT character inclusion in their products is a done deal. Full stop. It ain't gonna change, so stop trying to beat the undead rainbow equine pinata.

If you and your players/GM can't deal with a little inclusiveness in Paizo's excellent gaming products, perhaps you should vote with your wallets. Or, use the OGL and roll your own.

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

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Fergurg wrote:


And should we be looking forward to other real-world declarations of hot-button topics as well? Maybe the next Adventure Path can be about protecting an abortion clinic in Absolom, or promoting "sensible weapon control" laws in Ustalav. Maybe advocating for the undocumented immigrants in Varisia.

For whatever it's worth, my initial reaction way back in 2008 was pretty similar to yours and based on substantially the reasoning above. It felt very much to me that Paizo had decided to insert a real-world political debate into a product that didn't really have anything to do with that debate.

What I didn't appreciate, and what I've come to appreciate since then, is how for so many people this isn't a political issue - it's a personal issue because this is who they are. In a sense, it's fan service - providing a certain segment of the audience with content that appeals to them. Fairly minor content at that, given that it amounts to 2-3 lines of text (at most) in any particular AP volume. The inclusion of LGBTQ characters isn't at the expense of other content, doesn't affect game balance, and really means a lot to a certain segment of the Paizo audience. Given these parameters, it's hard to see how such elements cause any harm and provides a context in which it is not a political issue.

That said, there's another line in this thread which strikes me as a bridge too far, and that's the assertion that the failure to include LGBTQ elements in your home game makes you bad/homophobic/etc. Maybe I'm playing the game wrong, but the relationship status of NPCs simply doesn't come up in my campaigns. I don't feel the need to highlight that element and find it very annoying that so many people insist that the game is being played wrong as a result.

Shadow Lodge

Sebastian wrote:
That said, there's another line in this thread which strikes me as a bridge too far, and that's the assertion that the failure to include LGBTQ elements in your home game makes you bad/homophobic/etc. Maybe I'm playing the game wrong, but the relationship status of NPCs simply doesn't come up in my campaigns. I don't feel the need to highlight that element and find it very annoying that so many people insist that the game is being played wrong as a result.

Exactly my point.

Liberty's Edge

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I don't think many people are called bigots for not including LGBT in their games, I think many people are called bigots for complaining when they're included in Paizo's material with veiled excuses like "it's too controversial/political". Apparently all the other controversial/political issues present in Golarion are easy to overlook (slavery... communism... racism... colonialism...) but not so for this. It's not a big stretch of logic to understand why.

Feel free to prove me wrong on this behalf, though.

I, frankly, couldn't give a damn what your views on LGBT are or how many LGBT characters are present in your games; but when you offer your opinion on their presence in Paizo's published material you should expect to get an opinion back.


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Sebastian wrote:
That said, there's another line in this thread which strikes me as a bridge too far, and that's the assertion that the failure to include LGBTQ elements in your home game makes you bad/homophobic/etc. Maybe I'm playing the game wrong, but the relationship status of NPCs simply doesn't come up in my campaigns. I don't feel the need to highlight that element and find it very annoying that so many people insist that the game is being played wrong as a result.

I think what many are arguing is that if you mention hetero relationships -- the hubby and wive tavern owners, the womanizers and trollops, the boyfriend and girlfriend retired adventurers, the king and queen and all their plot-hooky progeny -- then it seems reasonable to also occasionally point out the LGBT identities and relationships too.

Liberty's Edge Digital Products Assistant

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Fergurg wrote:
Pathfinder is not the place to make real-world declarations, especially ones with the potential to be divisive, as clearly this one is. Whether it should be or not is another discussion, one that not appropriate for this thread.

Actually, deciding to exclude a minority group is still a devisive real-world declaration. Almost everything Paizo has published includes some mention of heterosexuality, be it describing a happily married couple, or mentioning that NPC X has a crush on someone, or discussing a character's heteronormative parents. It's the constant background radiation of life, which you don't notice much if you're straight because it reinforces and validates with your viewpoint. But if you're gay, it grinds so quietly and so subtly that the only time you notice are those glorious, brief moments where it lifts by way of seeing a gay character mentioned, or (god help us) actually depicted as a hero.

Including the existence of a real-world minority group is only "political" because some people have decided that our existence is the real world should be politicized. Arguing against it is as absurd as saying people of color shouldn't be depicted in Golarion because some people might find it "divisive."

And discussing whether or not homosexuality should be mentioned in Golarion is exactly the purpose of this thread.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The divisive issue is not, and has never been, whether or not YOU include GBLT characters in YOUR game. It is about whether Paizo should include them in material that is used and enjoyed by everyone across the gender spectrum, gay and straight alike.

And it is absolutely relevant that the people calling it a controversy are also those who clearly don't want the material in there. "The only reason I don't want it included is because it's a divisive issue" is a disingenuous argument when you have clearly staked out your position on one side of the divide.


Fergurg wrote:
What I said is that the assertion that "LGBTQX is normal" IS a divisive declaration that ultimately adds nothing to the game.

The majority of the people in this thread -- including several Paizo employees bot LGBT and non-LGBT -- is that including LGBT characters does add something meaningful to the game. Wordcounts dictate that everything non-essential gets trimmed away. That you and a few dissenting voices disagree does not make your position a fact.

If a few people find the mere occasional LGBT NPC inclusion to be divisive or controversial, then I can't see any inclusive approach Paizo can take that will make you and the few dissenters happy. Because, again, Paizo peeps keep saying that LGBT inclusion is gonna keep happening.

Shadow Lodge

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Let's throw political correctness to the side for a moment. Heterosexual sex is a biological imperative. It is required for a species to continue to exist. If all homosexuals and bisexuals were to disappear of the face of the earth, the human race would continue. However, if all heterosexual and bisexual individuals were to cease to exist...then either the remaining homosexual individuals would have to begin engaging in hetrosexual sex, or the human race would end with that generation.

So yes, in a purely biological sense, I think it's allowable to say that heterosexual relations are more "normal".

Countdown to this being deleted....

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
I think what many are arguing is that if you mention hetero relationships -- the hubby and wive tavern owners, the womanizers and trollops, the boyfriend and girlfriend retired adventurers, the king and queen and all their plot-hooky progeny -- then it seems reasonable to also occasionally point out the LGBT identities and relationships too.

I rarely mention any type of relationship, including the hubby/wife tavern owners, the boyfriend/girlfriend or even the king/queen. To the extent relationships come into play in my campaigns, they tend to be siblings.

That said, no, I don't feel the need to accomodate diversity of relationships or preferences in my campaign, nor, in the abstract, do I think anyone else should. I'd much rather waste those brain cells on how many pairs of shoes the cobbler has to sell to pay his three workers because that's the sort of stupid thing I focus on. I have a very limited attention span, and I will continue to focus it on the elements of the game that I find interesting or important, or those elements my players have indicated are interesting or important to them, and the rest of the stuff, no matter how noble, is clutter and noise. I won't cut those elements if they are in a product I've purchased, but they aren't on my radar for the content I personally create.

Edit: That said, until the last few months, my groups have consisted of hetero males. We recently had a gay man join our group, and I am more likely to include these elements because I now have a better appreciation that, while to me this may be an abstract question, to him it is likely much more meaningful and personal.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kthulhu wrote:
Countdown to this being deleted....

I'm kind of hoping it doesn't get deleted, actually. It is a very instructive post, and I think it would be beneficial for everyone to be able to easily attribute it to its source.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Hmmmm, bag with teeth vs a smoking skull? Two shall enter, one shall leave. Place your bets ladies and gentlemen!

On topic-ish. What you do in your home game isn't a problem, but coming onto the boards to loudly proclaim how you're removing all references to LGBTQ characteristics from your home game and/or bemoaning Paizo's politically correct/divisive/agenda driven dcecision to include them in the first place? That's not really the same thing as taking it out of your home game, is it?

Liberty's Edge Digital Products Assistant

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Kthulhu wrote:

Let's throw political correctness to the side for a moment. Heterosexual sex is a biological imperative. It is required for a species to continue to exist. If all homosexuals and bisexuals were to disappear of the face of the earth, the human race would continue. However, if all heterosexual and bisexual individuals were to cease to exist...then either the remaining homosexual individuals would have to begin engaging in hetrosexual sex, or the human race would end with that generation.

So yes, in a purely biological sense, I think it's allowable to say that heterosexual relations are more "normal".

Countdown to this being deleted....

You have a very confused understanding of "normal". Non-heterosexual behavior is common in all mammal species, as well as birds. It's a part of life. Very few higher-order animals have sex solely for the purpose of reproduction, and asserting that sex should only exist for reproduction is the abnormal, politically-charged opinion.

Secondly, as a lesbian I am not physically incapable of having sex with a man. Even a gay man. I know how making babies works and could happily become pregnant without stopping being a lesbian. If penis-in-vagina sex magically made you straight, I would've gone straight in college.

I can be impregnated either by having penis-in-vagina sex with a dude, having lesbian sex with a trans woman, or in vitro fertilization. The hetero-essentialist claim that straight is "normal" because only straight people can reproduce is contrived at best, and insulting.

Grand Lodge

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Kthulhu wrote:

Let's throw political correctness to the side for a moment. Heterosexual sex is a biological imperative. It is required for a species to continue to exist. If all homosexuals and bisexuals were to disappear of the face of the earth, the human race would continue. However, if all heterosexual and bisexual individuals were to cease to exist...then either the remaining homosexual individuals would have to begin engaging in hetrosexual sex, or the human race would end with that generation.

So yes, in a purely biological sense, I think it's allowable to say that heterosexual relations are more "normal".

Countdown to this being deleted....

You are very, extremely wrong because you're assuming that reproduction and perpetuation of the species ends with birth - and it doesn't. Humans are largely helpless for the first 4-7 years of their lives. Having adults who are (theoretically) out of the breeding pool but who are nevertheless adults and part of the family unit creates a "surplus" of adult caregivers who increase the survival odds of the entire clan. These people will bond with other people that they're mutually attracted with so that their own emotional needs are met.

Same-sex relationships are only "less normal" if you are looking at things through the lens of the nuclear family, which is a structure that has only existed since the World Wars.


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Paul Watson wrote:

Hmmmm, bag with teeth vs a smoking skull? Two shall enter, one shall leave. Place your bets ladies and gentlemen!

My money is on bag with teeth. Smoking skull looks like someone blew it up already.

Paul Watson wrote:


On topic-ish. What you do in your home game isn't a problem, but coming onto the boards to loudly proclaim how you're removing all references to LGBTQ characteristics from your home game and/or bemoaning Paizo's politically correct/divisive/agenda driven dcecision to include them in the first place? That's not really the same thing as taking it out of your home game, is it?

This. Removing LGBTQ people from your game is something that, while it's the choice of the individual, is something that those of us in normal civilized society are going to frown on you for if you insist on publicizing the fact (so get used to doing it in secret and away from public view, if you insist on doing it). Taking it further to actually object to Paizo's inclusive policy is pretty much close enough to bigotry in my book, and anyone that can't see that has something seriously wrong inside their heads.

Liberty's Edge

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** Alice's Handy Dandy Guide to LGBT in Pathfinder **

Hi! If you're reading this you're no doubt here to discuss Homosexuality in Golarion. Welcome to the thread. I'm going to quickly counter some of the more common arguments we see talked about here in the interests of actually talking about interesting things from time to time.

** Why are LGBT people being included in Pathfinder?

Here's why.:
There are a number of reasons, but primarily because Paizo believes that people should be represented in their game, no matter what majority or minority groups they belong to or identify with. Some of the Paizo staff and their customers are LGBT, after all.

** But I don't like LGBT people / They go against my religious beliefs / The whole topic makes me feel uncomfortable!

Is that so?:
Then remove it from your games. It's really easy to change the gender of a character here or there. Have fun!

** But isn't this too controversial / political?

Nope!:
It might be controversial, sure, but controversy makes for good gaming material. Racism, sexism, slavery, communism, colonialism, and all sorts of other controversial issues feature in Golarion in one way or another; there's no real reason to exclude something based on its controversial or political nature.

LGBT people would also hesitate to say the mere inclusion of reflections of themselves is political; being queer is not a political statement but simply a reality of life for many people.

** But isn't this really anachronistic / reflecting of modern views / out of place for a fantasy game?

Nope!:
If you look through history there are plenty of examples of LGBT people. From gay Spartan soldiers to the Hijra of India and numerous other examples in between, LGBT folk have existed in some form or another - although of course not considered in those terms.

Golarion is also not a typical medieval fantasy setting. After all, women are equal to men here; likewise, not every second person you know is dying of the plague or forced into subsistence serfdom. :) In many regards our modern views are indeed supplanted into the world, and this is just one example of many.

** But I just want to kill things and loot their corpses! When would *SEXUALITY* ever come up?

More often than you think!:
How often do your characters stay in an inn run by a happy husband and wife? Head off down to the ol' Calistrian temple looking for company? Chat up the pretty bard or waitress at the tavern? Meet families or couples, whether minor NPCs or major antagonists? Yup, these are all representations of people's sexualities, although you may not have thought so directly.

It's honestly just as simple as once in a while including a gay paladin and his theatre-owning lover. It doesn't have to be a big issue at all. Easy peasy.

And if you don't care so much about this stuff? No big deal! Just head back down to the dungeon and have fun.

** I don't want to have sex scenes in my game! That's not appropriate for children / makes me feel uncomfortable / just is kinda weird!

That's cool, neither do I!:
Sexuality doesn't just mean "sex". Not many people want to roleplay their characters goin' at it any more than just a "fade to black" scene. But I'm sure many people would enjoy developing a relationship with an NPC and falling in love. Mostly, that's probably someone of the opposite gender... but sometimes, that's an NPC of the same gender. That's all there is to it.

I think that's everything. Did I miss anything? I'm totally just going to copy-paste this in the future.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Folks, the ship has sailed on whether LGBT people and relationships are "normal". They exist, they make up a significant part of the overall population, they occur naturally and in all cultures and all periods of history. By that metric they are more normal than gamers.

I strongly suspect that in this context, "normal" is actually being used as a substitute for "morally acceptable". While you might be reluctant to openly express the opinion that LGBT people are not "normal" in this sense, it might help to dispel a lot of confusion if you could state your views explicitly and stand by them.


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Alice Margatroid wrote:
** Alice's Handy Dandy Guide to LGBT in Pathfinder **

[Claps]

Now, to everyone who's still here, let's do it in the streets!


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Crystal Frasier wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:

Let's throw political correctness to the side for a moment. Heterosexual sex is a biological imperative. It is required for a species to continue to exist. If all homosexuals and bisexuals were to disappear of the face of the earth, the human race would continue. However, if all heterosexual and bisexual individuals were to cease to exist...then either the remaining homosexual individuals would have to begin engaging in hetrosexual sex, or the human race would end with that generation.

So yes, in a purely biological sense, I think it's allowable to say that heterosexual relations are more "normal".

Countdown to this being deleted....

You have a very confused understanding of "normal". Non-heterosexual behavior is common in all mammal species, as well as birds. It's a part of life. Very few higher-order animals have sex solely for the purpose of reproduction, and asserting that sex should only exist for reproduction is the abnormal, politically-charged opinion.

Secondly, as a lesbian I am not physically incapable of having sex with a man. Even a gay man. I know how making babies works and could happily become pregnant without stopping being a lesbian. If penis-in-vagina sex magically made you straight, I would've gone straight in college.

I can be impregnated either by having penis-in-vagina sex with a dude, having lesbian sex with a trans woman, or in vitro fertilization. The hetero-essentialist claim that straight is "normal" because only straight people can reproduce is contrived at best, and insulting.

James Jacobs (and others) have mentioned that unless stated otherwise, physics on Golarion works like Earth. So...

On both Golarion and Earth, when individual humans do not reproduce or stop reproducing -- through some congenital condition, through some acquired physical condition, through choice/free will, or from old age -- they don't immediately drop dead/get culled from the herd. Therefore, it seems that they must somehow continue to contribute positively to their own progeny, relatives, and others in their social group/clan/tribe/village/etc. And lo! There are numerous reputable fact-based studies and research that document how the "non-reproducers" do contribute to their group's goals in numerous ways.

Webstore Gninja Minion

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Removed some posts. Be excellent to each other, and recognize and respect that people will play this game differently than you will.

Also, keep it on topic.

Shadow Lodge

Liz Courts wrote:
Removed some posts. Be excellent to each other, and recognize and respect that people will play this game differently than you will.

Kinda my point. :)


Alice Margatroid wrote:
** Alice's Handy Dandy Guide to LGBT in Pathfinder **

Marvelous.

Dark Archive

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Also, relevant to the topic, it's 100% meaningless whether or not any type of sexuality is 'normal' or 'reproductively optimal' or (subjectively) 'icky' in the real world.

This is Golarion. 'Queer' relationships are no less (and probably far more!) 'normal' in Golarion than relationships between Outsiders and Humans, or Dragons and Humans, or Elves and Humans.

If the gay couple that, if you weren't the GM, you probably wouldn't have known about, in Sandpoint, bothered you for moral reasons, I'd advise you to stay the heck away from Sorcerers and Tieflings and Half-Elves, 'cause, on the scale of things to clutch one's pearls over, dating outside your *species* goes straight past ludicrous speed to plaid.

In Cheliax, if your kid likes the same gender, the appropriate reaction is, 'Whatever. Thank Iomedae she doesn't have a tail.'

'Morally acceptable,' in the context of this thread, is going to be what Erastil or Sarenrae or Zon-Kuthon or Gozreh or Calistria thinks of a given relationship. They are the arbiters of morality, for Golarion, and their opinions may well vary *extremely,* making it kind of a wash, since you can probably find a faith, or a culture, that embraces or rejects *any* given person's nature.

Liberty's Edge Digital Products Assistant

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Set wrote:
If the gay couple that, if you weren't the GM, you probably wouldn't have known about, in Sandpoint, bothered you for moral reasons, I'd advise you to stay the heck away from Sorcerers and Tieflings and Half-Elves, 'cause, on the scale of things to clutch one's pearls over, dating outside your *species* goes straight past ludicrous speed to plaid.

I used to date this dwarven chick. Talk about endurance!

Webstore Gninja Minion

Removed a post.


Set wrote:

'Morally acceptable,' in the context of this thread, is going to be what Erastil or Sarenrae or Zon-Kuthon or Gozreh or Calistria thinks of a given relationship. They are the arbiters of morality, for Golarion, and their opinions may well vary *extremely,* making it kind of a wash, since you can probably find a faith, or a culture, that embraces or rejects *any* given person's nature.

Zon-Kuthon as an arbiter of morality? I'm scared! Hold me (but in a nonsexual way)!

Dark Archive

Crystal Frasier wrote:
I used to date this dwarven chick. Talk about endurance!

Did she have a beard? 'Cause I remember when that, and what sort of stats a katana should have, were pretty much the only 'controversies' in fantasy roleplaying. :)


Hitdice wrote:

Samnell, have you ever read anything by Samuel R Delany? Stars in My Pocket like Grains of Sand would totally fulfill your needs.

Edit: Not on the "Hubba hubba" side so much as the emotional side of the story.

I have not, but I've meant to.


Whoever is modding this thread, I hope they're giving you a bonus!

Liberty's Edge Digital Products Assistant

Set wrote:
Crystal Frasier wrote:
I used to date this dwarven chick. Talk about endurance!

Did she have a beard? 'Cause I remember when that, and what sort of stats a katana should have, were pretty much the only 'controversies' in fantasy roleplaying. :)

No beard, but lots of braids. Lots. Of. Braids.


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Crystal Frasier wrote:
Set wrote:
If the gay couple that, if you weren't the GM, you probably wouldn't have known about, in Sandpoint, bothered you for moral reasons, I'd advise you to stay the heck away from Sorcerers and Tieflings and Half-Elves, 'cause, on the scale of things to clutch one's pearls over, dating outside your *species* goes straight past ludicrous speed to plaid.
I used to date this dwarven chick. Talk about endurance!

Hubba hubba, now this is my kinda thread!

Also, Paizo staff, if I may make a suggestion, hire Set. Give him a job, fly him out to Seattle and pay him to write.

If it's any incentive, I hear he comes cheap.

[Waggles eyebrows]


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Fergurg wrote:
Set wrote:

'Morally acceptable,' in the context of this thread, is going to be what Erastil or Sarenrae or Zon-Kuthon or Gozreh or Calistria thinks of a given relationship. They are the arbiters of morality, for Golarion, and their opinions may well vary *extremely,* making it kind of a wash, since you can probably find a faith, or a culture, that embraces or rejects *any* given person's nature.

Zon-Kuthon as an arbiter of morality? I'm scared! Hold me (but in a nonsexual way)!

Of course he is. Don't you think his followers look to him for moral guidance? I'm playing a cleric of his right now that surely does. The Midnight Lord is the god of love and beauty to him and he, as a sacred duty and act of great compassion, wants to share that love and beauty with the world. Together he and those who he helps make a joyous noise unto the heavens. Through the act they are exalted and approach the divine in holy ecstasy.

I have a lot of fun with the fact that, since this is fantasy, his conceptions of love and beauty can be taken as humorous. But then I make sure to subvert that too because ultimately, he is a very bad, very disturbing person who has an E in his alignment.

It's a given that a person who worships a god takes moral cues from that deity and that deity's teachings. That's part of how religion works. Not all of them will cover the same issues as morally meaningful. Not all who do see the same issues as morally meaningful will agree on how they are or what one ought to do when presented with them.

Just like they do on Earth.

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