Is The Pathfinder Setting Ethically Problematic?


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

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Silver Crusade

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Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
Now if we could only get them to stop slandering and persecuting goblins...

Goblins are certified members of the Pathfinder Society now. The emerald ceiling has been broken. :)


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Just for the record, it wasn't me who suggested that cissexism or any of the other isms being tossed around like popcorn in this thread were unusual or unique.

I do find it quite humorous to consider that these are concepts that have become integral to "liberal arts undergrads". My immediate reaction to such a revelation is "huh, that explains a lot".


Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
Now if we could only get them to stop slandering and persecuting goblins...

Goblins only understand one language - the shiv!


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Matthew Morris wrote:
And when I read sexism with all these qualifiers in front of it. (hetero/cis/whatever) I wonder if now is the time to bring up the lack of left handed characters again.

It's really not.


darkwarriorkarg wrote:
Hmmm... unless Imisse dsomething, the OP has been MIA for a while... so is this a troll thread?

Nope it got people talking about important things even if the original post was from a knee jerk reaction


Sean K Reynolds wrote:


That's because all the mammalian biology we're familiar with has binary genders. Perhaps because doing so confers an evolutionary advantage (in the same way that most of Earth's mammals are placentals, and placentals outcompete marsupials when introduced to marsupial territory... almost like placentals have an advantage compared to marsupials).
...

I have sent an email to our Montreme overlords beging forgiveness for your Superchortism by being inclusive of eutherians and metatherians and demonstrating your bais against montremes by not mentioning them.

The great Ornithorhynchus, Zaglossus and Tachyglossus have given you a reprieve and will not suck your brain from out of your ear-hole at this time.


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Hmmm, Russia = Worldwound = demons? Nice. Ustalav = Romania = NE populace? Cute. Hold of Belkzen = the Baltic states? Pretty. Land of the Linnorm Kings = Finland? Sweet. Cheliax = France? Ooooh. Nidal = Spain? Lovely.

The offensibility of where things ended up on this map just doesn't end...


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Just for the record, the captions from the poster, north to south by geographical location:

Map Captions:

The rest of the map for comparison purposes:

Lands of the Linnorm Kings
Frigid Viking Homeland.
Brutal kingdoms Ruled by dragonslayers.

Numeria
Savage Land of Super-Science
Strange technology clashes with barbaric tradition.

Belkzen
Savage Orc Homeland
Dominion of bloodthirsty warlords.

Ustalav
Land of Fog-Shrouded Horror
Cursed land of ghosts and gothic villains.

Varisia
Wild Frontier
Ancient land of new opportunities.

Taldor
Decadent Failing Empire
Home of the Lion Blades, masters of secretive fighting arts.

Andoran
Birthplace of Freedom
Enemy to slavers everywhere.

Cheliax
Diabolical Empire
Infernal realm of scheming nobles and Hellknight lawbringers.

Absalom
City at the Center of the World
Resting place of the Starstone, gateway to divinity.

Qadira
Gateway to the East
Satrap state of a vast empire.

And into the area of discussion:

Thuvia
Desert Land of Eternal Youth
Mystic source of the sun orchid elixir.

Osirion
Land of the Pharaohs
Empire of pyramids.

Mediogalti Island
Lair of the Red Mantis
Jungle island ruled by assassins.

Sodden Lands
Hurricane-Ravaged Wasteland
Home of the Eye of Abendego, now a lawless region of pirates and savage beasts.

Mwangi Expance
Unexplored Jungle Wilderness
Sovereign realm of the Gorilla King

Mana Wastes
Magic Dead Wasteland
Ruined borderland of gunslingers and mutants.

Geb
Domain of the Dead
Realm of the ghostly dictator Geb and his lich-consort, the Harlot Queen Arazni.

Given the actual texts in addition to the pictures chosen, I don't personally get a racist impression from the poster. YMMV.

Liberty's Edge

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Adamantine Dragon wrote:
I've been wondering where to put my gunslinger/steampunk nation... I guess the answer is to put it on the southern continent and then I can address any final accusations that my world is racist by virtue of its geology...

So you're saying that the South is full of gun nuts?!?

Sorry...I couldn't resist.


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Heymitch wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
I've been wondering where to put my gunslinger/steampunk nation... I guess the answer is to put it on the southern continent and then I can address any final accusations that my world is racist by virtue of its geology...

So you're saying that the South is full of gun nuts?!?

Sorry...I couldn't resist.

Heh, actually that's a great example of how people will read whatever they want to read into whatever you do. Life is one big Rorschach Test and people will see whatever they want to see to satisfy their own internal desires and demons. And then they'll project what they see on to other people.

That's just the way it is.


Sissyl wrote:

Hmmm, Russia = Worldwound = demons? Nice. Ustalav = Romania = NE populace? Cute. Hold of Belkzen = the Baltic states? Pretty. Land of the Linnorm Kings = Finland? Sweet. Cheliax = France? Ooooh. Nidal = Spain? Lovely.

The offensibility of where things ended up on this map just doesn't end...

Not Australia = The "arse end" of Golarion.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Jessica Price wrote:
..."hey, maybe if I send this person to deal with the people who are still sending me furious PMs about the posts I made about how not portraying same-sex relationships in your worldbuilding is contributing to a harmful cultural narrative that treats homosexuality as aberrant and not fit for public consumption... I can actually get some work done."

That's pretty disappointing. :(


Jessica Price wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:
Jessica Price wrote:
I'm also sort of amused by the idea that no one here has heard of cissexism, or read Said.
Why? It's not like either are particularly mainstream.
They're pretty standard fare for liberal arts undergrads.

And you think that a lot of people on this board have take liberal arts as their college subject, or why were you amused that not many people had even heard about those two subjects...?


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Personally, I would have anticipated many participants in this thread would have heard the term or read the author.


Steve Geddes wrote:
Personally, I would have anticipated many participants in this thread would have heard the term or read the author.

My Uni days were twenty years ago... I majored in Classics & Ancient History and minored Paleoanthropology and Archaeology (Yet I work in IT for a bank, ironic nope, just the tyranny of distance). The book and author wasn't on my reading list.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

My expectation that people would have heard the term wasn't about the educational history of the participants, but the topic (and their presumed interest).


Given how the original topic wasn't remotely about the topic of gender, I don't think so.


magnuskn wrote:
Jessica Price wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:
Jessica Price wrote:
I'm also sort of amused by the idea that no one here has heard of cissexism, or read Said.
Why? It's not like either are particularly mainstream.
They're pretty standard fare for liberal arts undergrads.
And you think that a lot of people on this board have take liberal arts as their college subject, or why were you amused that not many people had even heard about those two subjects...?

Off topic, but liberal arts being used in that sense isn't a topic or a degree, it's the most common format of 4-year undergraduate program in the US. The idea is that undergraduates get a broad grounding in all subjects rather than focusing solely on a skill.

And by all subjects:

Quote:
In modern colleges and universities the liberal arts include the study of literature, languages, philosophy, history, mathematics, and science as the basis of a general, or liberal, education.

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/339020/liberal-arts


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

For me personally, the terms "heterosexism" and "cissexism", and even "cis-gendered" are completely new, and I have no idea who Said is. (I guess it's not the guy from "Lost"!) But then I'm an IT guy, not a liberal arts student, and I must admit that I hadn't even heard of the term "liberal arts".


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

What exactly is an undergraduate? Does it translate to educationals systems outside of the United States?


Zaister wrote:
What exactly is an undergraduate? Does it translate to educationals systems outside of the United States?
Quote:
Undergraduate education is an education level taken in order to gain one's first tertiary degree (except for an associate's degree). Hence, in many subjects and many educational systems, undergraduate education is post-secondary education up to the level of a bachelor's degree, such as in the United States, where a university entry level is known as undergraduate[1] while students of higher degrees are known as graduates.[2] In some other educational systems and subjects, undergraduate education is post-secondary education up to the level of a master's degree, for example in some science courses in Britain and some medicine courses in Europe.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Undergraduate_education

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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Evil Lincoln wrote:

If I'm not mistaken, there's a LOT of confusion upthread about the term gender. Gender != sex != sexuality.

The girdle is misnamed. It's an unfortunate, though understandable mistake that I believe is a holdover from a less issue-conscious era.

It used to be called the girdle of femininity/masculinity, which is even more misleading.

One of my science teachers used to joke, "gender is what you are, sex is what you have." It's not accurate, but it points out that language has variable meanings in different contexts. After all, we're talking about a game that has at least four different definitions of "level," and at least two different definitions of "race."

Evil Lincoln wrote:
Sean, it's a point of contention that gender is a physiological thing at all,

Outside of anthropology classes, "gender" and "sex" are almost synonymous nowadays.

And Paizo needs to be able to sum up gender in a stat block without using one of ten different acceptable-this-month terms for gender. And most of the human population falls into the "male" or "female" category, whether by biology or personal classification. And Paizo has done a good job of identifying male creatures (whether by biology or personal classification) as male, female creatures as female (ditto), and anything else (including "this creature isn't remotely humanoid and its gender or sex may not be anything humanoids can relate to") as no gender specified. If a particular NPC in an adventure path dresses "masculine" and identifies as "masculine," and we put "male" in the stat block, how are you to know whether that NPC is biologically male, female, or something else? You can't. And for most campaigns, it doesn't matter... and for the campaigns where it does matter, the GM is able to change it to suit the campaign (which might include ramping up or down aspects of the character's gender).

I'm a big fan of fiction that addresses gender issues. There's an old Piers Anthony series about nine-footed aliens that are female until their first mating and male thereafter, or seven-gendered aliens (one female and six complementary males), and three-sexed aliens that are male, female, or neuter in any mating depending on which of the three entities arrives last. Or of Octavia Butler's "Xenogenesis" series where the main characters are aliens with three distinct sexes (male, female, and gene-mixing ooloi), and how some Spanish-speaking humans in the series have a hard time understanding that the ooloi aren't both male or female because there is no gender-neutral word in Spanish that's the equivalent of the English "it," and therefore aliens talking about ooloi have to resort to saying "brother-sister" when talking about ooloi relatives.

I get that this isn't a simple male/female issue... but I don't think this is as big a deal as some people are making it out to be. And maybe that's just my white, male, heterosexual privilege talking... but I think my GLBTQ friends (many of whom are Paizo employees) would back me up as a staunch supporter of GLBTQ rights and not inconsiderate of bigotry against the community. And that there are mountains, and molehills, and statements like "it says something disturbing that [the girdle] is situated as a curse" and "I can't figure out why all these Player races are organized around a human-centric gender binary" is someone throwing shovels of dirt on a molehill and acting like it's a mountain.

Evil Lincoln wrote:

and there certainly large populations of human beings who don't recognize a binary gender system. There are three gender systems, and even some cultures with up to thirteen genders (or so my anthropology teacher taught me).

There are only two physical sexes.
There are a bunch of sexualities, and some even say it's just a spectrum.

I don't think we're ready to adopt a different gender spectrum for stat blocks. Correction: I don't think we NEED to have such a thing, unlike needing to list what the creature's exactly alignment is. Especially as for more than 95% of humanoid creatures the gender or sex has no bearing on the campaign's plot--there's almost nothing in the game rules that affect one gender (or sex) differently than another. And the few cases where it does matter, Paizo's gone out of its way to say things like "when interacting with creatures who might be attracted to the caster" (rather than "when interacting with members of the opposite sex").

Evil Lincoln wrote:
The girdle, as presented, is actually a girdle of opposite sex.

Assuming that males and females are "opposite...


Steve Geddes wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Given how the original topic wasn't remotely about the topic of gender, I don't think so.
Okay. I do.

Good for you.

Silver Crusade

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Cerberus Seven wrote:


The thing is, I'm not sure anyone on this thread had heard of cissexism before you mentioned it.

Wrong. I have heard of, and deal with cissexism on a daily basis. I was fired from a job due to cissexism. Just because you hadn't heard of a term that doesn't apply to your life doesn't mean others haven't.

On that note however, I don't see cissexism in Pathfinder (in general) or Golarion (in particular). There is a trans* NPC in the NPC Codex (Lanani Shabu, the 10th level Barbarian), there have been trans* NPC's in adventure paths (notably the third book of Reign of Winter), there is an empyreal lord who is portrayed as gender fluid and supportive of trans* (Arshea), and it is confirmed by James Jacobs that one of the iconic characters is trans*.


Cori Marie wrote:
and it is confirmed by James Jacobs that one of the iconic characters is trans*.

Um, okay? Is that not something which should have been mentioned in the respective character background? I don't think we are still missing anybody there, right?

Silver Crusade

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It hasn't been mentioned in a character background much like Kyra's sexuality wasn't. Because they haven't had a good avenue to reveal it yet, and to just put it in a short background and not have room to develop it further would smack of tokenism, which they wish to avoid.

On the cursed item thing, would I see said item as cursed? No, I'd see it as a blessing because I'm trans*. However, give that same item to a cisgendered individual and it is absolutely a curse. Being trans* is a struggle, and immensely difficult, and not something I would wish on my worst enemy. Having your psyche and your body constantly at odds is devastatingly, emotionally painful. Forcing that on someone who currently identifies as the gender their body matches? That is definitely a curse. That said, I'd pay an exceptional amount of money for one personally.


Cori Marie wrote:
It hasn't been mentioned in a character background much like Kyra's sexuality wasn't. Because they haven't had a good avenue to reveal it yet, and to just put it in a short background and not have room to develop it further would smack of tokenism, which they wish to avoid.

Well, in comic reader circles we tend to call this a "retcon". ^^

Silver Crusade

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Not really, because it was never mentioned one way or the other in the first place. If Kyra had specifically been stated to be heterosexual previously, then yes, it'd be a retcon. But her sexuality was never discusssed prior to Pathfinder #5, so there was nothing to retcon out.

Silver Crusade

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magnuskn wrote:
Cori Marie wrote:
It hasn't been mentioned in a character background much like Kyra's sexuality wasn't. Because they haven't had a good avenue to reveal it yet, and to just put it in a short background and not have room to develop it further would smack of tokenism, which they wish to avoid.
Well, in comic reader circles we tend to call this a "retcon". ^^

Retcon is when an established fact is altered. Kyra's sexuality wasn't established, so it's a "reveal", not a "retcon".

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Dark_Mistress wrote:

I agree with Mathew in that I think it is fine as a cursed item because it is not suppose to do what it does do.

With that said though, i do wish there was more magic and magic items that made gender change and other such topics as a boon. Or even a girdle that allowed one to once a day switch you gender or something as it's power.

Thank you DM, I was thinking the same, and didn't apend it to my thoughts.

Aside, remember Roy turned the item to his benefit as well. :-)


Cori Marie wrote:
Not really, because it was never mentioned one way or the other in the first place. If Kyra had specifically been stated to be heterosexual previously, then yes, it'd be a retcon. But her sexuality was never discusssed prior to Pathfinder #5, so there was nothing to retcon out.

Yes, really. A retcon is not something which actively changes a previously established backstory factor, but rather introduces a new previously unmentioned factor into a backstory, in the vein of "this is an old friend of Wolverine which we simply haven't mentioned before".

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Gorbacz wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Cori Marie wrote:
It hasn't been mentioned in a character background much like Kyra's sexuality wasn't. Because they haven't had a good avenue to reveal it yet, and to just put it in a short background and not have room to develop it further would smack of tokenism, which they wish to avoid.
Well, in comic reader circles we tend to call this a "retcon". ^^
Retcon is when an established fact is altered. Kyra's sexuality wasn't established, so it's a "reveal", not a "retcon".

And, it was handled a lot better, IMHO than Xian's was in the X-books. IT was 'revealed' as a natural part of her past, vs Xian showing up one day and going "Oh hi guys! Long time no see. This is becky, she's my girlfriend..." or words to that effect.

I liked how Caprica handled Sam and his husband, or Sister Clariece and her polyamourous family. It's just 'there' no fanfare, no trumpets or press releases, just "Yup, part of our world. Would you like tea?"

(Personally I'd have preferred Dani/Rahne being a couple. It made sense in a lot of the old New Mutants issues. Amusingly if Dani had been outed as gay, and Rahne as bi, it would have pre-empted what PAD did in X-factor, and Rob Liefield wouldn't be saying things like "Shatterstar isn't gay, he's a warrior! Like a Spartan!" :-))

Silver Crusade

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"the alteration of previously established facts in the continuity of a fictional work".


Sadly they are using him as a consultant on the upcoming X-Force movie. :-/


Golarion in my opinion is most definitely a "Hyborianized" version Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Taldor = The Byzantine Empire
Cheliax and its other former component states. = The Collapsed western roman empire.

The rest of "Europe" consists of the Barbarian States, much like dark age Europe.

Some of the nations are a different.

A number of them are real world nation put in the "Ideal" time period for pathfinder adventures. Orisan and the Land if the Linoram Kings for example.

Some, like Irisen, are a real world based state put in a specific fantasy state. In Irisans case its what if Baba Yaga ruled Russia.


There are lots of parallels, for sure. But only Osirion, Quadira and the Lands of the Linnorm King ( and Taldor as Byzantium, true ) are as "on the eye".

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Tirisfal wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:
And when I read sexism with all these qualifiers in front of it. (hetero/cis/whatever) I wonder if now is the time to bring up the lack of left handed characters again.
It's really not.

Why not? If people are lobbying to be inclusive, why not be inclusive to 10% of the population?

Spoiler:
This goes back to what I said about impossible to please everyone. I think Paizo does an amazing job of being inclusive, including to groups I don't spend much time worrying about. Seriously. I think what people do in their bedrooms is their own business, the Folsome Street Fair (So do not google, not safe for work at all) is a bridge too far. I don't 'need' a left handed iconic to feel included, nor do we need to have a 'quota' of lefties. If someone feels more validated that Kyra's gay/bi/whatever, more power to them, but don't get your knickers in a bunch if you don't see your self classification in there.

No one is obligated to include any one group. You can judge them for choosing to do so or not, but don't feel entitled to it.

Just as the poor OP feels that blacks are apparently Hyena people, because that's the first thing he thought of, people are going to see what they see.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

magnuskn wrote:
Sadly they are using him as a consultant on the upcoming X-Force movie. :-/

*headdesk*


OP Here. Sorry, this thread is moving much faster than I can keep up with it, although I'm still reading it with some interest. I'm actually especially interested in the tangent it's taken regarding Pathfinder's depiction of sexuality.*

*(A side observation on that topic- I'm female, and have been simply referred to by the male pronoun here, rather than by my forum name, which seems like a safer bet.)


Matthew Morris wrote:
Just as the poor OP feels that blacks are apparently Hyena people, because that's the first thing he thought of, people are going to see what they see.

I've got nothing against gnolls, or inclusion in fantasy games.

When you're looking at a map of not africa, and your only presumable character options are Egyptian, Pirate, Talking Ape, or Gnoll, that's not a very flattering depiction.


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I posted a similar thread on rpg.net, where I am more familiar, and there are also a lot of people very savvy about pathfinder. User junglefowl26 posts the following:

junglefowl26 wrote:

Not Africa also includes -

The most technologically advanced nation in the world, and the sole maker of guns.
The world's greatest magic academy - and the most ethically sound
A utopic civilization with direct ties to celestial beings
A mighty matriarchal militaristic empire
And a few other undetailed civilizations and cultures.

These are all really cool. Why weren't any of these on the poster? They're much more interesting than what was presented.

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Yet when you're looking at the not-Iberian pennesula and seeing devil worshipers thats fine?

And why isn't Egyptian flattering?

Silver Crusade

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Matthew Morris wrote:
Tirisfal wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:
And when I read sexism with all these qualifiers in front of it. (hetero/cis/whatever) I wonder if now is the time to bring up the lack of left handed characters again.
It's really not.

Why not? If people are lobbying to be inclusive, why not be inclusive to 10% of the population?

** spoiler omitted **

No one is obligated to include any one group. You can judge them for choosing to do so or not, but don't feel entitled to it.

Just as the poor OP feels that blacks are apparently Hyena people, because that's the first thing he thought of, people are going to see what they see.

I think you've been told before that there's quite the difference between sexuality (or race, or religion, for the matter) and handedness, Matthew.

For starters, the latter can't get you jailed/killed anywhere in the world, and I don't think that writing with your left hand ever was a punishable offense in the US, while IIRC your country abolished anti-"sodomy" laws only recently.

Your reduction is a classic right-wing attempt of derailing the issue ("Let's not talk Jews or homosexuals who died in the Holocaust, let's talk about those two native inhabitants of Madagascar who died there too! Don't they deserve attention as well? Show some of your famous sensibility here, liberals!"), but it relies on a massive fallacy :)


Matthew Morris wrote:

Yet when you're looking at the not-Iberian pennesula and seeing devil worshipers thats fine?

And why isn't Egyptian flattering?

A) Because there are plenty of other more flattering depictions for others of the same ethnic type?

B) Because Egypt, while in Africa, is associated with a Semitic/Arabic ethnicity, not a black African one? As is borne out by the picture on the poster in question.


Gorbacz wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:
Tirisfal wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:
And when I read sexism with all these qualifiers in front of it. (hetero/cis/whatever) I wonder if now is the time to bring up the lack of left handed characters again.
It's really not.

Why not? If people are lobbying to be inclusive, why not be inclusive to 10% of the population?

** spoiler omitted **

No one is obligated to include any one group. You can judge them for choosing to do so or not, but don't feel entitled to it.

Just as the poor OP feels that blacks are apparently Hyena people, because that's the first thing he thought of, people are going to see what they see.

I think you've been told before that there's quite the difference between sexuality and handedness, Matthew.

For starters, the latter can't get you jailed/killed anywhere in the world, and I don't think that writing with your left hand ever was a punishable offense in the US, while IIRC your country abolished anti-"sodomy" laws only recently.

Also more practically, in text it's often completely unnecessary to even allude to handedness, while the staff has also said they also generally ignore it so they can flip the art as necessary.

Sexual preference usually isn't revealed in RPG art and some think it could be ignored in the text as well, but that's only true if there are no marital or romantic relationships between characters.

Silver Crusade

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thejeff wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:

Yet when you're looking at the not-Iberian pennesula and seeing devil worshipers thats fine?

And why isn't Egyptian flattering?

A) Because there are plenty of other more flattering depictions for others of the same ethnic type?

B) Because Egypt, while in Africa, is associated with a Semitic/Arabic ethnicity, not a black African one? As is borne out by the picture on the poster in question.

I'm quite sure that if the poster implied "Not-Africa=black people" there would be some disgruntled South African/ex-Rhodesian angry that the poster diminishes the role of the white man on the continent. :)


Gorbacz wrote:
For starters, the latter can't get you jailed/killed anywhere in the world, and I don't think that writing with your left hand ever was a punishable offense in the US, while IIRC your country abolished anti-"sodomy" laws only recently.

Though to be fair, while I don't know if left-handedness was illegal at any point in the relatively recent past, it was common until fairly recently (certainly living memory) to use physical punishment to "correct" children writing with the left hand, for example.

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thejeff wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
For starters, the latter can't get you jailed/killed anywhere in the world, and I don't think that writing with your left hand ever was a punishable offense in the US, while IIRC your country abolished anti-"sodomy" laws only recently.

Though to be fair, while I don't know if left-handedness was illegal at any point in the relatively recent past, it was common until fairly recently (certainly living memory) to use physical punishment to "correct" children writing with the left hand, for example.

I'm quite certain that there are no places on this planet where I would be thrown into jail for writing with left hand and I'm quite certain there are places where I could be stoned to death for kissing a man in private. Or heck, for kissing my fiancée. Or for revealing my religious affiliation.

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