Is The Pathfinder Setting Ethically Problematic?


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

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Fair enough Sean, although I do think the terms "gender" and "sex" are less synonymous today than they were even a decade ago, and I expect that trend to continue as society becomes more inclusive. Out of respect for people who struggle against preconception, I want to be a part of that progress.

I'm not arguing for gender in the statblock at all, and sex is in there already. I would be pleased to see the girdle get renamed accurately, but it's not a deal-breaker.

For the record, I think Golarion is on solid ground ethically, not least because it does not sanitize certain key adventure fiction issues like slavery. I always felt that some campaign settings with their universal abhorrence of the practice were actually reducing the issue to cartoonishness, and losing some valuable social commentary in the process. Golarion tends to depict it as an insidious social norm, which opens huge opportunities for social commentary and heroism. Depicting ethical issues is not the same as advocating unethical practices.

There's nothing the OP said about the setting that doesn't apply twofold to Middle-earth, or any one of the bevy of other classic fantasy settings. I know there are Garundi tribes that are not caricatures (in fact, there are colonial imperialist caricatures!) ... the OP's grievances which are based on a cursory examination and many assumptions tell us much more about the OP than about the setting.

The gender/sex distinction is all I wanted to weigh in on. As a writer, the notion of gender as a non-physiological personality variable should be of great interest to you, since it makes for much more believable characters.


thejeff wrote:


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.

Wait, so Egyptians can't be flattering depictions of Africans because they're not-African (read: not black) enough? I'd bet a fair number of Egyptians would be fairly pissed at that. This is one reason assuming African = black as if black were some kind of monolithic identity is a bad idea. The continent and its peoples are more complicated than that.

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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.

He's arguing geography, thejeff. I'm just using the same points.

Remember her exact words "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."

I'm taking her at her word. that Egyptian is as unflattering as Pirate, Talking Ape, or Gnoll.

Now while it is true that the Egyptians enslaved my ancestors millinia ago, I don't see being Egyptian as 'unflattering'.

So, I can assume the worst about that statement, much as the OP did about the poster, or I can take that any biases I find are my own.

Sauce for the goose and all that.

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Gorbacz wrote:

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 :)

Ah poor Gorbaz,

I suggest you do research and get past your dextronormative viewpoint
Lefties have had a long and documented history.

But being a 'classic right winger', I forgive you your ignorance.


The 8th Dwarf wrote:
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.

Sidenote: That qualifies you as a COBOL programmer.


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Bill Dunn wrote:
thejeff wrote:


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.
Wait, so Egyptians can't be flattering depictions of Africans because they're not-African (read: not black) enough? I'd bet a fair number of Egyptians would be fairly pissed at that. This is one reason assuming African = black as if black were some kind of monolithic identity is a bad idea. The continent and its peoples are more complicated than that.

Of course they are. And Garund is even more complicated with its talking Apes and undead and things. The flip side of "assuming African = black as if black were some kind of monolithic identity" is not bothering to show black Africans at all. Egyptians can stand in for all of Africa, right?

Egyptians aren't a flattering depiction of black Africans because they're not black. I would think that would be pretty obvious.
It's not that every depiction on the map of Garund should be a flattering depiction of black ethnicity, but some should be. Much like the map of Avistan has monsters and other things, but also has regular people of its varying ethnic types including some not portrayed as obvious villains. Garund gets one Egyptian type and one black pirate. The only black depicted is shown as a villain.


Matthew Morris wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:

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 :)

Ah poor Gorbaz,

I suggest you do research and get past your dextronormative viewpoint
Lefties have had a long and documented history.

But being a 'classic right winger', I forgive you your ignorance.

Oh come on, Nick Logue named his whole company for 'lefties.'

Silver Crusade

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Matthew Morris wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:

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 :)

Ah poor Gorbaz,

I suggest you do research and get past your dextronormative viewpoint
Lefties have had a long and documented history.

But being a 'classic right winger', I forgive you your ignorance.

You're still missing my point.

My point was that equating gender and handedness as criteria is fallacious, because the former were and are grounds for criminal action in certain areas of the world, while handedness, to my best knowledge, never constituted a criminal act and was pursued as a crime by state authorities.

I can produce proof that homosexual acts were a crime in your jurisdiction not until a couple years ago, can you prove that handedness ever was?

If you can't, why do you equate the two?


Matthew Morris wrote:

Now while it is true that the Egyptians enslaved my ancestors millinia ago, I don't see being Egyptian as 'unflattering'.

I'm assuming you mean the ancient Jews from out of the book of Exodus. Current evidence actually suggests the opposite, no such thing ever occurred. Or at least, not on the scale that it's described in the Old Testament / Torah. It was a huge surprise to my aunt, too, when we visited there a few years ago. Everyone there was very polite when she asked about it but also a little honestly baffled that she would think that was actual historical fact.

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Cerberus Seven wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:

Now while it is true that the Egyptians enslaved my ancestors millinia ago, I don't see being Egyptian as 'unflattering'.

I'm assuming you mean the ancient Jews from out of the book of Exodus. Current evidence actually suggests the opposite, no such thing ever occurred. Or at least, not on the scale that it's described in the Old Testament / Torah. It was a huge surprise to my aunt, too, when we visited there a few years ago. Everyone there was very polite when she asked about it but also a little honestly baffled that she would think that was actual historical fact.

I've seen contradictory evidence too. I was being semi-sarcastic. The point was that Egyptians aren't seen as 'unflattering' but the poster's comment cound be construed that way.

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Gorbacz wrote:

You're still missing my point.

My point was that equating gender and handedness as criteria is fallacious, because the former were and are grounds for criminal action in certain areas of the world, while handedness, to my best knowledge, never constituted a criminal act and was pursued as a crime by state authorities.

I can produce proof that homosexual acts were a crime in your jurisdiction not until a couple years ago, can you prove that handedness ever was?

If you can't, why do you equate the two?

There's a point?

Hmm, strangely, Left handiness did have a history of discrimination and 'need to be corrected' (both my dad, and Ronald Reagan were 'broken lefties'). As the links I indicated showed people suffered stigma and abuse for being left handed. I'm sure you simply missed that detail when you read them.

It's ok Gorbaz, I understand that you can't see the connections. Mayhaps if you read a bit on the persecution of lefties, you'd be enlightened. That it wasn't/isn't legislated doesn't mean it was done.

Or are you arguing discrimination against a group is only 'bad' if the Government does it?

Grand Lodge

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magnuskn wrote:
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".

Retcons can most certainly change previously established backstory factor. Comics do it all the time by shifting the time period of the characters to keep them from getting any older.

Alan Moore retconned Swamp Thing's entire backstory and characterization and changed him from a "man turned into a plant" to a "plant turned into a man". Which involved brushing aside plenty of established "I'm a man turned into a plant!" moments in the previous issues. He did the same thing with Miracleman when he changed the entire run of previous comics into implanted dreams and Miracleman himself into an overweight middle-aged guy who just happened to be an alien-enhanced superhero and didn't know it.

Star Trek has changed the date of the Eugenics Wars a few times as those "far future" dates have come and gone. Asimov changed the location of Trantor in the Foundation Series. Ian Fleming wrote The Spy Who Loved Me and then dropped it out of James Bond canon because everyone hated it (even him). TV characters switch actors. Han Solo shoots Greedo ....

Plus there are plenty of "cliffhanger" examples where you see the car containing the hero go over the edge of the cliff ... only next week they retcon it to show him getting out seconds before it does.

So if you expand the totally non-scientific definition of retcon to include Kyra's sexuality, which was never discussed or established or factored into the plot prior to the reveal, then it's a pretty minor retcon.


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Matthew Morris wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:

You're still missing my point.

My point was that equating gender and handedness as criteria is fallacious, because the former were and are grounds for criminal action in certain areas of the world, while handedness, to my best knowledge, never constituted a criminal act and was pursued as a crime by state authorities.

I can produce proof that homosexual acts were a crime in your jurisdiction not until a couple years ago, can you prove that handedness ever was?

If you can't, why do you equate the two?

There's a point?

Hmm, strangely, Left handiness did have a history of discrimination and 'need to be corrected' (both my dad, and Ronald Reagan were 'broken lefties'). As the links I indicated showed people suffered stigma and abuse for being left handed. I'm sure you simply missed that detail when you read them.

It's ok Gorbaz, I understand that you can't see the connections. Mayhaps if you read a bit on the persecution of lefties, you'd be enlightened. That it wasn't/isn't legislated doesn't mean it was done.

Or are you arguing discrimination against a group is only 'bad' if the Government does it?

I think it's only bad if it bothers them. To me that's the distinguishing feature. Non heterosexual people have felt marginalised by our culture and (as part of a partial remedy in this tiny portion of that culture) many of them have indicated a desire for paizo to be more inclusive of them. Left handed people haven't.

Leaving out lefthandedness isn't the same as leaving out gay people because left handed people don't get hurt by the exclusion.

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And to add,

Gorbaz is making my point for me perfectly. Some people might feel that there's no 'need' to include GBLTQALPHABETSOUP characters in Pathfinder. Others (like me) couldn't really care less. I don't expect Paizo to show any worse 'hot Alain on Harsk action' anymore than we'd see hot Alain on Mersiel action. I look at Kyra's sexuality (for example) as being a 'that's nice' element and moving on, much like I looked at Eric Masterson's handiness. I was like "Cool, a leftie" and went on.

But now we get into the crux of the issue. Someone is always going to complain that their group isn't included. What makes a group 'worthy' of inclusion is the the creative team's decision. I believe James has said in the past the logistical difficulties of making a 'left handed iconic' (In part because art gets flipped). I take his explaination at face value, because it's the most logical answer. Likewise with Sean's posts in this thread.

Now yes, Paizo could make the effort to make, say, Seelah left handed. They'd have to be more specific on art and likely end up having to reject/crop/alter more art pieces because it wouldn't fit in the layout of the page. They for whatever reason, aren't worried about having X amount of lefties in their characters. I'm fine with that.

The original issue, seemed to be, that the OP read into the map things that aren't intended. We've now gotten into on if Egyptians are 'legitimately African' it seems.


Aberrant Templar wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
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".

Retcons can most certainly change previously established backstory factor. Comics do it all the time by shifting the time period of the characters to keep them from getting any older.

Alan Moore retconned Swamp Thing's entire backstory and characterization and changed him from a "man turned into a plant" to a "plant turned into a man". Which involved brushing aside plenty of established "I'm a man turned into a plant!" moments in the previous issues. He did the same thing with Miracleman when he changed the entire run of previous comics into implanted dreams and Miracleman himself into an overweight middle-aged guy who just happened to be an alien-enhanced superhero and didn't know it.

Star Trek has changed the date of the Eugenics Wars a few times as those "far future" dates have come and gone. Asimov changed the location of Trantor in the Foundation Series. Ian Fleming wrote The Spy Who Loved Me and then dropped it out of James Bond canon because everyone hated it (even him). TV characters switch actors. Han Solo shoots Greedo ....

Plus there are plenty of "cliffhanger" examples where you see the car containing the hero go over the edge of the cliff ... only next week they retcon it to show him getting out seconds before it does.

So if you expand the totally non-scientific definition of retcon to include Kyra's sexuality, which was never discussed or established or factored into the plot...

That's not retconning. Open inconsistencies are often the error of careless editors. Reboots are not retcons. What you described with Miracleman sounds like a retcon, although a very heavy-handed one. A retcon includes past continuity and inserts something new, which may change the view on current continuity but does not completely invalidate it. Changing around the date of the Eugenic Wars is editorial inconsistency, because it introduces new dates when they should have happened, but doesn't replace the existing given date.


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

I'm sorry but this was the only thing I could think of to say to this.

NO CHANCE

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Steve Geddes wrote:

I think it's only bad if it bothers them. To me that's the distinguishing feature. Non heterosexual people have felt marginalised by our culture and (as part of a partial remedy in this tiny portion of that culture) many of them have indicated a desire for paizo to be more inclusive of them. Left handed people haven't.

Leaving out lefthandedness isn't the same as leaving out gay people because left handed people don't get hurt by the exclusion.

Now Steve, that is a point I can understand. I had to deal with a lot of grief as a kid being left handed (scissors, writing on the chalkboard and erasing what I wrote, etc.) I don't feel marginalized by it at 41 years old, hells, being a leftie literally saved my dad's life (our brains are more diffused, that's how he survived the stroke he had, because it couldn't 'take out' what is normally in that part of the brain of a rigthy.) But for 6-10 year old Matthew, having to write backwards, teachers getting frustrated that they couldn't get me to hold the pencil the correct way,* unable to do crafts without my 'special scissors' etc, yeah, I felt marginalized/ostracized.

But that doesn't mean that 'others' don't want/need a leftie. Their arguments are just as valid as if my girls** played and felt the need for 'an iconic like them'.

*

Spoiler:
You thought I'd say the 'right' way, you dextrosupremist! :-P Amusing story, my sister was giving directions to my cousin and her partner. She told then to go 'straight at the light'. Heather replied, "We don't go straight, we go forward."

**
Spoiler:
'My girls' being defined as my pseudo-adopted sister and her partner. Also known as my strays.

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Oh, and an Alain aside.

Spoiler:
Part of me wonders if he is the trans iconic. Everything we've seen is of him as an ass, so I wonder if he's 'trying to hard' to be all macho and male.


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Matthew Morris wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

I think it's only bad if it bothers them. To me that's the distinguishing feature. Non heterosexual people have felt marginalised by our culture and (as part of a partial remedy in this tiny portion of that culture) many of them have indicated a desire for paizo to be more inclusive of them. Left handed people haven't.

Leaving out lefthandedness isn't the same as leaving out gay people because left handed people don't get hurt by the exclusion.

Now Steve, that is a point I can understand. I had to deal with a lot of grief as a kid being left handed (scissors, writing on the chalkboard and erasing what I wrote, etc.) I don't feel marginalized by it at 41 years old, hells, being a leftie literally saved my dad's life (our brains are more diffused, that's how he survived the stroke he had, because it couldn't 'take out' what is normally in that part of the brain of a rigthy.) But for 6-10 year old Matthew, having to write backwards, teachers getting frustrated that they couldn't get me to hold the pencil the correct way,* unable to do crafts without my 'special scissors' etc, yeah, I felt marginalized/ostracized.

But that doesn't mean that 'others' don't want/need a leftie. Their arguments are just as valid as if my girls** played and felt the need for 'an iconic like them'.

*** spoiler omitted **
**** spoiler omitted **

Sure. In my view if there were a clamouring for inclusion by left handed people then it would be a reasonable analogy. Where I think it breaks down is the crucial fact that there isn't such a demand.

I don't think paizo included characters with diverse sexualities purely because some people are discriminated against for being non-heterosexual. I think they included them as a response to the disenfranchised groups' requests to be included. It is a way of showing support and "doing their bit".


Matthew Morris wrote:

Oh, and an Alain aside.

** spoiler omitted **

Alain isn't just a sexist, misogynist jerk, he's also very elitist. One of the pieces from the start of an Ultimate Campaigns chapter details him talking very casually and grumpily about how it's not fair that a bunch of peasants are holding a grudge against him for killing some of their friends. It seems more likely that Alain is just an all-around ass.

Now, Damiel the iconic alchemist, who has been referenced as being 'changed' due to his experiments, there's an interesting possibility.

Silver Crusade

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Matthew Morris wrote:

Oh, and an Alain aside.

** spoiler omitted **

That would fit even better if it would turn out that s/he was pre-transition Male to Female, as many of us, including myself, did exactly that to try to force ourselves cis (joining football and a fraternity in my case, along with just trying to do things the 'manly' way all the time).


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Matthew Morris wrote:
But now we get into the crux of the issue. Someone is always going to complain that their group isn't included. What makes a group 'worthy' of inclusion is the the creative team's decision. I believe James has said in the past the logistical difficulties of making a 'left handed iconic' (In part because art gets flipped). I take his explaination at face value, because it's the most logical answer. Likewise with Sean's posts in this thread.

I'm still not sure why there always has to be a fallacious discussion of slippery slopes when it comes to inclusion.

I think its important to remember, Matthew, that if you seriously want a left-handed character represented (and you aren't just using it to derail the conversation), then get vocal about it - otherwise, please stop using it as an "argument" in these threads.

The only reason that they're "worthy" of inclusion is because people asked for it, and Paizo felt inclined to listen.

Marginalizing my sexuality with handedness to disrupt that inclusion is always going to be offensive to me at best.


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Steve Geddes wrote:


Sure. In my view if there were a clamouring for inclusion by left handed people then it would be a reasonable analogy. Where I think it breaks down is the crucial fact that there isn't such a demand.

I don't think paizo included characters with diverse sexualities purely because some people are discriminated against for being non-heterosexual. I think they included them as a response to the disenfranchised groups' requests to be included. It is a way of showing support and "doing their bit".

I think they did it because they wanted to, probably because there are several BGLTQ types working there and they're aware of and open to the idea.

Remember that they started with fairly minor characters, casually revealed within the setting. The lack of a backlash let them be bolder about it.

And, other than discussions here, it's not something they've really played up. Iconics, for example, have been mentioned, but none were revealed until the Comic started and we got more characterization of them.

The other QTLGB characters have come up in adventures and source material where it seemed appropriate. Generally not revealed as !!!NEW GAY NPC!!!, but as "this guy and his male partner" live here and fit into the setting this way.

Grand Lodge

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magnuskn wrote:
That's not retconning. Open inconsistencies are often the error of careless editors. Reboots are not retcons. What you described with Miracleman sounds like a retcon, although a very heavy-handed one. A retcon includes past continuity and inserts something new, which may change the view on current continuity but does not completely invalidate it. Changing around the date of the Eugenic Wars is editorial inconsistency, because it introduces new dates when they should have happened, but doesn't replace the existing given date.

...this makes absolutely no sense. Changing the date of the Eugenic Wars is 'editorial inconsistency" and not a retcon because changing the date doesn't replace the date?

It may have been an editorial inconsistency that lead a more recent writer to realize that "crap, having the Eugenics War take place in the far off future of 1990 doesn't really work now that we're 30 years past that point!" but changing this:

"Khan was the absolute ruler of all of Asia in 1992, having conquered it by force with his band of augmented superhumans. In total, 40 nations were conquered causing 30 million deaths and plunging the planet into a new dark age. The augmented humans were created in the 1950s US/Soviet Cold War but it took them a generation to become powerful enough to take over in a violent revolution."

...to this...

"so ... uh ... how 'bout we make the war into more of a top-secret Cold War thing that the general population didn't know was happening? We should also change some of this out-dated scientific understanding of genetic engineering because this doesn't really work anymore."

...retroactively changes the established continuity *cough* RetCon *cough* of Star Trek.

Not a reboot. The same actors played the same characters who were the same characters kicking around in Space Seed. The Kirk that died in Generations is the same Kirk that fought Khan in Space Seed.

I.E. Retcon.

Anyway, the definition of Retcon is pretty inclusive and broader than you seem to believe based on the Oxford Dictionary, Wikipedia, TV Tropes, Urban Dictionary, Wikitionary ... and the Wookieepedia. Which, really, is the definitive source for all things retcon.

Grand Lodge

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Tirisfal wrote:
I think its important to remember, Matthew, that if you seriously want a left-handed character represented (and you aren't just using it to derail the conversation), then get vocal about it - otherwise, please stop using it as an "argument" in these threads.

...he needs to stop talking about the lack of representation of left-handed people and start being vocal about it?

*head explodes*


I hope he's kidding about the lack of left handed characters. I really really do.


Gorbacz wrote:

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.

Actually you should do some study on the treatment of left handed people. They were discriminated against as late as the early to mid 1900's. Certain people thought the left hand was the devils hand (due to some misinterpretation, in my view, of scripture). I have relatives that were beat out of being left handed. I'm not saying that this has the same standing as some of the topics be discussed but he does have a point


Aberrant Templar wrote:

...this makes absolutely no sense. Changing the date of the Eugenic Wars is 'editorial inconsistency" and not a retcon because changing the date doesn't replace the date?

It may have been an editorial inconsistency that lead a more recent writer to realize that "crap, having the Eugenics War take place in the far off future of 1990 doesn't really work now that we're 30 years past that point!" but changing this:

"Khan was the absolute ruler of all of Asia in 1992, having conquered it by force with his band of augmented superhumans. In total, 40 nations were conquered causing 30 million deaths and plunging the planet into a new dark age. The augmented humans were created in the 1950s US/Soviet Cold War but it took them a generation to become powerful enough to take over in a violent revolution."

...to this...

"so ... uh ... how 'bout we make the war into more of a top-secret Cold War thing that the general population didn't know was happening? We should also change some of this out-dated scientific understanding of genetic engineering because this doesn't really work anymore."

...retroactively changes the established continuity *cough* RetCon *cough* of Star Trek.

Saying that it was an "editorial" inconsistency was not the right way to go. But, yes, changing not only the date but also the entire story is an inconsistency or a rewrite or a reboot. It is not a retcon, because those do not change the story as written before. Wolverine has a gazillion friends from before his time with the X-Men nobody ever heard from before, but who continue showing up out of nowhere. That's a retcon. Inserting prior backstory into an established characters past often is a retcon. Having two completely divergent dates, with none of the two being "official canon", about the Eugenic Wars... that's not a retcon, that is inconsistent writing and poor planning.


Seltyiel appears to be left handed.


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Aberrant Templar wrote:
Tirisfal wrote:
I think its important to remember, Matthew, that if you seriously want a left-handed character represented (and you aren't just using it to derail the conversation), then get vocal about it - otherwise, please stop using it as an "argument" in these threads.

...he needs to stop talking about the lack of representation of left-handed people and start being vocal about it?

*head explodes*

If he's honestly that passionate about it, he needs to start a petition thread instead of derailing other ones.

Silver Crusade

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derrick mcmullin wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:

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.

Actually you should do some study on the treatment of left handed people. They were discriminated against as late as the early to mid 1900's. Certain people thought the left hand was the devils hand (due to some misinterpretation, in my view, of scripture). I have relatives that were beat out of being left handed. I'm not saying that this has the same standing as some of the topics be discussed but he does have a point

You have to draw a line somewhere, because otherwise every conversation about discrimination and inclusivity will look like this:

A: I want to discuss the image of Christians in this hobby. Half the material shows Christians as fanatic bloody zealots...
B: Oh really? And you don't want to discuss discrimination against cultists of Shub-Niggurath? Double standards! Hypocrisy! Christian exceptionalism! You're getting the paycheck from Vatican for this, aren't you?
A: ...


No he doesn't. I'm left handed and know many many people who are left handed. Not one of us has felt discriminated against or persecuted over something so amazingly unimportant. I certainly wouldn't demand that Paizo create a character that fits my group. That's what house ruling and story telling are for. I don't rely on art in books or character descriptions to tell me what I think my characters should or should not be. This is narcissism at its highest.


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Aberrant Templar wrote:
Tirisfal wrote:
I think its important to remember, Matthew, that if you seriously want a left-handed character represented (and you aren't just using it to derail the conversation), then get vocal about it - otherwise, please stop using it as an "argument" in these threads.

...he needs to stop talking about the lack of representation of left-handed people and start being vocal about it?

*head explodes*

I think it's more "He should stop using it to argue against other forms of diversity or actually start pushing for it."


1 person marked this as a favorite.
havoc xiii wrote:
Seltyiel appears to be left handed.

This is clearly intolerant and only serves to reinforce the stereotype that left handed people are evil!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Evil Lincoln wrote:
havoc xiii wrote:
Seltyiel appears to be left handed.
This is clearly intolerant and only serves to reinforce the stereotype that left handed people are evil!

Worse, it implies that left-handed people aren't fully human to begin with. Matthew Morris should really get on this one.

Grand Lodge

magnuskn wrote:
Saying that it was an "editorial" inconsistency was not the right way to go. But, yes, changing not only the date but also the entire story is an inconsistency or a rewrite or a reboot. It is not a retcon, because those do not change the story as written before. Wolverine has a gazillion friends from before his time with the X-Men nobody ever heard from before, but who continue showing up out of nowhere. That's a retcon. Inserting prior backstory into an established characters past often is a retcon. Having two completely divergent dates, with none of the two being "official canon", about the Eugenic Wars... that's not a retcon, that is inconsistent writing and poor planning.

...I applaud the lengths you are going to argue an extremely narrow and specific definition of "retcon" and an extremely generous definition of "reboot".

Because I'm pretty sure that a "reboot" involves starting everything from scratch keeping only the most basic of elements. Such as Batman Begins rebooting the batman movie franchise by dropping the first four movies entirely and starting fresh with a new line of continuity. Or Marvel rebooting their universe in the form of the Ultimate comic line. Or any number of other examples here: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ContinuityReboot

Really, introducing an old friend of Wolverine is the softest of retcons considering how vague and open his established background was. There were a lot of holes for future writers to fill. If it was previously established that he didn't have such a friend, or if that old friend was from a region Wolverine's established history never went to, then it would be a somewhat harder retcon to swallow. Like Han shooting first, or Darth Vader owning R2 & 3P0.

...and that's pretty much all I'm going to say about this to avoid further derailing a thread that's probably already run its course. *shrug*


Tirisfal wrote:
Aberrant Templar wrote:
Tirisfal wrote:
I think its important to remember, Matthew, that if you seriously want a left-handed character represented (and you aren't just using it to derail the conversation), then get vocal about it - otherwise, please stop using it as an "argument" in these threads.

...he needs to stop talking about the lack of representation of left-handed people and start being vocal about it?

*head explodes*

If he's honestly that passionate about it, he needs to start a petition thread instead of derailing other ones.

Uh, how is he 'derailing' anything? This thread started as an attempt to label one of Paizo's marketing pieces, a map of the Inner Sea region, as racist. As you may have noticed, we're now onto the topic of sex-based discrimination. How is discrimination against the left-handed any less a valid tangent than what this thread is mostly about now? Just because there's no world-wide organization promoting equality for a certain group of people, does not make that group's suffering through the callousness and intolerance of others any less valid. Take red heads in the UK, for example. Do you have any idea how badly they were, and still are, treated in many cases? It was bad, really bad. And yet, as a red-head, I'm not yelling discrimination because Paizo put a Varisian woman in the area you'd expect to see red-heads for a Europe-analoge geographical location. It's a stupid fantasy map and his concerns are just as valid as yours.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Retcons do nothing BUT change the story that was written before. Stephanie Brown's death was retconned. The story was changed so that she never died. Tim Drake's time as Robin was retconned, and in the New 52, he never was Robin, and just was Red Robin. In the late 80s, Kara Zor-El was retconned out of existence. Retcons and reboots are not mutually exclusive. Retcons are often a big part of reboots, especially reboots like the New 52 in which they were selective about what characters continuities they wanted to keep.

Adding a character is a type of retcon. Addition as Retcon But addition is not the only type of retcon. Subtraction is the much more common form where an unpopular character or story just doesn't get referenced any more and blatantly left out when people in universe are talking about events around it.

And for your reading pleasure a giant list of retcons.

You just seem to have a much narrower definition than 90% of the 'comic book crowd' you reference (of which I am a card carrying member, having been to SDCC, Denver CC, and owning some Silver Age comics that would make your head spin if you saw, just due to the characters they introduced)


Aberrant Templar wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Saying that it was an "editorial" inconsistency was not the right way to go. But, yes, changing not only the date but also the entire story is an inconsistency or a rewrite or a reboot. It is not a retcon, because those do not change the story as written before. Wolverine has a gazillion friends from before his time with the X-Men nobody ever heard from before, but who continue showing up out of nowhere. That's a retcon. Inserting prior backstory into an established characters past often is a retcon. Having two completely divergent dates, with none of the two being "official canon", about the Eugenic Wars... that's not a retcon, that is inconsistent writing and poor planning.

...I applaud the lengths you are going to argue an extremely narrow and specific definition of "retcon" and an extremely generous definition of "reboot".

Because I'm pretty sure that a "reboot" involves starting everything from scratch keeping only the most basic of elements. Such as Batman Begins rebooting the batman movie franchise by dropping the first four movies entirely and starting fresh with a new line of continuity. Or Marvel rebooting their universe in the form of the Ultimate comic line. Or any number of other examples here: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ContinuityReboot

Really, introducing an old friend of Wolverine is the softest of retcons considering how vague and open his established background was. There were a lot of holes for future writers to fill. If it was previously established that he didn't have such a friend, or if that old friend was from a region Wolverine's established history never went to, then it would be a somewhat harder retcon to swallow. Like Han shooting first, or Darth Vader owning R2 & 3P0.

...and that's pretty much all I'm going to say about this to avoid further derailing a thread that's probably already run its course. *shrug*

Yeah, let's not continue that train of discussion. We obviously disagree and won't come to a reconciliation.


Cori Marie wrote:

Retcons do nothing BUT change the story that was written before. Stephanie Brown's death was retconned. The story was changed so that she never died. Tim Drake's time as Robin was retconned, and in the New 52, he never was Robin, and just was Red Robin. In the late 80s, Kara Zor-El was retconned out of existence. Retcons and reboots are not mutually exclusive. Retcons are often a big part of reboots, especially reboots like the New 52 in which they were selective about what characters continuities they wanted to keep.

Adding a character is a type of retcon. Addition as Retcon But addition is not the only type of retcon. Subtraction is the much more common form where an unpopular character or story just doesn't get referenced any more and blatantly left out when people in universe are talking about events around it.

And for your reading pleasure a giant list of retcons.

You just seem to have a much narrower definition than 90% of the 'comic book crowd' you reference (of which I am a card carrying member, having been to SDCC, Denver CC, and owning some Silver Age comics that would make your head spin if you saw, just due to the characters they introduced)

Good for you. I'll stick to my definition, which is the one I've seen in use for the last 25 years and all the messageboards I've been on and in fan-fiction and on UseNet. Anyway, I'll stop derailing this thread now.

The Exchange

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Sean K Reynolds wrote:
thejeff wrote:

It's not just "This region contains demonic apes and gnolls", it's "This region contains demonic apes and gnolls where I would expect to find black people and there aren't actually any black people shown in that area."

We may have to just disagree here.

Idea: the poster is supposed to show adventuring options for adventurers who want to explore different lands and fight bad guys.

So... crazy "vikings."
Devil worshipers.
Gnolls.
Liches.
Pirates.
Demon apes.

Would it be less racist if the Africa-analogue continent, instead of showing demon apes for your character to fight, showed "black guys" for your character to fight?

The problem is not the presence of monsters in the Africa analogue, it's the lack of monsters in the Europe analogue. More accurately the problem is the difference in how each of the continents is presented.

While the Europe continent is presented in a way that showcases the human civilizations living in it (which presents the entire place as a human dominated area where the PCs are assumed to come from), the Africa continent is presented as a savage, exciting frontier filled with savage tribes, evil pirates and monsters.
In a way, this shows the Africa analogue like the European colonists perceived Africa when they first arrived. The end result is a euro-centric narrative, which presents one continent as the point of origin (if no humans are shown in the Africa analogue how would anyone play a character who came from there?), while the Africa analogue purely as an area to adventure in.

Personally I don't think that's racism - so much of the "normal" fantasy these days comes from a Europen perspective that I take it for granted. That's why I (and many others in this forum) always get hyped when Paizo does something different and bases their stories on other kind of fantasies - for example, all the Russian mythology in Reign of Winter.

I DO think that the mentioned poster should be changed. Either show only monsters everywhere, or only people everywhere, or a good mix of monsters and people everywhere. While Paizo is at it, they're wholeheartedly invited to stop participating in offensive art of females, an issue I find much more urgent.


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Topic: "I think that Paizo might be a little ethnically neglectful because reasons"

Actual discussion: "Retconing the exclusion of left handed people is the same as rebooting the inclusion of the LGBT community"

PAIZOBOARDS


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Since the actual topic is long dead:
In general I see the difference between RetCon and Reboot as this: In a Reboot it is understood that the actual events changed. In a RetCon the retconned events supposedly always happened, they just weren't revealed to the audience until now. Generally with the implication that the audience thought they knew what had happened and that enough time has passed that it's an actual change, not an always intended reveal.

The term Retroactive Continuity came from Roy Thomas's work with DC's WWII characters back in the 80s. Huge chunks of material added, but added to fit within the existing canon.
In DC, there have been several linewide reboots, the New 52 being the most recent. Large chunks of established canon were thrown away each time. Marvel hasn't really done that in their main line, though they've started over again with the Ultimates line.

Just adding things to known gaps or revealing something previously unknown about a character usually isn't considered either. If you have a mysterious character and some years later reveal his birthplace, you're just revealing something, not even appearing to change something.


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Matthew Morris wrote:
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.

I appreciate that the sentiment you're expressing is a form of tolerance, which is great. However. being LGBTQ extends beyond "what people do in the bedroom." It's something as simple and mundane as holding hands with your SO while walking down the street, or as serious as hospital visitation rights for same-sex spouses, or, for trans people, stepping outside in regular clothes that match your gender without being harassed, attacked or worse. Or just being able to work at your job without getting fired, legally, because of your gender identity. (Also note that expressing that you yourself are tolerant of LGBTQ people does not solve the problems they face, any more than a white person saying they don't see color solves the problems non-white people face. There can still be a need for discussion.)

As far as"getting your knickers in a bunch" over the lack of representation, I think it's less a matter of that, and more a matter of this: Paizo has demonstrated an interest in LGBTQ representation, and racial diversity, and representation of women, all of which are elements that have previously either been poorly done, absent, or hostile within the field of gaming, and often still are. This also applies, to varying degrees, to the larger field of popular culture. People who are themselves aligned with any of those aspects of representation (LGBTQ, non-white, female), who like Paizo's stuff, while probably being happy to feel included, are going to offer feedback from time to time, including criticisms about what they see as missteps. Provided people are respectful about it, there's nothing wrong with that.

And no one's asking for quotas or anything like that.

Cerberus Seven wrote:
Take red heads in the UK, for example. Do you have any idea how badly they were, and still are, treated in many cases? It was bad, really bad. And yet, as a red-head, I'm not yelling discrimination because Paizo put a Varisian woman in the area you'd expect to see red-heads for a Europe-analoge geographical location. It's a stupid fantasy map and his concerns are just as valid as yours.

I just read up on what you're talking about. That sucks, if you've had to put up with that. However, one group who is subjected to harassment or discrimination saying, "Nah, we're fine, we can take it," doesn't mean that the concerns of other groups who face different harassments or discriminations are invalid. As you say, their concerns are as valid as yours, and they get to determine their own response to what they face.

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
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...

I disagree with what you're saying about the girdle (I think it's a small contribution to a larger cultural narrative that says there is something wrong with changing sex), but compared to how Paizo has done in this area otherwise, you're right, it's not a mountain. Nothing wrong with pointing out the molehills, though, is there? They're the kind of thing that can trip a person up.

You're certainly not inconsiderate or a bigot. I appreciate you taking the time to express your POV on this, and I understand your argument. I'd prefer it changed, but if it isn't, okay.

Also, apologies to everyone for contributing to the initial derailing of the thread. I'll bow out now.


So wait, help me out here. Which iconic is it that is a left-handed post-op transgendered female bisexual with leanings towards lesbianism?

Just for the record, the first story I ever read that introduced the concept of more than two sexes was Isaac Asimov's "The Gods Themselves."

(I suppose it's not all that relevant to this discussion that Isaac's book title was derived from the quotation "Against stupidity, the Gods themselves contend in vain.")


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
WillowX wrote:

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.

Some of them are off the map. The first one is mentioned on the poster.


Lord Snow wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
thejeff wrote:

It's not just "This region contains demonic apes and gnolls", it's "This region contains demonic apes and gnolls where I would expect to find black people and there aren't actually any black people shown in that area."

We may have to just disagree here.

Idea: the poster is supposed to show adventuring options for adventurers who want to explore different lands and fight bad guys.

So... crazy "vikings."
Devil worshipers.
Gnolls.
Liches.
Pirates.
Demon apes.

Would it be less racist if the Africa-analogue continent, instead of showing demon apes for your character to fight, showed "black guys" for your character to fight?

The problem is not the presence of monsters in the Africa analogue, it's the lack of monsters in the Europe analogue. More accurately the problem is the difference in how each of the continents is presented.

While the Europe continent is presented in a way that showcases the human civilizations living in it (which presents the entire place as a human dominated area where the PCs are assumed to come from), the Africa continent is presented as a savage, exciting frontier filled with savage tribes, evil pirates and monsters.
In a way, this shows the Africa analogue like the European colonists perceived Africa when they first arrived. The end result is a euro-centric narrative, which presents one continent as the point of origin (if no humans are shown in the Africa analogue how would anyone play a character who came from there?), while the Africa analogue purely as an area to adventure in.

Personally I don't think that's racism - so much of the "normal" fantasy these days comes from a Europen perspective that I take it for granted. That's why I (and many others in this forum) always get hyped when Paizo does something different and bases their stories on other kind of fantasies - for example, all the Russian mythology in Reign of Winter.

I DO think that the mentioned poster should be changed. Either show only monsters everywhere, or only people everywhere, or a good mix of monsters and people everywhere. While Paizo is at it, they're wholeheartedly invited to stop participating in offensive art of females, an issue I find much more urgent.

This may be a better take on it.

Though I don't think it's worth changing the poster over. Just something to keep in mind for the next effort.


The problem with the fallacious argument of equating handedness with sexual orientation or cissexuality is that handedness doesn't constitute an identity the same way as the others do*. As such, the presence of those attributes in the setting (especially, when presented as non-token, and non stereotypical) not only acts to allow people beyond the white, heterosexual male to feel represented in the setting, but also acts as a validation of a facet of their identity, as a counterpoint to the real-life racism, sexism, and LGBT discrimination present in modern society. While I see no reason why there shouldn't be left handed characters, the presence of left handed characters in a setting doesn't have the same impact on a left-handed gamer, as the presence of a homosexual iconic would have on a gay or lesbian gamer.

*

Spoiler:
And before anyone tries to take this out of context, I am not arguing that these formulate the entirety of an identity, but simply that it is significantly more common to identify by race, gender, sexual orientation, cissexuality, and any other attribute identified in this thread, than handedness

And on the subject of a trans iconic, I feel that either Alain or Damiel as mentioned earlier, would have unfortunate implications. Alain, being that if the argument is made that his sexism, machismo and misogyny are overcompensation for his transsexualism (either pre-MtF, or especially post-FtM), then this would mean Paizo is implying that transsexuality leads to assbagish behaviour.

For Damiel, it's a bit similar, as the impression I got from his "Meet the Iconics" post was that his alchemical obsession on "the Change" drove him psychotic. If "the Change" is supposed to be an FtM transition, then that gives the similar implication as above, though replace assbagish behaviour with derangement.

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