How do you handle homosexuality and transgenderism in your campaigns?


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thejeff wrote:
Depends on the situation.

Doesn't it almost always?

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It could make a very nice emotional capstone for a campaign.

I think you mean tombstone.

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There would have to be a very good motivation and the Dauphin would have to owe you. Not be done lightly, but it could work.

I was referring to "loudly in open court," which is something from which it's likely even the Dauphin couldn't protect you, especially considering that the King of France is far less powerful in the twelfth century than he is a few centuries later. At this point, the King of England controls the best parts of France.

But some sort of low-key public declaration? You're right: It could work.


thejeff wrote:
One thread of this discussion has been about quasi-historical campaigns. Thus real-world religions.

To me, a full discussion on real world religions or history would have to include the impact of readily available magic that D&D has, so quasi-historical is the most I've ever encountered and consider myself likely to encounter in this system. In other systems, I could see some of your larger concerns being potentially more relevant, but this system forces both real history and real religion to bend considerably to fit with the worlds that have been developed within it. One will at most see shadows of both as the presence of the other fantasy races, lack of technology, and the presence of magic monkey wrench a great deal of the reasons and assumptions behind both, especially in matters of warfare and social attitudes.


Jaelithe wrote:
Now saying, "You're a hero(ine). But declaring your love for this person who happens to be the same sex as you in the Dauphin's throne room isn't the brightest idea in the world" is reasonable, historically speaking.

How does this make for a better game?

Realizing that no matter what, your game is altering history to some degree. Why is this specifically something that needs to be preserved?

What would be the cost of not including that aspect of history?

Note, I'm not attacking. Honestly asking.


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See, I'm all for enforcing the campaign theme and having NPCs act realistically within their setting. If you've decided that the area of your campaign (or the entire campaign world) holds anti-gay views, that's fine by me.

If, knowing this about your world, someone decides to play and wants to play a gay character, and the campaign responds like you've already described and the player complains and you say TFB, I'm still with you.

But, when you want to say that the religion of the area is anti-gay, that religion (or more specifically, the deity) is of a good alignment, and the deity doesn't punish his/her clerics for allowing the anti-gay activities, then you've lost me.

Seems much better to say the god or gods are completely distant, and while clerics may be able to draw power from them, there's no divine judgment. As such, a cleric of a good deity can do evil things, have an evil alignment, what have you.

Otherwise your implying that your good deity is backing anti-gay sentiments, and that doesn't make sense to me.


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Digitalelf wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
gods do withdraw power from those who don't roughly follow the dictates of their faith.

I can just imagine the player's reaction if a GM EVER said to the player that his cleric PC can't cast spells any more, or was denied any specific spell that the character prayed for... Would go over like the proverbial passing of gas in church...

It's something that as a DM, I would do (provided that the player of a cleric was playing the character rather flippantly towards his deity/religion), but I know that many players on these boards don't think it is the GM's place to take anything away from a player's character, especially standard class abilities.

Happened once in a game I was in. The cleric threw a grappling hook through a window (when the party had the authority to walk in the front door, it's what the rest of us did), heard a shout, set the hook, heard a scream of pain, then heard another scream of pain with each shift of weight as she climbed up, and when the she suffered a bit for those actions, began all her prayers after with 'Dear ungrateful goddess'...

Let's just say she was the only person at the table who was surprised when she lost her magic.


Tormsskull wrote:

See, I'm all for enforcing the campaign theme and having NPCs act realistically within their setting. If you've decided that the area of your campaign (or the entire campaign world) holds anti-gay views, that's fine by me.

If, knowing this about your world, someone decides to play and wants to play a gay character, and the campaign responds like you've already described and the player complains and you say TFB, I'm still with you.

But, when you want to say that the religion of the area is anti-gay, that religion (or more specifically, the deity) is of a good alignment, and the deity doesn't punish his/her clerics for allowing the anti-gay activities, then you've lost me.

Seems much better to say the god or gods are completely distant, and while clerics may be able to draw power from them, there's no divine judgment. As such, a cleric of a good deity can do evil things, have an evil alignment, what have you.

Otherwise your implying that your good deity is backing anti-gay sentiments, and that doesn't make sense to me.

I suppose that depends on how big an issue you want to make the gay theme. If you want to make an entire world complete with anti-gay god, and the party is pro-gay then the campaign would probably involve trying to change the god at some point. Which could have interesting ramifications throughout the game-world.

The extent to which you include pro/anti - any material (in this instance LGBT+) will determine the theme of the campaign and game world. Choose your can of worms wisely and be prepared for the results.


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Tormsskull wrote:
But, when you want to say that the religion of the area is anti-gay, that religion (or more specifically, the deity) is of a good alignment, and the deity doesn't punish his/her clerics for allowing the anti-gay activities, then you've lost me.

A lawful good god that focuses on tradition and society rather the individual, someone like Moradin, could absolutely be played that way. Wouldn't have to be the only way, but I could definitely see a lot more resistance to any of movements that have shaken up society in the last several decades from that church without at all challenging their claim to being good. Just because they don't focus on specific concerns on the individual level doesn't make them not good.

One big, big, big problem I have with equating not supporting those causes with not being good is that good can be interpreted in different ways. Our current society is definitely in chaotic good category, focusing on individual freedom and liberty in the immediate here and now rather than a focus on long term success of the family or society as a whole, so that colors our perceptions of what qualifies as good heavily, but it doesn't remove the validity of of the other interpretations out there.


Jaelithe wrote:
I've never been much for the ordinary or the average. Frankly, I find most D&D/Pathfinder games wholly uninteresting, so ... to each their own.

I understand the feeling. I'll play in Golarion and with all the assumptions people make about what is typical, but my own world is most definitely not in that mold. Religion, and most of the resulting issues, simply doesn't come up much because the time frame I am currently working on has most of the gods dead and/or too weak to care too much about the world directly. In my world, a player wanting to push a particular issue not commonly shared with a larger community would simply be treated as weird (a title they would already have simply from being an adventurer) and be treated accordingly (which usually means apathy unless it's a personal issue for that specific NPC). If they tried the above example of climbing the minaret in my world, they would be either be killed instantly or no one would notice, and it wouldn't matter when in the campaign they did it. Quiet and dedicated action over time is far more likely to produce results than any single act or proclamation, and this is true of anything the player may want to change in the world. If that proclamation came after 15 levels of quiet advocacy, it might have an impact, but the proclamation itself would mean nothing outside of a greater context.


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Rosita the Riveter wrote:
We had a pretty long thread about this a couple years ago, and much has happened in the LGBT+ world since then. So, I'd like to posit the question again.Do you portray these topics in your games?

Yes.

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If you do, how do you do so? Are you happy with the way Pathfinder Adventure Paths and Modules handle the subject?

Pretty indifferent. The only APs and modules I've read (far from all encompassing) either didn't make much of a deal of it or mentioned it and then forgot about it. I haven't seen one where it's actually something more than scenery.

Scenery is important though.

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So, to me LGBT+ issues are part of the social fabric of the setting, and have a large role in urban culture and politics. What about you guys?

There is no all encompassing answer for my campaign because things like this vary from person to person, region to region, culture to culture, and subculture to subculture. General attitude could vary from street to street in a given city.

In the region that I've been running my campaign in lately, heterosexuality is the most common, with homosexuality being less frequent but at least mostly socially acceptable (though it can stir rumors of gossip and prejudices do exist). It's less acceptable within noble households because of certain traditions but more commonplace among those who don't have familial obligations to sire or bore heirs and the peasantry. It's relatively common to find it in companies of adventurers, mercenaries, sailors, pirates, or anyone else more or less responsible for themselves and aren't beholden to typical societal norms.

One example would be Klari and Myriel, a pair of Templar in the current campaign I've been running. They are close friends of the party's Paladin. Myriel is a Templar Inquisitor who uses psychic powers to hunt heretics, monsters, and criminals (that's the idea anyway), while Klari is a Templar Sorceress (who uses psychic powers to wreck stuff, she also has a sword and it's cool too). Both are members of a religious order of knights and priests, of which there is no problems with homosexuality among its members who are encouraged to be accepting and encouraging of love in all its forms (when they're not being bigots towards tieflings and heretics).

Transgendered characters are a bit rarer and are often met with confusion. There's a character, a vampire named Victoria that's physically male (until recently). Her disguise check was strong enough that she was pretty indistinguishable from a female to pretty much everyone. She lived as a woman, identifies as a woman, etc. Her actual sex didn't really come up much and she was prone to seducing unwary men in the nightclub that her lord governed. After royally whupping her in several fights over the course of the campaign, the party saved her from the vampire lord who was looming over her and one of the PCs got her, their "big sis" an elixir to make passing less necessary.

A lot of this varies though. For example, further north among the barbarian tribes homosexuality or more specifically bisexuality isn't even an open secret and is more or less an assumed given by a lot of their members, and their experimentation begins early in life. Further southwest, homosexuality is a taboo. Southeast, nobody gives a crap as long as you're educated and contributing to your undead utopia.

Speaking of romantic couplings, marriage varies greatly from people to people as well. In the bi-friendly barbarian tribes marriage is more for lineage and contracts so it's virtually always heterosexual as it's about heirs, though lifebonds are a similar tradition that they have and are not mutually exclusive with one-another (a man could, for example, have both a wife and mother of his heirs and his bonded male lover). In some areas it's pretty tit for tat with no restrictions at all. Some communities find it less odd than interspecies relationships (half-x races or couples aren't always met with the best mindsets), others find it a terrible and despicable thing.

Of course, it's like everything else: religion, polygamy, race, nationality, ethnicity, heritage, social class, wealth, etc. You can find someone who has a problem with it, someone who supports it, and a lot of people who don't give a damn either way.


I thought Ars Magica was the place to run semi-historical (with esoteric secret history stuff) anyway?


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sunshadow21 wrote:
Tormsskull wrote:
But, when you want to say that the religion of the area is anti-gay, that religion (or more specifically, the deity) is of a good alignment, and the deity doesn't punish his/her clerics for allowing the anti-gay activities, then you've lost me.

A lawful good god that focuses on tradition and society rather the individual, someone like Moradin, could absolutely be played that way. Wouldn't have to be the only way, but I could definitely see a lot more resistance to any of movements that have shaken up society in the last several decades from that church without at all challenging their claim to being good. Just because they don't focus on specific concerns on the individual level doesn't make them not good.

One big, big, big problem I have with equating not supporting those causes with not being good is that good can be interpreted in different ways. Our current society is definitely in chaotic good category, focusing on individual freedom and liberty in the immediate here and now rather than a focus on long term success of the family or society as a whole, so that colors our perceptions of what qualifies as good heavily, but it doesn't remove the validity of of the other interpretations out there.

Well, there's tradition, and then there's persecution. I can see a good deity saying that family and children and fertility and reproduction are the most important thing, so gay people should marry the opposite sex and have kids even if their hearts aren't in it, because of the importance of keeping society going with lots of children and maintaining the family line. But I can't see a good deity allowing gay people to be imprisoned, or tortured, or burned at the stake, because of who they love. It's just not possible. I also can't see a good deity allowing this of nearly anyone, for that matter.

The Exchange

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Homosexuality isn't something I deal with in my games. Sex isn't something I generally deal with in my games. If it is, it is generally in the context of a joke. My RL group wouldn't be interested in this stuff, they are much more interested in narrative drive and getting to the dungeon on time. You have maybe a bit more scope in PbP as the RP can be good in that medium. But, to be honest, I don't think my players are crying out for gay content and I'm not crying out to give it to them. The subject isn't all that interesting to me, and RP'ing such themes can be pretty icky and difficult to get the tone right without it turning stupid. I don't have the sureness of touch or the motivation to try.

The Paizo angle is interesting. When they mentioned in passing in AP1 the gay relationship between two very, very minor NPCs in Sandpoint, it seemed an interesting break from convention. Homosexuality exists and I don't think, in this day an age, there is anything wrong in acknowledging that in a work of fantasy fiction/RP. There isn't any need, for example, for there to be prejudice against gender or sexual orientation in such a setting, which is nice (if simplistic).

But I think they've maybe banged the drum a bit much over the years and have made it look a bit tokenistic now, as lots of NPCs over the years seem to be gay or bisexual now with little relevance to the actual adventure. As a player, I really don't care who that NPC is sleeping with if his or her main role is to die horribly under the blades of the characters. I also look a bit askance as a lot of the NPCs who are described will inevitably be villains, and so a lot of the NPCs gays are villains. While I am sure that negatively stereotyping villains as gay, or gays as villains, is not Paizo's intention, it can look that way sometimes. And sometimes, people have other motivations than the sexual ones, even depraved evil NPCs.


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Aubrey the Malformed wrote:


But I think they've maybe banged the drum a bit much over the years and have made it look a bit tokenistic now, as lots of NPCs over the years seem to be gay or bisexual now with little relevance to the actual adventure.

I think that's kind of the point. They can be LGBT without it being the defining characteristic about them. I'd imagine that there are a lot of LGBT people who wouldn't mind living in a world where this drops out of the top 10 things that people use to describe them. Some people relish it, others don't.

Example:
Oh hey, have you met my gay, nerd friend? He's into Pathfinder too.
vs
Oh hey, have you met my nerd friend? He's into Pathfinder too.

LGBT people don't have to be defined primarily by the sexual orientation, or that their gender identification took longer to form than yours. Including them in stories where this detail is largely irrelevant is part of of the process of making something "normal", by which I mean "not a big deal".

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:

Homosexuality isn't something I deal with in my games. Sex isn't something I generally deal with in my games. If it is, it is generally in the context of a joke. My RL group wouldn't be interested in this stuff, they are much more interested in narrative drive and getting to the dungeon on time. You have maybe a bit more scope in PbP as the RP can be good in that medium. But, to be honest, I don't think my players are crying out for gay content and I'm not crying out to give it to them. The subject isn't all that interesting to me, and RP'ing such themes can be pretty icky and difficult to get the tone right without it turning stupid. I don't have the sureness of touch or the motivation to try.

The Paizo angle is interesting. When they mentioned in passing in AP1 the gay relationship between two very, very minor NPCs in Sandpoint, it seemed an interesting break from convention. Homosexuality exists and I don't think, in this day an age, there is anything wrong in acknowledging that in a work of fantasy fiction/RP. There isn't any need, for example, for there to be prejudice against gender or sexual orientation in such a setting, which is nice (if simplistic).

But I think they've maybe banged the drum a bit much over the years and have made it look a bit tokenistic now, as lots of NPCs over the years seem to be gay or bisexual now with little relevance to the actual adventure. As a player, I really don't care who that NPC is sleeping with if his or her main role is to die horribly under the blades of the characters. I also look a bit askance as a lot of the NPCs who are described will inevitably be villains, and so a lot of the NPCs gays are villains. While I am sure that negatively stereotyping villains as gay, or gays as villains, is not Paizo's intention, it can look that way sometimes. And sometimes, people have other motivations than the sexual ones, even depraved evil NPCs.

Remember that "gay content" doesn't have to mean "explicit sexual content". Do your PCs ever flirt with barmaids, or rescue damsels-in-distress, or fight succubi, or anything of the sort? If so, those themes are already present in your campaign.

As for representation, it's very easy to see it as "tokenism" when people like you have been the assumed default for years. For those who are finally being represented, it can mean a great deal more.

Also, not every enemy's role is to die in every campaign. A lot of groups are very keen on redeeming foes - that information is very useful for those GMs. And of course, well-detailed foes are a lot more interesting to read about.

I'm not sure about the villain statistics right off the bat, but I can't remember that many LGBTetc characters who are actual villains. Queen Ileosa, the two from The Half-Dead City... can you refresh my memory on others? LGBTetc allies seem more prevalent.


Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
Well, there's tradition, and then there's persecution. I can see a good deity saying that family and children and fertility and reproduction are the most important thing, so gay people should marry the opposite sex and have kids even if their hearts aren't in it, because of the importance of keeping society going with lots of children and maintaining the family line. But I can't see a good deity allowing gay people to be imprisoned, or tortured, or burned at the stake, because of who they love. It's just not possible. I also can't see a good deity allowing this of nearly anyone, for that matter.

The Catholic Church had its Crusades and was still considered good by the standards of the times. Ditto for Islam and Judaism at several points of their respective history. Not to mention pretty much every country/nation/empire that has ever existed. Is that level of persecution "Good" with a capital G? Probably not. But if the society as a whole considers it a good thing, or at least a necessary thing, it's not likely a god like Moradin would have great reason to intervene. Going by the standards you list, no deity, country, or group of any size could ever be considered to have a good alignment. Which could be a fair enough statement, but one just as far off of the traditional D&D standard as keeping things as historical as possible.

Silver Crusade

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sunshadow21 wrote:
Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
Well, there's tradition, and then there's persecution. I can see a good deity saying that family and children and fertility and reproduction are the most important thing, so gay people should marry the opposite sex and have kids even if their hearts aren't in it, because of the importance of keeping society going with lots of children and maintaining the family line. But I can't see a good deity allowing gay people to be imprisoned, or tortured, or burned at the stake, because of who they love. It's just not possible. I also can't see a good deity allowing this of nearly anyone, for that matter.
The Catholic Church had its Crusades and was still considered good by the standards of the times. Ditto for Islam and Judaism at several points of their respective history. Not to mention pretty much every country/nation/empire that has ever existed. Is that level of persecution "Good" with a capital G? Probably not. But if the society as a whole considers it a good thing, or at least a necessary thing, it's not likely a god like Moradin would have great reason to intervene. Going by the standards you list, no deity, country, or group of any size could ever be considered to have a good alignment. Which could be a fair enough statement, but one just as far off of the traditional D&D standard as keeping things as historical as possible.

"Considered good" and having a "Good alignment" are two completely separate things. Just because a whole nation considers one thing right or good does not automatically make it so on a moral or ethical level. And I highly doubt a single nation with some worshippers could sway a God's alignment.

The Exchange

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Kalindlara wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:

Homosexuality isn't something I deal with in my games. Sex isn't something I generally deal with in my games. If it is, it is generally in the context of a joke. My RL group wouldn't be interested in this stuff, they are much more interested in narrative drive and getting to the dungeon on time. You have maybe a bit more scope in PbP as the RP can be good in that medium. But, to be honest, I don't think my players are crying out for gay content and I'm not crying out to give it to them. The subject isn't all that interesting to me, and RP'ing such themes can be pretty icky and difficult to get the tone right without it turning stupid. I don't have the sureness of touch or the motivation to try.

The Paizo angle is interesting. When they mentioned in passing in AP1 the gay relationship between two very, very minor NPCs in Sandpoint, it seemed an interesting break from convention. Homosexuality exists and I don't think, in this day an age, there is anything wrong in acknowledging that in a work of fantasy fiction/RP. There isn't any need, for example, for there to be prejudice against gender or sexual orientation in such a setting, which is nice (if simplistic).

But I think they've maybe banged the drum a bit much over the years and have made it look a bit tokenistic now, as lots of NPCs over the years seem to be gay or bisexual now with little relevance to the actual adventure. As a player, I really don't care who that NPC is sleeping with if his or her main role is to die horribly under the blades of the characters. I also look a bit askance as a lot of the NPCs who are described will inevitably be villains, and so a lot of the NPCs gays are villains. While I am sure that negatively stereotyping villains as gay, or gays as villains, is not Paizo's intention, it can look that way sometimes. And sometimes, people have other motivations than the sexual ones, even depraved evil NPCs.

Remember that "gay content" doesn't have to mean "explicit sexual content". Do your PCs ever flirt with barmaids, or rescue damsels-in-distress, or fight succubi, or anything of the sort? If so, those themes are already present in your campaign.

As for representation, it's very easy to see it as "tokenism" when people like you have been the assumed default for years. For those who are finally being represented, it can mean a great deal more.

Also, not every enemy's role is to die in every campaign. A lot of groups are very keen on redeeming foes - that information is very useful for those GMs. And of course, well-detailed foes are a lot more interesting to read about.

I'm not sure about the villain statistics right off the bat, but I can't remember that many LGBTetc characters who are actual villains. Queen Ileosa, the two from The Half-Dead City... can you refresh my memory on others? LGBTetc allies seem more prevalent.

People like me?

Yes, you are right up to a point. But I'm aware that this isn't explicit sexual content. What bothers me more is the relevance, much as Irontruth mentions immediately above. Why do I need to know about the crypt giant with the ménage a trois going with the undead priestess of Urgathoa and some oracle elsewhere in the complex (an example from Giantslayer)? Chances are very high that they will not be encountered together. Even if they were, they probably won't do anything terribly relevant to their sexualities while interacting with the PCs (which will be extremely likely to involve sharp pointed objects). It's nice to have some background on NPCs, of course. But unless it's going to come into play, it really doesn't matter. It instead looks a lot more like a desperate attempt to be right on, which is faintly embarrassing. The example used doesn't really involve homosexuality. I just wondered why I needed to know about the sex lives of minor NPCs.

If it's relevant, I am completely cool with it. I have read The Steel Remains trilogy (well, the first two anyway - third is on order) by Richard Morgan and the lead character is a very gay man, with some full-on gay sex scenes (Mr Morgan tends to get quite anatomical). But it's relevant, so it's fine - I'm not disgusted or put off, it makes perfect sense in the context. In other settings (for example, the two Lion of Macedon books by David Gemmell) homosexuality has cultural roots and discussion and exploration thereof is fine.

Moreover, as I said above, when Paizo did it the first time, I was totally down with it then too. But it has morphed over time and repetition into simply a bland assumption about a lack of prejudice, or indeed any view, positive or negative, at all. It's not really an examination of attitudes to homosexuality, it's a denial that there might be any issues at all. So there is no "cultural" aspect to it at all, which might make the issue interesting from a dramatic perspective or give it some sort of link into the broader world. So when it gets mentioned it is free of cultural context.

So that just leaves you with sex (homosexual and heterosexual) as some sort of character motivation in his or her interpersonal relationships. There's nothing wrong with that as far as it goes, but it is done generally for minor NPCs where the actual impact on play of their sexual orientation is negligible. Which leads me to the conclusion about tokenism. I guess you'd expect some NPCs to be gay, just by statistical chance. With most, it won't matter.

Sovereign Court

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Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
People like me?

Sorry if my statement came off the wrong way. Your post took the position most associated with straight/cis/white/male - if I've misrepresented you, I apologize.

Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Moreover, as I said above, when Paizo did it the first time, I was totally down with it then too. But it has morphed over time and repetition into simply a bland assumption about a lack of prejudice, or indeed any view, positive or negative, at all. It's not really an examination of attitudes to homosexuality, it's a denial that there might be any issues at all. So there is no "cultural" aspect to it at all, which might make the issue interesting from a dramatic perspective or give it some sort of link into the broader world. So when it gets mentioned it is free of cultural context.

The thing about this is, it might seem "more dramatic" to someone who's not in one of those marginalized groups. But people who live with that oppression might not want to experience it in their escapist fantasy roleplaying game.

I've actually added some of those elements back into my version of Golarion, since a player wanted some of them as part of their story. But, I'm glad they're not the default.

Does this make sense?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:

People like me?

Yes, you are right up to a point. But I'm aware that this isn't explicit sexual content. What bothers me more is the relevance, much as Irontruth mentions immediately above. Why do I need to know about the crypt giant with the ménage a trois going with the undead priestess of Urgathoa and some oracle elsewhere in the complex (an example from Giantslayer)? Chances are very high that they will not be encountered together. It's nice to have some background on NPCs, of course. But unless it's going to come into play, it really doesn't matter. It instead looks a lot more like a desperate attempt to be right on, which is faintly embarrassing.

The chances are only high if you as the GM don't steer the party towards it happening or if the players themselves avoid it or not. That decides the relevance for the interactions. Just because they're written does not automatically make them non-relevant, quite the opposite.

Aubrey the Malformed wrote:


If it's relevant, I am completely cool with it. I have read The Steel Remains trilogy (well, the first two anyway - third is on order) by Richard Morgan and the lead character is a very gay man, with some full-on gay sex scenes (Mr Morgan tends to get quite anatomical). But it's relevant, so it's fine - I'm not disgusted or put off, it makes perfect sense in the context. In other settings (for example, the two Lion of Macedon books by David Gemmell) homosexuality has cultural roots and discussion and exploration thereof is fine.

Moreover, as I said above, when Paizo did it the first time, I was totally down with it then too. But it has morphed over time and repetition into simply a bland assumption about a lack of prejudice, or indeed any view, positive or negative, at all.

And why, in a fantasy word where people go to in order to have fun and enjoy and be people they're not, or be the person the real world doesn't allow them to be, is this a bad thing?

Aubrey the Malformed wrote:


It's not really an examination of attitudes to homosexuality, it's a denial that there might be any issues at all. So there is no "cultural" aspect to it at all, which might make the issue interesting from a dramatic perspective or give it some sort of link into the broader world. So when it gets mentioned it is free of cultural context.

So that just leaves you with sex (homosexual and heterosexual) as some sort of character motivation in his or her interpersonal relationships. There's nothing wrong with that as far as it goes, but it is done generally for minor NPCs where the actual impact on play of their sexual orientation is negligible. Which leads me to the conclusion about tokenism. I guess you'd expect some NPCs to be gay, just by statistical chance. With most, it won't matter.

Or it very well might. There is nothing in any stat block or book that reads "DO NOT under any circumstances reveal these bits of information to the players or the world at all, ever, we just put this in here to fill up space. It's completely irrelevant". All the information and relationships and motivations and backstories for characters are all put forth for the GM and players to make a story they like with. It's as relevant and irrelevant as either of you make it.


Aubrey the Malformed wrote:

Yes, you are right up to a point. But I'm aware that this isn't explicit sexual content. What bothers me more is the relevance, much as Irontruth mentions immediately above. Why do I need to know about the crypt giant with the ménage a trois going with the undead priestess of Urgathoa and some oracle elsewhere in the complex (an example from Giantslayer)? Chances are very high that they will not be encountered together. Even if they were, they probably won't do anything terribly relevant to their sexualities while interacting with the PCs (which will be extremely likely to involve sharp pointed objects). It's nice to have some background on NPCs, of course. But unless it's going to come into play, it really doesn't matter. It instead looks a lot more like a desperate attempt to be right on, which is faintly embarrassing. The example used doesn't really involve homosexuality. I just wondered why I needed to know about the sex lives of minor NPCs.

So that just leaves you with sex (homosexual and heterosexual) as some sort of character motivation in his or her interpersonal relationships. There's nothing wrong with that as far as it goes, but it is done generally for minor NPCs where the actual impact on play of their sexual orientation is negligible. Which leads me to the conclusion about tokenism. I guess you'd expect some NPCs to be gay, just by statistical chance. With most, it won't matter.

And yet again it's "sex" as motivation as opposed to romance or any other such thing. I haven't read the Giantslayer AP. Is the "menage a trois" described just as such or is it a three-way relationship?

If it's just a casual sex scene you might stumble across, yeah, it's probably irrelevant and kind of tacky. If it's a relationship that motivates the villains, that's entirely different. Even if the players never find out the details, the GM may be able to use it for motivation and NPC reactions - how they react when one of the three is threatened or killed, for example.

So yes, I do find in both real life and fiction, sex tends to play a pretty strong role as motivation in relationships, particularly romantic ones. Important that much literature throughout history focuses on it.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
sunshadow21 wrote:


One big, big, big problem I have with equating not supporting those causes with not being good is that good can be interpreted in different ways. Our current society is definitely in chaotic good category, focusing on individual freedom and liberty in the immediate here and now rather than a focus on long term success of the family or society as a whole, so that colors our perceptions of what qualifies as good heavily, but it doesn't remove the validity of of the other interpretations out there.

A society that endorses greed as a virtue, violence as the most acceptable road for a hero to solve problems, and preaches such outright hatred of the poor, isn't what I call "good". It's more like the other thing.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
sunshadow21 wrote:


The Catholic Church had its Crusades and was still considered good by the standards of the times.

Considered "good" by whom? You forget who was setting the standard. The Roman Church, of course. The same Church condemmed the Believers as heresy, to the point of ordering a Crusade for their extermination. (Yes, Crusades weren't restricted to the Middle East) because they advocated living simple poor lives, in contrast to the bishops and certain monastic orders that were living the lap of luxury with the tribute they demanded from the lands they controled. The same agency pronouncing judgement over it's own actions, just might be considered by objective measurement, a tad biased, no? Charlemagne went to great lengths to avoid Pope Leto because he did not want his authority to be Emperor to be seen as derived from the papacy. Unfortunately he was outmaneuvered by the Pope who got to crown him anyway.

You're going to be very hard pressed to find judges who set the "standard" for "good" and "evil" that don't have ulterior axes to grind.

The Exchange

thejeff wrote:

And yet again it's "sex" as motivation as opposed to romance or any other such thing. I haven't read the Giantslayer AP. Is the "menage a trois" described just as such or is it a three-way relationship?

If it's just a casual sex scene you might stumble across, yeah, it's probably irrelevant and kind of tacky. If it's a relationship that motivates the villains, that's entirely different. Even if the players never find out the details, the GM may be able to use it for motivation and NPC reactions - how they react when one of the three is threatened or killed, for example.

So yes, I do find in both real life and fiction, sex tends to play a pretty strong role as motivation in relationships, particularly romantic ones. Important that much literature throughout history focuses on it.

From memory, it's more an arrangement than real love. It gives you an insight into the guy's mentality, I suppose. I think the term "ménage a trois" is not used and, of course, there is no on-screen sex. But for a relatively throw-away NPC it seemed a bit odd. As an isolated example (I think there are others, even in just that volume) it might be quite an interesting angle but Paizo rather over-play it, which is more my point. I don't object to the existence of homosexual relationships in Paizo products as such, or indeed sexual relationships generally, since they are a very primal motivational force. I guess I'm less impressed with their liberalism these days and more finding it a bit salacious since the existence of these relationships, but not the consequences or actions that stem therefrom, seem to be the main interest of the authors/editors.

Yknow, sort-of "Woo-hoo! We got a gay giant in there! Let's all hi-five each other in the office and bask in the glow of our right-on-ness!" What I'm not seeing is why it matters that this giant is gay - what will the players notice or encounter that will make it an interesting or different experience compared to a heterosexual giant? That's what I feel is lacking. And that is why I feel it is a bit of tokenism.

That said, I do accept Kalinlara's argument about normalising the perception of homosexuality in society at large. I don't expect all references to homosexuality to be stripped out, that's not what I'm talking about. I just wish it could be contextualized a bit more. Right now, the approach is (probably for commercial reasons) a cautious balance between the occasional reference against the risk of alienating large sections of the potential audience with a gay AP, or something like that. Which again, is fine as far as it goes, but when these issues are discussed some of us might find it a bit bland.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
What I'm not seeing is why it matters that this giant is gay - what will the players notice or encounter that will make it an interesting or different experience compared to a heterosexual giant? That's...

If the Encounter plays out as a simple fight, then probably not much. But it might not. There's plenty of ways any encounter can play out.

The Exchange

Kalindlara wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
People like me?

Sorry if my statement came off the wrong way. Your post took the position most associated with straight/cis/white/male - if I've misrepresented you, I apologize.

Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Moreover, as I said above, when Paizo did it the first time, I was totally down with it then too. But it has morphed over time and repetition into simply a bland assumption about a lack of prejudice, or indeed any view, positive or negative, at all. It's not really an examination of attitudes to homosexuality, it's a denial that there might be any issues at all. So there is no "cultural" aspect to it at all, which might make the issue interesting from a dramatic perspective or give it some sort of link into the broader world. So when it gets mentioned it is free of cultural context.

The thing about this is, it might seem "more dramatic" to someone who's not in one of those marginalized groups. But people who live with that oppression might not want to experience it in their escapist fantasy roleplaying game.

I've actually added some of those elements back into my version of Golarion, since a player wanted some of them as part of their story. But, I'm glad they're not the default.

Does this make sense?

Yes, it makes perfect sense. And I didn't take offence, nor intend to give any. I'm not suggesting that gay prejudice should be added to a setting to give it "a bit of bite" unless people are comfortable with that. I guess the approach to homosexuality in Golarion is a bit like the approach Paizo took to the rest of Golarion - a little bit of something for everyone. That includes a permissive, non-prejudicial approach (not just to sexual orientation) - which is arguably quite a nice place for your characters to live. And with so many dangers in the world, throwing prejudice into the mix in order to add a bit of drama is arguably redundant.

The Exchange

Rysky wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
What I'm not seeing is why it matters that this giant is gay - what will the players notice or encounter that will make it an interesting or different experience compared to a heterosexual giant? That's...
If the Encounter plays out as a simple fight, then probably not much. But it might not. There's plenty of ways any encounter can play out.

Wow, you know, I never though of that. It will depend on the group. But let's also take a step back. The game is predicated on combat - much more of the rules are about hurting people than not. Typically, problems will be solved through violence. I've yet to see an AP where you talk your way through a dungeon. So the sex lives of those with limited life spans can be quite pointless. Even their personal motivations are so much window dressing when their tactics block states they will immediately attack intruders. Even if they are captured, their sexual orientation is likely to be the last things the PCs will ask about while questioning them.

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