How do you handle homosexuality and transgenderism in your campaigns?


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Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
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.

OTOH, Paizo very rarely presents a gay character as just "This character is gay." Even if the PCs don't question them about that (and why would they?), they may question them about other important NPCs and at that point the fact there's a relationship, straight or gay, becomes important.

Silver Crusade

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

I don't know about whole dungeons but there's been plenty of areas and encounters in both homebrew games and APs that have been "skipped" through alternate means instead of just stabbing everything that looks at you funny.

And okay if they immediate attack intruders, but what if you're not an intruder for whatever reason? What if you knock out but not kill or otherwise hold one of them hostage as a bartering option?

The Exchange

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Yes, but in the end it is a question of degree. Otherwise it's "Orc 3 is a Scorpio. He recently lost his mother, and has turned to writing poetry to express his feelings..." I guess I'm questioning the degree.


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Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
"Orc 3 is a Scorpio. He recently lost his mother, and has turned to writing poetry to express his feelings..."

I'd buy more of that.

Hopefully the poetry is better than this.

The Exchange

thejeff wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
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.

OTOH, Paizo very rarely presents a gay character as just "This character is gay." Even if the PCs don't question them about that (and why would they?), they may question them about other important NPCs and at that point the fact there's a relationship, straight or gay, becomes important.

Yes true, they always express it as "A is in a relationship with B (and maybe C)", which is certainly more useful under the circumstances from an RP perspective.


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I just keep imagining my next recruitment thread and that post that I get about "How will your Shackled City AP handle homosexuality and transgender issues?"

Then I will have to tell them to move along as obviously shackled city is mostly about fetish bondage! Sheesh!


Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
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.

I don't think my players have ever skipped an entire dungeon, but just last session in my Reign of Winter campaign, they talked their way through 7+ encounters. And, to support that play style, it's extremely important to know NPCs' motivations.

Even when we're solving things with combat, relationships can be extremely relevant. Killing someone's employer will evoke a very different response than killing their spouse, after all.

Going back all the way to Burnt Offerings, there are relationships that can be used to remove opponents from combat. Sparing someone's romantic interest in this case is not just a roleplaying hook, but actually a superior tactical option.

In addition to the other benefits, including homoromantic relationships means players can't rule out that option immediately if you're fighting a group of all men or all women.

Cheers!
Landon

Community & Digital Content Director

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Removed quite a few posts/responses to them. In a discussion regarding in-game content, it's really not appropriate to turn the thread into a platform for debating aspects of real-world religion or mythos. There were also a myriad of personal attacks, baiting posts, and other similarly inappropriate comments in this thread. Keep this one about the original topic, or we'll be closing it.


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Rysky wrote:
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.
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?

My first guess is because that's how all sexuality is. I think we'd be lying to ourselves if we said that even heterosexual sex wasn't controversial. All sexuality is controversial. Some more than others but don't for a moment think that heterosexual sex in its myriad of circumstances isn't controversial as well.

Sexuality at its root is both a simple and a serious thing. Even the characters views on it can relate to you information about their personality and outlook. It can be completely irrelevant or a crux of a character's biography. When I rolled a hedonistic priestess of Urgathoa (of the arcanist class) a while back, her sexuality or more specifically her lust and willingness to indulge in her lusts even when they conflicted with societal expectations while she remained proud of her ways was an integral part of the character. However, if it wasn't for the fact that her lifestyle (including but not limited to her sexuality) wasn't openly embraced by those around here, it would have been entirely pointless.

If I'm playing in a game, if everyone just acts like everything is par for the course it really kills both the verisimilitude and the reason to even include it ("it" in this case being any aspect of your character, be it sexuality, height, weight, race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, religion, etc).


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Landon Winkler wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
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.

I don't think my players have ever skipped an entire dungeon, but just last session in my Reign of Winter campaign, they talked their way through 7+ encounters. And, to support that play style, it's extremely important to know NPCs' motivations.

Even when we're solving things with combat, relationships can be extremely relevant. Killing someone's employer will evoke a very different response than killing their spouse, after all.

Going back all the way to Burnt Offerings, there are relationships that can be used to remove opponents from combat. Sparing someone's romantic interest in this case is not just a roleplaying hook, but actually a superior tactical option.

In addition to the other benefits, including homoromantic relationships means players can't rule out that option immediately if you're fighting a group of all men or all women.

Cheers!
Landon

Though in the sake of fairness, it's hard to use that as a justification when the APs involve lots of suicidal NPCs who don't seem to care about anything in their lives.

If I had a time for every encounter that had "fights to the death" for some trivial reason I'd throw a pizza party. I mean, you need to have NPCs who act like people before you can use acting like people as a point, right?


LazarX wrote:

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.

I understood who set the standard in that example perfectly. That example, and the bias behind it, was a very deliberate point; that bias is real but it doesn't eliminate the fact that most of Western Europe accepted it and the foundations of it from shortly after the fall of Rome to the Renaissance without serious questions, at least on the bigger issues. The fact that the standard was not 100% pure good on a truly objective level doesn't change the fact that for billions of people in that time frame, it was the accepted definition of "good" and was functionally what people followed as the standard for "good." The famous Pax Romana is a another prime example of something typically held up as a good thing, but in fact was enforced by instantly killing anyone who said as much as a word against Rome.

The point is, all of the definitions of what qualifies as "good" or any of the alignments in the absolute term that have shown up in this thread repeatedly are meaningless when applied an actual game where everybody, including outsiders that supposedly embody that perfect definition, brings a bias or concern to the scene that makes actually playing out that absolute definition functionally impossible. Hence, I am just as likely to walk away from a game that tries to claim that it's impossible to be good and militantly anti-(enter your cause here) at the same time as I am from one that relies entirely on historical views to portray that same cause. Neither extreme does well in any but the most specific of D&D campaigns that only certain groups will even be willing to consider. It's also not usually an issue for most groups in this system because D&D is understood to be an entertainment fantasy game first and foremost, and social commentary secondary if it's present at all. Other systems, especially ones that try to mimic modern day, would have that problem much more because of differing expectations.

I am glad that Paizo is showing awareness of the social issues of the day, but really, that trans orc is never even going to show up in the vast majority of campaigns as a trans orc. The party will either fight it and kill it, ignore it, or the DM will change the NPC to something that will provide a more interesting hook for more players. It's a nice gesture, but hardly as groundbreaking as some in this thread are treating it. A few references here or there are fine, but suddenly normalizing even entire cities or regions of the world to these issues would lose far more players than it would gain; it's simply too far of a leap too quickly given the traditional assumptions of pretty much every D&D world ever published.


sunshadow21 wrote:
LazarX wrote:

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.

I understood who set the standard in that example perfectly. That example, and the bias behind it, was a very deliberate point; that bias is real but it doesn't eliminate the fact that most of Western Europe accepted it and the foundations of it from shortly after the fall of Rome to the Renaissance without serious questions, at least on the bigger issues. The fact that the standard was not 100% pure good on a truly objective level doesn't change the fact that for billions of people in that time frame, it was the accepted definition of "good" and was functionally what people followed as the standard for "good." The famous Pax Romana is a another prime example of something typically held up as a good thing, but in fact was enforced by instantly killing anyone who said as much as a word against Rome.

The point is, all of the definitions of what qualifies as "good" or any of the alignments in the absolute term that have shown up in this thread repeatedly are meaningless when applied an actual game where everybody, including outsiders that...

Even leaving aside modern "controversial" issues, the bias of the day included some pretty heinous stuff - slavery, torture, persecution of heretics, etc. I don't have any problem playing in a setting with moral standards I don't agree with, but if you establish "what the Catholic Church does in year X" as the standard of Good in your setting and enforce that with the various (semi-)objective tools that PF gives, that's a little to close to endorsing it for me.

I don't mind playing evil. I don't mind playing bigoted people who think they're good or in a world that thinks they're good. I don't like it when the system says they're right about it.

So, you want to play in a setting where the Church is held up as the moral standard, but doesn't actually qualify. I'm fine with that. Even when the God the Church serves isn't actually good. But in a system like PF, where good is objective and measurable, there will be cracks in that system. If the Church is bad enough, those cracks will be obvious. Torturers and slavers who are high enough level will show up as Evil. Paladins of the Church who enforce evil laws will fall.

One effect of all this of course is that if God really is Good, then the Church will be more self-correcting, since it'll be harder to fall away from what He wants. Sadly, that wouldn't look much like the Church of the middle ages.

Community & Digital Content Director

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Removed a couple posts. If you have an issue with our moderation practices, you can email community@paizo.com. Don't derail a thread with it.


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Posts vanished without a trace? Moderators appearing and removing evidence as they please? Countless near-identical threads that seem to consist of nothing but gibberish, that always go missing shortly after their arrival? Who knows what Paizo's true agenda is?


Back in your hole Lizard!

Move along, nothing to see here!


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Well, that was creepy. I'm gonna say we take the blue pill on this one. I like my internal organs and bodily fluids exactly where they are.

I like to include homosexual pairings in my worlds, though my depiction varies depending on the setting.

In Golarion, I generally see it as completely fine almost everywhere. Same with transgenderism. I would probably be unlikely to make existing NPCs trans* or non-straight, though—just because Paizo already puts in quite a few, so I don't need to to make the setting more "alive". If I create new NPCs, though, all bets are off. Orientation and identity are, like ethnicity, gender and species, different sources of variety to me, and I like me some variety. My PCs in particular tend to be either non-straight or non-cisgendered. We get enough "normal" characters from most fantasy today. D&D's a fun chance to try different concepts and play characters with different experiences from myself.

On the other hand, I see Greyhawk as a pretty conservative world in this regard. People generally aren't overtly hostile about such matters, but I doubt things like gay marriage are commonly practiced, or even technically legal (actually, my headcanon is that it's legal because nobody made any specific legislation against it, and they don't really want to tackle it now). The Free City is a diverse place, and not motivated to actively discriminate, but not particularly motivated to be "nice", either. My reason for this interpretation is the way it was written up—most powerful characters are male, and there's pretty much no reference to orientation. Exceptions are always noted as distinctive (such as the first female member in the Circle of Eight). Diversity in adventuring parties, on the other hands, may well be very prevalent. More on that in a bit.

Finally, there's Eberron. I generally put Eberron on the level of the 50s-70s when it comes to social issues, even though the obvious historical matchup is more around 20s-30s. People are aware of this stuff and kind of trying to be more comfortable with it, but bigotry is still a very solid presence, especially in places like Thrane (I mean, come on, we all know Thrane is gonna be a dick about this stuff). Again, though, I expect adventuring parties are extremely diverse. Adventuring parties are basically bandits with better publicity, or, at best, mercenaries with better publicity. They're probably perfectly welcoming to people who can't get jobs elsewhere. If I had to guess, I'd guess adventuring parties are some of the most diverse workplaces on the planet in both Greyhawk and Eberron (and a bunch of other settings besides).

It's kind of like people have said: As long as you can wield a sword or shoot fireballs, nobody cares if you're gay, or if your genitalia doesn't look like it matches your stated gender, or if you go between two pronouns. It's what's inside that counts: A scruffy, greedy, grabby, king-smack-talking, anachronism-spewing murderhobo who seems to only save the day by accident half the time.

Now, if you want to talk about the social issues I have facing adventurers in my settings...


While I appreciate Paizo's use of diverse characters, I tend to change things up a bit if I use Golarion in games. There isn't a great deal of information about how things are taken in all areas, so I put spins on places and governments with regard to sex, gender, religion and the like. If everything is A-OK everywhere, regardless of the region, that makes it seem very bland and one-note to me.

Still, it always depends on what your table is interested in as well.


knightnday wrote:
There isn't a great deal of information about how things are taken in all areas, so I put spins on places.... with regard to sex, gender, religion and the like. If everything is A-OK everywhere, regardless of the region...

; )

Grand Lodge

Kobold Cleaver wrote:
My reason for this interpretation is the way it was written up—most powerful characters are male, and there's pretty much no reference to orientation.

In the City of Greyhawk boxed set (for 2e), the description of Kaltek: the Warden of the Citadel Prison's apartment shows he has a fondness for looking his best with plenty of powdered wigs and a lot of perfume (and it goes into great detail about these items). Now bear with me here...

If that were everything it said about Kaltek, then it would not be worth mentioning...

However, it goes on to say: "Kaltek will occasionally have male visitors -- sergeants and other officers... ...for drinks and dinner."

Now this was TSR, circa 1989, so while it could have been perfectly innocent and straight-forward, it could also have been a very discrete way of inferring that the Warden of The Free City's prison was gay or at the very least, bi-sexual...

It wouldn't have been the first time TSR did something like that while being very discreet at the same time.


Ashiel wrote:
If I had a time for every encounter that had "fights to the death" for some trivial reason I'd throw a pizza party. I mean, you need to have NPCs who act like people before you can use acting like people as a point, right?

Oh, for sure. That's something I'd love to see less of in Adventure Paths.

That's actually part of the reason I like romantic information in the morale section of stat blocks. "She fights to the death" can easily become "She fights to the death if anyone lays a hand on her lover," which adds a lot of tactical and character depth without taking up a ton of space.

Cheers!
Landon


That pretty much backs my interpretation, I think—homosexuality is present and not too hidden, but always fairly discreet.

Grand Lodge

Kobold Cleaver wrote:
That pretty much backs my interpretation, I think—homosexuality is present and not too hidden, but always fairly discreet.

A few years back, I think it was you, who said that you thought TSR was discreetly letting fans know that a certain Red Wizard of Thay turned Ravenloft Dark Lord was gay because of what was done to him by his Red Wizard peers.


All I can tell you is it wasn't me. I'm not that perceptive of subtext.

Grand Lodge

Kobold Cleaver wrote:
All I can tell you is it wasn't me. I'm not that perceptive of subtext.

Yeah, sorry... Not sure why I associated you with that post.

Anyway, I found the post that I was talking about.

It was from "Frostflame", who sadly has not posted since 2011.

Here is a snippet of what he said back in 2010:

FrostFlame wrote:
Well to demonstrate how much further rpgs have progressed since the eighties and nineties... ...In addition we have a homosexual darklord in Ravenloft Hazlik. Hazlik was the red wizard with the imprinted female tattoos.

The thread that was from is: Dungeons and Feminism!?

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Just a note on "fights to the death": I don't have a quote right off the bat, but I believe it's been said that the reason was word count/page space. It's an easy entry for a GM to tweak, and it saves space for more flavorful info.

That said, I seem to recall James Jacobs saying that they were trying to get more varied about that sort of thing. I'm not as sure on that one, though...


thejeff wrote:

Even leaving aside modern "controversial" issues, the bias of the day included some pretty heinous stuff - slavery, torture, persecution of heretics, etc. I don't have any problem playing in a setting with moral standards I don't agree with, but if you establish "what the Catholic Church does in year X" as the standard of Good in your setting and enforce that with the various (semi-)objective tools that PF gives, that's a little to close to endorsing it for me.

I don't mind playing evil. I don't mind playing bigoted people who think they're good or in a world that thinks they're good. I don't like it when the system says they're right about it.

So, you want to play in a setting where the Church is held up as the moral standard, but doesn't actually qualify. I'm fine with that. Even when the God the Church serves isn't actually good. But in a system like PF, where good is objective and measurable, there will be cracks in that system. If the Church is bad enough, those cracks will be obvious. Torturers and slavers who are high enough level will show up as Evil. Paladins of the Church who enforce evil laws will fall.

One effect of all this of course is that if God really is Good, then the Church will be more self-correcting, since it'll be harder to fall away from what He wants. Sadly, that wouldn't look much like the Church of the middle ages.

You're right; anything in game would look nothing like a specific historical example. It's the principle underneath that I'm after. Even where the alignments are supposedly these concrete, measurable things, applying absolute concepts to any given group or deity is still surprisingly difficult. Because if you really get down to it, large portions of every world ever published that have classically been considered good would have some difficulty or another using some of the definitions posted in this thread.

Good luck ever being a PC paladin and not losing all of your abilities by level 5 with all the blood you have on your hands. Other good aligned players wouldn't do that much better. If the line between murder and acceptable killing is truly as fine as some in this thread would have it, adventurers as a whole can never be good past level one and would almost always be evil by the time their levels hit the double digits.

And dwarven culture in particular is completely hosed, given the sheer number of enemies that would giddily use the kinds of arguments in the quoted post to destroy them without lifting a single blade.

Outsiders would have just as many problems. The supposedly good celestials that for years were known for their heavy use of the blade to deal with their foes would face the same problem as the dwarves. Lawful Evil outsiders would have similar difficulties remaining evil given the fine line between helping yourself and being a murderous hobo.

In the end, the whole conceit of concrete, measurable alignments has never actually much matched the reality of what occurs in an average campaign. While everyone talks of campaigns that really focus heavily in on the whole good vs evil concept, very few campaigns actually manage to do so for more than a few levels before morphing into some other story. One doesn't even have to turn to real life history for examples of absolutism fails, as that tendency to play in the gray area is already a huge part of the game, which makes focusing on issues that strike a nerve on the good vs evil paradox really difficult to really cover well.

For all that the big controversy that made the name well known focused on that aspect of the game, most campaigns are basically a bunch of battles strung together in some kind of story that ties them all together, with comparatively little thought given to moral implications for good or ill and the biggest concern being what new shinies are available at the end of the dungeon. The name is remarkably fitting for how most people play. It really is dungeons and dragons first and foremost, with roleplay and alignment slapped on for good measure. This is true of PF, and true of the original D&D. Just because people could, and still can, slap larger moral issues into that framework and make it work somewhat decently doesn't mean that the alignment system is actually robust enough for most parties to play that way.


sunshadow21 wrote:
thejeff wrote:

Even leaving aside modern "controversial" issues, the bias of the day included some pretty heinous stuff - slavery, torture, persecution of heretics, etc. I don't have any problem playing in a setting with moral standards I don't agree with, but if you establish "what the Catholic Church does in year X" as the standard of Good in your setting and enforce that with the various (semi-)objective tools that PF gives, that's a little to close to endorsing it for me.

I don't mind playing evil. I don't mind playing bigoted people who think they're good or in a world that thinks they're good. I don't like it when the system says they're right about it.

So, you want to play in a setting where the Church is held up as the moral standard, but doesn't actually qualify. I'm fine with that. Even when the God the Church serves isn't actually good. But in a system like PF, where good is objective and measurable, there will be cracks in that system. If the Church is bad enough, those cracks will be obvious. Torturers and slavers who are high enough level will show up as Evil. Paladins of the Church who enforce evil laws will fall.

One effect of all this of course is that if God really is Good, then the Church will be more self-correcting, since it'll be harder to fall away from what He wants. Sadly, that wouldn't look much like the Church of the middle ages.

You're right; anything in game would look nothing like a specific historical example. It's the principle underneath that I'm after. Even where the alignments are supposedly these concrete, measurable things, applying absolute concepts to any given group or deity is still surprisingly difficult. Because if you really get down to it, large portions of every world ever published that have classically been considered good would have some difficulty or another using some of the definitions posted in this thread.

Good luck ever being a PC paladin and not losing all of your abilities by level 5 with all the blood you have on your hands....

Are we just talking past each other?

I talk about slavery, torture and persecution of heretics and you come back with "paladins kill enemies in fights so they fall".


thejeff wrote:

So, you want to play in a setting where the Church is held up as the moral standard, but doesn't actually qualify. I'm fine with that. Even when the God the Church serves isn't actually good. But in a system like PF, where good is objective and measurable, there will be cracks in that system. If the Church is bad enough, those cracks will be obvious. Torturers and slavers who are high enough level will show up as Evil. Paladins of the Church who enforce evil laws will fall.

One effect of all this of course is that if God really is Good, then the Church will be more self-correcting, since it'll be harder to fall away from what He wants. Sadly, that wouldn't look much like the Church of the middle ages.

I'm co-GM'ing a game that will enter it's 3rd year soon that's dealing with issues like this.

Deep Background: The primary religion of the game is Roman/Greek pantheistic with a lot of direct analogs. The structure of the religion is more like the medieval Roman Empire though, the organization itself being monolithic, with the subfactions within representing different gods. The dominant god, or king of the gods is the god of the Sun.

In a previous campaign there was a civil war which led to a schism in the church, the clergy of half the gods went to one side, the clergy to the others on the other side. There are other aspects of this, such as the equivalent of the "pope" is divinely ascertained, but for 50 years no one has been able to locate the new one. This lack of figurehead helped spur the schism.

Current campaign: A new cult worshiping an old titan sprung up in the East and started conquering a large region. Once the dust settled on the civil war, remnants of the military of both sides went off to join this crusade against the heathen religion. In-game mythology states that the sun god first walked on the earth in this region, because it's the eastern most portion of the continent, so it's where the rising sun touches first. The players were part of a group that captured the city of the "first temple". Its where the dominant religion first appeared and evolved among the desert tribes. (There's a lot of analogs like this, many unintentional that just developed over 15 years of world-building)

Anyways, we're dealing with some aspects of what the gods do and don't approve of. For example an NPC paladin was on trial for slaughtering a village in cold blood. Part of his defense was that his powers still worked, therefore it couldn't possibly be a crime. He belongs to a militant faction that most closely resembles the dominican order and it's domination of the inquisition.

Part of the thinking is that we want to show that how history plays out in the mortal realm impacts the divine realm. The schism in the human church has altered the balance of power for the gods. Also, we're including more information that the gods aren't all necessarily who church elders have portrayed them as. Many of them get portrayed as Good to the populace, but in reality they're Neutral, which leads to certain things being permissible in a deity's eyes that might not make sense to a normal person.


thejeff wrote:

Are we just talking past each other?

I talk about slavery, torture and persecution of heretics and you come back with "paladins kill enemies in fights so they fall".

Not much difference between the two; just a a matter of opinion. Paladins attacking heretics is not to the paladin's view persecution, it's just their job. Obviously those viewed as heretics are likely to view it quite differently. A DM could easily combine the two phrases without the players having any notable recourse. Similarly, torture is quite prone to engender completely different opinions based on which side you are on, but both heretics and torture are reasonably common themes in D&D. Slavery isn't much better once you exclude the harshest, and clearly, evil forms of it; treating criminals or prisoners or war as slaves is another fairly common D&D and general fantasy trope.

The only real difference is what point of view to choose to look at it from. Traditionally, the game and real life society has looked at from the view of the person doing the action. Real life modern day society tends to look at it from the point of view of the person being acted against. People who want to bring that point of view into the game most certainly can, but it is going to yield far different campaigns and stories than traditional stories and points of view usually produce.


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Kalindlara wrote:
Just a note on "fights to the death": I don't have a quote right off the bat, but I believe it's been said that the reason was word count/page space. It's an easy entry for a GM to tweak, and it saves space for more flavorful info.

That's fair. I think that's also part of what makes certain things seem a bit forced. GMs could easily add such details to their games in either case, but in some cases these specific details with no relevancy or support make them feel more tacked on when it's not relevant at all.

A certain high ranking noble and her bodyguard? Their sexual attraction to one-another has an influence on the story (mostly in terms of facilitating loyalty and bonds). Random lad or lass whose's statblock could be summarized as "relevent stuff, also I'm gay" is not particularly helpful. It can even be kind of irritating as it goes a step beyond simple tokenism (at least I think so) in that making a note of it just goes to show that it makes them different somehow.

If someone walked up to you and was like, "This is my friend John, he plays the guitar. This is Kevin, he plays the drums. This is Frank, he's gay", it would seem pretty jarring right? It's like "wtf is that relevant"!? It also further paints them as the other unless you include that sort of information on most every NPC, since you didn't feel the need to note that John was heterosexual or that Kevin hasn't ever showed any interest in either sex.

I include all sorts of bizarre details in NPCs in my games that PCs probably will never know about unless they ask (including friends, family, romantic partners, moments that shaped their childhood, etc) but I don't put it on paper unless it's important to the game in some way.


Kalindlara wrote:

Just a note on "fights to the death": I don't have a quote right off the bat, but I believe it's been said that the reason was word count/page space. It's an easy entry for a GM to tweak, and it saves space for more flavorful info.

That said, I seem to recall James Jacobs saying that they were trying to get more varied about that sort of thing. I'm not as sure on that one, though...

I've said this on another thread in the past, but let's slap that extra material up on the site as a freebie. Put extraneous and extra information in a supplement to the AP for those that are interested in expanding in some way.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kalindlara wrote:
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.

I think that the issue with overly-detailed lives of complete, irredeemable villains (or, at best, villains that would be VERY hard even for a reasonable adventure group to redeem) is common to both hetero couples and GLBT couples in the paizo-verse, so it's easier to be more irritated with the subject. One of the more egregious examples (imo) is the relationship between two dudes on the "rival" adventuring party from the Forgotten Pharaoh AP; I am normally someone who encourages redemption of NPCs, and even for me it's very hard to believe that even a goodly-inclined party would spare the lives of these individuals if the script provided by the AP were adhered to.

Interestingly, there are are actually quite a significant number of NPC villains with active sex lives in the Paizo-verse:

in Jade Regent, Jarl Agnaar and his wife are being "entertained" by two thralls (who are stated to be both male or female elsewhere so the language is deliberately open).

similarly, in the Skull and Shackles, one of the pirate lords hassles a concubine (again, male or female depending on DM/player preference).

in The Curse of the White Lady (or whatever, one of the Rise of the Runelord books) the succubus Sorsheen has a number of relationships with various members of her servants (all female) - most recently the implied sexual relationship with an army of Grey Ladies or whatever

in the second to last Rise of the Runelord book a bunch of trapped succubi have mildly detailed sexual relationships with each other and their charmed minions

in the Fire Giant book of Giantslayer AP there is a half-fiend giantess and a guard that have taken a liking to each each other (the guard is stated to be female i believe).

in the 5th book of the Iron Gods, the barbarian king of Numeria explicitly has 2 sets for 4 concubines - one male and one female - to visit "depending on his mood that day"

Incidentally, there are waaaaaaay way more hetero examples of the above, both in APs and supplementary material, so I am sort of hesitant to say that there is a problem in the existence of them in and of itself - much less at least in the cases I listed above, all of them are things the players discover immediately upon entering the room. The example that Aubrey the Malformed gave is, like above, more of a longer-running issue with page space devoted to the personal lives of these villains with material that the players are extremely unlikely to ever encounter. Again, this happens way more frequently with heterosexual couples amongst the villains, simply because there are more of them period.

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.

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.

I won't argue that sometimes it's irrelevant, and I actually agree that at times it feels like an issue is completely whitewashed when my own personal inclination is "no, no let me see the controversy between Erastil and the GLBT community! go ahead, I DO want to see their sexuality matter and be relevant to more than just the bedroom scenes outside of the pages!" I know that territory can be fraught with landmines, however; I am just agreeing that I sometimes would appreciate a bit more information on certain matters. And like other people in the thread have said, sometimes it's fun to play against adversity.

At the same time I do feel that it can be very, very important to have glbt individual be portrayed as readily, as casually, as any hetero person. The barbarian king of Numeria, for example, a huge, stereotypical Conan-type, just having a harem of both men and women - while also having a political marriage with a barbarian queen - is, to me, about as far from tokenism as one can possibly get. Yes, it's minor, yes, it can be edited out with ease, yes many people might never get to see it or experience that content, but for me personally it's exceptionally heartening. It breaks stereotypes, it's not in the context of "oh here are two side-npcs in a committed relationship", and, most importantly imo, it's not presented as a big deal. It's just dropped, never picked up, and not viewed as an issue - which in this case is more profound than if it WERE an issue.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Rysky wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
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.

I don't know about whole dungeons but there's been plenty of areas and encounters in both homebrew games and APs that have been "skipped" through alternate means instead of just stabbing everything that looks at you funny.

And okay if they immediate attack intruders, but what if you're not an intruder for whatever reason? What if you knock out but not kill or otherwise hold one of them hostage as a bartering option?

you know, I'm actually really disappointed I've never had players be so inventive.

but also I feel that often the presentation is that the villains are mutually using each other, and most of the time would not move to help their partner, even in a hostage situation. which is part of the complication in the end. either that or the script calls for certain things to happen, often which strongly push the players in one particular direction. that's neither here nor there however, just an observation.


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Here's a few instances of NPCs (all from the same campaign) that (more or less accidentally) also have "odd" sexualities, but those things are otherwise minor except as they pertain to the character's and their world and/or their personalities. Most of this information was only privvy to the PCs because they either spoke with them at length or asked OOC or found out more during the game.

Myriel; Sex female; Orientation strait to bisexual; Occupation inquisitor;
Outward Myriel is cold and calculating. She tends to be quiet, reserved, and constantly sizing up everyone around her. Initial interaction with her typically makes her seem aloof or somber and she never displays much emotion in any way. She was assigned to the party's paladin, Carrius, as an assistant during their investigation, fresh out of the chapel where she was training to be an inquisitor. However, Myriel has a dark secret that she shared with Klari (see below) and later with Carrius during a rough period when they were feuding. Myriel fell in love with a young man in the village near the cathedral she was training at, but during her interactions with him she discovered he was associated with the heretical branch of the religion the inquisitors were trained to ferret out and arrest. Yet for all her training she could find no fault in this man, merely earnest sincerity and goodness. When she discovered that there was going to be an inquisition on the village she went to warn him but accidentally led them directly to him. Realizing the situation they were in, the young man feigned an act of anger for her betrayal to make it look as if she had been investigating him rather than being friends with him. She kept silent as they took him away for fear of reprimand. She was made an inquisitor earlier than she would normally graduate due to her "impressive natural talent" and good senses for, to her horror, she found they had no idea that he should have been a suspect and their inquisition was to follow up on unrelated leads.

Myriel blames herself for his capture and silently curses her cowardice because she let him be dragged away in chains - even if it was his intention - when she had essentially betrayed her order. She is an inquisitor that lost her faith and has been promoted on a lie. She has a fair amount of personal demons thanks to this. It has made her exceptionally accepting of even things that their order considers evil, up to and including accepting a vampire into the party's care, noting "We're all monsters in our own ways, some just hide it better than others". An adage born out of both her personal guilt and ability to sense the emotions and thoughts of others which has led her to recognize that even the nicest of humans have some very unsocial thoughts.

Myriel's sexuality is mentally driven more than not (albeit there has been the suggestion that she finds mariliths and other multi-armed women attractive based on a comment by Klari when they were studying an enemy that they were going to be dealing with) as she entered into the realm of bisexuality when she became close to Klari and the two eventually became lovers having been growing close through silent conversations between their psychic bonds.

Myriel became a rival of Carrius the Paladin that she was assigned with when Carrius tried to woo Klari only to find her upset and confused when he extended a romantic word. Carrius then found out from Myriel that they were involved and had been for a while, and when Carrius got indignant about it, Myriel made him angry by remarking that the two had already slept together (albeit she later apologized for taunting him like that even if he was being headstrong). Myriel and Klari were probably the closest that Carrius ever came to having a Paladin-crisis as he seriously considered staying his hand if Myriel was in danger so that she would vanish from the picture. However, he rose above such base jealousy (see Victoria below).

Klari; Sex female; Orientation homosexual to bisexual; Occupation battle sorceress;
Klari is Carrius' childhood friend and best friend and has been since a young age. She was an orphan peasant that was taken in by the order and later determined to have a gift with mentalist magics and thus her studies shifted from squire to melting stuff with her will. She's brilliant, open minded, and delightfully dizzy. She's prone to acting the fool or light hearted when things are overly serious and sometimes comes off as a bit dense or foolish (but she is anything but and can be very serious sometimes). Klari had some very bad experiences in her youth as an orphan involving males, including one of her teachers that to the best of her knowledge went unpunished. Carrius, however, was always her besty despite it though he was pretty oblivious to her experiences as it took years before she told him about it (which she spit it out in the middle of an argument that ended with the two of them reducing a building to rubble in a sparring match). Being psychic as well as Myriel, the two quickly became friends after being assigned to the same mission as Carrius outside of their country and then became more.

Klari's loyal to the order for the most part but lacks the spiritual or religious fervor of Carrius and doesn't care enough to have the guilt that Myriel feels, which is part of what led to Myriel confiding in Klari during their travels. Klari has even came pretty close to giving the order the finger on occasion and walking away and her exceptional psychic power has been a subject of concern amongst the ranking members of the order simply out of fear that she could go rogue and pose a threat that the order would have trouble dealing with (she could literally level a city block or slaughter countless soldiers if she stopped holding back) even if they do have no reason to assume she is anything other than loyal. Klari is also loves a fight because it gives her a chance to unleash some of her fire. Klari can be prone to explosive shows of force with poor restraint when her friends are threatened.

Klari's life became more complicated when just after beginning a (thus far good relationship with Myriel) Carrius (who was unaware of the two's relationship and pretty naive about relations in general) confessed his feelings to Klari. The one guy she has ever been really close to and he decides to drop that one on her while they're out of the country, on a mission, and while she's in a relationship. The thing is, it wasn't a certain "No" and that was confusing to her too which was disorienting as she wasn't interested in men but she was interested in Carrius (chivalry bizzes). This led to an awkward love triangle between the three of them which eventually resulted in Klari asking Myriel to expand their relationship to include Carrius (one of Klari's mentors had two husbands so she figured it's unusual but not unheard of) and Myriel agreed. However, Carrius turned them down as he wasn't certain as to how he felt about an arrangement like that, which actually made Klari angry with him for being so selfish and led to the two having a case of frosty shoulders for a bit.

The two later worked their differences out when they dueled in the training room in the grand cathedral, reminiscing about old times when they were kids and then working their frustrations out going at each other with everything they had. The ensuing fight nealy collapsed a portion of the cathedral and caused a rather large scene as onlookers gathered to see what may as well have been two gods fighting before them until Klari pushed herself into unconsciousness and Carrius picked her back up.

The three of them have worked out their differences and are now closer than ever. Klari and Myriel are still a couple but Carrius is now just their friend. Carrius' new love interest is Miranda, a freed vampire that idolizes the Templar order, whom he took on as his squire against the wishes of the order. At first Klari was concerned but she's grown to like Miranda as well (because Miranda and her bat familiar Peggy are awesome-sauce).

...Ugg, I'll need to postpone the rest of this until tomorrow as I need to go to bed to get up in the morning. (-_-);

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