How do you handle homosexuality and transgenderism in your campaigns?


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

Personally, I tend to cover LGBT+ issues quite a bit in my worldbuilding, largely because I belong to the community. I much prefer industrial fantasy over medieval fantasy, and I portray social unrest, changing social mores, and protest movements as issues in my setting. One of the major issues being publicly debated in the acceptance of homosexuality in society. I also really like 1920s art styles, and this was a period where Berlin had a thriving gay subculture. I find that a good fit for my setting. I also portray the trans community quite a bit, often as something that gets conflated with the gay and drag communities even though this isn't correct.

I also like portraying societies with third genders that have some acceptance of trans people. Though, even societies with third genders can be bigoted. I wrote up one that is fine with transwomen, but not with transmen, because women acting like men is okay and therefore there is no necessity for a masculine woman to become a man and a woman who does so is incredibly strange and possibly deluded, whereas a man acting like a woman is not okay and therefore a feminine man is better off becoming a woman. This is, of course, based on a fundamental ignorance of what transgenderism actually is, as well as no small amount of misogyny, but that is the point. Just because a society has some acceptance of trans people and more than two genders does not mean it understands trans people or treats them fairly, or that said society can't have a large amount of sexism.

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?

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Same. I like the representation in the setting, and I've been trying to include more of it in my own games.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Covering it the way you want to cover it would essentially make those issues THE campaign. And that's fine if you want to go there.

We tend to think of America as typifying the "West" when in some ways such as it's extreme Puritanism, it's an outlier.

Also it seems that your setting is a LOT more modern than the standard assumptions for Golarion, Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, et. al.... although Eberron would be close.

The other thing is that in a world with MULTITUDES of intelligent races, as opposed to just one...having hangups the way Americans do, would be a definite non-survival trait for Golarion's humans.

Paizo's Adventure Paths handle the subject without making that subject the main focus. I like the way it was done in Wrath as mainly a method to introduce characters that you'd never have seen in a TSR module, but those characters have their proper place... their nature does not distract from the main storyline, but complements it.


LazarX wrote:
Also it seems that your setting is a LOT more modern than the standard assumptions for Golarion, Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, et. al.

Is it? Greyhawk is fair enough (hell, it's a rare sight just seeing women taking major roles in Greyhawk without it having to be a Big Deal) but we don't really know much about the races' traditions. As has been pointed out elsewhere, Golarion doesn't necessarily have the same traditions regarding things like homosexuality and non-binary genders.


LazarX wrote:

Covering it the way you want to cover it would essentially make those issues THE campaign. And that's fine if you want to go there.

We tend to think of America as typifying the "West" when in some ways such as it's extreme Puritanism, it's an outlier.

Also it seems that your setting is a LOT more modern than the standard assumptions for Golarion, Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, et. al.... although Eberron would be close.

The other thing is that in a world with MULTITUDES of intelligent races, as opposed to just one...having hangups the way Americans do, would be a definite non-survival trait for Golarion's humans.

Paizo's Adventure Paths handle the subject without making that subject the main focus. I like the way it was done in Wrath as mainly a method to introduce characters that you'd never have seen in a TSR module, but those characters have their proper place... their nature does not distract from the main storyline, but complements it.

Exactly. My setting is very much not Golarion, and it isn't anywhere close to medieval. Social structures are quite different from what is typically expected out of Pathfinder. In fact, my setting tends to be quite American in terms of history and geography, as that's where I take a ton of my creative influence, so my Amerocentric view of looking at things works for my own setting. I fully understand that what I create is quite different from what others create, and I do not at all believe that the depth with which I cover LGBT+ issues is a depth others need to or should go to. I do it because I want to, not because I feel people need to.

That said, I don't really feel the way I portray LGBT+ issues makes them the campaign, or even a dominant part. It's more that when I create a city, LGBT people are one of the many communities present in that city, and when people protest, it is often an issue at hand (LGBT+ rights is far from the only issue that gets protested about, though. Wages, the treatment of Elves and Tieflings in society, sexism, racism, and the regulation of magic are massive issues behind protests, too.).

Kobold Cleaver wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Also it seems that your setting is a LOT more modern than the standard assumptions for Golarion, Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, et. al.
Is it? Greyhawk is fair enough (hell, it's a rare sight just seeing women taking major roles in Greyhawk without it having to be a Big Deal) but we don't really know much about the races' traditions. As has been pointed out elsewhere, Golarion doesn't necessarily have the same traditions regarding things like homosexuality and non-binary genders.

Well, in terms of my setting, I intentionally write cultures that fit into a 20th century mold rather than a medieval mold, so I do think it is fair to say my setting is much more modern than the standard setting.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Also it seems that your setting is a LOT more modern than the standard assumptions for Golarion, Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, et. al.
Is it? Greyhawk is fair enough (hell, it's a rare sight just seeing women taking major roles in Greyhawk without it having to be a Big Deal) but we don't really know much about the races' traditions. As has been pointed out elsewhere, Golarion doesn't necessarily have the same traditions regarding things like homosexuality and non-binary genders.

It feels that the OP is conveying a good deal more modernity by the ease of communications.. which is what makes modern movements a thing, and why there were no such things as suffrage and temperance movements during the 15-1600's There were no such things as protest movements way back then, because there weren't things ACCESSIBLE TO THE COMMON folk, such as telephones, twitter, newspapers, social media, or easy travel. Communication is what builds people into a movement, and you simply don't have that kind of communication and transit available, not to mention cheap mass printing.


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Animal messengers cost 10 gp.

Yes, I'm kidding.


LazarX wrote:
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Also it seems that your setting is a LOT more modern than the standard assumptions for Golarion, Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, et. al.
Is it? Greyhawk is fair enough (hell, it's a rare sight just seeing women taking major roles in Greyhawk without it having to be a Big Deal) but we don't really know much about the races' traditions. As has been pointed out elsewhere, Golarion doesn't necessarily have the same traditions regarding things like homosexuality and non-binary genders.
It feels that the OP is conveying a good deal more modernity by the ease of communications.. which is what makes modern movements a thing, and why there were no such things as suffrage and temperance movements during the 15-1600's There were no such things as protest movements way back then, because there weren't things ACCESSIBLE TO THE COMMON folk, such as telephones, twitter, newspapers, social media, or easy travel. Communication is what builds people into a movement, and you simply don't have that kind of communication and transit available, not to mention cheap mass printing.

You are correct. My setting has near universal literacy, landline telephones, the printing press, affordable rail travel, mass transit based on tramways, bicycles accessable to the lowest economic classes, an industrialized and urbanized economy, and legal codes that are comparable to America's first amendment. It has all the conditions one would need for mass social movements.

Liberty's Edge

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It depends on the setting. In a modern-day setting, I portray LGBT stuff more-or-less how it is in the real world, at least I hope I do. I usually also throw in at least a positively portrayed LGBT character or two (not really tokenism, I tend to stat large numbers of NPCs and try and make them statistically accurate to the population...I'm weird), though admittedly the players often don't actually find out their sexual orientation or gender identity, or only hear about it incidentally in passing. After all, there are usually other things going on...

In fantastic settings with established norms in this regard, I'd generally stick with said norms (for example: most people in Golarion don't care about your sexual orientation), though I guess I might change them, or more likely make a point about their injustice, if those norms are particularly unpleasant.

When making up my own fantastic settings, I try to put elements of such things into the mythologies and cultures of the world I create (the Orc God of Law and Death in my most recently created Pathfinder world is gay, for example, resulting in judge and undertaker as the stereotypical professions for gay men in orcish culture, and gay people being generally seen as a bit overly Lawful). As the OP notes doing, I too find it interesting to create societies that view such things in very different ways from what we're used to, not necessarily in a universally positive fashion, but in ways that cause very different attitudes and views than those of our own society.

All that is when GMing, of course. When playing, well, I sometimes play characters who are of different sexual orientations than my own (I'm basically straight)...I'm not sure what else you can really do to portray LGBT topics as a player.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Rosita the Riveter wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Also it seems that your setting is a LOT more modern than the standard assumptions for Golarion, Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, et. al.
Is it? Greyhawk is fair enough (hell, it's a rare sight just seeing women taking major roles in Greyhawk without it having to be a Big Deal) but we don't really know much about the races' traditions. As has been pointed out elsewhere, Golarion doesn't necessarily have the same traditions regarding things like homosexuality and non-binary genders.
It feels that the OP is conveying a good deal more modernity by the ease of communications.. which is what makes modern movements a thing, and why there were no such things as suffrage and temperance movements during the 15-1600's There were no such things as protest movements way back then, because there weren't things ACCESSIBLE TO THE COMMON folk, such as telephones, twitter, newspapers, social media, or easy travel. Communication is what builds people into a movement, and you simply don't have that kind of communication and transit available, not to mention cheap mass printing.
You are correct. My setting has near universal literacy, landline telephones, the printing press, affordable rail travel, mass transit based on tramways, bicycles accessable to the lowest economic classes, an industrialized and urbanized economy, and legal codes that are comparable to America's first amendment. It has all the conditions one would need for mass social movements.

That pretty much takes you far outside the base assumptions. Slavery for instance would pretty much be non-existent outside of the sex trade for the same reasons it was abolished here. Not because people became sensitive to the idea of treating people as property... but the ECONOMIC necessity of training people to function in more modern trades. Instead of having to cage people up on plantations, it simply became more economically practical to have your workers take care of and feed and house themselves and pay them a wage... Granted... in many cases it was near starvation wages, or company town setups that made them forever indebted, but it wasn't slavery.


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My group is mostly into murderhoboing. Sexuality and gender topics rarely come up, except in the context that some cities or races may have biases for or against these different things.

In the one shot my group just played, my friend played a gay orc hellknight who wore pink hell knight armor and worked as a tax collector for the hell knights. He was the most entertaining and fun character during the party, but relatively little of it involved the character being gay.

And personally that's the way the group prefers it. We're not there to explore the fundamental problems of our real world. We're there to have fun, make jokes, and murderate things.


LazarX wrote:
That pretty much takes you far outside the base assumptions. Slavery for instance would pretty much be non-existent outside of the sex trade for the same reasons it was abolished here. Not because people became sensitive to the idea of treating people as property... but the ECONOMIC necessity of training people to function in more modern trades. Instead of having to cage people up on plantations, it simply became more economically practical to have your workers take care of and feed and house themselves and pay them a wage... Granted... in many cases it was near starvation wages, or company town setups that made them forever indebted, but it wasn't slavery.

Chattel slavery is something that has existed in my setting, but isn't currently being practiced. The aftereffects, however, are certainly not gone. There are other forms of bondage, though, such as a system I have that is based on the widespread use of African Americans convicted of minor crimes as labor contracted out to private entities by the government during the late 19th and early 20th century in the American South. It may not be slavery, no, but it's still a form of bondage, and it wasn't a pleasant one. Especially when the arrests of these people had much more to do with meeting a financial quota than enforcing the law.

I find the divergence from base assumptions to not be so much an issue for me, because I worldbuild a setting specifically intended to be something 20th century, so I simply look at my world through that lens instead of a medieval one.


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I freely admit I have been playing and GMing a good long while, and LGBT does not come up often at our table. In my own homebrew world, I feel I am not well qualified to speak to such issues, as I am a straight male. I have LGBT friends, but as I am not part of the community directly, trying to work that into my game world, or into an adventure feels very, unnatural to me.

I am constantly worried I will portray such a character poorly, due in large part to no personal experience as such. I have a few times played characters that were LGBT, but I did indeed find it hard to do so, not because I disliked the character or their personality, but I always felt like I was grasping for meaning and coming up empty. In this the fault lies with me and no one else.

One of my regular players and good friends is gay, and that only makes it worse I suspect, as I do not wish to offend him, or do injustice to the LGBT community through a ham handed attempt in character to RP a character who is outside of my own gender/sexual identity.

Seems I have done fine (according to the groups played with at the time) while attempting to RP a bi-sexual elven witch (have to admin she was super freaking FUN to play) But beyond surface issues, even that character did not dig into the harsh and stark realities of LGBT issues and experiences as one might see them in modern times.

It all seems to come back to I just do not feel qualified to play such characters often, when they are so far out of my personal realm of experience. Not sure where that puts me, but that is my story, so guess I gotta stick to it.


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The extent of it in my games generally comes to one player's characters being gay males (much like the player). It's not made any more of than a straight player usually playing straight characters.


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I don't really represent any LGBT elements in my games. Occasionally it might be mentioned in passing that someone is gay, but it is never a big deal. In my current campaign, the PCs recently revived a demi-god type character. The character represented health and virility, and as such, all of the women in the current village are fawning over him. At least one of the women won't, and the players may put two and two together as to why.

I did have one whodunnit scenario in a different campaign that played out fairly typically as a scorned lover situation. The group never even imagined that the lover was another guy, so they had a hard time with that one.

Dark Archive

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In the game I am running there's not much ado about homosexuality one way or the other as there has never been a prohibitions against it so it was never considered deviant in the first place; it's just a thing. One of the players is a male pansexual Calistrian consort and several of my NPCs have been either bisexual or homosexual. I'll be honest I haven't done anything with transgenderism.


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Same way hetero relationships and sexuality are handled: pretty much not at all. The game is casual adventure, face-stabbing and treasure. Anyone's 'romance' attempts are boiled down to a die roll and directed off-scene, and we move on who has something relevant to the game to do.

Most of my more unpleasant memories of gaming as teenager involved people indulging in their quirky-to-disturbing (and largely hetero) fantasies and personal issues at the table. I'd rather deal with none of it, regardless of orientation. Its light social entertainment for me, and generally when real issues are brought up at the table, usually (this society being what it is), at least one person is unpleasant about it. To put it nicely.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I've thought about how LGBTQ folks fit into my setting in the context of their given societies and cultures. There is basically a whole spectrum, ranging from complete acceptance to social class based distinctions to biology based differences. And then there is the whole layer of religion over that.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Rosita the Riveter wrote:


I find the divergence from base assumptions to not be so much an issue for me, because I worldbuild a setting specifically intended to be something 20th century, so I simply look at my world through that lens instead of a medieval one.

If that's the case had you considered using GRC's "Modern Path" rules to replace Pathfinder classes?


I normally leave sex off-screen as much as possible for the practical reason that it's one on one rather than the group--if you're addressing it you basically have to be ignoring the other players.

Whatever your preference is isn't an issue unless it's against local law (not that it's likely to be unless they're in a theocracy)--and even then just how interested is local law enforcement going to be in arresting adventurers that aren't actually doing any harm?

Transgender--while there might very well be transgender commoners they're unlikely to come to light. I don't think there will be issues with PCs or those they generally deal with as I consider that to be something that can be addressed by magic. I figure both gender and sexuality can be assigned with a 4th level spell--I've never bothered to flesh it out but I figure it's a long casting time/willing target only/instant duration spell--the target is actually changed, there's nothing left to get dispelled.


I've been running Adventure Paths for the past few years, so I've been going with the LGBTQ breakdown as laid out in the text.

For about half my players, fighting discrimination is literally their day jobs. So I don't bring a lot of that to the table, just a dab here and there in villains' hands to help people blow off some steam.

But there are still plenty of homosexual NPCs. And I tend to assume that romantically-available NPCs are bi unless there's evidence to the contrary, just to keep options open.

I don't tend to play NPCs are being very concerned with their gender identity, one way or another, so I'm going to have to work on that before I can convincingly play a trans character.

Overall, I'm very happy with Pathfinder's representation and, moving forward through the APs, how much better it's been getting as time goes on. There's always still work to do, but I'm very happy with the progress that's been made already.

Cheers!
Landon


LazarX wrote:
Rosita the Riveter wrote:


I find the divergence from base assumptions to not be so much an issue for me, because I worldbuild a setting specifically intended to be something 20th century, so I simply look at my world through that lens instead of a medieval one.
If that's the case had you considered using GRC's "Modern Path" rules to replace Pathfinder classes?

No. They are based on the D20 Modern system where your first class is linked to an ability score and multiclassing is required to get into anything with much flavor, which is a system that I very much dislike.

What I ended up doing was supposing that magitech advanced transportation, communication, and medical technology the fastest, while the militaries were especially interested in the use of alchemy to enhance soldiers. Alchemical enhancement is my game's replacement for the magic item system. Instead of gaining magic items, you gain the ability to withstand a larger load of alchemical enhancements, which approximate the effects you'd have gotten from magic items normally. Weaponry, however, has advanced a lot slower, because alchemically enhanced armies favor small scattered units of expensive professional soldiers over large formations of conscripted or otherwise cheap soldiers. Large formations are too vulnerable to alchemical artillery to be viable, and alchemically enhanced troops cost too much money and take too much time to apply the magical enhancements to for large scale conscription to be practical. The setting has easy access to early firearms like the arquebus, but the military isn't overly impressed with them because large formations using volley fire would be far too vulnerable to artillery and alchemically enhanced troops can take a bullet or two and keep charging at the arquebusiers to kill them. This percieved limit to military utility has put quite a crimp in the development of firearms, though civilians use them all the time. As a result, standard Pathfinder rules with early firearms as martial weapons work fine. I imagine that cartridge firearms aren't too far off from being invented, and those will rule the battlefield once the kinks are ironed out, but it'll probably be several decades before both working prototypes get made and the military starts seeing them as the new face of war.


Gay, bi, and every version of sexuality exists. Some npcs are not heterosexual, most are. Transgender folk exist, but many and more seek to transition through magic as soon as they can afford it and wish to. Few to none make bones about it.


Homosexuality and bisexuality and other stuff (what's the proper term for someone romantically and sexually attracted to sentient other species?) exist. Most people are straight and like their own species, but people that have other tastes exist. It rarely gets much attention.

Transgenderism/transexuality is hardly touched upon, mostly because I'm pretty ignorant on the subject and don't want to inadvertently get something wrong and insult someone. Also, I'm not interested enough in the subject to feel it's important to attempt to bring into a game in an appropriate way. (no offense intended, I just have other things I want to use my limited game time to focus on). Off-hand I can think of one character who is physiologically a woman but has always been presented as a man, but I'm not sure how much of that is her circumstances and how much is internal. My (very) heterosexual male PC banged her once but it was kind of awkward and I got the feeling there was some element of obligation involved on her part.


The only time to date this has come up on my PCs end was during the recent Vigilante Playtest. The Tengu player character was mistaken for a gentleman while in her social persona and seduced a merchant's daughter.

For my part I run open world campaigns; if an issue is important to a player chances are I'll theme the campaign around it (at least at some point). As LGBT+ stuff is either not a focus for my players or they just aren't comfortable enough to bring it up, the issues only come up infrequently and in passing. Well unless you include bronies/furries in the (+), in which case... I have a couple players into that, and we're going to canterlot this week (I should probably do more research on the topic).


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

also probably should throw in the generic "orientation doesn't equal sex". You can have gay npcs in a campaign with no suggestion of sex, just by having the bartender have a husband instead of a wife, etc.


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MMCJawa wrote:
also probably should throw in the generic "orientation doesn't equal sex". You can have gay npcs in a campaign with no suggestion of sex, just by having the bartender have a husband instead of a wife, etc.

This is an important note.

Even if you don't get into the romances of background characters, a lot of plots involve people's partners. Like "Oh, my partner got kidnapped! Have some gold to get them back!" or "Please get the magical whosit to help convince my partner's parents to let them marry."

A simple step is just mixing up those genders every so often by flipping those gender roles or having a couple of the same gender.

Cheers!
Kinak


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MMCJawa wrote:
also probably should throw in the generic "orientation doesn't equal sex". You can have gay npcs in a campaign with no suggestion of sex, just by having the bartender have a husband instead of a wife, etc.

Extremely important note.

One should also, since the original question included the transgendered community, be aware that gender dysphoria does not equate sexual orientation in any way. There are transgendered people who are gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual and another other subgroup you could probably think out there. And believe it or not, one of the most transphobic groups out there come from the rest of the LGBT-community, who will go to fairly long lengths to point out to a lesbian transwoman that she's not a real woman, or a gay transman that he's not a real man. It's vicious and it's all the more hurtful when it comes from people who should be allies to these individuals.

That said, I count myself as a member of the LGBT-community as well, and consequently, they are a part of my games.

That being said, I do not believe in the use of the "token gay best friend"-trope, and I would be just as likely to portray a gay man as an utter git, as I would a straight man. The LGBT community has every bit as much propensity for being bad-guys as anyone else.

The main thing is that no one in my stories are bad guys because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. These things are non-issues unless they come up naturally in conversation. My current group of players have met a total of two homosexuals, one bisexual and one transgendered character in the campaigns I'm currently running and none of them know, because it's never come up.

If it does, I fully expect some raised eyebrows and "OH!! Ohhh, okay. Aha. We had no idea! No problem, bring the wife next time"-moments.

But honestly ...? I don't think it'll ever be necessary.

That being said, I try to portray social acceptance or lack thereof of the LGBT-community in a realistic way. Some people will shrug and go "meh, none of my business", some will start frothing at the mouth and scream blue murder (and then try to commit said murder themselves), and a fair few would probably go all fan-girl-like and start fawning all over the unfortunate individual subjected to it (straight people who declare themselves "fans" of homosexuals on account of sexuality always struck me as really weird ... I'm not a fan of straight people because they are straight, but because they've done something worthwhile. But that's just me being weird I guess).

The world is rarely an all-accepting, all-benevolent place. I long since stopped believing in the inherent goodness of humanity and I don't see why it would be any different in a fantasy-setting.

Individuals are generally nice, openminded and accepting.

People, however, are swine.

Scratch that. Pigs are nice too. I like pigs. Especially bacon.

People are meanspirited, evilminded and selfish.

Silver Crusade

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For my settings, it's just a thing that's never been an issue. As in, "Who cares what you're attracted to/feel your gender is like when there are MONSTERS running around out there? Grab a pike and let's go!"


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It comes up occasionally in my home campaign, and one of the things I try to make sure of is that there's no monolithic (or even binary) opinions on it. When you've got a multitude of intelligent races, not all of which reproduce as humans do (or even have recognizable male/female genders), then attitudes are going to be all over the place, and I try to convey that.

We had a fun time when a goblin asked an elf if she was a lesbian, and then realized the elven language didn't have a word for that, and the elf couldn't understand why that would even be considered a distinctive thing -- when it was explained, she finally replied, "Is it kind of like having a separate word for 'not having blue eyes'?"


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My view on almost anything is that it should be funny. If it's not funny it should not get in the way of the funny. Therefore homosexuality and transgenderism are handled one of two ways:

1) It's part of a joke. Hopefully not a joke at the expense of it, but I can't be confident. Still if I don't want to be part of the....erasure?....then I've got to make fun of them with the same instinct I do other parts of mammalian bumping parts.

2) It's portrayed as a usual thing for the situation. If I think about the social implications of anything I will likely shut down, so it's better for my storytelling if I assume most people aren't going to make a big angry stink about this stuff. Occasionally maybe I can muster up enough brainpower to have someone baulk, but if I have to keep that in mind for an entire society to whole machine is quickly going to grind to a halt.

I'm not well-qualified to think is the problem. To me these things are impractical to get worried about and there's only so much I can do to portray NPCs as if they didn't have that view.

UPDATe: Wait, no: I suppose a lot of my jokes only work in a somewhat-strongly cis/hetero-normative society. So there is a bias towards that. But it's the same bias as towards societies with nudity taboos.

Contributor

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I don't treat it as anything different than heterosexuality in the setting. Two NPCs happen to be in a relationship, it probably will be briefly mentioned in passing if it isn't important to the plot, or explored if it is. If they happen to be hetero, no big deal. If they happen to be anything otherwise, likewise no big deal.

One of the major friendly NPCs in my current campaign, the half-faerie dragon arcanist Astridalazindrianoxamilla is either bi or lesbian, but this didn't become relevant to the PCs until they accidentally got hired to abduct and deliver another NPC, Il'setsya Wyrmtouched to a third party they were being a giant pain in the backside to. Il'setsya, who they were hired to abduct, ended up being the girlfriend of Astrid, friendly NPC the PCs already knew.

Il'setsya is also trans, but this hasn't come up in game, and likely won't. One of the players ended up figuring that out just by way of the NPCs comments and a bit of her backstory, but it's not something I've focused on.

Gender and sexuality are elements of NPCs backstory, motivation, and personality, but unless they become highly relevant, it's not anything that needs to be emphasized as unique, special, or different regardless of their being hetero/homo/cis/trans/etc.


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Nope. Any time I say anything about them I'm doing it wrong, so I'm not bringing it up.


LazarX wrote:
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Also it seems that your setting is a LOT more modern than the standard assumptions for Golarion, Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, et. al.
Is it? Greyhawk is fair enough (hell, it's a rare sight just seeing women taking major roles in Greyhawk without it having to be a Big Deal) but we don't really know much about the races' traditions. As has been pointed out elsewhere, Golarion doesn't necessarily have the same traditions regarding things like homosexuality and non-binary genders.
It feels that the OP is conveying a good deal more modernity by the ease of communications.. which is what makes modern movements a thing, and why there were no such things as suffrage and temperance movements during the 15-1600's There were no such things as protest movements way back then, because there weren't things ACCESSIBLE TO THE COMMON folk, such as telephones, twitter, newspapers, social media, or easy travel. Communication is what builds people into a movement, and you simply don't have that kind of communication and transit available, not to mention cheap mass printing.

You're right, they didn't really protest in the modern sense. It was usually more violent and called a revolt. But when you consider that overall as a culture we've gotten less violent, if you strip away the violence, this is basically the Occupy movement of it's day.

You're right in that communication is crucial. Just consider that your fantasy government needs to be able to communicate in order to function. If a government can form, then there is enough communication potential for an anti-government body to also form, or based around whatever issue is important.

The first documented worker's strike happened in ancient Egypt in the year ~1160 BC. The workers were craftsman who built tombs for the pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings. They were striking over their rations (or rather lack thereof).

Liberty's Edge

The Alkenstarian wrote:

That being said, I do not believe in the use of the "token gay best friend"-trope, and I would be just as likely to portray a gay man as an utter git, as I would a straight man. The LGBT community has every bit as much propensity for being bad-guys as anyone else.

The main thing is that no one in my stories are bad guys because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. These things are non-issues unless they come up naturally in conversation. My current group of players have met a total of two homosexuals, one bisexual and one transgendered character in the campaigns I'm currently running and none of them know, because it's never come up.

Yeah, this is an important note. I've definitely had LGBT villains as well as more positive portrayals. People are people and some of them are terrible regardless of other factors.

Actually, now that I think of it, I don't think I've ever had a trans* villain. Or played one as a PC, come to think of it. Huh. Maybe I'll do one of those at some point...

The Alkenstarian wrote:
The world is rarely an all-accepting, all-benevolent place. I long since stopped believing in the inherent goodness of humanity and I don't see why it would be any different in a fantasy-setting.

Well, obviously. But being LGBT specifically doesn't inherently have to be one of the things they're prejudiced against. No society is perfect but the degree and nature of that imperfection can vary widely.


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This has been a public aspect of a few npcs and done respectfully I would hope (LGBT npcs behave pretty much the same as non-LGBT npcs). The players have the option to being supported to play an LGBT character likewise (and one is openly gay in the real world).

I'm also a student of history however and aware of differing cultural attitudes to LGBT issues - so I would suggest a closer reading to challenge our own preconceptions about other cultures attitudes to LGBT issues (and a few others like gender and race).

Also the straight, white patriarchy is the modern construct behind the early development of modern RPG's (e.g. chainmail bikinis) that is being overthrown. Your game is your game, make it what you want. It' a statement of you and your group.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

I had a trans villain planned for a campaign a while back... my understanding of such things was less then, though, so there were some unfortunate aspects.


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There are references to sexuality of NPCs and PCs in my games, the later introduced by the players themselves, usually in the form of flirting with other NPCs or PCs, going as far as proposing sex to others with fade to black following.

As most of my players are anime fans every D&D/Pathfinder party I can think of had a communal bath/hot springs scene, either ending with men peeking on the female side, or being co-ed in the first place.

Homosexual and bisexual characters appear, though most of them are played by female players (who also showed much more willingness to play characters with gender different than their own). I don't recall any of my regular male gamers playing non-hetero character except myself (my favorite character that I played was a bisexual male for over eight years, though aside of the first session it never played any actual role in the games and was really an informed attribute).

I never introduced a transgendered character nor played one but a friend of mine played a female-to-male Euthanatos in (finished a few years ago) Mage The Ascension campaign. He mastered Life magic to finish his transition.

I do like to espouse about various cultures and races different approach of sex, sexuality, gender, and reproductive biology.

Warning! Shameless plug to my blog following!:
A description of nomadic culture that appeared in my Pathfinder campaign, including their social and sexual mores.

Earlier blogposts include description of xenopi, a octopi-like hermafroditic race that has problem with understanding humanoid gender duality, and azann, a race of small but egocentric technomagicians that stopped reproducing sexually long ago and now grow their children in alchemical vats.


lucky7 wrote:
For my settings, it's just a thing that's never been an issue. As in, "Who cares what you're attracted to/feel your gender is like when there are MONSTERS running around out there? Grab a pike and let's go!"

This is how it has been for a long time in many games, the monster hunting narrative over the sexuality/gender/trans focus. However, I think there is a shift in fixation and a lot of people want to change this.

Not sure it is a good idea to focus upon this, but people will run the types of games they want to run.


I decide the gender identities of NPCs by rolling a d200: 1-99 they are male, 100-198 is female, 199-200 is other.

I rarely decide which NPCs are romantically or sexually involved with which other NPCs (as I am aromantic ace myself, it is not something I think much about). If it comes up at all, it is usually the result of PC inquiries or actions.

When I do introduce an NPC couple, I roll for their genders independently. That process does mean that heterosexual couples are (barely) a minority, as there is only a 49.005% chance that both are opposite genders and neither have non-binary genders.

There are varying levels of tolerance in different cultures.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

Actually, now that I think of it, I don't think I've ever had a trans* villain. Or played one as a PC, come to think of it. Huh. Maybe I'll do one of those at some point...

Does Alfred/Alexia Ashford of RE: Code Veronica qualify? (No spoiler tags on that one, game's 15 years old and it's revealed fairly early)

Seriously, I'd like to know.

Oh and +1 to the "it doesn't really come up" though I've played a variety of characters with different orientations, none of it really has an effect on the story or character development.


It is rare that I intentionally introduced a trans NPC.
However, there have been a few times when I have introduced an NPC, used a specific gender pronoun for them...and forgot their gender. Then, next time they showed up, I rerolled their gender, only for one of the players to point out
"Hey, wasn't <NPC> a <different gender> last time we saw them?"
At which point the simplest response for me to use is that the NPC in question came out as trans since the last time they met the PCs.

I have had trans PCs in my group before, though.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I have to say that prior to hanging out on the boards here, I really wouldn't have thought much about LGBTQ concerns while world building. Now I do try to mull over those issues when creating races/cultures, and try to intentionally vary up presentation, rather than defaulting to the pop culture interpretation of medieval views.

I suspect most of the time this fleshing out will remain in the background, but I do think it adds to the realism of a setting.


Trans wouldn't exist in the same way as the real world... first magic can remake you in your preferred gender, and second the player can select their preferred gender right from character creation.

Gay I only include if I end up with a gay player. It isn't a big deal to toss a few gay friendly NPCs here and there. But if my players are all straight I don't include any gays.


Aranna wrote:


Gay I only include if I end up with a gay player. It isn't a big deal to toss a few gay friendly NPCs here and there. But if my player are all straight I don't include any gays.

Obvious "I killed my players"-related joke aside, I assume you mean if you end up with gay PCs. I (and a lot of people, it seems) enjoy playing non-straight PCs from time to time, despite being relatively straight in real life. ;P


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Well, obviously. But being LGBT specifically doesn't inherently have to be one of the things they're prejudiced against. No society is perfect but the degree and nature of that imperfection can vary widely.

Agreed. Absolutely. I'm simply saying that since the world isn't a nice and benevolent place, there are certainly areas where LGBT people would be treated worse than in other places :)


The Alkenstarian wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Well, obviously. But being LGBT specifically doesn't inherently have to be one of the things they're prejudiced against. No society is perfect but the degree and nature of that imperfection can vary widely.
Agreed. Absolutely. I'm simply saying that since the world isn't a nice and benevolent place, there are certainly areas where LGBT people would be treated worse than in other places :)

Sometimes the cultural attitudes are an offshoot of factors influencing the cultures on deeper levels. Compare/contrast aggressive, violent chimpanzees with their close relatives the "free love" bonobos.

Or the warring tribes of the Middle East (traditional Judaism and Islam explicitly forbidding same-sex relations by scripture - though they did occur - and promoting sex for conception only in areas where resources were scarce) vs. the culture of the Trobriand Islands, where resources were plentiful.

Again, this is just one barometric where what's "good" and "bad" by modern standards doesn't translate well into the game world. The priesthoods of Lamashtu or Zon-Kuthon may be downright gay-friendly but that doesn't make them pleasant people.


I would think that Lamashtu would be gay unfriendly because you're not going to make the next generation of monsters that way.

Unless she has a spell to let people have monsters that way. Which .. yeah I'm stopping my brain there.


I don't, really? Not purposefully, but I rarely play in or run games in which a character's sexuality is a factor. I throw in the occasional LGBT character, but often its really a situation of "does it matter, in this specific scenario, whether or not that man likes men?" Occasionally, the answer is yes. Usually, the answer is no. One of the main NPCs of my home game is homosexual, but the group has no idea; they may never find out, but he was more fleshed out as a character, and I realized it made sense.

In a homebrew game I'm running on the forums, one of my players is a Calistrian priestess, and as such these things come up more frequently. In our Skulls and Shackles game at college, we ALSO have a Calistrian priestess. In those situations, I make characters that are affected in various ways by those attributes.

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