GMs running good Campaigns, how do you handle all those orphaned kids?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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The Brinewall Legacy, the first module of the Jade Regent adventure path, begins with goblins of the Licktoad goblin tribe raiding local caravans and the party volunteering to stop them. The map reveals the one and only Licktoad goblin village, which is the source of the raids, in the middle of a marsh. Yet all the gobins the party can encounter in the module are adults.

For an added complication, one party member was a goblin firebomber. We developed his backstory that he had been a Licktoad goblin until he fled the village after learning to read.

I had the goblin mothers and their children lower themselves down the pallisade walls of the village and disappear into the marsh when the party attacked the village. The party ninja had sneaked in early and saw this, but did not stop it.

The party killed the goblin defenders and the goblin chief, but mostly left goblins hiding in their houses alone. Then they set up the goblin party member as the new chief. The women and children returned, the new chief appointed a nonviolent lieutenant to rule in his absence (since he left with the party), and the village returned to business as usual without the raids.

When the goblin firebomber character retired, he returned to the village, taught the goblins to make coffee, and opened up a Goblinbucks coffee shop near the new academy that the paladin had established upon his retirement.


Killing aggressive combatants (if they attacked you) is not evil by alignment rules, it doesn't matter if they create orphans. If they wanted to take care of their children, maybe they shouldn't have gone off and led a raid attack on a village or wherever they attack you. So under those circumstances, it doesn't really get in the way of a good party.

Whereas if they decided to walk into a village AS the aggressors and kill everyone, then they're obviously evil.

There are scenarios in between, such as everybody getting along or fighting via things like trade embargoes instead, but those scenarios tend not to create orphans...

Didn't read every single post carefully, but from about 2/3 of them, I didn't see any particularly sticky scenarios described that looked difficult to interpret the alignment consequences of. What is an example of a situation that's hard to judge like this?


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When a hero wipes out an entire village of creatures, men, women, and children, I usually give the hero a chance to wangst to their romantic interest, then set them up to follow a path to becoming an eventually great villain by way of being increasingly insufferable.


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Scythia wrote:

When a hero wipes out an entire village of creatures, men, women, and children, I usually give the hero a chance to wangst to their romantic interest, then set them up to follow a path to becoming an eventually great villain by way of being increasingly insufferable.

Would some of these hypothetical heroes gain their incredible powers from magical bacteria, by any chance?


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Snowblind wrote:
Scythia wrote:

When a hero wipes out an entire village of creatures, men, women, and children, I usually give the hero a chance to wangst to their romantic interest, then set them up to follow a path to becoming an eventually great villain by way of being increasingly insufferable.

Would some of these hypothetical heroes gain their incredible powers from magical bacteria, by any chance?

Wise you are in the ways of the farce.


Gisher wrote:
Davor wrote:
And that's a fair point, but spirituality in the real world also works completely differently than Golarion's mythology. I won't derail the topic any more than that.

Since I don't believe that magic exists in the real world, it's all just mythology to me. So I was comparing them purely as one literary work against another. It's the same way that I might compare DC characters to Marvel ones.

Davor wrote:
My main point was in saying that something happening in Scripture doesn't make that thing good.
On that we can definitely agree. I would never look to scriptural texts, particularly those from the Abrahamic traditions, for moral guidance. Or any other type of guidance for that matter.

But, and I believe the original point was, over half of the population of this planet does.

Whatever God says to do is objectively Good, and God said to kill the babies, ergo killing the babies is Good.

Replace "God" with "Torag" and the point stands that perhaps the slaughter can be considered "objectively Good" despite what most of us think.


What to do with the orphans????

I hear the local church of Asmodeus has a large, very well funded orphanage.

Scarab Sages

Sundakan wrote:
Gisher wrote:
Davor wrote:
And that's a fair point, but spirituality in the real world also works completely differently than Golarion's mythology. I won't derail the topic any more than that.

Since I don't believe that magic exists in the real world, it's all just mythology to me. So I was comparing them purely as one literary work against another. It's the same way that I might compare DC characters to Marvel ones.

Davor wrote:
My main point was in saying that something happening in Scripture doesn't make that thing good.
On that we can definitely agree. I would never look to scriptural texts, particularly those from the Abrahamic traditions, for moral guidance. Or any other type of guidance for that matter.

But, and I believe the original point was, over half of the population of this planet does.

Whatever God says to do is objectively Good, and God said to kill the babies, ergo killing the babies is Good.

Replace "God" with "Torag" and the point stands that perhaps the slaughter can be considered "objectively Good" despite what most of us think.

Except that, while Torag may be Lawful Good, that doesn't make Torag's decrees "Good". Because the gods in Golarion are imperfect, not everything for which they stand is Good. Good and Evil, in Golarion, are ideas to which the gods are beholden, not the other way around.

The Exchange

I've never had a situation in-campaign where the PCs are ruthless enough and competent enough to find and plug all escape routes, butcher all the adults of some hostile tribe, and lay in wait a few days to get any who were out shopping when the bloodbath started. And if I did, I somehow doubt they'd suddenly draw a moral line at killing the young.

Addressing more plausible situations... I don't generally hold good-aligned characters responsible to pay for Antipaladin Bob's kids' college tuition just because they are the ones who ended his rampage. Choosing to take that responsibility is generally a Good and/or Lawful action, but in normal circumstances, not an obligation. An evil society that doesn't have some provision for suddenly-orphaned children hasn't thought its lifestyle through very well. That 'provision' may be pretty stomach-turning, of course, but that's a whole other problem.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeah, see Reign of Winters second adventure for a "solution" an evil society would come up with to deal with orphans.


As to advice for this - I suggest that it depends on the tone of the campaign.

My groups have little interest in this aspect of play - and so we gloss it over or don't go into it. I would imagine that going into this level of detail would be something the players should know about before encountering - that is to say as a GM it'd be your job to explain that you plan to account for orphans and noncoms in your game.

I further offer - that if you do want this level of detail and these types of moral challenges in your game that killing a goblin village leaves 2x-3x the number of fighting creatures as 'noncoms' - these don't need to all be children or female - just the realistic amount that don't want to or refuse to fight for whatever reason. Having all combatants be male or not described - and leaving a village of orphans honestly isn't very realistic.

At that point if you are in a similar situation - the party has then killed a bunch of non-threatening non-combat adults - I wouldn't expect them to hesitate at finishing the job.

A single encounter of a widow and her 3 young-ins trying to take revenge and leaving the players with a dilemma is another matter entirely - and I think singular uses of this trope gain more traction than 'you now have a village of orphans to deal with'.

In cases of finding young - (through various means including rescue from wizards intending on using them for experiments) I've found my players tend to be soft hearted and go out of their way to do something nice - which leads to a very nice cohort or follower further down the line (leadership!), or even a replacement character if needed.

Your mileage may vary - but if you create situations for your players to deal with - and everyone is having *fun* - then go for it.


Davor wrote:
Except that, while Torag may be Lawful Good, that doesn't make Torag's decrees "Good". Because the gods in Golarion are imperfect, not everything for which they stand is Good. Good and Evil, in Golarion, are ideas to which the gods are beholden, not the other way around.

I'm fairly certain those in charge of the setting have worked on multiple occasions to make sure none of the Good gods have evil decrees or have done evil things, to the point of retconning stuff that is "out of character"?

So it would seem to me that while you're correct on that detail, the distinction is meaningless. Good is objective, but the Good gods are married to that concept, meaning that they don't do Evil things, meaning that anything they order you to do is Good (or, at least, non-Evil).

Scarab Sages

Sundakan wrote:

I'm fairly certain those in charge of the setting have worked on multiple occasions to make sure none of the Good gods have evil decrees or have done evil things, to the point of retconning stuff that is "out of character"?

So it would seem to me that while you're correct on that detail, the distinction is meaningless. Good is objective, but the Good gods are married to that concept, meaning that they don't do Evil things, meaning that anything they order you to do is Good (or, at least, non-Evil).

Paladin Code for Torag wrote:
...Against my people’s enemies, I will show no mercy...

Yes. Torag is TOTALLY a personification of Good. /rollseyes

Liberty's Edge

Sundakan wrote:
Davor wrote:
Except that, while Torag may be Lawful Good, that doesn't make Torag's decrees "Good". Because the gods in Golarion are imperfect, not everything for which they stand is Good. Good and Evil, in Golarion, are ideas to which the gods are beholden, not the other way around.

I'm fairly certain those in charge of the setting have worked on multiple occasions to make sure none of the Good gods have evil decrees or have done evil things, to the point of retconning stuff that is "out of character"?

So it would seem to me that while you're correct on that detail, the distinction is meaningless. Good is objective, but the Good gods are married to that concept, meaning that they don't do Evil things, meaning that anything they order you to do is Good (or, at least, non-Evil).

Torag in no way and at no point suggests that you kill orphans. Besides which, the closest they ever came to suggesting that got removed from existence in Inner Sea Gods.

Davor wrote:
Paladin Code for Torag wrote:
...Against my people’s enemies, I will show no mercy...
Yes. Torag is TOTALLY a personification of Good. /rollseyes

Since when are small children anyone's enemies?

Scarab Sages

They don't have to be orphans. It doesn't change the point.


So, you've gone and slaughtered all the of-age members of some tribe or other and now you want to know how bad the fallout is going to be.

Now as you know, bob, tribes don't last very long without babehs.
So there are definitely babehs somewhere around that are now without parents. Depending on who the aggressors were in the fight that ended in the destruction of said babehs' parents you may have an alignment change incoming (depending on the established relative alignment thresholds for whatever nation/continent/planet you happen to have slaughtered a bunch of parents in/on/in orbit around).

If your party were the aggressors then you cannot reasonably claim innocence on the issue of orphaning the babehs. Beyond that there are several things you can do, such as referring to the relative alignment threshold you ascribe to which may or may not give a damn about babehs. Next, for those of you found to have crossed said relative threshold there is rationalization; "ooooh dear-y me, those parents should have thought about their poor little babehs before they went and vaguely insulted me/my employer" or "heavens to betsy those babehs are evil/prophesied-to-be-somewhat-obnoxious-shopkeepers and therefore deserve to have been orphaned".

In either case any veteran adventurer should be extremely cautious at this point. One might look around to one's companions and count the number of origin stories that begin with a tale of orphanization, the numbers may surprise you. After you have counted you can start shaking in your boots as you realize that you may have just created the next generation of opposite alignment heroes who will be hell/heaven bent on your destruction as soon as they're able (or sooner, with the young and adolescent templates).

Indeed, you will never know peace from this point on instead you will always know in the back of your mind that there is a group of young and potentially class leveled creatures with a reason to hate you. As you continue your adventures you will begin to take note of the defenses in place at all of the towers you storm, all the dungeons you delve. You will remember these defenses so that one day, after you have built your kingdom or raised your own tower, you may improve upon them in the vain hope that they will serve you better than those who came before you.


Scythia wrote:

When a hero wipes out an entire village of creatures, men, women, and children, I usually give the hero a chance to wangst to their romantic interest, then set them up to follow a path to becoming an eventually great villain by way of being increasingly insufferable.

Increasingly?

I saw Ep. I - they should've named that kid Damien.

Just say'n. :)


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Sundakan wrote:
Davor wrote:
Except that, while Torag may be Lawful Good, that doesn't make Torag's decrees "Good". Because the gods in Golarion are imperfect, not everything for which they stand is Good. Good and Evil, in Golarion, are ideas to which the gods are beholden, not the other way around.

I'm fairly certain those in charge of the setting have worked on multiple occasions to make sure none of the Good gods have evil decrees or have done evil things, to the point of retconning stuff that is "out of character"?

So it would seem to me that while you're correct on that detail, the distinction is meaningless. Good is objective, but the Good gods are married to that concept, meaning that they don't do Evil things, meaning that anything they order you to do is Good (or, at least, non-Evil).

Torag in no way and at no point suggests that you kill orphans. Besides which, the closest they ever came to suggesting that got removed from existence in Inner Sea Gods.

Yeah, that's exactly what I mean. They retcon out things that don't mesh with Good aligned gods = Always Good. So if Good God = Always Good, then whatever they tell you to do is Good, yes?

Now, no Good god (currently) says that killing babies is Good, but if they DID that would be an indicator that that is objectively Not Wrong is the point I was making.

Ex, Cayden Cailean is a Good god.

He loves alcohol.

Therefore, drinking alcohol is objectively Not Wrong by view of the universe. Because if it WAS, he wouldn't be CG, he'd be CN or some such.

The gods purposefully only have traits that are either with their alignment, or are neutral acts. That's how the objective alignment comes around.

Torture is demonstrably evil because an EVIL god has that as one of his "virtues".

Showing mercy to enemies is Good because a Good god has that as one of HER virtues.

But, on the flipside, NOT showing mercy to your enemies is, while Not Good, is also Not Evil, since a Good god has that as one of HIS "virtues".

That seems to be how the cosmology is intended to work re: Aligment.


Sundakan wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Sundakan wrote:
Davor wrote:
Except that, while Torag may be Lawful Good, that doesn't make Torag's decrees "Good". Because the gods in Golarion are imperfect, not everything for which they stand is Good. Good and Evil, in Golarion, are ideas to which the gods are beholden, not the other way around.

I'm fairly certain those in charge of the setting have worked on multiple occasions to make sure none of the Good gods have evil decrees or have done evil things, to the point of retconning stuff that is "out of character"?

So it would seem to me that while you're correct on that detail, the distinction is meaningless. Good is objective, but the Good gods are married to that concept, meaning that they don't do Evil things, meaning that anything they order you to do is Good (or, at least, non-Evil).

Torag in no way and at no point suggests that you kill orphans. Besides which, the closest they ever came to suggesting that got removed from existence in Inner Sea Gods.

Yeah, that's exactly what I mean. They retcon out things that don't mesh with Good aligned gods = Always Good. So if Good God = Always Good, then whatever they tell you to do is Good, yes?

Now, no Good god (currently) says that killing babies is Good, but if they DID that would be an indicator that that is objectively Not Wrong is the point I was making.

Ex, Cayden Cailean is a Good god.

He loves alcohol.

Therefore, drinking alcohol is objectively Not Wrong by view of the universe. Because if it WAS, he wouldn't be CG, he'd be CN or some such.

The gods purposefully only have traits that are either with their alignment, or are neutral acts. That's how the objective alignment comes around.

Torture is demonstrably evil because an EVIL god has that as one of his "virtues".

Showing mercy to enemies is Good because a Good god has that as one of HER virtues.

But, on the flipside, NOT showing mercy to your enemies is, while Not Good, is also Not Evil, since a Good god...

Of course, sometimes it's just poorly phrased or players reading too much into a sentence.

I do not think it was ever the intent for Torag to want his followers to slaughter baby orcs. Defeat them in battle. Show no mercy to fallen warriors. No need to accept their surrender. Nothing about slaying babes in cradles.


Quark Blast wrote:
Scythia wrote:

When a hero wipes out an entire village of creatures, men, women, and children, I usually give the hero a chance to wangst to their romantic interest, then set them up to follow a path to becoming an eventually great villain by way of being increasingly insufferable.

Increasingly?

I saw Ep. I - they should've named that kid Damien.

Just say'n. :)

On my scale, being whiney is a mortal sin. :P


Asking stupid questions is a mortal sin in my scale.


Oxylepy wrote:
Asking stupid questions is a mortal sin in my scale.

Are you an angel?


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I'm imagining a "first world problems" Golarion meme now...


hiiamtom wrote:
I'm imagining a "first world problems" Golarion meme now...

Please let this be a thing.


"I want to increase my weapon enchantment to +4... but i'm in a large town and it's a few days march to a city."


I want to craft an item, but the spell isn't one I know and it would cost money to copy it.


I want to C H O M P ! ! ! some villagers but all I have is this large metropolis...

(Tarrasques can play this game too!)


Ungh the jaberwocky is attacking, but our vorpal weapon is a sycthe.


I don't add kids to the enemy tribe, and in most adventures the tribe is either 100% male or very close to it. I know that is not realistic, but then again the tribes are not as big as they would be either.


"How am I going to carry all these bloody +1 hide armors?"

I was going to say dry clean, but a cantrip covers that.

Scarab Sages

Best friend killed an orc, and all it had was a +4 Falchion and
Sack of 10 gold with a thank you note.

#firstworldadventures


Davor wrote:

Best friend killed an orc, and all it had was a +4 Falchion and

Sack of 10 gold with a thank you note.

#firstworldadventures

I was training to become an adventurer - but the number of feats and abilities is so huge I just got exhausted trying to pick one and gave up.

#firstworldadventurers


I decided to sidestep the issue: I borrowed or created (can't remember which) an idea that cannon-fodder monsters aren't even "living". Instead they form in places of Evil (for Golarion they ooze out of pits caused by Rovagug's influence) and when kill dissolve into shadows or goo or something. They're more like Evil Outsiders/Fey except with the Humanoid type because rules interactions. And they have little to no personality. They're there to be killed, what do they need a life-cycle for?

Lantern Lodge

Paizo's most beloved AP spells out a specific opportunity for a DM wishing to create an awkward social situation by including goblin babies. By default, however, the goblin babies simply do not exist.

This is how it should be handled all the time, in my opinion. Ignore the implication of enemy babies unless there's a very good reason not to. Verisimilitude doesn't qualify as a very good reason in my games, but it might in some. Then again, we handwave a good many things that others play out in detail.


Scythia wrote:
Quark Blast wrote:
Scythia wrote:

When a hero wipes out an entire village of creatures, men, women, and children, I usually give the hero a chance to wangst to their romantic interest, then set them up to follow a path to becoming an eventually great villain by way of being increasingly insufferable.

Increasingly?

I saw Ep. I - they should've named that kid Damien.

Just say'n. :)

On my scale, being whiney is a mortal sin. :P

Okey-day then. Howa 'bout meesa is clumsy? Is da being mortal or venial?


wraithstrike wrote:
I don't add kids to the enemy tribe, and in most adventures the tribe is either 100% male or very close to it. I know that is not realistic, but then again the tribes are not as big as they would be either.

Why not make it so that the children and females are hidden somewhere else and the male-only vilage the PCs encounter is just the warrior camp?


Quark Blast wrote:
Scythia wrote:
Quark Blast wrote:
Scythia wrote:

When a hero wipes out an entire village of creatures, men, women, and children, I usually give the hero a chance to wangst to their romantic interest, then set them up to follow a path to becoming an eventually great villain by way of being increasingly insufferable.

Increasingly?

I saw Ep. I - they should've named that kid Damien.

Just say'n. :)

On my scale, being whiney is a mortal sin. :P
Okey-day then. Howa 'bout meesa is clumsy? Is da being mortal or venial?

Sometimes,clumsy is just a tool to hide true power.


SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:
I decided to sidestep the issue: I borrowed or created (can't remember which) an idea that cannon-fodder monsters aren't even "living". Instead they form in places of Evil (for Golarion they ooze out of pits caused by Rovagug's influence) and when kill dissolve into shadows or goo or something. They're more like Evil Outsiders/Fey except with the Humanoid type because rules interactions. And they have little to no personality. They're there to be killed, what do they need a life-cycle for?

This sounds a bit like the origins for Minions, which makes them more than ok to wipe out.


dreadfraught wrote:
This sounds a bit like the origins for Minions, which makes them more than ok to wipe out.

Not really: don't forget the lack of personality. They're more like video game monsters.


Anarchy_Kanya wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
I don't add kids to the enemy tribe, and in most adventures the tribe is either 100% male or very close to it. I know that is not realistic, but then again the tribes are not as big as they would be either.
Why not make it so that the children and females are hidden somewhere else and the male-only vilage the PCs encounter is just the warrior camp?

Why is it that only the males are allowed to be killed by the PCs?


Because males are worthless and expendable, and females are precious delicate snowflakes who couldn't possibly learn how to fight. /s


Because the humanoid tribes we're talking about are horribly sexist?

Because when you're already living a risky, subsistence level existence, it's far easier for the tribe to recover from losing an all-male war party than from losing an all-female war party, or even a mixed one?


thejeff wrote:
Because the humanoid tribes we're talking about are horribly sexist?

Since when? Paizo goes out of their way to make that not the case a lot of the time (going so far as to say sexism doesn't exist on Golarion at one point, as I recall). I've seen quite a few Orc war parties in published works that at least have a female Orc "shaman" to back up the warriors.

thejeff wrote:
Because when you're already living a risky, subsistence level existence, it's far easier for the tribe to recover from losing an all-male war party than from losing an all-female war party, or even a mixed one?

Considering most of the monster races seemingly spawn like rabbits, I don't think this is the case.

This seems to just be back-engineering a justification for not letting the females fight.


Sundakan wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Because the humanoid tribes we're talking about are horribly sexist?

Since when? Paizo goes out of their way to make that not the case a lot of the time (going so far as to say sexism doesn't exist on Golarion at one point, as I recall). I've seen quite a few Orc war parties in published works that at least have a female Orc "shaman" to back up the warriors.

thejeff wrote:
Because when you're already living a risky, subsistence level existence, it's far easier for the tribe to recover from losing an all-male war party than from losing an all-female war party, or even a mixed one?

Considering most of the monster races seemingly spawn like rabbits, I don't think this is the case.

This seems to just be back-engineering a justification for not letting the females fight.

No matter how fast you spawn, you do so faster with more females than less.

But yeah, you're right. It's an after the fact rationale. There are some hints in the Golarion source material, but not a lot.

I'd be more likely to non-combatants (of all genders) and some guards trying to escape with the kids than anything. Or better yet, have some resolution to the whole thing that doesn't involve wholesale slaughter.


That sounds like a more logical route, yeah. Or have the "segregation" but by warrior/not than male/female and children.

As far as I know, real life societies sometimes did that. An "inner city" for the non combatants, and the walls around that, then the warriors on the outer ring. Opposite of the usual castle formation, basically.


Quintain wrote:
Anarchy_Kanya wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
I don't add kids to the enemy tribe, and in most adventures the tribe is either 100% male or very close to it. I know that is not realistic, but then again the tribes are not as big as they would be either.
Why not make it so that the children and females are hidden somewhere else and the male-only vilage the PCs encounter is just the warrior camp?
Why is it that only the males are allowed to be killed by the PCs?

ROFL this is what you'd call historical gender bias in action - the kind that slips into your way of thinking without even realizing it.

And thank you - I am not going out of my way to make sure every group is a perfect 50/50 split but I *am* going to make sure that my group never fights 'another group of all male whatever' ever again unless there is a good reason for it.


IRL, women were traditionally not accepted as warriors mostly because they are considerably physically weaker than men (though, of course, there are exceptions).

Such is not the case in PF. Your character's gender has no impact on their attributes or qualification for feats/classes. So that's 1 fewer reason for discrimination to occur.

Of course, there is also the reproductive aspect. From a reproduction PoV, women are more valuable than men, so it'd make sense for a society to discourage females from going into the front lines.

But of course, none of this has any basis in PF rules, so you should just do it whatever way you think is cooler.

Liberty's Edge

thejeff wrote:
Because the humanoid tribes we're talking about are horribly sexist?

This varies by particular humanoid culture. Orcs are indeed misogynist and so this pattern makes some sense for them (though even there, female warriors aren't unknown by any means). Gnolls, on the other hand, are matriarchal with women as the great warriors and would be likely to follow a different pattern.

Anarchy_Kanya's original post just assumes women as non-combatants, and is thus unintentionally more than a bit sexist when you examine the assumptions. Now, lots of people say things that mirror the dominant culture's prejudices without actually sharing those prejudices...but the statement itself is still unfortunate.

thejeff wrote:
Because when you're already living a risky, subsistence level existence, it's far easier for the tribe to recover from losing an all-male war party than from losing an all-female war party, or even a mixed one?

This is true to some degree, but not necessarily culturally controlling. absent sexism in either direction it's likely to make the majority of most war parties male, but we're talking 2/3 or something like that, not nearly universally male.

Shadow Lodge

I've heard a theory (which may be outdated) that sexism is actually a form of population control. Cultures that actually want to maximize their numbers of male warriors would indeed try to protect their women for purposes of childbearing. Instead, we see female infanticide, which limits the potential for population growth. Warfare eventually reduces the population of young males so that you don't see a bunch of restless bachelors.

Sundakan wrote:
That sounds like a more logical route, yeah. Or have the "segregation" but by warrior/not than male/female and children.

Story from my campaign setting:
This is what my orcs do. In fact, the warrior/not distinction is so much more important than male/female that they use "warrior" pronouns in the same way most languages would have gender pronouns. Due to the fact that female orcs look fairly masculine to human observers, most humans are actually unaware of this and mistranslate the warrior-terms as masculine in nature. I'm looking forwards to having the (male) summoner realize why the orcs they encounter call him a "woman." (And if he gets a good enough reputation he gets to be a "big woman" ie a noncombatant who is still powerful enough to merit respect.)

That reminds me of Dragon Age, actually. That's basically how Qunari work.

Warriors are men. Always. If you are female, and you are a fighter, then you are a man.

There are a good number of men with female sexual characteristics in the Qunari army.

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