Character Sexuality


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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The groups I play in don't often bring sexuality up, and generally it's not the main focus of a campaign either way so it tends to be put on the side.

I myself have played straight, bi, and asexual characters throughout my long years of tabletop gaming, and seen some variance among my fellow players without causing any trouble.

Community & Digital Content Director

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Removed a few posts. Please be cognizant that participants on our forums come from a variety of backgrounds with different life experiences, and comments that endorse usage of sexual assault in-game as a thematic element can be harmful. Let's just not, thanks!


Mystic_Snowfang wrote:

So it seems that Pathfinder is a system that doesn't shy away from the fact that sex is not only a thing, but something that people do (and enjoy doing).

Anyway, that's not my question. My question is how do you handle character sexuality, personally or as a GM. I'm wondering because before he met me, my Fiance rarely thought of that aspect of his characters. What about you, oh internet?

In my 39 years of playing pen and paper RPG's, character sexuality has actually come up three times that I can remember. Once was in college when the group included a pair of people dating, so of course their characters had to date and sleep together all the time. The second time was also in college, but in a much darker campaign, where one character was super evil, so sacrificed another character to his dark gods, and the sacrifice was described in gruesome and x-rated detail. The final time was in the first book of RotRL when the red-head tries to seduce on of the characters.


Sexuality seldom if ever comes up in our games. When it does, it get's a brief mention, and then we move on.

Community & Digital Content Director

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Removed another post. Seriously, do not endorse sexual assault of characters.


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so why does sex and political issues get censored by mods but murder and torture are perfectly fine subjects to be talked about openly?

Grand Lodge

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I devise the sexual orientation of all my characters when I'm creating them, but it's not something that needs to come up (and that's probably the way it should be in PFS). Protected speech and stuff doesn't necessarily spread to places such as forums or game stores where you're bound by Terms of Service.

In home games, it's one thing to bring it up. I've spoken with people who have had entire campaigns that have carnal themes. In a public space that is essentially PG-13, it's probably not a good idea. I understand what Lady-J is saying with the double-standards with sexual and violent content, but that's just where society is. I don't agree with it, but I don't really think we need to start a revolution on Paizo's boards to fix it. :p


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I primarily play PFS. As a result, I tend to leave sexuality out because I prefer avoiding the awkward, especially when children are within a table or two of me. I've had one explicitly straight married character that regularly offered to perform marriages with no concern for sexuality. He was Erastilian and focused very much on strengthening community bonds and social stability. While he had several children, procreation was not a central thing to him when it came to marriage ceremonies. The only other remotely sexual character was my cleric of Lamashtu, who is mostly retired at this point. Again, that got toned down a lot.

Honestly, every time I've seen sexuality portrayed at public venues, it's gone a little past what I'm comfortable with. I've found that it tends to be best handled with one or two jokes, then left alone.

That said, I had a LOT of fun as GM with a particular NPC in Hell's Rebels who explicitly seduces a PC and is also explicitly bi. It wasn't a forced thing, though, and it was definitely a "fade to black" sort of scene whenever something of that nature came up.


Serisan wrote:

I primarily play PFS. As a result, I tend to leave sexuality out because I prefer avoiding the awkward, especially when children are within a table or two of me. I've had one explicitly straight married character that regularly offered to perform marriages with no concern for sexuality. He was Erastilian and focused very much on strengthening community bonds and social stability. While he had several children, procreation was not a central thing to him when it came to marriage ceremonies. The only other remotely sexual character was my cleric of Lamashtu, who is mostly retired at this point. Again, that got toned down a lot.

Honestly, every time I've seen sexuality portrayed at public venues, it's gone a little past what I'm comfortable with. I've found that it tends to be best handled with one or two jokes, then left alone.

That said, I had a LOT of fun as GM with a particular NPC in Hell's Rebels who explicitly seduces a PC and is also explicitly bi. It wasn't a forced thing, though, and it was definitely a "fade to black" sort of scene whenever something of that nature came up.

I think I know the exact npc you're speaking of. As it happened, when we got to that part of the game, the second she came on the scene my whole party basically all turned and looked at me like, "So, you're going to seduce our way through this one, right?"

It's become an on-going tradition with my group that I'm always the one pushed forward whenever there's an npc who's open to bedroom negotiations. I'm such a team player, I end up playing for both teams.


ColbyMunro wrote:
I have one thing to add to this discussion which hasn't been brought up yet. I have absolutely zero tolerance for any sort of rape or sexual assault storylines or role play. It's actually really weird that that has to be stated but sometimes we have new players (friends of friends) come in that I havent had a chance to properly vet and they don't know the etiquette?

I always ask if there's anything that gets to the players (and let them respond privately if they want). It's not worth messing with the real-life players' heads. That way we can all come to an agreement about what type of game we want to play.

-----
And of course as a GM, you have to be open to playing diverse NPC's and to play potential romantic hooks for the PC's in the game.


Lady-J wrote:
so why does sex and political issues get censored by mods but murder and torture are perfectly fine subjects to be talked about openly?

To be honest with you This is the wrong place to discuss it but I approve of that decision. I think Sexual assault is one of the more vile acts people do to each other.

Torture is up there to but I hardly see anyone on these forums talk about it in detail its more general. As for murder its seems almost cultural that it is looked on as less severe I.E. Video games, television etc. Where desensitized to it so it doesn't have the same kind of gravitas as the subject.

Frankly I don't allow that kind of thing in my games. people shouldn't be desensitized to it it should seem horrible because it is.


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I will immediately X-Card any reference to sexual violence in any game where I'm sitting at the table, and will leave the game immediately if that is not an option, whether I'm playing or running the game.


anything that is above pg-13 movie rank shouldnt be in a game that is targeted pg movie rank

which means

still I repeat should be between players that are involved in it and with the one who is running the game and only then if everyone is ok with it.

all it takes is one nay-sayer even if it is the gm for it to not to happen.

and what teh majority have said,' the ritual of reproduction is fade to black."


Uh subtext.... seriously? Steelfiredragon help me out here was your post in regard to the previous posts that where talking about that?^^^


sexual scenes/themes in general, whether they are in the IP gaming media or televised/movie/reading material/video and regardless of any intent in the scene.

the only reason why I said movie rank is mostly because I ahve no real idea what even dnd/pathfinder/ everything else is rated and the movie ratings was first that would make sense..but if it helps, I do tie sexual preferences in with sexual themes

and I also realized jsut now that I likely worded badly or did not go through with enough thought.

now I need to go find a light bulb, the glare from my monitor is making it difficult to see the keys.

oh it is getting late

edit: in case I did, the please delete my posts


PossibleCabbage wrote:
I will immediately X-Card any reference to sexual violence in any game where I'm sitting at the table, and will leave the game immediately if that is not an option, whether I'm playing or running the game.

I'd say: how is the topic being dealt with?

I mean, I can think at least of two NPCs on my stories that had been abused as a part of their backstories. Depending on the players that I had at the table I would only mention that the characters had a difficult past or even that they had been "horribly mistreated " and let them think what they wanted about it. With players that I knew well, these characters would become a bit more open about their experiences, though I always avoided being too descriptive. Some things are better left to imagination.

The conclusion was that my players found a positive experience in trying to help them to overcome their fears and leave the past behind. I can understand how certain topics can be difficult to touch without becoming a parody, looking like you are encouraging something that you shouldn't, or getting too much into the dark side. You got to know how far your players want you to go. And always be sensitive about those topics.

In Skull and Shackles I wanted the topic of freedom and breaking chains to be the ever present theme. That made characters who were being abused in different ways and needed to be released to appear quite often. The result was that the players felt like they were really making something important and encouraging their chaotuc ideals of freedom for everybody. Being as inclined towards evil as they were towards good, they sometimes focused so much on punishing offenders on very expeditious ways but they were pirates, not heroes xD


Kileanna wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I will immediately X-Card any reference to sexual violence in any game where I'm sitting at the table, and will leave the game immediately if that is not an option, whether I'm playing or running the game.

I'd say: how is the topic being dealt with?

I mean, I can think at least of two NPCs on my stories that had been abused as a part of their backstories. Depending on the players that I had at the table I would only mention that the characters had a difficult past or even that they had been "horribly mistreated " and let them think what they wanted about it. With players that I knew well, these characters would become a bit more open about their experiences, though I always avoided being too descriptive. Some things are better left to imagination.

The conclusion was that my players found a positive experience in trying to help them to overcome their fears and leave the past behind. I can understand how certain topics can be difficult to touch without becoming a parody, looking like you are encouraging something that you shouldn't, or getting too much into the dark side. You got to know how far your players want you to go. And always be sensitive about those topics.

In Skull and Shackles I wanted the topic of freedom and breaking chains to be the ever present theme. That made characters who were being abused in different ways and needed to be released to appear quite often. The result was that the players felt like they were really making something important and encouraging their chaotuc ideals of freedom for everybody. Being as inclined towards evil as they were towards good, they sometimes focused so much on punishing offenders on very expeditious ways but they were pirates, not heroes xD

Some people probably don't want to deal with those kinds of topics in a game that they are playing to have fun.

Some people play RPGs to explore different parts of their psyche in a safe environment. Some play it to eat junk food and make bad puns every time a goblin falls down.


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Of course. That's why I always say first: know your players. Even when I am GMing a game where I have this kind of topics, if I get a new player I always fade them to black. The characters with the grim background will still be around and have the same personality, but they don't have to mention anything about their past, more than an occasional "I had a difficult life but now everything is better" or something like that.

I will only touch mature topics if I know the players and that they will enjoy. I don't assume that everyone wants the same kind of game and even when I am with my trusted players I usually ask before choosing what I am GMing next what kind of game they want to play.

I never meant to say thay everybody should like or accept certain topics on the table, just that I am OK with it as long as they are treated in a sensible and sensitive way.


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Kileanna wrote:

Of course. That's why I always say first: know your players. Even when I am GMing a game where I have this kind of topics, if I get a new player I always fade them to black. The characters with the grim background will still be around and have the same personality, but they don't have to mention anything about their past, more than an occasional "I had a difficult life but now everything is better" or something like that.

I will only touch mature topics if I know the players and that they will enjoy. I don't assume that everyone wants the same kind of game and even when I am with my trusted players I usually ask before choosing what I am GMing next what kind of game they want to play.

I never meant to say thay everybody should like or accept certain topics on the table, just that I am OK with it as long as they are treated in a sensible and sensitive way.

I think that is a good way to treat it. Players and Dm need to be comfortable and mature enough for deeper subjects then hack n slash. I always felt the WW games had more room for mature content then DnD however. Dnd I've always kept light and kind of pulp action style.

Liberty's Edge

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On a lighter note, it was the love of Miss Feathers that brought me into the light, changing my alignment from chaotic neutral to chaotic good.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Chris Lambertz wrote:
Removed a few posts. Please be cognizant that participants on our forums come from a variety of backgrounds with different life experiences, and comments that endorse usage of sexual assault in-game as a thematic element can be harmful. Let's just not, thanks!
Chris Lambertz wrote:
Removed another post. Seriously, do not endorse sexual assault of characters.


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Lady-J, I was going to respond to your post, but I've sent you a PM instead, because this isn't the place for that conversation.

Let's respect the purpose of this thread and stay on-topic, while being respectful to our fellow gamers. I think this thread was doing quite well before getting derailed.

The topics of sex and sexuality are being discussed here pretty openly without moderation.


KingGramJohnson wrote:
I also played a female character who's view on nudity was very simply, "If you don't want to see my lady bits, then don't look." She was also a fun character. She wasn't a nudest in terms of philosophy, but she was very brazen and would do or say literally anything. She had no filter. If she wanted to get naked and wander around like that, she would, and if you had an issue with it, it was your problem not hers.

This reminds me of one of my secondary characters in the Buffy game I mentioned. Ankheseneset was an Egyptian princess whose mummy was resurrected in modern-day Paris. Being from another time and culture, her views on many subjects (like nudity, violence, and ethics) were rather different from the other PCs. She quickly learned to obey modern-day modesty taboos to avoid trouble, but she also found work as an exotic dancer and enjoyed taking vacations to clothing-optional beaches in the Riviera.


In my current pbp, I play a male human Cleric of Sarenrae who is physically attracted to my buddy's female Dhampir Spiritualist who has issues with religious intolerance. LOL! It makes for some good role playing. It's not awkward yet because it's mostly kept to my character's thoughts. But it does affect his motivations, and as more things are revealed we'll all find out together what happens. Though, I suspect she will spurn him.

Having said that, I only do this for the role playing, and if it stops being enjoyable for both parties I would drop it. I'm not a method actor, just a role player. :)


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Are you, as a player, sharing those character thoughts with the other players? If not, your actions can cause a lot of confusion. Players aren't mind readers, and usually don't know what you don't tell them.

Communication is extremely important for avoiding misunderstandings.


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"BE BURNED BY THE LIGHT OF SARANRAE! CRINGE AND DIE FROM THE EVIL CLENSING LIGHT OF THE SU... oh not you honey."


Ravingdork wrote:

Are you, as a player, sharing those character thoughts with the other players? If not, your actions can cause a lot of confusion. Players aren't mind readers, and usually don't know what you don't tell them.

Communication is extremely important for avoiding misunderstandings.

Yes, IC thoughts, but also some subtle (for now) verbal and physical interactions. Basically, all of the players know what my character is thinking. The Dhampir, I'm sure, suspects.

The reason, I said it wasn't awkward is because my character's thoughts haven't required the other player's character to respond (I purposely did it that way). I'm not forcing the player to role-play with me, but he is aware of my character's motivations. In addition, we've talked and I've thanked him in the discussion thread for the role-playing opportunity. Like I said, as long as it works for both of us then I'll continue for now.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
ColbyMunro wrote:
Tl;dr, it's not game of thrones guys.

*Hides copy of A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying under the couch*


Alzrius wrote:
*Hides copy of A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying under the couch*

I'm afraid that approach would just have us all discussing the intricacies of the local cuisine, becoming ravenous, and then breaking to feast without ever getting any actual role-playing done. :)


BigNorseWolf wrote:
"BE BURNED BY THE LIGHT OF SARANRAE! CRINGE AND DIE FROM THE EVIL CLENSING LIGHT OF THE SU... oh not you honey."

In one of the later games I GMed I had a cleric of Sarenrae and a dhampir. The cleric channeled energy to harm undead. Oops! (And he was aware of the dhampir's peculiarities)


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It doesn't really come up in my games. The exception being Joba Bett, the bard I GMed who would try to seduce pretty much every tree and NPC encountered.

Community & Digital Content Director

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Lady-J wrote:
so why does sex and political issues get censored by mods but murder and torture are perfectly fine subjects to be talked about openly?

The above comes off as a hyperbolic statement, but, since there appears to be some confusion: our moderation team does not view acts of rape or sexual assault to be acceptable to categorize under "character sexuality." This stance towards how we moderate these comments is not up for debate or review, and we will continue to remove posts from our website that in any way endorse or suggest to endorse those acts in-game or in real life. If you have actual feedback about moderation action on posts that involve more mature themes on our website, post it to the Website Feedback subforum and not in an irrelevant thread.

Additionally, a handful of additional posts were removed. If you have questions about them, you can ping community@paizo.com. Do not derail this thread further with it. Thanks.

Silver Crusade

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GM MacShack wrote:
It doesn't really come up in my games. The exception being Joba Bett, the bard I GMed who would try to seduce pretty much every tree and NPC encountered.

.... trees?

This sounds INTERESTING!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

My characters tend to be all over the map with regard to their sexuality. That said, it doesn't come up all that often.

Of my current characters that I'm actively playing: one is a gay man, one is a straight man, one is a woman who's mostly straight, one is a woman who just has no time for relationships (I'm thinking she's ace but haven't decided), and one who's a lesbian that's taken a vow of chastity.

As a GM, I rarely make sex a part of the story, unless the players bring it up. There are exceptions, such as particular Lust-focues encounters in Sins of the Saviors or Curse of the Lady's Light.

As for scenes of sexual violence: I just don't use them at all in my games any more. Ever.

And if my players start talking (or worse, joking) about sexual violence, I will shut that down immediately. I have zero tolerance for that.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
Alzrius wrote:
*Hides copy of A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying under the couch*
I'm afraid that approach would just have us all discussing the intricacies of the local cuisine, becoming ravenous, and then breaking to feast without ever getting any actual role-playing done. :)

Oh come on, who hasn't taken a break between combat rounds to nosh on roast pheasant with ground fennel, heart of boar stuffed with spiced raisins and sliced mushrooms rolled with cinnamon, and side helpings of finely aged cheese on warm bread fresh from the ovens served together with creamed onion soup flavored with freshly-ground garlic and saffron, strips of hare slathered with honey, and fried sweet potatoes, after which there were sugared lemons, chilled cream, and candied cherries?

...after which dinner was served.


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Mystic_Snowfang wrote:
GM MacShack wrote:
It doesn't really come up in my games. The exception being Joba Bett, the bard I GMed who would try to seduce pretty much every tree and NPC encountered.

.... trees?

This sounds INTERESTING!

I'm genuinely terrified of the day he gets access to speak with plants.


Alzrius wrote:
Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
Alzrius wrote:
*Hides copy of A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying under the couch*
I'm afraid that approach would just have us all discussing the intricacies of the local cuisine, becoming ravenous, and then breaking to feast without ever getting any actual role-playing done. :)

Oh come on, who hasn't taken a break between combat rounds to nosh on roast pheasant with ground fennel, heart of boar stuffed with spiced raisins and sliced mushrooms rolled with cinnamon, and side helpings of finely aged cheese on warm bread fresh from the ovens served together with creamed onion soup flavored with freshly-ground garlic and saffron, strips of hare slathered with honey, and fried sweet potatoes, after which there were sugared lemons, chilled cream, and candied cherries?

...after which dinner was served.

Reminds me of an SCA feast.

Now I want mustard soup. Dammit.

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