So...Folca


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The Exchange

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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:


Anyone can express that, for example it's been expressed on these very forums in this very thread.

Sure, but the OP isn't just expressing displeasure they're demanding action and sooner rather than later not just personal contrition. So my question is more bluntly, what does a company owe a consumer after admitting a mistake. What is the proper way to handle an admitted mistake in a book that has already been published (knowing that recall is not happening.)

The OP seems to want, at the very least, a blog post or something officially on Paizo.com, he in effect wants Paizo to create bad PR for themselves when, while this issue has been discussed elsewhere on the internet, its no where near the viral issue the OP claims.

Scarab Sages

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I predict that any "action" will ultimately be determined by how many people vote with their wallets on Paizo delving deeply into mature themes.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Shaudius wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:


Anyone can express that, for example it's been expressed on these very forums in this very thread.
Sure, but the OP isn't just expressing displeasure they're demanding action and sooner rather than later not just personal contrition. So my question is more bluntly, what does a company owe a consumer after admitting a mistake. What is the proper way to handle an admitted mistake in a book that has already been published (knowing that recall is not happening.)

Anything short of direct, explicit action on the part of the company means that Paizo continues to profit from a book that published rules with specific in-game advantages for child abuse.


"Basic good judgment" isn't really something you can measure with a ruler. You might say "mechanically-incentivized child abuse," but the judgment I operate on is "players aren't going to be picking this option because even in games where evil-aligned fiend worshippers will be welcomed as players, Daemon harbinger boons are too boring to be taken over the more interesting and varied boons from the more powerful fiendish divinities." My "basic good judgment" in this case says "not an issue." Your "basic good judgment" suggests otherwise. That's the problem with referring to a subjective thing as though it's objective.


Shaudius wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:


Anyone can express that, for example it's been expressed on these very forums in this very thread.
Sure, but the OP isn't just expressing displeasure they're demanding action and sooner rather than later not just personal contrition. So my question is more bluntly, what does a company owe a consumer after admitting a mistake. What is the proper way to handle an admitted mistake in a book that has already been published (knowing that recall is not happening.)

A) The company hasn't admitted a mistake. Individuals have posted, as individuals, on twitter and enworld that it was a mistake, that's not the same as the company admitting it, and taking steps to rectify it.

knightnday wrote:
So if they didn't get a mechanical bonus or spells that replicate something that real abusers do then there wouldn't be a problem?

I'm not going to say a blanket yes to 'anything else' but for me, and clearly lots of other people who have been commenting on it, broadly, yes. There were multiple ways that the mechanics could have been handled, rather than those ways, paizo went with directly, exactly, replicating real world child abuse, and incentivising it. +2 charisma bonus for abuse, unnatural lust, conceal what happened, make them perfect for you - all now with special bonuses, the more you abuse, the more you get...

Malefactor wrote:
Yes, I have read it. You think it mimics things that have happened in the real world to much. But why is that the only one you're bringing that up about?

Because I can, because I have, because I did, because this is an issue, and Paizo, as a company, are ignoring it. And FYI the picts didn't use wicker men, you mean the celts, but there's no evidence of them doing it either...

Wayfinders

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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Shaudius wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:


Anyone can express that, for example it's been expressed on these very forums in this very thread.
Sure, but the OP isn't just expressing displeasure they're demanding action and sooner rather than later not just personal contrition. So my question is more bluntly, what does a company owe a consumer after admitting a mistake. What is the proper way to handle an admitted mistake in a book that has already been published (knowing that recall is not happening.)
Anything short of direct, explicit action on the part of the company means that Paizo continues to profit from a book that published rules with specific in-game advantages for child abuse.

And there have been, since the inception of the game, non-evil in-game advantages for murder. Leveling up and all that.

The advantage of this child abuse is a Charisma bonus. The disadvantage is that the person doing so is evil. They have committed an evil act and worshiped an uncaring, sadistic, harbinger of evil. They are now damned. 100%. They get a Charisma bonus but when good creatures find out that this person is abusing children, this person is dead, damned, and suffering eternal punishment.

I don't know how else to express that the in-game disadvantages far outweigh the in-game advantages.

The Exchange

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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

Anything short of direct, explicit action on the part of the company means that Paizo continues to profit from a book that published rules with specific in-game advantages for child abuse.

And it also profits from books with specific in-game advantages for according to from another poster:

Malefactor wrote:
...Do you think Paizo promotes cannibalism because of the Cook People hex? That they encourage drug use because of the Psychedelic Psychic Discipline? That they promote self harm because of Abraxus's Obedience? That they support skinning humans to use their skin for drums like for Angazhan? That they support torture because Andirifkhu requires you to torture something smaller than you to death? Of using a child's bones to carve incantation's to your flesh? Burning things alive for Flauros? Drowning someone in swamp water and impaling it's corpse for Gogunta? Gyronna's is just making ANYONE's life worse, no age required? Do you really think Paizo wants you to do these things? If not, why do you think that Paizo specifically wants you to torment children?

Which, I recognize that child abuse is a specifically delicate and offensive topic to a lot of people, but my question is more getting at, if they admit this is a mistake in the face of public outcry, what happens if people decide to dig in the past and get upset about those other things. Does Paizo need to recall every book that has those things in it, afterall they profiting from mechanic benefit for a lot of horrific stuff.

Silver Crusade

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I am not getting into a slippery slope argument.

I am agreeing with the OP that this specific instance is a real problem, and needs to be addressed.


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I'm still a little confused on "taking steps to rectify it." Ok, they could change the PDF, but there are still copies out there. There are thousands of hardbacks out there.

They could apologize, I suppose, but would that be enough? I'm not even sure that there is something here to apologize for. The put up something that strikes close to home for many survivors of abuse, including myself.

That doesn't mean that they have done something wrong, however. More so, for myself and at least another up thread it provides a certain amount of motivation to root these people out, perhaps doing in game what one cannot in real life.


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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Shaudius wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:


Anyone can express that, for example it's been expressed on these very forums in this very thread.
Sure, but the OP isn't just expressing displeasure they're demanding action and sooner rather than later not just personal contrition. So my question is more bluntly, what does a company owe a consumer after admitting a mistake. What is the proper way to handle an admitted mistake in a book that has already been published (knowing that recall is not happening.)
Anything short of direct, explicit action on the part of the company means that Paizo continues to profit from a book that published rules with specific in-game advantages for child abuse.

So? This is for EVIL people, who do EVIL things. I mean, yeah someone is going to go "well, you can be a neutral worshipper of Folca" and yeah, RAW says you can, but that runs into the same problems as being a Chaotic Neutral worshipper of Socothbenoth, who's pretty much demon lord of rape, which is RAW says you can, but basic human decency says you can't. I mean, I would understand this uproar if this obedience was for a good or even neutral deity, but not only is Folca a neutral evil deity, but he is a Daemon, a fiend so evil that devils and demons team up with celestials to combat. No reasonable person is going to look at Folca and come to the conclusion that Paizo supports child abuse. And as for unreasonable people, do you really think someone who is legitimately okay with pedophilia is going to go "Gee wiz, I wish their was a mechanical benefit for abusing kids, because otherwise, I just won't bother." I still have not heard a compelling reason why we must remove all mentions of Folca, even though using the same logic we shouldn't let any villains kill people because someone who is okay with murder might think that the game encourages killing random innocents. Bad guys are supposed to BAD things so that the players realize they are BAD and as such have an incentive to brutally kill them in order to stop them from doing anymore BAD things.


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Malefactor wrote:


So? This is for EVIL people, who do EVIL things. I mean, yeah someone is going to go "well, you can be a neutral worshipper of Folca" and yeah, RAW says you can, but that runs into the same problems as being a Chaotic Neutral worshipper of Socothbenoth, who's pretty much demon lord of rape, which is RAW says you can, but basic human decency says you can't. I mean, I would understand this uproar if this obedience was for a good or even neutral deity, but not only is Folca a neutral evil deity, but he is a Daemon, a fiend so evil that devils and demons team up with celestials to combat. No reasonable person is going to look at Folca and come to the conclusion that Paizo supports child abuse. And as for unreasonable people, do you really think someone who is legitimately okay with pedophilia is going to go "Gee wiz, I wish their was a mechanical benefit for abusing kids, because otherwise, I just won't bother." I still have not heard a compelling reason why we must remove all mentions of Folca, even though using the same logic we shouldn't let any villains kill people because someone who is okay with murder might think that the game encourages killing random innocents. Bad guys are supposed to BAD things so that the players realize they are BAD...

Would you be rolling the saving throw for the 8 year old child that the abuser has cast unnatural lust on?

Will your players be rolling a saving throw for the unnatural lust cast on them?

Will you be detailing the magic aura for the modify memory cast on an abuse victim after one of your players casts detect magic when they arrive at the aftermath just too late to catch the abuser but see the abused child there?

Will you be describing how the child has been turned into a perfect representation of the abusers ideal victim, so they can follow those down and hope to track down that abuser?

Will you be stopping with your slippery slope arguments and straw man fallacies anytime soon?

Please show me where I have said that any mention of folca should be removed.

The issue is how, not what, it's the deliberately chosen mechanical incentives for child abuse, and the benefits that directly replicate real world abuse.

I said it in the OP, I've said it repeatedly. Paizo has published mechanically incentivised child abuse. Not the 'hint but don't reveal' which horror works best at, but outright 'here are your benefits for being an abuser'...

Silver Crusade

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So far I’ve read the counter arguments are:

Paizo should not take responsibility for what they’ve published. Should not take any steps to correct anything. People with legitimate concerns shouldn’t bother bringing them up. They should not make any sacrifice in time or money to fix a mistake.

Paizo is a company, as a company they chose to publish a book full of mature content. They messed up. That’s not unforgivable, but forgiveness doesn’t come free. Real responsibility means real steps need to be taken.

With this kind of thing, there is no putting it in the “too hard” basket.

Paizo either stands by its values of inclusion or those values are just empty words.


knightnday wrote:

I'm still a little confused on "taking steps to rectify it." Ok, they could change the PDF, but there are still copies out there. There are thousands of hardbacks out there.

They could apologize, I suppose, but would that be enough? I'm not even sure that there is something here to apologize for. The put up something that strikes close to home for many survivors of abuse, including myself.

That doesn't mean that they have done something wrong, however. More so, for myself and at least another up thread it provides a certain amount of motivation to root these people out, perhaps doing in game what one cannot in real life.

They can't undo, what they've done, though certainly there should be a formal accounting (and, if you'd read the links, you'd see that both Erik Mona and James Jacobs have privately said that it should never have been published).

They can, however, remove it from the PDFs that are being sold, they can make sure that it doesn't appear in any reprints.

And yes, they can apologise, formally, they can say 'we made a mistake', there's worth in that and effort and admittance of guilt. It's what people do when they screw up, they admit their mistakes, they commit to how they won't make them again, and they try to move on.

Given the multiple black eyes for paizo over the past few months (see linked, locked post) this is the least they should be doing.

But they're not. It appears as if they're just hoping it will all blow over. And that does damage, it does damage to them as a brand (hundreds of people have commented on how their opinion of Paizo has changed as a result of these issues). This isn't EA, this isn't a vast company that can suck up negative press knowing they'll still make a load of money.

This is one of the companies that had a reputation for doing better, for being better, for striving to be on the right side of issues, for wanting to support the marginalised, the minorities. And then they did this (and other things) and have, as a company, ducked responsibility for it.

PS YOu don't need to detail +2 charisma, unnatural lust, modify memory and veil in order to have a reason to oppose followers of Folca as it was previously depicted. The issue is not 'Folca exists', the issue is 'Folca exists and here are the cool things that you get'.


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That .. doesn't seem to be what people are saying.

From what I have seen, there have been comments asking why this particular thing has caused an issue when there are many others that do not seem to be raising any hackles. That may be because of the mechanical incentive, although there are mechanical incentives for the others as well.

I have not seen any evidence that they "messed up" by presenting a book with mature content. Rather, I have heard that there are people here and elsewhere that are unhappy with how one was presented.

There is talk of "real responsibility" to be taken, and talk that Paizo isn't standing by its values of inclusion.

That isn't something I am seeing.

Did they go too far? Maybe, maybe not. It isn't a definite line, clearly.

Silver Crusade

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Note: This post is directly addressing Paizo management not anyone specific to this thread. I will not be replying or engaging with anyone trying to debate this post.

Also CPEvilref and I are directly engaging in conversation to repair damage done.

If Paizo does nothing all they have is bad PR, and potentially lost sales and customers who are less invested just quietly stop supporting the company. Stop buying product.

Sure it’s only a small leak in the bucket, but eventually the only people buying Paizo products are the most toxic voices available. You’ve seen what happens when those voices are the only ones still engaging. The loss of Public Playtests resulted in a huge loss of faith.

Paizo, you might say you’re welcoming everyone to the table, but if the only ones still coming to the game are the echo chamber of toxicity you’re going to get the audience a lack of engagement on these issues deserves.

Please don’t let the good people who still care down.


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As a survivor of child abuse I want to thank Paizo for creating a truly evil piece of s!%@ with evil piece of s!&& followers.


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CPEvilref wrote:
Malefactor wrote:


So? This is for EVIL people, who do EVIL things. I mean, yeah someone is going to go "well, you can be a neutral worshipper of Folca" and yeah, RAW says you can, but that runs into the same problems as being a Chaotic Neutral worshipper of Socothbenoth, who's pretty much demon lord of rape, which is RAW says you can, but basic human decency says you can't. I mean, I would understand this uproar if this obedience was for a good or even neutral deity, but not only is Folca a neutral evil deity, but he is a Daemon, a fiend so evil that devils and demons team up with celestials to combat. No reasonable person is going to look at Folca and come to the conclusion that Paizo supports child abuse. And as for unreasonable people, do you really think someone who is legitimately okay with pedophilia is going to go "Gee wiz, I wish their was a mechanical benefit for abusing kids, because otherwise, I just won't bother." I still have not heard a compelling reason why we must remove all mentions of Folca, even though using the same logic we shouldn't let any villains kill people because someone who is okay with murder might think that the game encourages killing random innocents. Bad guys are supposed to BAD things so that the players realize they are BAD...

Would you be rolling the saving throw for the 8 year old child that the abuser has cast unnatural lust on?

Will your players be rolling a saving throw for the unnatural lust cast on them?

Will you be detailing the magic aura for the modify memory cast on an abuse victim after one of your players casts detect magic when they arrive at the aftermath just too late to catch the abuser but see the abused child there?

Will you be describing how the child has been turned into a perfect representation of the abusers ideal victim, so they can follow those down and hope to track down that abuser?

Will you be stopping with your slippery slope arguments and straw man fallacies anytime soon?

Please show me where I...

If I decided to use Folca cultists in campaign, yes. Sure, Folca is not right choice for every or even most campaigns, and I'd make sure everyone at my table would be okay with exploring such themes, as this is a sensitive issue for many, but if I felt that it was something I wished to explore and everyone else was okay with it, then maybe I would. Let it be known, however, that this would not be a game of "watch the children be horribly abused while you can do nothing about it", it would be "hunt down the horrible piece of rectum that's hurting children and destroy him so utterly that he shall be deafened by the shrill sounds of his own screams". You talk a great amount about fallacies, but you are committing some of your own. Just because I am, if not comfortable but open to allowing Folca and his cult into my games does not mean I condone his actions, rather that I am more accepting of villains being truly vile monsters who my players must put down posthaste. Now I understand that this is heavy issue for many people, and do not expect you to have Folca in your home games, but why would it be so terrible for other people to have them in theirs?

Dark Archive

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Also I'll say it before and I'll say it again the creature in question is supposed to be a homage to the character pennywise from IT

The problem being that describing such a being and what it does in the movies/books in vague terms also describes a certain other thing and they never caught it at the time because when they looked at it they saw Pennywise and not the other thing.


knightnday wrote:

That .. doesn't seem to be what people are saying.

From what I have seen, there have been comments asking why this particular thing has caused an issue when there are many others that do not seem to be raising any hackles. That may be because of the mechanical incentive, although there are mechanical incentives for the others as well.

I have not seen any evidence that they "messed up" by presenting a book with mature content. Rather, I have heard that there are people here and elsewhere that are unhappy with how one was presented.

There is talk of "real responsibility" to be taken, and talk that Paizo isn't standing by its values of inclusion.

That isn't something I am seeing.

Did they go too far? Maybe, maybe not. It isn't a definite line, clearly.

Go take a look at enworld, rpg.net, twitter, facebook, google+, heck even reddit. rpg.net's thread(s) on this was thousands of views, albeit they also covered other issues in the industry. Enworld the same.

There has been a lot of backlash against Paizo for this.

And, to reiterate, two senior members of staff at Paizo (Erik Mona and James Jacobs) have privately said that it was a mistake, that they shouldn't have done it.

And yet here we are in this thread with people dismissing that, dismissing the effect the material had on victims, and just excusing it.

Paizo, has a company, has not taken ownership of the issue, and has ducked the issue, there's no formal statement of 'we screwed up', no 'and this is how we're going to do better' and no 'and this is how you can trust us going forwards'

And maybe you (the generic you) just don't care, maybe you think child abuse daemons that give powers that directly replicate real life abuse is cool and totally okay.

But lots of people don't think that, and those people's opinions of Paizo are and have been affected by this.


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So wait, they admit it was a mistake, and said it shouldn't have been printed.

Seems like they took it seriously and apologized.

Of course the solution, is to buy as many BotD as possible thus ensuring a quicker turn around on the corrections. :-)

Dark Archive

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Yeah not sure how admiting they goofed on a public forum anyone can access is saying something privatly.


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CPEvilref wrote:
knightnday wrote:

That .. doesn't seem to be what people are saying.

From what I have seen, there have been comments asking why this particular thing has caused an issue when there are many others that do not seem to be raising any hackles. That may be because of the mechanical incentive, although there are mechanical incentives for the others as well.

I have not seen any evidence that they "messed up" by presenting a book with mature content. Rather, I have heard that there are people here and elsewhere that are unhappy with how one was presented.

There is talk of "real responsibility" to be taken, and talk that Paizo isn't standing by its values of inclusion.

That isn't something I am seeing.

Did they go too far? Maybe, maybe not. It isn't a definite line, clearly.

Go take a look at enworld, rpg.net, twitter, facebook, google+, heck even reddit. rpg.net's thread(s) on this was thousands of views, albeit they also covered other issues in the industry. Enworld the same.

There has been a lot of backlash against Paizo for this.

And, to reiterate, two senior members of staff at Paizo (Erik Mona and James Jacobs) have privately said that it was a mistake, that they shouldn't have done it.

And yet here we are in this thread with people dismissing that, dismissing the effect the material had on victims, and just excusing it.

Paizo, has a company, has not taken ownership of the issue, and has ducked the issue, there's no formal statement of 'we screwed up', no 'and this is how we're going to do better' and no 'and this is how you can trust us going forwards'

And maybe you (the generic you) just don't care, maybe you think child abuse daemons that give powers that directly replicate real life abuse is cool and totally okay.

But lots of people don't think that, and those people's opinions of Paizo are and have been affected by this.

I've taken a look over the various supplied links. The fact that they tie into the problems at PaizoCon and contain many of the same people from the locked thread give me severe trepidation about this.

Eric and James have said publicly, not privately, that they regret the inclusion of Folca -- posts were on twitter and open boards, so it wasn't like they were hiding it, especially as they have been quoted and the topic has been tossed around.

I do not believe people are dismissing the fact that the two made comments, or that some people are upset. That said, it is the internet and it wouldn't be a day ending in y if people were not upset about something.

Rather, I believe that there are some people who are claiming that it isn't as big a deal as it is being made out to be. That yes, this touches on real life abuse issues and can be triggering, hence the warning.

There are many things in this book and the Horror book that are triggering to a number of people as well. At a certain point, as a company they have to decide just how much they can apologize for this material. Perhaps they believed that the warning on page 5 was sufficient. Again, everyone has their own idea of where the line is drawn on what is too much on these topics.

However, I am not convinced that there is as large a backlash against this book as one might think. I believe that having it tied into the other claims against Paizo may be magnifying the issue unduly.

Silver Crusade

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There is a difference between saying something personally, and saying something on behalf of the company.

The Exchange

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CPEvilref wrote:


Go take a look at enworld, rpg.net, twitter, facebook, google+, heck even reddit. rpg.net's thread(s) on this was thousands of views, albeit they also covered other issues in the industry. Enworld the same.

The one specifically about this on rpg.net went on for a few pages and then quietly died (edited based on a reread). It was also brought up in the general thread about this and other sexual harassment issues but was by no means a major focus. Also since rpg.net is one of the most group think places on the internet where I see people get threatened with bans on a daily basis for any hint of disagreement with the consensus opinion on a controversial topic I'd hardly equate thousands of views with general agreement, its entirely possible many of those thousands of views were from people who held an alternative view like many people in this thread but wouldn't dare post on rpg.net. Heck, half the people in this thread would be at the very least thread banned on rpg.net for saying what they've said here.

I'm actually generally surprised its being brought up now as it seemed like the general community had moved on to much bigger general issues with harassment in gaming generally.


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Shaudius wrote:


The one specifically about this on rpg.net went on for a few pages and then quietly died and people seemed generally satisfied that James Jacobs and Erik Mona had apologized

The specific thread on the issue didn't touch on the personal apoligies, as it happened weeks before they made them...

And, as said, it had extensive discussion on rpg.net, enworld, reddit, twitter, facebook. You might want to dismiss that, you might want to dismiss all the people who have expressed their concerns with paizo, but broadly speaking, the original post wasn't aimed at you, it was aimed at Paizo, as a company, calling them to account. And sure they can look at all the people who just don't care, but they get the consequences of that.

Shaudius wrote:


I'm actually generally surprised its being brought up now as it seemed like the general community had moved on to much bigger general issues with harassment in gaming generally.

If you'd read the links in the OP, you'd have seen that Robert Brookes did a long thread on twitter about the problems with Folca yesterday. I saw it today and it reminded me that it's been 7 weeks since these were called out to Paizo, with no response, and then 3 weeks since this went viral, with Erik Mona and james Jacobs personally admitting the mistake, but without any official comment.

Here's Robert's thread again in case you missed it:

https://twitter.com/Sphynxian/status/930465923588386816

I was reminded, on reading his posts, how long it's been since Paizo were called out on this, how long it's been since they ignored emails and posts about this and how long it's been since individuals in the company admittred the mistake, but without an official comment on it.

So, that's why it's being brought up now.

Also, to be frank, there is no timetable on wrongdoing, it's the same thing that gets said to victims of abuse 'why did you wait to bring it up'. As the OP, I decided to reiterate it now, today (well, yesterday for me), It's not gone away, it's still there, and Paizo, as a company, have still not addressed it. Whatever individuals at the company have said in private has no bearing on what they, as a company, say and express as to their corporate values and beliefs.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I don’t frequent RPG.net, ENWorld or really any other gaming forum outside this one.

This thread brought this issue to my attention.

But it was further amplified when I saw this.

A principled, talented writer and designer will no longer work with Paizo. There are more reasons beyond this specific one I’m sure. But it stands that Paizo, as a company at the executive management level has been dropping a lot of balls when it comes to corporate responsibility.

This is a specific example that can be dealt with.

I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt, and perhaps something is brewing in the background. But 7 weeks? Makes me doubt it.


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I'd be interested in seeing a specific list of things that Paizo absolutely must do to make this right for you.


CrystalSeas wrote:
I'd be interested in seeing a specific list of things that Paizo absolutely must do to make this right for you.

I've posted it at least twice, in different language, in the thread, but to reiterate:

Officially take ownership of the mistake in what was published, with a company statement about it, and why it was wrong. Explaining the decisions behind it and how they came about, not least because there's a definite difference between the material submitted by the freelancer who worked on it and what was finally published. Why did that happen, how did it happen?

Remove the material from the PDF (this is not a big job).

Make a public statement about their standards with regard to child abuse and child endangement, making clear the company's standpoint and attitude to this.

And never publish anything anything like it again.

Silver Crusade

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CrystalSeas wrote:
I'd be interested in seeing a specific list of things that Paizo absolutely must do to make this right for you.

  • Stop selling the current printing of the book.

  • Edit the PDF so that Folca no longer grants mechanical incentives and tools for child abuse (both as a reward for doing it, and as a tool to do it).

  • Make sure all future printings have the corrected text.

  • Apologize as a company for the error.

  • Ensure any future mature content goes through multiple sensitivity passes.

  • When a new printing is available send an e-mail to those who already bought the physical product with an offer to exchange the first printing for the second printing.

Bonus: Pick a better picture for Nocticula that presents the Demon Lord of lust as something more than an object of lust. They already have art on file to do that.

This isn't asking for a product recall of books already out at stores, in amazon's inventory. This is asking for real steps to fix an error, that has a larger impact than a rules misprint.

Shadow Lodge

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I can understand where you're coming from on this, but I think getting rid of this deity -effectively covering him up, like the crimes his believers commit might be by those spells you mention- is not a good idea.

Already we've had over abuse survivors in this thread say they are thrilled, one of which wants to actively bring Folca and his cult down and destroy them.

I've seen child abuse. I regret not doing more to stop it, but I was a kid and scared myself. If I saw it now? The abuser would be getting hurt. Badly.

There is one thing, however, no one has pointed out. The Cultist with the Obediance doesn't actually have to physically abuse the child. He or She simply has to show the child a horrific and brutal act, then promise he'll be back.

They don't have to beat, sexually assault, or emotional abuse the child.

This also doesn't take into account that children can be evil too. They might be overjoyed at being SHOWN a horrific and brutal act.

Folca would make an excellent antagonist. I'd enjoy it if there was an entire, well built adventure path with one purpose: utterly destroying him. Crush him completely, wipe out his faithful, and set up an orginazation to hunt down anything fiend that might try to take his place.

If Paizo decides to get read of something like Folca, that is what they should do.

Silver Crusade

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Dragonborn3 wrote:

I can understand where you're coming from on this, but I think getting rid of this deity -effectively covering him up, like the crimes his believers commit might be by those spells you mention- is not a good idea.

Already we've had over abuse survivors in this thread say they are thrilled, one of which wants to actively bring Folca and his cult down and destroy them.

I've seen child abuse. I regret not doing more to stop it, but I was a kid and scared myself. If I saw it now? The abuser would be getting hurt. Badly.

There is one thing, however, no one has pointed out. The Cultist with the Obediance doesn't actually have to physically abuse the child. He or She simply has to show the child a horrific and brutal act, then promise he'll be back.

They don't have to beat, sexually assault, or emotional abuse the child.

This also doesn't take into account that children can be evil too. They might be overjoyed at being SHOWN a horrific and brutal act.

Folca would make an excellent antagonist. I'd enjoy it if there was an entire, well built adventure path with one purpose: utterly destroying him. Crush him completely, wipe out his faithful, and set up an orginazation to hunt down anything fiend that might try to take his place.

If Paizo decides to get read of something like Folca, that is what they should do.

I get where you're coming from, and the thing is that so far nobody has called for Folca to be removed from the game entirely. Just that these specific rules be changed to remove even the possibility of a player character gaining a mechanical advantage for child abuse.

It's a step too far.

It's a small change, but a crucial one.


Dragonborn3 wrote:


There is one thing, however, no one has pointed out. The Cultist with the Obediance doesn't actually have to physically abuse the child. He or She simply has to show the child a horrific and brutal act, then promise he'll be back.

They don't have to beat, sexually assault, or emotional abuse the child.

This also doesn't take into account that children can be evil too. They might be overjoyed at being SHOWN a horrific and brutal act.

A) That's still mechanically incentivised child abuse. It's quite explicitly showing a child something horrific and then the implied threat that you'll be back to do it again. The idea that showing a child horrific things is not emotional abuse is utterly, totally wrong.

B) The comment about 'the children can be evil too' is, frankly, utterly ludicrous, insulting and dismissing. What next, 'she was wearing a short skirt?'

Note, again, at no point have I criticised the previous representations or descriptions of Folca, it is, quite specifically, how it was represented and mechanised in this book. Previous works left it as a hint, an implication etc. In this case it is child abuse gives you magic powers that make you better at child abuse. Also, the book doesn't create Folca as an antagonist to be attacked, instead just the powers his worshipers get for abusing children...

It's been described as a mistake by the chief creative officer, and the creative director, albeit personally, and not speaking on behalf of the company (this being specifically made clear).

On the basis of responses here, labeling pathfinder as the game that's totally okay with child abuse would seem to be an apt descriptor.


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CPEvilref wrote:
Dragonborn3 wrote:


There is one thing, however, no one has pointed out. The Cultist with the Obediance doesn't actually have to physically abuse the child. He or She simply has to show the child a horrific and brutal act, then promise he'll be back.

They don't have to beat, sexually assault, or emotional abuse the child.

This also doesn't take into account that children can be evil too. They might be overjoyed at being SHOWN a horrific and brutal act.

A) That's still mechanically incentivised child abuse. It's quite explicitly showing a child something horrific and then the implied threat that you'll be back to do it again. The idea that showing a child horrific things is not emotional abuse is utterly, totally wrong.

B) The comment about 'the children can be evil too' is, frankly, utterly ludicrous, insulting and dismissing. What next, 'she was wearing a short skirt?'

Note, again, at no point have I criticised the previous representations or descriptions of Folca, it is, quite specifically, how it was represented and mechanised in this book. Previous works left it as a hint, an implication etc. In this case it is child abuse gives you magic powers that make you better at child abuse. Also, the book doesn't create Folca as an antagonist to be attacked, instead just the powers his worshipers get for abusing children...

It's been described as a mistake by the chief creative officer, and the creative director, albeit personally, and not speaking on behalf of the company (this being specifically made clear).

On the basis of responses here, labeling pathfinder as the game that's totally okay with child abuse would seem to be an apt descriptor.

Speaking of steps too far..

Point 1: Evil children are a trope. The Omen, Children of the Corn, The Bad Son, Children of the Damned, and so on. The poster wasn't suggesting any children were asking to be abused.

Point 2: I do not believe anyone has suggested that they are OK with child abuse nor that Pathfinder should be the go to game for child abuse. That seems to be a reach on your part, and one that is frankly a little absurd and insulting to the others in the thread.


knightnday wrote:


Point 2: I do not believe anyone has suggested that they are OK with child abuse...

Given the number of people defending it, in spite of the long thread by a paizo writer on why it's problematic, and the personal comments by paizo staff members, i'm pretty okay with that assertion.

Elsewhere it was widely, roundly condemned, here it's supported and there's multiple people saying that mechanically incentivised child abuse is a totally okay thing for Paizo to have published. So, yes, given the lack of a company statement, and until that happens, I'm all good with saying that Paizo is the child abuse gives you magic powers company.


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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
There is a difference between saying something personally, and saying something on behalf of the company.

I’ve never quite understood the relationship between Paizo and Publisher, but I personally took Erik Mona’s public statement of regret as being the official position.

He’s listed as “publisher” it would kind of be weird if his public pronouncements were somehow unofficial.

I’m not challenging the rest of your points (my own feelings are complicated and I don’t yet trust myself to form a coherent view). But I don’t think it’s right to characterise James’ and Erik’s remarks on the topic as unofficial. James took personal responsibility as developer for the inclusion of those mechanical elements and Erik spoke for the company (that was my reading, anyhow).


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CPEvilref wrote:
It's been described as a mistake by the chief creative officer, and the creative director, albeit personally, and not speaking on behalf of the company (this being specifically made clear).

I must have missed that. Would you have a link handy?

Silver Crusade

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Steve Geddes wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
There is a difference between saying something personally, and saying something on behalf of the company.

I’ve never quite understood the relationship, but I personally took Erik Mona’s public statement of regret as being the official position.

He’s listed as “publisher” it would kind of be weird if his public pronouncements were somehow unofficial.

I’m not challenging the rest of your points (my own feelings are complicated and I don’t yet trust myself to form a coherent view). But I don’t think it’s right to characterise James’ and Erik’s remarks on the topic as unofficial. James took personal responsibility as developer for the inclusion of those mechanical elements and Erik spoke for the company (that was my reading, anyhow).

While those apologies are important, and I believe James and Erik will be more careful with that content in the future. Apologies are only words unless action accompanies them. At this point they regret putting out that content, but Paizo as a company hasn't done anything to stop profiting from the regrettable content.

That's the major difference. While James might feel personal responsibility for the error, Paizo as a company hasn't done anything to fix it. James doesn't have the power to stop selling the book in its current state.

Erik might, I'm not 100% sure of what his power and responsibilities are in this regard.

But ultimately, no real steps have been taken to fix this particular mistake.


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That is certainly one way to spin it. Given some of the posts on other sites, twitter, and so forth, I am not surprised by the take on it.

However it still stands that, despite several members of Paizo's staff expressing regret about the topic, there are people in this thread that are supporting this being giving magical powers for this particular event just like they do for the other horrible events going on.

No one here has said that child abuse is good or should be any more or less mechanically rewarded as murder, rape, mutilation, cutting, arson and so on. Each are equally horrible. Each have happened to many of us, or to friends or family.

That does not mean, however, that we assert that obviously if you don't agree to the groupthink elsewhere about this you are all in on it. Many people have the ability to turn the page to the next demonic being and use them, ignoring what they find distasteful like they would a feat, spell, or whatever else that they dislike.


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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
There is a difference between saying something personally, and saying something on behalf of the company.

I’ve never quite understood the relationship, but I personally took Erik Mona’s public statement of regret as being the official position.

He’s listed as “publisher” it would kind of be weird if his public pronouncements were somehow unofficial.

I’m not challenging the rest of your points (my own feelings are complicated and I don’t yet trust myself to form a coherent view). But I don’t think it’s right to characterise James’ and Erik’s remarks on the topic as unofficial. James took personal responsibility as developer for the inclusion of those mechanical elements and Erik spoke for the company (that was my reading, anyhow).

While those apologies are important, and I believe James and Erik will be more careful with that content in the future. Apologies are only words unless action accompanies them. At this point they regret putting out that content, but Paizo as a company hasn't done anything to stop profiting from the regrettable content.

That's the major difference. While James might feel personal responsibility for the error, Paizo as a company hasn't done anything to fix it. James doesn't have the power to stop selling the book in its current state.

Erik might, I'm not 100% sure of what his power and responsibilities are in this regard.

But ultimately, no real steps have been taken to fix this particular mistake.

I appreciate that. As I said, not challenging the rest. I just thought “Paizo haven’t said anything official” isn’t true. (Although apparently, I was wrong about that).


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Strictly speaking, I don't see anything here as a moral wrong on Paizo's part. Oh, you could say it is wrong in the sense that if they didn't print Folca they wouldn't have deal with threads like this, but that is a matter of practicality rather than morality. What happened was Paizo published a book called the The Book of the Damned said it would focus on the fiends (i.e. the races of outsiders that are literally made of pure evil), the leaders thereof (i.e. those ruthless and powerful enough to not only survive, but thrive in an environment made out of evil, with their peers constantly trying to make them fail and suffer for all eternity), and finally the worshipers the aforementioned monsters. They then specifically noted at the beginning of the book that you may find the contents of the volume disturbing and unpleasant, in order to warn people who may find the deeds of beings of pure evil distasteful, with specific notice that the "foul boons" gifted to their most devoted worshippers. After that, it should be of no great surprise after being told that you may not like what demon lords and archdevils do for kicks and giggles, you find that you don't like what one of the being of pure evil asks his followers what to do. At that point, it is kind of like reading The Bacon Lover's Cookbook and complaining that food inside isn't kosher, I mean, yes it's true, but on the other hand, what were you expecting from something like that? The second point is that no real person has been hurt by this. Okay fine, some people might of been reminded of traumatic experiences they or those close to them have suffered in the past, but 1)The book opens up with warning about the contents of the book (Nicely provided by Gorbacz earlier in the thread) letting them know that that was a possibility, and 2) The same thing could be said about other demon lords if someone had or had a loved one who committed suicide, was murdered, sexually assaulted, robbed, assaulted and so on and so forth, but if being pure evil can't actually do evil things, that calls their supposed misdeeds into question if they are limited to being the moral equivalence of saturday morning cartoon villains. Unlike what happened in the late unpleasantness mentioned in passing earlier in this thread, no actual people have been hurt by this psychotic or his depraved minions. No children have scarred for life, and no families have lost a son or a daughter at Folca's hands because none of the preceeding people exist. What horrors Folca has forced unto the world are entirely up to you. He could be the greatest threat to children everywhere, with everyone knowing at least one person suffered at his cultist's hands, or he could have been killed so long ago that even the empyreal lord who slew him no longer knows whose skull adorns her pike. It's all up to you and your group. Themes such as these are not unknown within the realms of entertainment, writers such as Stephen King and George R.R. Martin have had plots with child predators in them before, as have popular movies television shows and (probably) video games. why is Paizo uniquely at fault for having similar themes as possible addition to their game as opposed to all these others? If anything, Tabletop RPGs are perhaps better suited to such themes than other media. While I can only hope that the kids manage to escape from and defeat Pennyworth in IT, I can take personal initiative Folca and his cult never hurt anyone again, something I could never do as passive observer to a media. So I must ask again, what has Paizo done wrong?

Just my 2 cp though.


Steve Geddes wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
There is a difference between saying something personally, and saying something on behalf of the company.
I’ve never quite understood the relationship between Paizo and Publisher, but I personally took Erik Mona’s public statement of regret as being the official position.

Erik's comments were on twitter, he doesn't have anything directly linking him to Paizo in his twitter profile, and while we all know who he is, it's not an official company account.

The comments were also made in response to other people (me and Robert Brooks specifically), rather than a post himself, hence labeling them as personal and not corporate positions.

Steve Geddes wrote:


I’m not challenging the rest of your points (my own feelings are complicated and I don’t yet trust myself to form a coherent view). But I don’t think it’s right to characterise James’ and Erik’s remarks on the topic as unofficial. James took personal responsibility as developer for the inclusion of those mechanical elements and Erik spoke for the company (that was my reading, anyhow).

I absolutely appreciated Mr Jacobs owning up to it, and admitting it was a mistake, and expressed it to him at length, but that's not the same as action - in fact he himself said he wasn't able to guarantee any action on this issue - and it's not the same as an official company statement on this, there's a difference between 'the creative director says it was a mistake' and 'Paizo say it was a mistake', as much as I admire and appreciate his comments on it, they're not the same as an official company view, something that's become readily apparent in recent months with Paizo and assorted issues.

Lisa Stevens, for example, made a post in regard to the locked thread, which can clearly be taken as her view as the CEO and forming a statement by the company.


Steve Geddes wrote:
CPEvilref wrote:
It's been described as a mistake by the chief creative officer, and the creative director, albeit personally, and not speaking on behalf of the company (this being specifically made clear).
I must have missed that. Would you have a link handy?
Quote:


Anyway... as I've said above it's a complicated thing that will take time for us to fix if we decide to go that route. But it's also a very IMPORTANT thing to look into. I'll be talking with Erik ASAP about the potential of adjusting the PDF version of the book, in any event. The final decision to do so is not mine to make so I can't make promises about this, but I'm gonna be doing what I can to make it right.

http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?594081-Harassment-At-PaizoCon-2 017/page19&p=7262357#post7262357

Silver Crusade

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Malefactor wrote:
Strictly speaking, I don't see anything here as a moral wrong on Paizo's part.

Okay.

However, those that disagree believe that direct action, and responsibility should be taken by the company to fix this.


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CPEvilref wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
CPEvilref wrote:
It's been described as a mistake by the chief creative officer, and the creative director, albeit personally, and not speaking on behalf of the company (this being specifically made clear).
I must have missed that. Would you have a link handy?
Quote:


Anyway... as I've said above it's a complicated thing that will take time for us to fix if we decide to go that route. But it's also a very IMPORTANT thing to look into. I'll be talking with Erik ASAP about the potential of adjusting the PDF version of the book, in any event. The final decision to do so is not mine to make so I can't make promises about this, but I'm gonna be doing what I can to make it right.
http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?594081-Harassment-At-PaizoCon-2 017/page19&p=7262357#post7262357

Thanks, I think I must have skipped a few pages of that thread. I hope Erik (or someone) can comment here as to what’s going to happen going forward and what the issues are making things complicated.

No doubt it will be after PAXEast, at the earliest.


Malefactor wrote:
So I must ask again, what has Paizo done wrong?

As he expressed it succintly, and bearing in mind I doubt you'll find anything wrong with it, and this will just be a case of agreeing to disagree...

https://twitter.com/Sphynxian/status/930465923588386816

Quote:


Ok folks, it's time for my long-delayed talk on the Pathfinder RPG creature Folca. I'm delving into topics of consent, child abuse, storytelling, the lines of good taste,and when "oops" doesn't cut it. Strap in!
Full disclosure: Book of the Damned is a Pathfinder RPG book outlined by James Jacobs. My friend @TheRealShemeska wrote for this book and wrote Folca's entry to spec from the outline. I have also worked as a freelance author for Paizo in the past.

First, let's discuss who and what Folca is within the context of Pathfinder. Folca is a daemonic harbinger, an in-universe term denoting Folca as an extremely powerful exemplar of evil and a specific means of death. Folca's areas of concern are: abduction, strangers, and sweets.

Folca fills the same sort of "boogeyman" role in Pathfinder that the likes of the iconic Freddy Krueger fills. While everyone knows the knife-gloved demon of nightmares, we have to remember that wise-cracking Krueger is a villain and a child-abuser. Folca is intended to be that.

In-universe, Folca is described as a pale, gaunt, and faceless entity that has tiny children's hands grasping out from his flesh as if clawing their way to freedom. All told what we have is a horrific monster, and while covering very sensitive content isn't unusual in media.

This is where things start to veer wildly off course. Folca is presented as a divine creature, like a demigod, who is worshipped by evil mortals and offers power to them. Deific creatures offer "domains" to some of their faithful. These are thematic representations of the deity.

Domains are both a storytelling and game mechanic function. Here are the domains Folca grants his followers: Charm, Evil, Travel, Trickery. Subdomains: Daemon, Deception, Lust. Take a look at that last one, and re-read the earlier tweets.

Now we're still talking about a villain here. But we're getting more into the territory of explicit sexual abuse of children. This implies some really, seriously dark things but never outright states it. This is where the line of good taste should never go past.

Folca has appeared in this capacity in a couple other books. The original softcover Book of the Damned Volume 3 and Inner Sea Gods. Never has he been detailed beyond these horrifying suggestions of his whole self. @TheRealShemeska was asked to design off this framework.

But that's where Book of the Damned goes totally off the rails. Now I don't know exactly what was added by James Jacobs in development or what was asked of @TheRealShemeska in the outline, but at some point along the way the rules for actively worshipping Folca were codified.

In Pathfinder, most gods have some guidelines you can follow to get more power. Spend some resources on leveling up and perform some deeds and the god of strength makes you mightier. That kind of stuff. These are almost explicitly Player-focused options.
Here's the Deific Obedience asked of Folca's followers:
"Stalk a child and make him witness or endure a horrifically brutal event.
Promise him that you will return."
I'll give you a moment.

This is something that, by and large, "evil" characters would be expected to do to gain a mechanical benefit. Now not everyone allows or plays evil characters at their table. But this isn't even about how this goes down at a table. This is about table-setting.

There's now, in a printed Paizo book, a codified means for abusing a child to gain a mechanical benefit. Most gamers might shrug their shoulders at this, ask "what's the big deal?" Or say "villains are supposed to be evil!"

Villains are. And good villains also get their come-uppance. Freddy Krueger is defeated time and again. But never do we really SEE Freddy abusing children the way he's suggested to have. Implies violence is a strong narrative tactic. Less is more. For SO MANY REASONS.

But here you have another problem. Folca is a deity who allows for "neutral" worshippers. So let's say you're a GM running a game that doesn't allow evil characters. Someone playing a "neutral" character could worship Folca and take that Deific Obedience.

Let's not even talk about the wtf&~~ery of the alignment system with regards to that. If you're a busy GM who doesn't have time to check everything, you might glance at Folca's title as "Pale Stranger" and not really see what he's all about. You might unintentionally let it in.

So, to really understand how this went to print we need to look at the development cycle of a Pathfinder book. An in-house developer writes the initial outline, in this case James Jacobs. After that a contractor fulfills their assignment from the outline as written.

Then it goes back to Paizo for a developer to adjust wording, content, tone, etc. Then it goes to an editor who reviews technical aspects, grammar, content, etc. Then there's copyediting and more proofreading. It's multi-level.

Maybe somewhere along this way someone saw the Folca content and went "whoa." Maybe it was called out, maybe it wasn't. I don't know what happened between outline and publication, but at the end of the day the game mechanics for abusing a child made it in.

Probably around August the book was sent off to the printer. At no point between then and now did Paizo put out a content warning, knowing that a depiction of child abuse made it in to the text. Never in any of the blog posts promoting the book was that made clear.

After the book's release, once people saw the content on Folca and made their own judgments of it, @erikmona stepped forward and commented that it "was a mistake" and that they're going to try and make sure it doesn't happen in the future. That's not a BAD sentiment. But...

<snip for error on content warning>There's no indication that in future printings the Folca content will be removed. At the end of the day Paizo is still *making money* off of that content.

So, at the end of the day Folca's addition to the Book of the Damned is a gross show of obliviousness to their own content. One that they don't want to do again, but one that they're happy to continue to profit off of.


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Malefactor wrote:
Strictly speaking, I don't see anything here as a moral wrong on Paizo's part.

Okay.

However, those that disagree believe that direct action, and responsibility should be taken by the company to fix this.

Okay, this is not a rhetorical question. This is not me be snarky or sarcastic or trying to make a point. This is me legitimately trying to understand your viewpoint: What do you think Paizo has done that is morally wrong, and why hasn't anything that has been in the game beforehand not been morally wrong if this is?

I genuinely want to know.

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