How common is this? A woman's bad experience at a Pathfinder Society session


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The Exchange 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Lieutenant, North Carolina—Charlotte aka eddv

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The only Vigilante I have ever wanted to play was a run on He-Man where he would just have tear away clothing and fight in a loin cloth with the "Sword of Power" but ultimately decided it was too silly for anything more than a one off.

But it was a very funny game of The Confirmation and very much went the way youre describing.

Shadow Lodge

But to match the creepiness, you'll have to spend an inordinate amount of time describing the bulge he's packing downstairs.

Shadow Lodge

Douglas Edwards wrote:

The only Vigilante I have ever wanted to play was a run on He-Man where he would just have tear away clothing and fight in a loin cloth with the "Sword of Power" but ultimately decided it was too silly for anything more than a one off.

But it was a very funny game of The Confirmation and very much went the way youre describing.

My second vigilante was Tommy Oliver. If you don't recognize the name, Google it. :P

Scarab Sages 5/5

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Hey guys, lets try to stay on topic, specifically for this thread. It's too important to distract with other stuff.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
SCPRedMage wrote:
But to match the creepiness, you'll have to spend an inordinate amount of time describing the bulge he's packing downstairs.

Challenge accepted!

Grand Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

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So as a woman gamer in Minnesota, I am very proud to say that PFS took me pretty seriously from the get-go. Part of it was the wonderful tone that Andy and Jon set in making PFS welcoming for me. Part of it was that Bret had tried it first, and was having fun, and invited me to come out and try it.

I’ve written about that first PFS table that I played before, but I should give a little more information. My first table was #6-01, Trial by Machine, which was a terrifying scenario to put a bunch of first level characters into. However, my entire party was awesome. We had Andy’s wife, Dianne Christian, as our GM. We had two other women at the table playing in our party of six, so women outnumbered men at the table. The whole group cooperated and worked together, giving it our all, and we barely survived the tough scenario because of the teamwork the party did.

It was a revelation! I should explain that I was a refugee of several horribly dysfunctional home games. I was tired of sexist games where there were no female characters in the plot who weren’t prizes or servants or... whatever. I no longer wanted to do home games where half the party was tuned out at all times, and some of them no longer wanted to game, and the story was lost. I especially hated feeling like the GM was out to get us, and hardly anyone cooperated.

In Society play, we had missions to accomplish that require doing more than just killing things and taking their stuff. We were encouraged to cooperate. No one condescended to me, or bypassed me to talk to Bret about my character. (This is stuff that women gamers sometimes run into, because often times male players assume that your boyfriend made your character and don’t know the rules. But that didn’t happen in PFS for me.) Right from the get go, I got great feedback as a player, and later as a GM. No one hit on me* and everyone respected my opinions, my abilities and my competence. Even as a player with really poor gaming math skills, my fellow players made allowances and never once made me feel stupid.

I give back to PFS because it has been my gaming haven. In this community, whether in Minnesota, Online or at Conventions — I’m treated like an intelligent, respected part of the community. It’s liberating. So now I’m a GM, a VO and an organizer of conventions, and I want to be there to help others have the same delightful experience with this community that I’ve had.

That said, Kate is correct that women generally don’t complain when they have bad experiences in PFS. They disappear. If my first experience had been like Mysty’s, I wouldn’t have blogged about it. I just would have never come back, and that would have been a shame.

Hmm

___
* Of course, not getting hit upon may have other factors here. I have a boyfriend in PFS and I’m past fifty. But a large part of it is that the Minnesota VO Corps does not tolerate harrassment, and treats its female gamers with respect.

Silver Crusade

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So as a typical white, nerdy gamer guy, maybe I'm not qualified to respond here. But as the stars next to my name indicate, I've GMed over 100 games of PFS, and played a lot more than that. So I'm probably closing in on 300 total PFS tables over 7 years, in 4 different states (including non-Gen Con related games in Indiana). And I've NEVER seen anything as bad as what was described in that blog post.

Don't get me wrong: I've seen bad behavior at a few tables. Not many, but it does happen. But as far as I've noticed, none of that has ever been based on gender. It's more likely to be experienced gamers being condescending to newbies, regardless of gender. But even that's pretty rare.

Actually, the one example I can think of where gender played a role is sort of a good/bad behavior thing. A woman showed up and asked for help learning to play, make a character, etc. Because of her good looks, she had a few too many guys lining up to help her out. But from what I could see (and I wasn't there the whole time watching, so I may have missed something), they were all polite about it. She seems like the type who's used to that type of attention from men, so I don't think she was offended. She ended up sticking around and becoming a regular, so I'd call that one a net positive. Some other women might not have been as comfortable with it, and that could have been off putting for them.

Unfortunately, despite never having seen anything that bad myself, I'm not really surprised by that blog post, and I don't doubt that it's true. As a hobby, gaming used to be male dominated and some of the old grognards are resistant to change, unfortunately. But for the most part, PFS (and now SFS) have done a good job of being very inclusive and not putting up with that type of bigotry.

1/5 RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

From my experience and the horror stories I heard, this usually only happens with isolated groups that play regularly and develop their own "clique" of mentalities. This can even happen at conventions where a local group might play at the same table. These sort of cliques tend to get blacklisted in the community where people actively avoid the GM and players. It's a rare occurrance, but sometimes you might end up at the wrong table.

Then again, my perspective might be tinted by the fact my local VL is an awesome gal and my local VC has zero tolerance for this sort of behavior.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

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With regards to the original post, I just want to clarify that a thorough investigation was conducted and no action was taken against anyone involved. The author of the article indicated she wanted this issue to be dealt with privately and we honor that request. We are using this incident (and others like it) to influence how we shape the organized play community and improve logistics and procedures to foster a more inclusive, safe gaming space for all participants.

Silver Crusade 5/5

Bob Jonquet wrote:
We are using this incident (and others like it) to influence how we shape the organized play community and improve logistics and procedures to foster a more inclusive, safe gaming space for all participants.

Really? And Truly? Because when I made suggestions for changes you pretty much told me that nothing was going to be changed, that Paizo was quite content with its current practices.

I'm glad that Paizo has decided to change things. I'll be very interested to see HOW they change things.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

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Nefreet wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:
Having a vile ugly-man-in-a-dress stereotype in the scenario is pretty much an open invitation for players to make transphobic comments

I don't understand this point of view.

Would you have preferred Miss Feathers to be passing?

Seems to me the perfect in-character opportunity to educate any transphobic players out-of-character.

We specifically selected those types of scenarios for GaymerX, the California "Queer Space" Convention.

I circle back to the impetus being who's GMing, who's playing, and where it's happening. If you have a (whatever)phobic GM/player/space, it doesn't matter how well intentioned the material was. But that's not the fault of the publisher.

To be fair, Miss Feathers can be very problematic, especially given that her profession can play into some very negative stereotypes. There are maybe 6 GMs in the Greater Sacramento Area that I am willing to trust to GM those scenarios. When I started as a VL, there were three, and I was not one of them.


Returning to my original post: I had an exchange with a female friend who has a number of PFS GM stars. She said that due to her GM status everyone understands that she knows what's she's doing, but nearly every woman she knows who has played PFS has experienced something like what Mysty Vander depicts. Her caveat was that she hasn't met that many women who play PFS, despite her years of playing.

To me, as an outsider, the two data points seem connected. But my guess is this is characteristic of the hobby as a whole, and not unique to PFS.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

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Starfinder Charter Superscriber
elcoderdude wrote:
my guess is this is characteristic of the hobby as a whole, and not unique to PFS.

I would agree, but I would add that the hobby as a whole is getting more diverse.

Now I see people of all ages, singles, couples, families, multiple genders, multiple sexes, different orientations, different ethnicities and different abilities coming together at more conventions to play an equally myriad selection of characters.

Regional variations accounted for, obviously. Will be interesting to see what the hobby looks like come Pathfinder 4.0

3/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston Metro aka MadScientistWorking

elcoderdude wrote:

Returning to my original post: I had an exchange with a female friend who has a number of PFS GM stars. She said that due to her GM status everyone understands that she knows what's she's doing, but nearly every woman she knows who has played PFS has experienced something like what Mysty Vander depicts. Her caveat was that she hasn't met that many women who play PFS, despite her years of playing.

To me, as an outsider, the two data points seem connected. But my guess is this is characteristic of the hobby as a whole, and not unique to PFS.

I mean it's complicated. The hobby on the whole is seriously broken in a way that I'm far more stringent in regards to how Paizo acts. I got my start in the hobby partially because of someone who was harassed by someone who I later found out also tried to drive people to suicide on message boards. And this is more of the norm that the industry provides. And yes Nefreet the hobby is getting more diverse but it's so easy for that to be derailed.

Edit:
Also I'll include my own personal experiences later. I have been meaning to but Ive been suffering from illness and migraines making it hard to form a coherent thought.

Silver Crusade 5/5

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Paul Jackson wrote:
Bob Jonquet wrote:
We are using this incident (and others like it) to influence how we shape the organized play community and improve logistics and procedures to foster a more inclusive, safe gaming space for all participants.

Really? And Truly? Because when I made suggestions for changes you pretty much told me that nothing was going to be changed, that Paizo was quite content with its current practices.

I'm glad that Paizo has decided to change things. I'll be very interested to see HOW they change things.

I owe Bob an apology. Rereading that email chain he did say that Paizo was considering making changes. I read "Considering our options" as code for "We're going to do nothing" because it so often IS. I Truly and Really hope that was my mistake and that Paizo actually WILL make ACTUAL changes that address the problem.

But I had no cause to question Bobs honesty and especially should not have done that in public. I sincerely apologize for that. I'm quite frustrated at the incident and I lashed out at Bob. That is no excuse.

I'm going to continue to be sceptical that actual useful changes are actually going to come from Paizo until I see them. I stand by my position that Paizo is currently not doing enough. But, even if Paizo does not do so (at least in my mind) that is hardly Bobs fault. He is not the one making the decisions.

Liberty's Edge 2/5

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I'm interested on what you think Paizo could do differently, given that there are so many conventions out there with little to actually do with Paizo. Each Lodge is also different with little centralization.

I could have a lodge with a whole bunch of crazy a-holes who hate women and minorities and unless someone reported it, it would do unnoticed.

Silver Crusade 5/5

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Several things.

1) Any policy that Paizo decides to adopt has to be as visible as possible. I believe that the ONLY place that this can occur is for it to be VERY visible in The Guide to Organized Play. As in it has to be its own section header and it has to be in the first 2 or 3 pages level of visible. There is at least a chance that players and GMs will read that, there is next to no chance that they're going to read something buried on the website somewhere

2) I believe that policy has to make crystal clear what a GM is supposed to do when the base "run as written" policy conflicts with the inclusion policy and/or conflicts with a local convention or store policy.

3) I believe that when incidents like this occur Paizo has to investigate and then make SOME public statement about what occurred and, in the case of them finding a problem, make a statement as to what they are doing to try to rectify the problem

To be clear, Paizo DID investigate the incident but has made no public statements about what occurred or what it will do. Bobs statement in this thread is about as public a statement as has been made. I think that a far more public statement should have been made in a timely fashion and it should have been made by (at the least) Tonya. Note - I'm not blaming Bob at all. He did what he could.

I DO understand the difficulties that this would place on Paizo. Its far, far easier and arguably better to just say nothing. But I think that being open and being seen to be open is the only solution in the long run.

One person in the very long discussion on the page for the Convention had what seemed to me a very, very salient point. To paraphrase

"If you're not doing anything to change what happened then you're saying that you're happy with the status quo"

3/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East

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I’m not actually sure that I agree on the public statement issue. I think something like that might make victims less likely to come forward than if it’s clear that issues can be handled discreetly. Reporting is a scary thing, and we don’t want to do anything that would make that less comfortable.

I do agree that it needs to be a lot easier to find out how to report stuff and to whom. I know the whole chain of VOs in the area, and who my RVC and the OPC are, but someone playing for the first time doesn’t know that. A section in the guide explaining what to do if something bad happens would be a great addition.

1/5

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There are other dangers in this:

If someone has the strength of will to come forward (and no, that's not saying that people who don't aren't willful or focused) then they may be well aware of the 'social cost' of doing so. Ostracism via 'no games able to be played' or 'Always given the tables that won't fill therefore won't fire therefore no GM credit or Boon (for those areas that run on 'no fired table/no boon' concept)', or always being seated with the very folks that caused the concern in the first place.

If a local area has been running 'more or less' effectively while skirting the edges of Conduct, and then someone raises *VERY VALID* concerns about the play environment, then the investigation may unravel the social fabric of said local area.

In such an event, when social fabric unravels, the typical first thing that is done is to 'blame the person who raised the concern' rather than 'hold a mirror up and honestly appraise the concerns brought forward'.

For every group, the standard of 'it can't happen here' is on a very large sliding scale, and 'no gaming' can push folks to the 'well, it may have happened here but we just have some bad apples'. There are a NUMBER of RL organizations that will go without naming here that struggle with this concept on a daily basis in crucial life-safety fields, so it is not just gaming that has to handle this situation.

For an in-depth and vigorous focus on this, it would require a tier of Enlightenment and Self that I reasonably expect a good chunk of the gaming community (including myself at points) to lack the tools to make it work right -- we're human, we have emotions, when we try to boil it down to facts we get tripped on the lack of emotional context.

When we try to eliminate the facts to work from an emotional context of 'walking in a given person's shoes' then we run the risk of swinging too far in the opposite direction, and fanning the flames of discontent even further.

So equally important in any discussion is How do we fix the problem without creating a worse one?

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

Paul Jackson wrote:
2) I believe that policy has to make crystal clear what a GM is supposed to do when the base "run as written" policy conflicts with the inclusion policy and/or conflicts with a local convention or store policy.

How exactly do you envision that? Some scenarios touch on areas that might be traumatic for players, I don't think that a solution can be crystal clear if it has to cover a lot of areas.

Could you maybe give some examples and which clear reaction the guide should suggest?

Paul Jackson wrote:
3) I believe that when incidents like this occur Paizo has to investigate and then make SOME public statement about what occurred and, in the case of them finding a problem, make a statement as to what they are doing to try to rectify the problem

In a lot of cases, it might be better not to make a public statement, I can't comment about this specific instance, but if the victims ask for a private resolution, things should be kept private.

It could also be very problematic if the accusation turned out to be partially incorrect, due to mistaken identity or someone simply making a mistake in a difficult situation.

If the investigation turns out that they find plenty of people who can refute the story... I really don't think that there is anything to win by starting to post results. Just the chilling effect on further whistleblowers makes me very hesitant to want any sort of feedback other than that Paizo has received the complaint.

Ideally, I would suggest to absolutely nobody to make an issue like public before first trying to escalate the situation up the chain, mostly to avoid a really nasty side of the internet. People really are not made to handle the unfortunate negative reactions this still creates.
After things have been resolved, and people have taken the appropriate steps, might be a better time since the issue is resolved at that point.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

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Paul Jackson wrote:
I believe that when incidents like this occur Paizo has to investigate and then make SOME public statement about what occurred and, in the case of them finding a problem, make a statement as to what they are doing to try to rectify the problem

Generally speaking (not including the incident that spurred this thread) I disagree. Paizo does not need to get directly involved in every incident that occurs in organized play. We have people in place to deal with these things from local organizers, to VOs, to leaders in the local community, etc. Also, Paizo is technically no longer directly involved in management people/volunteers, that falls to the Organized Play Foundation led by the OPM (Tonya). She should be aware of/notified when an incident occurs and informed of what was discovered during an investigation and any action taken, but she does not personally have to be involved in every investigation. If someone contacts Paizo directly and pulls them into the issue, then they might have to get more involved as was the case with the incident referred to by the original post.

I would expect Paizo to take the lead if an incident occurs at a convention they are specifically organizing, say PaizoCon, maybe Gen Con, Origins, etc. but not the smaller regional/local conventions and events of which they have no control over or involvement in organizing.

The Exchange 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Lieutenant, North Carolina—Charlotte aka eddv

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I don't want to weigh in too heavily because I don't feel like I see enough of the "board" so to speak to really have an informed opinion but I just want to comment that I find this discussion between Paul and Bob really enlightening and helpful from the lower rung I occupy.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Paul Jackson wrote:
3) I believe that when incidents like this occur Paizo has to investigate and then make SOME public statement about what occurred and, in the case of them finding a problem, make a statement as to what they are doing to try to rectify the problem...

There are a number of reasons why the process cannot include this. Some of them have been described above, but I'll give you some more.

1. If we were to publicly say "Person X did a bad thing, so we have banned them," that would create legal liability for us (aka "Person X could sue our nuts off").

2. If we were to publicly say "Person X did a bad thing," that opens up the possibility of a white knight/vigilante justice situation, which can result in a crazy number of horrible things.

3. Sometimes, our investigation determines that the complainant is exaggerating facts, or in some cases, just plain *making things up*. But there will always be people on the complainant's side, and revealing that would alienate them as well as generally ensuring that the situation is unpleasant for everyone on both sides, and for Paizo.

4. In these situations, our ultimate goal is to ensure that the aggrieved party is as satisfied with the outcome as we can manage. Often, the result that satisfies that person may not be what other people think the result should have been.

I will be frank—my worst days in this job EVER came from exactly this: following a situation where Paizo did everything we needed to do, legally and ethically, where the aggrieved party was completely satisfied with the outcome, others took it upon themselves to call us out for not doing enough, which forced the aggrieved party to speak up on our behalf, drawing unwanted attention to herself when she just really wanted to move on. That SUCKED.

So not only would telling the public everything that happened in the course of an investigation be unethical as a violation of privacy, it would shift everything fully into the court of public opinion, where everybody involved is guaranteed to lose.

If you have not already done so, please read this post from our CEO.

The Exchange 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Lieutenant, North Carolina—Charlotte aka eddv

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I guess let me just ask - for allegations that went super public if there is no Public statement of any kind won't people just generally assume that nothing was done at all or that it was covered up, especially in cases where ultimately no action was taken and potentially leave people like say David C (who was the VL mentioned in the blog post who ended up resigning his post, explaining his rationale for stepping down on facebook) or Paul open to the same kind of retribution/vigilantism?

Not to single out Paul, but I mean he is a Venture Captain who was involved in some way with the incident and even he had a few misunderstandings about what happened, how can we expect anyone else to have a much better one?

Silver Crusade 5/5

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Douglas Edwards wrote:

I guess let me just ask - for allegations that went super public if there is no Public statement of any kind won't people just generally assume that nothing was done at all or that it was covered up, especially in cases where ultimately no action was taken and potentially leave people like say David C (who was the VL mentioned in the blog post who ended up resigning his post, explaining his rationale for stepping down on facebook) or Paul open to the same kind of retribution/vigilantism?

Not to single out Paul, but I mean he is a Venture Captain who was involved in some way with the incident and even he had a few misunderstandings about what happened, how can we expect anyone else to have a much better one?

Assuming that I am the Paul I'm NOT a Venture Captain. Lowly Venture Agent here :-).

And yes, people locally very definitely HAVE assumed that nothing was done AND that is was all a cover up. But perhaps that is the best result possible.

Silver Crusade 5/5

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Vic Wertz wrote:


4. In these situations, our ultimate goal is to ensure that the aggrieved party is as satisfied with the outcome as we can manage. Often, the result that satisfies that person may not be what other people think the result should have been.

First, thanks for the reply.

But the aggrieved party is NOT the only person affected by this incident. I disagree that making them satisfied should be the only goal. It clearly should be A goal, just not necessarily the only one.

Silver Crusade 5/5

Sebastian Hirsch wrote:


How exactly do you envision that? Some scenarios touch on areas that might be traumatic for players, I don't think that a solution can be crystal clear if it has to cover a lot of areas.

Could you maybe give some examples and which clear reaction the guide should suggest?

Crystal clear is a goal that I admit probably cannot be met :-(. But at least there should be reasonable guidelines that will lead most reasonable people to reasonable results.

I think that the guide should make clear what latitude the GM has for things like
1) Changing spiders to beetles because somebody has Arachnophobia (essentially completely cosmetic)
2) Changing the dieties that enemies worship to NOT be demonic (mostly cosmetic but with some potential game mechanical ramifications)
3) Forcing a player to change the diety that his character is worshipping, at least for the current session.

Note that the last one is NOT purely hypothetical and ridiculous. There is a local meetup group (TAG) that is far larger than PFS and even runs its own Con. A fellow PFS player (who fully admits that he may have misunderstood) was told that if a player insisted then the GM MUST force the other player to change their diety. Note that some of the devil Gods (Asmodeus at the least) ARE devils mentioned in the bible. They're NOT just made up bad guys.

The Exchange 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Lieutenant, North Carolina—Charlotte aka eddv

Woops, sorry for promoting you to captain there.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

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Paul Jackson wrote:
3) Forcing a player to change the diety that his character is worshipping, at least for the current session.

Pardon the obvious but Oh hell no. The player is playing a legal character worshiping a legal deity and if you do not like that choice you don't make it for your character, you DO NOT get to make it for someone elses character because you have a hangup about it.

1/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

At the same token, though, a GM may politely request that a player not emphasize certain disturbing aspects of a given faith for reasons of 'don't be a jerk'.

...some of us are old enough to remember the 'D&D Scare' of the '80's and do not want to see that re-visited in areas where it may tread painfully on local religious patterns.

4/5

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Paul Jackson wrote:
Note that some of the devil Gods (Asmodeus at the least) ARE devils mentioned in the bible. They're NOT just made up bad guys.

They are made up bad guys; they just happen to share a name with an entity mentioned in a real world religion.

Grand Lodge

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I literally had 2 local players completely drop out of RPG play because they are Christian, and some sermon convinced them that playing RPGs is the devils work...within the last month.

I also survived the 80's D&D scare, where they had multiple TV show episodes on national programs trying to convince people that D&D players were going to start murdering people, as well as a movie. Plus almost every preacher in the country was spouting anti-D&D rhetoric to anyone who would listen. Several of my friends parents forbid them from playing because of the anti-D&D propaganda that was being floated around.

That being said, if someone told me to change my legal PFS character just because someone else might have a problem with it, I would flatly refuse. If it continued to be an issue after that I would poll the table, if only the 1 person had an issue I would suggest they go find another table...if the majority of the table had an issue, I would bow out and find another table. I wouldn't want to play with people like that anyways.

Out of all my characters though, the only one I could see anyone ever having any sort of problem with might be my worshiper of Calistria, and I only really play him with a few local people who like the character anyways.

As an interesting side note, one of the people I play with on a regular basis has a rather interesting quirk...he is a pretty devout Christian, who absolutely loves playing Hell Knights / Chelaxian characters. Such an interesting contradiction.

Grand Lodge

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Paul Jackson wrote:
Note that some of the devil Gods (Asmodeus at the least) ARE devils mentioned in the bible. They're NOT just made up bad guys.

Depending on your own beliefs..those devils in the bible are just as made up as any fantasy beast in any of the Bestiaries to roughly 69% of the planet.

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Paul Jackson wrote:
3) Forcing a player to change the diety that his character is worshipping, at least for the current session.

Pardon the obvious but Oh hell no. The player is playing a legal character worshiping a legal deity and if you do not like that choice you don't make it for your character, you DO NOT get to make it for someone elses character because you have a hangup about it.

I really have to agree with BNW, while it might be quite reasonable to tell a player to stop mentioning the terrible thing he is worshipping, actually changing likely crosses the line.

It boils down to don't be a yerk.

Paul Jackson wrote:


Crystal clear is a goal that I admit probably cannot be met :-(. But at least there should be reasonable guidelines that will lead most reasonable people to reasonable results.

I think that the guide should make clear what latitude the GM has for things like
1) Changing spiders to beetles because somebody has Arachnophobia (essentially completely cosmetic)
2) Changing the dieties that enemies worship to NOT be demonic (mostly cosmetic but with some potential game mechanical ramifications)
3) Forcing a player to change the diety that his character is worshipping, at least for the current session.

Note that the last one is NOT purely hypothetical and ridiculous. There is a local meetup group (TAG) that is far larger than PFS and even runs its own Con. A fellow PFS player (who fully admits that he may have misunderstood) was told that if a player insisted then the GM MUST force the other player to change their diety. Note that some of the devil Gods (Asmodeus at the least) ARE devils mentioned in the bible. They're NOT just made up bad guys.

We have a no reskinning rule, and are supposed to run as written, but 1 and two might be somewhat possible (mostly by just not mentioning what they are and just going by "insect" and "cultist").

I myself am lucky to be able to offer our events in locations we procure from the city and the Catholic church, but thus far I never had a problem... of course I am also not a fan of worshipping a lot of evil (and some chaotic) gods so it might just not happen in my area.

I recently read a discussion about accessing soul gems, and personally, that might just be one of those things where a character gets retired with no option for an atonement (but of course prior warning).
That is just an example where a GM might have a no-go area.

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

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Slyme wrote:


As an interesting side note, one of the people I play with on a regular basis has a rather interesting quirk...he is a pretty devout Christian, who absolutely loves playing Hell Knights / Chelaxian characters. Such an interesting contradiction.

No, not really, Hellknights are mostly about making people follow their interpretation of LAW, and frankly considering that Hell and it's administration was set up by the guy who apparently created everything I see more similarities than changes.

I am a (lapsed) Roman Catholic, with access to a history book or two, and people used to pay money to improve their chances in the afterlife or that of a deceased loved one... and while that practice ended up creating the protestant church... in Golarion, that nasty old trick would feel right at home in some archdevils church.

Of course, your player might just have fun playing Hellknights and it has nothing to do with his religion, and I am just extremely cynical (the last bit is just a fact^^). One of my VA loves Hellknights and all her Starfinder characters have some association with them, the other one follows the church of Harley Quinn with pretty equal fervor.

My point is that religion and what you do in makebelieve world with elves, dwarfs and vampires really should not interact, you should not drag your opinions from one to the other or vice-versa.

EDIT: My personal stance is to respect what other people are feeling and believing, as long as they don't try to force it on me or harm others I am pretty much fine with everything and try to be as accommodating as possible.
Actually, the next religious event I have to deal with is the confirmation of my goddaughter, which is apparently a really big deal in the Protestant part of Germany where she is living.

I will attend, and bring a cake or two for the reception ^^ and then likely avoid church until the next wedding or funeral.

3/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston Metro aka MadScientistWorking

Vic Wertz wrote:


So not only would telling the public everything that happened in the course of an investigation be unethical as a violation of privacy, it would shift everything fully into the court of public opinion, where everybody...

The problem is that most of the abuse and death threats are public so why don't you even acknowledge that issue. I'm borderline having a panic attack over the fact that I wanted to search for a cool new trans writer that I wasn't aware of and only now just realized that the first image is literally of someone I played D&D for years with people wishing they would die in a fire.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

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With regards to the specific issue of worshipping a devil or Asmodeus, within the scope of PFS, no a player is not required to change that aspect of their character. There is nothing graphic about the fact they are a follower, but I can see a situation where if they were to describe their daily obesdiance in shocking detail or suggest that part of their daily prayers they have to sacrifice a baby or some other extreme behavior, THAT could be offensive and should be glossed over. It’s really no different that saying someone is a slaver vs describing how they abuse their chattel, or a Calistiran temple “prostitute.” There is no need to roleplay their sexual excursions, but if it happens off camera, there should be no issue.

One thing that can be done is to list an event includes adult themes of violence, slavery, sexuality, etc and then the player can make an informed decision to join that game. If they do, they cannot then complain when said material appears in game. There is some level of personal responsibility with making good choices if you are easily offended or have a personal trauma that could be triggered by exposure to certain types of stimulus.

Also, if you decide to organize events for, or participate in say a convention where the owners will be using a practice that permits one player to insist another has to change their character because of an offending presentation, then you accept that parameter and cannot complain if/when it actually happens. Again, there is an expectation established at the outset and you accept personal responsibility when you participate.

If OTOH, there is no “warning label” or reasonable way you could know that a certain topic may present itself during a game, then we all owe it to that person to make an honest attempt to accommodate them, and vice versa. As long as everyone is willing to cooperate we may reach a resolution. It’s when one side is defiantly resistant to making any accommodation at all that we run into serious problems.

3/5

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Bob Jonquet wrote:
Also, if you decide to organize events for, or participate in say a convention where the owners will be using a practice that permits one player to insist another has to change their character because of an offending presentation, then you accept that parameter and cannot complain if/when it actually happens. Again, there is an expectation established at the outset and you accept personal responsibility when you participate.

I would imagine that an event where this rule were in effect would be reported to Paizo and the organizer would be told to cut it out in accordance with PFS rules. At least I hope that would be the case and a venture officer would strongly discourage such a practice.

I do agree that putting a sort of rating warning of various adult themes would be an excellent idea so that people especially sensitive to whatever kind of content can make an informed choice about games which may not be appropriate for them.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

I’m not talking about our PFS organizer having that rule, I’m talking about the convention owner/staff using it. We are just a component of the convention and guests at their show. We accept their rules and regulations when we decide to participate in the event and organize PFS games. If they insist, as Paul said above that a player has the right to force another player to change their character’s religion because Asmodeus (or whatever) offends, neither we as volunteers nor Paizo has the authority of right to tell the convention to stop their policy. We can express our opinion and ask them to change it, but it’s still their decision. We can always choose not to participate in their event if we don’t like the rules.


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elcoderdude wrote:

Returning to my original post: I had an exchange with a female friend who has a number of PFS GM stars. She said that due to her GM status everyone understands that she knows what's she's doing, but nearly every woman she knows who has played PFS has experienced something like what Mysty Vander depicts. Her caveat was that she hasn't met that many women who play PFS, despite her years of playing.

To me, as an outsider, the two data points seem connected. But my guess is this is characteristic of the hobby as a whole, and not unique to PFS.

I've been playing RPGs for 30+ years and my experience is that PF/PFS is a lot more female-friendly than older games I used to play were. I don't think I have ever run into anything even beginning to resemble he behaviour in the original post, but that may be due to the influence of the local VC community (no one in their right mind would risk the wrath of Chris and Carol).

I suspect that where you are in the world, and what the local gaming community is like may be more of an influence on how people behave than PFS, if anything PFS might moderate the first two towards a more tolerant and inclusive atmosphere.

Silver Crusade 5/5

GM Eazy-Earl wrote:
Paul Jackson wrote:
Note that some of the devil Gods (Asmodeus at the least) ARE devils mentioned in the bible. They're NOT just made up bad guys.
They are made up bad guys; they just happen to share a name with an entity mentioned in a real world religion.

THAT is a can of worms that I have no intention of opening. Suffice it to say that worshipping Asmodeus may invoke in some people a very different reaction than worshipping Lamashtu.

Silver Crusade 5/5

Bob Jonquet wrote:


Also, if you decide to organize events for, or participate in say a convention where the owners will be using a practice that permits one player to insist another has to change their character because of an offending presentation, then you accept that parameter and cannot complain if/when it actually happens. Again, there is an expectation established at the outset and you accept personal responsibility when you participate.

This is one place where I WANT explicit guidance on what I am expected to do.

Lets say that there is a case where what the convention wants and what I am empowered to do conflicts DOES occur. It came out of left field (exactly like the Asmodeus case would have done prior to my discussion with one of my PFS players). No compromise can be reached. I then have several options
1) Do what the convention wants, quite possibly causing the PFS player to walk
2) Just end that table at that point
2a) giving out chronicle sheets and completely hosing the players who are not at fault
2b) giving out chronicle sheets assuming mission success. So at least the characters get something
2c) giving out no chronicle sheet so the players can replay

Once I know that something like this is an actual (as opposed to theoretical) possibility what does PFS do?
1) Never run games at that particular convention again
2) Run games but tell players that the convention rules trump the PFS rules
3) Something else?

I really do not want to be in the position of deciding that and getting grief later if I made the "wrong" decision

And, for me at least, right now it isn't purely hypothetical. I will not be running any games or helping to organize PFS at any TAG conventions until I find out that
1) the story was based on a misunderstnding OR
2) Paizo (or the Organized Play thingy) has told me how to handle the situation

Edit: Or, in my specific case, Bob you can tell me what to do if this occurs :-). You ARE my RVC after all.

And, to be explicit, even IF TAG actually has the policy that I was told I imagine the possibilty of it actually occurring is very low. But something else may come out of left field.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

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If you made a document that could cover not just that one specific corner case , but every corner case that is that rare, it would be a phone book.

4/5

Paul Jackson wrote:
Bob Jonquet wrote:


Also, if you decide to organize events for, or participate in say a convention where the owners will be using a practice that permits one player to insist another has to change their character because of an offending presentation, then you accept that parameter and cannot complain if/when it actually happens. Again, there is an expectation established at the outset and you accept personal responsibility when you participate.

This is one place where I WANT explicit guidance on what I am expected to do.

Lets say that there is a case where what the convention wants and what I am empowered to do conflicts DOES occur. It came out of left field (exactly like the Asmodeus case would have done prior to my discussion with one of my PFS players). No compromise can be reached. I then have several options
1) Do what the convention wants, quite possibly causing the PFS player to walk
2) Just end that table at that point
2a) giving out chronicle sheets and completely hosing the players who are not at fault
2b) giving out chronicle sheets assuming mission success. So at least the characters get something
2c) giving out no chronicle sheet so the players can replay

Once I know that something like this is an actual (as opposed to theoretical) possibility what does PFS do?
1) Never run games at that particular convention again
2) Run games but tell players that the convention rules trump the PFS rules
3) Something else?

I really do not want to be in the position of deciding that and getting grief later if I made the "wrong" decision

And, for me at least, right now it isn't purely hypothetical. I will not be running any games or helping to organize PFS at any TAG conventions until I find out that
1) the story was based on a misunderstnding OR
2) Paizo (or the Organized Play thingy) has told me how to handle the situation

Edit: Or, in my specific case, Bob you can tell me what to do if this occurs :-). You ARE my RVC after all.

And, to be explicit, even IF TAG...

In this particular case, I think you would have to work with your VC, or maybe even further up the line because if convention rules conflict with PFS rules, you will need guidance to keep the characters and scenario legal while keeping the convention organizers happy. Possibly referring to specific evil deities by title rather than by name.

Silver Crusade 5/5

BigNorseWolf wrote:

If you made a document that could cover not just that one specific corner case , but every corner case that is that rare, it would be a phone book.

I'm not asking for guidance on this specific case, I'm asking for guidance on the general situation where I cannot simulultaneously follow the PFS and Convention rules

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