War for the Crown and Crownfall Contradict a Lot About Taldor


War for the Crown

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I don't want to start a thread about inserting real world politics into Adventure Paths, but I have to say that Crownfall has as its premise something that contradicts a lot of what has been written about Taldor, including the First Empire book that supposedly sets the stage for it.

I own, I think, basically everything that's been written about Taldor since the first Campaign Setting book 10 years ago. This includes Echoes of Glory, First Empire, the Inner Sea setting book, and, now, Crownfall. It's by far my favorite country in Golarion (despite the weird Grand Prince / Emperor title reversal thing).

This idea that Taldor is sexist and that its gender politics are out of date is completely contradicted by First Empire.

It is true that Eutropia is barred from being empress. But other than that, the Empire is filled with females in positions of power.

Here is just a partial list, using only First Empire:

General Relyson Gwein, commander of Taldor's cavalry
Grand Duchess Mella Denzarni, governor of Kazuhn
Grand Duchess Destalita Solari, governor of Ligos
Grand Duchess Breateeza Fahlspar, Northern Tandak
Grand Duchess Vivexis Darahan, Whitemarch
Grand Duchess Cisera Tiberan, Tandak

The Grand Duchesses are mostly appointed by the Emperor -- an emperor painted in Crownfall as sexist and antiquated.

The existence of all of these powerful females just doesn't make sense with a lot of the text in Crownfall. In fact, it's impossible to square with this by Crystal Frasier on p. 2: "a ruling class steeped with the racism and sexism most of Golarion discarded long ago." Or " while hardliners (especially elder nobles) believe the vote to be another wound in the great history of the empire, allowing not only the rabble-rousing Eutropia to inherit family power, but every ill-deserving woman" by Thurston Hillman (p 6). I hate to break it to Mr. Hillman (and these supposed elder nobles), but women have been inheriting power in Taldor for a long time, just not the throne. The player's guide is also filled with sentences that contradict the state of gender politics shown in First Empire.

I've always loved the character of Eutropia. And I have looked forward to her being Empress of Taldor since the setting was first published. But I don't think painting her as a crusader for gender rights in a misogynist empire that discriminates against women matches much, if any, of the setting information we've been given so far. Taldor has lots of problems in need of reform. But gender inequality isn't really one of them, at least according to everything published before Crownfall.

There's a lot of great stuff in Crownfall. There's even more in First Empire. I just wish they were a little more careful in their language and in keeping things consistent.


Yeah, it's pretty unclear what the legal situation is supposed to be in Taldor. You may be interested in the following thread:

http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2v07m?Who-Appoints-Grand-Dukes

Maybe primogeniture means women can't inherit grand duchies, maybe it doesn't. It isn't clear. Maybe the Emperor fills vacancies by appointment, maybe he doesn't, we aren't told. How much sense the picture makes is currently (IMO) taking a back seat to what the picture even is.


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Of the 12 senators profiled, four are female. Three of them appear to have hereditary titles, unless the "sexist" emperor is appointing tons of female nobles.

There's just a lot of examples, even within Crownfall itself, why the gender stuff seems to not have not been thought out very well. It simply doesn't fit with the characters that are presented to us.


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Earth has several countries that have or have within the last century had women in positions of power and sometimes even the top leadership position, but which have records on gender equality that are far from perfect.


Primogeniture succession/inheritance = acknowledged firstborn son inherits the entire estate. Absolute primogeniture succession/inheritance = acknowledged firstborn child inherits.

Being some time away before perusing this AP is likely, it sounds like Taldan inheritance is absolute primogeniture.


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The Mad Comrade wrote:

Primogeniture succession/inheritance = acknowledged firstborn son inherits the entire estate. Absolute primogeniture succession/inheritance = acknowledged firstborn child inherits.

Being some time away before perusing this AP is likely, it sounds like Taldan inheritance is absolute primogeniture.

I think I read somewhere that the legal working of primogeniture in Taldor is not the same as the real world concept of the same name.

Scarab Sages

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Well, perhaps within forum rules:

Jeannette Rankin was the first woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1916. Women could not vote nationally until 1920, with the 19th Amendment.

Hattie Wyatt Caraway was the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate in 1932.
But the U.S. still doesn't seem quite ready for a female president.

On the flip side Sirimavo Bandaranaike became the first modern female head of state as Prime Minister of Ceylon in 1960. I don't think there are many though who would argue Sri Lanka is more progressive on gender than the U.S.

The point is laws, mores, and opinions on gender in a society aren't seamless or consistent. Positions in Taldor's government or military occupied by women tell us little about gender in Taldor outside the government or military.

Silver Crusade

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Or maybe within the setting itself!

Irrisen is a country ruled by a human, where humans and humanoids occupy positions of power.

Irrisen is a country where humans are discriminated against by hags and fey, used as food and cattle for monsters and have their children turned into creepy dolls.

The fact that Irrisen is ruled by a human tells us nothing about how are humans treated in the country.


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See? You can be a model citizen. :p

Silver Crusade

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Steve Geddes wrote:
See? You can be a model citizen. :p

I prefer the term

*shades, ushanka*
COMRADE
*exits stage left*
ДAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!


Steve Geddes wrote:
The Mad Comrade wrote:

Primogeniture succession/inheritance = acknowledged firstborn son inherits the entire estate. Absolute primogeniture succession/inheritance = acknowledged firstborn child inherits.

Being some time away before perusing this AP is likely, it sounds like Taldan inheritance is absolute primogeniture.

I think I read somewhere that the legal working of primogeniture in Taldor is not the same as the real world concept of the same name.

Very possible. If so it seems to be an unnecessary complication. It will be interesting to see how it works when I get to reading that part of the WftC AP.


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The Mad Comrade wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
The Mad Comrade wrote:

Primogeniture succession/inheritance = acknowledged firstborn son inherits the entire estate. Absolute primogeniture succession/inheritance = acknowledged firstborn child inherits.

Being some time away before perusing this AP is likely, it sounds like Taldan inheritance is absolute primogeniture.

I think I read somewhere that the legal working of primogeniture in Taldor is not the same as the real world concept of the same name.
Very possible. If so it seems to be an unnecessary complication. It will be interesting to see how it works when I get to reading that part of the WftC AP.

Here’s the post from Thursty I remembered.


Steve Geddes wrote:
The Mad Comrade wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
The Mad Comrade wrote:

Primogeniture succession/inheritance = acknowledged firstborn son inherits the entire estate. Absolute primogeniture succession/inheritance = acknowledged firstborn child inherits.

Being some time away before perusing this AP is likely, it sounds like Taldan inheritance is absolute primogeniture.

I think I read somewhere that the legal working of primogeniture in Taldor is not the same as the real world concept of the same name.
Very possible. If so it seems to be an unnecessary complication. It will be interesting to see how it works when I get to reading that part of the WftC AP.
Here’s the post from Thursty I remembered.

Ah, many thanks Steve.

TL;HRY (Too long; haven't read yet) Taldan Primogeniture is a body of succession law unto itself that their Senate is in the process of doing something to/with in WftC. Cool beans.


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Their response to valid complaints about a misuse of the word primogeniture is a little snarky for my tastes.

My point, though, isn't whether they are using the right word.

They are ignoring their own material and speaking in absolutes. Crownfall doesn't say it's hard for women to wield power. It says it is impossible (against the law). Then it proceeds to present us with even more females who are in power (senators and nobles holding titles). It contradicts itself, without even considering First Empire's more numerous examples.

If 25 U.S. states had female governors, it would be pretty difficult to argue that women are excluded from power.

If about half of Taldor's provinces are governed by female grand dukes and if there are female nobles holding titles they've inherited, it's hard to argue that women in Taldor can't inherit family power. Thurston and Frasier speak in absolutes in Crownfall. Re-read the quotes above or just re-read the first pages by Frasier.

It's not so much that they didn't read enough Wikipedia. They didn't read their own material, including the main Taldor book that was also overseen by Frasier.

They reset Taldor with First Empire (it makes subtle changes to Echoes of Glory and the first Campaign Setting). If they wanted to set up that Taldor was a "men only" club, they shouldn't have created all of those female grand dukes (and generals). Even in Crownfall, they introduced a lot of titled females (and senators), while at the same time writing sentences implying women were barred from inheriting titles or wielding power.

Again, though, tons of stuff is really interesting in Crownfall. But I think they tried to shoehorn something into the story that was unnecessary and made no sense. Eutropia could be a symbol of reform and modernity without this one issue, which is made prominent for no reason at all.


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You might want to tone down the insulting language.

Just saying.


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captain yesterday wrote:

You might want to tone down the insulting language.

Just saying.

Me?

I'm struggling to find anything in my posts that's been insulting, either toward other posters or even toward Frasier and Hillman.


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jscott991 wrote:

Their response to valid complaints about a misuse of the word primogeniture is a little snarky for my tastes.

My point, though, isn't whether they are using the right word.

They are ignoring their own material and speaking in absolutes. Crownfall doesn't say it's hard for women to wield power. It says it is impossible (against the law). Then it proceeds to present us with even more females who are in power (senators and nobles holding titles). It contradicts itself, without even considering First Empire's more numerous examples.

If 25 U.S. states had female governors, it would be pretty difficult to argue that women are excluded from power.

If about half of Taldor's provinces are governed by female grand dukes and if there are female nobles holding titles they've inherited, it's hard to argue that women in Taldor can't inherit family power. Thurston and Frasier speak in absolutes in Crownfall. Re-read the quotes above or just re-read the first pages by Frasier.

It's not so much that they didn't read enough Wikipedia. They didn't read their own material, including the main Taldor book that was also overseen by Frasier.

They reset Taldor with First Empire (it makes subtle changes to Echoes of Glory and the first Campaign Setting). If they wanted to set up that Taldor was a "men only" club, they shouldn't have created all of those female grand dukes (and generals). Even in Crownfall, they introduced a lot of titled females (and senators), while at the same time writing sentences implying women were barred from inheriting titles or wielding power.

Again, though, tons of stuff is really interesting in Crownfall. But I think they tried to shoehorn something into the story that was unnecessary and made no sense. Eutropia could be a symbol of reform and modernity without this one issue, which is made prominent for no reason at all.

The bolded part is incredibly rude and insulting.


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I completely disagree.

My whole point is that Crownfall's construction contradicts First Empire. Whoever put together the scenario in Crownfall seems unaware of the NPCs and political background that were presented in First Empire.

The Wikipedia reference was to the other thread quoted above, where Hillman says he reads Wikipedia all the time and understands what the word primogeniture means. Instead of Wikipedia, I would suggest a more careful reading of First Empire.


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Taldans have been openly sexist since the Inner World Sea Guide. It's stated to be one of the defining traits of the nationality.

Scarab Sages

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It's only contradictory if you insist on Manichaean thinking.

Yes, women may inherit titles and property. Yes, women may hold high positions in the government or military.

No, this does not equate to gender parity or equality. No, women may not inherit the throne.

This is not contradictory in the least. It simply isn't the case that if one set of statements is true, the other set must be false. I thought my previous post demonstrated that fairly well, but I guess not?

It is entirely possible that female senators do not have the same influence as their male counterparts. Just because they exist doesn't mean their male counterparts appreciate them or view them as a legitimate presence. Based on your own count male senators outnumber female senators about 2 to 1, which implies women are on average not preferred to take hereditary seats or appointed seats.

We don't know if attitudes among the aristocracy, and especially the senate are more or less conservative than society at large. My guess would be more, but that's only a guess. The bottom line is that the absence of legal barriers based on gender does not translate into non-sexist attitudes, traditions, or social conditions.

I admit I'm coming around to agreeing with you that using the term primogeniture. The authors are very clear about what the term means: "...senators to vote down the ancient law of primogeniture. The law states that royal power can pass only to a male heir...". That's from page 5 of Book 1, so no confusion there. They are perfectly right to use the word in a way outside the bog standard if they want. But, maybe they should have anticipated the amount of pedantic shrieking that would result and gone with something like "The Law".


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I'm a little confused. Your post is quite well-reasoned, but I'm not sure we're arguing quite the same thing.

Crownfall and the Player's Guide present a world in which women are excluded from power. Again, Hillman literally writes that women can't inherit family power. This is shown, time and again, in First Empire (and even in Crownfall) not to be true. Women inherit titles. They are grand duchesses, countesses, and marchesses.

Frasier writes that Taldor excludes women from positions of influence, which is out of line for the rest of Golarion (a broad term that I think she misuses -- she seems to have meant Avistan or the Inner Sea at most). This also is demonstrably false. Women in Taldor are senators, generals, and high-ranking nobles. The book she oversaw, in fact, introduced all of these important female NPCs and showed how common they were in positions of true power in Taldor.

I don't think I'm guilty of binary thinking. I actually think Crownfall is guilt of that. Taldor is immensely complicated as presented in previous books. It's a nation steeped in traditions that are holding it back. But it's not as black and white as Crownfall states. Women aren't excluded from power. They aren't denied inheritances. Crownfall seems to misunderstand its own use of a primogeniture law. It implies the law bars all women -- in fact, it only bars Eutropia from inheriting the throne.

It's certainly possible to imagine Taldor might be a sexist nation where women aren't given the societal respect they deserve (even though the law allows them considerable power). But Hillman and Frasier aren't consistent in using that interpretation. They reduce and simplify things to "Taldor is misogynistic; women can't inherit power; Eutropia is the symbol for changing the law." That contradicts prior material, even the Setting book (which only states that Taldor men display extreme machismo and never makes reference to how imperial law treats them; and even this characterization isn't mentioned once in First Empire or in the Inner Sea Races book).


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jscott991 wrote:
Crownfall and the Player's Guide present a world in which women are excluded from power. Again, Hillman literally writes that women can't inherit family power.
jscott991 wrote:
Frasier writes that Taldor excludes women from positions of influence, which is out of line for the rest of Golarion (a broad term that I think she misuses -- she seems to have meant Avistan or the Inner Sea at most).

Can you quote or give page references to what exactly you are referring to?


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Zaister wrote:
jscott991 wrote:
Crownfall and the Player's Guide present a world in which women are excluded from power. Again, Hillman literally writes that women can't inherit family power.
jscott991 wrote:
Frasier writes that Taldor excludes women from positions of influence, which is out of line for the rest of Golarion (a broad term that I think she misuses -- she seems to have meant Avistan or the Inner Sea at most).
Can you quote or give page references to what exactly you are referring to?

It's in my first post, but here are several.

"A ruling class steeped in the racism and sexism most of Golarion discarded long ago." Frasier, Crownfall p. 2

"Hardliners (especially elder nobles) believe the vote to be yet another wound to be yet another wound in the great history of the empire, allowing not only the rabblerousing Eutropia to inherit family power, but every ill-deserving woman." Hillman, Crownfall p. 6

"Taldor’s ancient law that decrees only male heirs may inherit their families’ titles, lands, and the authority that comes with both." Frasier, Player's Guide, p. 4. (This is just unbelievable, given that Frasier also helped write First Empire, which introduced a half dozen female grand duchesses. And Crownfall has at least three females with titles in the Faces of the Senate section, not to mention all the others mentioned throughout the adventure.)

There are a few other sentences throughout Crownfall and the intro to the Player's Guide (including something about Senate seats going to males "traditionally"), but these are the main ones that stuck out to me.

At some point, Eutropia went from a symbol to restore Taldor to greatness (the two campaign setting guides) to a symbol for reform (First Empire) to a symbol for mainly gender equality (Crownfall, and the player's guide; see p. 17 in particular).

The gender equality part is what bugs me. With so many prominent female leaders ruling provinces, commanding the army, and being in the senate, it just doesn't seem like something that is such a pressing issue that it should be the focus of the entire campaign.


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Thank you. When I get to play this AP, I think I'll interpret your quotes as follow.

jscott991 wrote:
"A ruling class steeped in the racism and sexism most of Golarion discarded long ago." Frasier, Crownfall p. 2

I don't see a problem here. A ruling class can have female members and still be "steeped in sexism". Compare the real world for various examples.

jscott991 wrote:
"Hardliners (especially elder nobles) believe the vote to be yet another wound to be yet another wound in the great history of the empire, allowing not only the rabblerousing Eutropia to inherit family power, but every ill-deserving woman." Hillman, Crownfall p. 6

Note that this sentence if written from the viewpoint of "hardliners". It's obvious that women can inherit titles in Taldor, or at least some of them. But take a look, for a moment, at the peerage of the United Kingdom, where some titles can be inherited by woman, while others get destroyed upon the death of the last male of the line, or fall into abeyance. Some can be passed to a male heir through female line, others cannot. It all depends on the writ of creation and the issuing sovereign's whim. There is no reason to assume a millennia-old byzantine empire like Taldor is different in this regard. So, some titles may be inherited by woman, and others may not. Hardliners are afraid a ruling empress Eutropia might change that, so all titles can now pass to women, maybe even in favor of younger sons (this "ill-deserving women").

jscott991 wrote:
"Taldor’s ancient law that decrees only male heirs may inherit their families’ titles, lands, and the authority that comes with both." Frasier, Player's Guide, p. 4. (This is just unbelievable, given that Frasier also helped write First Empire, which introduced a half dozen female grand duchesses. And Crownfall has at least three females with titles in the Faces of the Senate section, not to mention all the others mentioned throughout the adventure.)

I'll give you this, the sentence in the players guide is obviously a mistake. The law of primogeniture is said to affect only royal inheritance otherwise.

One more thing: can I ask why you keep referring to the authors by their last names? They are frequent posters on the forum and people here, including Paizo staff, are usually on a first name basis. I'm curious because I can't help but it feels like some kind of passive-aggressive put-down to me.


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Zaister wrote:
One more thing: can I ask why you keep referring to the authors by their last names? They are frequent posters on the forum and people here, including Paizo staff, are usually on a first name basis. I'm curious because I can't help but it feels like some kind of passive-aggressive put-down to me.

Generally authors are referred to by last name when referencing their work. I would have felt pretty strange saying "Billy, A Guide to Everything, p. 26."

Silver Crusade

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So, 9 years after you've decided to let go of Pathfinder because Bestiaries have too short ecology write-ups...

You're back! To discuss politics!

I mean, my heart aches, bleeds almost, at the thought of how many fascinating discussions and exchanges of views did we lose over those 9 years. Regretful. But we'll catch up very quickly.


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Gorbacz wrote:
I mean, my heart aches, bleeds almost, at the thought of how many fascinating discussions and exchanges of views did we lose over those 9 years. Regretful. But we'll catch up very quickly.

It warms my heart to be missed. :)


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jscott991 wrote:
Their response to valid complaints about a misuse of the word primogeniture is a little snarky for my tastes.

You didn’t read the pages that were deleted. Crystal and Thursty were remarkably restrained, in my view.

Posters there repeated the same, insulting insinuations you’ve been making here: that they didn’t read their own material, didn’t understand what primogeniture meant, contradicted prior canon, etcetera etcetera. None of that is true (even if there is the odd confusing passage on exactly what primogeniture entails).

They made creative choices you don’t like. There is a sensible interpretation of the state of affairs in Taldor that is not contradictory, you just don’t like it.


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jscott991 wrote:
Zaister wrote:
One more thing: can I ask why you keep referring to the authors by their last names? They are frequent posters on the forum and people here, including Paizo staff, are usually on a first name basis. I'm curious because I can't help but it feels like some kind of passive-aggressive put-down to me.
Generally authors are referred to by last name when referencing their work. I would have felt pretty strange saying "Billy, A Guide to Everything, p. 26."

Not on these boards, where they are present. These authors have long been members of this community, longer than they have been authors of Paizo products in fact.


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Steve Geddes wrote:
They made creative choices you don’t like. There is a sensible interpretation of the state of affairs in Taldor that is not contradictory, you just don’t like it.

They made a ton of creative decisions that I love . . . in First Empire.

I don't see the "sensible interpretation".

They created numerous, interesting female NPCs in First Empire that held positions of extreme power in Taldor (grand duchesses and generals in particular), and then focused their Adventure Path on the fact that women in Taldor are denied political power.

I'm sorry. It makes no sense. I'd love to know why they did it (or maybe I don't).


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jscott991 wrote:
They created numerous, interesting female NPCs in First Empire that held positions of extreme power in Taldor (grand duchesses and generals in particular), and then focused their Adventure Path on the fact that females in Taldor are denied political power.

No, the adventure path is focused on the fact that Princess Eutropia is denied the right to inherit the crown. Other women and their political power, or lack thereof, are not really part of that focus.

Side note: have I just been watching too many David Attenborough documentaries, or does using the term "female" as a noun sound as if the speaker was referring to animals?


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Zaister wrote:
No, the adventure path is focused on the fact that Princess Eutropia is denied the right to inherit the crown. Other women and their political power, or lack thereof, are not really part of that focus.

I'm sorry. This simply isn't true. The Player's Guide on p. 17 explicitly contradicts this (even saying GMs should refocus Eutropia if necessary). That's not even considering all the other material on this issue.


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Zaister wrote:
Side note: have I just been watching too many David Attenborough documentaries, or does using the term "female" as a noun sound as if the speaker was referring to animals?

It sounds clinical and dehumanising to me (in any context). I don’t like the usage either.


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I see no contradiction there. If you are referring to the quote "the gender equality usually attributed to her", that is no contradiction. Having women in places of power does not equal gender equality. There are many more factors contribution to this, and most of this can easily be observed in the real world. For example, here in Germany, we do have a woman as head of the government, and the new government has women in almost half of its ministerial offices, but there still is no gender equality in Germany. Women are still consistently paid less for the same work, have less chances of professional promotions, and so on.


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Steve Geddes wrote:
It sounds clinical and dehumanising to me (in any context). I don’t like the usage either.

It's the term used in NPC blocks. Nothing dehumanizing or clinical was intended.


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jscott991 wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
It sounds clinical and dehumanising to me (in any context). I don’t like the usage either.
It's the term used in NPC blocks. Nothing dehumanizing or clinical was intended.

In the statblock it's used as an adjective. That is correct usage, and different from using it as a noun.


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jscott991 wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
They made creative choices you don’t like. There is a sensible interpretation of the state of affairs in Taldor that is not contradictory, you just don’t like it.

They made a ton of creative decisions that I love . . . in First Empire.

I don't see the "sensible interpretation".

They created numerous, interesting female NPCs in First Empire that held positions of extreme power in Taldor (grand duchesses and generals in particular), and then focused their Adventure Path on the fact that females in Taldor are denied political power.

I'm sorry. It makes no sense. I'd love to know why they did it (or maybe I don't).

Maybe the AP isn’t for you. Sounds like you’ve got a very clear idea of what Taldor society is like and it doesn’t match the designers’ view. That’s fine.

Personally, I don’t know how you can read the first instalment of the AP as focussing on the “fact” women are denied political power, when the PCs basically work for two women who directly contradict the premise.

The sexism in Taldor is more subtle than some kind of gender based apartheid. “Being allowed to hold a title” doesn’t mean there isn’t inequity and injustice - you’re over reading the importance of the law if primogeniture. The repeal is more a legal technicality in the machinations of the Taldor legal system. Eutropia already has huge political power - she has managed to swing this vote, after all.

EDIT: Zaister gave another good, real world example. It seems to me that, when confronted with a real world contradiction with our preconceptions, we go looking for the deeper reason. I think there’s a temptation when reading a creative work to leap to “A-ha! Mistake!” In this case, I think your missing some depth and subtlety that resolves what you see as contradictory.


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Sigh.

I don't think I'm the one overreading the significance of the law of primogeniture.

I actually think that's the problem that caused the authors to contradict First Empire (and the other setting material) to begin with.


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jscott991 wrote:

Sigh.

I don't think I'm the one overreading the significance of the law of primogeniture.

I actually think that's the problem that caused the authors to contradict First Empire (and the other setting material) to begin with.

Sigh.

I think you are.


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This is literally the only thing that Taldor, the First Empire has to say about primogeniture:

Quote:
The position of grand prince passes down through strict adherence to primogeniture; when the grand prince dies, the crown passes to his eldest son or his closest male relative. Daughters are not seen as fit heirs under any circumstances—a historical holdover to which Taldor still stubbornly clings.

Taldor's law of primogeniture only affects royal succession.


Zaister wrote:

This is literally the only thing that Taldor, the First Empire has to say about primogeniture:

Quote:
The position of grand prince passes down through strict adherence to primogeniture; when the grand prince dies, the crown passes to his eldest son or his closest male relative. Daughters are not seen as fit heirs under any circumstances—a historical holdover to which Taldor still stubbornly clings.
Taldor's law of primogeniture only affects royal succession.

Cool beans. Royal succession is primogeniture whilst 'lower' titles are inherited via absolute primogeniture.

Scarab Sages

jscott991 wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
They made creative choices you don’t like. There is a sensible interpretation of the state of affairs in Taldor that is not contradictory, you just don’t like it.

They made a ton of creative decisions that I love . . . in First Empire.

I don't see the "sensible interpretation".

They created numerous, interesting female NPCs in First Empire that held positions of extreme power in Taldor (grand duchesses and generals in particular), and then focused their Adventure Path on the fact that females in Taldor are denied political power.

I'm sorry. It makes no sense. I'd love to know why they did it (or maybe I don't).

I took another quick look through and all I found were the same lines you gave above. I interpret the first two in exactly the same way as Zaister so I won't repeat what he wrote.

For the third one from the Player's Guide, I see what you mean. It suggests a wider application of the primogeniture law than just royal succession. So what we have is, on the one hand a couple of sentences from the Player's Guide, and on the other everything else.

We all know there was immense pressure to get the Player's Guide out as soon as possible. If those sentences were rendered in singular instead of plural they would no longer really be an issue either. Maybe it should have been caught in editing, but Player's Guides also always present information in a more generalized way than other sources. I don't see the big problem.

Women being able to inherit, at least under certain circumstances, is warp and weft to far too many things in the first and second books to seriously call it into question due to the Player's Guide. Short of the authors popping in to support your view, I don't see any way to claim there's a credible argument for women not inheriting.

In fact, even if the authors did do that I would keep women as "heirs of last resort" in my campaign. It gives more options to me and aligns with the overall flow of the books better. I am able to do that as a GM after all, interpreting and making those kind of executive decisions is part of the job.

You can too if you're really looking for a solution. If ignoring (or thinking of them as properly singular) those Player's Guide statements is a bridge too far for you though, you can always bin the whole AP and continue feeling aggrieved.


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My view is that women inherit everything but the throne. I think that's plain.

I think the authors of the AP exaggerated the sexism of Taldor so they could focus Crownfall on that issue. I'm curious as to why, considering that Taldor has many other problems that previous books spent a lot of time laying the groundwork for.

I agree with you, too, that the flavor of the AP suggests that Taldor should be interpreted in the most sexist way possible. I'm uncomfortable with that because it doesn't match any other source material. Nothing else written about Taldor, save one line about machismo in the setting book and Eutropia's inability to inherit, has ever suggested that this issue was the most important problem facing the empire.

I love Taldor. I love Eutropia. I think the AP went out of its way to bend both the nation and the princess in a way that was never suggested before.

What's most curious is that they had no problem retconning "the bearded" and the banning of Sarenrae into the past in First Empire. If they wanted to make Crownfall about gender inequality, why not change everything there (and not create all the NPCs that they did)? I think that was odd (although I'm glad it worked out that way because First Empire is a pretty decent book).

Scarab Sages

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You're arguing two incompatible things here. You're saying the authors exaggerated sexism in Taldor, which would mean there's some baseline amount they decided to go well beyond suddenly.

Then you say there is no mention of sexism before. Effectively the authors are filling in blank space. If so, they can't exaggerate, they're creating the baseline.

But that aside, I don't see the WftC as being mainly about sexism as Taldor's greatest problem to solve. The chain of causation isn't "defeat sexism because sexism is the worst of Taldor's problems". The chain of causation is "defeat sexism because the person who is most likely to deal with any number of Taldor's greatest problems can't take the throne because of it".

I would rate the almost certainly coming war with Qadira if Eutropia doesn't take the throne as the greatest problem. Taldor is already spending itself into bankruptcy in peacetime. The war would be catastrophic in every way.

You can pick your own worst problem of course. So all you have to do is be willing to touch gender equality with a 10 foot pole in order to put the right person in the right place to solve your bigger problem.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

It sounds like there's a little too much nitpicking over a couple of effing lines that don't match up the other source material and managed to slip through the editorial process. If that's the case, my advice is to let it go. The main focus of Crownfall (and the AP's setup) is the ROYAL succession, not lesser titles.


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The contradiction in the "couple" of lines radically changes the source of the central conflict, which is a pretty bad thing to have in a story. Not to mention, you know, the fact that the AP isn't free and people paid money for everything but the player's guide? I don't understand people who claim others aren't allowed to complain about something they paid for.


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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Personally, I read that third quote differently:

"Taldor’s ancient law that decrees only male heirs may inherit their families’ titles, lands, and the authority that comes with both." Frasier, Player's Guide, p. 4.

The way I read this, strict (male) primogeniture was the ancient law. So my interpretation is that over time, Taldor has removed this restriction for a variety of aspects of inheritance - property, lesser titles, etc. Currently, the royal succession is the only place remaining where this law is still strictly upheld. (It may still remain a preference, or the custom within specific families.)

A couple of questions: Do we have any examples of females inheriting other top-tier titles while they have surviving (non-disgraced) brothers? And is there anything that contradicts nobles being able to select their heir from among their available offspring? Because I'm leaning toward having males as the "preferred" heirs for most upper level titles until very recently; the predominant attitude has shifted over the last decade or two, as Eutropia and her allies have pushed for the confirmation of a variety of female heirs, and (especially) the selection of females from among the available family members for open Senate positions. Thus allowing a more sudden shift from "females occasionally received top-tier noble titles" to "there are a lot of females in top positions now." And not everyone's attitudes have kept pace with these changes.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
deuxhero wrote:
I don't understand people who claim others aren't allowed to complain about something they paid for.

Personally, I don't have any issue with someone complaining along the lines of "I don't like this" or "this doesn't reconcile with my understanding of Taldor as previously portrayed" (or whatever the objection is).

I object to "The writers clearly didn't read their own canon" or "They don't know what primogeniture means - a simple wikipedia search would have taught them what they apparently don't know" (which is how critique in the previous thread was framed).

There are multiple interpretations and for some this represents a contradiction (I don't see any contradiction, personally - but I don't expect everyone to read things from the same perspective as me). It's possible to discuss that issue without dismissing, belittling or disrespecting the authors.

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