Ditch the Outdated Stereotypes


Classes


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Look at the Rogue. The description starts out good, saying that while the stereotype is a thief and a scoundrel there many are respectable and honorable doing jobs like being scouts or bounty hunters. Thats great, it immediately sets up "there is more than one way to play this class".

But when we get to the "You Likely" and "Others Probably" sections its nothing but negative "you're greedy", "you're a law breaker", "nobody trusts you". What the hell? The Rogue hasn't been a sticky fingered thief since AD&D 2e. They've been the default "expert adventurer" for decades. Why is the "This is how a rogue probably acts" defaulting immediately to the 70's thief mindset?

Fighter isn't much better. Its "You're obsessed with weapons, think puzzles are a waste of time, and everybody thinks you're dumb."

If we're going to be offering flavor advice to new players, could we maybe not do the absolute worst stereotypes the genre has ever produced as the default assumptions?

For a fighter, instead of saying things like "you have little time for complex things", maybe something more along the lines of "You are likely to see things in terms of immediate goals and steps required to achieve them"?

For rogues, instead of saying "come to you to break the law", maybe "Come to you for out of the box thinking and creative solutions"?

Something to promote the idea of "Hey, this class is a mechanical toolset, it might define what you can do, but it doesn't define who you are".

Sovereign Court

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Agreed, it would be much better if they stuck to generic examples. They didn't go as far as 4E where they said you get the choice of "thug or a sneak thief", but there is some unnecessary subtle dictation going on here in PF2 descriptions.


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Thirded.....thirdeded? I concur.


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I agree these seem like last minute additions and are not equally thought out.


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Fifthed? Now I want to go home and pick appart all the fluff like a dog with a new stuffed toy.


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Aren't the "Others might see you as" sections deliberately negative so as to confront players with negative expectations they should aspire to rise above or subvert?


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I agree that I dislike it. It makes new players think of the most painfully cliche fantasy tropes, instead of searching for other concepts, and it makes them think those cliches are good or even the default.

I do appreciate the metajokes shoved into those sections, though.

Dark Archive

Forthed


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Those parts are generic roleplaying suggestions. It's for newer players, probably not anyone posting in this thread.


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2E also seems to be going more the route of 5E where your class is one of the biggest parts about who you are, so it's not just a mechanical toolset. It's a fundamental part of your identity, even more so than I'd say even Ancestry in 2E.


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Joshua James Jordan wrote:
Those parts are generic roleplaying suggestions. It's for newer players, probably not anyone posting in this thread.

Thats the point.

These are the most outdated, and IMO inappropriate stereotypes to be presenting to new players. The game, the classes, the entire mindset has evolved GREATLY since the days of Gygax. We should be helping new players get in on where things are now, not where they were 40 years ago.


Even still, I think it could do a better job of bringing up those same ideas as suggestions. For absolutely new players who are new to roleplaying, or even any kind of creative character making/writing, it is certainly a good start.

For some though, I can see these suggestions sticking a little too well and leading a player to use cliches where it could have guided them to something more interesting. Its not a huge problem, but anything that can be improved that doesn't have far-reaching consequences for other systems probably deserves some more polish before release.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Aren't the "Others might see you as" sections deliberately negative so as to confront players with negative expectations they should aspire to rise above or subvert?

Id thought so. Look at cleric


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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Very much agree. I laughed out loud when I read the Fighter one. Its as though a fighter with greater than 8 INT doesn't exist in their world :>

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Edymnion wrote:
Joshua James Jordan wrote:
Those parts are generic roleplaying suggestions. It's for newer players, probably not anyone posting in this thread.

Thats the point.

These are the most outdated, and IMO inappropriate stereotypes to be presenting to new players. The game, the classes, the entire mindset has evolved GREATLY since the days of Gygax. We should be helping new players get in on where things are now, not where they were 40 years ago.

Heck, 20 years ago would be a good start...

"Your thief is more or less of the Robin Hood variety. She steals from the evil, and gives to the good."

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Mmm... this might be my FAVORITE bit of feedback yet. Thanks all for the insights! I'm gonna push hard to ditch the stereotypes and see if we can't do something more interesting and productive and imaginative there for the final game.

Yay! Playtests are the best!


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Aren't the "Others might see you as" sections deliberately negative so as to confront players with negative expectations they should aspire to rise above or subvert?

Yes. The tone is pretty explicitly 'this is how the ignorant might mischaracterize you'


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This and how classes have JUST enough fixed features to shoehorn them into fixed roles (Paladin gets all this armor stuff for free, so dex paladin is, at best, a waste) is a really bad combination.

GameDesignerDM wrote:
2E also seems to be going more the route of 5E where your class is one of the biggest parts about who you are, so it's not just a mechanical toolset. It's a fundamental part of your identity, even more so than I'd say even Ancestry in 2E.

Yeah, 5E's biggest problem was you only had 1 or 2 ability score setups per class so most race/class combos were pointless, yet the only choices you actually made were specialty and ability score increase vs. feat. This meant almost every character (aside from spells known, so much for moving away from caster dominance) mechanically could be done in about 7 words or less ("variant human, polearm master, strength, paladin, devotion" is one of the longest ones yet all you need to replicate the build entirely.).

This should make 5E easy to beat for variety, yet somehow PF2 gives you more options, but characters of the same class are still the same regardless of what they pick. At least the 5E specialties were immediately different, but in PF2 a fighter smashes things with maybe a debuff, a paladin heals and smashes evil things, ect.


Yeah, those sections felt a bit too... bland for my tastes. Only bit of those "Roleplaying an X" sections that actually stood out to me was the first half of the Barbarian's one and more just for the mental image I got from that third note (The one that read "Engage in a regimen of intense physical fitness — and punch anyone who says this conflicts with your distaste for patience and tedium.").

Other than always-amusing image of Amiri clocking Alain (because who else would be stupid enough to point this out to Amiri? :P ) in the jaw, those never really drew my attention at all.


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While I might agree on how you might see youself, and I absolutely could not disagree more on the how others see you aspect. to write it the way the op suggested doesn't make any sense, and would lead to terrible role playing.

just like how the vast majority of the world perceives "jocks" as dumb regardless of whether it's actually true or not, so would the vast majority of the pathfinder world think fighters are dumb. when person who appears to others to be a "rogue" or have the reputation of being a "thief" you darn right the locals are going to view you has greedy, cut throat or a lawbreaker, until you prove otherwise.


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after even more thought, I dont agree with any of the OP points. it's clearly written for new players. the "stereotypical language" is perfect because it gives them a narrow point of reference that is easy to grasp. This is no different that shortening the playbook for a rookie, or me assigning a very narrow type of cases to new ADA's. to tell a new player that they can be anything is not helpful. roleplaying is no different from any other human activity, and it has been proven in numerous studies that giving beginners in almost any field, too many options is detrimental and only slows their development grasps of the concepts that you want them to learn. and lastly calling them "outdated" doesn't make any sense, these character stereotypes really tropes, are present in 90% of anime, the vast majority of books you find the paperback fantasy fiction. they are tried and true and have been preserved and carried on by numerous artists and characters. which is exactly why they are useful for new players, because most new players have already had these tropes presented to them in various media. players will expand their roleplaying horizons on their own naturally.


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Honestly those sections of the classes descriptions are the worse pieces of stereotypical trash I've ever read.
Considering that new players usually have exactly those preconceptions, further enforcing them in those descriptions is a great disservice.
Pity that at the moment of actually building a character, class choices feel damn restrictive and ofthen a compromise between bad and worse


Hmm. I find it useful to warn new players of the stereotypes they're going to run into. Taking 'em out and watching new players blindly walk into those stereotypes from actual people won't be fun.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I agree 200% with the OP

That the Rogue is the primary user of a skill called Thievery does not help either

Maybe the description should stick with what your class most often does, depicted in a factual and neutral way. With a second part explicitly stating the stereotypes some bring to the table but clearly showing those prejudices for what they are and strengthening the idea that all the parts of the creation process are here to help the concept in the player's head to become a PF2 character

Scarab Sages

Xth. Agreed 100%. Classes should have roleplaying manifestations, but this should manifest in the way the mechanics present themselves. I don't mind hints at why a person might be a part of that class (You enjoy combat that centers around weapons, for example for Fighter), but not "Nobody trusts you." That's a player background/roleplaying element, not something built into a class.


In my current game the fighter kicks down every door they see and only interacts with puzzles if they can smash them.

The rogue is constantly trying to steal, and the paladin does book keeping to audit the loot split the rogue reports.

This group isn't the first time I've seen this, and I doubt it will be the last. Nor do I believe for a second that player mentality didn't influence character selection.

Stereotypes tend to be sufficiently accurate for them to be formed in the first place. Removing stereotypes is just more assault on reason to score virtue points, and frankly people are getting sick of the assault on reason.

Instead of pushing willful self-lobotomization that people will revolt against, because in their gut they know stereotypes are an objectively useful heuristic with objective validity to bootstrap their reasoning from, just include a reminder that memorable characters often subvert these expectations. Which is something that people actually agree with in general because they know it is true.

Prejudice isn't having generalized templates of generally accurate suspicions on mental file. Prejudice is assuming those suspicions must be true instead of being a crib sheet of things that are true enough in general that it is known to be useful to prove or disprove them at the start of a new interaction. Walking into a den of thieves with the same blank slate as you'd walk into a hall of paladins is basically a ticket out of the gene pool on a statistical level. Just like being incapable of confirming or disproving expectations is a ticket out of the gene pool on a case by case level if that is Robin Hood's den of thieves or a hall of anti-paladins who have fallen.


Calm down martials. Yes, most rogues I know are proficient in thievery and stealth. Most fighters I know do tackle problems head on. Most people would be distrustful of you if you can create magical energies without any training on a whim. Most people do consider paladins buzzkills and clerics to be holier than thou jerks. Stereotypes do exist in fantasy worlds. When you have classes you have good and bad archtypes. Rogues tend to be sneaky. Its a function of how they interact. We are not playing Gurps. Get over it


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To the OP: Agreed 100%.

At my table I've seen thoughtful fighters, law-abiding rogues, law-enforcing rogues, melee wizards and bards who couldn't hold a tune. Some were awesome, others... were an interesting experiment, shall we say.

The stereotype will always be there, but it doesn't need reinforcing via official publication. It is instead worth suggesting that players look outside the steretypes of class and ancestry*, and instead try to do something a little different - not the exact opposite of the stereotype, which is often just as bad, but just... a bit different.

*I know many players who habitually create a large proportion of their characters as Apply Race Stereotype + Apply Class Stereotype = "Here is my character". Some would even respond to requests to describe their character as "Dwarf. Fighter. Yep, that pretty much describes him to a tee!". Call me a picky GM, but I like players to bring characters that make me excited to see who they are, how they grow, and what they'll do next.

But, let me take my personal pick from the playtest document in this regard: The Bard.

Playtest Rulebook wrote:

IF YOU’RE A BARD, YOU LIKELY...

• Have a passion for your art so strong you forge a spiritual connection.
• Take point when tact and nonviolent solutions are required.
• Follow your muse, whether it’s a fey creature, a philosophical concept, a psychic force, or a deity of art or music, and you follow it to learn secret lore that few others have.

I've seen bards as grizzled and experienced soldiers leading from the front, whose Inspire Courage came in the form of barked orders and growled threats, but their dedication to their king and country was so deep that it served as a well of hidden power. (Yes, that directly contradicts all three of the above bullet points, no it didn't even need an archetype).

I've seen bards as spies and (frequently violent) assassins.

I've seen bards as criminal masterminds.

I've seen bards as despicable monsters slaves only to their own ego (*cough*Ileosa*cough*)

And the list goes on. Were I to try and describe what (mandatory caveat) I have seen bards to be at my table, I would suggest that as a bard, you likely:

  • Have a gift for manipulating the mind and emotions of others, and understand that true power is in controlling or supporting those around you.
  • Are versatile and flexible in your approach to solving problems, as you try to maintain a large repertoire of talents.

    Playtest Rulebook wrote:

    OTHERS PROBABLY...

    • Underestimate you compared to other spellcasters, believing you are little more than a foppish minstrel and overlooking the subtle power of your magic.
    • Relish the opportunity to invite you to social events, either as a performer or a guest, but still consider you to be something of a curiosity in their social circles.
    • Respond favorably to your social charm and abilities but remain suspicious of your mental magic.

    This... just makes me wince.

    I have seen bards that were never liked, nor even adept at social arts - but were usually respected. I have seen bards that weren't simply invited, but commanded their social groups, using their abilities and skills to maintain their position at the pinnacle of their social group. I've seen others who maintain relatively low positions within the social hierarchy, focusing instead on manipulating others for economic gain.

    Come to think of it... I've never seen anyone play the stereotypical foppish minstrel. Possibly because almost everyone I know is familiar with Monty Python, and was also glad the minstrel got eaten (and there was much rejoicing).

  • Silver Crusade

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    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    I'm all for ditching the stereotypes as written and replacing them with 3 examples of every class, one "traditional", one "uncommon" and one "off the wall".

    Say, Bard:

    - a charming human bon vivant with a lute and talent for trouble and romance
    - a grizzled halfling storyteller who inspires others through his sagas of old
    - an elven mime whose signature performance is pretending to be a dwarf

    Scarab Sages

    Gorbacz wrote:

    I'm all for ditching the stereotypes as written and replacing them with 3 examples of every class, one "traditional", one "uncommon" and one "off the wall".

    Say, Bard:

    - a charming human bon vivant with a lute and talent for trouble
    - a grizzled halfling storyteller who inspires other through his sagas of old
    - an elven mime whose signature pefromance is pretending to be a dwarf

    I think Gorbacz nails the type of design you should go for. The progressively more unique ideas, listed this way, help players understand the trope, but also show how a class can be more than just a stereotype.


    Davor wrote:
    Gorbacz wrote:

    I'm all for ditching the stereotypes as written and replacing them with 3 examples of every class, one "traditional", one "uncommon" and one "off the wall".

    Say, Bard:

    - a charming human bon vivant with a lute and talent for trouble
    - a grizzled halfling storyteller who inspires other through his sagas of old
    - an elven mime whose signature pefromance is pretending to be a dwarf

    I think Gorbacz nails the type of design you should go for. The progressively more unique ideas, listed this way, help players understand the trope, but also show how a class can be more than just a stereotype.

    +1

    Or, if stereotypes are going to presented, also include ways that PCs can use them for their advantage (the moderately/highly intelligent fighter deliberately playing dumb in order to be underestimated by friends & foes alike) or to undermine them (the goblin alchemist who acts bonkers and vicious, yet quietly crafts healing ointments/balms & carves wooden toys to leave anonymously on the doorstep of the orphanage/poor farmers with kids). Maybe also include some pop culture references ("examples of rogues include Robin Hood, Black Widow, Lupin the III..." etc.) even if you can't directly name the characters for IP reasons.

    Give players positive reasons to play a class (or ancestry or whatever) instead of emphasizing negative ideas that can lead to restrictive or disruptive PCs and play.


    I hope you keep the negative stereotypes because just by giving them you're already giving the player (especially a new player) a ground to start subverting them if they want, but to avoid these problems other people are seeing label them clearly as "negative stereotypes about your class" and not just "others will assume this". You could also add a couple ways to subvert these stereotypes too, while you're at that, I guess. Or at least make it clear those (both the negative and positive) are just stereotypes, not what you're supposed to be.

    I'm not seeing the problem myself, to be honest, but judging by the amount of people talking about them, their presentation could use a few modifications.


    PossibleCabbage wrote:
    Aren't the "Others might see you as" sections deliberately negative so as to confront players with negative expectations they should aspire to rise above or subvert?

    There's nothing wrong with a negative connotation, but there's a difference between "negative light" and "racist." Sorry, classist.

    Eg:
    "You think puzzles are a waste of time" vs. "You're more likely to get frustrated in tasks that require complex thinking."

    The former you won't ever even attempt, the latter you'll attempt but likely view it as a nail (and all you have is a hammer).


    At least the PF 2e Rogue isn't forcing that nonsense into the actual mechanics like in D&D 5e.
    Every Rogue in D&D 5e knows Thieves' Cant; even if I were playing a thief, why assume I was involved in organized crime?

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