Fantastic racism in Golarion?


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion


Are there any countries where racism against one or more of the core races is common? If so, why are they like that?


I'd bet on "most of them", really. And because people are people.
And this not a modern setting (not that that would solve everything either).

Now, if you're talking like actual segregation-style institutional racism, that's another matter. Still, more than a couple of big ones come to mind.


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Ask the small races, almost everywhere, but especially in slave states, especially the Chel states. Why? Because it is easier to consider them less than human.


Cheliax is super happy to have slips halfling slaves.

Dark Archive

Cheliax is specifically racist to halflings, elves and tieflings.

Pretty much everyone is racist to orcs, goblinoids, gnolls, etc. ('monster' races, even non-evil ones like lizardfolk) but that might be more survival sense than racism, since a fair percentage of them will eat you as soon as talk to you.

Even if a specific country isn't racist to one or more core PC races, doesn't mean that you couldn't have racist individuals or regions.

If it serves the story, a Lumber Consortium influenced community in Andoran could be not just anti-fey, but anti-gnome and anti-elf, because of their connections to the fey / claims to the ancestral elven woodlands (which they want to be 'free' to pillage and exploit).


Taldor whole not quite hostile to the elves, they were not too happy about them returning and having been cut off from the elven artifacts from Kyonin.
probably has nobles to this day are racist against elves to this day over it.


Set wrote:

Cheliax is specifically racist to halflings, elves and tieflings.

Pretty much everyone is racist to orcs, goblinoids, gnolls, etc. ('monster' races, even non-evil ones like lizardfolk) but that might be more survival sense than racism, since a fair percentage of them will eat you as soon as talk to you.

Even if a specific country isn't racist to one or more core PC races, doesn't mean that you couldn't have racist individuals or regions.

If it serves the story, a Lumber Consortium influenced community in Andoran could be not just anti-fey, but anti-gnome and anti-elf, because of their connections to the fey / claims to the ancestral elven woodlands (which they want to be 'free' to pillage and exploit).

Why does Cheliax not like tieflings? They mainly worship Asmodeus so I would think at least devil-born tieflings would be accepted.

Grand Lodge

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Yqatuba wrote:
Set wrote:

Cheliax is specifically racist to halflings, elves and tieflings.

Pretty much everyone is racist to orcs, goblinoids, gnolls, etc. ('monster' races, even non-evil ones like lizardfolk) but that might be more survival sense than racism, since a fair percentage of them will eat you as soon as talk to you.

Even if a specific country isn't racist to one or more core PC races, doesn't mean that you couldn't have racist individuals or regions.

If it serves the story, a Lumber Consortium influenced community in Andoran could be not just anti-fey, but anti-gnome and anti-elf, because of their connections to the fey / claims to the ancestral elven woodlands (which they want to be 'free' to pillage and exploit).

Why does Cheliax not like tieflings? They mainly worship Asmodeus so I would think at least devil-born tieflings would be accepted.

Tieflings in Cheliax are especially not accepted, and probably have it worse than halflings, as tieflings tend to be used in the worst possible forced labor, experimented on, thrown into ghettos... Cheliax likes to pretend that the contract Thrune has with Asmodeus puts humans firmly in charge, and they don't like to have evidence to the contrary, which tieflings are, just by existing. Throw in some extra crazy rhetoric, and a philosophy that worships strict hierarchies, tieflings end up at the bottom.

Such things usually aren't sane.


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Basically, yeah.
Diabolatry might be the official religion, but this is still very much a huamn empire.
Cheliax does not serve, not even Asmodeus. At least that's how they see it, and Asmo himself is probably quite fine with it because he's kind of playing a different game. Let them have their pride.

Which makes Tieflings in Cheliax like the bastards one has with the help, except worse and subhuman. On top of being an affront to both mankind and the strict hierarchy the country is built upon.
The taint of hell in your blood is not a good thing to have in the Empire. Most sources on Cheliax do a good job of describing that.
I'm not sure it's worse than the outright slavery of halflings, if only because it's pure prejudice rather than actual Law - as far as I know - but it's clearly not great either.

Aside from Cheliax, Kyonin is another big one. Elves only, round-ears not allowed.
Goblinoids are never welcome anywhere, half-orcs have a notoriously hard time fitting in.
And it's worth noting that good old human racism is alive and well.


Not to mention, many Tieflings are not from devilish bloodlines, and it isn't always obvious where the "taint" came from. Cheliax is not a great place for any non-human, the old Aroden racism is still strong. Aasimar are rather mistrusted as are their celestial ancestors for rather obvious reasons.


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Set wrote:
Cheliax is specifically racist to halflings, elves and tieflings.

I can understand halflings and tieflings - but why elves are suffering discrimination in Cheliax?

By the way, don't forget racial conflicts and tension between human subraces - in some places Varisians are seen as crooks and burglars (check Murder's Mark Module about this kind of discrimination); Korvosian people (remember, they are Chelixian descent) look down at Varisian and Shoanti people; Taldans distruts Keleshites due to the Grand Campaign; the Bloodwater Betrayals event (massacres caused when Ustalavs refused to harbor Sarkorians fleeing from the Worldwound, insteast forcin them back across the border to be slaughtered). These are just some examples about hatred and resentment born to racial/political/religious motivations.


Almost anywhere in the game is liable to have some form of it, even if it boils down to just "they're different".

I made sure to stress this to my players when they made characters for the current campaign, and have let them run across it occasionally. (Such as the Varisian character who runs into slurs from time to time)

One of mine is a wizard who is into all sorts of things, and I've told him that the glowing eyes are already spooky to the "average person". If he keeps doing things like wanting to get wings and so forth, he's liable to start having social issues in game.


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I'm personally not a fan of fantasy racism, so I never use it in an "overt" sense unless I'm trying to hang lights around "this person is bad."

But there's a lot of passive fantasy racism, like Half-Orcs are viewed with suspicion in Ustalav (and a lot of other places), and people who aren't human are second class citizens in Taldor.

But most of the time it's just going to take the form of "the people who live here are great, the people who aren't like us aren't." Even so I would offer that since people on Golarion live in a world where one is liable to encounter Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes, and Halflings and have heard of if not met much stranger things (the half-octopus people are extremely friendly) that most people's opinion when encountering a new kind of thing will be a sort of "guarded curiosity" more so than "distaste."

Like even if you've never left Osiron, you've probably heard of a Tengu and learned that the bird people are not normally aggressive (though somewhat inclined to piracy if the opportunity presents, but that's sort of a universal calling.)

Scarab Sages

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Its never been explicit in the CS book, but I'm sure there is plenty of racial tension between the Garundi and the Keleshites in the greater Osirion region (Katapesh, Geb, etc.). You don't have foreign armies invade and set themselves up as your rulers without a little enmity forming. Though really, any Osirioni who can claim to be a pureblood of either ethnicity has a thousand years of unlikelihood to contend with.

The novel "Beyond the Pool of Stars" portrays some of the nuanced racism going on in colonial Sargava, as the main character is mixed race (Cheliaxian and Mwangi) and she partners up with a lizardfolk.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Ustalav, in addition to the prejudice against half-orcs others have mentioned, has pretty strong biases against the "horror-themed" races that have rather large concentrations there (dhampirs, skinwalkers and changelings). They even have prejudices against other humans, most specifically the Kellid minority being suppressed by the Varisian majority, and a VERY strong fear and mistrust of arcane spellcasters of any race.

Honestly, given Ustalav's role as "the horror-movie setting" in Golarion, it's not surprising that racist locals are a feature, considering prejudiced and superstitious locals are ready to burn witches or grab torches and pitchforks at the mere suggestion a monster might be in their midst.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It's ancient history, but the Azlanti-descended Thassilonians looked down on the native Varisians and Shoanti, using them as slaves/servants (Varisians as workers of various sorts, and Shoanti as soldiers for Thassilon's many armies).

And I'm pretty sure that the rest of the Azlanti looked down on other humans too.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Bellona wrote:

It's ancient history, but the Azlanti-descended Thassilonians looked down on the native Varisians and Shoanti, using them as slaves/servants (Varisians as workers of various sorts, and Shoanti as soldiers for Thassilon's many armies).

And I'm pretty sure that the rest of the Azlanti looked down on other humans too.

More than looked down! The whole reason Thassilon got founded in the first place was because Xin said "Hey, maybe we can learn things from non-humans and non-Azlanti humans!" and that was just unthinkable to mainstream Azlant, so they kicked him and his followers out.


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It is fairly common in a realistic sort of way (as opposed to endorsing it).

* The Sargavan colonists are prejudiced against the Mwangi natives.

* The Kyonin elves are prejudiced against non-elves to the extent they don't even allow non-elves access to most of their realm.

* Chelaxians, as has already been mentioned, are prejudiced against tieflings and halflings as inferior/slave races.

* Korvosans are extremely prejudiced against Shoanti and also Varisian wanderers to a lesser degree.

* Taldans and Qadirans are mutually hostile.

* Ustalavs are prejudiced against Sarkorians and slaughtered Sarkorian refugees entering their realm when the Worldwound opened.

* Mwangi elves are murderously xenophobic.

* Hermeans regard most non-Hermeans as inferior beings.

* Tieflings are certainly not welcome in Mendev.

* Orcs and half-orcs are not welcome in Lastwall.

* Non-dwarves in the Five Kings Mts are usually restricted to foreign quarters.

* Gnomes in the Varisian forests refuse entry to non-gnomes.

etc, etc.


Non-dwarves in the Five Kings Mts are usually restricted to foreign quarters.

True thing, but to be fair, child proofing the whole kingdom is a daunting task.


And as a general note, getting discrimination out of the law, while necessary, is not sufficient to end discrimination in practice.


UnArcaneElection wrote:

And as a general note, getting discrimination out of the law, while necessary, is not sufficient to end discrimination in practice.

At least in the US it caused spikes in violence afterwards, although it may have just garnered more reporting so it seemed like an increase. I'm not an expert on the time period after desegregation or after the creation of the 13th amendment.


Claxon wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:
And as a general note, getting discrimination out of the law, while necessary, is not sufficient to end discrimination in practice.
At least in the US it caused spikes in violence afterwards, although it may have just garnered more reporting so it seemed like an increase. I'm not an expert on the time period after desegregation or after the creation of the 13th amendment.

Wouldn't be surprising. If the laws have changed, but culture and attitudes haven't, at least in some pockets, there will likely be conflict between those trying to take advantage of their new legal freedoms and those trying to keep them in their traditional place.


I would expect to see a lot of this in (3 jurisdictions that come most readily to mind):

Andoran, where the whole legal system reformed into a parliamentary democracy, but in places like Falcon's Hollow you have the equivalent of an 1870s/1880s company town, with Thuldrin Kreed (and his lackeys) doing whatever he can to force everyone into slavery in all but name;

Mendev, where supposedly the Burners have been stopped, and Tieflings nominally have legal rights as well as Core Race people, but in practice an awful lot of people hate Tieflings and want to burn anyone they don't like as Witches;

Trunau, where theoretically Half-Orcs can earn their rights just as well as anyone else, but a lot of people hate them.

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