Anyone else find Dead Suns to be too liberal? (Minor Temple of the Twelve spoilers)


Dead Suns


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Our GM threw his copy of Dead Suns 2 against the wall in the middle of our game and refused to host it further due to "its liberal bias." (I'm loosely paraphrasing as his outburst was somewhat more colorful). Being a teacher himself, he apparently empathized with Ailabiens 21:2 and couldn't stand how he was being treated by the university, or that the module didn't seem to allow the PCs to take his side to any good outcome (which nearly all of us wanted to do).

I haven't read the modules too closely for fear of spoilers, but the incident was such that it made me wonder if there were other conservatives out there who had similar thoughts or feelings on the matter (if not to the same degree of intensity as our GM). Do the Starfinder adventure paths in general strike you as being rather overtly PC?

Our GM is so ensenced by the recent writing style coming out of Paizo that he would have given up on Starfinder long ago if not for the high quality of mechanics and game balance it offers. For now, less passionate players have taken up the GMing mantle for our group, but for our old GM, I imagine a homebrew campaign setting isn't too far off in our future.


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It did seem like Ailabiens 21:2‘s position was logically correct and the AP’s preferred solution was to destroy the search for truth in preference for mthe feelings of the mob.


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Okay, so correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I can tell what happened is Ailabiens 21:2 says "Hey I analyzed ancient war strategies and uhhh I know that y'all signed a peace treaty but you should have done a genocide" and possibly thinks they still should? And then the University said "hey no, that's bad." Is that a rage inducing liberal bias? I thought we were all at least pretending to agree genocide is bad?


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Not really. The GM actually had to rein us in. 'Tactless professor advocates genocide' had us ready to break into his system to dig up and/or create dirt to get him canned. Of course, we're PCs, in a roleplaying game, and tend to have fairly extreme reactions to things.


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I don't recall our GM saying anything about advocating genocide, or advocating anything negative for that matter, just that people were refuting his scientific facts with emotional knee-jerk reactions--all because he couldn't explain things well to the common layman.

The way it was described, it sounded to us more like he had found scientific evidence that the lashunta's military tactics could have been much more effective had it not been for their sentimentality. When he drudged up that sorrowful past, and was somewhat tactless and insensitive to boot, the university mob got pissy and emotional and accused him of hate speech and bigotry rather than check his work to see if there was any real basis in fact.

It's kind of like watching this video, ignoring all of the logical points made therein, and then getting obsessed and upset with the last line.

Maybe our GM was moving too fast and missed something, or misread it and flipped out. There's been lots of other PC situations/verbiage in the Starfinder books that had been annoying him prior to this. This was just the tipping point.

Sovereign Court

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I only played the adventure, don't have the text handy, but I didn't remember anything being particularly forced or strange. Maybe it would be helpful to quote the supposedly offending text rather than rely on secondhand information from someone who clearly didn't like the text?

From what I recall from the text, Ailabiens 21:2 was a bit of a caricature character, the "rational but with no social skills whatsoever" scientist who is surprised that he offends people by being rude and suggesting awful things. And although supposedly super-smart and perfectly rational, isn't smart enough to realize or rational enough to acknowledge that you need social graces to get ahead in society.

I'd be more offended for dreary nerd-bashing an old stereotype than seeing any particular liberal bias in "most people thing genocide is bad, especially now that we're finally at peace with those people and things are pretty swell".


He didn't advocate genocide in modern time. 21:2 said that genocide would have ended the war centuries ago, one way or the other. His students took this as advocacy and the whole mess started.

This bit didn't strike me as a liberal vs conservative adventure so much as an adventure in office politics.

Sovereign Court

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Yeah, when you someone with no social graces whatsoever talking about genocide, and there's other people who'd like the same tenured spot, that's going to be office politics. Not national politics.


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I’m running the game and 21:2 was essentially admonishing the lashunta for not taking the more ‘logical and effective’ route of wiping the formians off the face of the planet.

He was advocating genocide, historical genocide sure, but still genocide.

But then again, I’m a dirty progressive who thinks killing off an entire people because it is convenient is a bad thing.


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Master Han Del of the Web wrote:

I’m running the game and 21:2 was essentially admonishing the lashunta for not taking the more ‘logical and effective’ route of wiping the formians off the face of the planet.

He was advocating genocide, historical genocide sure, but still genocide.

But then again, I’m a dirty progressive who thinks killing off an entire people because it is convenient is a bad thing.

this is how i always read it.

sure, he might be 'right'? but he's living in alternative history land.

he's an out of touch cook, ultimately.


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For the record, here is Alabiens 21:2’s controversial position on the Lashunta-Formian wars, raw text:

Temple of the Twelve spoilers:
“Offense
indicates a narrow perspective in the listeners.
I analyzed ancient lashunta armies’ strategies
against their formian neighbors and concluded that
the former’s conditioned sentimentality inhibited more effectively destructive actions against their long-time enemies. The audience found my conclusion upsetting.” Ailabiens 21:2 bobs thoughtfully before adding, “Other species are endlessly fascinating.”

For my part, it seems difficult for me to differentiate between whether Alibiens is retroactively arguing for utter racial genocide, or tactical, Nagasaki-style strategic bombings. I regard both of these tactics as morally indefensible, but in the latter case, there is at least the possibility of a calculated risk to end up with a smaller net loss of lives, if one significant destructive action brings an end to what would otherwise be a long and protracted war, resulting in far many more dead by the end of it. We can afford some empathy for this logic, at least, because it has good motivations (end the war with a minimum loss of life), and the rationale has good merit, to a point.

That said, given that the Lashunta-Formian wars are now over, and appreciating that their newfound peaceful cooperation is still tense, at best - and how utterly disastrous and violent war between the two would be again, if their truce was ever broken - it should hardly be controversial to call Alabiens’s perspective a dangerous one to be actively fostering in young, impressionable minds. And of all the ways the students could have responded, I think their attitude is much preferred to many alternatives, and probably a good indication that Lashunta-Formian relations are on the right track.


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Yakman wrote:
Master Han Del of the Web wrote:

I’m running the game and 21:2 was essentially admonishing the lashunta for not taking the more ‘logical and effective’ route of wiping the formians off the face of the planet.

He was advocating genocide, historical genocide sure, but still genocide.

But then again, I’m a dirty progressive who thinks killing off an entire people because it is convenient is a bad thing.

this is how i always read it.

sure, he might be 'right'? but he's living in alternative history land.

he's an out of touch cook, ultimately.

Analyzing past battles to evaluate the used strategy has nothing to do with being an "out of touch cook" and people freaking out because of the result shows a great deal of snowflakeyness.

Sovereign Court

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Ixal wrote:
Analyzing past battles to evaluate the used strategy has nothing to do with being an "out of touch cook" and people freaking out because of the result shows a great deal of snowflakeyness.

He's out of touch because he may have been a professor for a century or so at that university, but in the last 30 years a war that has been raging since before the Gap was settled peacefully, and he's talking about how it could (sounds a lot like "should, you sissy") have been won violently instead. That sort of talk doesn't help if the peace is still fragile, which is probably is after a war that lasted millennia.

As a professor, his job isn't just to do research and be as correct as possible about the facts. It's also to be a teacher and a research community leader. His statements and also his contempt for social graces show that he's basically incompetent at half of his job.

(As a side note, "iffish history" is generally not seen as a very serious pursuit among professional historians, more as the indulgence of people who want to sell successful popular science books.)


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Ascalaphus wrote:
Ixal wrote:
Analyzing past battles to evaluate the used strategy has nothing to do with being an "out of touch cook" and people freaking out because of the result shows a great deal of snowflakeyness.

He's out of touch because he may have been a professor for a century or so at that university, but in the last 30 years a war that has been raging since before the Gap was settled peacefully, and he's talking about how it could (sounds a lot like "should, you sissy") have been won violently instead. That sort of talk doesn't help if the peace is still fragile, which is probably is after a war that lasted millennia.

As a professor, his job isn't just to do research and be as correct as possible about the facts. It's also to be a teacher and a research community leader. His statements and also his contempt for social graces show that he's basically incompetent at half of his job.

(As a side note, "iffish history" is generally not seen as a very serious pursuit among professional historians, more as the indulgence of people who want to sell successful popular science books.)

Its not his job to be a diplomat either. Facts are facts and the military is certainly interested in some evaluation of their strategy so that they can improve them for the next time.


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Ascalaphus is more or less hitting the nail on the head.

When I read, played and ran this Book, I certainly didn't see Ailabiens 21:2 as anything other than a socially dysfunctional navel-gazing scientist type. One that's characterized by how they are quick to spring accusations of stupidity on anyone who speaks out against them. Between his general nastiness towards others and his advocacy of a genocidal solution to the lashunta-formian wars, the book's authors clearly assumed that most players would be motivated to side with the University against him.

That said, after some reflection on how the character is portrayed, I can see how your GM might find this an example of liberal bias. Of late, US-left-leaning individuals have been quick to accuse others of 'lacking empathy', 'being too extreme', or 'being tactless'. And seeing those accusations echoed against an NPC who is more socially dysfunctional than malicious... well, I can see how it feels like the unfair treatment of the real world is being echoed in game. Especially since the PCs are assumed to side against 21:2.
---

Paizo has always been clear that they're committed to diverse representation, strong stances on equality, and similar positions. This is intentionally reflected in their work and has been more prevalent in recent years. Whether that's "too liberal" is up for your gaming group to decide.

On the plus side, this stuff is easy to change for your GM to suit his taste and those of your gaming group.


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Ixal wrote:
Analyzing past battles to evaluate the used strategy has nothing to do with being an "out of touch cook" and people freaking out because of the result shows a great deal of snowflakeyness.

This seems to mirror the feelings of several of my fellow players as well.


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Ixal wrote:
Its not his job to be a diplomat either. Facts are facts and the military is certainly interested in some evaluation of their strategy so that they can improve them for the next time.

Whether it was on Alabiens's job description or not, he was a "diplomat" of the university. The Lashunta-Formian wars had only ended thirty years ago - enough time that likely most people had at least one loved one affected by the war, and probably a lot of kids growing up without grandparents. This is just a few decades after a war that spanned millennia, with deep prejudice about the Formian race ingrained within the culture. So if a representative from a respected university (and mentor to young adults) is arguing from an influential position that if those damn bugs that killed so many of your loved ones had been bombed/genocided even more, the world would be a better place - that's going to start new problems and cause even more unnecessary harm (regardless of the veracity of Alabiens's claims, which were disputed amongst his colleagues). It's also worth pointing out the relevant information Professor Muhali (who informed the PCs of the Alabiens scandal) provided - that the populace was already developing harmful opinions based on his rationale, and hate crimes were on the uprise, many attributed to the lectures of Alabiens himself.

I appreciate that conservative-minded folks have valid reason to feel uncomfortable on account of the parallels between Qabarat University's scandal and contemporary events - although I'm very puzzled why anyone would side with Alabiens here. Isn't the point of school to make educated, productive, beneficial members of society? Alabiens was an anthropologist - not a military historian. The point of his vocation was to understand and find connections with foreign cultures - not teach lectures that would serve as a spark near the gas leak. Regardless of whether what he stated was true or not, it was inappropriate for that setting and that time. If you are trying to woo a girl, you don't list off the things you dislike about her on your first date, regardless of whether it's true or not. Every truth has a time and a place to be spoken - and Alabiens's wrongdoing was that he was willfully ignorant of the consequences his words had on other people in that time and situation.


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Ixal wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
Ixal wrote:
Analyzing past battles to evaluate the used strategy has nothing to do with being an "out of touch cook" and people freaking out because of the result shows a great deal of snowflakeyness.

He's out of touch because he may have been a professor for a century or so at that university, but in the last 30 years a war that has been raging since before the Gap was settled peacefully, and he's talking about how it could (sounds a lot like "should, you sissy") have been won violently instead. That sort of talk doesn't help if the peace is still fragile, which is probably is after a war that lasted millennia.

As a professor, his job isn't just to do research and be as correct as possible about the facts. It's also to be a teacher and a research community leader. His statements and also his contempt for social graces show that he's basically incompetent at half of his job.

(As a side note, "iffish history" is generally not seen as a very serious pursuit among professional historians, more as the indulgence of people who want to sell successful popular science books.)

Its not his job to be a diplomat either. Facts are facts and the military is certainly interested in some evaluation of their strategy so that they can improve them for the next time.

when your strategy hinges on genocide, there's a problem.

In fact, most(certainly not all) real world military has a large problem with that of late(historically speaking), and there are rules against that sort of thing via Geneva Convention.

Long story short, if you are advocating genocide, don't get mad when people take issue with you.


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Ixal wrote:
Yakman wrote:
Master Han Del of the Web wrote:

I’m running the game and 21:2 was essentially admonishing the lashunta for not taking the more ‘logical and effective’ route of wiping the formians off the face of the planet.

He was advocating genocide, historical genocide sure, but still genocide.

But then again, I’m a dirty progressive who thinks killing off an entire people because it is convenient is a bad thing.

this is how i always read it.

sure, he might be 'right'? but he's living in alternative history land.

he's an out of touch cook, ultimately.

Analyzing past battles to evaluate the used strategy has nothing to do with being an "out of touch cook" and people freaking out because of the result shows a great deal of snowflakeyness.

'if only they had just done this' leads us down to Harry Turtledove land.

The dude's barmy. He's not only a literary, but a physical caricature of a nutty professor. Thin-skinned when insulted, but freely hurls offensive language around and damn the consequences until they impact him.


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Yakman wrote:
The dude's barmy. He's not only a literary, but a physical caricature of a nutty professor. Thin-skinned when insulted, but freely hurls offensive language around and damn the consequences until they impact him.

"It's no insult to say a dead man is dead." - Odysseus (Troy, 2004)

Or as Ailabiens 21:2 might see it, "It's no insult to say a dumb man is dumb." It's completely tactless sure, but if he declares someone to be his intellectual inferior, he's probably right.

When your whole race has an indisputable, biological intelligence advantage over nearly every other race (as represented by the contemplative's +4 racial bonus to Intelligence), it's totally fair to think of other races as being less intelligent. 99% of the time, you're going to be right.

If the university wasn't so political, and instead actually cared about education and facts, Ailabiens 21:2 would probably be running the place (if he were so inclined).


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Wow, this is going to get locked down any minute now, but I'll throw my two credits in again...

So here's the thing 21:2 is frankly wrong, even disregarding the genocide portion. He's operating on faulty core assumptions, ones that he should be more aware of as an anthropologist. He may have a racial +4 to intelligence but that clearly doesn't stop him from being incompetent. While the formians are alien to the lashunta way of life, the preservation of their hives has likely been a massive economic boon to the people of Castrovel.

If the lashunta had taken a more brutal approach in their war effort, Castrovel would very likely not be nearly as relevant in the Pact Worlds today. Formian workers, now industrialized, are highly efficient and their long occupation of their continent has beaten back the jungle that encroaches almost constantly everywhere else on the planet. If the lashunta had followed his advice, they might have had more land and raw resources but would have been shooting themselves in the foot when it came to raw production capacity.

In the short term, it hurt the lashunta but in the long term, mercy helped the entire population of the planet and not a single species.

Pact Worlds, pg 30 wrote:
Non-formian corporate employees are sometimes granted the status of honorary member of a hive and the permission to oversee formian workers, whose efficiency is only second to that of the best robots. Due to the formians' relative lack of concern for the environment, many firms have transferred their fabrication to the Colonies


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Ravingdork wrote:
Yakman wrote:
The dude's barmy. He's not only a literary, but a physical caricature of a nutty professor. Thin-skinned when insulted, but freely hurls offensive language around and damn the consequences until they impact him.

"It's no insult to say a dead man is dead." - Odysseus (Troy, 2004)

Or as Ailabiens 21:2 might see it, "It's no insult to say a dumb man is dumb." It's completely tactless sure, but if he declares someone to be his intellectual inferior, he's probably right.

When your whole race has an indisputable, biological intelligence advantage over nearly every other race (as represented by the contemplative's +4 racial bonus to Intelligence), it's totally fair to think of other races as being less intelligent. 99% of the time, you're going to be right.

If the university wasn't so political, and instead actually cared about education and facts, Ailabiens 21:2 would probably be running the place (if he were so inclined).

there are more things in the world than facts.


Still waiting for a quote where he actually advocates genocide instead of just "more destructive tactics". Why the need to create a strawman here?

Contemplatives are described as hyper intelligent, so his claims are most likely right. And you can be sure that the military is certainly doing their own evaluation of the war and the input of an contemplative would at least be looked at because of their reputation.

But because it hurts the feelings of a few students not only does his analysis gets suppressed, he also gets punished for thinking (what contemplatives do best). Emotional students beat logic and facts.
That "everything turned out well in the end" is no defense. It might not turn out well the next time. Or when the Swarm attacks again, or the Aeon Empire. And then you would need an effective military and not one which loses because they refused to learn from previous battles because of triggered students.

But the real problem is that the adventure assumes that suppressing knowledge because some students feeling triggered is correct and the one true solution instead of giving the PCs and GM a choice there and thus taking a definitive stand in a controversial and still ongoing real world debate (in US universities)


Ixal wrote:

Still waiting for a quote where he actually advocates genocide instead of just "more destructive tactics". Why the need to create a strawman here?

Contemplatives are described as hyper intelligent, so his claims are most likely right. And you can be sure that the military is certainly doing their own evaluation of the war and the input of an contemplative would at least be looked at because of their reputation.

But because it hurts the feelings of a few students not only does his analysis gets suppressed, he also gets punished for thinking (what contemplatives do best). Emotional students beat logic and facts.
That "everything turned out well in the end" is no defense. It might not turn out well the next time. Or when the Swarm attacks again, or the Aeon Empire. And then you would need an effective military and not one which loses because they refused to learn from previous battles because of triggered students.

But the real problem is that the adventure assumes that suppressing knowledge because some students feeling triggered is correct and the one true solution instead of giving the PCs and GM a choice there and thus taking a definitive stand in a controversial and still ongoing real world debate (in US universities)

Hey look, there it goes!


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Ravingdork wrote:
I don't recall our GM saying anything about advocating genocide, or advocating anything negative for that matter, just that people were refuting his scientific facts with emotional knee-jerk reactions--all because he couldn't explain things well to the common layman.

If you treat charisma like a dump stat, don't get upset when common folk treat your words like they came from a compost heap.


I don't know that comparing this to anything in Earth history is particularly accurate.

The Formian-Lashunta war wasn't like an alien version of WW2. Nobody is suggesting the Right Lashunta should exterminate the Wrong Lashunta.

We're talking about 2 wholly different species that want to exist in the same niche, which usually results in only one species getting to exist in the same niche. If you suddenly had to choose between 'humans' and 'not humans,' I hope and expect you'd choose humans, and not the 'not humans' because it's too mean to support a 'my species deserves to live' mentality.


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This thread feels a little tense right now. Let's relax a bit, yeah? Why resort to war when we can resort to reason? And if we're against war, let's be slow to start one with our fellow friendly Starfinders.

Yakman wrote:
there are more things in the world than facts.

With greatest respect, I'm going to disagree here. Facts are all there is in the world (fact and not-facts, anyway). String a few facts together inside an argument, and you have a story. And stories can often be wrong, even when the facts that comprise them are all accurate. This is usually because an argument lacks necessary, relevant context. And this is why I think your conclusions are wrong, Ixal - not your rationale, but the conclusions your reach from that rationale, which do not consider all the information we have, but only some of it.

Lashunta culture is described as one composed of "warrior-philosophers." As such, academic institutions are clearly held in high regard, and people - not just students, but the populace itself - look to them for guidance. As far as I'm aware this is a fact. What is also a fact is that there are a lot of angry people in Qabarat right now, and it is unlikely the majority of them are students. As per Professor Muhali:

Temple of the Twelve spoiler:
“One of my colleagues, Ailabiens 21:2, gave a rather incendiary public lecture last night in which he examined a war from nearly a millennium ago and used the cultural fallout from it to rationalize the genocide of the formian species. Even before the lashunta city-states and formian Colonies signed peace accords thirty years ago, such brutal conclusions would have been dismissed. Now he is fomenting hate crimes under the guise of ‘pure logic’ and anthropology. This is not what the university stands for, but it’s what the public now believes. I’ve placed him on academic leave and restricted his access to university resources until we can clean this up.”

Muhali makes it clear Alabiens is not being scrutinized for telling the truth. He is being scrutinized because he is promoting an opinion that is controversial at best, as fact - and in the capacity of a mouthpiece of a prestigious institution. Moreover, this is not a private classroom "what if" lecture. This is a public lecture with a lot of coverage, and it is being delivered to a city filled with people who were angry well before the students at the university were angry. Unlike the students, these angry people are willing to commit hate crimes on behalf of Alabiens's logic, and have done so.

The fact, here, is that people are getting hurt in the streets (possibly killed) - because Alabiens is abusing his prestigious position to tell a bunch of people who probably already want more Formians dead something that essentially amounts in the average ear to: "hey, the world would be better off if more Formians were dead."

If Alabiens were teaching at a military academy in a more sound-proof environment, his lecture would be much more appropriate (we agree it is very important to consider every tactic available for winning and preventing more wars). But as it stands, I contend the students' reaction was entirely justified. Alabiens's incompetency risked a hard-fought truce that came after millennia of war and tragedy. If some nutty professor wanted to compromise all of that by enabling angry, bigoted people (even if his conclusions were sound - which they were not) - I would fly off the handle as well. I wouldn't want my children to fight the same war I lost my grandparents to. Alabiens doesn't seem to care about that at all (in fact, he was willing to publicly apologize for his statements just to preserve his campaign for tenure).

Facts matter. Stories matter. The context and the time a story is delivered in matter. Thus far, Alabiens's facts are accurate (probably), his story sketchy at best, and the context and time his story is delivered to...could not be worse.


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Actually, reading Muhali's quote again, I just realized Alabiens is actually endorsing utter racial genocide, which I didn't remember reading before. So I'm actually going to revise my opinion and contend that Alabiens's actions are indefensibly wrong, and well deserved the backlash they received. Furthermore, because Alabiens's actions resulted in harm against actual people, I will contend the consequences he received are very soft and forgiving.


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Thank you, Opsylum, for the additional character quotes. I too will withdraw my objections on this specific matter.

I still wonder though if Paizo is a bit too PC; allowing certain ideologies and social pressure to effect the quality of the stories they write. Positive messeges are all well and good, until it crosses over into the realm of propaganda and negatively impacts the story. (To be clear, I don't think Paizo has done this, but they sure seem to have gotten close at times.)

The best products and stories are those where the story comes first, and the messege is included only as is appropriate in the context of the story. When PC propaganda comes first, it feels forced and insincere, and the story/product suffers as a result. (Another good example of this is the CW's television show, Super Girl, which is essentially liberal propaganda wrapped up in a popular product identity, so much so that many of the character's decisions defy logic or even common sense.)


Personally, I don't believe Paizo or their writing staff have gone that direction. The occasional bit of modern political commentary pops up. That'll happen in any media when the writers are part of modern times. It's certainly not propaganda.


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Ravingdork wrote:

Thank you, Opsylum, for the additional character quotes. I too will withdraw my objections on this specific matter.

I still wonder though if Paizo is a bit too PC; allowing certain ideologies and social pressure to effect the quality of the stories they write. Positive messeges are all well and good, until it crosses over into the realm of propaganda and negatively impacts the story. (To be clear, I don't think Paizo has done this, but they sure seem to have gotten close at times.)

The best products and stories are those where the story comes first, and the messege is included only as is appropriate in the context of the story. When PC propaganda comes first, it feels forced and insincere, and the story/product suffers as a result. (Another good example of this is the CW's television show, Super Girl, which is essentially liberal propaganda wrapped up in a popular product identity, so much so that many of the character's decisions defy logic or even common sense.)

To be honest, I've not noticed it as much, but I tend to align left of center politically, so I'm likely not as sensitive to these kinds of things when they pop up. I do seem to recall the conflict between the current Pact Council Primex and the Strong Absalom movement seemed a little bit caricature-y. The way the conflict was framed, one side is clearly in the right and the other in the wrong, although the conflict seems pretty similar to contemporary issues going on which aren't quite so simple. I think that story might benefit from more nuance - which is generally a hallmark of good storytelling.

I actually got into roleplaying games during a time when I was a political conservative, and enjoyed them a great deal because the stories I engaged with introduced difficult moral spectacles which represented both conservative and progressive ideologies in complimentary light, and encouraged me to think about conflict more thoroughly than I had before. I think Starfinder does that (the Pact Worlds itself is a confederacy with a relatively decentralized government - not a federation, for example). I think Abadar and Erastil also have great capacity to represent conservative ideology in a compelling light. Iomedae's "Spirit of Golarion" thing and the Knights of Golarion faction focusing their efforts on the "lost children of Golarion" has great parallels with modern struggles of cultures trying to preserve their identity and traditions against an increasingly cosmopolitan world. While the people writing Starfinder probably as a majority lean liberal (part of the reason is probably because LGBTQ rights is still a controversial matter among conservatives at the moment) - I don't think I've seen anything to suggest they are openly hostile to conservativism. And I think a wide majority of people both on the staff and this board would welcome diversity of thought, including what conservativism brings to the table.

Cheers, Ravingdork!


Opsylum wrote:

This thread feels a little tense right now. Let's relax a bit, yeah? Why resort to war when we can resort to reason? And if we're against war, let's be slow to start one with our fellow friendly Starfinders.

Yakman wrote:
there are more things in the world than facts.

With greatest respect, I'm going to disagree here. Facts are all there is in the world (fact and not-facts, anyway). String a few facts together inside an argument, and you have a story. And stories can often be wrong, even when the facts that comprise them are all accurate. This is usually because an argument lacks necessary, relevant context. And this is why I think your conclusions are wrong, Ixal - not your rationale, but the conclusions your reach from that rationale, which do not consider all the information we have, but only some of it.

Lashunta culture is described as one composed of "warrior-philosophers." As such, academic institutions are clearly held in high regard, and people - not just students, but the populace itself - look to them for guidance. As far as I'm aware this is a fact. What is also a fact is that there are a lot of angry people in Qabarat right now, and it is unlikely the majority of them are students. As per Professor Muhali:

** spoiler omitted **

Muhali makes it clear Alabiens is not being scrutinized for telling...

Yes, that is the snowflake version of the events. But that the lecture was about ancient events its unlikely that any action in the current day was recommended. And an analysis that a genocidal camapaign would have ended the war immediately instead of dragging it out for a century is exactly that, an analysis. I also do not find any reference in the adventure that anyone performed hate crimes based on Alabiens lecture.

So in the end its just some people not liking facts and his analysis and forcing him to recant and apologize, not unlike what was done to medieval researchers that published something which challenged the believes of the church, just not with the stake at the end should they refuse.
And the only way for the PCs to get XP out of this is to side with the PC faction and getting Alabiens to apologize for telling facts people did not like.
If the adventure would give out XP just for achieving the goal no matter how all would be fine. But instead you only will get rewarded when going against Alabiens, making that the "correct" choice.


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Ixal, stop using "snowflake". It is an ad hominem attack and makes you look like a jerk.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Opsylum wrote:

To be honest, I've not noticed it as much, but I tend to align left of center politically, so I'm likely not as sensitive to these kinds of things when they pop up. I do seem to recall the conflict between the current Pact Council Primex and the Strong Absalom movement seemed a little bit caricature-y. The way the conflict was framed, one side is clearly in the right and the other in the wrong, although the conflict seems pretty similar to contemporary issues going on which aren't quite so simple. I think that story might benefit from more nuance - which is generally a hallmark of good storytelling.

I actually got into roleplaying games during a time when I was a political conservative, and enjoyed them a great deal because the stories I engaged with introduced difficult moral spectacles which represented both conservative and progressive ideologies in complimentary light, and encouraged me to think about conflict more thoroughly than I had before. I think Starfinder does that (the Pact Worlds itself is a confederacy with a relatively decentralized government - not a federation, for example). I think Abadar and Erastil also have great capacity to represent conservative ideology in a compelling light. Iomedae's "Spirit of Golarion" thing and the Knights of Golarion faction focusing their efforts on the "lost children of Golarion" has great parallels with modern struggles of cultures trying to preserve their identity and traditions against an increasingly cosmopolitan world. While the people writing Starfinder probably as a majority lean liberal (part of the reason is probably because LGBTQ rights is still a controversial matter among conservatives at the moment) - I don't think I've seen anything to suggest they are openly hostile to conservativism. And I think a wide majority of people both on the staff and this board would welcome diversity of thought, including what conservativism brings to the table.

Now this is the kind of honest, open discussion I was hoping for!

Cheers to you too!

Ixal wrote:


Yes, that is the snowflake version of the events. But that the lecture was about ancient events its unlikely that any action in the current day was recommended. And an analysis that a genocidal camapaign would have ended the war immediately instead of dragging it out for a century is exactly that, an analysis. I also do not find any reference in the adventure that anyone performed hate crimes based on Alabiens lecture.

So in the end its just some people not liking facts and his analysis and forcing him to recant and apologize, not unlike what was done to medieval researchers that published something which challenged the believes of the church,...

Whereas this sounds a lot like my GM.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Accessories Subscriber

"he examined a war from nearly a millennium ago and" - wait, the gap only ended 319 years ago. How is he researching inside the gap?


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
thistledown wrote:
"he examined a war from nearly a millennium ago and" - wait, the gap only ended 319 years ago. How is he researching inside the gap?

He isn't. The war started well before the Gap and was still going on when the Gap ended. It would be reasonable (though of course not certain) to infer that the war continued throughout the Gap.


thistledown wrote:
"he examined a war from nearly a millennium ago and" - wait, the gap only ended 319 years ago. How is he researching inside the gap?

Thats another thing.

Basically people are getting worked up for him saying the equivalent to the Roman Empire would have endured if the had continued to destroy their enemies like they did with Carthage or how the catholic coalition could have destroyed the Ottoman Empire.
Ancient stuff which had absolutely no relevance for today except for the enemies also being Formians.


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Nope, the official end to hostilities is relatively recent. The peace was negotiated by Shirren diplomats and the Shirren arrived in the Pact Worlds in 83 AG, current year is 318 AG. That’s, at most, 235 years ago, but probably less. I’m trying to find an official date. Hardly just ‘ancient stuff’. I’m pretty sure it is probably within living memory of at least a few of the longer-lived residents of the planet, very likely a few of the Formian Queens were alive or spawned from those alive at the time. Also, this is 200-odd years of a society with media devices congruent to what we have today, so they probably have a very different relationship to those years than we do to the 1700s and we still get shirty about stuff that happened back then.

EDIT: Found it, 287 AG was when the peace was brokered. 31 years ago is definitely not ancient.


Master Han Del of the Web wrote:

Nope, the official end to hostilities is relatively recent. The peace was negotiated by Shirren diplomats and the Shirren arrived in the Pact Worlds in 83 AG, current year is 318 AG. That’s, at most, 235 years ago, but probably less. I’m trying to find an official date. Hardly just ‘ancient stuff’. I’m pretty sure it is probably within living memory of at least a few of the longer-lived residents of the planet, very likely a few of the Formian Queens were alive or spawned from those alive at the time. Also, this is 200-odd years of a society with media devices congruent to what we have today, so they probably have a very different relationship to those years than we do to the 1700s and we still get shirty about stuff that happened back then.

EDIT: Found it, 287 AG was when the peace was brokered. 31 years ago is definitely not ancient.

"Nearly a millennia ago" >>> 245 years, so probably a war between those two races before the gap. Either way, the comment was on ancient war tactics, and maybe on how the Lashunta keep making the same mistake, and not on the current day situation or something like the peace never should have been made like some people here seem to think.


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Ixal wrote:
"Nearly a millennia ago" >>> 245 years, so probably a war between those two races before the gap.

That is actively false, please read the edit I made and called out. The conflict was ongoing for millennia and only came to an official end 31 years ago.

Ixal wrote:
Either way, the comment was on ancient war tactics, and maybe on how the Lashunta keep making the same mistake, and not on the current day situation or something like the peace never should have been made like some people here seem to think.

It is on tactics, sure but I've got the book open right now and am looking at what his criticisms actually are, as he characterizes them (emphasis mine)...

Dead Suns, Temple of the Twelve, pg 9 wrote:
I analyzed ancient lashunta armies’ strategies against their formian neighbors and concluded that the former’s conditioned sentimentality inhibited more effectively destructive actions against their long-time enemies.

So specifically he was criticizing the lashunta for not being willing to commit war crimes. He said this to an audience that could probably still remember the conflict and he phrased it in a way that called them weak for not being the very thing their media probably portrayed the formians as for generations. It's not tactics, it is a critique of the culture of the lashunta and their psychology. Is it any surprise this would upset people?

In fact, psychology is a running theme with this character. He is noted earlier in the text as 'boorishly psychoanalyzing' people around him. He is, I should remind you, an anthropologist and not a psychologist. While there are elements of psychology in anthropology they are not the same thing and anthropologists definitely don't go around diagnosing anyone. Anthropologists also don't focus on military history, that's historians. He should definitely not be making grand suppositions about how psychology affects battle strategy.

So, the only conclusion I can draw here is that he is massively incompetent, egotistical, and talking entirely outside of his specialties.

Sovereign Court

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To put some perspective on the "it's been 30 years" part of the peace. I live in the Netherlands. Growing up, even in the 90s, Germany was considered kinda nasty. It took two generations before the general population started viewing our neighbor country and biggest trading partner as more positive than negative.

Paizo Employee Customer Service & Community Manager

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I'm going to go ahead and close up the thread. The framing of the post is not particularly helpful for facilitating a discussion, and the liberal vs conservative commentary goes outside our moratorium on political discussions on paizo.com. Lastly, "snowflake" as a label is particularly unhelpful in keeping discussions on track.

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