Oracle Iconic


Oracle Playtest

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Just realized the discussion about this is entirely in the initial announcement thread. Copying out select posts for visibility.

Andrew White wrote:
orphicblue wrote:
What happened to Alahazra as iconic oracle?
For no reason, I feel compelled to mention that the newly ritual-ified Reincarnation may also be coming in this book. Just sayin'.
Sitrein wrote:
Not going to lie, I'm upset that Alahazra was replaced. Seeing her art was literally the reason I first got into Pathfinder.
Squiggit wrote:
First impression is that Alahazra getting replaced is a mechanical thing. Curses work radically differently in PF2 in such a way that make Alahazra's Curse of Blindness that's core to her story not really make sense anymore.
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

Alahazra, a black blind woman being replaced by a birdperson is not the best choice for a number of reasons and I hope Paizo has a way of addressing what this does and means for real world representation.

I know Paizo is always trying its best to do right when it comes to representation for the audience.

I think it's important that we also call it out when the mark gets missed.

Tengu iconic is a fun premise, but I don't think that fantasy ancestries do as much real-world good as having a POC with a disability front and center in your product.

Feel free to add anything I've missed.


Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Folks, just to speak on the topic of the Tengu Oracle...

When looking at the iconics for Pathfinder 2nd Edition, we are always on the look out for ways to offer up a different look and feel for these vital characters. In the past, they have been primarily human, so with the new edition we have decided to mix it up a bit, adding characters that represent different ancestries in the game. Our new tengu character is just one example of where we decided to go in a different direction, but you will still find Alahazra in our game as a sample Oracle.

Silver Crusade

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I rather have Alahazra back.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I’m not opposed to replacing Iconics if need be, but they picked the worst batch to do it with, since the Witch, Investigator, Swashbuckler, and original Oracle are all awesome.

Damiel never really stood out to me in any way so him being replaced didn’t bother me.


Yeah, I'd love some monster iconics, but I also like having Alahazra. If she needs any change, perhaps a change of clothes like Seoni had.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

*nods*

And an equally awesome headpiece.


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Alahazra was... weird. She would certainly have been due for a Seoni style new outfit. She also was supposedly wearing a breast plate for her official builds but that wasn't communicated to Wayne Reynolds so she wasn't drawn with armor. (I always assumed they were thinking she might get one of those mysteries with an armor aura revelation and then that didn't happen.) At least that bit can be solved by oracles not getting armor proficiency now and armor being less important in general. But she's got some weird baggage, felt extremely male gaze-y, and wasn't used as much as Seoni was in other works. I think I'm into the recasting.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I saw her quite a bit, or at least remember her appearances more I guess.

She was an Iconic for Strange Aeons, and the image of her healing Valeros from Healers Handbook (I believe it was) was very good.

Edit: Nope, the HH art piece was Kyra and Feiya, where is the Alahazra one from...

Edit 2:Nope, the art was in the P1 Core Rulebook and it was Kyra as well.

*sigh*


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Alahazra has a lot of thematic overlap with Kyra. We don't really need two Divine Fire-Themed Human Casters, and frankly anything that'll reduce the ridiculous number of humans in the iconic cast is welcome.


Arachnofiend wrote:
and frankly anything that'll reduce the ridiculous number of humans in the iconic cast is welcome.

Are there ridiculous numbers of black disabled women in the iconic cast?

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Pssst, if you *really* cared, you'd use the expression. "with disabilities" instead of "disabled".


Yeah, let's see where this goes


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Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

I like birds but I also like Alahazra.

I do have to say though, that i'm personally more interested in there being less human(or dwarf/elf/gnome/halfing) icons.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Alahazra was one of my least favorite iconics, so I am more than happy with an iconic Tengu instead.


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Zapp wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
and frankly anything that'll reduce the ridiculous number of humans in the iconic cast is welcome.

Are there ridiculous numbers of black disabled women in the iconic cast?

Alahazra has enough issues as a character that I don't see much value in arguing over checkboxes with her. I would have replaced her with a Garundi orc woman but hey, we can't get exactly what we want.


Captain Morgan wrote:
But she's got some weird baggage, felt extremely male gaze-y, and wasn't used as much as Seoni was in other works. I think I'm into the recasting.

I might not have seen the pictures you think of, but I am surprised you think there's any iconic more male-gazey than Seoni.

(Not that I have a problem with that. Just mildly surprised you brought that up as a problem at the same time you made a comparison with the sexy sorceress, that's all)


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Zapp wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
But she's got some weird baggage, felt extremely male gaze-y, and wasn't used as much as Seoni was in other works. I think I'm into the recasting.

I might not have seen the pictures you think of, but I am surprised you think there's any iconic more male-gazey than Seoni.

(Not that I have a problem with that. Just mildly surprised you brought that up as a problem at the same time you made a comparison with the sexy sorceress, that's all)

You have misread / misinterpreted

Captain is saying both are male-gazey but that Seoni was used in far more art and was therefore harder to remove/recast as an iconic

Seoni being removed would have caused more complaints than removing the oracle .

As it is the main complaints seem to be trying to accuse paizo of not being representative. When you consider paizo’s staff, characters and adventure contents this seems quite laughable to me

Silver Crusade

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My main gripe with Alahazra was her fantastically impractical outfit - DAT HEADPIECE! This was perhaps best spoofed in one Skull and Shackles art that saw her cleaning the deck in her "High Priestess During Annual Festiwal of Light" gear.

If she is to share spotlight with Birdie, I hope she gets a more down-to-earth set of clothes and accessories.

And pretty much, Paizo's bunch of iconics is perhaps the most diverse and inclusive of any nerdy franchise.


Lanathar wrote:
Zapp wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
But she's got some weird baggage, felt extremely male gaze-y, and wasn't used as much as Seoni was in other works. I think I'm into the recasting.

I might not have seen the pictures you think of, but I am surprised you think there's any iconic more male-gazey than Seoni.

(Not that I have a problem with that. Just mildly surprised you brought that up as a problem at the same time you made a comparison with the sexy sorceress, that's all)

You have misread / misinterpreted

Captain is saying both are male-gazey but that Seoni was used in far more art and was therefore harder to remove/recast as an iconic

Seoni being removed would have caused more complaints than removing the oracle .

Ah, okay

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Lanathar wrote:
Zapp wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
But she's got some weird baggage, felt extremely male gaze-y, and wasn't used as much as Seoni was in other works. I think I'm into the recasting.

I might not have seen the pictures you think of, but I am surprised you think there's any iconic more male-gazey than Seoni.

(Not that I have a problem with that. Just mildly surprised you brought that up as a problem at the same time you made a comparison with the sexy sorceress, that's all)

You have misread / misinterpreted

Captain is saying both are male-gazey but that Seoni was used in far more art and was therefore harder to remove/recast as an iconic

Seoni being removed would have caused more complaints than removing the oracle .

As it is the main complaints seem to be trying to accuse paizo of not being representative. When you consider paizo’s staff, characters and adventure contents this seems quite laughable to me

Not really, since they did replace a blind black woman with a fantasy bird (then joked about killing her off as well).


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Rysky wrote:
Lanathar wrote:
Zapp wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
But she's got some weird baggage, felt extremely male gaze-y, and wasn't used as much as Seoni was in other works. I think I'm into the recasting.

I might not have seen the pictures you think of, but I am surprised you think there's any iconic more male-gazey than Seoni.

(Not that I have a problem with that. Just mildly surprised you brought that up as a problem at the same time you made a comparison with the sexy sorceress, that's all)

You have misread / misinterpreted

Captain is saying both are male-gazey but that Seoni was used in far more art and was therefore harder to remove/recast as an iconic

Seoni being removed would have caused more complaints than removing the oracle .

As it is the main complaints seem to be trying to accuse paizo of not being representative. When you consider paizo’s staff, characters and adventure contents this seems quite laughable to me

Not really, since they did replace a blind black woman with a fantasy bird (then joked about killing her off as well).

You mean the Reincarnation remark? That doesn't really feel like a joke about killing her off. I mean I guess it technically is, but implying that she was reincarnated doesn't really seem to be the same thing.


I will say that showcasing human diversity is more important in today's world than fantasy ancestry diversity.

Replacing a woman of colour with disabilities is a lot of good representation disappearing and it needs to be highlighted how major a point that is on the con side of making this decision.


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Gotta say it's really heartwarming how quickly this community jumped to accusing Paizo of racism and ableism here.

Real good stuff.


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The point I was making is that levying claims of not being representative at paizo is absurd despite this decision. It is arguably going in the “wrong” direction but it is not an indication that the company isn’t representative

And whilst we are at it I think some sense is needed when referring to her “disability”. She has a limited field of vision but can (at level 1) see perfectly in the dark. She is not blind and doesn’t really seem representative of a blind person because she can actually see and in some cases supernaturally well.

Not being blind I can’t say for sure how that would be received. But I note there was someone with disabilities posting in another oracle thread about being able to meditate and sleep away your disability (curse) and how that was quite insulting. Granted that is one person’s perspective


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The fact that the change of the iconic was enough to bring about such a biased and ignorant comment about representation like it’s a quota that must be met to be considered an inclusive anything just goes to show you can’t please everybody.

My sympathy for those that actually liked the Oracle Iconic. Personally she was the weakest from an appearance standpoint; but a clothing redesign could have fixed as much like has been mentioned. In all honesty i was more in favor of the Catfolk Swashbuckler, but Tengu Oracle is a nice consolation prize in my book.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Lanathar wrote:
The point I was making is that levying claims of not being representative at paizo is absurd despite this decision. It is arguably going in the “wrong” direction but it is not an indication that the company isn’t representative

I don’t think anyone has made the claim that Paizo isn’t being representative, but as what you state, going in the wrong direction.

The writers of Pathfinder try, but they’re not infallible.


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They're replacing one of the worst iconics with literally anything else, I'd say that's going in the right direction. Alahazra is more male gazey than Seoni is, though it seems like some of the people arguing in favor of her haven't read her bio recently.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I’d fully expect and want to see her lose the cheesecake robes.

Quote:
though it seems like some of the people arguing in favor of her haven't read her bio recently.

?


Yeah, of course that half of the sentence doesn't make sense if you crop out the first half. Compare how many times Seoni and Alahazra's bios talk about how totally hot they are.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

It didn’t make sense when I read the whole thing, due to the vagueness.

Yes her Meet the Iconics mentions how attractive she is.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

Do we actually know anything about the tengu?


Bandw2 wrote:
Do we actually know anything about the tengu?

Besides a problematic step in the wrong direction you mean?


Consider this. If Alahazra was made PF2's Oracle iconic her character would need a rewrite due to how PF2's curses work. She would be changed from effectively a blind character to a character that's only effectively blind every now and then.

In other words, porting her over would...abilitywash? Sightwash? Whitewash but for her condition rather than her skin color. Is that more offensive than replacing her with a bird?

...Just so nobody gets the wrong idea that's an actual question. I honestly do not know which of these two options would be more offensive.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Possibly? But then her original blindness (which wasn’t 100%, there’s varying stages of blindness) was Curse induced to begin with, not something she was born with.

Silver Crusade

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Bandw2 wrote:
Do we actually know anything about the tengu?

They were on the cover of the ARG and... that’s it.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:
Do we actually know anything about the tengu?
Besides a problematic step in the wrong direction you mean?

I was thinking that beyond potentially race, the birb could still end up being representative in other ways. we'll just have to see I guess.


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Bandw2 wrote:
Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:
Do we actually know anything about the tengu?
Besides a problematic step in the wrong direction you mean?
I was thinking that beyond potentially race, the birb could still end up being representative in other ways. we'll just have to see I guess.

Well the tengu will almost certainly be Tien. Maybe his bio won't be so committed to painting his place of birth in the worst light possible like Alahazra's is.


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I'm just glad Jirelle's not the one getting benched, I much prefer her design. And her story, really.
Alahazra never did much for me, scantily clad caster women are plentiful. But as mentioned, a modernised design would have solved that (not that it was stripper-shelyn bad either). And I really wasn't fond of what her background made of Rahadoum either, though the rest was cool enough.

I'm however very surprised a non-core race gets an iconic.
That's new.

There's still a lot of diversity in the iconic cast, and we don't know what birdfriend's deal is yet, so all the accusations seem a bit premature.
And surprising, considering the rest of the cast.
As a side note, and maybe that's just my own ignorance, but I never understood how "My blindness is a curse" was that great inclusivity people mention. It's a good story, and goes with the actual mechanics of PF1 - and that was enough - but beyond that ?
A second bad ass black lady ? Great. Bit odd that she's from the maghreb equivalent but Golarion is also defined by how much more people move around compared to us, so sure, why not.
But the partial blindness never felt like more than an afterthought, just part of her being an oracle. Which might be the best to handle it, now that I think about it. Gods I'm all over the place : shouldn't be trying to make coherent arguments when it's that late.

Anyways. I've enough trust in the team to not fly into a rage right now. I'm curious about this Tengu. I'll wait and see.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'm... basically on the same page as Nyerkh.

Plus a note of "Alahazra still exists in canon and I'm excited to meet a new character, but it's a shame that for some people the usual new iconic excitement will probably be tempered by all this".


Arachnofiend wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:
Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:
Do we actually know anything about the tengu?
Besides a problematic step in the wrong direction you mean?
I was thinking that beyond potentially race, the birb could still end up being representative in other ways. we'll just have to see I guess.
Well the tengu will almost certainly be Tien. Maybe his bio won't be so committed to painting his place of birth in the worst light possible like Alahazra's is.

But her birthplace is terrible.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
The NPC wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:
Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:
Do we actually know anything about the tengu?
Besides a problematic step in the wrong direction you mean?
I was thinking that beyond potentially race, the birb could still end up being representative in other ways. we'll just have to see I guess.
Well the tengu will almost certainly be Tien. Maybe his bio won't be so committed to painting his place of birth in the worst light possible like Alahazra's is.
But her birthplace is terrible.

I do have to admit, Rahadoum so far has basically either been presented as "super intolerant" or "no religion therefore super educated" and both of those are a bit unfortunate, albeit for different reasons.


The originally commentary on her meet the Iconics blog contained precisely zero praise for being inclusive - for any reason be it gender, skin colour or disabilities

I know it was 9 years ago but I still found that interesting

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

... why?


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If our new birbacle is from Tien Xia and the canonical homeland of the Tengu, she/they/he will be coming from Kwanlai.

That's in some ways a less-organized Galt with familial and association warfare that's trying to get beyond that.

Unfortunately, having an 'angry' drunk patron deity doesn't do them a lot of favors.


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I, for one, welcome our new corvid-themed iconic. (As long as they're not red, that's my schtick!)


MaxAstro wrote:
The NPC wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:
Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:
Do we actually know anything about the tengu?
Besides a problematic step in the wrong direction you mean?
I was thinking that beyond potentially race, the birb could still end up being representative in other ways. we'll just have to see I guess.
Well the tengu will almost certainly be Tien. Maybe his bio won't be so committed to painting his place of birth in the worst light possible like Alahazra's is.
But her birthplace is terrible.
I do have to admit, Rahadoum so far has basically either been presented as "super intolerant" or "no religion therefore super educated" and both of those are a bit unfortunate, albeit for different reasons.

And the slavery and the black flag operations.


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Slavery is such an easy and lazy thing to slap on a nation that you don't want to be too right.


Arachnofiend wrote:
Slavery is such an easy and lazy thing to slap on a nation that you don't want to be too right.

Its on a list of other things. Also, I never viewed Rahadoum as right at all.

Although I always found their doctrine as amusing and ironic.

Paizo Employee

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Something that's kind of relevant to the conversation is that not all representation is good representation. From a personal perspective, I'm Tlingit, an Alaskan Native ethnicity, and I have many memories of friends and acquaintances asking some fairly insulting or offensive questions because of how incredibly bad indigenous stereotypes have been in this country. The "best" representation we had in media for a long time were still all forms of "positive" discrimination like the Magical Native American trope (which was literally called the "Magical Indian Trope" the last time I looked, so at least progress continues).

There's a lot of discussions you can find online regarding the topics of disability superpowers and how they can be harmful, and a lot of people with disabilities you can talk to as well. I'll add links to some sources I've found later in this post if anyone is interested in reading them. I think one of the most important pieces of it though is that Alahazra's "blindness" (she isn't actually blind and in many instances sees better than normal people) is still presented as a curse. And presenting her "super-powered blindness" as a curse carries with it implications about blindness in general, as well as other curses specifically linked to disabilities.

Now, I can't speak for people who actually suffer from blindness, though various vision impairments do run in my family. I, personally, am more "blind" than Alahazra is though, as I literally can't make out more than vague blurs more than 10 feet away from me without corrective lenses. I don't have super strong feelings on the specific subject of Alahazra, but I do find it a little bit upsetting that a common condition I live with every day is portrayed as a devastating curse in Alahazra's story.

Every company and writer who delves into the creative field will find pitfalls in their work, especially their early work, because none of us are born knowing everything. Everybody has to learn as they go and sometimes that leads to what I expect were painful no-wins like deciding how to handle oracle curses and the story of Alahazra in the new edition of Pathfinder. For some people, the removal of a harmful trope about magical disabilities is a win. For other people, a woman of color with a disability being removed from the iconic line-up is a loss. I, personally, don't believe there's an objectively right or wrong decision here, though your opinion may certainly vary.

Here's some of those resources I mentioned-

Mythcreant Blog on Harmful Disability Tropes
Common Harmful Representations of Disability
The Problem with Superpowered Disabled characters
Re-visioning Negative Archetypes of Disability and Deformity in Fantasy
Let Me Tell You About My Disability Super Powers
Problematic and Irritating Disability Tropes to Avoid in Writing


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Yeah. I've been meaning to write something along those lines, albeit I don't think I could have put it as well. Bad representation is a thing and Alahazra definitely seems to walk that line.

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