Opinion: the ‘good’ gods of Golarion are not perfect


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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VampByDay wrote:
Claxon wrote:

I realize that this isn't helpful, but I read the title of the thread:

"The good gods of Golarion are not perfect" and my thought was...
"Duh. Who didn't realize that?"

I don't mean that offensively, though I know it comes off that way. I just don't understand where someone would get that idea from in the first place.

Outside of the Judeo Christian traditions, I don't think most representations of deities have been omniscient omnipotent beings.

Certainly the Greek and Roman gods weren't.

Golarion's deities certainly fall into the not perfect category from even a casual reading of their mythos.

Like I said, the original thread that inspired this one had someone basically saying "This good aligned god can't act in this (nongood) way because, as a representative of pure good, if they did that Paizo would say/imply/believe that (nongood) action was good." And I was like "uh, hold up, that's not how this works."

It makes even less sense when good being/deities have canonically fallen from grace and become evil. If good acts are defined as things good beings do (instead of actions inherently having a moral value) then it wouldn't be possible for good being to fall from grace or evil beings to be redeemed.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

The Good Gods aren't perfect, and we don't want to portray misogyny as being something a Good God will endorse are two things that can co-exist. The truth is Misogyny is something that often gets pushed on to players in this hobby. It is a very mortal issue, that a lot of people still have to contend with in the hobby and outside of it.

It is less likely for players to have to lets say deal with the flaws of a goddess releasing an ancient evil in there day to day lives. But it is much more likely for women to have had to deal with dm's that told them they had to take a -2 to a stat for playing a girl character, or to be told they can't do something because they are a woman, or heck be rejected by the fandom because these games are for boys. It is also a much more blurry lines in todays society. Despite the progress we made, far too often women are told, "oh its just a joke you need to lighten up," or some other means of being treated with misogyny but to hey the guy is nice you shouldn't get so upset. The issue of "nice guy who has some really bad views on women." Especially when its a paternal figure which Erastil represents, "thats your father/uncle and yeah he says some bad things sometimes, but he wants whats best for you and loves you. Why are you getting so upset?"

thats the kind of stuff players like Rysky and I are worried about, and what creators like James Jacobs wanted to avoid.


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Erastril is my favorite god in the setting and is well suited to rangers or fighters taking a cleric dedication. Im all about a god that preaches the importance of familial and communal love. Nothing but good faith and good vibes. Actively affirming that he's not mysogonist is a-ok in my book. No problems there. Makes him even better. Somebody having a problem with that is either incensitive to the concerns of others or wants those connotations to stay, imo.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

I like to think of the idea of the "good" and "evil" god in a wider context of them trying to garner a following and worshippers. The 'pure" deities who were never mortals want to expand their influence and need mortal's to follow them so they are probably a lot less likely to be picky about WHO worships them as long as they do and they are more or less doing the what their god demands. Plus gods are busy doing whatever it is that they do so they aren't going to be looking into small details like that. Thats Pharasma's job. They have some bigger picture in mind. What that is is beyond our mortal comprehension. Maybe its a great game of back and forth with no clear winner? The cosmos must be in balance and only the outergods and Rovagug seem to want to completely annihilate creation. They do however need to stay relevant and have worshippers to advance these goals, however nebulous they may be. In another thread they talked about Saerenae and Slavery, she probably tolerates it because they are getting her name out there and increasing her power. With more power she is able to DO more to further her cause and she will do something about the slavery later, probably, maybe, gods are busy after all.

I think the once mortal gods are the ones more likely to be strict on their worshippers because they still remember what it was like to be mortal and know how easy it is to fail. They also will be more focussed on a particular goal and worshippers be damned they want to accomplish it. Like in the case of Arazni she doesn't even want worshippers because she doesn't want to deal with their nonsense.

This is all my personal speculation of course and how I try to cope with the idea of having evil worshippers of a good god and good worshippers of an evil god because they are mortals trying to interpret the divine through a lens not capable of understanding beyond their own limited experiences. IE you can have perfectly good people in service of Cheliax because its just the place they live and work just as much as you can have evil woshippers of a good deity who twist the words of their faith to gain personal power. As for the gods themselves....they're too busy to deal with this mortal stuff

Paizo Employee Director of Community

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Removed several posts that were personally abusive. While there is canon Golarion (thank you James for sharing some of the foundation lore!), if you as a GM don't like it you can make adjustments for your game. You may not start arguments on the threads or attack each other. Please do not make more work for the moderation team just to engage in a few attacks. The team appreciates your forbearance!

Paizo Employee Director of Community

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Removed posts for breaking harrassment guidelines. This type of discussion can easily go off the community guideline rails. Please help keep it on track by choosing your words and tone carefully. The moderation team appreciates your restraint!


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I have an actual question about Erastil. What part of preferring mothers be at home makes it misogynistic? As far as I understood he says nothing about who should have power in a relationship. Nothing about women being inferior. Nothing about women being subservient. Nothing about women being unable to work or do combat.

From the wilderness theme, it sounds more like he wants children and the home protected because those are important to him. So wouldn't women protecting the home be a good thing?

And before anyone says I am trying to explain it away. No, I am confused about a subject and I am asking for an explanation so that I might learn. I am not excusing mysoginy, I am not saying it's okay, I am not saying it's good. I only want an explanation for how the stance Erastil takes is mysoginy given how much value he places on family and having a simple life.


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

@Temperans I would argue that even then, the better way to take Erastil is that he wants someone staying to run the home. Having that parent need to be the mother is what would make this Good god unduly fixated on traditional gender roles. Erastil could be just as set on encouraging a traditional rural 'small c' conservative lifstyle by strongly encouraging one parent to remain home and tend the hearth, ensure the household is looked after, and raise the children and the other out hunting/farming/doing work without caring particularly about whihc parent does which role.

I tend to be fine with Erastil as a god whole prefers a stay-at-home-parent type of family, but if that's the case, he should be just as fine if it's a stay-at-home dad while the mother is the primary out-of-house worker


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Btw regarding evil gods accidentally doing good? There are certain gods like Asmodeus who are evil, but might offer their services for a price. Services which might end up being used for good, even as the source is evil. Think Hell Boy, Spawn, Raven, Constantine, etc.

It feels like some of them accidentaly created good heroes via the whole "tragic backstory" trope. Also I am pretty sure there are some gullible evil gods who might fall for a good trickster's ruse. Just like how a good god might fall for an evil trickster's ruse. (By trickster I mean trickster gods and high tier mythic.)

But all of these seem more like possible GM plot hooks more than actual lore since I can't remember.


Zoomba wrote:

@Temperans I would argue that even then, the better way to take Erastil is that he wants someone staying to run the home. Having that parent need to be the mother is what would make this Good god unduly fixated on traditional gender roles. Erastil could be just as set on encouraging a traditional rural 'small c' conservative lifstyle by strongly encouraging one parent to remain home and tend the hearth, ensure the household is looked after, and raise the children and the other out hunting/farming/doing work without caring particularly about whihc parent does which role.

I tend to be fine with Erastil as a god whole prefers a stay-at-home-parent type of family, but if that's the case, he should be just as fine if it's a stay-at-home dad while the mother is the primary out-of-house worker

That is what I was thinking. That he wont tell people who should stay at home but if it was his choice he would prefer the mother so he himself can go out to hunt.

Which reads more selfish then mysoginist. Hence my confusion.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Temperans wrote:

I have an actual question about Erastil. What part of preferring mothers be at home makes it misogynistic? As far as I understood he says nothing about who should have power in a relationship. Nothing about women being inferior. Nothing about women being subservient. Nothing about women being unable to work or do combat.

From the wilderness theme, it sounds more like he wants children and the home protected because those are important to him. So wouldn't women protecting the home be a good thing?

And before anyone says I am trying to explain it away. No, I am confused about a subject and I am asking for an explanation so that I might learn. I am not excusing mysoginy, I am not saying it's okay, I am not saying it's good. I only want an explanation for how the stance Erastil takes is mysoginy given how much value he places on family and having a simple life.

Here is the relevant text passage that has since been changed canonically.

Kingmaker Volume 2, Rivers Run Red wrote:
Independent-minded women, he believes, can be disruptive to communities, and it is best to marry them off quickly so their duties as wife and mother command their attention.

It's much worse than just "A woman needs to stay home" it's "Strong women are bad, better marry em off right quick."


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Zoomba wrote:

@Temperans I would argue that even then, the better way to take Erastil is that he wants someone staying to run the home. Having that parent need to be the mother is what would make this Good god unduly fixated on traditional gender roles. Erastil could be just as set on encouraging a traditional rural 'small c' conservative lifstyle by strongly encouraging one parent to remain home and tend the hearth, ensure the household is looked after, and raise the children and the other out hunting/farming/doing work without caring particularly about whihc parent does which role.

I tend to be fine with Erastil as a god whole prefers a stay-at-home-parent type of family, but if that's the case, he should be just as fine if it's a stay-at-home dad while the mother is the primary out-of-house worker

The thing is, pregnancy itself and also nursing babies requires the mother to stay at or close to home. After that period is over they can switch roles if its advantageous, but it might be convenient not to to avoid disruption of work when roles are switched.

Not that staying at home has the same meaning as it does today (or rather, had half a century ago). In a typical pre-modern village there is plenty of necessary work to do at home so its not that one person is the provider and the other is not.

Someone made the suggestion that there is a ritual or blessing which basically turns the milk of an animal into baby formula to allow someone else to feed babies when the mother is away, and after thinking about it I warmed up to this idea.

That was basically the discussion back then and the point some people started to throw around insults and accusations.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

And this preceding passage from the same source

Kingmaker Volume 2, Rivers Run Red wrote:
He believes the strength of a man’s will makes him the center of a household, and while women can be strong, they should defer to and support their husbands, as their role is to look after the house and raise strong children (consequently, there are few female priests in his church).

As originally presented he was wildly misogynistic, something that thankfully has been changed with the setting.


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I'm pretty sure that it's Erastil's preference that the village raises the children. But the basic misogyny of the issue is "reducing women to their reproductive role."


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Oops! Apologies. It appears my latest post was not as equanimous as I had believed. I hope I can moderate my contribution sufficiently... wait...

...I now see the post to which I was responding has indeed been removed as well.

VampByDay wrote:
Stuff I shall not repeat.

Suffice to say, I do not believe Rysky is a troll, no more so than any of the others who have been using your recent threads for their debates. Whatever their faults, Rysky's enthusiasm for speaking out against bigotry is earnest and in good faith as a champion of Desna's would be.

As for the question of a god having flaws, I think there is an important distinction which is being largely overlooked here. I would like to highlight pixierose's response from earlier for being a succinct summary.

To elaborate with a post I made back in March in response to a similar debate about Erastil and the presentation of misogyny in the Lost Omens

Spoiler:
Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:

The thing about the Lost Omens setting is that things like Good and Evil are objective, almost elemental forces in the cosmos. Gods are some of the highest embodiments of those forces in the setting by virtue of their divinity and position. This means that if a god acts or espouses and ideology, that act or ideology either:

a) is a mistake, whether because the gods are indeed flawed and sometimes do things they canonically regret, or because the lore itself was published in error, as with Erastil's outdated bigotry

or

b) is endorsed by the authors of the setting as being consistent with their alignment (whether Good or Evil) and therefore officially being endorsed by the universe of the game as objectively good or evil.

[..aside about the existence of morally grey deities since that's what the thread was originally about]

The fantasy world of Golarion does not exist in a vacuum, completely isolated from the real world. Allegedly, real people from the modern world play this game, so if something which negatively affects real people in the modern world is given authorial endorsement as being a 'Good' act, it is very little different from the authors announcing their support for these acts, whether blatant misogyny or helping the poor. This goes most strongly for issues which affect real people and less strongly for issues which do not. If Golarion were a world where the gods were explicitly petty, vindictive, or morally neutral, that would be a very different scenario (and again, there are many gods like that), but it is a world where certain gods and their beliefs are referred to by the creators as Good and others as Evil.

--

Or, if you prefer the tl;dr, by all means the gods of the setting can be flawed and many are very enthusiastically so. However, since gods are the highest authority in this particular setting, if they have a flaw, there is a certain authorial endorsement that this flaw is compatible with a given alignment. On top of this, if the portrayal of a flaw has real-world impact on the people who play the game, it deserves more attention.

Unfortunately, many would disagree about whether a flaw such as believing that an entire gender should be subservient to another is compatible with 'Good'. I would say this is a clear 'no', there is no line where a being, god or not, is actively bigoted toward an entire demographic can still retain a 'Good' alignment, but it appears there are those who disagree.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

There is also a big, big difference between "this Goodly god has a negative character trait that comes up sometimes" and "this Goodly god actively endorses their followers to do this awful thing".

A massive world of difference.

Like "Erastil struggles with a misogynistic streak sometimes" would be one thing, and you could maybe-possibly have a Good god like that as long as they recognize it as a flaw.

But "Erastil actively encourages his followers to be misogynistic" is the thing that absolutely has no place in a Good deity.

To give a great example: As I understand it Cayden Cailean has canonically done things he later regretted due to drinking too much. But he doesn't tell his followers to follow in those footsteps, and in fact actively warns them against it. THAT is what a Good deity should be.


Okay thank you for the explanation now I get the problem. And yeah I can perfectly see that specific paragraph being misogynistic, specially with today's morals.

Good thing it was changed, and it's no longer cannon. Because as written, yeah it's no good. Probably would make him neutral not good.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Another minor aspect in this thread. Is that Golarion is a world with access to magical, alchemical, and other means of gender and sexual transitioning. The world could very much have a father who is capable of doing the things that people think a mother is required for.

Just Saying.


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pixierose wrote:

Another minor aspect in this thread. Is that Golarion is a world with access to magical, alchemical, and other means of gender and sexual transitioning. The world could very much have a father who is capable of doing the things that people think a mother is required for.

Just Saying.

You don’t need any magic or alchemy; plenty of trans people (including yours truly!) do not pursue physical transition. There absolutely are trans men who bear children, and I would advise care to not paint with a brush that renders them invisible.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
keftiu wrote:
pixierose wrote:

Another minor aspect in this thread. Is that Golarion is a world with access to magical, alchemical, and other means of gender and sexual transitioning. The world could very much have a father who is capable of doing the things that people think a mother is required for.

Just Saying.

You don’t need any magic or alchemy; plenty of trans people (including yours truly!) do not pursue physical transition. There absolutely are trans men who bear children, and I would advise care to not paint with a brush that renders them invisible.

Um, I am a trans woman myself. If It came across as dismissing people who do not pursue physical transition that was not my intent. When I meant other means I meant anything that doesn't include magical or alchemical means, which I had intended to mean social transitioners. I had hoped that the rest of my statement which was specifically about trans men who can bear children, would have made that clear. But I can see that something was lost in translation and I will take that as my fault.

Edit: my main point was that Golarion is specifically a world that supports trans people, and all sorts of body types and way of being. We can not limit the type of people that can bear children or breastfeed to a single gender.

Edit edit: Even trans people who stay in the closet/don't medically/socially transition are valid.


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Temperans wrote:

Btw regarding evil gods accidentally doing good? There are certain gods like Asmodeus who are evil, but might offer their services for a price. Services which might end up being used for good, even as the source is evil. Think Hell Boy, Spawn, Raven, Constantine, etc.

It feels like some of them accidentaly created good heroes via the whole "tragic backstory" trope. Also I am pretty sure there are some gullible evil gods who might fall for a good trickster's ruse. Just like how a good god might fall for an evil trickster's ruse. (By trickster I mean trickster gods and high tier mythic.)

But all of these seem more like possible GM plot hooks more than actual lore since I can't remember.

Sure, Asmodeus will cut a deal, but he's going to be cutting one he'll come out ahead on (I suggest reading the excerpt of a Thrune contract in Lost Omen Legends for an example - any contract he personally writes is going to just be a complete heads I win tails you lose scenario). That said, he's also pragmatic and is one of the deities who helped seal Rovagug (can't rule over hell if it gets eaten and all).

That said, if you're trying to cut a deal with an evil deity, you're probably better off trying Achaekek. The Red Mantis are very professional. (I love that their idea of an apology is to declare someone off-limits for assassination contracts, for instance)

Liberty's Edge

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Achaekek was originally a LN arbiter figure.


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I thought PF2 was based on mythical interpretations of good and evil and some historical ideas?

Do people really not know the difference between modern interpretations of good and evil and mythical or historical?

Humans have always had malleable morality based on a variety of ideas of morality, some dependent on circumstances and some to justify a desire for power.

I've always been able to tell the difference playing these games. I would never apply modern morality to a god like Thor or Odin. Or any of the Greek Gods. Not sure why some try to do that for games based on these mythical types of morality.

The writers of these games are often mythology and history buffs. They take elements of mythology and history and form them into a believable world.

And yet we have folks applying modern morality? Who in here would confuse the war gods as some call to go out and make war because they wanted to go to Valhalla?

It seems really strange. We never did this stuff years back. We all knew the difference between a game based on mythological and historical morality versus modern. No one was going out to murder people and steal their stuff.

I don't even know how some of you play this game given it is heavily combat based and murdering people and taking their stuff is one of the ultimate evils. It's like some folks want Paizo to make this weird fantasy world based on modern morality even though it literally has demons, devils, angels, and the like based on mythological ideas of these creatures.

Man, if every writer or creation of fiction is held to this kind of standard, fiction and game creation is going to get extremely boring and constrained.


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WWHsmackdown wrote:
Erastril is my favorite god in the setting and is well suited to rangers or fighters taking a cleric dedication. Im all about a god that preaches the importance of familial and communal love. Nothing but good faith and good vibes. Actively affirming that he's not mysogonist is a-ok in my book. No problems there. Makes him even better. Somebody having a problem with that is either incensitive to the concerns of others or wants those connotations to stay, imo.

Did anyone even roleplay this? I've been playing for years and I've never seen a bunch of gamers forcing someone to follow the dogma so exactly they were endorsing misogyny? That's weird.

Liberty's Edge

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Deriven Firelion wrote:

I thought PF2 was based on mythical interpretations of good and evil and some historical ideas?

Do people really not know the difference between modern interpretations of good and evil and mythical or historical?

Humans have always had malleable morality based on a variety of ideas of morality, some dependent on circumstances and some to justify a desire for power.

I've always been able to tell the difference playing these games. I would never apply modern morality to a god like Thor or Odin. Or any of the Greek Gods. Not sure why some try to do that for games based on these mythical types of morality.

The writers of these games are often mythology and history buffs. They take elements of mythology and history and form them into a believable world.

And yet we have folks applying modern morality? Who in here would confuse the war gods as some call to go out and make war because they wanted to go to Valhalla?

It seems really strange. We never did this stuff years back. We all knew the difference between a game based on mythological and historical morality versus modern. No one was going out to murder people and steal their stuff.

I don't even know how some of you play this game given it is heavily combat based and murdering people and taking their stuff is one of the ultimate evils. It's like some folks want Paizo to make this weird fantasy world based on modern morality even though it literally has demons, devils, angels, and the like based on mythological ideas of these creatures.

Man, if every writer or creation of fiction is held to this kind of standard, fiction and game creation is going to get extremely boring and constrained.

James Jacobs has been extremely clear about what Paizo intends as morality for Golarion and its deities. And it is quite the modern western set of values.

Those who apply non-modern morality to Golarion are the ones who are homebrewing that part of the setting.

BTW I do not feel the creative result is extremely boring and constrained. Pretty much the opposite as Mwangi, Strength of Thousands, Guns and Gears and the coming APs show.


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“Extremely boring and constrained” is how I feel about seeing grim, brutal, bloody, fantasy that seems to revel in awfulness and dress it up as some bizarre form of historical accuracy. I appreciate that Pathfinder understands that racism, misogyny, and queerphobia are vile, that slavery is an absolute evil, and any other ‘modern’ takes you bristle at; the majority of the genre space is there for you.

I’m happy to have a few settings where people like me can fight for things I care about and have some human sense of right and wrong.

Liberty's Edge

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Deriven Firelion wrote:
WWHsmackdown wrote:
Erastril is my favorite god in the setting and is well suited to rangers or fighters taking a cleric dedication. Im all about a god that preaches the importance of familial and communal love. Nothing but good faith and good vibes. Actively affirming that he's not mysogonist is a-ok in my book. No problems there. Makes him even better. Somebody having a problem with that is either incensitive to the concerns of others or wants those connotations to stay, imo.
Did anyone even roleplay this? I've been playing for years and I've never seen a bunch of gamers forcing someone to follow the dogma so exactly they were endorsing misogyny? That's weird.

Even if you didn't, which I guess is lucky for you, the idea that one of the most common Lawful Good deities in the official setting is all for putting women in their proper place is both ugly and offensive, not to matter the exact opposite of what the guy responsible for the setting wants.

Is it really that hard to respect his wishes for his own creation ?

Erastil supports family, community and healthy traditions. Not misogyny.

Not that difficult nor awful really.

Silver Crusade

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"I thought PF2 was based on mythical interpretations of good and evil and some historical ideas?"

You were wrong.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:

I thought PF2 was based on mythical interpretations of good and evil and some historical ideas?

It is, unless it isn't.

Golarion if full of things copied directly from history, but some vocal people pretend that despite this history is not relevant to the game.

When pressed they try to weasel out of it by saying "its not history, its tropes!" which is basically a other word for mythical interpretation (although I fail to see how Galt is supposed to be a trope and not a copy of historic France)

But then some other topics are supposed to be seen through a completely modern lense despite pretty much all PCs being serial mass murderer under modern standards and not to be allowed to do what they do in the APs.

Silver Crusade

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Wow, everything you said is wrong. History isn’t copied to Golarion, aesthetics and tropes are, you not liking it doesn’t make you right and everyone else wrong.

Yes Golarion uses modern morality, and that applies to PCs who have to kill a lot, because it’s almost always in self defense or vigilantism, so not mass murder as you smear. It’s modern morality in a fantasy setting, not modern morality in a specific country on earth using earth laws. Morality and laws are not the same thing, so don’t conflate them.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Deriven Firelion wrote:
WWHsmackdown wrote:
Erastril is my favorite god in the setting and is well suited to rangers or fighters taking a cleric dedication. Im all about a god that preaches the importance of familial and communal love. Nothing but good faith and good vibes. Actively affirming that he's not mysogonist is a-ok in my book. No problems there. Makes him even better. Somebody having a problem with that is either incensitive to the concerns of others or wants those connotations to stay, imo.
Did anyone even roleplay this? I've been playing for years and I've never seen a bunch of gamers forcing someone to follow the dogma so exactly they were endorsing misogyny? That's weird.

In the decade I've been following this game, I've seen more than a handful of people upset about Erastil's ideals being changed to not include the misogyny, so yes, people actually roleplay this, and they're the same people that make it difficult to make the hobby more inclusive. I've played alongside people that have actively made their "good" characters bigots because that's what their god allowed. I didn't play at those tables long.


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If you give a Good god a perspective that echoes certain real world bigotries, there's a certain type of player who's going to be drawn to being an adherent of that god simply because this gives them a chance to say bigoted things in public to get a rise out of people with the cover of "I'm just RPing my character". It's the same sort of person who is drawn to playing a Cheliaxan so that they can be really racist against Halflings.


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Ixal wrote:
But then some other topics are supposed to be seen through a completely modern lense despite pretty much all PCs being serial mass murderer under modern standards and not to be allowed to do what they do in the APs.

You choose to play the game this way, it does not force you to.

Grand Lodge

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The serial murderer PC has been the exception, not the rule, in my experience.

Deriven Firelion wrote:
Do people really not know the difference between modern interpretations of good and evil and mythical or historical?

Why would they?


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Almost any fantasy setting will be written through the lense of modernity in some manner on another because the simple fact is even when we try to use historical facts and beliefs the simple fact is we can't know history we can only know the narratives we tell ourselves about it.

Often times when we think of Roman and Greek art we think of the white marble statues that remain. But we also discovered that they have been painted, and so some people have tried to recreate what those would look like painted...and they looked like garish fast food decorations..but someone else has pointed out those may only be the result of painting whole areas in one tone of paint, which the artist of the past might have done or might have used stuff like blending and shading to provide a less flat and garish look. But we can't know for certain, and each of those narratives give a different version of history.

Golarion itself makes use of deliberate modern morLity as well as inspiration from history, fantasy, and other types of fiction. Yes pcs often kill more than people from modern day, but pcs(especially in the canonical adventure paths) are often put in deadly situations where they have to defend themselves and loved ones.) And terr are often non lethal or non aggressive solutions in various encounters anyways.

But also just because it's a trope of the fantasy to fling magic and blade, that doesn't mean fantasy has to resort to any kind of bigotry to try to fit into someone's narrative of history. (As the history of gender and sexuailty is way more complicated then past=bad, present=progress)

Hopefully that is clear enough.


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TriOmegaZero wrote:

The serial murderer PC has been the exception, not the rule, in my experience.

Deriven Firelion wrote:
Do people really not know the difference between modern interpretations of good and evil and mythical or historical?
Why would they?

To be honest I suspect very few people have a good grasp on what was considered good and evil in any given historical period - or how that relates to mythical good and evil. Such ideas are easily as different between different historical cultures they are from modern interpretations.

Generally when I've seen people making the division they're usually focused on a few historical stereotypes and a reaction against some very modern trends. Often seems like it's based more on older, though still modern, fantasy novels than on anything actually historical.

And that all comes with the assumption that a world as vastly different from ours as Golarion (or any D&D/PF world) would have similar interpretations as any real historical period. Multiple interventionist deities, multiple sapient species, the existence of magic, all of it fundamentally alters cultures and their moralities in unpredictable ways. Just the lack of a dominant Christianity would have changed historical Western ideas of morality beyond recognition. Going with a modern interpretation is no less realistic than cramming in some past version.

Grand Lodge

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That was what I was thinking, there's no reason for anyone to know the difference nor for that difference to matter in the case of Golarion.


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pixierose wrote:
Almost any fantasy setting will be written through the lense of modernity in some manner on another because the simple fact is even when we try to use historical facts and beliefs thr simple fact is we can't not know history we can only know the narratives we tell ourselves about it.

Anytime you want to use history as a basis for making a game decision, I find that it helps to remember the "Well Actually..." problem. At almost every level of history education you are told that what you learned previously was inaccurate, biased, or incomplete. And ultimately, we only know what was written down or what we can surmise from the traces of the peoples long past.

We think we know what was going on, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything. Someone could discover something tomorrow and upend our entire understanding of social dynamics of historical people.

That is to say, Anytime I think I know something about history, I have to accept that what I think I know is probably wrong in some respect and has no more authority than just making something up in most cases.

That said, I do enjoy attempts to make fantasy worlds fit into our understanding of historical economic models. Because thinking about questions like "How does druidic plant producing magic effect the size of farmlands in this location? Or "This town shouldn't be able to sustain itself with the listed population and industries. There must be an explanation." is fun to me.

Shadow Lodge

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History is just the campaign setting of the victors.


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TOZ wrote:
History is just the campaign setting of the victors.

Even that isn't necessarily true. The Lost Cause has stuck around for an infuriatingly long time.


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History being written by the victors is a myth. History is written by those who have the means and ability to do so, but also by what people leave behind and what spreads as cultural ideas or opinions.

Consider the fact that in Irish history, there were plenty of various different rebellions against the English and British administration on the island, all of which failed until the War of Independence. Yet, it is extremely clear that each one of these rebellions, despite their failure, continued to inspire future rebellions and inform Irish culture. This could not exactly have happened if the adage was always true, no?

... apologies, we're getting quite serious here.

While I generally prefer not to have alignment systems (though if I were to run Pathfinder, I would probably stick with it unless I had a compelling reason not to), I do agree capital G good gods should... well, not be outright bigots or engage in horrible things. While modern morality can be quite different fromn the past, history is not linger; it's not as simple as believing a medevial society, especially one where gods exist, would have misogny as a mainline view, to use the example brought up here.

Shadow Lodge

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Ventnor wrote:
The Lost Cause has stuck around for an infuriatingly long time.

Is it being written by the victors of the civil war or the victors of reconstruction?


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It seems to me that many Neutral and Evil deities believe they are good at least in the sense that they are correct and Good is incorrect/weak/idealistic/etc. Lawful deities especially might think Goodness interferes or is secondary to the "betterness" of adherence to Law or resistance to Chaos.

And there's Pharasma, whose presence across the multiverse and its multitude of cultures gives her a certain omni-ness about her, yet she's not Good, yet also leans anti-Evil and anti-Chaos (w/ PF2's new take on followers). Arguably she's not much of anything except anti-undead and pro-deaths running through her cosmic processes.
Maybe the more omni or singular a deity a gets, the more divorced from mortal affairs (namely PC narratives) one gets because of power issues disturbing said narratives. Hmm.


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Kasoh wrote:


Anytime you want to use history as a basis for making a game decision, I find that it helps to remember the "Well Actually..." problem. At almost every level of history education you are told that what you learned previously was inaccurate, biased, or incomplete. And ultimately, we only know what was written down or what we can surmise from the traces of the peoples long past.

We think we know what was going on, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything. Someone could discover something tomorrow and upend our entire understanding of social dynamics of historical people.

That is to say, Anytime I think I know something about history, I have to accept that what I think I know is probably wrong in some respect and has no more authority than just making something up in most cases.

That said, I do enjoy attempts to make fantasy worlds fit into our understanding of historical economic models. Because thinking about questions like "How does druidic plant producing magic effect the size of farmlands in this location? Or "This town shouldn't be able to sustain itself with the listed population and industries. There must be an explanation." is fun to me.

We might not know all the details and get some of them wrong, but the similarity between some parts of Golarion and historical Earth go far beyond details.

I already mentioned Galt. It is a very close copy to France during the reign of terror. It not only features the same setup, the same instruments and the same institutions, but even some notable characters in Galt are very similar to real world persons like Robespierre.

Another country is Qadira. Not only does the description fit Persia )or rather, a province of Persia), although imo with a Arabian blend which is not much of a stretch as Persia was later conquered by Arabians, the books also use Persian terms when calling it a satrap or having the position of vizir.

Even Sarenrae who came to the inner sea region through Qadira has similarities to Ahura Mazda (the main Persian god) as both are unquestionably good sun deities.

Why is this done? Because its a shortcut. Designers start with an already established foundation they can build up on and when you only have a limited amount of pages its easier to say "like France/Persia but X" and devout your pages to detail X. If players want more information, some which would be too special as to be practical to be printed in a game supplement, they can then open a history book and find tons of information there.
Everybody wins.

Dark Archive

Also something to keep in mind is a lot of this stuff when it was being convieved and/or written was being done at a time where the company had just lost the license to the magazines followed by the second blow of finsing out a new edition was happening so there is a certain aspect of throwing things against the wall in desperation to see what sticks.

Obviously some of these ideas turned out with hindsight to be bad ones and so they were changed I just wish they were more open about it (Admitadly from what we have heard from other sources at the company some bits and pieces may have been mandated from up high which explains the defending of them at the time.)

Liberty's Edge

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TOZ wrote:
History is just the campaign setting of the victors.

Today's victors will be tomorrow's nobodies and vice versa though.

Silver Crusade

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Kasoh wrote:


That is to say, Anytime I think I know something about history, I have to accept that what I think I know is probably wrong in some respect

Absolutely agreed

Quote:
and has no more authority than just making something up in most cases.

And here you go WAY too far. While our knowledge of various epochs is most certainly imperfect (it has lots of unknowns and some of the things that we kinda think to be true may not be) it is a whole HECK of a lot better and has a lot more authority than making something up.

We do know a LOT about some periods, a fair bit about others, and significantly more than nothing about others. And we generally have a reasonable (NOT perfect, but reasonable) grasp of the differences between what we "know", what are "educated guesses" and places where we really are mostly in the dark.

As a single example, the Icelandic Sagas were accurate enough for us to find l'anse aux meadows (the viking site in Newfoundland), archeological work there has told us a fair bit about how they lived, and we now know with essentially 100% certainty that it was occupied in 1021 CE. To characterize the results of the huge amounts of work done in multiple fields as having "no more authority than just making something up" is just flat out wrong and very, very insulting to lots of scholars.


pauljathome wrote:
Kasoh wrote:


That is to say, Anytime I think I know something about history, I have to accept that what I think I know is probably wrong in some respect

Absolutely agreed

Quote:
and has no more authority than just making something up in most cases.
And here you go WAY too far. While our knowledge of various epochs is most certainly imperfect (it has lots of unknowns and some of the things that we kinda think to be true may not be) it is a whole HECK of a lot better and has a lot more authority than making something up.

In the context of filling in details in a fantasy setting, I stand by that statement.

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