An (Incomplete) History of Gender Identity in Fantasy RPGs

Pathfinder Race Chart

Gender identity is currently a big issue in the United States, with progress toward acceptance of all identities proving to be a slow, bumpy process. Despite a long period of time when Dungeons & Dragons and its kin were hesitant to discuss anything that might offend parents, the RPG industry seems to be slightly more progressive than mainstream American society on this matter.

That said, in fantasy gaming this subject has gone from accidental misrepresentation to a verboten subject to something that is openly accepted. Here’s a quick overview of gender identity in fantasy games from the 1970s to now.

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Pathfinder: Origins #2

Pathfinder: Origins #2

With Valeros having told his story in the previous issue, Pathfinder #2 brings us Kyra’s tale. Valeros interrupts the issue by expressing his concern that this is going to be a preachy religious screed. Kyra doesn’t alleviate concerns all that much, since the first thing she does in her story is loudly proclaim that she’s far too holy to drink wine at a tavern.

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A Burning World: Remembering Dark Sun

Dark Sun

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Dungeons & Dragons had a pretty set flavor. Sure, there were variances between published settings such as the Known World, GreyhawkDragonlance, and the Forgotten Realms, but they were all variations on a Tolkienesque fantasy world where elves lived in forests, dragons sat on piles of gold, and halflings didn’t eat people. Then Dark Sun came out in 1991 and showed how far you could stretch the game.

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Pathfinder: Origins #1

Pathfinder Origins 1

As a series, Pathfinder: Origins scratches many itches of mine. Although the six stories are all interconnected, they are presented as a series of one-shots – a story format that I think the comics industry needs more of. Each one-shot reduces the cast significantly, giving us more character development for each of our heroes. As an added bonus, this series also introduces the other six iconic characters from the Pathfinder Core Rulebook, showing us what these other adventurers are up to.

The series picks up a few weeks after Pathfinder:City of Secrets ended, with our heroes trying to track down the puppetmaster behind the conspiracy that threatened Magnimar. Unfortunately, local venture-captain Sheila Heidmarch won’t allow them access to the Pathfinder Society’s vault – and for pretty good reasons.

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Controlling your Destiny: A Look at the Fate RPG

Fate Dice

The d20 System is the 800-pound gorilla in the RPG industry, powering the top-selling games like Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder. It’s a very good, very flexible system that is most ideal for games where combat is the cause of and solution to most of life’s problems. Today, we’re going to look at another robust system that powers multiple RPGs – one I consider to be the opposite of the d20 System in many ways. That system is called Fate.

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