Pathfinder #5 arrived in stores Wednesday. It’s an important issue in our first story arc and includes something I wanted to post a few extra thoughts about. The fact that it’s also Valentine’s Day today makes it extra-appropriate. Let’s talk about love, people!
Pathfinder is easily the most inclusive tabletop RPG setting on the market. Strong characters of both sexes, characters of color and characters of different sexual orientations are all positively represented in many of the game supplements Paizo has released over the years. It’s a robust fantasy world that incorporates classic themes and tropes while allowing including progressive elements at the same time. It’s one of the many things I really like about Pathfinder when compared to a lot of the white-washed and stereotype-ridden fantasy settings of old. It’s something the developers at Paizo paid special attention to and I think it’s one of the many reasons why their game has sold so well around the world.
When we were choosing the six characters who make up the core group in the comic we made sure there was a gender balance and overall mix. These characters are the iconic representation of each ‘class-type’ from the game and they should appeal to a broad readership. Once we finalized that group it was my job to build their personalities and define the attitudes, strengths, flaws, speech patterns and push and pull for how each one regarded the other. The gang at Paizo asked me if I was comfortable writing emotional sparks between characters, and that included possible same sex relationships. In the world of Golarion same sex couples aren’t seen as an exception, but here in the real world it’s still a subject many people are coming around to. Without hesitation, I told them I was up for it.
The world is growing closer thanks to technology and a global culture that embraces the broadest possible diversity is a positive and hopeful future worth striving for. People deserve happiness and love whatever they look like and whoever they choose to be with. I firmly believe that from the bottom of my heart. I’m happy to include that in my writing, not as some kind of politically-motivated agenda, but because it’s the world we live in and our entertainment should reflect that.
Fans have wondered for years about whether any of the ‘iconic’ Pathfinder heroes are interested in members of the same sex and issue #5 finally answers that question during a flashback sequence. It’s a small moment, one that readers might miss, but it’s one I’ll be following up on in our second story arc (issues #7-12). It isn’t the focal point of the story to come, and I don’t think it should be. Pathfinder is a sword & sorcery adventure comic and that’s my first priority. Action, adventure and excitement are what readers expect and that’s what we’ll be delivering with each issue. This relationship is just one among others that are developing as the characters interact and grow.
That being said, here’s why it’s important- More than ever before people want to see themselves in their escapism. Having a same sex relationship in a fantasy comic series is not a ‘big deal’ but it is a reflection of real gamers, Pathfinder fans, fiction readers and the world at large.
When Paizo and Dynamite approached me about writing the Pathfinder comic they wanted big action and strong characters to play a role in the story. I’m thrilled they’re letting me explore that further in a tasteful and engaging way. Entertaining characters help build great stories and a diverse cast has the potential to grab hold of an even wider audience. If you’ve been reading along so far, I hope you enjoy the group dynamic we’re developing and look forward to future adventures.