We just debuted the Pathfinder RPG’s newest iconic character, Shardra, the iconic shaman (a member of one of the new classes in the Advanced Class Guide). She’s the character we at Paizo will be using as our stand-in for shaman players in art, pregenerated characters, miniatures, stories, etc, going forward. She’s an awesome looking character, who, like all of our iconics, is depicted by artist Wayne Reynolds. Her Meet the Iconics story is written by one of our close friends and veteran freelancers Crystal Frasier. Shardra’s amazing and we’ll be seeing her adventures as one of the Pathfinder RPG’s iconic heroes for years to come.
We’ve had iconics of many genders, ethnicities, sexualities, etc, but Shardra is our first transgender iconic. This might not be a big deal for you, but I expect it to be for a fair number of readers, fantasy lovers, friends, and fellow gamers out there.
The Pathfinder Iconics have always been our stand-ins for player characters, for our readers, for the adventurers taking part in Pathfinder games across the world. We’ve purposefully made these heroes a diverse array of characters, not just for artistic reasons, but as an attempt to make sure that anyone can look through a Pathfinder RPG rulebook, adventure, story, whatever, and find a character who they identify them, whether it be a dashing fighter like Valeros, a lesbian cleric like Kyra, or a woman in tune with the spirits like Shardra.
If you haven’t had the opportunity yet, please check out Shardra’s meet the iconic story. And even better, drop a note on the Paizo message boards, welcoming her to the team and making sure all our friends and family members who identify with her know they’re welcome and wanted at Pathfinder game tables everywhere.
I’ve been seeing a lot of reactions from people lately, in response to various tumblr posts Wes and others have made, and now in response to Shardra’s debut, that they love the inclusiveness but Pathfinder isn’t the game for them, and some people even have been saying they wish they liked the game because they like the world or the characters.
I just wanted to say that as someone who works pretty hard to make our products happen, I love, love, love it when someone decides to give Pathfinder a try because they like what we’re doing with the world and the characters.
But I also know that, as a woman, good representation even in games I don’t play or don’t like from a mechanics standpoint matters to me, because it makes me feel like I’m thought about and considered part of the audience and welcomed into games as a genre even if a particular example of that genre isn’t my personal cup of tea.
I want everyone to feel welcome in tabletop gaming, and RPGs in general, even if Pathfinder isn’t their RPG of choice, and if hearing about characters like Shardra or the ones in Wes’s list of LGBTQ PF characters do that, I’m happy.
All of that said, if you’re excited about the characters and cultures and stories in Paizo’s materials and want to spend some time in Pathfinder’s world, but don’t like D20 games, or prefer a different system, there are a lot of ways to visit Golarion and meet its inhabitants. The Campaign Setting line, for example, generally provides some mechanics options, but the stories and maps and cities and cultures in their pages can be used with any game system, and the Pathfinder Comics, Pathfinder Legends audio series, and Pathfinder Tales novels and free web fiction all tell stories set in Golarion, the Pathfinder campaign setting.
Even if you never open one of our books or buy any of our products, I’m thrilled if hearing about our characters excites, inspires, or welcomes you. But if the Pathfinder RPG or D20 systems in general aren’t your gaming system of choice, or if you can’t find a game in your area, or don’t have time to play a campaign, but still are curious about or interested in visiting our world, we’ve got stories for you. :-)