Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Modest (Counter)Proposal

This story over on Tor has really had me thinking a bit about the needs for representations in D&D.  In my personal games there is diversity in multiple forms, and while I find it interesting that Knode desires to embrace ethnicity and race as a change to the art of RPGs, it misses the greater issue of overall diversity.

Knode was able to lay out several examples of diversity in the form that I personally would describe as African American or Black characters . . . but what about other diversity?  Most depictions of real-world cultures have left a bit to be desired.

Bring out all skins in the human palette.  How about genders? RPGs in the Sword and Sorcery genre are quite hetero-focused when it comes to sexuality.

And prejudice.

The reason why we have a "white" palette in D&D is a distinct fear of prejudice.  Race, gender, sexuality are uncomfortable topics for a good portion of the demographic.  This topic comes up occasionally, and when it does it is always interesting.  Are you willing to allow a bigot when the oppressed don't wear green skins?  Are you comfortable with your players battling a mythic version of a culture and not turning into crude stereotypes?

A frank discussion of ALL race has yet to truly come forward in the RPG industry, much less discussion  of gender, sexuality, or religion.  Many play a game in which the players could roll into an encampment,  wipe out all of the evil warriors, and leave.  Now make them humans, of any color or creed, and see the uproar.

If we are willing to open the Box  to the hobby as a whole it may move us forward.  Personally I want to see a ethnically diverse, culturally robust setting and core.  I would love to see if we are finally comfortable in blasting through to be in that sweet spot past racial thought.

Let us get to a time where a man (or woman), no matter race, creed, or color, can be killed for XP.