Wednesday, July 23, 2014

D & D & D (Dungeons & Dragons & Diversity)

The newest version of Dungeons and Dragons is finally released this week. Last week, Wizards of the Coast released the Version 5 Basic Rules as a free PDF download.

Among the mechanics changes and rewrites and other things that come with a new release of a tabletop system come another welcome change in both the free and full price version: an explicit welcome of diversity! In the character creation section, the rule-set encourages players:
"Think about how your character does or does not conform to the broader culture's expectations of sex, gender, and sexual behavior... You don’t need to be confined to binary notions of sex and gender. The elf god Corellon Larethian is often seen as androgynous or hermaphroditic, for example, and some elves in the multiverse are made in Corellon’s image. You could also play a female character who presents herself as a man, a man who feels trapped in afemale body, or a bearded female dwarf who hates being mistaken for a male. Likewise, your character's sexual orientation is for you to decide."

Dungeons and Dragons has attracted players from all walks of life for ages, and in a nerd culture that can often feel ignorant of, or even downright hostile to, players from marginalized groups, seeing an unapolgetic and matter-of-fact welcome to this player base in the game instructions itself is awesome. Kudos to WotC!

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