Dungeons and Dragons is a tabletop fantasy role-playing game that reaches the realms of wizardry, limitless fantasy, historic times, prehistoric times and fiction. DND is now in its 50th year, but people are criticizing it for including hidden notions of racism.
Namely, orcs and drow (dark elves), which are portrayed as evil and monstrous. The creators have also continuously denied alleged promotion of satanism, witchcraft, suicide, pornography and murder.
There has even been extreme condemnation of the role-playing aspect of the game because it provides people an opportunity to take on roles that aren’t harmonious with their real identity — but this criticism defeats the purpose of the game. D&D is meant to go beyond the bounds of the real world and exceed even the possibilities of imagination, but never intends to violate anyone’s cultural, ethnical or sexual identity. People are finding offense with D&D because of the current racial and sexist climate which has people on high alert, so it has been easily attributed to this game of imagination where anyone can be whatever race or gender they wish. The more evil characters of the game have darker skin colors and ruthless resolutions which seems to send a message that skin colors that aren’t white are associated with negative traits and behaviors, but this was never the intention.
Wizards of the Coast, the game creators and the authors of D&D Beyond, said that “‘human’ in D&D means everyone, not just fantasy versions of northern Europeans, and the D&D community is now more diverse than it’s ever been,” in response to the accusations and misunderstandings of the game’s stance on race. This illustrates the true intentions of the creators and the lack of connection that was made to real world racial and sexual stigmas.
In fact, the fifth edition of D&D was designed to “depict humanity in all its beautiful diversity by depicting characters who represent an array of ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations and beliefs.”
The article, written by Wizards of the Coast, ensures readers that their beliefs don’t align with any forms of ethnic denigration or gentrification, nor have they ever. To best exemplify and prove this, the fifth edition was designed to demonstrate awareness of and sensitivity to these issues.
With the initiatives of this new edition and the subsequent new books, the creators and authors have demonstrated their desire to eradicate racial stereotypes. They have even gone as far as to hire sensitivity readers to analyze their writings before publishing and have become extremely interactive with the D&D community.
Hopefully, this new material will pull more people into the game and even provide an escape from any racist reality they may experience.
D&D is a game meant for everyone and intends to exclude no one. The creators are working hard to prove this fact so everyone can find it appealing and maybe even create a game within their own small communities to enjoy and explore.
Madison Roach is a senior WRTC major. Contact Madison at firstname.lastname@example.org.