Wizards of the Coast is Changing Dungeons & Dragons to Address Systemic Racism

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By Jake Vyper | More Articles MTG Writer/Streamer
June 25, 2020  01:01 PM

 

Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering publisher Wizards of the Coast is making changes to its games to address racist stereotypes. The company already banned seven MTG cards for depicting racism, and now they've addressed systemic racism in D&D's sourcebooks, and pledged to make changes to the tabletop game. 

In WotC's official D&D website, the company posted a blog titled Diversity and Dungeons & Dragons stating that they are planning to make design changes in future D&D books to help promote diversity: "One of the explicit design goals of 5th edition D&D is to depict humanity in all its beautiful diversity by depicting characters who represent an array of ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, and beliefs," Wizards said. 

The company specifically addressed two groups in explaining their recent future changes to D&D content: the orcs, characterized as savage horde of creatures, and the drow, evil dark-skinned subrace of elves. 

We present orcs and drow in a new light in two of our most recent books, Eberron: Rising from the Last War and Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount. In those books, orcs and drow are just as morally and culturally complex as other peoples. We will continue that approach in future books, portraying all the peoples of D&D in relatable ways and making it clear that they are as free as humans to decide who they are and what they do. [...]

Later this year, we will release a product (not yet announced) that offers a way for a player to customize their character’s origin, including the option to change the ability score increases that come from being an elf, a dwarf, or one of D&D’s many other playable folk. This option emphasizes that each person in the game is an individual with capabilities all their own.

WotC also said that it's changing its material that stereotypes real-world ethnic groups like the Roma. Wizards already revised the adventure book Curse of Strahd, which features people known as the Vistani that “echoes some stereotypes associated with the Romani people in the real world.” The company said that the two future books will give more customization options for character races, and that they're are aiming to push more diversity when hiring staff and freelance writers. 

The publisher said that it will continue to rely on “experts in various fields to help us identify our blind spots". The publisher said that it is “seeking new, diverse talent to join our staff and our pool of freelance writers and artists.”

WotC's move to remove offensive strereotypes in its games is the right decision, but promoting diversity among fictional characters is not enough; they have to make sure that their gaming community is welcoming to everyone. 

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