Blacks in Gaming (Hyperlink)
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    Blacks in Gaming (Hyperlink)

    Episode 55: Blacks in Gaming


    • For Black History Month, this column discusses the role of blacks in tabletop role-playing games.
    • The essay employs the term black rather than African-American or Africa because most fantasy settings do not have an America or an Africa, even if they do include black people.
    • Race is an important part of character creation, though there it usually refers to what should be called different species (elves, orcs, humans, etc.) and there is no real mechanical difference between blacks and whites.
    • The default assumption of both the text and art of most RGP games is the characters are white.
    • White Wolf Games are transgressive and progressive, making an effort to include blacks in the text and art of their games.
    • Some fantasy versions of Africa do exist, though your mileage may vary as to the quality and results.
    • RPGS lag behind other areas of society – such as business, sports and politics – in terms of including blacks. This will change only when fans make it change.

    Links;



    February is Black History Month in the United States, a month designated to acknowledge accomplishments of black men and women in all occupations, from sports to business to science to politics and so forth. However, the presence of blacks in gaming is thin on the ground, so to speak.
    In this column, I will discuss the issue and while a conclusion is reached, this is a podcast column and not a comprehensive study of the subject.

    Black People in Gaming
    Yes, this post is a hyperlink to elsewhere but the essay is 12 pages and 3,500 words long.
    But here is the short version, while black's constitute above 12% of the U.S. population, the appear in less than 1% of the art depictions of humans in the core D&D books in the past.

    Here D&D 5E/Next Challenge; make at least 10% of the humans depicted black. Not all art must depict humaniods and not all humaniods must be human, but of the humans 10% should be black.

    If not, then why not?
    Last edited by Grumpy RPG Reviews; Wednesday, 22nd February, 2012 at 05:17 PM.

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    Well, D&D is a fantasy world, I mean, why would that reflect US population? There's more people playing D&D all over the world. Here in Brazil, for sure, there are more than 12% of black people (except maybe on south, where I live... we're mostly sons or grandsons of german/italian/polish/russian immigrants...).

    I'm in for every color represented, be it black, white, yellow, red or purple with green spots.

    Also, that should reflect other races too. Not all Gnolls should have the same fur color, neither dwarves, elves, orcs... etc.

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    The origins of RPGs lie in european middle ages influenced fantasy novels. Since people in medieval europe where almost all white europeans, that carried on into most RPGs settings.
    White Wolf games are an exception, because they are set in the contemporary USA, where blacks are a significant part of the population.

    There are some east-asian RPGs, but those are few compared to the rest and there are pretty much no RPGs set in south american, african, indian, or australian inspired worlds.

    I think with RPG settings, it's not so much about the special treatment of black people, but the special treatment of white people. Black people seem to be bunched in with all the other "non-european whites".

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    I understand the low percentage of other ethnicities and races in D&D due to the fantasy world of european middle ages. As a black New Yorker, I tend to have an equal mix of races in the NPCs when I DM.

    I would like to see more focus of the "other far way lands" many D&D settings speak of though. Many setting boos get to focused on one area of their world.

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    A. This is not 1973 and a question is if the game will most past those European war gaming roots.

    B. A definitive objective is something that can be met while vague goals can be waved away or ignored when push comes to shove.

    C. 10% is easier to attain than, say 20%.

    Also, according to wikipedia less than 8% of Brazil's population are "black," though that is admittedly a flexible term.

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    I stick with the traditional human populations from RPG's because I find it to be a little piece of realism in a fantasy world. People actually had to walk to move around back then. And aside from primarily naval based merchants most people never went very far from where they were born.

    I dont see any particular need to inject real world racial politics into my fantasy game. I would rather bash orcs and gather treasure.

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    I would wager it's because most RPGs represent the "medieval europe" setting, in which non-whites were a fairly inconsequential number. In my opinion, a lot of real-world minorities are replaced with near-human races, and the games reflect that in that where you would normally expect to find human minorities in the real world, the games have near-human races filling that minority gap.

    If D&DNext is going to make 10% of it's humans "black", then it should also include at least 1 asian group, hispanic, and middle eastern.

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    Quote Originally Posted by avin View Post
    Also, that should reflect other races too. Not all Gnolls should have the same fur color, neither dwarves, elves, orcs... etc.
    Elves have fur?

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    moved to general discussion

    note: this could obviously be a sensitive subject, we'll have to close it if it gets political.

    Thanks

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    I think it depends on the setting of the game. If they released an "Oriental Adventures"-type book, should 10% of the humans depicted be black? IMO, no. In such a book the humans depicted should be neither black nor white.

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