Grumpy RPG Reviews - Blacks in Gaming




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    Grumpy RPG Reviews - Blacks in Gaming

    New Episodes!
    Episode 55: Blacks in Gaming (Episode 55 ends with a challenge for D&D 5E/Next.)

    I run a series of mostly podcast reviews of RPG reviews and columns, though the last 15 episodes are in video format as well. They are mostly done in the character of the Grumpy Celt, which is what I would be were I a fictional character and knew myself to be a fictional character.

    This thread was part of an ongoing series, but the discussion of Blacks in Gaming took on a life of its own. As a result, I've slid that conversation out to this thread. -- Piratecat
    Last edited by Piratecat; Thursday, 1st March, 2012 at 05:31 PM.

 

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    In Chris Van Dyke essay on the subject, he states that of…

    “…the roughly 100 illustrations that depict adventurers in the 1st Edition Player Handbook and Dungeon Master’s Guide (both published in 1978), there are NO non-white adventurers. In the over 100 illustrations of adventurer’s in the 2nd Edition Player Handbook and Dungeon Master’s Guide (both published in 1989), there are NO non-white adventurers.”
    I always liked to think of "A Paladin in Hell" as a black guy...

    As for the rest of it...

    RPGs as a form of entertainment share a perception problem with Metal- within the black community, it's often conceived of as something for white guys from the 'burbs/Eurocentric. Not for us. Even today, when I go to a Metal show, there are more of us in the security and staff at the event than there are in the audience.

    And it's not just the games, it's every aspect of of the Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror genre. We're not just underrepresented in the fiction, we're underrepresented in the consumer market for the stuff. It's rare for me to run into non-Anglos in those areas of my book stores, comic shops, or movie/memorabilia stores.
    IAAL...and an MBA. No, really!
    Metal School Founder; Campaign Ideas; my 3.X Databases: The Monk, The Martial Arcanist, Aquatic Ideas, The Psychonomicon

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dannyalcatraz View Post
    I always liked to think of "A Paladin in Hell" as a black guy...

    As for the rest of it...

    RPGs as a form of entertainment share a perception problem with Metal- within the black community, it's often conceived of as something for white guys from the 'burbs/Eurocentric. Not for us. Even today, when I go to a Metal show, there are more of us in the security and staff at the event than there are in the audience.

    And it's not just the games, it's every aspect of of the Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror genre. We're not just underrepresented in the fiction, we're underrepresented in the consumer market for the stuff. It's rare for me to run into non-Anglos in those areas of my book stores, comic shops, or movie/memorabilia stores.
    Despite underrepresentation, it was a black guy who showed me the game and taught me how to play.
    Death is for amateurs -Charlie Sheen

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    For more than 2 decades, I was the only black guy I knew in gaming.
    IAAL...and an MBA. No, really!
    Metal School Founder; Campaign Ideas; my 3.X Databases: The Monk, The Martial Arcanist, Aquatic Ideas, The Psychonomicon

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    Wow, Danny, it seems like we've had this discussion somewhere else on these boards.... hhhmmmmmmm

    Dude, you can play guitar and D&D with me any day.
    (But I still can't believe they let you be a lawyer in Texas. )

    As for the art, it sort of makes sense. White guys make white pictures. It's unintended racism. When I think about NPCs or read a book without a very specific description, I think white person. It's not intended, but it's what my mind comes up with. Unless there is a specific reason otherwise (I played a fighter named Hakim ibn Hassan al Nasir in Al- Qadim, he most definitely wasn't white and I Painted a mini for a black player so I figured his character was too, I had a pre-determined frame of reference.) I default. It's human nature unfortunately.

    By contrast, when Forgotten Realms came along, there was a conscious effort to create an entire world, and diversity was built into the design. Boom, black guys in gaming art! And if you think about it, there wasn't a whole lot of other races represented either until OA and UA. Of course, diversity was already being foisted upon the hobby via EGG's vision of the D&D cartoon. Let's face it, Diana wasn't Greek.
    Headmaster of Metal School

    "I may be unconscious, but at least I still look good!" - - Me (at the Halfling Musketeers game GenCon '06)

    On one hand, taking away their weapons is a dead giveaway that they will need them. On the other hand, by the time conflict starts the players will already have opened the rulebooks and found the parts that deal with bare-handed combat, performing disarm moves, and using improvised weapons. Players may blunder through dialog with shocking ineptitude, forget the name of the country they are in, or get confused about which side they are on, but once it comes time to roll for initiative they all turn into Sun Tzu. - Shamus Young DM of the Rings

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    Dude, you can play guitar and D&D with me any day.
    Side note: most of my D&D PCs play an instrument...usually either flute or lute.
    (But I still can't believe they let you be a lawyer in Texas.)
    It's either affirmative action or they don't know I'm black.









    IAAL...and an MBA. No, really!
    Metal School Founder; Campaign Ideas; my 3.X Databases: The Monk, The Martial Arcanist, Aquatic Ideas, The Psychonomicon

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dannyalcatraz View Post
    For more than 2 decades, I was the only black guy I knew in gaming.
    That's just wrong.

    We've got a black player in our group, and I'm plotting to teach my Little Brother (who's from Sierra Leone) how to play. I know maybe another dozen black gamers. Criminally few.
    - Piratecat, EN World Admin. Now Kickstarting TimeWatch, a time travel game - please go check it out!

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    It is what it is. I started gaming in a suburb of Denver, then moved to small-town Kansas. Then I moved to a suburb of Dallas that was the least integrated in the entire Metroplex- there was a KKK rally on the corner down from my Dad's office the first year we lived there. I was the first black to graduate from my private HS (and remained the ONLY for a decade). My college had only 20 black freshmen, and only about 40 blacks out of a total (grad & undergrad) enrollment of 4500. Campus security knew us all on sight.

    Simply put, for most of my life, I haven't been around that many blacks who weren't relatives, so that pushes the odds of finding a black gamer WAAAAAY down.
    IAAL...and an MBA. No, really!
    Metal School Founder; Campaign Ideas; my 3.X Databases: The Monk, The Martial Arcanist, Aquatic Ideas, The Psychonomicon

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    That's certainly true. I'm wondering how much those odds change in more integrated states. I grew up in Vermont and Connecticut, places that are not exactly cultural melting pots, and the proportion was about the same.

    So here's a question. When you see relatively few black gamers, how much of that do you think is because so many of the classic fantasy stories - LotR, King Arthur, and more books than I can name - are all about white folks?
    - Piratecat, EN World Admin. Now Kickstarting TimeWatch, a time travel game - please go check it out!

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