log in or register to remove this ad

 

5E D&D Inclusivity for People with Disabilities

MGibster

Legend
In another thread, one of our illustrious posters asked about making D&D more inclusive for differently abled people. i.e. Can someone play a character in D&D like them? Well Sara Thompson released the Combat Wheelchair for 5th edition D&D that some people might like. You can read about it at Bell of Lost Souls. It works for me. I'm going to have one of the villains in my Acquisitions, Inc. campaign using one of these bad boys.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Remathilis

Legend
Oh, get in on this one before the eventual meltdown.

I like the 2nd attempt at this, her 1.0 was almost a little wonky, but it's been mostly ironed out. If someone wanted to use it, I'd allow it. I've had PCs use the prosthetic limb and erzat eye magic items, so no problem.
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I know it is hard to keep up with the language, but for the future, "differently abled" is usually considered to be a bit condescending. In this context, "people with disabilities" (which puts the focus on the fact that they are people) would usually be preferred.

I cannot speak for anyone else. My brother used a wheelchair his entire life. We had many times we'd talk about things like this. He would have found this, okay, but... lacking.

His best example of his position was the Marvel superhero Daredevil, and considering him to be representation of people who are blind. They manage to do that by giving the blind man the superpower, "Can see better than everyone." That's... not really blind, now is it?

This allows for representation by eliding over all the difficulties. Real wheelchairs are not lightweight, easily maneuverable, not really in the way, allowing you to go over any surface and up and down stairs with ease. While these days you can get a bargain basement chair for reasonable cost, sports wheelchairs are in the thousands of dollars, often a stretch in the budget for a family that is also paying whatever extra medical costs the user has (which are usually substantial).

My brother was not looking for people to think he could easily do anything they could. Because he couldn't. He wanted people to understand that, be a bit more thoughtful in their choices, and treat him like he was a whole human being regardless.
 


Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I was thinking about how to respond to this because I don't want to be dismissive. But ... being disabled should not be a power-up. My father lost his right arm below the elbow (relatively minor in the grand scheme of things) before I was born.

But even for him there were things he just couldn't do. It didn't make him any less of a person, even though friends were occasionally surprised when they met him. I never gave it a second thought, he was just always "Dad".

I'm not sure how I would handle it, but a person would need a really good reason to play a disabled person in my campaign. It would not be an excuse to be to get a magic wheel chair or become the bionic man.
 

Wishbone

Paladin Radmaster
I know it is hard to keep up with the language, but for the future, "differently abled" is usually considered to be a bit condescending. In this context, "people with disabilities" (which puts the focus on the fact that they are people) would usually be preferred.

I cannot speak for anyone else. My brother used a wheelchair his entire life. We had many times we'd talk about things like this. He would have found this, okay, but... lacking.

His best example of his position was the Marvel superhero Daredevil, and considering him to be representation of people who are blind. They manage to do that by giving the blind man the superpower, "Can see better than everyone." That's... not really blind, now is it?

This allows for representation by eliding over all the difficulties. Real wheelchairs are not lightweight, easily maneuverable, not really in the way, allowing you to go over any surface and up and down stairs with ease. While these days you can get a bargain basement chair for reasonable cost, sports wheelchairs are in the thousands of dollars, often a stretch in the budget for a family that is also paying whatever extra medical costs the user has (which are usually substantial).

My brother was not looking for people to think he could easily do anything they could. Because he couldn't. He wanted people to understand that, be a bit more thoughtful in their choices, and treat him like he was a whole human being regardless.
I was thinking about how to respond to this because I don't want to be dismissive. But ... being disabled should not be a power-up. My father lost his right arm below the elbow (relatively minor in the grand scheme of things) before I was born.

But even for him there were things he just couldn't do. It didn't make him any less of a person, even though friends were occasionally surprised when they met him. I never gave it a second thought, he was just always "Dad".

I'm not sure how I would handle it, but a person would need a really good reason to play a disabled person in my campaign. It would not be an excuse to be to get a magic wheel chair or become the bionic man.
You both raise really good points. I'll definitely work at being more mindful of these things going forward.
 

MGibster

Legend
I know it is hard to keep up with the language, but for the future, "differently abled" is usually considered to be a bit condescending. In this context, "people with disabilities" (which puts the focus on the fact that they are people) would usually be preferred.
I appreciate you taking the time to point that out. If it's within your power, I don't mind if you change the title to "Inclusivity for People with Disabilities."

This allows for representation by eliding over all the difficulties. Real wheelchairs are not lightweight, easily maneuverable, not really in the way, allowing you to go over any surface and up and down stairs with ease. While these days you can get a bargain basement chair for reasonable cost, sports wheelchairs are in the thousands of dollars, often a stretch in the budget for a family that is also paying whatever extra medical costs the user has (which are usually substantial).
That's a valid point. But in a game of over-the-top action like D&D, how do you represent a player character with a disability that makes day-to-day life more difficult with any degree of realism while simultaneously ensuring that they're just as effective as any other character who does not possess a disability?

My brother was not looking for people to think he could easily do anything they could. Because he couldn't. He wanted people to understand that, be a bit more thoughtful in their choices, and treat him like he was a whole human being regardless.
I don't know if D&D would be the best way to accomplish that goal. In the words of The Wheelchair hero quoted in the article, "I CAN PLAY A DND CHARACTER WHO IS LIKE ME NOW!!!" I think that's what it's all about really. Whether it actually accomplishes that goal is another thing I guess.
 

jayoungr

Hero
Supporter
It all comes down to what sort of fantasy you want, doesn't it?

A fantasy where a thing that's considered to be a disability IRL is actually a superpower could be fun/empowering to play for some people.

A fantasy where your character has the same traits as the player (whatever those are) and kicks a lot of butt could also be fun/empowering for some people.

A fantasy where your character doesn't have the same traits as the player (whatever those are) and kicks a lot of butt could also be fun/empowering for some people.

I don't think there's a right or wrong way to go about it. (I'm a tiny bit disturbed that the article implies there is. But meh, whatever.)
 

the Jester

Legend
That's a valid point. But in a game of over-the-top action like D&D, how do you represent a player character with a disability that makes day-to-day life more difficult with any degree of realism while simultaneously ensuring that they're just as effective as any other character who does not possess a disability?
I feel like that rather misses the point of the disability, personally.

I'm not sure what the answer is here, to be honest. If you want to play a disabled character in my game, expect that disability to have consequences. In fact, in using "colorful critical hits" that sometimes remove body parts and the like, pcs don't usually start off with disabilities, but often end up with them, at least until there's a pc capable of casting regenerate.

EDIT: Or whatever spell is required to remove the resulting effects, e.g. lesser restoration for deafness, etc.
 

MGibster

Legend
I was thinking about how to respond to this because I don't want to be dismissive. But ... being disabled should not be a power-up. My father lost his right arm below the elbow (relatively minor in the grand scheme of things) before I was born.
I think the advantage the combat wheelchair gives people is a bit unbalanced and others have had a similar criticism. But when you're trying new things sometimes it takes a few tries before you hit that sweet spot.

I'm not sure how I would handle it, but a person would need a really good reason to play a disabled person in my campaign. It would not be an excuse to be to get a magic wheel chair or become the bionic man.
I suspect the entire reason the combat wheelchair exists is to give people an opportunity to play a character that looks like them. i.e. They get to be represented in the game.
 

Iry

Hero
A fantasy where a thing that's considered to be a disability IRL is actually a superpower could be fun/empowering to play for some people.

A fantasy where your character has the same traits as the player (whatever those are) and kicks a lot of butt could also be fun/empowering for some people.

A fantasy where your character doesn't have the same traits as the player (whatever those are) and kicks a lot of butt could also be fun/empowering for some people.
This. Each of these depictions are empowering to some, and miss the point for others. I think the wheelchair should be celebrated as giving options to one type of empowerment for those that want it, and look forward to options empowering the others in the future.

There is a valid point that everyone might want a wheelchair, though. 🤗
 

Eltab

Hero
I'd have to take it on a person-by-person basis.

A PC with a twisted leg could be simulated in-game by having a 25' speed instead of 30' (enough to notice but not a shutdown) AND there is an in-world tale of the Zephyr Greaves, a magic item that allows the wearer to run faster than normal. So the character can be cool and powerful after fulfilling a quest.

If the player doesn't like this proposal, I won't shove it on him. Hopefully he has a better idea than mine and I can work with him on it.
 

Azzy

Newtype
In another thread, one of our illustrious posters asked about making D&D more inclusive for differently abled people. i.e. Can someone play a character in D&D like them? Well Sara Thompson released the Combat Wheelchair for 5th edition D&D that some people might like. You can read about it at Bell of Lost Souls. It works for me. I'm going to have one of the villains in my Acquisitions, Inc. campaign using one of these bad boys.
This is another case of "Not reading the comment section is self-care". :D I rarely read BoLS anymore, and this just reminded me why.

That said, I am cool with accomodating disabled people in a way that is respectful to them both inside and outside the game.
 

One of my players played a character in a wheelchair in one of my Call of Cthulhu campaigns. I made sure to include obstacles for the wheelchair in the campaign to make it more exciting. But certain actions were always more difficult for his character.

For example, during one session his character tried to sneak into the forbidden section of a library, but for that he needed to climb a steep staircase. That required a strength check to haul that wheelchair up the stairs, or he needed to crawl without the wheelchair. There were also a few situations where he needed to make a quick get away, which was more difficult for him. I added the occasional skill- and ability check (strength checks mostly), for a lot of these obstacles. Especially in a horror campaign, playing a disabled character can be very exciting.

Playing a character who is missing a leg or an arm can also make for cool character building, especially if this ties strongly into the character's backstory. I had an npc called Countess Roselyne Camille in my long running pirate campaign, who was missing an arm. She lost her arm due to her father standing up to a vile pirate captain called Karagoz, who severed her arm out of spite for not learning where the villagers were being hidden. This disability became a badge of honor for her, and a reminder to her people what her family was willing to sacrifice to keep them safe. Arguably one of the best characters I've written for any of my campaigns. And it had a very satisfying conclusion too. The players did battle with Karagoz, and brought him before the Countess to see justice be done to him. While Karagoz was being dragged through the halls of the keep, he kept remarking on the wonderful memories he had of the place. He tried his best to provoke the players, and Roselyn's uncle. But when the verdict came, it all came full circle:

Roselyne: “You’re a proud man aren’t you? Very much concerned with being known… being feared. It should come as a bit of a disappointment then that no one will ever hear what became of you today. You’re probably expecting me to maim you, like you did to me. You’re probably expecting me to do all manner of unspeakable things to you. But truth be told, I have no desire to become you… and no form of punishment that I could possibly come up with, could ever surpass the horrors of what you and your men could inflict on each other.”

Karagoz: "You are wasting your time, my men are loyal to the end"
, -he grins.

Roselyne: “I still remember how you held your blade at my throat, demanding that my father tell you where he was hiding the villagers. It was right here, in this same hall. It must have haunted you to this very day that he stood his ground and never told you. Well, today you are going to find out. There was an old dried up well in the center of town, leading to a small underground reservoir. There’s no way out of there. It is basically just a small dark hole. I can only imagine the terror that my people experienced, waiting down there in the darkness, praying that your men would not find them. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be down there, with no light, and no food. I can’t even imagine what people would do to each other… but I guess you are going to find out. And once we’ve sealed the well, we are just going to forget about you, and no one will ever hear about you at all.”

With that said, Karagoz was dragged away, and thrown into the well, along with his men. They sealed the well with the statue that still stands there today, which cut off all sound from below in an instant. Roselyne then asked her people to forget about Karagoz. To never mention what happened to him. She wanted him to be utterly forgotten. She didn’t even want credit for defeating him. She wanted him erased from history.
 
Last edited:

jasper

Rotten DM
Love the page 1 attack…If you take issue with disabled people celebrating and having fun with the game that they love, then you need to reconsider your stance on disability. Disability is nothing to be ashamed about…….. This strikes as tone policing.
Rotten Jasper Combat Wheel Chair. Cost FREE. Base Weight Nothing. Effect Allows base movement, carry weight etc as your Race and Class. Effect Looks cool. It is considered to be an extension of yourself.
******
Here is a quick view of what you get as Adventure League PC.
An AL level four PC gets the follow for 200 gp for a 25 PD weight.
Additional Proficiency Tinker’s Tools. Normal Cost 50 GP and 10PDs And 200 Downtime Days.
Addition Weapon Proficiency Wheelchair. Normal Cost ??? Let just say either 200 downtime days, or weapon master feat limited.
Additional Pack Explorer’s. Normal Cost 10Gp Weight 59pds
Additional 3 pouches. Normal cost 1.5Gp Weight 3 pounds.
Swift base movement increase to 50 feet downhill.
Stable. Advantage from being knock prone.
Counted as Mount in Combat.
*****
Advantage from being knocked prone. Shoot last year when running Rise of Tiamat the dragons needed it.
 
Last edited:


Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I was thinking about how to respond to this because I don't want to be dismissive. But ... being disabled should not be a power-up. My father lost his right arm below the elbow (relatively minor in the grand scheme of things) before I was born.

But even for him there were things he just couldn't do. It didn't make him any less of a person, even though friends were occasionally surprised when they met him. I never gave it a second thought, he was just always "Dad".
At a place that I used to work I had to go up to HR to talk to one of the people who worked there. I had never met him and when I walked into his office I saw that he had no arms. We talked for a bit about the new position that I was interested in and when were were done I needed a note before heading back down to work.

What I didn't know while talking was that he was barefoot behind the desk. When he needed to write that note his left foot whipped up from behind the desk and grabbed a single sheet of paper off of a stack of paper and his right foot whipped up at the same time and grabbed a single pen out of the full pen holder, just as quickly as someone with hands. Then he proceeded to write the note in better penmanship than I have. I was very surprised and impressed.

Perhaps rules that would allow the person with the disability to perform as well as one that isn't, but in a different way would be good.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
At a place that I used to work I had to go up to HR to talk to one of the people who worked there. I had never met him and when I walked into his office I saw that he had no arms. We talked for a bit about the new position that I was interested in and when were were done I needed a note before heading back down to work.

What I didn't know while talking was that he was barefoot behind the desk. When he needed to write that note his left foot whipped up from behind the desk and grabbed a single sheet of paper off of a stack of paper and his right foot whipped up at the same time and grabbed a single pen out of the full pen holder, just as quickly as someone with hands. Then he proceeded to write the note in better penmanship than I have. I was very surprised and impressed.

Perhaps rules that would allow the person with the disability to perform as well as one that isn't, but in a different way would be good.
I might allow something if the player had a good reason, and there are a lot of options. At the same time I don't want to minimize the impact of disabilities (or ignore them entirely). Making it a benefit feels like it would be condescending in a way, much like Umbran mentioned with Daredevil.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I might allow something if the player had a good reason, and there are a lot of options. At the same time I don't want to minimize the impact of disabilities (or ignore them entirely). Making it a benefit feels like it would be condescending in a way, much like Umbran mentioned with Daredevil.
Now I want to make a BBEG Wizard without arms. He will have an illusion of slippers on so that he can remain barefoot without it being obvious, and maybe a ring of flying so that he has mobility when he needs to cast spells. His feet will be able to manipulate material and somatic components when he casts spells.
 

COMING SOON: 5 Plug-In Settlements for your 5E Game

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top