D&D 5E D&D's Inclusivity Language Alterations In Core Rules

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In recent months, WotC has altered some of the text found in the original 5th Edition core rulebooks to accommodate D&D's ongoing move towards inclusivity. Many of these changes are reflected on D&D Beyond already--mainly small terminology alterations in descriptive text, rather than rules changes.

Teos Abadia (also known as Alphastream) has compiled a list of these changes. I've posted a very abbreviated, paraphrased version below, but please do check out his site for the full list and context.
  • Savage foes changed to brutal, merciless, or ruthless.
  • Barbarian hordes changed to invading hordes.
  • References to civilized people and places removed.
  • Madness or insanity removed or changed to other words like chaos.
  • Usage of orcs as evil foes changed to other words like raiders.
  • Terms like dim-witted and other synonyms of low intelligence raced with words like incurious.
  • Language alterations surrounding gender.
  • Fat removed or changed to big.
  • Use of terms referring to slavery reduced or altered.
  • Use of dark when referring to evil changed to words like vile or dangerous.
This is by no means the full list, and much more context can be found on Alphastream's blog post.
 

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AstroCat

Adventurer
You literally said exactly that.

We now appear to be in the bizarre position where you’re claiming WotC has said/done things they haven’t, while simultaneously denying you yourself have said things which are literally right there in black and white.

It’s like being in Bizarro World or something. Everything is backwards.
I've said wotc has made the game rather uninteresting and uninspired to me over time for many reasons including the changing of the language in their text as just one small example of many that contribute to this. I repeated this point several times in my posts, I've never said wotc would come police my language use in my home, I called that out as utterly ridiculous and a disingenuous accusation. You can re-read my posts, I've stated this multiple times.

Although I could perhaps, maybe just maybe, as is their right, see a time in which wotc would not allow 3rd party licensees to use unapproved language, but that would be the extent of their actual control. They can't come to my house and make us not use the phrase, "The savage beast tore into it's prey." or anything like that, sheesh!

Again, I'm not sure what caricature you are trying to make me into here, but at this point it seems a bit mean spirited and spiteful. My intent was to engage in a moderate discussion of wotc's changes to the game on a forum specifically about gaming which I've been a member for over 20 years. So much often gets lost for all the wrong reasons in this medium. What in person could be a solid friendly conversation, leading to understanding and idea exchanges, maybe even learnings for both, turns into this, just gross.
 
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Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Maybe. But in the same vein, they are the ones with the most responsibility to watch their OWN language.

They maybe have to be a bit more politically correct than small publishers.
This is, I suppose, understandable, if somewhat disappointing in some ways (the lock out of Dark Sun, for example).
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
They aren't controlling peoples language but the article says they are updating the 2014 books (does this include the printed versions too?). While that is unfortunately becoming normal practice for a lot of publishers. It is also worth noting there has been tremendous push back on that idea. I think they can use whatever language they want in the current version (I still think the language they are using is pretty ridiculous but it isn't deceptive). The problem a lot of people have with making changes like this to older books, is it is misleading, it feels like it changes the public record, there is something a little censorious and even Orwellian when publishers do it on a large scale. Sure, no one is going to argue this is Shakespeare. But something ought not have to be Shakespeare or Shelley to be something we want preserved accurately. It also changes the work of people who originally made that. It is their legal right, as they own it. But it is like when they alter movies or novels. People are often very uncomfortable with this (and not because they think whatever got changed or removed was wholesome and good, but because it does feel like a form of censorship and altering the historical record). Now I am little unclear on what exactly these changes are in terms of the books. Like if I go to Amazon and buy the 2014 DMG and PHB, is it going to have changes from the versions I bought in 2014?
This is my issue as well. Retroactive changes to existing works make me uncomfortable.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
This is my issue as well. Retroactive changes to existing works make me uncomfortable.
It's not WotC's job (or anyone's for that matter) to make you comfortable.

If you are uncomfortable, it means you have to actually think about all of these things that make you uncomfortable and figure out why and make informed decisions about how you feel and what you are going to do about them. Rather than just "be comfortable" and be able to ignore it all. Because being able to ignore things is how so many of these problems continue to fester for those who don't have the luxury to ignore them.

Being comfortable just means not having to put in any work to be happy. Which is fine if that's your choice, but no one else has to go out of their way to help you do that.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I hope I can say it here: We a need clear and coherent criteria. We need a good reason to explain because somebody can or can't be allowed.

There is a right and a wrong way. The right way to be inclusive is like saying "everybody is wellcome, be polite and kind, and have fun!", and the wrong way is "if your point of view is not like mine, then you are not wellcome here".
There are many “points of view” that are antithetical to “everybody is welcome”.

The criteria is, “don’t seek to exclude or marginalize people due to not being part of the dominant socio-economic-ethnic group or gender and sex normative group.”

And if there is a situation that isn’t clear, you look to the spirit of that goal, and act according to it.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I've said wotc has made the game rather uninteresting and uninspired to me over time for many reasons including the changing of the language in their text as just one small example of many that contribute to this. I repeated this point several times in my posts, I've never said wotc would come police my language use in my home, I called that out as utterly ridiculous and a disingenuous accusation. You can re-read my posts, I've stated this multiple times. Although I could perhaps, maybe just maybe, as is their right, see a time in which wotc would not allow 3rd party licensees to use unapproved language, but that would be the extent of their actual control. They can't come to my house and make us not use the phrase, "The savage beast tore into it's prey." or anything like that, sheesh!

Again, I'm not sure what caricature you are trying to make me into here, but at this point it seems a bit mean spirited and spiteful. My intent was to engage in a moderate discussion of wotc's changes to the game on a forum specifically about gaming which I've been a member for over 20 years. So much often gets lost for all the wrong reasons in this medium. What in person could be a solid friendly conversation, leading to understanding and idea exchanges, maybe even learnings for both, turns into this, just gross.
Then I'm sorry, I literally can't understand you. When you say "While at it, removing the word savage, bummer... fun word for gaming, now not allowed. So much speak policing, it's just gotten insufferable, you can't even keep up." and then say you didn't say it, I'm just kind of at a loss.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
It's not WotC's job (or anyone's for that matter) to make you comfortable.

If you are uncomfortable, it means you have to actually think about all of these things that make you uncomfortable and figure out why and make informed decisions about how you feel and what you are going to do about them. Rather than just "be comfortable" and be able to ignore it all. Because being able to ignore things is how so many of these problems continue to fester for those who don't have the luxury to ignore them.

Being comfortable just means not having to put in any work to be happy. Which is fine if that's your choice, but no one else has to go out of their way to help you do that.
I am uncomfortable with the idea of a publisher changing the content of their own previously published works, which in this case have been out in the world for nearly a decade. What they are changing it to has nothing to do with that discomfort. The word "uncomfortable" is not inherently political or social in this context. The issue is with changing the past, not how they move on in the future.
 


BookTenTiger

He / Him
They aren't controlling peoples language but the article says they are updating the 2014 books (does this include the printed versions too?). While that is unfortunately becoming normal practice for a lot of publishers. It is also worth noting there has been tremendous push back on that idea. I think they can use whatever language they want in the current version (I still think the language they are using is pretty ridiculous but it isn't deceptive). The problem a lot of people have with making changes like this to older books, is it is misleading, it feels like it changes the public record, there is something a little censorious and even Orwellian when publishers do it on a large scale. Sure, no one is going to argue this is Shakespeare. But something ought not have to be Shakespeare or Shelley to be something we want preserved accurately. It also changes the work of people who originally made that. It is their legal right, as they own it. But it is like when they alter movies or novels. People are often very uncomfortable with this (and not because they think whatever got changed or removed was wholesome and good, but because it does feel like a form of censorship and altering the historical record). Now I am little unclear on what exactly these changes are in terms of the books. Like if I go to Amazon and buy the 2014 DMG and PHB, is it going to have changes from the versions I bought in 2014?
Do you feel this same reaction if they incorporate errata into reprintings of the 2014 books?
 


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