D&D General Let people play the way they wish.

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Hello friends, acquaintances, and forum-dwellers otherwise. It has been a while.

I want to weigh in on a recent hot topic which first conflated playing a low intelligence character a certain way with abelism- a type of bigotry.

We were then prescribed specific ways in which it is morally acceptable, or non-bigoted, to play low-intelligence characters (many of which arguably apply to a low-wisdom character, but that is another discussion).

Now I could have simply responded to the thread like hundreds of others did, though the purpose of this thread is to be more than a mere counterpoint to that post.

I wish to first make a larger point about societal influences on gaming, and second, I encourage all of you to play exactly the way YOU wish.

Gaming, in all its forms, is ultimately an escape from the burdens and realities of our day to day lives. Even so, it is impossible to completely divorce gaming from real life – many times we attempt to deal with real life issues and problems through role play or the stories we create.

One thing I’ve always noticed is society’s morals seeping into the way you game – it’s inevitable. I am sadly old enough to remember when the religious right were the purveyors of moral purity.

Growing up in North Carolina in a religious family in the 1980s, I used to hear things from my parents’ friends like: “he shouldn’t be playing that game, and especially as a wizard! It is a gateway to the occult.” I would laugh it off or downplay it.

And I would play anyway (*as an evil necromancer, mind you!)

I loved playing my way: it fostered my creativity and thinking. It also helped me deal with the real world.

These were the same type of people who in the 1990s and early 2000s would moralistically contend that video games cause violence in children. You rarely hear from them now, because they have evolved into something (only slightly) different in 2021.

Everyone knows I refer to the endless litanies of -isms, and -phobes that you’ll get labeled with if you don’t do or say certain things “properly.” These are still the same schoolmarms who were telling me I was bad in the 1980s - they just use different words.

No one should have to endlessly defend their integrity from the bigoteers and their labeling, simply because I choose to play a certain way that isn’t up to their handpicked moral standards.

Call me naive, but I truly believe no one is starting a DND game with the intent of being insensitive to someone different from them.

Is it sexist for a man to play a female character? Is it racist for a human to play an orc

It doesn’t matter, because you cannot make moralists happy. There will always be something to gripe about. 20 years from now, someone is going to find something ‘problematic’ with what the moralistic standard-bearers are doing today, and I wonder if they’ll reconsider their crusade at that time.

Don't listen to them.

Play how you want. Have fun. Be Happy.


Allow me to cast Magic Circle vs strawmen/ “SO YOURE SAYING…” type responses:

“So you’re okay with people denigrating the disabled?”


“So you’re saying it’s okay to be insensitive to those different from you”




Just because someone on the internet said it’s the ‘right way to play, doesn’t actually make them right.

Spare me the moral posturing- I've seen it many times before.

Play exactly the way you want.
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