• COMING SOON! -- Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition! Level up your 5E game! The standalone advanced 5E tabletop RPG adds depth and diversity to the game you love!
log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D General WotC’s Official Announcement About Diversity, Races, and D&D

Status
Not open for further replies.
Following up on recent discussions on social media, WotC has made an official announcement about diversity and the treatment of ‘race’ in D&D. Notably, the word ‘race’ is not used; in its place are the words ‘people’ and 'folk'.

2A4C47E3-EAD6-4461-819A-3A42B20ED62A.png


 PRESS RELEASE


Dungeons & Dragons teaches that diversity is strength, for only a diverse group of adventurers can overcome the many challenges a D&D story presents. In that spirit, making D&D as welcoming and inclusive as possible has moved to the forefront of our priorities over the last six years. We’d like to share with you what we’ve been doing, and what we plan to do in the future to address legacy D&D content that does not reflect who we are today. We recognize that doing this isn’t about getting to a place where we can rest on our laurels but continuing to head in the right direction. We feel that being transparent about it is the best way to let our community help us to continue to calibrate our efforts.

One of the explicit design goals of 5th edition D&D is to depict humanity in all its beautiful diversity by depicting characters who represent an array of ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, and beliefs. We want everyone to feel at home around the game table and to see positive reflections of themselves within our products. “Human” in D&D means everyone, not just fantasy versions of northern Europeans, and the D&D community is now more diverse than it’s ever been.

Throughout the 50-year history of D&D, some of the peoples in the game—orcs and drow being two of the prime examples—have been characterized as monstrous and evil, using descriptions that are painfully reminiscent of how real-world ethnic groups have been and continue to be denigrated. That’s just not right, and it’s not something we believe in. Despite our conscious efforts to the contrary, we have allowed some of those old descriptions to reappear in the game. We recognize that to live our values, we have to do an even better job in handling these issues. If we make mistakes, our priority is to make things right.

Here’s what we’re doing to improve:
  • We present orcs and drow in a new light in two of our most recent books, Eberron: Rising from the Last War and Explorer's Guide to Wildemount. In those books, orcs and drow are just as morally and culturally complex as other peoples. We will continue that approach in future books, portraying all the peoples of D&D in relatable ways and making it clear that they are as free as humans to decide who they are and what they do.
  • When every D&D book is reprinted, we have an opportunity to correct errors that we or the broader D&D community discovered in that book. Each year, we use those opportunities to fix a variety of things, including errors in judgment. In recent reprintings of Tomb of Annihilation and Curse of Strahd, for example, we changed text that was racially insensitive. Those reprints have already been printed and will be available in the months ahead. We will continue this process, reviewing each book as it comes up for a reprint and fixing such errors where they are present.
  • Later this year, we will release a product (not yet announced) that offers a way for a player to customize their character’s origin, including the option to change the ability score increases that come from being an elf, a dwarf, or one of D&D's many other playable folk. This option emphasizes that each person in the game is an individual with capabilities all their own.
  • Curse of Strahd included a people known as the Vistani and featured the Vistani heroine Ezmerelda. Regrettably, their depiction echoes some stereotypes associated with the Romani people in the real world. To rectify that, we’ve not only made changes to Curse of Strahd, but in two upcoming books, we will also show—working with a Romani consultant—the Vistani in a way that doesn’t rely on reductive tropes.
  • We've received valuable insights from sensitivity readers on two of our recent books. We are incorporating sensitivity readers into our creative process, and we will continue to reach out to experts in various fields to help us identify our blind spots.
  • We're proactively seeking new, diverse talent to join our staff and our pool of freelance writers and artists. We’ve brought in contributors who reflect the beautiful diversity of the D&D community to work on books coming out in 2021. We're going to invest even more in this approach and add a broad range of new voices to join the chorus of D&D storytelling.
And we will continue to listen to you all. We created 5th edition in conversation with the D&D community. It's a conversation that continues to this day. That's at the heart of our work—listening to the community, learning what brings you joy, and doing everything we can to provide it in every one of our books.

This part of our work will never end. We know that every day someone finds the courage to voice their truth, and we’re here to listen. We are eternally grateful for the ongoing dialog with the D&D community, and we look forward to continuing to improve D&D for generations to come.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

The Klingons are just humans in costumes, though. Figuratively as well as literally. There's nothing particularly alien about their psychology or culture. It is a complex and interesting fictional culture, to be sure, I'm not criticizing the writing there, but it could plausibly be a human culture on a fantasy world.

Contrast, say, the Borg.

Sure, and the same is true of 99% of D&D "races", including literally all corebook races, and maybe 95% of playable races in other books (only the crow people stand out as an obvious exception). Certainly Orcs, Drow, and others are, and always have been "plausible human cultures" to that degree.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Mirtek

Hero
Sure, and the same is true of 99% of D&D "races", including literally all corebook races, and maybe 95% of playable races in other books (only the crow people stand out as an obvious exception). Certainly Orcs, Drow, and others are, and always have been "plausible human cultures" to that degree.
Same is true for W40Ks Eldar and Orcs, which have been named in one of the two threads as samples of alien species done right. Eldar aren't any less humans with pointy ears because, you know, they have some strange emotions. Not even orcs have changed that much from other settings because they aren't mamals but rather grow from spores inside fungi while in embryo state. Once they "hatch" all that doesn't matter anymore quickly
 

Remathilis

Legend
And yet we indiscriminately slay Centaurs, Murlocks, Gnolls, Quilboar, .... in WoW.

Just because it elevated some races from the "kill X of them on sight for quest rewards" it's still choke full of such races
If I was a betting man, I'd wager the rise in interest in orcs, dark elves, goblins and the like as popular PC races correlates to the rise of Warcraft (esp WoW) as a cultural phenomenon. Esp the Horde, which was extremely popular to play.

Of course, WoW does a classic maneuver to make it's storylines work; it doesn't paint the Alliance as good (some are noble, but just as many are outright bastards) and it doesn't paint the Horde as evil (though again, some do relish being a "monster"). I saw that in Wildemount, a similar view of both Empires exist, to the point I could see clear parallels between the Dwendalin Empire and the Alliance and the the Kryn Dynasty and the Horde.

That said, D&D is far more complex because it had dozens of humanoids that exist that need that kind of treatment. If we remove the language and always-evilness of orcs and drow, but leave it for gnolls and xvarts, we just push the tropes onto new targets. Not to mention addressing issues with sentient adjacent creatures like ogres, trolls, giants, fey, dragons, vampires and werewolves, to name a few.

Because, as you said, it does little to remove orcs and drow from the Kill-on-sight list if you have 20 other humanoids that are still on it.
 

Derren

Hero
Because, as you said, it does little to remove orcs and drow from the Kill-on-sight list if you have 20 other humanoids that are still on it.

Depends on what your goal is. Actually removing racism from the game or to appeal to WoW players while also use the current events for marketing purposes by saying the change is because of diversity/anti-racism reasons.
 

Mirtek

Hero
If I was a betting man, I'd wager the rise in interest in orcs, dark elves, goblins and the like as popular PC races correlates to the rise of Warcraft (esp WoW) as a cultural phenomenon. Esp the Horde, which was extremely popular to play.

Of course, WoW does a classic maneuver to make it's storylines work; it doesn't paint the Alliance as good (some are noble, but just as many are outright bastards) and it doesn't paint the Horde as evil (though again, some do relish being a "monster"). I saw that in Wildemount, a similar view of both Empires exist, to the point I could see clear parallels between the Dwendalin Empire and the Alliance and the the Kryn Dynasty and the Horde.

That said, D&D is far more complex because it had dozens of humanoids that exist that need that kind of treatment. If we remove the language and always-evilness of orcs and drow, but leave it for gnolls and xvarts, we just push the tropes onto new targets. Not to mention addressing issues with sentient adjacent creatures like ogres, trolls, giants, fey, dragons, vampires and werewolves, to name a few.

Because, as you said, it does little to remove orcs and drow from the Kill-on-sight list if you have 20 other humanoids that are still on it.
Ironically WoW still does paint the alliance as the good guys and the horde as the evil guys. That is a very popular complaint from both the horde and the alliance players. The former are tired of their side always being the bad side and the later finally wanting some more shady storyline for their side.

It's never the whole horde, but it's the second time now that an expansions main story line was "new warchief going bonkers trying to conquer the world". Player horde characters were then part of the horde rebels that marched with the alliance troops to put an end to the "evil horde" which actually was the majority of the horde. The biggest ### the alliance had in the last 20 years was back from the the WC3 RTS games. They really have been way too tame since WoW. There still have been some sort of shadier characters here and there, but way to few and then with way too little influence to paint the alliance gray. This is the alliance's current leader and he's as innocent and holy as he looks.

So if Blizz would finally come up with an expansion where the alliance is the faction that needs to be stopped, players of both sides would be more than happy.
 

ZeshinX

Adventurer
But, for what feels like the millionth time, the race being evil isn't actually the main problem. The problem is that orcs and drow and vistani are described using language that has also been used for hundreds of years to dehumanize real peoples and justify crimes against them, and that oppression continues today, with white supremacists still using much the same rhetoric.

I just don't understand what is so hard to understand, here. How is it not getting through to some folks that this isn't "orcs are fantasy Black people and that's racist", but "orcs are described as innately stupid, boorish, violent, rapacious, and only relatively safe when 'domesticated' by being removed from their culture and raised by 'good sorts of people', and that is word for word the same rhetoric used against Black people for the last several hundred years, up to and including right now in the countries where DnD is most played."

How on Earth or any other world does it not compute for y'all that those are different things!?

I had come to understand this, and indeed, if that's the impetus to change some of the language, I bear no opposition to such change.

Whatever commentary I've offered before or since is not in any effort "to put a stop to such change" or change the minds of those for whom this strikes a deeply personal chord with.

Removal of said language to prevent any potential resurgent feelings of persecution in those who have faced it for part of or their entire lives is absolutely, and without question, a worthwhile, and perhaps absolutely necessary, endeavour.

Avoidance is, at times, the best course of action. This certainly seems, to me, to be one of those times.

My concern is that avoidance becomes the norm, and not the exception. There's nothing here, in this particular discussion and others like it, to indicate that it will be...but I mention it simply as a reminder to be cautious of embracing it as something to always be used.

Reliance on avoidance as a regular solution to challenging events will inevitably weaken and denude the ability to find other, potentially more constructive means to deal with stressful, dangerous, and morally challenging situations life will continue to throw at us. Is that the case here? No, as I have said, at times, avoidance is the best/wisest course, and in this case, it sure seems to be, as it will foster a more inclusive and welcoming environment for us to share some fun times with.

Change is always challenging. It is an emotional time for all involved, and emotion is a potent and powerful instrument of change, and an essential part of it. Emotion also requires temperance. Without temperance, emotion more often than not is destructive and not constructive.

Utopia is not being sought by these changes. As I see it, these changes will welcome more people to the D&D table. I find it hard to see that as anything other than a good thing.
 

Remathilis

Legend
Ironically WoW still does paint the alliance as the good guys and the horde as the evil guys. That is a very popular complaint from both the horde and the alliance players. The former are tired of their side always being the bad side and the later finally wanting some more shady storyline for their side.

It's never the whole horde, but it's the second time now that an expansions main story line was "new warchief going bonkers trying to conquer the world". Player horde characters were then part of the horde rebels that marched with the alliance troops to put an end to the "evil horde" which actually was the majority of the horde. The biggest ### the alliance had in the last 20 years was back from the the WC3 RTS games. They really have been way too tame since WoW. There still have been some sort of shadier characters here and there, but way to few and then with way too little influence to paint the alliance gray. This is the alliance's current leader and he's as innocent and holy as he looks.

So if Blizz would finally come up with an expansion where the alliance is the faction that needs to be stopped, players of both sides would be more than happy.

My WoW knowledge was fairly limited, as I barely played it when it came out. I knew a lot of the lore changes from WC 2 to 3, and figured WoW carries over much of it. I'm willing to say it might be a little closer to classic D&D (good demihumans vs evil humanoids) than I was lead to believe.
 

Nickolaidas

Explorer
My WoW knowledge was fairly limited, as I barely played it when it came out. I knew a lot of the lore changes from WC 2 to 3, and figured WoW carries over much of it. I'm willing to say it might be a little closer to classic D&D (good demihumans vs evil humanoids) than I was lead to believe.
I've only played WarCraft II. Back then, there was nothing, absolutely nothing redeemable about the Horde. Chaotic Evil to the core.
 

Remathilis

Legend
I've only played WarCraft II. Back then, there was nothing, absolutely nothing redeemable about the Horde. Chaotic Evil to the core.

True, but by III they had kicked the undead out of the party and gone back to a more traditional/shamanistic religion, and kinda came off as Klingon rather than CE. I assumed WoW took that further, but apparently not much father.
 

Derren

Hero
True, but by III they had kicked the undead out of the party and gone back to a more traditional/shamanistic religion, and kinda came off as Klingon rather than CE. I assumed WoW took that further, but apparently not much father.

Pretty much.
Although they had some fallbacks in the past with one guy going "Hey, demonic possession wasn't all that bad, lets try that again" followed by the Undead taking over leadership and started gassing and nuking people left and right and it is clear that Blizzard wants to set up the current undead leader as new BBEG.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Why would you kill the dragon? The same reason why orcs are not kill on sight anymore would also apply to them. Intelligent, can create offspring with humans, etc.
The dragon is enslaving people, and I figure the premise is that the dragon is doing other evil stuff that has lead us to be asked to go kill it. 🤷‍♂️

I try not to nitpick examples.
 

Matt S1

Villager
Before you get kicked out of the thread, I just have to ask: will WotC tweaking the description of orcs so that they're more like bandits (that is, evil by choice, and you still get to kill them) and less like....say, ticks*, really spoil the game for you?

*I've been killing a lot of ticks lately. No, I don't try to parlay with them first. My wife won't let me actually torture them, but I do put them on concrete and hit them with a hammer.

No words and theme are easy enough to ignore and change. It's trying to change the game mechanics that I don't like. It starts with words then slippery slopes to rule changes.
 
Last edited:

imagineGod

Legend


...
Thanks for this list. I never played the original earlier D&D modules, so check your list and wanted to purchase two from DriveThruRPG.

I only see the collected Temple of Elemental Evil but cannot find the collected volume Queen of Spiders. Is the second collection being censored or something. I found it for sale on Ebay but at ridiculous prices, I mean seriously crazy for what is essential a black and white booklet of adventures.
 

imagineGod

Legend
Okay, I finally found what I think is the Queen of Spiders bundle but split into four books, so I do not get the nice cover like I would with Temple of Elemental Evil. That is pretty sad. Anyone, have a copy to sell that is not at those crazy Ebay prices?

 

Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
I only see the collected Temple of Elemental Evil but cannot find the collected volume Queen of Spiders. Is the second collection being censored or something.
No censorship. The collected super-module GDQ1-7 is simply not available as a legal PDF. Almost al the old D&D products are available, but not all of them.
 

imagineGod

Legend
No censorship. The collected super-module GDQ1-7 is simply not available as a legal PDF. Almost al the old D&D products are available, but not all of them.
The Temple of Elemental Evil even has a nice print-on-demand option. I found a few on Ebay but those are heavily battered, so the POD is a good option.
 

Dispater

Explorer
Big meh from me to be honest.
That diversity was already present in 5e, in the character art etc.
I don't think it needs it any more, and its certainly not going to have an impact on my game.
D&D will to me always be about cameraderie and friendship, and cooperation between unique characters.
'Northern European' hasn't been a big factor among humans in my game; in fact most of it has tended to be southern/middle eastern flair.
But people can of course take WoTC statement for what they like. I've bought my share of official 5e content to really care.
 


imagineGod

Legend
Big meh from me to be honest.
That diversity was already present in 5e, in the character art etc.
I don't think it needs it any more, and its certainly not going to have an impact on my game.
D&D will to me always be about cameraderie and friendship, and cooperation between unique characters.
'Northern European' hasn't been a big factor among humans in my game; in fact most of it has tended to be southern/middle eastern flair.
But people can of course take WoTC statement for what they like. I've bought my share of official 5e content to really care.
But have you pre-ordered Rime of the Frostmaiden yet? Doing your part to keep businesses afloat.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle

Felt the discussion had been beat to death but found this for any interested parties.

this guy will probably get doxxed and removed from
His position. About make believe orcs.

Biden better be careful in his associations.
Sounds like they’re entirely missing The point. Not gonna give that sort of thing any views for their monetization.
 

Status
Not open for further replies.

Visit Our Sponsor

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top