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

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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'.

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 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.
 

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So what you're saying is that the human race doesn't really have free will, that morale choice is just an illusion? :p
From Freud to the last genetic resources it became more and more clear that all the decision are taken by our genetic firmware with a big filtering from our past experiences. Don't know. I'm more comfortable to say that the decision the others have taken for us are the 60% of the driver of our decision, the 20% are natural needs drivers from DNA and the rest is absolutely chaotic improvisation. :p
 

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G

Guest 6948803

Guest
Me, too. Fortunately I have mental bandwidth to be concerned about both.



That's good. But I hope you don't think this is all about potentially hurt feelings among players.
Dear, what you said was unnecessarily patronising and basically insulting, and for that, I report you and end any further exchange of arguments with you.
 



I honestly don't understand how you are calling this incidental. Are you trying to say it's not connected to the racism and anti-racist conversations happening now? Or are you saying it does not have real effect on the game?
I'm saying that the reason why orcs are what they are is not to introduce surreptitiously PoC into narration. As I explained before in other less fortunate and polite thread, they are the summa of human (not only PoC) bestiality. And are conveniently not human, because who created them didn't want to be so gross to say that human are only that, and didn't want to be so racist to identify them into some real folk. Exactly the opposite of what you fear could be.
 

Nickolaidas

Explorer
This entire post is a bad-faith argument, slippery slope fallacy, and worst yet, complete nonsensical fear-mongering. What is wrong with you people? Why does it make you all so mad that these things change, especially when they are optional? Why in the world does the older generation of this hobby have such a need to fight for naughty word that doesn't even deal with them at all? Like seriously. This thread is filled with people who say "I don't see a problem with it so its FINE!" No one CARES if you don't see a problem with it, because if you don't see a problem with it you can just DO WHAT YOU WANT ANYWAY. No one is stopping you!
I explained my reasons. I don't want all races to be generalized because it might make them less unique. Telling me to go to school for thinking that is asinine, so back off with the insults. I don't think less of you for having a different opinion, and I expect the same from you.
 


BookTenTiger

He / Him
I'm saying that the reason why orcs are what they are is not to introduce surreptitiously PoC into narration. As I explained before in other less fortunate and polite thread, they are the summa of human (not only PoC) bestiality. And are conveniently not human, because who created them didn't want to be so gross to say that human are only that, and didn't want to be so racist to identify them into some real folk. Exactly the opposite of what you fear could be.

I agree that the people who created orcs in D&D did not do so in order to be racist.

However, you have agreed that the language that has been used to describe orcs and other monstrous races is the same language used to dehumanize real people of color.

I feel like these two statements support the idea of changing the language used to describe monstrous races in D&D. First off, since having racist depictions is not integral to D&D, it would have no harmful effect on the game. Secondly, since it is similar to harmful language used to dehumanize actual people, it would remove harmful language from the game. These are two good things, right?
 

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