I hadn’t intended to write about fantasy gaming and culture again so soon, but the post below had been sitting in my head for weeks, and just came to maturity. The sexism debate rolls on – I’ll probably post more on that soon.
What is a fantasy game for? For entertaining and challenging its players, obviously. But what sort of stories does it tell? Despite the medieval trappings of Dungeons and Dragons and many of its competitors and imitators, the answer is very often: colonialist, imperialist stories.
This post is partly about the design of tabletop RPGs – but it is mostly about sexism, racism, and homophobia. You don’t need to know the first thing about polyhedral dice here.
For the past few weeks I’ve been dipping in and out of the Wizards of the Coast online forums about a project they called “D&D Next”. This amounts to the development of the fifth (actually seventh) edition of Dungeons and Dragons. D&D has been going for about 40 years now, and each new edition is a complete overhaul of the system from the ground up. So there’s been a lot of talking to do.