D&D was my first role-playing game back when I was 11. My interest in it has faded over the years but it still holds a special place of nostalgia in my heart. D&D Fifth Edition, as you probably know, is in development and Wizards of the Coast have directly asked for fan feedback on what to put in the game.
I was reading this post by Anna Kreider and it reminded me that D&D artwork hasn’t moved on a great deal from the ol’ days. There is still a glaring lack of people of colour and women are still portrayed more passively and sexually than the male characters and in lower numbers. Of course Gaming as Women has been here before, as have Wizards of the Coast. But we can always do better.
After reading the Anna Kreider article and others, Josh Fox (full disclosure here, he is my partner and I co-write Black Armada with him) has launched a petition setting out clear goals for D&D to increase inclusivity in their artwork. Since they asked for feedback, they might as well get some.
The somewhat cheekily titled petition is: D&D should be for everyone, not just white men
The main points of the petition are:
- We want to see artwork that reflects the diversity of the real world.
- As a minimum, 50% of people depicted should be female.
- As a minimum 20% should be non-white (in line with the population of the USA).
- Such characters should be portrayed as respectfully on average as white male characters – not just as submissive weaklings or semi-nude eye candy (e.g. chainmail bikinis).
- WotC should lose the text that describes demihuman races as exclusively pale-skinned.
D&D is still the game that most people (at least in the US and UK) associate with role-playing and it has had a huge influence on the hobby as a whole. Even though I don’t really play anymore I still feel that it is relevant and important part of our culture. D&D has an amazing opportunity to lead a change in the whole industry. This is our opportunity to ask for that change and I intend to take it.
If you agree with the principle of greater inclusivity in our hobby then please go and sign it, support it and boost the signal where you can!
Next Up – I’ll be writing about some of the arguments people have been making against signing the petition and why they aren’t all that compelling…