Wednesday, May 21, 2014

5th Edition Woes?

            It’s been awhile since I’ve had the time to sit down and write. But now that the semester is over I hope to be able to get more opportunities to write. Today I want to talk about DnD Next or 5th Edition, or perhaps simply called Dungeons and Dragons. 

            I’ve been doing a lot of reading about the new Dungeons and Dragons over the past few weeks. With its release only a few months away one can’t help be curious. I was reading an article on the minis that WizKids are going to produce when something caught my eye. None of the minis were black. Well they had a Drow (and don’t get me started on why the Drow are so bad) but the main line up was very monochromatic.

            So I decided to do a google search of images related to the next iteration of DnD and discovered that in all the images released for the game none of them depicted a person of color. Now I could have missed one, it is possible, but I found that idea to be very troubling. If one were to do a google image search of Pathfinder you would be able to easily see the diversity that the game promotes. The pictures of their iconic characters (the Middle Eastern cleric and the black paladin) are easy to find and show off what makes Pathfinder such a great game.

I am digging the logo though
            This is a big problem for Dungeons and Dragons. One I hope they seriously address at some point. DnD is the biggest name in tabletop rpgs. As much as I love Pathfinder and their work on diversity DnD is the go to game I use when I’m trying to describe what gaming is to non-gamers. DnD is a house hold name. Just about everyone knows what it is.

            With Wizards of the Coast trying to make the game appealing to both the causal/new gamer as it does the old gamers it becomes vital that DnD is upfront about diversity. You attract people of color to your game by making them feel included. And you make them feel included by including artwork that depicts people like them in the setting.

            Now there may be more to the artwork than I’ve seen so far. I may have missed a few things. Which is why when the game comes out I’ll give it a fair shot. But keep in mind I already own Pathfinder. I picked up Pathfinder last summer after I decided to chip in for a Thunderscape Kickstarter. All in all the game wasn’t that different from 3.5. But what impressed me was that there was a Middle Eastern cleric and a black paladin. It was that feeling of inclusion that prompted me to buy 9 more Pathfinder related products. All because Paizo did something new and different with their iconics.

            Wizards of the Coast you want that same effect. You want someone to open your book, see their ethnicity depicted and be inclined to go out and buy 9 more books. I’ll give you a shot come August. But whether or not I want to play Dungeons and Dragons will be dependent on, not only the rules, but whether I feel, as a customer,  like Wizards of the Coast wants to include me in their game.