Dungeons & Dragons removes “race”, wants to use “species”.

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Wizards of the Coast made an announcement earlier this morning that many people have been waiting for: dungeons will stop using the word “race” in the ruleset for A D&D (the upcoming major overhaul of the game)and would rather use the term “species” instead.

It is understandable why the word was used in the first place. It was the 1970s, times were different, and the game was made by some guys, not a team of qualified anthropologists. But over the decades, as the game grew in popularity and succumbed to the winds of time, that word—race—became increasingly anachronistic.

For starters, it’s not even accurate! Race, as it is most commonly defined, is a term people use to categorize themselves based primarily on shared physical characteristics such as skin color. So a black and white person belongs to different races. A human and an orc are not. They are from different species.

More importantly, however, it has allowed the series to perpetuate long-standing stereotypes that are essentially racist. 2020 e.g. the D&D team wrote about the way the game assigns traits based on a character’s genetics, “is painfully reminiscent of how ethnic groups have been and continue to be vilified in the real world. That’s just not right, and we don’t believe in that.”

Which brings us to today Noticewhich says (emphasis mine):

Dungeons & Dragons has always evolved to meet the needs of our players and create a welcoming space for all.

With this in mind, we understand that “race” is a problematic term that had biased connections between people in the real world and the fantasy races of the D&D worlds. The use of the term in D&D and other popular IPs has evolved over time. Now it’s time for the next evolution.

Since the release of D&D Fifth Edition in 2014, we have made a conscious decision to limit the use of the term race to gameplay mechanics. With the release of we’ve gone one step further Tasha’s cauldron of everything in 2020 when we introduced a character creation alternative that unraveled skill stat improvements from your choice of playable characters. We’ve also evolved the lore of races across the D&D multiverse to more carefully extract prejudice, stereotypes, and unconscious bias from the past.

One D&D (the codename for the next generation of D&D) gives us the opportunity to delve deeper into each component of Dungeons & Dragons. The immense interest and amount of feedback we received from the initial releases of playtest material shows us how important it is to have an open dialogue with our community about everything related to the game.

In which next Unearthed Arcana As we contain playtest materials for One D&D, we present a replacement for the term “race”. This new term is “species”.

We know this is an important change for D&D – one that requires an open conversation with our community. And we want to clarify a few things as we test the new term.

– We have made the decision to no longer use the term “race” throughout One D&D, and we have no intention of going back to that term.

– The term “species” was chosen in close consultation with several external cultural advisors.

– In the poll for this Unearthed Arcana playtest, going live December 21st, players can provide feedback on the term “species” along with anything else included in the playtest materials.

Having an open conversation about race is both important and challenging. It is therefore important that we maintain a positive, open and understanding dialogue with one another. We welcome your constructive feedback on this development and the many other developments of One D&D that make this game exciting, open and accessible to all. Dragons and elves belong in our world, and so do you.

While they go to great lengths to say that this is a process that will involve dialogue with the fandom, does it also appear to be an absolute no-brainer? They simply swap an inaccurate term for a correct one, and in doing so also remove one of the series’ biggest and oldest cultural thorns from its flanks.

If the news here is that they definitely need to ditch “race” and replace it with something else, then “species” is the perfect word to get them!

https://kotaku.com/dungeons-dragons-d-d-race-species-racism-change-1849844249 Dungeons & Dragons removes “race”, wants to use “species”.

Curtis Crabtree

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