So, I was driving home and tossed in The Rat Pack Live at the Sands for the ride. I was muttering to myself about Dungeons & Dragons and other fantasy games and how they treat both POC and non-humans as being less dimensional and nuanced. This had been set off by reading through my shiny new pdf copy of Tiny Dungeon 2e, where I was simultaneously elated at the variety of player races and depressed by the stereotypes applied. So, mid-mutter, Sammy Davis Jr came into the set, and I heard his iconic line of “Integration! Integration!” So let’s talk decolonization and integration. And yes, I’m picking on D&D in this, because it set the pattern.
Tag Archives: roleplaying
Old timers and grognards alike in the RPG hobby like to complain. “Things were better back in…”, “We didn’t have or need that when we played in…”, and so on and so forth. But one of the oddest complaints I hear is about how games today, and specifically, D&D, are too much like video games. So let’s take a look at a very interesting cycle of mutual influence, and see what we can learn from it. For ease of bracketing years, I’m going to use console generations for this.
Someone asked, so here we go, the first in what will probably be a number of lore and speculation fueled screeds about monsters, specifically underappreciated/potential player-race monsters that don’t get the love that they deserve. This all started as a commentary on how in-game characters like Mordenkainen and Volo are, at best, unreliable and biased narrators and witnesses to the events, monsters, and races they describe. Basically, they can’t be trusted, only the stat-blocks can. Then it turned into a rant on how awesome Gnolls are. So, this is the supporting, hopefully more readable post to support my Twitter craziness.
For some time now, on my radar but not fully explored, have been the Plane Shift products by Wizards of the Coast. The reason being that they were adaptations of the various worlds created for the Magic the Gathering CCG; and to be honest, I haven’t played that since Ice Age, so I wasn’t tracking much except that the game was still “a thing”. However, a combination of writing about Chult, Maztica, and looking into the Tales from the Yawning Portal has changed my online suggestions algorithm and kicked Plane Shift: Ixalan my way. Time for a new review!
Last year I embarked on the most in-depth, detailed series of posts for this blog to date, as I dug into the Tomb of Annihilation campaign and sourcebook for 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons. Thousands of words in, and with dozens of research hours burned, the end result was a three-part series which can be found here. At the end of it, a reader pointed out that in their experience with Adventurers League (AL) material, that some of the issues I had taken up were expanded on. While I stand fast on my DM Guild works position (they are not canon), AL is canon, and deserved a full examination with the same critical eye.