Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) is a popular tabletop role-playing game that allows players to create their own characters and embark on adventures in a fictional world of magic and fantasy. The game has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years, with the release of the fifth edition of the Players Handbook in 2014. However, the latest edition has also been marred by controversy over its color choices, which some players feel are exclusionary and insensitive.
The controversy started when players noticed that the fifth edition of the Players Handbook featured artwork of human characters predominantly depicted as white. Players also noticed that the skin tones of non-human characters, such as elves and dwarves, were often depicted as shades of blue and green instead of the usual tan and brown. These choices were seen by some players as insensitive and exclusionary, as they did not accurately reflect the diversity of the real world.
One of the main issues raised by players is the lack of representation of people of color in the Players Handbook. According to a survey conducted by the website D&D Beyond in 2020, 74% of respondents felt that the fifth edition of the Players Handbook did not adequately represent people of color. This is a significant concern for many players, as D&D has always been a game that celebrates diversity and different cultures.
Another issue raised by players is that the use of blue and green skin tones for non-human characters reinforces harmful stereotypes about people of color. According to the same survey by D&D Beyond, 51% of respondents felt that the use of blue and green skin tones was a form of racial stereotyping. This is problematic as it further reinforces the idea that certain races or ethnicities are not as important or valuable as others.
The controversy has also led to calls for the game’s creators to include more diverse artwork and characters in future editions of the Players Handbook. This has been echoed by many players, who feel that the lack of diversity is a significant barrier to entry for people of color who might otherwise be interested in playing the game. As a result, many players have taken it upon themselves to create their own custom characters and artwork that better reflect the diversity of the real world.
Despite these concerns, some players argue that the controversy is overblown and that the color choices are simply a matter of artistic preference. According to a survey conducted by the website Polygon in 2019, 21% of respondents felt that the color choices were not an issue and that the controversy was blown out of proportion. This highlights the differing opinions on the issue, with some players feeling strongly about the lack of representation, while others don’t see it as a significant issue.
However, it is important to note that there are historical and cultural reasons why the exclusion of people of color in fantasy media is so harmful. Historically, fantasy media has often been used to reinforce harmful stereotypes and promote exclusionary attitudes towards people of color. This is due in part to the fact that many fantasy worlds are based on medieval Europe, where people of color were often marginalized and excluded from society.
Furthermore, the exclusion of people of color in fantasy media is also harmful because it reinforces the idea that people of color are not important or valuable. This is particularly damaging for children, who consume a lot of fantasy media and are therefore more susceptible to these harmful messages. By excluding people of color from fantasy media, we are sending a message that they do not belong in these worlds and are therefore not as important or valuable as other groups.
To address these concerns, some players have proposed that the game’s creators should take a more active role in promoting diversity and inclusivity in the game. This might involve including more diverse characters and artwork in the Players Handbook, as well as promoting more diverse and inclusive content on the game’s official website and social media channels.
Overall, the recent controversy surrounding the color choices in the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition Players Handbook is an important reminder of the importance of inclusive representation in fantasy media. While some players may view the controversy as overblown, it is important to remember that fantasy media has historically been exclusionary towards people of color, and that this exclusion can have harmful effects on children and adults alike.
In order to promote a more inclusive and diverse gaming community, we must take steps to ensure that everyone is represented and valued in fantasy media. This includes promoting diverse characters and artwork, as well as actively promoting inclusivity and diversity in the game’s community. By working together, we can create a gaming community that is inclusive, diverse, and welcoming to all.