In the medieval-fantasy world of Dungeons and Dragons, players may find an environment that is more accepting of their sexuality and gender than in real life.
“All of our new adventures contain LGBT characters,” D&D developer Jeremy Crawford said in a Kotaku article. “This is true of our next adventure, Tomb of Annihilation, and it will be true of our stories after that.”
Crawford himself is homosexual and says he’s eager to integrate queer characters and plot lines into the official reference books and adventures for the game.
Being gay myself it pleases me to know that there are game designers like Crawford who are looking to make their products more representative of their fanbase.
In addition to the inclusion of characters of varying sexualities, D&D has also grown from having more seductive monsters be females as an appeal to its mostly male players. The “Monster Manual” for the game’s currently active 5th edition features masculine equivalents to the historically feminine creatures such as the incubus and succubus respectively.
“We’re equal opportunity cheesecake merchants,” D&D Senior Manager Mike Mearls said in a separate Kotaku article. “We don’t assume heterosexual male players.”
Looking at the comments of these two articles, I found people who don’t seem to understand why these issues needed to be addressed in the first place.
“Isn’t D&D basically whatever the players want it to be?” user Finduswokki wrote.
This may true about roleplaying games, but what developers like Crawford and Mearls want out of Dungeons and Dragons is something attractive to all walks of life by explicitly suggesting that players include a diverse range of roles.
The groups that I’ve run D&D games for have consisted mostly of girls which contradicts the prevailing stereotype of masculinity from when the games were first released in 1974. Why should I cater to a male fantasy if me and my players are more feminine in nature?
Looking at the mass media surrounding the game today it is obvious that the game and its fans have evolved with the changing times.
“Critical Role” is one of the many internet series which feature a diverse cast playing D&D. Another favorite of mine, “The Adventure Zone” podcast, has included gay characters and relationships in its D&D stories despite no one in their cast being queer themselves.`
As any storyteller can tell you, limiting the building blocks for constructing a narrative with only a certain demographic of characters is never a good idea.
“It’s a game where you’re always better off… working through your differences and achieving victory together, even when you sometimes disagree,” Crawford said.