d&d 5e races
“D&D fifth edition is a game about killing people,” he says. “I believe 5e races dnd that to address the question of evil races, you need to revisit that as a core design element. Because dungeon masters around the world want a reason to kick in the door and kill people. That design requires antagonists for whom the solution of killing makes sense. When you have an evil race, that’s very easy to do. I don’t know that putting out a side book that says, ‘Oh, there’s no more evil races,’ is going to change the play.”
Teenage Power Fantasies Left to Fester
Black says that working on D&D was like attempting to make changes to a fundamentalist religion. “On a business level, Jeremy Crawford and Chris Perkins [D&D’s senior story designer] make all the decisions,” they say. “Those two praise this god of D&D, and the image they have of this god is very specific and they can not anger this god. Anything they can change, they have to work through their concept of faith and do some mental gymnastics.”
Crawford is gay and has fought to make sure men are represented in varied forms in D&D’s books. “This doesn’t interfere with the doctrine of D&D,” Black says. “It doesn’t interfere with the lore, because nothing that exists already has been changed. You’re not saying ‘no’ to anything that existed prior.”
Black says that Perkins and Crawford, in the real world, are ethical people who know right from wrong. “They know that things in D&D, if you take them out of that specific context, are wrong,” they say. “But because it’s inside of D&D, they will not touch it. Because, in that world, that’s the way things are, and it has to be right because it’s the deity’s world.”
Black, like Walker, identified the rules and structure of D&D as fundamental to the problem. “There is this rule structure that is for this white cis shitty guy, a power fantasy that is connected directly to the stereotypes that are a problem,” they say. “They exist so that this white guy, who thinks he’s not a jock, can look at every race and gender group in their high school, draw them into a character, and go ‘I rule this world.’ And that’s what really hasn't changed. They think that even changing the things that are wrong would be an affront to that. That singular thing is so important, even though they continue to drift farther and farther away from that type of thinking. It’s weird as hell.”
For people who love D&D but want it to change, promises to look at the alignment system and rework “evil races” often feel like one step forward and two steps back. The issue is complicated and fraught. It’s tied into a history of racial stereotypes and nerd power fantasies. But the conversions are happening, and the change is often led by the community.