#RPG – Diversity Dungeons RELEASED!

Buy it HERE

Diversity Dungeons : Worldbuilding & Game Design in the Safe Space Age
Much digital ink (and blood) has been spilt taking about diversity representation in tabletop gaming and in every other field of geek and nerd endeavour. Usually these conversations are extremely combative and they tend to end poorly for everyone involved. I’ve been involved in these debates and discussions myself, to my detriment. The position I hold being that free expression and the vision of the author or creator should trump any and all other concerns – including diversity, representation and so on. To my mind the answer is for people to create according to their own conscience, not to be condemned out of hand or for their motivations to be presumed and for diversity of ideas to be the benchmark. I want a world in which Varg Vikernes and David Hill can both make and sell games and I can ignore both of them.

That said, I cannot help but be drawn to controversial topics – that is where the interesting conflicts and stories lie – and there are few topics so controversial as the treatment of ‘minorities’ within media. Here we arrive at a nexus-point between realism, expectation, demands for representation, demands for free expression, historical revisionism, magic, science fiction, truth, ‘is’ and ‘ought’. That makes it interesting, but the battle lines of identarian politics, liberalism, conservatism, the regressive left and cultural libertarianism also make it an area fraught with difficulty and wilful misunderstanding.

There are no good – or at least no satisfactory – answers to a lot of these questions. Perhaps there are just multiple approaches each of which will annoy some group or other. What’s true in all circumstances however is that these controversial topics are interesting, fascinating and important in terms of world, character and scenario building whatever your particular stance.

This booklet intends to examine these issues in and of themselves, outside of the current state of controversy and to ask – rather – how we might better simulate the plight of minority groups, understand them within the context of fictional worlds, make allowances for player-characters who might seek to buck those societal trends or allow characters – through their actions – to affect social change within the game worlds.

5 responses to “#RPG – Diversity Dungeons RELEASED!

  1. I’m reading through Diversity Dungeons, and had a question about the alternate ability score suggestions (which are very awesome).

    Specifically, the parenthetical note for men’s Intelligence (e.g. minimum 3, despite rolling two dice) is absent for men’s Charisma and women’s Strength. Is this an oversight, or is getting a 2 in these ability scores meant to be possible?

    • These things aren’t meant to be serious suggestions, but rather illustrative examples. Charisma and Strength were intended to be able to go lower, but a floor of ‘3’ would be fine.

  2. All of these paragraphs saying things like
    Women have superior emotional intelligence
    Women have better intuition
    Men take more risks and are more aggressive

    Next section:
    Gender Stereotypes

    How do you expect anyone to take this drivel seriously?

    • Perhaps foolishly I expect people to understand that demographic tendencies and trends don’t mean there aren’t exceptions and that a broad truth doesn’t necessarily speak for the individual. Stats are hard, I know.

  3. I applaud the effort.
    Naturally not everyone will agree with the work itself, neither with everything inside. I still think it’s at least a proposition to think about some of the issues and an approach to possibilities out there.
    I do believe however that RPG parties willing to infuse their game with the differences will find a “voluntary” solution aside from source books.
    In my own group for example I remember myself refusing to raise my character’s strength above a certain level simply because it wouldn’t have been realistic. Another player – playing intentionally an obese character – refused to raise stamina and dexterity for example while yet another player who’s character was some sort of street hobo persisted on his character’s lack of education and social interaction skill due to him being rather unhygienic.
    Of course these traits can have their exceptions. Of course a woman can have serious physical strength while a man doesn’t. Naturally a woman isn’t always more limber and flexible or emotionally mature than a man. It depends on the individual. But as you also (and correctly) said, there are certain tendencies than can be reflected in stats as well.
    I do think a group will find ways to reflect those tendencies within their gaming experience if they so chose and want to. But for those players who find they’re having a hard time in shaping their intent … I can see your suggestions offering some advice and clues as well as some hints at differences that many players eventually don’t even think of or realise exist.
    So, if nothing else, I applaud you for putting some serious thought into issues that are rarely talked about and are even less present in players’ consciousness at times. It’s certainly something I haven’t seen anywhere else before.
    Thank you, Grim!

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