Did you know there was only one image of a non-white human character in the D&D 4e core rule books? Another study suggests 60% of the “heroes” in DMG, PHB, PHB2 and Adventurer’s Vault are men. Over a third of images suffered from sexism, according to the same study.
In response, Josh Fox has started a petition to ask: D&D should be for everyone, not just white men.
The result? Some debate.
Josh’s petition has five key calls on Wizards of the Coast and CEO Loren Greenwood.
- As a minimum, 50% of people depicted should be female
- As a minimum 20% should be non-white (in line with the population of the USA)
- Such characters should be portrayed as respectfully on average as white male characters – not just as submissive weaklings or semi-nude eye candy (e.g. chainmail bikinis)
- WotC should lose the text that describes demihuman races as exclusively pale-skinned.
I’ll tell you what my first reactions were – perhaps you’ll share yours in the comment section below.
I supported Josh’s intent. I don’t want a sexist D&D although I’m happy with a sexy D&D. What caught my attention was the demand to have a US based ethnic mix. I’m not in the US so those figures didn’t really appeal to me. I’m not sure they made much sense in a fantasy setting either.
Turns out. I wasn’t the only one to think like that. Josh has, wisely, added extra details of the debate to the petition (which you can sign here).
He notes that he’s not in the US either. He, like me, is base in the United Kingdom. Josh says;
“I started out with a vague “please make D&D art more diverse” plea, but it needed something specific for WotC to aim for. The petition does say “as a minimum” because I don’t regard these numbers as a particularly high bar. The wording of the petition makes it clear that I’m not just saying “do this by the numbers” but rather do it respectfully. And, having decided to ask for specific numbers I went for US figures because that’s where most of the audience is (I myself live in the UK). Neither decision was easy.”
We also also address whether D&D is supposed to be a European fantasy. If DnDNext is delivered with a default world setting then that question will be answered and Wizards of the Coast will have set themselves up for either success or failure on the diversity front.
Fox is hoping for 1,000 signatures. Will you sign?