I’m too old to start playing D&D again…


But wow, the changes in the latest edition are stunning. This is the description for the standard “Human” player:

via Liselle Angelique Krog Awwal

via Liselle Angelique Krog Awwal

Looks like Wizards of the Coast have been completely overrun by SJWs. We’re going to have to start calling them Wizards+.

This is good, if I were to play that game again, there’d be fewer turdlumps wrecking the session.

Comments

  1. karl says

    I follow a few of the current writers/designers on the twitters. They’re generally pretty progressive chaps.

  2. Vivec says

    Granted, a scaleplate midriff, which isn’t that ridiculous – you want some degree of flexibility there. I’d hardly consider it bare when you’re wearing a heavy scaleplate tunic underneath, and presumably layers of cloth beneath that.

  3. Jackson says

    They really have. The lead designer’s Twitter Avatar is a rainbow-flag version of the D&D logo. A long way away from the old manuals that only ever used “he” for “simplicity,” where Fighters were called “Fighting-Men,” and that said that female characters could not reach 18 STR.

    And you’re never too old!

  4. Vivec says

    That being said, I’m still giving pathfinder the edge for having a trans woman dwarf character.

  5. says

    Seems like the same as D&D 4E, every race had a male and female picture, with various complexions, there was a black halfling woman as the default there. In 5E they made it explicit that gender and sexuality can be anything in the game, where as in 4E it wasn’t mentioned. The boob plate stuff seems bad though, I should look through more of the art in the books I have to see what the distribution is like.

  6. Vivec says

    I’m personally kind of iffy on the boobplate, but given that it appears to be leather armor over scaleplate, it’s at least not as bad as a legitimate metal chestplate. It’s more an aesthetic bodice than actual extra protection, and doesn’t run into the same “trip and risk fracturing your sternum” problem.

  7. screechymonkey says

    Maybe this has been addressed in the past, but does the biology of the standard D&D world make any “real world” sense? I’ve come to realize that the simple definition of “species” that (I seem to recall) my high school textbook had — something like, species are defined by which populations are capable of breeding fertile offspring — is a little simplistic to say the least.

    But does it make any sense to have a world where:
    1) humans can interbreed with pretty much any of the other humanoid species: elves and orcs being the usual examples, but in some campaign settings dwarves, gnomes, and others;
    2) these half-elves, half-orcs, etc. are themselves fertile; and
    3) there are no significant geographic or other nonbiological barriers to interbreeding,

    and yet, after centuries if not millenia of living in more or less the same geographic areas, there are still distinct populations of humans and elves instead of one big humanelf gene pool?

    I know, I know: these are magical worlds that violate our scientific laws in all sorts of ways. I’m just curious, not really objecting to the “realism,”

  8. microraptor says

    screechymonkey: Depending on the edition, you could have a character who was somehow half-human, half-dragon, half-demon, half-troll, half-plant, half-air elemental, and half-vampire. The concept of species in D&D was dubious, to say the least.

  9. CJO says

    I was impressed with them way back at the launch of 3e, in which they addressed the problem of gendered pronouns by using “she” as the default throughout. If they are a pack of SJWs (wait, isn’t that a prestige class? special ability: Signal Virtue), they have been since about 2000.

    Anyway, good on ’em.

  10. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    Depending on the edition, you could have a character who was somehow half-human, half-dragon, half-demon, half-troll, half-plant, half-air elemental, and half-vampire. The concept of species in D&D was dubious, to say the least.

    The math, too…

  11. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To OP. I think you’re missing some history. This is not a new development. By 3rd edition, year 2000, they’re already doing quite well, and they fixed a lot / most of their problems.

    Skimming my 3e and 3.5e Player’s Handbooks that I have handy, the artwork for the player classes is a good mix of men and women.

    The real-world human racial minorities could use some more representation, – it’s all white people, with the exception of Ember the black woman monk. IIRC it’s better than earlier editions, and apparently they’re doing even better in 5e. (In D&D, the term “race” has a different meaning. It’s closer to the normal English word “species”. Then again, with all of the fertile interbreeding going on between humans, elves, dwarfs, maybe “race” is a better word. It’s complicated. It’s fantasy.)

    Note: Monk is a archetype in D&D of a fighting person who hits monsters with their fists, playing to the east Asian kung-fu stereotypes. It’s not a religious order. The example characters of the books are have a mix of men and women in the front-line “combat” roles and a mix of men and women in the back-line “non-combat” roles such as healer.

    They also dropped all rules that are gender or sex specific, such as the cited old rule “women cannot get 18 Str”.

  12. screechymonkey says

    Enlightenment Liberal:

    They also dropped all rules that are gender or sex specific, such as the cited old rule “women cannot get 18 Str”

    Player A: “My character can defy the laws of physics and fly, turn invisible, or shoot fireballs from his hands!”
    Player B: “My character is really badass. He can turn into a bear twice a day!”
    Player C: “My character is a half-dragon, half-demon ninja monk!”
    Player D: “Oh yeah? Well, my character can raise the frikkin’ dead!”
    Player E: “I love my character. She’s really, really strong.”
    A, B, C, and D: “Oh come on. that’s just totally unrealistic!”

  13. Stardrake says

    One other neat 5e iconic is the wizard. He’s a black man. The most intellectual class–and they gave it to a black man. I like it.

  14. Matt Cramp says

    Worth remembering that D&D’s success as a product came because it appealed to women to an unheard-of degree for wargames, and Gary Gygax’s daughter was one of the early playtesters. TSR did start a long way behind, but they’ve been at this for a while now. That’s not to say they’re perfect – Wizards of the Coast do have a transgender character in Magic: the Gathering, but their latest set is “India-themed” which apparently means putting brown people on the cards and making them act like European fantasy figures. An Indian friend of mine who is a big fan of Magic explains how much this hurt: http://talinthas.tumblr.com/post/150111624732/kaladesh-you-break-my-heart

    Pathfinder, a D&D 3rd edition spinoff by Paizo Publishing, also makes a strong effort to put the diversity of their world front and centre, the revealing dress of their sorcerer iconic character not withstanding.

  15. says

    Ah, man. D&D realized that women are human beings who like nerd stuff a long time ago. Comics are starting to figure it out too.

    Star Trek and Star Wars? At least they looked into the idea.

  16. says

    Gods, PZ, did you miss the fuss last year because they included this paragraph in 5e?

    You don’t need to be confined to binary notions of sex and gender. The elf god Corellon Larethian is often seen as androgynous or hermaphroditic, for example, and some elves in the multiverse are made in Corellon’s image. You could also play a female character who presents herself as a man, a man who feels trapped in a female body, or a bearded female dwarf who hates being mistaken for a male. Likewise, your character’s sexual orientation is for you to decide.

    Admittedly, it was a fairly small fuss, as far as the world outside RPGs was concerned. Some gamergaters and other usual suspects got involved, with the usual blood and thunder… and nothing much happened as a result. WotC certainly didn’t back down, and I dare say didn’t shed a single tear about it on the way to the bank.

  17. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I follow a few of the current writers/designers on the twitters. They’re generally pretty progressive chaps.

    One of the D&D artists (forget which editions) was a regular host of The Atheist Experience. He’s a great guy.

    boob plate

    Meh. This is probably equal parts 1- ignorance of how breasts work (they can squish into normal-shaped armor quite easily and comfortably), 2- how armor works (see below about “glancing blows”), and 3- fan service.

    In particular, D&D is famously bad for its armor rules on the criteria of “remotely realistic”, and so I wouldn’t be too surprised if some of the artists and the rest didn’t know some of these basics. For example, the game rules describe “studded leather”, but there is no such armor. Most people think that that someone invented the word “studded leather” when taking a glancing look at brigandine. Brigandine armor is this: steel plates are riveted to the back of a leather shirt, which makes it look like “studded leather”.

    The boob plate is especially bad. Normal breastplate is designed so that glancing blows actually glance off. With boobplate, some blows that would be glancing blows are instead focused directly into the center of the breastplate, which is obviously bad for the user.

  18. Vivec says

    @23
    Jeff did a lot of the original AD&D art, if I recall correctly.

    Irt the boob plates, I’m generally meh about it aside from some situations – armor that is equally effective no matter the shape ala Mass Effect, or intentionally trying to go for a “style over performance” sort of look. It’s not like people haven’t worn poorly-functioning armor in real life, after all.

    Personally, I’m just glad the pictured character is wearing the armor over layers of actual armor, not like, Dark Sun bikini armor.

  19. edmundog says

    Now I’ve made myself curious, so here’s the full account of the main images for the various races and classes:

    Dwarf: White woman
    Elf: Drow male (black skin, as in the color black, generally white features)
    Halfling: White woman
    Human: Black woman
    Dragonborn: Bronze man
    Gnome: White woman
    Half-Elf: White man
    Half-Orc: Purple woman
    Tiefling: Purple woman

    Barbarian: White man
    Bard: Pink woman
    Cleric: White man
    Druid: White man
    Fighter: Black man
    Monk: White woman
    Paladin: Orc man
    Ranger: Pink woman
    Rogue: Drow man
    Sorcerer: Non-white man (possibly Hispanic or Arabic)
    Warlock: Asian woman
    Wizard: Black man

    So there you go, only four white men among them.

  20. reynardo says

    You’re not too old. You’ve only got a couple of years on me, and playing and DM’ing D&D are two of my main delights! Join us! Next time you’re in Australia, come into our game as the character you’ve always wanted to play.

  21. Anri says

    Yeah, that looks like molded cuir boli over an arming coat/gambeson. Light-duty stuff. I also suspect next time she gets armor made, she’ll pick a coat color other than white…

    At least the pauldrons/spaulders look to be built with enough float that raising your arms to shoulder height wouldn’t involve ripping your ears off.

  22. Vivec says

    Psst… the ‘scale’ armour is actually quilted armour.

    Fair enough. The screen is tiny and I can’t zoom in, so I assumed scale plate.

  23. Saganite, a haunter of demons says

    I could never get into D&D. Negative armour is a GOOD thing? And armour bonuses are positive, but also a GOOD thing? What? I played The Dark Eye, which had a more intuitive system, and now I’m into Call of Cthulhu, which has significantly more squids and squid-like creatures. You’d think PZ would be all over that.

  24. Stardrake says

    Saganite, a haunter of demons @ 31: Fortunately, Wizards of the Coast threw out the decreasing-number armor classes in 3rd edition, and they haven’t come back. (Pissed off a bunch of people who considered THAC0 a way to keep the “riff-raff” out, too!) In my gaming history, our group went from Original D&D (the 3 pamphlets of suggestions) to RuneQuest 2nd Ed. (the first game to use they system used in Call of Cthulhu) largely because RQ was more “realistic”. D&D 5e actually strikes a nice balance between D&D-style abstraction and the more granular style of RQ, CoC, GURPS, and indeed D&D 3.x and Pathfinder.

  25. Holms says

    #31
    That hasn’t been the case for something like 20 years. And yes, you are not alone in finding that system annoying.

  26. Rick Pikul says

    @Matt Cramp #18

    Pathfinder, a D&D 3rd edition spinoff by Paizo Publishing, also makes a strong effort to put the diversity of their world front and centre, the revealing dress of their sorcerer iconic character not withstanding.

    Last I checked she’s suspected to be the iconic who is asexual. (We have word of god that there is one, but I haven’t seen the identity revealed yet.) And at least the revealing clothing is on a character who isn’t going to be wearing armour. Although there have been other characters with issues such as Amiri, the iconic barbarian, and her bare midriff.

  27. Saganite, a haunter of demons says

    Thanks for the update, #32 and #33. I guess I just never gave D&D another chance after that. ;-)