Dungeons & Dragons Stumbles With Its Revision Of The Game’s Major Black Culture

Dungeons & Dragons Stumbles With Its Revision Of The Game’s Major Black Culture

Tomb of Annihilation

For nearly a decade, there hasn’t been more than a vestige of a black society in the official world of Dungeons & Dragons. There have been black people, but no black civilisations except for a relatively small group of survivors of a catastrophe and locals living under colonists’ control.

Back in 2008, D&D‘s traditional African-analogue tribal society hailed from a “savage,” disease-ridden jungle. It sunk into the ocean. That changed this year with D&D‘s latest adventure, which now describes that society as a lively mercantile people based in that former colony.

But the newly-released adventure has left me and other D&D players disappointed. This is a fantasy role-playing game — anyone can be anything — so why did the way D&D designed 5th edition’s first black culture feel so lazy?

I’ve been exploring my reaction and that of other D&D players since I first read D&D‘s latest adventure, Tomb of Annihilation, a month ago.

I’d cracked open the 256-page tome eagerly, excited not only to study the maps, monsters and storylines laid out in its pages, but also to see what next steps D&D was taking to acknowledge the demographic breadth of its players in its tabletop fantasies.

Flipping through Tomb of Annihilation, I found enchanting dungeons and gorgeous art and impressive puzzles and traps. I was also surprised to read about a black culture — 5th edition’s first — that seemed to trade in dated stereotypes of African cultures.

Tomb of Annihilation

Tomb of Annihilation

It wasn’t something that jumped out at me. It was a slow sinking-in — not outrage, but a series of questions spurred by what I saw, read, researched and talked about with other D&D players: Why did publisher Wizards of the Coast choose to resurrect their fraught pan-Africa campaign setting in 2017?

Considering that the average D&D city is an amalgamation of European cultures, why is it rubbing me, and others, that Chult is an amalgamation of African cultures? What would it be like for me as a non-black Dungeon Master to replicate the “tongue clicks” of the black tribal cultures players encounter? Did any people of colour work on this?

And, most importantly — this is a fantasy role-playing game, so why didn’t D&D‘s stewards at Wizards of the Coast exercise a little more creativity?

“What this says to me is that D&D is not interested in continuing to be at the forefront of what RPG sourcebooks can be,” said D&D player and BlackNerdProblems.com editor Leslie Light.

“I’m not impressed by their level of effort — to go back and recycle something old and come up with: It is dark and hot and they all live in one city and wear skins.”

Inclusivity isn’t just a buzzword. When it comes to gaming, it’s shorthand for game-makers’ design decisions that accommodate everyone’s escapist fantasies. That means that anyone can be anything, unfettered from reality and the crude biases that have taken root here.

Over the years, there has been a slow build of progressive values in D&D‘s rulebooks. The thin, seductive and bare-breasted female monsters of D&D‘s first few monster manuals have been phased out in favour of terrifying lady beasts.

Since then, Wizards of the Coast has silently acknowledged its queer fanbase by adding a LGBT characters to Curse of Strahd, Storm King’s Thunder and, now, Tomb of Annihilation, in part at the behest of the game’s lead rules designer, Jeremy Crawford.

The lead image for the human race in the current Player’s Handbook is a black woman.

Tomb of Annihilation

Tomb of Annihilation

Tomb of Annihilation felt a little off in comparison. Its point of inspiration is a campaign setting that, for years, has been written off as tone-deaf.

The new adventure draws on D&D co-creator Gary Gygax’s adventure Tomb of Horrors and combines that with source material detailing Chult, a jungle peninsula first conceived of in a 1992 novel called The Ring of Winter, in which an adventurer travels to Chult’s dinosaur-filled wilderness seeking the eponymous artifact.

The Chult setting took more cues from a 1993 issue of Dragon Magazine‘s “Warriors & Wizards from Afar” feature, the purpose of which was to flesh out or inspire homebrew D&D campaigns.

The feature included the articles “Arms & Armour of Africa” and “The Dark Continent,” a template for “a generic Africa-like continent.” Its human inhabitants, described as “natives,” are dark-skinned with tightly curled hair, while its other races include pygmies and “bushmen.”

In this setting, slaver caravans raid tribal villages, which survive on subsistence agriculture and hunting. A minutely-researched six pages detailing African weaponry followed, citing eight anthropological or historical texts.

Dragon Magazine

Dragon Magazine

The canonical Chultan peninsula finally congealed in a 1993 campaign setting as a dinosaur-infested jungle where heat wiped out even the strongest adventurers and insects carried fatal diseases.

Reptilian races and undead skeletons dominate the land and humans live in tribal clusters and clans. Its major city, Mezro, “rivals some of the most ‘civilised’ population centres in Faerun,” the setting reads. Slavery is mentioned about 40 times.

In D&D‘s 3rd edition, it’s written that Chultan priest-kings worship “strange deities” in the city of Mezro. In D&D‘s 4th edition, Chult is located on what’s called the “Savage Coast.”

It’s said there that the city of Port Nyanzaru is controlled by foreign traders who often must defend against pirates. Mezro has collapsed. It just sunk into the abyss.

What remains is this: “Human civilisation is virtually nonexistent here, though an Amnian colony and a port sponsored by Baldur’s Gate cling to the northern coasts, and a few tribes — some noble savages, others depraved cannibals — roam the interior.”

Graeme Barber runs POC Gamer, a blog where he gives his takes on fantasy and sci-fi games from the perspective of a black man. In 2013, he described how Mezro’s collapse in D&D‘s 4th edition was “the last straw for me” and “one of the catalysts that brought this blog into being.”

He was angered by black cultures’ omission from years’ worth of D&D books, and Mezro’s destruction felt to him like D&D saying they didn’t care about him.

It struck him as weird that, in the D&D lore, there was no narrative describing how Mezro’s former citizens were struggling to bring it back. In his blog post, he wrote:

Tomb of Annihilation

Tomb of Annihilation

“It’s not unfair or hostile to say that the genre of fantasy is riddled with racism. Sometimes intentional, sometimes not, it is mostly achieved through the aggressive use of stereotypes and writing tropes, racism by omission, and through substitution (of monsters for human ethnicities).

For all intents and purposes, it happens to further the immersion in and to carefully maintain the comfort zone and status quo enjoyed by the main audience and producers of the product, namely, a White audience … it has also lead to game companies like Wizards of the Coast (WotC), to (hopefully unintentionally) commit some fairly racist actions that make it hard for [people of colour] to invest themselves in their product.”

He concluded that “WotC has effectively told me, as a POC, that I’m no longer welcome to play in a game world I’ve known and loved for years as a POC player character.”

Barber now plays in a diverse D&D group with a homebrew setting. There, his dungeon master has architected an infrastructure for black cultures to exist.

Recently, though, curiosity led him to pick up Tomb of Annihilation. After being pleasantly surprised by several of 5th edition’s motions toward inclusivity, he felt after reading the new adventure that D&D‘s brand had taken “two steps forward, one step back.”

The Jungles of Chult

The Jungles of Chult

Set on this peninsula of Chult, 2017’s Tomb of Annihilation updates the 1993 campaign setting, cutting out several aspects that D&D lead designer Chris Perkins told me weren’t strong from a storytelling perspective.

Gone are the foreign colonists who made Chultans second-class citizens in their own land and a strong emphasis on Chultans’ “warring, tribal” culture. Now, Mezro is absent in favour of the bustling, wealthy city of Port Nyanzaru, which was recently freed from foreign rule with the help of seven rich merchant princes.

It is, the adventure reads, “a bastion of civilisation and commerce in a savage land.”

There, dinosaur races cut through the city streets which are lined by stone temples, warehouses storing ivory and jewels, markets and even a public bathhouse. Its culture is mercantile, rich in natural resources.

Outside of the city is a dangerous jungle bustling with undead, reptilian beasts and tribal peoples. “Mad monkey feature” is a disease adventurers can pick up.

Things have changed, but the thought processes that generated Chult version one are still there.

Why has Chult changed over the last two decades? When I asked Perkins, he said that “We didn’t want to create a city that felt backward … it’s a tale of Chultans reclaiming their own city and land and redefining who they are and moving way from the idea of warring tribes to a more business-minded culture.”

Perkins explained that the D&D team made a great effort not to depict the Chultans in a regressive way.

“The land that they live in is a savage land. That’s just part of what Chult is. It’s a place of monsters. It was our intention to show the Chultans have not only survived it, but have risen above it — that they have dispelled the warring tribal nature that previously defined them and are now actually thriving.”

When I asked, Perkins said that no black writers or consultants worked on Tomb of Annihilation.

Tomb of Annihilation

Tomb of Annihilation

Tomb of Annihilation

Tomb of Annihilation

Here’s the rub: While many players I talked to enjoyed how the history and political structures of Chult were expanded in Tomb of Annihilation (and enjoyed the adventure’s plot generally), they were still unimpressed by its execution.

Its setting is an amalgamation of African cultures, a trope frequent in 20th century media that flattens the dimensionality of human experiences on the continent, which contains hundreds of ethnic groups. There are nods to West African voodoo, Southern African click-based Khoisan languages, East African attire (like Kenyan kofia hats) and the jungle climate of Central Africa.

Its fantasy setting dissolves “Africa” into an all-in-one cultural stew that comes off as a little detached, sources I interviewed said.

“I’m gonna ignore for a moment the fact that they described [Chult] as a wild, untamed land — how much of Africa was thought of for a long time,” Dace, who runs the Black Role-Players Organisation, told me.

He had bigger fish to fry: “Their speaking patterns are described right down to having clicks. This creates a problem if white gamers were wanting to do an accent and do serious clicks and clucks based on what they have seen on TV about African languages.”

Dace noted that Africa has upwards of 2,000 languages and only three language groups use clicks. It is one of the most stereotyped aspects of Africa.” Dace suggested using Swahili as another point of inspiration.

Tomb of Annihilation

Tomb of Annihilation

Another eyebrow-raising feature for Dace was the narrative arc of Chult’s escape from foreign rule, which he says “smacks of colonialism.

It borrows from this rich African tradition of kings and queens and then reduces it down to them now being tradesmen, a path they learned not from their own but from their neighbours. This mirrors the historic way in which Africa’s empires were broken by European powers and then colonised.”

He was unimpressed by “mad monkey fever,” especially, he said, considering the long history of “likening blacks to monkeys.”

Light, the writer from BlackNerdProblems, told me that, “To me, it did not feel offensive. It felt lazy.”

She wished that Wizards of the Coast innovated more instead of falling back on well-trodden tropes about what a unified “African” culture would look like.

“There’s so much more to be done. There are huge bodies of work in African fantasy.” She added, “If you’re gonna invest in me as a player, give me something I’d never thought of.”

I wish D&D had made a black Atlantis. I’d be thrilled to crack open 2017’s official adventure and learn of the bleeding-edge technologist culture that architects magical machinery, who are black, or an ethnography of the cloud-dwelling black merchant princes who deliver their wares via airships.

Every black D&D player I spoke with said they had some suggestions for Wizards of the Coast — and they knew lots of others who’d love to share their ideas, too.


  • 5e has largely played it safe with the settings, anyone who is expecting more should ask themselves why the ridiculously Eberron campaign setting got a lazy update. 5e is putting zero effort into world building, that is up to us as the players to fill in the blanks.

    We just have to get used to the fact that 5e is purely a light template for rules and not the fleshing out of the world itself.

  • What would it be like for me as a non-black Dungeon Master to replicate the “tongue clicks” of the black tribal cultures players encounter? Did any people of colour work on this?

    I think it’s safe enough to say that most D&D players would not give a flying fig.

    And it’s totally up to the DM to alter the setting if he/she or the players feel uncomfortable about it.

    • Given that most are pasty white nerd dudes, I imagine they would not.

      Luckily the cool kids still have plenty non-crap RPGs to play.

      • Half of our 5e group are pasty white chicks, ill have you know including the off week dm. 😉

        • If I had the time/motivation I’d love to put together some sort of graph of “things Burnside says” and “articles Burnside replies to”. The former would largely full of attacking his perceived enemies and people he disagrees with politically, the latter exclusively articles with race/gender/sexualities in the title.

          Not pictured: actual friendly video game discussion

  • Not going to disagree with the quoted author’s experience, but I wonder about this:
    racism by omission
    I wonder how many devs just don’t bother to try anymore for fear of provoking outrage? When the Australian civ was added to Civ6, a vocal minority complained that indigenous Australians weren’t represented – but no matter what way they would have been presented, somebody would have been angry, so it’s clear the devs just didn’t bother and cop the flak for not trying instead.

    I don’t really know if ‘racism by omission’ is always racist in intent, especially in a fantasy setting where people expect detailed cultures and backgrounds to accompany races. I mean if it’s literally just a different skin over a character model in a MP FPS then that’s different, but when we’re expecting well crafted background fluff I can see how it’s going to be hard for them to make everyone happy. Doesn’t mean you have to fall back on stereotypes, but I wonder if they’d just constructed a sort of Eurocentric culture and said “Oh, but they’re POC!” if people would have questioned it too.

    • No matter what they did, no matter how they portrayed this particular civilisation…

      This article would still exist.

      Even if you leave things out now you’re ‘racist/sexist/whatever by omission’… It’s absolutely disgusting to me how easy it is to throw labels like that around and have people mindlessly jump on your bandwagon.

      • It’s called virtue-signalling. Humans do it all the time to increase social acceptance. If you display sympathy you are showing that you are not an ‘other’ but part of the whole. Unfortunately the people who virtue-signal the most are young people who feel socially vulnerable or isolated. I’m not recommending you dip your toe into the Twitter feeds of various, shall we say, socially challenged, members of society, but if you do, you’ll find it’s a circle jerk of gratuitous ego massaging and ideological reinforcement.

      • Except he is dead and they would get thrashed for depicting someone that is dead. My guess is that there would be just about no traditional land owners complaining because it is insensitive to depict the dead.

        Then you would have the problem of choosing which family is represented. It would have been very difficult to adequately represent aboriginals without pissing off 90% of the families.

        • Except he is dead and they would get thrashed for depicting someone that is dead.

          Yeah, I think that came to me about 5 minutes after I posted. Obviously some TV, movies, books have been made so it has been done so I am not sure how strong that rule is. It is really just one of those weird exceptions, a specific cultural quirk that happens to conflict with modern creations. You could allow a checkbox in setting to remove that character from the game for anyone who adheres to what could be considered a religious principal about not using names/representations of the dead.

          If we assume that is okay, then you could use Jandamarra, Pemulwuy. All Aboriginal leaders and warriors. Apparently Windadyne was strikingly handsome even to the settlers with their racist baseline, he would make a good character in a game.

          He is one of the finest looking natives we have seen in this part of the country. He is not particularly tall, but is much stouter and more proportionably [sic] limbed than the majority of his countrymen; which, combined with a noble looking countenance, and piercing eye, are calculated to impress the beholder with other than disagreeable feelings towards a character who has been so much dreaded by the Bathurst settler. Saturday is, without doubt, the most manly black native we have ever beheld—a fact pretty generally acknowledged by the numbers that saw him.

          The more I read about windradyne, the more I think he could be made into a really interesting leader.

          The blacks were troublesome at Bathurst in those days, the cause very frequently was their ill-treatment by the whites … Our hut was one day surrounded by a large party of blacks, fully equipped for war, under the leadership of their great fierce chief and warrior, named by the whites ‘Saturday’. There was no means of resistance so my father, then a lad of eighteen years, met them fearlessly at the door. He spoke to them in their own language in such a manner as not to let them suppose he anticipated any evil from them. They stood there, sullen, silent, motionless. My father’s cheerful courage and friendly tone disarmed animosity. They consulted in an undertone, and departed as suddenly and noiselessly as they came. The next thing known of them is that they killed (was it not just retribution?) all the men at a settler’s place some miles distant, the very place where it was rumoured, the poisoned bread had been laid for them. … They never molested man or beast of my father’s. He had proved himself their friend on previous occasions

          He wasn’t a bad man. But if you killed his women and children (as the settlers did) he would exact revenge. He was averse to killing the innocent to make his point.

          These are the kind of historical points used to infer the character of a leader so an suitable AI and set of unique bonuses can be created for it.

          I would love to see alternate native leaders for all colonial type countries. The USA would have a lot of candidates. What about the Maoris? I don’t think they have ever been in one.

          • How about some reality about black cultures? One of the things that shocked the Brits was the rampant misogyny in aboriginal communities, their women routinely beaten and bashed. The apologists for black culture in Africa ignore the fact that the slaves sent around the world were provided for by local black chiefs. I ask you, can any black person be anything other than good? That’s racism.

  • Honestly all I took away from this is that you hate tribalism aesthetics and dinosaurs. Frankly, I like them, so how’s about we just swap, the dark skinned races in fiction can have the boring castles and keeps and Druidic magic and stuffy tower based sorcery, they can be next door neighbours to those bloody elves and they can be all boring Paragon Shepherd militaristic King and Crown sir yes sir! Style.

    In return the light-skinned characters get to ride dinosaurs, wear warpaint, go around shirtless and have more colour in their wardrobe than just silver bronze and gold plated armour.

  • Dace noted that Africa has upwards of 2,000 languages and only three language groups use clicks. It is one of the most stereotyped aspects of Africa.” Dace suggested using Swahili as another point of inspiration.

    Not all Africans are Swahili and some in fact may find it offensive that you are omitting other African cultures in favour of one in particular – plus it reeks of cultural hegemony.

    Personally I can’t wait till the author realizes Calimshan, Mulhorand and Kara-Tur are other places in the Forgotten Realms that contain cultures that aren’t culturally accurate.

    WotC isn’t here to make a fantasy world that perfectly meshes real historical cultures and fantasy together, it’s here to paint with broad brush strokes a picture of cultural pieces that any GM can pick up and run with, or explore further. Because no matter how much research or people WotC hire, they aren’t creating an Anthropology or Sociology 100 level unit on African culture, and they know that at a tabletop level that GMs are going to tailor their game to what interests their players with the broad brush stroke guide to help them find their way.

    If players and GMs are interested in a particular culture they will research more on their own and add that knowledge to their own local games.

    • Not all Africans are Swahili and some in fact may find it offensive that you are omitting other African cultures in favour of one in particular – plus it reeks of cultural hegemony.

      I think this part is something a lot of people who write articles like this or express similar faux concerns/outrage. Africa is a bloody massive continent that literally everyone outside of Africa reduces to being simply “African”. Pretty much almost as bad everyone using Asian to refer to anyone and anything from that part of the world despite the stark differences.

      • I think we also use ‘European’ or ‘South American’ in the same vein. It’s not intended to be culturally insensitive, just to give a bit of an idea to the reader/listener of some extremely general characteristics of what we are talking about. E.g. if I talk about South American music or Asian cuisine then you have a very general idea of what I’m talking about, at least by a process of elimination. Whether or not I need to be more precise in the context of the ideas I want to communicate is a different story. What I’m saying is that there is nothing inherently racist in using a general continental adjective. I mean, it’s a bit like referring to ‘aboriginal culture’ when it would be more precise to specify the people to whose culture you want to talk about, like Koori or Ngunnawal.

        Short story is, people can pick stuff to be outraged about and there is nothing we can do about it except point out how ridiculous it is 🙂

  • Nothing like D&D, the virtual king of “be whatever you want, do whatever you want, in whatever world you want” gaming, being pigeonholed as if everything is set in stone and nothing is able to be changed by those playing it.

  • Forgotten Realms is a kitchen-sink fantasy setting so I’m not sure why this article exists. Almost anything could potentially exist in FR and I don’t believe that there’s anything stopping them from saying that the current lord of Baldur’s Gate or Neverwinter is a black person of whatever gender. It’s also a bit weird to want a specifically “black” society and then be displeased that the black society has elements that are generic. Every other society that exists in FR is generic to some extent.

    D&D is a fantasy game that lets you make whatever character, setting, culture, etc that you wish. If the published material doesn’t directly support something that you want to do, create a home setting and go nuts. WotC has a very broad audience and cannot hope to cater to everyone and fulfill everyone’s dreams.

  • Fictional people from a fictional culture in a fictional world dress in a fictional way that resembles certain cultures from our own world’s history.

    And seriously… racism by omission? Since when the hell is that a thing? If i say “Come on guys, lets go.” referring to a group of people that contains friends from both genders, am I sexist for not specifically including the girls in the comment, or sexist for using a gendered term at all, or sexist for expecting females to respond to a request from a male, or… You see my point, someone with an axe to grind can always find fault with something, regardless of the effort or lack thereof made in avoiding controversy, the setting, etc.

    Political correctness has gone too far when people actively criticise a work of fiction for its portrayal of a fictional culture by drawing comparisons to the real world and using that to justify labels like racist or sexist or whatever. It’s a work of fiction. It’s not meant to reflect reality. Hence the term “fiction”…

  • This stupid argument can be taken so far and applied so broadly that it makes almost everything pointless.

    If i write a novel with 6 main characters must they each represent a different race and a letter of the LGBTQI acronym? What about that unfairly treated 7th race? Or 8th? Or 500th? We are more than Black and White ffs.

    Isn’t the goal for society to care less about trvial things like skin colour? We are all the same damn species.

    • Nah… Apparently the only way to prove how much you don’t care about skin colour these days, is to bring it up at every possible opportunity.

  • I hate non-articles like this. If you look hard enough you will find someone that is offended at anything.

    The Forgotten Realms campaign setting is built entirely on tropes. It is standard fare as far as fantasy goes.

    It is also not the only campaign setting that exists. You are not tied to use Tombs of Annihilation as written in the book. D&D is about your creation and your imagination.

    This has been emphasised for 40 years now.

  • To be fair, Chult is part of the Forgotten Realms setting, and that setting is thirty years old and has had a ridiculous amount of detail accrued over time. It’s fine to want Chult to be better depicted, but you can’t just change all the details of an area in the official materials overnight, there needs to be some kind of progression to it.

    Also if you don’t like it and you’re the DM, change it yourself. Move it to another place. Make your fictional Black Atlantis if that’s what you want (that actually sounds quite interesting). That’s what being a DM is all about.

  • What are Drow? Very, very (very) off-white?

    The author keeps referring to black culture and African culture as if they’re the same thing. Even African culture is a bit difficult to classify in a single term. I doubt a Maasai warrior living in the south of Kenya has a lot in common with a Somali youth pirating off the coast, and neither of them have anything in common with an investment banker living in Manhattan.

    And ultimately it’s a fantasy game – this isn’t Africa, it’s Chult.

  • The portrayal isn’t what the article is really criticizing (or it shouldn’t be). It’s more a lack of OTHER portrayals to compare it to. Medieval Europe has tons and tons of fictional depictions in mainstream pop culture. So does the old west, feudal Japan, and to a lesser extent the middle-east.

    D&D’s Europe is a pastiche, but there’s enough detail that it doesn’t feel shallow. Most non-european mainstream fantasy I’ve seen feels like it draws on stereotype rather than actual mythology or culture.

    WotC is a big enough company that it really could afford to do the research required to make an interesting campaign setting based on the continent of Africa. Base the names on traditional names. Take monsters from old mythologies. Do to Africa what Faerun does to Europe, Tolkien, and old pulp sword & sorcery.

  • When I asked, Perkins said that no black writers or consultants worked on Tomb of Annihilation.
    That kind of demonstrates perhaps the lack awareness of how Chult may come across, in terms of depiction. You really need folks at the table that are different to account for how a particular product is going to be received.

  • So the gist of this is that this writer doesn’t want different cultures in D&D, they just want black people who behave exactly the same as the white people, and also non-humans don’t count.

    I wonder how many black people are insulted by this article?

    • Mind you, it is kinda sad that the whole plot of throwing out the colonial oppressors is something that cannot be played. That would make a great gaming plot that even people who are so mentally handicapped that they can’t empathize with a character who isn’t exactly the same as them in looks could play.

  • Are you aware that Wizards of the Coast produce other settings…literally whole other worlds, and that the continent of Faerun, specifically the sword coast region, is the primary location of the Forgotten Realms, and was intended to primarily be a European based setting…Chult is also not the only black civilisation in the Forgotten Realms.

    There are quite a number of other civilisations that are covered in other supplements, including quite a number of other human cultures of pretty much every single ethnicity in our real world…some of said cultures are even the descendants from dimension travellers, and slaves taken off world by the illithids (interdimensional psychic squid people), from real world earth cultures: including the egyptians, the norse, and quite a number of others.

    There are quite a number of other black cultures, apart from Chult, like the nation of Turmish: one of the few democratic cultures on Faerun, had a highly educated population, and an interesting, and highly creative fantasy culture.

    In terms of LGBT stuff: those things have been in since the dawn of the Forgotten Realms…with magical items, and spells to facilitate transgender transformations. Elminster (the Forgotten Realms Gandalf rip off) himself spent quite some time living as Elmara. There have been plenty of gay characters too…Lliira, the goddess of joy, was in a committed relationship with her high priestess, who was murdered during the time of troubles…and I’m pretty sure that’s been a thing since the mid 90s.

    In addition to representing all, literally all, real world human cultures in some way, shape or form, we also have all of the races and ethnicities that do not exist: people of all shapes, colours, (lizard people, elemental people, bird people, blue people, people with extra arms, synthetic people…everything). There are also all of the other worlds: Dragonlance, Eberron, Ravenloft, Kingdoms of Kalamar, Greyhawk, Planescape, Birthright, Dark Sun, Lankhmar, Mystara, Spelljammer, and a host of other official settings: not to mention that 90% of the whole reason for any tabletop RPG is to create your own shit…that’s literally the one advantage tabletop games have over any other form of entertainment: the level of freedom you have.

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