Tuesday, May 28, 2024

LGBT Games History: Dungeons and Dragons

Dungeons and Dragons have been around since 1974 and has only grown bigger and, arguably, better over time. What started as a game that was clearly targeted towards white, cis, heterosexual men, has been expanded on in a way that’s much more diverse and accepting than it was before.

Identity is one of the most important things in D&D. You cast off who you really are, and step into the shoes of a character that’s come from both your heart and mind. For those who are part of the LGBTQ+ community, there’s always been a certain thrill of being a character whose sexuality and gender can help you come to terms with your very own.

There is, of course, still a long way to go. But the series is improving. In the 5th edition rulebook, players are asked to “think about how your character does or does not conform to the broader culture’s expectations of sex, gender, and sexual behaviour.” And as if that wasn’t clear enough, it adds that “you [the player] don’t need to be confined to binary notions.” 

Dungeons and Dragons

Being confined is something that queer players feel like they have to be in these sort of gaming spaces, so for a rulebook to acknowledge that those confinements aren’t necessary? It matters and, as Levi. A Miles of the Huffington Post sums up, can even “save lives.”

As for the content within Dungeons and Dragons actual universe, there are several queer characters that appear. Some of them aren’t exactly what we would call fantastic representation, but there are characters who you can encounter in adventures that do identify as gay, bi, lesbian, etc.

One of these characters is found in the Storm King’s Thunder adventure, a wheat farmer that goes by the name of Thelbin Osstra. He has a husband, who looks after his adopted nephew. It’s a cutesy, domestic situation and it’s heartening to see that included for queer characters.

The Curse of Strahd, an adventure that takes place away from the original setting of the Forgotten Realms, also has queer characters within its story. One of these characters is Strahd himself, who takes on an almost Dracula-like role. If you want to get your blood sucked, this is the adventure to be in.

With all these small, but meaningful inclusions, it’s easy to see just how much the tabletop, role-playing game has changed over time. It’s far from perfect, but it’s improving and that’s what matters.

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