Resources on Gaming and Inclusivity

This post will keep expanding over time. Please do leave reviews, recommendations, or warnings in the comments; thanks!


Games:

Jay Dragon’s Wanderhome
“Wanderhome is a pastoral fantasy Role-Playing Game built on the No Dice, No Masters engine (often called Belonging Outside Belonging). It is a game filled of grassy fields, mossy shrines, herds of chubby bumblebees, opossums in sundresses, salamanders with suspenders, starry night skies, and the most beautiful sunsets you can imagine.”

Julia Bond Ellingboe’s Steal Away Jordan (revised)
“a vehicle for participants to tell a collective story of the lives of people who live in the shadow of slavery. The emphasis here is on the people, not the place, or time. The institution affects everyone from the child born into bondage to the man who owns him.”

Tools:

Shaw, Kienna and Lauren Bryant-Monk TTRPG Safety Toolkit Guide (2018)
“Safety tools are a way for players and GMs to communicate and check-in before, during, and after a game in order to make sure everyone is still having fun, and to provide the right support when needed.”

Courtney Seiter’s “An Incomplete Guide to Inclusive Language for Startups and Tech” (2018)
“Making changes to use more inclusive language offers us a chance to grow and become better communicators while also caring for those we’re communicating with.”
This is a great collection of tips and is relevant far more broadly than just to the tech world.

Additional fantasy gaming inclusive language suggestions:

  • Avoid words born out of racism to describe people, particularly people the characters are in conflict with. Use ‘brute’ or ‘lout’ instead of any of these words with racist origins: thug (anti-Indian repurposing of the word by British colonialists), goon (anti-aboriginal), hooligan (anti-Irish), or hoodlum (from hiring Irish immigrants to threaten Chinese immigrants).
  • Use ‘living statue’, ‘automaton’, or ‘construct’ instead of ‘golem’.
  • Use ‘amulet’ instead of ‘phylactery’
  • Read James Mendez Hodes’ on religious representation before you use the name ‘zombie’ for an undead monster. Keep the stats and call it something specific to your world.
  • For spiritual magic points, use some other name specific to your world, like I’ve used ‘Duani Besehla’, instead of ‘ki’.

Resource Lists:

Fax Onyx’s “Accessibility Resources for Gaming” (WritingAlchemy.net, 2017)

Articles:

Graeme Barber’s “Decolonizing Magic” (POCgamer, 2019)

Graeme Barber’s ”Mired in the Past” (POCgamer, 2014)
“A continuous plague, not just in gaming, but in real life, is the continued use and belief in non-Mendelian genetic inheritance. This can be particularly hurtful towards, and irritating to, POC who identify as “Mixed-race” individuals. This is because non-Mendelian ideas of inheritance come loaded with social stigmas and pervasive stereotypes that we still labour under to this day, despite serious science’s rejection of them. This affects gaming by reinforcing negative impressions of the “half-breed” player races and by extension, actual people of mixed ethnicity.”

Elsa S. Henry’s “Reimagining Disability in Role-Playing Games” (Analog Game Studies, 2015)
“It is important for people to be able to see themselves in the games that they play, even if they don’t want to play a version of themselves. By this I mean that it is psychologically important to feel as though you are a part of the universe in which your story is set.”

James Mendez Hodes’ “May I Play A Character From Another Race?” (2019)

… “Best Practices For Religious Representation, Part I: Check For Traps” (2019)

…”Less Of A Question, More Of A Comment” (2019)

Shelly Jones’ “Blinded by the Roll: The Critical Fail of Disability in D&D” (Analog Game Studies, 2018)

Jonaya Kemper’s Twitter thread beginning “People are upset about playing on real world oppression in #ttrpg and #indiegames. So, grab a seat folks. I’m going to explain to you why people of marginalized identities should be able to play dark themes. My credentials? A graduate degree from NYU in this specific topic.” (2019)
(Kemper also coined the term “emancipatory bleed” for when the experience of navigating oppressions in-character leads to awareness of oppression and experience of one’s capacity for liberation out-of-character; this concept resonates very strongly with what I hope can be achieved through the careful inclusion of The Body Service in stories set in Kabalor.)

Michael Stokes’ “Access to the Page: Queer and Disabled Characters in Dungeons and Dragons” (Analog Game Studies, 2017)

Kienna Shaw’s Twitter thread beginning “Playing TTRPGs as characters outside of your own race/ethnicity/gender/sexuality/ability, especially ones that have been historically misrepresented, is a tricky subject, and one that I’ve done a lot of thinking on…

Paul B. Sturtevant’s “Race: the Original Sin of the Fantasy Genre” (The Public Medievalist, 2017)

Aaron Trammell’s “How Dungeons & Dragons Appropriated the Orient” (Analog Game Studies, 2016)

Resources for Artists:

Angelica Dass’ Humanae Project

Teri Litorco’s “Holy Grail For Ethnic Skin on Minis: Beginner Friendly Paint For Brown & Black Skin” video for painting miniatures

Projects Growing Inclusivity in Gaming:

ConTessa spreads diversity through tabletop gaming by running a ton of gaming events at conventions around the country (US) because #representation matters.

POC in TTRPGS is amplifying & hoping to inspire the involvement of more PoC & underlying intersections in TTRPGs.

Welcome to the Party dedicated to creating an inclusive, equitable and intersectional space in the RPG world while teaching people how to stream RPG’s and then giving them a place to do it.

Influential Diverse Gamers:

(descriptive terms after names are just ones I’ve seen used in what seemed like contexts where they were approved by that person; thus they may be incomplete in describing the ways that person identifies as bringing non-white/cis/straight/abled perspectives to gaming)


Krystina Arielle https://twitter.com/krystinaarielle
POC
“🎶🎶 My vocals bring all the bards to the yard, and they’re like we’re running from Strahd. Damn right, we’re running from Strahd. I would bring you but we’ve got a full squad.”

Misha B. https://blackgirlgameworks.com https://twitter.com/BGGameWorks
black, she/her
Gamer, GM, Game Designer

Sam de Leve https://twitter.com/ChaiKovsky🏳️‍🌈♿️ They/Them
“D&D is fantasy. It is not set in medieval history. If I can conjure black eldritch tentacles out of nowhere, I can do it from a wheelchair, dammit!”

Tanya DePass https://cypheroftyr.com/bio/ https://twitter.com/cypheroftyr
I Need Diverse Games, Rivals of Waterdeep, POC, Bi 🏳️‍🌈

Cicero Holmes https://twitter.com/stubbystan
Rivals of Waterdeep, POC

Erika Ishii https://twitter.com/erikaishii
actor, cosplayer

Shareef Jackson https://twitter.com/shareefjackson
Rivals of Waterdeep, STEM diversity advocate, POC

Davae Breon Jaxon https://www.youtube.com/davaebreonjaxon
DBJ’s examination of slavery and racism in TTRPG settings is especially thoughtful and balanced https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLuYSVkqm4AF_3Lh8Sa6Rx_4Y_DYuxkwi

Carlos Luna https://twitter.com/carloscrits
Rivals of Waterdeep, Dungeon Rats,

Surena Marie https://www.patreon.com/surenamarie https://twitter.com/surenaxmarie
Rivals of Waterdeep, Dungeon Rats, illustrator, cosplayer

Satine Phoenix https://www.patreon.com/SatinePhoenix https://twitter.com/satinephoenix

Poisal https://twitter.com/apoisal
non-binary, queer, geek, DM

Kienna Shaw https://twitter.com/KiennaS
QTPOC creator doing all sorts of TTRPG things on the internet

Brandon Stennis https://twitter.com/iambrandontv
Mostly tweets about streaming and video games, gif game extremely strong. Rivals of Waterdeep, POC, GAY

B. Dave Walters https://www.patreon.com/bdavewalters https://twitter.com/bdavewalters
“If I can be out here writing stories, talking about how much fun Dungeons and Dragons is, how great RuPaul’s Drag Race is, why I cried during Wonder Woman, how to be happier and more successful, that God loves you, why Marcus Aurelius is my hero, that Black Lives Matter and so does the Black Panther, then it becomes harder and harder to force me into a box, and by extension force you into a box.”

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