Monthly Archives: July 2012

Campaign for More Disabled Characters in RPGs

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All this talk about sexism in RPGs recently has got me thinking, where are the disabled characters? Where is the amputee thief, the blind cleric, the deaf dwarven warrior, the dyslexic assassin? They don’t exist.

As a disabled person I wonder if the game represents us? Is our exclusion from the artwork and miniatures enough to deter us from playing the game?

I’m sure most people with disabilities would laugh. In all honesty how the hell is a quadriplegic elf or a white stick wielding fighter with hearing aids going to realistically fare in a mythical dungeon! It’s totally ludicrous. Do I therefore want Wizards of the Coast to include disabled people in their artwork? Of course not – it would just be stupid and who wants to be reminded of their problems anyway? It’s a game, its escapism and it’s something I enjoy for that reason.

Part of the joys of role playing for me is that you can create your own character. Nothing from what I’ve seen stops women playing the character they want to play. Yes there are some men who play the game who might deter women but they are individuals and to me are more indicative of society than they are of the game. Are we saying that adding characters with downs syndrome will stop someone calling the idiot who bursts into a dungeon without a trap check a retard? Of course not, it’ll make naff all difference because it’s got nothing to do with the game.

What I find more intimidating than a group of blokes sat around a table is watching supposed “geek” women who are all blonde haired, white and skinny – a stereotype which I do find frustrating. These women are all put on a pedestal and the moment anyone criticises them petitions are launched, those who do the criticising are threatened and anyone who defends them is seen as bad as that person is – even if the defence is purely on an intellectual level. If you criticise these women you are a bigot, end of, no debate, and no discussion. How mature.

In short I don’t care about the art work, I don’t care about bigoted comments all I care about is people enjoying the game for what it is, a game and most importantly people being allowed to voice an opinion without fear of loosing their jobs or receiving copious threatening messages on twitter.

Adam told me not to write this but I wanted to. He’s been so upset lately by all the stupidity and it’s taken a lot of the fun out of something he really really enjoys. I’m angry too. I’ve spoken to a lot of my female DND friends about this issue and we feel more and more alienated from the game by so many so called feminists. I am a feminist, I choose to live my life in the way I do – society not my husband can take that away from me. I choose to wear the clothes I do and I choose to play the characters I want to play. The definition of sexism is to treat one sex with less favourably than the other. Do I feel DND treats women less favourably than men? No I don’t. Do I feel that by being forced into having certain opinions because I am a woman is treating me less favourably? Yes I do.