Wizards of the Coast recently announced plans for a new edition of Dungeons & Dragons titled One D&D, and despite its release date being two years away, some woke activists are already accusing the tabletop developer of racism over its contents.
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As explained by WotC, One D&D “will take what we love from fifth edition and create an experience that is not only backwards compatible with the adventures and supplements you enjoy today but that will evolve the game for years to come.”
“You’ll see updates to just about every facet of the game, from player classes to backgrounds and even to how we lay out books and present game information,” wrote the developer on their website. “Our goal is to improve on everything that has made D&D the best tabletop roleplaying game in the world.”
Given that the project claims to take the best of what has developed from fifth edition D&D and build upon that, some players have already come to dub One D&D as “5.5 Edition.”
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It’s a stretch to think that WotC is trying to push racism with this new endeavour. Rather, One D&D is meant to streamline things for players so that they’ll only need to comprehend one release in order to play, thus hopefully avoiding any confusion from new players regarding all of the game’s various editions.
As such, instead of requiring players go the traditional route of purchasing new books and supplements with each new edition, One D&D is going to rely more on online updates and what appears to be a subscription model.
This allows WotC to make real-time changes to the system as the game develops, which in theory will help them to balance the game as more and more players experiment with the new rules.
Further, WotC also promises to incorporate One D&D into D&D Beyond, a digital toolset released by the developer earlier this year which makes it easier for players and dungeon masters to develop their games.
Additionally, the tool will see an expansion in the form of a new Digital D&D Play Experience, which the website says “is an immersive tabletop space that is in early development.”
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On their dndbeyond.com website, WotC has set up a playtesting feature for One D&D.
Essentially a massive beta test for the new system, use of the feature allows D&D Beyond users to gain preview access to the different rulesets that are being rolled out and give feedback on the release’s development.
To access this material, players will need to login to the feature with their D&D Beyond account, whereupon they’ll be prompted to “claim content.”
As of this writing, the only module unlocked is one on Character Origins. This playtest module offers a downloadable PDF and a one-hour youtube video explaining what the Character Origins supplement is about.
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The Character Origins sheet gives information on the game’s various races, classes, and backgrounds – premade backstories for characters that confer benefits – as well as rules on how to build your own background.
One major change to the system is that instead of “alignment”, a time-honored categorization in D&D, WotC have changed the term to “moral outlook”, for a softer, more politically correct tone for the game.
They have also made Orcs, a traditionally evil villain race, into a playable character class for heroes.
This particular move comes amidst the ongoing controversy regarding the creatures’ depiction in fiction, particularly in the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, in which some activists have baselessly claimed that the race is a proxy for black people.
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Yet, despite these changes, some players remain unhappy, even going so far as to say that D&D has become “more racist”
One fan, @AzurePimpernel, stated, “One thing I’m seeing around the discourse re: One D&D playtest part 1 is that the bio-essentialism and racist tones have gotten worse. One source being the lack of diversity in each race and then sample backgrounds getting specific languages,” before offering a lengthy thread  of politically correct work arounds.
@KendoMakesFilms tweeted, “I didn’t think that WotC could find a way to make DnD more racist, but in all their non-comittal, half-measures for One D&D they did it. They really did.”
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“Interesting that Gladiators pick up…Orc???” he wrote in follow-up. “Crafters pick up…gnomish??? Interesting implications.”
Continuing in his projection, @KendoMakesFilms exclaimed, “EVERY ORC gets this adrenaline rush move???”
“Why so?” he disingenuously asked. “Is there something about orcs that make them more prone to having adrenaline?”
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“Not all of these are necessarily passively malicious some of them just continue down the same bio-essentialist paths that mechanicalizing racial traits leads to,” read the word salad he ultimately concluded with. “Why do all Dwarves have this tremorsense ability? What about all the dwarves that live in places with no stone”.
It seems some people are taking the fantasy far too seriously.
If One D&D is indeed an open playtest, and they listen to fan concerns and balance the game better than prior editions, WotC could find themselves with a winner for the next decade of adventurers.
One can only hope that they won’t listen to the loud, woke activists on Twitter whose actions never contribute much of anything constructive to gaming.
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