So… it was quite a week for TTRPG news. The major story is of course the latest Dungeons & Dragons controversy, which brings the portrayal of race back into the forefront. Will Spelljammer’s mistakes spell doom for Dragonlance? Or was WotC’s statement enough to smooth things over?
And if you’re just here to find some open games to play this upcoming week, here you go!
Spelljammer Hadozee Get Quick Fix After Racial Backlash
Wizards of the Coast found itself under scrutiny for D&D’s racial depictions once more, as several Twitter users pointed out the implications behind Spelljammer’s Hadozee. The social media stir seemed to begin when Twitter user Kendo shared a screencap of the Hadozee’s official backstory from D&D Beyond, pointing to elements like their former slavery as problematic. Kendo’s initial tweet spread, sparking mass criticism of WotC’s handling of Spelljammer 5E and dredging up D&D’s past connections to racism in its lore.
In response, WotC edited the Hadozee entry on D&D Beyond on Thursday. Along with an official statement on the controversy, the Hadozee page has been edited to contain no references to their forced servitude. The Hadozee also got a mechanical edit to their glide ability. When the Spelljammer 5E book was first released, some players were concerned about vague wording which made it seem like Hadozee could glide hundreds of feet with a simple jump. The new Hadozee edit now clarifies that they can only glide a number of feet equal to their walking speed.
The general reaction from social media users is that the post-edit and statement are not enough, and that WotC needs to invest serious resources into sensitivity readers and more diverse designers. Some are calling on the community to not pre-order December’s upcoming Dragonlance book to hold the company accountable. Only time will tell if this call to action has an effect on Dragonlance sales.
He-Man TTRPG In Limbo After Fandom Sells Cortex
Right at the end of August, Fandom announced that it is selling its TTRPG brand Cortex. The Cortex system serves as the basis for the ENNIE award winning Dragon Prince RPG, which is still in active production and will now be headed by Dire Wolf Digital. The sale marks Fandom’s total exit from the TTRPG industry, coming right after the big sale of D&D Beyond to Hasbro. As a result, the Cortex-based Masters of the Universe RPG is in a state of indefinite hiatus.
Hasbro owns the He-Man IP, which places the legalities of the Masters of the Universe game in an uncertain state. The result is that Cortex is putting all its time into the upcoming Dragon Prince expansion “The Sunfire Chronicles.” While “never say never” was said by a Cortex spokesperson, He-Man fans are better off seeking out a different way to bring Grayskull to their tabletops.
One D&D Playtest Is Already Bigger Than 5E Ever Was
It’s been a week for people voicing their opinions about D&D, and now WotC is inviting all the criticism through a new survey. The good news is that the One D&D’s playtest materials have already been downloaded more in the past two weeks than 5E’s playtest was in its entirety. WotC revealed this along with a link to the first One D&D survey. The hope is that this huge number of playtesters will help push D&D towards a much better future. And after the Hadozee controversy, many content creators are asking fellow fans to use the survey to underline the importance of well-developed cultural consideration.
For more on One D&D, and to download the playtest, look here!