How much diversity is in your games?


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In the United States, which, compared to many other parts of the world, is far more diverse and accepting for sexual orientations, has ~ 17% Latinos, 12% Black, 5% Asian, 0.7% Native American, 2% Other, and 2-6% LGBT.

Having a large town 62% Human, 17% Halfling, 12% Dwarf, 5% Elf, 0.7% Gnome, 2% Other and 2-6% LGBT would be completely acceptable.

Suppose the Elves congregate together in Elftown (akin to Chinatown). In a large town of 4,000 inhabitants, only 200 are Elves, so it is entirely feasible, perhaps even likely, that adventurers would never even see one single Elf (unless, of course, they have a specific reason to seek them out).

There are only 28 gnomes, so it is also very unlikely, that unless the group is actively looking for a gnome, that they'd see one.

And there would only be 80 Others. This is a catch-all for any number of obscure minorities. A man-servant acquired by a lord as a gift that never leaves the mansion (read: never seen by the group). A group of five performers at a circus the group doesn't attend. Vagrant refugees fleeing oppression living at the far end of alleys the group doesn't go down. Visiting scholars researching antique pottery in a section of the library the group doesn't go to. An ethnic restaurant that doesn't receive the group's patronage. An exotic glass-blower providing services the group doesn't need. Pilgrims from a far-off land visiting the temple of a god the group doesn't worship.

My point is that there are any number of legitimate, even probable, reasons why the group only sees Humans.

As far as gender preference, there are, statistically at most 240 people in the town who are LGBT. The group is going to encounter how many NPC's in town? A dozen? Broken up along racial lines:
7.44 of them are Human (8)
2.04 are Halfling (2)
1.44 are Dwarf (1)
0.6 are Elf (1)
0.0084 are Gnome (0)
0.24 are Other (0)

and 0.72 are, at most (using 6%) are LGBT. Let's round that up to a whole person. So, only one person the party meets will be LGBT. And how often does one's sexual preference come up in casual conversation with some you just met?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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I was careful to remain conscious of diversity when designing my new RPG, and the result is a game where there's nothing holding you back in terms of the details of your character's identity.

If you like the idea of a fantasy RPG where you can be, say, a brown woman with pointy ears and a tail, check out my profile for ways to stay up to date on development. If you'd like to help playtest the game, send me a PM. :)

EDIT: Oh, also, I plan to represent women and minorities thoroughly in the art, and commission said art from women and minorities as well.


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Mykull wrote:


and 0.72 are, at most (using 6%) are LGBT. Let's round that up to a whole person. So, only one person the party meets will be LGBT. And how often does one's sexual preference come up in casual conversation with some you just met?

Pretty often, if you happen to meet them with their partner - which in a small town of family farms and businesses is fairly likely.


True, but that comes down to how the world is built by the DM:

(1) The DM populates that small town as she sees fit. The one homosexual couple runs the livery stable. If the group has horses, or needs to acquire them, then there's a good chance that they'll meet this couple. If, on the other hand, the group is on foot and has no need of mounts, they'll never encounter this couple and players might conclude that their DM has no diversity.

(2) The DM populates the small town as she sees fit. The one homosexual couple runs the livery stable. But the group, having no need of mounts, doesn't visit the livery stable. But they do need to resupply basic adventuring gear (ropes and such), so they head to the general store. The DM transplants the homosexual couple from running the livery stable to the general store to showcase the diversity.

If #2 is done once or even twice in a campaign, that might not be conspicuously noticeable. However, if it occurs time and again, it disproportionately skews the percentages so that the group thinks that almost every shop owner is homosexual. I'm not debating whether or not that's good or bad, but such a large percentage of non-reproducing people raises the question of where all the children come from.


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Mykull wrote:

True, but that comes down to how the world is built by the DM:

(1) The DM populates that small town as she sees fit. The one homosexual couple runs the livery stable. If the group has horses, or needs to acquire them, then there's a good chance that they'll meet this couple. If, on the other hand, the group is on foot and has no need of mounts, they'll never encounter this couple and players might conclude that their DM has no diversity.

(2) The DM populates the small town as she sees fit. The one homosexual couple runs the livery stable. But the group, having no need of mounts, doesn't visit the livery stable. But they do need to resupply basic adventuring gear (ropes and such), so they head to the general store. The DM transplants the homosexual couple from running the livery stable to the general store to showcase the diversity.

If #2 is done once or even twice in a campaign, that might not be conspicuously noticeable. However, if it occurs time and again, it disproportionately skews the percentages so that the group thinks that almost every shop owner is homosexual. I'm not debating whether or not that's good or bad, but such a large percentage of non-reproducing people raises the question of where all the children come from.

And even if they meet the homosexual couple, if the party and the merchants that they are dealing with stick to business and no personal life issues are brought up, how would the party even know that they have met a homosexual couple?


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I feel that we don't want to put "lack of diversity" in a cooperative storytelling game under "a thing that is actively bad" and more as a "missed opportunity". There are a lot of good or interesting things a player or GM could do, and nobody has the time or foresight to get all of them in, but where "presenting a wide range of people" differs from a lot of other potentially missed opportunities is that diversity is really easy to achieve whereas things like "good at improv" or "a wide range of voices" or "a particularly well-considered character" might not be.

Like take gender as an axis to consider, all you have to do here to "achieve diversity" is to occasionally use different pronouns for one person than you did for the last one. That's pretty much it. For things like cultural heritage or ethnicity, using different adjectives and a few new nouns (for skin color, for one's cultural traditions, etc.) generally suffices.

In a whole lot of games, romance or sexual orientation never come up at all, so if you have in your mind that your character is something other than cisgender and heterosexual might never come up, but it might change how you think of the character. I mean, asexual or demisexual characters are basically indistinguishable from most people's D&D characters, I'd figure, so those are free.

But the sense in which diversity in fiction is that coming to realizations like "Wait, over half of all people aren't boys or men" is good for your soul/your ability to understand the world. Empathy is, after all, akin to a muscle in that it gets better when you put work into it, and it's useful (in this specific case "for understanding other people and situations" less so for lifting heavy things, but both are important skills.)

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David knott 242 wrote:


And even if they meet the homosexual couple, if the party and the merchants that they are dealing with stick to business and no personal life issues are brought up, how would the party even know that they have met a homosexual couple?

"Hon, could you please grab that potion from the back room while I get the rest of these fine heroes' purchases tallied up?"


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Not much.

It seems like no matter what your idea is or what you're going for there are unseen unthought of implications that you are a horrible person for not being aware of. While hitting the third rail like that in the dark is rare, it happens often enough that it's just not worth it most of the time.

Its like pratt possible cabbage said. A missed opportunity, but its not an opportunity without risk.

Grand Lodge

Possible Cabbage actually said that bit about it being a missed opportunity I believe :)


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BigNorseWolf wrote:

Not much.

It seems like no matter what your idea is or what you're going for there are unseen unthought of implications that you are a horrible person for not being aware of. While hitting the third rail like that in the dark is rare, it happens often enough that it's just not worth it most of the time.

Its like pratt said. A missed opportunity, but its not an opportunity without risk.

As long as you don't mention it on the interwebs you can generally do whatever you want just fine. Odds are anyone who explodes at the horrible implications of *whatever* isn't someone you want at your table regardless.


Tarik Blackhands wrote:


As long as you don't mention it on the interwebs you can generally do whatever you want just fine. Odds are anyone who explodes at the horrible implications of *whatever* isn't someone you want at your table regardless.

These days i mostly play with a rotating bag of mixed nuts in public or semi public settings, so need to implication proof the characters a bit more than for a home game.

Web Production Manager

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Removed the resulting derail surrounding devil's advocacy and the responses quoting or responding to the derail. Folks, again, the topic of this thread does not lie in "is diversity good" or "is diversity valid." Given that we are about to head into a long holiday weekend, if this thread continues to require moderator attention, we will go ahead and lock it during that time.


We don't look at diversity as a "goal" per say at our table.
But at the same time most of us don't want to be doing the exact same thing as everyone else.

Each player want's to stand out in their own way.

Grand Lodge

Well there goes both my posts discussing the amount of diversity in Paizo APs and how I do diversity in homebrew. Gotta love the collateral damage.....


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Same, same... diversity not a goal per say with us either. We do not make a "conscious effort" to force diversity.

Skin color is especially only an afterthought that, looking back, is not even described unless the players specifically ask. Notable/identifiable facial or body features are definitely described if present, but specifically saying, "she's white," or, "the group is of mixed human skin tones," does not even come to mind, and would seem forced.

Sexual preference has very little place in any of the games I've played, for DM and players, it's just not what we concentrate on.


When we ran Giant Slayer I played a dwarven cavalier who was racist. My dm decided that my sister was the local blacksmith who married a half-orc woman and smuggles illegal half-orcs. I don't know if such a character was actually in the game or if my dm was just trying to add some conflict with the pcs and npcs.


I doubt this discussion is going to be fruitful at this point. Happy posting.


Wevi wrote:
When it comes to your games that you run or playing in, how diverse is your NPC's? I'm talking about race, skin, gender, body type for NPC's.

For my current homebrew campaign, I'm put some effort into having more diverse NPCs than most of my past games. The setting has two continents, one primarily populated by fair-skinned pseudo-Europeans, the other by dark-skinned pseudo-Africans or -Arabs; the island kingdoms in between are more of an olive-skinned Mediterranean look. We actually started the campaign in the Arab-like kingdom, which is populated by dark-skinned humans and halflings; only the two foreigner elf and half-elf PCs are "white."

(The world also has a Asian-based continent, but contact is so rare that few people know anything about it. My players certainly don't--yet. And I haven't decided yet whether any humans actually live there.)

I've created a few Pinterest boards for the game, which serve as collections of NPC portraits as well as "look and feel" galleries for various regions/cultures that I can share with my players. It's been an interesting challenge finding suitable art for this starting region.

My player group is evenly split male/female, so I'm used to keeping my NPCs close to that, too. In this campaign, one of the local human and halfling gods is both male and female, so the party has met at least one non-binary NPC among their worshipers. Additionally, the faerie gods are all shapeshifters, changing gender regularly as the seasons turn. Many elves and gnomes are gender-fluid as a result, though that has yet to come up in any significant way in game.

I've also made a point of making one of my major human nations a true matriarchy (think Rome as ruled by Amazons), and the emerging kobold nation is as well (thanks to having a dragon queen). Most of the other major nations are more or less equalitarian, though many have patrilineal monarchies.


I and nature like diversity, but this is a game and often we have a theme or stylistic components to a setting and so there are usually race restrictions in a themed campaign. My home game tends to be a modernistic stylized Greek cosmopolitian setting. My player guide has players balancing race, class, ability scores, starting experience and starting money. So it's more in their court after I've set the guidelines. I've had humans to half-dragon types. I also restrict deity choices to about 3 of 6 pantheons without some reason.

I've played a lovecraftian ghoul wizard, a pixie wizard with a human rogue companion, an elf transmuter wizard with evocation as a forbidden school(we used to laugh that she wasn't maximized), and a plain human cleric. Hundreds of different types really.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Our 5th Edition RotRL Conversion has a Middle Eastern-ish male wizard, a male kilt-wearing Scottish-themed ranger archer, my male dwarf cleric with white-blond hair, a female elf archer rogue, a human male fighter, and half-orc barbarian, the last 3 presumably white, but it hasn't really come up in the last 16 levels...

I run a homebrew campaign that takes place in a Victorian London/Colonial Boston-ish steampunk city stuck on top of a giant beanstalk in the middle of a Dying Earth/Lost World/Sword & Sorcery-type continent that is blended East Asian/Southeast Asia/Aztec/Native American/Ancient Egyptian. The city has large immigrant populations from an African/Jamaican continent and an even more steampunk South Asian/Persian blended continent. The city races are primarily human and Halfling, with homebrew kenku, homebrew nephilite (aasimar/half-cloud giant combo race (essentially goliath)), and homebrew construct race. The different races (dwarf, elf, human, etc.) of a region generally have the same "ethnicity" (black haired, bronze skinned natives, British white, South Asian, or African black city folk, etc.), unless there is a racial reason to be different (black skinned drow, various colored dragonborn, etc.). The nephilites are usually pure cloud white with sky blue eyes, but when they get angry, they darken to gray or black with lightning-bright blue eyes.

The party is a tiefling warlock with clockwork patron, halfling Tempest cleric of goddess of moon and romantic love, human cleric of clock queen/shadow sorcerer (immigrant), eladrin homebrew brontomancer wizard/fighter, wood elf monk (from below the beanstalk), and a human rogue swashbuckler (sky pirate from elsewhere).


David knott 242 wrote:
And even if they meet the homosexual couple, if the party and the merchants that they are dealing with stick to business and no personal life issues are brought up, how would the party even know that they have met a homosexual couple?

I'd say that the answer to this question is entirely related to how much intrigue and social interaction is going on in the campaign, so basically all external roleplaying.

If you're going to get to know the inhabitants of a given town you're eventually going to learn whose children are adopted, whose married to who, and the basics of the town's major family trees. If you're in an intrigue heavy game interpersonal relations are a huge part of making any sort of plans the players or NPCs engage in. I mean can you imagine making sense of a Song of Ice and Fire without knowing who is married to whom? Hell even the much simpler plot of Lord of the Rings* is largely built on familial relations.

So really the only people who aren't going to notice any couples are pure murder hobos. Which I would think given how often people call me a rollplayer on these message boards are a minority.

*I only said plot here. I'd make an argument that the thematic and philosophical underpinnings of Lord of the Rings are much more complex than ASoIaF but the actual events of the plot are themselves simpler.


Alex Smith wrote:
If you're going to get to know the inhabitants of a given town you're eventually going to learn whose children are adopted, whose married to who, and the basics of the town's major family trees. If you're in an intrigue heavy game interpersonal relations are a huge part of making any sort of plans the players or NPCs engage in. I mean can you imagine making sense of a Song of Ice and Fire without knowing who is married to whom?

Something like a song of fire and ice gives you a lot of interaction from multiple points of view. RPGs are seen from the players point of view (usually as a group but occasionally from their own solo side quest/ pm'd role playing)

The kids may not know they're adopted, so that's not something a random stranger may find out from casual dialog.

People that are just always together without kids may be friends or something more. Its not likely to come up on the way to the dungeon. Its not just a murderhobo setting where you won't see it, you need to be going pretty heavy into "the adventures of our lives" end of the spectrum to have it come up without a little push.


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in my games, it's simple: everybody gay


VixieMoondew wrote:
in my games, it's simple: everybody gay

Not bisexual? How do they have kids in your world? Is it looked down upon in your world to like the opposite gender? My questions to you.


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Wevi wrote:
VixieMoondew wrote:
in my games, it's simple: everybody gay
Not bisexual? How do they have kids in your world? Is it looked down upon in your world to like the opposite gender? My questions to you.

trans girls

Ok but for real: my setting does include probably more gay people than straight people, with a whole lot of bi/pan people, aces and demis and probably others too, and of course, as mentioned, transgender folks. My wife's PC actually provides HRT potions for my friend's PC, it's great. (Note that it's a homebrew setting, so magic is extremely limited and there's no Elixir of Sex Change.)

Races (in the "skin color/features" sense, not "orcs/elves/etc" sense) are all over the place, with a lot of "mixed."

Definitely more important ladies than otherwise (personal preference, as my wife and I are both sapphic).

Body types all over the place, too.

Disabled people are A Thing, but I haven't thought to include many in my actual writing/campaign, so maybe that's something I can bring into it.


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VixieMoondew wrote:
Wevi wrote:
VixieMoondew wrote:
in my games, it's simple: everybody gay
Not bisexual? How do they have kids in your world? Is it looked down upon in your world to like the opposite gender? My questions to you.

trans girls

Ok but for real: my setting does include probably more gay people than straight people, with a whole lot of bi/pan people, aces and demis and probably others too, and of course, as mentioned, transgender folks. My wife's PC actually provides HRT potions for my friend's PC, it's great. (Note that it's a homebrew setting, so magic is extremely limited and there's no Elixir of Sex Change.)

Races (in the "skin color/features" sense, not "orcs/elves/etc" sense) are all over the place, with a lot of "mixed."

Definitely more important ladies than otherwise (personal preference, as my wife and I are both sapphic).

Body types all over the place, too.

Disabled people are A Thing, but I haven't thought to include many in my actual writing/campaign, so maybe that's something I can bring into it.

I do need to work on bring in Disabled people into my settings. When I made this thread, I forgot about Disabled people. That just says how lacking they are in my games.


Wevi wrote:
VixieMoondew wrote:
Wevi wrote:
VixieMoondew wrote:
in my games, it's simple: everybody gay
Not bisexual? How do they have kids in your world? Is it looked down upon in your world to like the opposite gender? My questions to you.

trans girls

Ok but for real: my setting does include probably more gay people than straight people, with a whole lot of bi/pan people, aces and demis and probably others too, and of course, as mentioned, transgender folks. My wife's PC actually provides HRT potions for my friend's PC, it's great. (Note that it's a homebrew setting, so magic is extremely limited and there's no Elixir of Sex Change.)

Races (in the "skin color/features" sense, not "orcs/elves/etc" sense) are all over the place, with a lot of "mixed."

Definitely more important ladies than otherwise (personal preference, as my wife and I are both sapphic).

Body types all over the place, too.

Disabled people are A Thing, but I haven't thought to include many in my actual writing/campaign, so maybe that's something I can bring into it.

I do need to work on bring in Disabled people into my settings. When I made this thread, I forgot about Disabled people. That just says how lacking they are in my games.

It's interesting to me, because you can go three ways with this (that I can think of):

1. Disabled people whose disability is worked around or otherwise a non-issue (ex. "fighter with wooden leg who is statistically no different than other PCs")

2. Disabled person whose disability is actually disabling (more likely to be an NPC, probably, unless the way that it's disabling is outside of their class utilities, like a wizard with the aforementioned wooden leg, in which it may actually negatively affect their stats with no "equalizing" positive)

3. Disability as superpower (ie. the Oracle class).

Shadow Lodge

Wevi wrote:

I do need to work on bring in Disabled people into my settings. When I made this thread, I forgot about Disabled people. That just says how lacking they are in my games.

I've often thought being a half elf/orc would be a lot like having aspergers/autism and have played my characters as such. Being "out of sinch" with those around you would be isolating, encourage eccentric interests etc.

I have thought of dumping Int on several characters and having their eidolon or familiar being their caretaker/brains of the operation.I designed a witch archetype for Wayfinder 17 around this concept. I also thought of making a chosen one paladin (you get a familiar) with down syndrome with this but have wondered if it would be taken wrongly. I also had a summoner idea of a Cheliaxian dissident who is mentally damaged and has a devil eidolon that spouts government propaganda.

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