Dungeons & Dragons Online

The Problems with the latest revelations about Strixhaven

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So for the last couple of days, there has been a ton of controversy and words exchanged over this image and other revelations about the next D&D Official Manual to be released: Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos.

Rather than jumping to conclusions, I thought I would monitor the conversations and complaints and report what I saw on Twitter.

There were a very few who complained about the same sex couple dancing. Those that have a problem with this generally know better than to voice this on Twitter.

The vast majority of the complaint fell into a few broad categories.

Firstly, that D&D is a combat game, and not about going to the prom.

Secondly, they hated school, so why should they revisit it?

Finally, why was Harry Potter being introduced into D&D?

You can probably see that there's a fair bit of cross-over in those three complaints.

Interestingly, those people complaining about the complainers were about as numerous.

I think that we need to be aware that many of the "old guard" who often act as gatekeepeers (and I don't support them in their gatekeeping at all) were nerds, geeks and outcasts at school. In the 80s and 90s, they faced bullying. Their school lives were not pleasant, and D&D was their escape from that, just as it is for so many of us in our day-to-day live, and many have especially found it so during this difficult time. I believe that, whilst we should stamp out gatekeeping where-ever we find it, we need to be sensitive to one another, especially to those who do not find joy and success and praise in their day-to-day lives, especially at school, which is always a difficult time for most people.

The second thing is to discourage negativity. It's very easy to be negative people. Often all we see on T.V. and the news is people moaning about the current state of things. This means that social media is often the place we go to dump our negativity, and whilst that can be somewhat cathartic (easing of our pain), it also serves to bring everyone down, especially the communities that we are part of.
How do we deal with it? Not by abusing those who are moaning.
I propose that we try different methods. Let's try to gently challenge the negative statements, engage them and dwell on the positives.

D&D is a combat game? Yes, it was initially built to be, but it's so much more than that. If Gygax had wanted to play a wargame, he wouldn't have created D&D. It has evolved and grown. If you love the combat side of it, that's great! There is room for all types of players.

I hated school, why would I want to go back and play a game where it takes me back?
Perhaps this time, it can be filled with the types of people you hang out with now? Perhaps you can defeat the bully or prove that your intelligence or talent is worthy of praise. If you don't like the idea, that's ok. You don't have to buy this book, but please understand that others will love it.

Why is Harry Potter being introduced into D&D?
Harry Potter was incredibly popular, so why shouldn't WotC cash in on that? Have a look at all the other school magic shows that are on right now. Sabrina, Hero: My Academia, The Order… to name a few. Also fancy balls have been made popular again by Bridgerton.

Can I encourage you to talk to people and be positive?
The D&D community has always, on the whole, been a positive and welcoming one.
Let's work hard to keep it that way.

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