chapter  26
8 Pages

Representation and Discrimination in Role-Playing Games

WithAaron Trammell

Lisa Nakamura's 1995 essay "Race In/For Cyberspace" offers a good starting point for understanding representation and discrimination in role-playing games (RPG). This chapter explores RPGs as a trans-media phenomenon across forms like live-action role-play; table top RPGs, computer RPGs, or multi-player online RPGs, each of which comes with a multitude of local communities in different places and around different games. Players and designers of RPGs face discrimination and stereotypes on both a community and representational level. A player-oriented angle considers a player or designer's experience of discrimination when interacting with a community or game. With their rich storytelling, open worlds, complex rules, and player freedom, RPGs have a unique opportunity to present complex and multifaceted portrayals of identity, race, ethnicity, and gender and to allow players to explore identity in new ways. Discussions of discrimination reach back to the very beginning of tabletop RPGs (TRPGs). The chapter focuses on the US American TRPG industry and community.