An upcoming workshop for women and LGBATQ+ people is aiming to overcome stereotypes around popular role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) and inform people about the potential of the game.
“I think it’s powerful for women and queer people to play role playing games together because it gives us an opportunity to create or experience a new world of our own design, a world that embodies our own ideals and fantasies,” said RJ Doughty, who is a resource assistant at the SFU Women’s Centre and leading the workshop.
The workshop was hosted for the first time in the summer and will launch again next week with the intention of empowering people to envision the game in a way that reflects their own perspectives.
Doughty explained that a role-playing game has more of a creative element than board games. In a board game everyone is a player, but in a role-playing game one person is the dungeon master who is in charge of designing the world where the game takes place and describing the challenges that the players face.
“For me, part of the satisfaction of running a game is storytelling and doing something creative,” Doughty noted. However, the negative stereotypes surrounding role-playing games and their history may discourage some people from giving the game a try.
“Dungeons and Dragons has this slightly intimidating reputation of being something that white guys play and other people might not be welcome at the table,” Doughty explained, noting that the game still appeals to everyone.
The first edition of D&D that was released referred to players using only masculine pronouns and in the subsequent advanced edition of 1978 female characters held a lower maximum strength than male characters.
“It has evolved a lot since then,” Doughty noted. The latest edition now includes consideration of gender identity, noting that players do not need to conform to gender binaries.
The workshop will teach people who have never played before the basics of how to run their own game, something that Doughty encourages even for people just starting out.
“I want folks to leave the workshop at the Women’s Centre feeling empowered to make the game theirs, to play in a world that is as diverse and affirming and unconventional as they can imagine,” they added.
The DIY Dungeon Master Workshop will take place on November 27 from 12:30–2:00 p.m. at the SFU Women’s Centre.