NPR: “Rolling the dice on race in Dungeons & Dragons” (Aaron Trammell interviewed)

September 29, 2022

Dungeons & Dragons is one of the most popular tabletop roleplaying games of all time. But it has also helped cement some ideas about how we create and define race in fantasy — and in the tangible world. We take a deep dive into that game, and what we find about racial stereotypes and colonialist supremacy is illuminating.

Aaron Trammell is an assistant professor of informatics at UC Irvine, and he edits a scholarly journal about, “analog games” like D&D. He’s spent years studying the interplay between tabletop games and race. Aaron links the war gamer’s idea of historical accuracy to this adherence to all-white histories. … “They value things that are what they see as authentic. This becomes one of the big excuses of the fantasy war gaming community to not add more inclusive rules,” said Trammel.

Listen to the full podcast here: