The application of the term ‘race’ in D&D does not match its real meaning, which is why Wizards of the Coast has decided to change it to ‘species’ to be more appropriate.
Wizards of the Coast announces through a statement that they will stop using the word “race” in favor of “species” in the One D&D rulebook (the next major revision of the popular game) as part of a natural change. The word feels somewhat out of place in these times -it should be remembered that the game was created in the 70s- and its meaning in the game is not correct. For example, D&D classifies a human and an orc as different “races”, something that does not fit the meaning of the word since they are different “species” since they do not share common and appreciable physical traits.
“Dungeons & Dragons has a history of evolving to meet the needs of our players and foster an inviting space for everyone,” we can read in the official statement. “We understand “race” is a problematic term that has had prejudiced links between real world people and the fantasy peoples of D&D worlds. The usage of the term across D&D and other popular IP has evolved over time. Now it’s time for the next evolution,” he continues.
“In the next Unearthed Arcana containing playtest materials for One D&D, we are presenting a replacement for the term “race.” That new term is “species.” We know this is an important change to D&D—one that requires an open conversation with our community. And we want to be clear about a few things as we playtest the new term.” The list of reasons is as follows:
- We have made the decision to move on from using the term “race” everywhere in One D&D, and we do not intend to return to that term.
- The term “species” was chosen in close coordination with multiple outside cultural consultants.
- In the survey for this Unearthed Arcana playtest, which will go live on December 21, players will be able to give feedback on the term “species” along with everything else present in the playtest materials.
Wizards of the Coast encourages players to keep an open conversation around the term “race” as important as it is challenging. In addition, they emphasize that it is vital that a positive, open and understanding dialogue be encouraged , so constructive comments on this evolution will be appreciated.