D&D won't be using 'race' anymore thanks to it being "a problematic term"

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(Image credit: Wizards of the Coast)

The term 'race' is being stripped out of Dungeons and Dragons ahead of the game's upcoming rules overhaul known as One D&D.

Announced via a D&D Beyond blog post (opens in new tab), this change will first be seen in playtest material set to launch on December 21. Moreover, 'race' isn't going to be referenced again in the game's future - it's being replaced with 'species', an alternative chosen in "close coordination with multiple outside cultural consultants."

Throughout the history of D&D (including its most recent edition in 2014), the word 'race' has been used to reference playable species like elves and orcs across Dungeons and Dragons books. However, it's been given less emphasis over time - particularly thanks to new character creation rules in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything - because the development team "understand 'race' is a problematic term that has had prejudiced links between real world people and the fantasy peoples of D&D worlds."

Although 'species' might not be the final term used in One D&D (the blog post notes that "we welcome your constructive feedback on this evolution and the many more evolutions to One D&D that make this game exciting, open, and accessible to everyone"), 'race' is being jettisoned no matter what. This is a change already implemented in some of the best tabletop RPGs, with variants such as 'lifeforms' being favored. 

It's a decision that reflects an often-referenced mandate for D&D to be more inclusive. As an example, this new arrives shortly after a controversy where the team had to revise lore containing harmful tropes following backlash to the recent Spelljammer: Adventures in Space.


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Benjamin Abbott
Tabletop & Merch Editor

As the site's Tabletop & Merch Editor, you'll find my grubby paws on everything from board game reviews to Lego buying guides. I have been writing about games in one form or another since 2012 and can normally be found cackling over some evil plan I've cooked up for my group's next Dungeons & Dragons campaign.