#RPGaDay2019 11th August: ‘Examine’

August has come around once again which means it’s time for RPGaDay 2019. In a shift from the questions format of previous years this year is characterised by a series of prompts, which I’ll be attempting to answer each day with a short post, with the prompt word highlighted in bold each day.

Day 11: Examine

When it comes to preparing for games or writing adventures I am trying to make a point to proactively examine my biases, though it is an ongoing process. One of the first changes I made was to randomly assign genders (we’re gamers – put those random number generators to use!) after drafting character descriptions and then to go back to see if I have an excessively skewed distribution. For convention characters I’m still working out the best approach. I’ve long included male and female names but am moving towards the PbtA style of having multiple suggestions and a gap for the player to write in their preferred choice. That has taken longer than it should have and I still need to update the Project Cassandra character sheets to present that choice. As I’ve tried to include a piece of character art for each of those I’ll probably include a caption on the artwork that uses a given name and then refer to the character by surname in the background.

I take the same approach when it comes to ethnicities – draft the character before I include a physical description or assign a name. I rely on stock art for most of my work so the process can take a little more time to find the right image but that’s no excuse to fall back to just using white characters. If I ever get to the point where I could run a kickstarter hiring artists would be one of the key reasons that I’d do so and I’d want to ensure that the results were diverse and representative.

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