Tabletop roleplaying games such as Dungeons & Dragons, at their core, explore identity; race, class, sexuality, gender, etc. But what information and mindset are players using to explore the possibilities for diversity that present themselves? Every person’s views of race, gender, and sexuality differ based on upbringing, location, or even age. From author J.R.R. Tolkien’s influence on high fantasy as a genre via the popularity of his Middle Earth series, to shows where a bunch of nerdy voice actors sit around and play Dungeons and Dragons so hard they make themselves cry, this thesis covers the history of diversity and representation in the so-called D&D “resurgence” caused by shows such as Critical Role or The Adventure Zone. Podcast ethnography allows a deeper analysis of a handful of characters from these shows, as well as the way they make connections to real-life allegories and both challenge and confirm various stereotypical views of identity.
Crit Rolls, Culture Roles: Social Consciousness and Critical Representation in Real-Play Dungeons & Dragons Media