FlameCon Ignites TTRPG Inspiration

My first Dungeons & Dragons character was a 6’3” tall, 300-something-pound black dragonborn cleric named Alina. Her childhood nickname was “Mender” and when our campaign began, she had just come into adulthood and was on a year-long pilgrimage away from her clan to decide if she wanted to commit herself to hermitage or if she wanted to leave behind her people and live amongst others. She made new friends by offering them “calming herb” and despite the fact that she literally spat acid, she was terrible in combat; her strength modifier was -1, which was comical because of how big she was. She swung her quarterstaff like a baseball bat and missed her target almost every time.

I love Alina. I didn’t love how battle-focused our campaign was, or how much of each session was spent crunching numbers to determine who won a fight. I enjoyed the group dynamics of our campaign, but I wanted more from the story, and I didn’t know how to communicate that. I don’t think I even realized that this was what I wanted at the time; I just knew that after each session, though I’d feel a sense of accomplishment for leveling up, only a handful of moments really stuck with me until we played again. When the campaign fizzled out, it was partially because I decided that D&D wasn’t for me.

Since then, I’ve gotten heavily involved in an Apocalypse World campaign, which is (literally and figuratively) a whole different world. My partner runs that game and we play every other week with two of our friends. All of us identify as lesbians and all of us are as invested in the fighting as we are in the kissing. There’s very little math involved in our sessions and as we grow more comfortable with the characters and the story, it’s becoming a Real Adventure.

My partner keeps insisting that I should give D&D another shot; they’ve even asked if I would consider being a Dungeon Master, though I’ve always balked at the suggestion because it seems like so much pressure.

Then we went to Flame Con, and everything changed.

Among the many incredible panels at Flame Con 2018 was “Dungeons & Dragons & Queers & Comics,” moderated by Kate Sheridan. Vita Ayala, Noelle Stevenson, Molly Ostertag, Emily Cheeseman, Barbara Perez Marquez, and Little Corvus participated on the panel and the room was packed; I sat between my partner and a friend I’ve known online for years but only met in person for the first time at the con. The energy in the room was, in a word, palpable. It was exciting to hear some of our favorite creators talking about their OCs and why they love tabletop roleplay games, especially D&D.

Somewhere between Stevenson discussing her first character, a “chaotic evil disaster baby” tiefling warlock, and declaring her love for Misty Step, something clicked into place in my head. When Ayala told Stevenson that her character sounded “stressful,” when Marquez told the audience that after just a few months of campaigning, she realized she wanted to “be in charge,” when Cheeseman talked about how the latest installation of D&D 5E, allows for more character- and story-based games than just numbers- or combat-based ones, I heard a whirring in my head that slowly grew louder.

When the panel ended, I turned to my partner and said, “I want to play D&D like that.”

Their whole face lit up; for over a year, they’ve been playing D&D, building OCs, and working with me to develop an Apocalypse World character that isn’t one-dimensional. I’m a journalist, not a fiction writer; building characters isn’t my strong suit and it never has been.

I am, however, very into the concept of world-building. I love exploring scenery, including cultural norms and ideologies as they are represented in a story. I’m fascinated by high fantasy that’s well-structured and takes into account the vastness of the world where it takes place. Series like The Lord of the Rings, A Song of Ice and Fire, Temeraire, and the Tamora Pierce books spark my interest because they are so completely immersive. Although I have my fair share of issues with Harry Potter, I grew up with the books and I gobble up every bit of fanfiction that I can when I’m in a mood to sit in that world. I enjoy world-building because it allows me to set the scene. If I don’t understand the nuances of a setting, I don’t feel comfortable reporting on what happens within it.

That panel at Flame Con made me realize that Dungeons & Dragons absolutely has the capacity and the history to be the kind of chewy, immersive storytelling that I crave. My first-ever campaign was incredibly crunchy, too battle-focused and very mathy, but that doesn’t mean that my next campaign has to be that way. If I’m running the show, I make the rules. When Marquez said it took her just a few months of playing DND to realize she wanted to DM, that whirring in my head went haywire. As a dungeon master, the rules would be mostly up to me. As noted by several of the panelists, the hard-and-fast guidelines for telling stories through tabletop roleplay games are just that: guidelines. The fun is in playing, which includes keeping on your toes so the game doesn’t lose interest for your players.

When I sat in that panel room and felt the passion exuding from the panelists and from the audience, I remembered why D&D piqued my interest in the first place. And although we went to another panel right after, then trekked through the city for food before heading back to our AirBNB, that feeling didn’t leave me.

I thought about D&D all night, to the point that I had a dream about Alina running through an ancient forest with her friends. It felt like I’d been hit over the head in the best way possible; I couldn’t believe how deep the itch went. The next night, while we were still on vacation, I created a Pinterest board and a title for the campaign. I started thinking about NPCs. And immediately upon coming home, my partner made me a DM binder. I bought supplies to organize it and reserved a copy of the player’s manual from the library (because I’m so bad at working with PDFs).

Apparently, when Ayala was a kid, they found a TTRPG manual that they read cover-to-cover, thinking it was just a regular book. It taught them a lot about world-building, something that they’ve since used in campaigns as well as in their professional work. As someone who used to read science-for-kids books cover-to-cover, while taking notes, this approach appealed to me, even if Ayala presented it as a funny anecdote. I enjoy reading and researching; sliding into a DM role offers me the ability to do that across a broad spectrum of characters, as created by the players in my campaign, as well as the world that I’m building for them to play in.

Going into a brand-new campaign as a first-time DM is simultaneously thrilling and terrifying. I keep remembering things the panelists said at Flame Con (Ostertag discovered she could make friends through offering to DM campaigns; Stevenson is playing a new character who’s “trying to be good” in her latest campaign; each of the panelists explored identity through D&D) and welling up with the feeling of warmth and acceptance and safety that I had for the entire weekend, surrounded by other LGBTQ fans and creators. Every time, I get another inkling of an idea for the campaign and every time, I think about how my partner’s face lit up when I said I wanted to run the game.

I didn’t expect to walk away from Flame Con feeling like my whole world had been flipped upside down, but I did. And I’m ready for the change.


Samantha Puc is the co-creator and editor-in-chief of Fatventure Mag, as well as a freelance essayist and culture critic whose work has been featured on Bustle, The Mary Sue, Rogues Portal, and elsewhere. Samantha lives in Rhode Island with her spouse and cats. She likes Shakespeare, space babes, bikes, and dismantling the patriarchy. For more, follow her on Twitter.

How Gay Can We Make It?

We are in a golden era for radically queer RPG content. Quivering on the edge of a straight, cis, male dominated dark age we’ve seemingly shot toward orgiastic rainbow dice rolling. There are cute, pastel d20 stickers being sold at major cons. There are Kickstarters for D20 Pride pins 17 times funded with 20 days to go. Artists are creating pins and stickers that both announce our sexuality and are clever plays on classic Dungeons & Dragons terminology. These keep selling out!

How did the only D20 rule system your mom’s heard of get so… gay? I suspect the truth is that it’s always been gay. It just depended on which basement you played in.

D&D created personal, life changing experiences. The culture it encourages is more about the people playing it than whatever edition we’re currently in. In fact, it’s helped many discover more about their identities and key aspects of themselves for a long time, now. We just haven’t gotten the chance to hear all of those stories.

Jeremy Crawford brought the LGBTQIA gaming community to the forefront for the 5th edition release when he mentioned that there would be more queer content. As a gay man, he was uniquely positioned to both change the published D&D content to more inclusive canon narrative, and announced that ‘people like him’ (people a lot more like us than the past images of D&D players portrayed) had made it in the gaming world.

I don’t know what the outcry of that announcement was. In the past I would have been arguing in forums and fighting on Facebook and whatever else. But there’s a large enough community that I’ve been able to encase myself inside of Queer TTRPG and never have a reason to leave. That wasn’t true for me just a few years prior.

The new canon content has not been perfect. As part of the this edition, Wizards of the Coast brought back some vintage adventures for updates. One of these was Tomb of Horrors.” The rebooted module, for reasons that remain unclear, kept a component of the original adventure where characters ‘switch’ genders upon entering a specific room. The language in the adventure as its written specifically refers to flipping the player characters’ gender on a binary. So, male to female, female to male. The problems with this were already covered by Christine Prevas in the above linked essay.

If that wasn’t confusing enough, the reasons for keeping that gameplay element are even more mysterious. In Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, which the original adventure was written for, female characters were capped on their strength score. They could never get as strong as a male character could. From a mechanics standpoint, a room that “switches” your PC’s gender had the possibility for very real stat consequences. This has not been the case with Dungeons & Dragons since 3rd edition. Your chosen gender has no bearing on the game beyond roleplaying, so putting it in with seemingly little narrative thought was a bizarre and possibly lazy choice.

Dungeons & Dragons remains the most popular tabletop roleplaying system of all time. Its popularity has fueled interest in the medium like never before. There have almost always been other Table Top RolePlaying games, but with the advent of crowdfunding and media of all sorts in the mainstream introducing unquestionably queer characters, the market has exploded. Each new funded project is proof that there’s room for all of our systems. People want to play more, and they want ways to play differently.

Creators have imagined systems that explore new frontiers of fandom, created settings that stretch our imaginations beyond the high fantasy/hard sci fi binary, and crafted systems that groups can mold to their own narratives.

That being said, Dungeons & Dragons may not be the queer TTRPG we’re looking for. We can queer it up, and we should continue to do so, but progress has been achingly slow. While seemingly shooting forward, getting two genders of players acknowledged in the core rulebooks took over 26 years. How much longer will we have to wait for more than two genders? When will we see explicitly queer content in modules from queer creators released with the distribution of the D&D mainstream?

Queer Content: It’s What We Make

Since its release in 2014, Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition has received widespread attention from both experienced gamers and new players alike. This edition takes the jumble of rules and complex arithmetic that exists in previous editions and distills them into much simpler, streamlined mechanics. Given Wizard of the Coast’s new marketing model (which involved sending free player materials to game stores), as well as the creation of the Adventurers’ League, plus the growing trend in hobby gaming, D&D is being played by more players than ever before.

However, as the uncle to a certain skinny web-walker once said: “With great power comes great responsibility.” The gaming community has expanded rapidly and encompasses a wider variety of people than ever before, including the LGBTQ+ community.

Wizards has attempted to respond to the community a few times. But the attempts have ranged anywhere between unnoticed to insulting. JosephineMaria delves into this issue in her article: This is not the Gay Future I Imagined.

I played D&D 3rd edition in college, but put it down for many years since then. One day, a good friend told me that he had started playing again in a new edition. I asked if I could come and watch, and he brought me to his group. They were a super nice bunch of people, and after stalking them for three sessions, I purchased my own Player’s Handbook, made a character, and was allowed to join. We were playing the second hardcover book: Princes of the Apocalypse. I played a male paladin who was sworn against demons, but had never actually met one (and didn’t even know what they looked like). It was fun.

After we finished that book, the new Adventurers’ League season was about to begin and the group was going to run the new hardcover book: Out of the Abyss. By this point I had grown to know the group pretty well and we were all friends. I found out that they were very adamant about LGBTQ+ acceptance, and so I conceived to play a new character.

Moloch the wizard was born, but at level four, it was revealed that he was under the effects of a curse. Once the curse was lifted, he literally transformed into the female sorceress, Valerie. Val may have been a female on paper, but she spent so many years as Moloch that he never entirely left her, and she struggled with her identity as well as the demon lords in the Underdark. It seemed like many of the group had been on the same wavelength: another player character had no gender identity whatsoever and soon became Val’s best friend. Another character was trans, only revealing this fact during an intimate conversation after the characters had built much trust between them. It was with the help of these friends that Val was eventually better able to come to terms with both her male and female inclinations.

Even more important, my very good friend confessed to me, while we were hanging out one night, that they had been struggling with their gender. They had been too frightened to approach me with the information until I made Valerie, and told me that their own character, Farrera, was who they felt like inside. D&D gave my friend the outlet she needed to explore her own feelings, and I’m very happy to have helped her.

Queer content is important to a large number of people. It allows us an outlet where we can explore our own fantasies in an air of acceptance. However, it can be, and has been done, incorrectly. Meeting the female partner of a female innkeeper? Yes please. Forcing a party to “swap sexes” as some sort of cross-dressing parody challenge? No.

So, I propose to you: If we want more Queer Content…make it. Make queer characters. Write queer adventures. Share your experience online, in text, audio and video. Players, don’t be afraid to experiment with non-traditional characters. GMs, you are the single, most important person at the table: please be receptive and supportive of the stories your players want to tell.

Maybe, someday, “queer content” will just be “content.” Until then, let’s show them how it’s done.


Artemis V. is a writer, designer, and avid tabletop gamer. Also check out their blog, Gender Games.

What I Learned Playing Pacifist D&D

The city of Betz is known for the beauty of its people, the quality of goods for sale in its many bazaars, and The Temple- a complex of gambling tables and gaming dens. Elsewhere in the world, there is war. Betz is an international safe zone, free from the tethers of allegiances.

This does not mean it is without violence. Between crime factions, the loosely webbed network of thieves, and the easily bribed city guards, there are plenty of fights to get into.

The world of Dungeons & Dragons is often a brutal one. Many games involve massive amounts of violence meted out indiscriminately and in creative ways against nondescript monsters. What would a player do without their trusty sword or stable of spells to protect them? A few weeks ago, I found out during a 5th Edition D&D adventure with pacifism as one of the rules.

For this adventure, I did not think removing the threat of violence would serve our purpose. I wanted to see how players solved typical D&D problems nonviolently, not pick daisies for several hours. The city I created, is as violent as one can expect from a seaside city of sin with a multi tiered power struggle in the city government and underworld.

The first thing I realized when creating a Pacifist adventure was that players must have a well developed background, morals, and ethical reasoning. I left this largely up to them, and a good chunk of the beginning of our session was spent fleshing out the level 5 characters before dropping them into the scenario.

Developing the Characters

Engaging your party in a setting that appears low-action can be difficult. This requires utilizing unexpected skills, and encouraging players to solve problems in creative ways. I also kept interactions with characters’ backstories more than incidental.

Our adventure began in an empty jail cell. The window was too tiny to let anyone out. However, the party soon discovered the door was unlocked!

The point of this was to get players thinking about their characters and their relationship to non violence. They will never be immersed if they are not faced with hard decisions. In this case, players knew they had been arrested. Are they law-abiding? Was it unfair? Would they wait out their sentence, or try to escape?

In this session, some of the players immediately attracted the interest of the guards by exiting the room and making a lot of noise. Another quandary: do they fight or return to their cell? This situation called for some pretty immediate morality decisions that could define the character for the rest of the game.

Keep the action rolling

In prep, I had built up a pretty intense political drama. However, my characters (some of them with very low intelligence and wisdom scores) did not ask too many questions. They wanted to do things and make rolls. At one point, one of the players began chanting “Please let’s roll initiative” under their breath.

Which is something to keep in mind: even without axes smashing through heads, your players crave action. In this case, it was goofy action like rolling a monster up in a rug, but the adventure could easily have turned into a macabre exploration of the underbelly of a gambling town by a few principled thugs.

Some players love hearing your narrative description of the ins and outs of a city’s history, but others just want to kick down some doors! This means focus on rolling when characters have to talk their way out of a situation, or figure out a problem, even when outside of Initiative.

Challenges

5th Edition’s simplified skills turned out to be a hindrance to the play style of my group. The groupings are very broad, which makes non violent skill use difficult to specialize within a roll. You have to be creative in how skills are presented, getting specific about what is covered by each skill set.

Ask your players to describe how they are using a roll. For instance, “investigate” in the Dark Bazaar becomes “questioning shopkeepers while pretending to look for a love potion,” while another character “rifles through unattended wares for clues.”

Being specific about the physicality of their actions is important, too. “Searching” a room should mean rifling through the objects on a table, or feeling the wall for hidden doors, but not both. Doing both will take time and must be done each in its turn. This ensures the action keeps rolling and remains engaging.

Graph it Out

I am a confident storyteller, but collaborating at the table can be another game entirely. The biggest thing I learned was to have lots of objects and detailed Non Player Characters available for players to interact with. This means a lot of prep on behalf of the GM, or a lot of tables at hand to quickly come up with random set pieces. The most rewarding thing about this adventure was having a player pick up on a random detail I had placed and run with it in an unexpected way.


Josephine Maria is the founder of PanopLit and has been playing tabletop RPGs for 22 years.

This is not the Gay Future I Imagined

Several months ago, I posted about imagining gay futures through science fiction. That vision also includes more gay content in all settings, not excluding roleplaying games. While we may be having more LGBTQ+ media representation these days, much of it paints us in the same tired light as an American 1940s cautionary tale.

I touched on Star Trek: Discovery in the previous post, which features a male/male couple (with on screen kissing!!!). [Spoiler alert] One half of the couple dies. After the traumatic murder at the hands of a Manchurian candidate of the most bizarre variety (who we’re then supposed to forgive completely), the Emperor is introduced when the Discovery is thrown into an alternate universe.

The return of Michelle Yeoh was triumphant, especially when her character is triumphantly revealed to be bisexual when she decides to have a mixed gender threesome in the middle of a Starfleet mission. However, this triumvairing (I tried?!) ends when the Emperor pulls a weapon on the two she just made love to and coerces information out of them. The extreme use of force, and implied brutality of the character it cruelly offset by the revelation of their bisexuality.

Instead of fleshing out a more complex personality (which we were granted flashes of during her development with main character Burnham, played by Sonequa Martin-Green), the Emperor seems without real motive and instead follows their gut down a disastrous path. Every possible shortcut is taken to show them as bad, including painting their bisexual tendencies in an amoral light when they jeopardize the mission to follow their own fancies.

Depicting bisexuality as an accessory to a lack of morality is not exclusive to science fiction. Games published Wizards of the Coast made waves when they rereleased the notorious adventure, “Curse of Strahd”, including LGBTQ+ subtext. Many reporting outlets picked up the story that the adventures for Dungeons & Dragons‘ 5th edition would be more gay, more diverse, more queer. But that’s proven, and continues to be, problematic.

Taylor of Riverhouse games threw a quote from Curse up on twitter and commented on the depictions of bisexuals in media:

Don’t get me wrong. Complex LGBTQ+ villains of all identities are really important. I want to see them. Other genres are already giving us these. For instance, the terribly sexist show Versaillefeatures one of the most well depicted homosexual relationships and complex bad guys I have perhaps ever seen on television in Philippe and the Chevalier (also named Philippe).

Varied depictions are also not completely absent from Fantasy. The wildly successful A Song of Ice and Fire adaptation, Game of Thrones, wisely decided not to remove the complicated love affair of Lord (KING) Renly and Loras Tyrell. I think we’ve come far enough to where we should not longer have to grasp at straws. I think Wizards of the Coast and other games publishers can make our future roleplaying a hell of a lot more postively queer.

“The Quest to be myself in a Magical World”

I first rolled the dice at age 15. My friends and I were teens with big dreams, so we each rolled characters who were idealized versions of ourselves. My friend Brent, who wanted all to view him as a gentle giant, rolled the half-orc Grobath, a barbarian with a gruff exterior but a heart of gold. Josh, the charismatic smart aleck, became the charming rogue Jack Wylder. Ben, who prided himself on his vast stores of knowledge, rolled the elf wizard Leewon. I—filled with fury, and always feeling like an outsider—created the half-elf sorceress Ceridwen.

As I neared thirty, finally coming to terms with my gender and sexuality, a powerful wave of nostalgia engulfed me. I wanted to make up for the dice-slinging adolescence I’d lost while living as a confused, angry girl. However, I now faced the dilemma of rolling a character who felt like me—a gay trans man—in a medieval-style world of hijinks, mishaps, and magical transformations.

Playing a transsexual character in the world of Dungeons and Dragons is quite like wearing a sign that reads, “Use me as a Plot Device!” You risk being discovered and exposed for what you “really” are. There’s also a good chance you’ll become the butt of hackneyed jokes. Worst of all, you risk losing whatever magical or physical changes you’ve accomplished to make your body more comfortable. Do you take a potion every morning to keep your manly physique? Well, now your supply has been stolen, and your party must catch the thief; all the while, you’re jogging around in the womanly curves you thought you’d finally escaped.

However, the thought of playing a male character who has never shared my struggles with gender did not appeal to me, either. A gay man who is not transgender might approach the world in a fundamentally different way than I do. Absent might be that maelstrom of confusion that kept me so long from realizing not only that I am a man but one that likes other men as well. I knew that, in order to solve this issue, I would have to travel back to my past as that furious young girl to discover how I could be myself in the world of D&D.

Ceridwen did fulfill some emotional needs for me, after all. I was an angry kid, and she had explosive fire spells in her arsenal and cast fireball every chance she got. As a Charisma-based caster, she had the ability to make others bend to her will, something I’d always felt inadequate in as a nerdy young pipsqueak. She was a half-elf, too—an eternal outsider in both human and elf societies. It bothered me deeply, however, that Ceridwen was apparently heart-stoppingly gorgeous. That’s typically what happens when you have an astronomical Charisma score. I didn’t know what to call it at the time, but I’d always experienced the most powerful dysphoria in relation to prettiness. It’s hard enough dealing with beauty as a young girl, and I can guarantee it’s no easier when you throw gender dysphoria into the mix.

As I tried to envision Ceridwen as a half-elf male, I realized playing such a character would present precisely that confusing, complicated relationship to masculinity I know so well. Now, I have no patience for thinly-veiled allegories; in other words, I would never posit that half-elves are the transgender people of this world—just writing that makes me want to fireball something. Nevertheless, certain details about how this half-elf would relate to human masculinity feel quite similar to how I relate. Corvus, as I’ve decided to call him, is slightly smaller than your average human guy. He’s somewhat delicate-looking, and his beard took far too long to grow in properly. In the elf village where he grew up, Corvus was too loud, too awkward, too hairy and smelly, but in the face of burly human men, he can’t help but wonder, “How could I ever be considered one of them?”

Thankfully Corvus, like myself and Ceridwen before him, wears his outsider status as a badge of honor. Traditional society is simply too small to contain him. He is charismatic in a witty sense, can talk his way out of anything, and is handsome in his own way.  The elves and humans of that world may treat him with disdain, but that only fuels Corvus’ desire to become more skilled and powerful than ever before. He is, unapologetically, himself—and thus he allows me to be myself as well.


Jonathan Smith is a Cajun Ravenclaw living in Texas who loves craft beer, shrimp tacos, and reading nonfiction.

5 Fantasy Races for your Next Queer Gendered Character

How important is gender to you while roleplaying? For me, it doesn’t matter if a game’s universe is populated with dragons or Victorian socialites, the question of what’s between the legs of a bugbear chieftain, or how much facial hair a given debutante is sporting, are not the most interesting topics of conversation. That’s why it’s up to agender, non-binary, and gender-disinterested players to take the game into their own hands, creating roleplay opportunities that are more relevant and interesting.

While most of the examples below are drawn from a fantasy-style background, they’re really designed for imaginatively-minded homebrewers and Game Masters who play their in-game fiction loosely. Don’t feel shy about adding them to your next intergalactic space exploration or murder mystery.

Genasi

Playing a genasi character gives you the opportunity to think outside of the gender binary and embrace the elemental quaternary. This half-genie race comes in four flavors, and whether you prefer to sport skin of rough-hewn onyx, an ability to summon fire, water-breathing, or levitation magic, chances are the rest of your party won’t have time to notice whether or not you like to wear skirts.

There’s a lot more cool things to learn about gensai in the Elemental Evil Players’ Companion.

Lizardfolk

Early in 2018 I started playing as Halloo, the third-level Lizardfolk druid. Biologists tell us that the sex of some reptile species is determined by the temperature of their egg during incubation. In Halloo’s case, her egg was situated right in middle of the clutch—not too warm or too cold. And while she uses she/her pronouns as a matter of habit, she’s usually more interested in talking about (or with) the local fauna.

Get started with on your own Lizardfolk with Volo’s Guide to Monsters.

Eladrin

All of us have good days, bad days, and days where we don’t get out from under the covers. For Eladrin, this is a way of life. However, the weather changes with their mood, rather than vice versa. It’s like Seasonal Affective Disorder, but more, and chock-full of roleplay potential for those who feel more defined by their mental state, than their gender.

Always seeking transition and change, Eladrin are most at home in places where the borders between the material plane and Feywild are at their thinnest. Really,  the only thing that puts them off-balance is stagnancy.

Check out the Unearthed Arcana source material for more.

Nilbog

Think of these happy little friends as reverse-goblins, who love nothing more than getting thwacked by a sword or spell, and run in terror from healing magic.

Nilbogs also offer practically endless role-play fodder, letting you swap-out whatever gendered in-universe social norms you want, and replace them with their bizarro-world equivalent. Maybe your Nilbog comes from a society filled with distressed male damsels and hilariously relatable romantic comedies? Maybe Nilbogs really have nine different genders—because that’s the opposite of two, right?

There aren’t any official rules for creating a Nilbog character, but you can see some starter stats for goblins on page 119 of Volo’s Guide to Monsters.

Gnome

This is just a personal theory, but I really believe Gnomes are intended as an in-fiction manifestation of everything good about tabletop games (and democratic social-groups in general). Curious and friendly, they’re always eager to embrace the unfamiliar and celebrate life in all its forms. They seek to improve the world around them with science, and have a surprisingly killer Montessori-like educational system, especially given the fact that they often live in hollowed-out trees.

While there isn’t a ton of official source material on gender-queer gnomes, we can take courage in the fact that their main deity, Garl Glittergold, seems like a pretty open-minded guy.


Brad Fiore: TTRPG writer, fictionalist, and Iron Chef Wisconsin 1993-97. Found on Twitter at @brad_fiore