A D&D Beyond post from December 1 has announced the term ‘race’ is being removed from the tabletop RPG going forward. ‘Species’ will be the go-to descriptor for the different inhabitants of the Multiverse from now on, Wizards of the Coast explains. This has already been implemented in the latest One D&D playtest, which also released on D&D Beyond on Thursday.
“Dungeons and Dragons has a history of evolving to meet the needs of our players and foster an inviting space for everyone”, says Wizards of the Coast in its official blog post. “With that in mind, 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.”
“Since the release of the fifth edition of D&D in 2014, we have made the conscious decision to reduce usage of the term ‘race’ to only apply to the game mechanic”, Wizards adds. “We took this a step further with the release of Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything in 2020 when we presented an alternative to character creation that untangled ability score improvements from your choice of playable people.” “We have also evolved the lore of the peoples throughout the D&D multiverse to be more diligent in extracting past prejudices, stereotypes, and unconscious biases.”
Wizards says One D&D (or DnD 6e, kind of) is the perfect time to make this change, explaining it “gives us an opportunity to go deeper into every component of Dungeons and Dragons”. “The immense interest and level of feedback across the first few playtest material releases shows us the value in having an open dialogue with our community about everything related to the game.”
According to the D&D Beyond blog post, the term species was chosen “in close coordination with multiple outside cultural consultants”. This comes after Wizards announced that “every word” in future DnD books would be reviewed by cultural consultants following the controversial depiction of the Spelljammer Hadozee.
Wizards says players will be able to give feedback on the new term along with the rest of the new playtest material. “Having an open conversation around the term ‘race’ is both important and challenging”, it says. “That is why it’s vital we foster a positive, open, and understanding dialogue with one another.”
However, Wizards has also made clear it will stand by the term change for DnD races. “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.”