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WotC strips out controversial DnD race lore from Spelljammer

D&D publisher Wizards of the Coast has removed a passage from the Spelljammer Adventurer’s Guide that caused considerable controversy among fans

5 September 2022 Wizards of the Coast released a statement on the Hadozee content removal on September 2 – read it here.

D&D publisher Wizards of the Coast has cut a controversial description of one of the new races from the digital versions of its Spelljammer books. The hadozee are a race of bipedal monkey-folk with a love of exploration, who have evolved wing flaps that let them glide like flying squirrels. But many fans took issue with the published backstory of this race, drawing parallels to the history of slavery and making links to racist stereotypes. Now the controversial passages have been excised from the Astral Adventurer’s Guide on D&D Beyond.

These changes remove the ‘origin story’ of the hadozee, a couple of paragraphs that describe how, centuries ago, a wizard “captured dozens of hadozees” and turned them into sentient beings using magic, with plans to “create an army of enhanced hadozee warriors for sale to the highest bidder”.

DnD spelljammer race controversy hadozee bard

The suggestion of slavery in the lore, and the fact that the hadozee are derived from monkeys was obviously an unfortunate combo, and over the past few days many fans have taken to social media to point out that the hadozee could easily be interpreted as racist caricatures.

On Twitter, voice actor and cosplayer @tallnerdapollo said the lore included “blatant antiblackness” and the “white saviour trope”, while professional GM @okkatiemae pointed out parallels between artwork of the hadozees, and racist ‘minstrel’ depictions from the 19th century.

It seems that on Thursday, September 1, the offending passages were quietly removed from the digital versions of the Spelljammer Astral Adventurer’s Guide. At the same time, the hadozee’s glide ability was nerfed.

Previously it read: “You can move up to 5 feet horizontally for every 1 foot you descend in the air, at no movement cost to you.” It now says you can “glide horizontally a number of feet equal to your walking speed”.

While Wizards of the Coast has used cultural and sensitivity consultants in previous titles, such as Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos, none are credited on any of the three Spelljammer books.

We approached Wizards of the Coast for comment, but at time of publication had received no response. Wizards released a statement later on September 2.

Check out our Spelljammer 5e review and Spelljammer setting guide for more details.