The second question that needs to be considered is “What is the current tabletop gaming landscape like for LGBTQ individuals?” At the present, as when this article was originally published, white heterosexual males dominate the tabletop gaming industry, and LGBTQ-friendly material is still relatively scarce in gaming. Since the time of this article’s original publication, this has changed, but slowly. Just as we see prominent women designing, editing, and creating RPGs, we also see more self-openness among LGBTQ game creators. Both have been around since the beginning, but we are now living in a time when we can name the number of both on more than one or two hands.
Just over the past few years, the change has sped up, but the gaming world still seems to lag behind other forms of entertainment when it comes to change. There have been few gay characters in mainstream novels and movies—though this is increasing—yet they remain rare in fantasy novels and RPG products. There have been some recent game-changers: the recently relased fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons has text encouraging players to play characters of whatever sexual and gender identity they wish, and James Wyatt and colleagues should be commended for including such text. Such text can and will sustain people going through dark times, validate young people who feel out of place, and encourage the participation of a more diverse body of gamers, which is crucial to the continued flourishing of gaming.
For more than a decade now, attitudes toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals have shifted considerably in tabletop games and their associated media. Positions concerning these lifestyles vary widely from complete acceptance to rejection and condemnation. Some insist that these lifestyles are immoral, corruptive, and violate the laws of nature. Others hold that they are natural, have existed since the dawn of humanity, and are a part of everyday life. The position of this article tends toward the latter viewpoint, and it does so with a view to expanding tolerance in the tabletop gaming community.
For the purposes of this article, all individuals who identify as LGBTQ will be discussed under the banner of gaymers. This is not meant to minimize, denigrate, or oversimplify the difference of these individuals; it is more an effort to streamline the discourse. The term gaymer is a common rallying cry in the LGBTQ community. It is not meant to assume that any given person discussed here identifies as gay.
Amid the luminescent tide pools of the shore, adventurers might have their attention snagged by something a bit unexpected as they walk by at night. You can roll randomly for a result below, or use the handy number provided with each entry to figure out your result on a d12. You can also pick the one that works for the area in which your characters currently linger.
Inevitably adventurers will be on a boat. Your party cannot be bound to land forever, and whether traveling by sturdy merchant ship or hastily constructed raft, you’ll need to fill some gaps. Prepared! has two water-logged scenarios ready to emerge from the rising waves and strong currents of your watery settings.
The Big One That Came Back
Setting the Scene: Gibbs Makla is the most successful fisherman in the region. His vessel, the Long Tooth, is famous not for the quantity of fish it hauls in, but for the size of its catch. Gibbs has a knack for landing the big ones, and he can do this due to a secret he uncovered a decade ago: hestumbled across some magical oil and discovered that a few drops applied to the gills of a still breathing animal would triple its size! Unfortunately, as often happens when magic is tampered with, Gibbs’s enchanted fish venture is in danger. The old mariner accidentally sprinkled a few drops onto a common crab, and the party encounters Gibbs aboard his ship wrestling the now calamitously large crab. The fisherman is surly and abrupt but calls out for the adventurers to “help send this clattering mess overboard.” With some successful social skill checks, he might reveal the truth about the giant crab and offer the party what remains of the oil. Using the oil could produce some unpredictable results. Regardless, helping Gibbs fight off the chitinous adversary gains them a free basket of fish (normal size) and a potential ally in the region.
Hirschberg’s tradition of uniformed service runs deep. It is so ingrained that the locals boast that the bedclothes of its first soldier, Praeter Yohanis, are as stiff as his starch-pressed dress reds.
But even the elfmarked castellan of Castle Reln recognizes that a life of strict military discipline is not for everyone. The defense of the realm also depends on those who serve the city’s lawful authorities in civilian garb. Yohanis has been instrumental in establishing three units, his “irregulars” as he likes to call them, eager to apply their martial training outside the regular command structure.
Many adventurers see joining the irregulars as a gateway into Hirschberg society. This is especially true of non-elves and foreigners whose aim is ultimately to gain stewardship of a barony of their own. But natives also volunteer out of a sense of patriotism.