Research project on FRPG's- please help.

I am in the process of researching for a class project on the effect that real world stereotypes have on the creation of characters in FRPG's. So far I have learned that a good number of FRPG's were based on Tolkien's writings. Even though there are elements of Tolkien's writing that can be construed as racist, I have been told that they rarely filter into RPG's. Do you agree or disagree with this? If you are a game developer, where do you get your inspiration?

I am also including in my project what motivates gamers when they create their characters. In order to better research this I wrote up a survey for local gamers. The result were that people created their characters for fun or they chose a race that experienced discrimination because they had never experienced racism before.

So here is my survey:
What race/ class do you play?


Thanks in advance for any help.

Races are usually Humans, or Goblinoids depending on the setting.
Classes are usually scientists/inventors/engineers or brawlers.

I play them because they are fun, human are easy to relate to and no explaining needs to be done for new players, and goblinoids make for good fun in both their mannerisms and general behavior in many cases.

I don't think I've ever noticed racism in rping that wasn't put there to BE just that. But I could easily see campaigns even based around such subjects.

Good points. Thank you. I have found out similar things. It seems that people either play for fun or to learn about themselves. For example, the White guy who likes to play half-orc barbarians because that's the closest that he'll ever get to experiencing racism/prejudice. There's a lady in one of my classes that played a character who was half African & half Drow because she wanted to play a character that got a strong response from NPC's. Then there was the guy who put down ranger as the reason he liked to play his race/class.

Good to hear from you Bonanza!

I'd suggest that one way to look at race in RPGs is by looking at instances where non-Caucasions are NOT represented, rather than looking for explicitly racist character constructs. Look at the artwork in the most popular RPGs and sourcebooks, for example ... what's the ratio between white characters and characters of other ethnicities in those illustrations? Something like 95%:5% or less I'd bet. Roleplaying's target audience is overwhelmingly white males between the ages of 18 to 35 ... various surveys made public by Wizards of the Coast support this evaluation, as does experiential evidence at any game convention. And most of the characters those players create will be "white" because it's what they know. In many ways, a deep discomfort regarding race is most manifest in its exclusion from RPGs ... in its very invisibility.

This is a great place to start looking for input on race and RPGs. You might try posting to , too ... both have very vocal forums. Good luck on your project!

Cool stuff Nephew. I kjnow as an artist I tend to draw far more white people than anything else as it is what I'm used to. It isn't out of any kind of preference, it is just what first comes to mind when sketching.

Hi there.

Our culture is pretty obviously a euro-centric one ... it's sometimes easy to forget that, and it's hard to try to break out of it even when we realize that we have certain "preferences."

This is some good stuff that I will use in my report. Overall I have learned that when TSR released D&D back in 1974, they had a market in mind-miniature wargamers. The game evolved from players commanding whole armies to units and finally an individual character. In 1st Ed. D&D, you didn't have a lot of choices when it came to choosing your race. However, this has changed. Now there are several races in D&D and a wide variety of other games as well. :smiley: I have come to the conclusion that if an artist only writes about or draws primarily White people that they are using what they know. Some people consider Tolkien's writing to be somewhat racist. But he was just writing what he knew. After all he was a Norse scholar.
As I researched this project more I found out that RPG's are marketed primarily to White guys between the ages of 18-34. When I asked the guy at the comic book store downtown why this was the target demograhic, said RPG's emphasize the kind of thinking that most young males are good at. He also made a point of saying that some of his customers are the stereotypical gamer and some definetly aren't.
When I first started this project, I got kind of obsessed with the idea that they were good and bad stereotypes. My instructor pointed out to me that there are no good stereotypes because they have the tendency to make people one dimesional.