Fantasy Game hires cultural consultant to make sure its fictional races aren’t racist


The creator of the next tabletop RPG Frost Haven is rethink the game’s fantastic races.

In a long post about the game Kickstarter page, creator Isaac Childres explains how Filipino-American writer, game designer and cultural consultant James Mendez Hodes came to be involved in cultural consulting work.

“In short, he goes through the whole story of Frost Haven and all the different cultures represented inside, and it makes sure everything is consistent internally and that it does not co-opt any real world terms or ideas that might harm players or any culture in the world. real, ”he said. said.

“It’s not just about pointing out the issues, but also about collaboratively coming up with solutions that broaden and strengthen the narrative.”

Childres explains in detail the reasoning behind this. If a game is a fantasy, does cultural appropriation matter?

He finds that nothing is created in a vacuum. “Everything we do is marked by our own prejudices and influences. And although the intention is to do no harm, our prejudices tend to do harm anyway. “

In particular, Childres chooses not to use the word “race” to describe the different cultural groups in the game.

“Maybe the word ‘race’ has a different meaning in my imagined reality, but the problem is that people in our reality are the ones who play and experience the game, and using the term ‘race’ I don’t. not just reinforcing this way of delineating people, but I also reinforce the idea that these delineations are so extreme, ”he says.

He also avoids using broad personality types for these groups so as not to reinforce racial stereotypes.

“Not only to imply that this reinforces harmful stereotypes in the real world, it is also a bad construction of the world,” he says.

“And like so many other aspects of board game development, the process turned out so much easier once I brought in a professional, I realized I really should have done it from the start. . “

Childres goes on to explain that any change is purely for the narrative benefit of Frost Haven and are by no means a compromise – it’s a win-win.

Hopefully more creators will take similar steps in the future.

Frost Haven is the sequel to the popular Gloomhaven RPG and has now completed its fundraising period on Kickstarter.

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