We already talked about Elrond’s coronation hairdo back here, so let’s not rehash a tired theme. Instead, I’d like to tackle a different version of the “race in RPGs” question.

To kick us off, here’s some Donald Glover for you. Go give it a listen. I’ll wait.

Back? Awesome sauce. Now listen, diversity is a big damn deal, and an important one in the RPG industry right now. Historically, gaming is fantasy. And historically, fantasy is dominated by white male figures. How many black guys were in Lord of the Rings? How much melanin did Conan have?

In recent years, improvements in technology have made fantasy movies infinitely better looking, and the visual medium has helped to democratize the genre. Finally, fantasy enthusiasts can point at a movie poster and say, “See? That’s why I like this stuff.” And other groups — women, minorities, gays (remember how pissed off people were when Dragon Age was too gay or not gay enough?) — could join in the fun. People like to see themselves in their fiction, and the prevalence of film and television fantasy has increased that drive. So what is an RPG enthusiast to do?

Paizo are the poster boys here, and for good reason. They are making a conscious effort to include space for everyone in their tent, and their list of iconics is leading the way. The cast of characters features an elderly female spiritualist, a transsexual dwarven shaman, a black female paladin, and enough halforc characters to bring in the Orcish American demographic. That’s good business, and it’s good for the hobby. More people playing these games means a larger demand for new product. That means more cool stuff gets produced, more interesting worlds get developed, and fantasy in general takes another step into the mainstream.