In reply to: http://theadventurezone.tumblr.com/post/161367685782
I don’t take that shortcoming lightly, and I don’t expect anyone else to, either. There are so many things I would change if I could start over — some narrative loopholes, some shitty and thoughtless tropes — but this would be the largest one. If we had known what this show would become, we would have been more thoughtful about representation when we first made these characters. Instead, we didn’t consider what they would look like beyond what it said on these pre-rolled character sheets. We didn’t consider race beyond deciding whether Halflings, Elves, Tieflings or Dwarves possessed the best passive abilities.
Doing this show has educated all of us about representation, and clearly, we’re still not great at it. But starting out, it wasn’t even an afterthought — it just wasn’t a thought, because we didn’t know it was a thing to think about. Now we know, and the difficulties involved with reconciling where we started with what we now know are, simply put, monumental.
I listen to a whole heap of podcasts that focus on a smorgasbord of topics. The Adventure Zone is fascinating to me for a number of reasons, but namely because it always seems to sneak up on me. Every episode is about an hour of goofs and redonk antics couched in a round of DnD…but at the same time the show is telling an amazingly well constructed story. A story, which if the hosts are to be believed (which I totes do) is more or less unscripted. And more than this, the hosts are really embedded in their fandom. They’re aware that folks are living this story as they play through it, and that folks care about it. That bits of it have meaning outside of the goofs.
I cringed listening to the first episode when they named one of the characters Taako, but since then, listening to them wrestle with and face issues of representation in a really candid and public manner has been awesome.