Hey guys, something serious:

I'm working on a Blades hack about being magical students. It's called Academy.

It's important to me that this game handles a diverse cast well, in-game and out-of-game. This has gone through several revisions right now, and I need other eyes and perspectives in order to examine my own biases and correct insensitive language and mistakes before Alpha release. I want this to be the best it can.

@Matt_GameDev It looks pretty good to me, but I'm not experienced at sensitivity reading. Boosted it to hopefully get some more eyes.

@Matt_GameDev I think this is a good start, but one issue I see with the way you've phrased this is telling people to get others to perform the emotional labor of validating their character concepts. I think a better step would be maybe providing resources for the GM from other folks that have written before about roleplaying outside your own experience.

@Matt_GameDev Additionally, saying that all schools and places have all kinds of people is not necessarily true--where the school or circle is located should be reflected in the people within it, ideally. An academy in London would look very different compared to an academy or Circle in South LA. Just some points to consider!

@quantumdot Awesome, Mikey, thanks. I definitely know there are folks floating around here who have written those articles and given that advice--I'll do some work to compile and reference that, and point people in that direction. I really appreciate your input!

@Matt_GameDev Yeah in particular I'd recommend the work of Tanya DePass--she's written a couple articles, including one very recently. Can't remember exactly where they are but I'm sure they'll be easy to find on Google

I'm another straight white dude, so take this for what it's worth.

There seems to be this assumption in your writing that the reader is a cishet white guy. That's one thing I've seen minority people trying to combat, the idea that straight white is the default and everything else is an exception.

Maybe instead of "there's nothing wrong with playing X, but it'd be weird if everyone was," try something like "it's fantasy, be anyone you want! Here are some tips for playing Other."

I totally get the desire to expand the view of cishet white male players, but if you do it in the rule book, it might come off as a bit exclusionary because you're only talking to the cishet white male players. It's possible that conversation should happen in a different venue...?

I don't really know. Just some random thoughts before I've had my coffee.

@whipstache That's a great point, and one that's very obvious in hindsight.

From my interactions with this community, it sounds like cishet white guys need this advice the most, but I definitely don't want to be exclusionary. I'll think about how I can incorporate this better--I like putting it in the book, because everything that's not in there is seen as optional.

I'm definitely going to retool this in a significant way due to all your feedback. You guys rock!

@Matt_GameDev my suggestion: hire diversity consultants/sensitivity readers. You get better results paying people for work. (I do this and know a number of people who do aside from me, so it's not rare to find.) :)

@briecs I'll consider it, but right now I'm a college student with 0 budget. Thanks for the suggestion, though!

@Matt_GameDev It's worth the investment and doesn't take advantage of the work of already marginalized people, so I support it pretty adamantly. Good luck!

@Matt_GameDev I know there are some folks in the industry who will gladly be hired to review your game for disability & other sensitivity reviews.

@yarngeek Oh man! I'm not at the point yet where I'd hire someone for that right now, but I'd love to be pointed in that direction for future reference.

@Matt_GameDev Oh ok, did I misunderstand your post? I thought sensitivity review was what you were looking for, based on that, but maybe I read it wrong?

@yarngeek Yes, that's what I want, eventually. Right now I just wanted to run this by the community, and once I get some playtesting set up and this starts making the transition from "fun idea" to "something ready for publishing" I'll put some money down for professional review. I didn't even know that was a thing until now--that's one of the reasons I made this post, to learn what I could do better.

@Matt_GameDev But in any case, when you're good to go for an honorarium or to hire reviewers, HMU here or on same username on Twitter & I'll ask the network who has bandwidth.

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