Siege of Dragonspear Gets Support From Wizards of the Coast in Transgender Flap

The director for Dungeons & Dragons issues statement in support of developer Beamdog.

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A minor character's comments about her gender in the recently released Siege of Dragonspear expansion for beloved RPG Baldur's Gate prompted plenty of negativity from the community bout the game, but Wizards of the Coast has come to the defense of developer Beamdog.

"Dungeons & Dragons stands by the stories our partners tell and we fully support the choices Beamdog has made in developing Siege of Dragonspear." Nathan Stewart, director of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise for Wizards of the Coast, said in a Fecbook post. "Inclusivity is a core value of Wizards of the Coast and we believe that all people, regardless of ethnicity, background, gender identity or sexuality, should be free to play our games without fear of harassment or attacks. In July of 2014 we released the D&D Player’s Handbook for the fifth edition and included the following section as an example of our core values."

Pictured with the post was an image clipped from the 5th Edition of the D&D Players Handbook:

D&D 5th Edition Players Handbook

The endorsement comes a day after Beamdog president Trent Oster defended writer Amber Scott and his team in a post on the game's official forum. “While we appreciate all feedback we receive from our fans, both positive as well as negative, some of the negative feedback has focused not on Siege of Dragonspear but on individual developers at Beamdog – to the point of online threats and harassment," he said. “I just want to make it crystal clear that Beamdog does not condone this behaviour, and moreover that it will not have the desired effect as we stand behind all our developers 100%. We created the game as a group, and moving forward we'll work on the game's issues as a group, which I believe is exactly as it should be.”

However, he did acknowlede that the character Mizhena could have been done a bit differently. “In retrospect, it would have been better served if we had introduced a transgender character with more development," he said. "This is a lesson we will be carrying forward in our development as creators and we will be improving this character in a future update."

In addition to promising bug fixes, he also mentioned that an offhand reference by a character to Gamergate - "it's about ethics in heroic adventuring" - would be cut.  "Looking back on the line, we agree with the feedback from our community, it has nothing to do with his character and we will be removing the line,” he said.

Contributing Editor
From The Chatty
    • reply
      April 8, 2016 8:37 AM

      I mean, ya, I guess it's just a matter of "haters gotta hate", but regardless of your perspective on anything, is it really necessary to make threats? They've been replaying the episodes of Jimmy Kimmel where he's has the candidates on a few weeks back. Last night was Cruz. They did a segment where they showed a very small and very tame example of the amount of negative comments (and I'm sure threats) that the he and the show got for each candidate.

      It's fine to everyone to have an opinion, and even to have a different one from the majority. No problem. But, to make threats because someone doesn't share your view? This just add to my theory that Skynet will be too late and that it's actually Idiocracy that's going to win.

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      April 8, 2016 9:14 AM

      Good. Fuck Gamergate. Not sure why some people have a hard time accepting that transgender people exist, especially in a world that also has elves, dragons, magic but I doubt that the people whining were D&D fans in the first place.

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        April 8, 2016 11:00 AM

        A low blow but acceptable. I have met more weird rednecks playing D&D than anything else, other than maybe MMOs. I swear 87% of people playing WoW at any given moment live in alabama or south carolina.

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          April 8, 2016 11:10 AM

          Hey, I live in Florida, which has its own brand of weird.

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      April 8, 2016 11:12 AM

      so what i've heard about Dragonspear is the Transgender character had some story about them going from a boy to a girl. That's fine, nothing against transgender people, i have a problem with bad writing. But in a magical world, especially Dungeons and Dragon's, it is not a big deal when someone changes sex. It's called magic, and its wild. Why make a character who tells you they weren't originally a woman? It's just bad writing. If they hadn't had that dialogue choice, nobody would have cared, but it was forced into a world where people change who they are all the time. And that is just bad writing.

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        April 8, 2016 11:14 AM

        Why is it bad writing for a character to mention it? It doesn't even come up unless you ask the character why they changed their name.

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          April 8, 2016 11:41 AM

          You're character is supposed to question everything and get answers, i get that. And i haven't played dragonspear so i can't know the circumstances or the dialogue. But i just don't see a reason for it to be a dialogue choice to begin with. They could have put it in her Biography page and i feel like this debate wouldn't even happen.

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            April 8, 2016 11:53 AM

            Do you seriously think it would have passed without incident if it was on the biography page?

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              April 8, 2016 12:08 PM

              That's just wishful thinking I guess. People on both find way to get angry or offended at this point. Last time was a Kickstarter poem for PIllars of Eternity, now this.

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        April 8, 2016 11:17 AM

        That's not really representative. 99% of npcs you meet in baldurs gate are fucking boring non-magic using people because magic, even in the high-magic world of faerun, is still rare. Rando peasants don't use magic, will probably never use magic, and will probably never see anyone use magic.

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          April 8, 2016 11:38 AM

          I could see that partially being true. In Baldur's Gate 2 the circus where you get Aerie used magic often. But then again that could have just been purely for those of noble status. Also stories of wonder get spread like wildfire so who knows.

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        April 8, 2016 1:25 PM

        If your assumption that "it is not a big deal when someone changes sex" is true, then it seems weird that you would get upset that someone talks about it in the game. I mean, if it were common, then people would talk about it all the time. You would bump into dozens of characters that mention it.

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      April 8, 2016 11:24 AM

      It was poorly done and clumsily written. The author pushed her agenda into the game and it added no value. Isn't it far more likely the character embraces their gender fully and doesn't blurt it out at the drop of a hat? If some critical plot point hinged on the character legitimately being male, so that the discovery was shocking that he was biologically female, then it *might* make sense.

      Hell, that might have even been interesting. But no. It was a SJW stunt representative of a fraction of 1 percent of human beings. Then when called out on the sloppy, blatant, moral preening the tried and true "bigot", "angry white male", "teenager" tripe gets cast about.

      Write a story worthy of exploring trans issues and be up front about it.

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        April 8, 2016 11:25 AM

        Does having a fat npc add no value?

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        April 8, 2016 11:28 AM

        Question: are you an angry white male? You seem like an angry white male.

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          April 9, 2016 12:28 PM

          1. White? Check, but with freckles, so, you know, my people have been shunned in Hollywood and mainstream media for a long time. Our time will come.

          2. Male? Check. It's pretty much a 50/50 chance on that one, so....good guess?

          3. Angry? Not most of the time. Not more than normal. Certainly not over this silliness.

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        April 8, 2016 11:31 AM

        I think we have a shacker that frequently explores trans

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          April 8, 2016 12:28 PM

          Likely more than one given the amount of meatspins per capita around here.

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        April 8, 2016 11:43 AM

        what a load of shit. typical 'i'm ok with *minority* being in something as long as it's well written" bullshit standard that never gets used for the 99.9999% of normal whitebread straight dudes that make up gaming.

        it also doesn't get blurted out, you literally have to click through two different dialogue screens inquiring about it before it gets brought up. you know like how you have gotten RPG npcs to open up to you since the beginning of time? amazing how only now it's a writing issue.

        http://abload.de/img/mizhena-18aozw.jpg
        http://abload.de/img/mizhena-28er7h.jpg
        http://abload.de/img/mizhena-3fmpg5.jpg

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          April 9, 2016 12:50 PM

          You've decided what is right and what is wrong. As a result, your equating absolute drivel with the normally middling to poor writing in games. See, the author thought it was more important to insert a trans person into the game than it was to do it credibly. You can't admit it because you want to fight over the matter.

          Nobody would share that information with a stranger. That person would live their life as the chosen gender, and perhaps share it with those close to them. Not offer it up with the same discretion as directions to the local brothel.

          I even have a better plot for doing a good trans story and I'll share it so you can tell the difference. How about a King who had a single child and could pass the throne along to a male heir. But his only child born, and critical time politically in his kingdom is a daughter, so he gambles and through subterfuge announces his Daughter is actually a Son. Calm is restored to the Kingdom until many years later. King is dead and son is getting older. The Son is also realizing she doesn't identify with being female, and believes he was born in the wrong body.

          A power hungry relative or usurper who has always had suspicions uses the death (murders the aged) of the King to uncover the secret of the Prince. With the help of loyal subjects the Prince flees before being captured and the Kingdom is seized by the usurper. The Prince comes up with a desperate plan, the only plan that will allow him to win back the throne. Quest for an lost ancient family relic. A powerfully magical artifcat that can __only__ be possessed the rightful ruler of the Kingdom.

          Thus begins a quest for the Prince to track down and prove himself worthy of the artifact. And then he returns to claim his throne. In the end, earning back his lost Kingdom even as it is made clear the Prince is a woman, but the worth of his character and achievments is all that matters in the end.

          To do a good trans story is not hard. But agenda drive SJW's want to force the issue without backing it up. Write good fiction first and I'll read it. So will others. Tick a box on the diversity checklist for your personal agenda and get rightfully called on your lazy, ham handed BS.

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        April 8, 2016 11:59 AM

        pretty sad that they didn't have great writing like most videogames

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        April 8, 2016 12:30 PM

        I guess if including different types of people in a game is pushing an agenda.

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        April 8, 2016 3:26 PM

        The content of your post is a dog whistle gold mine.

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        April 8, 2016 3:51 PM

        I thought you guys had blacklisted us.

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