The Concept of Equality

Hello and welcome to Only on Tuesdays! This week I will be covering how to create a welcoming environment for all of your players, and why it is so important for the health of your game. I will also be covering a more controversial topic than usual, and will be discussing the impact sexism has on our hobby as a whole. I am happy to say that the majority of those who play Dnd have not had to deal with this issue, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is still a prominent issue in our community. We as Dungeon Masters are in a unique position that allows us to have a positive impact on our groups. It is important that we do the best we can to cultivate an experience that is safe and encouraging for all who may play in our games.

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Creating a Welcoming Environment

Being a Dungeon Master is far more than just building a world for your players to enjoy, and crafting NPC’s for them to interact with. Becoming a Dungeon Master means accepting some form of responsibility. Whenever there is an issue at the table, whether it be a minor rules quibble or an argument between two players, you are a major factor in how these disputes are solved. This responsibility extends beyond the rules of the game. You are the primary person organizing this group of adventurers, and everyone in the group looks up to you as the leader. This is a position of responsibility, and ultimately the tone of the table is decided by you. 
As the Dungeon Master, you have a lot of say in what is ok and isn’t ok at your table, and if someone is feeling uncomfortable because of something that is going on it is up to you to put an end to it. This position of leadership is vital to have and helps to prevent negative situations from occurring. No player should ever feel that they have no say in any situation. Empowering your players is one of the roles of the Dungeon Master, and if someone is being mistreated in your group stand up for them! Let the table know that you want to cultivate an environment where everyone feels equal and accepted. 
Creating a welcoming environment at your table is not only essential for the comfort of your players, but it is also vital to the health of your game. Building an atmosphere that is safe and secure is important because it allows your players to express themselves without fear of failure. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs demonstrates this and shows why it is important to create a good environment for your players. If any of your players do not feel comfortable or safe due to circumstances surrounding the table, it will be impossible for them to enjoy the campaign. If you want to get the most out of your game, it is vital that you create a setting that allows your players to express themselves without fear of failure or discrimination. 
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Recognizing Inequality

Understanding that inequality exists in our game is an important step to dealing with it. And while many people may not have experienced it inequality is, unfortunately, a part of our hobby that we have to deal with. The unique position of being the Dungeon Master gives us a lot of power in handling this issue, and we are the primary reason whether inequality exists in our games or not. Inequality is not limited to just sexism. Playing favorites and excluding players are another form of inequality that all DM’s need to be aware of. That is another article for another day, however, as the main thing I want to discuss here is sexism and why it is so important that we be aware of it.

Many people have never had to experience sexism while playing this game, and I am happy to say that this issue is in the minority of Dnd players. However, that doesn’t change the fact that this is a major issue to those who are affected by it. After speaking with a close friend of mine, I discovered that she has experienced sexism in the past while trying to play Dnd. Because of this previous sexism that she has experienced, she now has to consider that her experience as a player may be impacted because of her gender. Here is what she had to say on the issue:“I’m extremely hesitant to join the DnD club because I’m scared of a few different possible scenarios.1st: One of the guys will get feelings for me and then it will go badly if I have to reject him. 2nd: I won’t be taken seriously because I’m a girl. 3rd: I won’t be taken seriously because as I’ve been called many times I’m a “fake geek girl”. 4th: They won’t let me play because I’m a girl.”

No one should ever have to experience these feelings upon joining a new hobby, but due to the culture surrounding Dnd, women have to be aware that they may not get as equal of an experience as men. This is unacceptable and creates an environment that is hostile and unwelcoming. As the DM, a lot of the power of inclusivity is in our hands. It is very important that we recognize that this kind of inequality does exist, and we should take steps to create as welcoming of an environment as possible. Even if you have never personally experienced misogyny in your games, that doesn’t mean the person sitting next you has never experienced it for themselves.

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Dnd is an amazing hobby and has the power to be a force for good. Unfortunately, many people have had to experience less than ideal circumstances and had to deal with inequality in a hobby they love. Understanding that inequality exists is important for us as DM’s to remember. We entertain a wide background of people who have experienced far different lives from our own. Creating an environment where everyone can feel comfortable and secure not only improves the individual enjoyment of each player but also creates a better experience for the table as a whole. 
Thank you for reading. Have a great week and an amazing Tuesday! 

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