Are These 15 Storylines Too Gay for My D&D Campaign?

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A few things happened in my Dungeons and Dragons world in the past few weeks. First, my Dungeon Master moved to Oxford so our (half-queer) game went digital. Second, since a friend and I longed for a physical, real-tabletop gaming experience once again, we decided I should DM for a group of our writer friends. I anticipate good things from a group where five of six members have graduate degrees in fiction. As a player, I always roll butch lesbians because I think I deserve to see myself reflected in tales of other worlds. And that’s the beauty of playing a tabletop RPG—you can just do that. But now that I’m DMing, I have the power to do more. SO. MUCH. MORE. I can write the gayest NPCs, encounters and storylines in the history of the world. I’m mad with power. But the question remains: how much is too much? You tell me.

Are These 15 Storylines Too Gay for My D&D Campaign?

  1. A queer Druid spends eight hours a day in Beast Shape as a cat to better understand the needs of her feral colony.
  2. A third-level genderqueer Bard casts Enthrall by singing Julia Nunes’s gay-ass classic, “Make Out.”
  3. Replace the Zhentarim with the Gay Mafia. It’s lead by a piano playing, purple-spectacle-wearing wizard named Elminster John.
  4. A seventeenth-level Cleric of Ioun uses Visions of the Past to make sure her cheating ex hasn’t used the dildo she won in the divorce with anyone else.
  5. Rolling a critfail while flirting results in a random outcome chosen from the folder of You Need Help questions on my computer.
  6. Two words: Butch. Paladins.
  7. A princess locked in a tower develops a special relationship with her dragon guardian: he only eats the men who come to rescue her and, on her signal, spares the women. “Girl, I gotchu,” he says, and while they’re waiting for the perfect butch paladin, they do a karaoke rendition of “Let’s Have a Kiki.” He is a literal wingman.
  8. No queer NPCs die. No stray arrows.
  9. New barbarian path: Way of the Otter. Because we can’t have Way of the Bear without it.
  10. Rolling a nat-twenty while flirting means I just play a Crash Pad episode for thirty seconds.
  11. If a male player makes a misogynistic comment that has nothing to do with storyline or character development, he has to complete a lap around my living room while impersonating John Cleese in The Ministry of Silly Walks.
  12. New option on the Wild Magic table: upon rolling a 69, you transform into that Snapchat filter such that when you open your mouth, you puke illusory rainbows. Attacks against you have disadvantage for the next three rounds.
  13. New homebrewed class: House Boi. Proficiencies: woodworking tools, brewing tools, blacksmiths’ tools when forging BDSM implements.
  14. New use of the renown system: tracking poly relationships.
  15. Everyone gets this d20 and only this d20:
via Pinterest because of course

via Pinterest because of course


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A.E. Osworth is part-time Faculty at The New School, where they teach undergraduates the art of digital storytelling. Their novel, We Are Watching Eliza Bright, about a game developer dealing with harassment (and narrated collectively by a fictional subreddit), is forthcoming from Grand Central Publishing (April 2021) and is available for pre-order now. They have an eight-year freelancing career and you can find their work on Autostraddle (where they used to be the Geekery Editor), Guernica, Quartz, Electric Lit, Paper Darts, Mashable, and drDoctor, among others.

A.E. has written 543 articles for us.

41 Comments

  1. 1) Answer to that question: Impossible

    2) In my Pathfinder Wrath of the Righteous Campaign, my arcanist’s best friend is an alchemist who molded himself some flesh wings. The alchemist is our literal wingman as well, but has been less than successful in that role (namely, he has a tendency to vomit swarms everywhere).

  2. 11 is perfect and I’m sentencing my brothers to that. Personally, I make default NPCs women or genderqueer and I make all my characters queer. I don’t feel the need for “balance”. There should always be “too much” of us in fantasy worlds. The more marginalized we are, the better representation we deserve to have. So I’ve got no problem ending up with six queer women of color who have to use a cane and no one is going to die and they all live happily ever after. That’s what we need AND deserve in our stories.

  3. OMG, I love this. I don’t know anything about DD and had no clue it’s a tabletop game (I’m sorry, I’m a little ignorant on this one but I just learned a lot from this article and I am really curious so I will do some research). If I ever learn I would want to learn from a version like this, where it’s fun and so creative. And that dragon! I want that dragon, only I have a GF so I guess we would do karaoke all day and I so could have used him while I was still searching for Jen

    • Role-playing (in any form) is absolutely the best possible thing for my queer little heart, mind, and soul and I totally encourage as many queer people as possible to partake it in.

  4. They’re gay enough to make me want to move to the cardboard box in NYC I could afford to rent, you lucky jerk.

  5. OMGs I want to be one of your players. Next time I run Chronicles of Darkness (formerly nWoD, now rebranded) Mage or Purified, you have set the bar SO HIGH. SO HIGH. ? ?

  6. I’m really wondering how many of these things I can sneak into my next DnD 4th ed. play session. So awesome :)

  7. Casey

    These are so perfect I wish I could join your campaign! I’m definitely sending this article to my DM…

  8. In the current game I am DMming, one of my players is a gender fluid elven Bard who speaks exclusively in iambic pentameter. The charisma rolls are an experience.

  9. Max

    Despite having been the only non-cis guy (I’m nonbinary trans) in the party, I literally played a butch anarchist paladin whose patron goddess was basically Frida Kahlo in my last game of D&D.

  10. Ray

    MY LITTLE GAY HEART WANTS ALL OF THESE THINGS WAY TOO MUCH

    Like, don’t get me wrong, I’ve had fun occasionally playing with a mostly-straight-dude group that has managed to not be utter assholes, but my tiny genderqueer femme self is damn ready for a butch paladin to sweep me up and carry me off,,,,,,,

  11. Amy

    Real actual thing that happened in my current campaign: Five out of six teenaged PCs discovered (or already knew) that they were queer, and the last one, the only straight white guy, betrayed everyone and joined forces with the fedora-tipping villains to take over the universe by basically influencing the childhoods of baby gods as they grow up.

    So we are now literally fighting the patriarchy.

  12. I didn’t just write down a few of these ideas so that I can steal them for the campaign I’m running I swear >.> Okay, maybe I did… Also, I need that D20 in my life!!!! But I feel like I would get too many crits with it and it would lead to a tpk because it is just too awesome T-T

  13. This reminds me of the time I was playing a high-born half-fae vampire (unbeknownst to the party) and had to explain why I enjoyed making out with the succubus that nearly killed everyone… I love D&D shenanigans!

  14. Excuse me while I send this to all my D&D buddies! My DM named an orc Slash and gave him a shipping company (Slash Shipping), just for me, because he is a delight and a treasure.

  15. Every time I think there’s no overlap between my Geek&Sundry-inspired obsessions and my feminist internet obsessions, Ali writes something to save the day

    Now if only I could make either of those interact with my NON-internet reality

  16. RedheadGuy

    I’m a straight guy, and I’d play that campaign…because it sounds fun. Why not?

  17. Rose

    I have to say the butch paladins one made my mind go to Lady Kima on Critical Role, who is the butch paladin we all deserved (though come to think of it my last D&D character was also a butch paladin by the end of the campaign thanks to some multiclassing).

    Also one of my players for my upcoming campaign asked me today if they could start an LGBT group at the magical university I’m using as a campaign setting and another asked if the campaign goal could be to destroy the elven gender binary, so clearly I need to embrace these storylines.

    • LADY KIMA IS MY FAVORITE. Seriously, I got together to go for a walk with one of my players JUST so we could discuss Kimallura. Like. For an hour.

  18. Hat

    Where do I learn to play this so I can have all the queer tabletop fun… I need to find queer nerds in my area.

      • Hat

        Yay Critical Role! Before I read this reply I started watching it…I think Mey reccomended I watch it after a previous “where do I start” whine of mine on a different thread, others have too, and after reading this article I was finally motivated. Yes my ears were bleeding, yes I persevered…I LOVED IT…now to get my wife on board! Thanks for broadening my horizons on geekery Autostraddle folk.

  19. This is the best list! I wish I had queer people to play D&D with. All of the campaigns I’ve played in have mostly been with straight, white, cis men. D-:

  20. For the rainbow d20 questions: I’m pretty sure that stock photo is a dice that was done only in limited quantities. However, I know some people on Etsy.

    ArocGaming does custom painted wooden d20s. I met her at a local con and bought a set of pokemon dice for my sister there. She’s really great and has done some rainbow d20s in the past: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ArocGaming

    This person’s dice are pricy but they molded them have dice with like dragons inside of them! I think they just did a big sale so there’s not a lot in their store right nowww, but they’ve done fantastic rainbow dice sets in the past: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LittleCLUUs

  21. Heidrun

    All right, time to write a first comment then. Since I found out I’m MtF trans I never played a tabletop RPG again and I cannot imagine trusting a group of role players enough to do so – let alone a DM. But hey, I love the game, I think 5e (that is: Fifth Edition) is great, and maybe I can contribute my three copper coins. Here goes:

    – For those who want to learn: watch Critical Role on youtube, google the classes and game mechanics like ‘advantage’, and very soon you will be as proficient as most D&D players are, it is not rocket science. Consider that being Lesbian, Bi or/and Trans and surviving in the real world gives you advantage (hehe) regarding RPGs, you are already good at it because you must be.

    – For DM-ing: D&D is mostly a game engine, rather than a game. As a DM I would consider sex and gender concepts, laws, religious concepts and general attitudes regarding same-sex relationships and all that in the world-building phase or while adapting, say, Forgotten Reals, for my table. I’d certainly not make it uniform. A conglomerate of Lawful Good cults holding that sex is intrinsically linked to procreation and otherwise vile would provide bunches of plots and hooks, as would a cartel of male gay merchant princes who further their own agenda by profiting from persecution of gender nonconforming persons … yes, I’m discussing D&D, what were you thinking, these are just examples of course.

    – More on DM-ing: I would avoid Disneyfication of my campaign at all costs, i.e. never write a story or a background along the lines of ‘good queers against evil straights’, D&D already has too much of that in any case, this isn’t liberating, remember that the master’s tools do not bring down the master’s house. Rather I’d write convincing NPCs and settings as good as I can – for example a Tiefling girl NPC who happens to be into girls and whose bugbears are the macho straight Tiefling gang which practically runs the shabby Tiefling precinct in a city in which the better-off citizens despise Tieflings. Now imagine her Succubus ancestor finds her and offers her a pact … and here is an NPC Warlock that is interesting.

    – Still more on DM-ing: NPC and plot development are wonderful tools. So butch paladins, yeah – but what about a female paladin NPC who comes out, say, in the fifth session the PCs are with her, possibly because of one of them? Who had been in denial or closeted? What will the PCs do if she gets into trouble with her order and/or her diety because of that? Epic conflict, dramatic adventures, that’s the stuff good D&D is made of, isn’t it?

    Sorry for the wall of text, I hope some of you find it interesting.
    All the best

    Heidrun

  22. mostly they’re not storylines :P

    But with the exception of 11 which has the effect of making your campaign an IRL novelty item – all are things i would occasionally do, except literal disney princess in a tower cliches played naive straight – i just think e.g. FR is so much more elaborate than that. A dragon would not guard a freaking princess, it would be a major political/military player in a 200 mile radius area who has an awful lot more going on than passively letting its life revolve around eating random knights.

    I have nothing against the high camp of most of your options, i think they’re hilarious – i do them too when in the mood. The You Need Help is epic too.

    Also Heidrun above = gold, the level of GM i wish i could sign up with.

  23. Jamie

    “Hey, so what do I roll for gaydar?”- At least once a campaign.

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