The Wheelchair of Wokeness +1

Really quick: if you want something similar to Dungeons & Dragons, but which focuses on fun, usability, and quality as opposed to social justice progressive politics, propaganda, and irrational, obsessive hatred over mere disagreements and thought crime violations, check out Dungeons & Delvers.

I haven't given WotC a dime for nearly a decade. At least, not directly, and while I've been made indirectly aware of their various propaganda pushes by which they desperately attempt to deceive you into believing that they actually care about your arbitrary dogmatic beliefs, however misguided, hypocritical and fleeting, I'm not sure I would have expected this.

Yes, you read that headline correctly, “Dungeons & Dragons kicks off 2021 with its first wheelchair-accessible dungeon.”

From the article, it looks like its part of something called Candlekeep Adventures, which is apparently 17 adventures from 19 designers (so-called). Checking the names, the only one I recognize is Chris Perkins but, even ignoring the Twitter handle of one “POCGamer”, it's a safe assumption that the rest of the roster wasn't brought on for their middling at best talent and creativity.

No, I'm guessing they were all hastily hired to check off as many "diversity and inclusion" boxes as possible, which will no doubt be used to ineffectively insulate what will in all likelihood be a very underwhelming adventurette anthology, from any and all very much deserved criticism. Honestly, the only thing I can't predict is whatever other woke-wankery will invariably be featured because come on, we all know it can't just be a dungeon constructed by an oddly accommodating adversary. 

Perhaps we'll see signs with trigger warnings, crying closets or pits filled with balls and owlbear cubs, and monsters wearing stickers bearing their pronouns. I wouldn't be surprised if there are one or more encounters that you can win by shaming and canceling a monster for not asking for your pronouns, or "misgendering" you, but I digress.

I feel like many dungeons are technically wheelchair-accessible, albeit coincidentally. Really, as long as you don't need to climb, swim, or jump, and there isn't any rubble or similar impediments you can just roll wherever you please. But like how every female action hero is the new first female action hero to people that don't actually watch movies and can't be arsed to even engage in the tiniest bit of casual research, I'm not surprised to see liberal-leaning lackey's claiming credit where it isn't due.

Something they can definitely take credit for, however, is the ill-conceived and laughably labeled combat wheelchair, which is a—and I'm completely serious—magical wheelchair that essentially “empowers” a crippled character to ignore all the inconveniences of being crippled. In other words, instead of tackling actual hardships and trying to find clever ways to work around it (or simply sucking it up and, erm, rolling with it) your disability becomes a woke fashion accessory, one of many surface-level labels—like skin color and gender identity—you can slap on yourself and pretend it's a personality.

You know, sort of like how WotC is riding the woke wagon—whilst running the D&D property into the ground—hoping that you'll be too busy praising their pandering to realize how underproduced and asinine their adventures are.

I'm not sure whether to be surprised that the barely-formatted text document that it's presented on is free, as I've seen people charge about a buck per page for possibly worse ideas in the past. In any case it still manages to be a rip-off, lecturing you with empty platitudes such as “anyone can be an adventurer”. You know, so long as they have a magic item that lets them completely circumvent their drawbacks, of course, and as well as by being so utterly banal.

Seriously, only the diseased mind of a perpetually offended, petulant progressive would be so bereft of imagination and aspirations (but not pretension) that, when wondering wonders for a game where the sky could be not only literally limitless, but another universe in its own right, a magical wheelchair is the best you could come up with?

For the low-low cost of either completely free, or 200 gp if you're an obviously uncaring, hate-filled DM (which in this instance could only refer to Discriminatory Monster), you can float up and down stairs using oddly-named, magical "beacon" stones, propel it with simple gestures (so you never have to make Exhaustion checks), use it as a weapon (it can even make extra attacks), and more!

And if you don't like it? Whelp, the author demands that you “reconsider” your stance on disability, by which he means agree with him completely or shut your mouth (ideally both), because being disabled is “nothing to be ashamed about”. I'm not sure exactly how anyone could possibly be opposed to this out of shame, though the author should be ashamed of exposing the world to the all too common post modern brand of authoritarian stupidity.

Mediocre, blatant virtue signaling aside, I could also see people being opposed to this because they don't think that, based on the standard pseudo-European-esque technology level presumed in most D&D campaigns—give or take some dwarven designs and various other anachronous additions—that wheelchairs should even exist. At least, not a heavily modernized, mass-produced magic- and/or self-propelled model.

The author tries to head this off by “suggesting” that you read a Drizz't Do'Urden novel, as if they are gospel to the average player (or even common knowledge), but conveniently refrains from telling you which of the some odd thirty books to choose from. Meaning that I have to both take his word, and have no context for what the alleged wheelchair looked like and was capable of doing: did it have “beacon” stones that permitted it to arbitrarily float up and down stairs? Could it be used to ram into creatures and inflict short- or longsword levels of damage? Did it basically allow whoever was using it to stand and walk like a healthy humanoid? 

No idea, and I don't really care. 

I can also assume that the author doesn't care if you're playing in a low- or no-magic setting, with or without artificers (or some other contrivance to ensure a very niche product is readily available no matter where you are), or don't want magic items to be purchasable from any old random merchant, which is specified in the document, mind you: if you become disabled while gaming or need to replace it, you can buy one from “any good merchant”. Presumably, if a merchant doesn't have it, they're evil. I guess you can use that in lieu of alignment-detecting abilities.

While we're on the topic of magic, you might be thinking—along with the overwhelming majority of sensible individuals that don't wholly define themselves by their disabilities—wait a sec, why not just use magic to restore the crippled character's ability to walk? Or grant them the ability to walk if they were born crippled? Because the point of the wheelchair isn't to solve an issue that doesn't actually exist, but character flair for so-called progressives to signal their virtue, the author has what could generously be described as a counter for that: restorative magic is expensive, it can't fix you if you were born with it, and some cripples don't want to be "fixed".

The first one is mostly bullshit, because lesser restoration is a 2nd-level spell, meaning any 3rd-level cleric could cast it. Not sure how much a scroll costs, but it can't be that much more than 200 gp. The second one is definitely bullshit, because the spell doesn't specify that it doesn't work if you were born with a debilitating condition. The third I'll give him, because I'm guessing for some cripples it's for some reason an intrinsic part of their identity. Can't imagine why you would want to remain bound to a wheelchair when you could walk like a normal person, but more power to you, I suppose.

Something I find amusing...well, I find the entire thing amusing in how phenomenally stupid it is, I wanted to call out this bit:

“Remember: the Combat Wheelchair does not give a disabled character an “advantage” over the abled characters. All it does is enable disabled character to do things an abled adventurer can. You should not be punished for something you cannot help and to be punished for having a disability is cruel.”

First off, it does give you an advantage. Being able to float up and down stairs means you aren't impeded by them, and you won't trigger any traps that would require you to step on the ground. You can also use the “beacon” stones to make the chair move on its own, effectively making it so that you'll never be exhausted due to traveling. Finally, there are several optional features that make it even better, such as granting Advantage on saves to avoid being knocked prone, and it being considered a mount for the purposes of class features, feats, etc.

Second, by deliberately choosing to be crippled you aren't being “punished”. You might be crippled in real life, but that's also neither a punishment nor is it cruel, unless someone wanted to punish you by crippled you, but even then it would only be cruel if the punishment didn't fit the crime.

Not that I'd allow a player to play a character more or less permanently consigned to a wheelchair in the first place, especially not right out of the gate. If everyone else has to drag your ass around and prop you up (because I'm definitely not doling out magical freebies like that), you aren't an adventurer, you're a resource-sucking liability. Really, the only reason a player would try to pull this shit is for attention and control, all under the pretense of being inclusive and progressive. 

Now, I'm fine with this as a temporary impairment. In my own Dungeons & Dragons hack you can suffer from temporary and permanent injuries, which could feasibly be interpreted as being crippled in some form or other. Critical hits can even cause a loss of limbs. If a character gets severely messed up, they might suffer from a Speed reduction for days or even weeks. It might even get so bad that their Speed is reduced to 0, in which case they'd need to crawl.

At that point, however, without some workaround, which will likely require actual work, it's time for retirement. Hell, depending on how much time and money it takes to fix the character, you might need to at least temporarily retire them, anyway.

As I mentioned at the top, if you want a game that's fairly similar to Dungeons & Dragons (yet different enough to I guess you could say validates it's existence), just without all the ham-fisted, shoehorned social justice politics, virtue signaling, and pandering, check out Dungeons & Delvers

As an added bonus it's also got beautiful women, which is apparently the bane of woke folk:



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