Last June, Dungeons & Dragons developer Wizards of the Coast announced they would be addressing many of the problems within the game and the source books, and we’ve now seen that effort applied to one of the most problematic characters in the game.
Originally released in 2016, one of the most popular books within the D&D franchise was the Curse of Strahd, infamously known for containing some of the most problematic and racially insensitive content in the series. This came in particular from a people introduced in that book known as the Vitsani, who were originally portrayed according to harmful stereotypes of the real world Romani people. A revised version was released last year correcting many of these mistakes, but they’ve now gone a step further by correcting mistakes made with arguably one of the most problematic characters in the game, Ezmeralda D’Avenir.
Ezmerelda was originally introduced as a new heroine in the series, a monster hunter and all around badass warrior in her own right. The issues with her character lay in her tragic backstory, with allusion to human trafficking, and Ezmerelda’s prosthetic leg being a secret she must hide from others. Now, in the newly released Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft, players will find a very different version of the Vistani people and of Ezmerelda herself.
Her prosthetic leg is no longer something to be kept secret but a part of her that she wears with pride. The Vistani people are regarded in the same evil or monstrous veneer as before but a strong nomadic people who will not be tied down to any one place or allegiance but their own. “Vistani refuse to be captives of a single domain, the Mists, or any terror.” the new book reads, as reported by Polygon.
Issues with Ezmerelda’s backstory have also been adjusted, while still keeping her badassery in check along with a tragic backstory. It’s also worth noting that many of the changes and adjustments specifically for the Vistani people were made in collaboration with a Romani consultant, so that the same mistakes weren’t repeated.
It’s refreshing and uplifting to see Wizards of the Coast really following through on the changes they announced a year ago, and it brings hope to a future where these changes don’t have to be made in the first place.