The Library of Congress wants you to play Dungeons and Dragons, and in fact, they’ve made it easier than ever to do so.
We don’t often talk about accessibility in RPGs. Sure we’ll talk about inclusivity and representation–you can find books that feature characters of many different genders, skin tones, sexual orientations, and even physical ableness. Though this last one is especially rare. Off of the top of my head Waterdeep: Dragon Heist features a dwarf with a crossbow prosthesis, and there’s one or two blind NPCs out there (though by and large this latter kind of representation is rare, outside of the Dragon Prince). But what about the players? How accessible are the books?
Well, thanks to the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped at the Library of Congress, D&D is about to be a lot more accessible.
NLS at the Library of Congress has made #DnD more accessible with the release of the #DungeonsAndDragons Player's Handbook in a fully navigable audio form (DB91838)!! Dungeon Master's Guide and Monster Manual to follow soon. Learn more: https://t.co/4AaTHXKEnZ.
— Dungeons & Dragons (@Wizards_DnD) June 27, 2019
Here are a few details about the NLS.
NLS is a free braille and talking book library service for people with temporary or permanent low vision, blindness, or a physical disability that prevents them from reading or holding the printed page. Through a national network of cooperating libraries, NLS offers books the way you want them: in braille or audio, mailed to your door for free or instantly downloadable.
NLS works to ensure that all may read by providing eligible patrons access to reading material regardless of age, economic circumstances, or technical expertise. Share the gift of reading, and spread the word about NLS so that all may read.
And as you can see in that announcement, they’ve recently finished a fully navigable version of the Player’s Handbook. This is a monumental undertaking–it’s not just the text that tells us how to play. Let’s take a page out of the Player’s Handbook and talk about what we get out of it:
There’s a lot happening here visually. If you just read the class description, you’d be hard pressed to tell anything about your class. That handy table at the top tells you at a glance what features you get at what level. Referencing it is highly visual–you know at a glance. Translating this same usability to an audio format or working on navigability is challenging, but the folks at the NLS have done it.
via Wizards of the Coast
D&D fans rejoice! National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped has released the Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook (DB91838) in a fully navigable audio form, forging an accurate and accessible version available to all.
Creating this “magical” auditory tome has been a highly complex venture for narrators and producers who have championed creating it for visually impaired readers complete with detailed descriptions of charts and graphics essential to game play.
D&D players will soon be able to sally forth with two additional titles—Dungeon Master’s Guide and Monster Manual—now in production that, with Player’s Handbook, will comprise the game’s core texts in auditory form for the first time. To find out more, head to www.loc.gov/thatallmayread.
The DMG and Monster Manual are on their way too–which makes this the first time the core books are available as a functional audio format. This is a pretty fantastic step forward for inclusivity and accessibility at the gaming table. If you’re looking for some accessories to use with your newly accessible book, check out these 3d-printable braille dice.