Dungeons & Dragon's Spelljammer: Adventures In Space's new race, the Hadozee, have come under fire due to racist stereotypes with new art even depicting a Hadozee in a Minstrel-like pose.
For context, the Hadozee are humanoid "deck apes", made sentient by a wizard who planned to turn them into an army that they could sell as slave mercenaries. However, their apprentices ended up working with the Hadozee, freeing them from their bonds. And now they work for elves who don't respect them – on elf ships. While Wizards argues the Hadozee are inspired more by the Planet of the Apes, players have pointed out the similarities between the Hadozee's story and to the colonisation of Africa and the treatment of Black people, especially with the idea of work ships and slavery.
And, as you can see embedded below, the Hadozee illustration on the left, which is found in the Astral Adventurer's Guide from Spelljammer: Adventures In Space, is accused of drawing from Minstrel depictions of Black people. While there are other illustrations of Hadozee in the book, the one of a Hadozee Bard that has received the most ire is used as the introduction to playing the Hadozee race itself, giving it something of a representative tone.
Digging deeper into how Hadozee are depicted in Spelljammer, it is claimed that they enjoy their shipboard work, taking Black people's history of slavery and abuse and trying to make it positive, something that has caused an understandable backlash due to comparisons with the everpresent "happy slave" trope.
They are also said to primarily work for elves on the ship, but the elves don't respect them. Yet the Hadozee loves the elves which, given the other historical comparisons to slavery, is yet another problematic depiction.
This description has also been compared to the Sambo stereotype where Black men are depicted as happy, lazy, and carefree. The Hadozee as described here are optimistic, expressive, "snarling", and comedic.
Wizards of the Coast has been approached for comment.
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