D&D, Roll20, and Parlez-vous Francais?
I used to run two D&D groups in parallel. One with mostly people of my age, over 50, and another with a younger generation. The younger group is still very active, we play about twice per month on Roll20, and will start a new campaign this weekend (Curse of Strahd). The older group hasn't played for nearly a year now. Why the difference?
Mostly it is a problem of language. Both of my D&D groups play in French. That isn't always easy for me, as French is only my third language, but I manage. But a bigger problem is the lack of availability of D&D material in French, and the complete absence of different language materials on Roll20. The translations of D&D books into French are handled via Gale Force 9 by Black Book Editions. Apparently WotC wasn't happy with those translations, refused to allow further books, and got sued by Gale Force 9. As a result only some of the older rulebooks, and only a few of the older adventure modules exist in French. But only in printed form, not on Roll20.
So when I proposed to my older group to move our D&D game to Roll20, they refused. Some of them aren't very good at English, nor very good with unfamiliar software, and playing on Roll20 with an English language interface and English language materials and handouts did not appeal to them. And as the ongoing lockdown rules prevent us from assembling around a table, we simply can't play at all anymore.
The younger group was more flexible with both language and software, and so we could move to Roll20. We still play in French, and I am using the printed French version of the adventure module to help me with the descriptions. But the interface and the game elements on Roll20 are in English, and that is okay for everybody.
I still think that Wizards of the Coast botched their foreign language version approach for Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition. Yes, a lot of people speak English these days. But not everybody. It makes D&D less attractive for some people for who English isn't the native language, and especially limits the access of kids, who don't learn sufficient English before a certain age at school.
Labels: Dungeons & Dragons