The push for greater acceptance in the tabletop scene just got a big boost from Critical Role. The Dungeons & Dragons livestream entered a new location in last night’s episode, and this meant a new NPC to guide the party. Dagen Underthorn was introduced to help the players navigate new icy terrain, and he just happened to have a very familiar wheelchair.
The Combat Wheelchair is the invention of Sara Thompson, a.k.a @MustangSart, an indie tabletop creator and GM. She saw a need in the tabletop community for content that allows disabled characters to perform the heroic feats of TTRPGs while still working within the rules. The Combat Wheelchair is completely free and meant to offer a kitted-out chair that works with D&D 5E. Many responded positively, and the designer has since been asked to help rework the wheelchair for other TTRPG systems. Some people couldn’t be cool about it, however.
RELATED: Combat Wheelchair Minis Are Now Available For Pre-Order
In the October 29 episode of Critical Role, DM Matthew Mercer introduced Dagen Underthorn. The character uses the Combat Wheelchair, and when questioned about his ability to traverse the icy path in front of him, he returned with a question of the party’s ability to keep up. After the episode, Mercer confirmed that he was using the Combat Wheelchair rules and gave Thompson credit.
If you have a hankering for internet arguments, you can read the comments on Mercer’s post. Many of the Combat Wheelchair detractors returned bearing the same arguments. Those individuals commented that a world of magic would have means to heal any disability, so why would wheelchairs even be needed. Others find that a wheelchair that can have attachments for weapons and gadgets is overpowered, giving the user more utility than the average adventurer.
Mercer himself jumped in to give his take. He explained that restoration magic could be rare or expensive in certain settings, leading to a wheelchair being the more viable option. More importantly, people who use wheelchairs in the real world may just want to play a character that’s like them, so why not have options? Thompson commented to thank Mercer for using the Combat Wheelchair and using the Critical Role platform to give exposure to accessibility in tabletop gaming.
You can find the free PDF of the Combat Wheelchair here.
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