A More Inclusive Community: Donate to our Community Copies Program

3 tablets showing book covers

At Wyrmworks Publishing, we believe that everyone deserves to be represented in the games they play. That’s why we created Limitless Heroics, a comprehensive disability compendium for tabletop roleplaying games. We’re proud of the work we’ve done, but we know that not everyone can afford to buy a copy of the book.

That’s where our Community Copies program comes in. For every copy someone donates, we match the donation and make two copies available for free. It’s a way for us to give back to the community and make sure that everyone who wants to use Limitless Heroics can do so, regardless of their financial situation. And as we publish more books, we will add them to this program.

When you donate a Community Copy, you’re not just helping someone else get access to the book. You’re also showing your support for disability representation in tabletop gaming. You’re helping us spread the word about this important resource and making sure that people with disabilities are included in the games we play.

More Donations via Patreon

We also have a Patreon program, and at the beginning of each month, we donate additional copies of Limitless Heroics based on the number and tiers of our patrons.

If you’re in a position to help, we encourage you to consider making a donation to our Community Copies program. By doing so, you’ll be helping us ensure that everyone has access to our resources, regardless of their financial situation.

To donate, simply click on the “Purchase Community Copies” button. You can then choose the number of copies you’d like to donate, and complete your purchase. We’ll take care of the rest, ensuring that your donation goes directly to providing free copies of our products to those who need them.

Thank you for your support. Together, we can build a more inclusive and welcoming community for all tabletop role-playing game enthusiasts.

Disabled D&D5e Heroes Coloring Book

Limitless Heroics: The Coloring Book. As our heroes fight the hydra, we see just some of the variety of symptoms represented in this book. The paladin has a prosthetic arm to assist with their amputation. The barbarian rages from their wheelchair, providing mobility for their paralyzed legs. The ranger, whose body is more accustomed to an aquatic environment just as someone in the real world may be more comfortable in a quieter or darker sensory environment, finds ways to compensate and keep fighting. The wizard’s vitiligo may not be thought of as a disability, nor should it be, yet many in the real world experience severe discrimination due to unusual skin pigment β€” how many celebrities, corporate executives, or politicians do you know with visibly irregular skin?

Tabletop Roleplaying Games like Dungeons & Dragons are great equalizers: people of all ages and abilities can play together, cooperatively. What else can do that? Coloring books! So we used the amazing art from Limitless Heroics to create a coloring book for all ages!

48 images include fantasy characters, assistive devices, and service animals.

How does a coloring book make lives better?

  • People like me with ADHD may benefit from coloring to help keep focused during games and other times, and D&D-related coloring books are rare.
  • Put this in a child’s hands, and you instantly normalize disabled heroes in their lives.
  • D&D is for everyone, and so is artistic expression!
  • The pages include quotes from disabled, neurodiverse, and mentally & chronically ill people to teach about their experiences and accessibility.
  • πŸŽ’Service OwlbearsπŸ¦‰ are adorable.

The book also includes a local site license for copying, so schools, clinics, local game groups, and FLGSs can print or copy coloring pages for their local events, clients, and fellow players.

Attention Deficit (ADHD) for D&D 5e

Limitless Heroics cover superimposed with ADHD Preview

How can you represent Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in 5e that reflects real world experiences? Here’s a free sample from Limitless Heroics to implement them in your game.

Content Warning: Cyberbullying

Last year, I posted an early draft version of this preview to promote Limitless Heroics as I prepared for the Kickstarter campaign. In December, it, and consequently I, became the target of a Twitter hater cyberbullying attack by hundreds of people throughout the TTRPG community.

As a result of that, I pulled it down and wanted to hide. I seriously considered canceling the campaign altogether and closing up shop completely, but too many people were counting on me, and I was encouraged by some well-respected people in the industry to carry on, so with much trepidation, I continued with the campaign, avoiding Twitter and literally getting nauseated every time my phone made the new email chime for fear of the subsequent hate that flowed from that attack, and it has taken me this long to work up the courage to make this revised sample live again, reminding myself that, as big as the Twitter mob was, I’ve received nearly as many heartfelt notes of thanks and support, and ten times as many have already backed or preordered it. And with help from a licensed counselor, I’m learning to manage the subsequent anxiety and depression I’ve developed.

Ironically, I was recently diagnosed with ADHD myself, so I post this revision with confidence as it also reflects my own lived experience and that of many more who also have given input and affirm this as a reflection of their own experiences, plus it has been discussed and revised based on feedback from five sensitivity readers from multiple fields.

Because ADHD is a complex condition with a variety of expressions, we broke it into at least 3 separate traits with options for more, depending on your experience, but here are the three most common associated traits. (I personally have several more.)

You can use this sample by itself for free or purchase a copy of Limitless Heroics for a more comprehensive guide to disability, neurodiversity, and mental illness representation in fifth edition. Thanks for your interest in making the D&D and broader TTRPG space more inclusive and representative. (If you use it alone, IE = Impact Extent. See the tables for an explanation.)

LAYOUT NOTE: The format of this preview does not reflect the final format of Limitless Heroics, which we designed for maximum accessibility, including dyslexia-friendly.

Download at DriveThruRPG
Download the Preview at DriveThruRPG

The Kickstarter is done. Sort of. Now what?

Hi, wonderful patrons! I know I’ve been quiet lately here on Patreon, and before that, I’ve been talking a lot about the Limitless Heroics Kickstarter, and now that it’s done, what’s next?

Of course, first of all, it’s far from done! If you’ve been watching the conversations in the Discord (Feel free to jump into the conversations!), everyone is busy creating characters, making artwork, writing additional pieces β€” over 200 magic items and so much more! We set July as the target date and are on track for that, and here’s a Patreon-exclusive teaser draft just for you that I just finished based on a backer submission! (Note: it hasn’t gone through our extensive editorial process yet, so expect it to change.)

GleamForth Wayfinder

Wondrous Item, Legendary

Follow the Gleam, and find your way. Hold me leftward lest you stumble. Let the third eye guide your path. Look to your heart to find your Truths. Center me, and I will bring you home though the darkness envelop you.

This labyrinthine eye provides protection and direction to those who would be lost without it. Unlike most prosthetic eyes, you hold this one instead of inserting it. When held in the left hand, it provides 5′ blindsight. When so held, you cannot use that hand for any other purpose. As an action, you can hold it mid-forehead and cast the find the path spell once per day. Once per day, as your action, you touch the heart of a creature you can reach that is charmed, frightened, or possessed by a celestial, an elemental, a fey, a fiend, or an undead. The creature you touch is no longer charmed, frightened, or possessed by such creatures. When held at the solar plexus, once every seven days, you can cast either plane shift or teleportation circle to your home. Your home need not have a teleportation circle inscribed, but when you acquire this eye, you must declare your home location as the destination of this function.

Pre-Orders Open

If anyone missed the Kickstarter (or knows someone who did β€” feel free to pass on this link), you can get the pre-order here, and use the coupon code LHPATREON to get $2 off! (Yes, you can share this coupon code along with the link!)

But then what?

We have a long to-do list that keeps getting longer, but picture this: imagine the city version of Limitless Heroics: a campaign city that explores concepts of accessibility where characters can have all the typical urban adventures while encountering what accessibility in its various forms would look like in a high fantasy setting! I’ve already received interested notes from accessibility advocates and universal design firms interested in helping with this and several writers and artists eager to work on future Wyrmworks Publishing projects, and if it’s well received, we can keep adding pieces to create a campaign world with different locations that explore and teach about all kinds of issues, all while having grand 5e adventures! Add in some miniatures based on some of the 50+ characters being designed for Limitless Heroics, and you have something truly unique that helps you improve others’ lives!

Tied to that big project, I have a collaborative project in the works that I can’t discuss yet, but it’s a partnership with at least one well known figure in the D&D space whose name is attached to some official D&D adventures. That one is just in the idea stage right now (We’re both pretty busy at the moment but hoping to get started on it later this year), but when I can say more, you’ll be the first to know! (OK, besides my wife. She hears these things first.)

And, I have some great guests lined up for future Gaining Advantage episodes, so expect more of those soon!

Thanks so much for your support! You’re helping make all this happen!

All the best!



Book & Kindle displaying cover: As our heroes fight the hydra, we see just some of the variety of symptoms represented in this book. The paladin has a prosthetic arm to assist with their amputation. The barbarian rages from their wheelchair, providing mobility for their paralyzed legs. The ranger, whose body is more accustomed to an aquatic environment just as someone in the real world may be more comfortable in a quieter or darker sensory environment, finds ways to compensate and keep fighting. The wizard’s vitiligo may not be thought of as a disability, nor should it be, yet many in the real world experience severe discrimination due to unusual skin pigment β€” how many celebrities, corporate executives, or politicians do you know with visibly irregular skin?

How can you represent phobias in 5e that reflect real world experiences? Grab this free D100 table of phobias and resources to implement them in your game.

Or use the one click generator in the Lair.

Download at DriveThruRPG
Download at DriveThruRPG

Braces of Blades

Metal leg braces with daggers strapped to the sides

Get a free sample from the Limitless Heroics project: Braces of Blades, an assistive device for those with leg weakness, designed for use with crutches.

Download at DriveThruRPG
Download at DriveThruRPG

Limitless Heroics Tables: Using Disability in DnD

Book & Kindle displaying cover: As our heroes fight the hydra, we see just some of the variety of symptoms represented in this book. The paladin has a prosthetic arm to assist with their amputation. The barbarian rages from their wheelchair, providing mobility for their paralyzed legs. The ranger, whose body is more accustomed to an aquatic environment just as someone in the real world may be more comfortable in a quieter or darker sensory environment, finds ways to compensate and keep fighting. The wizard’s vitiligo may not be thought of as a disability, nor should it be, yet many in the real world experience severe discrimination due to unusual skin pigment β€” how many celebrities, corporate executives, or politicians do you know with visibly irregular skin?

Free Preview Explanation

Welcome to the free preview of Limitless Heroics. This page provides tables and instructions for adding traits.

Players & GMs may use this form to communicate their preferences as to which of these to include and avoid in their game.

Download an illustrated PDF with these tables and a guide how to implement it at your table free at DriveThruRPG. Check back here soon for a random generator that turns these tables into a single click.

The full book includes descriptions and full game mechanics for each trait. Each trait also includes assistive options, magical assistance, and real world examples.

LIMITLESS HEROICS yellow letters against swirling black, magenta & cyan background. 5e compatible shield lower left. Book with cover of 4 disabled heroes fighting a hydra on the right.
Missed the Kickstarter? Order now!

100% of content creators hired for this book are disabled, neurodivergent, and/or have mental or chronic illness, and the variety of art styles intentionally reflects the diversity of experiences and expressions of these conditions.

Roll for Traits

Players can either roll for a random disability or discuss disability as part of their character concept with their GM, choosing specific traits, Frequencies, and IEs, keeping tropes to avoid in mind.

Game Masters especially who want to include a realistic percentage of disability in a game world’s population may find these random generators useful to provide a varied population. Fantasy worlds don’t need to have the same clusters of traits that we see in real-world experiences, but it’s also beneficial to use real-world clusters (diagnoses, both common and rare, and which vary by region or get organized differently by different cultures) to better understand the experiences of those around us, which again is why the tables allow you to β€œchoose or roll.” Maybe you’ll do a little of both, or maybe you’ll use your first roll to find a real-world experience that includes that trait and learn more about it.

This suggestion also applies to the traits’ IEs and Frequencies. Instead of using tables to determine these, you may choose a frequency that ties into the narrative that you’re telling together, deciding in advance instead of leaving it to dice rolls.

Many people are afraid to represent these experiences in their games for fear of inaccuracy, but absence isn’t necessarily better, so we designed this book to get you started, to provide guidelines so you could feel free to add this inclusion creatively and respectfully.

Chance of Traits

15–20 percent of people worldwide in real life have some form of disability. In a world with less medical, therapeutic, and nutritional science but additional magic threats, the rate of disability is likely higher. GMs should decide the rate in the campaign world, but consider 20 percent to be the base rate. Roll 1d20, 1–4 indicating a disability. Any given population within that world should expect roughly the same percentage with possible variations based on environment and any number of other factors.

Number and Category of Traits

Many disabilities have multiple traits. Choose or roll on the following table to determine the number of traits your character has. If replicating a real-world cluster or more than one in the same character, you can increase or decrease the quantity.


Next, determine whether those traits are physical or mental. The first trait is equally likely to be physical or mental. (Roll d20: 1βˆ’10 = physical, 11–20 = mental) Subsequent traits are more likely to be in the same category, so add or subtract 2 cumulatively to the roll for the category of each additional trait. (e.g. 4 traits: First roll = 18 (mental), so the next roll would be 1–8 physical and 9–20 mental. Next roll = 10 (mental), so the next roll would be 1–6 physical and 7–20 mental. Next roll = 4 (physical), so the final roll would be 1–8 physical and 9–20 mental.) No matter how the range adjusts, a roll of 1 is always physical, and a 20 is always mental.

Impact Extent (IE)

Each trait can vary in the impact of its expression. Roll on the following table to determine the impact of each trait. See the individual trait descriptions for impact explanations. Unless otherwise stated in the description, any saving throws required by the adverse effects are DC 8 + (IE). Note that the term β€œimpact” and the Extent labels are used for mechanical shorthand to cover a wide variety of traits, but these terms aren’t always appropriate descriptors for their real-world counterparts. Players are encouraged to use more accurate descriptors or just the mechanical number. (e.g. Many neurodiverse traits are not appropriately described as β€œAcute” or with negative connotations; sensory disabilities, such as visual impairment, may be better described as β€œComplete” at IE 4.) If a trait causes an additional experience without a listed IE, choose or roll on this table for the new experience’s IE.

Pushing Through and Masking

You can use significant effort and concentration to force yourself overcome the challenges associated with many traits, temporarily reducing the IE penalties of a trait by expending one Hit Die per IE until the end of the encounter or for 1 minute, whichever is longer. This only affects ability checks, not saving throws, and all rolls to maintain concentration while pushing through are made with disadvantage. You also have advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks to conceal your trait.

1–9Mild (1)
10βˆ’15Moderate (2)
16βˆ’18Substantial (3)
19–20Total (4)


Traits can come and go, sometimes appearing instantly and disappearing as quickly. Others appear and disappear gradually over the course of days. Some can disappear for months or years and suddenly manifest again, and some never go away. Choose or roll on the following table to determine the duration of each trait. (Note: This may not be applicable to many traits. e.g. missing limbs don’t generally come and go without magic. Players and GMs should use discretion for this table and see the trait description.)

All trait descriptions assume the effects only occur while the trait is active, unless otherwise noted.

Variant Rule: Plot Arc-Based Timing

For traits with Periodic Frequency or those that change over extended periods of time, instead of rolling for a number of days between changes or saving throws, depending on the trait description, make the change or roll based on the story arcs in your campaign, such as a climactic moment or after a major event when everyone is recovering. The players should decide how trait timing will be handled when implementing this system.

1Roll TwiceA trait may not fit one of these patterns exactly. Roll twice, and decide how they might combine, such as a trait that is Triggered but fluctuates in IE like Chronic or Frequent but only Periodic throughout a given day.
2RemissionThe trait begins absent. It will recur in 1d100 days, taking 1d4 days to reach full effect. On a roll of 95βˆ’100, roll again and add the rolls together, repeating for each roll of 95βˆ’100. At the end of the time period, the trait gradually disappears over 1d4 days, then roll the same way for the duration of remission.
3–7PeriodicThe trait fluctuates. It will recur in 1d20 days, rerolling cumulatively on a 20, taking 1d100 hours to reach full effect. On a roll of 95–100, roll again and add the rolls together, repeating for each roll of 95–100. At the end of the traits, they gradually disappear over 1d100 hours.
8βˆ’13TriggeredThe trait is triggered randomly or by one or more stimuli (or absence of a stimulus, like withdrawal) as determined by a discussion between the player and GM. The trait lasts as long as the stimulus is present plus 1d100 minutes, extended as above unless otherwise noted. (For absence of stimulus, the trait begins after 1d100 minutes and lasts until the stimulus is restored.) Note that some stimuli may be unknown to the character and seem random until discovering the triggering stimulus.
14βˆ’17FrequentThe trait occurs more often than not but has periods of inactivity. Roll 1d20 every morning. The trait is present all day unless rolling a 19 or 20.
18βˆ’19ChronicThe trait is always present, but if the Extent is more severe than mild, roll 1d20 each morning. The trait for the day is 1 Extent less on a roll of 15βˆ’19 and 2 Extents less on a roll of 20 with a minimum of mild.
20DegenerativeThe trait starts out Mild and gradually becomes Acute in 300d100 days. Once a degenerative trait becomes Acute, the character must succeed on seven daily DC 10 Constitution saving throws or gain a permanent level of exhaustion.Note: Degenerative conditions even in a fictional character, can be emotionally taxing. This RPG is a game, and such a bleak prognosis may take the fun out of the game, and this would work counter to the goal of this book, so the GM should always give a player the choice to reroll this result for the player’s own mental health.That said, the author's own father struggled with a degenerative disease for decades and lived with its accompanying disabilities, and he lived a heroic life in service to others. Many a tale can be told of heroes who finish their quest and ride off into the sunset, knowing their days are numbered, but that lives are meaningful however long they last.Β 

Variant Rule: Good and Bad Days

In addition to overall trends in Frequency, many Traits have a fluctuating IE. Roll 1d20 after a long rest for each applicable trait.

d20 Effect
1–7 Good Day: All IE-related penalties are reduced by 1 (Minimum 0)
8–17 No change
18–20 Bad Day: All IE-related penalties are increased by 1 (Maximum 4)

Trait Descriptions

Physical Traits

For each physical trait, choose or roll to determine appendage or organ system (50/50 chance for each). Then roll on the appropriate table.


3–5Ears (Roll again: 1βˆ’12 = 1 ear; 13–20 = 2 ears)
6–8Eyes (Roll again: 1βˆ’12 = 1 eye; 13–20 = 2 eyes)
13Neck & Back
14βˆ’16Arms & Hands (Roll again: 1βˆ’12 = 1; 13–20 = 2)
17βˆ’19Legs & Feet (Roll again: 1βˆ’12 = 1; 13–20 = 2)


1βˆ’10Diverse Face Shape
11–25Face Cleft
26–45Face Color Difference
46–60Face Paralysis
61–80Face Rash
86βˆ’100Face Tremor


1Diverse Ear Shape
2Hyperacusis (sound sensitivity)
3Diplacusis (double hearing)
4–5Ear Discharge
8βˆ’12Hearing Loss
13βˆ’15Ear Pain

Diverse Ear Shape

One or both of your ears has a shape that’s unusual for your ancestry. Choose or use the following table to determine the unusual shape and effects. This is a permanent condition.

1Diverse Ear Shape
2Hyperacusis (sound sensitivity)
3Diplacusis (double hearing)
4–5Ear Discharge
8βˆ’12Hearing Loss
13βˆ’15Ear Pain

d20Ear Shape
1βˆ’10Miniature or Missing
11βˆ’12Dangling Earlobes


A substance leaks out of your ears. Roll on the table below for the nature and effects of the substance.



02Aquatic Vision
30–32Eye Color Difference
33–34Ocular Diversity
35–39Eyelid Spasms
41–43Missing Eye
44–48Moisture Deficiency
49–54Night Blindness
55–59Eye Pain
60–62Partial Field Blindness/Agnosia
65Periscopic Vision
72–93Refractive Difference
94–99Involuntary Eye Movement
00Thermal Vision


A substance leaks out of your eyes. Roll on the table below for the nature and effects of the substance.


Eye Color Difference

Your eyes are colored outside the usual range of hues typical for your people according to the following table.

d20Eye Region
11βˆ’17Sclera (Whites)
18–20Entire eye

Ocular Diversity

One or both of your eyes are shaped or located outside the range typical for your ancestry. Choose or roll on the following table. Note that this is usually a permanent condition and does not fluctuate, but the player and GM are welcome to determine a magical version that fluctuates based on the Frequency table above. Example stimuli include sunrise/sunset, seasons, or stress.

d20Ocular Diversity
4–5Eyelid Difference
16–19Pupil Difference
20Side Placement

Partial Field Blindness/Agnosia

You’re unable to see or recognize certain areas or features. Choose or roll on the following table.

d20Visual Difference
1–8Closed Angle Vision
9–14Open Angle Vision
15–16Humanoid Agnosia
17–18Animal Agnosia
19–20Topographical Agnosia

Humanoid Agnosia

You are unable to recognize a specific part of a humanoid body or distinguish it from others according to the following table.



17Horn Growth
18Hypersensitive Smell
19–20Nasal Echo

Nose Discharge

A substance leaks out of your nose. Roll on the table below for the nature and effects of the substance.


Nose Difference

50–54Inverted nostrils

Mouth Traits

06–24Mouth Discharge
25–26Mouth Color Difference
27–31Mouth Difference
32–51Moisture Imbalance
54–55Mouth Deterioration
56–65Mouth Pain
66–95Speech Impediment
96–100Tongue Difference


d20Taste Alteration
11–13Discrimination Modification



Mouth Discharge


Mouth Difference

d100Mouth Difference
1–15Chin Shape Difference
16–27Jaw Dislocation
28–37Lip Absence
38–42Minimal Opening
43–48Mouth Location Difference
49–63Misaligned Jaw
64–78Oversized Mouth
79–100Tooth Difference

Chin Shape Difference

d20Chin Shape

Tongue Difference


Neck & Back

01βˆ’15Spine Difference
31–32Neck Length Difference
61–62Spina Bifida
63–89Neck/Back Stiffness
90–94Swallowing Difficulty
95–96Tail Difference
97–100Vocal Cord Difference

Vocal Cord Differences

d20Vocal Cord Difference
1–4Noisy Breathing
5Pitch Irregularity
11–16Uncontrolled Volume

Uncontrolled Volume

IELoud VoiceQuiet Voice
1Conversational volume; can’t talk quieterConversational volume; can’t talk louder
2Always project your voiceAlways mumble
3Always yell as loud as possibleAlways whisper
4Always talk louder than humanly possibleAlways whisper so quietly that enhanced hearing or very close proximity is needed to hear

Arm(s) & Hand(s)

1–8Finger Difference
13–22Missing Arm or Hand
23–32Muscle Control
43–52Arm/Hand Paralysis & Numbness
53–72Arm/Hand Stiffness
73–77Strength Control
78–92Hand Tremor

Finger Difference

d20Finger Difference
1–4Shape Diversity
5–8Missing Fingers

Leg(s) & Foot (/Feet)

01βˆ’10Atypical Toes
32–41Muscle Control & Gait Difference
42–60Leg/Foot Pain
61–70Leg/Foot Paralysis & Numbness
71–85Lower Body Stiffness
86–95Leg Tremor
96–100Leg Weakness

Toe Difference

d20Toe Difference
4–10Missing toes

Foot Difference

d20Foot Difference
1–7Arch Irregularity
8–9Claw Heel
15Prehensile Feet
16–20Toe Walking



Tooth Difference

d20Tooth Difference
1–6Buck Teeth
16Shark Teeth

Organ System

d100Organ System


1–4Altered Growth
8–10Skeletal Difference
17–19Disproportionate Growth

Skeletal Difference



d10Joint Dislocation

Disproportionate Growth

d20Shortened Area
5–7Arms & Hands
8–10Legs & Feet

Head. The reduced size of your head causes (IE) other traits according to the following table, each with its own IE.

2Intellectual Disability
3βˆ’(IE) on Dexterity checks to balance
4Swallowing Difficulties
5Hearing Loss
6Refractory Issues

Neurological Differences

06–08Brain Fog
33–34Language Processing
35–40Memory Loss
59–61Sensory Processing Difference
62–74Sleep Disruptions
75–77Slow Movement
78–87Social Communication Disability
88–89Spatial Neglect
90–91Special Interest
92–93Stimulus Processing Disability
96–100Unrelated Stimulus Reflex


4Limb-Kinetic (Arm)
5Limb-Kinetic (Leg)

Language Processing

You have trouble communicating using language, including speaking, understanding, and writing. Choose or roll on the following table. You have 1d6 of the following patterns.

d20Language Processing Expression
6Reiterative Agraphia
7Specialist Agraphia
8Dysexecutive Agraphia
9Apraxic Agraphia
10Lexical Agraphia
11Semantic Agraphia
12Phonological Agraphia
13Visuospatial Agraphia
15–16Expressive Aphasia
17Receptive Aphasia
18Anomic Aphasia
19–20Global Aphasia

Memory Loss

1–2Anterograde Amnesia
3–6Retrograde Amnesia
7Dissociative Fugue
8–0Traumatic Amnesia


d10Pain Experience
1–5Chronic Pain


d100Seizure Type
1–40Focal Aware Seizures
41–60Focal Impaired Awareness Seizures
61–67Absence Seizures
68–77Myoclonic Seizures
78–82Clonic Seizures
83–88Tonic Seizures
89–93Atonic Seizures
94–100Tonic Clonic Seizures

  • Focal Aware Seizures. You have a strange feeling for (IE)d20 seconds resulting in one of the following experiences.

2Unusual smell or taste: You smell or taste something with no known source. You have a βˆ’(IE) penalty on all Wisdom (Perception) checks related to smell and taste for the duration.
3Amplified Emotion (equally likely enjoyable or uncomfortable)
4Myoclonic Seizure in one random arm
5Numbness in one random limb
6Feeling like one random limb is larger or smaller than it actually is: you have a βˆ’(IE) penalty on all Dexterity attack rolls; ability checks; and saving throws with that limb for the duration.
7Perception of colored or flashing lights: You have a βˆ’(IE) penalty on all Wisdom (Perception) checks involving vision

Sensory Processing Difference

d6Sensory Processing Pattern
1Sensory Over-Responsivity
2Sensory Under-Responsivity
3Sensory Craving
4Vestibular Difference
6Sensory Discrimination Difference

Sensory Discrimination Difference. You have trouble determining variation in 1d4 subtypes of sensory input. Choose or roll on the following table.

d8SDD Subtype

Sleep Disruptions

d100Sleep Disruption
1–6Confusional Arousals
7Exploding Head
41–44Night Terrors
51–52Sleep Aggression
53–55Sleep Behaviors
56–60Sleep Enuresis
61–62Sleep Paralysis
63Sleep Sorcery
64–86Sleep-Related Breathing Disruption
87–88Sleep-Related Hallucinations
89–93Sleep-Related Movements
94–97Sleep-Wake Disruptions

  • Sleep-Wake Disruption Your internal sleep clock does not correspond to your intended pattern. If you cannot follow your internal pattern, follow the rules for Insomnia accordingly.

d101d10 if you have IE 4 BlindnessSleep-Wake Disruption
1–41–3Irregular Rhythm
5–94–7Delayed Phase
108–10Non-synchronized Circadian Rhythm

Spatial Neglect

  • Axis you neglect half of your perceptive field, according to the following table.

1d10Neglected Half

Sense Processing Difference

10Smell & Taste


5Proprioception (movement)


11–14Fine Motor Control Loss
15–17Gross Motor Control Loss
20Paradoxical Myotonia

Endocrine Differences

4–5Delayed puberty
11–14Temperature Intolerance
17–20Weight Difference



Immune System

11βˆ’12Atraitatic Disease Carrier
20Paradoxical Reaction


1Food Allergy
2Venom Allergy
3Airborne Allergy
4Contact Allergy

1Rash+10% DamageRashEye Discharge or Nose Discharge
2Nausea+20% DamageRash + Eye Discharge or Nose DischargeRash + Eye Discharge or Nose Discharge
3Fatigue + Nausea+20% Damage + FaintingRash + NauseaShortness of Breath
4Gain 1 level of exhaustion per roundGain 1 level of exhaustion per roundGain 1 level of exhaustion per roundGain 1 level of exhaustion per round

Paradoxical Reaction

1Double Desired Effect
2–3Opposite Effect
4Random Physical (Appendage) Trait
5–7Random Nervous System Trait
8–9Random Muscular System Trait
10–11Random Endocrine System Trait
12Random Immune System Trait
13–15Random Cardiovascular/Circulatory System Trait
16Random Integumentary System Trait
17–18Random Digestive System Trait
19–20Random Complication

Cardiovascular / Circulatory

1Unique Blood Content
12βˆ’17Shortness of Breath

Unique Blood Content

d20Unique Blood Content
20Volatile Liquid


01–04Chronic Acne
11–13Keratin Distribution Difference
14–16Nails Difference
17βˆ’21Sweat Difference
29–43Hair Growth Differences
44–45Hair Material Difference
68–74Paresthesia & Phantom Pain

Chronic Acne


Sweat Difference


Hair Growth Differences

You have reduced (70%) or excessive (30%) hair growth relative to your ancestry. Choose or roll on the following table.

IEReducedAdditional (Cumulative)
1Missing 50%+ of hair on top of headBody hair noticeably thicker than average
2Bald headNoticeable hair growth in unusual places
3No hair on face & headThick fast-growing facial hair
4No hair on bodyBody; including face; covered in thick hair except nose; palms; & soles

Hair Material Difference

d20Hair Material


01–15Acid Reflux
48–80Food Intolerance
98–100Pervasive Hunger

Food Intolerance

Your body is unable to digest certain foods or ingredients, causing (IE) of the following traits. This trait time is always Triggered.

1Abdominal Cramps
2Acid Reflux
3Baseless Emotion
9Shortness of Breath
10Lower Body Stiffness

Examples of foods causing this reaction include (but are not limited to) the following.

3Egg whites
4Fermentable Oligosaccharides; Disaccharides and Monosaccharides and Polyols (FODMAPs)

Mental Traits

01Animated Hand
02–04Alleviation Behavior
05–07Amplified Emotion
09–11Attention Difference
12–14Baseless Emotion
21–25Diminished Motivation
26–30Disinhibited Social Engagement
31–34Eating Disruption
35–37Emotion Fluctuation
39–42Executive Dysfunction
45–46Intellectual Disability
47Intrusive Thoughts
48–59Learning Difference
60Obsessive Thoughts
61Personality Difference
79–83Repetitive Movement
84–90Startle Amplification
91–95Stimulus Avoidance
96–100Traumatic Flashbacks

Alleviation Behavior

7–10Body-Focused Repetitive Behavior
41–44Material Order
45–47Moral Scrupulosity
53–54Real Event
55–57Reassurance Seeking
58–61Ritual Order
62–64Sensory Stimulation
72–73Spiritual Obsession

Baseless Emotion

5Loss of Interest


99–00Quick-motion phenomenon

Eating Disruption

5–7Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake
8–11Binge Eating
15–16Night Eating

Emotion Fluctuation

1Every 18d20 days2d8 + 5 days
2Every 9d20 days3d8 + 5 days
3Every 2d20 days4d8 + 5 days
4Every 1d20 days5d8 + 5 days



Learning Difference

1d20Learning Difference
19-20Visual Processing

Personality Difference

12–14Attention Seeking
20–22Cognitive and Perceptual Dysregulation
53–55Intimacy Avoidance
69–72Restricted Affectivity
73–81Rigid Perfectionism
82–84Risk Taking
85–86Separation Insecurity
95–97Unusual Beliefs and Experiences


document.getElementById("generate-phobia").addEventListener("click", function() { var phobias = [ "Biomophobia: a specific biome", "Topophobia: a specific location or places like it", "Numerophobia: a specific number", "Ektropophobia: aberrations", "Batrachophobia: amphibians and frog-like creatures", "Thymomenophobia: angry people", "Kallitechnophobia: aristocrats and royalty", "Panoplophobia: armor", "Anthropozoophobia: beast-like humanoids", "Zoophobia: beasts", "Autophobia: being alone", "Catagelophobia: being ridiculed", "Scoptophobia: being stared at", "Aphenphosmphobia: being touched", "Ornithophobia: birds", "Hemophobia: blood", "Bibliophobia: books and scrolls", "Toxophobia: bows and other stringed weapons", "Gephyrophobia: bridges", "Zootryponophobia: burrowing creatures", "Koumpounophobia: buttons", "Wiccaphobia: casters", "Ailurophobia: cats", "Angelophobia: celestials", "Pedophobia: children", "Politophobia: cities", "Ierotikophobia: clerics and clergy", "Kibotophobia: closed containers", "Coulrophobia: clowns", "Trypophobia: clusters of small holes", "Claustrophobia: confined spaces", "Kataskeniphobia: constructs", "Chromozoophobia: creatures of a certain color", "Cornophobia: creatures with horns or antlers", "Pterophobia: creatures with quills and spikes", "Plokamophobia: creatures with tentacles", "Pterugophobia: creatures with wings", "Achluophobia: darkness", "Necrophobia: death or dead things", "Dinosaurophobia: dinosaurs", "Cynophobia: dogs", "Draconophobia: dragons", "Pogonophobia: dwarves", "Stoicheiodiphobia: elementals", "Xotikophobia: elves", "Basophobia: falling", "Neraidophobia: fey creatures", "Daemonophobia: fiends", "Pyrophobia: fire", "Anthophobia: flowers", "Pteromerhanophobia: flying", "Megalophobia: giants", "Nanophobia: gnomes", "Misophobia: halflings", "Acrophobia: heights", "Domatophobia: houses", "Automatonophobia: human-like figures", "Entomophobia: insects", "Astynomiophobia: law enforcement officers", "Technourgimophobia: magic items", "Stratiotophobia: martial classes", "Androphobia: men", "Catoptrophobia: mirrors", "Pithikophobia: monkeys and ape-like creatures", "Teratourgimophobia: monstrosities", "Aichmophobia: needles or pointed objects", "Trypanophobia: needles/injections", "Arithmophobia: numbers", "Chromophobia: one or more colors", "Kalikantzarophobia: one or more monstrous humanoid races such as orcs or goblinoids", "Laspophobia: oozes", "Agoraphobia: open spaces or crowds", "Algophobia: pain", "Anthropophobia: people or society", "Botanophobia: plants", "Herpetophobia: reptiles", "Amaxophobia: riding in a cart or carriage", "Pontikiphobia: rodents", "Katergarophobia: rogues", "Metamorphophobia: shapeshifters", "Microphobia: small animals", "Ophidiophobia: snakes", "Chionophobia: snow and ice", "Glossophobia: speaking in public", "Arachnophobia: spiders", "Bathmophobia: stairs or steep slopes", "Xenophobia: strangers or foreigners", "Sminophobia: swarms", "Noctiphobia: the night", "Tonitrophobia: thunder", "Astraphobia: thunder and lightning", "Chronophobia: time (deadlines and schedules)", "Lilapsophobia: tornadoes and hurricanes", "Haphephobia: touch", "Dendrophobia: trees", "Cacophobia: ugliness", "Apethanatophobia: undead", "Hydrophobia: water", "Aerophobia: wind", "Gynophobia: women" ]; var randomNumber = Math.floor(Math.random() * 100) + 1; var result = phobias[randomNumber - 1]; document.getElementById("result").innerHTML = result; });

1Biomophobiaa specific biome
2Topophobiaa specific location or places like it
3Numerophobiaa specific number
5Batrachophobiaamphibians and frog-like creatures
6Thymomenophobiaangry people
7Kallitechnophobiaaristocrats and royalty
9Anthropozoophobiabeast-like humanoids
11Autophobiabeing alone
12Catagelophobiabeing ridiculed
13Scoptophobiabeing stared at
14Aphenphosmphobiabeing touched
17Bibliophobiabooks and scrolls
18Toxophobiabows and other stringed weapons
20Zootryponoburrowing creatures
27Ierotikophobiaclerics and clergy
28Kibotophobiaclosed containers
30Trypophobiaclusters of small holes
31Claustrophobiaconfined spaces
33Chromozoophobiacreatures of a certain color
34Cornophobiacreatures with horns or antlers
35Pterophobiacreatures with quills and spikes
36Plokamophobiacreatures with tentacles
37Pterugophobiacreatures with wings
39Necrophobiadeath or dead things
47Neraidophobiafey creatures
57Automatonophobiahuman-like figures
59Astynomiophobialaw enforcement officers
60Technourgimophobiamagic items
61Stratiotophobiamartial classes
64Pithikophobiamonkeys and ape-like creatures
66Aichmophobianeedles or pointed objects
69Chromophobiaone or more colors
70Kalikantzarophobiaone or more monstrous humanoid races such as orcs or goblinoids
72Agoraphobiaopen spaces or crowds
74Anthropophobiapeople or society
77Amaxophobiariding in a cart or carriage
81Microphobiasmall animals
83Chionophobiasnow and ice
84Glossophobiaspeaking in public
86Bathmophobiastairs or steep slopes
87Xenophobiastrangers or foreigners
89Noctiphobiathe night
91Astraphobiathunder and lightning
92Chronophobiatime (deadlines and schedules)
93Lilapsophobiatornadoes and hurricanes

Limitless Heroics for 5e (Disability, Neurodiversity, Mental illness Mechanics for DnD)

Book & Kindle displaying cover: As our heroes fight the hydra, we see just some of the variety of symptoms represented in this book. The paladin has a prosthetic arm to assist with their amputation. The barbarian rages from their wheelchair, providing mobility for their paralyzed legs. The ranger, whose body is more accustomed to an aquatic environment just as someone in the real world may be more comfortable in a quieter or darker sensory environment, finds ways to compensate and keep fighting. The wizard’s vitiligo may not be thought of as a disability, nor should it be, yet many in the real world experience severe discrimination due to unusual skin pigment β€” how many celebrities, corporate executives, or politicians do you know with visibly irregular skin?

When you play a tabletop role-playing game like 5e, you want to be the hero. The world is different for you having been there, better. What if you could make the real world better by playing an RPG?! That’s what Limitless Heroics is all about. Limitless Heroics is the most comprehensive disability compendium ever created for a Tabletop Role-Playing GameFor Fifth Edition, it provides:

  • 640 Pages of content!
  • 450+ Traits: Game mechanics for nearly every condition or trait in existence (plus some fantasy traits, because that’s what you should expect in a world with magic) with 4 Impact Extents, and 6 Frequencies. With 1–6 traits per character (or more), that’s 64,800+ combinations with the option to add more. (Free Sample Trait: Blindness)
  •  78 Random tables to choose or generate the traits, their Impact Extent, and their frequency (Get a free ashcan sample with all the tables from the book.)
  •  200+ New Magic Items and an online random generator for thousands more! Nearly every trait includes mundane and magic assistive options. (Free Sample Assistive Magic Item: Braces of Blades
  •  4 New Monster Stat Blocks because sometimes, the disability or assistive device is a creature.
  •  6 New Spells because sometimes, assistance comes from a spellbook
  • Service animals designed as classes (similar to sidekicks)
  • 50 Example NPCs, fully illustrated, ready to use
  • A one-shot adventure
  •  Thousands of real world examples so players can learn more and better represent the traits
  •  Tutorials: Opening articles discuss how and why to implement these options, how to discuss it with your players, and common tropes to avoid. You have all the tools here to run an inclusive campaign. 

Our website will have a free random generator to simplify determining character traits, but you’ll need the book for the descriptions and mechanics, or you can use the included tables to choose or roll manually.

We talked to dozens of people with diverse conditions to make sure our game mechanics represented their experiences before writing it, and over 900 people looked at the manuscript draft, and we got 90 pages of feedback from their experiences!

All writers, editors, and artists hired for this book are disabled, neurodivergent, and/or have mental or chronic illness. 

Book Accessibility

  • Dyslexia-friendly layout
  • PDF, txt/csv, and ePub versions
  • Fully screen reader accessible
  • Indexed audio version included with every purchase

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Real World Benefits

We believe that this resource will help you normalize disabilities in your life and the lives of other players. Non-disabled people can sometimes feel uncomfortable around disabled people or don’t know how to talk or act.  This resource allows you to practice in an imaginary world to equip you with empathy and skills to feel increasingly comfortable doing that in the real world.And those with disabilities now have a way to represent their experience in-game to feel empowered and to help others see them more clearly.Imagine what we could communicate to the world when all those actual play Twitch streams include disabled characters!

This is a movement.

Limitless Heroics is more than an RPG book. It’s a petition. By supporting this project, you communicate to every game publisher on earth that disabled people exist and can easily be included in their games, that the customers want that representation, and that accessibility and representation are necessary core features for future products.Imagine companies and organizations seeing the success of this movement beyond the RPG community and how that would affect their decisions in the future. Imagine how you as RPG players who work in every industry can work for change to overcome ableism because of what you and your players learned while rolling dice at the RPG table.Imagining is what we do best, but we can use fantasy to change reality. Maybe RPGs have some real world magic after all. Support this project with the 2,287 backers and others who ordered it since, and mark this day on your calendar and social media as the day you helped change the world.

About the Players Edition

The Players Edition of Limitless Heroics includes everything in the full book except the adventure, magic items, and NPCs, reducing the size and associated costs by 346 pages. If you plan to use these resources in settings where you need multiple copies (e.g. schools, clinics, community organizations, etc.), this will save you some money.

We met these stretch goals, all of which are included.

$25,000: Complications & Prostheses

Once we hit the $25,000 goal, we added additional complications and magical prosthetics. Some experiences are not traits of various conditions, but complications that result from them, such as infections, concussions, secondary depression, and intoxication. Once we hit this goal, we added 20 complications to the book and 20 Magical Prostheses.

$30,000: 10 NPCs

Similar to our previously published Disabled NPC of the Week but with more details, our character team added 10 NPCs (Non-Player Characters) with full backgrounds, personality details, disabilities, and artwork to the book. These are in addition to the characters created for the Create a Character and DELUXE Create a Character rewards and add-ons, which will be included automatically.

$40,000: The Horror of the Shade

$40,000: One-Shot Adventure: Horror of the Shade by Theo Kogod

When a caravan makes camp in the shadow of crumbling ruins, they awaken an ancient revenant and are transported to a dark eldritch dimension. To escape back to the physical world, they will need to fight their way past the undead shade or risk being trapped forever.

$50,000: Service Animals 

We included a chapter to implement service animals into your game, both real world and fantasy animals, including rules for training and how to use them. This section is written by Brittney Hay with service animal trainer and user consultation.

Content Warning

This book contains descriptions and game mechanics for nearly every physical, mental, and emotional condition in existence and a few that don’t exist, including physical, mental, and emotional trauma and all manner of illnesses, including an entry on phobias and mention or illustrations of possible phobic triggers. If it can happen to your mind and/or body, it’s probably here. For those who would have difficulty with any of that, please be aware of that likelihood. Use the table of contents to avoid difficult sections, or give this book to a trusted friend, and let them comb through it for the details you need to build your character while skipping past the traumatic entries.


Dale Critchley (Owner, Wyrmworks Publishing) Primary author of Limitless Heroics, Dale Critchley is the owner, lead writer, and chief tea drinker at Wyrmworks Publishing. He’s been playing tabletop role-playing games since 1982 and launched Wyrmworks Publishing as a hobby in 2000 to share his homebrew resources with the world. In 2021, after seeing the power that a TTRPG group can have to change the lives of the participants for the better, he rededicated Wyrmworks Publishing to focus on using TTRPGs to intentionally improve the lives of others and turned a hobby into a full time pursuit. 

Beth the Bard, Layout Editor is the author of “She is the Ancient: A Genderbent Curse of Strahd” guidebook, now a Platinum best-seller on DMs Guild. She’s also a general TTRPG writer, graphic designer, and professional dungeon master.

Joie Martin, Cover Layout & Layout Contributor owns Drowning Moon Studios, a roleplaying game publisher that has produced over a dozen titles and two anthologies since being founded in 2017. They have been writing, developing, editing, and doing layout and graphic design for tabletop and live action roleplaying games since 1996. Beyond roleplaying games, Joie has produced content for a variety of markets, including ARGs, interactive theater, and immersive experiences. They have been a key speaker on panels about roleplaying game design at events such as DragonConMomoCon, and Metatopia, and was Head Judge for the 2020 IDGN Indie Groundbreaker Awards.

Naomi Hazlett: Copy Editor, Sensitivity ConsultantNaomi Hazlett, Bsc., MScOT, OT Reg. (Ont.) is a writer, editor, and occupational therapist with chronic pain. She is neurodiverse, queer, and lives with chronic pain and mental illness. Her work has most recently focused on social accountability, diversity, and inclusion in occupational therapy and gaming, including the adoption of a critical disability lens. Naomi has played and run TTRPGs for over 20 years; she has worked with organizations including Level Up Gaming, BALANCE for Blind Adults, and LOFT Community Services to run accessible TTRPGs, and consults for D&D Beyond. Naomi has multiple publications in academic journals, magazines, blogs, and poetry collections, and is currently the Managing Editor of the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists’ national magazine, Occupational Therapy Now. She can be found online at @naomi_hazlett or can be reached via email

Melissa Critchley, Sensitivity Consultant, lives with multiple disabilities.  She has worked in the disability field for over 15 years and holds a graduate level certificate in Disability Policy and Services from the University of Minnesota in addition to her interdisciplinary master’s degree. She also recently completed an advanced certificate in Equity and Diversity and is an advocate for social justice and equitable societal change.Melissa has played quite a few tabletop RPG games through the decades which include Shadowrun, BESM, D20 Modern, Mutants and Masterminds, and Star Wars.  However until we were confined to our homes during Covid quarantines, Melissa hated D&D.  A good friend invited her to play over Discord, and despite her objections, convinced her that she “never had him as a DM.” It didn’t take long before she changed her mind about D&D, and it’s now her favorite game.

Simone Arnold, Sensitivity Consultant, Character Creation Team Simone Arnold MA, Certified Geek Therapist, is a neurodivergent, queer clinical mental health counselor in the state of Vermont. They have been working in the mental health field since 2013 across a variety of settings including as a crisis clinician and currently as a counselor at a designated agency. Through this they’ve had the opportunity to work with people across the disability spectrum. They are also establishing their own private practice that is queer friendly with a special focus on ADHD and Autism. Simone has been gaming since 2012 and has had the opportunity to play across an array of systems including D&D 5e, Pathfinder, Dread, Thirsty Sword Lesbians, Call of Cthulhu and more.

Matthew Rickmon, Sensitivity Consultant, Character Creation Team, Certified Therapeutic Game Master, owns Tabletop For Growth (IGTwitter), a business dedicated to helping people learn interpersonal skills and develop core values through interactive tabletop games. Matthew has a Bachelor of Science in psychology and a Master of Divinity with a focus in pastoral counseling. He is a Certified Therapeutic Game Master and Certified Geek Specialist through Geek Therapeutics. He lives with multiple chronic illnesses: Crohn’s Disease, Irritable Bowel, and Psoriasis. He also strongly suspects he is neurodivergent. Matthew has been writing stories and running in-person and live-streamed tabletop roleplaying games from his home in California since 2019. Beyond running roleplaying games, he maintains a strong partnership with The Erika Legacy Foundation, a mental health awareness and suicide prevention non-profit in Canada. Painting and writing tend to take up his free time when he’s not being yelled at by his cat, Mr. Fox, for more pets.

Theo Kogod

Theo Kogod is a genderfluid writer, editor, educator, and activist. Diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD, Theo learned to read at the age of ten, then attempted writing their first novel a year later. They have written for numerous publications, including the websites CBR, Screen Rant, The Gamer, and The Comics Vault, as well as the podcast Enter the Fanboy. In 2014, Theo helped found the magazine 3 Feet Left as its Resident Writer. Their fiction has been published in Diabolical PlotsStarward Shadows, and the cli-fi anthology A Flash of Silver Green: Stories of the Nature of Cities 2099, among other places. They are a lifelong storyteller and nerd who has been running D&D and other tabletop RPGs for over 15 years. You can find them at @TKogod

Brittney Hay is a non-binary ENNIE-nominated bestselling TTRPG writer and creator. They are a full-time geeky nerd mom who enjoys reading, cooking and all things nerdy.

Amy Weisner

Amy Weisner is a second year occupational therapy student at the University of Toronto. She has been playing TTRPGs for the past five years, including D&D 5e, Call of Cthulhu, and most recently the Avatar TTRPG. She has a degree in Child and Youth Care, and has worked in many settings and roles including community outreach and within the school systems. Through her experience, she has worked with individuals from all walks of life, including people from across the spectrum of disability and mental health. Amy is a passionate advocate, with experience presenting on social justice issues  and advocating for clients. She has most recently begun a fieldwork placement with OT Naomi Hazlett at Level Up Gaming, assisting with running therapeutic TTRPGs for neurodiverse young adults and working on projects to make TTRPGs more accessible.


We intentionally assembled an eclectic team of artists to reflect the diversity of experiences and expressions of these conditions:

Kalman Andrasofszky (Insta) is a freelance illustrator, comic book artist, writer, and educator in Toronto, a longtime member of the R.A.I.D. Studio, and newly diagnosed with ADHD. In 20+ years as a creative professional, Kalman has worked with many clients such as Marvel Entertainment, DC Comics, Wizards of the Coast, Shaftesbury Films, UNESCO, Portfolio Entertainment, and TekSavvy, among others, creating content for such brands as X-Men, Avengers, Batman, Star Wars, Dungeons & Dragons, Murdoch Mysteries, and PG: Psycho Goreman. Kalman reinvigorated the classic Canadian superhero property Captain Canuck by both rebooting and adding many new concepts and characters to significantly expand the scope of the brand into a dynamic sci-fi shared universe. When not writing and drawing too many things at once, Kalman can be found retro-gaming on his vintage SEGA Genesis system.

Additional Artists

Additional Sensitivity Consultants

In addition to our primary sensitivity consultants, we discussed traits and game mechanics with hundreds of others as part of the research for this book to reflect their lived experiences as closely as possible. That list is too long to include here, but many of their names are included in the book’s credits, and we can’t express enough how grateful we are for their help.


We appreciate all who have helped us get the word out about this project on podcasts and in the press.

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Should you have disabled PCs in your TTRPG? (Part 2 of 2)

blue disability symbol with a d20 replacing the wheelchair wheel

In my previous post, I discussed whether you should have disabled characters in your Dungeons & Dragons or other tabletop role-playing game. I won’t rehash that discussion, so if you haven’t, read it first.

So people have said, β€œSure, disabled (non-player) characters make sense, but adventurers?” Let’s take a look at the most common arguments against disabled PCs.

Again, it’s not a question of what you should do, but whether this is harmful or beneficial. It’s a question of whether it will benefit your players and you as the DM. It’s a question of whether having disabled PCs in your party will make a difference in the real world. It may seem like a fantasy game wouldn’t make a difference in the real world, but when we play in interactive fantasy worlds, it affects our real world minds β€” players are affected by their characters.

Why would a disabled character choose to be an adventurer?

β€œWhy would they choose a lifestyle that’s likely to get them killed?” This question has two erroneous assumptions:

  1. Adventurers usually choose to be adventurers as a career path.
  2. Disabled characters are more likely to get killed adventuring than non-disabled people.

We’ll address #2 below, but look at your characters’ backgrounds. How many of them chose to be adventurers? How many of them were chosen, either by desperation or some other external event or circumstance?

In most fantasy worlds, adventurers are relatively rare. Most people never travel farther than a few miles from home their entire lives, needing to stay close to the family home, farm, or business, where multiple generations have lived. While fame and fortune are appealing, until the invention of the internal combustion engine, people didn’t usually travel unless compelled to by catastrophe, persecution, governmental obligation (i.e. military or diplomatic), or religious pilgrimage unless they had a lot of money.

A character beginning their adventuring career disabled might do so for multiple reasons related to their disability, such as the catastrophe that caused their disability or rejection by their ableist village or family. But they also might do so for any of the other reasons that lead people to think their chances in life are better staring down the smoking maw of a dragon, like rescuing a loved one, growing in their understanding of the arcane, the β€œcause of righteousness,” or revenge. Because they are persons, they begin with all the potential reasons for a person to become an adventurer. Because they have disabilities, they have even more potential reasons. A complex character would have multiple reasons that culminated in their decision.

Why would a party put up with a disabled character?

People with disabilities are people, not burdens. Any suggestion to the contrary indicates more about you than about disabled people. People are to be valued, not tolerated, regardless of any of their characteristics.

But are disabled adventurers a liability to the party? Everyone has strengths and challenges. Often, our challenges strengthen us. Other times, they’re just extra challenges. In Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition, characters have opportunities to add depth to their characters with characteristics like bonds and flaws, and a character with a loose tongue or short temper is more likely to cause a problem for a party than a character with a disability.

How could a disabled adventurer survive?

Everyone has strengths and challenges, so everyone learns to use their strengths to compensate for their challenges. If you live in poverty, you learn to stretch your funds. If you work far from home, you get a vehicle that helps you get back and forth efficiently. If you’re blind, you learn to use your other senses to navigate the world using cues from your other senses.

We use tools like swords to compensate for a lack of natural weapons, mail for a lack of natural armor, or a walking stick for lack of vision, wheelchair for a lack of being able to stand or walk a long time, or ear plugs for a lack of tolerance for loud noises.

And we depend on each other. Most adventuring parties have a wide range of abilities, whether martial prowess, skill specialties, or spell casting. A dragonborn may consider lack of natural armor as any physical, mental, or emotional disability, and to the average dungeon-delver, that same sighted dragonborn without Darkvision is at a much greater disadvantage than a totally blind human, but both need help from the rest of the party.

Why wouldn’t a disabled PC cure themselves?

In a world full of healing magic, while a player who is disabled in real life may want to play a character like themselves who overcomes obstacles, what in-game reason would a character have for eschewing healing magic to fix them?

Aside from the general rarity of high level clerics who can cast greater restoration, which still doesn’t work on congenital disabilities, this question fails to recognize the perspective of many people with disabilities. When a person has had a disability for many years, they get used to navigating the world with it. Many deaf people who could get a cochlear implant choose not to and feel perfectly whole without it. Many people with autism are terrified of having a hypothetical cure forced on them. While a non-disabled person can’t imagine choosing to keep a disability or neurodivergence, that stems more from our fear of the unknown or needing to adapt in new ways than the overall change in quality of life.

It’s difficult for the DM

Accessibility is inherent in good adventure design, adapting the campaign for the Player Characters. If a ranger has fiends as a preferred enemy, the Dungeon Master needs to make sure to include fiends as enemies. If a warlock has The Fathomless as a patron, the Dungeon Master needs to make sure to include some seafaring adventures. Depending on the trait, disabilities are even easier than class features. Disabilities put more responsibility on the rest of the party than on the DM, as the party needs to work together to support each other just as the barbarian usually takes the lead in battle, and the wizard typically stays back.

So is it beneficial?

Having established that playing a disabled or neurodivergent character isn’t detrimental to a party, so there’s no reason not to include them, do players have a good reason to play them? Is it beneficial?

Given that disability is the largest minority in the world, every player will encounter members of that demographic and likely become part of it eventually. By playing that role and learning firsthand how people navigate the world with disabilities, they will develop empathy and respect, they will learn firsthand to dispel rumors, and they will be more welcoming to a wider variety of people.

If you’d like help introducing disabled characters into your game, I encourage you to check out Limitless Heroics!

Should you have disabled characters in your Dungeons & Dragons game? (Part 1 of 2)

blue disability symbol with a d20 replacing the wheelchair wheel

On the release of our first Accessible Adventure of the Week, the question arose, as it always seems to, β€œWhy would I play a disabled character? They wouldn’t last 10 minutes in a dungeon!” While this led to some interesting discussions, it’s a question people will ask, whether openly or in their minds. So as we prepare for not only many more of these adventures and NPCs, but also the Limitless Heroics book that will provide fifth edition game mechanics for nearly every trait in existence, the question is worth asking and exploring.

Personally, I’m not a fan of β€œshould” or any sense of moral superiority (not that I’m innocent of it β€” it’s a tempting trap), but I’ve come to see the world and decisions in terms of β€œharmful” and β€œbeneficial” (and certainly some decisions are neutral as they’re neither of the former). (Maybe this paradigm could help with all the hand-wringing about alignment in D&D β€” probably not.)

So then are disabled characters in D&D beneficial? (For brevity, when I say, β€œDisabled,” I’m referring to all matters of disability and illness, whether physical, mental, or emotional, and all varieties of neurodiversity.) My bias is obvious, but then why is it beneficial?

  • Representation. People want to be able to play someone like them and have characters appear in the game that communicate, β€œYou are welcome here. You belong.”
  • Encountering the Other. Role-play is a powerful teaching tool that allows us to experience and walk through various life situations with minimal consequences that will allow us to avoid negative consequences when we encounter an analogous situation in real life. So when we learn to interact with a disabled character in-game, we’re learning to interact with a disabled person in real life and become more comfortable around them, but if we accidentally say or do something harmful, we can learn from the mistake without actually harming someone (or at least less so β€” players are real people).
  • Experiencing the Other. By playing a disabled character, we can get a small taste of the challenges someone with those traits experiences (a very small taste, since we can turn it on and off at will and only imagine the experience), but if we play them with complexity as we would any other character, we learn to see disabled people as complex people, not cardboard stereotypes or inspiration porn.
  • Cooperation. One of the most important lessons I’ve personally learned in the writing of Disabilities & Depth is the benefit that I as a non-disabled person can be to disabled people. We all need each other β€” independence is a harmful lie. Shorter people ask me (6’3″) to get items off top shelves at stores. Blind people may ask you to describe something for them. Having a slight hearing impairment, I often ask, when the TV captions are unreliable, β€œWhat did they say?” D&D is an inherently cooperative game, and learning how best to cooperate with disabled people in-game will help us be more sensitive and helpful in real life.
  • Acknowledging the reality. It’s easy for non-disabled people to wish away disabilities, and when it’s not part of every moment of every day or a significant amount of any given day, its easy to forget that disability exists β€” it’s not something non-disabled people think about. And when we’re not considering the existence of disabled people, we’re not considering the needs of disabled people, which leads to ableism through ignorance. The more we recognize that disabled people are part of our world, the more we expect to see them in all representations of existence without it seeming odd, just as a world lacking women would seem odd (and probably the main point of the narrative or campaign world). Think about that β€” a fantasy world without disabled people should have, β€œWhere are all the disabled people?” as a primary narrative. If that’s not the point of the story, ask yourself why you chose to alter that aspect of reality and what that decision means.

But then we need to consider the converse: is excluding disabled characters from D&D beneficial, harmful, or neutral?

I just showed how, at the very least, it’s odd. It doesn’t make sense. Even in a world with healing spells, at the very least, even greater restoration can’t restore a limb that was never there in the first place. Plus, clerics and other healers are rare. Not every clergy is a cleric. And not every cleric is high enough level to cast more than a daily cure wounds or two. There’s simply not enough healing magic for every injury and illness, especially when plagues sweep through. And then there’s socio-economic factors. (The king doesn’t want people camping outside the castle so the high priestess can come through and select some for healing each day β€” she should save those spell slots for him emergencies!)

Is it beneficial in the sense of escapism? When you play D&D, you’re going to a fantasy world that doesn’t have real world problems, right? Because that green dragon is nothing like your conniving boss? That bullying ogre is nothing like your obnoxious coworker or classmate? If you play D&D for the power fantasy, how does the presence of disabled people interrupt that? These questions are not accusations β€” they’re questions for self-reflection.

Is it harmful to exclude disabled people from your game world? What about excluding people with dark skin? What about excluding women from adventuring roles? Like any other people group, it’s beneficial for your own self-awareness to ask yourself, β€œWhy does my fantasy world include the kinds of people that it does and exclude the kinds that it does? Why did I make that decision, even if it wasn’t a conscious decision? What have I learned about myself?” It also begs the question, β€œWhen I have the opportunity to be beneficial at little or no cost to myself and choose not to, is that inherently harmful?”

How does using disabled characters relate to the goal of D&D?

When I was in high school, our D&D group was at a church lock-in (overnight party). During free time, we found an unused room and played D&D. People would stop by and listen in and invariably ask, β€œWho’s winning?” All the players would point at the DM and say, β€œHE IS!” But in reality, we were all winning. We were having a great time. We were bonding with each other, learning teamwork, practicing math, and benefiting in all the ways D&D is beneficial. To me, the goal of D&D is to have fun, regardless whether we complete the quest as expected.

That said, there’s a sense of satisfaction in completing the quest, in powering up, in gaining loot or recognition or all the many goals players have for their characters. But does disability detract from that?

There’s a reason each character class has limitations β€” the game is no fun if you can literally do anything. Were that the case, you wouldn’t need dice (and could give them all to me!). No, the game is about facing challenges and finding creative solutions to those challenges with help from your allies. But isn’t that the life of a disabled person? If anything, a disabled character who still uses class abilities is the quintessential D&D character β€” someone with disadvantages and challenges who isn’t helpless and can achieve their goals, not in spite of their challenges, but regardless of their challenges, because while their challenges are part of them, they don’t define them.

So then should we pressure or require disabled characters?

Again with the β€œshould” β€” what is harmful or beneficial? Forcing someone to play a disabled character would not be beneficial. It would not be fun. They would learn the wrong lesson.

I’ve also learned that moral pressure to do anything is harmful β€” it leads to resentment or self-righteousness, and either way, it never lasts or actually changes hearts and minds.

Rather, the more we introduce disabled characters as NPCs or through other players who would like to do so, the more we offer and demonstrate the benefits of doing so, but that’s only possible when we normalize the presence of competent and capable disabled characters in the game world.

I welcome your thoughts in the comments below. If you, like me, would like to include the benefits of disabled characters in your game, I invite you to sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss our resources that will help you do that, many of which are free.

Note: This is the first of 2 in a series. Read Part 2 Here.