D&D General Do you like LOTS of races/ancestries/whatever? If so, why?

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Zardnaar

Legend
Not realistic unfortunately. If you let it in the world, your players will.often insist on playing it, especially if its distinctly "weird-looking". That's been my experience.

That's fine if that's what DM is wanting.

I like Midgard for example over FR. Has more races that are built into the setting.

FR theoretically has anything goes for the most part only a few matter and classic Elfitis.
 

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MGibster

Legend
I understand what you mean, but could you possibly have picked two worse examples of species diversity killing the wonder of a setting? The Mos Eisley Cantina scene’s entire raison d'etre is to make the world of the film feel more wondrous than our own, and Pirates of Dark Water was just a fantastic, diverse adventure show.
You bring up a valid point, the Mos Eisley cantina scene is an iconic moment in 20th century science fiction, hell, in 20th century cinematic history. What makes it work so well is that in just a few seconds it establishes that we're truly in a galaxy far, far away. It doesn't hurt that it looks cool and the music really "slaps" as hip youngers are prone to saying these days. Why doesn't a similar approach work for D&D then (for me it doesn't work)?

In 1977, this is something most audiences had't seen before and it wowed them. These days, a similar scene wouldn't have as much of an impact as it did 45 years ago. Maybe D&D is like that. At first, it was pretty cool that you could be a dwarf, an elf, or a hobbit halfling, but it didn't take long before that got stale. So they started adding more and more options. Now we didn't have to be a boring played out elf, we could be a tiefling or a goliath or something.

One of my biggest gripes about D&D is that it doesn't matter what race you pick, and with recent changes in how you pick your lineage, that choice matters even less now. Play through just about any published adventure, and it doesn't matter if your Fighter is a halfling, half-orc, human, or elf. And I suppose this is to be expected given that the adventure has to cater to the needs of a very, very broad audience. I prefer games/settings where there are a limited number of races, but one in which it matters which one you choose. i.e. I want the choice to matter.

But maybe I should lighten up. I ran Star Wars games for years and didn't care about the Mos Eisley effect. We could have a group made up of a Wookie, Sullistan, Chiss, Human, and Bothan and I wouldn't bat an eye knowing that I could replace all of them with humans and the adventure would still run almost exactly the same. Sounds like this is just a me problem.
 


Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
You bring up a valid point, the Mos Eisley cantina scene is an iconic moment in 20th century science fiction, hell, in 20th century cinematic history. What makes it work so well is that in just a few seconds it establishes that we're truly in a galaxy far, far away. It doesn't hurt that it looks cool and the music really "slaps" as hip youngers are prone to saying these days. Why doesn't a similar approach work for D&D then (for me it doesn't work)?

In 1977, this is something most audiences had't seen before and it wowed them. These days, a similar scene wouldn't have as much of an impact as it did 45 years ago. Maybe D&D is like that. At first, it was pretty cool that you could be a dwarf, an elf, or a hobbit halfling, but it didn't take long before that got stale. So they started adding more and more options. Now we didn't have to be a boring played out elf, we could be a tiefling or a goliath or something.

One of my biggest gripes about D&D is that it doesn't matter what race you pick, and with recent changes in how you pick your lineage, that choice matters even less now. Play through just about any published adventure, and it doesn't matter if your Fighter is a halfling, half-orc, human, or elf. And I suppose this is to be expected given that the adventure has to cater to the needs of a very, very broad audience. I prefer games/settings where there are a limited number of races, but one in which it matters which one you choose. i.e. I want the choice to matter.

But maybe I should lighten up. I ran Star Wars games for years and didn't care about the Mos Eisley effect. We could have a group made up of a Wookie, Sullistan, Chiss, Human, and Bothan and I wouldn't bat an eye knowing that I could replace all of them with humans and the adventure would still run almost exactly the same. Sounds like this is just a me problem.
See, every group i run in a world with many races is like you say, but no human. There's no baseline, so it all just feels chaotic and random to me. I can't really "see" the party in my mind, so it's hard to run an adventure for them.
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
Even as a kid I wasn't awed by the cantina. It didn't create wonder. It made me think it didn't matter what any of these species looked like. They were just degenerates in a bar. It could have been Vegas. Actual characters like Chewie and Jabba and Yoda make the universe feel full of strange and interesting inhabitants.
 

toucanbuzz

No rule is inviolate
...Not only does too many races kill the wonder of non-human characters, but I feel like they become mechanical shticks and themes and there's nothing otherwise distinct about the races as cultures. They are just humans with funny hats and stat bonuses.
That's my feeling. And caveat - it's my feeling, not my belief that I'm right and everyone else is wrong.

We just started a 5E Dragonlance campaign, old-school style with races. It's my favorite setting, along with Dark Sun, because of the richness of cultures and how detailed they were. You aren't playing an "elf." You're playing a Qualinesti griffon rider whose people split from their Silvanesti cousins after a prolonged war involving sins of brother vs. brother, although despite all your moral high grounds on that matter your people still enslave the "lesser" Kagonesti wild elves. Or you're playing a Hylar dwarf who remembers how the Neidar dwarves betrayed them after the Cataclysm and attacked the dwarven mountain to plunder it. If you're so inclined, you can find AD&D material involving songs, recipes(!), creation myths, and so on involving your culture.

My feeling is the more races I offer up, the more I feel they're just window dressing. They don't really have a place carved in the world through eons of strife, artistic contribution, etc. They're a gimmick: a cool racial ability + they look different than a human. They are there to remind you the world is a big place. But a game world can be just as rich a place with a lesser amount of races with more diverse subcultures.
 
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cbwjm

Seb-wejem
depends on what I'm playing. I prefer a smaller number of races for a setting but if it's just a generic world then I don't really care, as in, if it is just a series of adventures with little to no world development, then I say go all in. Its how I ended up with an average human, a sexy goblin (from Ac. Inc.), a faerie hombrew race, a clumsy elephant man, and a dwaaarf (just a regular dwarf but he really dragged out those A's).

For a game in dragonlance or dark sun or birthright, I'd play with limited races.
 

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
I like a setting or campaign to have as many races as it needs.

Kitchen sinks have their place and can certainly be fun, but my usual preference is for a highly curated selection. To me that makes a game feel more thematically cohesive.

Just a few races in a campaign doesn't necessarily mean "core four", of course. It's definitely nice to have a big bank of possible races to choose from in order to build that curated list.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
Sometimes it seems like the thing most homebrewers and 3PP alike do is create new races. Tons of them. I think 5E has an official count of what, 40, playable races? The number quickly reaches into the hundreds if you include all the 3PP content. The same thing can be seen over at paizo, and you even see folks creating tons of races for OSR style fantasy games.

My question is: does that appeal to you? Do you like a campaign world that has dozens or even hundreds of player option races? If so, why? What's the upside?

I would not conflate "There are dozens of races available to be played" with "There are dozens of races in the game world".

I'm happy to have loads of races detailed, so players can find one that inspires their play. I don't generally select a subset for my world, from which players may choose. I generally let the players choose, and then build the game world around those choices.

If someone wants to play a dragonborn paladin - boom! there are dragonborn. If nobody chooses dragonborn, they won't show up unless or until I have a specific narrative use for them.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Whats wrong with Pirates of Dark Water?

Anyway I loathe too many races and will insist on a small curated pallette.
Im quite happy with a set of human, variant human, x-human and gnome:)
 

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