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

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Vaalingrade

Legend
No offense, but I am pretty sure I haven't. A player that wants to play a non-setting race, one where the DM has done the work to create the setting, is not demanding, they are being rude, or at best ignorant. A DM that has done little or no work to create the setting, and just says no to the player is being rude, or at best, ignorant. ;)
Here's the thing:

All this stuff about all the hard work the DM has to do to incorporate a non-setting species... is bunk.

There is no requirement for the DM to do any extra work at all. That's something people are using as an excuse or a self-imposed limitation to put on themselves. There doesn't need to be a hidden elf village. There doesn't need to be some grant treatise of where their people came from. You don't even need to remember to throw in NPCs of the type if you don't want to.

How many times have you had someone play and elf and ask for storytime about how the elves came to be the prettiest ponies of all? I'd wager never.

All the DM has to do. ALL they have to do is not make an issue of it.

People are either putting extra work on themselves and blaming the players, or they are so vehemently against another person's having fun they don't approve of that they will claim to totally ruins their fun as a defense of their attempts to take fun away from the other guy.
 

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Oofta

Legend
You are confused on the Why question.

The Why Question is "Why do you want to play a (banned race/class/whatever)?".

The DM who isn't even attempting to find an allowed PC for the player to run is unreasonable. The DM should want players to play their game.

So what qualifies as a good reason to have a curated list of races? Who gets to decide?
 

This topic comes up a lot, and it’s hard to say ‘I like having all the options available’ and not have it sound like you’re against a curated list. Or not have it be framed as player vs DM as has been the case again in this thread.
Surely, then, we must break the false dichotomy by making each one more nuanced?

"I have certain options I love, and would really really like to play unless it is an absolutely intolerable burden" is quite a bit less strident than "I want every option available every single time." Likewise, "I have certain setting concepts I want to explore, and would very much appreciate efforts to support, rather than detract from, those concepts" is a lot less strident than "here's the list, play something on it or get out" that is so often presented here. And, as a lovely bonus, both of these come with the implication that discussion and compromise are possible, while recognizing that some things are still a bridge too far, rather than the incredibly frustrating constant push toward "oh so if I can't forbid whatever I want whenever I want for literally any reason or no reason at all, it's an ABSOLUTE ETERNAL FREE-FOR-ALL?!" that keeps plaguing this conversation.

As a player it doesn’t really worry me if there’s a curated list, I like to play to the theme so it‘s rare that I can’t find something that would be fun from any given set of options. I‘d still prefer to be given a theme, be it a setting such as Dragonlance or Ravenloft, or something more vague, like a pirate swashbuckling campaign, rather than just be given a list of what’s banned.
Same. By that same token, I also don't necessarily have a high opinion of hyper-restrictive themes most of the time. "Historically-accurate 13th century France" leaves me cold, mostly because it is cutting out most of the fantasy. "Everyone is a centaur from the same tribe, no classes other than this list of six, you all must be just beginning your coming of age" similarly turns me off, because at that point we may as well just be playing pregens, which is something I have zero interest in. (I've considered it before, and never found a single pregen character to be interesting enough that I would actually want to play them.)

It's more that as a DM I prefer to have no limits beyond the options officially published. Part of the fun of world building for me is finding ways to write new races into my homebrew setting. I also want the players to be engaged and into the game as much as possible, and letting them play the thing that they're most excited about is a big part of that.
Fully agreed on all counts. I find many heavy restrictions DMs are shockingly cavalier about obtaining and sustaining player enthusiasm, despite it being one of the most precious and easily-lost commodities in tabletop roleplaying. If my players aren't sincerely and internally motivated to attend my game, I have failed big time. And one of the best ways to lose your players is by saying no, no, no all the time—especially if you do so "for any reason or no reason at all."

I see a LOT of DMs who talk a great deal about how much they say no. I see very little from these "my setting is an artwork" DMs that reflects any desire to obtain or sustain player enthusiasm. Indeed, they seem to feel quite entitled to that enthusiasm, hence all the "I do all this work and the players are such ungrateful JERKS!" rhetoric.
 

Scribe

Legend
Surely, then, we must break the false dichotomy by making each one more nuanced?

"I have certain options I love, and would really really like to play unless it is an absolutely intolerable burden" is quite a bit less strident than "I want every option available every single time." Likewise, "I have certain setting concepts I want to explore, and would very much appreciate efforts to support, rather than detract from, those concepts" is a lot less strident than "here's the list, play something on it or get out" that is so often presented here.
Yep Reaction GIF by C H A R L Ö T T E
 

So what qualifies as a good reason to have a curated list of races? Who gets to decide?
The group. Collectively. As should always be the case when a group of people come together to engage in a social activity.

Who gets to decide what is a valid reason for bowing out of game night? Who gets to decide what is an acceptable dish to bring to Thanksgiving? Who gets to decide what words are English and what words are gibberish?

We do. Collectively. No single person has that power. The gaming group, the family, the Anglosphere. Whatever the relevant community is, that is who decides.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
So what qualifies as a good reason to have a curated list of races? Who gets to decide?
Any reason is a good reason. Any reason.

The issue is every proposed setting is not a good D&D setting.
Every proposed setting is not a good 5th edition D&D setting.

If you run a setting an edition ofD&D's assumptions, you will run into pushback unless you Player to DM ratio in your area is very high.

If a DM wants to run a magic wizard school setting, then he/she/they will run into players who want to be warriors and experts. And that DM will have to deal with the fact the 20-40% of players will not want to play at the table.

This is specifically why I said Strixhaven was a bad idea.
 

Hussar

Legend
You are missing the point: the GM is not required to have a reason, let alone one that satisfies you. The GM is only required to inform you what the limits are so you can choose whether to play under those restrictions, or find a game more to your liking. You are not entitled to anything.
Swimming WAAAY upthread, because I'm still catching up, but this, this highlighted bit? This is the most toxic thing I've seen in a while. This is the kind of DM that poisons the game, IME. By imagining that just because the DM happens to be sitting in the big daddy chair, they can make any decision they like and the players can either take it or leave it is just the absolute opposite of a healthy social interaction.
 

Oofta

Legend
Any reason is a good reason. Any reason.

The issue is every proposed setting is not a good D&D setting.
Every proposed setting is not a good 5th edition D&D setting.

If you run a setting an edition ofD&D's assumptions, you will run into pushback unless you Player to DM ratio in your area is very high.

If a DM wants to run a magic wizard school setting, then he/she/they will run into players who want to be warriors and experts. And that DM will have to deal with the fact the 20-40% of players will not want to play at the table.

This is specifically why I said Strixhaven was a bad idea.
IMHO the setting is good if the people at the table enjoy it. A setting does not have to have broad appeal to be good for a specific group.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
IMHO the setting is good if the people at the table enjoy it. A setting does not have to have broad appeal to be good for a specific group.
Being a good setting and a Setting working for a specific group are 2 different things.

My mom's second pan of sweet potatoes was too sweet. The kids loved it.
But it was bad sweet potatoes as it was something most of the table didn't want.
 

Oofta

Legend
The group. Collectively. As should always be the case when a group of people come together to engage in a social activity.

Who gets to decide what is a valid reason for bowing out of game night? Who gets to decide what is an acceptable dish to bring to Thanksgiving? Who gets to decide what words are English and what words are gibberish?

We do. Collectively. No single person has that power. The gaming group, the family, the Anglosphere. Whatever the relevant community is, that is who decides.
We'll just never agree on that. I've run a persistent campaign for decades with multiple groups. I value consistency and campaign theme more than running a campaign by committee.

I wouldn't want it as a player either.
 

Oofta

Legend
Being a good setting and a Setting working for a specific group are 2 different things.

My mom's second pan of sweet potatoes was too sweet. The kids loved it.
But it was bad sweet potatoes as it was something most of the table didn't want.
For many things there is no objective way to determine good or bad. I'm also not sure why it matters.
 

Reynard

Legend
Swimming WAAAY upthread, because I'm still catching up, but this, this highlighted bit? This is the most toxic thing I've seen in a while. This is the kind of DM that poisons the game, IME. By imagining that just because the DM happens to be sitting in the big daddy chair, they can make any decision they like and the players can either take it or leave it is just the absolute opposite of a healthy social interaction.
No. You have decided to interpret it as toxic when it is a simple statement of the situation as described: a GM with an existing setting, with an existing set of criteria for PC options, is presented with a request from a player that in not compatible or appropriate for the setting. That GM is not required to accommodate that player, nor is that GM required to justify that decision.

A number of the folks in this thread that are suggesting the GM is some sort of monster are similarly missing or outright ignoring the defining supposition: that the player is asking to join an existing game with existing boundaries already in place, and is requesting something that does not fit within those boundaries.

The situation and relationship between players and GM changes completely if you are talking about a new game being created by the group as a whole. Of course during the creation of the new game should the players and GM all have equal input into the game. they are creating the game together. That should be self evident and uncontroversial. But that is NOT the circumstances that started this debate and those that try and pretend it is are being disingenuous and debating in bad faith.

tl;dr: If you are joining an existing game, you should expect to conform to the parameters of that game, whatever they are. If you are part of a group creating a new game, you should expect to have a voice in its creation.
 

Hussar

Legend
Ugh. I don't think I'm voicing my thoughts correctly. I'm thinking kinda like this:

I'm opening a Korean Restaurant with certain dishes on the menu (making a campaign with certain allowable races). I invite a diner to my restaurant (player to my campaign) that they know serves Korean food (has certain allowable races). Said diner (player) shows up, looks at the menu and goes "I wanna hamburger" (wanna play some race not allowed). I'm under no obligation to make that player a hamburger to eat. Or even something hamburger like.

They can, of course, go to another restaurant that serves hamburgers. Which I would encourage! No hurt feelings at all! There are, after all, lots of restaurants that serve hamburgers.

And I'll just find a diner who wants to eat Korean food. and I won't have any problem doing so because there are lots of people out there at least willing to try my Korean Food Menu.

Neither of us needs to change the menu or the restaurant to have a good meal. We just need the right restaurants and the right customers.

So to speak.
OTOH, why would it kill you to make a hamburger so this one customer can sit in your restaurant with his or her friends instead of having to go to some other restaurant?

As I said before, a DM who would prefer to keep true to a setting over the actual, real, live, breathing person sitting at the table across from them is a DM that the hobby really doesn't need.
 

Scribe

Legend
So I just reviewed my list as this threads making me think about things.

I think I'm still missing a few of the things that have been printed (and if I'm missing them they default to not existing).

48 total races listed (not including variants such as High/Wood/Drow)
19 playable (not accounting for variants as noted)
14 of the playable but 'rare' meaning either no civilization of their own or they are 'distant land' type settlements, or a singular settlement somehow (a wizard did it).
4 excluded as they are Eberron races.
1 excluded as it is a Dragonlance race.

Now, yes, that means I'm still excluding 24 'options', and yes I'm sure I'm excluding someones favourite, but I'm just not including a Cat Person. ;)
 

Hussar

Legend
No offense, but I am pretty sure I haven't. A player that wants to play a non-setting race, one where the DM has done the work to create the setting, is not demanding, they are being rude, or at best ignorant. A DM that has done little or no work to create the setting, and just says no to the player is being rude, or at best, ignorant. ;)
See, now this is an approach I just don't understand.

The amount of work I have done in a campaign entitles me to nothing. No extra consideration. No one asked me to do that work. No one told me to do it. I did it because I wanted to. In no way does that entitle me to anything.

So, when a player wants to play a non-setting race, I would in no way see that as rude or ignorant. They are doing the same work that I would be doing. They've created something that they want to play. If they wanted to play something I created, then they would have done that. Since they haven't done that, then what I created isn't all that interesting to them, or, at least, not as interesting to them as what they, themselves have created.

Why would I ever presume that my creation is in any way superior to anyone else's? I have no interest in telling anyone, "Oh, sorry, your imaginary friend just isn't good enough for my setting." Granted, there might be reasons to say no that are tied to the campaign. That's a separate issue. But, "sorry, your imaginary friend just isn't good enough for me" is never the right response from a DM.
 

Here's the thing:

All this stuff about all the hard work the DM has to do to incorporate a non-setting species... is bunk.
That is an opinion. A very declarative opinion.
There is no requirement for the DM to do any extra work at all. That's something people are using as an excuse or a self-imposed limitation to put on themselves. There doesn't need to be a hidden elf village. There doesn't need to be some grant treatise of where their people came from. You don't even need to remember to throw in NPCs of the type if you don't want to.
There is no requirement. Good observation. This is why I draw a distinction between those DMs that do and those that don't. But according to your above statement, it doesn't matter if they spend two years and wrote 500 pages on their world. There's no need for them to have any of it. Just as there's no need for them to not let a player choose something not in their setting. There is also no need for a player to have to play a specific race.

So, my questions to you are: Should we fall on the side of the person that has put in a hundred hours of hard work or the person that did two hours? Should we fall on the side of the person that has an intimate knowledge of the antagonists, the culture, the conflicts, the geography, the resources, etc. or the person that knows a limited amount about the setting? Should we fall on the side of the person that will try to create character arcs for all players' characters and include their motives and backgrounds or the singular character motive?

The answer is simple, although you won't make it such. My guess is because you won't draw a distinction between a DM that has put in the work and one that hasn't.
How many times have you had someone play and elf and ask for storytime about how the elves came to be the prettiest ponies of all? I'd wager never.
I never have. The reason? Because if we are playing a setting that has been worked on a lot by the DM, then this is learned throughout the story. Throughout the lore. Through show don't tell. And when it happens, the player (myself as a player included) is delighted there are reasons. Delighted there are rationales. Is delighted there are justifications or logic. And this especially holds true when it is connected to the other sources in the game - as opposed to having been thrown in and forced to fit.
All the DM has to do. ALL they have to do is not make an issue of it.
All a player has to do is look at the body of work and say, "I appreciate this hard work, but it's not for me," or "I appreciate this hard work, so let me think on it," or "I appreciate this hard work, so let me build something that fits." Of course, you seem to not distinguish between a DM that has worked and one that hasn't, so this may be a moot point for you.
People are either putting extra work on themselves and blaming the players, or they are so vehemently against another person's having fun they don't approve of that they will claim to totally ruins their fun as a defense of their attempts to take fun away from the other guy.
Blaming players or ruining fun. Those are your only two options for a DM saying no?
 

Hussar

Legend
So what qualifies as a good reason to have a curated list of races? Who gets to decide?
Fair question.

Reasons for a Curated List:

1. Campaign elements. This, to me, is the number one reason. If your campaign is focusing on exploring a lost island (think Isle of Dread type stuff) and food and disease are major elements of the campaign, then maybe something like Warforged is off the table since it removes a major element of the game. If the campaign is an urban one, say, Dragon Heist, then a nature oriented Fey that hates cities is probably a bad idea. If it's a desert campaign, then this might not be a great one for that amphibious character that needs to soak in water every 4 hours.

2. Suggested themes. I'd say this one is a bit less of a "rule" and more just a guideline. I'm presenting a campaign with a specific setting, and the list of races that I'm presenting here are the ones that are going to feature prominently in that campaign. Anyone choosing something that's not on that list shouldn't expect to meet a whole lot of others like them - or at least not very often. So, that player who chose a dream of an aboleth in my current campaign has not met any others. Which is fine.

I'm kinda coming up a bit short on my numbered list here. Number 1 is one that I would totally understand the DM not being willing to compromise on. Particularly if it's going to cause a big headache for the DM. Fair enough. Players shouldn't expect a DM to rewrite an entire campaign just because of their character. That's unreasonable. Number 2 though? Yeah, that's a pretty soft reason.

Frankly, there are many, many more really bad reasons for a DM to insist on sticking to a curated list than there are good ones.
 

See, now this is an approach I just don't understand.

The amount of work I have done in a campaign entitles me to nothing. No extra consideration. No one asked me to do that work. No one told me to do it. I did it because I wanted to. In no way does that entitle me to anything.

So, when a player wants to play a non-setting race, I would in no way see that as rude or ignorant. They are doing the same work that I would be doing. They've created something that they want to play. If they wanted to play something I created, then they would have done that. Since they haven't done that, then what I created isn't all that interesting to them, or, at least, not as interesting to them as what they, themselves have created.

Why would I ever presume that my creation is in any way superior to anyone else's? I have no interest in telling anyone, "Oh, sorry, your imaginary friend just isn't good enough for my setting." Granted, there might be reasons to say no that are tied to the campaign. That's a separate issue. But, "sorry, your imaginary friend just isn't good enough for me" is never the right response from a DM.
I agree with this 100%, as long as the setting is open. No problem. I have said it a million times. But when the setting is closed due to the DM closing it (for whatever reason), the player should understand the DM's approach. Again, if a DM creates an open world, they should be open to a player's creation. But, I have also said a thousand times that it is tied to DM work, which is the same thing as tying it to a setting.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
So, my questions to you are: Should we fall on the side of the person that has put in a hundred hours of hard work or the person that did two hours? Should we fall on the side of the person that has an intimate knowledge of the antagonists, the culture, the conflicts, the geography, the resources, etc. or the person that knows a limited amount about the setting? Should we fall on the side of the person that will try to create character arcs for all players' characters and include their motives and backgrounds or the singular character motive?
I don't care how much work someone decided to do on their own. I'm not going to be sympathetic to someone complaining about all the work they made themselves do. They don't get to matter more in the collaborative game.

If you don't want to collaborate? If you aren't there to entertain and work with the players? If your world is a pretty picture you don't want the group's fingerprints on? If you just want to be the One In Charge and tell everyone else what to do... just don't DM. It's not the role for you.
 


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