How To Reconcile the Settings

Zardnaar

Hero
Personally I will play and run a variety of settings, the default expectatiin is roughly the phb sans Tieflings, Dragonborn and Drow.

Even then I'm not opposed to them existing they are just on the bottom of the heap for being cut in Homebrew.

I'm not exactly a purist either when it comes to old settings. I'm not opposed to adding things as long as they are not shoehorned in or don't fit.

For some settings such as FR anything goes even if your PC is from lands unknown. Shoehorning something in like dropping huge nation's if Dragonborn in a'la 4E.

Some races don't exist in some settings eg Orcs on Krynn. Other races shouldn't be allowed based on the setting. No fire Genasi on a water world or Warforged in Darksun. Warforged can be made out if other materials but they get around the environmental hazards and magic is hard theme of the setting.

And just because something exists doesn't mean players should have access to it. Drow are a prime example.

So say you're playing Greyhawk. GH is a bit more humanocentric but it's also a bit more sandbox than a few setting such as Dragonlance. Similar thing with Ravenloft.
Anything that's not a human or one of the AD&D races is restricted to a single party member.

This could also apply to Darksun. Athas has mutants so rather than shoehorn in Dragonborn make a Dragonborn mutant. If Dray exist they can be a Dragonborn variant with different abilities from the PHB. A mutant can also have the Dray stats but has no connection to the Dray which are a hidden evil type thing.

Other races can also be added if they fit the setting. Yuant Ti and Genasi make sense in Darksun for example. Just don't shoehorn in major nation's.

Generally less is more IMHO., for each phb race cut replace it with something else. Exceptions are settings like Eberron, FR, Spelljammer which lean towards anything goes.
 
So you would possibly have (albeit rare) a tiefling in oerth if they were explicitly descended from graz'zt? He has some of the earliest cannon entries for signifficantly populous tiefling lines (even though this might seriously rankle 5e players as tieflings are an exclusively infernally touched race now whereas in the grazzts rowdy college days he was causing them to exist left and right)
 

Zardnaar

Hero
So you would possibly have (albeit rare) a tiefling in oerth if they were explicitly descended from graz'zt? He has some of the earliest cannon entries for signifficantly populous tiefling lines (even though this might seriously rankle 5e players as tieflings are an exclusively infernally touched race now whereas in the grazzts rowdy college days he was causing them to exist left and right)
Yes put in a sidebar saying this is where Tieflings come from but they are rare.

Only one rate race per party (maybe 2 if it's a 6+ person party).

Tiefling make a reasonable amount of sense on Greyhawk, but they probably won't have it easy.

But if you have a party of a Drow, Tiefling, Half Orc, Gith and Goliath you're kinda missing the point IMHO.

Personally I'll probably use alignment and racial restrictions on a 5E GH Homebrew.
 
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Nellisir

Adventurer
In theory I stick with 6-8 races per homebrew campaign setting, with a mix of familiar and new races. In practice I only ever end up running things in my homebrew Shadowend, so no half-orcs, halflings, dragonborn, and drow (and basically no tieflings), and bridge trolls, jotunar, roane, and leshii instead.
 
Yes putva sidebar saying this is where Tieflings come from but they are rare.

Only one rate race per party (maybe 2 if it's a 6+ person party).

Tiefling make a reasonable amount of sense on Greyhawk, but they probably won't have it easy.

But if you have a party of a Drow, Tiefling, Half Orc, Gith and Goliath you're kinda missing the point IMHO.

Personally I'll probably use alignment and racial restrictions on a 5E GH Homebrew.
I agree with this feeling.

When i dm we do a thing i started in my campaigns years ago (and other dms in our circle do it too now) where we draw straws for unusual races and unusual templates (seperate rounds). Also its actually dice. We do 3 to 5 players not including the dm in our campaigns for the record. Anyway, the person who "pulls the short straw" gets to choose one of 4 options. 1 They take the opportunity to play an unusual race (or template if its the template round) provided its plausible for it to be in that realm at low level (ish) and not broken, 2 they pass on it, 3 they pass on it and allow another round of straws between remaining players, or 4 they take it and also allow another round among remaining players. Second rounds only get options 1 and 2. We then do the same thing all over but for templates. Keeps things from getting out of hand but also allows for something unusual but plausible every now and then.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
In theory I stick with 6-8 races per homebrew campaign setting, with a mix of familiar and new races. In practice I only ever end up running things in my homebrew Shadowend, so no half-orcs, halflings, dragonborn, and drow (and basically no tieflings), and bridge trolls, jotunar, roane, and leshii instead.
Cool I'm moving away from anything goes races just due to option bloat. There's a lot of races in 5E now.
 
The way I see it, 5e is the DM's game. If you're just going to run a published setting, well, have fun with it, it will be what it is.

If, OTOH, you feel like running an original setting, by all means take out your scalpel (or, y'know, machete, ax, chainsaw, nerfbat, banhammer - whatever it takes) and excise any D&Disms that don't work for it - races, classes, spells, etc.
 

Jd Smith1

Explorer
I only use the PHB, and I ban several races and classes based on my setting, and because I do not like some of the races. Less is more. My greatest compliant about D&D, all the way back to the brown books, is that they keep piling on spells, classes, playable races, new monsters, new hostile races, etc.

I much prefer a tighter setting with specific races, some sort of defined political agenda, and more focus on developing the existing races rather than constantly throwing 'new' material in.
 

Shiroiken

Adventurer
I fully understand, but have actually done the work to make (most) PC races an option... of sorts in my Greyhawk campaign. The biggest change was to make a lot of the visuals less obvious. Aasimar, Dragonborn, Genasi, Teiflings, etc. are the descendants of half-breeds, but they usually only exhibit 1-3 features that denote their ancestry (allowing an intelligent/informed observer a chance to discover it). Half-orcs are the same, at least for PCs, mostly appearing as ugly humans.

Many other races often have little/no reason to be with/near the party, and I usually put the onus on the player to find a reasonable solution on how to incorporate them into the campaign. For example, in my current group playing Ghosts of Saltmarsh, I have a githyanki wizard, aasimar paladin, triton fighter, and firbolg druid, out of a party of 6. The githyanki wizard was part of a raid against a mind flayer colony, but was left behind afterwards, only to be rescued by a (now retired) adventurer who was the party's patron at the start of the campaign. The aasimar paladin's family was charged with keeping a holy relic, but she failed (very long story), and now serves as a Knight of the Watch, attempting to seek redemption. The trition fighter was the easiest to incorporate, as I had him seeking Oceanus. The firbolg druid was a slave aboard the Sea Ghost from the Amido Jungle, kept in check by the pirate deck mage, that the party freed. All of these weird characters (except the aasimar, who hasn't been unccovered yet) have a lot of social issue in the town, since they're unusual (the triton has already threatened a dozen people for calling him "fish-man").
 

Kurotowa

Adventurer
As I see it, there's two ends to this problem you have to find a way to join together.

At one end you've got rare or unusual PC races. This isn't too hard to solve if the DM sits down and talks with their player about it. The simplest solution is some variety of "Your people are very rare and/or you're very far from home", which can scale all the way to the venerable classic of "You got sucked through a planar portal and dumped on this world". There are stranger origin stories out there.

At the other end you've got the DM's campaign concept. Maybe the DM wants to offer a clear starting premise, like "You were all drafted to fight in the war, you served together in the same unit, now the war's over and you've been discharged, and you all decided to become adventurers rather than go back home." Maybe the DM has a specific tone or theme they're aiming for, and having the party be a collection of freaks and oddballs wouldn't fit.

The happy middle is one that gives players some room for creativity without letting any of them hog the spotlight with how unusual and special their character is. How to find that middle is a bit of an improv and very much dependent on the group in question.
 

Coroc

Adventurer
So you would possibly have (albeit rare) a tiefling in oerth if they were explicitly descended from graz'zt? He has some of the earliest cannon entries for signifficantly populous tiefling lines (even though this might seriously rankle 5e players as tieflings are an exclusively infernally touched race now whereas in the grazzts rowdy college days he was causing them to exist left and right)
I would, but not as a PC. In fact I allow tieflings as a PC race in my current GHK campaign, but only when they descend from some Batezuu, so have devlish origins. Those who are demonic offspring are the enemy, since major plot arc is party vs Iuz schemes.
If there are many demons running around, like in Greyhawk in those areas where Iuz rules it totally makes sense that some may have offspring. In fact Iuz himself is some kind of tiefling, since his mother at least once was human.
Devils might be interested what the demons are doing on Oerth and have their own agents in play and create offspring as well.
So in this case this absolutely makes sense, but dragonborn? Where did they hide all the time? Did some spelljammer crash which brought them? Nope I just ignore them, they might be fun and make sense in different settigns but not in Greyhawk (unless from a crashed the spelljammer, but never native).
 

Tonguez

Adventurer
Its really about the story you want to tell and how those races interact. I‘ve done post industrial urban setting with just Humans, Dwarfs, Half-Ogre,, Sidhe and Goblins (also had a ghoul PC join that party), a setting based on tropical islands and decided the the native humanoids were goblins, gnomes, goliaths. Humans were new settlers just starting to expand. No Elfs, no Dwarfs, no Halflings, no Tieflings or anything else (though I did have some Aakaroka NPCs and considered using sea elves for underwater encounters)

Then there are the general settings where I allow players to choose any race they want and then make those races the only races the PCs will encounter in the setting.
 

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
My trick is time spheres, like parallel earths or alternative timelines. This allows crazy mash-up, for example Dragonlance with the hyperborea-punk of Dark Sun, or the Dark Powers from the demiplane of the dread invading and tainting a complete crystal sphere in the material plane.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
I would, but not as a PC. In fact I allow tieflings as a PC race in my current GHK campaign, but only when they descend from some Batezuu, so have devlish origins. Those who are demonic offspring are the enemy, since major plot arc is party vs Iuz schemes.
If there are many demons running around, like in Greyhawk in those areas where Iuz rules it totally makes sense that some may have offspring. In fact Iuz himself is some kind of tiefling, since his mother at least once was human.
Devils might be interested what the demons are doing on Oerth and have their own agents in play and create offspring as well.
So in this case this absolutely makes sense, but dragonborn? Where did they hide all the time? Did some spelljammer crash which brought them? Nope I just ignore them, they might be fun and make sense in different settigns but not in Greyhawk (unless from a crashed the spelljammer, but never native).
Yeah if Iuz is a major component of your campaign Tiefling PCs are problematic even if they're a renegade.

Justifying one is can be done I think but that's also why a special race could be restricted to one per party.

Foreigners also work but it's annoying if everyone wants to do that.

In Midgard I ended up with 2/6 foreigners in not Egypt. I did say some things like DC would be lower for locals in some cases.
 

Hussar

Legend
Yes put in a sidebar saying this is where Tieflings come from but they are rare.

Only one rate race per party (maybe 2 if it's a 6+ person party).

Tiefling make a reasonable amount of sense on Greyhawk, but they probably won't have it easy.

But if you have a party of a Drow, Tiefling, Half Orc, Gith and Goliath you're kinda missing the point IMHO.

Personally I'll probably use alignment and racial restrictions on a 5E GH Homebrew.
Heh, our Ghosts of Saltmarsh has an orc, firbolg, gnome artificer and a human. And, guess what? It fits into Greyhawk perfectly without any problem.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
Heh, our Ghosts of Saltmarsh has an orc, firbolg, gnome artificer and a human. And, guess what? It fits into Greyhawk perfectly without any problem.
You can still have fun but it's not really classic Greyhawk.

You're basically playing FR with a Greyhawk skin at that point. What makes GH different than FR if it's anything goes?

Artificer could fit FR maybe, Dragonlance maybe, Midgard yes, Spelljammer yes,
 

Hussar

Legend
You can still have fun but it's not really classic Greyhawk.

You're basically playing FR with a Greyhawk skin at that point. What makes GH different than FR if it's anything goes?

Artificer could fit FR maybe, Dragonlance maybe, Midgard yes, Spelljammer yes,
Nope. You are wrong. It's pretty much classic Greyhawk.

Artificers have been in Greyhawk for a LONG time. Lum the Mad, Murylynd, Kwalish. Nebulun, gnomish god of inventions has been around since 1992. So on and so forth. Let's not forget fallen spaceships like the Warden II. Not sure why you would think that artificers don't fit in Greyhawk.

What makes GH different from Forgotten Realms is that GH is largely undetailed. All the nooks and crannies haven't been filled in by decades of lore in GH. It's largely a DM's setting and the expectation is that NO ONE plays a "classic" Greyhawk. Greyhawk is the setting that you make your own long before you feel that you have to kowtow to any notion of "canon".
 
I would, but not as a PC. In fact I allow tieflings as a PC race in my current GHK campaign, but only when they descend from some Batezuu, so have devlish origins. Those who are demonic offspring are the enemy, since major plot arc is party vs Iuz schemes.
If there are many demons running around, like in Greyhawk in those areas where Iuz rules it totally makes sense that some may have offspring. In fact Iuz himself is some kind of tiefling, since his mother at least once was human.
Devils might be interested what the demons are doing on Oerth and have their own agents in play and create offspring as well.
So in this case this absolutely makes sense, but dragonborn? Where did they hide all the time? Did some spelljammer crash which brought them? Nope I just ignore them, they might be fun and make sense in different settigns but not in Greyhawk (unless from a crashed the spelljammer, but never native).
Ive seen luz called a cambion and a teifling in different published pieces. The difference really is just how much outsider blood that author decided luz had. If i remember correctly.

Its interesting that tieflings started out mostly the descendants of grazzt (such as luz and his descendants/cousins) and now are mostly descendants of baatezu.

There are also some weird reproductive plot holes with the baatezu descended ones that i wonder if by 5.5 will be filled.
 
I would, but not as a PC. In fact I allow tieflings as a PC race in my current GHK campaign, but only when they descend from some Batezuu, so have devlish origins. Those who are demonic offspring are the enemy, since major plot arc is party vs Iuz schemes.
If there are many demons running around, like in Greyhawk in those areas where Iuz rules it totally makes sense that some may have offspring. In fact Iuz himself is some kind of tiefling, since his mother at least once was human.
Devils might be interested what the demons are doing on Oerth and have their own agents in play and create offspring as well.
So in this case this absolutely makes sense, but dragonborn? Where did they hide all the time? Did some spelljammer crash which brought them? Nope I just ignore them, they might be fun and make sense in different settigns but not in Greyhawk (unless from a crashed the spelljammer, but never native).
also yeah. Whenever i mess around in oerth i ignore the dragonborns too. I also feel lke they are a major shoe horn. They just dont fit.
 

Larnievc

Explorer
When I used to run a home brew Midkemia campaign we only had humans, elves and dwarves and gnomes (re skinned as another type of dwarf).

That worked okay
 

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