How To Reconcile the Settings

jasper

Rotten DM
How dare you sir. (Throws the Lucky Charm marshmellow the cat didn't eat at the OP). It is in the player handbook. It is official! you are a crappy icky nasky no nothing dm who can't stand people playing what they want........
OOOPSS Sorry channeling some of my current/former gamers and current/former DMS I know.
I have no problem limiting races or classes in a DM's game. They don't need to give the player a reason on why the DM is limiting something. The player can choose to game with the limitation and keep his mouth shut over his hurt feelings. Or the player can find a new dm. My original campaign had a blend of Greyhawk and Judges Guild and some things from the Dragon Mag.
 

Krachek

Adventurer
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.
With some imagination a Dm may find a solution to include any race in its seting.
Tiefling may look human and explain racial power by a possession, family tree or a like.
i like your mutant explanation, it can also be arcane experiment that has go wrong, a curse, bug in plane travel. It can be cool to be a unique racial member.
 
Like the fact that other than asmodeus and glazia none of the archdukes the tiefling bloodlines are credited to are confirmed to be capable of breeding.

And the fact that canonically asmodeus has 0 1 or 2 reproductive offspring depending on edition (deviks born from his dripping blood arent fertile with the exception of erinyes.

And the fact that glazia has no canon children (that i know of as of yet)

Making the only confirmable descendants of asmodeus beyond first generation ti be descendants of either erinyes or grazzt (provided its in an edition that grazzt is asmodeus' son). And erinyes dont produce tieflings they produce other stuff.
 
With some imagination a Dm may find a solution to include any race in its seting.
Tiefling may look human and explain racial power by a possession, family tree or a like.
i like your mutant explanation, it can also be arcane experiment that has go wrong, a curse, bug in plane travel. It can be cool to be a unique racial member.
The thing is, that doesnt always make the story better though. Sometimes an absence of something is itself the improvement.

If he tried hard enough tolkein could have worked teletubbies into the sillamrailion. But the sillamarillion (fuck my dyslexia) is better without them.

Dragonborn in oerth=teletubbies in batmans gotham

Its just incorrect for the story's mold
 
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.
It's the group's game, if everyone is really making an effort and participating, not just the DMs game. I say that as some who is DMs 90% of the time. I get that you mean the DM can alter existing settings, but I think a lot of the responses here from various people are a bit mindless and "I'm the DM so literally only my opinion and what I like matters". Which is silly. The DM is the final arbiter and has to be basically comfortable with what they're running but in my experience you work with the players to determine what you all want to see, you don't just drop a tablet on them like you think you're god.

A good example of how weird this can get is @Zardnaar pre-emptively banning "more than one" Tiefling from some entirely theoretical Oerth campaign. This is perfectly reactionary (in the conceptual sense, not the political one) and not actually rational. You tell the players what is rare and common, and if two players want Tiefling PCs you make it clear that's a big deal and discuss how that happened and the impact it will have and so on. Players who want to be a bunch of weird races after the DM has explained the context aren't "missing the point", they just have different ideas about what is cool and what they want to play to the DM (if they don't have any context then maybe there is a bit of that). It's no different to the DM assuming the PCs will be a pure vanilla Fighter, Wizard, Cleric, Rogue bunch and actually getting a Barbarian, Warlock, Druid and Sorcerer or something. They're not wrong or. "missing the point" unless the DM expressed a highly specific desire to run a super-vanilla campaign and got buy-in from them.
 

Nellisir

Adventurer
With some imagination a Dm may find a solution to include any race in its seting.
I have a homebrew setting, so yeah, I can find a "solution" (which presupposes a problem) to including any race...but I don't want to. The setting is heavy on Celtic, Norse, & Slavic elements. Guns don't fit, artificers don't fit*, a zillion and one races don't fit. I don't use psionics or alchemy. There's plenty of magic and plenty of races, and honestly no one has complained in thirty years. I work with the players to make something they're excited about. Not EVERY setting has to have the kitchen sink.

*I could possibly use artificers.
 
@Nellisir In such a world do you sprinkle in the philosophic variety of alchemy but not the d&d variety? Like, as a medium for theory on why certain undead are able to consume vitality or some shit? But not as a casting mechanic or anything with capability outside what it explains?

I ask because i dm with a similar mix. Norse, germanic, celtic, slavic, greek (the older stuff closer to etruscan origins. A lot of the newer gods being missing like many olympians and their spawn). And although i nest my homebrew settings in the larger d&d verse, 90% of races templates and classes i rule to be implausible. That said, alchemy of the philosophic sense (and not renaisance or such recent alchemy but instead bronze and and mostly older) i sprinkle in to explain why some things work. But its barely present.

Also my d&d is very nearly psion free. No pcs and on rare occasion npcs. And then only if it came from outside my homebrew setting. Like a far realm interloper. I barely ever put these elements in.
 

Nellisir

Adventurer
@Nellisir In such a world do you sprinkle in the philosophic variety of alchemy but not the d&d variety? Like, as a medium for theory on why certain undead are able to consume vitality or some shit? But not as a casting mechanic or anything with capability outside what it explains?
The Shadowend is pretty intensely magical, with a lot of what might be considered divine "activity". D&D alchemy doesn't fit the mix well, but philosophical alchemy would. No one (including myself) has bothered getting into it though. Artificers could be justified because The Smith's Wife, has been up-and-coming as an Envidier (saint/patron/hero-deity) possibly transitioning to the ranks of the Dalerain (most deities), and employing adventurers and other parties to work on her behalf. As a creation of the smith-god, she's the patron of living/intelligent magic items, magical item creation in general, and things of that sort. She did some Bad Things, and gave away some Bad Secrets, in the past, and is trying to fix those mistakes now.

Technically the entire Wyrld is one infinite (and flat!) plane, encompassing the inner and outer plans as well, so there's plenty of room for everything, but yeah, psionics doesn't really float my boat. I had a really nice rune magic class & system for a while in 2e, but it made an incomplete leap to 3e and I haven't done enough 5e design to even think about it. I did recast the Rokugan Void mechanics as Wyrd/Glamour, which I thought was pretty excellent, but quit DMing around then so they didn't get much use. Totally on my 5e "to-do" list.

Undead probably eat life because they've got a tiny fragment of Nothing inside them, and so are just so hungry. Endlessly, infinitely, hungry. Hadn't really thought about it.

Blog. Have a couple of posts in draft form actually, getting back into it. Secrets of the Shadowend

Edit: The thing is, I made an early decision to throw science out the window. Stuff works because the gods say so. Sometimes stuff is because the gods said so a really long time ago, and That's Just How It Is (code for: even they've forgotten why, but they're sure they had A Really Good Reason).
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I limit playable races in my campaign for a couple of reasons. One is simply that I don't want taverns to look like Mos Eisley's Cantina. If you have a campaign where races from multiple worlds mix, having any number of intelligent races may make sense, but too many races makes me wonder where they all live and how they continued to exist. We know that until relatively recently (from a geological standpoint) we had multiple humanoid races on earth, but Neanderthal and Denisovans were absorbed or went extinct. I'm okay with multiple in a fantasy campaign because "magic", but there's a limit.

Another reason is that I like to take into consideration how the different races react to each other and interact. I want each race to have their own cultural biases and leanings (although there is variaton). If I have too many races it becomes really muddied.

Last, but not least, in my campaign monstrous races are for lack of a better word monstrous*. Gnolls were artificially created. There are no good gnolls, all gnolls crave destruction and chaos. While they are sentient, they are not furry humans and are simply wired to be CE. That means that if anyone sees a humanoid creature that doesn't match one of the "known" races, it's likely they will be attacked on sight. Not really much different than if a tiger were found near a playground.

*Yes, I know this is overly simplified for some people. While there's a lot of who-can-I-trust and moral dilemas in my campaign, I've never wanted killing monsters to be one of them
 
The Shadowend is pretty intensely magical, with a lot of what might be considered divine "activity". D&D alchemy doesn't fit the mix well, but philosophical alchemy would. No one (including myself) has bothered getting into it though. Artificers could be justified because The Smith's Wife, has been up-and-coming as an Envidier (saint/patron/hero-deity) possibly transitioning to the ranks of the Dalerain (most deities), and employing adventurers and other parties to work on her behalf. As a creation of the smith-god, she's the patron of living/intelligent magic items, magical item creation in general, and things of that sort. She did some Bad Things, and gave away some Bad Secrets, in the past, and is trying to fix those mistakes now.

Technically the entire Wyrld is one infinite (and flat!) plane, encompassing the inner and outer plans as well, so there's plenty of room for everything, but yeah, psionics doesn't really float my boat. I had a really nice rune magic class & system for a while in 2e, but it made an incomplete leap to 3e and I haven't done enough 5e design to even think about it. I did recast the Rokugan Void mechanics as Wyrd/Glamour, which I thought was pretty excellent, but quit DMing around then so they didn't get much use. Totally on my 5e "to-do" list.

Undead probably eat life because they've got a tiny fragment of Nothing inside them, and so are just so hungry. Endlessly, infinitely, hungry. Hadn't really thought about it.

Blog. Have a couple of posts in draft form actually, getting back into it. Secrets of the Shadowend

Edit: The thing is, I made an early decision to throw science out the window. Stuff works because the gods say so. Sometimes stuff is because the gods said so a really long time ago, and That's Just How It Is (code for: even they've forgotten why, but they're sure they had A Really Good Reason).
I like the way your world sounds.

Also yeah. I hate psionics too. 99%. Very little in the way of exception for me. They are icky in far too many ways.
 
I limit playable races in my campaign for a couple of reasons. One is simply that I don't want taverns to look like Mos Eisley's Cantina. If you have a campaign where races from multiple worlds mix, having any number of intelligent races may make sense, but too many races makes me wonder where they all live and how they continued to exist. We know that until relatively recently (from a geological standpoint) we had multiple humanoid races on earth, but Neanderthal and Denisovans were absorbed or went extinct. I'm okay with multiple in a fantasy campaign because "magic", but there's a limit.

Another reason is that I like to take into consideration how the different races react to each other and interact. I want each race to have their own cultural biases and leanings (although there is variaton). If I have too many races it becomes really muddied.

Last, but not least, in my campaign monstrous races are for lack of a better word monstrous*. Gnolls were artificially created. There are no good gnolls, all gnolls crave destruction and chaos. While they are sentient, they are not furry humans and are simply wired to be CE. That means that if anyone sees a humanoid creature that doesn't match one of the "known" races, it's likely they will be attacked on sight. Not really much different than if a tiger were found near a playground.

*Yes, I know this is overly simplified for some people. While there's a lot of who-can-I-trust and moral dilemas in my campaign, I've never wanted killing monsters to be one of them
i wish more people would consider simple things like "if there are 1000 races, where is the 1000 races worth of space? What is keeping their populations sustained? It hurts my brain. This is just not logical. Ergo i dont have 1000 races running around the same planet. Its just too silly."
 

gyor

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.
I'll point out that there are ways to have fire underwater, so I could see Fire Genasi in a Water World.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
i wish more people would consider simple things like "if there are 1000 races, where is the 1000 races worth of space? What is keeping their populations sustained? It hurts my brain. This is just not logical. Ergo i dont have 1000 races running around the same planet. Its just too silly."
I do the same thing with monstrous races. So gnolls primarily exist in one region and orcs in another. Some, such as ogres and some of the giants, are found in scattered pockets here and there but that has more to do with world building decisions than anything (they're descended from giants originating in Jotunheim).

Unless there's a planar breach or invasion of some sort the number of unique sentient monstrous races in any region can normally be counted on one hand. Sometimes I'll reskin a monster to give me a style of monster that doesn't fit published materials or create a custom version of an existing monster.
 

gyor

Hero
i wish more people would consider simple things like "if there are 1000 races, where is the 1000 races worth of space? What is keeping their populations sustained? It hurts my brain. This is just not logical. Ergo i dont have 1000 races running around the same planet. Its just too silly."
It's not silly at, look at how many species of animals the world has, there is no reason you couldn't 1000 sentient race. Heck humanity has well over a thousand cultures and subcultures. Not every self aware species has to have millions of individual. If say a race of humaniod ducks only live on 1 island the size Newfoundland, that would leave a massive area for other races, heck you could have chain of such islands each with a different humaniod race evolving. Or an Empire that creates different races to serve specific functions, creating a biological caste system. Maybe Goliths live in one mountain range and stone giants in another. Maybe one species leaves on a different world altogether, and the only examples on the setting world in question are an ambassador and his servants and their families from the home world.
 
I do the same thing with monstrous races. So gnolls primarily exist in one region and orcs in another. Some, such as ogres and some of the giants, are found in scattered pockets here and there but that has more to do with world building decisions than anything (they're descended from giants originating in Jotunheim).

Unless there's a planar breach or invasion of some sort the number of unique sentient monstrous races in any region can normally be counted on one hand. Sometimes I'll reskin a monster to give me a style of monster that doesn't fit published materials or create a custom version of an existing monster.
that makes perfect sense. (I foresee this eventually becoming a standard again perhaps in 6e because right now people are forgetting that part of good writing is remembering when NOT to have something be present. This everything salad fad wont last forever)
 
It's not silly at, look at how many species of animals the world has, there is no reason you couldn't 1000 sentient race. Heck humanity has well over a thousand cultures and subcultures. Not every self aware species has to have millions of individual. If say a race of humaniod ducks only live on 1 island the size Newfoundland, that would leave a massive area for other races, heck you could have chain of such islands each with a different humaniod race evolving. Or an Empire that creates different races to serve specific functions, creating a biological caste system. Maybe Goliths live in one mountain range and stone giants in another. Maybe one species leaves on a different world altogether, and the only examples on the setting world in question are an ambassador and his servants and their families from the home world.
Yes there is. I could give heftier reasons but id have to write a blog just to lay out all the points so instead ill just say this.

Highly intelligent races are going to effect the balance of trophic levels. 1000 intelligent humanoid races (d&d style races which are more like species and subspecies), for this reason, doesnt physics. It doesnt physics at all. Unless the space is much larger than earth.

Hmmm...if a large percentage of these are all eating eachother though...then maybe. But if we assume that doesnt happen at all. No.
 
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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
It's not silly at, look at how many species of animals the world has, there is no reason you couldn't 1000 sentient race. Heck humanity has well over a thousand cultures and subcultures. Not every self aware species has to have millions of individual. If say a race of humaniod ducks only live on 1 island the size Newfoundland, that would leave a massive area for other races, heck you could have chain of such islands each with a different humaniod race evolving. Or an Empire that creates different races to serve specific functions, creating a biological caste system. Maybe Goliths live in one mountain range and stone giants in another. Maybe one species leaves on a different world altogether, and the only examples on the setting world in question are an ambassador and his servants and their families from the home world.
Sentient races as a rule are going to be far more flexible than animal species in what ecological niche they can inhabit and tend to be much more mobile. When one sentient race moves into a region, there's bound to be conflict or at least competition for resources. Geographical barriers that will stop many animal species be they mountains, deserts or oceans will not stop most sentient races.
 

dave2008

Legend
Sentient races as a rule are going to be far more flexible than animal species in what ecological niche they can inhabit and tend to be much more mobile. When one sentient race moves into a region, there's bound to be conflict or at least competition for resources. Geographical barriers that will stop many animal species be they mountains, deserts or oceans will not stop most sentient races.
Yes, but it can work in fantasy for the same reason your gnolls are all chaotic evil. The world was made that way. If the deities wanted to have more sentient servitor races, then there are as many as they wanted. It is hard-wired into the world.
 

Nellisir

Adventurer
Yes, but it can work in fantasy for the same reason your gnolls are all chaotic evil. The world was made that way. If the deities wanted to have more sentient servitor races, then there are as many as they wanted. It is hard-wired into the world.
This is where it's often very hard to put science aside. People generally think in terms of the world they know now, and that includes evolution and a skewed sense of distance. There were literally THOUSANDS of years when our species was a) not the only sentient human species (I think we're at 4-5 and counting, if you go back about 80K years); and b) not the dominant predator species. Now, those were stone age times, and most campaigns aren't stone age, but there's a precedent. Also, you don't necessarily need a large population, or a lot of space. Languages fracture amazingly fast, and if evolution worked faster, so would speciation.

Evolution is another bugaboo. The Shadowend region isn't large, but it has its share of monstrosities. How? Spontaneous generation. A chicken hatches a cocktrice. A bad magic region spawns perytons and manticores. Jotunar, or giant-blooded, are born to people who might have a trace of giant blood back a half-century, or might just live near giants, or a giant passed by the night the character was conceived. Several deities (particularly Kajalla) and the Typhos in general (titan-like monstrosities, born of the divinities but lacking in divine power themselves) actively twist small populations of existing races into new forms. Lamarkian genetics are the standard here, if you really need something to scientific to hang onto.

That's all my campaign, naturally - not hard rules that everyone should follow. But neither is "science".
 

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