5E Should Published Settings Limit Classes and Races Allowed?

Should Published Settings Limit Classes and Races Allowed?


  • Total voters
    110

howandwhy99

Villager
With the new effort to republish popular game settings there is a desire to update them to 5th ed. What also tends to happen is the redesigning of settings to fit the new edition's rules.

This is nothing new. In fact, many settings were designed backwards to fit the rules. 2nd ed Darksun is the perfect archetype for this thinking. Its creative designers stretched the game to the very limits of what was possible with a D&D game setting. Why the limts? Because sometime along the way D&D came to mean not only the core rules, but every class, every race, every monster, every magic item, ad nauseam.

Of course to some degree every version of D&D is its own setting, but the trap is making every setting into edition specific kitchen sinks.

We can all customize our home games, but are buyers open to purchasing published settings where not only new options are given, but some published options are specifically not given? No elves? No paladins? No fire magic?
 

JonnyP71

Explorer
Definitely, and that is precisely what I would want from a setting. Dark Sun with Tieflings and Dragonborn and Halflings portrayed in a 5E/FR way is simply not Dark Sun. A Middle Earth setting allowing Dwarven Wizards is not Middle Earth. And so on..
 

Lanliss

Explorer
By default, yes. I think what isn't in a setting is just as important as what is. And just like people say to those who want to adjust settings for themselves, people can add back in their own things they want to play if it is that important.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
Shrug. Do that, and lose potential customers.

There's a reason kitchen sink worlds rise to the top. Something for everyone and fewer "no can't do that"s

Sent from my C6603 using EN World mobile app
 

Zardnaar

Hero
Shrug. Do that, and lose potential customers.

There's a reason kitchen sink worlds rise to the top. Something for everyone and fewer "no can't do that"s

Sent from my C6603 using EN World mobile app
Most kitchen sink settings actually died or are life support and even FR had its 4E moment. Mystara, Greyhawk, Dragonlance are all more or less dead.

Outside FR the popular D&D settings offer something a bit different. Darksun, Eberron, Planescape, Ravenloft all offer something a bit different or edgy over kitchen sink settings. Those are the ones WotC are also likely to reprint.

FR won competing against other kitchen sink settings mostly GH, DL and Mystara/Known world. The other settings were mostly 2E ones to cater to different audiences or to those who don't want kitchen sink all of the time. Why have Darksun as kitchen sink when you already have FR that more or less does it better anyway?
 
Sure, why not.

Folks can always ignore the suggestion.

Campaign worlds like Dark Sun were built on, amongst other things, their thematic take on, and lack of, certain 'traditional' races. Folks are free to add Warforged, Tritons and whatever they wish - it's a magical world so anything can happen. Personally I'd aim for a more 'authentic' feel but hey, each to their own.

Of course, certain racial choices might actively undermine the tone/feel of a campaign. We run a 'Sky Realm' game where everyone uses flying machines, airships and the like, with the land being comprised entirely of floating islands. Falling to your death is a BIG THING, so someone wanting to roll an aarakocra would be at odds with the tone/feel, and in many ways at a distinct advantage over other player characters.

Of course, there's also the challenge of ingenuity (note: not 'creativity'), which by its very nature requires restrictions so that we might succeed despite them.
 

Eltab

Villager
Any setting should have something specific to itself, both classes and races and cultural notes.
- Stone Age equipment, psionics, cannibal halflings, Thri-Kreen in Dark Sun.
- Warforged, magi-tech, detective noir in Eberron.

If / when a classic setting is updated, put in a sidebar that suggests how to incorporate newer races / classes into the setting.
4e did a clunky job of this with Dragonborn in Dark Sun.

Forgotten Realms, as a 'kitchen sink' setting, has the virtue that you can introduce new players to 'what a classic D&D setting feels like'. When they are comfortable with the rules and understand the background assumptions, THEN you can pull out Dark Sun / Ebberon / your favorite and say "Hey let's try this out, it feels different in play."
 
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TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
I have no problem with excluding stuff (I think focusing options help make the setting stronger, personally). But I doubt any 5e setting released will do so, since "the D&D multiverse" is supposed to be the true 5e setting. It's also why I think Planescape is the most likely setting to be rebooted, as the planes are one the most obviously "D&D" elements that hasn't been overly explored, and really can't be done in Forgotten Realms. Then, you can easily touch on Eberron, Krynn, Athas, etc, as different areas of the Prime.

Edit: The broader point is that I don't think WotC will be focused on insular, internally cohesive settings, where restrictions on race/class would be more fitting and necessary.
 

MechaPilot

Explorer
They should state what is disallowed by default, as well as why it's disallowed, and they should provide setting-specific options for including things disallowed by default if groups want to include those things.
 

Shiroiken

Adventurer
I think the way the 4E Darksun worked is best, where you have a standard list of removed options. The DM may allow exceptions, but each one has a unique reason why they are able to break the rule. This would allow the largest number of players/DMs to enjoy the setting.
 

Azzy

Cyclone Ranger
They should state what is disallowed by default, as well as why it's disallowed, and they should provide setting-specific options for including things disallowed by default if groups want to include those things.
I support this idea vigorously.
 

Jester David

Adventurer
Yes.

There are no orcs and drow in Dragonlance, no orcs, gnomes, and goblins in Dark Sun (and no clerics), orcs don't really have a place in Ravenloft, and the like.
Settings should be allowed to focus on their quirks and restrictions.

Similarly, DMs should be allowed to focus on the races they like and they don't like. Removing a race is a fun and simple way of making a world "different" and opens up a story and world niche for other races. If dwarves don't exist, then suddenly gnomes are the best craftsmen in the world and become more interesting. Or maybe earth genasi. If there are no elves in the world, firbolgs might become far more prominent.
Furthermore, DMs are not required to include every single race WotC chooses to publish. (Or limited to just those races.)

But players need to be warned in advance, so they don't show up with a banned concept and be dissapointed. And should be willing to put character concepts on hold for campaigns that fit that concept, or compromise in their race and class.
The DM is the one writing the adventures and making the campaign, so it's the least the players can do not to sabotage their efforts.
 

akr71

Explorer
Normally yes, but as is "these are the races that inhabit this world" way. If my players and I decide to play in Greyhawk and want to include kender, we are well within our right to do so.

Our version of the setting does not have to be canon and likely never will be.
 

jaelis

Explorer
In general I'd say rhe setting designer should have the freedom to do whatever they want. If you're talking about WotC updating established settings, then I think they should try to stay true to the original concept. Including advice about bypassing restrictions would be nice though.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
We can all customize our home games, but are buyers open to purchasing published settings where not only new options are given, but some published options are specifically not given? No elves? No paladins? No fire magic?
To answer that question, I think all we need to do is find out how well Adventures in Middle Earth is doing.
 

Satyrn

Villager
We can all customize our home games, but are buyers open to purchasing published settings where not only new options are given, but some published options are specifically not given? No elves? No paladins? No fire magic?
I have a semantic quibble that's making it hard for me to answer.

I can't tell if you're talking about a setting that limits the races by not mentioning them, or if it limits the races by explicitly saying "these are the only allowed races" or "no gnomes."


I'm totally fine with settings that "limit" races by never mentioning them. I don't want them to tell me "No gnomes allowed."
 

Mouseferatu

Villager
I'm totally fine with settings that "limit" races by never mentioning them. I don't want them to tell me "No gnomes allowed."
Whereas I do. :)

I want settings to be explicit, not just about what new options they introduce, but about what standard options are not appropriate, be it for thematic, historical, mechanical, or any other reason.

That said, I also don't mind sidebars with suggestions on how an individual DM can include said options despite "canon" if they wish to do so.
 

Satyrn

Villager
Whereas I do. :)

I want settings to be explicit, not just about what new options they introduce, but about what standard options are not appropriate, be it for thematic, historical, mechanical, or any other reason.

That said, I also don't mind sidebars with suggestions on how an individual DM can include said options despite "canon" if they wish to do so.
I think we're actually rather the same. I didn't say it very well, but what I don't want is for a setting book to tell the DM "no gnomes allowed."
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I think we're actually rather the same. I didn't say it very well, but what I don't want is for a setting book to tell the DM "no gnomes allowed."
If I were playing in a Game of Thrones setting, elves and gnomes just wouldn’t fit. Similarly, dragonborn characters wouldn’t feel right to me in Middle Earth. It would break the immersive feel for me. Taking it to it’s extreme, do we allow Vulcans in a Star Wars game and Jedi on the Enterprise?

I personally find settings more attractive if the fiction is more directed.
 

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