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D&D 5E TCOE: Is reskinning your origin allowed by RAW?

Does origin customization RAW let you reskin existing races (keeping stats the same)?

  • Yes, unless your DM says otherwise, you can do this by RAW.

  • Yes, but only for races of the same size, uness your DM says otherwise.

  • No, this is a form of homebrew, house rule, or DM ruling, not RAW.


Results are only viewable after voting.

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Again, just to be completely clear, I am asking if the rules-as-written specifically permit a situation like "I'm playing an earth genasi mechanically, but thematically my character is a dwarf."

The RAW dont cover this, because the question is really outside the purview of rules.
 

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6ENow!

The Game Is Over
Considering this was the thrust of the OP:
Do the customizable origin rules allow players to choose the aesthetic appearance and cultural details of their character, completely independent of the mechanics involved? (Possible exception for different sizes, since I recognize that's more difficult to square.)
It seemed to me like they are asking if those "rules" allow what they are trying to do or whether or not it falls under the realm of this "rule". Which is why the concept of RAW is applicable to the OP.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Considering this was the thrust of the OP:

It seemed to me like they are asking if those "rules" allow what they are trying to do or whether or not it falls under the realm of this "rule". Which is why the concept of RAW is applicable to the OP.
Then in that regard it shouldn't even need to be asked. Because the rules state exactly what they state... that you can select different mechanics in place of other mechanics. But @Umbran is right in that there aren't any rules in the game regarding character aesthetics so there isn't any RAW or RAI or RAC for any of this to worry about. No one needs to worry about RAW for character aesthetics because there is no RAW for character aesthetics.

It's all about personal taste and whether the people you are playing with share your taste or not and go along with your choices or not.
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
Then in that regard it shouldn't even need to be asked. Because the rules state exactly what they state... that you can select different mechanics in place of other mechanics. But @Umbran is right in that there aren't any rules in the game regarding character aesthetics so there isn't any RAW or RAI or RAC for any of this to worry about. No one needs to worry about RAW for character aesthetics because there is no RAW for character aesthetics.

It's all about personal taste and whether the people you are playing with share your taste or not and go along with your choices or not.
Well, I can't say since I'm not the OP--that was just my take on why they asked.

But IMO to ask it doesn't need to be asked isn't necessarily true. If I am correct, the OP want to know if the concept fell under those rules or not. I agree they really don't so hopefully by the OP will be satisfied with the responses given so far.
 

tetrasodium

Hero
Supporter
An example stolen from a post on a different forum, long ago (or at least what I can remember of it):
"I really like the ideas behind the genasi race, but the story that makes most sense for my character is a member of dwarf nobility. Would it be okay for me to play a dwarf 'princess' of sorts, someone with special earth powers? I'm fine with only getting genasi-specific options, which we'll have to talk about to make sure things continue to make sense going forward. So, height, weight, overall appearance, all dwarf, but for everything that really matters in rules terms, an earth genasi."

For an example not using any official race for aesthetics but using an official one's mechanics:
"Man, I've just rediscovered how much I loved GW2. Could I play a gnome artificer, but look and sound like an asura from that game? They're pretty similar culturally, and both are small. It'll just be a lot easier to find artwork that looks like what I'm imagining."

Or perhaps:
"I was hoping to play a Lizardfolk monk, but I really like the stuff you've done with the Imperial culture and the dragonborn in it. Could my character be seen as a sort of 'feral' or 'jungle' variant of dragonborn, one that doesn't get a breath weapon but develops in other ways?"

Any situation where a particular aesthetic is desired, but the mechanics are consistently taken from a thing that doesn't have those aesthetics. As noted, I allow for the notion that "creature size" is something that exists on both an important-to-the-mechanics level and an important-to-the-aesthetics level, so I could totally see a DM arguing that reskinning cannot change a creature's size. So you could play a gnome with halfling stats or a goblin with kobold stats or whatever, but you couldn't play a goblin with loxodon stats or an elf with gnome stats.

Edit: My examples were chosen to illustrate that the reason for this switch could be mostly roleplay-oriented (the asura), mostly mechanics-oriented (lizardfolk), or somewhere in-between (the dwarf princess). And I 100% grant and agree with the "don't do this to grub for benefits" kind of thing. Any player using this as a pretense for squeezing the maximum mechanical benefit out of stuff is acting in bad faith.
If I'm reading it right "it depends if your idea fits the game your GM is running, talk to your GM. I'd probably allow all of those to one degree or another
 


Who really cares if people reskin stuff?

I dont.

I allowed an Aaracrocka monk that looked like (and was) a Human (with Aaracrocka stats).

He wanted a Monk that could fly from 1st level (Wuxia style). We just fluffed it as that (plus his 'claws' as a special martial arts technique).
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
I was confused by the question at first. The Custom origin rule allows you to play an elf but using other mechanics. It doesn’t let you play an elf with genasi abilities though.
 

Mistwell

Legend
This seems...an odd question. All of Tasha's is DM optional rules to begin with. What exactly is the difference between a DM making the decision to use an optional rule, and a DM just saying sure go ahead to a request, which is a "Rules as Written vs Houseruling" type question?
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Exactly what it says on the tin. Do the customizable origin rules allow players to choose the aesthetic appearance and cultural details of their character, completely independent of the mechanics involved? (Possible exception for different sizes, since I recognize that's more difficult to square.)

So, for example, if someone wanted to play an elf mechanically, but look like a tiefling aesthetically, do the rules as written in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything support such a thing? Or perhaps looking like a dragonborn, but having the statistics of a half-orc or half-elf or something.

Again, just to be completely clear, I am asking if the rules-as-written specifically permit a situation like "I'm playing an earth genasi mechanically, but thematically my character is a dwarf." Obviously, if your DM is on board, you can do whatever the heck you like, and if your DM vetoes it, the point is moot. I'm just curious what people think about this, since the rules text seems open to either answer.
So, there are two issues relevant to this.

1. You are making a custom origin. Therefor, it is what you say it is. A small elf with horns and a tail, or a slender dragonperson with darkvision and no breath weapon, or a runt goliath, whatever, it's fine. The thematics are up to you, and to a lesser extent (ie mostly via veto power), your DM.

2. You are literally taking an earth genasi, changing nothing, and calling it a dwarf blessed by the stone. Firstly, that's baller as hell and a DM that doesn't allow it is a rube. Second, I don't think it's strictly RAW, but it's also well within the spirit of what the TCOE rules suggest.
 

So, there are two issues relevant to this.

1. You are making a custom origin. Therefor, it is what you say it is. A small elf with horns and a tail, or a slender dragonperson with darkvision and no breath weapon, or a runt goliath, whatever, it's fine. The thematics are up to you, and to a lesser extent (ie mostly via veto power), your DM.

2. You are literally taking an earth genasi, changing nothing, and calling it a dwarf blessed by the stone. Firstly, that's baller as hell and a DM that doesn't allow it is a rube. Second, I don't think it's strictly RAW, but it's also well within the spirit of what the TCOE rules suggest.
I'm not actually referring to using the Custom Lineage option. I'm talking about the "you can move your stat bonuses around" type rules. For the former, I totally agree you can set whatever flavor you like. If you ARE keeping all the non-ability-score stuff, though, that's where my question lies.

The second point is pretty much the answer I was expecting (and pretty much the answer I've gotten from the thread), I just thought it was interesting that the rules are oddly silent on this subject. By comparison, 4e was pretty forward with the "no ABSOLUTELY reskin your race as whatever you feel like. DMs, maybe consider allowing a damage type change for things if it makes sense and isn't abusive," and 3.x...properly speaking it would usually be contradictory to RAW but most DMs would allow it.
 

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