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In my question Do external, non-innate methods exist in Faerûn circa 1489 DR to situationally alter the efficacy of spellcasting?, I attempted to ask about in-universe phenomena that affect spellcasting in a particular D&D setting. Admittedly, the question is complicated and was difficult to write with precision.

Some of those in-universe phenomena might be magic items, which tend to be generic in D&D: they mostly appear as mechanical bits in setting-agnostic books (e.g., the Dungeon Master's Guide) and then are presumed to exist in a given setting unless some setting-specific product says otherwise. I was interested in magic items only to the extent they figure into the setting's lore, and not merely as generic bits of game mechanics. To signal that, I used the tag.

Was I right to do so?

What is the tag supposed to communicate, exactly? What is "lore"?

Imagine a generic magic item, the +1 spellwidget, published in a setting-agnostic book. If Joe NPC carries a +1 spellwidget in a later Forgotten Realms adventure, does the +1 spellwidget ipso facto become Forgotten Realms ? Or maybe the +1 spellwidget is part of Forgotten Realms simply by force of presumption so long as no Forgotten Realms product says otherwise?

In short, is it correct to use the tag to focus the reader's attention on magic items, or aspects of a magic item, that engage the setting per se, rather than on the purely mechanical bits?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think there is such a thing as a setting agnostic book (in D&D 5e, at least). \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas Markov Mar 4 at 13:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd say that's debatable at the least. \$\endgroup\$ – screamline Mar 4 at 15:07
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You were right to tag your question about , specifically on account of how it's a question about lore, but it was incorrect to expect the tag to signal new information to readers, or to use a tag to tell readers what to focus on.

Tags are a categorisation mechanism to help people find your question and to connect it with people who can answer it. The tag has a short summary you'll see on its page: “For questions about a setting's in-world details or background.” If that sounds like your question, tag it .

However: Tags are not for conveying new, additional information not already found in the question body. This includes that they are not for providing encoded signals or hints to readers. You need to say what you need from answers in the body of the question itself, including explicitly stating your constraints and anything you specifically are or aren't interested in. This means if you're interested in the lore and not the mechanical bits, you need to say in your question “I'm interested in the lore and not the mechanical bits” (or a phrasing of your choice to that effect).

Tags come after you do that: once you've posted your question, people will add new tags that help categorise it or remove tags that don't seem to match anything in there. The question body itself is the source of truth; tags are just categorising it.

The sole exception is that system tags are allowed to add new information by saying what game and edition you're working with: these are tags like , , , , etc. (If you add multiple system tags you'll probably need to clearly state what's going on there.)

See also: A low-intervention approach [rules-as-written]: back to tagging basics which explains these first principles, in the context of revisiting them for a past tag that we had difficulty with because we had somehow gotten into a practice of using it to signal things to readers.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Great clarification. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – screamline Mar 8 at 17:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ You're very welcome! \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 10 at 23:05

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