Is the [simulacrum] tag a necessary addition?

I notice that the tag has been added again. My personal opinion is that it is unnecessary. Seeing as the user who has added it most recently rolled back my standard procedure removal edit, I want to try to get a consensus before going ahead and rolling back edits to the questions where they added it.

If turns out to be useful, then it might apply to about 60 questions - how should we approach adding the to those questions?

• FWIW, tags that are on only one question and with no excerpt or description will be roomba'd eventually, but I'm not sure what the timescale for that is exactly (but its reasonably long) – Someone_Evil May 3 at 19:09
• @Someone_Evil do you happen to know the meta that discussed that? (I'm familiar with the zombie tag meta and adjacent meta posts) – Akixkisu May 3 at 19:22
• @Akixkisu We have it discussed here (untagged being the most noticeable point). So unless it's changed in the 10 years since that q, it's ~6 months – Someone_Evil May 3 at 19:32
• @Someone_Evil thanks, do you know if "lasted" is a continuous period or if re-tagging starts it anew? – Akixkisu May 3 at 19:35
• @RevanantBacon Cleaning out unneeded tags (inc tags which don't need to exist) is a fairly common editor action. And asking a meta question when disagreement is demonstrated is basically textbook. Imma suggest maybe taking a step away, because that line of inquiry doesn't seem to lead anywhere productive. – Someone_Evil May 3 at 19:35
• I suspect it's based on the age of the tag, but it isn't usually relevant, so I don't really know – Someone_Evil May 3 at 19:37

Actually, I think this tag is fine

The reason we don't have too many tags like this (and thus usually don't tag like it) is that we decided not to have tags for individual spells. You'll see one of the artefacts of that in the tag's synonyms.

However, certain systems will implement certain concepts as specific spells, and (for one reason or another) the name of the spell will be the same as the general concept. Star examples here are and . Whether a given concept is worthy of a tag is something handle on a case by case basis.

And I think passes muster. Specifically, the concept of a constructed (partial) copy or duplicate of a creature. And while 5e classes it as an illusion spell, it isn't really an illusion as makes sense outside the classifications of that game.

As a possible excerpt to help its usage:

For questions about simulacra, illusory or constructed replica or duplica of other creatures etc. as they appear in various RPGs, such as with the spells of the same name in different editions of D&D and Pathfinder.

• Do you think that "simulacrum" should be the generic tag, or should we introduce something like "golem" or "homunculus?" (which are meaningfully distinct, but nonetheless tied concepts). – Akixkisu May 3 at 19:50
• this misses, that Simulacrum is a very oldschool D&D-offshoot based on TSR D&D from 2003. – Trish May 3 at 19:56
• @Akixkisu I think those are different again, generally, but also covered by constructs. Simulcare should maybe be a syn of/covered by that tag. Not quite sure – Someone_Evil May 3 at 19:57
• @Trish I think we'd generally resolve that kind of ambiguity by inluding eg. -rpg in the system's tag, which I think we should do even without the tag proposed here to avoid accidental misuse. (We get that with certain other tags already) – Someone_Evil May 3 at 19:59
• @Someone_Evil I think constructs already covers the uses. Maybe we could add a note to that. Though, I'm not sure that it is meaningful in the context of those questions that are primarily about the illusion spell in D&D. – Akixkisu May 3 at 20:01
• There are at least 2 RPGs, 1 magazine, 1 podcast, 1 creature type and the official software for an RPG - making the term QUITE ambiguous once you look outside of the 3e-5e box. – Trish May 3 at 20:08
• @Trish The tag's excerpt would cover the uses. A different system having the same concept as something other than a spell is also perfectly fine, we'd be tagging the concept, not the tag, and we can cross the bridge with how to tag the other stuff when those questions actually get asked (see also comment above). – Someone_Evil May 3 at 20:11
• @Someone_Evil What I rail against is, why should it be 5e AGAIN that defines a tag that doesn't add anything that isn't already used? Simulacrum is just latin for "likeness, semblance" and is just interchangeable for Construct in several RPGs. D&D-likes almost claimed Magus and that was a bad fight to get an ok solution. – Trish May 3 at 20:14
• Strictly speaking, simulacra are images or illusions, I have to admit that it has been a while since I read Lucretius, I don't think that the concept meaningfully assembles expertise. Any use seems to either be covered by illusions or constructs. – Akixkisu May 3 at 20:16
• @Trish I'm not sure I'm following you. If going with having the tag, I would absolutely say the tag should be for the concept, not the system specific spell. If different concepts use the same name I think we can fix that too, though I'm hesitant to adjust something too much unless we actually get (or have) questions where it's an issue. – Someone_Evil May 3 at 20:25
• @Trish At risk of sounding exasperated, the thing we are in-fact getting questions about, which would be the (specific type of) duplicate or copy. Completely different things using the same word should have separate tags (and it should be perfectly clear from context that are separate) if those things need a tag at all. – Someone_Evil May 3 at 20:36
• We have perfectly working illusion and construct tags. With the problems the tag poses (is it for a spell? is it for constructs that mimic living beings? is it for the PC types/races of that name?), what do you propose as the wiki? You say "have it", so you should give us a definition what it is. – Trish May 3 at 20:48
• @Trish Does that suggestion help? If there are close things that fall outside that definition but could have use of the tag, that should generally be expandable. It's gonna be slightly vague, because the usefulness is gonna vary (as I think you've helped demonstrate) – Someone_Evil May 3 at 21:02
• I would actually use the tag to directly describe the D&D spell, since that's the thing people regularly have issues with specifically. – doppelgreener May 3 at 21:17
• @Trish If and when a question is asked that needs the alternative definitions of the tag you are arguing for, we could re-address the issue then. As is this is arguing a hypothetical case (though based on real systems) vs an actual question that wants to use the tag. – linksassin May 4 at 0:04

Per our help,

A tag is a word or phrase that describes the topic of the question. Tags are a means of connecting experts with questions they will be able to answer by sorting questions into specific, well-defined categories.

Tags can also be used to help you identify questions that are interesting or relevant to you.

As such, questions about whether this tag matches some weak consensus from six years ago are red herrings: we need to ask if this tag will help connect experts to questions that play to their expertise.

For most spells in D&D, the answer is "no." No-one has peculiar expertise in Scorching Ray, becasue there's not much confusion or controversy there. Any questions someone has about Scorching Ray have an overwhelming tendency to really be questions about how spells work generally (e.g. "can I light a candle with it?").

A small handful of spells are just complicated, deeply situational, or both. The 3e Polymorph series of spells and every incarnation of Wish fit this description, and both come up very frequently. I can easily imagine someone following either of those tags, because they do require specific expertise and they do come up all the time.

Simulacrum is harder to imagine fitting that mold. However, that there are 60 questions which could reasonably be tagged with it suggests that it comes up often enough to be worth tagging, and that RevanantBacon is defending it as a tag suggests that he is interested in following it.

So, underall, Simulacrum sounds like it should be a tag.

This comes with a big caveat: I think it's worth looking hard at scope for these spells. Does the "simulacrum" expertise apply to all editions, or is it specific to the 5E spell? The same applies to other spells too: Wish is likely fairly universal (despite the different costs between editions), but Polymorph behaves fairly differently in 3e/5E.

• The word appears on rpg.se primarily in context of pathfinder-1e, dnd-5e, dnd,3.5e and adnd-2e. Experts of Simulacra should be able to shime in on this, if there are any. – Akixkisu May 5 at 14:45
• "Does the "simulacrum" expertise apply to all editions, or is it specific to the 5E spell?" Simulacrums have been the focus of significant (verging on extreme) optimization, arguments, and misapprehensions throughout the existence of 3.5e and pathfinder. Abilities that create copies of characters have also been the focus of much discussion in superhero systems and several sci fi systems (such as eclipse phase). It appears to be something that people are often confused about almost regardless of context. – user2754 May 16 at 16:21
• People who understand how it works in some system have been literally called in to forum threads to help explain things or resolve arguments in traditional forums - i'd say it is very likely that this expertise is both extant and notable in at least 3.5 and pathfinder (and now in 5e, which brings back a very similar interaction). – user2754 May 16 at 16:22
• @user2754 agree with all! But the distinction is how well knowing pathfinder’s simulacrum translates to knowing 5e’s simulacrum. Example: because many of wish’s issues are not mechanical, many of the problems translate pretty directly across editions, so someone who can answer a question about “Player Pete wished for a wand of Orcus” can answer across 2, 3, 3.5, Pathfinder, and 5e. If simulacrum is different enough in different editions that the expertise doesn’t translate, we might look at making the tag reflect that. – fectin May 16 at 16:54
• Well, that's a bit of a complicated question, as it involves 'attitudes towards optimization'. The major difference between 5e simulacrum and 3.5/PF simulacrum is that the 3.5/PF one is a permanent resource and the 5e one cannot regain spell slots. That's a big difference, but most of the questions people have about it seem to be about what it can target, can people tell, does it know what the original creature knows etc and that all seems to be largely the same (either undefined or same style of text used). – user2754 May 16 at 17:04
• That's not a unique divide either - that same split (permanent entity vs disposable dupe) appears in superhero and sci fi games as well, it's a difference in type of trope. I would say the difference is probably not large enough (or noticed enough) to justify multiple tags. – user2754 May 16 at 17:06

It's not a good tag

Simulacrum in 5e is an spell that makes a . Both would work. A tag for a single spell is not good and it is general consensus not to do it: with some few exceptions, single spell tags are far too narrow to be useful. It currently is the only question with that tag, making it even less useful to find others. The other two tags cover the use, I don't see a reason to add a single spell tag.

Even worse: simulacrum can be literally anything entirely different from a list:

While the first two can be protected against by proper tagging, the other are going down to make finding an overarching concept that covers all (but the RPG and magazines) almost impossible.

If it should be a good tag, it needs to be non centered on D&D one, and here's the crux: the only overarching concept that anything but the first 4 have in common is, that they use the word literally as "in the likeness off", but coin it on artificial constructs or the means to make a character.

• We have tags for polymorph and wish – Thomas Markov May 3 at 19:57
• @ThomasMarkov I believe those should be burninated, but they are useful. Unlike a single, undescribed, 1-tag. – Trish May 3 at 20:11
• FWIW, it being undescribed and only on one question would be because none has given it a description yet, and it hasn't been applied to applicable questions. Those points aren't really relevant for whether a tag should exist. – Someone_Evil May 3 at 20:13
• But if it weren't for people deliberately removing the tag, there would have been several other posts with the tag as well. It's like a self-fulfilling prophecy: it gets stamped out, citing that there are no other posts with the tag as the reason, and when it pops back up, it gets stamp it out again, and once again, the reason of "there are no others with the tag" is cited. Obviously it's at least somewhat useful, or it wouldn't have had to be stamped out more than once. – RevanantBacon May 3 at 20:16
• This comment's purpose is to explain my downvote: I downvoted because we already have plenty of tags that are extremely confusable with other similar terms; this confusion would be nothing new whatsoever and has been handled just fine thus far – Medix2 May 4 at 3:17
• Re: ambiguity: You can choose a tag-name the's specific to the usage. e.g. [dnd-simulacrum] or even [5e-simulacrum], or [simulacrum-spell]. (@Medix2). Adding a context word to the tag-name is what we do on Stack Overflow when we need to disambiguate tags, or even just to prevent their getting mis-tagged e.g. in a question about the Simulacrum RPG, if there's no [simulacrum-rpg] tag. So these are arguments to choose a better name, not against the existence at all. – Peter Cordes May 8 at 20:21
• I downvoted because this does not match the purpose of tags. Tags are not an arbitrary taxonomy, they are a tool to help answerers find questions. Your result may be the right answer, but I believe the explanation is wrong. – fectin May 16 at 16:46