I've noticed that this question about limiting exotic races has gone from closed, to opened after some helpful edits, to closed again (without seemingly significant edits). Even now, it has a re-open vote.

So, I simply ask: Should this question be closed, or open?

(I'm asking on meta, per the guidance in @doppelgreener's answer on this question: How do we handle questions that are repeatedly closed and reopened?)

  • \$\begingroup\$ I have voted to close it, yet again, since it remains incoherent. (I don't usually get involved in the open close yo yo thing, but in this case I have broken with tradition) \$\endgroup\$ Jun 11, 2021 at 13:33

5 Answers 5


Leave it closed until the querent's goals are clearer.

The question has been closed at least twice for being unclear. The question has undergone some minor edits but the fundamental confusion is still there.

There are currently 11 answers (and several now-deleted answers) that cover a variety of possible solutions. It is unclear why none of them suffice for what the querent has in mind.

If their problem persists across systems, then adding a system tag won't help. Or maybe this is a system-specific problem, which could lead to more detailed answers. Until the querent clarifies their presenting problem, the matter of system tagging is irrelevant here.

The querent needs to explain their preferences, not because their preferences are wrong, but because they're unclear and confusing. Some of the question criteria seem to be arbitrary and contradictory (e.g. they want to ban certain options without banning those options). There are several obvious solutions, yet none of them are sufficient.

Maybe there are additional factors that are specific to their game or their player group. Or maybe an obvious solution is sufficient (e.g. ban the options they don't want) but the querent is rejecting them for unspecified personal reasons. Unless the querent clarifies what they want to accomplish and why, then the site users won't be able to provide informed answers.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ they want to ban certain options without banning those options Which makes the question incoherent. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 11, 2021 at 12:18

It should be closed with further details needed, because it's not a system-agnostic question. System matters for understanding the problem and understanding what solution to apply. Factors that the system influences include but are not limited to:

  • What actual qualities do the “exotic” or “normal” races have that would have a player gravitate toward or away from them? In fact, what specifically makes them different at all? We need to consider this stuff if we're going to provide guidance on how to point players in a different direction.
  • What kinds of stories is the system interested in telling? How does the choice of race affect the story, or create or resolve problems?
  • What does the system offer in terms of incentivisation that the group can utilise? What concrete tools are available for shepherding players and how should they be used?
  • In fact, what's the player/GM relationship here, and is there even a GM at all? This changes the power dynamics when making requests of others at the table or when implementing changes—some games vest significant authority in the GM, some vest no special authority at all in them.

These are factors that do not have a “neutral” or “agnostic” answer. Each system (or the lack of a system entirely, maybe it's freeform) has specific answers, where “nothing defined on this topic at all” is also a relevant answer for readers to know.

This means that in different systems, the answers vary a lot.

  • In D&D, a group with highly varied races isn't a big issue and solves a lot of problems.
  • In a Warhammer game, it creates problems for humans to adventure with non-humans.
  • In a World of Darkness game, the answer is digging into splat mixing vs not, and answers about splat mixing tend to be in the vicinity of “yeah, people try that, but it doesn't actually work too well. If you're going to do that, here's how.”
  • In Dresden Files, it takes the story in a different direction. There's specific tools the game uses to address fey creatures (narrative permissions related to free will, different fate point allowances) and unique incentives to pick them. It's a significant consideration whether your characters can pass as human; this doesn't matter in D&D.

In lieu of any specific information about the system, people are assuming D&D, assuming its constraints and situations apply, and they're name-dropping DMing and Pathfinder out of an assumption they're relevant. This is pretty fair—it's quite clear the question seems to be addressing D&D, but doesn't want to say so for some reason.

Specifying the system to us is helpful. It gives people knowledge of the tools they can work with, and that's important. Withholding such information and just pretending it's system-agnostic isn't doing anyone any favors. It leaves answerers armed with less knowledge for addressing the problem, and leaves them providing weaker solutions and guidance than they could otherwise speak about. Personally, it seems like a long line of sytem-agnostic-but-actually-D&D questions that assume that the tabletop RPG space is equivalent to D&D and therefore D&D questions can be system agnostic because it's all the same. (We saw this happen a lot during our early years on this site.)

The OP ought to tell us specifically what system or systems they're trying to solve this issue in, rather than beating around the bush. RPG.SE is about solving practical questions based on actual problems that you face, not about generic problems that generically exist out there somewhere. The OP is having this practical problem in a specific system or set of systems, and should tell us what those are.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for taking the time to articulate this; I voted to close it again since the querent has chosen to retain the "I want to ban but I don't want to ban" incoherence that is the problem in the first place. And I agree that, for this, system matters \$\endgroup\$ Jun 11, 2021 at 13:35
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Specifying the system(s) is one way to clarify the question (certainly the easiest), but may not be possible in all cases (eg an unpublished system). The alternative is for the necessary details about the game to be provided, a harder option but one that's important to keep available so that all systems can be asked about here. \$\endgroup\$
    – Laurel
    Jun 11, 2021 at 15:01

it's tricky...

As elaborated in some highly rated comments and my answer, a system would highly help to make better answers. But it technically could be answered, however only few answers actually follow the back it up principle...

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Can it be answered if the OP doesn't say why they want to limit 'exotic' character races, though? \$\endgroup\$ Jun 10, 2021 at 17:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AncientSwordRage that could help to make a better question, yes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Jun 10, 2021 at 17:20

It could be reopened as soon as the system-agnostic tag is replaced

"System-agnostic" could be a relevant tag if the OP was not already set on a specific system to play in a fantasy setting with limited access to exotic races, but it looks like this is not the case here: we need to know what the OP is playing to provide more specific advice.


is an appropriate tag here. We do not need to know the system.

That certain systems have mechanics baked in for handling OP's problem is entirely irrelevant. If OP was playing one of those, they likely wouldn't be having this problem. And even if they are, the problem is still widely applicable to systems that don't have such mechanics, and system agnostic solutions will still be helpful.

OP doesn't have to justify their preferences to us before we can answer their question.

There were some comments bordering on badwrongfun being thrown about, and we shouldn't do that here. It is perfectly fine for someone to prefer a particular play experience at the table, and OP is looking for methods to help them navigate pre-game social interactions in order to achieve their preferred play experience. It does not matter why they want this particular outcome, they want it, and that is okay, and we should be well equipped to handle this question without having OP defend or even explain their preferences.

This type of social interaction question is standard fare for this site. Leave it open.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I agree with the second paragraph, but I do think a system tag could be helpful for resolving the OP's particular situation. Not necessary, technically, but it could help with devising a solution more in line with the game (i.e. using something like PFS or Adventurer's League rules, if those would help). \$\endgroup\$
    – ESCE
    Jun 10, 2021 at 18:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ The end of your first paragraph gets at what (I think) bothers me so much about most uses of the sys-ag tag: sure, maybe a solution here could help others having the problem across systems. But that's not this person, having this problem. If querent were running/playing in six highly-dissimilar systems and running into this problem in all of them, then I think we'd be looking at a sys-ag question. As is, they're just declining to tell us highly relevant information. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Jun 10, 2021 at 18:40

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