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There is a curious case that resulted in bunch of questions that are tagged with one system, while the OP was confused about workings of a different system - and some of these tags were applied by OP himself.

Note: That I am posting this as an outside observer, and even though the other people involved are active members of the community I have not contacted them. So I encourage them to participate and feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

So our tale starts with this question: How can I get the DM to stop sending giants to kill us?. It was a well-received question by a first-time asker that was tagged simply . The community members helpfully changed the tags to more descriptive and , which were initially rolled back but afterwards accepted. (Note: I haven't seen where OP states that it was indeed 5e. The OP stated the system was 5e in a now deleted comment.) OP took note of it and changed the tag to 5e in the other open question at the time and in future only used .

And all was well.

That is until he asked this question: How can my level 3 party defeat a group of Liches? For anyone with any experience with 5e it was obvious, that something was very wrong with the situation. It looks like most of the community assumed that it was a problem GM or the system was heavily homebrewed, and it seems most took the tag (added by OP) as a fact. I (and I'm sure there were others) thought that OP was actually playing something other than D&D 5e, and out of curiosity, I mentally noted to check up later what system was he actually using.

A while later he asked this question: How do I gain magic as a Ranger? - and, in comments/chat, all but confirmed that the Player's Handbook that book he was using was not actually the D&D 5e Player's Handbook (although he never stated what was the actual system that he was playing, and I am still intrigued).

So now there are questions that asked about situation in system A, but were tagged with the system B - some of which were well-received, no doubt because situations seemed intriguingly crazy, while others were poorly received because they made no sense.

I also find it hard to see that there would be anyone to blame for this confusion. The initial edits were most likely done in good faith to improve the tags on the question. The OP probably didn't know he was playing something other than D&D 5e, and took the tagging suggestions to heart. If anything, most of the blame lies on the shoulders of OP's GM, who didn't convey what exactly was it that they were playing.

Additionally, as long there exists things like this PDF* (whatever that is), it is completely reasonable that we will get people asking questions who not only do not know which Dungeons & Dragons edition they are playing but can also cite the exact text found in D&D 5e books while actually using another system.

My question is therefore twofold:

  1. Does anything need to be done to the existing questions? Technically the tagged system is not the one the questions were asked about, but it is a mess.
  2. Do we need some kind of community guidance to prevent such a confusion from occurring again?

* I found it by using a Google search limited to PDF files on the overrun text mentioned in this comment. As it is a PHB, not DMG, I didn't manage to prove the original commenter completely wrong :)

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    \$\begingroup\$ FWIW, they stated they were playing "5e" in a since deleted comment before the tag was edited in by another user. \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil Mod
    Jun 11 at 16:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ Did we ever find out what System A was? Or that there actually is a System A? \$\endgroup\$ Jun 11 at 16:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ I guess I'd like to challenge the premise here somewhat, the framing here assumes the existence of System A, but we don't actually know that, so the title seems incorrect. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 11 at 16:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov I'm inclined to agree with you here; the fact that nobody here could think of a more fitting system suggests to me, at least, that this was a case of the querent being so thoroughly uncertain of the rules that it obfuscated what system was being used. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cooper
    Jun 11 at 16:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov I agree that there might possibly not be a more fitting codified system than D&D 5e. But it certainly isn't D&D 5e as written (e.g. Ranger has no magic, items give -4 to all enemy rolls and PHB is different). Personally I would call it a different system even if it was based on D&D 5e \$\endgroup\$
    – SilentAxe
    Jun 11 at 17:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SilentAxe Based on my observations, I'd say it's reasonably likely they had a Player's Handbook for a different game, and got into a D&D 5e game without knowing the difference. They also mention a Dungeon Master's Guide and a Monster Manual in various places. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 11 at 17:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ The title here seems misleading. \$\endgroup\$
    – Akixkisu
    Jun 11 at 18:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Akixkisu Feel free to suggest or edit a better one. FYI English is not my first language so I might be missing some nuance. My goal was to say that it looks like OP thought they were talking about one system while really playing something else due to no fault of their own. (Probably GM told them they are playing D&D 5e, but at best - they are playing a heavily misunderstood version of it that does not follow D&D 5e rules) \$\endgroup\$
    – SilentAxe
    Jun 11 at 18:51
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The questions are old enough at this point that changing them invalidates their answers

These questions are from May 5th, 10th, and 11th. It is now an entire month later and these questions have meaningful answers that work under the assumption that these questions are actually about the fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons. Thus these questions are actually now about that system.


New questions about the same topic in a different system can always be made

If the OP returns and knows what system they were actually playing, they can ask these same questions but about the actual system they were playing. The questions the OP ultimately asked (tagged with [dnd-5e]) are fundamentally different from questions tagged with a different system tag and so entirely new questions could always be asked.

That said, it doesn't seem like they have returned with the answer, and we don't even know for sure that they were actually playing a system that isn't dnd-5e.


I don't personally see this as a problem: the OP can, with limited effort, ask the same (but different) question about a different system. The wrong system may have been assumed, but it was not caught for quite a while and so, at this point, the answers, with their upvotes and views, stand on their own as answers to a question that is about that system (dnd-5e).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, Id prefer not to remove my answers that scored 61 and 82. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 11 at 16:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 - we don't even know for sure that they were actually playing a system that isn't dnd-5e. That raises a question, though probably not integral to this question. How different does a system have to be to be counted as not-dnd-5e? If it has different rules for Ranger class, completely different items (-4 to all enemy rolls), and diffrent rulebook - what does it have to use from dnd-5e to be considered dnd-5e? \$\endgroup\$
    – SilentAxe
    Jun 11 at 16:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov I readdly would hope noone would suggest that. That definitely wasn't my intention. \$\endgroup\$
    – SilentAxe
    Jun 11 at 16:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Silent If significant alterations, houserules, and overhauls are used, it is on the OP to mention those. If they are playing an altered version of dnd-5e, those alterations should be made clear. There isn't an exact answer to that and I don't think there can ever be one. System tags allow people to give you answers that can actually be applied to your game, if your game cannot be helped by [dnd-5e] answers, it shouldn't have the tag \$\endgroup\$
    – Medix2
    Jun 11 at 16:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 That seems super reasonable. My only worry is that when browsing [dnd-5e] questions these would not be applicable in most of the readers. At least if most questions were like this (and could not be filtered out by tags), I know I would stop browsing the site. (The answers are completely ok though and rightly point out the crazyness of the situations). \$\endgroup\$
    – SilentAxe
    Jun 11 at 17:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SilentAxe I think you'll find that these sort of questions are so utterly exceedingly rare that we have little to nothing worry about when it comes to them impacting the 18 thousand other [dnd-5e] questions we have. I also think that them having applicable answers means that if somebody else does have this problem the questions/answers are actually applicable. Furthermore, it's not like these sort of questions arise when the [dnd-5e] tag makes no sense, the tag is applied to questions where it could already reasonably fit, meaning the answers will be meaningful \$\endgroup\$
    – Medix2
    Jun 11 at 17:10

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