The description for states:

House rules are small fan-created additions and replacements to core rules in a rules set, and this tag should be used when there are locally-created rules at the core of the question.

The description for states:

For questions about optional rules in RPGs. In many RPGs, there is the concept of rules that are essential to the game, and optional but official rules that can be used if desired.

Consider this question: Is it unbalanced to allow a player to move the tiefling's +1 Int bonus to a different ability score?

This question seems to be framed as asking about a house rule, and OP tagged it as such. But as you can see from my answer, the rule proposed in the question is exactly an officially published optional rule.

So which tag do we use: or ?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ It could also be both—it seems our asker came up with a house rule in isolation that also happened to be supported by an official optional rule by relatively recent material. It was still a house rule when they made it. (This isn't me saying what tag we should use, just that their ruling can be understood to be either of these things depending on what we the reader know as background information.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 17, 2021 at 10:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener That is in fact that I did-- I don't have Tasha's, and wound up allowing the score to be moved because I was already allowing for some fiddling with cantrips based on the original tiefling tables in the Planescape supplement. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cooper
    Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 20:59

2 Answers 2


I think we should leave it as a [house-rules] question

That might be surprising, because the ruling they made was also definitely an available official optional rule. But here's the thing: they didn't know that when coming up with their rule. In their universe, not apparently having read Tasha's yet (or at least that section of it), what they created was entirely a house rule unsupported by any material, and then they brought that house rule to us to verify it.

More concretely, these are two very different questions:

  1. “Hey, I came up with this thing. Is this okay?”
  2. “The official rules say I can do this thing, and I did it. Is this okay?”

And they have very different answers (in the same order):

  1. “In fact you unknowingly used something that's already an official rule, so it's probably fine.”
  2. “Yes, you did that thing correctly.”

Both answers might conceivably have come with corrections as to how the rule works or how to use it well, but that correction would come very differently between the two (same order again):

  1. “While we're at it, the rule also fully supports putting that point into Charisma, so you might want to allow that anyway.”
  2. “However, you messed up with the Charisma bit. The rule you were using plainly states...

Last but not least, one of these questions is at high risk of being downvoted for being a trivial, not-that-great kind of question. The other is a great question and pretty much has no issues at all. I'll let you guess which is which.

Overall, I think this means we should run with the original context with which they asked their question: they made a house rule, they're presenting that house rule they made up to us, it's a question. As part of evaluating their question, the answer is that hey, it's also an official optional rule—but that's the answer, not part of the question.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think this wouldn't cause any issues. But the argument fails in that tags mean to connect experts to questions they can answer - they are not means to represent questions. \$\endgroup\$
    – Akixkisu
    Commented Jun 17, 2021 at 10:22
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Our help center says: “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.” I've always understood this to mean they firstly describe the topic of the question and in doing so connect questions to experts. This questions' topic is a house rule. Experts ready to evaluate a house rule will be connected to it—and, being experts, will happen to recognise it as an optional rule, as Thomas did. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 17, 2021 at 10:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Correct, and in recognising that they can make that connection for other experts. But in this particular case it is not that much of an effective difference. So either approach is likely to be completly fine. \$\endgroup\$
    – Akixkisu
    Commented Jun 17, 2021 at 10:28
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ But there's no correction to make. The question is not asking about an optional rule. It's asking about a house rule someone made, which coincidentally corresponds to an optional rule. The [house-rules] tag is already the correct tag. Tags don't describe answers. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 17, 2021 at 10:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ There is no correction happening, it is a means to connect other experts. \$\endgroup\$
    – Akixkisu
    Commented Jun 17, 2021 at 10:30
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Oh, I misread "connection" as "correction" in your prior comment. [facepalm] \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 17, 2021 at 10:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ In this case, in particular, there is effectively little difference, but imagine the querent had accidentally exactly homebrewed the stat block of a D&D creature and asks about what CR it should have. Would you say the same argument applies? And what about if the querent also asked about DM's playing that creature, say how to utilise its tactics to effectively and authentically play the encounter? I think these are different groups of experts, even when closely related. \$\endgroup\$
    – Akixkisu
    Commented Jun 17, 2021 at 11:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ In that case, what the querent needs is not a homebrew review of their creature, but more immediate expertise of how the rules might apply to their game. It is the same here. The best answer doesn't evaluate something that someone created, it evaluates what is already there and how that impacts the game. \$\endgroup\$
    – Akixkisu
    Commented Jun 17, 2021 at 11:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Or to say, the reason why Thomas expertly answered the question is the presence of the optional rule, even when Thomas could also have assed the proposed house rule based on conjecture or analogies, eventually playtesting. The expertise here stems from the optional rule being present. \$\endgroup\$
    – Akixkisu
    Commented Jun 17, 2021 at 11:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Akixkisu "imagine the querent had accidentally exactly homebrewed the stat block of a D&D creature and asks about what CR it should have. Would you say the same argument applies?" - Yes, the same logic applies. If they homebrew something, and it happens to (almost) exactly match an official thing, that's still asking for a review of their homebrew. Knowing it already exists officially makes it a lot easier to assess, sure - but tags are supposed to describe the question itself, without needing to account for what the answer might be. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Jun 18, 2021 at 22:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ (I'm setting aside the sheer unlikelihood of perfectly recreating an existing monster/NPC statblock as homebrew content without knowing it already exists officially...) \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Jun 18, 2021 at 22:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast yes, it is asking that, but what expertise applies? Tags are means to connect experts, not a question summary. Someone who is familiar with that creature can answer the question in a way that someone who merely evaluates homebrew simply can't unless they put in some serious playtesting. \$\endgroup\$
    – Akixkisu
    Commented Jun 19, 2021 at 18:58
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Tags aren't for describing the expertise required to answer the question. That's outside their scope. It connects questions to experts, but does so by focusing on the content of the question, not the content of the answers. A rule of thumb here: if you didn't know the answer to this question and it wasn't answered yet, you should still know what tags would apply. If you'd apply other tags based on knowing the answers, you're probably tagging the answers instead, which is identified as a misuse of tags (identified as "meta tagging"). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 19, 2021 at 19:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener didn't see this reply. As far as I'm aware "meta tagging" is a completely different issue, but it does apply to this insofar as "the author’s motivation for asking it" would describe applying the house-rules as that primarily describes the motivation and not the content of the question. That the author lacks the information about how to address the content is common, we adjust accordingly all the time. \$\endgroup\$
    – Akixkisu
    Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 22:11

Tags change based on information.

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.

The person who asks the question thinks that they are implementing a house rule, so they should use the tag. The expert who knows better should replace the tag with the tag.

What we have here is taking in new information that changes the context. A tag doe not represent the items of interest mentioned in any given question - they are a means of connecting experts to questions that those experts can answer based on their expertise.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I am perplexed by the down votes on this answer. I have retagged stuff in the past based on being familiar with our general themes. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 19, 2021 at 18:42

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .