I don't mean to sound indignant or anything, but I must admit, I'm at a loss as to why this happened.

Just yesterday, I posted a homebrew-review question asking about whether an artifact I had created was balanced. At time of writing this meta question, it currently has a score of -2 and a balance of -4/2.

I mean, originally, my first thought was that the question would be closed for being off topic, but I thoroughly researched this subject before posting the question. I found two separate RP meta posts giving me directions on how to ask a good homebrew-review question, and even discovered this question here that, while it was asking something slightly different, still was very similar and assured me that my question did belong.

But the community didn't see it that way, and I don't get why. I followed the instructions: I explained the power level I was going for, I spoke about my potential problems with the item, and (when necessary) I listed my thought process behind each of the features that had significant meaning. However, it still has a negative score.

An answer to a similar question states that the downvotes of these kinds of questions are usually due to lack of effort. However, as I stated earlier, I put in a lot of effort to make sure it followed the community guidelines. So why was my question downvoted?

Similar, well-received Homebrew-Review questions:

  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry if I use too many links. I found a lot of sources about this. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 23, 2022 at 20:14
  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ "So why was my question downvoted?" because users thought the question was not useful. Unfortunately, without the ability to read their minds (and we don't have that), we can't tell you exactly why they thought that. Nor do I think asking "why" is very useful. Perhaps what you should ask instead is "How do I improve my question" which is more directly actionable. \$\endgroup\$
    – VLAZ
    Commented Sep 23, 2022 at 21:02
  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ I did not see nor vote on this question before (and won't do now), but my personal opinion is that "I have a homebrew item for a character that already has homebrew abilities and we want to play to levels beyond what's in the rulebook" is not in any way answerable from experience. One person might say "yes, because", another says "no, because" and then you have a popularity contest, because neither of them has actually done it before the way you will do it. \$\endgroup\$
    – nvoigt
    Commented Sep 24, 2022 at 9:14

3 Answers 3


Those aren’t “the criteria”

The Meta discussion on homebrew-review questions is not criteria for asking homebrew-review questions. A question that ignores it is not automatically bad, and a question that follows it is not automatically good. It is just a series of suggestions for useful things you might include in a good question. That meta discussion is not actually all that important. Some users are really big fans of that format, and try to push it on every homebrew-review question, but that’s their own preference, not policy. And trying to enforce it like policy—e.g. by closing questions that ignore it—is an abuse of moderation privileges and should be flagged for moderator attention.

Homebrew-review questions are kind of treated as second-class citizens here

In a variety of ways, the community tends to treat homebrew-review questions much more negatively than it does most other kinds of questions, for example:

  • Closing or downvoting questions because they haven’t checked all the boxes from the meta discussion, even though everything in that meta discussion is wholly optional. Doesn’t apply to you since you followed it, but the fact that you thought it was “the criteria” certainly suggests you’ve been exposed to this behavior.

  • Closing or downvoting questions because they are hard to answer, even though hard-to-answer questions is the whole point of having experts to answer questions.

  • Closing or downvoting questions because they seek review of homebrew that the voter doesn’t like, even though a question’s rating should never be a “popularity contest.”

Each of these are wrong, misuses of the relevant privilege. They’re also common. Homebrew-review questions, as a group, tend to be relatively difficult to answer, and only a small portion of the community has any interest in them. A portion of that portion is only interested in them because they don’t like them, or have very exacting standards for such questions (and don’t like any that don’t meet those highly-idiosyncratic standards). Since much of the community doesn’t really pay attention to homebrew-review questions, the portion-of-a-portion that is really negative about them can have an outsize voice. As a result, homebrew-review questions are often forced into an uphill battle to justify their own existence.

And that’s why you ended up where you are.


The question is difficult to answer objectively

As @nvoigt stated in their comment, the question features a lot of homebrew elements, such as the character's abilities and the fact that the campaign goes above the maximum level.

Moreover, the item itself is very complex. It features a lot of different abilities, pros and cons, and so it is difficult to compare to an existing item or overall to make any kind of objective judgement without playtesting it.

To put it shortly, it seems difficult to give an answer proper to this website (as in : objective, or "good subjective") for an item that has so many variables to it, especially since most of those variables are homebrew themselves. The homebrew factor makes the question stray too far from official content to properly compare it and balance it with said official content.

There might be more elements to this, such as people simply not liking the fact that the item takes unique abilities from other classes and gives it to a melee fighter (especially looking at Wish and wild surge), but those are purely subjective reasons and there's not much you can do since it is a part of the item you're asking about.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The random effects tables are listed on pages 219-220 in the Dungeon Master's Guide. The comments on the question discussed this. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 25, 2022 at 1:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Dopplegamer thanks, I'll edit accordingly. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matthieu
    Commented Sep 25, 2022 at 7:34
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ It should be noted that these are poor reasons to downvote a question and not really any more in keeping with the purpose of that privilege than the “dislikes” suggestion of user2754’s answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Sep 28, 2022 at 19:05

People treating downvotes as 'dislikes'.

This is less of a certainty and more of a guess based on the results of posts on forums that use voting systems (mostly reddit) and/or comments on other forums regarding homebrew content.

Effectively, I expect many people to consider your artifact to be overpowered as it allows access to Wish and other spells at the same time. Rather than write an answer stating that, or downvoting answers that they don't agree with, they instead downvote the question itself.

Your homebrew item sits in a category that sounds overpowered at first glance (Wish! powerful spells! etc!) but on second glance is actually eh. The 'flashy but not actually OP' category I think of it as, and it's one of the ones I see people react negatively to online, unless they are the kind of person who also thinks actual 'wish at will' is fun and cool. Often if I have talked to people having that reaction and explained the downsides, they've fairly quickly come to realize it's not as powerful as it looks/sounds, and changed their kneejerk reaction.

You'll note that of the other homebrew magic items posted onto this website, the lowest scored one is the artifact scythe that allows the user to cast disintegrate. For whatever reason, being able to cast damage spells is seen as less of an 'impingement' on caster class territory than gaining other powers or abilities so this generally tracks with how I understand people view homebrew content. The scythe seems genuinely less powerful than wotc artifacts, and has a better formatted question, yet it still attracted far fewer upvotes than the other posts.

Your question could probably have been formatted better, it was quite rambly and tl;dr, but I would not take the downvotes as a sign that your question was thought to be unuseful for a knowledge base, but rather people treating the downvote question button as a 'dislike that magic item' button. And as for people disliking a magic item that lets a noncaster cast a spell, well, not much you can do about that. Wizards rule fighters drool has been a continuing attitude and part of D&D for the better part of half a century.

  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ This is definitely plausible, despite not being how things are “supposed” to work. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 28, 2022 at 15:02
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Rather than the "wizards are cool" reason, I would think it's more of the "wizards have this unique spell called Wish and this item takes this uniqueness and gives it to others". It'd be the same thing if you gave extra attack to non-fighter classes that normally can't benefit from it. Or gave sneak attack to non-rogue classes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matthieu
    Commented Sep 29, 2022 at 6:16

You must log in to answer this question.

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