In my experience, starter sets often contain explicitly 'wrong' versions of the rules for the sake of simplicity. Now, I understand that people certainly don't want to see something like dnd-5e-starter-set, adnd-starter-set, dnd-3.5-red-box. But we do have other examples of what I like to think of as cross reference tags; such as new-gm, magic, problem-players and a host of others.

I've already gotten into one minor argument about this, so I wanted to run it by meta to see what other people think. It might need some synonyms for ease of finding the tag, but it seems well within the context of the existing tags.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Have we run into this problem yet? If so, please provide examples so we can make decisions based on them. If not... anticipatory tagging policies are frowned upon. \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    Jul 17, 2014 at 23:40
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Related: Should the gm tag be burninated? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 17, 2014 at 23:43
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Well, anticipatory tagging discussion not so much frowned upon as not actually all that useful. Tags are emergent; trying to predict our needs for them in advance doesn't tend to work well. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 17, 2014 at 23:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also related: Let's merge problem-players and problem-gm (but these are both about some concrete content of the question) \$\endgroup\$ Jul 17, 2014 at 23:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry, let me clarify. I would like to add this tag because currently all dnd-5e questions are about the starter set but these questions will very quickly become obsolete and I would like to create a way to distinguish between them. I'd have to do more thorough research to determine if there are already other "starter set" questions on the site. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 17, 2014 at 23:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BESW The use-case came up in this question regarding the removal of "Starter Set" from the title. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 17, 2014 at 23:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @WesleyObenshain most of them are about Basic D&D rather than the starter \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Jul 17, 2014 at 23:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @waxeagle Apparently I don't understand the difference. Perhaps I'm wrong but it seems like that this "Basic D&D" is essentially what I mean by "starter set" rules; but I could be wrong. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 17, 2014 at 23:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @waxeagle Alright. While I still think the tag would serve a purpose in general, I acknowledge that my use case has apparently become somewhat less relevant. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 17, 2014 at 23:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Wesley Basic D&D 5e may not refer to the same thing as the Starter Set. The Starter Set is a box containing a couple of specific booklets. There's also the Basic Rules distributed for free which, going by the page count, don't appear to be one of the rule books being distributed in the Starter Set. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 17, 2014 at 23:54
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Basic is a strict subset of the eventual full rules. It's available as a free PDF from WotC. Starter Set is a print-only product that contains an overlapping subset of the eventual full rules, some pregen characters, and an adventure that also contains DM advice/rules that are (expected to be) a strict subset of the full rules. (From direct experience; I have both.) \$\endgroup\$ Jul 17, 2014 at 23:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @WesleyObenshain Some things in the Basic rules have been directly copy pasted from the player handbook, leading to weird situations where equipment refers to druids, despite druids not being in the basic rules. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMNoob
    Jul 20, 2014 at 10:30

2 Answers 2


As proposed it fits the definition of a meta tag: meaningless if it was the only tag on a question, and requiring some other tag to give it needed context.

Meta tags are considered harmful and very rarely survive the community's scrutiny for long, so we avoid creating them in the first place if we can.

Alternatives that you mention, like [dnd-5e-starter-set] aren't meta tags, so they pass that test. In practice though, we rarely end up making/keeping tags for single line products. I don't think such a tag is necessary, but my objection isn't stronger than that.

  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for answering the question I asked instead of responding to the use-case. It seems like there are a ton of other meta tags already so I'm not 100% certain the community agrees on them being harmful. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 18, 2014 at 0:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @WesleyObenshain Meta tags tend to pop up, cause trouble, be noticed as being meta tags, and killed. So there are always some floating around. [gm] is one of those that is dying a slow death, but it's dying. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 18, 2014 at 0:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @WesleyObenshain It also take a while to undo the damage as often the tags have to be replaced with something better. \$\endgroup\$
    – C. Ross
    Jul 18, 2014 at 1:00

Generally, this would only be a good idea if the rules for a starter set were typically different from the basic rules of play for a system.

So in the case of, say, the 4e starter where the characters were actually built with slightly different powers and mechanics from the AEDU and Essentials classes, that might be a good tag.

For the 5e starter set though, all the rules are the same as the ones in Basic D&D so having a starter set tag for 5e's starter doesn't make sense.

In general though, a common starter set tag should be for questions about the starter set. The question you thought might merit it was asking about something that's going to be a fairly common issue (why don't these HP come out right, oh right, Hill Dwarf), even though the context is the starter pre-gens, it actually informs something that will come up, both in Basic and Advanced D&D.

There are some questions about the 4e starter set (the Red Box one), but they are largely handled with the tags and other appropriate tags.

So to sum up, I don't see a compelling reason to add a for this kind of thing. It's much better to just use the edition and other appropriate tags.


You must log in to answer this question.

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