In re: What are the playable D&D races in 5e?

One recent user edited in races included in WotC's Plane Shift: Zendikar supplement.

Another user contends that those aren't official races.

Rather than individual editors unilaterally deciding on the in-/exclusion of these races, can we hash it out here?

Please make your best arguments for and against Zendikar-race inclusion. Highest-voted answer should prevail, in my opinion, for the purposes of the linked question.


Frame challenge: I don't think this is an appropriate use of Meta.

Meta is for policy, not extended argument about a question clearly on topic for the main site.

Answerers on that question should include or exclude it based on the discussion there, and votes etc. should carry the day as usual.

I consider a referendum on Meta on a main site topic, not a Meta topic, to be an end run around the primary SE process. We might as well re-ask any contentious point of fact around a game here to play "inside baseball" and get a ruling with less eyes on it than the main site. That's undesirable.

As a result I'm going to close this meta question. We could have another meta question on whether main-site topics should be also debated on meta or not, if you disagree.

  • \$\begingroup\$ That makes sense, and I certainly didn't intend an end-run. But I did want to avoid edit-warring and get some consensus on the matter at hand: do you have any suggestions as to how, on main-site, to do so? (Or should any interested party just saddle up and modify the question to more-clearly draw the line one way or the other, edit the answer to comport, and move on?) \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Sep 1 '16 at 23:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ 1. A brief discussion in comments or chat is warranted 2. Leave it in but give it "contested" status and explain why 3. This is why community wikis suck \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Sep 2 '16 at 0:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for 1 and 2. (Though I don't see how discussing in chat is any less problematic w.r.t. the 'less eyes' point.) Point 3 isn't helpful. What about it do you see sucking? Is it the list-ness? The disavowal of ownership? The fact that someone else felt free to edit in a resource that they thought fit? Or something I'm not seeing? Don't leave us hanging, man. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Sep 2 '16 at 0:16
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 The problem with CW in this case is that it prevents using the voting mechanism to solve the problem. If there were 2 answers, 1 that included UA and Zendikar (because published by WOTC) and 1 that did not (because not playtested), then the more useful answer would get voted to the top. It is because it's a CW that we're here in Meta asking how to prevent/resolve an edit war. The stack is not designed to decide which edits to a single answer are best, it's for choosing amongst competing answers. If CWs suck, they suck because they impede the tool we know works: the stack. \$\endgroup\$
    – J. Foster
    Sep 2 '16 at 13:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ But there's nothing preventing someone else from submitting exactly the answer you propose, right? I mean, I still see an "add another answer" button. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Sep 2 '16 at 13:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ I am glad you explained this. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 2 '16 at 14:32

No, the Zendikar material is not official D&D 5e content. There's a pretty simple way to determine this: It doesn't say it's a D&D product in the first place. D&D products have "D&D" on them. Actually, every D&D product I can find has both "D&D" and "Dungeons and Dragons" on the cover, like this:

enter image description here enter image description here

The Zendikar material, on the other hand, has "Magic The Gathering":

enter image description here

It says it's compatible with D&D, but it makes no claim to being a D&D product. It also includes this disclaimer, somewhat similar to that included in Unearthed Arcana articles:

The game mechanics in this supplement are usable in your D&D campaign but are not fully tempered by playtests and design iterations. For these reasons, material in this supplement is not legal in D&D Organized Play events.

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    \$\begingroup\$ ...are not fully tempered by playtests and design iterations. For these reasons, material in this supplement is not legal in D&D Organized Play events. Got it in one. +1 \$\endgroup\$ Sep 1 '16 at 15:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast would you want to strike Aaracokra and other AL-illegal entrues from the list, too? (I'm not trying to pick a fight or anything, just trying to get my head around this.) \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Sep 1 '16 at 15:57
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 No, I would not, since AL has a number of differences for the sake of standardization, and the Aaracokra are in the EE supplement, and not UA. AL has decided that the flying critters aren't a good fit for that style of game, but that doesn't mean that they are as untested/tempered as some of the UA stuff, and they are official in the EE material. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 1 '16 at 16:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast Is the 5E definition of official exclusively game material that's legal in organized play? That seems like a different question. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 1 '16 at 17:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Whose definition? And yes, it's a different question. Where I thought the distinction had been made in the thread on the main site was UA versus officially released material like EE players companion, which is not UA. The MtG disclaimer looks a lot like UA. The issue at hand is "was it play tested" and maybe that too gets into "how much is enough?" \$\endgroup\$ Sep 1 '16 at 18:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast So this question needs revision? That is, the bigger question that needs addressing is What does official mean in the context of 5E? Because that's totally fair. Maybe official is the wrong word if there isn't a clear definition? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 1 '16 at 18:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Do you mean the meta question or the main site question? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 1 '16 at 18:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast I was thinking this Meta question, but if there's really (ahem) no official definition of official, an answer to the main site's question should address that, too. But, seriously, while 5e isn't my jam, problems with what counts as official for 3.5e persist today, nearly a decade since the game's original publisher stopped producing new material. Better to work out such definitions early in a game's lifecycle rather than later. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 1 '16 at 18:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I guess that WoTC is who has to define what is official, don't they, if that is your concern? I think Miniman's point on "Compatible with" not being official, and his point about product marking, has answered that. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 1 '16 at 18:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I think that's an interesting point. As the one who introduced the word "official" into the discussion in its first instance, perhaps I bear some responsibility here. Perhaps the question should read something like "What are the WotC playtested races?" and the body of the question could draw some of these distinctions? Like AL is in, some others that say they were playtested are in (Aarakocra et al.), UA's right out, Zendikar's akin to UA? Hmm.... \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Sep 1 '16 at 18:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast But until Wizards does, folks are going to keep tossing around official as if that term is somehow meaningful without realizing the minefield they're stepping into. A meta post clarifying that there isn't such a thing as official and instead the only real distinctions are between legal in organized play and legal in your home game would be a useful pointer when official gets thrown around accidentally. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 1 '16 at 18:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 O, so it's your fault? Yeah, I totally blame you. :-) It might also be a good idea to include why it's somehow important that Wizards of the Coast playtest their stuff beforehand. I mean, isn't Wizards of the Coast now, like, two writers? Doesn't that mean the volume of material so far could be in playtest for, like, years? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 1 '16 at 19:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan we could always go with "official playable race" = playable race appearing in official rules? Thereby punting the debate to that question's arguments =) \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Sep 1 '16 at 19:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 Having not followed the 5e discussions carefully, yes, that would be the best place to put it, and including a link to that question every time official is mentioned would, I think, put this to bed. There's still some trouble with that answer in that what official actually means remains sort of unclear. That is, like, what good does slapping that label on something tell the player? That it's good? That it's fair? Or that it's legal in organized play? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 1 '16 at 19:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan It seems to me that Miniman applied the KISS principle, and it's a valid measure. What's on the label? EE Players Companion had the D&D and the Dungeons and Dragons, per Miniman's example, squarely on the cover. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 1 '16 at 19:21

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