There’s one particular ability that really got me thinking about this issue. It’s a region-specific trait out of Pathfinder 1e, and if you’ve ever considered casting shocking grasp through your scimitar you’re probably familiar with it.

Wayang Spellhunter
Source Dragon Empires Primer pg. 14
Category Region
Requirement(s) Minata
You grew up on one of the wayang-populated islands of Minata, and your use of magic while hunting has been a boon to you. Select a spell of 3rd level or below. When you use this spell with a metamagic feat, it uses up a spell slot one level lower than it normally would.

Now if you’re anything like me, your brain just went “yadda yadda select a spell of 3rd level or below….” And I think that’s only natural. When you encounter a rule in isolation, it’s just a rule. If you’re looking at a class guide, for example, then you’re just shopping around for options. You’re trying to get a handle on your mechanics, and so it’s all too easy to ignore the rest of the stat block. The regional requirement (Minata) and the flavor (what the crap is a wayang anyway?) begin to disappear. You grab your super-sweet power and grin a self-satisfied grin. This character is going to kick ass! And everything is great until you get a setting-obsessed GM asking how your dude wound up spending time on an isolated archipelago halfway across the world. So there you are feeling like a tool, stammering out some lame “I traveled a lot as a kid” excuse for a backstory.

I sympathize. Who wants a character to distort and warp around a single rule? I mean sure, you can craft an elaborate origin story to explain how you washed up on the shores of a far-east island and got nursed back to health by a creepy little shadow-man. That’s theoretically interesting, but it definitely doesn’t fit the character you had in your head. You just wanted to role up a gish with some effective abilities! So the natural option at that point is to apply a handwave on the regional requirement. Or maybe you get your GM’s permission to reflavor the ability to something more setting-appropriate. Or maybe you release a new edition where abilities have rarities so that you don’t have to do this song and dance anymore. YMMV.

So how about it, guys? Have you ever found yourself locked out of a spell, feat, or magic item because of flavor concerns? What was it? Tell us your tales of race-specific spells and region-specific races down in the comments!


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