Looking at today’s comic, I’m reminded of the first trip Laurel and I took to Dragon Con. We actually saw that famous kenku cosplay strutting around the Marriott halls, all black plumage and clawed hands. I think maybe it made an impression on my illustrator.

Of course, not everyone is crazy about the idea of non-standard fantasy races. A few years back when I pitched my dragon riders game to the group, I was super stoked about the novel setup. The idea was that everyone would roll up two characters: a dragon and a rider. They would pair up in buddy-cop fashion and defend the throne in classic Dumas style, choosing which of their characters to field at the start of every session. It was going to be courtly intrigue and musketeers and fire breathing! Hype!

One of our long-standing players immediately bowed out.

“Thanks, no thanks. I don’t want to play a dragon.”

It wasn’t a long conversation or a complex rationale. Dude just straight up did not want to move beyond humans and the classic demihumans (i.e. elf, halfling, dwarf). I was taken aback at the time. But in retrospect, it really shouldn’t have been surprising. Placing limitations on PC ancestry will always be divisive. Certainly it can help you set up an unconventional world (see Chris Perkins’s dragonborn-centric Iomandra). Being a dorky English major type, I personally think that restrictions breed creativity, as in the case of formal poetry. But even as novel experiences and idiosyncratic characters offer a certain appeal, they also alter the feeling of your fantasy.

We talked about the weird races way back in “Uneqal Treatment,” and the point still stands. When you add aarakocra and warforged and loxodons to the mix, you begin to wander from that classic Tolkien feel in a hurry. Whether you happen to want that or not is down to player preference.

And so, in an effort to chronicle the full diversity of said preferences, what do you say we figure out “restricted race campaigns” in today’s discussion? Have you ever had to choose from a limited array of possible ancestries? Did it force you to get creative in a unique world, or did it tie your hands and prevent you from making the character you really wanted? And for the GMs out there, when is it appropriate to limit player choice? Have you ever got any pushback for doing so? Tell us all about those all-kobold parties and bands of no-humans-allowed adventurers down in the comments!


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