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Systems which offer a race/ancestry/lineage choice for character generation often feature both ordinary races (human, dwarf, elf, etc.) and exotic races (tiefling, shardmind, genasi, etc.). As should surprise nobody, players often gravitate to exotic races, leading to a group that can be described either as a statistical anomaly, if you feel charitable, or a bunch of circus freaks, if you don't.

Now, arguably that's not an issue. Adventurers are extraordinary and exotic. Normal statistics doesn't apply to them. That's a fine argument, except as a GM I just want to run a game that has a human instead of another tiefling. Please. Just this once.

I could ban exotic races, but I don't want to be that draconian. I just want to reduce their frequency among player characters, let's say no more than one exotic race in a group of four to give a concrete example. What's a good method to enforce this? My criteria are:

  1. Should be efficient. For example, I could just randomly select a player and give them the right to use exotic races. But maybe that player just wanted to use an ordinary race anyway, so this is wasteful.

  2. Should be quick, that is, minimize the back and forth between players and GM.

Goal: Give me a method for session zero (or pre-session zero) that guarantees (or at least, pushes towards) a party of four with one or zero exotic races, optimizing for the criteria I outlined above.

Parameters: The method can involve changing the setting and lore, an algorithm I run with or without player input, or even mechanical changes to the game system. It should avoid cosmetic changes to the races, though (e.g., the mechanics of a tiefling, but looks like a dwarf). Keep in mind, though, that the less drastic and the more general your answer is, the better.

Why? Does it matter? It's a well-posed question that accepts a procedure as an objective answer.

No, really, why? Because as a GM, all games I've ran in the past year have had an exuberance of exotic races and I want to change things up for variety's sake. Otherwise I won't have fun running the game. The GM is a player too; their fun and preferences matter as well.

Well, you should accept the way your players chose to have fun. This is answer is non-actionable (how do I even rewire my brain to change that?) and dubiously asymmetrical (why aren't the players required to accept the way the GM chose to have fun?). Regardless, this is off-topic. Solving the Goal is required for this game to even exist. If solving the Goal then causes my players to not want to play then I will either not run the game or find other players.

Just ban all exotic races or play on a setting without exotic races. Technically this satisfies the Goal (because then each party is guaranteed to have zero or one exotic races, in the formal definition of "or"). But obviously it goes against the spirit of the question and this isn't math.stackexchange, so I'm not going to reword it to be super ultra formally precise. Basically, the method should possibly allow for a party with one exotic race.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I question the "system-agnostic" tag a bit here; some systems have mechanics for this already (i.e. the rarity system in PF2e). Regardless, this can probably be genericized to all character options and not just races/race-equivalents? \$\endgroup\$ – ESCE Jun 9 at 15:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ System matters: Exalted you are a chosen one and that means you are by default a special snowflake and stand out. The Dark Eye, playing anything but a human means you automatically get a boatload of mechanical tweaks to the sheet that can be quite heavily influencing: a lizardman just falls into cold coma anywhere out of the jungles of the south, an elf can literally become so ill with longing for home that they die and orcs are nonhumans and monsters for the purpose of all the continent's laws! on the other hand, humans from far places only get arrested a lot for anything that happens \$\endgroup\$ – Trish Jun 9 at 17:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ Do you want at most one character of an exotic race or would having 2 or more characters of the same exotic race be acceptable? \$\endgroup\$ – Dave Jun 9 at 20:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ I've voted to close because I think that without understanding what the exact problem is (the why), we can't resolve the issue. It's just generating ideas for how to address this, but none resolve the problem because we don't actually know what the problem is. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jun 10 at 15:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ I wish to re state the point that @Trish made: system matters here, system agnostic is not an appropriate tag. What game are you playing? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jun 10 at 15:49

11 Answers 11

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I had the same problem. My approach was to make chosing an exotic option cost something.

Specifically in my case (pathfinder 1e) I made a houserule which made chosing a non-core class or race cost a perk (half feat, the game gives two at character creation for the player's characters).

I used it in a oriental themed campain. Lifted the restriction for regional races and classes, giving an incentive to play thematic options (Like samurais, ninjas and tengus). It was very fun to make the characters, players were satisfaced and the group ended with a logical balance of races and classes.

It was an inexpensive cost, but enought to make my usual group of "bunch of circus freaks" more consistent. Who truly wanted an exotic character could make it and who didn't mind but chose it because the option was there or was mechanically more powerful, thinked it twice.

I chosed this option because: 1- It make the decision of picking an exotic option more important to the player and make it feel like it has a cost. 2- In the system I use, core options are generaly weaker, so it gives a reason to pick the more normal options. 3- Is more fair. If all characters are special snowflakes, makes sense that the human warrior of the group is also a bit more special than the average human when he is fighting hand-with-hand along the half-demon summoner of gigant lobsters.

The trick to make this solution work is to make a subtle change. Not enought to make exotic option bad options, but enought to make the normal or thematic coerent option more eye-catching. Doing it correctly gives an incentive to use normal option, without directly ban the player's choices (doing that tends to feel forced).

Remember, the rules are tools to help to guide narrative. Use and twist the rules as you need to make the narrative more fun and interesting.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jun 11 at 6:54
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Optimize for pearls, not sand.

You are trying to optimize your approach for sand, when you should be optimizing your approach for pearls. Allow me to explain.

When an oyster gets some sand or grit inside of it, that oyster coats that grain in nacre, the shiny substance that lines the inside of its shell, in order to protect the oyster from getting damaged by the irritating grain. With enough time and hard work, this grain eventually turns into a pearl. This takes a long time and a lot hard work on the part of the oyster.

In your question, you essentially ask, "how do I turn these grains of sand into the pearls I want to DM for?" What you are trying to do is a lot of hard work, and there is no guarantee of success - sometimes players want to play what they want to play.

Instead, let's optimize your approach for pearls. Instead of starting with sand and trying to turn it into a pearl, let's just start with pearls. How do we do this?

Communicate your stipulations in your pitch to prospective players

If you are up front with your particular restrictions, players who want to play exotic races will know they need not apply. Maybe it reduces the prospective player pool, but it is better to see the prospective player pool diminished than to see someone leave once they have already approached the table for a Session 0.

Make your pitch so that only the pearls you are after make it to the first session.

I have a similar issue that I have handled this way. I don't like running Tier 1 and 2 play with Aarokocra. I don't like having to design encounters for a character with an innate, non-magical 50 feet flying speed during the early game. So when I pitched my game at my local game store's LFG board, I literally just wrote:

Curse of Strahd, Saturday evenings, no Aarokocra.

And when I got the group together for Session 0, lo and behold, no one brought an Aarakocra character sheet. My players had bought in to my stipulations before they even got to the table for Session 0. This way is easier than convincing someone not to play a race they want to play.

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    \$\begingroup\$ As this is essentially a frame challenge, I'd also note that as draconian as it might feel to just outright ban nonhumans in your game, it's likely healthier for the group than a method which allows just one to be an "exotic" race. If there are at least two people who want to be elves, no matter how fair your method is for choosing which one of them gets to be an elf, one of them will end up disappointed, and they'll know that it could have been different; that's a setup for breeding resentment. When nobody gets to be an elf, nobody can be jealous of anyone else for getting to be an elf. \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer Jun 9 at 18:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ + eleventy for "tell them up front" as a best practice. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jun 9 at 18:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ So much this. "I don't want to tell my players they can't be nonhumans, I just don't want nonhumans in my group" is passive-aggressive and honestly just rude to the players. \$\endgroup\$ – Darth Pseudonym Jun 11 at 19:14
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Discuss the campaign and world ahead of time

Discuss the populations and demographics. Discuss the rarity of certain races, and the preponderance of others. Talk about themes you are interested in, say, the interaction of the more common races with the cultures in places where they are dominant.

There is vanishingly little chance of achieving the campaign you want when the players don’t know what that is. These kinds of discussions are always important.

Make sure the common races are still interesting

These are peoples and cultures with a long history, who have had the opportunity to shape the land and people in it. That detail should exist and your players should be aware of them—and interested in them.

Especially in the predominantly-feudal societies often found in fantasy RPGs, family can be crucially important at all but the lowest levels of society. Being from a family that has some especial importance or relevance in the world often makes for interesting characters—but most of those are going to be of the dominant race. Eberron, for example, does this—while it’s a heavily cosmopolitan setting where even the primary population is a wide mix, the Dragonmarked and noble houses are all human, elven, dwarven, gnome, or halfling. You can plausibly play a monster in Eberron, and changelings and warforged aren’t even all that rare, but if you want to interact with those aspects of society, you’ve got to be from the right family.

Flexibility is crucial

Part of the reason why exotic races can be problematic for the game is that they can be difficult to integrate into the world. If you’re always the first X anyone’s ever seen, you can’t interact with people’s existing feelings on X, you can’t meet up with other X in town, or whatever else. Common races are advantageous because they do interact with these things.

But there is often little reason why “exotic” races have to be exotic. You can have towns, regions, countries, and so on, where such races are in fact predominant. That might be a lot of work, or a big change from your plans, but there can also be a bit of meeting players halfway on things. Maybe there is a county where the local lords and ladies are of some exotic race—and thereby make it somewhat less exotic.

For that matter, if the whole party is exotic, but the same exotic race, that can work. Or perhaps not the same race, but the same culture—maybe they come from another part of the world where these races come together in a federation, and they represent that federation well by having their particular mix.

Finally, on the note of flexibility but from a rather different perspective, being flexible on mechanics can be important too—if a player wants an exotic race because they’re the only one that allows their character to function the way they want, they’re going to have a hard time choosing another. Letting that be more flexible will help them help you, so to speak. Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything officially endorses this kind of thing pretty well, but there’s no reason a good GM can’t implement their own kinds of flexibility in any system.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for "exotic" races not necessarily being so -- I've cooked up worlds where humans weren't a thing for instance, but kobolds were a part of normal society \$\endgroup\$ – Shalvenay Jun 10 at 0:45
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Make it plot relevant

Arbitrary bans rarely feel fun. However, I am reminded of a Pathfinder 2e adventure which bans certain ancestries (races) from being played. Why? Because it was important, for plot reasons, that the players weren't those ancestries.

So perhaps your adventure fundamentally requires your players to be of a certain group of races. Maybe there's a problem with someone stealing Elven souls out of the reincarnation cycle, so all your players need to be Elves! Perhaps an evil wizard constructed some plague that only affects members of a certain species (like the Genophage in Mass Effect, if I recall correctly), and your player need to be members of said species in a race against time to find a cure before they themselves perish! Maybe the deity of humanity has gone mad, and your players have to work from the inside to cure them or stop them; but the deity only allows humans into their domain.

This avoids the "arbitrary" ban problem to some degree, establishes strong narrative for race selection, and allows you (the GM) a lot of control over what races you want to include. And this should be mostly system-agnostic, at least among the D&Ds and their kin.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I find players generally want to play an exotic race either because of the stats/abilities or because they look cool. If a player is going for the 'stat' route: there's nothing wrong with homebrewing some flair based on their wanted race. Say a human has gills & can breathe underwater because the were blessed by a sea god, replace their free feat or ability scores respectively. This could still fit in with your 'race' restrictions while giving the player what they want. \$\endgroup\$ – ChiMo Jun 10 at 0:37
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I, too, like exotic races to be exotic in my players' parties, and have struggled with coming up with a way of persuading players to "make themselves rare." I achieved success once, though my method probably wouldn't work for every group:

I was an experienced GM starting a new ACKS campaign for some colleagues who'd never played a tabletop RPG before. To reduce the barrier to entry, I gave each player the option of making their own character, but also said that I'd bring a stack of pregenerated characters to each session, and that they could just rock up and pick one at the first session if they wanted. Every player opted in to playing a pregenerated character.

From there, it was easy: I knew I wanted the party to be mostly human and mostly common classes, so I made ten pregenerated characters who were mostly human and mostly common classes. (Specifically, I rolled up two human mages, two human fighters, two human clerics, two human thieves, and two "exotic" characters: An elven spellsword and a human assassin.)

Come the first session, the party was five humans and one elf. Mission achieved!

In the years since, I've continued running the campaign, and have "topped up" the stack of pregenerated characters with mostly-human characters. New players have joined the game, others have left the company, and a fair few PCs died and were replaced, so a couple of more exotic PCs have joined the party - but thanks to being almost entirely human initially, and thanks to "human" being the default option for any player who chooses a pregenerated character, the players still think of non-human characters as exotic, and so the tone and setting implications I was aiming for were achieved.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 For addressing OP's criteria in a way that doesn't make the players feel like their choices are being ignored. Nicely done! \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Jun 10 at 13:24
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Preface

This question could only be answered perfectly if we knew the setting and system you play in, or even the playstyle. My whole answer is based on the simple fact that my groups are very character-roleplay heavy. Dungeon Delving is rare.

Let me bring some examples of how systems / settings encourage or discourage some options first, or how what is exotic shifts in games:

  • Exalted has you play a Chosen one. You are a special snowflake by definition and are encouraged to stick out. You can only play a non-exotic by opting to be plain human, and even then you stick out.
  • The Dark Eye(TDE) packs racial flaws/traits with most races. Lizard men can't be played effectively north of the jungle, Elves from elven cultures are so aloof that they have no concept of money and can get ill from longing for home. Some other races and cultures are discouraged by fluff: Orcs are outlaw anywhere but the Orc steppe, the people from Thorwal are often treated as pirates, human cultures that haven't reached middle ages standards are prone to be arrested for disturbing the peace.
  • Shadowrun(SR) comes with a boatload of racial baggage for any non-standard meta-humans (for example Oni, Gnome, Dryad, Giant), and packages most options with unpaid, unremovable flaws ("style"). In most areas, most of the not-meta-human options (AI, Shifter, Cerberus, etc.) are rightless property/animals. Note that in Shadowrun lore, Orc, Dwarf, Elf and Troll are just plainly different variants of Homo Sapiens that together with Human form the baseline of Metahumanity! In fact, about 40% of the general population are of those four types with about 10% (+-3%) falling upon each of them with some regional shifts. Also note, that there are nations that are mainly of other Metahuman tyes, like Tir an n'Og is 45% elves!
  • Legend of the 5 Rings does make you a human samurai by default. To be anything that is nonhuman or not a samurai, you need to have the one supplement that the rules for that splat are in, and even then, the only non-human splat that actually could play in a normal group of Samurai will be a shapeshifter, like a Kitsune pretending to be a human. The most exotic standard character available usually are some minor clan, spider clan, or traitor-to-the-empire characters - all of them are humans.

What is done by the game?

Ok, let's look at games that are more akin to TDE and SR at first. Scarcity of some splats is wired by game mechanics. Others are discouraged by fluff. But that is setting dependent.

Legend of the five rings puts super little emphasis on how to even make those exotics and requires you to convince your GM.

Exalted goes the other way and embraces the difference. The more snowflake you are, the better.

What can be done by the GM?

Now, here is the question. How to guide the players to not choose such options?

Be clear from the onset.

If you don't allow certain races, just say so.
In a campaign that I ran in TDE in the northern town Greifenfurt, I banned certain cultures and races from the onset because they were neither feasible or logical. Elves I soft-banned, requiring people to be experienced players to play them because of the many extra rules they have. Knowing the premise of the campaign - the players being agents of a human kingdom - only 3 out of 14 (rotating) players chose a non-human: two dwarves, one elf. I generally said something like this:

This Campaign is set in the northern town of Greifenfurt, and set during the third Orc War. As a result, Orcs, Goblins, and Lizardpeople are not player options at all. For Elves from elvish cultures, I require the appropriate RP according to the splatbook on them.

Limit the options

At times it can help to just limit the options. In a Pathfinder game that I ran at a convention, I had put out the open call for players. But I had also listed from the start that players could only play stuff from the core rules. That by itself put all those funky races and exotics out of the players' minds and nobody felt they were lacking anything. If anything, by limiting the rules available, players were more focused. The ad read something like this:

Pathfinder, Core Rules only, Lvl. 2, 3 to 6 players, "The Mansion of Mr. Morning"

Exotics need to pay Backstory Tax

Back to the one campaign I ran in the town of Greifenfurt. Players were required to have some backstory, and the more exotic your character was, the more was required. But it wasn't just racial choices that I taxed like that; culture and profession choices also could be what needed more than a minimum of explanation. Also, anything that wasn't defined in the backstory was undefined and could be defined at any moment by the player or GM by elaborating on it.

Generally, the more explanation was needed to get them into the town, the more backstory tax was required. The absolute baseline was one paragraph of about 5 sentences that establish who one was. As an example, the smuggler character did only give me that, but we used extensively the option to define old stuff later in the campaign. The Dwarves were fairly uncomplicated, so they just had to offer some solid two paragraphs establishing a little more about their likes and such.

The two most exotic characters for the campaign were the priest of the god of truth and light and the elf. Both had the highest tax of a full page of backstory that needed to illuminate specific points. I got back 2 and 5 pages respectively, and both players added to those during the campaign.

Not only did that backstory tax help players to engage with what they wanted to play, but it also encouraged the less creative players to choose simple options, as well as gently discourage the real exotics. And in addition, it gave me the help to explain why the character was joining a secret mission that required denouncing who they were and worked for at some point.

As a last note: backstory still was subject to approval by the GM, so ludicrous backstories that broke with the premise of the campaign were not an option.

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Have the players roll for race rarity

For stylistic reasons, you want your party to roughly reflect the demographics of your setting. Ultimately this will curtail player choice to some extent, but I think you have options for minimizing that.

If 50% of the population is human, then perhaps you could say there is a 50% chance of PC being human. Or 15% chance of dwarf, 8% elf, 5% hobbit, .05% tiefling, etc. During character creation, the player rolls on a d100 table with roll ranges reflecting your setting's population – roll 1-50, human; roll a 51-16, dwarf. Such a direct system would probably not be a lot of fun - most players do like to have some choice. So instead, split the races into four buckets on a d100 table:

  • 1-50 human (humans, half humans)
  • 51-85 common (dwarf, elf, halflings)
  • 86-95 exotic (gnome, firbolg, goliath, lizardfolk, triton, tabaxi)
  • 96-100 mythical (tiefling, dragonborn, genasi, assimar)

Players roll for how exotic their character race can be, but they still get to choose from a pretty extensive list of options (consider all the new subraces!). Personally, I am really into this kind of gameplay, because I think the most interesting D&D stories are the ones that aren't written out ahead of time. I like the idea of allowing the game to write the story on its own, makes the narrative feel more magical. Although some players might feel disappointed they didn't get to play the exotic race they were interested in, when a player does get to be something rare it can feel a lot more special. But I know it's not for everyone!

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    \$\begingroup\$ Have you used this method before? Our guidance for backing up answers requires that answers like this include experience implementing the method proposed. \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas Markov Jun 9 at 22:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov It's worth pointing out that something very similar is used for determining PC races in the Warhammer Fantasy RPG. \$\endgroup\$ – nick012000 Jun 16 at 3:51
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It does depend on the kind of campaign you want to run and the system that you are playing.

  1. There are systems out there that assign race 100% randomly that is probably the "fairest" way to do it. If you are lucky you get to play the exact race you want and otherwise you get to RP something that you might not normally choose. You can also do as @Pink Sweetener said and use the roll to determine how much choice the player has but that could lead to players getting frustrated about how "I was only one point short and x race is really the least rare in the above tier", in this case it is better to give them no choice at all.
  2. I have a friend that is involved with an organized play group that used to have a point system for the more exotic character options. You would earn points by completing certain actions in organized play and you could use those points to buy more exotic options when making new characters. This can lead to players finding the fastest way to farm points, suiciding human rouges, and then just playing the chars they wanted to play anyway so you would probably have to be careful about that.
  3. In a similar vain I once played in an organized play campaign with a fixed start and end point that allowed more character options for everyone once certain milestones were completed. It does not have exactly the same goal or effect but it is a related approach.
  4. AD&D limited what races could reach what levels in what classes - that can achieve your goal. Only humans could reach max levels in all classes, elves and dwarfs could get fairly high in classes that were not antithetical to the stereotypical views of those races, and it went down from there. This doesn't stop players from playing exotic races but it encourages players to play more traditional races or if they do play exotic races to at least play them on type.
  5. Basic D&D went even further: there was no distinction between races and classes. If you wanted to play a wizard (Magic User) you had to be a human wizard, if you wanted to play an elf you were just an elf. Later on they did add variant rules allowing some races to be wizards, clerics, and/or fighters, but if you choose to do that you leveled significantly slower and your class abilities would trail behind a similarly leveled human of that class.
  6. There is also option of doing something like 5e Adventurer's League's original PHB +1 or the rule of thumb from 4e advice in the same vain. Limit the number of books your players can use when making a character, in addition to what books they can use. This doesn't help if you are dealing with exotic races in the core book but if a system has enough material it can work wonders. It has the same effect of encouraging more traditional choices of race so the players can take more exotic options in class and later on as the two prior ideas but not in a way that is targeted at anything in particular. It like saying "Sure you can play an Orc wizard, but it is going to be a generic run of the mill wizard, if you want to play some fancy wizard variant you have to be something more traditional" without leaving room for the players to argue or allowing room for edge cases.

Overall the approaches that work best are not the ones that limit exotic races but those that encourage more traditional races.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think it would be good to cut out the idea generation and only focus on those sugggestions that you've experienced and perhaps to add detail to them which add how it worked at your table - did you encounter any issues, or was it just smooth sailing? :) \$\endgroup\$ – Akixkisu Jun 10 at 15:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jun 11 at 7:08
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The way I've handled it is making a society where it's illegal for exotic races to be adventurers.

This works as a mix of a large social penalty for exotic race adventurers, along with exotic races not gaining access to the normal dnd array or the 4d6 drop one roll for stats. They all need to roll 3d6 for each stat, since they lack training as adventurers.

This worked well as it is a fairly large mechanical penalty for exotic characters, and stopped exotic races being the ideal choice for certain builds, since they tended to have major stat weaknesses.

Mechanical optimizers picked the race, while those who were super into edgy roleplay picked the exotic race.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ How did your players respond to this? This seems like a pretty severe change, so first hand experience is useful to judge whether or not the OP could use this for their group. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Jun 11 at 14:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ There is an entire category of player who, when faced with "this is illegal" as a setting theme, will reflexively choose to do "this" - I've seen it time and again. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jun 11 at 20:21
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You should start by encouraging and rewarding storytelling.

Start with a setting that doesn't lack exotic races entirely, but just has precious few of them; make any player wanting to play an exotic race give a damn good explanation for why they're there. And, of course, make it clear that this is the story you want to tell. Give the players who are playing human-ish races fun, juicy story hooks. My D&D groups have contained, over the course of six-odd years, two humans and one gnome. Everyone else was fancy in some way, and this was mostly because the human-ish races didn't have anything interesting going for them. Make it fun to play these races!

Alternatively, you could go in the complete opposite direction, and create (or find) a setting where exotic races aren't exotic anymore. This depends on the campaign you want to play, but if your players enjoy playing characters that are unusual in their setting, and you're just sick of seeing them play tieflings, it could work well for you. The Planescape setting from AD&D 2e, for instance, has more tieflings and aasimar than humans; gnomes, halflings, and dwarves are an absolute novelty in this world. If your players enjoy the novelty of being unexpected in any given setting, and you don't mind having the stranger races exist, this could be a fun way to go.

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    \$\begingroup\$ So in your first big section, are saying something like "tell the players you will do these things to encourage buy in the race restrictions"? Cuz those things are fine, but they re things that occur during actual play, not things that you do at a session 0 or before. It doesn't seem like you can start with rewarding story telling, since you have to start with players not being exotic races. \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas Markov Jun 9 at 17:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov Both are important. If the setting doesn't give players inspiration for their backstories, they're unlikely to come up with characters; if the game doesn't have anything interesting to be done with those backstories and the lore of the setting, they're going to be disappointed. \$\endgroup\$ – L Cooper Jun 9 at 17:50
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I would suggest making the vanilla races more enticing, rather than discouraging the exotic races. Create some extra abilities that you'll allow players to take if they pick a human, and make this bonus clear to the table ahead of time (and its purpose). "You're welcome to play an exotic race, but if you play a default, you'll also get ____."

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