Template talk:Design Disclaimer

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I wonder if this template is useful. If things are designed outside of game guidelines they are not designed for D&D. Shouldn't they just be replaced with Template:Needsbalance? --Green Dragon 16:39, 29 July 2011 (MDT)

I think a classic example is the discussion being had at Talk:Fary (5e Race). There's nothing wrong conceptually with a flying PC. But traditionally adventures are written with the understanding that PC's can't routinely fly until a certain level. A flying PC can attack low-level monsters without fear of retribution. A flying PC can fly to the top of the tower and retrieve the quest item (while at high levels it is expected that the players have a lot of different mobility options). However if the DM knows ahead of time that there's a 1st level flying PC, these encounters can be adjusted accordingly and everyone's happy.
I have a suggestion. I'd like to see this template more as a "designer's notes" style side-box rather than a header, what do you think? Marasmusine (talk) 02:35, 19 May 2016 (MDT)

I actually agree with Green Dragon. The wording is incorrect. A disclaimer of this sort should really only be necessary for issues not relating to guidelines or precedent. If something is outside the guidelines, it is imbalanced. However, if something has conceptual issues which may cause debate/problems at the table, a disclaimer may be necessary. A good example is, indeed, any race with the ability to fly, but also the ability to tunnel, turn invisible, read minds, breathe underwater, or pass through physical barriers; as such characters are theoretically capable of circumventing the standard barriers which confine players to the intended play area in published adventures, and are difficult for new players and DMs to conceptualize, remember and account for. Another good example are races with extra heads or more than two grasping-limbs, as the extra anatomy simply is not anticipated by the core rules. Some content, like Rubber Forehead Alien (5e Race), may be dramatically and mechanically unique compared to other content of the same type, to the point that some players may take exception to it. More examples used to be be found in weapons with unusual (though still mechanically valid) weapon trait combinations, such as a heavy/light weapon, a 2handed/light weapon, a ranged weapon which consumes no ammo, melee weapons which do consume ammo, melee weapons with the loading property but without consuming ammo, etc. (As a point, all of the weapons I made which used these combinations of traits have been subsequently edited away because people cannot accept the mechanical compatibility of the features, or because they wanted the item name to simulate its namesake rather than be unique. They cannot accept the weapons as game constructs- a perfect example of what such a disclaimer is intended to announce and explain.) It may be necessary for pages which add to racial or class features, like adding new subrace or class archetypes. Technically, neither subraces nor class archetypes are independent content- they are part of a feature. For example, my humanoid subraces that allow crossraces through subrace templates really stretch the concept thin to achieve their goal. The Ceremorphous (5e Subrace) does this even more so. Some variant rules may benefit from this, to separate examples and implementation details from actual rules description and explanation. That way, the rules can be read in a more straight-forward fashion, and play implementation discussion is separate. I can probably make use of this on almost every page I've ever posted to the wiki. --Kydo (talk) 18:55, 19 May 2016 (MDT)

It should read, "This content goes beyond the scope of the anticipated subjects and situations the 5th edition rules were intended to handle, and may be conceptually problematic for some players. When implementing this content, DMs and Players should consider the following: ..." --Kydo (talk) 20:47, 19 May 2016 (MDT)

That sounds about right, I didn't feel the original message was quite appropriate.
Just some thoughts... There are several types of pages:
1) Those that made with good intentions to work in a regular D&D game, and work mechanically, but end up overpowered or underpowered compared to published material - we use "needsbalance"
2) Pages that do not work mechanically, e.g. 5e pages that mix in 3.5e mechanics (which I've seen many times!) or that read like the author hasn't even read the rulebook. - at the moment we are using "needsbalance", although this isn't a balance issue.
3) Pages that are basically okay but might be missing one or two mechanical details ("this feature doesn't have a saving throw DC") - we've been using needsbalance
4) Those made with the full understanding of D&D mechanics and balance, and knowingly break those standards - we use "design disclamer" (another example for your prefab templates Kydo is the Large-sized PC.)
4a) A design disclaimer doesn't excuse 1 or 2 or 3. Marasmusine (talk) 10:18, 22 May 2016 (MDT)
1) Yes, that's needsbalance, by definition I'd think. That, and anything intentionally constructed to be god-mode, OP, min-maxing, mary-sue bait.
2) Really? I would, and do, use the stub template for those. They're incomplete in the context of the edition's rules. Maybe wikify?
3) I would also use stub for that. It's incomplete.
4) Ehn, I think you and I disagree on the standards of balance, but that's not really the subject at hand. I would consider the disclaimer important for two types of pages:
4A) Pages which utilize mechanics or features which have been historically divisive in the D&D community, and have a tendency to bring up long-winded debates. (Flying is probably one of the biggest examples, right next to large sized characters.) The balance of these types of mechanics are hotly debated, and there are very good arguments on both sides of the debate. I tried to represent the main issue both sides bring up in regards to those abilities: Those in favor say homebrew material should not be used in adventures designed for core content only, and that a practiced and knowledgeable DM can account for these features, as long as they are quantifiably comparable with other material of the same level. Those against say compatibility with published material is the hallmark of balanced design, and that designs which include features which can be abused by immature players or misused by inexperienced players or DMs are fundamentally unbalanced. I am firmly on the "all for it" side for almost all of this, but I tried to keep my bias out of the disclaimers.
4B) Pages that utilize mechanics which are conceptually difficult to visualize or internalize. For example, a weapon that has both the light and heavy tags is mechanically valid, but conceptually impossible. A class which uses spell slots to track spirit servants who can be summoned like spells to manifest as spell effects or class features, that would be mechanically valid, but completely defies the conceptual aspects of what spell slots "are" and how they were originally intended to work. This content needs the disclaimer so that people reading it can understand that they are looking at a mechanical abstraction, not a strict representation, allowing the material to be understood and used correctly, and protecting the material from arbitrary "correction" of perceived "errors". Such deviation from anticipated representation can be understood in the correct context by doing this. --Kydo (talk) 21:21, 23 May 2016 (MDT)
I know this might be a bit silly to bring up here, but I'd like a template that covers transformational variants in place of a needsBalance template. For example, we all know Races of War material would be ridiculous if bits and pieces were thrown into a 3.5 game without implementing the whole system, but the sourcebook contests 3.5's SRD (and all of 3.5 edition, really) inherent imbalance and seeks to correct it. It does really well at doing so, and the classes and feats it proposes are flavorful and fun, even if not everyone's cup of tea.
But they, were it not for constant vigil, seem to get marked with needsBalance every now and then, despite this.
I suppose what I'm saying is that needsBalance is a negative template: It asserts something is wrong with the page and needs to be changed. When it comes to items that intentionally seek to be imbalanced due to a mission statement or driving philosophy (flaws are free feats, and that shouldn't be the case; Melee is awful, and that shouldn't be the case; Paladins and Fighters are awful, ineffective tier 5 classes who can't even melee, and that shouldn't be the case; etc.) and do end up producing items that are imbalanced when compared to their original incarnations or inspirations (Fighter, Tirr -> Fighter, Paladin, Tirr -> Paladin, etc.), but are not necessarily imbalanced when considered against the game as a whole (instead of comparing the Tirr Paladin to the normal Paladin, compare it instead to other Tier 3 classes, like the Warblade), I think there should be a different, informative template noting the difference in balance, but also asserting the above-mentioned mission statement or philosophy.
If that was confusing, the short version is that I think there should be an alternative needsBalance template that allows for works that go outside of our traditional views of balance for pages that are transformational or radically different in nature. --Jwguy (talk) 08:26, 24 May 2016 (MDT)
Not confusing, but I think it is a little misguided. To create something like that would presuppose that something can be objectively "balanced". Things can only be "balanced" by comparison to something else- it has to be relative to a standard and understood within context. For example, 5e firearms are perfectly balanced in a modern setting, but totally broken in a fantasy setting. Another issue is the subject of just what something is being balanced for. For example, 5e classes aren't balanced according to combat power alone. Each one gets a blend of combat, exploration, and socialization features. Some are slightly stronger in certain areas than others, (fighters are better at combat than rangers and bards, but rangers are great at exploration, and bards are great at socialization) but ultimately they are balanced with the assumption that the character must perform in the WHOLE game, not just combat, and that there must be challenge and risk in all aspects of the game. This type of balance leaves the ranger and bard... lacking... when it comes to combat. Many people, who consider combat to be the only realm where balance matters, feel that these two classes are underpowered, and I've seen more than a few people trying to "fix" it. (My only complaint with the ranger is that they aren't as good of marksmen as fighter, and the beastmaster archetype weakens the character in all aspects) Another type of balance is balance of authority and spotlight. A class or race which contains mechanics that "steal the show" for more time than is necessary, or allow the character greater authority over what can be changed in the shared imagined situation, are often declared broken by role players. Balance is a big, fat, hairy, complex monster, and trying to assign any sort of objective basis for measuring it is simply impractical. I think, for 5th edition content at least, the gold standard should be the developers own words and guidelines. The precedent set by their original content can, of course, be an excellent basis, but I don't believe blindly sticking to the mechanical confines of a precedent ensures balanced design or interesting results. So, for example, they said that a class should incorporate a mix of features which provide combat, exploration, and social features. Any class which is well-balanced in combat but ignores either of the other two realms is technically horrendously unbalanced in 5th edition by that standard. --Kydo (talk) 20:39, 24 May 2016 (MDT)
I am not sure if you're on the same page, here; My suggestion isn't limited to 5th edition and I fully acknowledge the idea of balance by comparing to the source material and have, for some time.
That said, I really can't agree with the notion that there's no place for trying to establish balance in other ways, or at the very least, outside of the traditional balancing act of comparing Paladins to Paladins, Fighters to Fighters, etc.. If that were true, then why do we even entertain the idea of variant rules? I also don't think anyone could make a reasonable argument to say that, for example, 3.5e is totally balanced in its innate state, despite the fact that wizards are potentially better at anything than any other class, and can be so in respect to a great many classes, at the same time. Not just in combat, but in everything.
Now, I'm not saying that the wizard should be torn down, or that everything should be so ludicrously powerful, be it in combat or out (and like it or not, combat is considered in such high regard because it is a rather large portion of the game, for many campaigns, and yes, large portions of the game framework centers around it; you can have non-combat encounters, but traditionally they happen less, simply put). What I'm saying is that sometimes you wanna' compare the fancy homebrew paladin rewrite to be more in line with the Duskblade(PHB2) in terms of power or potential, instead of the relatively awful 3.5e version that can't even do as well as clerics in its own field of expertise, and that should be okay.
Similarly, flaws are the silliest bunch of options that anyone was ever given access to, because none of them are worth a feat, in most cases. Taking a tiny -3 to fortitude saves is considered to be worth the same value as Leadership, the single-most broken feat in the entire edition, and Divine Metamagic(CD), another insanely powerful feat for use by already insanely powerful classes, according to WOTC. Maybe taking a different approach to these things should be something that we can tolerate.
Let's face it: While saying that 'things can only be balanced when compared to their official counterpart' is good for achieving a common goal and standard for consensus, it sometimes doesn't work when the source material is already imbalanced. 3.5e has had enough time in the sun for everyone to find all the silly problems and nonsensical items in it, despite being my beloved edition, that I don't think anyone can ever say that it is inherently balanced as-is with a straight face. Don't worry, though, 5th Edition will eventually get there, too. They all do.
I'm just saying that, because we do support the idea of variant rules, whether they be supplemental, transformational, or even radical, that we should also be open to the possibility of variants in balance; Not necessarily to the point that where we say something like Raven Angels, which had drastic problems with its design, is balanced, but that the idea of having a stronger paladin more comparable with a duskblade, or having tougher flaws, can be different without being considered wrong. A disclaimer for that, perhaps, isn't such a bad thing.
Things like Races of War shouldn't have to fend off template after template, every couple of days, just because they decided to try and address the already existing inadequacies of melee combat in the revised 3rd edition. It's different when it is something like how the Tome Fighter was able to effectively shut down any creature permanently at 15th level, and then some, because that is easily broken by any standards... but when the feats of the sourcebook, such as Horde Breaker, Command, and Murderous Intent are getting tagged with deletion and needsbalance templates because they are being compared to feats they are supposed to be replacing, and are doing so because the source material is based on a radically transformational variant rule to begin with, it seems like we're lacking in the means to identify it as such. --Jwguy (talk) 09:11, 27 May 2016 (MDT)
Obviously the standards of balance are based on the game edition one is talking about. It would be stupid to try and balance 3.5e content with 5e guidelines. 3.5e classes are combat classes built with their function in combat as their primary focus. My examples are from 5e, because I haven't played any of the older editions in at least three years. It's been 9 years since I last played AD&D, and 5 since I last cracked a basic set core book. Also, I specified that precedent, (which is what you're talking about) while important, is not the be-all/end-all of balance. That's why I don't put much stock in the Same Game Tests people run to compare their combat efficacy against combat encounters of equivalent CR. If anything, such tests clearly demonstrate that the core material of older editions is not balanced, and therefore invalidates the use of precedent as a reliable metric for balance. Simply put, the classes are not playing the same game. An SGT for 5e would not make sense however, because the intended balance and structure of the game is radically different. (It would need to include challenges like surviving in a winter forest for a set period of time, navigating a maze, interrogating prisoners, and many other more abstract situations.) As for Races of War and other pages like it, if the whole purpose is to balance non-casting combat classes to be equivalent, thereby leveling the playing field, then it should be quite obvious that, as long as the math actually comes out even, then it is balanced. (A similar page that nerfs casters to be on par with mundanes would be the same) The page states its purpose and goal quite clearly right at the top already. If people aren't willing to even read a page before judging it, then they aren't going to read a disclaimer either. In such a case, repeated application of an invalid maintenance template is basically vandalism and should be treated as such. (Or, at least, I think it should be.) Additionally, I don't think variant rules can be "balanced". Balance only exists within a system. Rules ARE the system. So, while a variant rule may create an exploit which makes some content unstable or OP, that does not mean the variant rule is unbalanced, it has simply failed to account for its impact on some game content. In such a case, the variant rule would be, in my mind, incomplete. --Kydo (talk) 20:40, 27 May 2016 (MDT)

List of things to add:[edit]

  • Traits which allow you to take on new forms arbitrarily, a'la Doppleganger.
  • Traits which make you Large or Tiny.
  • Traits which grant significant climbing speeds, or the ability to walk on ceilings.

Scripted Disclaimers[edit]

I have now updated the scripted disclaimers such that they can be used on their own, rather than having to nest them, as per GD's observation of usability. If anyone sees a disclaimer which uses the nested method, please correct it. --Kydo (talk) 22:19, 14 September 2016 (MDT)


Do you mind if I take a crack at updating this to be a bit more aesthetically pleasing? --Jwguy (talk) 14:16, 3 October 2016 (MDT)

Please do so. I've been thinking about it myself, but my frustration with the file uploading on this site has grown to the point that I'd rather throw my monitor out a window than add an image to the wiki directly. --Kydo (talk) 16:07, 3 October 2016 (MDT)
How about something like this?
I wrapped it into a little badge in the top left corner that can be expanded at will. --Jwguy (talk) 09:03, 4 October 2016 (MDT)
Yes please. --Kydo (talk) 09:13, 4 October 2016 (MDT)
 :) --Kydo (talk) 15:49, 4 October 2016 (MDT)
This is real cool. Nice one, Jwguy. I'm edging on the opinion that we should actually have that template just be expanded by default. This could really help make disclaimed articles obvious to the casual user. --SgtLion (talk) 12:18, 5 October 2016 (MDT)
Thanks. Glad you like it.
Regarding your suggestion, I don't know. I personally like the minimalist style to be the default, because it is less distracting and this way the page looks nice and neat until you make it messy with boxes. This content may deviate from # standards is the short-form, and you always lead with short-form!
Aside from that, I think this would be more compatible if we ever decide to go through with adding a Homebrew banner of sorts to pages. If we just add huge boxes after boxes to the page, it'd get cluttered and awful, but a few banners like this in the corner would work, I think.
That's just me, though. You guys can duke it out if you feel strongly about it. --Jwguy (talk) 14:31, 5 October 2016 (MDT)
I like it being collapsible, because it allows the disclaimer to take up less space, while still allowing us to write very long reasons. Also, it puts the collapsed form into the same format as April Fools, and I'm in favor of anything that makes the disclaimers more standardized. --Kydo (talk) 17:10, 5 October 2016 (MDT)
That looks a lot better. I think its good to be "half" hidden so that users see how important it is, and can also show it for more information. Maybe the text could be included below the banner or something, so its more compact, but it looks really good! --Green Dragon (talk) 17:30, 5 October 2016 (MDT)
Fair 'nuff, it's an underused template as it is, so go wild. As much as I like neat banners, I just think it'll be easy to miss when people are browsing, however, having it functional and desirable to use is more important. --SgtLion (talk) 04:12, 6 October 2016 (MDT)

Reevaluating the Design Disclaimer[edit]

With recent discussions over pages such as Demon Brawler (3.5e Class), Elnade (5e Race) and Arcane Ring (5e Equipment), I think it's time to reevaluate the necessity of this template and whether we should be supporting its (mis)use. As-is, it seems to be largely misused, either placed on pages that don't need it, placed on pages to justify poor mechanics, or placed on pages that should instead link to variant rules. The last one is what makes it pointless: on any page that needs a design disclaimer, that page needs to link to variant rules or guidelines on how to use that content. The design disclaimer does not do that. What it is doing is encouraging poor design, false labeling of pages, and allowing people to think they don't need to link their variant rules. All-in-all, its only valid use case is redundant at best, and I think the template should be deleted.--GamerAim (talk) 17:18, 7 June 2017 (UTC)

I'd suggest against assuming bad faith on the part of other editors, first; One man's 'justification for poor mechanics' is another's earnest reasoning, after all.
Secondly, a top-of-the-page template's purpose is primarily to inform users who are reading the content of the page. In this case, what it is informing users of is an intentional deviation from system standards, so that they can carefully review the material with that in mind, and not go into the subject mistakenly believing that the page conforms to system norms, balance or otherwise.
This doesn't always mean the page has a variant rule in place that applies to it, nor is there always a guideline page that deals with the deviation mentioned. There shouldn't be a hard requirement to link to either, either, because it would require even single-page deviations to create whole variant rules or guidelines for content that only exist in a single-page; We'd just be giving a green light to flooding those sections with hundreds of pages that relate to a single or handful of pages, each.
Part of the reason this template exists is to protect content that intentionally goes against the traditional standard; A "Needs balance" template is an Improvement template, as you are clearly already aware, which invites people to correct, modify, and even delete content for being outside these standards. Campaign Setting material, Sourcebooks, and yes, even pages that were created with variant rules in mind have all been slapped with this template once or twice before, and it ends up with individuals attempting to perform these actions (albeit with good intentions) where they are not required or desired. One of the biggest examples is the Races of War sourcebook, which has had any number of balance templates thrown at its many pages, despite its noted intentions to work at a different level of balance and giving very detailed reasons and examples as to why and how.
This is template is not redundant, as no other template or action fulfills the dual act of protecting pages from edit-warring on deviations and notifying users who are interested in that content of the deviation ahead of time. --Jwguy (talk) 19:20, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
While I'll admit that many of your points are valid, maybe even enough for me to change my mind, I disagree that there shouldn't be a requirement to link to guidelines or variant rules if a page requires them, which is where pages like Demon Brawler (3.5e Class) fall. It's designed for higher-power play, but all we have is a single class? That's like if the SRD only contained a single psionics class, but no psionics rules, powers or skills. If it requires special consideration to use and you don't tell people how to use it, it doesn't belong on D&D Wiki, because it's only useful to you (or GMs who don't understand or care about balance). Kydo wrote a good article about this here.--GamerAim (talk) 19:32, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
Demon Brawler is something I would consider a good example of a reason not to link to a variant rule; It is a single page, and is designed for high-power campaigns, per the user. High-power campaigns are something that is not necessarily set to the same definition, person to person. Do you suggest that each user make their own 'High-Power Campaigns' variant rule page to accompany any one page to justify its definition of 'High-Power'? If so, the inevitable end result is that we have several duplicate pages all basically defining similar things, which is just going to be a nightmare.
If the template can be improved, then we should certainly do so, but I don't think that's the way to do it, nor is removing it entirely. --Jwguy (talk) 19:57, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
The problem is that you're right: high-power campaigns are something that varies from game to game, but the wiki isn't for storing classes that only you and your players can use, but no one else. There are other website, like Google Drive, can be used for that. If your class requires special consideration in order to not be considered unbalanced, then you must either reference some on-site or off-site rules or guidelines or accept that it will be edited, tagged as unbalanced, or deleted! There's a reason that we have a needs balance template. If people are just allowed to cop-out of balance by saying "oh it's supposed to be broken" by slapping this template on the page, without any reference for why it's supposed to be/isn't broken, then we toss out all standards. Your 5e class gives out six feats for free? Design disclaimer! Your 5e race has at-will unlimited-use attacks that do [your level]d8 damage? Design disclaimer!
The Races of War sourcebook is a good example of how to use the design disclaimer, because it actually explains how and why things deviate from the norms, instead of just letting people get away with broken creations.--GamerAim (talk) 20:16, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
As a side-note, I'd like to note that Kydo's article is irrelevant in this case. It is true that people might use fallacious reasonings when arguing with other users over the balance of content, but that's not what this template is about; This template is about stating that there is purposeful deviation and the user should be aware of that, not arguing that the content is balanced to traditional standards if used by a good DM or player.

As for the topic, I'd refer to the above, again: This isn't about requesting special consideration, it is about acknowledging that the difference is intentional. I realize the difference may seem miniscule to you, but framing the argument improperly will only serve to mislead it. Secondly, while you might have your own ideals as to what is and is not allowed on the wiki, they don't take precedence over anyone else's; This design disclaimer came about due to collaboration between active users and staff.

Don't get me wrong, though; I understand what you're saying, but by the measure of your own words, you're effectively condemning whole campaign settings, and plenty of other homebrew content, which often satisfy the requirement of being created for a DM and his players (often because campaigns adopt different standards, spells, classes, and more purely because they are custom campaign settings), and are deviant in nature, out of what appears to be your personal ideal of what content is allowed on the wiki and what isn't.
And that's fine, you know, but if that is what we're arguing, and this disclaimer is what is at stake, then, I'm going to argue in defense of the exceptions, because that is what this disclaimer was made for.
Now, I think improving the template is a well-and-good endeavor, if you think it can reasonably curb items that might be abusing the template's intention, but I don't think linking to variant rules or guidelines for every page is the way to do it, because it will just clutter other sections. Maybe we can achieve that in a different manner? The template already has a Specific Details variable that is so the user can argue their case for the deviation. Can that perhaps be expanded in a meaningful way? --Jwguy (talk) 21:22, 7 June 2017 (UTC)

The problem with Demon Brawler is that it doesn't explain what the standards are for the "very difficult campaign" so we have no idea if it's balanced for even that. Marasmusine (talk) 20:24, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
Let's look at some of the pages that use this template.
The first is Spydric-Ones (4e Race). Why does it have it? Because it uses a new language and a new skill from a sourcebook; they are a variant rule. It should simply be "if you're using this sourcebook, you get these. If you're not, use these."
There's a micro-example in the PHB. Feats are an optional mechanic. They "deviate" from the standards of the core game. Pretend the feats section is a sourcebook. The "standard" human works with the core game. The "variant" human explains what changes if you are using feats.
Then there's some that are for "Races of War". What is the perceived issue.. that they are overpowered? Let's say I'm designing a class for this sourcebook. Can you point me to the section in the sourcebook that describes the new standards? What is it about a Barbarian, Tome (3.5e Class) that's not suitable for a standard game? It's been a long time since I've played 3.5e, but I would say it's the Fast Healing: so is there a way to tell if that is balanced for Races of War? Sorry for the questions, but this is preamble for my examining this template. Marasmusine (talk) 20:23, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
In regards to your examples, I have nothing significant to do with the Spydric-Ones, so I cannot offer you insight into why someone used the template. I can make guesses that they wanted to use the template to disclaim that they were using the variant rule, and the template is a visually appealing way to do so, and serves a purpose that is similar and perhaps overlapping. Perhaps the appealing part is my own ego, however?
As for the Tome Barbarian, it has the disclaimer because:
  • It uses a non-standard base attack bonus progression, detailed in Races of War (3.5e Sourcebook)
  • It has access to features that are typically stronger than most other SRD base classes, and even some OGL classes, and especially when compared to the SRD Barbarian. Comparing material to the original SRD material is the chief way of determining traditional balance.
  • Races of War content has been flagged for deletion, suffered edit wars over balance, and various other edits on the basis that the various pages are overpowered, some even by yourself, Marasmusine, despite links back to the source material on the wiki and the arguments for how and why the content was designed this way. A discussion was had on the matter and it was decided to apply the template to all Races of War material.
As for making new content for races of war, I'm sure you can make your own classes by examining the classes or the sourcebook and following suit; If you're asking that the author of a sourcebook provide an entire "make your own" section in their sourcebooks, I'd say that is unnecessary and a bit overbearing. --Jwguy (talk) 21:22, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
I think you're somehow misreading me, because what I'm saying is anything that uses this template needs to have some point of reference outside of it. If you're going to say that your deviation from the norm is intentional, and that's why it's not unbalanced, then you need some way to prove that. I'm sure that many people who make an unbalanced class did it intentionally. If "my campaigns that no one else on the wiki knows anything about, how to run or what other monsters, rules, classes and guidelines we use is different from standard D&D, but I'm not going to show anyone how or provide a base reference for the power level" was a valid excuse for making unbalanced content, then we wouldn't have templates for pages that need balance.
If you think that this template is necessary, then fine, I'll concede to that. But I think that we need to establish that you can't just use it in a vacuum. You can't just say "this is for an x campaign" and expect to get away with not telling people what x campaign is. Of course, there's exceptions to this, such as if it's homebrew for a non-OGL WotC thing or whatever, but there still needs to be some notice on that page like, "hey, x rule is from y book." The wiki supports citations, so people can use them for this purpose. So I don't care if the variant rules or campaign guidelines or whatever are written in this template, in citations, on the talk page or wherever else, so long as we can agree that anything that intentionally deviates from the norms needs to actually explain how in terms that will actually help other users use that stuff.
The great thing about the core rules is that they provide a baseline to reference homebrew content against for balance. As Mara said, if it deviates from that, then we still need some other point of reference, else you're making something that no one knows how to properly use. I'm not saying you need a whole "make your own" chapter explaining how to make content for it, but at least do something other than make one broken class and provide the barest of excuses.--GamerAim (talk) 22:33, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
The scenario you've put forward in your post seems to be that you think an entire campaign has to satisfy a number of arbitrary requirements, seemingly including Popularity of all things (If "my campaigns that no one else on the wiki knows anything about), in order to establish that the campaign setting deviates from edition standards. I think that is unfounded, considering that campaign settings, by their very nature, introduce new and differently-balanced content in their settings. You can literally compare Wizard's own published 3.5e campaigns and end up with big differences in standards and you'll not always find a suitable explanation as to why. You would hold our users to a standard that not even Wizard's acknowledges, over ideals, and I don't find that this is a good enough reason to justify it against all the issues it brings, or how it dictates content for users.
Apart from that, my stance on the matter of defending the deviation in the template is thus: I think people should have to defend it in some way, and the degree at which they should is certainly debatable, but I'm not going to be backing any strict implementation that requires an unreasonable and arbitrary amount of data that stifles content. You're asking for whole other pages of content that aren't necessary, in my opinion. --Jwguy (talk) 22:26, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
The design disclaimer is not an excuse to make broken content in a vacuum. We have Template:needsbalance for a reason. It's not about popularity, it's about making it so people besides yourself can use it. If that's too much work, don't put it on the wiki and get upset when people make it usable for other people. RoW is designed in a very intentional way, but two, if not three, of the pages I linked do not. They're only used as a cop-out in an attempt to avoid scrutiny. That's not what this template is for.--GamerAim (talk) 22:51, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
How bold of you. They were your words, not mine, mind you.
In any case, I'm not sure what you're trying to prove, here, anymore. I've already stated why the template exists several times and how it is supposed to be used (as it was laid out in discussions above and elsewhere), and that I think your proposed solution to this supposed problem is unnecessary and overbearing; you've only supplied your personal opinion as a reason for taking some rather authoritarian measures that will end up restricting users and content, as well as introduce more problems that existed before the template was made, and will override prior consensus... frankly, I don't think that's a good reason enough for this.
If you think someone is using a template incorrectly, then take it to the talk page of the content in question. That's how that situations has always been handled, and I'd still recommend it. At this point, we have a fundamental disagreement over what you think is required for content using this template, and what you believe the solution should be; Boldly hammering the same points over and over is arguably fun, I suppose, but I guess at this point there's not much more to say. I'm open to other ideas, personally, but I don't think this is the right way to go. --Jwguy (talk) 13:11, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
On one hand, you tell me that it's just my personal opinion, despite being backed by policies that were in place before this template existed, and that it's not my place to tell people to maintain our standards of quality that have been around for years, but on the other hand, you tell me to take my complaints to the talk page for those pages. That'd be all well and good if we could come to a consensus about this. What's the point in writing on a talk page that the template needs more explanation, if another mod that suits the author can just come along and tell him that it's okay to toss out all standards as long as it's intentional?--GamerAim (talk) 15:15, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
These are all opinions. Consensus and arguments are built of the stuff; I'm not sure what is objectionable in that. The only things I said close to telling you it's not your place to tell people to maintain our standards were suggestions to not assume bad faith and that your ideas don't necessarily take precedence over others, in response to what seemed like you stating your opinions and asserting them as objective requirements to be met. In the latter case, that is because that would fly in the face of the concept of consensus and proper argument. Wanting to achieve consensus is fine, but I don't think that necessarily entails agreeing with your proposed solution.
Just as an aside, I think that's quite a leap to what you came away with. I'd like to take a moment to say that we shouldn't make this some kind of personal feud. Nothing in this should be taken personally, and there's no need to make this anything more than a disagreement.
I was going to go on, but at the end of the day, we've kind of arrived at a disagreement over the solution, and our argument is starting to re-synchronize with the one below, so I think it'd be better to just consolidate it down there. --Jwguy (talk) 18:06, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

Sorry this was in response to Jwguy way up there, so I'm unindenting.
If I remember right, I eventually added the Supplement category to the RoW classes so that they would be be accessible from the sourcebook, but not from the general lists (as surely they are only of use if you are using the sourcebook).
Further examples in the list are Large creatures (e.g. Hill Giant (4e Race)) or creatures that fly in 4e or 5e. My argument here is that we should (and we do) provide guidelines for how to incorporate large and flying creatures in a game, and link to them. These are not really deviations of standards, we just need to let the player and DM know what to expect, and what the balance considerations are.
Terragnaw (3.5e Creature) looks ridiculous, but it's valid under the sourcebook used. It doesn't "deviate", you just need that sourcebook to use it (not that you could use the terragnaw, but you know what I mean]].
With Kamui (4e Race), the design disclaimer is being used to because there is some incomplete design.
The template has been added to Space Pirate (5e Race) and Alien Grey (5e Race) because they are "futuristic". This is a campaign consideration, not a design consideration.
The pattern here is that the template is, as far as I can tell, only justifiable when the page is part of a sourcebook, in which case shouldn't we have a "This page is used with this sourcebook" header? Marasmusine (talk) 21:53, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
Another example, King's Ranger (5e Background). I know GD added it, but what does that Disclaimer message even mean? A lot of these disclaimer messages are either absent or unhelpful, and it doesn't help that they're hidden. Just some straight forward lead text that says "I'm doing this this way, because X." would be far more helpful. Because maybe that editor's wrong and there's a better way of doing it. The Disclaimer banner sometimes feels like a stamp that says "You can't change this now because reasons." Marasmusine (talk) 22:04, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
I think this is misdirected, then. You seem to be taking issue with how individuals are using the template (i.e. not providing information on the deviation or why it deviates, using the template on campaign pages that don't necessarily need it, using it on pages that don't deviate), and using that to say that the template itself is unjustified.
As stated before, I'm not going to be able to tell you what every other user is thinking. When we started working on the disclaimer, at least when I came in, the general consensus on what the disclaimer was supposed to be was a template that acknowledged the page deviated from system standards and should have details on how, and preferably why. It is meant to protect pages that intentionally deviate from system standards while acknowledging this and requesting the users carefully consider the page on the basis of those deviations (usually specified in the "Specific Details" parameters).
I've said this before, up there, so I'm not sure if you're meaning to ask something else, or not. --Jwguy (talk) 22:26, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
I think there are rare, specific circumstances where Template:Design Disclaimer could be applicable, but as Marasmusine outlined when it was implemented, there are a lot more situations where people would (and do) apply this template to justify articles that are actually just unsuitable, for any of a variety of reasons. Examples have already been pointed out.
So while I would agree this template has a use in theory, it does seem to invite a lot of misuse. Users are under the impression that a 'Design Disclaimer' allows you to make whatever you like. Which, to be fair, is kind of what the template implies. The last thing we need is to let users think they can post any broken items under the guise of being simply unconventionally designed. --SgtLion (talk) 12:48, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
His examples are well and good, and I've had no problem with the complaints levied, except with perhaps disagreeing on the idea that "High-Powered Campaign" needs, what I would consider, a silly level of qualification. I've put my own up as well, but I think it better to get to the crux of the issue:
It's a nature of the beast scenario; the template is designed to allow intentional deviations without using an improvement template. If, like Marasmusine mentioned above, people are providing insufficient reasons for that deviation, or are not otherwise using the template correctly, I'd say that is a problem of education that should be solved either on the individual talk pages or by clarifying the manner of use in which the template is prescribed. That's why we have a moderation team in the first place, honestly.
If, however, what we're having here is a matter of conscience, and what is being suggested is that we simply don't allow any deviant content on the wiki outside of a handful of variant rules that can't necessarily apply to any or all scenarios in which content might be applied, then I'd say I'm on the other side of the argument. I think that's a bit too restrictive and will end up being ultimately more harmful to the site than it will help. You might not know this, but at one point, there were balance and deletion templates across a large and greater portion of the RoW content, despite fulfilling what seems to be all the proposed solutions that were made above, as well as the questions asked here. Those didn't stop popping up until we got a template on them, and personally, I think it is the perfect template to represent what content like RoW is trying to achieve.
Personally, I think the ideal use of the template is for a user to use the Specific Details to note how the content deviates and why, and provided the reasoning is relatively coherent, I think we should allow the content with the disclaimer. At the end of the day, WOTC does a terrible job of balancing their own content, especially when you go back to earlier editions... a person who submits content for the sake of, I don't know, bringing a class into the same power level as another SRD, or even an OGL class, should be fine, especially when the class archetype was originally pitifully unbalanced, as is (SRD Paladins, anyone?). Similarly, if a class is designed for a higher-power campaign, then I think as long as we're notifying people that the class is designed to be stronger than what you might expect, that we're doing our duty properly. --Jwguy (talk) 14:07, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
My problem with that is that it goes against everything the wiki has been trying to maintain for years. Suddenly, all our talk of making balanced content is moot because anyone can say that their content, no matter how overpowered or how many nonexistent mechanics it uses, can claim it's intentional, and personally, I don't feel comfortable getting into an admin civil war over this template, so I'm hoping we can compromise on the template without compromising on our standards of quality. I think the specific details variable needs to be mandatory, at the least. And if we did allow over-powered content (and I hope we regulate that), I think we'd need to separate it from the DPLs of normal content.
Despite what you seem to believe, I'm not trying to argue that every page with this template have a 32 page in-depth guide on how to use it in a campaign. I just think that we, as what you called a "moderation team" need to agree on what constitutes fair use of this template, and what does not. Because the way forward is not, and this has been established countless times before by precedent and policy, to allow people to throw all their garbage on this wiki and expect to get away with it because they acknowledged that it's broken. I honestly don't know how else to get that across, so I'll just wait until GD has a chance to respond on this matter.--GamerAim (talk) 15:15, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
It isn't like I don't acknowledge the concern; I get it, you know. I realize very well that something that give six feats per level isn't balanced, at all, and that ideally, this template shouldn't defend that.
My stake in this is that we've got plenty of perfectly good content that deviates, and good reasons for these deviations; We've reached similar decisions for campaign content that has deviated on system standards, on balance or otherwise, and it would also apply to user creations of yesteryear that probably could have benefited from the template (like Marasmusine's Sentient Machine experiment, which at one point produced a hybrid race/class outside of SRD 5e Guidelines but by his own assertion was perfectly balanced) - not all of it bears the template, simply because it came after these incidences occurred. I believe a policy and template should be maintained to protect that content from improvement templates that assert that the content itself has to be changed (under threat of deletion). I don't see anything inherently wrong with having content outside of system standards that is well-maintained, and at least puts forward a coherent reasoning towards its deviation, and a disclaimer is provided for readers of the content. If it is asserted that this goes against how it has been for many years, then I say that's just an appeal to tradition, and that policy can and clearly does change.
As for compromise, I don't think there's anything wrong with trying to determine fair use of the template, and while I personally think it is unnecessary, if we must separate this content from other homebrew via DPL similar to what I did here, you'll find that I have no objection to that.
The specific details variable being mandatory we can agree on, entirely, I think. [Help:Precedent] outlines good information to be listed in specific details, although I think the bulleted items should be taken more as examples than as a strict list of requirements, for reasons I'll bring up on that talk page. Not having the details variable filled out causes this template to fail in what it sets out to do, in the first place, which is to primarily acknowledge and explain. --Jwguy (talk) 18:06, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

Wow. Sorry I missed this! I think it's time we sat down and read what the disclaimer itself proposes to do.

"This template is used to give contextual explanation for content which may be contentious or difficult to visualize, in the interest of preventing edit/flame wars on the wiki and debates at the table. This template is not justification for broken, unfinished, unbalanced, or incomprehensible design, (see Precedent (DnD Guideline)) nor is this template intended to identify pages as being incomplete or broken (see Help:Improving, Reviewing, and Removing Templates). It is designed to communicate an unusual fringe-case piece of homebrew which is conditionally problematic. For example, flight is often cited as being fundamentally unbalanced for PCs by many DMs, however there are many designers and DMs who have absolutely no problem with flight whatsoever, as they design their adventures to challenge their PCs' specific abilities. The result is a never-ending flame-war and debate between hobbyists about a point that is moot: It depends on the DM and the game, and has very little to do with rules balance. There are no good arguments for either side, because evidence is that both sides are true! This template communicates that a piece of homebrew either is, or contains, such a fringe-case, and requires special consideration. In other words, this template is used to shut down grey-area debates regarding the word "balance" without being forced to give certain pages permanent imbalance templates demanding correction, or allowing questionable balance pages to go unmarked. It is our acknowledgement that the word "balance" is fundamentally subjective."

Given the template's stated purpose, it is clearly being misused. Pages which are misusing the template should be corrected. GamerAim is correct in identifying widespread misuse of this template. I disagree with Marasmusine's assessment. Maras, there are people out there who would happily bot-delete the word "flight" from every page on the wiki, no matter how good of an explanation we provided on how to make use of it in a game. There are just some aspects of the balance debate in the broader community which do not have a black or white resolution. This template should not be used as much as it is. It's for fringe cases where, simply put, there is no right answer. The idea is to recognize that there are some places where no guideline or policy will ever be satisfactory, given the current state of precedent for a game and its community. Also, as the balance debate evolves over time, it is possible that widespread disagreement over an issue may shift, reducing its contentiousness, and thus invalidating the use of this template. Basically, it isn't about rules, it's about what hobbyists think of the rules. It is likely that some of those pages had this template before I rather boldly (and rudely) converted it to its current state. I recognize that I was foolish in that regard. --Kydo (talk) 21:51, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

It is on non-medieval pages because there is a portion of the community who believe D&D is medieval exclusive and take that as a basis of balance, because they aren't defining balance by the sane standards as us. It is on Races of War because everything touched by Frank and K is inherently incendiary to anyone who holds "canon" to be the absolute ideal of balance- and nothing can convince them otherwise. There are real problematic factions among the hobby community who are the root cause of many complications on D&D web-communities. There needs to be something to address that fact and protect creatives from what are, essentially, rules bullies who take advantage of strict balance rules to crush anything they personally dislike. --Kydo (talk) 21:56, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

A great example: remember back when we had an aggressive user who made a race with machineguns for heads? The impetus for that was my Rubber Forehead Alien page, which was a race at the time. He asked me if he could use those rules to make a race of people who have machine guns for heads. I thought he was joking, but answered honestly: "Yeah, if your DM is ok with using these rules and accepts your design." He took that as meaning "you can use these rules to make any ridiculous thing you can imagine on this wiki." He then made that race, did not link to the rules he was supposedly using to design it, and also didn't even follow those rules in the first place. He was criticized for it, which he did not handle well at all. I think the page was deleted? I'm not sure. I'm on my phone and digging around the wiki to make links for this while I write is impractical. He tried to use the design disclaimer to justify his design, but didn't satisfy its requirements. Had he linked back to Rubber Forehead Aliens as the base rule system it was derived from, and actually followed those rules, I wouldn't have had any problem with it, and I suspect neither would anyone else. --Kydo (talk) 22:36, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

Ah here we go. You can see my exchange with Kanye on the talk page here: Talk:Rubber Forehead Alien (5e Variant Rule). And here's the talk page for Lead Face, which actually hasn't been deleted! Talk:Lead Face (5e Race) If you go to the article itself, you will see that it is still misusing the template. I've let it slide because of the April fools template. It really is funny. But it should be noted that Kanye didn't want it to be a joke race. In a way, that is kind of bullying from the community toward him. He doesn't frequent the wiki anymore. Gee, I wonder why. I'm not going to pretend like my excrement don't stink, I treated him wrong because of an inaccurate first impression. But I'm not happy with what happened there. This template still plays a role in what is wrong with that page. If you want justification to discuss real change of this template, there you have it. --Kydo (talk) 22:54, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

I recommend that we either make the requirements for using this template purposeful, per above, or we go the more drastic route and make pages with a Design Disclaimer included on seperate lists. This would be like the April Fools pages on 5e Races. How, exactly do we propose that we make the requirements for using this template steeper? --Green Dragon (talk) 13:32, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
The problem is that we, as a moderation team, can't let users run around deciding what templates are and are not appropriate. They can have a say and influence decisions, and sometimes we might have to concede to those even if we disagree. And that's fine, because it's a collaborative wiki! That's the reason attribution can't be plastered on an article, and that's the reason an OP isn't the sole judge of balance and whether something deserve an AFD template. Some people just don't understand the AFD template, or think that just because they run silly games (which is fine, BTW; I always include silliness in my games), that it normalizes the silliness to everyone else. But we have to take into account the entire community when deciding if it deserves that template, because if most people don't think Lead Face is serious, then we can't treat it like it is. But since most people take magic seriously, we don't have to slap it on every magic-using class. Maybe it's unfair to some, but we have to look out for the whole community, not just one OP (who isn't even being hurt by that).
And the same goes for the design disclaimer and everything that comes with that. As a community effort, the things people upload have to be usable by other people. They just do or else there's no point in uploading them. As I've said before, that might mean using citations or linking to a homebrew rule or the SRD or an external site or whatever as long as it's made usable! That Demon Brawler class is kind of iffy, but in the OP's defense, he did give some guidelines on the talk page when told that he needed to give some explanation, and that was good! He explained how his normally-overpowered class could be challenged, so people who go there can see it and GMs can know how to work the class in a game. And we have to hold people to this kind of standard or else they (as they already have) use the template as an excuse to upload broken content and complain about it being edited. It legitimizes people who make things intentionally broken, by saying that their intent to make it broken makes it okay, since it wasn't just some accident that they have no understanding of rules or balance.
Even if we agree that even pages with this template have to be held to a standard, I think that we should separate pages with it from other things. Maybe include AFD and DD in a "non-standard game material" DPL on the relevant pages? People who like their strict balance medieval fantasy D&D can get it, and people looking for something different can find what they want easier too. Sounds like a win-win to me :) --GamerAim (talk) 14:20, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

This topic shifts too much.
This argument originated as a call to remove the template, I would like to state, and now seems to have progressed through "What is the template for?" and now seems to be changing, again and again. Part of what needs to be addressed, I think, is what actually works as a justification for the template. As mentioned on Help Talk:Precendent, the bulleted points on the page are examples, but a the same time, I think some of us are expecting them to be a strict list of requirements for all pages using the template.
After the initial argument for removal stopped, both Marasmusine and GamerAim both seemed to expressed concern over what exactly is supposed to be in the Specific Details field, and what should actually be considered sufficient justification for the template. We're going to hit subjective crags no matter what we do here, I realize, but I think what is being asked is "What is the minimum we accept to justify this template on any given page?"
Does it have to have a separate variant rules page and link to it, or does a relatively detailed explanation suffice? Does it require an in-depth Same Game Test posted on the talk page, and if so, to what degree of detail, or can they perform the test and inform of the results they've achieved?
It might be that the template or the Help:Precedent page explains all of this already, and maybe I'm the one getting this wrong, but that seems to be a question that is coming up. Saying it just needs to be justified is fine with me, but it is the fact that justified, itself, is open to interpretation that seems to be confusing?
Also, I'd like to take a moment to say that I think that argument is a bit hyperbolic, GamerAim. No-one is being hurt by having more content and making sure that the content has disclaimers if it deviates; Not the OP, and not the community as a whole. In fact, I'd say it can only be more beneficial to have more choices and options, on the whole. The only way that this could possibly be a bad thing is if people were misled to believe the content was balanced, which has been a complaint in the past. The disclaimer performs the function of preventing that. There's no legitimizing deliberately bad content when the pages in question have literally used the template wrong and everyone has agreed on that; at worst, it just means we need to get the above items figured out or at least get a better general idea on the matter.
As far as the DPL separation goes, I don't see as necessary, again, because the disclaimer is there and it performs the function of alerting and informing the user appropriately, and not every class with a design disclaimer is necessarily unbalanced. That said, if this is the one thing we absolutely can't have for some reason, I'm willing to concede it just to achieve a compromise. --Jwguy (talk) 15:13, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
I apologize for the topic changing so much, and maybe that's caused some confusion, but I think it's because we're just working through what is wrong with this template or certain implementations, is all. I accept that what works for one page might not work for others. That's okay - as you said, options are good. I don't have a problem with having more options, if that's what you think - the reason I suggested separating DPLs is because I thought it might help people find options that best suit them (though I acknowledge that there's a huge gulf between joke pages and design deviant pages). I sort of went on a tangent about the AFD template, but I was trying to make a point about how user interpretations can vary. So, to say it again, I think that having more options is good as long as the pages are helpful to other users :)
Lots of things here are going to be open to interpretation. Is page X too inappropriate? Are sexually explicit images that different from basic nudity? Some people will have one answer and some another. I do feel that we've made some progress on how we collectively interpret this template, which I feel will allow us, as a moderation team, to better interpret the pages that use it :) That was really the whole point here - I wanted us all to be on the same page, and I think we're almost there.
I think the main thing here is that we have, I think, established that this template can't be used as a cop-out for bad design, which is what I thought you were advocating. Now that we agree that it isn't (I think), there's not much we can do aside from decide on the DPL separation. Bad design is going to be something that's subjective, but since I think we've all agreed that bad design isn't something we want, we can approach things on a case-by-case basis. I'm sorry if I maybe blew this out of proportions, but I simple didn't want us to agree on an issue that I felt was important - to say the least, I didn't want any fundamental conflicts. So, I'm sorry it took so long to reach this point, but I'm glad that we did :) --GamerAim (talk) 16:12, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
I am currently reviewing all uses of this template. Where the page is associated with a guideline, variant rule, or sourcebook, I am trying a simple messagebox with a link. It's immediate and clear and doesn't take up much room. For example, Flying Dragonborn (5e Race Variant). Flight in 5e is not a "deviation from standards": A fly speed is part of the core mechanics, and an official publication has a PC race with flight: but a generalized guide might help. Prior to this, you had to notice that the disclaimer banner had a "show button" and think to click on it, read past large-font boilerplate text, to get to the reason why its there. Marasmusine (talk) 17:03, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
Marasmusine, even in 3.5e, there were OGL races with innate fly speeds. I think the point Kydo was trying to make is that flying presents a rather large advantage, and yet no-one can clearly tell how or when it is properly balanced (since it is useful in a myriad of situations, it is hard to think of flight as an integer, and therefore balance it as you would with something like ability scores, and so on. While I wouldn't call them factions, it can and sometimes does lead to arguments over whether something is properly balanced when the concept, by its nature, is hard to really balance or tell if it is balanced. I don't know if you remember, but on a handful of 3.5e races, you and I had similar arguments.
They ended up with me pointing out that, at some point or another, an officially published splatbook somewhere had a race with similar abilities/features. Was the OGL race unbalanced? Honestly, I'd probably not ever allow it in my campaigns because... well, yeah, it was awful. But if our standards of balance are about comparing the creation to an official counterpart, then... yeah, it is technically balanced. And this is why I keep saying that WOTC is awful at balancing their own content. Maybe they've gotten better as time goes on, but I think it is something to keep in mind when we're working with the template.
In the case you've provided, I think the template would largely be there to prevent issues with balance concerns because of the ambiguous but massive advantage that is flight. --Jwguy (talk) 18:04, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
"And this is why I keep saying that WOTC is awful at balancing their own content. Maybe they've gotten better as time goes on"
This is probably off-topic, but in my opinion WoTC has gotten better at balancing their content over time – 5th edition's classes are much closer together in power compared to the atrocity that was 3.5 core, with a few exceptions. — Geodude671 (talk | contribs)‎ . . 18:19, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
And somehow we're back to talking mechanics exclusively again. I'm not sure how I can make this more clear. The DD is an anti-bullying tool designed to mediate the social hazards I have seen on other communities and in real life regarding balance. It's about people, not rules. That's it.
If you think a guideline dedicated to explaining flying races is good enough, then I encourage you to go that route. Hell, Marasmusine is putting real work into the issue rather than just flapping his gab, and I appreciate that.
However, have you ever spent any time over at the Gamers Den? Have you ever chatted with Frank Trollman? Have you seen friends get into fist fights because "fucking water breathing is fresh water exclusive!!!" The concept of balance is nebulous. That is ok. It's a good thing actually, because it means more variety of content and more styles of play. But some people have a very strict definition of balance and get really bent out of shape over it. They will straight-up verbally abuse people who disagree. You might not want to call it factioning, but I've seen enough of it to say with certainty that this hobby is thoroughly divided into distinct camps regarding the issue of balance, and these camps are often made incompatible by their vocal jerk members. I do not appreciate that. Most people are cool. They shouldn't feel obligated to fit one smartmouth's idea of balance. Frank isn't a nice guy, but he is right that the classes in 3.5e are mathematically unequal in combat. The people who attack him for that disagree because they don't even define balance in the same terms.
For practical reasons of compatibility, this wiki endorses similarity to precedent as a basis for "balance". But that's just practicality. (And, I would like to add, it was something I just decided to write on a whim one afternoon. It has received little to no criticism or endorsement since.) I think it is inappropriate to exclude the other camps, or make it harder for them to operate here. They are part of the hobby. They deserve to be able to enjoy this community too. They should be allowed to share what they enjoy, even if it isn't as compatible with core as we'd normally want. So we have this template. The idea is that wherever people have drawn a line in the sand, this can be used to bridge that divide. To say, "look, there are other paradigms of what matters mechanically, and this is where this guy is coming from."
You already can search for DD pages exclusively if you want, same with AFDs. They have their own categories. As such, separating them in the DPLs just seems like we're distancing "normal" content from "abnormal" content. Humans are inherently tribal, and a divide of that nature always has negative connotations. It would subtly imply "your fun is weird to us". Also, it'd be a buttload of work to implement on top of being an unwise course of action.
Marasmusine is right though. The boilerplate text is too large and unwieldy. It has annoyed me in the past. --Kydo (talk) 20:21, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
I can see that none of us are going to agree on this, so I'll just wait for it to come up again in context and see what happens. However, GD already decided that AFD pages should be separated, so that's where we are.--GamerAim (talk) 21:15, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

I think that instead of flapping his gab comment was out of line. I don't see what's wrong with discussing or commenting on something when someone brings up their concerns, even if you think they're invalid by default. The whole reason we're all even here is because it became a big enough issue for someone to raise concerns over, and you're basically calling people out for talking it out to make sure we have a better and more unified understanding of it.
On topic, I didn't contest anything about what you said, I am just not calling it 'factions' because that implies we actually have organized groups of people who share a specific core belief and act on it, together. At best, we have a bunch of individuals who might happen to agree on any particular matter for sometimes different, sometimes similar reasons. The rest of this seems to be you replying to GamerAim, though, so I'm going to let you guys have at that.
Man, all of this for trying to stick up for the little guys. --Jwguy (talk) 21:23, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
Like all the improving, reviewing, and removing templates requiring a solid reason for the DD template makes the most sense. This would move this template away from the camp of just doing it because, to a camp based off logic. I agree that we need to condense the introduction text, and then list a valid reason for this template's usage. It seems that spliting DPL lists further would just be confusing, but we can discuss this route more too. Can someone condense the wording and propose a logical usage for this template per balance issue? --Green Dragon (talk) 21:35, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
In terms of a way forward for this template, I agree with GD above. What I'm getting from this conversation though is that we at some point need to establish where, in terms of balance, we draw the line as acceptable content on this wiki; I'm getting the impression that we all have varying ideas on where that line begins and ends. This is an issue that seems to be getting very mixed up with talk about the template itself, and consequently leading to rather frustrating discussion. --SgtLion (talk) 22:39, 10 June 2017 (UTC)
I think that's fine, as mentioned. I suppose we need to designate a control, then? I wanna' repeat some questions from above:
Does it have to have a separate variant rules page and link to it, or does a relatively detailed explanation suffice? Does it require an in-depth Same Game Test posted on the talk page, and if so, to what degree of detail, or can they perform the test and inform of the results they've achieved?
So, personally, I'm going to err on the side of the user; I think a sufficient explanation, one that 1) identifies the deviant design decisions (any potentially questionable features or qualities, compared against the closest possible SRD or OGL counterpart, and in what way it deviates, for example), 2) Provides an explanation that details the reasoning that can, at the very least, inform why this change exists (Because it is rebalanced to meet another SRD/OGL class in power, or it uses rules detailed at -Link-, or That one class in Races of Stone gets fly and +2Dex +2Con and +2Str at the cost of having no arms, so this should also be relatively similar), and 3) Requests that any concerns be taken to the talk page.
Personally, I think something like that is the bare minimum. It identifies the deviant features, as a disclaimer should, gives a proper argument, and leaves it open to discussion, which should hopefully seem less of a No-one can challenge me on this type of thing. I think people who are trying to pass overpowered silly things off will have a harder time with something like that, because they have to designate the closest counterpart in SRD/OGL, and defend it properly. "I wanted a stronger item" should never be a suitable defense on its own. --Jwguy (talk) 04:41, 12 June 2017 (UTC)
I'm also not sure why anyone would think the template would prevent anyone from just changing stuff anyways. This is a wiki, and nothing about the template invalidates the disclaimer at the bottom of the editor. It's just a communication tool. Anyone who reads it and ignores it is just being uncivil. That's what really matters to me more than people arguing over it. I'm fine with it being vague, as long as the result is civil conversation about design philosophy. I support that no matter what. (Having a conversation about what a "High power campaign" is to the contributor and how that justifies their design is a worthwhile result generated by the template, in my mind.) But if someone just decides to delete the disclaimer and remodel a page to suit their idea of balance without comment, that starts to set an antisocial tone at least, and could be the beginnings of an incivility warning if they continue such a pattern. Even if someone does read the DD, there's nothing stopping them from disagreeing with the execution and editing a page to better suit the deviated standard! So, to say "but I put a disclaimer" is not only a misunderstanding of the template, but kind of a misunderstanding of the wiki. Going forward though, you guys are right, this needs to be more clear. The ambiguity is leaving room for problematic and conflicting interpretations. I already made the changes I believe are necessary. Are there any specific changes anyone else would like to see? We could, of course, just boldly edit this thing together until we reach some sort of technical compromise between our disparate visions. --Kydo (talk) 05:54, 12 June 2017 (UTC)
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