Dwarves favor axes, while elves like bows. Halflings are excellent climbers. Wizards usually disdain weapons. Gnomes hate kobolds. Bards dress flamboyantly. These are all flavorful bits that have long been tied to aspects of the game. We all know them and are familiar with them, and to some degree we expect to see them in flavor text describing these aspects of the game.
But should they also appear in game mechanics? Aside for perhaps the bard clothing bit, it’s not hard to imagine mechanical ways to express these ideas. In fact, they’ve existed in the game in the past in one way or another. But do they need to? Do dwarves have to have special familiarity or even a bonus to use axes for the statement “dwarves favor axes” to be true? Without some kind of mechanical benefit to using axes, many players will ignore the flavor. Others will use axes based only on the story aspect. And if most dwarves end up with longswords because there is no mechanical incentive to choose axes, is that so terrible? Is story enough, for its own sake, or is it meaningless without reality—as defined in the game by the rules—to back it up? Do rules give flavor meaning, or does flavor carry its own weight?