Is it legal to re-element for fluff reasons?

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In the DMG, it recommends changing damage types as the simplest and most balanced way to handle things like Necrotic clerics and blackguards.

I have a character concept that would use the following "modified" feats- Summertouched (wintertouched) and Lasting Flames. (lasting frost) The character is a Gnoll swordmage who's powers come from his infernal heritage.

Would it be legal to use these on an RPGA character?
LFR, no. That is not re-fluffing. That is a change to actual mechanics.

That my warforged looks exactly like an orc is re-fluffing. It has no game effect.
LFR, no. That is not re-fluffing. That is a change to actual mechanics.

That my warforged looks exactly like an orc is re-fluffing. It has no game effect.

Who would build an orc construct? A dwarf I can understand... but an orc?



;)
Dave Kay LFR Writing Director Retiree dkay807 [at] yahoo [dot] com
That kind of thing can definitely be fun in a home game, but it's just too much for a Living game. If allowed to change elements in that way you can take any feat for any element and stack it together, for instance.

I just can't believe anyone would play a warforged at all, whether it looks like an orc or a dwarf ;) I mean "I'm a mechanical teapot, short and stout, here's my temp hit points, and hey, there's some more. And more. And more. And more..."
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
I wanted to play an orc barbarian. I do not have an Orc RPGA Reward Card so my orc happens to have the exact same stats and abilities as a warforged.
My Orc would find your robot very peculiar...

I'm happy with that sort of thing, as long as you aren't actually trying to play an Orc, but rather a warforged who thinks he is an orc/is modelled off an orc, that is fine.
My Orc would find your robot very peculiar...

I'm happy with that sort of thing, as long as you aren't actually trying to play an Orc, but rather a warforged who thinks he is an orc/is modelled off an orc, that is fine.

Quite the contrary. I am playing an orc, not a warforged who thinks he is an orc or who looks like an orc. My character is an orc. There is nothing warforged about him in-game.

He is an orc who has +2 Str, +2 Con, an encounter power that grants him healing and temp hit points (which he uses after he hits someone), and the seeming inability to fail a death save (because he is super badass awesome). He is also a light sleeper, strong-willed, and unwilling to drop his axe until you pry it from his cold, dead hands.

An orc. Only the DM gets to know I am using warforged stats.
Well he is in fact, not an orc. If you rocked up to my table, I would say 'you are playing a warforged who thinks he is an orc. The other players don't need to know, but it is an important distinction.

E.g: If you were role-playing with other Orcs, you would have to bluff them to demonstrate you were an Orc.

You would not Know Giant unless you spent effort getting it.

With any heal check the party cleric/someone else could work out you are a living construct.

Mechanically you are a warforged. Racially you are a Warforged as well.

When push comes to shove, your PC is not an orc unless you have the campaign card. That is the RULES of the campaign. Roleplaying your in-character belief is one thing, being obstinate to the GM/other PCs/Orcs in the module is another.

It's an interesting idea, but you'd need to recognise the following:

- Some GMs might not be ok with it
- You need to have some way of proving you are an orc, 'in-character' should you meet another orc

It's a bit insulting to those of us that play Orcs with the sub-par racial abilities, I would rather dragonborn stats for my Cleric, but I use the Orc stats because that is the downside of playing the race.
As soon as being an orc matters as a game mechanic, my character will fall short. This is obvious. If someone writes an adventure like AGLA1-1 that cares if you are an orc, my character will not pass muster.

But for fluff purposes there is no reason my character has to jump through hoops. To make him would be both unnecessary and uncalled for (if not a bit spiteful). It is of no consequence whether someone is an orc, an elf, or a one-eyed one-horned flying purple people eater. There is another orc in the party? Different clans. A group of orc enemies in a module are only willing to parley with orc PCs? They happen to hate or disregard my character's clan since he doesn't count as an orc. Everything is working out exactly the same as if my character were represented consistent with warforged flavor instead of orc flavor. Thus, there is no conflict.

The moment I try to gain a mechanical advantage over a normal warforged character is the moment you are justified in stepping in and adjudicating differently. Until that time, the game is being played fairly and for fun.
Well there actually is a reason.

It's called using a different set of racial abilities for another race.

By your logic I could play a Human from Cormyr, and walk around in character doing all the human stuff, dealing with NPcs as if I am human and so on.

Later on it is discovered I have the stats for a Gnoll because they more suited the mechanics of the build. Without even paying much attention you might have gotten certain benefits or have varying reactions on what you actually are. Most modules have certain attitudes to orcs, etc the only reason there isn't a strong opinion on warforged is that canonically they weren't part of LFR. (Not saying they shouldn't be now).

The rules exist for a reason. I wouldn't make you jump through hoops, but I would make it very clear to the Player that if they selected warforged stats, they are playing a WARFORGED, not anything else, regardless of outward appearance and role-playing.

What you see as innocent role-playing to get to be an Orc, I see as a dangerous precedent on flaunting the rules regarding racial abilities.

In my book, in a Living campaign, if you want to BE an ORC you have to BE an ORC statistically.

Having said that, I have no problem with a warforged orc model who thinks he is an orc acts like an orc convinces the rest of the party he is an orc.

But being told that the Warforged is an orc just using differing stats? that is a entirely different thing.

Just because your example is innocent and perhaps well thought out, doesn't mean it isn't against the rules of the game. In a home campaign, I'd probably let you do it, but then again, in a home campaign I'd just let you play an Orc.

I actually had a spare Orc card, if I hadn't already given it away I would have sent it to you.
Later on it is discovered I have the stats for a Gnoll

Discovered by whom? As I mentioned, you tell the DM at the beginning what your character is.

What you see as innocent role-playing to get to be an Orc, I see as a dangerous precedent on flaunting the rules regarding racial abilities.

I can see a situation where people can lie and cheat about their characters, gaining the benefits of two races, but people can just lie and cheat without going through what I outlined above.

Do you see similar problems with my warlock character who is always accompanied by an animate doll? The human who stands next to the doll is actually a puppet while the doll is actually the warlock. It is fluff without any effect on game mechanics, just like my orc.

Just because your example is innocent and perhaps well thought out, doesn't mean it isn't against the rules of the game.

It depends how far you consider fluff to be rules. Elf is just a designation for a particular set of abilities. So is Ranger. So is Two-Weapon Fighting.

I run a 4e game in Rokugan, the setting of the Legend of the Five Rings RPG. What you call an Elf Ranger with Two-Weapon Fighting I call a Dragon Clan Mirumoto Bushi trained in Niten. The rules are exactly the same, just the flavor is different.
It depends how far you consider fluff to be rules. Elf is just a designation for a particular set of abilities. So is Ranger. So is Two-Weapon Fighting.

Not in Living Forgotten Realms. Elf is more than a set of abilities. It is a RACE. not a mechanic.

You can do what you like in a home Rokugan campaign. In LFR, you have to abide by the rules, it is that simple really. It's not like the campaign is very restrictive.

If it was really about fluff and not racial abilities, don't you think you would see more humans etc? No. Warforged and Dragonborn dominate because of their racial benefits. (Also a fair few Dwarves out there).

Trying to use those better abilities on another race is inherently, against the rules. This isn't even a DM empowerment issue, it is a core mechanic issue. You CANNOT be human with Dragonborn stats unless you change the core mechanic.
Let's flip this around. If an Orc is just a set of abilities with no Roleplay benefit attached, then why pretend to be an orc? If no one can treat you like an Orc for game purposes what is the point? And if you expect other characters/NPCs to react to you as an Orc, then there IS some benefit to really being one.

Also, considering that it has been stated that the Orc cards are a specific reward for people who have attended the events to receive them I think it really goes against the spirit of the campaign.

This is one of those things that you can get away with as long as you are playing with a closed group where everyone knows each other. Frankly, as long as the character is never played outside your home group, you can do just about anything the DM will allow and it will never matter in the larger LFR campaign. But if you ever play in at a Con or more open event, I'd think three times before whipping this character out and trying to convince some random DM.
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Race is a mechanic; so when you say using "better abilities on another race is inherently against the rules" I agree. You are trying to gain the mechanical benefits of two separate choices at the same time.

You CANNOT be human with dragonborn stats because being human is a mechanic that conflicts with having dragonborn stats. You CAN look human with dragonborn stats because looking human is not a game mechanic it is just fluff.

As a more specific example, say I play a human wizard who looks like an eladrin. The flavor I want is a long-lived fey-touched wizard with pointy ears but the mechanics I want are 3 at-wills and better defenses. When I head into the Temple of the Fey Gods, I am human because the game cares if I am human. That I look like an eladrin is of no consequence to game mechanics. The rules work the same before and after so, therefore, there is no rule being broken.
Let's flip this around. If an Orc is just a set of abilities with no Roleplay benefit attached, then why pretend to be an orc? If no one can treat you like an Orc for game purposes what is the point? And if you expect other characters/NPCs to react to you as an Orc, then there IS some benefit to really being one.

You are mixing the word benefit with both mechanics and roleplaying. There is no mechanical benefit for my character to appear as an orc. The roleplaying benefit is that I prefer to draw my character from the stereotypical orc mythos rather than the warforged mythos.

Also, considering that it has been stated that the Orc cards are a specific reward for people who have attended the events to receive them I think it really goes against the spirit of the campaign.

If the campaign issued the cards to people so they could have the flavor of being an orc, I can agree. But like the other reward cards, the benefit is opening game mechanics to the players. An orc card lets you access the Orc game mechanics just like the Snap Out of It card lets you un-daze yourself.

But if you ever play in at a Con or more open event, I'd think three times before whipping this character out and trying to convince some random DM.

Since I derive no mechanical benefit from looking like an orc, there is no problem with suffering under the yoke of an unyielding DM for a module. Now if he maliciously plays up my being a warforged the entire time, I will certainly report him for unsporting behavior.
If the campaign issued the cards to people so they could have the flavor of being an orc, I can agree. But like the other reward cards, the benefit is opening game mechanics to the players. An orc card lets you access the Orc game mechanics just like the Snap Out of It card lets you un-daze yourself.

actually it lets you play an ORC. It doesn't unlock specific mechanics from any particular source. It says: "You canplay an Orc in the RPGA" If we are going to argue semantic benefits of the card - mechanics has nothing to do with the reward of getting to play one.

Without that card you cannot. Mechanically OR otherwise.

You reporting that a DM is maliciously playing up the warforged mechanics is your own opinion. There is an inherent bias there. You have no claim to reporting the GM, the GM however has a claim to you illegally using one racial attributes to play a race that you require a specific campaign reward.
Race is a mechanic; so when you say using "better abilities on another race is inherently against the rules" I agree. You are trying to gain the mechanical benefits of two separate choices at the same time.

You CANNOT be human with dragonborn stats because being human is a mechanic that conflicts with having dragonborn stats. You CAN look human with dragonborn stats because looking human is not a game mechanic it is just fluff.

As a more specific example, say I play a human wizard who looks like an eladrin. The flavor I want is a long-lived fey-touched wizard with pointy ears but the mechanics I want are 3 at-wills and better defenses. When I head into the Temple of the Fey Gods, I am human because the game cares if I am human. That I look like an eladrin is of no consequence to game mechanics. The rules work the same before and after so, therefore, there is no rule being broken.

I think the idea that folks are trying to get their hands around is the idea of assertive behavior vs. aggressive behavior. Is you choice of how to view the rules as mechanics vs. fluff to this degree something that is merely exerting your rights to enjoy the game (assertive), or are you taking away from the rights of others to enjoy the game in doing so (aggressive)?

The game is a shared environment. By entering into the game, we tacitly agree to abide by certain parameters to give depth and a sense of immersion in the game environment. We might disagree about where the parameters should be, but not that they exist. What I'm hearing in this conversation is that Metz sees your position as aggressive, but that you see it as assertive. Metz thinks that you're asking everyone to move the parameters from what is universally accepted, and you think you're acting inside the boundary already.

It's a form of differing opinion that comes up regularly in discussions about campaign integrity. I think it is easy to tell when the boundary is close in these conversations; it's like an electric charge that gets hackles up. But, it isn't always clear which side of the line we're on.

David
You are mixing the word benefit with both mechanics and roleplaying. There is no mechanical benefit for my character to appear as an orc. The roleplaying benefit is that I prefer to draw my character from the stereotypical orc mythos rather than the warforged mythos.

Do you expect NPCs to treat you like an Orc? Do you expect other Characters to treat you like an Orc? If yes, then this is a choice that directly changes how you interact with the game and that's a mechanical benefit. I've run a couple adventures so far where having an Orc (with Creation Card) in the party opened up some options and closed others due to NPC interaction.

Mechanical benefit means more than things that add a +2 to some roll. This is a game of combat but also one of character interaction and anything that affects either of those is a mechanic of some sort. If there is a space for it on your character sheet, it counts as a mechanical change.
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Note that in this specific example, a warforged is a living construct. Orcs are not living constructs. So you cannot be an orc with warforged stats, as they are not living constructs. It cannot, mechanically, be an orc. In fact, most races have elements that make it, mechanically, not an orc (teleports, size, lack of lowlight vision, etc).
Each race has abilities, and the point is that you use those abilities, good or bad, when you play a creature from a race. It is the whole point that they are good or bad in certain things. That is what defines the race. In a home game, you can deviate from that since you can change the rules within the boundaries of your home, but in a living campaign, you can't because there are too many people to (dis)agree with on new exceptional rules.

Hence, while you can make all kinds of little tweeks with a character, in a living campaign you should really stick to the race close enough that it is still recognizable as such. My half-elf is a drow-descended half-elf, but still a half-elf. A warforged could, with a bit of good will, be described as a flesh golem-like construct, even an orc-look-alike flesh golem. But it would still be a warforged. You can cover him up in furs so people don't see he is put together, but he wouldn't be an orc (even if he could be mistaken as one). Still, he would be a far cry from an actual warforged as most people envision them.

This is a community game, where people need to take each other into account.
A warforged that looks (for a part) like an orc is something that players will take into account, and in return you take into account that people expect you to play a warforged, not an orc.
Even if you choose to ignore this advise and play the pretend game, I believe you will need to tell fellow players that you mechanically play a warforged, not an orc, and hope they get along with it. Many players may no longer trust you or wish to play with you if they somehow get the feeling that you misuse their trust or 'break the rules'.
actually it lets you play an ORC. It doesn't unlock specific mechanics from any particular source. It says: "You canplay an Orc in the RPGA"

And as I mentioned earlier, Orc is just a designation for a particular set of abilities, those being the ones in the back of the Monster Manual.

Do you expect NPCs to treat you like an Orc?

I expect NPCs to treat me like any other PC. If they are supposed to interact in some specific fashion with orcs, then no, because my race is not orc.

Do you expect other Characters to treat you like an Orc?

I am not quite sure what "treat you like an Orc" really means. How does one treat an orc differently from any other PC?

I've run a couple adventures so far where having an Orc (with Creation Card) in the party opened up some options and closed others due to NPC interaction.

And as I am not an Orc with a Creation Card, I expect the former to be closed and the latter to be open.

What I'm hearing in this conversation is that Metz sees your position as aggressive, but that you see it as assertive. Metz thinks that you're asking everyone to move the parameters from what is universally accepted, and you think you're acting inside the boundary already.

I think you have a pretty good grasp of the key problem. To my perspective, Metz is falling back to objecting on principle and now disregarding the particulars of the position I am advocating. Perhaps because he sees some related abuse that could arise from others and he feels he needs to cut off the problem now. He acknowledged earlier that my aims are innocent and nuanced.

I feel that Telvin3d is integrating too closely and blurring the distinction between game mechanics and roleplaying; it seems he assumes I am trying to gain some benefit from looking like an orc. From the beginning, the only difference between my character and an identical warforged barbarian is appearance. I have green skin and tusks; he has metal plates and wooden guts. Telvin3d entered the thread asking for a change in perspective; let me try a change of my own: What if my goal was not to have everyone interact with my character as an orc but to have everyone not interact with my character as a warforged? For example, the first few posts in this thread referred to the character as a robot and a mechanical teapot. If that were my motivation from the beginning, would you still find this reskinning to be a mechanical advantage?
Even if you choose to ignore this advise and play the pretend game, I believe you will need to tell fellow players that you mechanically play a warforged, not an orc, and hope they get along with it. Many players may no longer trust you or wish to play with you if they somehow get the feeling that you misuse their trust or 'break the rules'.

If you mean by keeping my race a secret and leading them on that I am an orc from the MM, that is not the case. My mention earlier of only telling the DM was to illustrate the point that it does not matter what my character looks like because all his numbers are up to snuff.

I have a hard time imagining something like this:

"My character is Gomez, a half-drow warlock from the Dalelands."
"Hey, you can't play a half-drow. There's no half-drow race."
"I'm actually a half-elf descended from drow. It's just flavor."
"Not at my table you're not. I'm calling the senior DM."

This, on the other hand:

"My character is Korg'Tar Fleshrender, an orc barbarian from Wheloon."
"Do you have an Orc card?"
"He's a warforged. He just looks like an orc."
"Oh, okay."
"My character is Gomez, a half-drow warlock from the Dalelands."

Actually, her name is Tesh Huruafair, she is a paladin of Tempus, and she is from East Rift. And she IS a half-elf (there are no half-drow, the half-elf was actually suggested by Rich Baker). She just has very dark skin. I make it quite clear to all players what she really is.

Similar, you can restyle a warforged and make him look like you want, give him an odd background, or a certain look. Maybe he is an orc, reanimated by a mad gnome in a mechanical (or stiched together) body. He might think like an orc, but he would still be a warforged (a living construct).

Claiming a PC is of a specific race using another race's powers may simply run into objections. It can fly in a home campaign, but it may have trouble getting of the ground in a living one, such as on conventions.

Gomez
I have a feeling you misunderstood Eldric, Gomeztoo. He is saying that he finds it hard to imagine somebody would walk to the senior DM of an event to complain about your half-elf drow (regardless of where she comes from). While it is a lot easier to see the DM just shrug, and then rolling with it even with his warforged orc example. I also agree that there is little difference between your half-elf and Eldric's "orc". In 3E drow half-elves were definitely different game mechanically from normal half-elves (for one thing, they had dark vision). From personal experience I suspect Eldric is right. Most DMs really do not make a fuss about it regardless of whether or not they should.

Don't expect an official answer from me on the subject at hand yet. I do not know how this relates to the rules, its intentions and the goals of the campaign. I understand both sides of the story. I agree there a difference between fluff and game mechanics, but game mechanics do support fluff and vice versa. I will see what my fellow global administrators think, it falls in the same category as some other questions about what exactly are the limits of DMs empowerment and freedom for the fun of others.

Pieter Sleijpen
RPGA LFR Global Administrator
It is a little more complicated than that Peter.

1. How does this fly with the consideration that playing an Orc is a special campaign reward? Is this insulting to the Player with the Orc card who GMed for a day at Gencon to earn it? (especially considering that the warforged, racially, are in many ways superior to the Orc?)

2. How does this fly if at a Con, an abusive player walks up from a table or yells at a GM for not accepting his 'Human' as being 'Human' and won't have NPCs interact as if he is 'Human' when he is using the 'Dragonborn' stats? You may call this an extreme, I call it a logical progression from a favourable ruling on this.

3. Are we to now assume any player can play any race they want with any attributes they want?

4. If that was the intent of the game mechanic would there be such a thing as separate racial abilities?

5. Does this mean in modules, there can't be any regional flavour for reactions to certain races because the GM has to ask each player what his race REALLY is mechanically, not what he is playing it as? (I'm not saying bias, but regional traits, such as Dwarves in one region)

6. Where do we draw the line at DM empowerment? if we are to ignore the core rules on racial abilities, how does that affect the standard of play at conventions and the like? DM variability could be dangerous if we have the fundamental mechanics of the game totally mutable and up to discretion DM empowerment = altering the rules where necessary to make the game fun, not altering at the whims of the players who ignore the rules for no reason other than their own desires

7. A Half Drow Elf using the stats for a half-elf is a bit different from using the stats for a construct race to play a race that is limited to a reward card. A half drow is what I call a reasonable deviation from the original, the other is not. IS this blatant statement of my own opinion valid? Is this what we are encouraging?

8. Most importantly, your argument implies that mechanically your warforged has an infinite bluff score, where he can fool anyone into thinking he is an Orc. That doesn't fly with me. What is worse is the fact that you think I am being malicious for having an Orc PC/NPC work out you aren't really a normal orc. That bugs me as a GM. If my Gnome wants to pretend to be a Kobold in a conversation to other Kobolds, he has to roll a bluff check. Why doesn't your Warforged?

I think Howie got it correct that I view the attitude of 'I'll play what I want' as an aggressive notion from the player to force a GM to accept his choice of racial abilities and role-playing. This is something that I don't think has a place in a living campaign. A player should have the reasonable assumption that he can play what is stipulated in the rules.

What say I turn up one game and say I am undead? I use the warforged stats, which represent an unliving PC quite nicely.

What happens then when I travel to the region at war with Thay that destroys undead on site? is the GM being unreasonable for arresting the PC, or is the player for putting the GM in that position?

I often see the worst possible outcomes of these situations, but they do need to be considered. I hope they will be. I am not saying Eldric is doing this to GMs etc, but in my opinion, this will set a dangerous precedent.

D&D is about everyone getting to have fun. With all the rhetoric about promoting players being able to do what they want, sometimes they forget this can vastly reduce the fun of OTHER players, and the GM who has to put up with under-protective guidelines that force him to deal with aforementioned aggressive players.
You CAN look human with dragonborn stats because looking human is not a game mechanic it is just fluff.

That's clearly not true...the appearance of your race is not just fluff - as an example, let's take a town that has been repeatedly attacked by gnolls. If a PC gnoll claimed he looked like a human and therefore should be treated as everyone else, he's gaining an advantage.

Looking like a typical PC race vs. that of a monster is a mechanical advantage for that reason(even if it gets glossed over in many LFR games)

The way that fluff works is that if something provides no mechanical change whatsoever, then that's fluff. As an example, I came up with a 'Swashbuckler' who would use a 'heavy cloak' as a 'heavy shield' - everyone who looked at the Swashbuckler would know instantly that I was gaining the benefit of a heavy shield. In the same way that they would know by looking at someone actually using a heavy shield.

That's fluff. A Warforged who looks like a mechanical Orc makes sense. A Warforged who looks like an actual Orc is gaining mechanical benefits/disadvantages in play. They might not add up to a positive, but they're not fluff.
I also agree that there is little difference between your half-elf and Eldric's "orc". In 3E drow half-elves were definitely different game mechanically from normal half-elves (for one thing, they had dark vision).

But not in 4th ed. There are no half-drow (or I would have played one). Instead, half-elf is any half breed descended from elves or eladrin, and I assume (from comments by RB) also from drow. I am still using half-elf stats to play a half-elf, so it still is different from playing an orc using warforged stats.
The principle is simialr, in that you shape the caharcter as you like, but I believe the actual changes made are a lot more drastic in the orc case... and the more drastic, the biger teh chance people will objcet, and the smaller teh chance you can make a cosmetic change. I.e., I can change Tesh to be a half-elf descended from dark-elves (the original drow before they went underground). It would hardly change anything.

Gomez
"My character is Korg'Tar Fleshrender, an orc barbarian from Wheloon."

You may choose to roleplay in any manner you choose. You do not get to control the reactions that the DM or other PCs have to your roleplaying.

A warforged who calls himself an orc is different from an orc. Some DMs or PCs may choose to react to your PC as they would an orc; others may choose not to do so.

You may view the world through any prism you would like. However, when others ask how their characters perceive the world, then unless they have agree to have their information filtered through your viewpoint, they should receive unaltered information about what their characters perceive according to the actual rules of the game.

You may choose to roleplay that, each time your character gains temporary hit points, a live puppy appears in front of him to blunt the next attack. You may choose to roleplay that you don't actually jump, instead, a hand comes down from heaven and lifts you up. You may choose to roleplay that you're not actually a halfling, but actually a large squirrel with the stats of a halfling.

Others don't get to tell you how to roleplay your character, despite how much they might want to. That's your choice, not theirs.

In turn, you don't get to tell the DM or other players how they react to your character. Nor can you conceal what, according to the rules, your character is actually doing or actually looks like, in order to force them to react to your character the way you would like.

If what your character says differs from the reality of the game according to the rules, then the DM or other players may choose to play along with you or may choose to go along with the game reality and consider your character crazy. That's their choice, not yours.
Eldric, I might come off as a little harsh, but I'm going to cut right to the heart of this. Here's the thing:

In LFR, the benefit of having the Orc Adventurer creation card is that you get to play an orc.
That has some "mechanical" effects (warrior's surge, etc), and it has role-play effects (opens some doors, closes others).

But there's a meta-game benefit that you're ignoring... In a campaign with literally thousands of PCs, the people who have spent time/effort/money to actually get a creation card have the benefit of an option that isn't open to people without the card. They have earned the privilege of having a PC that is potentially just a little more unique than the next drow rogue or dragonborn warlord.

The simple fact that you want to play an orc despite having a warforged PC on paper reveals that there IS a benefit in playing an orc. It is a reward in and of itself. A reward that --I hate to break it to you-- others have earned and that you have not.

Anyone who claims the benefits of a card without having the card, no matter how justified or only-flavorful that they think they are being, undermines the legitimate benefits that other players have actually earned.

I'm mildly amused by the arguments that playing a warforged as an orc is okay as long as you don't change anything mechanically. It's just a change of color, you say, a matter of flavor, not mechanics.

But ultimately, whether the benefits of the card are mechanical or flavorful doesn't matter. You need the card to play an orc. If you don't have the card, then you can't. Period. End of story. Thanks for playing.

That's simply not up for debate.

So, Eldric, is your character an orc? Or is your character a warforged?

Player: "My character is Korg'Tar Fleshrender, an orc barbarian from Wheloon."
DM: "Do you have an Orc card?"
Player: "He's a warforged. He just looks like an orc."
DM: "Oh, okay.... But do you have the Orc card?"
Player: "No."
DM: "Okay. Everyone, say 'hello' to Korg'Tar Fleshrender, warforged barbarian."
That's clearly not true...the appearance of your race is not just fluff - as an example, let's take a town that has been repeatedly attacked by gnolls. If a PC gnoll claimed he looked like a human and therefore should be treated as everyone else, he's gaining an advantage.

Absolutely. I have stated several times that this is double-dipping by claiming both gnoll abilities and human race. The character's race is gnoll so if there are penalties or options associated with being a gnoll, he gets them.

The way that fluff works is that if something provides no mechanical change whatsoever, then that's fluff. As an example, I came up with a 'Swashbuckler' who would use a 'heavy cloak' as a 'heavy shield' - everyone who looked at the Swashbuckler would know instantly that I was gaining the benefit of a heavy shield. In the same way that they would know by looking at someone actually using a heavy shield.

And that is what I have repeatedly advocated in this thread. We are in complete agreement. You are assuming that there is a difference between our cases, that somehow I am squeezing a mechanical advantage out of looking like an orc. The analogy would be me saying, "You might try to block with your cloak while both your hands are full by saying you spin around to whip it up at the attack." I would be assuming a level of abuse that is not hinted or intended by you. You intend for your cloak to follow all the rules of a heavy shield but, because your mental image of your character does not fit with a heavy shield on his arm, you change the flavor to something else.
Eldric, I might come off as a little harsh, but I'm going to cut right to the heart of this. Here's the thing:

In LFR, the benefit of having the Orc Adventurer creation card is that you get to play an orc.
That has some "mechanical" effects (warrior's surge, etc), and it has role-play effects (opens some doors, closes others).

Let's remove the argument of the Reward Card from the larger discussion as I disagree that being "an orc" was the point of the card. It is my estimation that the Orc card was another WitR alchemy story award. It was supposed to grant something special but then things changed. When the cards were drafted and printed, they would have given sole access to a Str Con race. Then Wizards put the Warforged in Dragon 364. Or so goes the theory.

So, Korg'Tar Fleshrender is now a gnoll barbarian using the warforged ability adjustments. Let's say this kid likes the resilience of the warforged and their death saving throw mechanic (let's say he lost his first character to three failed death saves) but he wants the feral appearance and flavor of the gnoll. Further, let's say he is aware of the warforged bashing that occurs amongst those who feel warforged are out of line with Forgotten Realms. If you need any examples, there was recently a post in RPGA General in the "can i say no" thread as well as the robot and teapot comments here.
You are assuming that there is a difference between our cases, that somehow I am squeezing a mechanical advantage out of looking like an orc.

On the contrary, you're squeezing a mechanical benefit out of being a Warforged while simultaneously, you're illegally playing an Orc.

Net result: You gain the flavor of the Orc that you want, while getting the awesome mechanical benefits of a Warforged (which, in my experience, make far better Barbarians than Orcs).

I think it's pretty clear that if you want the racial traits of a warforged, then you need to take responsibility for them and play the race as it is. If that means you have to endure the odd looks or the scoffs of other FR purists who don't like warforged in the Realms, then you'll just need to grow thicker skin.

Then, when you use Warforged Resolve with your Reparation Aparatus gauntlets and gain an extra 2d6 temp hit points with every Rejuvenating Strike, and generally just refuse to die while everyone else is beaten, battered, and useless, then you can smile and know that you have a strong PC and a powerful build, no matter what the purists say.

Let's remove the argument of the Reward Card from the larger discussion as I disagree that being "an orc" was the point of the card. It is my estimation that the Orc card was another WitR alchemy story award. It was supposed to grant something special but then things changed.

No, let's not. the presence of another playable STR/CON race does not make the creation card useless. Perhaps it makes it somewhat redundant when one looks ONLY at the racial ability score adjustments, but you are again completely ignoring the role-playing benefit of having a uniquely orcish PC.

It's a metagame benefit that you seem all to glad to skim past because nothing that you say can justify taking that away from card-holders.
I think the problem here is that you view the game as nothing more than a collection of stats. From your point of view, the stats and the roleplay connected to them are completely interchangeable. As far as you are concerned, being an Orc is something that can be tacked on top of anything else instead of part of a whole connected package.

From that point of view, the Creation Card is only a stat block, not a roleplay element. However, this is a viewpoint that I don't believe most people share. You can't be an Orc without being an orc any more than you could be a Gnome with Dragonborn stats. The fact that a few of the mechanical properties of Warforged and Orcs happen to match does not mean they are in any way interchangeable.

The creation cards were not just intended to be just stat blocks. It says "This card allows you to play an Orc" not "this card allows you to have these stats and, oh by the way, you can call it an Orc if you want but no big deal"
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Absolutely. I have stated several times that this is double-dipping by claiming both gnoll abilities and human race. The character's race is gnoll so if there are penalties or options associated with being a gnoll, he gets them.

So in other words, people seeing your warforged who looks like an orc realize he's a warforged?
So, Korg'Tar Fleshrender is now a gnoll barbarian using the warforged ability adjustments. Let's say this kid likes the resilience of the warforged and their death saving throw mechanic (let's say he lost his first character to three failed death saves) but he wants the feral appearance and flavor of the gnoll. Further, let's say he is aware of the warforged bashing that occurs amongst those who feel warforged are out of line with Forgotten Realms. If you need any examples, there was recently a post in RPGA General in the "can i say no" thread as well as the robot and teapot comments here.

Honestly, my response would simply be as follows: If you like the Warforged racial features, then suck it up and play a Warforged. If you don't want to play a Warforged because you don't like them stylistically, then don't play a Warforged. You can't have it both ways (unless you really like your race both mechanically and stylistically - then rock on).

After reading this entire thread, I have to admit that Metz's points resonate strongly with me. Many advantages are gained through playing a particular race other than the raw racial features, and when you start playing one race and claiming it's another for "fluff" reasons, you're blurring the lines between this advantages.

While I suppose it's up to your DM... I would have a problem with a player of a Warforged sitting down at my table and claiming he's an Orc. As a DM, I would treat you as a Warforged regardless of what you said or did. As a player, I'd like to say I'd bite my tongue, but everyone that knows me can say I'd probably bust your balls about it.
Dave Kay LFR Writing Director Retiree dkay807 [at] yahoo [dot] com
Let's remove the argument of the Reward Card from the larger discussion as I disagree that being "an orc" was the point of the card. It is my estimation that the Orc card was another WitR alchemy story award. It was supposed to grant something special but then things changed. When the cards were drafted and printed, they would have given sole access to a Str Con race. Then Wizards put the Warforged in Dragon 364. Or so goes the theory.

I know for a fact that the Gnome and Orc cards were never created for the purpose of giving more attribute options. They were created because people wanted to play Gnomes and Orcs for FLUFF purposes. Ask the RPGA about them.

It is just like in LG, everyone wanted to play a Kobold - Why? Not for the racial abilities, their -4 to Str, and -2 to con didn't exactly balance their +2 to dexterity.

I mean I had a 15th level Kobold fighter off those stats who when built right, was effective, but nowhere near as powerful as he could have been as another race. My MECHANICAL benefit was that I got to play a Kobold, role-play wise and mathematically. People couldn't play a Gnome as a Kobold unless they had rules to back it up - (See Spymaster/Polymorph spells before they got banned) - and one such PC did exist!!!

With all this talk about playing an Orc being about +2 Str and +2 Con, than why wouldn't you accept that you are just a warforged? It is blatantly clear that YOU derive a benefit from being an Orc.

Are you saying the Gnome card is there because it provides a +2 int and +2 cha solution to the stat variables one can choose for races? NO. It is there because some of us miss playing a Gnome IN CHARACTER and wanted a creation card, and it was made. I have a Gnome PC, and it's not for the stats.

A race and their attributes are intrinsically linked in the rules, and are not open, in my opinion, the the purview of players. It is open to the GM. COSMETIC changes are fine with me - 'My Warforged LOOKS and ACTS like an Orc' - but the moment you claim to be something you are not, - 'My Warforged IS an ACTUAL Orc' - you are trying to derive a certain play style (and thus mechanical negative/benefit) from it.
Thank you, dkay, for continuing the discussion in the general direction.

I mentioned before that I wanted to steer away from the Reward Card issue because this thread is about re-fluffing but people are arguing tangential issues. If it helps clear the air, I do not play a warforged barbarian who looks like an orc (or at all for that matter; every time I want to sit down with R-66Y, my warforged barbarian, I see a table full of rangers and warlocks so I use my wizard instead). It was an example of what is a change in fluff compared to changing Lasting Frost to care about fire damage instead of cold as in the opening post. So everyone that is arguing the Reward Card as a basis for disallowing that change is missing the greater point of the thread. If you base your argument for saying no on the issue of a Reward Card, you remove your own foundation when arguing against a different flavor swap.

Whatever the outcome of this thread, I will still be playing the same genasi warlord and eladrin wizard.

I think the problem here is that you view the game as nothing more than a collection of stats. From your point of view, the stats and the roleplay connected to them are completely interchangeable. As far as you are concerned, being an Orc is something that can be tacked on top of anything else instead of part of a whole connected package.

That is exactly what I think. The flavor assigned to any particular package of abilities is arbitrary and can be changed without consequence to the rules of the game. So long as the rules are unchanged, the game is balanced and plays the same. I know this is true because I run the very disparate setting of Rokugan using 4th edition D&D rules. I have made drow rogues into Kakita Iaijutsu duelists. I have made dwarf fighters into Hida bushi guarding the Kaiu Wall. I have made elf rangers into Mirumoto bushi armed with their ancestral daisho. An eladrin wizard is a Kuni Shugeja. A dragonborn cleric is a Togashi Ise Zumi tattooed monk.

When the dragonborn cleric Togashi Ise Zumi meets the dragonborn wizard Isawa Shugenja, there is nothing that has to link them together just because they both breathe fire during a fight. In this case, the exact same game mechanics are used to represent highly disparate in-game fluff, both from one system to another (dragonborn into Rokugani samurai) and within the same game world (a shugenja petitioning the kami and an ise zumi utilizing his control over his own chi).

The game is the same. The underlying engine does not change; only the paint job is different. It is when you start making changes to the rules that you cease to play the same game.
But, as I and others have said, that only holds true as long as you don't view roleplaying as part of the game, but also as something tacked on top. I think for most people the stats and the roleplay are inherently connected because changing either one of them makes a real change in how the game plays out.

But I think at this point the discussion has reached a fundamental difference of principles. Everyone on both sides has made their positions clear and there is no disagreement on what people are saying, but on the basic principles that their view is founded on. I don't think there is a whole lot further this discussion can go. One side thinks that descriptors and roleplay elements are inherently attached to their mechanical rules. The other side thinks that the game is purely a construct of mechanics and thus any fluff is incidental and malleable.

The only real way this discussion reaches a change of opinion for one or the other is an official ruling that clarifies how the powers that be want these types of situations handled.
This little signature is my official and insignificant protest to the (not so new now) community redesign. The layout is lousy. The colour scheme burns the eyes. The wiki is a crippled monstrosity. So many posters have abandoned this site that some major forums are going days without posts. The 4e General Discussion board regularly has posts on the front page from two or even three days ago. This is pathetic. Since I have to assume Wizards has a vested interest in an active community I wish someone in charge would fix this mess.
Interestingly enough, I read your post right after watching a video of a Mega Man game built using the Legend of Zelda NES game engine.
The flavor assigned to any particular package of abilities is arbitrary and can be changed without consequence to the rules of the game. So long as the rules are unchanged, the game is balanced and plays the same.

You are completely correct. As long as the skeleton of the rules is left alone, the GM can put any flesh of flavor he wants on top, without causing any mechanical imbalance.

You, however, are not the GM. You don't get to change the flavor. Your choice is to either take or leave the flavor you are given by the rules.

As an example, from a rules perspective, it really doesn't matter if the regional background of being from Luruar lets you reroll History checks and being from the Dragon Coast lets you reroll Insight checks or vice versa. Either way is equally balanced and if you're running a campaign, you're perfectly free to switch them.

However, since you are not the GM in this instance, you have to take the regional backgrounds as you find them and don't get to switch them around and decide that you want to roleplay a character from Luruar, but have him be able to reroll Insight checks instead of History checks, even though that would not cause any mechanical imbalance.

In the same way, you have to take the racial rules as written. It doesn't matter whether some alternate version would be balanced; it only matters what are in the actual rules as written.
I am 100% with Metz on this one.

By taking whatever mechanical benefits you want and calling it something else you are directly taking away from the fun of someone who is actually making the investments and sacrifices needed to do it legitimately.

This is not your home game. This is a living campaign where we all agree to abide by the same rules in order to create a cohesive game world. Your "OrcForged" barbarian makes my orc barbarian look like a chump because yours is somehow just better and you didn't even have to waste a card slot on it.
I don't personally have much else to say on the matter.

I hope there is a ruling on this at some point. DM empowerment does not equal Player empowerment.