For some reason, it seems that the idea of more player freedom will totally unbalance a 2e D&D game. One example: From the Complete Book of Dwarves: " So long as the majority of remain lawful good, strongholds of chaotic, neutral, or evil dwarves will not unbalance a campaign and will give it more flavor and variety."
Ever since I've been peeking through the Complete series of Books, I keep finding more and more exhortations against seemingly small things that "could unbalance your game world," like allowing Gnome Paladins. Apparently, if you let one person play a Gnome Paladin, then everybody could play Gnome Paladins. Obviously Paladins are a human-only concept, and allowing for Gnome Paladins would seriously upset the entire game world! Therefore, it is IMPERATIVE that you not allow Gnome Paladins!
I'm not kidding, that's a passage from the Dungeon Master's Guide. Either I'm missing something, or changing the flavor in a game creates a very serious imbalance that could topple your entire campaign. Or something. This must be what people quote when they claim that Gygax was a tyrant, because it really makes the author (whoever he is) seem extremely petty. Who gives a shit about Gnome Paladins? If somebody asked me if they could play a chaotic evil Hill Dwarf Ranger, man, I don't give a damn. Play whatever.