You stole my post! Exactly the same changes I made.So, for me.
- Gnolls. I never bought into the whole demon spawn/reproduced backstory of gnolls. For some? Sure. But I always ran them as any other intelligent humanoid species. Reproduced like any other species. I've always liked them the most of all the humanoids. In fact, recently I have a key recurring NPC by the name of Fleabag, that has a role similar to Volo in FR.
- I am on board with the elimination of default alignment for many reasons (go see those threads if you want to know why), and have been doing something similar in my games for years. Most are evil/bad, but many are not. Been doing that ever since I played UK1, The Sentinel back in the day, and felt bad for the "bad guy".
- Spell components. I have always ignored these, regardless of edition, unless it was something super rare or special. Yes, it makes MUs more powerful when you take away that mitigating factor, and it's a big one, but I just don't like the bookkeeping aspect of it. Let mages cast spells they prepared.