D&D 5E DM imposed restrictions to the game (+)

What things do you restrict when running a D&D game?

  • Nothing. Anything and everything goes.

    Votes: 11 9.2%
  • Some books (official)

    Votes: 69 57.5%
  • Some matieral (non-official 3PP)

    Votes: 93 77.5%
  • Some races

    Votes: 79 65.8%
  • Some classes

    Votes: 45 37.5%
  • Some subclasses

    Votes: 59 49.2%
  • Some features

    Votes: 30 25.0%
  • Some magical items

    Votes: 48 40.0%
  • Some non-magical items

    Votes: 26 21.7%
  • Some rules

    Votes: 49 40.8%
  • No (or restricted) feats

    Votes: 21 17.5%
  • No (or restricted) mulitclassing

    Votes: 29 24.2%
  • No backgrounds

    Votes: 6 5.0%
  • Some alignments

    Votes: 23 19.2%


As a plus thread, please don't put down, dismiss, judge, etc. other peoples' view or comments. Thank you!

From the direction this thread (https://www.enworld.org/threads/we-would-hate-a-bg3-campaign.701844/) took, I became curious about what things different a DM might modify or restrict when they run a game. I'm not talking about modifications or homebrew, but pure restrictions--NOT ALLOWED.

You can choose multiple options, and feel free to explain why you make the choices you make if you care to. If you think of a type of restriction I missed, let me know and I'll update the poll. Thanks.

I'll go first. :)


  • Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything
  • Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons
  • Monsters of the Multiverse
  • Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants
  • The Book of Many Things
Campaign Settings
  • Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica
  • Acquisitions Incorporated
  • Eberron: Rising from the Last War
  • Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount
  • Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft
  • Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos
  • Spelljammer: Adventures in Space
  • Planescape: Adventures in the Multiverse
  • Stranger Things: The Hunt for Thessalhydra
  • Dungeons & Dragons vs Rick and Morty
  • Wild Beyond the Witchlight
  • Critical Role: Call of the Netherdeep
  • Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel
  • Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen
  • Keys from the Golden Vault
3PP MATERIAL - None allowed. I might homebrew something based on 3PP, but that's pretty rare.
RACES - Only the "traditional" (dwarves, elves, halflings, gnomes, humans, half-elf, half-orc) are allowed.
CLASSES - no Artificier
SUBCLASSES - If the class and sourcebook are allowed, the subclass is allowed.
FEATURES - As subclasses, if the class, etc. is allowed, the feature is allowed.
MAGICAL ITEMS - Nothing too poweful (unique, legendary, artifacts) since my games run tier 2 generally.
NON-MAGICAL ITEMS - GUNS! No guns. Guns don't belong in D&D for me. Sometimes no plate armor, which is campaign dependent.
RULES - I play with a lot of rule modifications, but don't really restrict anything.

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Dragon Lover
I use all the official content and have a great deal of 3pp that my group collectively use. However, I don’t use every 3pp wholesale and instead pick and choose what is available for my games. I do also have restrictions on races, specifically in my world their are no Drow, Variant Human, Half-Orcs, or Half-Elves. Instead I have several new race options that can be chosen from such as Shardmind, Wildens, and Gnolls.

I also do restrict backgrounds but since we use the variant rule of customizing the mechanics one gets from the background it’s hard to call it true restriction.

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
I generally restrict some stuff to streamline the characters as much as I can for my very casual players: the less thing they have to manage/remember on their character, the better.

  • No Feat
  • No Background (more a houserule than a restriction, I guess)
  • Races are pretty much all allowed, if they make sense in the current campaign (no races adapted to the Underdark in a OotA campaign, frex)
  • No artificer, just because I think the class is pretty bad and will impact my players' enjoyment of the game.
  • Starting gold instead of starting gear.

-* Ideally I'd play with only the basic classes, because it allows for less toes-stepping (only figthers have heavy armors and martial weapons, only rogues have expertise etc), but since my players dont really care about those things, I let them go wild.


I did not pick anything since all of them might be something I would/could restrict. Things depend on the campaign concept like no elves or it is a desert campaign so no sailor background.

Right now I'm running some loose generic campaigns where we all tend to have the same flavor. It is mostly core books since nobody has the others and only one player might take some 3pp classes to try. I have not placed restrictions on races, like no snakepeople, but nobody wants to play them either.


I do ban (or modify) some things for both mechanical and thematic reasons.

Official Books:
I only ban things that don't really fit. For example, Eberron's dragon marks. I do ask my players to use my DDB account, so there may be some things I haven't purchased.

3PP Books:
Even before I used DDB, I told people that if they wanted to use 3PP they had to loan me the book and let me think about it. I don't have an issue with 3PP, I use some myself, it's just that the quality can vary.

I use the same campaign world for all my games and have for decades. I've given a lot of thought to what role the different races have, their cultures and how they fit into that world. So humans, dwarves, elves (high or wood), gnomes, halflings, half-orcs. Occasionally I'll make an exception if I can justify it and if the race can pass as one of the other races. For example, the group was in Jotunheim (land of the giants) and there's a tribe of humans with some giant ancestors that mechanically are goliaths.

I don't really ban any classes, although I don't think I've ever had an artificer.

Some of the warlock classes don't really work for my campaign or I would have a hard time thinking of how to implement some of the hypothetical penalties. Siphon power from a great old one in hopes that they don't notice? What's going to happen if they do? Cthulhu rises from the depths and destroys the world? I guess I don't like empty threats that will never, ever happen.

Other than that it's never come up.

I can't think of any I limit.

Magical Items:
I have a limited magic-mart and limit it somewhat that way. Too many modifiers to armor and shields for example tend to throw the math off so they just aren't for sale often. At least not until very high levels.

Non-magical items:
Nothing I can think of, other than no guns. But those are optional anyway.

I think long distance teleportation is kind of boring, so I pretty much ban it. Doesn't really have anything to do with PCs bamfing into or out of places, if I wanted to do that there are plenty of ways in the rules to permanently prevent teleportation and planar travel. For teleportation circle, the sigils for a destination circle are closely guarded secrets. On the other hand, I let casters cast it as a ritual. So if I want to skip travel for story reasons, it can still happen.

Speaking of planar travel, shifting from one plane to another is not as simple as casting a spell. You have to find a portal, cast the spell, travel the world tree. The shadowfell and feywild are close enough to the prime material are the exception. There are weak points here and there that allow it.


Not your screen monkey (he/him)
The main source of my restrictions is access. As DM, if we're going to use a source, I have to have easy access to it. That cuts out a few books with PC options in it published by WotC and a lot of 3 party publications.

As far as restricting magic items, there are some I don't and won't use in a campaign so I don't put them in or allow players to buy them.

For races, I don't usually restrict too much but would based on setting. For example, given the subject matter of the Dragonlance campaign, players will not be playing draconic-style races like dragonborn if I'm running it. We're not going to weaken the issues around draconians and their impact on the campaign by having dragonborn also running around. Someone who wants to play a dragonborn in that campaign, if I'm running it, will just have to find another race to play.
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Cry havoc! And let slip the pigs of war!
BLUF: anything official goes depending on the situation

I am pretty liberal.

I basically allow anything in an official book. I don’t want to learn 3pp material. I have on the dm side used some random and short encounters from such offerings. Just no classes and player stuff. I don’t know how it stacks up or interacts with other classes.

(I am good with multiclassing and feats…which is germane to mixing stuff).

I have made “excuses” that basically allow things to fit my world. For example:

I have a large monotheistic religion that holds sway. It swept most other religions away…except here are warlords and enclaves that still practice old faiths. Sometimes a player just wants to play a cleric of Thor!

However, such a person would find it hard to have temporal power in the more civilized regions. The bishops are not going to put them in charge of their theocracy! And they he common man might be a bit suspicious…

For classes I just let people know the world and they mostly make what they want. One player is an optimizer and took something from Eberron 🤷 but it did not effect balance and honestly others probably ignored it/did not notice.

For other things it’s case by case. I like drow but they are seen by the average man as the boogeyman. I would have to have a special justification for a drow pc and reason they are not hunted by the lords of the land. A drizzt situation in a remote area, something.

So for official material usually anything goes if it can be made with a tone of semi serious. It can be funny like my dwarven warlock quivering rage (think animal from the muppets) but played straight.

What I won’t do though is have things happen without consequence. We are not parading bugbear PCs through the middle of mid sized cities and acting like it’s no big deal. We have to work it out. A powerful wizard recruits mercenaries of all kinds to do some dungeon delving for him? Play what you want.

My players have interacted with a lizard man first mate and a hobgoblin mercenary captains son loved it so I make room for a pc like that too say aboard a ship or travelling the wilds.

But for my world surely avoid creature cantinas (not because they are “wrong” but because they don’t fit what is set up.

For my current setting I have restricted most of those things in one way or another. Though I operate more from the starting point of what to include rather than what to exclude. I review every option and see what their place in the setting is, if any, and whether they need some alterations. I have also bunch of house rules and I have rewritten some feats, spells, the weapon and armour tables, as well as one class (I combined the sorcerer into the warlock.) Also the locus of the other thread, the playable species, have all been rewritten and some are not official species even in the name only, but new creation for this setting.

In the past I have written (admittedly relatively simple) rule systems from scratch to run my games with, but this time I wanted to take advantage of the ton of material, both official and third party, that is exists for the 5e. But it is more a "5-based" game rather than a pure 5e game.

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