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D&D 5E PC races that a DM has specifically excluded from their campaign and why


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AtomicPope

Explorer
I've always restricted PC races for thematic purposes. In my recent campaign I limited the PC races to humans, elves, and half-elves because I wanted to focus on a very narrow part of Greyhawk during the Greyhawk wars. Doing this allowed me to mold the other NPC races, casting them in a less than favorable light. Dwarves became greedy cowards and merchants who played both sides off each other in the wars, arming orcs and humans alike. Gnome were more fey than humanoid, living in the Fading Lands between Oerth and the Feywild. Halflings were more like Old Gaffer than Frodo or Bilbo. Humans were brash, bold, and either seeking power or trying to prevent tyranny. In fact, every land but elven lands were more tyrannical. The Elves got a full treatment of every positive spin I could muster. Only Drow had some tyrants and traitors. Lolth was elevated to a black sheep of the Pantheon. I enjoyed this very different take on the PC races and I'd happily do it again.
 


RoughCoronet0

Dragon Lover
In the world I am creating, Variant Humans are not an option at my table. Not because I have anything against them, but for two specific reasons.

1. All characters in my world will begin with a feat at level one.

2. They have been replaced by the Munthreks (Draconic word for humans) that are more draconic then the standard human.

In my group's D&D multiverse, humans were hunted to near extinction by Asmodeus as part of a deal with Fraz-urb'luu to allow the Arch-Fiend to freely travel through the various material planes to do whatever he wished (long story). Sora (one of my previous characters reborn into the old dragon god Io) brought all the humans to a special plane where they could be safe from the Arch-fiend, as only she could permit travel into and out of the plane, until Asmodues was dealt with. Since the plane was controlled by her and her raw draconic magic, all humans were subtly imbued with draconic energy. Standard humans are those who show no real signs of draconic influence while Munthreks are humans that manifest certain draconic traits like scales, horns, claws, limited flight, innate magic and so on. I'm building them like the Simic Hybrid so players can customize what kind of draconic traits their characters can have.
 


Only setting specific stuff I can't jam in somewhere. So, Kender, Kalasthar and Simic Hybrids

If someone really wants to be a Kender or Kalasthar the like then I guess I can jam them somewhere, but Kender are Kender and Kalasthar are very Eberron tied. You wanna be a Simic Hybrid? Well, roll for fleshcrafting yourself into a fish monster and we'll see how it goes, but that's more a 'semi-unique thing you've done to yourself' and not a full on race
 

Fox Lee

Explorer
I haven't barred people from playing them, but I did remove halflings, dwarves and gnomes from my world since I find all of them really boring. (Sorry. To me they're just short human, short wide human, and short wacky human.) It's not that I think they're bad, it's just that I don't care about them, so I didn't want to make a default place for them. I'd still let somebody play one if they wanted, but it would be up to the player to tell me what they are and where it would fit.

Half-orcs and half-elves are a hard no though; they're just elves and orcs, lest we endorse the idea that some races are "true" races and others are "mixed" and all the creepy weird racism bound up in that. In my world almost every living humanoid can interbreed, so rather than make a big list of hybrid "races" the policy is that you pick the mechanical package that represents your character best, and I don't care which of your parents had pointy ears.

As for who I made wildly different, my kobolds have almost no dragon in them and aren't very humanoid; they're made of equal parts dog and lizard, on a very ferrety body. Culturally they have a lot of proud warrior stuff going on, but they also come up a lot as weirdo inventor types, since tunneling extensively underground means they're the people who most often find the pre-apocalypse magitech relics.

Also my goblins are round and hairy, with a pronounced underbite, comically short limbs, big frantic eyes and sort of batty ears right at the tops of their heads. They're misunderstood rather than evil; mostly they're just trash-eating communists who don't see an issue with taking what's not being used. Kind of D&D wombles.

Oh right, and the eladrin aren't really of fey origin, they just did a massive ritual one time trying to steal immortality from the feywild. It didn't exactly work, but it did let them come back millennia later and colonise the elves under the pretence of being "cousins".
 



CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Here's how I like to do it.

The default races in my game world are Human, Halfling, Dwarf, and Elf. These are the races that are always found in every kingdom and every town, and are always viable races for player characters.

Then, if someone at the rolling party ("session zero") decides to roll up a different race (say, Tabaxi or Dragonborn or Dryashi), that race also gets added to the default list.

After the rolling party, all other races are removed from the campaign.
 


Puddles

Explorer
Here's how I like to do it.

The default races in my game world are Human, Halfling, Dwarf, and Elf. These are the races that are always found in every kingdom and every town, and are always viable races for player characters.

Then, if someone at the rolling party ("session zero") decides to roll up a different race (say, Tabaxi or Dragonborn or Dryashi), that race also gets added to the default list.

After the rolling party, all other races are removed from the campaign.
That's very similar to my approach. I make a starting town with the races I want in the campaign, (this time around, Humans, Dwarves and Gnomes), the PCs can choose any race they want - and the wider campaign world gets built up by their choices. The party is currently exploring the ancient ruins of a long wiped out Tiefling civilization precisely because one of the players chose to be a Tiefling druid.

As a player I never mind curated PC lists and restrictions, and can find them a lot of fun if they build a strong theme, but generally speaking I think DMs should avoid limiting options for campaigns involving new players just because one of the big excitements to a new player can be that freedom of character choice.
 

Yora

Hero
I always use whitelists when making a setting.

There's gonna be four or five types of peoples you can pick for PCs. Take it or leave it. I never had dwarves, halflings, and dragonborn on that list.

A good setting has focus. It's not improved by having 30 different peoples inhabiting it. (Unless it's something like Planescape or Star Wars.)
 

Fox Lee

Explorer
Here's how I like to do it.

The default races in my game world are Human, Halfling, Dwarf, and Elf. These are the races that are always found in every kingdom and every town, and are always viable races for player characters.

Then, if someone at the rolling party ("session zero") decides to roll up a different race (say, Tabaxi or Dragonborn or Dryashi), that race also gets added to the default list.

After the rolling party, all other races are removed from the campaign.
I really like this idea! Well, not those specific "always" races, but the idea of basing "normal" for the setting on what the players want to bring into it. Good stuff that.
 

turnip_farmer

Adventurer
In principle, I like to limit races to very few options, and those the most vanilla. The reason is to enable the game to have a sense of the fantastic. One the characters set out on their grand adventures they can uncover the strange and mysterious wonders of the world. That doesn't work if the characters themselves start off as strange, mysterious wonders.

In practice the people I play with usually really want to be something furry or scaly or whatever, so I end up having to compromise and never really get to run the kind of game I want to.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
Apropos of other threads (with all the halfling-bashing :LOL:), a question for all DMs out there - are there any races that people have excluded from their campaign for any reason - too boring/duplicative/don't fulfil a storyline - or have they radically changed them to fit the campaign.

If I am running a vanilla setting-neutral game, I often write off all PHB races that aren't chosen by the players, except humans. So if the PCs are Dwarf+Elf+Gnome+Halforc then no Halflings, Halfelves, Tiefling and Dragonborn in the known world. But I don't have issues introducing them back if needed.
 

reelo

Adventurer
I always use whitelists when making a setting.

A good setting has focus. It's not improved by having 30 different peoples inhabiting it. (Unless it's something like Planescape or Star Wars.)

This. I usually have humans, dwarves, gnomes and elves available to players, them being the dominant populations of plains, mountains, hills, and forests, respectively.
I really don't like sertings with dozens of sentient, culture-bearing races, be they furry or monstrous.
 

Weren't Gnomes extinct in 4E too?
Nope. They just weren't in the PHB 1. Instead 4e made them more magical and moved them to the Feywild. This had the effect of actually giving them a niche rather than turning them into small dwarfs or halflings for people who were embarrassed to play halflings and made them far more popular.

And to chime in with other people I ban kender. I've never had someone try to play a kenku but might ban them. And might ban the various flying species.
 

Weren't Gnomes extinct in 4E too?
If you mean in the 4e version of Dark Sun, then yes, they're just as extinct there as they are in the original version.

If you mean Gnomes as a playable race in general in 4e, then no, they were a playable race starting with the PHB2. People just blew it out of proportion that gnomes were present in MM1 but not in PHB1, even though PHB2 was out a mere 9 months later.

Apologies for the accidental dogpile, looks like I was sniped due to wiki-walking on completely unrelated subjects!
 

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