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

Reynard

Legend
On the upside, a highly curated allowed character race list can serve as a check dam against players whose preferences are different enough from the GM's that it would like be a problem.

GM: This is a low fantasy, mud and blood, humans only in a mythical British Isles during the Saxon Migration mercenary campaign.
Player: Can I play Gnome Illusionist Jester?
GM: Not the table for you, my man.
 

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slobster

Hero
I always run my campaigns in the same homebrew world, and limit races because I don't really care for kitchen sink campaigns personally. There's just something ... off ... about having a couple dozen intelligent humanoid races running around unless it's not an earth-like world. If I had a Ringworld with landmass of a thousand earths, or a plane-hopping multiverse it would make more sense.

I don't have an issue with other races per se, but as a DM I want my world to be consistent and make sense; if it doesn't make sense to me I can't sell it to my players.
I get where you are coming from, and I've run some sci-fantasy games using various D&D adjacent rules over the years, with faux-hard science excuses like convergent evolution or (my favorite) transhuman speciation and uplifting. In scifi, I try hard to have things be plausibly consistent, even when explaining some pretty outlandish fantasy-based concepts like a world with dozens of sentient species, some of whom can interbreed.

In fantasy I've always found that gods and magic will explain a lot of funkiness. Players have never had an issue with the Dwarven creation myth of being wrought from the bones of the mountains by a literal creator deity, and with a hundred other divinities of various rank running around doing their business, corrupting and plagiarizing from each other's business, and the existence of refugees from other realms and planes of existence besides, I find the fantasy kitchen sink approach, while maybe not actually very plausible, rarely actually makes even the tiniest dent in my player's suspension of disbelief!

My 2 cp obviously, not trying to argue for you to do it any differently!
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I get where you are coming from, and I've run some sci-fantasy games using various D&D adjacent rules over the years, with faux-hard science excuses like convergent evolution or (my favorite) transhuman speciation and uplifting. In scifi, I try hard to have things be plausibly consistent, even when explaining some pretty outlandish fantasy-based concepts like a world with dozens of sentient species, some of whom can interbreed.

In fantasy I've always found that gods and magic will explain a lot of funkiness. Players have never had an issue with the Dwarven creation myth of being wrought from the bones of the mountains by a literal creator deity, and with a hundred other divinities of various rank running around doing their business, corrupting and plagiarizing from each other's business, and the existence of refugees from other realms and planes of existence besides, I find the fantasy kitchen sink approach, while maybe not actually very plausible, rarely actually makes even the tiniest dent in my player's suspension of disbelief!

My 2 cp obviously, not trying to argue for you to do it any differently!

No worries! I certainly enjoy playing races I don't allow in my campaign, I just want them to make sense. I mean ... take a look at tabaxi. Their lore is "they come from some place far away". It's just a little lacking for me.

On the other hand I occasionally toy with the idea of an invasion/refugee story where other worlds (I established that there is a variation of the multi-verse long ago) open portals into my world. Maybe if they ever release spelljammer for 5E I could put my own spin on it, but I'd ask my players first.

The only thing that really matters is being open on what kind of expectations you have. Let everyone know if it's a kitchen sink and, if it matters to anyone, why. If races are whitelisted like my campaigns, explain that too. There is no one true way!
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
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.
I have no humans in my Islands World setting, and I’ve considered cutting out most elves, just leaving the most magical options (Drow and Shadar-Kai) and Eladrin, and making a custom set of dwarves and not including the standard dwarves.

Basically this is to encourage characters to think about their PCs story and place in the world a little more, and to make the remaining races be a bit more focused and interesting.

I wanted more Final Fantasy, less Star Wars.

If I ever do include humans, it will be as a tiny minority of either Pacific Islander, Somali, and/or Indonesian inspired folks. The Europeans are all Eladrin, Satyrs, centaurs, Goliaths and Firbolgs up north, and fairies (which live everywhere).

The place of humans is taken by near-humans like halflings and dwarves and Goliaths and even gnomes and some elves. Basically, if the human-faced folks “are just humans”, why even have humans?
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
No worries! I certainly enjoy playing races I don't allow in my campaign, I just want them to make sense. I mean ... take a look at tabaxi. Their lore is "they come from some place far away". It's just a little lacking for me.

On the other hand I occasionally toy with the idea of an invasion/refugee story where other worlds (I established that there is a variation of the multi-verse long ago) open portals into my world. Maybe if they ever release spelljammer for 5E I could put my own spin on it, but I'd ask my players first.

The only thing that really matters is being open on what kind of expectations you have. Let everyone know if it's a kitchen sink and, if it matters to anyone, why. If races are whitelisted like my campaigns, explain that too. There is no one true way!
I’ve used tabaxi as a nomadic people who hunt and trade but do not settle or sow. The specifics of their culture tend to come up naturally in play with that as a basis.
 

Dioltach

Legend
I ban kender. Anyone wants to play a kender, I'm tempted to ban the player too. (This includes Dragonlance. In my version, the Cataclysm was the gods' version of tenting up the house and throwing in a bug bomb to get rid of kender.)

In another setting, I've banned all races except halflings. Works a treat.
 

mrpopstar

Sparkly Dude
I've seen tiefling excluded at different tables for different reasons: Because they're fiends, because they are devils, because they are too much of a departure from their Planescape beginnings, and/or because they imply uncomfortable origins.

I've seen half-orcs excluded because they imply uncomfortable origins.

I've seen gnomes excluded because they weren't liked by the DM.

I've seen dragonborn excluded for different reasons: Because they were once drawn with mammary glands, because they don't fit in with the campaign, and/or because they weren't liked by the DM.

Otherwise, most of the tables I've played at have been pretty welcoming to the full gamut of playable races.

I usually request we stick with the core four, half-elf and half-orc when I DM. The games I run are usually center on humanity.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
....

But, yes, I have learned that players don't actually want to play kobolds and skeletons and aarraarraacowhateverthespelling flying things. They want to play "whatever the GM has disallowed."
How Dare You limit our options. Now we going to Vulcans, Kligions and Lokies to tick you off. When ever a GM puts a race off limits it always raises the cool factor of the off limited race.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
On the upside, a highly curated allowed character race list can serve as a check dam against players whose preferences are different enough from the GM's that it would like be a problem.

GM: This is a low fantasy, mud and blood, humans only in a mythical British Isles during the Saxon Migration mercenary campaign.
Player: Can I play Gnome Illusionist Jester?
GM: Not the table for you, my man.
MOM! MOM! MOM! ANYBODY! ANYBODY! ANYBODY! Reynard is being an icky nasty meany. Mom make him let us play what we want.
Limiting races/anything is good IF you have the players which will go along with that. Too often Mom made me let JR have his way.
 


Zardnaar

Legend
Man, that must be nice.

Any time I try to limit any player choice, whatever I'm limiting will be the very first thing the players ask for. Oh, Mr. DM, you want to run a low magic campaign with no core casters? Can I be the only warlock/wizard/sorcerer? (first three character pitches I received after stating I wanted a low magic game). Oh, Mr. DM, you want to run a Greyhawk game and have provided all sorts of background for the region? Yeah, I'm going to play an orc, a firbolg, a gnome, and two humans. Oh, Mr. DM, you want to run a Waterdeep Dragon Heist game? Ok, I'm going to play a sentient skeleton and a warforged.... sigh.

I've just given up to be honest. There's just no fight left in me. It's been this way since I can remember. The second I suggest any sort of limitations, the players immediately want to play that. I could suggest fifteen other things they COULD play, but, no, I'm yucking in their yum for not letting them play what they want.

headdesk**headdesk**headdesk

You're the boss put your foot down or offer to let them DM.
 




Grantypants

Explorer
I haven't actually run this campaign, but once I find some free time again, I'd like to try an all-monster campaign where the humans, dwarves, elves, half-elves, halflings, and gnomes are all explicitly the evil villains and banned as PCs. Those races formed an alliance and have invaded the lands where everyone else lives. Obviously, the players would all have to be on board for this concept from session zero, but it could be fun with the right group, not as an evil campaign, but as a monster campaign.

Alternatively, I've also been kicking around an idea for an urban intrigue campaign mostly taking place in a single city. The city's a melting pot so any race is permitted, except that in this campaign the Underdark doesn't exist, so the Underdark versions of races like Drow and Duergar and the like don't exist either.

Instead, they are secret societies and dissident factions that are only figuratively underground. The Drow in this campaign are a spider cult open only to elves. The Svirfneblin are isolationists, mostly gnomes, that violently oppose trade or contact with anyone outside the city. There's also a group of halfling revolutionaries that completely reject the idea of private property that call themselves Kender.
 

Hussar

Legend
I've been meaning to ask, how did you do that? Is it a homebrew creation or just something like a Changeling or what not?
These are Lucidlings from Arcadia Magazine #3


Very, very cool.
 

Ringtail

World Traveller
One campaign has no real restrictions. Another campaign has certain restrictions based on our DM's homebrew. I don't recall them all but I know that Gnomes are extinct, so none of them.

I'm getting ready to run a campaign using Midgard from Kobold Press. I'm planning on presenting a limited list of races for that campaign, mainly for a thematic purpose. There is a suggestion in that book to limit races depending on Geogrphical area and that's basically what I'm doing, to ensure a consistent theme. It's an Italian themed campaign featuring Humans, Half-Elves, Dwarves, Minotaurs & Tieflings. (Elves have retreated, gnomes and halflings, etc are not common in that region.) There might be one or two other races I'd have to check my notes.
 

Shroompunk Warlord

Archdruid of the Warp Zones
For as long as I've been a rabid evangelist of limiting the options available to nonhuman PCs, I've always considered myself pretty permissive when it comes to what kind of nonhuman PCs I allow: as long as it's sentient; it's free-willed; it's capable of functioning in a dungeon, on a ship, or among a (demi)human society and it exists in the setting, I'm usually game.

I'm happy to accommodate tortles and aranea in Mystara, but not drow, thri-kreen, or halfsies. There are no gnomes, (half)orcs, tieflings, aasimar, or dragonborn on Athas, but I'd love to help you play a genasi, xixchil, gith...

Gets a little fuzzier with metasettings, because I hate the concept of metasettings but my two favorite AD&D settings are Spelljammer and Planescape. Those settings properly... logically... should be vale tudo but they suffer from thematic collapse if you actually run them that way.

In Planescape, I strongly encourage players to make Planar characters and I only allow the most vanilla D&D races from the Prime Material Plane: the AD&D PHB races, plus orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, and half-ogres. Other monstrous races are only allowed, as planars, if they have an iconic planar presence.

In Spelljammer, I ditch the Great Wheel cosmology and the Radiant Triangle, basically making SJ not a metasetting. I don't allow any of the planar races except the githyanki and githzerai; I allow all of the surface-world PHB races (thus excluding dwarves, svirfneblin, and drow); all of the Complete Spacefarer's Handbook races, plus thri-kreen; and most basic orc, ogre (magi), and goblinoid types. If Oriental Adventures had ever really included good player races, I'd have included them; the only real contender here is the vanara, and CSFH already has two monkey races.

I prefer whitelisting to blacklisting, but sometimes I have to ban something specifically when players ignore general guidelines.

Also... this is normally where I brag about what I've done with Shroompunk, but I haven't ever actually run a Shroompunk game yet-- I've run proto-shroompunk games set in the Mushroom Kingdom, using a lot of different systems, but those games were always "humans only, characters are from Earth" and nonhumans were all NPCs. I've got a stupid number of nonhuman kiths, and I'm using the race-as-class/racial class rules for them... so if someone really wants to play something that's not included, it's going to be an uphill battle. Everything I'm inclined to consider includable has already been included.

I haven't actually run this campaign, but once I find some free time again, I'd like to try an all-monster campaign where the humans, dwarves, elves, half-elves, halflings, and gnomes are all explicitly the evil villains and banned as PCs.

Chaotic Good Human Ranger who has pledged his twin scimitars in opposition to the tyranny of his evil cousins?

Any time I try to limit any player choice, whatever I'm limiting will be the very first thing the players ask for. Oh, Mr. DM, you want to run a low magic campaign with no core casters? Can I be the only warlock/wizard/sorcerer? (first three character pitches I received after stating I wanted a low magic game).

"Hey, I'm going to run Street Fighter: the Storytelling Game, retelling the events of Final Fight and Street Fighter leading up to Street Fighter IV and possibly beyond."

"Oh, that sounds really cool! I want to play a character who can't fight and doesn't want to!"

Every. Single. Time.

EDIT: Oh, hey, major +1 for all the people who treat worldbuilding as part of character building in Session 0.0-0.5. Generally, there's about seven unique lineages in the PHB, and I think a D&D world should have about twice that-- including "standard opposition"-- but there's no reason they have to be the same 7-14 in every single game. Let players whitelist and blacklist things on their own, see where it goes.
 

At the start of the current campaign, I said no to Dragonborn, because it would cause potential issues that the players were not aware of. Now, though, if a player has to reroll, Dragonborn are also options, because they know what they are getting into.

New players have to avoid Dragonborn for the original reason.
 

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