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


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I usually allow/deny races based on setting - if I'm running Dark Sun it will have a specific list.

Though in Session 0 for one of the campaigns I am running currently the players suggested that Dwarves had been genocided. Not for any dislike of dwarves, but as a unique flavor of the world. (And no one had picked a dwarf to play.)

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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.

So my races are pretty standard human, dwarf, elf (high or wood), halfling, gnome, half-orc, half-elf. I know how they integrate into the wider world, their gods, cultural and historical details. If I had more races I wouldn't know what to do with them or where they fit into the world. I give people the option to ask for another race if they feel strongly enough, but with the exception of a Deva in my 4E campaign (who passed as human and had a unique story) no one has ever asked.

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.

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
Depends on the setting:

Faerun: PHB's Common ancestries and only one player can choose to play an Uncommon ancestry (gnome/half-orc/half-elf/Genasi/Nimblewright) and 1 can play a Monstrous ancestry (Goblinoids/Kobolds). No Tieflings or Dragonborn. No Drows. If you want to play someone of fiendish, celestial, aberrant or dragon descent, play a warlock or sorcerer and we'll craft a special background for you, using the Far Wanderer background.

Nentir Vale: PHB's Common Ancestries and Uncommon Ancestries + Tiefling and Dragonborn + Wilden and Shardmind + Goliath. No Genasi or Monstruous ancestry in this one. Eladrin (high elves) use the Firbolg Stats, Gnomes are only the Forest one + Fey ancestry.


I tend to run campaigns without such restrictions. Virtually all of my campaigns start in an area with a lot of diversity.

In my first 5e campaign it was because they were all survivors of a magical cataclysm living in the only village known to have survived. In another, they were exiles from a war of the "civilized" races vs the "monsters", where the "civilized" folks won. In my most recent campaign they were the descendents of those who'd followed a prophet deep into the wilderness long ago. And in my next campaign they're starting on the outskirts of what amounts to the multiverse's garbage dump (imagine Sigil, if Sigil were a dump with no way out).

That said, I wouldn't have any qualms about restricting choices if it suited the campaign. I've played in campaigns that did so (such as a goblin campaign where everyone played variant goblins) and it was fine.


D&D Playtester for WoTC since 2012
My 5E GREYHAWK campaign's playable races excluded dragonborn, drow and tiefling, mainly because they weren't part of core original races. The half-elf and half-orc allowed but viewed with distrust.


He / Him
I've actually never played in a campaign that restricts player races.

In my own campaigns, I tend to build a campaign world based on the characters the players create. In my Strahd-adjacent game, the starting characters included a tortle and a tiefling, so they became the people of my Barovia-like world. When the tortle died and the same player brought in a gnome, we worked together on how gnomes could be a part of the campaign world.

Personally, I enjoy the challenge and creativity of saying "yes" and then changing the campaign world to match the characters.


I don't ban races. That implies a "blacklist" model where you're allowed to play anything you want unless I have specifically banned it.

My campaigns use a "whitelist" model: There is a curated list of races and you can play stuff on that list. (About fifty percent of the time, that list contains "human" and nothing else.) If you really want to play something not on the list, let me know and we can talk about it.

Voidrunner's Codex

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