Plagues and other great diseases are important parts of history and some settings. They defy man and may even defy God in their swift and terrible punishment upon the body of society.
My issue with modifying/removing dwarves and elves is that the PC’s may want to play them.
One of the most powerful tools found in the World Building 102b article is the Worksheet. Here is a place to put the settings you might make with them.
Have a large room that elevates either up or down when triggering a trap. The floor can bring the players to new levels, where a mighty beast roams, or the floor flattens the players into the ceiling or drop into a pit of lava.