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.
A fey spirit masks itself as a bee which investigates all who travel within a specific section of the forest. Any the bee finds worthy are allowed to see the hidden opening into the fey kingdom, just off of the trail. Any deemed unworthy see only the bee, buzzing around around them momentarily before moving on.