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.
Stormbound, the ship rolls hard over to once side. All that is not strapped down is tossed violently overboard in a splash of freezing water.
There, on the horizon- a tower. Squat, it stands alone on a tiny island. However, it's the only land in sight, and any more of this ferocious storm will crush the boat to splinters.
Taking shelter within the ornate entryway of the squat tor, the party notes with interest that no signs of life break the silence of the stone tower. As they take another step forward, they realise why.
This is the fabled tower of Brenji, a rich merchant who wished none to share his enormous wealth. He constructed this tower to store his gold- trapped and ready for any potential thieves. But the ingenious pitfalls and scything walls are not the only dangers within the silent walls of the building. A guardian, left behind by Brenji, still stalks these very halls.
A rattling hiss echoes somewhere from below...