Using 5th edition rules.
Characters will start at level 1.
Ability scores. See p13 of the Player’s Handbook. You can use the Standard scores (15,14,13,12,10,8) or use point buy with 27 points. (the standard scores can be made using the 27 point buy)
Races. All in PHB should be fine. Might have to come up with a new background for Drow because they are very specific to one DnD world.
Classes. All in PHB should be fine.
[Note a few ranger abilities will be modified to fit in with the custom overland movement and exploration rules]
Backgrounds. Let me know if you want to make a new one up or modify an existing one. Let me know about special features like ‘Criminal Contact’, so I can work that in.
Starting equipment. Go by class for personal wealth. See PHB 143. Rather than roll dice, we’ll go with the average, so for every d4 the table has, you get 25 gp (So a fighter would get 125gp personal starting funds). Note that this is instead of the starting equipment your class says it provides. That starting equipment is a good suggestion, but this direct gold is an alternative system with a bit more freedom for you.
Let me know if you want to buy something not in the Player’s Handbook, like a fake diploma, tea, or hammock.
The entire party has received some starting funds from your party theme. This 1000gp is for the party to share, and you can spend it together in the first session.
Spells. All PHB should be fine.
Other books. I have the core books for 5e (PHB, DMG, MM). If you want to use other official books, convince me it is so cool that I want to buy it myself (not a hard sell).
Alignment. Good will be easiest. NE not allowed. CE not allowed. LE only with special DM permission if you can convince me that you can play LE in a way the doesnt disrupt the party working together on famous good deeds.