Five Races

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Learn now the lore of Living Creatures!
First name the five, the free peoples:
Eldest of all, the elf-children;
Dwarf the delver, dark are his houses;
Ent the earthborn, old as mountains;
Man the mortal, master of horses;

And half-grown hobbits, the hole-dwellers.
Treebeard's song on the lore of creatures, The Lord of the Rings

Many fantastic settings attempting a universe will end up using 'races' of people. This is less in the spirit of being different species and more an easy way to soapbox or describe different points of views and aspects of normal people; or, in a game world, simply to give the player a wider range of choices. At least one has a good chance of being from a One-Gender Race. These usually include:

This doesn't include the various "evil races" that crop up, though some of those can fit into the above categories as well as their own.

If the heroes in this setting form a Five-Man Band, there will typically be one of each race represented, since each race can usually "map" to one of the five slots better than any of the others. (Humorously enough, this often means that the Dwarf in the party fills the role of The Big Guy.) In the role of a Sixth Ranger, the 'sixth species' may be a lost or hidden race, namely there's always a Last of His Kind or some ancient ruins of the once great species. This set up usually enforces Hybrid Overkill Avoidance to keep the balance.

See Square Race Round Class for the deliberate subversion. The Fantasy Axis of Evil is the Evil Counterpart.

Examples of Five Races include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch has humans (mundane) mermaids (fairy), and Ancients (high men) in the categories. Panthalassa and Suiyou don't seem to fit anywhere, except maybe as another mixture of fairy and high men.
  • One Piece: Mundane Humans, Stout Giants, Cute Merfolk, which are distinct from the Fish Men, who could be considered Stout or High Men, and the Fairies are of course the Drag Queens.
    • However, the people who eat a Devil Fruit could also fit Fairy. Each devil fruit has a distinct, never to be repeated power. Some change your body composition (such as becoming made of rubber in the case of the main character) or give you a unique ability (like Mr. 2's ability to shapeshift into anybody he has seen). Other powers include turning into animals (and shapeshifting into different body structures of them, as demonstrated by Chopper). Or being made of an element (light, sand, smoke, fire etc).
    • There are also the Long-Arm Tribe and the winged peoples like the Skypieans, Shandians, and Bilkans (who hail from the moon, how's that for a precursor/lost race?)
  • Petite Princess Yucie has each race is a different world, of Humans, Demons (Stout), Angels (Fairy), Ghost (High-Men) and ironically, Fairies (Cute). The final episodes showed that there was a sixth world, the Magic World.
  • Heroic Age has the Golden Tribe as the Fair Folk, the Silver Tribe as the High Men, the Bronze Tribe as the Cute (being the weakest), the Heroic Tribe as the Stouts, and the Iron Tribe (Humans) as the mundanes. It should be noted that all the races have psychic potential.


Film[edit | hide]

  • Star Wars:
    • Stout: Wookies, though Gungans can also fulfill this trope
    • Fairy: Twi'leks (though they aren't as magical as they are "fair")
    • Mundane: Humans, especially if on Naboo or with the Rebellion
    • High Men: Jedi
    • Cute: Ewoks (was there any doubt?)


Fan Works[edit | hide]

  • Subverted in With Strings Attached, despite it having roots in Dungeons & Dragons. There is only one type of humanoid on C'hou: humans (elves are just a different kind of human with pointed ears), broken into six races, plus a whole lot of mixed-race individuals. None of these are “special” in any way, though elves are second-class citizens in Ketafa.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • When one looks only at the magical beings in Harry Potter, giants are Stout, goblins are Fairies, Wizards are Mundane, centaurs are High Men, and House Elves are Cute/Hobbits.
    • Taken to a bigger perspective, muggles are mundane and wizards are Fairies. Goblins, although they are businessmen rather manual workers, are somewhere between Stout and Fairies.
  • Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn has four (or five depending on how you count) heroic races that more or less fill these roles. Humans are of course Mundanes, the Sithi occupy both the Fairies and High Men role, Trolls are Cutes, Niskies are both Fairies and Cutes, and Dwarrows (the underground cousins of the Niskies) are both Stouts and Cutes. And of course there's a corresponding Fantasy Axis of Evil for the Big Bad's allies.
  • The Lord of the Rings may be the Trope Maker here, with Elves (High Men), Dwarves (Stout), Ents (Fairy), Humans (Mundane), and Hobbits (Cute). However, the situation gets a bit murkier once you look deeper into the mythology, with several alternative arrangements and even subsets of the races themselves.
    • Alternatively, the Elves are the fairies and the role of High Men is filled by the Númenoreans.
    • The Elves themselves are subdivided, with the High Elves (the Noldor and to a lesser extent, the Teleri) filling the High Men role and the Grey and Green Elves (The Sindar and Laiquendi) filling the more Mundane role. The Vanyar who play little part in the books might be the Fairies. The the Avari might fill the Sixth Ranger or Fallen roles, but play almost no part in the stories (though some would have become the forerunners of the Orcs at the hands of Morgoth).
  • The Dragonlance novels, and the associated Dungeons & Dragons game setting, have a large number of races, but the ones who get the lion's share of the spotlight are Dwarves (stout), Elves (fairy), Humans (mundane, especially the Barbarians), and Kender (cute). The High Men role is filled by two nations of the other races, namely the Solamnians (humans) and the Silvanesti (elves).
  • An exception is Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, which have many different races, but only three are especially defined: Humans, Dwarfs (note the plural spelling) and Trolls (and although very different, Dwarfs and Trolls are both Stout by the trope's definitions). Elves appear in only three novels, Lords and Ladies, The Wee Free Men and The Science of Discworld II: The Globe, and are sociopathic extradimensional pillagers instead of the usual Tolkien-esque isolated sages. Gnomes, Vampires and Werewolves are increasingly used, but tend to be more focused on the individuals rather than well-culturally defined races.
    • Gnomes (and pictsie) are kind of like the "cute" race, but more violent. They are tiny and hard-headed in every sense of the word. Vampires and Werewolves tend to be bastardsvary considerably, with one known group of organized bastards in each race contrasting sharply with characters like Angua and Maladicta.
    • Actually, the humans are nearly every race depending on who we're talking about: Witches = Fairy, Wizards = High Men, Watchmen = Stout, Moist (a late addition) = Cute, and the Mundane are the other characters who tend to get seen only once or twice.
  • David Weber specifically invokes the trope name in his Bahzell series. Aligning the five races with the trope isn't all that straightforward though
    • Dwarves are Stout Short, physically strong and industrious. Also in the process of kicking off their world's version of the Industrial Revolution. The old empire ran on Magitek powered by Wizards, and there's not enough to power anything so they've had to invent new ways to do what they know are possible.
    • Elves are Fairy Mystical, immortal and rarely found outside their one city state. They suffer a species wide form of Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder from the fall of the empire. Most were once human warlocks who gave up their powers in exchange for immortality, although some new ones have been born from time to time.
    • Humans are generally Mundane but with elements of High Men as in this setting only humans can become wizards or the psionic Magi. Humans can breed with all the other races, and their hybrids can also be Magi or Wizards. All half humans except for half-elves are sterile. Word of God suggests half-human hybrids may have a high chance to be Magi or Wizards than normal.
    • The hradani and halflings don't fit well into either the Cute or High Men.
      • The hradani can fit in Cute for certain values of cute with their fox-like ears though it conflicts with their current Proud Warrior Race Guy image. They used to be High Men but lost their status after being enslaved and used as shock troops by dark wizards in the back story and only one Wild Wizard and maybe a handful of elves even remember the fact. In many respects they qualify as Orcs.
      • The halflings would fit the more traditional Cute role but are generally described as sneaking, lying cowards that no one has any use for. The only exception are the Marfang Islander Halflings who are considered brave to the point of insanity. They are descended from servants and slaves of dark wizards exposed to too much magic.
    • Also of note in the series are the Half-Elves. They would consider themselves the High Men of the setting but no one else does because they only maintain their uniqueness when breeding with full Elves or other Half-Elves. If they interbred with the far more numerous humans their Elf traits would be swamped by the far more numerous humans and as such they aren't considered a proper race.
  • Terry Brooks's Shannara has these as well, though the origins are different for most. Except Elves, which are the Fairies, and seperate from humans though inter-breedable, Dwarves, Trolls, Gnomes and others are all off shoots of humans. Dwarves and Trolls share Stout, Gnomes and most humans are Mundane. Elves are literal fairies, as well as being the High Men, the latter shared with the Druids. He seems only to lack the Cute, though the Gnomes of Storlock might count, as might the Elves.
  • In Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, Randy Waterhouse divides humans into groups based on the races from Lord of the Rings. Hands-on geeks (including Randy himself) are Dwarves, ivory-tower academics are Hobbits, brilliant Bunny Ears Lawyers are Elves, normal people are Men, the enigmatic, immortal mentor Enoch Root is a Wizard, Crazy Survivalist Andrew Loeb is Gollum, etc.
  • The Bas-Lag Cycle, which includes Perdido Street Station and its sequels are a notable aversion, with more bizarre fantasy races than you shake a stick + 1 at.
    • Nonetheless, it's not hard to make those races with a prominent role in the first novel fit this trope, with cactacae (gruff and hard to hurt) as the Stout, vodyanoi (watercraeft powers) as the Fairy, Garuda as High Men (note that they're socialists like the author), and khepri as the Cute (very Woobie-ish despite the bug heads).
  • Averted in the Codex Alera, which does feature five sentient races, two of which fit into the categorization (Alerans/humans are High Men, and Marat, as basically neolithic elves, are Fairy with a Proud Warrior Race flavor of Stout mixed in). The other three races, however (Canim, Icemen, and Vord) don't fit in remotely.
    • The Canim might count as the Mundane. Yes, the nine-foot tall, possibly immortal wolf men are the Mundanes.
  • In Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, we have:
    • The panserbjørne (intelligent, armour-clad bears) as the stouts, right down to the hard physical work (they're expert smiths) and masculinity (female bears were seen once, briefly, and males seem to be the only ones who do anything)
    • The angels as the fairies
    • Humans as the mundanes, obviously
    • Witches (and, to a lesser extent, shamans) as the high men; they seem to have initially started out as humans (women only; male offspring of a witch will be a regular human) but have now advanced far beyond them and are able to perform magic, experience stimuli that humans cannot (such as feeling starlight and seeing dæmons from worlds where they would usually be hidden) and, importantly, be long distances from their dæmons without suffering
    • The cute race is difficult, but the Gallivespians or, more likely, the mulefa would probably fit the bill.
  • Vurt uses robots for stout, humans for mundane, and dogs for cute. (Not talking dogs or anything, but they're an honorary race because they can interbreed with some of the others.) Depending on how you look at it, "vurts" (beings that were created in virtual reality but escaped into the real world) occupy either fairy or high men, and shadows (never explained except that they're humanoid and telepathic) take whatever's left over. However, unlike most of the above settings the boundaries between the groups are relatively fluid, with five common two-way hybrids (counting cyborgs), five three-way hybrids, and five four-way hybrids, plus a theoretical fiver that has yet to come into existence.
    • Pollen, another novel by Jeff Noon in the same Verse goes into a little more detail, explaining the origins of beings like the Shadows who would clearly fill the Fairy role given their psychic powers. Intelligences from Vurt tend to be more like demigods and so fall outside of the normal 5-race categorisation.
  • Animorphs examples: Humans are Mundane. Andalites are High Men. Hork-Bajir are Stouts. Chee, the Pemalites, and the Ellimist are the science-fiction equivalent of The Fair Folk. As for the "Cute," comic-relief role, all of the races can be humbled into playing this role at any time, so there is no need for a separate race to be the "Cute" one.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Babylon 5 has five major races. While some of them align with the archetypes above reasonably well (Human-Mundane, Vorlon-Fairy, Minbari-High Men), Narn-Stout is a bit of a stretch, and the Centauri definitely aren't Cute. (Although it's worth noting that the initially toadying Vir is a good example of Cute among a generally unCute race; Ivanova's "strength sometimes comes from the most unlikely of places" in her voice-over in the finale, as the camera shows Vir, practically defines the essence of the Cute. The Regent, with his quavering voice and ditzy kindliness, is an even better example of Cute.) Still, it's five races.
    • Let's see, perpetually angry and put-upon, physically strong and bulky and used for labor when they were enslaved, lacking in telepathic "magic"—no, Narns as stouts isn't that big a stretch.
      • If gnomes are consider Cute, when you consider the gnomish love of ceremony for the sake of ceremony and of illusion for the sake of trickery, the Centauri make a perfect fit. (For example, they loved tricking humans into believing they were a lost Centauri colony, and they cheat at cards just for the fun of it.)
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Klingons serve as Stouts, humans are High Men, and Vulcans are Fairies.
    • Compare this to Deep Space Nine where humans drop down to highish Mundanes, Romulans serve as rarely seen High Men (if not especially admirable ones), and the Ferengi are a kind of Grotesque Cute.
    • Star Trek: Enterprise would later play this trope even further with the Xindi, a race of five technologically advanced species who all evolved on the same homeworld. There's a species that's clearly their equivalent of humans; a warlike, reptilian-humanoid species; an insectoid species that's very alien and inscrutable; a fairly pacifistic simian species, and a relatively peaceful, meditative species of manatee-like aquatic aliens. There was also a sixth race of avians who died out when their homeworld was destroyed.
  • Would you believe the children's video Wee Sing in Sillyville? (Purple) Pasha is Mundane, the (yellow) Spurtlegurgles are Fairy, the (blue) Twirlypops are High Men, the (red) Bittybooties are Stout, and the (green) Jingleheimers are Cute. Technically, they're all humans, but this is a Planet of Hats where the most important distinction between people is their favorite colors.
  • Some of Moya's crew in Farscape almost fits. D'Argo as Stout, Zhaan as Fairy, Rygel as Cute, Aeryn as High Men, John as Mundane. On the other hand, the show plays with these roles/assumptions often: Rygel has some disgusting attributes (and special mental skills like hard-nosed negotiation), Zhaan performs some scientific duties in addition to the mystical/telepathic, Aeryn's race has attained great power but tends to use it for tyranny, and John's sharp mind and all-around competence belie his mundane status.
  • Early in Stargate SG-1 O'Neill is told that humans have become "the fifth race." The closest fit to this trope would probably be:
    • Ancients as "High Men" since they are the Precursors and are generally idealized (except when they're called out for being neglectful.
    • Nox as "Fairy" due to their invisible floating cities and ability to bring back the dead. None of this is magical, of course, but it's still far more impressive (and mystical-seeming) than the other advanced technologies in the verse.
    • Asgard as "Stout" of the Proud Warrior Race variety, even though they are very technologically advanced and have shades of "High Men" or even "Fairy" at times
    • Furlings as "Cute"; we know nothing about them, not even what they look like ("200" notwithstanding) but they sound adorable
    • Humans as "Mundane", of course.
  • There were hundreds of species in the Systems Commonwealth of Andromeda, but the most influential races could be almost be categorized as such. Humans are naturally mundanes, though some of the genetically modified subspecies might qualify for other roles; the insectoid Than-thre-kull stouts; the inventive but not too cautious Perseids arguably cute; and the Vedrans who founded the Commonwealth in the first place were high men, though after they disappeared they gained a legendary reputation more along the lines of fairies. Meanwhile the Nietzschean subspecies of human consider themselves to be high men, but their Social Darwinism and betrayal of the Commonwealth make them closer to the fallen.


Mythology[edit | hide]

  • The Ur Example is Norse Mythology, with the Aesir and Vanir (gods) as "Fairy", Light Elves as "High Men"; Black/Dark Elves AKA Dwarves as "Stout"; and Humans as "Mundane". Tolkien likely adapted his Five Races from these.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Dungeons & Dragons is the Trope Maker, more or less (after shamelessly rewriting LotR, which in turn plundered the common domain to shamelessly rewrite mythology and folklore.)
    • From the 3.5e PHB races, we get:
      • Dwarves are Stout, because they're all the same. Also Half-Orcs, though they're human-sized.
      • Elves as High Men.
      • Humans as Mundane.
      • Halflings as Cute, as well as being roguish sorts.
      • Gnomes as Fairy, being the only race that gets the natural ability to cast spells.
    • The 4th Edition PHB races follow a similar pattern:
      • Stout - Dwarf, Dragonborn: Dwarves are the classic Stout race. The proud warrior race of the Dragonborn also qualifies, though they're multiclassed with High Men. Goliaths and Half-Orcs from the PHB 2 also fit here, and one can also make an argument for the Shifters. Minotaurs, from the PHB 3, sit firmly on here. The Warforged also fit neatly into this category, as well.
      • Fairy - Eladrin, Tiefling: Eladrin are the magicial elves, so they fit Fairy to a T. Tieflings are a darker example, being humans with diabolic traits resulting from a Deal with the Devil. Forgotten Realms gives us Genasi, elemental blooded beings, and the PHB 2 also gives us Devas, reincarnated divine beings, while the PHB 3 adds the Wilden who are guardians of nature and Shardminds who are crystals held together by pure thought.
      • Mundane - Human: Naturally.
      • High Men - Elf, Half-Elf: The forest-loving elves and the Half-Human Hybrid half-elves can easily be placed here. The PHB 3 adds the Githzerai, mosaic folk from the Elemental Chaos (but oddly enough, not the Githyanki).
      • Cute - Halfling: The short, sneaky guys. Gnomes from the PHB 2 also qualify, with some multiclass with Fairy.
    • As for the original game, we had:
      • Stout: Dwarves again.
      • Fairy: Elves, with elements of High Men, and could wield both steel and magic depending on which "mode" they were in.
      • Mundane: Humans again.
      • Cute: Hobbits/Halflings.
  • Almost every New World of Darkness Tabletop Games has exactly five clans/auspices/paths/etc. of the species under discussion; the sole exception is Changeling: The Lost, with six seemings (and only four Courts (the Seasonal Courts), or two courts (the Sun and Moon Courts), or a different four courts (the Directional Courts). In the core-book Promethean: The Created was like this too, but supplements added the Zeka (radioactive Prometheans) and the Unfleshed (artificial, instead of made from human corpses), as well as more Refinements than the 5 in the core. There are usually five political factions, as well, with the "black hat" (evil) group usually being an evil faction as opposed to a race.
    • Hunter: The Vigil is an exception. Hunters have no 'inherent' groups, and have twelve political factions presented in the corebook alone (plus at least twenty professions).
    • Geist: The Sin Eaters seems to attest to the end of the five-by-five system. There are five Thresholds Sin-Eaters can be linked to once they return from the dead... and eight Archetypes they can follow to determine their role as one of the Bound.
  • Similarly, the Old World of Darkness was built around five different races of supernatural beings, each of which had their own game -- Vampire: The Masquerade, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Wraith: The Oblivion, Mage: The Ascension, and Changeling: The Dreaming. After Changeling and Wraith were discontinued, White Wolf tried to fill the gap (maintaining the "five races" structure) with Hunter: The Reckoning and Demon: The Fallen. It should be noted that, although they maintain 5 as the magic number, none of the races fall distinctly into any of the five categories; in fact, any race can fill any of the categories to some extent (with the exception of Cute, which seems to be the sole province of the Changelings...this is not true of the new incarnation of Changeling, Changeling: The Lost, in which Changelings are mentally damaged trauma survivors.).
  • Exalted features seven kinds of playable Exalted. Of the five main types, Solar Exalted are the High Men, Lunar Exalted the Stout, Sidereal Exalted the Fairy, and the Dragon Blooded the most Mundane ones. The fifth kind, however, breaks the pattern, as the Abyssal Exalted are more interested in causing the end of the world than in being Cute. Most of them, anyway... Of the two optional types, Alchemical Exalted are Stout, while Infernal Exalted don't appear to fit the pattern.
  • In Alternity (a short-lived TSR project whose material was recycled into d20 Modern/Future), there were a number of races, including one clear stout (primitive, clawed brutes) and one clear fairy (light-weight psions). Humans were mundanes, while the other races didn't fit the standard categories: techies with scaly armor, agile fliers, and Neuromancer style cyborgs.
    • To Specify, they are:
      • Stout - A race that bears a strong resemblance to Wookies called Weren, and another race of agile fliers called Sesheyan.
      • Fairy - The psychic race of the setting, bearing a strong resemblance to Grays, called Fraal
      • Mundane - Humans, duh.
      • The High Men - the race of Neuromancer cyborgs listed above, called Mechalus by the setting.
      • The Cute - Possibly a subversion, they're a race of lizard people called T'sa.
    • Subsequent games based off of the system - Gamma World and Dark* Matter - follow a similar pattern, which is usually just the races mentioned above mechanically with different fluff.
  • Magic the Gathering's different settings often drift towards this.
    • As a good example, Kamigawa block:
      • Mundane: Humans, as they often are.
      • Stout: the snakefolk, or Orochi-bito, consists of snake warriors and shamans. They tend toward being proud warrior race people.
      • High Men: the soratami, or cloudfolk. Besides generally being quite good at everything they do, and literally living high in the clouds, they think they're better than everybody else.
      • Fairies: the foxfolk, or kitsune-bito. They have a lot of clerics and archers. They're physically smaller than humans.
      • Cute: here's the main subversion: Akki (goblins) and nezumi-bito (ratfolk) both share the ground between cute and Exclusively Evil. Akki also have a little stout thrown in, whereas nezumi show minor tendencies towards fairy or mundane.
    • Of course, Magic generally tends toward having six races in any given setting, one for each colour plus humans (who appear in all colours).
    • The Lorwyn/Shadowmooor double-block—particularly the Lorwyn part—was fairly explicitly this, with:
      • Mundane: Kithkin (basically short humans)
      • Stout: Giants, although they were more of a secondary race. Among the five primary tribes, the Merfolk (Merrow) were a sort of intellectual variation on the Stout archetype.
      • High Men: Elves. Full stop.
      • Fairies: Fae, singular "Faerie". Also pretty damn evil.
      • Cute: Goblins (or Boggarts, as the local variety were called) are probably the closest thing, being silly comic relief-types, as goblins often are in Magic.
  • Xevoz is both a line of action figures AND a tabletop game, utilising six races rather than five and averting many of the usual associations by way of its sci-fi setting, apart from a Mundane race and a robotic race representing the Stouts. Until you learn that the robotic race is really Mundanes in cybernetic bodies, making it Five Races after all.
    • Two new races were introduced towards the end of Xevoz, to reinforce the fantasy element; one of them is very similar to the Mundanes but magically empowered, making them something between High Men and Fair Folk.
  • Shadowrun also has five races, though they break down a bit differently: Stout (dwarfs), High Men (elves), Mundane (humans), Low Men (orks), and Big Mean Fraggers (trolls). Fairy is reserved for somewhat further-out races, and anything Cute was either killed off a while ago or is now starring in some twisted simsense flick.
  • The Talislanta game system averted this trope so hard, they even used it in their advertising ("No Elves"). Granted, some of their races do fall into one of the five categories above (for example, Muses are Fairies and Yassan are Stouts) but with several dozen species of humanoids available as PCs, that was bound to happen to some of them.
  • Warhammer Fantasy Battle has these, more or less.
    • The Empire - Mundane
    • Bretonnia - Mundane
    • High Elves - Fairy (with a touch of High Men)
    • Wood Elves - Fairy & High Men (The Elves themselves/Fairy & Stout (Forest Spirits)
    • Dark Elves- Fairy & High Men
    • Orcs - Stout for Orcs and Wild Orcs, Stout/Highmen for Black Orcs (a smarter more disciplined subspecies)and Mundane for Goblins, with maybe some cute if you can stomach their dark humor in a couple units designs.
    • Dwarfs - Stout
    • Warriors of Chaos - High Men (the evil version)
    • Beasts of Chaos - Mundane/Fairy with Stout Minotaurs and Fairy/Stout Dragon Ogres (but once again, evil)
    • Daemons of Chaos - Fairy, some High Men (the evil version)
    • Ogre Kingdoms - Stout for the Ogres, Mundane for the Gnoblers
    • Lizardmen - Mundane/Stout for the Saurus, Stout for Kroxigor and other large beasts, Fairy for the Skinks and Slann
    • Tomb Kings & Vampire Counts - these don't really follow the standard Race issues, as some of them are highly magical but not particularly Fairy-like, while others are tough and capable warriors but don't resemble Mundane or High Men in any other way, and most of the Stouts are special units and not part of the standard army.
    • Skaven - The ratmen are also hard to define. They have a lot of magitek like a variation of Fairy, but are evil plague bringers. They have large numbers for melee but each is rather weak, but they are expendable so feel free to shoot into melee. All in all they are Mundane with some hints of the others. They might even be Cute if you have dark humor as they blow themselves up or 'accidentally' kill each other with such alarming frequency (and then blame it on their enemies rather than any fault on their own part) that their sourcebook itself advises you to laugh it off and move on. It's notable that Fantasy, being what it is, has absolutely no Cute races. The closest they get are the Halflings, who aren't a playable race (anymore thank Sigmar), and are more fat and lazy than Cute.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has its own, equally twisted version:
    • Imperial Guard- Mundane
    • Space Marines- High Men in general, though now subsets exist with the Chapter Codexes, the first real variation being the Space Wolves and Grey Knights (see below). It is unknown if future Chapters will produce more variants.
    • Space Wolves - Stouts with some Highmen, but when you ride into melee on the back of giant wolves howling for glory in battle, you are definitely more Stout than Highman. Especially in a space game.
    • Chaos Space Marines- High Men, with spiky bits (and very evil)
    • Eldar- Fairy/High Men
    • Dark Eldar- Fairy/High Men with even more spiky bits, and even eviler
    • Orks- Stout
    • Daemons of Chaos- Fairy/High Men
    • Tyranids- Mundane/Stout depending on which part of the army you're looking at
    • Necrons- Stout, with a subversion of High Men thrown in for good measure
    • Witch Hunters- Mundane with a dash of Fairy and High Women in the form of the Sisters of Battle
    • Daemon Hunters- High Men turned up to 11 with the Grey Knights, and then you look at their elite units which are psychic for some Fairy action.
    • Tau- Mundane but with big, big guns and mechs up the wazoo.
    • Not anymore, but earlier editions had the Squats, which were a copy of the dwarfs in the fantasy editions- Stouts
  • Traveller: Traveller has Loads and Loads of Races but one can make an effort
    • Mundane=Solimani and Vilani
    • High Men=Zhodani
    • Stout=Aslan
    • Fairy=Ancients, Droyne, and Hivers. The Ancients are closer to Eldritch Abomination s.
    • Cute=No major races(Vargr definitely are not cute). Some minor races would qualify.
  • On the planet of New Horizon, there are actually six races, but they generally follow this trope. Jotun Wafans are Stout, Aesir Wafans are cute, Vanir Wafans are high, Medeans are fairy, and Olympians are mundane. Prometheans might be either high or mundane, depending on how you look at it; they're cyborgs.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Final Fantasy X has this: Humans as the Mundane, Ronso as the Stout, Guado as the Fairy, Al Bhed as the High Men (they represent what Humans really are, when the roots of the Yevon religion are revealed), and the Hypello fill the role of the Cute.
  • The five races of Final Fantasy XI—Hume, Elvaan, Tarutaru, Galka and Mithra—vary somewhat from the established roles, but they do reinforce the five-as-magic-number nature of the trope:
    • Stout: Galka (Proud Warrior Race Guys who are renowned for strength and are essential to the mining side of Bastok's economic success)
    • Fairy: Tarutaru (Highly magically inclined, depicted as close to nature, though not to the extent Mithra are)
    • Mundane: Hume (While depicted as the driving intellectual force behind industrial development, this race is typically self-absorbed and prone to putting personal ambition over other concerns)
    • High Men: Elvaan (a less pure representation: While having an arrogant and warlike attitude, they place value on honor and are less individualistic than the Humes)
    • Cute: This one is split between Tarutaru (overlapping with Fairy; this is a pretty straight portrayal, incorporating a sense of spiritual purity with wildly varying levels of childishness; the writers seem to like to combine reasons to take them seriously with comments and behavior meant to make them hard to take seriously) and Mithra (a more Fan Service-y portrayal; these Cat Girls tend to be varied in personality, but are in-touch-with-nature, hunter, Fragile Speedster types originating from a somewhat xenophobic culture).
  • Final Fantasy's Ivalice setting fits this trope: Hume are Mundane, Bangaa are lizardmen that mix stout (they're strong) and mundane (they're almost as adaptable as humans), Moogles are Cute (though have the technological advancements usually found in Stout races), Nu Mou (dog/donkey/camel-mixed people with tons of magical prowess but not much else) are Fairy, and Viera (One-Gender Race of bunny women) are High Men - being a combination of naturalist magic users and elf-like Proud Warrior Race Guy archers. Later games added the Gria, a Cute/Stout hybrid, the Aegyl - angelic High Men (although unlike most their lifespan is shorter than humans), and Seeq - stout boar people.
  • World of Warcraft tries to give each side one of each category.
    • The Alliance has Dwarves for Stout, Night Elves for Fairy, Humans for Mundane, Draenei for High Men, and Gnomes for Cute. Worgen overlap with both Stout and Mundane.
    • The Horde, meanwhile, does play around with the concept a bit (being generally comprised of races that are usually portrayed as Exclusively Evil). The template does still apply, though, and roughly speaking it runs Orcs as Mundane (for obvious reasons), Tauren as the High Men (being the most spiritual of the peoples and the example the Orcs and Trolls look up to), Blood Elves as Fairy (tee hee), Trolls as Stout (note how often trolls have their backs against the wall and get out of it), and Goblins as a sort of Ugly Cute. This still gets mixed up a bit, though, and the Horde is generally allowed to play around with their "roles" more than the Alliance is.
      • The only ones who really can't be pidgeonholed like this at all are the undead humans of the Forsaken - they have inverted, played-with elements of the Mundane, Fairy and Stout all at once.
  • The Legend of Zelda series typically has about 5 races starting with Ocarina of Time: Hylians (Mundane), Sheikah (High Men), Gorons (Stout), Zora (Fairy), and Kokiri (Cute with Fairy traits). In Majora's Mask the Dekus replace the Kokiri. In Wind Waker the Zora get replaced with the Rito (why, we don't know, given that the Zora are even more suited for an all-water world than anyone else), and the Deku/Kokiri are replaced by the Koroks.
    • About the Zora in Wind Waker, if the ocean is salty and the Zora were adapted to fresh water, the results would have been...horrifying. And fatal.
      • It's stated in the game that when the goddesses flooded Hyrule to seal Ganondorf away, the water was also made mostly uninhabitable (which is why there’re no fish on it, only some few monsters) so that no one could just swim to the bottom and release Hyrule (and Ganondorf) by mistake. That’s why the Zora were forced to evolve into the Rito to live on land (and in fact, despite their bird like features, their wings come from the magic of the Sky Spirit Valoo and thus, are not part of their evolution).
    • The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess really screwed with this, retaining the Zora, Goron, and Hylians, but giving no mention of the Kokiri or Sheikah (unless certain decals are to be taken into account...), while the only remnant of the Gerudo is the desert and Ganondorf -- (Wild Mass Guessing speculates a Gerudo genocide.) To balance the scale, we are introduced to the Twili (banished to another dimension, resemble both Sheikah and Gerudo), the Yeti (of whom only two are known), and, most disturbingly of all, the Oocca, who occupy the line somewhere between Fairy and pleasant, innocuous Nightmare Fuel.
    • The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword has the Hylians (Mundane), Mogmas (Stout), Kikwi (Cute), Sheikah (High Men), and Ancient Robots (Fairy).
  • The Phantasy Star Universe has this in the most obvious ways
    • CAS Ts are Stout (actual robots)
    • Newmans are Fairy (bio-engineered race for psychic magic)
    • Humans are... humans
    • Beasts are cute for most of their time, but warp into Stout as a super power.
  • Believe it or not, fits quite well on the “races” of Tellius, the Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance (and Radiant Dawn) setting:
    • Gallians/beast tribe laguz are the Stout being Proud Warrior Race Guy (tigers and lions are Mighty Glacier whereas cats and wolfs are Fragile Speedster.
    • Serenes/heron laguz are the Fairy, being angelic, very magically inclined and also very fragile.
    • Humans/beorc are obviously Mundane (duh).
    • Phoenicis/hawk laguz and Kilvas/raven laguz are a combination of Mundane (being the Jack of All Stats among the laguz) and High Men (compared to the beorc).
    • Goldoans/dragon tribe laguz are the High Men, living isolated from everyone else and declaring themselves as neutral regardless of whatever happens to the outside world. They also have some elements of Stout (mainly on their dragon forms, which tend to be huge).
    • Finally, while no race in particular could be considered Cute by itself alone, plenty of laguz could qualify thanks to being Petting Zoo People, and some of the beorc characters among both games, being children, also easily qualify.
  • The Elder Scrolls has Redguards, Orcs and Nords as Stout, Breton as Fairy, Dunmer and Imperial as Mundane, Altmer as High Men, Wood Elves as Cute, and in addition, Argonians and Khajiits as Beasts.
    • Redguards could also be counted as High Men, considering their pick of the attributes and martial skill, and their history of military and naval prowess.
    • The events between Oblivion and Skyrim move the Altmer—or at least their government—to Fallen instead.
  • EarthBound, despite ostensibly being set in modern-day Eagle Land, manages to pull this off, mostly.
    • The Humans are, of course, the Humans. (Captain Obvious to the rescue!) However, due to their mundanity, and the way some of them value hard work, they may well also fill the Stout role.
    • The Mr. Saturns are the Fairies. They're weird and quirky, and they may have magical powers. Maybe. They're an entire race of Cloud Cuckoolanders, so it's hard to tell.
    • The Starmen are the High Men. They have advanced psionic powers, and they come from another realm. While their powers are incredible, they're also Giygas' troopers, and therefore kind of, uh, evil.
    • The Tenda are the Cute. And, as they will frequently tell you, they're shy.
  • Mass Effect: Some are a bit of a stretch, but the playable races fall into these types.
    • Stout - Krogan are burly brawlers with Spare Body Parts galore (including multiple hearts, gonads, and nervous systems) who communicate through headbutts.
    • Fairy - Asari are elegant, long-lived, "squishy," and often capable of throwing people around with their minds.
      • Hanar also fit into this category, as they're deeply spiritual and enigmatic.
    • Mundane - Humans are human. But.
      • The drell might also be mundane. We don't see enough of them to know for sure.
    • High Men - Turians are honorable, steadfast types who are entrusted with keeping the peace.
    • Cute - Quarians. While not exactly small, they're the least warlike race and are perceived as harmless. Also, Tali's accent.
    • Vorcha, batarians, and the other Exclusively Evil races have their own places on the Fantasy Axis of Evil.
  • Nethack doesn't follow the standard exactly:
    • Humans are more High Men than Mundane: strong and balanced, can be any role (class), and are the only race than can choose their alignment. Their only major disadvantage is that without infravision, they are blind in the dark.
    • Dwarves are Stout to a tee: strong and tough, but lacking in mental faculties and poor at spellcasting.
    • Elves are the archetypical Faeries: very intelligent and wise, but physically frail. Elven weapons and armor are made of wood and leather instead of iron, and future versions may penalize elven characters who wield iron weapons.
    • Gnomes are basically Elves Lite: not as smart, but fairly bright and reasonably sturdy, with an affinity for gems.
    • Orcs are as stupid as dwarves and no stronger than gnomes, and hated by most other sentient races. Their only saving graces are their innate poison resistance and that cannibalism is natural to them.
  • Even in Cthulhu Mythos-inspired "Cthulhu MUD", you have mundane Humans, cute Zoogs, stout Deep Ones, high Yithians, and fairy Mi-Go. Keeping in mind, of course, that Yithians (despite being benevolent and intellectual) are body-jumping cone-slugs, the Zoogs are furry blue primates with tentacle-faces, Deep-Ones are fish-frog people, and Mi-Go (flying shrimp-fungus) are as evil, ugly and technologically-advanced as normal Fairies are good, pretty and, magical.
  • Just for Fun, let's attempt this with the Origins of City of Heroes- almost purely aesthetic descriptions of how your Superhero got their powers...
  • Final Fantasy:Crystal Chronicles Have the Lilties be (Stout), with their warriors ways even though they are Cute Bruisers, they even went to war with the (Fairie), the Yulks, who are intelligent creatures who study magic. The (Humans) can be both Clavats and Selkies since they both appear most human, and one is a farmer and the other is a thief. (High Men) can be the Carbuncle, since they live long time and know secrets of the past, and of course, Moogles are (Cute).
  • Guild Wars 2:
    • Stout: Charr - physically strong and industrious warriors, engineers, and inventors.
    • High Men: Humans - elegant, magical, and proudly hold their civilization above the barbaric Norn, Charr, and Sylvari.
    • Mundane: Norns, overlapping with Stout - a race of Viking-inspired giants fond of simple pleasures and as a race unambitious (personal quests for glory are another story).
    • Fairie: Sylvari - enigmatic and empathic plants newly awakened in the world, gifted with strange magics and a mysterious sense of purpose.
    • Cute: Asura, overlapping with High Men - magically powerful and condescending to other races, but increasingly played for comedy rather than seriously.
  • The Spanish role playing game Anima subvert this: Instead of actual Races, they are the Souls of a long gone races which born in a Human Body. They, technically, are humans, but, their soul is un-human. They give a little benefit for have that soul in exchange of Experience points.
  • Legend of Mana has five races, but only four of them really fit one. Luckily, one of them can be split into two distinct groups:
    • Mundane: More or less normal Humans.
    • Fairy: Fairies. The Sproutlings/Flowerlings are a mix of this and Cute, maybe with a little High Men thrown in.
    • Stout: Humans with animal characteristics (made up of both Petting Zoo People and Funny Animals).
    • High Men: It's a bit of a stretch, but this can be seen in the Jumi.
    • Cute: Lillipeas
  • In Halo the various client races of the Covenant can be fit into these groups.
    • Grunts - the cute race
    • Jackals - the mundane race
    • Brutes - the stout race
    • Elites - the High Men
    • Engineers - the fairy race (on account of their almost magical skill in repairing almost anything)
    • Drones are arguably stout given their mechanical skill and propensity to solve non-mechanical problems with violence
    • Depending on one's point of view Prophets can be either fairies for their highly spiritual rhetoric and technological outlook or mundane people for their politics and variety of occupations.
    • Hunters also fit the stout category.
  • Dragon Age has humans for mundane and dwarves for stout. In the backstory elves were fairy, but by the time of the game city elves are mundane and the Dalish elves, while they would like to think of themselves as fairy, are at best mundane with fairy qualities. The qunari fit into the high men role, at least in terms of philosophy, and certainly consider themselves "higher" than all other bas.
  • Most of the Breath of Fire games, with the exception of Dragon Quarter, actually have this trope going as well combined with more than a bit of Petting Zoo People action.
  • Age of Wonders: shadow magic kind of has these archetypes for its "good", "neutral", and "evil" races.
    • Stout=Dwarves (good), Tigrans (Neutral), Orcs (Evil)
    • High men=Archons (good), Humans (neutral), Dark Elves or Undead (Evil)
    • Cute=Halflings (good), Frostling (neutral), Goblins (Evil, or as close to "cute" as evil can get)
    • Fairy=Syrons, possibly elves (good), Draconians or Frostlings (Neutral), Dark eves or undead (Evil)
    • Mundane=possibly elves (good), Nomads (neutral), Shadow Demons (evil)
  • Dwarf Fortress: Any citizen of any race could be considered Mundane, but as for the characters of whole civilizations:
    • Dwarf = Anyone who can swing a granite throne as a weapon would naturally be a Stout. They're also the most advanced, with technology that canonically reaches into the High Middle Ages and, with player influence, goes even further.
    • Human = High Men—Though they're only in the Bronze Age, and are far shorter lived than any other sentient save kobolds, they're physically the biggest, they own all the land and currency, and they have the largest armies.
    • Elves = Fairy—distant, worship 'forces' of nature, and their druids have more leadership role than priests of other races.
    • Goblins = Low Men—could have the potential to catch up with Dwarves and/or Humans, if murderous treachery wasn't their Hat.
    • Kobolds = Cute—scrawny and sneaky, hardly have a civilization or warriors to take seriously, but they're favorites with some.
  • The Legend of Dragoon has this too.
    • Human = Mundane—Their main ability is to swing a weapon. Other than that they have no outstanding capabilities, and are what you find populating most of the world.
    • Winglies = High Men / Fairy hybrid—At least formerly. They ruled the world 11,000 years before the start of the game. They're also the only sentient race who can fly or use magic naturally. Their technology is far advanced and are really what the humans strive toward, in only in actions.
    • Gigantos = Stout—Given their strength (Kongol stopped a pillar from landing on the party.) it's not a surprise that they're the stout.
    • Minintos = Cute—You only see a few of them, but their appearance says it all. Short in stature, bright clothing, shocking pink hair.
    • Dragons = Low Men—They're always being enslaved, if they're not being killed off. The Dragoons used them to defeat the Winglies, then the whole first half of the game is finding out random people are Dragoons, some with dragons. Greham and Lenus come to mind. You fight three in the course of the game, solely to kill them.
  • Rift plays with the trope: There are arguably only four playable races, total (bahmi and dwarves—the respective Stouts of their factions—are distinct races, but Mathosians and Eth are human nationalities and high elves and Kelari are elves), most of them overlap more than one category, and it'd be a stretch to call any of them Cute.
  • Opoona pulls this off, thanks to the co-existence in the game of both science fiction (alien) and fantasy aspects.
    • The Tizians, the game's focal race, are the Stout. They're an incredibly powerful Proud Warrior Race and the galaxy's police force, but, since they can use magical Force and are really adorable, they have Cute sub-traits.
    • The game features fairies as the game's Fairy race. Fairly straightforward. This also includes the Elemental Aura spirits, which are somewhat fairy-like in nature.
    • Humans are the game's Mundane race. Unusually, they're not the one's we're supposed to identify with, as most of the game's humans take a background role.
    • There are two candidates for High Men. The first are the Sages: Humans (or Tizians) born with overflowing amounts of Holy Force, giving them divine powers of healing and other things. They use their powers to essentially (benevolently, for the most part) rule the planet. Another might be Giants—incredibly ancient, have been on the planet much longer than humans, connected to nature, and implied to be very wise.
    • The Nikoniko people are the more definite Cute. They're adorable meter-high, brightly-colored aliens who love artwork and have slightly-snobbish but well-meaning attitudes. They are also implied to have Verbal Tics, though it's not present in the English version.
  • Game Mod Red Alert 3 Paradox:
    • Cute: Design-wise, Empire of the Rising Sun, who overlap with Fairy by having Psychic Powers.
    • Fairy: Allied Nations, with their almost magical technology.
    • High Men: Order of the Talon fit this the most, when they are not scheming nations against each other.
    • Mundane: Allied Reservists, International Inc.
    • Stout: Confederate Revolutionairies, but they also subvert it by using dirty tactics and stealth.
  • The newly announced Dragon Quest X: Waking of the Five Tribes features (surprise surprise) six races (wait, what?). Breaking with tradition, humans may be the protagonists, but they don't seem to be an actual playable race, and might not even be native to the world of the game. Instead we have:
    • Ogres = Stout - Exceptionally tall and muscled Proud Warrior Race of red-skinned oni. Females definitely have Boobs of Steel and Hot Amazon in effect.
    • Wedi = High Men - Look like androgynous humans, but with the additions of blue skin and fins.
    • Elves = Fairy - Short little Fair Folk with pointy ears, pixie wings, and an apparent propensity for magic.
    • Dwarves = Mundane - Having the height of Fairies, the adorableness of Cute, and the technological prowess of High Men makes them even out to an all-around Mundane.
    • Pukuripos = Cute - Tiny little rabbits decked in jester attire. Always smiling.


Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • Twice Blessed, being based on D&D, plays this pretty straight. So far, it has humans as as Mundanes, dwarves as the Stout, pixies as the Fairies, elves as the High Men, and gnomes as the Cute.
  • In Triquetra Cats, humans having colonized the solar system have come to develop into this: Earthlings = mundane/human; Martians = Stout/dwarf; Venutians = High Men/elf; Stationborn = Fairy/gnome; Outer System = Cute/Hobbit; Antreyki = Proud Warrior Race/animal people
  • Lampshaded somewhat in Our Little Adventure when Carissa touched on a theory where the human girl used the Magicant to create the first of four other races. These other four people were visibly unhappy about this in this comic here.
  • The premise of Carpe Chaos about 5 intelligent Aliens races and how they interact with each other.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Fraggle Rock has a glancing acquaintance with this Trope, as the series centers around a fantasy ecosystem that intertwines four different races (often without any of them being aware of it). Arguably, the Silly Creatures are Mundanes, the Doozers are Stouts, the Gorgs are parodies of High Men, and the Fraggles themselves are Cute with Fairy tendencies.
  • Fairly Oddparents actually fits this if you include the alien races. Granted, some are more important than others, but...
    • Mundane: Humans, of course.
    • Fairy: The magical races (Fairies, Anti-Fairies, Pixies, Genies, etc.)
    • High Men: The denizens of Wonder World, Turbo Thunder's world, who all had superpowers.
    • Stout: Boudacians, Princess Mandie's race. If Mandie (and the arranged military alliance with Yugopotamia)is any indication, they seem to be a Proud Warrior Race.
    • Cute: The Gigglepies. Sickeningly so, intentionally.
    • Exclusively Evil: Though this can also apply to the Gigglepies, this is the Yugopotamian's hat.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Earth Kingdom as Stout, though they could easily count as Mundane due to their diversity and larger population.
    • Spirit World as Fairy.
    • Fire Nation as Mundane. The Legend of Korra also adds Republic City.
    • Air Nomads as High Men, particularly because they're all Airbenders. Bonus points for being nearly extinct at the time of the series.
    • Water Tribe as Cute, for the underestimated (at least at the beginning of Book One) and Closer to Earth parts.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Stout: Pegasi. The Christmas Hearth's Warming Eve episode reveals that, before the foundation of Equestria, the Pegasi were a Proud Warrior Race modeled closely after Spartan culture. Rainbow Dash best exemplifies her race, being very acrobatic and tomboyish. Fluttershy is notable for being very unlike most Pegasi, and her black sheep status is the exception that proves the rule.
    • Fairy: Unicorns. They are the only race that can naturally cast spells, and frequently use a form of telekinesis to handle objects with greater dexterity than their other hooved brethren. Twilight Sparkle was born particularly gifted, able to learn and master many types of magic. Rarity is a fashion designer, and relies on her telekinesis to work with threads and needles.
    • Mundane: Earth Ponies. They have no obvious special powers, apart from greater physical constitutions (which the show does not put much emphasis on). Applejack, and indeed most Earth Ponies, tend to be humble and down-to-earth. And while Pinkie Pie is noticeably more hyperactive, she exemplifies the Mundaneness of the race through her hedonist tendencies (a la Hobbits).
    • High Men: Crystal Ponies. Long hidden from the rest of the world, until the events of The Crystal Empire. Equestria as a whole is a utopian society by Earth standards, but the Crystal Empire stands out as being particularly beautiful and perfect (thousand-year enslavement under an evil overlord notwithstanding). As natural-born Crystal Ponies do not have horns or wings, they can be interpreted as idealized Earth Ponies.
    • Cute: Breezies. Tiny, butterfly-like ponies, with not much characterization beyond being adorable and scatterbrained.