[[quoteright:350:[[Pinball/DungeonsAndDragons http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dungeons-and-dragons-pinball-detail_5848.jpg]] ]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[[BarbarianHero Muscular heroes]], [[WizardClassic magical wizards]], [[BreathWeapon fire-breathing]] [[OurDragonsAreDifferent dragons]], and a little FanService as well.]]

The exploits of mighty-thewed, sword-wielding heroes and their thiefly, wizardly and/or priestly companions, as they [[InHarmsWay spend their days]] smiting evil, fighting monsters, recovering treasures and quaffing ale.

One of the three typical settings for fantasy literature. HighFantasy usually focuses on the epic struggle between absolute good and absolute evil, and the characters are thrust in the midst. LowFantasy portrays the struggle of characters to achieve their own personal goals, ranging from [[GreyAndGrayMorality questionable]] to [[EvilVersusEvil decidedly unsavory]].

Heroic Fantasy sits somewhere in between. It tends to be distinguishable from HighFantasy by its scale--the problems are generally those of the heroes, not the world. Kingdoms and societies are portrayed mainly to the extent the heroes have an impact on them. On the other hand, it's distinct from LowFantasy as well in that the heroes are actually ''heroic'' and their goals are morally sound or, at the very least, not overtly objectionable. An AntiHero in this setting is more likely to be a LoveableRogue than a WellIntentionedExtremist.

The setting differs as well: it is neither fragile and [[SavingTheWorld in need of saving]], nor a CrapsackWorld with wickedness InherentInTheSystem--rather, it's an ambiguous place, characterized more than anything by being an AdventureFriendlyWorld, with much [[TheHerosJourney untamed wilderness to travel through]], [[FetchQuest quests to undertake]] and [[DungeonCrawling dungeons to delve]]. Therefore, the heroes are very likely to encounter magic and fantastic elements, assuming they aren't prevalent in the setting to begin with.

The [[UrExample first story of this type]] is often considered to by Creator/LordDunsany's "The Fortress Unvanquishable, Save for Sacnoth" from 1908, but it is 1929's "[[Literature/{{Kull}} The Shadow Kingdom]]" by Creator/RobertEHoward that is responsible for [[TropeMaker kick-starting the genre proper]]. Howard himself would later go on to [[TropeCodifier codify]] the genre with his Franchise/ConanTheBarbarian tales.

Heavily influenced by TheHerosJourney, the [[Myth/KingArthur Arthurian]] cycle, the Franchise/ConanTheBarbarian stories and movies, the game ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'', and classical myth.

Sometimes set in a world that looks [[MedievalEuropeanFantasy an awful lot like medieval Europe]], although it can range all the way back to a "forgotten prehistory" such as in ''Franchise/ConanTheBarbarian'', or even the "classical" period (ancient Greece, Mesopotamia, etc.), as found in ''Series/XenaWarriorPrincess'' (this variant is sometimes called "SwordAndSandal" and more burly versions are called "ThudAndBlunder"). May involve {{Mythopoeia}}.

Sometimes it can be found in the future, often in AfterTheEnd setting; sometimes it comes close to PlanetaryRomance. Also often features MedievalStasis.

Often lumped together with Main/SwordAndSorcery, a genre coined by [[Literature/FafhrdAndTheGrayMouser Fritz Leiber]]. Unkind souls have described Heroic Fantasy as nothing but an upmarket term for Sword & Sorcery, though Leiber deliberately created it to set his stories and similar works by other writers apart from the general field of Heroic Fantasy.

Good live-action film and television heroic fantasies can be counted on the fingers of one hand (generally starting with the ''Conan the Barbarian'' movie). Dying is easy. Fantasy is hard! On the other hand, roughly half of all [=RPGs=] ever written fall under this genre, if not more.

See also TwoFistedTales, PulpMagazine.

Heroic and epic Fantasy of Chinese cultural origin is known as {{Wuxia}}.

Contrast SwordAndSandal. See also MedievalEuropeanFantasy.

Not to be confused with LowFantasy, which is simply {{Fantasy}} in a down-to-earth setting.

Nor to be confused with {{Demythtification}}, which is {{Mythology}} reimagined as HistoricalFiction.

Perhaps you would be interested in [[SoYouWantTo/WriteAHeroicFantasy writing one yourself?]]


[[folder: Anime & Manga]]
* Arguably ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'' goes from LowFantasy to a heroic but [[DarkFantasy dark]] fantasy at the end of the Golden Age arc where all the demons start coming out and become the main source of conflict.
** Or it was Heroic Fantasy all along without the characters noticing. After all [[{{Devil In Plain Sight}} Zodd the Immortal]] didn't exactly keep his existence a secret.
* ''Anime/BikiniWarriors'': Which involves a group of heroines with typical fantasy roles, and go on an epic quest together, while clad in bikinis.
* ''Manga/CrimsonSpell'' combines Heroic Fantasy with the YaoiGenre.
* ''Franchise/DragonBall'' early on in the series, before its GenreShift to high-powered SpaceOpera.
* ''Anime/FairyTail'' focuses on the eponymous guild of wizard adventurers and the various quests they undertake for fun and profit.
* ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'' started as this, though it quickly veered into HighFantasy territory. The [[Anime/FullmetalAlchemist 2003 anime version]], on the other hand, stuck with Heroic Fantasy.
* ''Manga/HunterXHunter''
* ''Manga/OnePiece''
* ''Anime/QueensBlade''. The heroines rarely have magic on their side while the villains do and often the only way to win a fight is through sword battles. While there is a grand plot involving the fate of the land, the heroines are largely unaware of it and just want to fulfill their personal desires.
* ''Anime/RuneSoldierLouie'' is a comedic Heroic Fantasy spin-off of the high fantasy ''Roleplay/RecordOfLodossWar''.
* ''Manga/{{Senyuu}}''. A series with heroes, demons, swords and magic. Actually, more like a parody, but despite loads of gags and jokes remains heroic.
* ''LightNovel/{{Slayers}}''
* ''LightNovel/SwordArtOnline'' Though the narrative is driven by technology and is set in NextSundayAD, at its heart ''Sword Art Online'' is ''still'' fundamentally a fantasy of heroic warriors (and later, wizards) crusading across mythical lands, fighting for justice, honor and making the world a better place with swords and spells in their hands, courage and love in their hearts.
* ''VideoGame/TheTowerOfDruaga'', [[TheAnimeOfTheGame based off of the video game of the same name]].

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''Comicbook/{{Aquaman}}: Sword of Atlantis'' was an attempt to make the titular character's comic this genre.
* ''ComicBook/CerebusTheAardvark'' started as a {{Parody}} of these before becoming a full-on MindScrew.
* ''ComicBook/ConanTheBarbarian'' and ''ComicBook/RedSonja''.
* ''ComicBook/MouseGuard:'' Heroic fantasy with mice soldiers.

* Quite averted in ''Fanfic/WithStringsAttached'', which is partially set on a continent that was once a place of Heroic Fantasy. However, by the time the four find themselves there, the skahs warriors have long since wiped out any threats, and are going crazy with boredom because they have nothing to do and refuse to become civilians. A major goal of some of the secondary characters is finding a way to restock the continent with monsters, since the gods refuse to do it.
** Played much more straight on Jim Hunter's world, but that's because it was built by a gamer.

* ''Film/ArmyOfDarkness'', an AffectionateParody of the genre.
* ''Film/TheBarbarians''
* ''Film/TheBeastmaster'' (only the movie, not the {{science fiction}} books it was based on.)
* ''Film/BloodOfBeasts''.
* ''Film/{{Clash of the Titans|1981}}''.
* ''Film/ConanTheBarbarian1982'' and ''Film/ConanTheDestroyer''
* ''Film/{{Conquest}}'' mix this with DarkFantasy and {{Horror}}.
* ''Film/{{Highlander}}''.
* ''Film/KullTheConqueror''.
* ''Film/PrinceOfPersiaTheSandsOfTime''.
* ''Film/ThePrincessBride'' is an [[AffectionateParody affectionate and very gentle parody]] of this genre. The novel it was based on was darker and more of a deconstruction. Just like with ''WesternAnimation/{{Shrek}}'', the heroes' goals are taken just (or almost) as seriously as they would be in a straight heroic fantasy.
* ''Film/RedSonja''.
* ''Film/TheSwordAndTheSorcerer''.
* ''Film/WizardsOfTheDemonSword''.
* ''Film/GleahanAndTheKnavesOfIndustry:'' The movie contains no legitimate fantasy elements, but it hits all the beats of a Heroic Fantasy story. Gleahan definitely ''thinks'' he's in one of these, though.

* The ''[[Literature/TheWarGods Bahzell]]'' series by Creator/DavidWeber.
* ''Literature/TheBlackCompany''
* Alison Croggon's ''Literature/BooksOfPellinor''.
* ''Literature/CodexAlera'' (quasi-AncientRome + ElementalPowers).
* Creator/RobertEHoward's ''Franchise/ConanTheBarbarian'', ''Literature/{{Kull}}'' and ''Literature/BranMakMorn''. To a large extent Howard invented the modern incarnation of this trope.
* Everything by Creator/DavidEddings.
* Many of the older ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' novels were comedic deconstructions/parodies of this genre, as are a few of the more recent ones. A very loose rule of thumb for the Discworld books: If the main character is Rincewind or Susan, it's probably going to be heroic or high fantasy; if it's Vimesy, the Watch, Moist, or Death, you are probably looking at low fantasy, the elderly barbarians are usually heroic fantasy, and if it's the witches then it's probably either going to be low or heroic fantasy. Pratchett seems to have started out creating straight parodies of heroic and high fantasy, and then gotten bored halfway through and slowly began integrating and exploring low fantasy settings more and more. [[BrokenBase Fans are divided ]] as to whether the earlier (and punchier) heroic fantasy parodies are better or worse than the later ( and more thoughtful and elaborate/longer) low-fantasy-with-an-emphasis-on-social-themes-and-character-based-comedies.
** Back in the day, there were a [[FollowTheLeader number of less popular and deservedly-forgotten fantasy/comedy novels attempting to capitalise on the popularity of Discworld, which were almost always set in heroic or high fantasy universes]]. They tended to very bleak, because they had the same [[DarkerAndEdgier and sometimes an even more exaggerated]] casual approach to violence that you'd see in the earlier Discworld novels, but not the goofy and likeable supporting cast of recurring characters which stopped Discworld from ever becoming particularly dark.
* Creator/{{David Gemmell}}'s books are a prime example.
* Michael Moorcock's ''Literature/TheElricSaga'' (another {{Deconstruction}}).
* D. E. Wyatt's ''[[Literature/ElsabethSoesten No Good Deed...]]'' has many elements of this.
* ''Literature/TheExilesViolin'': A hero armed with mystical weapons that fights a power mad EvilSorcerer doesn't sound like the kind of thing that would happen in a SteamPunk detective story but it happens and checks off the other markers such as personal trouble and grey morality.
* Fritz Leiber's ''Literature/{{Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser}}''.
* Creator/RobertAHeinlein's ''Literature/GloryRoad'' is a {{Reconstruction}} of these types of stories.
* Charles R. Saunders's ''Literature/{{Imaro}}''.
* Norman Spinrad's ''Literature/TheIronDream'' (a {{Deconstruction}} geared towards showing just how screwy the genre's politics can get).
* C.L. Moore's ''Literature/JirelOfJoiry'', the first major female character in Heroic Fantasy.
** Her husband Creator/HenryKuttner was no slouch in the genre, with works like ''Elak of Atlantis'', ''Valley of Flame'' and ''The Dark World.''.
* Karl Edward Wagner's ''Literature/{{Kane}}''.
* Patrick Rothfuss's ''Literature/TheKingkillerChronicle'' (although the protagonist is leaning toward AntiHero territory and may get worse in the upcoming book 3).
* ''[[Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen The Malazan Book of the Fallen]]'', especially during Karsa Orlong's storylines.
* Marion Zimmer Bradley's ''Literature/TheMistsOfAvalon'' is either a DarkerAndEdgier or DeconstructedTrope version (or possibly DistaffCounterpart) of the Myth/KingArthur story.
* ''Literature/MoribitoGuardianOfTheSpirit:'' While it later turns out that the fate of the kingdom is at stake, the story follows a lone mercenary on the run, who is trying to hide the prince from assassins send after him by his own father.
* ''Literature/TheNightAngelTrilogy'' by Brent Weeks.
* Lynn Flewelling's ''Literature/{{Nightrunner}}'' series.
* ''Literature/TheLineageOfTellus'' starts off as this before the problems shift from the heroes to the world, wherein it becomes HighFantasy.
* Everything by Creator/RASalvatore.
* Lynn Abbey's ''Rifkin'' series.
* The ''Literature/{{Shadowleague}}'' trilogy.
* ''Literature/TheSorcererOfTheWildeeps'', for which ''Literature/TheEpicOfGilgamesh'' may or may not have been an inspiration.
* Creator/LordDunsany's "The Sword of Welleran" and "The Fortress Unvanquishable, Save for Sacnoth", as well as a few other short stories here and there.
* Tamora Pierce's ''Literature/{{Tortall Universe}}''. While the fate of the kingdom of Tortall is on the line in the ''Song of the Lioness'' and the ''Immortals'' quartets, the focus throughout remains on the coming-of-age of Pierce's heroines. Later books have lower stakes, but all have a good down-to-earth feel, and fairly nuanced morality.
* ''Literature/TalionRevenant'': The book's genre. It centers around Nolan's quest to stop a bandit leader, and later protect a king.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''{{Series/Garo}}'', though it is debatable, as it has various ''{{Main/Dark Fantasy}}'' elements.
* ''Series/HerculesTheLegendaryJourneys''.
** ''Series/XenaWarriorPrincess''.
* ''Series/KrodMandoonAndTheFlamingSwordOfFire'' is a parody of the genre.
* ''Series/KyoryuSentaiZyuranger'' with dinosaurs and a ''{{Franchise/Super Sentai}}'' twist.
* ''Series/LegendOfTheSeeker''.
* ''{{Series/Merlin}}''.
* ''Series/{{Roar}}'' (pre-[[Myth/KingArthur Arthurian]] British Isles).
* Arguably ''Series/RobinOfSherwood'' what with its use of archetypes and mysticism.
* ''Series/TheAdventuresOfSinbad''

* Music/BlackSabbath stands as the modern musical UrExample for this in their early batch of songs such as [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKY--qaHWSw ''The Wizard'']]. They weren't alone, considering Music/LedZeppelin and Music/JethroTull were greatly inspired by Tolkien.
* Music/RonnieJamesDio is the one who truly brought this to prominence, as Dio was a massive fantasy nerd and part of bands whose whole shtick revolved around muscular barbarians slaying dragons. This was most evident with his band ''Elf'' and his later solo work. See [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkysjcs5vFU ''Holy Diver'']].
* HeavyMithril is either this or HighFantasy in rock form.
* The whole genre of PowerMetal is defined by heroic tales of fantasy folk heroes and heroines, and takes HeavyMithril UpToEleven.

* The "Barbarian" table of ''VideoGame/BallsOfSteel''.
* True to its license, ''Pinball/DungeonsAndDragons'' plays this absolutely straight.
* ''Pinball/{{Gorgar}}''.
* ''Pinball/{{Hercules}},'' not surprisingly, is all about this.
* ''Pinball/{{Paragon}}''.
* ''Pinball/{{Varkon}}'' has a shirtless adventurer confronting the monstrous Varkon on the other side of a magic stone gate.

* ''Radio/ElvenQuest'' is a parody.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''. Though the game system is flexible enough that the enterprising DM can apply it to almost any {{fantasy}} subgenre, as printed it tends toward Heroic Fantasy.
** The ''TabletopGame/DarkSun'' setting specifically aims to emulate old pulp stories and is heavily influenced by ''Literature/JohnCarterOfMars'', as well as Franchise/ConanTheBarbarian.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'' is what you get when you combine this with the tropes of wuxia, ancient myth, and a dash of shonen anime style to taste.
* As does ''TabletopGame/OnMightyThews'', which even comes with a list of substitutions to make things more pulpy.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' generally occupies this league of the fantasy landscape, though it is diverse enough to encompass both High Fantasy (the wars of Aenarion against the Daemons, the Great War Against Chaos) and Low Fantasy (the traditional WFRP millieu, involving cultists and ne'er-do-wells stabbing each other in the dark alleys of Altdorf) as well. Being a wargame, the "heroes" in Warhammer tend to be great military commanders and the conflicts wide-ranging wars, rather than bands of adventurers and their skirmishes, though there are plenty of the latter at work also (Gotrek and Felix, pretty much everyone from the Warhammer Quest spin-off).

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/BarbarianTheUltimateWarrior''.
* The ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'' series.
* ''Franchise/DragonAge''. While the first game has a "unite the people to fight an army of evil" main plot, the side plots that make up the biggest chunk of the game follow the genre pretty straight. The second game focuses completely on a single protagonist rising in power within the hierarchy of one city, with the main factions being Templar (sword) and Mage (spell).
* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' is one of the most prominent video game examples in modern media, at least from the perspective of each individual game. Taking a broader look at the series in its entirety (as well as digging deep into the rich backstory), and its HighFantasy elements come into greater focus.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Fable}}'' series.
* ''VideoGame/FantasyQuest''.
* ''VideoGame/GodOfWar'' plays it pretty straight, though starting with the second game the scope of the events becomes considerably bigger, as it grows into a full blown war among the gods.
* ''VideoGame/MonsterHunter'' is mostly this as well. The levels of mysticism are very slight (down to the special mode of the Longsword in Tri and its derivatives), but everything else is totally straight: minimal overarching plot, for the most part it's just a world where people make a living slaying or capturing giant monsters for the chance at building more weaponry with which to slay or capture tougher giant monsters.
* ''Franchise/PrinceOfPersia''.
* ''VideoGame/TheReconstruction'' ({{Deconstruction}}, ironically).
* ''VideoGame/SkiesOfArcadia'' is a {{Reconstruction}} of this setting, with SchizoTech and OceanPunk thrown in for flavour. Much of the world is equivalent to the real world [=15th/16th=] Century, but there's also fantastical creatures, adventurers and explorers, myths, and widespread use of magic and magical weaponry. Not to mention the {{Sky Pirate}}s, of course.
* ''VideoGame/SuperbrothersSwordAndSworceryEP''.
* ''VideoGame/TheWitcher:'' A lone monster hunter hunting a sorcerer who stole the alchemical secrets from the witchers.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/TheEchoChronicles'', One plane consists of this kind of world, connected to another which is UrbanFantasy.
* ''Webcomic/{{Evon}}''.
* ''Webcomic/MeatShield''.
* ''Webcomic/OurLittleAdventure'', if you only factor in Julie and her gang's adventures.
* ''Webcomic/ChampionsOfFaraus''.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime''.
* ''WesternAnimation/FireAndIce''.
* ''WebAnimation/MightyMagiswords''.
* As a lot of film critics have noted, ''WesternAnimation/{{Shrek}}'' and its original sequel might have been written as self-conscious [[AffectionateParody affectionate parodies]] of "fairy tale movies" but both movies use and celebrate heroic fantasy tropes so whole-heartedly that they both feel more like straight "fairy tale movies"/ heroic fantasy with lots of humour and character development.
* ''WesternAnimation/ThundarrTheBarbarian''.