[[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 [[BlackAndBlackMorality 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 Literature/ConanTheBarbarian tales.

Heavily influenced by TheHerosJourney, the [[KingArthur Arthurian]] cycle, the Literature/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 ''Literature/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.

Also known as "Sword and sorcery", a term coined by [[Literature/FafhrdAndTheGrayMouser Fritz Leiber]], one of the genre’s {{Trope Codifier}}s, in reply to a letter by {{Michael Moorcock}}. There is much debate of the definition of these genres; unkind souls have even described Heroic Fantasy as nothing but an upmarket term for Sword and Sorcery.

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 SwordAndSandals. 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?]]
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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime & Manga]]
* ''CrimsonSpell'' combines Heroic Fantasy with the [[BoysLove Yaoi genre]].
* 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/FairyTail'' focuses on the eponymous guild of wizard adventurers and the various quests they undertake for fun and profit.
* ''Anime/RuneSoldier'' is a comedic Heroic Fantasy spin-off of the high fantasy ''RecordOfLodossWar''.
* ''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.
* ''Anime/SeireiNoMoribito:'' 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.
* ''VideoGame/TheTowerOfDruaga''
* ''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.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''Comicbook/{{Aquaman}}: Sword of Atlantis'' was an attempt to make the titular character's comic this genre.
* ''ComicBookMouseGuard:'' Heroic fantasy with mice soldiers.
* ''ComicBook/RedSonja.''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:FanWorks]]
* 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.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* ''Series/TheAdventuresOfSinbad''
* ''Film/TheBeastmaster'' (only the movie, not the {{science fiction}} books it was based on.)
* ''Film/ConanTheBarbarian1982'' and ''Film/ConanTheDestroyer''
* ''Film/{{Conquest}}'' mix this with DarkFantasy and {{Horror}}.
* ''Film/ClashOfTheTitans''
* ''Film/PrinceOfPersiaTheSandsOfTime''
* ''Film/{{Highlander}}''
* ''Film/KullTheConqueror''
* ''Film/RedSonja''
* ''[[Franchise/EvilDead Army of Darkness]]'', an AffectionateParody of the genre.
* ''Film/TheSwordAndTheSorcerer''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Alison Croggon's ''Literature/BooksOfPellinor''
* Lynn Flewelling's ''Literature/{{Nightrunner}}'' series
* Creator/{{David Gemmell}}'s books are a prime example.
* Creator/RobertEHoward's ''Literature/ConanTheBarbarian'', ''Literature/{{Kull}}'' and ''Literature/BranMakMorn''. To a large extent Howard invented the modern incarnation of this trope.
* Patrick Rothfuss's ''Literature/TheKingkillerChronicle'' (although the protagonist is leaning toward AntiHero territory and may get worse in the upcoming book 3).
* Norman Spinrad's ''Literature/TheIronDream'' (a {{Deconstruction}} geared towards showing just how screwy the genre's politics can get)
* The ''[[Literature/TheWarGods Bahzell]]'' series by Creator/DavidWeber.
* Michael Moorcock's ''Literature/TheElricSaga'' (another {{Deconstruction}}).
* Fritz Leiber's ''Literature/{{Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser}}''
* Karl Edward Wanger's ''Kane.''
* 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.''
* Charles R. Saunders's ''Literature/{{Imaro}}''.
* The ''Literature/BlackCompany'' series
* ''[[Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen The Malazan Book of the Fallen]]'', especially during [[{{BadAss}} Karsa Orlong]]'s storylines.
* Marion Zimmer Bradley's ''Literature/TheMistsOfAvalon'' is either a DarkerAndEdgier or DeconstructedTrope version (or possibly DistaffCounterpart) of the KingArthur story.
* The ''Literature/{{Shadowleague}}'' trilogy
* ''Literature/TheNightAngelTrilogy'' by Brent Weeks.
* ''Literature/CodexAlera'' (quasi-AncientRome + ElementalPowers).
* 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.
* Everything by Creator/DavidEddings.
* Everything by R. A. Salvatore.
* Tamora Pierce's ''Literature/{{Tortall Universe}}''.
* ''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.
* Lynn Abbey's ''Rifkin'' series.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/[[HerculesTheLegendaryJourneys Hercules: The Legendary Journeys]]''
* ''Series/{{Roar}}'' (pre-[[KingArthur Arthurian]] British Isles)
* ''Series/[[XenaWarriorPrincess Xena: Warrior Princess]]''
* ''Series/[[LegendoftheSeeker Legend of the Seeker]]''
* ''{{Series/Merlin}}''
* Arguably ''Series/RobinOfSherwood'' what with its use of archetypes and mysticism.
* ''Series/KrodMandoonAndTheFlamingSwordOfFire'' is a parody of the genre.
[[/folder]]

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

[[folder:Radio]]
* ''Radio/ElvenQuest'' is a parody.
[[/folder]]

[[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 ConanTheBarbarian.
* ''Barbarians of Lemuria'' emulates the whole Sword & Sorcery genre.
* As does ''TabletopGame/OnMightyThews'', which even comes with a list of substitutions to make things more pulpy.
* ''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.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''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).
* ''VideoGame/DemonsSouls''
* ''Sword And Sorcery EP''
* ''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.
* ''Franchise/PrinceOfPersia''
* ''VideoGame/TheReconstruction'' ({{Deconstruction}}, ironically)
* ''VideoGame/FantasyQuest''
* ''VideoGame/TheWitcher:'' A lone monster hunter hunting a sorcerer who stole the alchemical secrets from the witchers.
* ''VideoGame/BarbarianTheUltimateWarrior''
* ''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 its 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.
* ''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.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/OurLittleAdventure'', if you only factor in Julie and her gang's adventures.
* ''Webcomic/MeatShield''.
* ''Webcomic/{{Evon}}''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/FireAndIce''
* ''WesternAnimationThundarrTheBarbarian''
* ''WesternAnimation/KorgothOfBarbaria'' is either a parody or a humorous straight example, depending on how you see it.
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime''
[[/folder]]

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