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Most of the Saiyans in Dragon Ball Z were said to generally be barbaric planet destroying bullies. Goku (who received brain damage as a child) and his and Vegeta's children (who had human ancestry to mellow them out) are the only exceptions. Vegeta himself, the only other full-blooded Saiyan to survive the series, took decades of living among humans to even slightly mellow out. This is often overlooked by fans, which Akira Toriyama parodied in Neko Majin Z with the character of Onio.
Played utterly straight with trolls and other monsters (it is based on D&D, after all).
It is justified in Mazinger Z: The Mooks are zombies revived thanks to cybernetic implants by the Big Bad Dr. Hell. Since he mechanized their brains, wiped their minds out to erase any memory of their former lives and any shred of independent thought and programmed them to be absolutely and unquestionably loyal and obedient, they have no choice other than being Always Chaotic Evil.
Great Mazinger: The Mykene play with this trope. The Warrior Monsters are Humongous Mecha with the head of a Mykene soldier implanted in the giant mechanical body. Since the soldiers are indoctrinated to attack and wipe out anything non-related to the Mykene civilization, the trope is justified. On the other hand, the commanders of the army display different personalities and honorable qualities (specially Ankoku Daishogun), and though they are not portrayed as good, neither are they portrayed as proud of being evil, but a proud race of warriors who want to return to the surface world after being forced to live underground for millennia.
UFO Robo Grendizer: At the beginning it looks like the trope is being played straight, but it is finally averted. Several of the Vegans are decent people and many of them are given redeeming qualities.
Combattler V: For a while it seemed the trope was being played straight, but was ultimately averted. The Campbellians attacking Earth were not representative of the entire race, but a rebel fraction led by leaders constantly indoctrinating their troops into believing it is HUMANS who are Always Chaotic Evil. The greater part of the Campbellians were not presented as evil or harbouring ill will towards humans, and actually at the end Deus, the Campbellians' true leader, came to Earth to stop Big Bad Empress Janera personally, and vowed he would help to rebuild what Janera destroyed on Earth.
Ditto for the mazoku from Violinist of Hameln. There actually are two exceptions, but the rest feel that their calling is to torment humanity For the Evulz (Sure, their whole race exists through magical power gained by consuming human blood and souls, but regular mazoku cannot extract it, so evulz still is the driving reason for their atrocities).
Subverted in Chrono Crusade (although differently, depending on which version you're watching). In the manga, this seems to be the case at first (with Chrono being the only exception), but it turns out that the Sinners are more complex than that, and among other demons most of them are simply following orders in a corrupt culture that can't even remember how they got that way in the first place, making them practically victims of a bureaucracy who simply refused to question WHY things were the way they were. In the anime, the Sinners are portrayed as more blatantly evil, while the rest of the demons seem contractually obligated to play "villains" for God in order to keep humanity in line, making them a bit more like Punch Clock Villains.
The crows in Princess Tutu are shown this way — justified because they're characters escaped from a fairytale. They're so evil that even their blood can affect a character's personality.
In Gundam SEED, you can count EACH and EVERY member of Blue Cosmos/LOGOS (and, to a lesser extent, Earth Alliance) an irredeemably evil, racist bastard, with the most likable person being a Brainwashed and Crazy super soldier who Shinn falls in loves with.
But since Blue Cosmos is, by the period the series take place in, very clearly shown to be an organization of such people, completely gone off track from its original purpose, this shouldn't be a surprise. LOGOS just exists to keep wars happening because hey, it's good for business.
The Veigans in Gundam AGE are all fanatically loyal to Lord Ezelcant without exception, deeming the extermination of all non-Veigans from their prized Eden to be a national goal/ideal.
The New Blood, or, at least, those directly related to Sicks in Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro. For a long time, they intentionally bred so that the most evil would be the ones to reproduce. Eventually, they actually became a separate species, according to Sicks.
Yuri: ... a holy sword that you need to defeat the last boss. Wolfram: A holy sword? Yuri: It's not? ... Gwendal: Of course it's a demon sword!
The youma from Claymore, who live entirely to eat humans. And the awakened beings, whose nature is also to feed on humans, but are far more dangerous.
This probably has something to do with the fact that the youma are manufactured. The chaotic bloodthirstiness of the Awakened Beings is implied to be a bug the Council is desperately trying to work out, or at least turn into directed bloodthirstiness. The youma aren't even truly evil being mindless parasites. They mutate their hapless human hosts, driving them insane with a hunger that can only be satisfied by human flesh.
The Diclonius from Elfen Lied are viewed as beings that are hardwired to cause destruction and extinction among humans (with the exception of Nana), making them a near-literal example, though their behavior may also be influenced by the inhumane treatment they received at the hands of humans.
Though, by the end of the manga, we find out that the Diclonus are descendants of the Oni from ancient times (with Lucy being the only true genetic descendant), and that their need to kill humans stems from their demonic ancestors genetically encoding them to want to seek revenge on their destroyers.
But, the man who believed that turned out to not be a Diclonius at all but rather have a case of atavism, bringing that whole origin into question. Lucy was just the result of a mutation in her mother.
Hollows in Bleach are considered to be a race of evil spirits, driven to eating anything living or dead (including each other). Their more evolved "Arrancar" counterparts have been portrayed as having different dispositions, including Good (Nel).
Vampires in Hellsing are mostly like this. Good vampires, like Seras, are a very special exception. It is not clear if the transformation to a vampire brings out the worst of person or if all vampires are all irredeemably evil. It is possible that since the survival of a vampire requires killing people for blood and souls at some point all vampires simply give up to their bloodlust. At one point one vampire even comments on how he and his comrades can never enjoy things normal people enjoy, but are forced to live the life of a monster.
Most of the vampires we see in the series were Card Carrying Villainsbefore becoming vampires, being vicious war-mongers. Who were also Nazis. In their case, becoming vampires didn't turn them evil. It just gave them fangs.
Subverted with the Ill from March Story, who seem like this at first before we see any of the good ones. The organization that hunts them still believes them to be this trope, though.
The people Heuller kills were planning to kill Rodin, and she was just trying to protect him. Too bad he never found out about her reasons.
The beaver woman was misguided, but she is shown to genuinely care for her (adopted)son.
The possessed doll in chapter 13 never harms anyone, was only trying to entertain his owner, and killed himself so that the Unlucky Childhood Friend could get lucky and get the girl.
In Attack on Titan, the titular giant humanoids devour humans for no apparent reason other than because they enjoy it. They are incapable of digesting food, seem to draw their energy from the sun, and ignore animals completely. In fact, when their stomach becomes full from devouring victims, they vomit to make room for more tasty human treats. The unique variants that do display intelligence are even more dangerous, actively seeking to Kill All Humans while showing no interest in eating anyone themselves. Only it turns out to be far more complicated than that. The Titan Shifters are all morally complex individuals, most of them traumatized Tyke Bombs struggling with the terrible duties they've been assigned. The regular Titans are similarly not what they seem, but are transformed humans trapped in a Lotus-Eater Machine with no control over their actions. Hange theorizes that their instinct to devour humans is because eating a Titan Shifter allows them to regain their humanity via Cannibalism Superpower.
Torquemada in Nemesis the Warlock claims that all aliens are Always Chaotic Evil, although even he privately acknowledges that this is a lie given to justify the extreme Fantastic Racism of his regime. The series, in fact, spent much of its early run subverting the common application of this trope to the more grotesque aliens.
Subverted in DC Comics of the early-to-mid Silver Age. That era almost invariably depicted alien cultures as having made a choice between Good Republic and Evil Empire. Every alien race was assumed capable of both "good" and "evil", and "evil" regimes could always be overthrown, while "good" ones could always be subverted.
The Skrulls, the most recurring evil race and, in fact, the first one created by Lee and Kirby. The Kree are evil as well, but we usually see them though a pariahthat turned to the light side (usually using the name "Captain Marvel"), rather than as a full evil race.
Instances exist of good or good-leaning Skrulls, such as Ethan Edwards (Raised by Humans) and Jazinda. Also, Cadre K, the mutant Skrulls who were brought together and taught by Professor X. And occasionally a Skrull who's gone native after impersonating humans for too long. They are rare, though.
In World War Hulk, Broodling manages to make a decent play at being good, but when she tried to reproduce, she ended up having to kill her own spawn to save some children from them.
The Dire Wraiths from Rom Spaceknight wholeheartedly embraced evil. Their planet was so supernaturally suffused with corruption that Galactuscouldn't eat it. The Wraiths were about as close to being literal demons as a flesh and blood race can hope to be, and they took pride in it. While one Wraith did try to make a Heel-Face Turn after disguising himself as a family man for years and discovering love and kindness were actually pretty nice, his comrades taught his son how to be evil, and the boy took to their lessons so well that he eventually murdered his parents. The Dire Wraiths actually enforce evil by indoctrinating it into their young so decent Dire Wraiths are the exception rather than the rule. It also turns out they're actually a divergent offshoot of the Skrulls (or maybe the other way around), above.
In Jack Kirby's Eternals, the Deviants qualified abundantly. However, Neil Gaiman's 2007 reboot introduced considerable ambiguity into the picture.
Prior to the DC reboot, the precursors of the Green and White Martians, the Burning Martians, were psychotic monsters that fed on flame and destruction.
Joss Whedon's "Breakworld" arc in Astonishing X-Mendeconstructed this trope with its portrayal of the eponymous Planet of Hats. The Breakworlders, whose society is built around endless war, are set up as the antagonists of the arc for fairly obvious reasons. But then it's revealed that the true Big Bad is the ultra-pacifist leader of a resistance group, who wants to end the wars by destroying the planet and wiping out its entire population. The conclusion points out that, in a society where violence and tyranny are the norm, the truly "evil" people would be the ones devoted to peace. Accordingly, their actions would probably be far less moral and logical than the average people who simply believe what they were raised to believe.
Also, they were only trying to destroy Earth because they thought Earth was trying to destroy them.
Transformers: More than Meets the Eye shows more of the Decepticons' lives, aside from destroying planets and good-guys. The Autobot Ore mentions that his goal at the end of the war was to get a new alt-mode and befriend a 'Con as "they can't all be psychopaths right?". The story shifts to 6 Decepticons for an arc to show the mentality; they joke around, fail at their quest, and their leader tries to reign in the more eccentric of their group, but they also joke about killing organics, and rob their dead comrade instead of mourning him, because hey, he ain't gonna be needing those parts.
Also, in the IDW-verse, as things get more and more complicated, we see characters who were Decepticons working alongside Autobots more than once. Even Starscream can rein in his trademark tendencies for the right reason. They're definitely shown to be individuals once the usual status quo no longer applies.
Dreamkeepers has the Nightmares, who exist solely to destroy all the Dreamkeepers and, by extension, humanity.
The Evronians from Paperinik New Adventures are Emotion Eaters that need to attack other races to drain them of the emotions that feed both them and some of their technologies, and cause untold and unneeded destruction for no other reason they can. It's Subverted by both a few individual members (especially Gorthan) and the fact that, before Xadhoom exterminated most of them, they were trying to solve the energetic problem (in fact one possible alternative power source was Xadhoom herself, had they managed to keep her captured long enough), and after that a group of survivors prove themselves relatively peaceful when they ask Earth for help, but is later Double Subverted when that same group of survivors use the chance to insert a shape-shifting spy on Earth to prepare a future invasion.
In the reboot it's shown the Evronians had not always been like that, and imply that they had become that way due a combination of the emotion-powered technology and the war with the Guardians of the Galaxy (in fact, when Zondag changes the timeline to prevent the birth of the Guardians it results in the Evronians becoming peaceful, not using emotion-powered technology anymore and using their dietary needs to free people from bad emotions).
In crossover Alternate Universe fics, usually with the Stargate Verse, the Twelve Colonies from Battlestar Galactica are portrayed as psycho gun-happy Earth invaders, despite there being no evidence for this. Most of these fics are absolutely horrible derivatives of Reunions Are A Bitch, which laid most of the blame on the leaders, and the Average Joe Colonial earnestly believed that they're doing the right thing and helping Earth with their invasion.
The Muk and bug-type Pokémon in the Poke Wars Series are portrayed as mindless killing machines.
In the Mass Effect fanfic The Council Era, the dezban race are perceived as being utter savages by the rest of the galaxy. For the vast majority of the species, this became true after the Great War, but an exception is introduced in the dezban bounty hunter Sevalaus Morkaneto, who is both rational-thinking and far less aggressive than most of his brethren.
The Uchiha are usually portrayed as this, except Mikoto, Itachi, Obito and, on rare occasions, Sasuke. Obito is increasingly less likely to be portrayed as an exception, since he turned out to be the Big Bad in canon.
The Wedding Arc makes a point about how the Changelings are not inherently evil. The Interviewers even say that every race has its saints and sinners.
Films — Animation
In The Tale of Despereaux, even the narrator states that rats are always greedy, dirty, unheroic, and terrified of the light, with the exception of Rascuro who falls to the dark side for a while after he tries not to be Always Chaotic Evil.
The vikings of the film How to Train Your Dragon initially believe that all dragons are horrible monsters who will always go for the kill. This is later proven false when Hiccup befriends Toothless and a few other dragons.
The Kung Fu Panda franchise has a few species that fall into this. The most notable examples are gorillas, crocodiles (with the exception of Master Croc; according to Word Of God he did a Heel-Face Turn), and especially wolves. Snow leopards aren't shown in a very positive light either, considering that this is the species of both Tai Lung and the Wu Sisters.
Films — Live Action
The Skeksis in The Dark Crystal. Justified in that they're the other half of a species that accidentally split itself into good / evil races.
Gremlins from, well, Gremlins. Gizmo is the only member of the species who is good, and you'll notice that he never becomes a gremlin himself. The other Mogwai spawned from Gizmo also apply, but they're somewhat more benign than the full Gremlins.
Most Gremlins are Always Chaotic Neutral/Stupid. It's really only Stripe who was pure evil.
The cards on which the movie was based subverted this, showing a much more peaceful organization of martians who opposed the invasion. Given that, in the same set, humanity invaded Mars, kicked their asses while the war machines were off to Earth, and it eventually ends in Mars blowing up, it leads to the most unfortunate of implications. Or further villainization of the aggressive side of the populace for ruining it for everyone.
The Djinn race from Wishmaster. They're essentially demonic beings created at the dawn of time by God, and all their wishes boil down to a Deal with the Devil, so this trope is to be expected.
Star Wars, in its various incarnations, could be accused of promoting Fantastic Racism where many of the alien species are concerned - and this was long before Watto, Jar Jar Binks, and the like. In the original films - and in the 1977 one, especially - Star Wars is generally a Human-centric adventure, even where the supposedly diverse Rebel Alliance is concerned. Most aliens are there as window-dressing at best, and all too often are jabbering savages bullying or picking fights with people for absolutely no reason; Ponda Baba, the "Walrus-Man", is an especially blatant example. The portrayals got better with Yoda and Admiral Ackbar (and let's not forget Chewbacca, of course), but then we have Jabba the Hutt's mostly alien Mooks. And when the Expanded Universe comes into play...well, see the Literature section below.
The Bugs in Starship Troopers. Although it's deliberately left unclear whether the Bugs started the war or if the humans did, they are absolutely merciless in battle and kill the humans without restraint. Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation makes it clear that the Bugs themselves see humanity as this, regarding them as a virus. In any case, the humans' Fantastic Racism toward the Klendathu is obvious, to the point that they stomp on little, harmless bugs for reminding them of the big ones.
The Xenomorphs in Alien. They seemingly exist for the sole purpose of killing everything on a planet. It is subtly implied that they are indeed intelligent, not just bestial animals, which simply makes them even more terrifying. If you listen to Prometheus, this is because they were designed to be weapons. They can't help killing everything in sight that isn't them, it's what they're for.
The Expanded Universe plays with the trope a lot. More than a few characters who start out believing the aliens to be pure evil on par with Satan himself eventually come to the conclusion that they're no more evil than a volcano or a tsunami — simply a terrifying, destructive but ultimately neutral force which cares nothing for whatever morality its prey ascribes to it.
The Subsiders in Daybreakers. The regular vampires feed on blood but retain enough human qualities for some of them to even be sympathetic characters, but the Subsiders are feral monsters that kill on sight and prey on vampires and humans alike.
Dr. Laurel Weaver: You don't want to eat me. I'm a very important person on my planet. Like a queen, a goddess even. There are those who worship me. I'm not saying this to impress you, I'm just warning you it could start a war.
"Edgar": War? Good! That means more food for my family! All 78 million of them! That's a lot of mouths to feed, your Highness!
Orcs and goblins in the Fighting Fantasy books are always evil. Dark elves are an interesting case — in most books, they are portrayed as powerful and very, very evil, but in Night Dragon, they become allies against the evilerNight Dragon. The first one the player meets explains that he doesn't want to see his entire race destroyed, just as the PC, a human, would not want to see all humans wiped out.
The book Titan, which serves as the backgrounder for the world that most Fighting Fantasy books are set in, subverts this trope with the Halfhand brothers. The humans Rerek and Myzar Halfhand, and their human followers, invaded and slaughtered a nation of orcs that were living in a fertile territory that the humans wanted. The book Lampshades the fact that the humans were very much in the wrong in this case, since they were the ones who attacked the orcs first, even though the humans are also celebrated as the heroes!
Both used and subverted in the Lone Wolf franchise. Those beings created directly by Naar, the God of Darkness, such as Agarash and the Darklords, have his essence in place of the souls that living creatures possess, accounting for their Always Chaotic Evil nature. Their servants, such as the orc-like Giaks, are evil only because they have never had any other choice, having been bred and used as warrior-slaves for generations. They do not know love, kindness, or compassion because they have never seen it, and readers are swiftly led to feel pity for them even as they kill and torture their way across the heroes' homelands. Also, anyone described as "swarthy" is not to be trusted (leading to some veryUnfortunate Implications).
The Yeerks are built up as a monolithically evil species who enslave other races because they're dicks. However, we later learn that Yeerks without hosts are almost blind and deaf, and can only swim about feebly in small pools; thus, the fact that they possess other species is understandable, if not commendable. Later still, we encounter Yeerks who do not agree with enslaving other species and either enter a voluntary commensal relationship, or live out their lives in Yeerk Pools. Even later, we find out that the Iskoort, which consist of the 'isk' and the 'yoort' (the later of which is basically a yeerk) generate artificial bodies to live in which have no minds of their own.
Taxxons are vicious, cannibalistic monsters who are constantly in the grip of an absolutely irresistible hunger, and who apparently voluntarily submitted themselves to Yeerk domination. However, they are also intelligent, and there is a group of rebels on their home world fighting against the Yeerks. Their vicious nature is a result of evolving on one of the harshest planets in the galaxy. In the end, they all morph into pythons and live out their lives as animals to escape the constant hunger. The reason they volunteered themselves for controllership was also an attempt to free themselves of the hunger. This didn't work.
The Hork-Bajir seem evil (they look like dinosaurs with knives growing all over them), but once we meet free Hork-Bajir, they turn out to be peaceful and good-natured. They didn't even have a concept of war before the Yeerks invaded their planet; when Dak Hamee first gets attacked by a Hork-Bajir-Controller, he cannot understand what's happening, since the thought of another Hork-Bajir purposefully hurting him had never occurred to him before.The blades growing from their bodies are for climbing and harvesting tree bark, their main food source. They were, in fact, genetically engineered by the natives of their homeworld to keep the world's decidedly fragile ecosystem stable by acting as a species of arboretum-keepers.
They're referred to as "weapon races" on several occasions, and it's stated pretty specifically that the Consult used a combination of magic and stranger things (that is, science) to create them. We see one of the races' perspectives, and they're sex-crazed, intelligent dogs who get off on violence — exactly as their creators intended.
The good witches of L. Frank Baum's Oz books were a subversion of witches as Always Chaotic Evil.
As well, in The Film of the BookThe Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch's guards are expected to be the Mook version of this trope, but once Dorothy defeats the Witch, the guards thank her and praise her. This doesn't happen in the book, as it was explicitly stated that the Wicked Witch had enslaved the Winkies (the people of Western Oz).
Subverted in most of the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Several races in his science fiction novels appear to be evil, but on closer inspection, it is usually revealed that they are evil because of some aspect of their culture rather than anything inherent.
The cannibal men of U-Gor in the seventh Martian novel turned to cannibalism out of desperation because their President Evil enforced policies that led to starvation.
The hideous Coripies from the Pellucidar novels are antisocial and violent because they kill women who have a lot of children to control their population, making women hate their children, and men avoid sexual relations with any woman they like.
The Mahar of Pellucidar seem to be evil at first, but turn out to have a sense of justice and honor. Also, the Mahar don't know humans are anything other than animals, since they are deaf and communicate through telepathy, and thus can't hear human speech. (Admittedly, missing human tool-using and technology, even of a Paleolithic culture like most of Pellucidar, seems pretty Too Dumb to Live for a species which is supposed to be at least as smart as humans, probably smarter....)
The Wieroo in the Caspak trilogy come a little closer, in that we're never explicitly told why they developed their sadistic religion. But when you discover that your entire race is doomed because you can't produce fertile women...except that you can reproduce with normal humans...who unfortunately consider you hideous monsters, and thus will never willingly sleep with you...well, it's still awful, but unsurprising that something had to give.
The countries and, thus, races in the Belgariad are dramatically stereotyped: the Drasnians are sneaky Chaotic Neutrals or Chaotic Goods, while the Arends are all brash to the point of stupidity and definitely belong somewhere in a pseudo-medieval hierarchy. The bad guys are split into a number of groups, but can all be described simply as "bad guys".
In the sequel series, the Malloreon, however, the author takes great pains to humanize at least some of the bad guys, usually by adding them to the protagonist's adventuring party. At that point, the Angarak nations get more distinguished by their individual hats than the fact that they're evil.
The author handwaves this by having the "races" be the product of selection by the gods: Chaldan, god of the Arends, values courage over brains. So when he got to select his chosen people, he picked accordingly, and things got predictably out of hand from there. Likewise, the Angaraks were bad guys in large part because they were driven to it by a bad god who wasn't pushing them in the sequel, being dead.
The author also justifies this in the Belgariad by stating that the three "bad guy" countries are controlled by a rigid and invasive religious hierarchy of the cruel god. This means that, for the Belgariad, all the antagonists are products of a chaotic evil society. The most "liberal" of the three is still populated by people who fear the priest caste. The fourth "bad guy" country is governed by a more cosmopolitan and urbane group, and, thus, is less chaotic.
The Nadraks and Thulls are never really presented as evil. The Nadraks tend to be more closely aligned with the Drasnians than their fellow Angaraks, and the Thulls are straight up victims of Angarak society and will quite happily surrender to any western force that happens by just to get away from the Grolims.
The dark elves (a.k.a. moredhel, a.k.a. Brotherhood of the Dark Path) from Raymond E. Feist's Midkemia series are presented as ruthless, murderous, and unscrupulous. In an interesting twist, they are of the same blood as the eledhel, the High Elves of the series. It's explained that their differences are solely cultural, and that their cruel tendencies are mostly due to the lingering influence of their former dragon rider masters, the destructive Valheru. They're shown to have grey areas, and have Proud Warrior Race Guy and Noble Demon tendencies. Occasionally, a moredhel will leave his or her people and join the eledhel, after which, he or she is considered an eledhel.
The various extradimensional creatures, such as the demons and the Dread, neither of which have ever been shown doing anything besides trying to destroy the world and devour all life. They're too alien to life on our plane to coexist peacefully with it.
The Dasati in the Darkwar subseries are introduced as Always Chaotic Evil, to the point that their society hunts down and kills their own pregnant women and children to ensure that only the strongest will survive their attacks, and there are no doctors or healers. However, we quickly learn that there is a secret society known as the White that is working to reform their culture, and they are not irredeemably evil.
The one race in the Riftwar-verse that is utterly and irredeemably evil is the Valheru, a.k.a. The Dragon Lords. Beings of nigh-godlike power, who ride dragons throughout the multiverse, looting whatever worlds capture their fancy, and killing and eating all manner of other creatures, including each other. While not sadistic, the Valheru are power-hungry, completely immoral, and so powerful that they cannot be allowed to be free...well, anywhere.
Though the novels themselves point out that the Valheru aren't so much evil as they are other - they come from a time when good and evil were meaningless concepts, unlike the modern world after new gods arose, and as such, can't really be allowed free reign anywhere in it because they upset the balance of the universe just by doing what Valheru do (which is to say, whatever they please).
In the Redwall series, the species of a character alone will (almost) always tell you if they're good (mice, moles, shrews) or evil (rats, ferrets, stoats). Even one of the evil species who was raised in Redwall turns out bad, because it's apparently In the Blood. Cats seem to be the only species to avoid this, as there are examples of good and evil cats in the series.
Veil in The Outcast of Redwallturns good at the end of the book. However, he dies from it. Bryony's theory is that he turned bad precisely because it was expected of him; he was always accused of theft when something went missing and generally treated like a bomb about to go off by the rest of the Abbeydwellers, so he started living up to their expectations out of spite.
Then there's Blaggut from The Bellmaker, the only vermin who isn't evil from the moment of his entrance. He's a decent guy who gets manipulated by his traditionally-evil captain. Eventually, he strangles the captain to death for having murdered the abbey's Badger Mother, and then leaves Redwall out of guilt. It's established that he pays it regular visits afterward, and the Dibbuns are very fond of him.
And Romsca, though she doesn't last very long either.
The biggest exception to this rule is at the end of Marlfox, when almost all of the rats under the Marlfoxes' control do a Heel-Face Turn and become peaceful.
Brian Jacques, the author of the Redwall series, has explained on his website that most of his animal creations are based on the mythological interpretations of the animals — wolves and foxes are sly and clever creatures, badgers are noble and proud, and birds such as sparrows are based on the author's personal observations of sparrows in his back yard.
Parodied by Something Awful.note Note that in the second book, Mossflower, genocide was explicitly rejected by the characters as a valid way to deal with their enemies.
The various Shadowspawn from The Wheel of Time are a case of the "artificially created to be evil" variety, being genetically engineered to be the Dark One's slaves. With different kinds of Shadowspawn, we see different variations on this trope.
Trollocs and Draghkar are exceptionally violent, bloodthirsty animals who are too stupid to know what they're doing is wrong.
The gholam has human intelligence but is a straightforward living weapon and quite proud of that fact. However, he takes a dispassionate view of his purpose, and is not usually malicious, being more like a Punch Clock Villain: he was created to be an assassin, so he assassinates. Also, he needs to drink fresh human blood to survive. As he puts it, "Fish must swim, birds must fly, I must kill."
The Myrddraal, though, are definitely the creepiest - the commanders of the Shadowspawn, they are absolutely emotionless and driven to conquer the world for the Dark One. They derive no pleasure from anything except inflicting pain (and they don't show it - the fact that they go out of their way to do it in the first place is the only indicator that they like it) and have a heavily implied fetish for raping human women, which almost always drives the victim insane (why they do that is probably best left unknwon). It's very telling that the Dark One himself uses a modified Myrddraal, Shaidar Haran, as his mouthpiece.
Neil Gaiman played with this in his short story A Study in Emerald. However, it does acknowledge the evil-alignment at the end, when it is implied that the detective-hero is not actually Sherlock Holmes, but his antagonist, who is working against the evil he perceives in the Great Old Ones, is. Considering that it's blatantly stated that the Old Ones eat people, and that the peace they brought to the Earth is one of terror and subjugation, I'd say he's not playing with it that much.
It doesn't help that Lovecraft treats actual human "races" in a very similar manner (read the descriptions of the cultists in The Call of Cthulhu for a fine example), besides creating several inbred communities in rural America and the infamous fishmen of Innsmouth, who stand out as an ugly, racist metaphor concerning immigrants. The entire basis of Lovecraft's horror is set firmly upon the idea that anything alien or different is terrifyingly evil and he was apparently rather open about his xenophobia, even going so far as to tell his Jewish wife that he thought mixed marriages were a bad idea. To be fair, Lovecraft also had no trouble in writing about degenerate, barbaric white people, and did it with far greater frequency than writing against the blacks.
His racism aside, the Always Chaotic Evil nature of the beings in the Lovecraft mythos was because their psychology and morality were normal to them, but completely alien to humans.
Averted in the case of the Elder Things. The narrator even praises their determination:
"poor Lake, poor Gedney... and poor Old Ones! Scientists to the last - what had they done that we would not have done in their place? God, what intelligence and persistence! What a facing of the incredible, just as those carven kinsmen and forbears had faced things only a little less incredible! Radiates, vegetables, monstrosities, star spawn - whatever they had been, they were men!"
Also averted for the Great Race of the Yith in Shadow Out Of Time. What at first seems a rather straightforwardly, almost supernaturally evil plan, stealing the bodies of mankind as hosts for a race of time-traveling aliens, actually becomes rather sympathetic over the course of the story. The Yith aren't really aggressive so much as they're desperate to preserve the galactic heritage of accumulated knowledge that they tend, and are using body-switching as a last resort to escape from actual mindlessly evil beings they're losing a war against. They give their inadvertent captive freedom to move around and are even nice enough to explain things to him so that he doesn't freak out... essentially because they're being nice, as if they'd left him an incoherent broken-down wreck it would have concealed their activities completely. They're still planning to displace humanity, they just have a very reasonable attitude and aren't actively malicious about it, and kinda feel for us.
Subverted in China Miéville's The Scar. The Grindylows are set up like this, but it is revealed that they are merely zealous defenders of hearth and home. A throwaway line in the next novel, Iron Council, reveals that they have become allies of New Crobuzon against Tesh.
The Mijaki in Karen Miller's Godspeaker Trilogy that had to be contained with their own land so they wouldn't overrun the world, which they do.
The Dead in Garth Nix's Old Kingdom trilogy. They were originally humans, but have been reanimated. They'll suck the Life out of anything even if they aren't allied under a necromancer. Being an animated, twisted sin against the cosmic order will do that to ya.
The Urgals from Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle seem to be this. Apparently, they've hated humanity from the get-go (and vice-versa), and when Galbatorix tries to convince his subjects that the Urgals weren't actually evil, just misunderstood, absolutely no one believes him. The Urgals are presented as primitive, monstrous creatures that have no issues with killing and will do anything to get what they want, which seems to be death to all the other races.
Subverted later in the series, when we learn that Urgals have organized society and were misled by Galbatorix; they start helping the Varden after they realize what a screwup the whole arrangement was.
The Ra'zac are this trope played straight.
The Posleen from John Ringo's Legacy of the Aldenata series at first seem to be this - they are a voracious Horde of Alien Locusts that loot worlds and eat the inhabitants. However, it is later revealed that they are genetically engineered Super Soldiers created by a long-gone alien race, and are merely following their programming. Individual Posleen even show some level of nobility when they are viewpoint characters. Michael O'Neal, Jr even comments that he does not hate the Posleen, but if he ever runs into their creators, he'll really hate them.
R.A. Salvatore plays with this trope in his Forgotten Realmsbooks. Denizens of the Abyssal planes fit the trope; drow mostly stay true, with one very notable exception (and a small group of Chaotic Good drow that end up dead); orcs were monolithically portrayed as such until Obould showed up and started civilizin' the lot.
The Koloss in Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy, explained in the third book by appropriately horrific sorts of mutation and mind control. Played with in the form of Kelsier, the Legendary Hero Whose Name The Masses Whisper In The Iron Grip Of The Evil Emperor, who thinks of everyone on the opposing side as Agents Of The Darkest Evil Who Must Be Purged. Most of his crew, while on board with the whole rebellion thing, are deeply unnerved.
As a devout Catholic who believed in spiritual salvation, the idea of a race of inherently or irredeemably evil creatures was one of Tolkien's major sticking points with his own work. He spent much of the latter part of his life as a writer trying to justify it. He never did come up with an explanation that satisfied him.
The makers of the movie trilogy were concerned that the idea of a race being evil by definition seemed racist, claiming that in Tolkien's time, people didn't mind such stuff. Hence, the added scene where Uruk-Hai are created from the earth in Saruman's dungeons. This is not mentioned in the book, but is one of the author's earliest ideas for their origins, as an attempt at the "artificial origin" justification. Tolkien later believed that evil cannot create new life, so the Orcs and other monsters must be bred and corrupted from natural people and animals.
These later explanations of Orcs can be seen as an exploration of institutionalized abuse and slavery. While they may be a "species" genetically distinct from their Elf and/or Human ancestors, their evil cultures resulted from millennia of slavery, Religion of Evil, and deliberate corruption. They are less inherently evil than a race that's been warped by external forces into cannon fodder. Tolkien even wrote "deep in their dark hearts the Orcs loathed the Master (Morgoth) whom they served in fear, the maker only of their misery."
Perhaps the most tragic and frightening thing about Orcs and Trolls is that we can never know what they would be like if Morgoth and Sauron hadn't ruined them, or if any of them were able to grow up in a less cruel culture. They're never given the opportunity to be anything but evil. They're raised in cultures that encourage hoarding and greed and hatred, and the differences between them incite the violent tendencies bred into them by the Dark Lords. In an Orc society, cooperation would reduce your own chance of survival in a dangerous situation (i.e. leave your partner to the wolves and escape on your own). Sauron's propaganda also convinced them that their enemies, particularly Elves, were even crueller than Orcs, to discourage them from ever surrendering in battle.
In one letter, Tolkien points out that some Orcs display courage and tribal loyalty if nothing else, and that they wouldn't have been able to function as well if they were completely evil. And he was generally quite good at giving individual Orcs distinct personalities.
In fact, Elrond explicitly states that, in the Battle of the Mount Doom, *all living beings except Elves stood divided*. So it is obvious that there are in fact good (at least for a certain definition of "good") Orcs and Trolls, just that we don't see them.
Trolls: Aside from Treebeard's theory (above), Tolkien suggested that Trolls were artificially created from stones. Yet in The Hobbit, William the Troll has mercy on Bilbo and insists that the other Trolls let him go. William "had already had as much supper as he could hold; also he had had lots of beer." The other Trolls also seem reasonable, but are concerned that there may be other 'burrahobbits' in the woods and don't want to be attacked in their sleep.
Wolves: taking his cue from mythologies in which wolves are always evil. The only mention of normal, non-evil wolves is in The Fellowship of the Ring when Gandalf mentions that natural wolves would only attack people out of hunger.
In the case of Dragons and Werewolves, the first ones were in fact Fallen Angels and the others are their descendants, so you can bet they didn't grow up in loving, affectionate families. The Giant Spiders are also the descendants of a Fallen Angel or Eldritch Abomination.
Humans: The Easterlings, Haradrim, and other so-called "evil Men" were not as evil as they appeared. In fact, it is implied that they only serve the Big Bad because of lies and promises made to them (and never kept), or just fear of the Dark Lord. For example, in "The Two Towers" the Dunlendings are amazed when they are freed by the men of Rohan, having been told they burn prisoners alive. In the First Age, the biblical Original Sin took the form of the first Humans worshipping Morgoth out of ignorance when he went into the East. The evil Men come from cultures which never rebelled against Morgoth, whereas the good Men (including some Easterlings in The Silmarillion) rebelled and fled to the western end of Middle-earth.
In addition, many of the "evil" Humans of Middle-earth had legitimately suffered abuse by the Númenóreans in the late Second Age, who ruled over them as tyrants, taxed them heavily, often enslaved them and destroyed their livelihoods (e.g., by clear-cutting their forest homes), and abducted people for Human Sacrifice. Between that and Sauron's various propaganda and lies, they believed the folk of Gondor and Rohan to be evil and cruel.
Supplementary material has the last two Wizards starting rebellions against Sauron in their homelands. So the good Haradrim and Easterlings were busy dealing with problems in their own lands.
Originally Tolkien intended the Dwarves as this but while writing The Hobbit decided to make the Dwarves better.
The "Trolls" in The Apocalypse Troll by David Weber. Though only one is technically featured, the rest are described as just as psychopathic, manipulative, and omnicidal. They're like robots, but with the apparent ability to choose not to kill everything in their path — they just choose to do so, most of the time.
Unfortunately, they're not actual robots. They're human brains, often cloned when "fresh" ones are unavailable — and guess how they get the fresh ones — which are then tortured horribly to the point where all they want to do is kill everything in revenge for being made into what they now are. Given the choice, which they do not have, they'd turn on their masters in a heartbeat. Then go back to killing humans because it's "fun". Their creators, nicknamed the Kangas (and guess what they look like), are psychopathically xenophobic because of their religion that states that anything appearing as a non-Kanga is the Devil in another disguise.
The Yuuzhan Vong are initially introduced as being pure evil down to the last warrior, but it turns out that they're caught up in the stranglehold of a Religion of Evil that is manipulated by their insane leadership. Over the course of the later books, we're introduced to Vong who are more human, for lack of a better word, and in the end, a lot of them wind up doing a Heel-Face Turn or committing suicide when they find out that the gods they were fighting for were either horribly misinterpreted or (in one case) didn't exist at all.
Being Scary Dogmatic Aliens is a cultural thing (due to living under a Religion of Evil for millennia). There's nothing in the Vong's genetic makeup that causes them to be evil, and several of them are given sympathetic POVs later in the series (Nen Yim, Harrar, Vua Rapuung — even Nom Anor to an extent). Jacen explicitly says they're no better or worse than humans would be under the same situation.
In the Warrior Cats series, ShadowClan is always branded as this by everyone (particularly ThunderClan). Despite the fact that the only ShadowClan cats who were ever truly evil were Brokenstar and Clawface.
The more recent books have subverted this with ShadowClan being nothing more than a rival Clan, and most opposition come from WindClan instead.
Also subverted with Bluestar's Prophecy, where ThunderClan faces the most opposition from RiverClan, and never had to deal with ShadowClan. It seems that different Clans end up being seen as "evil" depending on the political atmosphere (ThunderClan was actually branded as evil for a while early in Bluestar's Prophecy after their unprovoked raid on WindClan camp).
Played straight in the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant with the Cavewights (though it is established that they weren't always evil), and subverted with the ur-viles. Despite their name, the latter are less evil than they are alien and inscrutable, and are allied with the Big Bad only to advance their own ends. In the second and third series, they apparently decide that helping the heroes advances said ends better. Unfortunately, as they either can't or won't speak English, we're not entirely sure what those ends are...
There are probably more examples in Perry Rhodan than anyone would care to mention here, but just in the newest arc (which started only a few weeks ago) there is a race of Big Bads (who can't really die) who have genetically grown really bad mooks at their disposal, in almost unlimited quantities.
The Grik in Taylor Anderson's Destroyermen series, although "Always Lawful Evil" would be more accurate, and in the third book, the Alliance meets a member of a different but related species that's not evil. Further, in the fourth book, the Alliance finds some Grik who, possibly as a result of being cut off from their army for several months, are willing to surrender and give peace a chance. Grik are berserkers, more or less; they don't surrender. But these do.
Although they don't go 'round cackling about it (much), the Melnibonean culture in Michael Moorcock's Elric series is evil by definition. Torture, slavery, betrayal, cruelty, sadism, and ruthlessness are prized traits in their "civilization." Essentially, the decaying race of Melnibone is a decadent form of evil elves. Elric is by far the best of them, and he is a Grade-A Anti-Hero who betrays his kingdom because even he feels that Melnibone as a whole just needs killin'.
Melniboneans are, in fact, the inspiration for Dungeons & Dragons' dark elves, which clarifies a few things.
We have yet to hear about the Others' perspective on anything (they've appeared so little thus far), and G.R.R. Martin has hinted we might in the future.
Also, there's at least one character who is implied to be a heroic Other.
Subverted with the Dark Court of The Fair Folk in Wicked Lovely. They often seem to be Always Chaotic Evil, but as we learn more about them, it is increasingly revealed that this is not the case. They aren't evil, just cruel. They have to be, they feed off the darker emotions (rage, lust, fear, pain, etc).
"We are what we are, Niall. Neither as good nor as evil as others paint us." ~ Irial.
Discworld has the Fairies, most of which are Always Chaotic Evil, although Nac Mac Feegle are more Always Chaotic Neutral. And the Auditors, who are Always Lawful Evil (from humanity's point of view) except, eventually, for Myria LeJean. And the Things from the Dungeon Dimensions, which are beyond human morality, and often too stupid to understand it. And Demons, who are evil. Every other race, however, subverts this by being stereotyped as vicious monsters by humans but actually being mostly quite nice.
Played with in Unseen Academicals. Mr. Nutt learns that he is not a goblin as he has always believed; he is an orc, a race seen as this trope. He expects everyone to hate him, but the people of Ankh-Morpork are rather blase about it at this point, having dealt with and accepted (to varying degrees) trolls, vampires, zombies, and golems. "Mild interest" is the worst reaction he gets. In fact, it's the authorities (read Vetinari, Margolotta, Ridcully) that think once the truth gets out, both Nutt and the public will go insane from the knowledge, resulting in much violence from both sides. They end up really underestimating just how much weirdness the Ankh-Morpork public is used to (with most of the weirdness originating from the authorities themselves). The most interest Nutt gets is a fashion magazine article (everyone else is far more interested in the newest supermodel to hit town).It also plays with Tolkien's idea that orcs are grotesquely tortured and mutated elves; in this case, yes, except replace "elves" with humans, because nasty as elves are, there's no one for inventive cruelty quite like a human.
Overall, Pratchett likes playing with this trope. Elves are ACE because of the parasitic nature of their home universe: we never hear of a pureblooded elf settling on Discworld, but half-elves exist and are morally no different from humans. Orcs were bred to be ACE but have ceased to be so now that the power that created them no longer exists. Demons are evil because it's their job; not all of them seem to enjoy it, or to be evil when they don't have to be. Vampires have a predatory culture and a major corruption-of-power issue, but are still perfectly capable of rubbing along with other species. Noble dragons are brutal and merciless because that's how people imagine they are, but one is still horrified to learn that humans can be that way and claim it's good.
In the rare case when a genuinely evil villain appears in Discworld, it's usually either a human psychopath (Teatime, Carcer, Duchess Felmet) who plainly enjoys being one, or a product of human cruelty (Spider the Rat King).
The moul in Pratchett's The Carpet People are this but it was his first novel, written and published when he was seventeen who in the Author's Note at the beginning of the rewritten and reissued edition is stated as having very different ideas about what fantasy was all about than he does now. Even so they are the way they are because they've mistaken a natural sort of. It's implied that The Fray is just a human vacuuming phenomenon for a God of Destruction and think they're just obeying It's will.
In The Guardians, both the nosferatu and the demons are Always Chaotic Evil. Justified in that the demons are FallenAngels who followed Lucifer in his rebellion against God, and the nosferatu are the angels who did not choose a side and were cast down to Earth.
All three kinds of vampires are regarded as this by the White Council, and it's largely accurate. Black Court vampires are straight-up killing machines, Red Court are vicious predators who can at least put on a veneer of humanity to manipulate their victims, but are completely dominated by blood-lust. White Court are a subversion (or possibly deconstruction) - they are essentially composed of a human and demon in symbiosis, and while the demon is an Always Chaotic Evil predator, the human is capable of good or evil (though resisting the demon when it's hungry is nigh impossible, so most White Court vampires never even bother - with rare exceptions like Thomas).
Ghouls are vicious, predatory creatures who tend to be the supernatural community's go-to Psychos for Hire.
Winter Court fairies aren't necessarily evil (Blue and Orange Morality is in full swing with all fairies) but they're pretty uniformly harsh, unforgiving, and dangerous, even when they're legitimately trying to be helpful.
Demons are a pretty straight example, as are Fallen Angels (though in this case, they're Fallen because they're evil, not the other way around).
In Jim Butcher'sCodex Alera series, this is averted and played straight. The Marat, Canim and Icemen are all considered mindless killing machine races by the Alerans, until Tavi gets to know them. The Vord play this straight, obeying mind-controlled direction from their Queens, whose Purpose is to subsume all life into their race.
Justified in John Ringo's Council Wars series. The Changed who make up the majority of New Destiny's military forces may be innocent victims, but thanks to the engineering of Mad Scientist Celine Reinshafen, they're evil, raping, pillaging, killing machines to the core. When they aren't just Dumb Muscle, who are also evil.
Played with the Fammin in the Chronicles of the Emerged World. They were created by the resident Big Bad Aster as his faithful and ruthless soldiers, but there are some members called the "Wrong Ones" who have feelings and free will, but are forced to obey orders as their names are magical spells. After Aster's death, the Fammin lose any hostile behaviour, and so the free people decide to let them live in peace.
The title race in S.M. Stirlings Shadowspawn series, except for Adrian, the Defector from Decadence, although since Adrian is that way from having been kidnapped and raised by a human, it's implied there might be hope for others, which is why he kidnaps his children in the second book from his sister, their mother.
Trolls in Liavek are said to be this. It's hard to be sure, since only one troll is shown. He fits, but since we never see another one...
Ewu are treated this way in Who Fears Death, because they are the product of violence, they are expected to become violent in their future.
In the The Berenstain Bears cartoon and spin-off Bear Scouts series, the weasels, led by Weasel McGreed are depicted this way. Every weasel character encountered by the protagonists is evil, with no exceptions.
In The Chronicles of Narnia, certain races, such as Ogres, Hags, and Minotaurs, are always this way. In Prince Caspian, Caspian and his followers immediately reject the idea of recruiting the few surviving Werewolves and Hags for their army, even though they have a common enemy. Partially averted in the second and third films, in which the Minotaurs have undergone a hoof-face turn.
In Wen Spencer's Tinker series, the oni. Their chief characteristic is a total Lack of Empathy. They do not exterminate other races, though — they use them for breeding stock.
The Weavers from Weavers of Saramyr. This is a group who, after Weaving, lose themselves to a post-Weaving mania that can be satisfied in a variety of ways including painting or singing, but more often than not takes the form of rape, necrophilia, coprophagy, torture, cannibalism and any number of other depravities that they no longer have the conscience to inhibit. This is in addition to their overall goal of transforming the world into a barren, volcanic, mortal aspect of a god of destruction who wants to kill all the other gods and conquer existence.
Dementors from Harry Potter. This is a race that cares for nothing except sucking up human happiness. The only way to get them on your side is to give them a bunch of human souls to suck on. Even if you can do that, they'll turn on you the second someone else shows up with a better deal. To make it even scarier, they're apparently capable of breeding and immortal. This is averted, however, with some races which are normally given this treatment. For example, goblins are True NeutralLoan Sharks, but they're not considered inherently evil.
In the InCryptid universe, the telepathic predators known as "cuckoos"; the Price family, whose entire deal is peaceful cohabitation with nonhumans, has a shoot-on-sight order for them. Every cuckoo is by human standards an insane sociopath, literally from birth; pregnant cuckoos spend nine months telepathically immersing the fetus in their worldview, and by the time the kid is born, the conditioning is in deep. The only known exceptions are a cuckoo with no receptive telepathy and the adoptive daughter she spent a great deal of time deprogramming.
The kif from the Chanur Saga have nothing resembling a conscience or sense of morality. Their entire society operates off of I Fight for the Strongest Side, and a résumé from a kif would be a rap sheet in any other civilization.
In Poul Anderson's Sargasso of Lost Starships, the aliens. Driven mad by the long dying of their world — they are vicious and sadistic — fortunately they also rely heavily on their psychic powers and do not, therefore, use tactics.
Goosebumps: The HorrorLand monsters, who run a deadly amusement park to kill families for fun. They may act welcoming and friendly at times, but don't let this fool you — it's an act. They'd serve you up for lunch as soon as amuse you. And their idea of "amusing people" is to scare them to death or put them in lethal traps.
The Kibmadine from A. E. van Vogt's short story The Silkie. Telepathic, shapeshifting literal sexual predators whose chief delight is changing the victims' terror into a longing to be eaten alive.
The orgs of Power Rangers Wild Force, or so it seems at first: The Empath Cole gets nothing from them saying they lack hearts entirely, but the Big Bad is a former human, who also registers as truly heartless. Also, in the end, the three main Duke Orgs reform. There's good in a Merrickless Zen-Aku but not Dr. Adler.
Cylons in the original Battlestar Galactica. The Cylons in the original series were not created by humans, but by a different and now-extinct race. They were more like a weapon that got out of control than a species in their own right, as the newer series's Cylons were.
The 2000s Battlestar is considerably more nuanced. Indeed, the logical impossibility of an Always Chaotic Evil race is Helo's argument against the proposed genocide of the Cylons in the episode "A Measure of Salvation". He really hammers home the point when talking to his Cylon wife, after she says she "chose to be a person."
"You were a person before you put on that uniform, okay? You were a person before I fell in love with you."
Babylon 5: The Drakh are this trope. They are portrayed as universally obsessed with exacting "revenge", at all scales from Mind Rape to genocide, over all other races, for the departure of the Shadows. The species has no internal "good guys", deeper motivations, or other redeeming qualities.
Subverted in Brimstone; the escaped souls are often evil, and one would expect them to be, but at least a few were shown to have been genuinely good people who made horrific decisions, or. in at least one case, were doing what they believed to be the best, only to then be judged by another religion's values, after dying. One was even so genuinely contrite and seeking redemption that he was taken to heaven instead of sent back to hell upon his recapture.
The show Reaper, which has a similar premise, has an episode introducing a soul who was fighting to control murderous impulses. He eventually acknowledged that the best thing was for him to go back to Hell until he sorted himself out.
In Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, this applies to vampires, who lose their human souls (and thus, their sense of right and wrong) along with their humanity. Interestingly, this isn't true of other kinds of demons, especially in Angel and the later seasons of Buffy; some are always evil, but some may be neutral, and there are apparently even "good demons" dwelling on other planes of existence.
This is an unusual case because, even though the show's vampires are explicitly Always Chaotic Evil, Buffy the Vampire Slayer gives many of them engaging and unique personalities, undercutting the usual (narrative) reason for this trope, which is to provide a supply of faceless, evil mooks who can be killed without Moral Dissonance.
Further subverted by characters like Spike and Harmony - despite being evil, both were capable of caring about human beings (the Summers girls and occasionally the witches for Spike; Cordelia and Fred for Harmony) and being voluntarily helpful towards those they liked. Harmony even stopped killing people so that she could advance in a workplace run by the "good guys".
This also leads to Fridge Brilliance, as vampires and demons were presented as Always Chaotic Evil, but became more and more grey as the series went on. The clincher? They were presented to Buffy this way through the Watchers' Council, a conspiracy that was slowly revealed to be corrupt and full of Knight Templar tendencies at the same time that complexities began showing up in the initial "demons are Always Chaotic Evil" mantra.
In addition, when all the main characters' memories are wiped in "Tabula Rasa", Spike does not re-discover his thirst for human blood, not even realising that he is a vampire until he vamps out during combat, which could suggest that vampires in the Buffyverse do not in fact fit this trope.
Doctor Who has a few of these, although they usually have a reason. For example:
In "The Evil of the Daleks", a sub-species of "Good Daleks" is created by the Doctor infecting them with the "Human Factor"; that is, human emotions and a sense of conscience. This results in a full-scale civil war between the two factions which allegedly destroyed the entire species. Terry Nation, the Daleks' creator, had planned to license them out to a US network for their own show, and expected that they would not be available for Doctor Who for the foreseeable future (the idea went nowhere). When the Daleks eventually returned five years later, some dialogue was filmed explaining that the "Good Daleks" had been wiped out, but this was edited out, leaving their canon fate ambiguous. But a story in Doctor Who Magazine's Eighth Doctor comics, "Children of the Revolution", was all about the Doctor and Izzy meeting the Human Factor Daleks, who survived and were hiding peacefully in the oceans of a planet about to be colonized by humans. The story ends up with the entire Dalek colony sacrificing themselves to stop the Big Bad, though.
In "Dalek," one of the last surviving Daleks uses Rose Tyler's DNA to rejuvenate itself and starts to develop a conscience as a result. It kills itself before it can turn wholly good, though, because it can't handle the conflict between Rose Tyler's goodness and its own violent xenophobia.
In "Evolution of the Daleks,"Dalek Sec turns good after merging with a human. The other Daleks, though, really hammer home how evil they are:
Solomon: Daleks, ain't we the same? Underneath, ain't we all kin? See, I've just discovered, this past day, that God's universe is a thousand times the size I thought it was. And that scares me. Oh, yeah, terrifies me right down to the bone. (Hopeful music starts playing) But surely it's got to give me hope, hope that maybe, together, we can make a better tomorrow. So, I beg you, now, if you have any compassion in your hearts, then you'll meet with us, and stop this fightin'. Well... what do you say? Dalek:Exterminate! (shoots him)
In the episode "Journey's End", Dalek Caan is also revealed to have performed a Heel-Face Turn after looking into the Time Vortex and coming to truly see the Daleks as they are.
In "Asylum of the Daleks,"Oswin Oswald has been converted into a Dalek but refuses to accept the conversion. At first, she retreats into a fantasy world in which she is still human. Eventually, though, the Doctor pulls her head out of the sand, and she performs a Heroic Sacrifice to let the Doctor escape and undermine the Dalek Empire.
Interestingly enough, in their first appearance, the Always Lawful Good Thals claimed that before the war that wrecked Skaro, the Daleks were the thinkers and the Thals the warriors.
The original Cybermen had lost all their emotions after being cybernetically reconstructed, and couldn't see why someone wouldn't want to "become like us". The new series's version is closer to the Daleks, but they still try to Cyber-convert their victims instead of just killing everyone. And similarly to the Daleks, the Cybermen have had a few good specimens, mostly humans who weren't fully converted and refused to hop on the Cyber-bandwagon. These specimens include Yvonne Hartman, Danny Pink, The Brigadier, and the Doctor himself, as well as pretty much any Cyberman who loses the emotional inhibitor, realizes what it's become, and kills itself.
The Sontarans: Proud Warrior Race Guys who worship war; they're all clones of one guy, churned out by the trillions to fight an endless war against shapeshifting green blobs. And they fit into this trope as being Sometimes Lawful Neutral, since their actions always have a military objective and, unless they involve Earth, are not good or evil at face value.
The best subversion of this would be the Sontaran in the episode "A Good Man Goes To War". After being punished for something his clone pod did, he's forced into the worst Sontaran punishment possible — caring for the weak and dying — a nurse. He goes around healing the people wounded in battle, nursing newborns, and even comes to help the Doctor rescue Amy and her child. In the end, when he's killed in battle, we discover that he no longer considered himself a warrior.
The Nestene, who have spent a thousand million years colonising other worlds, apparently wiping out the local populations in the process. Even losing their planet in the Time War doesn't alter their behaviour, as their response is to invade Earth to make it their new home.
The Weeping Angels: Abstract alien entities from the "Dark Age" of the universe when the Time Lords were ascending to prominence, known to be filled with all manner of evil creatures. They are, apparently, the ideas of living things come to life to torture and kill us, which is a pretty scary concept. Their normal way of killing someone is actually rather nice- they send you back in time to a point where you can lead a full and happy life, dying eventually from old age long before you would have normally. They do this because they feed off of your "potential" energy, that you would have used. They can also kill you and feed off your potential energy that way; in "The Time of Angels," they kill people, and rip out at least one spinal cord to use as a communications device.
The Reavers in Firefly. It's never quite explained why they don't kill/rape/eat each other, even though they travel in such massive groups.
As revealed in the movie, Serenity, Reavers are infected with a chemical agent that, in .1% of the population, causes uncontrolled aggression. Given that Reavers mutilate themselves for no reason at all, the idea that they don't rape/kill/eat each other is probably because other Reavers wouldn't care about having it done TO them. On their home world, they didn't attack the 99.9% who simply became overly passive, most likely because the "passives" wouldn't have given a crap either way.
And that woman was part of a team sent to investigate why all communication with the planet had stopped. When the crew of Serenity check out the place, they note that everyone just laid down and died, and there are no signs of violence whatsoever.
One could use the facts of the movie to Retcon "Bushwhacked" as the lone survivor of the ship being the only one of the crew to react in the "Reaver" way to the Pax. The Reavers, who can sense this, left him alone and murdered the rest of the crew in front of him, then left him to change as a second booby-trap (the first one being the little thing that Kaylee had to disable to free Serenity).
The Goa'uld of Stargate SG-1 have a Bizarre Alien Biology that includes genetic memory, meaning that every new Goa'uld born inherits its parents' evil tendencies. The only non-evil ones ever seen are the Tok'ra, an offshoot who are all the children of a single rogue Goa'uld queen. Outside of the Tok'ra there's merely a little variability in how evil an individual Goa'uld is (Sokar and Anubis, for example, are considered monsters even by their fellow Goa'uld), and a few like Yu and Ba'al are just a more pragmatic evil.
According to the tabletop RPG, occasionally Goa'uld would genuninely defect to the Tok'ra and join the fight against their brethren, those this was rare.
With the occasional episodic exception (usually in the form of recurring character "Todd"), the Wraith in Stargate Atlantis also fit this trope. While their treatment of humans is explained by the fact that we're essentially tasty cows to them, they're still excessively sadistic about it. Wraith society seems very ruthless and survival-of-the-fittest oriented. I.e. the Klingon Promotion seems widely accepted, and Queens are often shown treating their subordinates like dirt. Not that there weren't historical human cultures that largely shared these values. They seem to have dialed it back slightly in the last couple of seasons of the show, with slightly less Large Ham gloating from some of the Wraith characters. Also, in "The Queen", the Wraith Commander expresses concern over the lives of his men, and the enemy Wraith.
Likewise, Ferengi were portrayed this way on Next Generation, but not Deep Space Nine.
Initially played straight with the Jem'Hadar in Deep Space Nine, with an infant Jem'Hadar who quickly turns out exactly how everyone warned Odo he would. But eventually averted with a few individuals later, who show some traits of Proud Warrior Race (mostly these are immediately killed). The Jem'Hadar and Vorta were both justified as species genetically manipulated by The Founders to fight their wars for them. Both were addicted to a substance only the Founders could provide, and were indoctrinated in the idea that the Founders were gods. Generally, they were Expendable Clones, although the Female Changeling did seem to mourn Weyoun #8's death.
Spectactularly averted with the Romulans. Even though they are The Federation's oldest and most persistent foe, most Romulan characters are depicted as being nuanced, sympathetic, and extremely honourable, even if they are a little arrogant or deceptive. Even the unambiguously villainous ones like Tomalak are depicted more as a Worthy Opponent than anything else. Interestingly, probably the most evil Romulan in canon, Commander Sela, is a Half-Human Hybrid.
Played straight (with one exception) with the Kazon; they were featured almost constantly on the show's first two seasons, and yet never recieved any significant Character Development or manifested any redeeming features whatsoever (not even in the form of defectors from decadence). The sole exception was the episode Initiations which gave the Kazon some motivation, and showed that the possibility of redemption existed in a few of them. Sadly, that was the show's only attempt to give the Kazon some depth.
In the episode "Nemesis", the Kadrin are a monstrous race who look like and are referred to as merciless beasts, have threatening voices, and are engaging in a genocidal war against the human Vori and desecrating their graves. Chakotay crash lands on the planet, and after witnessing all their atrocities, joins the Vori Defenders' cause. Subverted, since he had actually been captured and brainwashed by the Vori so they could recruit him as a soldier. The Kadrin are in fact the good guys, and helped the Voyager crew to rescue him from the warzone. When Chakotay meets with the friendly Kadrin ambassador, he can't shake the hatred that he developed for them.
In Andromeda the Magog are obligate carnivores who need to kill their prey themselves to start the digestive process, prefer sentient "food", and lay their eggs in the stomachs of other humanoids. Nietzscheans are genetically engineered superhumans who follow a themepark version of Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophy mixed with a heavy dose of Social Darwinism and overthrew the Systems Commonwealth causing the Long Night. But the Andromeda Ascendant's crew includes one of both species, Rev Bem is a Magog converted to a non-violent religion called Wayism while Tyr Anasazi was a Nietzschean mercenary who saw the Andromeda as a way to further his own interests.
Although, in season 3 Tyr left the crew and tricked the major Nietzschean Prides into believing he was the genetic reincarnation of their founder Drago Museveni and attempted to conquer the galaxies. He is then replaced by Telemachus Rhade, a descendant of loyalist Nietzscheans who were rather ashamed of the rest of their species.
In the miniseries The Northandthe South, anyone who is not on the side of the Mains or the Hazards is chaotic evil:
Justin, the man who marries Madeline beats her and gets her hooked on drugs so she can't think for herself.
Major Bent is nothing but evil.
Similarly, Orry's sister, Ashton, relishes in evil acts and does bad things just to spite others.
The overseer rapes the slaves and tries to kill Charles Main.
A guy who gets in a duel with Charles Main tries to cheat him by loading his weapon wrong to give him an advantage.
By the time Spartacus Vengeance rolls around, every single Roman is at best a total JerkAss, and at worst (and more likely) a complete monster. Cold-Blooded Torture is a pass time for them, and their cold hearted execution of prisoners. As well as their manipulations of the idiotic populus.
Deconstructed in War of the Damned. Many Romans are introduced who are simply innocent civilians caught up in a war, Crassus comes off as a Noble Demon, and many of the rebels act like psychotic murders and rapists.
Mythology and Religion
Demons/fallen angels in The Bible. Justified in that, supposedly, they wouldn't have fallen if they weren't already evil.
Arguably, the Canaanites, though there are exceptions like Ruth and Rahab, both who are rewarded by becoming ancestors of Jesus. Still, many passages are devoted to just how they are about to be smited. Ultimately subverted, though, as the great multitude of the Redeemed includes every tongue and tribe.
Occasionally, you have a fallen angel who doesn't seem to have gone full-subterranean. In Jewish folklore, Asmodeus is sometimes regarded as attending synagogue, and does better than Solomon on some matters of morality (although, given that Solomon apparently lapsed in matters towards the close of his reign...). Some angels, such as Sammael and Zaphkiel, are both good and evil. The offspring of angels and humans are a different story. They're called "Nephilim" ("fallen" or "ruinous") for a reason. In fact, 1 Enoch posits that the reason for the Flood was that if they weren't drowned out, the Nephilim would have devoured the world down to the bedrock. After that, the Nephilim wouldn't be done; they will just persist as evil spirits. In other words, the vast majority of demons were undead Nephilim.
And demons aren't even consistently always evil in even Christian traditions (predating the 20th century that is). Many grimoires show them as more animalistically dangerous than malicious.
While not presented so in the Good Book itself, many a sermon has been preached that the Romans were this, especially once Nero came to power.
In the case of the Jotnar, it wasn't so much "evil" as "chaotic", and this was justified in that the Jotnar were properly understood to be a tribe of gods who personified chaos, rather than a "race" per se. The later conception of them as "giants" is mostly a result of the Christian influence on later folklore.
Likewise, imps are always chaotic little buggers, and are said to be especially adept at pulling some very dark shenanigans on anyone who slights them. That said, they aren't particularly evil in most myths, just a source of minor annoyance, since they love to play ultimately harmless pranks like stealing and hiding some small, virtually worthless items to mess with somebody.
In many myths, ghosts only wish to inflict pain on the living even if they were good people in life.
Just about every monster in Filipino mythology qualifies. With only a few exceptions (like the Kapre and the Alan Bird), all of the Philippines' monsters are either man-eating demons or soul-stealing phantoms.
The trope name comes from Dungeons & Dragons, which certainly used the trope, though this particular phrase only came in later on and in fact signalled something of an aversion (see below). The real reason for the use of the trope was so players wouldn't feel bad when killing monsters and taking their treasure (i.e. home invasion). In fact, the whole cosmology of the D&D universe used to be based on alignment; Good and Evil (and Law and Chaos) weren't morally relative terms, they were natural forces that influenced most creatures — very few races (including the Player Character races) could actually choose their alignments willingly; the rest were doomed to be what they were born as.
Originally, every type of monster or creature would simply have an entry for "Alignment" stating one Character Alignment or another, without any modifiers; not only did it imply that practically all creatures of that type had the alignment, but it wasn't even brought up that there could be any other way.
In later editions, this was relaxed, by inserting "often", "usually" or "always" in front of the alignment descriptor, to indicate how strong a tendency, cultural or otherwise, the race in question had to be of the alignment. This also created the phrase "Always Chaotic Evil". Now, the only races who are always one alignment or another are those who are somehow "tied" to good or evil (or law or chaos), such as demons, angels, and other spiritual creatures; or those without sufficient Intelligence to recognize alignment, which are always neutral unless the previous rule overrides it. (Lemures, lowest of the devils, don't have an Intelligence score but are still Always Lawful Evil.)
Whether this trope is now averted even with the mortal "bad guy" races is another matter. They are still marked as "usually evil", which, depending on how it's handled, can easily be so close to "they're all bad" as to make no difference.
In-universe, the "usually evil" nature of some races is justified by their racial deities, such as Lloth for the Drow and Gruumsh for the Orcs, being evil. These gods also work very hard to make sure that their worshippers are just as bad as they are, and any that aren't tend to end up on the gods' hit list. Good deities tend to respect free will more than the evil ones, so their races have evil, good, and neutral people. Human alignment is all over the place since they don't have a racial deity to call their own. In some cases, an evil race will also have been created by an evil god.
The Eberron campaign setting for D&D 3.5 has gone so far as to explicitly discourage the use of the alignment section of a monster's stats, even for those who are "tied" to a certain alignment. The core book also makes clear that "evil" does not equal "kill on sight" — the tavern owner overcharges for draft and cheats on his wife; are you gonna put the sword to his neck like you would with Lord Dark Von Doompantsington XIII?
The supplements Book of Vile Darkness and Exalted Deeds make it clear that neither good nor evil can be defined as "nice and naughty", and those that don't devote their life to either actually qualify as neutral. Presumably, this is why a rogue isn't necessarily evil, even though theft is frowned upon.
... my experience suggests: write in Monster Manual that among 100 cambions one is Good, and this one will get into adventure.
The Drow of the Forgotten Realms setting and the Draconians of the Dragonlance setting are classic examples of "evil races". However, as the plot went on, individuals arose — specifically, Rule of Cool scimitar-wielding (and heavily parodied in every single fantasy webcomic, due to his being heavily copied by virtually every fanboy at one point or another) Drizzt. Initially based on fanboyism, entire counter-cultures have arisen of differing alignment (as the page quote points out). In the Realms, most "good" Drow are the worshipers of Eilistraee, a goddess of the moon and hunt, whose (almost Always Female) clerics worship their goddess by performing a sword dance naked. Though the clerics of the Evil Goddess were all female also.
The Draconians are getting more development as well — they were initially introduced as somewhat snazzier Orc-equivalents, but later books reveal that the average Draconian is only a few years old and has been force-fed a Religion of Evil from birth to create the perfect fighting race. This generally worked, but after the collapse of the dragonarmies, some Draconians began developing more individuality, and the Kang's Regiment series centers on a group of sympathetic Draconian protagonists who just want to be left alone to build up their race in peace.
Even back in the days of 2e, Spelljammer had some fun with this. It was revealed that Tarrasques — immense creatures existing solely for destruction, only failing to have the Chaotic Evil alignment due to lacking the degree of consciousness having an alignment implies — are naturally docile lithovores; the more familiar ones are the result of their being driven homicidally insane by atmospheres not matching the unique composition of their homeworld's. One of the iconic setting NPCs is a non-evil mutant Beholder bartender, and the eponymous ship also played host to some fairly decent Illithids who peacefully coexisted with the other races and fed on a special type of mold (that was secretly sapient in large quantities, else they wouldn't be able to derive nourishment from it), though ones not on the Spelljammer were as usual.
Interestingly, under 3e/3.5e, demons are Always Chaotic Evil, even when they aren't — sort of. It's possible — although incredibly rare — for a demon to have an alignment other than Chaotic Evil, but chaos and evil are such an integral part of their being that for magical effects, they still count as Chaotic Evil in addition to whatever their actual alignment is. Devils work the same for Lawful Evil, and the various celestials work this way for various flavors of Good. Since these creatures are essentially alignment concepts given life, it is rather hard to change them.
And yes, this does mean that, say, the Succubus who was driven by the Power of Love to forsake her evil ways or the penitent Pit Fiend will show up on a Paladin's Detect Evil. Staying away from them — especially the extra-stabby kind — is recommended for any reformed Demons or Devils.
This is a function of the sub-types rules. Most outsiders have the subtypes of their alignment because, like a fire elemental (which has the fire subtype) that is what they are made of. Even a redeemed succubus is made of Chaos and Evil. (Which makes a redeemed succubus as strange and notable as a deep sea diving fire elemental)
Pathfinder (the official setting, that is) plays it straight, with the only significant difference being how much more willing it is to describe the kind of evil they are, for example, any drow who displayed compassion or altruism would get hunted down and killed (Take That, Drizz't!), or bugbears not simply being another goon-monster but a species of freakishly large yet uncannily sneaky serial killers who thrive on murder, or the infamous hillbilly rapist ogres.
This is usually justified in-universe by the fact that most "Evil" races are patronized by Demon Lords instead of the Gods that other mortals serve. On the other hand, others seem to have fundamental psychological predispositions that make being good rather difficult (like a tendency towards violence or a psychopathic love of fire). Many have both, making being good almost impossible without some real effort and likely help from a champion of Good (as outlined in Champions of Purity).
Pathfinder, like D&D, runs on a moral system which doesn't require agency (the ability to choose) to classify something as good or evil. Things like sunlight and good weather (and the gods that produce them) are "good" because they benefit PC-producing civilizations, animals are neutral because they can be useful or harmful, and storms at sea (and the associated gods) are evil because they're not beneficial. The same logic applies to other sentient beings: Vampires, for instance, cannot possibly peacefully coexist with a society that prefers to have its blood on the inside when possible. Thus, they're evil, whether they "want to be" or not.
In older editions of D&D, a smart player captured by ogres would attempt to trick the dumb brutes. In Pathfinder, a smart player captured by ogres will kill himself. Immediately.
By their very nature, liches are Evil because the process of becoming one involves mass slaughter and bending the very forces of life and death to your will. Except if you're an archlich or a baelnorn.
Outside of Spelljammer, Illithids are an almost universally evil alien race of psychic slavers. The Elder Brains that rule their civilization are even worse. In the Forgotten Realms, there is one good Illithid, and that one is a very unusual case. Fortunately for everyone else in the setting, Illithid society is a mere shadow of what it used to be thanks to their former slaves, the Githyanki, rising up against them. As a result, the Illithids are pragmatic enough to rein in their desire to eat brains long enough to trade and make deals with other races. That said, your chances of leaving with your brain intact after running into an Illithid in a dark alley all alone are still next to none.
Illithids, along with several other non-Outsider (Outsiders who are always evil tend to be that because they are made from evil) creatures that fall under this trope, have a good justification for being 'Always' Evil: they have to be, to survive. Not only does their life-cycle demand the sacrifice of sapient humanoids for new illithid to come to be, but they gain nourishment from sentience. Eating the brains of non-sapient animals helps, but not all that much. End result: a species that, to survive as a species and to a lesser degree as individuals, have to consistently and repeatedly act in ways that the rules of the universe classify as evil.
As of the most recent edition, Gamma World has actually turned several monster species that used to be relatively peaceful in earlier editions (like the Menarls, Grens, Sleeths, and Orlens) into this.
Warhammer Fantasy is rather dark for a fantasy setting, though not quite to the extent of Warhammer 40,000. There are actually a few good guys. Evil races include Daemons, Beastmen, Orcs, Goblins, Undead, Skaven, Dark Elves, and Ogres. Also, one of the few times in which the "chaotic" part of Always Chaotic Evil plays a part, as every evil race can be traced back to mutations caused by Chaos, which is a powerful force in the Warhammer world.
Ogres are on this list for a somewhat different reason than other races. They live in a society that is based only on one rule. Might makes right. Their god could easily be a weird mix of Slaanesh and Nugle, with gluttony and avarice being main virtues ogres value. Despite the fact that ogres seemingly follow many rules, one of their special characters had his hands chopped off for the crime of eating his leaders' gnoblars, despite him being shaman for their god. What makes Warhammer ogres chaotic is the fact that while ogres can be negotiated with succesfully, unlike orcs and forces of chaos, ogres don't feel bad for eating you a second after the contract is done. One of their tribes actually value iron more than gold for the simple reason that with gold they can buy a weapon of iron, but with a weapon of iron they can have all of your gold.
The Skaven as well. They're a race of rat-like humanoids, and they are pretty much all hateful, backstabbing, savage monsters. They worship a God of Evil called the Horned Rat (here's a picture of him◊, remind you ofanybody?), they practice We Have Reserves as well as Chaos-based sorcery and magitek, and their ultimate goal is basically to wipe out or enslave "the surface races" (read: everyone) and claim it for themselves.
Some fluff mentions their reproduction rates being tied into how much dark magic happens to be around. With an increase in dark magic, their populations can suddenly explode and their resources can't support them anymore, so they have to conquer the other races/each other or starve.
Warhammer's Undead do not all follow this trope. Most of the "gothic" undead of the Vampire Counts' armies do, but the "ancient world" undead of the Tomb Kings do not. The Tomb Kings are one of Warhammer's two "neutral" armies (the other being Ogre Kingdoms), and while many are given to acts of cruelty, tyranny, despotism and brutality they are really just behaving like the ancient absolute rulers they were in life. Sure, they'll hound you to the ends of the earth and butcher you without mercy to recover their stolen treasures, but any Dwarf worth his beard will do that too, and nobody calls them irrecoverably evil.
The Dark Eldar ultimately subvert the trope. They can only stay alive and young by murdering and torturing as many people as possible, so their entire culture is based around killing and butchering people. And if they can't find people of other races to do it to, well... However, they are still considered part of the larger race of Eldar by their kin, who vary wildly in Character Alignment. It is possible for Dark Eldar to get sick of being Chaotic Evil and join some other Eldar faction, ultimately blending in entirely with their new comrades. With that said, any Eldar living in Commorragh is going to be evil... or prey.
The original Necron fluff painted them as universally devoted to the cause of destroying all life in the galaxy. The Retconned fifth edition fluff, on the other hand, allows for a bit more nuance. The rank and file warriors are mindless automatons with only the barest shred of memory of their former lives, while the more privileged Lords and Crypteks maintain a good portion of their original personality, although often flawed due to the Time Abyss they've slept through. While all Necrons still fight against the Imperium of Man, some, like Nemessor Zahndrekh, are more like Noble Demons or Worthy Opponents.
The Orks play this trope as straight as it gets. They have it written into their genetic code to fight, murder, and plunder worlds just for fun, and it takes an incredibly powerful Ork to keep other Orks from fighting amongst each other. When led by powerful Orks called Warbosses, Orks undertake massive invasions called "WAAAGH!s" to conquer and loot worlds. A world that has been the subject of a WAAAGH! will be "infested" by Feral Orks that are incredibly difficult to exterminate. The Feral Orks will always wage nonstop wars against everything on the world. When a WAAAGH! encounters Feral Orks, the Feral Orks will usually join it.
The forces of Chaos play this straight too. If only for the fact that if you consider worshipping daemonic eldritch horrors to be a good idea, being evil is kind of a requirement. Of course, a lot of the people on Chaos's side started out with the best of intentions.
Carrying on from the HP Lovecraft example up in Literature, many, many creatures in Cthulhu Tech are invariably sociopathic mass-murderers. For example, the Dhohanoids are almost invariably driven violently insane by the Rite of Transfiguration.
Rifts uses this trope, but also provides the interesting case of the Faustians in the Phase World setting: An Always Chaotic Evil race that got on the wrong side of a war against an Evil Empire even worse than them, forcing them to run to The Consortium of Civilized Worlds to survive. Being exceptionally Genre Savvy that day, the CCW put the Faustians on a rather strict probationary membership, leaving the Faustians to harshly police their own bad sides. If even one of them pulls off any large-scale villainy, they all get booted out and right back into the waiting fangs of the Empire.
There is also a possible justification in an NPC's history in Rifts Mercenaries: a "renegade" Tauton's story talks about how he was taught to hate and be almost mindlessly aggressive against other races. He didn't like it, and got out as soon as he could.
The Steve Jackson Games' RPG In Nomine happily guts this trope alive: it probably has more non-evil "Bright Lilim" than real, evil demon Lilim.
Well, in the canonical story, Bright Lilim are very rare, but yeah, many players love playing Bright Lilim, for the same reason people like playing good-aligned Drow in Dungeons and Dragons and stuff like that: because people like to be "original".
In Exalted, we have demons, who may or may not have anything against gods, mortals, and Exalts personally, but are completely incapable of disobeying their vengeful progenitors, the Yozis.
As with many Exalted tropes, this one is implied to be more complex than at first glance: in the Roll of Glorious Divinity II, it's implied that demons are afraid of love, because the Yozis have ground it into them that there is no such thing as love without pain. Besides certain plot hooks, this begs the question: what kind of life must a demon lead?
Even still, Phyrexians in their newest form seem to move away from this trope. Ever since the Phyrexians took over Mirrodin, turning it into New Phyrexia, there have been five different factions corresponding to each of the five colors, and each being lead by a praetor, each with their own brand of pitch-black evil... Except the red praetor, Urabrask the Hidden, who, true to his red mana alignment, is a lot more individualistic and merciful than the other praetors, and therefore leads the only Phyrexian faction capable of free will and compassion. Probably due to this, he is the only Phyrexian leader who plots against the other praetors not simply to gain power but to actually work against Phyrexia as a whole. This is mainly because Phyrexia's primary goals strongly go against two of red's strongest points: freedom and emotion.
Far Realm entities from D&D can be considered this, from the players point of view they would almost always be chaotic evil, although in reality it may be more a case of Blue and Orange Morality.
The Skakdi play with it, they're naturally violent, but are capable of forming civilizations that thrive, unfortunately the Brotherhood of Makuta decided to experiment by giving them superpowers and they devolved into the violent war torn mess they are today.
The spider race of the Visorak are treated as an Always Lawful Evil race, being very disciplined soldiers while they often go and conquer other lands on the behalf of their commanders. No thought is ever given by any of the heroes to somehow turn them towards noble purposes (except Toa Vakama when he was in the middle of Sanity Slippage), and when the horde was leaderless the Order of Mata Nui eventually decided the best option would be to wipe out the entire race.
Anything a player is expected to kill in a video game. The vast majority of the time, one's foes are irredeemably evil and deserve to die for no other reason than that they oppose the player. There's no diplomacy, no bargaining; the only reasonable response is death.
Deconstructed in Xenoblade. Shulk swears revenge on the Mechon following their attack on his home. This isn't seen as a particularly bad thing as they're just soulless killing machines... then it turns out that the Faced Mechon actually have members of his own Homs species inside them. Worse still is the fact that the Mechon aren't the native species of Mechonis... the Machina, who are just as human as the Homs and who built the Mechon, are. Upon realizing that his Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the inhabitants of the Mechonis would take sentient life, he ultimately swears off it and begins his Character Development.
The residents of Xylvania in Battalion Wars take this to such extremes that they're practically a parody. They're NaziesqueVampires who live in a Mordor-like wastleland and are descended from Steampunk orcs.
Subverted in the case of the Big Bad race(s) of the Ur-Quan. While the first game portrayed them as typical Evil Overlords, the second explained their origin and gave them more complexity. They were a race of slaves, and believed that to protect their own freedom, they must thus enslave everyone else. However, they never destroy unnecessarily, only conscript those races who volunteer as battle thralls, and will even accept your surrender no matter how many of them you have killed (though this still means Game Over). The Kohr-Ah subrace, however, plays this a bit straighter. They believe they should just kill everyone (though they aren't overly impolite about it, and will actually explain themselves when asked properly).
Also played straight with the Dnyarri, the former psychic slave-masters of the Ur-Quan and the Sentient Milieu, who are confirmed by anyone who knew of them to have been a race of monsters. They turned the entire Milieu into an enormous Gulag and casually exterminated those races that didn't perform up to their standards. They were so horrible that, even tens of thousands of years later, both Ur-Quan societies are still centered entirely and insanely around preventing ever being enslaved again. At one point, the Ur-Quan Kzer-Zah can tell you that dying a thousand times would be far preferable to living under Dnyarri control.
The Umgah, while not as aggressively malevolent as the Ilwrath, are a race of rather cruel tricksters. Some of their "practical jokes" include tricking the cowardly Spathi into fighting for the Ur-Quan instead of being placed under a protective shield, tricking the Ilwrath into committing genocide on the Pkunk, and inadvertently reviving one of the aforementioned Dnyarri in an effort to start a war within the Hierarchy (this one backfires big time). They consider all the death and suffering they cause to be hilarious.
Played straight with the Shroobs from Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time. Their planet is dying, and they spot the Mushroom World. What do they do? Invade it without even attempting to negotiate merely immigrating to it, and engage in behavior that goes beyond simple military protocol, and into downright sadism.
In general, in most old action video games (Metroid, Mega Man (Classic), The Legend of Zelda I...), the enemy races rarely ever have any good counterparts, at least none that you ever see. In fact, for many of these old games anyone (and anything) visible aside from the player is evil.
Even in those games, there are subversions: Metroid featured the baby Metroid of the second and third games, Mega Man 3 eventually had Proto Man, and the very first game in The Legend of Zelda series had a few Moblins go AWOL and ask Link to leave them alone in exchange for a few Rupees. IT'S A SECRET TO EVERYBODY.
In the Mega Man X series, most/all of the enemies were originally good; it is the Zero Virus/Sigma Virus that rewrites their programming, causing them to go maverick (though, since the Reploids do — at least those uninfected — have free will, it's possible that some did choose to be evil). Ironically, one of the few good robots that actually gets screen time apart from X is Zero, and he was originally programmed to be evil.
Oddworld is a brilliant example of this. Species like Glukkons, Sligs, and Vykkers are all evil species, and on the same side too.
The first two Warcraft games used to have the monster races be more malicious, the main example being the Orcs. As the games progressed, the Orcs became likable protagonists with their own culture. The canceled game and resulting book, Lord of the Clans, explain how the Orcs redeemed themselves and became a Proud Warrior Race, while the Warcraft 3manual states that they had been corrupted by the Burning Legion. The Scourge (and the Burning Legion) became the bad guys for the game, while the Horde and the Alliance even banded together to defeat them. By this point, the only things that started off evil are the demons and possibly the Old Gods. Even some of the demonic races have had some friendly members.
In another example, the Eredar were originally represented as an irredeemably evil race of demons who corrupted the mightiest warrior among the Titans into the Big Bad and enslaved the Orcs. Inexplicably, they became a race of honorable beings who were corrupted by the Big Bad's own festering corruption. This happened through a Retcon in the World of WarcraftExpansion PackBurning Crusade, after the third game and its expansion as well as four books and a trilogy presented them as completely evil. The creator of Warcraft, Chris Metzen, has admitted this was something of a train wreck, but sticks by his decision.
However, many enemy races, particularly the Gnolls, the Harpies, the Troggs, nearly all demons, the Naga, and the Murlocs are (almost) Always Chaotic Evil. Most of them have individual exceptions or motivations, though.
The Black Dragonflight is this after Neltharion became corrupted and changed his name to Deathwing. Now they enjoy killing and only follow orders from dragons strong enough to kill them. The other dragonflights consider them beyond redemption. The one possible exception being an uncorrupted black dragon egg.
Some demons like the Nathrezim (aka. the Dread Lords), Ered'ruin (Doomguard), Sayaad (Incubi), and Mo'arg (felguard) seem to have always been evil. The entire collection of races is so evil that their mere existence convinced Sargeras that the Titans' mission to bring order to creation was futile.
Mists of Pandaria introduces the Sha, who are the manifestations of negative emotions on Pandaria. The currently encountered ones are the Shas of Anger, Despair, Doubt, Fear, Hatred, and Violence — smaller "offshoot" Sha are under the umbrella ones. In other words, Sha aren't just invariably evil, they're a physical personification of it.
Kamal Re'x, the leader of the Hierarchy's invasion of Earth in Universe at War, gives this trope as an excuse for their actions — it's "their nature". Given that he's giving this excuse to a Hierarchy military commander who staged an ultimately unsuccessful rebellion after cynically tiring of its corruption and its constant senseless warfare, it doesn't exactly ring true.
Final Fantasy XI has the player start off thinking that all beastmen are scum, but then has you find out that most of them are fighting the player races for various reasons. The Quadav are only in conflict with Bastok because Bastok kinda tried to take over the Quadav's homelands, and have since been in constant combat with them over land and resources. Then, there are the Goblins, who are less evil and more willing to do anything to make a buck.
The Gnosis of the Xenosaga series appear at first glance to be a fairly typical all-evil, human slaying alien race. The truth turns out to be a bit different from that, but they're still all homicidal to the end.
Tediz in Conker series. Especially in the remake where they are biological beings instead of robots and are more free thinking.
In Runescape, vampyres, werewolves, and demons all qualify as this. One of the novels (whether this is really canon or not depends, since it does contradict quite a bit of canon) has an important character, Garth, who is a werewolf and doesn't want to be chaotic evil. He uses a potion to repress his killing instincts, until eventually having them exorcised. In the sequel novel, this trope is played straight with Garth: his mother was a werewolf (in the Runescape universe, lycanthropy is not contagious at all, and is only hereditary), and his father was high ranking vampyre, the Black Prince. Since vampirism is not hereditary in this universe, that leaves Garth half werewolf, half human.
Subverted in Chrono Trigger, where the Mystics seem to be evil at first, but it's later shown that without Ozzie's influence, they can live at peace with the humans. Though it could be argued that they were never evil, they just weren't on the side of the humans. It wasn't good vs evil, just one side vs another, even if they did use the undead and other "evil" things.
Ardat-Yakshi are asari who blow out their mates' nervous systems. They grow stronger with each meld and the power is addicting. Since it can't be cured, asari who become Ardat-Yakshi are either executed or sent to isolated convents. One of the Ardat-Yakshi appearing in-game is a psychopathic predator with no regard for the lives of others. The other two are substantially more rational, with one sacrificing herself to try to stop the spread of Reaper-controlled Ardat-Yakshi.
The rachni were viewed as a vicious enemy, responsible for plunging the Citadel into a near-pangalactic war, but they're much more peaceful in reality, and were brainwashed by something into warring against the galaxy.
The best subversion comes from the geth. They were the robotic mooks that served Saren Arterius in the first game, acting as your main opponents at the time, returning in the second game as less prevalent, but still recurring adversaries. In the first game, the geth worship Saren's ship, Sovereign, as a god - the pinnacle of synthetic evolution - and were responsible for driving their creators out of their homeworld. As it turns out, the geth were starting to discover their place in the universe at large, but the quarians essentially jumped the gun out of a paranoid fear over their robotic "slaves" turning on them. Furthermore, the geth you faced in the first and second games are from a splinter group that believe their future should be guided by more advanced pseudo-lifeforms. The main hub of geth just want to be left alone to build their Dyson Sphere and achieve true unity; they even take care of the quarian homeworld in the absence of their creators. If given the chance, they'll agree to share the homeworld with their creators, and enthusiastically help them rebuild and readjust their immune systems to their old planet.
The vorcha are universally seen as aggressive, unpleasant, and vermin-like murderers, salvagers, and graverobbers; the only ones you encounter are Blood Pack mercenaries, as well as a group that created and distributed a plague on a station filled with millions. However, like Tolkien's orcs, the vorcha are more a product of their environment than anything else; they only live twenty years, use combat as their main form of communication, are beaten into serving as cannon fodder for their mercenary ringleaders, and tend to grow up in a world where the slightest ounce of water is treated as treasure. Some background Codex-like trivia paint the vorcha as miners, settlers, and brewers, and there is also mention of vorcha trying to colonise a high-gravity world. Plus, there was the actor who played the Vorcha ambassador in Blasto 6, and you yourself can play a Vorcha in multiplayer, so if you're a team player and try to revive your teammates all the time...
One Vorcha Blood-Pack Lieutenant encountered in the third game, performs a coup to remove the new Vorcha Blood-Pack Leader, simply because he is too blood-thirsty and it's ruining business. He's also sane enough to realise that when Aria requests your help, you do not say no.
The yahg are the only other species played straight thus far, having a vicious pack mentality, a brutal nature even worse than that of the krogan, and butchering a peaceful ambassadorial envoy when they made first contact, as well as finding equality in general to be offensive, but we only ever meet one - on a DLC, no less. There's another one in the third game, but since he was experimented on by Salarians, you can understand why he's a bit pissed off.
Played absolutely straight with the Collectors, though. According to Mordin, they have "no soul" and "must be destroyed". Again, this one fits the "artificially created" part, as they've been twisted by the Reapers and are mind-controlled by them. Furthering this point, in the From Ashes DLC for Mass Effect 3, Collectors are seen as nothing more than husks. It is possible that all communication is done by the Eldritch Abomination Harbinger.
The Batarians are seen as this by humans since they're most known for being pirates and slavers with a strong hatred for humanity. The second game shows at least one Batarian that while initially hostile will thank you if you help him out and the third game, due to the Batarian homeworld being the first hit by the Reapers has civilians who are just as affected by the war as any others.
The Elder Scrolls averts this for the most part, as none of the various races and creatures are inherently evil, not even the Vampires. Daedra are probably Always Chaotic Neutral, though.
Discussed in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim with Paarthunax, a dragon who chose to rebel against Alduin and aid the humans fighting his rule. He explains that dragons have an innate nature to dominate and destroy, and that he has overcome his own nature through thousands of years of constant meditation, but he still struggles with his own drive to fly down among the humans and start eating and ruling over them. When confronted for his past crimes, he replies thusly:
What is better? To be born good, or to overcome your evil nature through great effort?
The Falmer weren't originally like this, but they have become twisted monsters after suffering for centuries under the rule of the Dwemer. Dawnguard reveals that there is at least one sane Snow Elf left, who has hopes that there are others like him. He also notes that the Falmer are showing signs of rudimentary intelligence, giving him hope they might one day regain their lost sentience and return to civilisation.
Of course, Molag Bal, Daedric Prince and King of Rape is completely evil, with no redeeming qualities. Since he's essentially corruption, enslavement, and domination incarnate, redeeming traits are a bit much to hope for.
Fable has Hobbes, who are rather genial to people who join up with them...and happen to reproduce by transmogrifying children. .
The Super Mutants were portrayed as this in the first Fallout, mainly because their creator was the Big Bad. But a rare few examples since then are portrayed as just as capable of good as any other race.
On the other hand, the Master really and truly thought he was doing what was right.
Also somewhat justified, as most Super Mutants suffer severe brain damage during their conversion that leaves them without the mental capacity to be much more than The Usual Adversaries — reasoning more complex than "hit or shoot at that thing until it stops moving, then take its stuff or drag it off to be turned into another Super Mutant" is a bit beyond them. The good ones tend to be the ones that don't suffer this sort of damage.
The Legion, Fiends, and Powder Gangers, however, are viewed as the evil factions of the game. Most if not all companions who are sane will turn against you if you side with the Legion for whatever reason (either due to being a monster, to achieve Caesar's goals, or because they conflict with the Legion's interests), and its former Legate and co-founder does not look too highly on the Legion and finds the Republic more tolerable.
The Fiends is arguably the game's best example of this trope, as all of them are hooked on every drug and are thus rendered completely insane, marauding, unpredictable and barely organized. If you take out there leaders, the faction will crumble right away.
Another example is the White Legs in Honest Hearts. A warmongering tribe that can't survive on its own and must raid and pillage to survive. They also destroy eveything in their path. On top of that, their backstory implies that they sacked New Canaan by breaking Sacred Hospitality.
The Locust and the Lambent from Gears of War, since both are trying to exterminate the human race, with the latter trying to exterminate both.
The Brutes and Prophets from Halo are mostly portrayed in this in the main games; however, it's subverted in the Expanded Universe and elsewhere, where the Brutes are shown to have legitimate grievances against the Elites, and to be fully capable of co-existing with other species in relatively sincere good faith under the right circumstances. Even some in-game fight dialogue points out that Brutes do genuinely care about their comrades and believe in the righteousness of what they are fighting for.
The Expanded Universe also shows that there have been relatively decent Prophets, even though Truth and the other High Prophets are not among them. And even then, Halo: Contact Harvest shows that Truth and co. started the genocide against humanity, despite publicly justifying it with nothing but deliberate lies, in part to prevent the Covenant from falling into potential anarchy (and themselves and the other Prophets losing their dominant political position in the process).
The Cragmites of Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools Of Destruction are shown to be this. Emperor Perceval Tachyon (the only one we see in the game before he found the dimension that they were banished to and brought them back) wants to take over the galaxy, and REALLY wants to pop Ratchet's head because the Lombaxes banished the Cragmites, raised Tachyon as one of them regardless of his origins, and because Ractchet's father was the guardian of the Dimensionator (the machine which teleported the Cragmites away); but still, there are no lifeforms who are neutral to Ratchet in the universe...
The Blarg from the first game may also qualify, though they have sympathetic motives and are apparently being manipulated by their leader, Chairman Drek.
The Bydo from R-Type are this trope taken to its logical extreme: they are composed of all the most evil and base instincts of mankind, utterly incapable of feeling anything Good whatsoever. And they are portrayed completely seriously. Let the thought of that sink in for a moment...
Most of the creatures you can recruit without resorting to torture in Dungeon Keeper are like this. Oddly enough, there is a hero-aligned Horned Reaper in the final mission of the first game, a creature who is often depicted as being the granddaddy of ALL the evil creatures in the game.
Demons in Dragon Age also fulfill this trope, being dream spirits that prey upon mortals. These creatures are shaped by the darkest impulses of mortals and are generally murderous and violent. They're also one of the few sources of knowledge in Thedas about bloodmagic.
Demons are merely a sub-set of spirits, many of whom are shaped by Valour, Justice, Faith, and the like. It's just that the benevolent ones mind their own business instead of attempting leave the Spirit World, minus a few exceptions; those that do can end up becoming demons anyway, like how Justice was twisted into Vengeance by his host's anger.
Played with in the case of the darkspawn, according to the Architect. He states that the darkspawn are evil because the Song of the Old Gods forces them to be, and that if they are "freed" using Grey Warden blood, they attain sapience and free will. While the Architect is morally gray, with a darker past, a reckless disregard for consequences, and a very poor understanding of humans, you do meet at least one of his Disciples who proves to be downright heroic - though being a darkspawn, he still spreads the Taint accidentally.)
The darkspawn mostly have animal level intelligence driven by a Hive Mind, with only a few having more intelligence and even those having limited free will. They are more like a Horde of Alien Locusts then anything else.
It seems that almost all mages from the Tevinter Empire are Evil Sorcerers who freely practice blood magic and slavery. Fenris from the second game mentions that any mage principled enough to reject blood magic would quickly become the thrall of another mage with fewer qualms. However, the third game is set to include a Telvinter magister who is a Defector from Decadence who wants to reform his country, though he is an unapologetic necromancer.
Averted with Mushrooms, except for the Black Fungus. White Mushrooms will reward Sora with prizes if he casts the correct spell, and all the Rare Truffles want is to "bounce".
Ditto the Nobodies, though this is disputed out-of- and in-universe.
Turns out, the Nobodies are soulless monsters by default (save Roxas, but he's implied to be a special case), but are capable of growing beyond this through their experiences and by forming bonds with others, handily explaining their rather inconsistent behavior. They just weren't told about this, as their leader's plot required that they remained in the dark
In the 4X game, Galactic Civilizations, roughly half the playable civilizations are always evil. Humans, interestingly, are labelled as "neutral" on the Good/Evil spectrum, though they are obviously the heroes of the story mode.
Interestingly, status as "good" or "evil" is based only on choices made during random events; your civilization can embark on massive campaigns of galactic genocide and still be considered "good".
The Grox race from Spore are a race of cyborgs and almost always conduct raids on random races, making them being viewed as the galaxy's ultimate evil. This is actually a subversion, as the Grox are only reacting to the threat posed by oxygen-breathing life forms that gain the power of space flight, and inevitably use terraforming to spread their deadly (to Grox) oxygenated atmospheres to other planets. You can even ally with them, if you both prove yourself willing to spare Grox-inhabited worlds your terraforming AND prove your own race to be a powerful ally against other oxygen-breathing races, mostly by making a complete mockery of intergalactic law, blowing up their planets with wild abandon, and exhibiting the ability to survive in spite of the entire rest of the galaxy declaring war on you.
Ys II has some fun with this. Monsters are Always Chaotic Evil, but it's directly stated that they should be pitied, due to living only to fight and kill, rather than having full lives — and it's stated that despite this, they have varied personalities just like people. The Telepathy Magic-based monster conversations confirm their diverse personalities, and can make them seem sympathetic or likable...until one says something that bluntly reminds you that they're a race of The Usual Adversaries that are incapable of interaction with humans more meaningful than killing and eating them or holding them captive.
Betrayal at Krondor features the Moredhel, which humanity assumes to be this trope, although by the end of the game it is subverted rather hard, the game itself named after a Moredhel who betrays his race's "messiah" to save the world. Played straight with the pantathians, who do not appear in the game except as enemies. Justified as they are genetically hardwired to single-mindedly work towards the purpose of restoring their master and creator, the Valheru Alma-Lodaka, to power.
For Return To Krondor...Demons, Shadows, Goblins, Trolls, Ghouls, Vampires, Nighthawks, Zombies, Sidi's Necromancers, Izmali Assassins, and Bear's Mercenaries. Does that cover it? Oh, and at least two of these groups will form into alliances against you and James will wonder how that could be.
Zaun, a city closely aligned with Noxus, is dedicated fully to (mad) science. They consider almost anything acceptable if it results in interesting science, and have been known to produce chemical weapons so dreadful that even Noxians were disturbed to see them put to use. However, they are far more devoted to science than outright malice, and even granted full citizenship and rights to Blitzcrank, a steam-powered golem, upon realizing that he was sentient.
The faction that fits this trope best, however, is the Void. An other-wordly plane full of Eldritch Horrors, the entire faction has one goal: eat. Of the Four champions from the Void, they are all ruthless creatures that wish nothing but to devour everything they can or perform morbid experiments out of sheer curiosity. Two people have successfully walked away from contact with a portal to the void, and of the two, both were cursed with its power, one of the two coming away from the experience entirely insane.
Shadow Isles have upped the ante in terms of evil champions, everyone who resides in the island is a sinister agent of death out to make mortals suffer in the worst ways possible.
The Skedar from Perfect Dark. Their only goal seems to be the extermination of the Maian race and they don't seem to care how many humans they have to kill to do it.
Knights of the Old Republic provides a bit of background on the Tusken Raiders of Star Wars that presents their side of the story: as survivors of a pre-historic Apocalypse How involving orbital bombardment and the resulting scorched earth, their taboo against most machinery - and particularly air/spacecraft - causes them to regard all races that use such devices as blasphemous heretics. They still fit the Always Chaotic Evil trope as far as their behavior goes, but their motivations now make them Scary Dogmatic Aliens (of the religious sort).
The demons in Dark Souls are this, naturally. Undead that have lost their senses are this as well if they aren't huddled into a corner somewhere, crying.
The zombies in Plants vs. Zombies are capable of nothing more than trying to wreak havoc and eat your brain alive. Knowing that they are fully intelligent beings makes the thought of them even more terrifying.
Notably subverted by Dark (Or Evil, as they're called in Japan) type Pokémon. While they're commonly used by villains or as villains (In the spin-offs that lack humans) on top of their Pokedex entries often making them out to be several types of nasty, they show up being used by/as good or neutral characters nearly as often, and their negative characteristics are largely an Informed Attribute. The only thing that could be considered consistently dark/evil about them is their style of combat, which revolves largely around underhanded tactics.
Clive Barker's Undying: The Trsanti, a sort of pirate/gypsy hybrid. Patrick's journals show that he relishes slaughtering as many of them as he can.
In Star Ocean The Last Hope, the Cardianon are this, they have no objective but conquest. It's revealed that the Cardianon were manipulated by the Grigori in order to evolve from lizard beasts to a space-faring race in 200 years, in order to further their agenda, so they didn't have time to develop empathy with other races.
Rattata in A Petty Nuzlocke Challenge.
The Dimension of Pain demons from Sluggy Freelance are quite openly evil, even using the phrase "How evil" as the highest form of praise. Their hatred of anything good is taken to comedic extremes, from being unable to stand the smell of flowers, to being called "dysfunctional" if they don't fight enough with their family, to considering a relaxing massage a form of torture. Despite this, many of them still manage to have their own distinct personalities. They may all be evil, but, like with human beings, greed and stupidity usually get in the way.
Many of the named characters among them seem to act evil towards humans, but not to each other. Others are humorously evil (or something) even amongst their own kind, for example, eating each other randomly.
The major theme of the D&D-based webcomic Goblins is pointing out that usuallyChaotic Evil really does only mean usually...as well as exploring the root causes behind this, and whether it's even true (which, while debatable in real life ethics, is stated to be so in the rulebooks). To this end, the protagonists have run across a surprising number of evil humans and other typically good or neutral races (including Kore and Dellyn), while their typically chaotic or evil compatriots are either neutral, good, or driven to evil.
As an expected result of this conflict, a Knight Templar has already appeared.
Unlike Goblins, the setting is close to entirely consistent with the D&D source material. Out of several arcs involving a stuffed up Knight Templar Paladin who "generously" gives the main character Roy time to "improve" his behavior. He eventually gets her guard down by apologizing — then condemns her for her own faults. This is similar to the way in which "evil" races are treated - while the sociopathic serial killer in the troupe is occasionally given a free pass because he's a halfling (often harmless and jovial and cute) — or more likely because, overall, he does more good than harm, even if not quite intentionally.
Subverted and Parodied simultaneously in a short series of strips in which the Order meets a group of teenaged goblins who are good-aligned — for the explicit reason that it cheeses off their parents, who are Evil. "Listen to me, young man, you will drink the blood of the innocent and you will LIKE IT!"
Redcloak's entire character arc from Start Of Darkness can be seen as a Deconstruction of this trope: the goblins are formally designated as Evil Cannon Fodder by the gods, which doesn't sit too well with him when his family is slaughtered by crusading paladins. His ultimate goal is to give his race equal standing among the other major species of the world, but he slowly takes more and more horrific actions pursuing his plan to do so — thus becoming the very thing that he objects to being labeled as. Is he evil because goblins are inherently evil, or because he has been designated as such?
Well, if you include hobgoblins, one hobgoblin sacrificed his life to save his leader's (even though Redcloak never did much to earn any loyalty). This is a pretty impressive "good" action, right? Except his leader is evil.
The question then would be: "Would that same goblin push a Good aligned character under the falling boulder?"
In the Dragon Magazine strips, the Order run into a goblin group that fall under the category of Harmless Villains, whose evil extends to making a big deal out of extinguishing street lamps, and proceed to leave them alone when they turned out not to be the guys that were sacrificing innocents. Even Belkar walks away, though that may be because they pointed them to the refreshments on the way out.
Doubly subverted when the Order of the Stick first runs into the Linear Guild. Vaarsuvius's counterpart is a dark elf named Zz'dtri who claims that he isn't evil, even though his race is Always Chaotic Evil. Nale explains that once Dark Elves became a player race, they became Chaotic Good and wanted to ward off their former evil reputations. Ultimately, the Linear Guild (Zz'dtri included, since they needed the OOTS to touch the sigils) turns out to be evil.
The Darth Vaarsuvius arc explores this as well. Vaarsuvius casually killed a black dragon in the Wooden Forest during the sidequest to get Roy's starmetal. No one had any moral qualms about it (not even Miko), because black dragons are Always Chaotic Evil, and it even named a trope! Much later, the dragon's much more powerful mother shows up when Vaarsuvius is alone, and she ispissed.She very nearly murders V's spouse and children, and V retaliates by using an uber-spell to wipe out 1/4 of the dragon's entire species. In the commentary, Burlew discusses the implications of this. The magnitude of this act was to show that if this was wrong, then it's no less wrong to invade a dragon's home and murder it for its treasure, regardless of its moral alignment.
What's more, two later comics show the full unpleasant ramifications of V's actions. By casting that Familicide spell, V not only killed off 1/4 of the black dragon population, but many Half-Human Hybrids that were actually Chaotic Good, as well as their (relatively) innocent full-human mothers. The comics are here and here.
Played straight so far with demons and undead, however.
Rats are Always Evil in Freaks N Squeeks. It goes with What Measure Is a Non-Cute? — most of the cast are mice, with the similarly small and cute shrews standing in for Jews.
Cubi, on the other hand — which are not actually demons in the setting — are quite explicitly stated not to be this in the comic itself, despite reputation — the evil ones just get all the press, because torturing or seducing people makes for a more exciting story than helping sick children.
Some of the early humor of Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic depended upon this concept, as the comic has its roots entirely in older editions of D&D. For example, when the beholder Bob cheats on his goblin girlfriend Gren, he tries to justify it by pointing out that he's evil. Gren points out that they're both Lawful Evil, and goes on to cheat on Bob extensively, as is her right as the wronged party under goblin law. Most of the monster characters are so Affably Evil, though, that it sometimes feels jarring when they get around to doing some really bad stuff.
And then subverted later on, either by a deliberate intent to Mind Screw the readers from the very start, or from the author reconsidering, when it turns out that the Urtts are the way they are because they were literally made to be the slaves of the Heroes' people and have inherited the culture of evil and cruelty that the Eregonian goddess destroyed their civilization in order to shock the humans out of it. Now the Eregonians have become good guys in order to atone for their evil heritage, and the Urtts combine that evil heritage with a lingering memory that Humans Are Bastards, even if most of them have forgotten why.
Elves in 8-Bit Theater are all racist, genocidal narcissists whose history has been described as a lovesong to bloodshed and themselves. Their arrogance is also unjustified, as they prove to be no better than other races (for example, having technology on par with other races despite a 9,000 year head start), something that Black Mage and Red Mage tell Thief, the Elven Prince. Their national anthem begins "We're a race of total bastards." An anthem they stole.
The other races aren't much better. 8-Bit Theater is a Crapsack World, after all.
InHarkovast, the Nameless Race cannot speak or think but are described as constantly marching to war. They have yet to do anything other than attack people, and are generally killed without mercy by the story's heroes.
Due to separatism and the resulting whirlwind of misconception and propaganda, everyone in TwoKinds thinks everyone else is Always Chaotic Evil. The Keidran rarely meet Humans other than slavers. Humans rarely meet Keidran who aren't criminals. All it took was one Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds for the slavers to be supplemented with death squads. The only third party is a group of Brown Minion expies known as the Basitin, who don't see anyone else sympathetically due to their cultural Asskicking Equals Authority / More Than Mind Control; humans are undisciplined rabble, Keidran are perverse undisciplined rabble. And the few Basitin that don't follow that doctrine are hated above all others.
Much like the above, werewolves in Cry Havoc are inaccurately portrayed by the church as Always Chaotic Evil, although it is questionable to what degree this is inaccurate given that the werewolves' first actions were to shred and eat a large quantity of people...
In Looking for Group, elves are supposedly this, but almost every elf we meet is actually pretty decent or has a Freudian Excuse to justify the alignment. The main character is actively trying to go against his race's reputation, and is the character most concerned with the morality of the group's actions. The undead may be this, but we only meet one group of them, and they are controled by the Token Evil Teammate.
Slightly Damned: Averted with Demons. Both Word Of God and the story make it clear that while they may lean towards evil, and some are responsible for tormenting evil souls in Hell, it is just as much their own choice as it is innate nature, and that there are exceptions, like Buwaro. The same is applied to the idea of Angels being Always Lawful Good.
The Shadow Nexus from The Beast Legion are a group of deadly generals each with their own Beast forms, who's sole aim is to create chaos across the land of Lithopia and crush any who oppose the will of their Master, Dragos. In the very second issue, they invade the palace of Lithopia with full force, leaving only destruction in their wake.
In The Gamers Alliance, demons are initially shown as intelligent beings who cause suffering because they enjoy it. They used to be a noble race until their god Mardük went mad, which transformed them into their grotesque forms and twisted their minds into serving the destructive aspect of Chaos. However, eventually the heroes meet a few friendly demons and realize that despite their bloodthirsty nature not all demons are irredeemable monsters.
This trope is comprehensively picked to pieces in The Return where it's revealed that Succubus (Succubi? Succubae? Help me out here people) culture is possibly more complex and multidimensional than human culture, and, from their point of view, it is humanity that borders on Always Chaotic Evil.
Orion's Arm: worried that the descendants of Earth (humans, artificial intelligences, cyborgs, the genetically engineered, etc) think too much alike due to their creators' inherent bias, a group of AIs created the Bitenic Squids, a highly diverse species with every newborn member being a blank slate. Those that can function in the wider world are all completely selfish and without empathy, and go insane easily.
Largely averted in Adylheim where none of the playable races are defined by their race. Granted, this is partially a virtue of it being a Grey and Gray Morality world. Some of the non-playable races, such as trolls, have a tendency to fall into this category though.
The ktuvoks in the world of Verduria. Their entire society is based on Brainwashing humans who are less advanced than they into obedient slaves, and they are so good at it that if humans are freed from their control, the humans will ally themselves with the ktuvoks willingly. In addition, they attack all free human civilizations, using their slaves as Cannon Fodder, laying everything to waste and commiting every war crime in the book. They have no culture or learning to speak of, and merely steal the innovations of other races. And the worst part? The ktuvoks are severly restricted to where on the planet they can live; they cannot survive away from swamps. The only apparently reason apart from the Evulz that they take over much of the continent and turn humans into loyal slaves is to get female ktuvoks to mate with them.'
The ktuvoks brainwashed one particular human race (the Dhekhnami) so thoroughly that they're not so much slaves as symbiotic partners at this point. At least to the Verdurians, they're considered this trope as well.
In Aelan mythology from Ustal Naror islands, for example beings of eeriness (mermaids, vampires, white apes, worβs, dragons...), concretes, reflections (gremlins, orks, squirrels of doom...), intereraera hordes... are always evil.
In RWBY, the Grimm are creatures that have antagonized humanity since their inception, and are said to be the only beings that lack a soul since they're born from darkness. None of them appear anything other than aggressive and hostile, which is especially dominant in the younger, smaller versions. The older, larger ones have learned slightly better, and will wait for opportunities to strike.
To say nothing of Dinobot from Beast Wars, as well as Waspinator's defection at the end of the show. It's played straight in Beast Machines, however, with the mindless drone vehicons. There's a scene from the last episode would have given Megatron's two space-launched generals a redemption, but it was cut.
The Quintessons are almost always this. When not evil, they're Ax-Crazy. "Innocent! Throw them to the Sharkticons!" Now, Energon's Alpha Quintesson has more to him than meets the eye, but he's... complicated. And definitely not part of a G1-style Quintesson race.
The spawn of Unicron are almost always every bit as evil as their master. The Minicons from Armada were an exception, though they were created for the sole purpose of giving the Autobots and Decepticons something to fight over.
Both invoked and averted on Gargoyles. All races portrayed onscreen (humans, gargoyles, fae, and New Olympians) are shown to have both good and evil members, but Demonaviews humanity this way, and the Quarrymen portray gargoyles like this in their recruiting campaigns.
Demona herself is one of very few evil gargoyles, the race as a whole is supposedly Always Lawful Good, having a near biological drive to protect and safeguard the places that they live and those places' inhabitants. It is, however, up to the individual gargoyle clans how they choose to interpret these drives, ranging anywhere from "Stay the hell away from my caves, filthy human scum" to "Here I come to save the daaaaay!"
On Jimmy Two-Shoes, weavils, so far, have been shown to be a race made up of completely jerkass creatures who love to torment the citizens of Miseryville.
Birds in Happy Tree Friends are usually hostile...particularly the man-eating ducks. Come to think of it, this extends to most animals, including sharks, puppies, and, in one case, a wild bear. Nature is out to get the HTF gang.
The Irken race, from which Invader Zim hails, is, as far as we know, entirely bent on conquering vast swaths of space. Zim himself may be an exaggeration of the Irken racial personality, but each Invader introduced seems to enjoy large death machines and lots of destructive fire. Unaired episodes would've revealed that they're barely even a real alien race. They're created and controlled by a group of powerful AIs to take over the universe on their behalf.
Futurama has a species of evil leeches, the "Dark Ones". All of the species lived at a single puddle, and yet all their evil was useless against a bag of cement, used to prepare the ground to be turned into a parking lot.
The Changelings display little intelligence and seem quite feral, so the race overall may not be so much Always Chaotic Evil as it is an Always Chaotic Hungry Horde of Alien Locusts. The Queen, however, does display high intelligence.
The dragons. The adults would rather roast ponies than talk to them and one tries to kill a young dragon over some eaten property. The teens react to defiance with violence and attack animals for fun. Spike's feral form is easily the nicest dragon shown, only resorting to force, and non-lethal force at that, after being physically injured, and he was raised by ponies.
Averted in Young Justice:Word Of God says that the White Martians are not naturally evil in this continuity, and that other than coloration, their differences with the Green and Red Martians are mostly cultural. He doesn't elaborate, though, so it's possible the average White Martian might still have some undesirable traits.
The Shadow Clan from Slugterra. Subverted, in that they are later revealed to be defenders of Slugterra, but also happen to be Good Is Not Nice. Also, the Dark Bane.