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Fantasy Axis of Evil

Any fan of fantasy, Heroic, High or Low (or otherwise) knows the usual Tolkien mould of heroic races — elves, dwarves, halflings, gnomes, and whatever else. (Oh, and humans too.) But of course the Always Chaotic Evil races often come in certain varieties themselves, in something of an Evil Counterpart trope of the Five Races.

  • Savage (Orc, Ogre, maybe Troll): Big, tough, usually not particularly bright, these lot are generally a race of The Brute. Often the Proud Warrior Race, and may have a Noble Savage bent if cast sympathetically. Counterpart to the Stout.
  • Eldritch (Demon, Undead): Powerful, dangerous and inherently magical, these are often the most frightening and inhuman race. They may have the most variety within them. Counterpart to the Fairy.
  • Humanoid (Hobgoblin, Beast Man, sometimes orcs): Effectively humans, with a similar society and capabilities, but stranger looking and often foreign. Sometimes just humans themselves. Counterpart to Mundane.
  • Fallen (Dark Elf): Good looking, manipulative backstabbing jerks who are downright proud of it. Usually live underground or in some other well-hidden area, specialise in stealth, sneakiness and ruthlessness. Dark mirror of the High Men. Like High Men, they're the most likely to be absent from the Fantasy Axis of Evil. An alternate depiction of the Fallen is as propagandists and diplomats of the Axis, whose mission is depicting the Dark Lord "with a human face" to unsuspecting schmucks (it's, of course, patently untrue, because the Fallen are still conniving, lying bastards).
  • Crafty (Goblin): Small, numerous and often smart and cunning, otherwise they wouldn't still be around. These buggers are usually the most technically inclined group, with trap-filled lairs and warren-like fortresses but still tend to use Zerg Rush tactics. Often Ugly Cute. Counterpart to the Cute, of course.

Unlike the usual Five Races they are not always allied, and are as prone to getting in fights with each other as they are with the 'heroic' groups. It's common for Evil Overlords to unite them yet other times they'll work together without a real leader. There will almost always be at least one good member of at least one race, and sometimes the story will make efforts to either show that they're not necessarily inherently evil, or find a way to justify it through magic, circumstances or whatever else.


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    Fan Fic 
  • Calvin & Hobbes: The Series
    • Savage: Jark ("Attack of the Monsters")
    • Eldritch: The poltergeist girl ("Dark Laughter") and the Super Smoke being ("Nocturnals")
    • Humanoid: Most of the Brainstorm family and their robots
    • Fallen: Holographic Retro (may overlap with Humanoid as well)
    • Crafty: Thunderstorm

  • Star Wars:
    • Savage: Tusken Raiders
    • Eldritch: Yuuzhan Vong
    • Humanoid: The Empire
    • Fallen: Sith
    • Crafty: Hutts

  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • Orcs: Crafty (in the case of Goblins) or Savage (humanoid and brutish)
    • Trolls: Savage (the giant, brutish type)
    • Black Númenóreans: Fallen
    • Evil humans (Haradrim and Easterlings): Humanoid (Uruk-hai could also count here, as it is theorised they are human/orc crossbreeds)
    • Nazgûl: Eldritch (the closest thing to a "magic" race on the evil side, though they're closer to Elite Mook or Co-Dragons status)
      • Technically, you can count the Barrow Wights and other Undead that the Witch-King commands as Eldritch.
      • Also whatever you get turned into if you get stabbed by a Morgul-blade and don't receive treatment in time.
  • Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn has four evil races; the "humanoid" role is played by the actual humans fighting on the side of evil.
    • Savage: Hunën, Giant Mooks from the mountains.
    • Eldritch: The Red Hand, Ineluki's most powerful undead minions.
    • Fallen: The Norns, evil counterparts of the Sithi.
    • Crafty: Bukken, tiny diggers, tend to play the role of Goddamned Bats.
  • In Harry Potter, although there is overlap with the Five Races because very few races have a set alignment in the Potterverse, we could have:
    • Giants as the Savage race
    • Dementors and Inferi as the Eldritch and Undead races, respectively
    • Most Dark wizards as the Humanoids
    • Extremely powerful and twisted Dark wizards (Voldemort, although there have been other possible candidates such as Grindelwald and Herpo the Foul) as the Fallen
    • Goblins as the Crafty, although they don't quite fit as most goblins remain, not neutral exactly, but as detached as possible from wizarding society.
  • In Time Scout, the Ansar Majlis are downtime jihadists recruited by uptimer fundamentalists to fight the modern revival of the worship of Artemis.
  • The recurring villains of the Discworld could arguably count, with:
    • Savage: Demons, old-school Dragons. Deliberately subverted with Trolls and Orcs.
    • Eldritch: The Things from the Dungeon Dimensions. Deliberately subverted with the Undead.
    • Humanoid: Humanity. No, seriously, these guys are the villains way more often than anyone else. Similarly, the few evil Dwarves, Vampires etc that turn up.
    • Fallen: Elves. With a dash of Eldritch.
    • Crafty: The Auditors of Reality. Deliberately subverted with Goblins.
  • The Angarak nations fill roughly this role in The Belgariad, though they're human (albeit humans whose society has been dominated by the God of Evil for milennia):
    • Savage: Murgos, who also have elements of the Fallen. Descended from the old Angarak warrior caste, they're the most aggressive and warlike of the Angaraks and their royal house produces rabing madmen more often than not.
    • Eldritch: Grolims, the priest and magical caste who can be found across the Angarak nations and enforce Torak's will.
    • Humanoid: Thulls, descended from the working caste of the old Angaraks- they hate Torak and really just want to be free of the others, but serve out of fear.
    • Fallen: Malloreans. The least "specialized" and most versatile of the Angarak nations, incorporating skills and tactics from numerous conquered peoples.
    • Crafty: Nadraks. Descended from the old Angarak merchant caste, the Nadraks are a Proud Merchant Race noted for their cunning and duplicitiousness, but beign less fanatical than the Murgos and Grolims, less successful than the Malloreans, and less cowed than the Thulls, they're also the first Angarak nation to turn against Torak.
  • The Wheel of Time
    • Savage: Trollocs
    • Eldritch: Myrddraal. Some of the more powerful and specialized Shadowspawn (like the gholam) may fit here as well.
    • Humanoid: Human darkfriends.
    • Fallen: Sharans
    • Crafty: Grey Men
  • Mistborn: The Original Trilogy
    • Savage: Koloss
    • Eldritch: Steel Inquisitors
    • Humanoid: Humans on the side of Lord Ruler
    • Fallen: The victims of Ruin
    • Crafty: Mistwraiths and Kandra appears first, then subverted.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek tends to map over to fantasy races pretty well. Aside from the Five Races, you have the Klingons as orcs, the Borg are pretty close to undead, the Cardassians as xenophobic Humanoids, the Romulans countering the Space Elf Vulcans as Dark Elves, and the Ferengi much like goblins.
    • The Dominion:
      • Savage: Jem'Hadar
      • Eldritch: Breen
      • Humanoid: Cardassians
      • Fallen: The Founders
      • Crafty: Vorta
  • Babylon 5: Borderline, especially given the series' tendency towards Grey and Gray Morality:
    • Savage: Alien monsters such as the one in the episode "Grey 17 is Missing".
    • Eldritch: No contest. The Shadows and the Vorlons.
    • Humanoid: role alternates between Centauri, Humans, and Narn.
    • Fallen: the Drakh: prefer crafty infiltration and sneak attacks. Also nastier Minbari
    • Crafty: Humans have large numbers of small ships and use nuclear space mines. Narn use Zerg Rush in boarding operations. And if Deathwalker is representative of the Dilgar in general, they probably qualified too.
  • Stargate: fair match
    • Savage: Unas, later Kull
    • Eldritch: Ori
    • Humanoid: Jaffa
    • Fallen: Goa'uld
    • Crafty: Replicators
      • In later seasons, the Lucian Alliance also fills the "Humanoid" slot after the fall of the System Lords, making most Jaffa seen allies instead of Mooks.
  • Stargate Atlantis has its own set
    • Savage: The Wraith
    • Eldritch: Pegasus Replicators
    • Humanoid: Micheals faction as they have become more human than the other wraith
    • Fallen: Pegasus Asgard, also wraith worshipers
    • Crafty: The Genii
  • GoGo Sentai Boukenger has four enemy races who can be put in some of these categories.
    • savage: The Jaryuu (evil dragon) clan
    • Eldritch: The Ashu/Questers
    • Fallen: Dark Shadow
    • Crafty: Goadom civilization
  • Farscape goes more by this than the Five Races, given Black and Grey Morality
    • Savage: Scarrans, Luxans, Tavleks
    • Eldritch: The Ancients, Einstein's "True Ancients", and whatever Maldis is.
    • Humanoids: Sebaceans/Peacekeepers
    • Fallen: Nebari
    • Crafty: Hynerians (if Rygel is anything to go by), the Pathfinders, Sheeyangs

    Religion and Mythology 
  • Ur Example: The races in Norse Mythology possibly fits better as this then as the Five Races, which is ironic as Tolkien likely based his races those of Norse myth:
    • Savage: Jötnar
    • Eldritch: Gods
    • Humanoid: Humans
    • Fallen: Elves (aka Light-Elves)
    • Crafty: Dwarfs (aka Dark-Elves)

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons is something of a Trope Codifier.
    • Orcs, along with Ogres and some giants are Savage.
    • The Undead in many different forms as Eldritch, along with all the varieties of demons and devils, and weirder things. Mind Flayers deserve a mention what with the name.
    • Goblins, hobgoblins and all kinds of subraces are close to Humanoid, though one book has actual 'dark humans'.
    • Drow made the 'Dark Elf' trope.
    • Kobolds are textbook Crafty and something of an Ensemble Dark Horse race. (competing with the Drow above after all)
      • Kobolds were cowardly lizard-rat-humanoids, in AD&D2 (for example, novel Wyvern's Spur uses this) they combined traps, poisonous pests and Hit-and-Run Tactics. D&D3 made them "wimpy dragons-lite", but kept the love of Death Trap spamming. They were returned to Crafty niche by "Tucker's Kobolds" story in Dragon Magazine where GM ran a tribe by the old textbook with some equally unpleasant extras. The point was that planning and strategy allow even the weakest monsters to win, but it succeed more in starting the fad of "kobolds are tactical geniuses!" and usage as the Killer Rabbit of choice.
      • Tucker's Kobolds was actually the Trope Maker for vicious, crafty kobolds— in the earliest days they were notable only as the weakest of evil humanoids. That link is to a reprint celebrating the 400th issue of Dragon Magazine.
    • In Eberron:
      • Savage: The Emerald Claw and the Lord of Blades.
      • Eldritch: Cults of the Dragon Below, the Daelkyr, and the Lords of Dust. Maybe the dragons.
      • Humanoid: Potentially anyone, but most likely House Cannith and the Aurum.
      • Fallen: Riedra as a whole, though the rank and file are similar to Humanoids and the Inspired have Eldritch elements.
      • Crafty: Everyone in Eberron fits this description, including all of the above groups.
  • Warhammer is rather better represented by this than the Five Races.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has counterparts that also fit.
    • Orks are Savage as they come, while their Gretchin slaves qualify as Crafty.
    • The Necrons and Chaos Daemons could both count as Eldritch in different ways.
    • Humanoids? Humans, of course.
    • The Dark Eldar are Fallen, though the Chaos Space Marines also fit the mould.
    • The Tau have the cunning and technology part of Crafty down, while the Tyranids have the Zerg Rush, as well as potent biotechnology and cunning infiltrators (like the Lictor and Genestealer.)
      • A case could also be made for the Imperial Guard (normal humans) as "crafty," since they come in huge waves, followed by walls of mighty cannons (tech) and backed up by Ordos assassins (cunning.) Really, the baseline of 40K is different enough that we Puny Earthlings have a hard time holding the "humanoid" position.
  • Wyrm factions in Werewolf: The Apocalypse fall into the following categories.
    • Savage / Fallen: Black Spiral Dancer Garou
    • Eldritch: Banes
    • Humanoid: Seventh Generation, fomori, and Pentex leaders
  • New World of Darkness: Let's face it, they all belong here, especially the evil part of each faction. (the new world)
  • Chronopia
    • The Blackbloods who are a collection of Ogres, Orcs, Goblins, and Troll, they are typically the Savage, with a side of Crafty intellect making them more dangerous.
    • Fallen / Eldritch: The Devout a composed of humans and some dwarfs, backed up by undead and demons.
    • The Stygians are Savage desert Reptiles led by a magic Hive Mind.

    Video Games 
  • While not actually evil, The Horde in World of Warcraft superficially fits into this more than Five Races due to being composed of traditional monster races.
    • Orcs: Humanoid (closest counterparts to the humans) with some Savage
      A well-balanced character for players who like to think they're big bad monsters when actually they're green humans with cooler dental-work.
    • Tauren: Savage, but in looks only
    • Undead: Eldritch
    • Blood Elves: Fallen
    • Goblins: Crafty, being a tiny, scheming, Ugly Cute, mechanically-inclined Proud Merchant Race.
    • Trolls: A hybrid of Crafty, Savage (their Berserkers and style of fighting)
  • Also in World of Warcraft, here's an alternate interpretation of the Alliance:
    • Humans: Humanoid
    • Night Elves: Fallen
    • Gnomes: Crafty
    • Draenei: Eldritch
    • Worgen: Savage
    • Dwarves: depends on the clan. Wildhammers are more Savage, Dark Irons are more Fallen, Bronzebeards are more Crafty.
  • In Warcraft II, however, the Horde was evil, and only lacked the Fallen:
    • Savage: Ogres
    • Eldritch: Death Knights, Undead. (Also Daemons, but they weren't actual Horde units.)
    • Humanoid: Orcs, maybe trolls
    • Crafty: Goblins
  • Super Mario Bros. (yes, seriously)
    • Savage: Goombas, provided you look past the "big" and "tough" requirements. They're the definition of no-frills Mooks, endlessly lampshaded nowadays.
    • Eldritch: Magikoopas, who use magic. Usually Elite Mooks.
    • Humanoid: Koopa Troopas, which come in many different varieties.
    • Crafty: Shy Guys, no contest.
  • The Legend of Zelda
    • Savage: Moblins, Bulbins, and Bokoblins.
    • Humanoid: Darknuts and Iron Knuckles
    • Eldritch: Poes and Wizzrobes
    • Crafty: Keatons and Takkuri
    • Fallen: Stalfos, in games where they used to be human soldiers.
  • Halo
    • Savage - Brutes, Hunters
    • Humanoid - Grunts, Brutes to some extent.
    • Eldritch - Elites before their Heel-Face Turn, The Flood.
    • Crafty - Jackals, Drones
  • Touhou:
    • Savage - low level youkai as well as the Oni, i.e. Suika and Yuugi.
    • Eldritch and/or Humanoid - both the Lunarian (Toyohime, Yorihime, Kaguya, Eirin and Moon Rabbits like Reisen Inaba) and the Half-Ghost (Youmu, Youki) can fulfill both of those roles. Full ghosts (Mima, Yuyuko, Murasa) are more of the former than the latter, however.
    • Fallen - The Witches (i.e. Alice, Byakuren)
    • Crafty - the Kappa, i.e. Nitori
  • Dragon Age fits this pretty well, although there are two distinct sources of bad guys: demons and Darkspawn.
    • Savage: Ogres and rage demons
    • Eldritch: Abominations, Arcane Horrors, and other demon-possessed types
    • Humanoid: Hurlocks
    • Fallen: Desire demons and the corrupted ghouls; although the latter aren't exactly good-looking unless you have a thing for necrotic patches of tissue, they serve as the dark parallel to the Grey Wardens
    • Crafty: Genlocks and Shrieks; ghouls also fit into this category, as they're the ones who make weapons and armor for the Darkspawn
  • Final Fantasy XI The original/Rot Z era beastmen fit this, barring the new types in the further expansions.
    • Savage: Orcs, duh. Sahagins are an aquatic version of orcs for the most part.
    • Fallen: Tonberries, who before falling were the Kuluu, the slaves of the Zilart, highly magical, and the builders of all the magical towers that later taught the Tarutaru their magical skills.
    • Humanoid: Goblins, who are the only beastmen living in peace with the good races, in all places, in all expansions, and have all jobs. "Us Goblins, we don't like you, but we'll like you for a price..." There's more friendly Goblins than any other beastman race, and many of them run businesses, or serve as mercenaries for the player's side.
    • Eldritch: The Kindred, sleek, scary, cool demons, and the most dangerous and highest level of the original beastmen. Directly working for the original Big Bad. And might actually be rented to him by a physical manifestation of a death god. Or possibly the Yagudo, who were originally presented as the most magic using of the first set of beastmen, though they don't seem any better at it than anyone else, and have nothing actually magical about them.
    • Crafty: Quadav: Peaceful, defensive turtle people. Only fighting the 5 playable races in self defense, and able to pick up any technology they see the player races use, and improve upon it within months. (For instance, the recipe and manufacture of darksteel was an ancient Galkan secret, that was only shared during the great war to help protect the country that Galka were living in. Within weeks, the Quadav had replaced all their armor and defences and such with darksteel, after seeing Galkas using darksteel axes.) They even have traps, locks, and mechanisms to prevent entry into their stronghold when no one else in the world does.
  • Mass Effect
    • Savage: Vorcha. They're Krogan Lite. Not as bright as krogan, and not blessed with long lifespans either, but very adaptable and scary-looking.
      • The yahg might also fit, if you ran into more of them and provided they're not all as brilliant as the Shadow Broker.
    • Eldritch: Reapers, natch. Not only are they Eldritch Abominations who lurk outside the galaxy, they also raise undead to fight for them.
    • Humanoid: Batarians.
    • Fallen: Collectors. They're what's left of the Protheans.
    • Crafty: The geth. The Heretics, anyway.
      • There's also Cerberus, althought they're an organization and not a race.
      • Despite being allies of the protagonist, the salarians seem like a good fit for this part. They were willing to first uplift and manipulate a race to win a war for them, then drop a Depopulation Bomb when said race became too much trouble.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic:
  • Age of Wonders 2 and AoW: Shadow Magic
    • Savage: Orcs
    • Eldritch: Undead, Shadow Demons
    • Humanoid: Dark elves, moreso than others
    • Fallen: Dark Elves
    • Crafty: Goblins more than others, with their poison and bombs. Though they are implied to not be unusually smart, relying more on large numbers.
  • Present in the RTS Armies Of Exigo, but divided between The Beasts and The Fallen factions.
    • Savage: The Beasts and their Ogre and Troll allies (Beasts)
    • Eldritch: Void Walkers, Beholders, Avengers, et al (Fallen)
    • Humanoid: Lizardmen (Beasts)
    • Fallen: The Deep Elves (The Fallen)
    • Crafty: Goblins (Beasts)
  • In Minecraft, there are
    • Savage: Creepers, the now-deleted giants
    • Eldritch: Endermen, Ghasts
    • Humanoid: Zombies
    • Fallen: Skeletons
    • Crafty: Slimes, Spiders
  • Game Mod Red Alert 3: Paradox:
    • Crafty: Mediterranean Syndicate. Hightech, Zerg Rush units (Auxillaries) and smart, but globally the weakest main faction.
    • Eldritch: Electrical Protectorate. Robots, Zerg Rush tactics and an actual Eldritch Abomination.
    • Fallen: Atomic Kingdom of China. Has shades of savage and is less back-stabby but otherwise fits, especially with their backstory.
      • Alternatively, the Empire of the Rising Sun: although arguably less evil than the Atomic Kingdom, they're still an extremely advanced, manipulative and ruthless Rising Empire. The Take Over the World goal is still there, but realizing that they can't do it through force of arms, they'd attempting to achieve economic dominance. And it's working.
    • Humanoid: Most dark minor factions.
    • Savage: Soviet Union. Brute, blunt power, but can also play heavily tactical. Depends on the commander.
  • Fallout
    • Savage: Deathclaws
    • Humanoid: Enclave, and Caesar's Legion.
    • Eldritch: Super Mutants
    • Fallen: Ghouls
  • Guild Wars 2:
  • Might and Magic VIII has a potential twist on this trope: the membership (associate and otherwise) of The Alliance can be quite close to this trope, but the goal and actions in the Alliance are good:
    • Savage: The Trolls of Ironsand.
    • Eldritch: The Necromancers of Shadowspire, the Dragons of Garrote Gorge.
    • Humanoid: The Minotaurs of Ravage Roaming.
    • Fallen: The Dark Elves of Alvar and Ravenshore (with some Humanoid tendencies).
    • Crafty: The (Human) Knights of Garrote Gorge — small but numerous compared to their prey (dragons), has to rely on smarts and cunning to even the odds...
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Savage: Trolls, Ogres
    • Eldritch: Daedric Princes, Dragons
    • Humanoid: Daedra worshipers and minor Daedra, Bandits
    • Fallen: Vampires, Thalmor
    • Crafty: Goblins and Rieklings
  • Interestingly, it applies to both factions in WildStar. No matter how the Exiles or the Dominion are painted in promotional material, they're just huge swathes of gray when you get down to it.
    • Exiles
      • Humanoid: The Exile Humans
      • Fallen: The Mordesh
      • Savage: The Granok
      • Crafty: The Aurin
    • Dominion
      • Humanoid: The Cassians
      • Savage: The Draken
      • Fallen: The Mechari
      • Crafty: The Chua
  • Dwarf Fortress: of the five civilizations dwarves will encounter, two are always hostile and one is hostile more often than not.
    • Humanoid: Goblins. Murderous demon-worshipers (and babysnatchers) with Chronic Backstabbing Disorder. Usually considered counterparts to the humans or dwarves.
    • Crafty: Kobolds. Usually interpreted as Ugly Cute, they're very sneaky and regularly harass fortress by trying to steal anything they can get their hands on. Also Savage to an extent, as they're the most primitive of the above-ground civilizations.
    • Savage: Subterranean animal-people. They live underground in scattered camps, and usually respond to a dwarf mining into their cavern with a volley of blowdarts.


    Western Animation 
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
  • Transformers Prime
    • Savage: The Insecticons, hulking brutes the rely on sheer force to win battles.
    • Eldritch: The Terrorcons, horrific robot zombies revived by Dark Energon.
    • Humanoid: Humans, specifically those working for MECH.
    • Fallen: The Decepticons, who fit the description at the top of the page to a tee, if you consider a flying warship to be a well-hidden area (and, to be fair, it's not easy to track).
    • Crafty: Scraplets. They look tiny and cute... Until it's feeding time, at which point they become a swarm of whirring, zooming teeth eager to gorge themselves on living metal like the unholy, gravity-defying spawn of a garbage disposal and a swarm of pirhana.
  • ThunderCats (2011)
    • Savage: Monkians.
    • Eldritch: Ancient Spirits and demons.
    • Humanoid: Cats and Dogs/Jackals.
    • Fallen: Cats and Birds.
    • Crafty: Lizards and Rats.

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