"Our love of what is beautiful does not lead to extravagance;
our love of the things of the mind does not make us soft."
While the Proud Warrior Race
believes in warfare and martial honor as the pinnacle of cultural achievement, they have a counterpart in the Proud Scholar Race, who instead focus on matters of the intellect. Personality-wise, they may be aloof and detached
, or quite gregarious and friendly (particularly if they're also The Empath
). Either way, they have a tendency to be more intellectual, mystical or philosophical than most of the other species in the setting. This species of scholars tends to come in two flavors:
Their societal structure is centered around science, philosophy, and the arts. Their political structure may employ a Head Scientist
, Philosopher, or Poet as a leader. They aren't necessarily a Higher-Tech Species
, although that often overlaps. The key is that learning is the main cornerstone to their society. These are most likely to be Perfect Pacifist People
possibly protected by Psychic Powers
provided they can be explained away by sufficient study of science
. They may live in a City in a Bottle
of some sort
. Those with a more practical bent will be The Engineer
A Closer to Earth
species who focus more on the mystical, spiritual or philosophical sides of knowledge. If any species has Psychic Powers
, it's these guys. Their culture tends to gravitate toward a Crystal Spires and Togas
aesthetic, and their technology may share a similar feel. Unlike other species
, they may hold on to beliefs in higher powers (particularly if said powers are extant Sufficiently Advanced Aliens
or Energy Beings
). If the species is actually alien, then they overlap with Space Elves
(and Telepathic Spacemen
, if psychic). Less sympathetic versions of the species may overlap with Scary Dogmatic Aliens
of The Fundamentalist
Proud Scholar Races of either stripe tend to be portrayed as more peace-loving
than some other species, but they tend to be rather dangerous when provoked
, using superior technology, Psychic Powers
and hidden superweapons
to turn their foes into dust. They won't necessarily be portrayed as nicer people - sometimes, their love of knowledge will make them sympathetic compared to the madmen running around hitting things with swords, but other times, it will make them cold, slimy and sinister
compared to the honest fighters doing their duty for their country. Similarly, any non-scientists in this race (no matter how important to their society) will suffer Klingon Scientists Get No Respect
— err, Vulcan Warriors Get No Respect
This race may be friendly toward humans, or it might shun them because it detests their violent ways
, or sees them as so far below them as to be insects
. This species might be descended from the Precursors
, or at least remember a time when they existed.
If both these and the Warrior Race are played as villainous, they basically become a split about the two terrifying sides of the Nazis — the Warriors are the mighty soldiers and strategists slaughtering and conquering, while the Scientists remain at home torturing people For Science!
and for hate. For this reason, when villainous, the Scientist race may be prejudiced and regard other races as fodder for slavery and experimentation.
When heroic, the race is quite likely to resemble an idealised depiction of the academic circles of the Ancient Greeks. Expect Crystal Spires and Togas
or a Mary Suetopia
. They may or may not be a Higher Tech Species.
When the Proud Scholar Race and the Proud Warrior Race are in opposition or rivalry, they tend to form an Elves Versus Dwarves
dynamic, with the former taking the role of the Elves
. This convergant evolution may be why many scholarly races take on elf-like features
like pointed ears
and a humanoid appearance. They may still retain nonhuman features such as unusual skin or hair colors, though; pale colors such as light blue are popular. Females of this sort of species tend to overlap with Green-Skinned Space Babe
if they're actual aliens.
If they are into both learning and
killing, they're a Warrior Poet
Race instead. Compare Proud Merchant Race
and, of course, Proud Warrior Race
Compare Space Elves
, Space Amish
, and Perfect Pacifist People
No Real Life Examples, Please!
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- The Tuffles from Dragon Ball Z were a very science-driven race, and lived on the same planet as (and were ultimately overthrown by) the Saiyans, the very epitome of a Proud Warrior Race.
- The Silver Tribe in Heroic Age is pretty much a textbook example of this. Space Elves: check. Unmatched Psychic: check. Aloof and Detached: check. Detests humans: check. Crystal Spires: check. Precursors bond: check.
- Krypton worshiped Science, in some versions.
- The High Ones in ElfQuest shapechanged themselves into elves, but only after becoming planetbound. Their descendants did eventually make it back into space, though, if the Jink storyline is taken as canon.
- The Coluans from the Legion of Super-Heroes in the DC Universe.
- The Guardians of the Universe from Green Lantern.
- In The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, every member of the Insequent race is apparently a wizard who acquired his/her powers through milennia of specialized study. From the same series, the ur-viles are a rare evil version, though they end up switching sides.
- The Encyclopedists from the Foundation (although, only during the first generations, turning into a normal society after that) from the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov. Being in their start devoted entirely to the Encyclopedia Galactica, ruled by a council of scientists and being all other aspects of life secondary and complementary to the Encyclopedia. The Second Foundation on the other hand qualifies.
- The Noldorin elves from The Silmarillion started off as this, before being partially corrupted by their desire for revenge against Morgoth and becoming a Proud Warrior Race. Later, in The Lord of the Rings, Faramir laments that his people, the Gondorians, are a Proud Scholar Race who are becoming a Proud Warrior Race.
- The Anophelii in China Miéville's The Scar. At least, the men. The women, on the other hand...
- The Zacathans in Andre Norton's works, who are experts in knowledge in general and history/archeology in particular.
- The Terrismen from Mistborn.
- The Sartan from The Death Gate Cycle.
- The Alethi from The Stormlight Archive manage to be both a Proud Scholar Race and a Proud Warrior Race, due to their society's incredibly strict gender roles- Alethi men are Proud Warrior Race Guys, and Alethi women are Proud Scholar Race Girls (the divisions are so sharp that it's considered sinful for women to fight, or for men to even learn to read).
- The Beetle-kinden of Collegium in Adrian Tchaikovsky's Shadows of the Apt series. They have a culturally symbiotic relationship with the Beetle-kinden of Helleron.
- The Ogier from The Wheel of Time. Very big on history, arts, craftmanship, public speaking, and gardening. However, while they don't much like fighting, they're very good at it if sufficiently motivated.
- Adventure Hunters has gargoyles who are famous for being grade A historians. Living for an extraordinarily long time is helpful in this regard.
- The Andalites from Animorphs mostly fall under the Proud Warrior Race Guy, but surprisingly fit this trope too—while males are supposed to be warriors, females are generally either scientists or artists, and the Andalites seem to be the dominant species in Earth's section of the galaxy as a result.
- The Time Lords as originally portrayed on Doctor Who. A Retcon subsequently made them wear the "decadent and self-involved" rather than "scholarly" hat. Subsequently, it varied from story to story. Fanfic tends to emphasize the more alien, aloof, scholastic side of Gallifreyan culture. Regardless, the names of the Doctor and the Master deliberately evoked higher learning. but only those two characters are really active outside Gallifrey. Then the Time War happened...
- Vulcans in Star Trek are almost the Ur Example of the stoic, detached scholar race, including mild Psychic Powers in the form of the mind meld.
- Vulcans are an example of both subsets of this trope. While they are usually presented as the scientific side sometimes they show a mystical aspect too. Occasionally as well they show some remainders of rather dark primeval traditions in their culture as in the episode "Amok Time" when Spock's chosen bride manipulates Kirk and Spock into fighting a Duel to the Death for her favor. That episode is probably a remainder of the time when Vulcans were a Proud Warrior Race.
- Vulcans were once a Proud Warrior Race that had a Heel-Face Turn and became a Proud Scholar Race. The Romulans were Vulcans who became disgusted at what they considered to be their kin's dishonorable rejection of their Badass heritage. Thus Romulans are a Proud Warrior Race that are cousins to a Proud Scholar Race. However, they're also not entirely un-Vulcan. The ones we've seen who were not enemies are more emotional than Vulcans but more restrained and in control all the time than most other races.
- There is actually a biological explanation for this. Vulcans and Romulans actually experience emotions more strongly than Humans, and have to keep active control over them at all times to even function. This is why Romulans seem to go from calm to shouting instantly, and Vulcans who lose their cool lose self-control completely.
- The Ancients may have been this at various points in their history in Stargate SG-1. In the various Stargate series, we end up seeing things the Ancients did at vastly separated parts of their history, so their characterization changed accordingly.
- Both the Asgard and the Nox, in the same Verse, have elements of this as well. The Asgard are an odd example as they are named after (or, in-universe, inspired the legends of) Norse Mythology, generally much less scholarly than most.
- The Minbari of Babylon 5 fit this trope very well, especially the religious caste. At least as much psi potential as any other race, one of the "elder" races, on relatively good terms with the Precursors, Crystal Spires and Togas, Ape Shall Never Kill Ape (very common in Space Elves if they're not straight-up Perfect Pacifist People), and loads of Cultural Posturing and Can't Argue with Elves.
- Wonder Woman TV Series: In this incarnation, Paradise Island’s amazons are Perfect Pacifist People. In contrast with the Proud Warrior Race Guy from the comics, the amazons were overpowered by the Nazis in “The Feminum Mystique”. However, the Amazons easily overpower the Nazis once Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl came back to liberate the Isle.
- The Eldar from Warhammer 40K.
- The Darrians in Traveller.
- Dungeons & Dragons tends to have a few scholarly peoples in its racial lineup; the elven subraces tend to lean toward the mystical end of the spectrum. The 4th edition Eladrin, in particular, embody the scholarly side of the elven archetype. Gnomes also tend to be protrayed in this fashion, whether they're illusionists and wizards, or tinkers and inventors. (The word "gnome", by the way, comes from the Greek word for "to know", and their stereotypical pointed hats may share the symbolic origin of the Wizard Hat—that is, the knowledgeable few at the top, above the uneducated masses on the bottom.)
- Turned Up to Eleven and Deconstructed in the Eberron campaign setting. The gnomes of the nation of Zilargo are known for their intellects. In their land is the largest library (which doubles as the most respected university in the world), as well as the most respected newspaper which is distributed across the continent. Their prowess in elemental binding has made gnomes a match of the various Mega Corporations that deal in Magitek. But the Gnomes' value and thirst of knowledge is so great it has taken a dark side - spying on one's neighbors and family for secrets and blackmail is not only common, but expected. Their entire society is held together by blackmail, and because of their affinity for knowledge, Zilargo is a police state run an intelligence organization that rivals the two Mega Corporations that specialize in spying. Criminals in Zilargo are not tried or arrested, they have "accidents" or simply vanish. Similarly, it is a common saying that the gnomes do not go to war in the traditional sense - they wage their battles through information warfare and intelligence warfare.
- Gnomes were portrayed this way in the setting-generic, late-3rd Edition sourcebook Races of Stone. Using their racial affinity for illusion magic as a springboard, the writers portrayed gnomes as having a culture based around the concept of truth and the philosophical pursuit of uncovering or obscuring it.
- If the Garundi humans from Pathfinder have a hat, it's this. Their various nations are typically ruled, or at least heavily influenced, by mages, scholars, and alchemists.
- In Magic: The Gathering, most blue aligned races, as well as blue-aligned humans civilisations, fall under one of these tropes. The Vedalken are probably the most blatant example, because they don't exist outside of the Magic storyline and have no other role to fullfill.
- Same with some of the White aligned races, which tend towards the mystic scholar archetype, like Alara Aven.
- The Hylar from Twilight Imperium board game are ruled by a government that is called the Universities of Jol-Nar. They also fulfill the "stuffed-up jerks" part of this trope, an attitude which bit them in the ass big time at least once, when it didn't occur to them they need the other races as much as these needed their science.
- The Tremere from Vampire: The Masquerade carry around "proud" by the wheelbarrow-full, having set themselves up as the Camarilla's greatest (and often sole) authority on the mystical arts. Mind you, being vampires, their manner is less "detached, reserved, and philosophical" and more "we're the only ones with the potential to know this, and if you try to know this, we will end you."
- Clan Brujah was known during the dark ages as the Learned Clan, and were proficient in the scholary arts primarily as well as physical prowess, creating a clan of passionate Warrior Poets. Sadly, this degenerated over the centuries, and in the final nights they are more of a Proud Warrior Race with only the older members dedicating themselves to the more intellectual side of things.
- The Psilons in Master of Orion (scientists) and the Elerians from the second and third games (mystics, not found in MOO 1)
- The Syreen from the Star Control series of games.
- The Asari from the Mass Effect games fit the "mystic" description to a T, having superior talents at biotics.
- The salarians have a reputation as good scientists, albeit one overshadowed by their other reputation as spies. These are often the same people.
- The asari are the most advanced of the Citadel races. In the third game, we find out that they are hogging a Prothean beacon that they used to achieve their technological superiority, although Javik claims this was intentional.
- The Protoss from the Starcraft series are a mix between this and the Proud Warrior Race.
- The Chozo from Metroid. They're not humanoid, but they have great powers, are possibly magical, are wise and knowedgeable, Closer to Earth (or, more accurately, Tallon IV), and are generally mystical.
- They also fit the Scientific side of the trope: the thing is that they grew so scientifically advanced that they hit a dead end. Since science offered no more answers, they turned to mysticism to complement it.
- For added fun, the backstory also establishes that they were once a Proud Warrior Race before giving it up in favor of becoming this — hence Samus' power suit and the numerous upgrades for it scattered around the galaxy.
- The Vasudans of FreeSpace.
- The Lunarians from Touhou. They see themselves as more spiritually pure than absolutely anyone else who are not Lunarians... scratch that, they believe that they are simply better, period. It's strongly hinted that Lunarians were humans who attained great spiritual height. They have expendable servitors, the Moon Rabbits. And just in case anyone is up to challenge their claim: in the past, they thwarted a Youkai invasion from Gensokyo led by Yukari Yakumo. Yukari Yakumo is a Reality Warper. Though it's speculated that Yukari intended to lose just to teach the Youkai a lesson.
- The Warcraft universe has blood elves for the magic sort and gnomes (the descendants of ancient machines) and arguably goblins for tech. The draenei are somewhere in between, as they've always been magically-oriented and are implied to have picked up some degree of magitek knowledge as well. And the tauren are both a Proud Scholar Race (of the mystic variety) and a Proud Warrior Race.
- The University of Planet in Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri are a collection of scientists whose primary goal is the expansion of human knowledge. Admittedly, that process involves a loose interpretaion of ethics and human rights, but....
- Among the various types of elves in The Elder Scrolls series the Altmer embody the mystical side of this trope, being the most adept at magic, as well as arrogant towards the lesser races (in their language, Altmer means "the cultured people"), while the now vanished Dwemer embody the science side (they worshipped "their twin gods of Logic and Reason"). Among the human races, the Breton are this, being of partial elvish descent, in counter-position to the Imperials and the Nords.
- The Krityans from Tales of Vesperia would like to believe that they're this. The problem, however, is that most of them are A-Grade Cloudcuckoolanders who like to prattle on about magic vegetables that probably don't even exist when they're not designing new pieces of technology. The fact that their token "rebellious" representative who ends up in your party is a constantly-sedated Blood Knight who may or may not also be Ax-Crazy and is considered Not So Different to the main race speaks volumes. All in all, they're not exactly the best safeguards of the knowledge that a giant space octopus made from global warming is going to utterly rape the planet.
- The Asura from Guild Wars 2, their intro cinematic sums up things nicely and quickly: "I am asura. I personify genius." Ironically, the only other race that matches them for technology are the Charr, the Proud Warrior Race guys.
- The Sophon of Endless Space are a race of incredibly curious tinkerers and scientists with a generally peaceful demeanor, considering war to be a wasteful undertaking pushed on them by warlike aliens; they have a massive science boost and great engines and sensors, but build slowly and can't fight worth a damn. The Pilgrims, a breakaway nation of human scientists and mystics dedicated to studying the Endless have no innate science boosts, but are adept at gaining knowledge from salvaging enemy ships after battle. There's also the Automatons, a race of clockwork robots that dislike combat and prefer to silently tinker away on planetary ecosystems; like the Pilgrims, they receive no innate science bonus, but their vast industrial capacity allows them to pump out science from their extremely well developed solar systems.
- The Shama'Li in WarWind live in harmony with Yavaun's ecosystem, have natural magic abilities, and genuinely strive for peace and harmony among all races on the planet (including humans in the second installment). All this doesn't mean they cannot be a dangerous foe in combat, especially when it goes about the weak and oppressed.
- Ashpaw Longstripe from Tasakeru, though he's more than willing to step up into Badass Bookworm territory when necessary.