"Our love of what is beautiful does not lead to extravagance;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:
our love of the things of the mind does not make us soft."
our love of the things of the mind does not make us soft."
— Attributed to Pericles
- Scientific Race: 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.
- Mystical Race: 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 variety.
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 millennia 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).
- Thyreia in Emerald Prince. They are also a Perfect Pacifist People. They are shown positively and have a range of personality traits, since the story takes place there.
- 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. It's actually shown that the conflict with the Yeerks is what drove them to put a their warrior culture on a pedestal. Before that, they were far more interested in art and science overall, and even after the war started they believe that a warrior should be intelligent and educated as well.
- The Centaurs of the Xanth series. Culturally, they are academics and scholars, though many of the adult males portrayed are Genius Bruisers who enjoy a good scrap. The Winged Centaur subspecies shows signs of this but are too busy trying to establish a stable population to embrace that particular hat at the moment.
- 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...
- Star Trek:
- Vulcans 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.
- The Vidiians of Star Trek: Voyager used to be this until they were struck by the Phage, driving them to do increasingly terrible things to other species (mostly involving organ harvesting) in order to survive.
- 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.
- 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.
- Surprisingly, the Xelayans in The Orville, despite their Heavy Worlder race being famous for their Super Strength. Alara is constantly berated by her parents for choosing to become an officer in the Planetary Union rather than get a "proper" higher education. When Alara points out that other cultures, like humans, see the military as an honorable profession, they express their view of humans as the "hillbillies of the galaxy".
- 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 portrayed 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 Tzaetzi and Mnemonics in The Splinter are primarily interested in discovering and studying the history and technology of The Realm, respectively.
- 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.
- In StarCraft the two Khalai caste Protoss, in contrast to the Templar and Judicators who make up most of the Protoss cast in the wargames, are proud and enthusiastic scientists for sure.
- 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. In fact, one game shows that they tried to advise the Bryyonians to strike a balance of science and magic in their society. The Bryyonians failed, which lead to a world-ending Magic vs Technology War. For added fun, the backstory also establishes that the Chozo 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 consider themselves as such and play up this perception of their culture to the Terrans. In reality, though, they're really not much more advanced than the Terrans in any respect.
- 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....
- The Elder Scrolls
- Among the extant races of Mer (Elves), the Altmer (High Elves) best embody the "mystical" aspect of the trope. They are the naturally magically inclined race in Tamriel, and also one of the oldest, being the most direct descendants of the Aldmer (First or Old Elves). Though non-Altmer scholars are loathe to admit, Tamriel owes much of its art, science, philosophy, language, and religion to the Altmer. The Psijic Order, a monastic magical society made up primarily of Altmer (though they do take in worthy members of other races), takes this even further. The have Omniscient Council of Vagueness and Mysterious Backer traits, are a Renowned Selective Mentor that many magically inclined students would kill to join, and generally try to protect the rest of the world from threats it is not ready to deal with on its own. They have so Sufficiently Analyzed Magic that they are capable of performing feats no other group in Tamriel can match, including Telepathy, time-freezing, Astral Projection, and significant Weather Manipulation.
- While the Altmer are the most advanced extant race, they still pale in comparison to what the extinct Dwemer were capable of on the "scientific" side of this trope. They were an industrious, highly intelligent, and extremely technologically advanced people. They combined their mastery of enchanting with their Steam Punk technology and were known to bend the laws of physics to make their creations last. Essentially, they were a fantasy version of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens. While attempting to do something with the heart of a dead god, they managed to make their entire race blink out of all known planes of existence in a single instant. No one knows for sure what happened to them, but the Lost Technology the left behind is still far more advanced than anything the extant races have been able to create even in the thousands of years since their disappearance.
- While not to the same extent as the Altmer or Dwemer, the Bretons are this for the races of Men. Bretons generally enjoy intellectual and scholarly pursuits of all sorts. The study of magic, history, and technology (particularly that of the extinct Dwemer) are all common pursuits of the Bretons. They also make up a large portion of membership in the Mages Guild, which doubles as a guild for scholars.
- 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.
- In Gems of War, Adana is distinguished from its neighbours by its dedication to scholarship and technology. (Not necessarily peaceful technology, though — it includes muskets.)
- The D'ni race in the Myst series lived in a large cavern Beneath the Earth and spent most of their time developing mining and stoneworking technologies. But moreover, they had the ability to write Portal Books to any world they could imagine, and while many of these were used for resource gathering, they were used mostly for exploration and study of various scientific principles. The cornerstone of their society was the guild system and its corresponding set of advanced schools, but they were also deeply religious, being the descendants of a simplistic sect that rejected the unscrupulous practices of an older society which was happy to exploit its worlds, and the people within, to the point of ruin. Unfortunately, the D'ni still had a major superiority complex, which led to xenophobia, slavery, and a series of interracial conflicts that undermined and eventually led to the destruction of their civilization.
- No Man's Sky: The Korvax are a near-immortal sentient machine species that appear to value science and exploration. Korvax worship and venerate the Atlas machines, making their priests a considerable boon for players searching for Atlas-related phenomena, from Atlas technology, to Atlas Stations, to even black holes that will eventually bring one closer to the center of the galaxy. Korvax commonly share their memories and discoveries with one another by uploading them onto special platinum cubes that are slotted into each other's brains to copy their contents.