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Fighter, Mage, Thief

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Most computer and Tabletop RPGs offer the player a number of classes or specializations that they can choose. When you think about it, however, most boil down to three major archetypes for character specialization regardless of what they are called. These are:

  • Fighter: The Mighty Glacier if offensively-oriented, or Stone Wall if a defensive specialist. A physical powerhouse of prodigious strength, the fighter solves problems by dicing or smashing them to bits with mêlèe weapons. These include swords, axes, bludgeons, flails, the occasional Blade on a Stick, and of course good ol' fisticuffs but usually not much in the way of ranged weapons unless firearms are widespread, in which case the Fighter will pick automatic weapons and shotguns or just the Biggest Gun Imaginable. This class usually has the best armor as well, making for an effective tank. Sometimes has a special weakness to magic. Often associated with the colour red.
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  • Mage: The Glass Cannon if offensive or Support Party Member if defensive. In Fantasy worlds mages are mighty wielders of arcane or divine magic while in Science Fiction or "realistic" settings they have psionics or technology of similar power. In any case, the mage has a tendency to die if enemies look at him funny. This method of solving problems therefore tends to consist of blowing them up before they can get too close, or shaping the battlefield to their benefit. The mage has the ability to take advantage of elemental powers to exploit the enemy's weaknesses, and may also get a number of utility powers to bypass the stickiest situations. It's also possible for them to use their power to heal, making them The Medicnote . Mages tend to wield either weapons that enhance their abilities like a Magic Wand or essentially Emergency Weapons, usually a lighter weapon like a knife or handgun. They are often limited to use of light armor or no armor at all. Often associated with the colour blue.
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  • Thief: The Fragile Speedster. Quite a bit squishier than the fighter, though not as much as the mage, thieves get around this weakness by finding ways to avoid being hit in the first place. Their methods of solving problems typically involve sneaking by them, stabbing them In the Back, sniping them from a distance, or even talking to them. The weapons of choice are usually light weapons like daggers and handguns or ranged weapons like bows, sniper rifles, and throwing knives. Survival usually depends on stealth abilities, evasion/speed, weapon range, or a combination of these factors, rather than armor, though they'll still wear better armor than Mages. Often associated with the colour green.

Likely, there will be builds that allow the player to mix and match elements of the three paths, but usually it boils down to strength, finesse, and sorcery.

These may include:

  • Fighter + Thief = Duelist: Agile individuals focused less on stealth and more on refined combat, combining a fighter's survivability with the thief's ability to kill things quickly. Examples include a fighter who dons heavy armor but prefers to duel-wield rather than carrying a shield or heavy two-hander, or a Bare-Fisted Monk who hits like a fighter while dodging hits like a thief. If they have all the strengths of both and another weakness (such as a lack of magical mojo) to off-set the balance, they may be a Lightning Bruiser.
  • Fighter + Mage = Magic Knight: These characters combine the power of might and magic to deadly effect, though their magic is usually limited to status buffs, weapon enchants, and protection spells: things that assist in melee combat rather than a mage's more diverse array. Can also be Paladins, if the magic is focused more on healing or on fighting diabolical or undead foes. Sword and Sorcerer: Combines the two as different characters.
  • Thief + Mage = This can go a few different ways. First there are Druids and Shamans: nature-based casters equipping leather armor and having some degree of melee ability, be it weaponry or Animorphism. Next are "Nightblades" and Ninja: deadly assassins who combine agility with dark magic to become one with the night. Maybe literally. Then there are Alchemists and Engineers: artificers who technically don't use magic at all (unless their creations are explicitly stated as such), but they have so many tricks up their sleeves that they functionally work out the same way. Last but not least, Monks may fall under this category instead of Fighter/Thief if their skillset emphasizes Kung Fu Magic.
  • Fighter + Thief + Mage = Universalist. A Jack-of-All-Stats, which risks being a Master of None if the skills don't have synergy. On the other hand, if they do overlap, you'll find yourself having a magic-slinging Master of All with a stats total up the wazoo; in short, a Game-Breaker. More balanced examples may have the player specialize in one area while having secondary access to the other two, or have them change forms that lock them into a single specialty.

This trend stretches back to the grandpappy of all RPGs, Dungeons & Dragons. First edition offered players three main character classes: Fighter (called the Fighting Man at first), Magic User, and Cleric (who healed the party, and also dubbed as back-up fighter and/or mage), with the Thief being added soon after in the Greyhawk supplement. A standard D&D adventure is constructed for a 4-man party consisting of fighter, cleric, wizard and rogue or their functional equivalents. A lot of RPGs have followed in their footsteps.

Sub-Trope to Three Approach System. Compare Combat, Diplomacy, Stealth, Damager, Healer, Tank, and Physical, Mystical, Technological for other party trios. See also An Adventurer Is You for a breakdown of the party-based RPG (especially the MMORPG); as well as Action Hero, Science Hero, and Guile Hero.


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    Action Adventure 
  • The Overlord games have minions that correspond to fighter (Brown Minions, who can take more of a beating than other minions), mage (Red Minions, who are more fragile but have powerful ranged fire attacks), thief (Green Minions, who are immune to poison and can hide in one place to ambush enemies), and cleric (Blue Minions, who can travel through water and raise slain minions back from the dead) while mixing in Elemental Powers. The Overlord himself is always a Magic Knight.
  • Crimson Alliance has Gnox the mercenary as the party's tank and physical fighter, Direwolf the spell-slinging wizard, and Moonshadow the assassin and ranged-attack specialist.
  • The wielders of the three parts of the Triforce in The Legend of Zelda games fit this dynamic. Ganon, who has the Triforce of Power, generally fights using brute force and sheer, well, power. Zelda, who wields the Triforce of Wisdom, generally uses magic. Link, who holds the Triforce of Courage, tends to fight with a variety of weapons including a bow and arrow, and usually uses quick reflexes and clever strategies to win. These styles carry over into the Super Smash Bros. games as well.
  • The three Guardians of Dusk Diver each fill a role. Leo is the Fighter, focusing on close-range attacks and breaking enemy defenses; Bahet is the Thief, using fast, wide-reaching attacks with great utility; and Le Vieda is the Mage, destroying enemies from a distance with her guns, and taking care of opponents that are otherwise too fast and erratic to hit easily at melee range.
  • The three Assassins Desmond experiences in Assassin's Creed fit this dynamic. Connor is the Fighter, being more muscular and capable of fighting off hundreds of enemies, even being able to counter simultaneous strikes. Altair is the Mage, who reinvented the Assassin Brotherhood into what it is today. Ezio is the Thief, able to move through a variety of environments with the agility of a man half his age.

    Adventure Game 
  • The Quest for Glory series has Fighter, Magic User (renamed Wizard in later games) and Thief. Unlocking cross-class abilities is possible at the expense of same-class starting abilities, though some quests are class-specific and criticized for it. It's possible to earn the class of Paladin, which amounts to a Fighter who does good things rather than just kill stuff, and has a Flaming Sword to kill stuff with. Appropriately but oddly, there's at least one Paladin quest which is done for the sake of right, with no reward.
    • QfG loves to hammer home the Paladin's need to be selfless: each game, starting with the second one, has a least one quest where you're either offered a reward that you should turn down, or you're not offered a reward at all. QfG4 even has a quest where the quest isn't given to you; you just hear the basics and you're expected to run with it.
      • It is possible to become a paladin if you're playing as a thief, but do any actual thieving (except to steal an item needed to defeat an elemental) and you've lost your chance.
    • Also, Wizard isn't a class, it's an title for academically certified Magic Users, earned in the second game upon graduation from the Wizard's Institute of Technocery. (As, if you haven't graduated from the school, you shouldn't be able to complete the second or subsequent games as a Magic User. This becomes part of a "new" character's assumed backstory.)
  • Heroine's Quest: The Herald of Ragnarok offers the female version of Warrior, Sorceress, Rogue.

    Beat Em Up 
  • Castle Crashers has three ways to fight, each with its own stat: melee weapons, ranged weapons like bows, and magic spells.
  • Dragon's Crown has three melee characters and three ranged characters: Fighter, the Mighty Glacier Fighter; Amazon, the Glass Cannon Fighter; Dwarf, the Scrapper Fighter; Wizard, the Magical DPS; Sorceress, the Magical Support; and Elf, the Fragile Speedster Thief.
  • Demon Stone has three playable characters you can switch between at any time: Rhannek, an armored warrior who fights with a two-handed sword. Zhai, a quick, stealthy half-drow rogue. And Illius, a sorcerer.

    First Person Shooter 
  • System Shock 2 opens with the main character, a soldier, deciding whether to join the Marines (which specializes in combat), the Navy (which specializes in technical skills), or the OSA (which specializes in psychic powers). While it is possible to get a smattering of cross-training in other class abilities, attempting to be an across-the-board Jack-of-all-trades really will leave you Master of None.
  • Bioshock takes after System Shock. A character built to use normal weapons is the fighter, a character built to use plasmids is the mage, and a hacker build it the thief. So, you have Gunner, Plasmid-eer, and Hacker.
  • The typical modern Battlefield setup is an interesting manner where all four primary classes have some attributes of the Mage combined with one of the other two:
    • Assault is primarily Fighter with some Mage attributes, dealing decent damage at decent ranges and able to launch rifle grenades to take care of big groups of infantry or light vehicles and patch teammates up.
    • Engineer is primarily Mage with some Thief, using rocket launchers to blow up enemy tanks, blowtorches to fix friendly tanks, and weak but fast submachine guns to kill soldiers.
    • Support holds the line with heavy fire, Fighter-style, while resupplying allies like a Mage.
    • Recon is the opposite of Engineer, mostly Thief with some Mage attributes, focused more on fighting other on-foot players rather than armor, able to deal damage from afar, and with high damage, keep foes from getting close.
  • The three main monsters of Evolve. Goliath is the close-range bruiser with lots of health, Kraken is the Squishy Wizard (compared to the former) with devastating long-range electrical attacks, and the Wraith is fast with dual-blade like claws and decoy-based abilities but has the lowest health/armor of the three.
  • Borderlands does this to a degree with its main characters:
    • Roland is a Fighter/Mage with specializations in both gun DPS and team support abilities, such as healing and ammo regeneration.
    • Lilith is a Mage/Thief who can teleport in and out of sticky situations as well as augment her already supernatural abilities with elemental damage.
    • Mordecai is a Thief/Fighter with spectacular gun and melee damage but poor survivability compared to the others, requiring him to be more tactical with his movement.
    • Brick is a Fighter/Mage leaning towards nuking with Rocket Launchers, extreme durability, and Melee combat.
  • Borderlands 2 has similar archetypes but slightly different in some places.
    • Axton is a Jack-of-All-Trades leaning Fighter who has no real specializations but can lay down deployable cover.
    • Maya is a Mage who can spec into elemental damage, crowd control and healing.
    • Zer0 is a thief/fighter Glass Cannon similar to Mordecai, but focuses more on stealthy attacks.
    • Salvador is a pure Fighter that relies on brute force and gun-juggling.
    • Gaige is a Mage/Fighter who summons a robot to do damage for her though she can also specialize in electric attacks and raw power at the cost of accuracy.
    • Krieg is a Fighter/Mage who focuses on melee damage and tanking while also capable of dealing significant fire damage via self-damage.
  • As of Borderlands 3, the series can now complete the trio just with playable Sirens, albeit with heavy Mage flavor thanks to the nature of their powers. Lilith's powers focus on stealth and mobility, allowing her to fill the Thief role. Maya's telekinesis lets her manipulate the battlefield and heal her team, making her a pure Mage. Newcomer Amara specializes in melee damage, and her powers manifest as spectral arms to further manhandle enemies, leaving her as the obvious pick for Fighter; even her Phasegrasp, which is functionally identical to Maya's Phaselock, leans decidedly towards the physical rather than purely mystical.
  • Destiny downplays this trope with the amount of gunplay on all sides, but in certain ways the three classes fit into these archetypes with variation based on subclass;
    • Titans in general serve as the Fighter, prioritizing high defense and resilience as well as excelling in hand-to-hand combat. In Destiny 2 they gain the Barricade class ability, allowing all Titans to have a defensive option for themselves and allies, with the Rally Barricade also providing a nice reload buff for those taking cover behind it.
      • Strikers play as Lightning Bruisers, getting in close quickly to deliver devastating melee blows as well as being the only class with a solely unarmed Super in the game. Their skill trees focus down on either resilience or speed and offense, making them the least tank-y of the Titan subclasses but easily one of the best damage dealers out of all the classes.
      • Defenders are the Stone Wall and Mighty Glacier, preferring to provide support by buffing their allies and erecting shields to protect themselves and others, with their Ward Of Dawn super providing both at the same time. Their successor class in the sequel, the Sentinel, trades in some of the tanking ability of a Defender for a melee shield throw and more maneuverability.
      • Sunbreakers split the difference between Strikers and Defenders, as their Hammer Of Sol super is decidedly offensive but they do have a smattering of abilities designed to rebuff enemies and buff allies.
    • Warlocks in general serve as the Mage, but tend not to be as squishy as is typical of Mage classes. They prioritize devastating shows of force, but tend to make themselves targets as a result and only have one subclass dedicated to support. In the sequel all Warlocks have the Rift class ability which allows all subclasses to have a support inoption, putting them better into the Mage role
      • Voidwalkers combine high damage output with surprising resilience due to the melee ability Devour, which refills the Warlock's health on a successful kill. The Attunement Of Hunger Skill Tree in the sequel plays this aspect up, with the ability to chain Devours together to last longer and making their Nova Bomb Super last longer, while the Attunement Of Chaos prioritizes raw damage.
      • Sunsingers are the sole support class for Warlocks, who aid their allies with buffs and heals while debuffing enemies to set up easy kills, as well as having a self-resurrection for their super which can prevent a Total Party Kill in Strikes and Raids. Their successor class, the Dawnblade, trades in nearly all of the Sunsinger's support role for added offensive power as well as aerial superiority, something no other class and very few enemies can counter.
      • Stormcallers play for keeps and have one of the highest offensive outputs of any class. All of their skills are geared towards causing as much damage as possible, and the Stormtrance super turns the Warlock into a floating avatar of electric death. However, this leaves them with a dearth of support skills, which was made up for slightly with the Attunement Of The Elements skill tree in the sequel.
    • Hunters fit the Thief archetype as well as certain aspects of the Ranger, being hardened wildsmen who prefer to be out in the field and tracking targets. The Hunters gain the dodge class ability in the sequel, which allows them to quickly dodge out of an enemy's line of fire as well as providing a number of buffs, such as automatic reloading or instantly recharging the melee ability. However, they also have the lowest resilience of any class.
      • Gunslingers are the shootiest of the subclasses, with most of their skills rewarding precise aim and buffing certain aspects of gunplay. The Golden Gun super allows them to deal tremendous and precise damage with a flaming revolver, and their melee ability grants them a throwing knife which is the only melee ability capable of giving a precision kill. The Way of the Outlaw Skill Tree in the sequel turns them into a Jack-of-All-Stats, with no one type of damage weighing out over the others but buffing all skills evenly.
      • Bladedancers are the Glass Cannon of the Hunters, prioritizing sneak attacks and high, fast damage before getting out of danger. They were also the only class to have an invisibility skill before it was given to the Nightstalkers in the sequel. The Bladedancer's successor, the Arcstrider, plays similarly to the Bladedancer save for their skill trees which prioritize either high damage or increased mobility.
      • Nightstalkers are the main support class for Hunters, with skills and abilities that emphasize subterfuge and trap laying in order to set up easy kills. Thus, they hit the Thief arechetype the most out of the Hunter subclasses, with their Voidshot super not even being designed to kill large group of enemies like nearly every other super but instead tethering them to a fixed point to set up an easy kill on a wide group of enemies at once.

     Hack and Slash 

    Idle Games 
  • Armory & Machine has the Soldier, Inventor, and Hunter skill paths as the Fighter, Mage and Thief respectively. Soldier skills focus on high raw damage, making it excellent at damaging enemy health but does not bypassing shields. Inventor skills specialize in in heavy Shield damage, allowing it to easily destroy enemy shielding but is less effective against health. Finally, Hunter skills do penetrating damage, which bypasses enemy shielding and hits health directly but are generally less damaging than Soldier skills.
  • Tap Titans 2 has your heroes, which fall into one of three damage categories: Melee, Spell, and Ranged. This has no extra effectiveness against enemies, but your helmet equipment tends to give a huge boost to one of the three hero types so it is ideal to switch it depending on who your strongest hero is.

    Mecha Games 

  • Not so much in the game, but the very high quality cinematic trailers for The Elder Scrolls Online have the three factions represented by champions in this dynamic: the Daggerfall Covenant by a Breton Ranger, the Ebonheart Pact by a Nord Warrior, and the Aldmeri Dominion by an Altmer Battlemage.
  • RuneScape technically does not have classes, but the time it takes to be proficient in fighting, archery, and magic guarantees that most players fall into one of the three categories. Note that while the fighter and mage are played straight, the "thief" does not use close range weapons like daggers and throwing knives, they use a bow and arrow coupled with lightweight leather armor.
  • In Star Trek Online the ship types boil down to: Cruisers (Mighty Glacier), Escorts (Glass Cannon), and science ship trickster, while officers are less specialized in terms of combat, but just as specialized in terms of abilities, complete with some missions having optional objectives that require being a particular class of having someone of that class in your party.
  • In Kingdom of Loathing, there are three main stats: Muscle, Mysticality, and Moxie (in that order), and two classes "attuned" to each stat (Seal Clubbers and Turtle Tamers for Muscle, Pastamancers and Saucerors for Mysticality, and Disco Bandits and Accordion Thieves for Moxie). The fact that the whole game is basically a parody of the RPG genre makes this a no-brainer.
  • Phantasy Star Online has three classes: Hunter, Ranger, and Force. Hunters use melee weapons, Rangers use ranged weapons, and Forces use Techniques.
  • Phantasy Star Online 2 returns the original Hunter, Ranger, and Force classes, as well as introducing three specialization classes for the original classes: Fighter (better suited at using smaller, quicker melee weapons), Gunner (a ranged class focusing on quick attacks and evasion), and Techer (a magic class with more emphasis on offense than support). The later-introduced classes are less clear-cut; the Braver is a hybrid melee/range class, the Bouncer is a hybrid melee/magic class, the Summoner is The Beastmaster who can also cast techs, and the Successor Classes Hero and Phantom are hybrids between all three roles.
  • La Tale originally had four character classes, those being the warrior and knight, fighters who specialized in offense and defense respectively, and then wizards and explorers, who fit the stereotypical mage and thief mold. They later added engineers which are something of a Jack-of-All-Trades.
  • Dragonica has 4 base classes: Warrior, Magician, Thief, and Archer. Later in the game, you can branch off to a different class.
  • Age of Conan directly divides its classes into 4 archetypes, "warriors", 'rogues", "priests", and "mages". Classes within these roles get the same set of tortage quests and a talent tree in common.
  • World of Warcraft's classes easily fall into these archetypes. Mages, Priests, and Warlocks are the three pure spellcasters; Rogues and Hunters fall under Thief; while Warriors are obviously Fighter. Paladins and Death Knights are Fighter/Mage; Shamans are Mage/Thief, and Monks are Fighter/Thief. Druids and Demon Hunters have aspects of all three archetypes.
    • The game's popularity has also brought about the popular term 'Holy Trinity' for the combination of Tank(s), Damage Dealer(s) and Healer(s) needed to complete almost all of its dungeons. If they must each correspond to a different archetype, Tanks would be Fighters, Healers would be Mages, and Damage Dealers would be Thieves.
  • Guild Wars 2 divides its nine "professions" (the term they use for character classes) into the "soldier" professionsnote  (Fighter), the "scholar" professionsnote  (Mage), and the "adventurer" professionsnote  (Thief). Characters are relatively flexible in the roles they fill, but the "soldiers" an use the heaviest armor and are more melee focused, "scholars" use almost all magic skills and only use the lightest armor, and "adventurers" are a bit more ranged focus, with generally more movement and trickery options, and have medium strength armor.
    • Worth noting that there are also three tiers of base HP value, allowing the warrior to remain the tankiest of the lot when combined with it's heavy armour, and the thief to be as fragile as expected with it being in the lowest tier. This also leads to, perhaps surprisingly, the guardian having a low level of HP compared to its general toughness:
      • Warrior and Necromancer - 9,212 base HP
      • Revenant, Engineer, Ranger and Mesmer - 5,922 base HP
      • Guardian, Thief and Elementalist - 1,645 base HP
  • The Secret World has three types of weapons, melee, ranged physical, and magical, which fit the trope somewhat.
    • And while they contain all types (just as a player will eventually learn to use all weapons), the player-available factions are strongly linked to this trope: one faction formed with goals including assimilating every warrior culture and mastering every form of personal combat and military art, one faction originating with scholars whose methodology involves knowing everything that happens while studying every application of science and sorcery to be able to control everything it sees, and one faction hidden deep in the shadows and poorer sections of the world which has gained utter mastery of trickery, long-term planning and the Gambit Roulette at the expense of its own members having very little understanding of their goals.

    Platform Game 
  • Some games in Wizards and Warriors series let you choose between a knight, wizard and a thief.
  • Castlevania: Circle of the Moon has a version of this. After beating the game in "Vampire Hunter" mode (which has no perks) you get a code to change your class to Magician mode in the next playthrough. Beating Magician unlocks a code for another class (and so on).
    • 2nd playthrough = Magician Mode (High MP and all abilities from beginning, but low Strength and Defense)
    • 3rd Playthrough = Fighter Mode (High Strength and Defense, but no magic)
    • 4th Playthrough = Shooter Mode (Increases Hearts, which are used for long range attacks)
    • 5th Playthrough = Thief Mode (Low everything, but insane luck)
  • Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse has Trevor as the Fighter, Sypha as the Mage, and Grant as the Thief. Alucard is the odd man out, but the game still fits this nonetheless.
  • In Trine, the Mage can create boxes to use as platforms and use telekinesis to move objects; the Thief can swing on certain ceilings and use her arrow to shoot targets from afar; and the Fighter is your basic bash-things-with-your-sword character.
  • The three player characters in 20XX, although they all start with the same HP. Close-up shredder Ace is the Fighter, with a high base damage and a nasty selection of melee weapons, but not much reach. Ranged attacker Nina is generally the Thief; she can hit enemies from a variety of angles, depending on weapon, but doesn't have Ace's raw damage. Power specialist Hawk is the Mage; her basic weapon is a weak and short-ranged whip, but it lets her recover energy to fuel her powers, and she has a selection of unique powers that no-one else gets (such as a blast-jump, flamethrower and seeker missile).
  • In Cuphead, the first three bosses of Inkwell Isle II- Baroness Von Bon Bon, Beppi the Clown, and Djimmi the Great -fit this trope to a T: Baroness Von Bon Bon is a Flunky Boss, sending out three random minibosses and backing the third one up with a shotgun before siccing her living castle on you and throwing her own head as a projectile, making her the thief. Beppi the Clown, meanwhile, attacks more directly, from running you over with a bumper car to riding a horse that shoots horseshoes, thus making him the fighter. Finally, Djimmi the Great, being a genie, is of course the mage, using his supernatural powers to take on strange and unusual forms during his fight. Is it any wonder the fandom likes to portray these three as best friends?

    Puzzle Game 
  • A clever and a bit uncommon interpretation can be seen in "Heroes of Sokoban": the fighter pushes the blocks as in usual Sokoban (except that, being a fighter, he can push a whole row), the thief pulls them and the magician teleport-swaps with a block on approach.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • Warcraft III uses this as the base for the RPG-based Hero units. Heroes with the main attribute of Strength tend to be front-line brawlers with lots of hit points or supporting Stone Wall heroes with auras and defensive skills, Agility heroes are either sneaky types or ranged, and those that focus on Intelligence are, without exception, casters with powerful spells but not much in terms of physical damage.
    • The Undead heroes subverts this, due to the inherent fragileness of the faction itself. Both of its strength-based heroes, the Death Knight and Dreadlord, are relatively squishy compared to the other factions. One of the better tactics for the Death Knight, for instance, is to stay out of melee fights entirely, taking advantage of their above-average movement speed to keep him out of harms reach and healing friendly units or sniping enemies using Death Coil. Played straight with the Crypt Lord hero added in the expansion, which has a passive that increases his armor and reflects damage, in addition an ultimate that heals him.
    • There IS one melee int hero, the Goblin Tinker. No ranged STR heroes, though.
    • In a similar vain, it's averted in the case of Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars. One of the most common newbie mistakes made is assuming Strength = Tank/Warrior, Agility = Carry/Thief, Intelligence = Support/Mage. The only thing primary attributes determine is which stats gives you 1 damage per point of it. Typically, if a hero has an role contrary to its commonly associated to its stat, it likely means the hero has particularly strong skills, and has a different attribute to balance them out.
  • Modern real-time strategy games like Starcraft II has unites that can be classified:
    • Fighter = Mighty Glacier. Tanks, choppers and mecha for example.
    • Mage = Ranged, Splash Damage units such as battleships, bombers and rocket artillery.
    • Thief = Lightning Bruiser types like Humvees and fighter planes, or sneaky ones like submarines and stealth fighters.
  • A variation of this shows up in the real-time strategy/role-playing game hybrid King Arthur: The Role-Playing Wargame for the categorization of the Knights of the Round Table. Your Knights are either Champion, Sage or Warlord. Champions are the kings of melee battle, having stats and powers designed to smash foes in battle. Sages are the wizards of the game and are your most powerful spellcasters. Warlords are useful generalists designed around improving the governing of a realm, surviving adventures and boosting your armies rather than directly wreak havok themselves.
  • The heroes of both Total War: Warhammer games are built around the Fighter, Mage, Thief typology. You have frontline battlers like Tyrion, powerful wizards like Teclis and sneaky gits like Deathmaster Snikch. Even normal units (like Doomfire Warlocks) and whole factions (Dwarves are almost all Fighter and almost no Mage) have leanings towards these themes.

    Role Playing Game 
  • The Witcher 3 features the surrogate family of Geralt of Rivia, Ciri and Yennefer of Vengerberg, who all share the exact same fighting styles as the Fighter, Thief and Mage, respectively.
    • Geralt's availble skills are mostly grouped into Red (combat), Blue (magic), and Green (poison and alchemy) types, and his mutagens synergize based on those groups.
  • Planescape: Torment: the Nameless One begins the game as a Fighter, and can remember the skills needed to become a Thief or a Mage by respectively speaking to the thief Ratbone and to the midwife Old Mebbeth (who will first send you on a set of Fetch Quests that help create your spellbook, and which you can realise taught you some secret lessons about magic if your Intelligence or Wisdom is at least better then average), both of whom are in the Ragpicker's Square. The Nameless One can only be one class at a time (though a bug does exist to make multiclassing possible), but once having "remembered" the other classes can switch between gaining experience by talking to party members of the appropriate classes. The other characters consist of Vhailor (Fighter), Morte (Fighter), Nordom ("Archer" - that is, a Fighter who uses twin crossbows, thanks to having four arms), Dak'kon (Fighter/Mage), Annah (Fighter/Thief), Ignus (Pyromaniac Mage) and Fall-From-Grace ("Cleric" - that is, a Mage who uses healing spells).
  • Pokémon:
    • In Pokémon Red and Blue, the "physical" Ground, Rock, and Fighting, etc., types were typically associated with high Attack or Defense, "special" types (Water, Fire, Grass, Psychic, etc.) with high Special Attack and Special Defense, and Flying, Bug and Ghost types had generally high Speed stat and attacks that allowed them to act fast or evade attacks. With the appearance of more and more Pokémon, the type combinations multiplied mixing and matching these properties more and more.
    • In one particular battle in Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia you face three bosses that fit perfectly in the categories: Rhyperior (slow-moving but resistant and with an array of close-range attacks), Magmortar (Less HP, but capable of using devastating long-range and area attacks) and Gallade (Smaller, faster, and regularly teleporting away from danger)
    • In fact, the types that most closely match the trope also have an Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors dynamic between them. Fighting (which uses powerful melee attacks and fits the Fighter role) is strong against Dark (which uses underhanded tactics and fits the Thief role), which is strong against Psychic (which uses mental powers similar to magic, fitting the Mage role), which in turn is strong against Fighting.
    • In Pokémon X and Y, the usual trio of starting Pokémon are blatantly designed around this motif. Chespin, Quilladin and Chesnaught are the bulky hedgehogs that grow chestnut armor as they evolve (fighters), Fennekin, Braixen and Delphox are witch-like foxes with Psychic Powers (mages), and Froakie, Frogadier, and Greninja are ninja-like frogs (thieves). Their final forms are Grass/Fighting, Fire/Psychic, and Water/Dark respectively.
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon does a similar thing with their respective starters, only which motif they adopt is swapped: Grass-typed Rowlet eventually becomes Decidueye, a Grass/Ghost owl with archer abilities (The thief). The Fire type Litten becomes bipedal and takes on a Fire/Dark Heel wrestler theme as Incineroar (the fighter) and the Water-typed Popplio turns into Primarina, a Water/Fairy Magic Idol Singer mermaid (the mage).
    • The legendary bird teams in Pokémon GO utilize the trope, particularly in the titles. Team Valor is Fighter, Team Mystic is Mage, and Team Instinct is Thief. A case could also be made for the legendary birds themselves being an example of the trope, but it would definitely be less robust. While Moltres could feasibly be a Fighter, Articuno is a bit too defensive to be an archetypical Mage (even if its type, aesthetic, and move pool fit a Mage well) and Zapdos has Glass Cannon stats unlike most Thieves (even if it's most definitely a Fragile Speedster as well).
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • The series in general has always had this breakdown for Skills. Skills fit into one of three categories: Combat (Fighter), Magic (Mage), and Stealth (Thief). This skill breakdown demonstrates how this trope can be carried on through a purely skill-based character system. Though there are classes presented (prior to Skyrim), the player can arbitrarily select any skills up to the limit and define the class with any name, and that class will still be predominantly combat, magic or stealth-based. Any class's leaning is subject to change at any time regardless of the name, but because of the series' skill point leveling system, it's as a result of what the player does. If you become more fighter-like it's because you're acting more fighter-like.
    • The series' ten playable races (as of Morrowind) also fit, both into the basic and hybrid class structure. To note:
      • The Fighters are the Orcs, Nords, and Redguards. The Orcs specialize in heavy armor and hard-hitting weapons throughout the series, making them Mighty Glaciers. With their innate Berserker ability, they can become temporary Lightning Bruisers. The Nords prefer lighter armors and swiftness, while still packing a punch with their weapons. They lean toward the Glass Cannon mold, though their natural resistances to Frost (and in some games, Shock) magic allow them to hold up defensively against magic. The Redguards are athletic Fragile Speedster warriors who excel in swordsmanship. While their race has a distrust of magic users, they make an exception for Destruction magic which can boost their offensive abilities.
      • The Mages are the Bretons and Altmer. Bretons get bonuses to all schools of magic, but their real gift is in their inherent magic resistance (25% in most games, up to 50% in some). As such, they make for excellent Magic Knight Mage Killers. The Altmer are a classic Squishy Wizard Witch Species, blessed with powerful offensive magic abilities and deep natural Magicka pools to utilize it, but also being cripplingly weak to magic defensively.
      • The Thieves are the Khajiit, Bosmer, and Argonians. The Khajiit have the greatest focus on stealth abilities (to outright avoid combat where possible) and by nature are Combat Pragmatists, not afraid to use their claws or utilize Hit-and-Run Tactics. The Bosmer are Forest Ranger Fragile Speedsters with a focus on archery. They can also use Druidic "nature magic" in the form of innate abilities such as being able to pacify animals and even incite animals to fight on their side. The Argonians blend stealthy guerilla warfare tactics with tribal magics.
      • The Jack-of-All-Stats options are the Imperials and Dunmer. Imperials exemplify the idea that Humans Are Average, getting a mix of natural abilities and making for good cross-class builds. They also gain bonuses to traits like Personality and Speechcraft, making them a good choice for diplomacy first style builds. The Dunmer are balanced with an offensively oriented slant across the board, at least through Oblivion. In a bit of Gameplay and Story Integration, the destruction of their homeland by the time of Skyrim has affected the race, pushing some of their competency in "combat" skills toward magic and stealth oriented skills instead.
    • Although normally invisible to the player, when you start modding around NPCs, espescially if you are modding in partners/followers, they strictly grow in skill according to their class. Fortunately, you can custom-build classes for them, as well, to cherry-pick the abilities of your companions.
    • The Elder Scrolls also has an in-universe example of this trope in the form of the three "guardian constellations" in the in-game zodiac. Each confer benefits suited to their corresponding play styles.
    • In the series' Backstory, according to one in-game source, Talos is actually composed of three men, each of whom represent elements the archetypes and are each one of the races of Men in Tamriel. Wulfharth Ash-King (Nord, warrior), Zurin Arctus (Imperial, mage), and Hjalti Early-Beard/Tiber Septim (Breton, thief).note 
    • The three gods most important to Convention also fit the pattern - Akatosh is the Fighter, Lorkhan is the Thief, and Magnus is the Mage. Interestingly, each of the three men mentioned above is empowered by one of these three gods - Hjalti was a Dragonborn, an offspring/fragment of Akatosh, Wulfharth was a Shezarrine, a mortal reincarnation of Lorkhan, and Zurin was a skilled manipulator of Magicka, Magnus's legacy in the mortal world - but Hjalti and Wulfharth swap Akatosh and Lorkhan's roles.
    • Morrowind:
      • No fewer than three sets of guilds/factions are built around this trope: the Imperial Guilds (Fighters guild, Mages Guild, Thieves Guild), the three Dunmer Great Houses on Vvardenfell (House Redoran, House Telvanni, House Hlaalu), and the three vampire clans on Vvardenfell (Quarra, Aundae, Berne). Interestingly, joining the trio that best fits your character is discouraged — the vampires aren't really tolerated by anyone, and even discounting them the three Great Houses have (to varying degrees) issues with their Guild counterparts.
      • The Tribunal are a trio of Physical Gods worshiped by the Dunmer. They each fit one of the categories: Almalexia (Fighter), Sotha Sil (Mage), and Vivec (Thief). They replaced the Daedric Princes Boethiah, Azura, and Mephala in the old Dunmeri religion, respectively.
    • The Alliance trailer for The Elder Scrolls Online features three leaders for the three main alliances, along this dynamic. The Ebonheart Pact is represented by a huge and very angry looking Nord with an equally large battleaxe; the Daggerfall Covenant is represented by a black-cloak-and-hood Breton with knife-throwing and acrobatic skills reminiscent of Altair; the Aldmeri Dominion is represented by a High Elf sorceress who calmly vaporizes her enemies with a flick of her wrist.
    • In the series's deepest lore, where CHIM and the Towers start getting involved, there's a recurring theme where three characters play the role of the Rebel (Thief), the King (Warrior), and the Observer (Mage). Most of these instances are when the lore is unable to provide a definitive answer of what happened, as the "story" they follow is structured as so: The King rules and the Rebel, well, rebels against them. They both win, locked in a superposition of both being victorious until the Observer looks to see who won and collapses the other possibility. This pattern repeats from the oldest myths (Lorkhan betrays Auriel, Magnus observes Lorkhan successfully tricking the Aedra and escapes) to actual in-game events (Ulfric rebels against Tullius, the player observes whoever they sided with win).
  • Fable I allows you to invest experience into Strength (health, damage resistance, and melee weapons), Skill (archery, bartering, and stealth), and Will (magic powers).
    • Fable II streamlines things further, though still into Strength (melee), Skill (ranged) and Will (magic). It also has heroes as NPCs that each personify one of these paths, so the Hero of Strength is big and muscular, the Hero of Will is glowing with magic power, and the Hero of Skill is tall and lanky, just like how the character will look if they specialize in a particular path.
      • Not like anyone would specialize in a single path unless they wanted a Self-Imposed Challenge. As Exp is available from numerous sources and upgrade prices scale in such a way as to make purchasing skills from all three branches trivial, there is little disincentive to being a generalist, which eventually makes the character look like a giant (Skill) glowing (Will) barrel (Strength) with arms and legs (same goes if you're playing as a female).
  • Ultima:
    • The series has the stats of strength, dexterity, and intellect, with the three Principles each related to one stat (Strength = Courage, Int = Truth, Dex = Love). The classes associated with the virtues derived from the principles also mostly work out, with the meleeist Fighter for Valor (courage), pure-caster Mage for Honesty (truth), ranged fighter Bard for Compassion (love), Magic Knight Paladin for Honor (truth and courage), more-agile fighter Tinker for Sacrifice (love and courage), more-agile caster Druid for Justice (truth and love), jack-of-all-trades Ranger for Spirituality (all three), and mostly-worthless Shepherd for Humility (none!).
    • Ultima IV's NES port also has the Avatar "class", which the Player Character (and the PC only) upgrades to upon achieving enlightenment in all Virtues. It's basically a Purposely Overpowered version of the Ranger with access to all weapons, armor, and spells (depending on your INT), with the only real downside being that if you ever commit an unvirtuous act again, you're reverted to your base class and have to regain the enlightenment in that virtue again. In the original versions of the game, you were stuck with your normal class restricted weaponry, with the Avatarhood benefit being you got access to the eight sets of Mystic Swords and Mystic Robes, the best melee and armor in the game for all classes.
    • Ultima IX gives you starting equipment based on what class you choose. The super-awesome Ranger gets an immediate boost to the three main stats, but crappy equipment. The super-crappy Shepherd, which gets no boost at all to the three main stats, gets equipment that other classes can't get for a least four or five hours. It pays to handicap yourself, apparently.
    • While Ultima I and II had the standard roster of fighter, cleric, thief and wizard, Ultima III expanded this to include not only RPG standbys such as the barbarian and druid, but also the illusionist and lark.
  • Jade Empire has the stats of Body (health and strength), Mind (raises Focus, which allows you to enact Bullet Time and use special or non-mastered weapons), and Spirit (raises Chi, which allows you to heal and use magical martial arts). It's not a traditional breakdown, as there's little stealth involved, but it does provide a basic breakdown between strength, speed, and sorcery.
    • The Imperial Arena fighters include a trio of brothers who fight together and are explicitly stated to have been formed with this dynamic in mind; the stalwart yet simple-minded Sung Bu fights with two swords (the Fighter), the sophisticated mystic Sung Sui switches between a spear and the Ice Shard and Dire Flame styles (the Mage), and the most down-to-earth Sung Bo uses the quick Monkey Paw martial style (the Thief).
    The announcer: Speed, might, and magic will be needed to defeat these brothers three.
  • Because magic doesn't exist in the Fallout universe, the three basic character builds are Fighter (punches and guns), Thief (stealth and stealing), and Diplomat (talking your enemies to death). The first two games offered 3 pre-built characters fitting each type. Of course, the open-ended character system allows you to mix and match attributes as you like. One of the many bits cut from the second game is a Bonus Dungeon that culminates in the player being able to recruit one of three characters, each representing one of the three basic classes.
    • Fallout 4 features three factions that play to this trope. The Brotherhood of Steel are fighters, who use military tactics, brute force and ample power armour to clean the commonwealth. Siding with them involves a lot of direct combat. The Railroad are thieves, relying on stealth and clandestine operations to have a chance against their enemies. Siding with them involves a lot of cloak and dagger activities. Finally, the Institute are mages: near-magical technology and a decided preference for hanging back and letting their creations do the fighting and spying for them. Siding with them involves a lot of high tech missions and ample robotic assistance. Oh, and all three are opposed to each other and the player's decision on who to support determines which one is left standing after the dust settles.
      • There's also a 4th faction: The Minutemen of the Commonwealth, who the Sole Survivor can help bring Back from the Brink. Best described as the "Jack-of-all-Trades", They're largely concerned with Establishing/Defending Settlements and use whatever they can get their hands on to do the job, be it jury-rigged laser rifles (their signature weapon) to old-fashioned artillery cannons. However, they're largely un-involved with the main conflict, and the other factions tend to look at them with disdain (save for the Railroad, who like what they do but also see them as too short-sighted). This can be a huge mistake, as if the player doesn't join one of the other 3 factions, the Minutemen will instead step up to end the conflict themselves; first by storming the Institute, then forcing the Brotherhood out of the Commonwealth (taking out their flagship, and leadership, in the process), with the Railroad forced into hiding, lest their Synth before Human priorities get them taken out as well.
  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura: The game does not have pure character classes, instead having more open-ended character building like in Fallout (see above), but there are still three basic builds: fighter (put the bulk of your points into combat skills), thief (distribute points broadly among stealth and social skills), and wizard (concentrate on willpower, intelligence and magickal skils). Technology is a unique fourth option; it functions as a prototypical Item Crafting system, and technological aptitude interferes with your magickal aptitude. However, a "pure" technologist is hard to do, if not impossible; a fighter technologist will need combat skills (whether with a firearm or a mechanical axe) and a stealth technologist will need to know lockpicking (with a technological skeleton key). Later in the game, it's possible to rely entirely on technological minions, however.
  • Knights of the Old Republic uses a modified version of the D&D D20 system. Basically, a character can have 3 kinds of features that the user specifically selects: skills, feats, and Force Powers. Each of the 6 classes in the game focuses on one of these. Soldiers focus on feats, while Scouts and Scoundrels focus on different sets of skills. The Jedi classes work like this too, only adding Force Powers to the mix. Guardians are basically Fighters with a few Force Powers; they get lots of access to feats. Consulars are Wizards with lightsabers. And Sentinels are Thieves that don't steal (skill-focused).
    • The sequel's Prestige Classes play it even straighter, essentially boiling down to a combat monster, an arch-wizard and a stealthy assassin each with some Jedi or Sith flavour text.
    • The MMORPG sequel Star Wars: The Old Republic has four classes for each faction that play pretty much the same for the most part, with each class having an Advanced Class that have two different specialization and one shared between the two. The Jedi Knight/Sith Warrior are Fighters who can become pure tanks (Guardian/Juggernaut) or Dual-wielding DPSers, Jedi Consular/Sith Inquisitors are Mages that can focus purely on Force techniques (Sage/Sorcerer) or be a Mage/Thief mix (Shadow/Assassin), Republic Troopers/Bounty Hunters are ranged Fighters who can focus on tanking (Vanguard/Powertech) or versatility (Commando/Mercenary) and Smugglers/Imperial Agents are the resident Thieves who focus on either stealth and healing (Scoundrel/Operative) or pure ranged damage (Gunslinger/Sniper).
  • Dokapon Kingdom, a hybrid board game and RPG, has these as the three default classes. All weapons can be equipped by any class, but certain ones grant special bonuses.
  • The early Geneforge series by Spiderweb Software explicitly follows this trope in its class system, which offers a choice between "Guardian" (Fighter), "Agent" (Thief, albeit with combat magic) and "Shaper" (Mage). Later parts of the series have added new classes, however.
  • Kingdom Hearts
    • The first game gives you a choice of attributes at the beginning: Fighter, Mage, and Defender. The latter isn't as strong or agile as the Fighter, but learns defense and drop related abilities earlier, and has more item slots. The game also makes you give up one of the three, giving the feel of a bit more depth in the trio set-up. The three main party members also map to the three classes, with Sora being the Fighter, Donald being the Mage and Goofy being the Defender.
    • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep is a straighter example. It has three Magic Knight protagonists, each with a different specialty: Terra specializes in strength, Ven specializes in speed, and Aqua specializes in magic.
    • The Arc Villain Power Trio are similarly Magic Knights with different specialties: Ansem, Seeker of Darkness favors spells (Mage); Xemnas favors combos (Fighter); and Master Xehanort favors pragmatism (Thief).
    • Sora's "Drive Forms" in Kingdom Hearts II also qualify. The first three, "Valor", "Wisdom" and "Limit", primarily enhance his combat skills, his magic skills, and his speed and agility, respectively; Valor Form allows him to dual wield Keyblades while dealing extra-hard combos, Wisdom Form allows him to deal rapid damage with a special long-range magic spell, and Limit Form allows him to avoid enemies with a Dodge Roll move while dealing a series of extra-fast combos. Master Form and Negative Form both have Jack-of-All-Stats bonuses, though one is Light-based, and the other is Dark-based.
  • Dragon Age goes in this direction with its classes, having the typical Fighter-Rogue-Mage setup. The playable races are also set up in a similar pattern, with the magical elves, hardy dwarves, and average humans.
    • The classical lineup is particularly obvious in the Leliana's Song DLC, where your party consists of exactly three characters: warrior (Tug, who is, subversively, not the leader, and Silas), mage (Sketch), and thief (Leliana herself). Other DLCs tend to remove one of the three parts: Golems of Amgarrak gives you no real mage (unless your PC is one), while Witch Hunt features no rogues (ditto).
    • The default player characters in each game, if a player does not transfer a custom world state, fit this. The Hero of Ferelden is an elven warrior, Hawke is a mage, and the Inquisitor is a human rogue.
    • The party in Dragon Age II is designed in such a way that Hawke will always be part of such a trio regardless of class.
      • At the outset of the prologue, the entire party consists of Hawke and their younger twin siblings, who are a mage and a fighter, so this trope is present if Hawke is a rogue. Alternately, if Hawke is a warrior or mage, they get this trope at the start of Act 1, when the entire party consists of Hawke, Bethany (mage) or Carver (warrior), and Varric (rogue).note 
      • Anders (mage) and Isabela (rogue) are the two party members that have the most impact on the main plot. Hawke completes the trio if they are a warrior.
      • Post-release materials, including Dragon Age: Inquisition, regularly treat Hawke, Varric, and Aveline as a Power Trio, creating this dynamic if Hawke is a mage.
    • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, the starting party lineup gives the player character one member of each class. These are also the only three companions who must be recruited and can never leave the Inquisition, thereby ensuring that you always have access to at least one party member from each class. Later, the choice of the new Divine comes down to Cassandra (a warrior), Leliana (a rogue), and Vivienne (a mage). Heck, the main villain's followers are Samson (a warrior), Florianne (a rogue), and Calpernia (a mage). as well.
  • The original Diablo provided a breakdown of Warrior, Rogue, and Sorcerer, with later games adding more classes.
    • Diablo also downplays this trope in that any character can potentially learn any magic and use any equipment.
    • Played straight in Diablo III with both the main hero classes and followers: the Barbarian, Crusader, and Kormac the Templar represent fighter; The Demon Hunter, Monk, and Lyndon the Scoundrel represent thief; and the Necromancer, Witch Doctor, Wizard, and Eirena the Enchantress represent mage. Fittingly enough, all the fighters rely on strength for their main stat, the mages rely on intelligence, and the thieves rely on dexterity.
  • Torchlight: Destroyer is fighter, Vanquisher is thief (archer/gunslinger), Alchemist is mage. Like Diablo, classes are fairly customizable, e.g. you can easily make a magic knight, a sneaky sorcerer, or Jack-of-All-Trades out of the Alchemist.
  • Final Fantasy I has the original forms for several of the classes found (in various mutations) throughout the series. Given its dependence on the original D&D, it's hardly surprising.
    • Fighter = Fighter
    • Thief = Thief
    • (Black) Mage = Mage
    • (White) Mage = Cleric
    • (Red) Mage = Magic Knight
    • Monk = Fighter
    • In addition, the Class Change that marked the midpoint of the game would give the magic-users access to more powerful spells and the monk a better attack, but would also grant Magic Knight status to the Fighter (who became the Knight and could use White Magic) and the Thief (who got a major upgrade as the Ninja and could use Black Magic).
  • Final Fantasy VII has Tifa (Fighter), Aeris/Aerith (Mage), and Yuffie (Thief).
  • Final Fantasy IX, in the Evil Forest, the heroes are Zidane the thief, Vivi the Mage, and Steiner the Fighter-Knight. What's more is with Vivi's magic Steiner can become a Magic Knight.
  • Gothic, The Unnamed Hero can choose his class by joining one of the three factions in the game - including the mixed classes. The Old Camp provides the choice of a Fighter or Firemage career, the New Camp a choice of a Thief or Watermage while the Swamp Camp - a Mage type of character.
  • Mass Effect does this with a little sci-fi flavor, dividing proficiency into three categories, with respect to this trope's name: Combat, Biotics and Tech. You can be a pure class, or a class hybridized with any two:
    • Soldier (pure Combat): Jack-of-All-Trades (a gun for any situation), or Super Toughness (most durable of all player classes)
    • Engineer (pure Tech): Debuffer, Master of Unlocking
    • Adept (pure Biotics): Mind over Matter (though the hybridized biotic classes are too, to a lesser extent)
    • Vanguard (Combat/Biotics): Magic Knight
    • Infiltrator (Combat/Tech): Glass Cannon Trickster
    • Sentinel (Tech/Biotics): Jack-of-All-Stats or Stone Wall, depending on how you play the class.
    • Interestingly, the first game divides the classes of the squadmates along gender lines: The three women are the pure classes, while the three men are the hybrids. The one exception dies within the first 10 minutes.
    • In the third game, the only three squad-mates you're guaranteed to have the entire game fall into this - James (weapons), Liara (biotics) and EDI (tech).
    • Interestingly, the Verse's three Citadel races (i.e. the primary decision-makers in intergalactic politics) also play into the class divisions. The reptilian turians are famed for their military prowess and their mighty space fleet, the amphibian salarians are famed for their scientific prowess and their many technological contributions, as well as their skill at espionage, and the humanoid asari are famed for their naturally powerful biotic abilities and their highly spiritual culture.
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda includes the above six classes as "profiles", along with a seventh profile: "Explorer", a full-fledged Jack-of-All-Trades and Master of None that draws simultaneously from Combat, Tech, and Biotic skillsets.
  • Played straight in The Tomb of the TaskMaker: fighters can use the most weapons, magicians can use the most spells, and thieves can steal items and pick locks.
  • Fate/EXTRA Allows the player to choose one of three servants to fight for him/her.
  • Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning has three paths that you can choose to pursue: Might, Sorcery, and Finesse. However, by putting enough points into the paths, you can unlock a different path that gives you different bonuses, such as becoming a Mighty Glacier Magic Knight or a Glass Cannon version. You can also switch between paths whenever you want.
  • Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology has four basic classes you can choose, and three of them are a Fighter, a Mage and a Thief. The fourth is a Cleric, which is basically a mage with healing magic.
  • The first three characters in Lunar Genesis/Dragon Song fit these archetypes. Jian is the fighter, with the highest attack, very good defense and the most broken combat mechanics in the game (can hit three times in one turn for the majority of the game), Lucia (and later Flora) is the mage, with a battery of healing spells and buffs, but very little actual power (although Flora is the only character that can hit airborne enemies with her bows), whereas Gabby is the thief, with more emphasis on dexterity and intelligence, as well as a nasty (and useful) spell right from the start. Rufus is the only character who doesn't fit, having the toughness and power of the fighter but the flexibility of the thief. Mind you, he dies about two areas after he joins you anyway.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X has this dynamic with its classes:
    • Strikers are tanky fighters who have high HP and an array of offensive and defensive arts. One branch of the class, Samurai Gunners and Duelists, increases the offensive capabilities of the class while the other branch, Shield Troopers and Bastion Warriors, focus on their defensive capabilities, including their ability to draw aggro.
    • Commandos occupy the "thief" niche, being nimble fighters who can deal a lot of damage very quickly. One branch of the class, Winged Vipers and Full Metal Jaguars, focuses on their ability to land and evade attacks. The other, Partisan Eagles and Astral Crusaders, favor raw damage.
    • Enforces fill the niche of "mage", specializing in long-ranged attacks and support. One branch of the class, Psycorruptor and Mastermind, focus on supportive arts to buff allies and debilitate enemies. The other branch, Blast Fencer and Galactic Knight, are Magic Knight classes that confer a mix of powerful melee attacks and supportive capabilities.
  • The two Ravenloft video games have differing support for this trope. The first, Strahd's Possession, even has a fighter/mage/thief NPC you can recruit to your cause. The second game, Stone Prophet, has fighters, thiefs and cleric you can recruit, but unless you bring a wizard with you then you will be without arcane magic for the entire game.
  • Lands of Lore: The Throne of Chaos offered four character choices, one balanced character and three specialized characters following this trope.
  • In Dragon's Dogma, you start off as either a Fighter, Mage or Strider. Later on, you can either change your class into either a specialized version of the original classes (Warrior which focuses on powerful single-hit attacks at the cost of being unable to block or evade attacks, Sorcerers which focus on damaging spells at the cost of healing and Ranger which focus more on bow-wielding over melee) or a hybrid class (Assassin which focuses on versatility and is able to use any melee weapon except 2-handed swords and hammers, Mystic Knight which focuses on defensive spells and countering attacks and Magic Archer which focuses on elemental shots with special effects). The first 6 classes are also useable by pawns, while the last 3 are exclusive to the Arisen.
  • South Park: The Stick of Truth has four classes: Fighter, Mage, Thief and Jew (which focuses on Jew-themed attacks as well as gaining power the lower your health is). The only difference between classes are the abilities and otherwise fight mostly the same.
  • The starting classes of South Park: The Fractured but Whole are Brutalist (focuses on knockbacks), Speedster (focuses on outmaneuvering your enemies with agile attacks) and Blaster (focuses on ranged attacks). Later on, you can unlock up to a maximum of ten classes (twelve with DLC) and mix-and-match abilities from all of them, letting you fulfill potentially any role you want. Each of the companions also fit into various classes and roles, such as tanking (Token, Scott, Craig), support (Kyle, Tweek, Henrietta) or damage-dealers (Wendy, Kenny, Clyde).
  • In Path of Exile, there are six classes which focus on a mix of three stats: Strength, Magic and Dexterity. The Marauder, Witch and Ranger focus on each stat respectively. The Templar is a Magic Knight who focuses on using magic to augment his combat capabilities. The Duelist is a Figher/Thief hybrid who focuses on being a Lightning Bruiser while the Shadow is a Mage/Thief hybrid who's more of a Glass Cannon. The unlockable Scion class is a Jack-of-All-Stats balanced in all categories and capable of fulfilling any role.
  • Played With in Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer. One of your companions, One of Many can at various points switch from a Barbarian, to a Rogue, to a Warlock, becoming each in turn (but the changes can't be reversed, and it's only one at a time)
  • In Alpha Protocol the three main classes you can choose for Mike are analogous to this. Soldier/Commando is the Fighter, specialised in direct combat skills and Toughness. Tech Specialist/Engineer is sort of the Mage, due to its emphasis on gadgets that offer a variety of damage and utility effects, and Field Agent/Spy is the Thief with a focus on stealth and burst damage.
  • Nox has Fighter and Mage classes that fit their mold pretty well, but instead of a Thief the game instead has a Conjurer class, sort of a hybrid Ranger/Mage with their own pool of spells.
  • Vyse, Aika, and Fina from Skies of Arcadia fit this dynamic; Vyse being the front line physical attacker (fighter), speedy Aika backing him up with her trusty Boomerang and a number of useful skills (thief), and Fina supporting them both with powerful healing specials and buffs (mage).
    • Also applies for their cameo in Valkyria Chronicles; Vyse is a Shocktrooper, Aika a Scout, and Fina a medic.
  • Speaking of Valkyria Chronicles:
    • Scout = Fighter (Grenade Launcher) + Thief (good range)
    • Sniper = Thief (ranged damage) + Mage (One-Hit Kill)
    • Shocktrooper = Fighter (frontline combat) + Thief (agility)
    • Gunner = Fighter (More Dakka) + Mage (keeps enemies from closing in)
    • Lancer = Mage (Stuff Blowing Up) + Fighter armoured)
    • Engineer = Mage (healer)
    • Armoured Technician/Swordsman = Fighter (heavily armoured, equally heavy melee damage)
  • Despite being capable of filling any role they want, the protagonists of Persona 3, 4, and 5 eventually fall into these categories.
    • The Persona 4 protagonist/Yu Narukami is the Fighter, with his fighting style in the fighting game spinoffs being primarily physical, and despite his balanced stats and moveset, he becomes a Stone Wall in Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth due to his diverse resistances. His ultimate Persona is also a Knight In Shining Armour. He is also the more physically imposing of the three and wields the weapon that requires the most strength, a double handed sword, and lacks the options available to the other two.
    • The Persona 3 protagonist has an element-swapped version of his successor's Persona in Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, but has higher magic and lower endurance, combined with worse resistances (including a weakness to Mudo) that make him a Squishy Wizard. His ultimate Persona is Messiah, an archetypical miracle worker. He is also the only one who's got his Wild Card enhanced and he is the only one who can summon two Personas.
    • The Persona 5 protagonist is obviously the Thief, and both he and his ultimate Persona are The Gunslinger. Out of the three he is also the most skilled, being able to wield two weapons, having the best tactics of the three, such as Baton Pass, and is capable of doing more things during battle than the other two; the fact that he is a huge Combat Pragmatist helps too.
  • West of Loathing, which takes place in the same universe of Kingdom of Loathing, has three choices of class: Cow Puncher (Fighter/Muscle), Bean Slinger (Mage/Mysticality), and Snake Oiler (Thief/Moxie), who specialize in physical damage, spell damage, and ranged attacks respectively.
  • Sacred Earth - Promise: Priel is a strong and slow physical fighter who focuses on single-target damage, Perrine is a fragile but magically inclined fighter who is the best at dealing group damage, and Relima is a speedster who is less powerful than the other two offensively while having better support skills.
  • In GreedFall the skill tree is divided into three categories: Warrior, Magic and Technician (which focuses on guns and alchemy). When first building your character you choose one of the three categories which determine your starting skills and equipment though after which you are allowed to build your character however you wish.
  • Heroes in Wildermyth are classed as Warriors, Mystics, and Hunters, and you get one of each when you begin a new campaign. The lines between the classes can become a bit blurry in the late stages of the game depending on event-granted abilities and the fact that any class can use any weapon, but in general Warriors favor melee, Hunters favor ranged combat, stealth, and traps, and Mystics are the only ones who can use "intersoul" magic to manipulate and control landscape features around them.

    Simulation Game 
  • The iDOLM@STER: A version of this dichotomy exists due to the fact that the game features a triangular stat system to determine how well a character does at specific categories of performing, with said stats directly affecting the player's score in the Rhythm Game portions. If one quantifies "Dance" as physical prowess, "Visual" as charm and "Vocal" as magic, the resulting breakdown for the cast becomes:
    • Fighter: Makoto (though in later games she skirts the line towards being a Jack-of-All-Stats, her skillset still primarily helps her dancing), Yayoi, Ami, Mami and Hibiki
    • Thief: Yukiho, Azusa, Iori and Miki, (though the latter can become a Master of All if conditions are met in the first game.)
    • Mage: Haruka, Chihaya (whose overwhelming vocal ability is enough to pull her stat total into the highest tiers), Ritsuko and Takane (who hovers on being a metaphorical Trickster, as her visual stat is also quite high.)

    Strategy Game 
  • Lords of Magic: Warrior, Mage, and Thief are the three types of champions (single unit characters that lead armies) in its gameplay, and much of the rest of gameplay is influenced by this division. Unit production buildings are divided along these lines as well, with a "barracks" producing infantry, cavalry, ships, and warrior champions, a "thieves Guild" producing thieves, ranged units, and scouts, and a "mage tower" used to produce mages and magical creatures, as well as having an associated building for spell research. Each champion can be used to "train" at its associated building, improving the experience of units produced there, and each type of unit uses different types of resources to produce and maintain depending on its category.
  • In the iOS game Highborn, the three Heroes are Archie, a knight/paladin; Enzo, a wizard; and Trillian, a rogue.
  • FTL: Faster Than Light's first 3 ships (one already available, the other two unlocked) fit into these archetypes. The Kestrel is a tough all rounder with strong recharging shields, the Engi ship has a small crew and weak weapons, but uses drones better than the rest, and finally the Stealth ship comes equipped with strong dodge and an augment which allows it to predict (and therefore avoid) dangerous beacons.
  • The Banner Saga never really had any literal thieves or mages, but the following classes make up for it:
    • The Varl Warriors and Shieldbangers are the fighters of the caravan, designed to deal and absorb as much punishment as a typical fighter.
    • The human Raiders, Landsmen and Spearmen are the thieves, specializing in speed, agility and hit-and-run tactics.
    • The human Archers and Menders, while not literally mages, might as well play as such because of their long-distance capabilities and higher willpower.
  • The XCOM 2 expansion War of the Chosen introduces 3 new Chosen enemies as well as 3 allied resistance factions and corresponding hero classes, each of which fits into one archetype:
    • On the Chosen side, we have:
      • The Assassin, who prefers getting into close quarters with her sword and shotgun combo as the Fighter.
      • The Hunter, who prefers keeping a distance with his sniper rifle and pistol as the Thief.
      • The Warlock, who uses his Psionic powers to disrupt the battlefield as the Mage.
    • On the resistance factions' side, things are slightly more complicated:
      • The Reapers serve the role of the Thief with their ability to remain hidden in the shadows while sniping enemies, though their Claymore mines and Remote Start ability gives them explosive ordnance akin to a Mage as well.
      • The Skirmishers are Lightning Bruisers who combine Fighter and Thief characteristics with their ability to shoot multiple times per turn, quickly reposition themselves with their grappling hook and gain extra actions for even more firepower or mobility.
      • The Templars are Magic Knights who dash into melee and strike enemies with psi blades like a Fighter, collecting Focus with each kill before using it to unleash Psionic powers like a Mage.
  • And in XCOM: Enemy Within, the expansion to the first game, there are MEC Troopers (Fighter), Gene Mod Soldiers (Thief) and Psionic Soldiers (Mage). MEC Troopers are big and bulky, heavily armoured and equipped with deadly weapons from BFG to Power Fist. Gene Mod Soldiers get a number of body upgrades that emphasis moving away from the group and striking from an unexpected angle - cloaking, jumping up to rooftops, etc. Psionic Soldiers don't have the survivability or mobility of the other two but the arcane power they bring to the field can damage, disrupt or support.
  • Kingdom Rush: Vengeance has the three free Hero Units obtained in the storyline: Veruk the Orc Gladiator is a durable melee Fighter focused on tanking and summoning units to tank hordes, Asra the Shadow Assassin is a squishy Thief focused on debuffing and attacking from range, and Oloch the Infernal Mage is a squishy Mage who casts devastating spells from range.
  • Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time has this with three of the special zombie types in the Dark Ages time period. The Knight is the Fighter who can absorb huge amounts of damage thanks to his armored helmet. The Wizard is (obviously) the Mage who turns plants into harmless sheep from the back lines. The Jester is the Thief who moves quickly and "evades" projectiles via reflecting them, also gaining a speed boost while doing so.
  • Agents in Invisible, Inc. can be grouped in this way based on thier starting equipment and implants. Fighters (Shalem, Nika, Sharp and Rush) have weapons or implants to make it easier to incapacitate guards. Mages (Internationale, Dr. Xu, Prism, Monst3r and Central/Olivia) have implants that aid in generating power and hacking computers. Theives (Decker, Banks, Archive Prism and Derek) have items or implants to aid in stealth and lockpicking.
    • Draco is the only agent who doesn't really fit into any of the three categories since his special ability is mostly about leveling up more cheaply than other characters.

    Survival Horror 
  • The three killers of Dead by Daylight can be seen as this: The Trapper is the Thief (sets traps to harm and incapacitate survivors), the Hillbilly is the Fighter (his chainsaw is a charged rush-down that is a One-Hit Kill), and the Wraith is the Mage (uses a bell to turn invisible).
    • The three add-on killers also follow this pattern. The Nurse is the Mage, a floating ghost who can teleport and destroy pallettes remotely. The Hag is the Thief, an undead witch woman who can lay traps and magic totems. And Michael Myers is the Fighter, a killer with no real gimmicks beyond the ability to stalk survivors and eventually get to One-Hit Kill them.
  • The three Eldritch Abominations in Eternal Darkness fit this mold in a villainous fashion. The Brute Chattur'gha who has dominion over physical strength and matter is the Fighter, who can be taken down by the Evil Genius Ulyaoth whose domain includes magick itself is the mage, who is in turn easy prey for The Trickster Xel'lotaththat who has dominion over the mind and the concept of sanity, represents the thief who would easily be ripped to shreds by Chattur'gha. Mantorok is the Game-Breaker.

    Third Person Shooter 

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Minecraft has the Illager mobs that fit this dynamic. Vindicators are melee combatants that attack with axes (Fighter), Evokers are magic users that conjure gaping maws and spawn Vexes to attack (Mage), while Pillagers attack from a distance with crossbows (Thief). A Dummied Out illager in the Illusioner can also count as the Thief, being a Master of Illusion that uses blinding and fake clones.
  • In the game Terraria weapons are classified into classes depending on whether they do melee, magic or ranged damage. An update later added a fourth class which focused on summoning things to fight for you, but aside from that this trope is still played straight.
  • In the late game of Starbound, this develops. Staves and magic armor focus on energy, melee weapons and armor on health, while ranged weapons and armor form a middle ground.

Non Video Game Examples

    Anime and Manga 
  • The three main heroes of A Certain Magical Index: Touma Kamijou, who relies on his Anti-Magic fist and inherent toughness to beat bad guys into submission (Fighter); Accelerator, who is a super genius and relies on his Superpower Lottery (Mage); and Shiage Hamazura, who is a skilled fighter like Touma but relies more on stealth, tactics, and guns (Thief).
  • Team Touden in Delicious in Dungeon. The party at the start of chapter two fits the description perfectly, with Laios the Swordsman, Marcille the Magician, and Chilchuck the Trapmaster. Senshi is a mix of Fighter and Woodsman/Ranger.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls, Buttercup is the physically strongest member of the trio (Fighter), Blossom has her smarts and ice powers (Mage), and Bubbles has her charms and the ability to speak any language and to communicate with animals (Thief).
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, the three main duelist protagonists, Yugi Muto, Seto Kaiba, and Joey Wheeler, each center their respective decks to fit a certain playing style. Yugi's deck is very adaptable and focuses on strategy (Mage), Kaiba's deck is loaded with powerful cards and monsters and focuses on strength (Fighter), while Joey's deck uses a lot of chance-based cards and focuses on luck (Thief). As if it gets any better, Yugi's signature monster is the Dark Magician and Joey has a card called Graverobber which allows him to steal a card from his opponent's graveyard, saving him on several occasions.
  • The Three Musketeers from Accel World: Takumu Mayuzumi / Cyan Pile (Fighter), Chiyuri Kurashima / Lime Bell (Mage), and Haruyuki Arita / Silver Crow (Thief).
  • Subverted in Lyrical Nanoha where all combatants are mages. We have Nanoha (the Fighter+Thief who uses big and bigger lasers, but they need time to charge; she has also the best defense and she is a Combat Pragmatist), Fate (the Thief+Fighter who is the fastest and she is the only one who is specialized in melee combat, but has a poor armor; her Morph Weapon can also transform into a BFS), and Hayate (the Mage who is a Person of Mass Destruction, but also a Glass Cannon).
  • Naruto:
    • The three main fighting styles are Taijutsu (Fighter), Ninjutsu (Mage), and Genjutsu (Thief).
    • Many of the three-man squads can also be divided up this way, although some characters have traits of more than one class. This is possibly intentional, as the squads are designed to either balance out or specialise in certain fields.
  • In the penultimate battle of Bleach's arrancar arc, Aizen fights against three people. Isshin Kurosaki mainly attacks with straight sword strikes, Urahara with kido and careful planning, and Yoruichi with sneak attacks.
  • The treasure hunters from Fairy Tail Zero fit this before they learn magic. Warrod is a Mighty Glacier who can plow through an armed crowd, Yuri uses lightning bombs, and Precht is a Dance Battler who favors chainblades.
  • It isn't long before they pick up more friends, but the initial crew of Log Horizon follows this. Naotsugu plays a Guardian, soaking up damage; Shiroe plays an Enchanter, laying buffs and debuffs; and Akatsuki plays an Assassin, hitting the baddies hard and fast.
  • The Barbarois in Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust are a trio of mutants that fit this trope nicely: the werewolf Mashira is the Fighter, the shapeshifting Caroline is the Mage and the shadowbinder Bengé is the thief.
  • Etienne, Nicolas, and Guy from Innocents Shounen Juujigun make up one. Etienne is a chosen child with the power of making miracles through Godly force, Nicolas is a would be knight with a lot of brute power, but little finesse or brains, and Guy is a literal former thief with underhanded tactics and less morals than Nicolas.
  • The first three main antagonists of Digimon Adventure follow this theme. Devimon is the Mage, using the power of black gears to transform normally peaceful digimon into savage monsters as well as amplify his own dark powers. Etemon is the Fighter, a powerful fully-evolved digimon who is able to manhandle the childrens' Champion level digimon as well as cause them to de-digivolve. Myotismon is the Thief, possessing intellect that matches his fearsome fighting abilities with a just a touch of dark power, although his intellect is lost when he digivolves into VenomMyostimon note .
  • The main trio of Blumund Guild in That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime invoke the classic RPG classes with Cabal as the fighter, Ellen as the mage and Gido as the thief.
  • Though they aren't perfect examples of the trope, the three main arc villains in Dragon Ball Z have certain characteristics that sync up with the triad. Frieza, the Mage, is known for his long-range lasers and imprisonment energy balls, as well as a life spent ruling from his throne rather than physically training. Cell, the Fighter, is a genetic amalgamation of the strongest Z Fighters and is best known for his own Tournament Arc. Majin Buu, the Thief, fights using underhanded tactics and a gelatinous body, and he often enjoys turning people into desserts in lieu of one-on-one combat.
    • Vegeta, an early arc villain who goes through a legendary Heel–Face Turn, can debatably be seen as a combination of all three. He's absolutely a Fighter in every sense of the word, but he also consistently demonstrates the wisdom of a Mage (particularly when juxtaposed against Nappa or Goku) and the trickery of a Thief.
  • The three most-prominent teenage martial artists in Ranma ½ are all technically fighters, but their respective styles let them be categorised this way: the strong, tough, unsubtle Ryoga is the fighter, the deceptive, concealed weapon-wielding and less physically-adept Mousse is the mage, and surprisingly it's the main protagonist Ranma, who is the fastest, most-agile, and most reliant on cunning and trickery to win (due to following the Anything-Goes Martial Arts style) who counts as the thief.
  • The three major protagonists of Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure Phantom Blood are an interesting twist: Both Jonathan and Will Zeppeli are Magic Knights due to their use of the Ripple, yet their differing approaches to using it (such as Jonathan preferring to use it to enhance his physical attacks, while Zeppeli's experience allows him more versatile uses) make them the Fighter and Mage of the group respectively. Their other ally, Robert Speedwagon, serves as a Thief in part due to his criminal background and Combat Pragmatist tendencies.

    Comic Books 
  • DC Universe:
    • The three main characters in the Birds of Prey comic each fit these archetypes: Oracle, who, with her hacking abilities, can gain knowledge and harm enemies from a great distance, but, being a paraplegic, is not as good (thought not completely helpless) in close combat, is the wizard; Black Canary, who, being the best martial artist of the three, and having the canary cry for dealing with more powerful enemies, is the best close combatant, is the fighter (although her ability to soak up damage is not appreciably greater than the others'); Huntress, being the best at and most reliant upon stealth, and using a crossbow as her primary weapon, is the thief.
    • Their evil counterparts, the Gotham City Sirens, also fit the mold. Poison Ivy is the mage, having strange plant powers. Catwoman is the thief, duh. Harley is the fighter: her preferred weapon is a giant mallet, she has borderline superhuman athleticism thanks to a serum from Ivy, and she's also fond of explosives.
    • The post-Rebirth Trinity series brings Lex Luthor, Circe and Ra's al Ghul together as a counter to DC's Big Three. Luthor's Powered Armor makes him the fighter, Circe is obviously the mage, and the immortal assassin Ra's is the rogue.
    • All classic members of the Justice Society of America fall squarely into one of the three categories.
    • It's even reflected in the main Trinity. Wonder Woman is the Fighter, relying mainly on her physical abilities to engage foes at close range. Superman, despite being the Tank, is perfectly capable of fighting from a distance with his heat vision and super breath, allowing him to fill the role of the Mage. Batman, with his generally lower durability and reliance on stealth and gadgets to get by, is the Thief.
      • An alternative grouping could place Batman as the Mage for his vulnerability but ability to accomplish seemingly anything from the sidelines, while Superman super speed allows him to fill the role of the Thief.
    • Suicide Squad: Rick Flag's three closest friends on the team qualify as this. Bronze Tiger is a trained martial artist, Nightshade has shadow powers that allows her to teleport and create objects made of shadow and Nemesis is a spy and Master of Disguise.
  • Rat Queens is explicitly a parody of Role-Playing Game Verse stories, and the four central characters are overtly a D&D Fighter-Mage-Cleric-Thief quartet.
  • Asterix has the wise and intellectual druid Panoramix / Getafix (the mage), strong Gentle Giant but not very bright Obelix (fighter) and Asterix who, although both smart and strong, often uses his wit and cunning to trick Romans (the thief).
  • Vampirella and her two main allies Pendragon and Adam van Helsing. Vampirella possesses the superior strength, speed, agility and durability of a vampire, Pendragon is a sorcerer (though initially isn't very good at it) and Adam is Badass Normal who relies on weaponry and exploiting the weaknesses of his inhuman foes.
  • Ultimate Fantastic Four: After Reed becomes the Maker, the remaining heroic members of the Four fit this trope. Ben is the fighter (super strength and toughness), Johhny is the mage (attacks from the distance with fire) and Sue is the thief (can become invisible).

  • In Shadows Awakening, Daolon Wong's new dark chi warriors fit this motif. Ironfist is a Smash Mook, Tempest is a Squishy Wizard with limited Weather Manipulation, and Fang is a Mage Killer with Anti-Magic energy daggers.
  • In Child of the Storm, the younger generation has two of these: axe-wielding Uhtred is the Fighter, Diana with her speed and agility is the Thief, while Harry, whose his vast (but fairly raw) magical and Psychic Powers make him a Glass Cannon, is the Mage, and (particularly in the first book) bad things tend to happen when he tries close combat against serious opponents. By the sequel, another develops, with Harry remaining as the Mage (albeit more of a Fighter-Mage), Carol being the Fighter, and Jean-Paul being the Thief. Indeed, while they don't battle together, Harry and friends act as this at Hogwarts: here, Harry's the Thief (mentality wise, he's much more of a master spy), while Hermione is the Mage (though very knowledgeable, and with extremely destructive powers, said powers tend to be hard to control at the best of times), and Ron is the Fighter (in mentality and in getting training from Sean Cassidy in Aikido).
  • The first 3 members of the Inspectors in The Spectrum Game fit this to an extent, but it's difficult to decide who exactly is the Mage and who is the Thief:
    • Silas has An Axe to Grind and has the highest Strength and Defense, and the lowest Intelligence (of the three, at least) and Speed. He also learns physical skills at the fastest rate, which makes him the Fighter.
    • Azurine has the highest Intelligence and learns offensive magic at the fastest rate, in addition to wielding a ranged weapon, and having awful Defense and the worst Strength in the whole cast. However, that weapon is a gun, and she learns moves like Steal and Steal Breath. She has also been shown to be The Sneaky Guy on several occasions. Additionally, despite many obvious Mage qualities, she can be considered the Thief. Hey class is even called 'Gunner', rather than Black Mage.
    • Inigo is a Fragile Speedster, and is the fastest of the three. However, he is primarily a Stone Wall, with outstanding defenses and the lowest overall offense of the group. For the most part, he mixes Combat Medic, Red Mage and Magic Knight. However, a good reason why he can be considered the Thief is that he is the only one in the trio with access to the Sonic line of skills, which run off the user's Speed stat. Though he is more magic-oriented than most incarnations of the Thief (his Intelligence is ever so slightly higher than his Strength, and he learns more magic than physical attacks). He also learns defensive spells really quickly. Despite obvious Thief qualities, he can be considered the Mage thanks to his official class: Red Magician.
  • In My Huntsman Academia, the three White Fang officers designed after The Three Caballeros fit the roles.
    • The Admiral is the Fighter. A Lightning Bruiser Boxing Battler, he puts Izuku on the ropes for much of their fight even with Weiss boosting his speed. Any one of his blows could have finished Izuku in a single, solid hit. He can take just as well as he can give, easily deflecting Izuku's 5% Full Cowl attacks and taking multiple hits from Izuku's 10% Full Cowl before going down. He's also hot-headed and prone to being The Berserker but is also A Father to His Men.
    • Panchito "Pistoles" Rojo is the Mage with hints of the Magic Knight. He's a good close quarters combatant with his taloned feet, but he truly shines at long range due to his powerful revolvers packed with high-grade Fire Dust. But for all of his firepower, he's sent sprawling into the water with one of Izuku's punches and later goes down to a 10% Beacon Smash.
    • José Cuérvo is the Thief. He's not great at direct combat, but he's a smooth talker and an excellent recruiter for the White Fang. He prefers to use every trick in the book to make up for it, attempting to kill the lights in order to inconvenience his Human opponents and baiting Katsuki into a trap by taunting him. He is also quick to consider a retreat when he realizes that he and his men are outmatched and utilizes hidden weapons like a Sawed-Off Shotgun in his umbrella and a bowie knife.
  • The Big Bad Duumvirate in The Legend of Royal Blue and La Sylphide. Ex-Terra favours brawling and uses gauntlets (Fighter.) Ex-Aqua lets her magic do the fighting while using a parasol as a Magic Wand (Mage.) Ex-Sol confuses the heroes with inane babbling and uses Hit-and-Run Tactics with boomerangs (Thief.) This is reflected in the variant of Spectres they summon: Ex-Terra's Spectres are Mighty Glaciers, Ex-Aqua's are Puzzle Bosses requiring out-of-the-box thinking to beat, and Ex-Sol's are Fragile Speedsters.
  • The three Hawke siblings are this in Beyond Heroes: Of Sunshine and Red Lyrium. Hawke is a rogue, and - as in the game - twins Carver and Bethany are a warrior and a mage, respectively.
  • You'll Get No Answers from the Blue Sea Star: The three sisters are a classic example. Beth is the muscle who wades into mêlèe and smashes things, Kid stays back and acts as the magical equivalent of a tactical nuke, Jo spies and stabs and sneaks and snipes.

    Animated Film 
  • Word of God confirms they did this for Kung Fu Panda to create Contrasting Sequel Antagonists. Tai Lung, as a martial arts master who usually fights physically and can take a lot of punishment, is the Fighter. Lord Shen, who relies on his speed, hidden throwing knives, and cannons to fight, is the Thief. And Kai, as a supernatural being who uses chi to attack, is the Mage.

    Film-Live Action 
  • The three most iconic Slasher Movie villains in American cinema—Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, and Michael Myers—coincidentally fit the trope to a T. Jason is (in his most iconic form) a hulking juggernaut who wields a machete, Freddy is an ethereal demon who uses supernatural means to enter his victims' dreams, and wields a clawed glove and Michael is an eerily silent stealth killer who prefers to hide in the shadows and covertly kill his victims with a simple knife.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Thor: Ragnarok, the Hulk, Thor, and Valkyrie (and sometimes Loki) have this dynamic. The brawny, musclebound rage-head Hulk is the Fighter, Thor (who loses his hammer Mjolnir, but learns to wield lightning magic without it) is the Mage, and the graceful and agile warrior Valkyrie is the Thief. When he's actually on Thor's side, the charming shapeshifter Loki also occupies the Thief role alongside Valkyrie.
    • In Black Panther (2018), this is the dynamic between Okoye, Shuri, and Nakia. Okoye is the Fighter, as T'Challa's bodyguard and head of the Dora Millaje. Shuri is the Mage, as she is Wakanda's chief scientist and a gifted engineer. Nakia is the Thief, as she is a War Dog spy who relies on cunning and subterfuge.
    • The three male Children of Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame: Cull Obsidian is a towering bruiser (Fighter), Ebony Maw is a telekinetic Evil Sorcerer (Mage), and Corvus Glaive is a Stealth Expert who strikes from the shadows (Thief).
    • By the time of Ant-Man and the Wasp, Hope, Scott, and Hank fit this dynamic. Hope is the Fighter (being the most capable in direct combat), Scott is the Thief (being an actual former thief and burglar), and Hank is the Mage (he created the Ant-Man and Wasp suits and mainly relies on his ant controlling device).
    • The Avengers Trinity of Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor. Captain America is an experienced soldier whose training involves infiltration and stealth, Iron Man is the smartest of the three and relies on technology and science and Thor is the most physically powerful. Avengers: Endgame pushes this further in the final battle to add another dynamic to the ones they already have with Steve gaining the ability of Mjölnir and being able to go toe to toe with the heavy hitters, Thor focusing more on his lightning ability, and Tony using his guile to make up for the fact that he's out of practice.
  • Mythica: A Quest for Heroes: When gathering her "team" to aid Teela, Marek herself is the mage, Thane the fighter, and Dagen the thief.

  • In Phenomena: Alk (fighter), Ilke (mage) and Millian (thief) when they travel alone.
  • Unsurprisingly, a number of Dungeons & Dragons novels contain this trope:
    • Vampire of the Mists has Jander Sunstar (fighter, although he has some supernatural abilities, and is quite stealthy, from being a vampire), Sasha (spellcaster, although he's actually a cleric, not a mage), and Leisl (thief).
    • War of the Twins has Caramon Majere (fighter), Raistlin Majere (mage), Crysania of Tarinius (cleric, which, again, is a different kind of spellcaster in D&D), and Tasslehoff Burrfoot (thief, but don't you dare call him one).
  • The main characters of Dora Wilk Series fall into these categories: Miron's fighter, the strongest and most experienced one, Joshua's mage, with his attitude and skills, and Dora, tricky and cunning, is thief.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, each of the epynomous Deathly Hallows falls into one of the archetypes here: The Elder Wand (fighter), the Resurrection Stone (mage), and the Invisibility Cloak (thief).
    • Three of the four Hogwarts houses fit the trope: Gryffindor as the Fighter, Ravenclaw as the Mage, and Slytherin as the Thief. Hufflepuff, the fourth house, conveniently works with the Cleric class; coincidentally their house ghost is a friar. Alternatively, they could also be seen as balanced universalists that do not overly specialize in any of the archetypes.
  • The main characters of The Fire's Stone by Tanya Huff; Prince Darvish is the Fighter, Chandra is the Mage, and Aaron is the Thief.
  • The Lord of the Rings the races of Middle Earth can be categorized into these, Humans and Dwarves are Warriors, Wizards and Elves are Mage, and the Hobbits are Thieves.
  • The Silmarillion has Beren's companions: Finrod is a Warrior Prince and Magic Knight (Fighter), Luthien is an enchantress (Mage), and Huan is a sleepless, tireless wolfhound (Thief).
  • The Wheel of Time has the three protagonists: Rand is Mage/Fighter, Perrin is Fighter/Fighter, and Matt is the Thief/Fighter.
    • Rand's three love interests fit too: Aviendha is Fighter note , Elayne is Mage note  and Min is Thief note 
  • The Mistborn of Mistborn are the jack-of-all-stats variety, inherently magi. They're mostly used for skulking, spying, stealing (usually information), and the occasional assasination.
    • The Lord Ruler's three types of Hemalurgic Constructs also fit into this classification; the Koloss are Fighters, the Steel Inquisitors are Mages, and the Kandra are Thieves.
  • Adventure Hunters: Artorius is a former paladin, Regina is a Squishy Wizard and Lisa is a small and quick thief. However, there is one deviation; Lisa is both super strong and nigh invulnerable.
  • The main trio in Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Percy himself is a Master Swordsman (Fighter), Grover is a satyr who can cast spells with his panpipes (Mage), and Annabeth uses a cap of invisibility and wields a knife (Thief).
  • The three heroes of The Quest of the Unaligned very loosely fit this trope. Alaric, though he is actually by far the most powerful mage of the three, doesn't know how to use his magic for the bulk of the book, and thus relies on his advanced training in hand-to-hand combat. Laeshana is an aesh, and an exceptionally brilliant one at that, so she provides most of the magic side of things. Nahruahn is small, hyperactive, and as a ruahk has access to flight and teleportation magic.
  • The three main Demons from The Elfstones of Shannara fit this categorization. The Dagda Mor is Mage note , the Reaper is Fighter note  and the Changeling is Thief note .
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe differentiates three types of Jedi who fit this classification—the Guardians, who specialize in lightsaber combat (fighter); the Consulars, who study more mystical aspects of The Force (mage); and the Sentinels, who use unorthodox tricks and are less prominent than the other Jedi (thief).
  • The Quirky Miniboss Squad of The Princess Bride counts: Fezzik, with his gigantism and monstrous strength, is the Fighter. Vizzini, the mastermind of the trio who is nonetheless crippled and useless in a physical confrontation, is the Mage. Inigo, the swordmaster and duelist with no armor but lots of skill, is the Thief. Obviously, this applies to the film version as well.

     Live Action Television 
  • Arrowverse: The three main recurring villains fit this. Eobard Thawne has Super Speed and makes use of hit-and-run tactics, Malcolm Meryln is a master archer and martial artist, and Damien Darhk's future self gains access to the Lazarus Pits and the Khushu Idol.
  • The Minbari on Babylon 5 have the warrior, worker, and religious castes.
  • All of the main characters of Farscape fit very clearly into these roles: Fighter (Aeryn, D'Argo, Crais), Mage (Zhaan, Stark, Jool, Noranti), and Thief (Rygel, Chiana, Sikozu). John and Scorpius are Fighter/Magic-User compromise builds.
  • Olivia, Walter, and Peter on Fringe respectively embody this trope. Olivia kicks butt and takes names, Walter's weird science qualifies as being nigh-magical, and Peter is the rogue with the checkered past.
  • Game of Thrones: As the series develops, three of the House Stark children fit all three molds. Jon is the Fighter, skilled with a blade and tested in combat. Bran is the Mage, physically weak but possessing magical powers beyond the ken of men. Arya is the Thief, learned in disguise and trickery even before being trained as a terrifying assassin.
  • Kamen Rider Drive has three base forms: the quick Type Speed (Thief), the strong Type Wild (Fighter), and the technologically proficient Type Technic (Mage)
  • Similarly, Kamen Rider Double's three standard forms exhibit this trope: CycloneJoker emphasizes agility and wind powers (Thief), HeatMetal's access to fire and sturdiness makes it the Fighter, and LunaTrigger's use of illusions and long range attacks make it the Mage.
  • On Leverage, Eliot, Hardison, and Parker largely fulfill these roles, though Hardison is a hacker instead of a mage.
  • From Merlin, Arthur, Merlin, and Gwen are a Two Guys and a Girl version of this. Arthur's the Master Swordsman, Merlin's The Archmage, and Gwen's a Guile Hero.
  • In Parker Lewis Can't Lose Parker himself prefers to use his wit and charisma to trick his rivals and enemies —like Miss Russo— (Thief), Mickey is more an action man and a rebellious character (Fighter) and Jerry is the wise nerdy intellectual (Mage).
  • Power Rangers:
    • Power Rangers Dino Thunder: The main trio fits this trope with their civilian powers. Ethan (The Fighter) has the ability to generate an Instant Armor allowing him to have a Super Strength in addition. Kira (The Mage) has a Sonic Scream who is the most destructive such as the only one among the five rangers who has a long-ranged power. And Conner (The Thief) has a Super Speed allowing him to surprise his enemies.
    • In addition, Three rangers of Power Rangers S.P.D. fits this trope too with their genetic powers. Syd The Fighter) has an elemental-shifter Power Fist making her the physically strongest ranger (in their unmorphed form). Sky (The Mage) can create Force Fields. And Jack (The Thief) is a Intangible Man in addition of his robber past.
    • In Power Rangers Mystic Force/Mahou Sentai Magiranger, the three Dragon In Chiefs fit this pattern: Morticon/Branken is the Fighter, not really big on planning and mostly relies on brute force to accomplish his goals. Imperious/Meemy is the Thief, coming up with complicated plans and using sneaky tactics while rarely fighting head-on. Sculpin/Dagon is the Mage, being powerful enough to fight the rangers personally while also using dark magic to carry out his objectives.
  • The three main Alpha quadrant races conform to this in Star Trek: The Original Series. The Romulans have the most advanced cloaking devices, and are entirely taken up with subterfuge, deception and backstabbing in everything they do. So thief. The Klingons are tough, proud warriors, renowned for having 3 spines, two hearts, and enough raw physical power to make melee weapons somewhat functional in a raygun future. So fighter. The Federation solves its problems using diplomacy and technical skill, possessing the most advanced holographic, replication, teleportation and shielding tech out of the three. It isn't for nothing the Dominion Officers are revealed in a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode to have already stereotyped the Federation as capable of utterly absurd feats of ingenuity and scientific creativity ("One of those famed Starfleet engineers who can turn rocks into replicators"). So mage.
    • This also heavily overlaps with Combat, Diplomacy, Stealth: the Proud Warrior Race Guy Klingons obviously prefer combat, the Martial Pacifist Federation prefers diplomacy (but will use combat when pushed far enough), and the scheming Romulans prefer stealth.
    • Also as characters Star Trek TOS has action man Kirk (Fighter), wise and analitic Spock (Mage) and expert in medical tricks Bones (Thief).
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has the three main races of the Dominion: The ruthless Jem'Hadar soldiers are obviously the fighters; the mysterious, shapeshifting Founders are the mages; and the silver-tongued, devious Vorta are the thieves.

  • In Infinity Game:
    • The main group is made up of Meibo as the thief, Lu Xiao as the black magic mage (Long Wei is a cleric/white magic mage) and Hai An as the paladin - though he's never shown to use magic or that he can.
    • The remaining members of the RPG Society has this: Xia Sheng Xue is the cleric, Yue Bo Cheng is the wizard and Xia Yun is the barbarian.



  • FC Barcelona's three-man frontline from 2014-2017, 'MSN', was this. Luis Suarez, the aggressive, pragmatic, tenacious center-forward, was the 'Fighter'. The immensely talented, magically gifted talisman, Lionel Messi, was the 'Mage', and the tricky, unpredictable Neymar was the 'Thief'. The trio eventually combined for over three hundred goals in three seasons.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The True20 RPG system, based off of the D20 system for Dungeons & Dragons, provides the three basic classes of warrior, expert, and adept.
  • Many retroclones follow either this or Fighter / Mage / Thief / Cleric, being generally based on the Basic Expert version of Dungeons And Dragons
    • Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game has four classes; Fighter, Thief, Magic-User and Cleric
    • Beyond the Wall features Fighter, Rogue, and Magic User; customization comes through Apocalypse Engine style playbooks: The Self-Taught Mage will have a different skill set and spell list then the Witch's Prentice, who in turn will be different from the Devout Acolyte.
    • Dungeon Crawl Classics begins with the traditional four plus elves, dwarves, and halflings.
    • Labyrinth Lord, another old-style D&D retroclone, uses the Cleric, the Fighter, the Magic-User, and the Thief. In addition, the other races are classes in their own: the Dwarf (basically a Fighter, who is limited to level 12), the Elf (a Magic Knight who combines the powers of a Fighter and a Magic-User and is limited to 10th level), and the Halfling (small fighters with a few thief abilities who are limited to level 8).
    • Stars Without Number has Warrior, Psychic and Expert. Warriors have the best attack progression and the ability to negate one hit per fight; Experts have the best skill progression and can reroll a non-combat skill once per hour; Psychics can use psychic powers. This is also true with it's post apocalyptic spinoff Other Dust
    • Swords and Wizardry uses five classes based on OD&D: the Fighting-Man (or Fighter), the Magic-User, the Cleric, the Dwarven Warrior (who was much like the fighting-man) and the Elven Adventurer (who could choose whether to be a fighter or a magic-user once a day).* Werewolf: The Apocalypse somewhat does this with the five Auspices. Ragabashes are the thief-type with gifts related to stealth and deception, Theurges and Galliards could be considered mages as their gifts don't give direct combat ability but can act as buffers/good for working with spirits to make magical effects, and Philodoxes and Ahrouns as the fighters with Philodox gifts more focused on taking it and shrugging it off and Ahroun gifts more focused on dishing out punishment for extended periods.
  • Exalted does it, too—White Wolf has a thing for the number 5, and most types of Exalted have 5 subtypes. For example, the 5 castes of Solar Exalted are Dawn (Warriors), Zenith (Leaders), Twilight (Sorcerers/Smart Guys), Nights (Thieves), and Eclipse (The Social Experts).
    • It's been noted that White Wolf games that stick to the five-by-five system usually have a familiar breakdown for the social splats: Leader, Warrior, Mystic, Rebel, and Spy. Werewolf: The Forsaken goes Blood Talons (Warrior), Bone Shadows (Mystics), Hunters in Darkness (Spy), Iron Masters (Rebel), and Storm Lords (Leader). Mage: The Awakening goes Adamantine Arrow (Warrior), Free Council (Rebel), Guardians of the Veil (Spy), Mysterium (Mystic), and Silver Ladder (Leader). Vampire: The Requiem divides by the clans of Ventrue (Leader), Gangrel (Mystic/Warrior), Mekhet (Spy), Nosferatu (Rebel), Daeva (Warrior/Leader). Promethean: The Created has Ferrum (Warrior), Mercurius (Mystic), and Stannum (Rebel) with Aurum (embracing humanity and mortals) and Cuprum (remaining isolated from humanity and touching on the inner self) blending elements of Leader and Spy.
    • From Exalted you have the Lunar who are the exception to the White Wolf usual trope of the Five-Man Band by sticking more closely to this trope. The Full Moon (Fighter), the No Moon (Mage) and the Changing Moon (Thief).
  • In the Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms setting there were three adventurers who quested to overthrow Jergal, the god of discord, death, and the dead. They were a warlord named Bane, an assassin named Bhaal, and a necromancer named Myrkul, making them an evil version of this trope. Each of them ended up being freely given an aspect of the god's power, as he'd become bored with the job.
  • The Witcher: Game of Imagination makes a nice subversion, as it is entirely possible to create an entire party of characters outside the triangle and still enjoy the game.
  • In the indie role-playing game Warrior, Rogue, and Mage, the attribute system doesn't rate how strong or fast or intelligent you are — it rates you on how good a warrior you are, how good a rogue you are, and how good a mage you are. Every task in the game is assumed to be "something a warrior does", "something a thief does", or "something a mage does". There are also variants for other settings — e.g. "Resolute, Adventurer, and Genius" for games inspired by 1920s pulp novels.
  • A similar rating system is used for On Mighty Thews, with Warrior, Sorcerer, and Explorer standing in for the thief.
  • In keeping with the feel of the Dragon Age video games, the tabletop RPG version also uses the three-class structure of mage, rogue, and warrior.
  • The Eldar of Warhammer 40,000 follow this trope with their non-phoenix-lord special characters. Eldrad Ulthran is the mage, being his race's most powerful psyker and a master of prophecy and subtle manipulations. Prince Yriel of Iyanden is the fighter, being a strong melee warrior and highly talented admiral/general (autarch in eldar parlance). Illic Nightspear is the thief, being a stealth expert and sniper who has spent millenia perfecting the arts of ambush, fieldcraft, and stalking. The Forgeworld exclusive Farseer Bel-Annath is a magic knight - a powerful psyker who has walked the path of the warrior beforehand (specifically, he was a fire dragon) and retains solid melee skills.
  • Although Dungeons & Dragons usually have too much granularity and specific variations to not clearly have this division outside some parties (in stories and otherwise), the variant Generic classes in 3.5's Unearthed Arcana fall here — Spellcaster for mages (being the spellcasting class), Warrior for Fighters (having the best attack bonus and hit points) and Expert for Thief (gaining the most skills and the best saves, making it easiest for them to qualify for the rogue-themed special abilities).
  • Champions adapts this to superhero characters, with the Brick, Energy Projector, and Martial Artist types. (These are only suggested starting models and not part of the game mechanics at all— but the Strength-type characteristic system, Power Frameworks, and the skills system are set up to make them efficient ways to build characters.)
  • Broken Road has the adventurer, scoundrel and mage fulfilling the roll of fighter, thief and mage respectively, with the follower fulfilling the role of a cleric.

    Web Comics 
  • In Aegeroth: A Checkered History, there's Davi, an officer of the law, Zambor, a sorceress, and Drivena, a thief.
  • Problem Sleuth, which was designed to imitate a video game, has its three main characters match up with the archetypes: Ace Dick is the Fighter, Pickle Inspector is the Mage, and Problem Sleuth is the Thief.
    • Defined by their high Vim, Imagination and Pulchritude, respectively.
  • 8-Bit Theater's main characters are a Fighter, two Mages (a straight example in Black, and a deliberate Jack-of-All-Stats in Red), and a Thief. (There's a White Mage too, but she wouldn't be caught dead hanging around with these people.)
  • In Girl Genius Agatha, Zeetha and Violetta are essentially this (with Agatha as a technomage). Zeetha points it out in this comic.
  • Champions of Faraus: Three of the protagonists: Skye goes in with a mace (Fighter), Flamel tries to stay out of the melee and uses ranged magic through his Magic Wand (Mage), and Daryl uses a dagger later along with a short sword while constantly moving around and occasionally employing some Combat Pragmatism (thief).

    Western Animation 
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, the ponies are divided into Earth Ponies, who tend to be stronger than average (Fighter), Unicorns, who have the most powerful magic (Mage), and Pegasi, who are Fragile Speedsters in the air (Thief).
    • Interestingly, prior to the founding of Equestria, the Pegasus tribe was the Proud Warrior Race.
  • The Galaxy Rangers: Zach and Shane are the Fighters (and both the career military types). Niko is the Mage (Psychic Powers and a Fragile Speedster compared to the guys), and Doc is a classic Thief (breaking and entering, espionage, and computer hacking).
  • Donald Duck's nephews in Quack Pack have the superhero identities of Captain Muscle (fighter), Brain Boy (mage), and The Really Fast Guy (thief).
  • In Mighty Max, the three main characters definitely qualify. Norman, the huge and muscular guardian with the Cool Sword, is the Fighter. Virgil, the short, physically weak fowl who can foresee the future, is the Mage. Max, the Kid Hero who always thinks on his feet, represents the Thief.
  • Ed, Edd, and Eddy of Ed, Edd n Eddy fit this trope pretty well. Ed, the strongest, toughest, and most dim witted of the three, is the fighter. Edd, the smart one, capable of building nearly anything from cardboard, and the squishiest of them all is the mage. And Eddy, the sneaky, conniving one that comes with the underhanded scam of the week is the thief.
  • The Crystal Gems (excluding Steven) from Steven Universe are an example of this trope. We have Garnet, who is strong, stoic and almost always fights with melee attacks, as the Fighter. Pearl is shown to be the tactician and can create energy and light beams as the Mage and Amethyst will often resort to shape shifting and is the least likely to resort to her weapon, thus making her the Thief.
    • This trope also applies to the Homeworld trio to some extent. Jasper is of course the Fighter, being a Quartz type Gem. Lapis is the Mage, by far the most powerful single Gem seen in action, but exclusively fighting through the use of water constructs rather than her own body, and lacks the ability to summon a weapon. Peridot is the Thief in the old-school sense: the most adept at using technology and most likely to retreat from a face-to-face fight.
  • The three races in the Gargoyles universe have this dynamic: gargoyles are Fighters, humans are Thieves, and the Third Race (Oberon's Children) are Mages. Gargoyles are a Proud Warrior Race known for their superhuman strength and their stringent code of honor; humans are far physically weaker than gargoyles, but they're renowned for their cunning and their mastery of technology, though they're widely seen as untrustworthy; the Third Race are a species of immortal spirits from various mythological systems and world religions, and they have natural magical abilities that far eclipse those of human sorcerers.
  • Teen Titans third episode "Final Exam" introduces evil Power Trio of Mammoth (Fighter), Jinx (Thief, despite being a Black Magician Girl) and Gizmo (Mage).
  • The main trio of the Chan Clan in Jackie Chan Adventures fit this trope: Jackie is a fit martial artist and layman who ends up engaging in physical combat the most, much to his chagrin (Fighter); Uncle is an elderly chi wizard whose main role is to do research about the magical artifacts and foes, in addition to concocting spells (Mage); Jade is a cunning preteen master user of loopholes and uncanny stealth (Thief). When the gigantic Dark Hand thug Tohru joins them, he's taken in as Uncle's student, making him a mix of Fighter and Mage.
  • The three main female members of the 90s X-Men cartoon seem to follow this pattern. Rogue is brash, quick-tempered, and possesses the most overt physical strength of anyone on the team, making her the Fighter. Storm was poised, regal, and wielded awesome powers from a distance, fitting the Mage. And lastly, Jubilee's powers, while impressive, were rarely as useful to the team as her ability to move quickly and improvise, making her the Thief. Jean Grey was the odd one out, usually serving as a medic, or secondary Mage least most of the time.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • At the beginning, Sokka is the fighter, Katara is the mage (water powers, including healing) and Aang is the thief (airbending is mostly about avoiding damage and redirecting your enemy). This gets hazier as the team expands and Aang learns how to use other elements.
    • The females in the team in the latter half of Season 3 also qualify; Toph is the Fighter as Earthbending is about standing your ground and being open and direct in movements, Katara is the Mage again, and Suki is a Stealth Expert whose prowess is mainly in close-quarters combat.
    • Azula's team. Ty Lee is a Bare-Fisted Monk, Azula blasts people with fire or lightning, and Mai doesn't seem to go anywhere without a few dozen throwing knives.
    • The Arc Villains of each season fill out this trope as well. Admiral Zhao is an effective military tactician and is very hands on in trying to capture Aang, making him the Fighter. Long Feng maintains control over Ba Sing Se through manipulating the Earth King, the Dai Li, and Brainwashing, making him the Thief. Combustion Man's reliance on his combustionbending and nothing but combustionbending makes him the Mage.
    • Even the Four Elements themselves can be categorized in such a manner with how each bending style is utilized. Earth involves having a firm stance and packs the hardest punch via manipulating solid rock while Fire has a similar focus on keeping solid footing and can be fueled by either anger or passion, so they share the role of Fighter. Water is the most versatile, being able to control pretty much anything that has water in it, and again has the ability to heal, making it the Mage. And lastly Air is all about movement, evading enemy attacks, and keeping them off balance, making them the Thief.
  • OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes: The main trio that works at the Bodega: K.O. is the fighter, Radicles is the mage (he has powers such as telekinesis and shooting lasers), and Enid is the thief (she's a ninja).
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: Marco Diaz is tough and a skilled martial artist (Fighter). Star Butterfly casts powerful spells with a magic wand, though she is no slouch in hand to hand combat (Mage). Janna Ordonia, who later joins the other two on their adventures, is stealthy, mischievous, and a skilled pickpocket and lock picker (Thief).
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power:
    • Adora fights with a sword and gains Super Strength in her She-Ra form (Fighter). Glimmer relies on her Light 'em Up and Teleportation magic (Mage). Bow is agile, tricky, and uses a bow and arrows (Thief).
    • On the villains' side, Scorpia has Super Strength and relies on smashing things (Fighter). Entrapta is a super genius and master of advanced technology (Mage). Catra is extremely agile, stealthy, and relies on whittling her opponents down with her claws (Thief).
  • The Autobots seeking the Ark in the present day form this dynamic in Transformers: Cyberverse. Windblade with her psionic powers and wind based attacks is the mage, Grimlock's raw physical strength and durability cast him as the fighter, and Bumblebee who relies on stealth, speed, and his hidden shiv is the thief.
  • The three who band together to slay Dracula in Castlevania (2017) fall into this dynamic. Alucard is the Fighter, thanks to his supernatural physical endurance, speed, and strength allowing him to overpower almost all his enemies, and is the only one who can physically fight Dracula head on. Sypha is the Mage, a Speaker magician adept in most fields of magic and truly shines with offensive pyromancy and cryomancy. Trevor is the Thief, relying on strategy and enchanted weaponry to give him an edge since he is a normal human, in addition to relying on his wits to make up for the situation going south. Do note that while Sypha is a Mage through and through, Trevor can also count as a Fighter when Alucard is not around.
  • A clear example in a Dexter's Laboratory episode, "D & DD", has Dexter's friends represent the triad: Valerian (Fighter), Macabros (Mage), and Falcor (Thief).

Alternative Title(s): Fighter Wizard Thief


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