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Humans Are Average

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"Humans are common and uninteresting."

If you see any fantasy or science fiction setting involving humans and other sentient races, humans are highly likely to be average. Smart but not the smartest, strong but not the strongest, having ability to use magic but no affinity for it, have plenty of bastards among them but not necessarily Always Chaotic Evil, having plenty of saints among them but not Always Lawful Good. They live longer than mayflies but shorter than elves. In other words, humans are the literary Jack of All Stats — as well as likely having average stats all around if this is an RPG Mechanics 'Verse.

Considering Most Writers Are Human, you can expect to see that Humans Are Special in a specific way regardless. The closest thing to humanity's "hat" is diversity, adaptability and non-linear thinking. Humans might not be as good at magic as elves or as good at blacksmithing as dwarves, but they're still better than dwarves when it comes to magic and they may still be better blacksmiths than elves. They are frequently portrayed as more driven and adaptable than other races which are significantly more stagnant, which accounts for what they're able to accomplish in comparison to other races that have longer lifespans or greater skills in any given area, often eliciting some Fantastic Racism upon themselves in response. If left unchecked, humanity may leave everyone else in the dust as it progresses on the fast-track on Kardashev's scale; the end result is the End of an Age when humans inherit the world, but, sadly, The Magic Goes Away.

A common justification is that "Humans Are Baseline" rather than "Humans Are Average". Since all readers can be expected to be reasonably familiar with the capabilities of a human, this can be used to define the abilities of other, non-human entities.

Common contrasts with humanity include spiritual Elves and phlegmatic Dwarves in Fantasy, mindless Bugs and soulless Robots in Sci Fi, and purely good Angels and purely evil Demons in Mythology.

It may be worth noting that ecologically speaking, humans actually are an unusually well-rounded generalist species compared to other Earth creatures, especially in terms of diet, so this trope may well eventually turn out to be Truth in Television if we ever meet aliens.

Compare Rubber-Forehead Aliens (this tendency applied to alien looks), and contrast Humanity Is Superior (where humanity is... superior) and Puny Earthlings (where humanity is the worst). The inverse of this trope is Humans Are Special. Sometimes this is used as a justification for Humans Are Diplomats or Humans Are Leaders when humanity's averageness makes them better-able to interact with or lead other species due to sharing traits with all of them, though those tropes can also be aversions. See Humans Are Warriors, Humans Are Survivors, and Humans Advance Swiftly for some of the other common ways this trope can be averted.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Delicious in Dungeon: In an omake, Laios notes that tall-men like him don't seem to have any special talents compared to the other races. Tall-men are stronger than elves but not as strong as dwarves, are better at magic than dwarves but not as good as elves or gnomes, live longer than half-feet but not as long as elves and dwarves, etcetera. Tall-men only stand out by being taller on average. And even then, ogres have them beat on height. Namari, a dwarf, suggests that tall-men have an affinity for singing and dancing, but this puts Laios off since he himself isn't good at either.

    Comic Books 
  • In the Marvel Universe, humans are the average between two secret sister races, the immortal Eternals and the monstrous Deviants. Despite their powers and technology, we came to dominate Earth simply because of our much higher birth rates, along with the fact that we've developed technology and powers of our own that allow us to keep up with them both, as well as the Deviants' war keeping their numbers down and the Eternals' lack of interest in anything that doesn't concern their city.
    • The Deviants once dominated the Earth and enslaved humanity, but the Celestials, a race of space gods who created the Eternals and Deviants and gave humanity the potential for mutation didn't like the way things were headed and devastated Deviant civilization. The ongoing war with the Eternals and other feuding has prevented the Deviants from ever recovering.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Arena 1989, there is an intergalactic fighting championship. the film states that there has been no human champion in over 50 years, as well as featuring many creatures nastier than humans, along with many who were wimpier.

  • The Lord of the Rings: Humans are somewhat an aversion of this, notable given that Lord of the Rings is actually the basis for all the examples of this in fantasy their distinguishing trait as listed by Treebeard is that they are "Master of horses", where Elves are agile archers and Dwarves are stout warriors, Human armies, and especially those of Rohirrim are known for their devastating cavalry charges, although reference is also given to their physical strength relative to Hobbits, Dwarves, and Elves, not to mention the Gift of Men and all that it entails.
  • Diana Wynne Jones played with this trope in Power of Three, where the main protagonist race seem to be the human stand-ins in a world where there are also fairies and giants. They are 'normal', in-between the 'big people' and the 'little people'. Turns that the world is actually our world, or one close enough to it, and the 'giants' are actually humans, whereas the race we thought were humans are more akin to the small, shy and secretive elves of folklore.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: As it turns out, Humans weren't even the smartest creature on Earth. Yet a Human Alien got elected as president of the galaxy...There are also examples of species developing deodorant before the wheel and so forth. But when you think about it, almost all the creatures in the universe are portrayed as pretty unimpressive, including the ones who build planets. This may have something to do with the fact that humans are the descendants of a Colony Ship full of another alien race's middle class.
  • Kadingir: There are several different races on planet Ki, all of them with different levels of special abilities, some with higher empathy, some with insane mental skills... However, their powers are always evened out by having much lower levels in their other abilities. The human-looking Ziti are the only race that has a perfect balance in Knowledge, Empathy and Mind Power, making them utterly unremarkable but with no obvious weaknesses either.
  • In Alan Dean Foster's The Damned Trilogy, this is subverted in the fact that humans are both average in ability— they can run, AND swim, AND climb, AND can adapt to climates wet and dry, hot and cold, etc.... yet this all forms a synergy with their psychology to make humans the deadliest damn warriors in the galaxy. (Of all the species in the universe, humans are the only ones who THRIVE in combat. To the other sentient races of the universe we are the equivalent of a Bengal tiger with tools.) To add a bit of background, most races in the galaxy are unable to even harm another sentient being. One species literally goes catatonic when viewing violence, and similar reactions of disgust are the norm. It's the area in which humans are not average that helps them here, as they are considered borderline insane for possessing individuals who find pleasure in war.
  • In Halo: Glasslands, Jul 'Mdama remarks that humans don't need to be really, really good at one thing in particular in order to survive and achieve galactic domination. They just need to be average in a sizeable range of vocations.
  • The Mote in God's Eye: The Moties, who suffer from Crippling Overspecialization, see the humans this way: "They are amateurs at everything, second-best at everything they do." The fact that a single human being can be second-best at many roles, instead of being highly specialized, proves to be an advantage, of course.
  • Axiom's End: While details are scarce, Ampersand indicates that humanity is anything but average. Of the four sapient species known to the Pequod civilization, humans have evolved remarkably fast, taking leaps in technology and population size previously thought impossible for “natural” species to achieve.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Farscape: Despite Crichton's assertions to the contrary, what Humans lack in speed, strength, and intelligence compared to most of the races in the universe, they make up in sheer tenacity.
  • Star Trek: Throughout the series, this is true of the physical and intellectual prowess of humans. We lack the raw strength of Klingons, the mental abilities of Vulcans, the nigh-indestructibleness of Gorn, etc. It's our creativity and raw determination that allow us to match or surpass other species.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons is gradually getting away from the trope with each new edition.
    • In 1st and 2nd, Humans don't get any special bonuses or penalties, but can be of any class and have no limits on what level they can achieve in any class.
    • In 3rd Edition, humans get a bonus feat at first level, an extra skill point at every level (four at first level), and are easier to multi-class because whichever class they have the most levels in is treated as their racially favored class. In addition, the Chameleon class can only be taken by humans and doppelgangers (along with changelings, who are hybrids of the two).
    • In 4th Edition, humans get +2 to any one stat of your choice (other races get +2 to two fixed stats), +1 to non-armor defenses and an extra feat, trained skill and first level at-will power. That last one can be a major advantage, depending on class.
      In addition, the human-specific feats aren't specialized. Dwarves get feats that boost damage with hammers and axes, elves get benefits with swords and spears. Humans can take Action Surge, which gives +3 to hit to all attack rolls when they spend an action point (about once per two encounters), but this can apply to any attack rolls each time (bull rushes, weapons, spells...)
    • In 5th Edition humans either get +1 to every attribute or +1 to two attributes, one skill and one feat. Both variants know two languages.
    • Humans are also "average" in that there is very little roleplaying material given for them. For example, dwarves, elves, and halflings all have their patron gods and typical alignments, but humans are just considered to be widely varied in their culture.
  • Warhammer: The Empire. Lancers? Yeah, they're alright, but they pale in comparison to Bretonnian knights. Archers? Sure, just remember that Wood Elves are the kings of pointy stick death. Guns and artillery? We have those too, but Dwarves and Skaven do it better. Magic? A little bit, but don't get into magic duels with High Elves or Chaos. Swarms? We can just throw guys at you better than most, but Skaven, Goblins, and Undead can throw way more. Melee? We're okay at that, but it's the Chaos Warriors and Orcs who are the real face-wreckers of this game. The thing is, even though we're not especially great at any of these, we can do all of these to a competent degree. As a great general once said, "attack the enemy with the weapon he lacks", and the humans of the Empire are the undisputed kings of doing just that. Of course, it bears mentioning that aforementioned Bretonnian Knights and Chaos Warriors are also Humans from different cultures (albeit many of the latter are seriously mutated). This trope also applies to the minor human factions like Tilea, Estalia, Marienburg, the Border Princes, and Kislev, since they mostly use variants of Empire units (with a few unique additions like better light cavalry and fewer guns for Kislev, or better pikes and crossbows but smaller cannons and less magic for Tilea and Estalia).
  • In the Warhammer spin-off Blood Bowl, the 'average' stat-line for a blood bowl player is movement 6, strength 3, agility 3, and armour 8. This, incidentally, (because it is) is the stat-line of the human lineman. Teams made up of humans are the empire, amazon and norse teams, where practically all the players are within one stat-point of the average (the empire teams have fast but fragile catchers and faster-than-average blitzers, while the amazons and norse take to the field in less armour. The norse can also hire werewolves).
  • Refreshingly averted in Warhammer 40,000. We're actually pretty pathetic in this setting. The Imperial Guard, the human army of the setting, spams weak infantry who are pretty much just cannon fodder who can and very likely will die in droves, supported by Mighty Glacier vehicles and tanks. Given what horrifying and powerful opponents they have to fight against on a regular basis, it's fairly understandable, although they can still hold their own.
  • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Humans have average game stats across the board. An average human will have around 30 in Strength, Toughness, Agility, Intelligence, Willpower, Fellowship, Weapon Skill, and Ballistic Skill, with 10 Wounds (hit points) and 4 Movement points. Dwarfs and halflings have strengths and weaknesses: compared to humans dwarfs get +10 to Toughness and +3 Wounds, but also -10 Agility and -10 Fellowship, as well as 1 fewer Movement point). Meanwhile elves are just all-around better due to being taller with better senses and denser musculature: compared to humans they have three positive modifiers - +10 to Agility, +10 to Ballistic Skill, and +1 Movement point - and no negatives. That said, some editions also give humans extra random starting Talents to reflect their versatility. The stat lines for the other, "evil" races also generally give them advantages and disadvantages compared to humans, so that a decently trained and armed human vs a decently trained and armed combatant of any other race is mostly a toss-up. For example Orcs are moderately tougher and stronger but also slower and less disciplined, Skaven are smaller and frailer but also faster, and Beastmen are generally slightly tougher at the cost of being dumber (the "good" races' advantage is that the evil ones often aren't decently trained and armed).
  • In GURPS humans are the template that everything else is based on. By definition, all other races (even ones functionally identical to humans) have some advantages and/or disadvantages relative to humans. A zero-point cost human in GURPS would have average-level basic stats, no training in any skills (just low defaults for untrained use where applicable), and nothing else. A Player Character, even one without special powers, costs much more.
  • Enforced in Magic: The Gathering, as Doug Beyer (of the team that oversees Magic's flavor and storyline) explains in one of his columns on the official website:
    From the behind-the-scenes point of view, the prevalence and variety of humans does a couple of good things for the game. First, it lets us put a human face on every color of Magic. That helps the look and feel of all the colors stay appealing to a wide variety of players. Our market research shows that we have a lot of human beings among our consumers, and having human beings in the art gives those players a familiar face that they can identify with. [...]

    Second, humans play an important role as a point of comparison in every color. You get to see how tall or tough or magic-inclined goblins are compared to humans, for example, since you get to see them next to red-aligned humans that live in similar environments and have similar color values. You get to see what role griffins or pterons or leonin play in a given setting because you get to see white-aligned humans riding them or hunting them or making alliances with them. We can afford to get more exotic with our nonhuman races, in part because there are plenty of examples of humans next to whom you can see similarities and differences—and we like that.
  • In Shadowrun, humans are the default race. In editions with a Point Build System all other "metatypes" cost character creation points. Humans receive no attribute bonuses or penalties, except they start with an extra point of Edge, which is basically luck.
  • Averted and/or Defied in Deep 7's games, like Arrowflight and the Red Dwarf RPG. Humans in Arrowflight tend to be more susceptible to getting Drunk on the Dark Side than most "Order" aligned races, but also tend to have greater tolerance to climate variations and poisons. Red Dwarf gives humans bonuses to endurance and fortitude because they're the species crazy enough to enjoy things like Yanni concerts and five-alarm curries.
  • Played with in World of Darkness. To make a supernatural character, you start with a basic human for a template, then add all the supernatural perks and additions. In actual Gameplay, though, even regular humans can be very dangerous to an unwary vampire or werewolf. The only real limitation that a human has is how easily they die compared to everything else. Other than that, a large enough and well-prepared group of humans can take out a werewolf without breaking much of a sweat. Taken to its logical extreme with the Hunter class; completely regular humans trained and outfitted specifically for the destruction of supernatural monsters of all sorts.
  • Averted in Myriad Song, humans have better vision than other species and bonuses to Negotiation, Questioning, and Tactics with the Leadership and Low Profile gifts. To reflect how they were the favored servants of the setting's Abusive Precursors and not only widespread but the aristocracy of The Remnant.
  • Humans in Star Wars d20 gained an extra trained skill and extra feat at 1st level, making them decent at anything though every class had at least one race that could perform better.
  • In Planet Mercenary humans have no racial skill bonuses or penalties, but they're hardy. They have higher base health than any playable alien species (Uplifted Animals and robots can have more) and a "last act" special ability if killed.
  • Red Dwarf: Human characters have no major advantages or drawbacks compared to other races and have balanced stat caps. Holograms are this as well, given that they're former humans, barring issues regarding battery life and tangibility if in hard or soft light mode.
  • Star Trek Adventures: Humans uniquely get to freely choose where to put their 3 racial Attribute points.

    Video Games 
  • Starflight: Humans are pretty much the most average species you can select for a crew member. For a starting ship, they can handle most roles competently (and are the best at Science), but once your ship has more capital, you're best getting a mix of species to have the most effective crew. In 2, humans are a liability at the end of the game, as bringing them into the main nebula will cause them to go insane and force the rest of the crew to quarantine them, and your ship will be lost if you have an all-human crew.
  • In The Elder Scrolls, this is averted for most of the races of Men, who skew more toward being warriors (the Nords and Redguards) or Mages (the Uneven Hybrid Bretons). However, the Imperials play it straight. They are the Jack of All Stats among the races of Men (and just behind the Dunmer (Dark Elves) for all races) who are outclassed in each skill category (combat, magic, stealth) by at least 2-3 other races each but also lack the deficiencies of those races. The Imperials have managed to forge three empires from their homeland of Cyrodiil (under the Alessian, Reman, and Septim dynasties) thanks to their skills in leadership, diplomacy, mercantilism, and by having a greater focus on tactics and collective martial prowess, making them the soldiers to the Nord/Redguard warriors. In terms of gameplay, they are a Boring, but Practical race to play as, making them a very diverse and accessible race. Their bonuses make them good diplomat-style characters who can back that up with solid cross-class combat ability.
  • Surprisingly not the case in Master of Magic. Humans (High Men) are balanced in their stats, but they trade off the ability for building some endgame buildings for a handful of elite units. On the other hand, orcs have no strikingly elite units but can build every town improvement in the game, and their combat stats are also average.
  • The third installment of Star Control, notably as explained by the human representative regarding the Earthling Cruiser.
  • SaGa games (particularly the early ones) use this as part of their Class and Level System. Humans can equip anything they want, but have meh stats and are totally at the mercy of the RNG for getting stronger. All other races get awesome abilities at the sacrifice of something else equally useful.
  • The Terrans from StarCraft are descendants of human colonists who originally came from Earth. By comparison to the other races in the setting, humans come off as rather weak: their technology is nowhere near as advanced as that of the Protoss and they lack the biological prowess of the Zerg. However, whatever technology they do have allows them to make cloaking devices and powered armour and employ a variety of powerful ranged weaponry. One biological advantage that Terrans do happen to have over the Zerg is that they're the only race—other than the Protoss—to have innate psionic potential, which is one of the main reasons why the Zerg seek to assimilate humanity in the first place.
    • In gameplay, however, humans subvert this. While numerically, they are the average faction, with the Zerg being the Trope Namer for Zerg Rush and the Protoss being the Elite Army, Terrans as a whole are oriented towards Glass Cannons. All Terran units that can attack except for the SCV have ranged attacks and on average, terran units have fewer hit points than their alien counterparts.
  • Played completely straight in EverQuest. Humans are "The race by which all others are judged by." They have completely average stats, excelling in nothing, but lacking in nothing either. Their strong sense of adaptability is the reason why the Gods chose the Human cities of Qeynos and Freeport to be spared from being destroyed by war, tectonic and geographical cataclysms, and even a Lunar Armageddon in EverQuest II. All the other races had to abandon their home cities for one reason or another over the last 500 years and flock to those two Human cities just to survive.
  • Justified in Anarchy Online: all four of the playable genetic breeds are homnids, but the original is Solitus, the direct descendants of modern humans. The others—Atrox, Opifex, and Nano—were developed by Omni-Tek during the colonization and development of Rubi-Ka with specific purposes in mind, leaving Solitus as the baseline.
  • Played straight in World of Warcraft: Humans are of about average height for humanoids, somewhat bland and inexpressive in appearance. Diplomacy for getting rep faster, a bit of extra spirit, and a free trinket for escape are basically all they have gameplay-wise. In terms of pure starting stats, they quite literally are THE average, with 20/20/20/20/20 across the board.
  • Also played straight in Warcraft III. The Human Alliance has relatively average middle-of-the-road units, spellcasters, and heroes, all of which combine to make them the most flexible faction in the game. With that said, they do have clear advantages when it comes to defending bases or attacking them.
  • The Humes in Final Fantasy XI.
  • Justified in the Phantasy Star Universe sub-series. Humans are average, but that's because they're the creator of the other races — CASTs, Newmans, and Beasts — who were developed for specific purposes. Excluding the Dewmans in Phantasy Star Portable 2 and Infinity, who are instead humans that were exposed to the SEED.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance mostly gives humans access to classes that at least one other species can access. Not counting slight variations like our Fighter and the Bangaa Gladiator, only unique classes are Blue Mage, Ninja, and Hunter, and we can't take any of the classes that require exceptional speed, magical skill, or technological aptitude (though interestingly, our Paladin is a slightly-faster variant of the Bangaa Defender.) The sequel differentiates us a bit more with the Parivir and Seer classes, but we're still noticeably non-unique compared to, Bangaas or Vieras, the Moogles, potentially lethal Seeqsnote  or even the powerful Gria who can fly. (Note that unlike most examples, this does not make us useless, since a): we're better at multiclassing, and b): Ninjas can dual-wield.) There are also human-unique classes, of course, which are good enough reasons for using them. Some classes do have similarities with others and are basically just the same class with different names.
  • In Halo, humans tend to fall into the middle range compared to the Covenant's member species; they're not as numerous as the Grunts, not as strong/tough as the Elites/Brutes/Hunters, not as smart as the Engineers, not as long-lived as the Prophets, have worse senses than the Jackals, etc. Nonetheless, humanity is able to hold out against the Covenant for nearly three decades precisely because of how balanced they are, though the only reason humanity doesn't ultimately become extinct is that the Covenant falls into civil war.
    • Once the Covenant breaks apart, humanity is able to rebuild much quicker than most of the Covenant's more specialized species, despite humanity having lost a lot more during the war, again because they're average at everything. In contrast, the Elites take a while to start finding their footing again, because they've spent at least the last couple of millennia being good at nothing but war.
  • Justified in Fall from Heaven, where humanity is the original race in which all of the Angels had an equal hand in creating. The other races are simply humans whose ancestors who spent a lot of time with a particular Angel, whose presence caused them to become more like that Angel. For example, elves hung out with the Angel of Nature, Sucellus.
  • In Sword of the Stars, humanity has average industrial capacity, research ability, terraforming speed, and population growth. They are almost in every respect the Jack of All Stats, except for their unusual FTL drive that makes human fleets something of a Fragile Speedster on a strategic level, and also much more vulnerable to entrenchment. Humans also have a fairly high chance of getting most of the weapons techs, unlike most other races, who tend to favor one or two lines of weapons.
  • In Mass Effect, humanity appears to be more or less average on all counts: compared to other galactic races, they don't have any particular physiological advantages, their level of technology is quite low, and their military is rather small. By all rights, humans should be one of the lesser civilizations of the galaxy... if not for the fact that within seventeen years of discovering Prothean artifacts on Mars, humanity went from being barely able to make it out of their biosphere to becoming a notable galactic power. While humanity as a whole may not be naturally gifted, they don't suffer from any particular shortcomings and have even demonstrated the capacity to match other species on their own terms when they fought the turians to a draw. The main advantage humans have is that we specialize on an individual rather than organizational scale and avoid Klingon Scientists Get No Respect.
    • Later in the series, this is slightly averted; While humans sure like to think of themselves as the jack-of-all-trades of the civilized galaxy, the rest of the galaxy does not. To many of these races, the humans are a young, slightly naive, but most of all ambitious race, who relies on mental and physical fortitude outside the norm of most of the races - In fact, humans are counted among the more brutish races, which include turians and the krogans. However, humans are less outright aggressive than the former in warfare and likes order much, MUCH more than the latter. On the other hand, humans are infamous for their incredibly laissez-faire manner of colonization, which includes complete freedom for companies to make a colony wherever they want, as long as it isn't owned by another race. Or at least, that's how the traditionally more dogmatic council races, who spends hundreds of years planning each expansion, sees it.
    • In Mass Effect: Andromeda, this comes up with the kett. A species of Evilutionary Biologists who can identify desirable genetic traits in all other Milky Way species - krogan aggression and stubbornness, asari biotics, salarian cleverness, turian discipline... but nothing, no obvious advantages whatsoever, in humanity. That humanity is clearly the ones in charge flummoxes them.
  • Sort of straight and sort of not in the Fuzzy Knights roleplaying game. Human type fuzzies are stated to be the baseline, like in most games, but they also are a tiny minority, making up only 1% of the Fuzzy population.
  • In The Battle For Wesnoth, humans have no preferred terrain types (except maybe plains by virtue of no one else being exceptionally good on them), have no special preference for melee or ranged combat, have both lawful (loyalists) and chaotic (outlaws) units, and can learn many different kinds of magic without being racially focused on one specific kind.
  • In The Lord Of The Rings Battle For Middle Earth 2 human infantry and heroes are faster but weaker than the dwarves but slower and tougher than the elves. Though it's somewhat subverted with humans having the best cavalry units and having more heroes with leadership skills than other factions.
  • FTL: Faster Than Light has humans being completely average in every way, without any special abilities as the other races have, but have no weaknesses either - even the one race equivalent to humans has a telepathic ability. Even the game itself notes that humans are common and boring. FTL: Advanced Edition buffs them up a little by boosting their skill development rate by 10% and giving them a single blue option.
  • The X-Universe has both main human factions being variations on Jack of All Stats. The Argon Federation builds ships with average, balanced stats and with good utility (their Discoverer scout is the only M5 that can carry a Jump drive, for example). Earth State ships are even faster and better shielded than Argon ships at the cost of adaptability in that they can only mount Terran weapons. Terran capital ships in particular have "balanced" stats, but because Humanity Is Advanced, they're overall the best capital ships in the game (bar the OTAS Boreas). Earth's AGI Task Force throws balance out of the window, with far superior capabilities than other ships at the cost of being outrageously hard to acquire until X3: Albion Prelude.
  • Star Ruler 2 has the empire of man, the Terrakin, as completely average in stats; they do not have any unusual mechanics or the special strengths or weaknesses of other races. They utilize the most Boring, but Practical form of Faster-Than-Light Travel, hyperspace, and have an Empire-type government that allows them to generalize.
  • In Dungeon Crawl, humans have a 100% growth rate for all skills. Other species have some skills that train faster and some that train slower. Additionally, they have no major gimmicks, unlike many other spe cies. Although lack of gimmicks is not exclusive to humans, it does accentuate their averageness.
  • The Hylians of The Legend of Zelda are typically portrayed this way compared to the other races, especially in games like Majora's Mask and Breath of the Wild where such differences form a major component of the gameplay and the story. They aren't reliant on the makeup of any particular biome to survive like, say, the water-reliant Zora or rock-eating Gorons, nor do they have any particular elemental weaknesses, all of which results in them being the most widespread of all the races. Even certain other human or Ambiguously Human tribes such as the Sheikah and the Gerudo tend to have cultural quirks that result in them being more insular. Granted, they're also said to be the chosen people of the Goddess Hylia who have a special role in protecting and preserving the land of Hyrule, but this usually only overtly applies to very special individuals such as Link or Zelda.
  • The Human Mercenaries warband in Mordheim: City of the Damned. All their units have fair (but not exactly stellar either) points in mobility, attack, and defence, and they have the widest selection of weapons and armour among the six factions. It's the best choice for a first-time warband because they lack the finickiness of the other five; you can throw just about any combination of equipment and skills on your units and they'll probably turn out decent. You can run tanky troopers with shields and heavy armour, lightly-armed raiders with clothing and bows, you can take handgunners or riflemen plus pistols on your heroes and melee fighters for More Dakka, you can have a pair of Warlocks slinging spells everywhere, or you can go a combined arms approach.
  • League of Legends: One of the cosmic dragon Aurelion Sol's taunts to human champions is that 'As far as fauna goes, humans strike a firm... middle.'
  • The lore of Lineage 2 describes humans as being made of a combination of all the four elements, but because the "better" elemental essences have been used up to create the other races, the humans end up as a lesser, Jack of All Stats creatures who aren't much good for anything.
  • In the Blood Bowl video game adaptation Blood Bowl 2, the Human League is a type of Mixed Team that allows coaches to form a single team from the Humans, Norse, Amazon, Bretonnia, and Kislev teams. Almost all the players in these teams have the human statline, but each has skills and skill accesses that, when brought together, go straight past this trope into Humans Are Special.


    Real Life 
  • As stated above, humans are unusually well-rounded in a number of ways compared to other animals, especially other mammalians:
    • We're omnivorous, allowing us to subsist on a variety of food sources. While we lack the specialized gastric acids of carnivores to safely consume raw meat, or the ruminating stomachs that allow us to eat grass, the sheer variety of things we can eat and digest allows us to survive in a number of climates.
    • We have rather average bite strength compared to specialized carnivore animals, with two sets of canines and not as much raw jaw strength. However, anyone who has been bitten by another human could vouch that our bites still really hurt. Human bites are also much more likely to cause infections than most animal bites, due to the sheer amount of bacteria in our mouth that surpasses that of most other animals.
    • We have average or downright sub-par arm and grip strength compared to other primates, with gorillas having around twenty times the grip strength of a human; however as we are completely bipedal and don't need to use our arms for movement, we have evolved to use our hands in far more varied, and at times more destructive ways, than any other simian has.
    • We aren't really that great at running; even the fastest recorded human alive wouldn't be able to outrun the average charging bear. However, we make up for that with sheer endurance and tenacity; we can run at a consistent pace for much longer than a good chunk of animals, which allowed us to tire out faster prey and kill them without the need for ranged tool usage.
    • We're not really that good at swimming either; we have to actively learn how to do it and are quite slow and clumsy compared to other animals, mammalians included. However, we're by far the BEST swimmers amongst great apes, for the simple fact we learned to swim at all.
    • One of the traits we aren't average are is, of course, intelligence, which is generally a very niche evolutionary trait in nature in which instinctive behavior is often favoured. Human children have to actively learn everything, from walking, to communicating, to what is dangerous and what is not, while most other animals learn these behaviors either by instinct or passively from their parents, but it also allows us to absorb new information and pass it down onto future generations as well as communicate extremely complex ideas, and eventually create tools that make up for our physical shortcomings. The other trait is social behavior; even the simplest tribes have social behaviors and structures magnitudes of complexities higher than even other social animals. Both of these combined traits, as well as our well-rounded physical attributes, allowed us to become the dominant species on the planet despite there being many animals faster and stronger than us.

Alternative Title(s): Humanity Is Average