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This is the game subtrope of Loads and Loads of Races, involving races you can play as. Sometimes, a Tabletop Game or Video Game setting just has a metric boatload of playable races. Once the number of options reaches six or more, you end up with this trope.

Note that "race" here means intelligent species or subspecies — not skin colors, cultures, or factions, and certainly not racing games. Sometimes a "race" is less a biological distinct species, and more of a mutation or modification (such as werewolves, zombies, cyborgs, vampires), but the important part here is whether they're mechanically distinct or not. If they have separate stats, separate starting zones and quests, or otherwise work differently then they count; if the difference is purely cosmetic then they don't.

The trope happens in three ways:

  1. You're designing an RPG (either a Video Game or Tabletop). You want more customization options. Your classes are pretty much the standard bunch, so you allow a bunch of races to be selected too. Now player options for creating a character aren't just limited to Human, Elf, Dwarf, Hobbit, and Orc. You can also play a Werewolf, a Cat Person, a Giant Monkey, a Robot, a Giant Robot Monkey, a Dwarf Giant Robot Were-Monkey, etc. These races may be further subdivided into every possible variation.
  2. You're designing a Strategy Game, and you want to give your player tons of faction and customization options. Throw in a bunch of sub-factions, and you have a real menagerie.
  3. You have a set of factions in your Strategy Game or MMORPG, and you're now doing a sequel (or, in a Tabletop Game, a new edition). What's a simple way to bring something new to the sequel or new edition? Add in more races! Alternately, you wish to have a subfaction which specializes in one aspect of your Planet of Hats; this leads to speciation of a main faction into two or more subfactions. Editing Lore is always easier than editing Canon.

In this trope, a playable race is one that exists as a separate option for the player. In Strategy Games where you pick a faction instead of making one character, the playable races are the main species of each faction — if a faction has some odd members of some other species, those don't constitute a separate playable race.

This is a medium-specific subtrope of Loads and Loads of Races.


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Tabletop Games

    Board Games 
  • Cosmic Encounter is all about this, with each alien race breaking the rules in a different way. The original game had 15 races, and nine(!) expansion sets bringing the total eventually up to a whopping 75(!). One of the later publishers was planning an expansion with yet another 35(!) but went out of business before the release. The Fantasy Flight edition released two expansions, bringing the grand total to a staggering 90 alien races.
  • Small World started with an already-respectable 14 races in the core set, the first three official expansions have added another 10 in total, the Underground game added another 15, and the Ghosts from a promo expansion bring the total up to 40. Some of the 'races' would normally count as humans, however; for example, Amazons, Barbarians, Gypsies and Sorcerers are all separate races. In addition, there are special abilities which are independent of races, so during a game you'll actually be looking at things like Merchant Halflings or Cursed Goblins. Or Peace-Loving Orcs, for that matter. There are 20 abilities in the core game, with 12 more from expansions and 21 from Underground, meaning you're looking at 39 * 53 = 2067 race/ability combinations just from official sources. Not counting Ghosts, because they work differently. Fans have added more, obviously.
  • In Summoner Wars, you control a summoner and his group of minions as they try to crush their opponents force of the same. So what makes this game special? Try 16 different factions to choose from, including multiple sub-races of elves, orcs, dwarves and goblins, human knights, thieves and mercenaries; not to mention goatmen, the undead, and demon worshiping cultists.

    Miniature War Games 
  • Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000:
    • 40K only has about eight main races (Humans, Space Elves, Space Dwarfs (see below), Space Orks, Killer Undead Cyborgs, Hive Mind Bug Aliens, The Greys, and crazy daemons) but each has a ton of sub-organizations, groups, and factions. For example, "humans" alone covers the Imperial Guard, several different kinds of Space Marine, the Inquisition (itself divided into Ordos Malleus, Hereticus and Xenos to deal with daemons, witches and aliens respectively), the Sisters of Battle, and the Adeptus Mechanicus. To an extent, there are also the Leagues of Votann (the aforementioned Space Dwarfs, who are a Human Subspecies that has diverged so much from humanity so much they are considered to be a Xenos rather than an Imperium faction), and the Chaos Space Marines (who not only fall under the Legions of Hell, but like their loyalist counterparts are also divided into several subfactions of their own). The fluff also mentions a lot of other races, many of whom have been wiped out by the good guys.
    • Warhammer has no less than 15 (the Empire, Bretonnia, Dwarfs, High Elves, Dark Elves, Wood Elves, Lizardmen (available in newt, monitor lizard, frog, and crocodile), Greenskins (Orcs and Goblins), Ogres, Vampire Counts, Tomb Kings, Skaven, Beastmen, Warriors of Chaos, Daemons of Chaos, and Chaos Dwarfs). The upcoming Warhammer: The Old World revival is set to add two more (Kislev and Grand Cathay).
    • Blood Bowl has 23 different types of team, including 3 kinds of human (standard, Norse, and Amazon), 4 kinds of elf (dark, wood, wealthy high and poor high), 4 kinds of chaos (standard, dwarf, Chaos pact and Nurgle), 4 kinds of undead (standard, necromancer, vampire, and mummy), 2 kinds of lizardmen (slann and saurus/skink teams), plus regular dwarfs, halflings, orks, goblins, ogres, skaven, and the "mixed bag" underworld team (skaven and goblins). This makes for about 11 distinct species that form their own teams. The video game adaptation went on to add the Khorne team, for a total of 5 kinds of Chaos.

    Tabletop Roleplaying Games 
  • Some settings of Dungeons & Dragons. Also, mainline Dungeons & Dragons, if you add enough splatbooks. Or your DM allows the use of intelligent races found in the Monster Manuals. In 3.5 alone, there were 135 official races - but many of them were repeats or overlapping each other (probably a third of those were elves).
    • For sheer diversity, Forgotten Realms stands out, with dozens of races and subraces scattered across the setting.
    • Then there's Planescape and Spelljammer, which by their very nature as bridges between settings allow for practically any race or subrace to be played and then some (Planescape had such options as intelligent squirrels native to Yggdrasil), more to emphasize the dazzling effect. Planescape also has Planetouched, which are hybrids between any playable regular species and nearly any kind of planar creature (elementals, demons, devils, angels, slaadi, etc.), allowing basically infinite variety.
    • Eberron, too, has a lot of races. Plus the setting literally says that everything that has a place in Dungeons and Dragons has a place in Eberron, which at least theoretically means every splatbook is valid.
    • In D&D 4th Edition, with the release of the Second Player Handbook, plus other official material (in Dragon magazine and other sourcebooks) there are nearly 20 playable player-character races! And more coming! This doesn't include the 'monsters as PCs' option, which adds even more. Most of the races are revisions of races from 3.5. As of summer 2010, the list of published (in an actual book that can be bought) and supported (race specific options are provided for character customization) PC races is: Human, Dragonborn, Dwarf, Eladrin, Elf, Half-Elf, Halfling, Tiefling, Deva, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Shifter (which come in Longtooth and Razorclaw varieties), Githzerai, Minotaur, Shardmind, Wilden, Changeling, Drow, Genasi, Kalashtar, Warforged, Mul, and Thri-Kreen. Shadar-Kai, Revenants, and Gnolls have received support in online publications. Bladelings have appeared in a published book but received no support. Several monster races have published stats, but aren't supported or intended for PC use.
    • The Basic/Expert/etc D&D system practically lived off of this trope, offering supplements and gazetteers for PC savage humanoids, fairy creatures, undersea races, aerial beings, lycanthrope strains, ancient species from the Hollow World, various types of animal-folk from Red Steel, and weird exotic critters from the Princess Ark saga. And that's before you crack open the Immortals boxed set.
    • D&D Next (which evolved into 5th Edition) has a number of avaliable races, but many are subraces, variants, or slightly tweeked versions of the same race, with others in development (some of which might never get an Official release) — it is the current edition, after all.
  • Pathfinder (unsurprisingly, being based on D&D) has about 30 playable races, starting with the core 7 races and moving on to more exotic races like Tengu and Grippli, who are amazonian frog people. The Advanced Race Guide details a total of 37 races, starting with the "core" races: dwarves, elves, gnomes, half-elves, half-orcs, halflings, and humans. It then continues on to the "featured" races: aasimars, catfolk, dhampirs, drow, fetchlings, goblins, hobgoblins, ifrits, kobolds, orcs, oreads, ratfolk, sylphs, tengus, tieflings, and undines. Finally, it details the "uncommon" races, who receive the least support: the changelings, duergar, gillmen, gripplis, kitsune, merfolk, nagaji, samsarans, strix, sulis, svirfneblin, vanaras, vishkanyas, and waylangs. In addition, the Inner Sea Bestiary introduces five more races: the android, ghoran, lashunta, monkey goblin, and syrinx. The fourth bestiary further includes the gathlain, kasatha, trox, wyrood, and wyvaran, bringing the total up to 47. By Bestiary 6, the grand total's up somewhere in excess of 59.
  • With Starfinder, Paizo has stated that they want it to have a "cantina feel", where players have a wide variety of alien races to play as and interact with in the setting. It started with its own new set of base races along with humans, but also gave rules for playing the standard fantasy races, dwarves and elves and such starting with 13 playable races. Books which introduce new monsters have given some of them stats for playing as characters so the number of playable races continues to grow. Within a year and a half, it expanded from the original 13 races to a whopping 79.
  • Exalted has, at the most basic, six playable species: humans, ghosts, Dragon Kings, Alchemicals (robo-golem Exalted with human souls), The Fair Folk, and Jadeborn (underground dwarf-elf-rock dudes). But "humans" come in a huge variety, including entire populations of Beastmen, God-Bloods (various Half Human Hybrids), mutants, and ordinary mortals, plus the Exalted themselves. Exalted include the Dragon-Blooded (a subrace that try not to breed with mortals when they can get each other), while the other Exalted (Solars, Lunars, Sidereals, Abyssals, Green Sun Princes) are born mortal but become demigods when they're Blessed with Suck/Cursed with Awesome, and gradually stop associating with mere mortals. All of the above have separate game mechanics, and all but the mutants, God-Bloods, Beastmen, and squishy mortals have their own proprietary type of magic. There're also oodles of not-intended-to-be-playable species of demons, elementals, spirits, Akuma, and other guys (that some people play anyway).
    • Third Edition adds the Liminals, who are Exalts created from human corpses.
  • GURPS:
    • Dungeon Fantasy has... Cat-folk, Coleopterans, Corpse-Eaters, Dark Ones, Dwarves, Seven Kinds of Elf, Fauns, Leprechauns, Nymphs, Pixies, Gargoyles, Gnomes, Goblins, Half-Orcs, Hobgoblins, Orcs, Seven Half-Spirit Races, Halflings, Humans, Minotaurs, Ogres, Half Ogres, Dragon-Blooded, Lizard Men, Trolls and Wildmen. A total of 40 racial templates introduced in one supplement. However, none of them are fleshed out races due to the "blank slate" nature of GURPS in general.
    • GURPS: Space has an entire chapter devoted to helping the GM create alien species across a broad range of environments, body types, and other features, meaning that the possibilities are limited only by the fall of the dice or the GM's imagination.
  • Rifts can't even bother to count them all. A good half-dozen or so are released per Sourcebook (on average), which range from Standard Fantasy Races (Elves, Dwarves, Dragons etc...), to a good score of Beast Man-types, living robots, aliens, and more. The game even allows you to play as a Humpback Whale, if you desire. And that's the ones the game deigns to point out. Nearly every book will also note that many other races exist in such tiny numbers (usually less than a percent of any given state) that they don't necessarily count as a demographic, and lumped under the general term "D-Bees" (from "Dimensional Beings").
    • Just as an example, the book D-Bees of North America is specifically designed to be nothing but playable alien races. Out of the 86 races in this book, 50 of them are expanded versions of popular races from other books. Yeah, 50 races from various books are considered a random sampling for this game.
  • Every role-playing game set in the Star Wars universe has ended up allowing players access to dozens if not literally hundreds of races.
  • Talislanta has several dozen bizarre species to choose from, and even its "human"-analogs aren't necessarily what you'd call normal. Plus, no elves.
  • In the Old World of Darkness, we have playable vampires, werewolves (plus 11 other shapeshifter races), humans with magic powers (mages, sorcerers, mediums, shih, Imbued, etc.), changelings (faeries trapped in human bodies), wraiths, demons, mummies, kuei-jin (vampire-zombie-ghosts), ghouls, dhampirs (humans with vampire parents), dhampyr (humans with kuei-jin parents), kinfolk (humans with shapeshifter ancestry), kinain (humans with changeling ancestry), inanimae (faeries bound to the elements), adhene (faeries who'd been exiled from the physical world), hsien (small gods trapped in human bodies), fomori (and drones, gorgons, and kami) (people possessed by spirits), revenants, spectres... oh, and regular humans, if you're feeling squishy.

    All of these "splats" have their own subdivisions into playable types, though in most cases those are factions or cultures rather than races. But Werewolf: The Apocalypse lets you play not just werewolves, but also werehyenas, werespiders, wereravens, werebears, werefoxes, werecrocodiles, weresnakes, werecoyotes, wererats, weresharks, and nine types of werecats (tigers, lions, leopards, cheetahs, cougars, lynxes, jaguars, fae cats, and shadowcats). If you're playing a historical or AU game, you can add wereaurochs, werebats, wereboars, were-sabretooth tigers as another type of werecat, and werethylacines as another type of werewolf. And if you're up for a challenge, you can try your hand at adapting one of the corruption-spawned shapeshifters for playable use - the werefrogs are probably the easiest, with the werecockroaches having multiple mental illnesses, the wererhinos being unable to take fully human form, and the wereapes being motivated by overwhelming greed. Each of these Changing Breeds is a separate "species," with separate stats and magical Gifts.
    • Think that's a lot? You haven't seen Changeling: The Dreaming. Sixteen European Kithain (plus eight Thallain), fourteen Native American Nunnehi, six elemental Inanimae, four Pacific Menehune, ten East Asian Hsien, six Arabic Djinn, and seven of the dark Adhene. That's over seventy playable Splats.
  • The New World of Darkness has, thus far, humans, vampires, werewolves, mages, Prometheans (Frankenstein's monsters), changelings, Sin-Eaters and their associated Geists, mummies, demons, Beasts, Deviants, ghouls, dampyr (humans with vampire parents), Wolf-Blooded (humans with werewolf ancestry), Sleepwalkers (humans able to see mages' magic without problems), Scions (children of Prometheans who are immune to their "hated by reality" effect), stigmatics (humans able to see the God-Machine's workings), demon-blooded (humans with demon ancestry), Immortals, Psychics, Thaumaturges (essentially weak mages), and various Changing Breeds and shapeshifters, and (if you take fan-line games) Geniuses, Princesses and Leviathans.
  • Shadowrun has 5 metatypes: Human, Orks, Trolls, Elves and Dwarves. But each race has around 6 meta-variants, who can look nothing like the base race. Then there's the Synthetic Intelligences, the Drakes, the Changelings, the Ghouls, Vampires and other infected critters... There's the Non-human sentients too like Nagas, Centaurs, Sasquatches....
    • Changelings especially exist to facilitate this trope. They're metahumans who express strange mutations, both functional and cosmetic, that can give the a wide variety of appearances to facilitate a player making virtually any fantasy or sci-fi race without the developers having to create specific entries for them or violating copyright laws.
  • Ironclaw has 39 base races of anthropomorphic animals. In fact to save space they're relegated to half a page each and a couple paragraphs of description followed by a list of skills they have bonuses to and traits they get for free.
    • The supplements Book of Jade and Book of Horn and Ivory each add another twenty or so species.
  • Rocket Age currently has 16 intelligent playable species, called sophonts. These are the Earthlings, Europans, Ganymedians, Iotes, Jovians, Venusians, Lizard Monkeys, the 7 Major Martian Castes and the Courtesan sub-caste. Rounding the list out are the Robo-men.
  • Star Trek The Roleplaying Game not only offers humans, Vulcans, Klingons, Trill, Bajorans, Ocampans & Talaxians among others in its base game, but also has an entire splat book dedicated to listing the history and rules of just about every single one-off or recurring race from the Alpha Quadrant not already represented.
  • Hc Svnt Dracones offers in the base book alone 24 species of Vector divided into five families (Canidae, Felidae, Aviae, Retiliae, and Mustelidae) and nine "Morphisms" that can be taken in almost any combination. The Core: Extended rulebook adds another five families (Ursidae, Delphinidae, Selachii, Rodentia, and Ungulatae) and two additional canid and felid species with six more Morphisms. Even rules for creating unique Vectors known as "Blips". As well as Cogs that have their own set of rules and "Frame" selection. Cogsune are all the same but can swap out their modular limbs for different abilities. And then there's Exonymphs.
    • Second edition generalizes the dozens of species into ten families with no further differentiation and reduces some of the less dramatic morphisms (like atypical patterning) to character quirks. It also clarifies that Cogs have the same families as biological Vectors.
  • Bleak World has 10 base races to start as, and 10 classifications for each race (10 different kinds of vampire, 10 kinds of witch, 10 kinds of werebeast, etc. With the promise of 20 new base races coming out, it stands that there are roughly 300 races to choose from.
  • Gamma World had twenty origins in the seventh edition, and each character was made by picking two, leading to 400 unique combinations (give or take a few, depending on how matching origins and engineered humans are handled). The expansions brought the origins to 48, which brought the possible combinations to over 2200!
  • The official My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic RPG, "Tails of Equestria", originally only had the three pony subtypes: Earth Pony, Unicorn and Pegasus, as playable races. The Bestiary of Equestria expansion added Dragons, Griffons, Buffalo, Diamond Dogs, Changelings and Crystal Ponies (which are also one of the three pony subtypes mentioned above), while the sourcebook for My Little Pony: The Movie (2017) added Cats, Parrots, Hippogriffs and Lizardfolk.
  • The Red Dwarf Role-Playing Game allows you to play as Humans, Holograms, evolved house pets (Cats, Dogs, Mice, Rats, Iguanas, and Rabbits), Series 4000 Mechanoids, Hudzen Droids, Waxdroids, Simulants, Kinitawowi, and Pleasure GELFs. The Extra Bits booklet also adds Vindaloovians and Series 3000 Mechanoids as possible player characters.
  • The Chronicles of Aeres have a whopping twenty seven playable races if you count subraces. Aside from its take on Standard Fantasy Races (humans, silverleaf elves, twilight elves, gray dwarves, frostgraevyr dwarves, draemyr gnomes, drauglir gnomes, wanderling halflings, hinterfolk halflings, half-elves, half-dwarves), there's also ten different Wilderkind races and four different Draconic Humanoid races, which are broken into two kobolds (mystics and stygians) and two draconvirs (argent and tainted). An upcoming sourcebook on the neighboring continent of Astreas added a new human ethnicity, the Astreans, as well as three new types of Beast Man; the hawk-like orinvir, the Deinonychus-like sliskvir, and the benevolent frog-folk known as the froskvir, who were all warped from human ancestors by Wild Magic.
  • Star Trek Adventures: The core rulebook alone has stats for eight player races and seven NPC races. Add the supplements and the total is seventy altogether.

    Tabletop Strategy Games 
  • Since 2007's Great Creature Type Errata, nearly every one of thousands of creatures in Magic: The Gathering has an associated race or species. A surprising number of them have some sort of, "tribal," support that makes creatures of a specific type more powerful. Those with some degree of type emphasis (that isn't class based, which some tribes are) include fantasy mainstays like Elves, Goblins, Humans, Dwarves, Kithkin, Elementals, Giants, and Beasts. They also extend to some more unusual races like Phyrexians, Aetherborn, Eldrazi, and Atogs. Changelings even have being every creature type at once as their gimmick.
    • There are also a few characters whose race is either unique or ambiguous, like the Planeswalker, Ashiok, who looks mostly human but is missing the top half of their face.
    • From 2007-2010, the "Tribal," card type extended this to non-creature permanents. And yes, some of them had the Changeling ability, which is how you wind up with an Instant that is also a Goblin, an Elf, and a Sand.
  • Star Fleet Battles features a bunch of distinct fleets, including, in the basic edition, ships for The Federation, the Klingons, the Romulans*, the Kzinti, the Tholians, and Orion Pirates; expansions include Andorians, Lyrans, Hydrans, WYNs, and the ISC. And all that is for the "Alpha Sector" setting. There are also "Omega Sector" (20 new factions), "Magellanic Cloud" (5 new factions) and "the Early Years" (5 new factions) settings.
  • Twilight Imperium started out with six "great races" (including humans) scrambling to rebuild the long extinct Lazax Imperium they were once part of; expansions for the game's 1st edition added four more races that had risen to a similar level of power in the interim. The current 3rd edition included all ten races from the get-go, then a new expansion was published which introduced four brand-new races, for a total of fourteen; probably the largest number of playable races in a tabletop strategy game, with the possible exception of Star Fleet Battles.
    • As of the end of third and the beginning of fourth edition, the game now has seventeen playable races. If you want to see every race in TI4 in action, you'll need to play at least three games, assuming you're playing with the maximum player count of six. Bear in mind that a six-player game of Twilight Imperium frequently takes eight hours.

    Other Tabletop Games 

Video Games

    Multi-type Video Game Franchises 
  • Final Fantasy series:
  • The Warlords series, and its spinoff Warlords Battlecry. WBC1 had nine races (Human, Dwarf, Undead, Barbarian, Minotaur, Orc, High Elf, Wood Elf, Dark Elf), arranged on a chart whose columns were "civilized", "barbaric", and "magical" and whose rows were "good", "neutral", and "evil". WBC2 added three new races, which can be unofficially sorted into a new "chaotic" column: Fey, Dark Dwarves, and Daemons. WBC3 almost completely abandoned the theme, splitting Humans into Empire and Knights and adding Ssrathi (Mayincatec Snake People), Swarm, and Plaguelords. By the end of the series, that's a grand total of 16 almost completely unique factions drawn from 11 races (of which there are three kinds of human, three kinds of elf, and two kinds of dwarf), with hardly a shared unit or building to be found.

    4X Games 
  • Master of Magic has 14 playable races, ranging from Dwarves and High Elves to Snake People and Lizard Folk.
  • The Fall from Heaven mod for Civ IV has over a dozen civilizations, each with its own unique gameplay mechanics, units, mana and buildings.
  • Galactic Civilizations 2: you've got your humans, Altarians, Drath, Torians, Thalans, Krynn, Arceans, Korx, Yor, Drengin, Korath (technically a Drengin splinter faction), and Iconians, plus any player-created races. This is to say nothing of minor races like the Snathi, or the Dread Lords, who are essentially a random extinction event in the making.
  • The Endless series (split between Endless Space and Endless Legend) have many. Endless Space has 7 playable alien races (two Robot Republics, a Rock Monster race, Starfish Aliens, Bird People, Bee People and Humanoid Aliens) and 5 human empires. Endless Legend has 5 non-human (Elves, malfunctioning religious robots, post-human knights, diplomatic dragons, cannibal insects) races and 4 human empires. Endless Legend also features numerous alien and human minor races that one can integrate into an empire for minor buffs and new combat units, such as the Rock Monster Silics.
  • There are thirteenish playable races in the Master of Orion series, with the second game and the series reboot allowing players to build their own (though it will require taking one of the existing race's slots and cosmetics, meaning custom Psilons will never encounter default Psilons in the same galaxy). The "ish" comes from some races being split up or made non-playable across games (for example, the reboot has the "humans" and "terrans," who are both homo sapiens, just different cultures).

    Action Adventure Games 
  • Biomutant has a wide array of sapient animaloid races in a world following Humanity's Wake. The player can create their character based on six different "breeds": Primals, Dumdons, Rexes, Hylas, Fips, and Murgels.
  • Legend of Mana boasts sprites, humans, the jewel-hearted Jumi, dragoons, faeries, flowerlings, dudbears, sirens, mermaids, sproutlings, elves, succubi, chobin hoods, tomato men, sahagin, goblins, narcissos, mad mallards, the enchanted golems, several sapient animals including rabbits, cats, penguins, monkeys, as well as a sprawling assortment of bizarre anthropomorphic objects and mythic beings such as a vampire, basilisk, and a centaur.
  • Star Control, given that each race was allowed only one ship, had to fall into this to have more than a small number of ships. The first game had Ur-Quan Kzer-Za, Umgah, Ilwrath, Spathi, Chenjesu, Mmrnmhrm, Humans, Arilou Lalee'lay, Androsynth, VUX, Yehat, Shofixti, Mycon, and Syreen . The second game introduced the Melnorme, Pkunk, Chmmr, Zoq-Fot-Pik, Orz, Druuge, Utwig, Supox, Thraddash, Slylandro, and Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah. And then their are the non-playable species and those that never even appear, which include the Precursors, Keel-Verezy, Dramya, Algolites, Gg, Burvixese, Drall, Yuli, Yuptar, Mael-Num, Faz, Taalo, and Dnyarri. And THAT's still not counting all the non-sapient life-forms running around on random planets.

    Fighting Games 
  • Lightning Legend: Daigo no Daibouken, taking place in a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Japan, holds several races represented by several player characters and NPCs: Humans (Daigo, Mayu, Forelock, Adolf, Mirona); Monsters, with at least two sub-categories: Junma / Pure-Monster (The father of Daigo's mother), and Seima / Holy-Monster (Rankerk); Fairies, with at least one sub-category, the Yukijin / Snow People (Yuki and her father Hiroo); the elf-like Reijin / Beauty Ones (Misa, Risa, and Guren); the big furball rabbit-like Mukumuku (Mokomoko and his family); the Henshin / Transformation race (Disguiser); and the Puppeteer Parasite Hat race (the hat monster controlling Naughty Nou).
  • Soulcalibur VI has sixteen selectable races for custom-made characters, including: Humans, Outsiders (humans with animaloid ears and features), Lost Souls (in two variations, one angel-like and one demonic), Lizardmen, Mummies, Automatons (similar to Ashlotte from IV), Shapeshifters, Colossi, Hidden Village Clan (elf-like humanoids similar to Scheherazade from IV), Malefic, Darksiders, Revenants, and three variations of Malfested.
  • Dragon Ball Xenoverse and its sequel gives players a selection of five races to make their Time Patroller, each of which have differeing basic abilities:
    • Earthlings have overall balanced abilities, as well as natural ki regeneration. Males have stronger melee special attacks, while females have stronger ki blasts. In Xenoverse 2, they also have the ability to temporarily summon a Flying Nimbus and Power Pole.
    • Saiyans are Glass Cannons who offset their low HP with naturally higher attack power, which increases further when low on HP and after reviving. Males have stronger melee attacks and longer-lasting buffs, while females have better ki and stamina recovery. They are also capable of transforming into Super Saiyans (and in Xenoverse 2, Super Saiyan Gods).
    • Namekians are Stone Walls who have high HP and natural health regeneration, in exchange for overall lower attack power. In Xenoverse 2, they can also temporarily transform into giants.
    • Frieza Clan members are Fragile Speedsters who can move quickly and fire stunning ki blasts, but are overall weaker than others. In Xenoverse 2, they also gain a Golden Form.
    • Majins are Mighty Glaciers who offset their overall low mobility with strong defenses and attack power. Males are slower but hardier, while females are faster but more fragile.

  • World of Warcraft: There are twenty-five playable races as of the The War Within expansion, split between two factions.
  • Final Fantasy XI has five races selectable for players to choose from: the standard Humes, the tall and long-eared Elvaans, the diminutive Tarutaru, the feline Mithra, and the imposing Galka. The latter two are One-Gender Races (female for Mithra, male for Galka)note .
  • Final Fantasy XIV has six playable races with two different subraces each, for a total of twelve different base appearance options. These include the humanoid Hyur (Midlander and Highlander), the elven Elezen (Wildwood and Duskwight), the large and burly Roegadyn (Sea Wolves and Hellsguard), the catlike Miqo'te (Seekers of the Sun and Keepers of the Moon), the diminutive Lalafell (Dunesfolk and Plainsfolk), and the horned Au Ra (Raen and Xaela).
    • The Shadowbringers expansion added two more playable races with two subraces each - the leonine Hrothgar (Helions and the Lost) and the leporine Viera (Rava and Veena).
  • Everquest has Barbarians, Dark Elves, Dwarves, Erudites (high-men), Gnomes, Half Elves, Halflings, High Elves, Humans, Ogres, Trolls, and Wood Elves when it was originally released. Iksar (lizardpeople), Vah Shir (catpeople), Frogloks (Battletoads) and Drakkin (dragonpeople) were released in various expansions.
  • EverQuest II had for the original release, Barbarians, Dark Elves, Dwarves, Erudites, Frogloks, Gnomes, Half Elves, Halflings, High Elves, Humans, Iksar, Kerran (catpeople like EQ1's Vah Shir), Ogres, Trolls, Ratonga (ratpeople), and Wood Elves. As the expansions piled up it added Fae, Arasai (evil fae), Sarnak (dragonpeople but not like the drakkin), and Freeblood Vampires.
  • Star Trek Online has a total of 27 playable canonical races. 12 more are available as bridge officers ("boffs", NPC helpers) and dozens more as duty officers ("doffs", used in a trading card-like alternate progression system). But the total number is literally infinite, as players can create their own alien races for both PCs and boffs. (This count also lists Trills and Joined Trills, Vulcans and Romulans, Andorians and Aenar boffs, and Lukari and Kentari boffs separately: In-Universe, each pair are technically different ethnic groups of the same species.)
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic isn't as diverse as the universe it's based on, but still has a healthy selection; humans (with a cyborg varient), Twi'lek, Zabrak, Cathar, Togruta, and Nautolans are open to both Imperial and Republic factions. The Imperial players have Chiss, Sith Purebloodsnote , and Rattataki as playable species while the Republic get Mirialans and Miraluka. You can play a species locked to one faction on the other faction if you've leveled to 50 with a particular species, so it's not uncommon to see a Chiss Republic Trooper or a Miraluka Sith. One of the main hindrances to more diversity in player species is that the developers want to stick to species who can speak Galactic Basic, feeling more exotic choices (e.g. Wookiees) would break immersion. However once the game went Free to Play, any options other than Human, Cyborg and Zabrak are only available for subscribers or for those willing to fork over the cash. There is no difference in gameplay between any species other than some changes in dialogue (in particular, Imperials other than humans and Sith will come in for some Fantastic Racism) and a unique social ability (essentially a glorified emote): e.g. Twi'leks have a unique dance, and Sith backhand their companion to punish them.
  • Star Wars: Galaxies launched with eight playable species: Humans, Wookiees, Zabrak, Twi'leks, Rodians, Bothans, Trandoshans, and Mon Calamari. Sullustans and Ithorians were added later. While each species did have a few advantages, in practice Wookiee entertainers and Bothan bounty hunters were equally feasible (if not equally common); the diversity was intended to satisfy Star Wars fans as much as possible, rather than to fill a requisite number of archetypes. Humans, Zabrak, and Twi'leks — the least 'alien' of all the species — were by far the most popular.
  • Chronicles of Elyria will allow the player to select from twelve Tribes: the Neran, Hrothi, Brudvir, Kypiq, Janoa, Dras, The Waerd, To'resk, Mydarri, Owem, Erishé, and Yoru, with the caveat that the last four will not be playable at launch and will have to be discovered by the other eight races once deep-sea sailing has been discovered.

  • In Lusternia there are twenty playable races, ranging from tiny, airborne fair folk to hulking, nine foot tall yeti-men. There are many more mortal races that are unplayable due to logistical issues, such as the centaur (Dummied Out due to the challenge of handling a six-limbed race) and gnomes (scrapped for being too similar to dwarves).
  • Otherspace features two dozen playable races, ranging from different Human Subspecies all the way to Starfish Aliens.
  • Retro Mud featured eighty-three playable races at last count, including thumb-sized faeries, whale-men, beholders and a variety of dragons.

    Puzzle Games 
  • Meteos has 40 planets, each with its own alien species. It's worth noting that because it's a Falling Blocks game about fending of the titular meteors, the aliens you play as doesn't effect the gameplay, but their planet's unique attributes do.

  • Dungeon Crawl has 27 races as of version 0.28, with great variation. In addition to the common humans, elves and dwarves, Crawl has a few quite exotic ones, such as spriggans, palentongas, mummies, merfolk, demonspawn, and demigods.
  • Angband and its variantsnote :
    • The original version has six basic playable races (Human, Elf, Hobbit, Gnome, Dwarf and Kobold), as well as several half-breeds and variants (Half-Elf, Half-Orc, Half-Troll, Dunedan, High-Elf).
    • ZAngband lets you play as an Amberite, Barbarian, Beastman, Cyclops, Dark-Elf, Draconian, Dwarf, Elf, Ghoul, Gnome, Golem, High-Elf, Hobbit, Human, Imp, Klackon, Kobold, Mindflayer, Nibelung, Skeleton, Spectre, Sprite, Vampire, Yeek, or Zombie, or as one of about a half-a-dozen Half-breed types.
    • The variant Entroband has thirty-seven playable races and twenty-seven classes.
    • Frogcomposband has 43 "normal" races as of version 7.0, many of which have unique gimmicks and mechanics, including five flavors of Human, three elves, two types of dwarf, hobbits, gnomes, two types of fairy, two types of demon, Archons, 8 types of orcs and giants, five types of undead, and, finally the "others" section, which includes androids, beastmen, centaurs, draconians, doppelgangers, ents, golems, Klackons (again), Kutar (a weird Japanese mascot), Mindflayers, Tonberries, werewolves, and yeeks. There's also a "monster" option that adds too many choices to countnote , the strangest being cursed weapons and rings that possess whoever picks them up. Angband has always taken liberal inspiration from Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, but you have to applaud the person who thought of making a game where you can play as the One Ring To Rule Them All.
  • Slash'EM, a variant of NetHack, doubles the original's number of playable races to ten, adding Doppelganger, Drow, Hobbit, Lycanthrope, and Vampire to the original set of Human, Elf, Dwarf, Gnome and Orc.
  • Ancient Domains of Mystery has twelve races to choose from — Human, Troll, High Elf, Gray Elf, Dark Elf, Dwarf, Gnome, Hurthling, Orc, Drakeling, Mist Elf and Ratling.
  • Tales of Maj'Eyal has nine races, each with a variety of subraces, for a total of sixteen races. Only six are available at the start in the base game, and orcs yeti and Whitehooves are only playable in a standalone expansion pack making selection a little less overwhelming.
  • Dwarf Fortress Adventure Mode. Without need for art resources, the developer wrote a script to automatically turn animals into animal man variants and applied it to almost two hundred different animals. Most of these (excluding purely aquatic species) be played as in Adventurer Mode if they have settled into a "civilized" population, in addition to dwarves, humans, elves, some of the friendlier underground sapients, and potentially experiments. They were never intended to be "balanced", and range from virtually useless to overpowered, and it's not always obvious which is which. The Elephant Man is a deadly Lightning Bruiser, but will struggle to find armor; in a game where wounds, maiming, and infections are tracked, this adds up. On the other hand, the humble Capybara Man can swim innately and wear off-the-shelf dwarvern armor.
  • Streets of Rogue is mostly an example of lots of classes, but due to several of them being non-human there are seven playable races: Human, gorilla, vampire, zombie, robot, shapeshifter and alien. You could also arguably add werewolves to that depending on how you view lycanthropy. There are also the non-playable ghosts and with creative use of the character creator people have added even more playable races, such as ants and toilet smurfs.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Arkandian Legends: Explorer has ten selectable races for the player character: Arkandian, Necretian, Ascended, Demonic, Werewolf, Zombie, Orc, Lizardman, Mindflayer, and Vampire. The latter five have to be unlocked by completing the game.
  • Baldur's Gate and its sequel give players a selection of races to choose for their character based on those from Dungeons & Dragons, with Baldur's Gate III including a wider selection still, and each race having different starting strengths. As of III, options include Humans, Elves (with High Elf and Wood Elf subraces), Drow, Half-Elves (with half-High Elf, half-Wood Elf, and half-Drow subraces), Half-Orcs, Halflings (with Lightfoot and Strongheart subraces), Gnomes (with Rock, Forest, and Deep subraces), Dwarves (with Hill, Mountain, and Duergur subraces), Tieflings, Githyanki, and Dragonborn (with subraces for several different species of chromatic and metallic dragons).
  • Class of Heroes features ten races, each either directly taken from or a Suspiciously Similar Substitute to one of the races from Wizardry Xth 2: Humans, Elves, Dwarves (averting being samey by essentially being short, stocky Beast Men), Khulaz (Hobbits with a copyright-dodging rename), Fairies, Felpurs, Bahamoon, Gnomes (Here rendered as spiritual beings inhabiting Ridiculously Human Robots in order to attain a physical form), Celestia (mortals who resemble angels) and Diablos (mortals who resemble demons).
  • The Elder Scrolls
  • Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel promised eight different "races" you can hire from. Three of those turned out to be just different groups of humans, even without significant differences. Other than that there were: ghouls (former humans, strictly speaking), super mutants (ditto), dogs, deathclaws (mutant lizards) and a robot.
  • In contrast to its predecessor which, unmodded, only allowed you to choose among the seven core D&D races, Neverwinter Nights 2 took its race selection straight out of the 3E Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (and Storm of Zehir added a couple splat races). With both expansions you have:
    • Human
    • Half-elf, half-drow, half-orc.
    • Moon elf, sun elf, wild elf, wood elf, drow elf.
    • Shield dwarf, gold dwarf, duergar dwarf.
    • Rock gnome, deep gnome.
    • Lightfoot halfling, strongheart halfling.
    • Assimar, tiefling, air genasi, water genasi, earth genasi, fire genasi.
    • Gray orc.
    • Yuan-ti pureblood.
  • Paladin's Quest for the SNES, aka Lennus, has a dozen different races in its world, with some outlandish designs. The main two characters are both part of the race most similar to human, but the other party slots can be filled with mercenaries from the various races.
  • Pathfinder: Kingmaker has the seven core races the base game inherited from 3.5 edition D&D, plus aasimar; the Wild Cards DLC adds tieflings. These last two also have a sub-selection of alternate heritages (seven for aasimar, eleven for tieflings) which provide different traits from the basic species: for example an archon-blooded aasimar gets a bonus to Constitution rather than Charisma, and hold person as a spell-like ability instead of searing light. The sequel, Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous, is set to add several more races, including dhampirs, kitsune, and oreads (equivalent to D&D's earth genasi).
  • Pillars of Eternity offers six playable races: the usual humans, elves and dwarves, plus aumaua (large amphibious humanoids with webbed fingers and toes), orlans (hobbits with long ears), and godlikes (sterile children of other races tampered with in the womb by supernatural forces). Each of these comes with two to four subraces with different traits.
  • Star Ocean is a solid example here, owing to its influence from Star Trek — most admittedly human-looking enough, but: Humans, Fellpool, Featherfolk, Expelian, Tetrageniot, Nedian, Klausian, Velbaysian, Elicoorian, and Menodix (though some are simply Human Aliens, others have differences that are noted either in the story, in gameplay, or in the plot). And that's just sampling from the PC rosters of the first three—there's far more of them represented among the NPCs and discussed in the Encyclopedia in later games. (to name a few, Felinefolk, Ur-Felinefolk, Vanguardian, Rezerbian, Vendeeni, and so on...)
  • Suikoden does this (usually using some kind of animal as a basis) on account of having 108 characters in EVERY game. To ensure variety, the series has Kobolds (dog people), Nei-Kobolds (cat people), Lizard people, duck people, wingers, a race of beavers, mermaids, purpoises. Some argue if the Cyndar/Sindar people are a separate race or a lost civilization. Other characters such as Jeane, Zerase, etc. have might or might not be entirely human. Every game seems to add at least one more race to the count.
  • Thunderscape allows to choose team members out of 8 civilized races: pretty standard humans, elves and dwarves; dwarfish faerkin and goreaux (the former magical, the latter technological); juraks — sort of fur-covered orcs; reptilian rapacians; and ferrans — humanoids created by uplifting various vertebrates and giving them traits of the former 5 races (in other words, Half Human Hybrids). Additionally, a troll and a steam-powered golem NPCs may join you. Tabletop spinoff further expanded the selection.
  • Wizardry's later SirTech-developed installments. Not as massive as some examples on this page, though: Ten playable races (of which you only meet two as NPCs), and about eight NPC races in the second and third games. Justified in that the player characters are from a different planet from the locations of the second and third games (which themselves are on different planets, and the only NPC races they share are the ones with interstellar travel).
  • Icewind Dale 2 has a wider selection of races than the first game:
    • Human, assimar, tiefling.
    • Half-elf, half-orc.
    • Moon elf, sun elf, wild elf, drow elf.
    • Shield dwarf, gold dwarf, duergar dwarf.
    • Rock gnome, deep gnome.
    • Lightfoot halfling, strongheart halfling, ghostwise halfling.
  • The Breath of Fire series is well known for this. The world has Loads and Loads of Races, especially of the furry type; dogs, wolves, frogs, oxen, monkeys, moles, armadillos, and fish all have Beast Man versions running around. There's also faeries and dragons (who can take human form). Then in the Little Bit Beastly category there's bunny-people, fox-people, Cat Folk and Snake People. Pretty much all of these will be in your party at some point in the games.
  • Solasta: Crown of the Magister has many races and sub-races to choose from. Some were added through various DLC:
    • Humans.
    • Half-Elves.
    • Half-Orcs.
    • Tieflings.
    • Dragonborns: Green Black, Blue, Silver, Gold.
    • Elves: High Elves, Sylvan Elves.
    • Dwarves: Hill Dwarves, Snow Dwarves.
    • Halflings: Island Halflings, Marsh Halflings.
    • Gnomes: Rock Gnomes, Shadow Gnomes.

    RPG/Third Person Shooters 
  • The multiplayer mode of Mass Effect 3 lets you play as asari, batarians, Collectors, drell, geth, humans, krogan, quarians, salarians, turians, vorcha, and volus. Andromeda's multiplayer mode adds the angarans.

    Strategy Games 
  • The Age of Empires series did this with the first three games of the series. All the civilizations share the same basic look and technologies, but have bonuses to certain types of units and access different parts of the game's technology tree. In particular, the second and third installments benefitted from even more civilizations being added with their respective Updated Re-releases.
    • The first game started with 12 civilizations and the expansion brought it to 16.
    • The second game began with 13 civilizations and was later expanded to 18 with the expansion pack. After support for the game was revived a decade later, the game now has 42 civilizations as of the latest expansion pack for the Definitive Edition.
    • The third game started with 8 civilizations and its two expansions brought it to 14. After the release of the Definitive Edition, the game now has 22 civilizations, with far more diversity than the previous installments as each civilization adheres to one of five different categories (European, Native American, Asian, American, and African) rather than being all based off the same template.
  • Age of Wonders has 15 as of the last expansion, not counting a race that was present in the first game and didn't return for the sequel.
  • Ascendancy boasts an impressive 21 races.
  • Battle for Wesnoth has humans, elves, dwarves, orcs, trolls, drakes (dragon people), saurians, merfolk, and naga, in addition to things which aren't really a "race" as such, like undead. User-made content adds dozens more, and various subdivisions.
  • Depending on which "era" a game of Dominions 3 takes place in, it can come with up to 24 nations almost all of which represent different races ranging from stereotypical merfolk to Lovecraftian fish-men to Rakshasa or Naga rulers of intelligent primates. Factions that are alliances of multiple races, such as Pangea's medley of Greek mythology expand the actual count even further. A great number of patches were made after its release that added even more material.
  • The Galactic Civilizations series. In the original version of Galactic Civilizations 2, the races were pretty similar, only differentiated by hardcoded reactions (the Drengin and the Torians hate each other, for example) and racial bonuses. However, in the newer expansions, races got Super Abilities and, in the Twilight of the Arnor expansion, unique tech trees. Yes, a game with ~14 separate races which includes unique tech trees.
  • The Master of Orion series started with ten races, and added several more in the second game. In the third game, a boatload more were added and several existing races were downgraded to non-playable.
  • Space Empires offers around a dozen (or more) races as standard options, each with their hat. It's fairly simple to create and fine-tune your own, particularly to anything prior to the fifth game.
  • Stellaris populates the galaxy with both predefined races and random races. These races can have any of the dozens of portraits, traits, ethics, civics, and government leading to a massive selection of races.
  • The Warhammer 40000: Dawn of War series borrows liberally from the tabletop game, building a wide roster.
    • By the time the 3rd expansion, Soulstorm, had been released, the first game had nine highly varied races to choose from in it- Space Marines, Chaos Space Marines, Eldar, Orks, Imperial Guard, Necrons, Tau, Sisters of Battle and Dark Eldar. The only race from the tabletop at the time that was missing were the Tyranids.
    • Dawn of War II immediately reconciled this, launching with Space Marines, Elder, Orks, and Tyranids. Expansions added Chaos Space Marines and Imperial Guard. The Last Stand mode gave cameo appearances to the Necrons and Tau, with one unit each.
    • Averted by Dawn of War III, which includes only the series mainstays of Space Marines, Eldar, and Orks. The game flopped and received no expansions.
  • Total War: Warhammer started out with six races, later adding three more for a total of nine races (the Empire, Dwarfs, Greenskins, Vampire Counts, Bretonnia, Warriors of Chaos, Beastmen, Wood Elves, and Norsca). Total War: Warhammer II brought that total to 15 with the addition of six more races (High Elves, Dark Elves, Lizardmen, Skaven, Tomb Kings, and Vampire Coast). Total War: Warhammer III has as of the time of writing 24 races with the addition of nine more races to the existing roster (Kislev, Grand Cathay, Khorne, Tzeentch, Nurgle, Slaanesh, Daemons of Chaos, Ogre Kingdoms, and Chaos Dwarfs). Each of these races has their own distinct playstyle, roster, and selection of Hero Units allowing for near-endless replayability.

    Strategy RPGs 
  • Agarest Senki features humans, syriums, high elves, dark elves, common elves, onerthes', neocolloms (which come in several subspecies), ryulents, larvas, greers, nelths, harpuias and yulishees, and that's only the first game!
  • Armello is an adventure board game style video game, where each player selects a pre-defined character in a race to the throne. While it started with only four racially monogenous clans (rat, bear, wolf, rabbit), both the Bandit clan and the Dragon clan expansions added characters from four separate species each, making a total of twelve races spread (unevenly) over twenty-four possible choices.

In Fiction

    Anime and Manga 
  • Overlord (2012): The MMORPG Yggdrasil had over 700 races, ranging from the standard human-elf-dwarf-etc. to beastmen to basically playable monsters. The Ainz Ooal Gown guild had "play a heteromorphic race" as a requirement, which is why their members included a Draconic Humanoid, a walking skeleton, a humanoid insect, a sentient pile of Hollywood Acid...
  • Sword Art Online: ALfheim Online has nine playable fairy races: Cait Sith, Gnome, Imp, Leprechaun, Pooka, Salamander, Spriggan, Sylph, and Undine.

  • The fictional MMORPG Magience has many Character Customization options of every sort, including races:
    Cas: There are 7 races for you to choose from. Each of these can procreate with any other to create a hybrid, for a total of 28 options.
    • And each race has several subraces...
  • In the fictional MUD Dan plays in El Goonish Shive, at least thirty playable races are listed before Dan relents and goes with the original recommendation.