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A common decision that creators have when worldbuilding is if each planet is going to have a culture that spans the entire world, or if they have distinct ethnicities, cultures, and traditions.

This is the latter. Either the writer is attempting to avert or soften the traditional Planet of Hats methodology, or they enjoy World Building itself. Planets are unlikely to be as heterogeneous as modern humanity — most writers have trouble working that with humanity itself — but there will be more than one defining characteristic for each race. The goal is to make each race as interesting and deep as a three-dimensional character, instead of a flat template to apply to any character from that race.

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This trope is most notable for its appearance in Science Fiction; however, it also appears in other Speculative Fiction. In a science fiction work with only humans, this trope applies when multiple cultures appear in any given area, such as a Space Station or a planet. In a Fantasy story with fantastic races, this trope applies when there are different ethnicities or cultures within the races, such as more than one type of elf or more than one type of goblin. A given work may mix and match the tropes, giving Planet of Hats treatment to the villainous races, and Multicultural Alien Planet treatment to the heroic races. If a work has the same alien race on five planets, and each planet has a different ethnicity, then the creator is using both. Often helps contribute to an Ungovernable Galaxy.

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A Planetary Romance is much more likely to go this route than a Space Opera, since the planetary romance focuses on a single planet. Flash Gordon's Mongo and John Carter's Barsoom are two classic examples.

Examples of this trope are species with a tendency to possess diverse and varied cultures. There may be cultural or societal divisions, and ambitious writers might even suggest different languages among members of the same species. However, given the tendency to skip alien languages altogether, some will simply invoke Aliens of London and settle for giving alien species different accents or speech patterns. (Note: If the diversity is only in accents, the example belongs on Aliens of London, not here.)


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Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • The 1990s OVA El-Hazard: The Magnificent World (and its TV sequel) is an almost excessive example: though most of what we see of Roshtaria in El Hazard, as its name suggests, very Arab-esque, the human cast (excluding the Japanese from Earth) are ethnically varied and described as coming from other nations and lands (including Dark-Skinned Redhead Shayla Shayla, whose predecessor and mentor was a fair-skinned blonde, and the marginalized Phantom Tribe). That's before considering the Bugrom, an intelligent nonhuman species whom account for a dominant civilization.
  • Befitting its tabletop inspiration, the Record of Lodoss War anime prominently features local human kingdoms with obvious European and North African influences, alongside more eastern nomadic tribes. And of course, they're joined by at least two races of elves, a large dwarven kingdom, and many other mainstays of the genre.
  • In Tweeny Witches, the witches and warlocks have three different cultures—Witch Heaven, the all-female valley city state of the Witch Realm; Wizard Kingdom, the technologically-advanced underground capital city of the Warlock Realm; and Miche Village, the barren Fantastic Ghetto for the wizards of the dying old order.

    Comics 
  • Superman: Over the years and various adaptations, Kryptonians have been shown to be as racially diverse as humans. This first came up with Vathlo Island, a sort of weird black segregationist utopia on Krypton; while considered a bit iffy today, modern adaptations sometimes use "Vathlo" as the name of a continent on Krypton. Other continents on the planet include Lurvan, Urrika and Twenx.
  • Because Flash Gordon is set entirely on Mongo and doesn't do any standard planet hopping (at least, not until the strip's later years), Mongo is an incredibly diverse planet.
  • Marvel's Kree come in two skin-colours, pink and sky blue, the latter looking down on the former. Their original home planet, Hala, is also home to the Cotati, a species of sentient trees, whom the Kree all but wiped out.
    • Sakar had two distinctive people - the red-skinned Imperials and the grey-skinned Shadow People
  • Transformers, Cybertronians are split into two cultures, Autobots and Decepticons. Depending on continuity, there are far more than that.
  • Warlord of Mars, like the novels it was based upon, had 5 distinct main races: the Red Martians, who are the most predominant and thriving race in Barsoom, the nomadic and warlike Green Martians, the scheming White Martians, the religious Black Martians and the reclusive Yellow Martians.

    Fan Works 
  • Remembrance of the Fallen: Played subtly between a pair of Bajoran cadets at Starfleet Academy. When Kanril Eleya (Bajoran) is given the job of tutoring Tiana Lanstar (human) and Kojami Sobaru (Bajoran), she notices that the construction of Sobaru's given name indicates her being from Hathon Province. When they meet face to face in the next scene Sobaru in turn notices that Eleya's accent indicates her being from Kendra Province. Other Star Trek Online fanfics by StarSword similarly refer to different Bajoran ethnicities, accents, and dialects.
  • A Changed World: Eleya and Gaarra explain that "Bajoran" is the species, while "Bajora" is an ethnic or cultural group that conquered the others (and apparently renamed the species and planet after themselves: Beat the Drums of War by the same author had a Precursor refer to Eleya as an Inshal'halan). Eleya is Kendran, while Gaarra is half-Dahkuri. The modern Bajoran language, Bajor'la, is a simplified version of the Bajora tongue Bajor'ara that the Bajora taught to their conquests.
    Gaarra: It's like... Well, like Lieutenant Park here being Korean.

    Film 
  • The Dark Crystal: Thra is inhabited by the ruthless Skeksis, the peaceful Mystics, the nearly extinct Gelflings and the simple, unassuming Podlings. In The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, it's show that the ancient Gelflings were divided into seven distinct clans — the cliff-dwelling, stealthy Vapra Clan, the sailors of the Sifa Clan, the isolationist, amphibious Drenchen Clan of the Swamp of Sog, the courageous, forest-dwelling Stonewood Clan, the pale, secretive and cave-dwelling Grottan Clan, the warrior Spriton Clan of the southern grasslands and the desert-dwelling, sandship-sailing Dousan Clan.
  • In Predators (and by extension, the rest of the series), the Predators have different tribes who have been at war with one another. We see at least two.
  • Star Wars:
    • In the prequel trilogy, Naboo has at least two cultures, the Gungans and the humans.
    • In the original trilogy, the nomadic culture of the Tusken Raiders is very distinct from the majority of the population of Tatooine. The majority of the the population also belongs to at least two races (humans and Jawas), while the population of the spaceport of Mos Eisley and Jabba the Hutt's lair is home to a number of representatives of other species, mostly from off-planet.
    • The Star Wars Legends Expanded Universe established that both the Mon Calamari and the Quarren come from different regions of the same planet, Dac, which is also home to the Whalodons (sapient whales) and the Moappa (telepathic jellyfish-like creatures with a Hive Mind). The Mon Calamari dominate this shared homeworld culturally and politically, to the point that many off-worlders have no notion of other species living there and call the planet itself Mon Cal; this was a big part of what led to the Quarren and Moappa aiding the Confederacy against the Republic-loyal Mon Calamari.
    • As a rare and interesting inversion, in Legends the Neimodians from the prequels and the Duros are genetic cousins (the former being an offshoot of Duros colonists) who inhabit two different systems, which each have their own independent representation in the Republic, something that is otherwise only shown to be the case with humans (who are the main species of at least several dozens of systems). They also have very different cultures, with the Duros famously being great shipbuilders, explorers and pilots who love telling stories, with "Traveler" being their preferred honorific. Neimodians are cowardly, grasping corrupt merchants. Also, the Duros parents raise their own children, while Neimodians leave this largely to the state. Both however have governments that are run by their corporations. Traditionally, a Duros being called a Neimodian is a grave insult and they very much dislike any comparison.
    • The Corellian System has a Melting Pot society with three different species (human, Selonian, and Drall). On Corellia itself, Selonians have a large community of subterranean dens. In several Legends books, it's alluded that Selonian and Drall representatives are pushing for independent Senate representation, because their populations are usually represented by a human from Corellia.
    • The planet of Utapau is run by two different native species, the tall, humanoid Pau'ans and the short, turret-eyed Utai. Additionally, the Amani — aliens resembling humanoid flatworms with short legs and long, slender arms — also immigrated to Utapau at some point and live in primitive, tribal societies in its grasslands, separately from the high-tech Pau'an and Utai society in the planet's giant sinkholes.

    Literature 
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs was a master of this trope; as his work falls in the Planetary Romance genre, the worlds visited by our heroes are always very culturally diverse. This goes for Mars, Venus, Jupiter, the Moon and the secret world inside the hollow Earth.
  • In the Chanur Novels by C. J. Cherryh, the hani homeworld is noted to have multiple countries and languages. The female lead is even gobsmacked to see that another hani crew brought one of the boys along-her country is a Matriarchy where male hani are treated like male lions (put "in charge" to shut them up and soundly ignored by people who know what they're doing).
  • On Discworld there are multiple intelligent species and ethnic and cultural variants of the same. Apart from various types and cultures of humans (including werewolves, vampires and zombies), trolls (including gargoyles), dwarfs, pictsies, elfs, gods, anthropomorphic personifications, demons and what have you, there are also artificial beings like golems building a culture of their own. Dwarfs in particular can be divided into the Uberwald dwarfs, who still revere the knockermen (dwarfs who go into the deep mines to clear them of explosive gases by igniting it before anyone else enters, and who sometimes have mystic experiences while they're there) and the Ramtop dwarfs, who invented the Davy lamp and stopped worrying about that sort of thing. Within the Uberwald communities, the "deep-downers", who wear a knockerman's protective outfit at all times, especially if they're forced to go to the surface, seem to be a distinct subculture. Within the latest generation or so, dwarfs who move to Ankh-Morpork and integrate with humans, accepting such ideas as different genders (dwarfs are all male by tradition), have been emerging as a third separate cultural group. There's also a small community in the mostly-human country of Llamedos who deal closely with humans (enough that intermarriage is fairly common) but haven't assimilated with them and are neutral between the main dwarf factions; the current Low King of all dwarves was selected from this group simply because the fewest people hated him.
  • Doctor Omega, a 1906 pioneer sci-fi novel by Arnould Galopin involving a trip to Mars. The main Martian species are divided into two castes: a ruling caste and a working caste. Both form the Northern Martian nation, which is at war against a distinct Southern nation. Then we have the primitive savage tribes of the polar regions which belong to the same species but aren't nearly as advanced and have a completely different culture. And then you have at least two other intelligent species: one of humanoid bat-people and one of aquatic reptile men, which are also at war against the land Martians.
  • Isaac Asimov's Prelude to Foundation: Hari Seldon doesn't believe his psychohistory mathematics can be very useful. He'd need a model so diverse that it's essentially as complicated as the galaxy. R. Daneel Olivaw arranges for him to run throughout the Layered Metropolis of the City Planet Trantor so that he realizes that it fits the description. It has people from the three major ethnicities (Westerners, Southerners, and Easterners) and each of the hundreds of sectors are like a world of their own.
  • The Highlands of Afon: The Taik homeworld of Afon is home to at least four different cultures: the Highlanders, the Kulpgarie Republic, the Altshea Confederation, and the Draeka Empire, the latter three also have thousands of interstellar colonies.
  • Junction Point: The planet Ktrit is home to at least four major religions and likely many more minor ones, ethnically diverse populations, prejudices, and an array of family structures.
  • In Out of the Silent Planet, the inhabitants of Malacandra come in three different species (not counting the energy beings), each with its own language. Furthermore, the sorns (giant feathered humanoids) come in at least two varieties - white (in the mountains) and red (in the deserts), and the hrossa (otter-people) come in at least three races — black, silver, and crested. There might be more, but the viewpoint character wasn't on the planet long enough to tell, as he was vividly aware.
  • Jack Vance often fills his worlds with different cultures. For example, in his Planet of Adventure series, the planet Tschai is full of different peoples (some descended from transplanted humans, some not), tribes, lands, and regimes. They all have their own cultures and political structures, ranging from the nomadic Emblem Men to the repressive underground Pneum, as well as those exiled Pneum who have been cast out of the underground and live on the surface.
  • In The Red Vixen Adventures there are at multiple distinct nations on Foxen Prime, the feudal Mother Country is the largest and only nation with an off-world presence while the second largest is the parliamentary republic of Gerwart.
  • Star Trek Expanded Universe: The shows may favor Planet of Hats, but less so the books:
    • The Star Trek: Stargazer novels reveal that the Gnalish, a race of Lizard Folk of which the Stargazer's chief engineer Phigus Simenon is a member, have three separate subspecies, although they are able to interbreed (or, at least, fertilize the same eggs). Being of the weaker, "middle" subspecies, Simenon's subspecies has learned to be highly resourceful and wily, which helps when you're Picard's chief engineer.
    • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Relaunch novels, the Andorians and Bajorans, at least, demonstrate significant cultural differences depending on which region of their planets they originate on. In Worlds of Deep Space Nine: Andor, the differences between Northern and Southern clans (to oversimplify a bit) are an important aspect of the plot. We also learn that "Bajora" originally referred to one nation on Bajor that over the civilization's very long history grew to encompass all Bajorans. The relaunch also explains the differences between Next Generation and Deep Space Nine Trills (ridges vs. spots, transporter allergy, etc.): they're just different ethnic groups among the Trill humanoids.
    • In Star Trek: Articles of the Federation, the funeral service for former president Jaresh-Inyo references his culture as "semtir"—his species is Grazerite, but apparently not all Grazerites have the same customs.
    • Helena, a planet introduced in "Quarantine" of the "Double Helix" miniseries, is a strange partial example: diversity is its Planet of Hats hat! Settled by mixed-species people seeking to escape discrimination, almost all Helenites are a mix of multiple species, nobody else in the galaxy has devoted more scientific oomph to helping members of different races reproduce, and the organization heading this effort is the most powerful political force on the planet. The more races in you or the rarer your mix, the more special you are. As a human/Klingon hybrid, a pre-Voyager B'Elanna Torres is treated as royalty. If you're only of a single species, you're absolutely, totally equal but will be asked to use that other dining hall over there.
    • In the Rihannsu series, the Romulans are described as having a number of variation on their overarching culture. Upon settlement the main division was between the mainstream culture, a warlike and relatively isolationist group from ch'Havran (Remus), and the Ship Clans, but by the 23rd century most differences on the Twin Worlds have lessened... And been replaced by dozens from the emigration on the new Romulan worlds, while descendants of the Ship Clans tend to be discriminated by the central authorities.
  • Technic History: Almost every planet considered worth the bother of visiting has political and ethnic divides of various kinds, within races as well as between them. Sometimes they are mainly there for color and other times they are a plot point. The most important one of these is Avalon where Ythrians and Humans jointly found a colony. The main division is between Humans and Ythrians but there are divisions between Ythrians as well. Stories about Avalon stress both that friendship with someone who isn't like oneself is harder work then clichés make it out to be, but that it is worth the trouble.
  • In the soft sci-fi book Through Space To The Planets, the planet has at least three separate governments in three different places.
  • In Tolkien's Legendarium, there are eight Elven cultures, following the Sundering. The hobbits of Buckland are also noticably different culturally from the Shire hobbits, for instance being less conservative and more adventurous. Taking it further, there are seven clans of Dwarves (though only one of these, Durin's Folk, gets particular attention), at least three broad divisions of orc (Misty Mountains goblins, Isengard Uruk-hai, and Mordor orcs, and the last encompasses various orc breeds like fighting-orcs and trackers) and a very wide selection of human nations (just at the end of the Third Age you have Gondorians, Rohirrim, Bree-men, Dúnedain of the North, Dunlendings, Beornings, Dalemen/Lakemen, Snowmen of Forochel, Woses, Near Haradrim, Far Haradrim, Corsairs of Umbar, Black Númenóreans, Variags, and an unknown number of groups who fall under the general heading of "Easterlings").
  • Kris Longknife: Used repeatedly among human worlds in the series, usually in a manner allegorizing or directly replicating a political/ethnic/regional schism in American history.
    • Hikila in Defiant is split between the ethnic Polynesian original settlers, who settled tropical islands intending to reestablish their traditional way of life from Earth, and more numerous refugees from other planets whom they accepted during the Iteeche War, who meant to continue how they lived on their homeworlds and resent the islanders taxing them but not giving them a voice in government. The planet's constitution ends up being written to accommodate the needs of both groups, with the Hikilan queen getting a veto on any measure she views as impinging on the islanders' culture.
    • New Eden in Audacious is the first extrasolar planet humanity colonized, and has essentially three semiautonomous nations of respectively American, European, and Chinese descent on it (each of which has its own house in the planetary legislature and gets its own powerful vice president). People not descended from those original settlers don't get to vote and form a permanent underclass.
    • In Undaunted, Texarkana's original settlers made to replicate a rural rancher culture, with the most powerful ranchers named dukes. A later group of settlers built a few industrialized cities, which the ranchers view as a threat.
    • Greenfeld planets, such as those Kris deals with in Redoubtable, tend to have a largely white (mainly German) ruling class and a more diverse underclass. One book makes a point that Greenfeld troops would have difficulty working covertly on one of their own planets, where Kris's browner Wardhavenites wouldn't. (Kris herself is multiracial, drawn and described as a blonde white woman but stated to have significant Native American ancestry, which is where her surname comes from; her bodyguard/Love Interest Jack Montoya is Latino.)
  • The Icerigger trilogy, sub-series of the Humanx Commonwealth novels, presents multiple cultures of Tran, from the nomadic ice-sea ravagers of the Horde to the feudal inhabitants of various rocky islands, with the occasional Wacky Wayside Tribe of religious fanatics tossed into the mix. And then there's the Saiia, a relic population from a steam-warmed volcanic valley who are still adapted to Tran-ky-ky's millennial summers, not its current winter.)
  • In the Arrivals from the Dark books:
    • The Kni'lina might be humanity's rival on the galactic stage, but they are not actually a unified race, or even the same exact species. Millennia ago, a global pandemic nearly wiped them out. Only the island populations survived by instituting strict quarantines and developing genetic cures that altered their genomes sufficiently to provide immunity to the disease. However, since each island worked independently, this resulted in slightly different genetic changes, effectively creating subspecies. While not very noticeable, the differences are substantial enough to disallow cross-breeding. The two largest clans (Ni and Poharas) dominate the Kni'lina society. The Poharas are sensitive, religious, and are ruled by an enlightened emperor, while the Ni are technocratic, atheistic, and militaristic. Each of the large clans has their own independent government, and the colonies tend to be settled only by members of a particular clan. During the hostilities with Earth, only the Ni and a number of smaller clans were actually at war with humanity. The Poharas remained neutral. The novel that focuses on the Kni'lina does reveal that this state of affairs is deliberately maintained by both clans, as a significant chunk of the Kni'lina population are the Zinto, who are descendants of the survivors of the plague on the mainland. Being the unmodified root species, they are able to interbreed with any of the subspecies. However, as that would lead to the collapse of the current clan structure, the clans prohibit any union of a Zinto with a member of a clan under the pain of death. The Zinto are also treated as second-class citizens and are not permitted to form their own government.
    • From a more primitive perspective, the planet Saikat is home to two primitive sentient races: the Terre and the Tazinto. The Terre are cave-dwelling vegetarian gatherers, largely peaceful. The Tazinto are warlike carnivores with a nomadic lifestyle, distrusting of outsiders, and a wolf-like hierarchy. The Tazinto are constantly moving into Terre territory, pushing the Terre to migrate further into a peninsula, while slaughtering any Terre camps they find. It's clear to the offworld observers that the Tazinto will eventually wipe out the Terre, and some are in favor of intervening to save the doomed species (some radical individuals are even advocating for the extermination of the Tazinto). When Ivar visits a Tazinto tribe and speaks with its chief, he learns, to his surprise, that the Tazinto already have a concept of a divine power (something thought impossible for such a primitive race). In fact, this faith is why they wish to wipe out the Terre, believing them to be too much like "real people", figuring that whatever deity hands out gifts might mistake the Terre for the Tazinto and bestow something to them instead of the correct recipients (this mainly stems from their observations that the Terre have double the lifespans of the Tazinto).
  • Mikhail Akhmanov's Dick Simon duology plays this straight with the most human-settled worlds, even though some of them are named after countries. For example, the planet Russia is actually home to Russia, Mongolia, Bulgaria, India, Armenia, Baltia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Ethiopia, although Russia is dominant. The same applies to the planet China, which is also home to a number of other (presumably Asian) nations. This may be averted with smaller colonies, some of which are only settled by a single cultural group, but the Big Ten, which dominate interstellar politics, are all multicultural.
  • In The Left Hand of Darkness the planet Gethen, inhabited by Human Aliens with a very strange form of reproduction, presents two main countries, Orgoreyn and Karhide. These have different languages, different religions, different customs and foods and different forms of government: Karhide is a monarchy with elements of feudalism, while Orgoreyn is a Police State. There are more lands, like the Antarctic continent of Perunter, but the protagonist and main narrator does not visit them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Alien Nation: The Tenctonese don't have a single all-encompassing culture. In the pilot, for example, Matthew Sikes is initially shocked to discover that his alien neighbor Cathy follows a different religion than that followed by his alien partner George (and George's family), even asking, "You mean you all have different religions?" To the credit of both the character and the writers, Sikes immediately lampshades how ridiculous that question is by saying, "Well, of course. Why not?" However, given that all Tectonese-Americans are descended from some shipwrecked slaves, who tend not to be allowed to preserve much of their own religious and cultural heritage while in bondage, it's not quite so dumb a question as it initially appears.
  • Babylon 5:
    • The Narn are the only major race besides humans to have multiple religions. G'kar somewhat accidentally starts a new one.
    • The Minbari speak several languages, especially on Minbar, and the three castes are shown to have unique rituals as well. It's implied that the Minbari were more divided before Valen appeared to unite the people in the previous Shadow War.
  • Defiance: A number of Votan species came from the same planet in the now destroyed Votanis system. Castithans and Indogenes were originally from Daribo (though many of the former migrated to Casti when the latter finished terraforming it). And the Irathients, Liberata, and Sensoths are all from Irath, and since the former two were conquered by the Castis they presumably had significant populations on other planets in the system.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The Keys of Marinus", the protagonists visit a different area of Marinus in each episode, each with its own inhabitants and culture.
    • Skaro, the planet of the Daleks, has also been home, at various points of its history, to Kaleds (the precursor culture to the Daleks, a race of poets and scientists and prone to Putting on the Reich), Dals (originally proposed as the precursor culture to the Daleks but Retconned into a long-dead race that served as a cultural precedent for the Daleks — supposedly teachers and philosophers wiped out by the Kaleds), and Thals (originally a warrior race but forced to take on a pacifistic, farming lifestyle to survive). All have their own distinctive cultures, all of which change depending on the era the story is set. It should be noted that both Skaro and Marinus were originally created and written about by Terry Nation.
    • "The Web Planet" has a very alien variant of this with a beautiful flying race that lives on the moon, a rather plucky unintelligent race that lives in herds on the ground, a short troglodyte race that lives in tribes underground, and a horrible tentacled lifeform that communicates through webs. All have unique psychologies and cultures conveyed by their speech patterns and the things they build, as well as different religions and ways of relating to each other.
    • "The Savages" presents a wealthy, stargazing technocratic civilization headed by a council of elders, that is soon revealed to support itself by draining life energy from the more egalitarian cave-dwelling civilization that lives in the wilderness surrounding the city.
    • The Fourth Doctor serial "The Face of Evil" involve the Tesh and Sevateem (Leela was one of the latter), two orthogonally distinct cultures (technologists and savages) on the same planet. Of course, they both originated from the same initial culture over 9000 years earlier.
    • "The Invasion of Time" showed that while the Time Lords are extremely advanced and live in an advanced city of Crystal Spires and Togas, there are also native Galifreyans called Outsiders who live outside the city and still hunt with bows and arrows.
    • There was intended to be a race of Cat People on Gallifrey called the Killer Cats of Gin-Seng. They were written for a cancelled serial called Killer of The Dark but went on to appear in Expanded Universe novels and audio stories.
  • Done repeatedly in Stargate SG-1. In most cases, the different cultures are at war with one another. Special mention goes to Jonas Quinn's homeworld Langara, which in its first appearance is roughly in the 1950s technologically. The three dominant superpowers are engaged in a Space Cold War with one another, which briefly goes hot after "Shadow Play", resulting in Kelowna dropping a naquadriah bomb on the other two powers' combined armies. This cold war comes to a crashing halt when Anubis invades in search of naquadriah to power a superweapon, and the superpowers pull an Enemy Mine and join with the SGC to repel the invasion. This leads to the formation of a United Nations-like joint ruling council on Langara.
    • Another prominent example is the planet Tegalus, separated into the Rand Protectorate and the Caledonian Federation. Like Kelowna, Tegalus is in a state of Cold War. However, the arrival of SG-1 causes the Cold War to go hot. In a later episode, a Prior of the Ori arrives to Tegalus and offers the Rand Protectorate the means to destroy the Caledonians in the form of a powerful Kill Sat. While SG-1 manage to stop the satellite from being used against the Caledonians, the peace talks break down, and the two nations nuke one another.
  • Star Trek:
    • Voyager
      • This is the unofficial In-Universe explanation for Tuvok's skin color — he's from a different stock of Vulcan than most of the ones we've seen. And Tuvok wasn't the first "minority" Vulcan we've seen. At least one of the Vulcan priests seen at the end of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock highly resembles an Asian person from Earth (which makes sense, as the Vulcan in question is played by George Takei, who had apparently always wanted to wear the ears, but never had a chance up until then). And between them was a black Romulan.
      • There was this one episode where Chakotay, on his own on a planet, joins a group of humans in an effort to overthrow the lizard-people on the planet. It's two separate regions, two separate cultures. However, the two cultures (Vori and Kradin) are, at their worst, at least equally corrupt and brutal, and at their best equally welcoming, or so it's implied. It's even suggested their customs are similar—they seem to share at least one tradition. So it's a bit of a subversion, really; the two are different, certainly, but ultimately not by that much. We might even go as far as to say Vori-Kradin does have a unified culture under default settings, only it's in a state of civil war at present...
      • In the episode, Hope and Fear, Harry Kim tells Seven of Nine that Earth has hundreds of alien species living on it.
    • The Next Generation has an episode involving a planet on which the population is divided into two different factions, who are caught up in a cold war.
    • Star Trek: The Original Series
      • The episode "The Omega Glory" involves a war between two cultures living on the same planet, descended from cultures very similar to Cold War era Americans and Russians.
      • In another TOS episode ("Let That Be Your Last Battlefield"), there is a war between two different ethnicities from the same planet. (The skin of one is black on the left side and white on the right side of the body, the other one's skin white on the left and black on the right.)
    • In Star Trek: Enterprise, we meet the Xindi, which are five different species (formerly six, but a war wiped them out.) We also find out that in addition to the Andorians, Andoria has the Aenar (blind telepathic pacifist albino Andorians).
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine had more time to develop the Bajorans, so they wind up getting some of this. For one, we know that they have two religions: the majority worship the Prophets, but some worship the Pah-Wraiths, their Evil Counterparts (though their followers don't interpret them that way). There's also at least one episode that deals with warring tribes who are described as living in a hardscrabble part of the planet, who seem to be at least semi-independent of the Bajoran government.
    • Star Trek: Discovery expands the Klingon Great Houses from being merely clans in a Feudal Future into distinct ethnic groups with different homeworlds, facial features, and cultural practices (the ones predominant in pre-release material that "bury" their dead on the exterior of their flagship are all from the House of T'Kuvma).
      • We also see that Qo'noS, his home planet, is not inhabited only by Klingons, but there is also a province where Orion immigrants live and even some renegade humans.
  • Blake's 7.
    • In "Power" a literal Battle of the Sexes is taking place between the primitive male Hommiks and the technologically-advanced female Seska.
    • Attempted in "Traitor". Dayna (played by an actress of West Indian descent) is worried she'll stick out on the planet they're about to secretly visit, but Avon says when it was originally settled there was a law requiring all Earth races to be represented. Unfortunately whoever cast the episode didn't get the note, as the only black person we see is a Federation soldier.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In most Dungeons & Dragons worlds there are multiple societies of elves and dwarves.
  • Space 1889, Mars has plenty of languages, ways of life, cultures and religions and three different races/species of Martian.
  • In Traveller, the Aslan are divided into many different clans with their own parochial customs. The Vargr's ability to organize is largely limited by the leader's charisma, so they've got thousands of polities that rarely last more than a generation or two.
  • Warhammer Fantasy:
    • Within the Empire, despite it being itself just one among many other societies of humans rather than representing the race as a whole, there exists an enormous level of cultural diversity existing, theoretically at least, as a single united nation. Possibly the greatest degree of internal contrast comes from the warlike Ulric-worshipping Middenlanders and the refined Sigmar-upholding Reiklanders and Nulners. Then towards the northeast, you have the Ostlanders who share cultural similarities with another entirely separate culture, the Kislevites.
    • Among the Kislevites you have the Eastern Slavic-inspired Gospodars, the Turko-Mongol Ungols and the Germanic-flavoured Roppsmenn; the Gospodars and Roppsmenn are the original inhabitants of Kislev, while the Ungols were a nomadic steppe people who fled the rising power of Chaos and conquered Kislev as a new homeland. The cultural division persists into the present, with the southern parts of the country and its urban centers being dominated by the Ungol elite and the northern, eastern and generally rural areas being home to the Gospodars and the Roppsmenn's remnants.

    Video Games 
  • Mass Effect:
    • The quarian species were originally represented in the first game by one individual, who spoke with a suspiciously Eastern European accent. In the sequel, we are introduced to multiple other quarians. While some share the Eastern European accent of the Token Minority party member, others possess more distinctly British or American accents, and one of them is quite clearly Adam Baldwin. Clearly, the population of the quarian flotilla is drawn from many elements of the species, and each ship has its own subculture.
    • The Codex suggests that most species still maintain multiple languages, even after however many centuries of interstellar travel. By this point, technology has evolved such that subdermal devices instantly translate other languages into the listener's own, and most everyone seems to have one. That said, quarians are pretty much the only non-human species encountered that have a discernible accent; everyone else (besides Miranda and Zaeed) speaks in a generic North American accent, no matter what language they're speaking or species they belong to.
    • This trope is hilariously referenced in Mass Effect if Kaidan and Wrex are in an elevator together. Kaidan comments that Wrex isn't what he expected from a krogan.
      Wrex: Right. Because you humans have a wide range of cultures and attitudes, but krogan all think and act exactly alike.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Played straight in general throughout the series, and especially in the background lore. Tamriel alone, the continent where each of the games in the series has taken place to date, has multiple races of Men, Mer (Elves), and the BeastRaces. Of them, 10 are playable, while some two dozen more appear or are mentioned in background lore, some of which are extinct. Literally all have distinct cultures (mostly a Culture Chop Suey of real world cultures), with those that get more screen time being much more fleshed out.
    • Further, Men and Mer are not two single races, but four extant races (Imperials, Nords, Bretons, and Redguards for the Men and Altmer/High Elves, Dunmer/Dark Elves, Bosmer/Wood Elves, and Orsimer/Orcs for the Mer) each with enough similarities to to fit within the category, but many differences as well.
    • From what is seen in the games themselves, the Beast Races tend to get stuck with a Planet of Hats treatment. However, the lore behind each gives them significant cultural characterization as well. To note:
      • The Khajiit have numerous sub-species, ranging from some who look like house cats to several varieties of humanoids to large quadrupeds who can be used as Beasts Of Battle. A Khajiit's sub-species is determined not by the sub-species of it's parents, but the phases of Nirn's two moons under which it is born. Thus, the moons hold major significance in Khajiit culture. Khajiit are also known for their merchant caravans, propensity for Moon Sugar and Skooma addiction, and the fact that their language has no word for "rules".
      • The Argonians are perhaps the most outright alien of the playable races. They are hit hardest by Fantastic Racism, due to the Reptiles Are Abhorrent beliefs of the rest of Tamriel. They also come across, to outsiders at least, as CloudCuckoolanders in part because they tend to "live in the now", and their language has no past or future tense verbs. They worship and are connected to the Hist, sentient and possibly Omniscient trees found in their native home of Black Marsh. Through the Hist, all Argonians are connected to a degree in a Hive Mind-like fashion. (Though those who've lived outside of Black Marsh for extended times tend to become more individualistic and adapt to the other cultures of Tamriel quite well.)
    • For more information on the races of The Elder Scrolls series, please see The Elder Scrolls - Races sub-pages.
  • The first two WarCraft games didn't give much detail of any culture, but appeared to have homogeneous cultures with orcs, trolls and their allies all on one side, and humans, elves, and others on the other. Warcraft 3 changed this, with multiple factions within each group - the orchish Horde was primarily split between those who wanted to go back to their more-or-less peaceful shamanic roots, those who were still under the influence of demons and wanted to conquer the world, and those who weren't under any influence but still wanted to fight everyone else because it was fun. Meanwhile the Alliance had splits between those who just wanted to defend themselves and rebuild, and those who wanted to dominate the world and punish the orcs for attacking, plus a previously unseen race of elves was revealed to be closely related to the earlier ones and didn't quite get along with anyone. By the time of World of Warcraft, practically every region has multiple factions fighting each other, and many of the major plot lines revolve around infighting and leadership battles within a faction rather than an external Big Bad.
  • Zig-zagged in Stellaris, there is considerable variation in most species portraits and the Leaders or Planetary population tabs will usually display a wide range of skin/scale/fur colors, but each FTL-empire starts out as a One World Order whose population all share the same ethical values, including either human empire.note  It is possible for populations to change ethics but more likely on colonies than homeworlds. Pre-FTL species are implied to comprise a number of planetary nation-states but become unified after uplift, discovering FTL on their own, or invasion of course. Further, while it's possible to place multiple species on the same planet, the only way for two species to share the same homeworld is through the "Subterranean Civilization" event chain. The Utopia DLC introduces a trait (Syncretic Evolution) that lets the player start with a second, dim-witted but strong species on their homeworld to act as menial laborers.
  • A major plot point in Sword of the Stars. Humans thought that all Hivers were hostile and attacked them in retalliation for bombing Earth. Upon finding out that there are as many Hiver cultures as there are Queens and they were badically attacked by the spacebug version of Jason Vorhees, they immediately throw down their guns. Another faction, the Suul'kha, are basically Card-Carrying Villain versions of the normally peaceful Liir-their name basically means "Those Excommunicated for unforgivable crimes."
  • Hiveswap and the Hiveswap Friendsim expand on the hemospectrum of Alternia, introduced in Homestuck (see below). There is more a focus on the vastly diverse subcultures that develop in different parts of the hemospectrum, and how they interact. Eastern Alternia is now more explicitly likened to Japan, as it is mentioned specifically in regards to manga, anime and hentai, but also solidifying the heterogenous nature of Alternian society.
  • Halo: Eayn, homeworld of the Jackals/Kig-Yar, has various landmasses across its surface associated with distinct subspecies of its denizens, the Kig-Yar being noted as one of the more genetically diverse sapient species known to humanity or the Covenant.
  • Riseof Legends has the planet Aio with three very different cultures, the Vinci are the Italy of the Renaissance with Steampunk technology based on the designs of Leonardo Da Vinci. Then there are the Alin, An "Arabian Nights" Days-style civiliation with copious amounts of mythological creatures added to the mix. Finally the Cuotl, Mayincatec with advanced technology granted by their alien gods.
  • In Sins of a Solar Empire, each faction split in two, the baseline and a Renegade Splinter Faction of radicals who underwent a dramatic paradigm shift, leading to such things as renegade Advent putting aside their old grudge and joining forces with loyalist TEC to fight the still-aggressive loyalist Advent and vengeful renegade TEC, and negotiating with renegade Vasari who want to help humanity run for it before everyone be kill by demons but having to fight through the dickish-as-always loyalist Vasari who want to use the squabbling humans as a buffer between them and the persuing Eldritch Abomination.

    Webcomics 
  • Astray 3: The world of the comic is quite rich — we've seen two cultures as of yet, with their own languages, foods and customs.
  • The Cyantian Chronicles: Cyantia is inhabited by at least a dozen different species, both natives and immigrants created from human and animal genes. The immigrants compose four major nations (the Mounty Kingdom, the Alpine territories, the Wolf City-States, and the Fox Empire) and numerous less powerful ones. The natives tend to keep to themselves.
  • In Dominic Deegan, crossing over with Our Werewolves Are Different, the people of the Winter Archipelago have several different subgroups—werewolves vs. spellwolves, the nobility vs. commoners, young vs. old. When Mookie had one storyline focusing on the nobility, followed by another storyline focusing on their equivalent of wild college kids, he was accused of being "inconsistent" when it was really this trope.
  • Marooned: Mars has three sapient races with varied lifestyles.
  • Leif & Thorn: A major theme, as the comic not only deals with cultural differences between two of its fantasy countries, but ethnic differences within each country.
  • In Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger the eponymous character once informed the Worf stand-in just how inaccurate his idea of his own species was.
  • Homestuck: Alternia, the home planet of the troll race. The trolls are shown to have a diverse culture, with vast differences between the castes that emerge from the "hemospectrum", their variety in blood color and associated physiological traits and societal standing.
    • The purplebloods are the most homogenous group among the trolls, but only because they differ so much from every other group: They are pretty much through the bank killer clowns and members of a religious juggalo cult.
    • While most of the troll kids seem to come from a culture that is very similar to the USA, special mention goes to Damara Megido for being from "eastern Alternia". She speaks in Japanese letters, wears a school uniform and has comparatively thin eyes.
  • Outsider: Most of the Loroi worlds are culturally and ethnically diverse, as the various populations and cultures that arose there over their pre-spaceflight history still retain varying degrees of presence in the modern day.
    • Deinar is largely divided between three broad racial groups; the tall and fair Barraid of the western highlands, the tall, dark-skinned Tadan of the central river valleys and the short, wiry and far-scattered Login. These were further divided between multiple nation-states, which warred extensively with each other and remain distinct cultural entities into the modern day.
    • The Loroi of Perrein, who are generally noted to be of medium height and with darker hair and larger ears than others of their kind, are divided between the ghost-pale people of the dense lowland jungles and the very dark-skinned natives of the highlands that reach above the planet's otherwise omnipresent fungal canopy.
    • The oceanic world of Taben is split between the natives of the dwarf continent of Beleri, who tend to light skin, yellow eyes, thinness and large noses and have a long tradition of exploration and marine raiding, and those of the Amenal archipelago, who have darker skin and developed an advanced, sophisticated culture early in the planet's history. It does not have a global government like the other Loroi worlds, being split between the Belerid nation and a federation of independent island-states in Amenal.
  • In TwoKinds, only humans are shown to have a monoculture. Keidrans have different cultures based on what tribes they belong to (tigers are rather egalitarian whereas wolves are quite stringently patriarchal, just for one example), and Basitins have two variants that take after dwarves and orcs; the strictly-regimented, armor-clad Easterners and the tattoo-covered, hedonistic, colorfully-garmented Westerners, respectively. Naturally, they all hate each other.

    Web Original 
  • World's Greatest Adventures: Mars is depicted as this; Warlord Cassius is only the dictator of the Tharsis Quadrangle, with other regions of Mars being nations unrelated to the Tharsians who have shown no bellicose intentions.
  • How to Write Badly Well skewers the concept of Planet of Hats by asking if the Ewoks who lived on the other side of Endor from the Death Star wear business suits and read news articles about native exploitation.
  • RWBY: Remnant is a Constructed World that blends all sorts of cultures together including French, Greek, and Chinese. Many characters have names from different languages (with the four leads Ruby Rose, her sister Yang Xiao Long, Weiss Schnee, and Blake Belladonna being prime examples) without any apparent correlation to their kingdom of origin, ethnic background, etc. The animesque mukokuseki art-style makes it impossible to tell the diference between races anyway, if Remnant even has racial differences besides "human or Faunus" (which is blurred by some Faunus being half-human).

    Western Animation 
  • In Ben 10: Omniverse, we finally get to see the planet Anur Transyl. In addition to Transylians (Frankenstrike and Dr. Viktor's species), it's also inhabited by Loboans (werewolves), Thep Khufans (mummies), and Ectonurites (Ghostfreak's species). On top of that, it used to have a vampire race called Vladats, until they were destroyed in a war with the Transylians, who got sick of being used for sources of slave labor and Life Energy. All There in the Manual previously gave each race a different planet of origin (all named Anur Something, so presumably in the same system.) but the show has them all coexisting on one world.
  • Masters of the Universe: Both Eternia and Etheria are inhabited by a variety of cultures and species. The 2018 remake She-Ra and the Princesses of Power also presents several kingdoms with different cultures and multiple humanoid species; for example, the kingdom of Plumeria is a forest inhabited by New Age hippies, while the Kingdom of Snows is mountainous and gelid and home to a more sophisticated culture.
  • On Rick and Morty, the title characters and Summer visit a planet controlled by a Hive Mind named Unity, who happens to be Rick's ex. When some of her alien hosts are freed, they pretty much immediately descend into a race war based on the shape of their nipples.
  • Steven Universe: The Gem Homeworld and its colonies have a very diverse Hive Caste System — we've seen over twenty different types (not even counting kinds made by fusion) with tremendous variance in size, shape, and color, and there are doubtlessly many more. They're also divided into three (formerly four) courts depending on which Diamond they serve, though it's not clear how much difference this makes culturally.

Alternative Title(s): Multicultural Alien Race

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