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Have you ever seen a stealthy minotaur assassin? Of course not... they're just THAT good at hiding!

"I was looking over that Star Wars: The High Republic art, and there's like... a wookie, but with clothes on, and a lightsaber. I think I hate this. I'd feel the same way if I saw a bear with a katana. It's just unnecessary. We're talking about a creature that dismembers opponents when they lose at space checkers."

A character in an otherwise typical fantasy game/story whose profession seems at odds with their nature or appearance as assumed by tradition or the audience, like a dwarven ranger or an ogre engineer. Sometimes this is for sheer game balance and variety, while other times it's lampshaded as being appropriate if seen in the right light. After all, even if Hobbits don't make the best warriors, that doesn't mean Hobbit warriors don't exist. Somebody's gotta protect the Hobbit village, right? Likewise, with the forests you find above and around the Dwarves' mountain halls, it makes sense to have a few guys who know their way around them.

Occasionally this is the reason the Plucky Comic Relief seems so inept; their interests are just utterly out of step with their natural aptitudes.

Compare Stereotype Flip, Power Stereotype Flip. May stem from Klingon Scientists Get No Respect.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • ½ Prince: There is a reason they are called "Odd Squad".
    Prince: An elven warrior... a troublemaker thief... a monstrous beast as a priest... a little necromancer girl who is scared of skeletons and steals my meatbun...
  • Cyandog in the Medabots anime has a robot body designed for shooting attacks, but his A.I. is derived from a Monkey medal that is intended to use melee attacks. As a result, he suffers from Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy-grade inaccuracy whenever he gets into a fight. Later he gets a melee weapon... and still retains his inaccuracy. He's just incompetent.
  • 3 out of 5 of the main character's party members in Goblin Slayer break the traditional mold one way or another:
    • The titular character, Goblin Slayer, is very well-versed in dirty fighting, trap-setting, and other out-of-the-box shenanigans. He's the Rogue of the party, yet he's very well-armored for a Rogue, unlike the typical 'nimble and lightly-armored' stereotype of the class.
    • Dwarves are traditionally magically inept, and although Dwarven spellcasters have become more common in other franchises in recent times, typically they wield Rune Magic, and Runes are often described as a piece of technology to reliably capture and channel magic. Dwarf Shaman instead is a real spellcaster, invoking the elemental spirits of the world to aid him and work his magic.
    • Lizard Priest wears heavy garb and is capable of spellcasting by praying to his gods, but he's more commonly found as the party's frontline fighter and is physically the strongest. He's Lizard Paladin for all intents and purposes.
    • Priestess and High Elf Archer avert this, although there's something to be said regarding how Priestess uses her magic...

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering has a lot of these...
    • Including Rhino Monks and a slightly more probable Ogre Samurai.
    • They also features an Ogre Savant, with the flavor text, "He's an oxymoron."
    • Goblin soldiers, in a setting where goblins are generally characterized by total lack of cooperation.
    • A surprisingly large number of Zombie Clerics. Similarly a couple zombie Druids.
    • Death Charmer and Pit Raptor, the improbable worm and bird mercenaries. Not humanoid worm and bird people, just inexplicably for-hire animals. One pays the trainer, possibly?
    • The Time Spiral block is full of these, by design.
  • World of Warcraft: The card game adaptation of World Of Warcraft featured a two headed Ogre ninja, Dagg'um Ty'gor. The accompanying illustration shows a gigantic ogre holding a pair of branches for camouflage.
  • The Pokémon Trading Card Game has a year's worth of these in the Delta Species, Holon Phantoms, and Dragon Frontier expansions. These sets featured "Delta" Pokémon, creatures with mutated types (e.g., a Charizard would become Metal and Lightning instead of Fire and Flying).
  • In Munchkin, your class and race are drawn randomly, so might get combinations that don't make much sense, like Orc Wizard.

    Comic Books 
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The original concept owes a lot to this trope. Turtles aren't exactly renowned either for their speed or agility. So what should we do, obviously? Turn four of them into Ninja Martial Artists! Trained by an intensely honorable and noble rat of all things.
  • Rat Queens has Orc Dave, who is a burly brutish-looking orc. He's the healer of the Four Daves.

    Films — Animation 
  • Kung Fu Panda:
    • Po himself is quite a good example of this trope, a chubby panda who becomes a powerful Kung Fu warrior.
      Tai Lung: He's a panda! You're a PANDA! What are you gonna do, big guy? Sit on me?
    • Two members of the elite Furious Five are a viper and a praying mantis, who kick all sorts of ass in spite of having no limbs (or fangs!) and being three inches tall, respectively. Even better, Mantis takes the role of The Big Guy in the Five-Man Band, being a Pintsized Powerhouse.
    • Master Oogway is one of the greatest Kung Fu masters; while the "wise old master" stereotype is commonly associated with turtles, "mighty warrior" certainly isn't.
    • There was also a concept for an Elephant Ninja, though that was not used in the movie. It can be seen in the movie's artbook.
  • Rémy of Ratatouille. A rat doesn't seem the most obvious choice for becoming a gourmet chef.... Justified that even among rats, Remy has an advanced sense of taste and smell, which ties in with his passion for food.
  • Zootopia centers around Judy Hopps, a rabbit who trains to become a police officer. She is constantly underestimated, not only because of her size, but because rabbits are typically associated with being cute and non-adventurous. The film ends with Nick Wilde, a fox, also joining the police force, despite his species being associated with sneakiness and dishonesty.

  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • The average hobbit is generally not fond of adventuring, burglary, or heroic renown, even though their latent abilities imply they'd be especially good at it. Most derivations are based upon the Bagginses (who prefer sneaking and cleverness) or Pippin Took (a more moderate warrior type). Wandering "wild" hobbits are still mentioned in the narration, along with a comment that they may be more common than their civilized Shire cousins might think, but none are actually met throughout the story. They seem to be more like survivalist vagabonds than adventure-seekers, however.
    • The very plotline of The Hobbit is a bunch of dwarves, apparently not much good at anything except fighting or running away, who got in a group to do nothing other than sneakily steal treasure from an effectively unfightable dragon. (In the book, they're not even good fighters — they don't even have weapons until after they recover the troll treasure, and they certainly don't win a lot of fights.)
  • Horton from Horton Hears a Who!. The title elephant character must exercise a great deal of delicacy and gracefulness in order to protect a micro universe which he discovers. Same thing with Horton again in Horton Hatches the Egg.
  • Discworld:
    • It may be easier to list the cases where race matches profession on the Discworld. Through the series we see vampire photographers, troll musicians, orc footballers (and bookworms), goblin savants, policemen of every race under the sun and hiding from it, and even a girl wizard.
    • While Discworld plays with Our Dwarves Are All the Same a lot, they still tend to fall into a lot of the common stereotypes — hard-working, greedy, serious-minded, dangerous when drunk, etc. Casanunda (a Casanova expy) is a dwarven con artist and dashing swordsman who channels his race's single gender into a seducer with hints of Anything That Moves.
    • Dwarfs are almost always miners and smiths, even in Ankh-Morpork, but (aside from the aforementioned Casanunda) there's a dwarf alchemist (Cheery Littlebottom, who later becomes a forensic scientist), a dwarf fashion designer (Madam Sharn), and a dwarf playwright (Hwel, who's not just any playwright, he's Discworld's equivalent of Shakespeare). The playwright is especially notable because dwarfs are described as a plain-speaking folk who are not used to metaphors and other forms of literary creativity.
    • There are notably no male Witches. They have a word for such a thing (Warlock) but no-one has ever met one or knows what they look like or even what sound they make.
    • You wouldn't expect zombies to be particularly smart or rule-abiding, yet the most terrifyingly competent lawyer in Ankh-Morpork is a zombie, Mr. Slant. The rest of Ankh-Morpork's body of lawyers are terrified of him — not because he's a zombie, but because he's been practicing for so long that he has unmatched expertise in the law and a formidable array of connections, favors, and blackmail to draw on. (Oh, and he wrote most of the law books everyone uses.)
    • The implications for employers have even been explored. If you're looking to hire someone for heavy labor you want a Troll or Golem, since both are much stronger and more resilient than the squishier races. On the other hand if you ARE a Troll or Golem you don't have any more reason to want that kind of job than someone of a different species would. (And as Gladys demonstrates, golems make pretty good secretaries/personal assistants too.)
    • Chrysoprase, a trollish mob boss is an unusually bright addition to the race.
    • Mr. Thunderbolt is a troll lawyer and a very well-respected one.
  • In Dragaera, Dragons are known as arrogant warriors who are ultra-ambitious and if angered, are direct (and brutal) about it. Kragar, who was booted out of group, has no ambition, preferring to be a Servile Snarker, and is the epitome of stealthy, being an assassin with a Stealth Hi/Bye ability so powerful that it's outside of his control.
  • In The War Gods, the Hradani are akin to Orcs. They even have a Tolkienish history of being a race of High-Men before wizardry twisted them into a race of berserkers. Bazhell, the main character is akin to an Orc Paladin chosen by the god of Justice. His best friend, Brandark, is a Bard and scholar.
  • The Legend of Drizzt started as this. Oh, drow are well-suited to fast, stealthy fighting, but when Drizzt was created, rangers in Dungeons & Dragons had to be good-aligned... and up till then you were as likely to find a good demon as a good drow.
  • Moles in Redwall are stolid, salt-of-the-earth types, specializing in tunneling, cooking and building. As of Sable Quean, we have Axtel Sturnclaw, giant-hammer-wielding Bloodwrath-using mole badass.
  • Discussed in Counselors and Kings. Akhlaur notes that "they" always said that elves don't make good necromancers... then snarkily observes that "they" obviously never met his very elvish, very necromancer Starscream, Kiva.
  • In the Forgotten Realms novels there is an Ogre Paladin (whose dying moment of awesome manages to impress Ao the Overgod enough to be the only mortal ever get to see It and have his dying prayer that a dead companion be revived answered) and a recurring Dwarf Druid created by R. A. Salvadore.
  • There are a few Hutt Jedi in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, which runs rather counter to their reputation as sleazy gangster slugs. At least one of those Hutt Jedi fell to The Dark Side, though. There was also a Hutt Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic...and while "politician" might not seem such an out-of-place occupation for a sleazy gangster slug, Chancellor Blotus was known for being noble and utterly incorruptible, and one of the Republic's finest leaders in its 25,000 year history.
  • Spells, Swords, & Stealth: When an adventuring party dies in front of them, four friends have to take their places. They initially try to take up traditional roles—the half-orc becomes a barbarian, the town guard becomes a paladin, the educated noble becomes a wizard, and the gnome becomes a rogue. However, they are all rather terrible at these jobs, and soon end up in non-traditional roles; the half-orc has an excellent memory and becomes the wizard, the guard is incredibly stealthy once he takes off his heavy armor and becomes the rogue, the noble has some serious repressed anger issues and becomes the barbarian, and the gnome is a devout follower of a minor god and becomes said god's paladin.
  • Children of the Nameless: Davriel summoned one of the most infamous succubi in existence to be his accountant. After she spends a few days failing to seduce him, she demands he explain why he's not using her talents to destabilize his enemies or anything like that. He then shows her copies of all her previous demonic contracts, and praises her on how her incredible Exact Words and Loophole Abuse screwed all her previous masters. He correctly deduced that she'd be great at paperwork.
    Miss Highwater: I'm not ashamed of what I am or how I look. But... it's nice to be recognized for something else. A thing I've always prided myself on, but virtually every other person—mortal and demon alike—has ignored. So no, I don't think Crunchgnar is completely right. Perhaps we were all created for a specific purpose, but that doesn't prevent us from finding other purposes as well.
  • Aesir: Cross Wars: Azrael's Myriad Might is the Trickster, giving him an affinity for underhanded tactics and being outright irritating to fight. Ironically, he's also an angel.

    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons, and most other fantasy roleplaying games, allow players to create all kinds of characters embodying this trope.
    • An old joke regarding character creation involves an "orc bard", where the player admits he just wanted to be able to hit people with a guitar. The counter to this is that a member of a primitive or outright illiterate race is actually more likely to maintain a strong song and oral storytelling tradition. It's not called an axe for nothing...
    • WOTC had fun with this one April: Humorous PC Portraits, including a Dwarf Ninja.
    • One of the prepackaged miniature sets they released has a Halfling Barbarian... which works brilliantly with a couple of the settings that feature Halfling Barbarians as the central example of the race, just to flip common expectations. Dark Sun has them as cannibals and Eberron has tribes of dinosaur-riding halfling barbarians.
    • Ogre Mages in nearly any setting embody this trope. There's no point in being big and brutish when you can turn most adventurers into human popsicles. Atypically, they're a separate species rather than a subclass - they're based on Oni, which tend to be more magical than traditional ogres.
    • Bugbears, despite being the biggest and toughest of the goblinoid races, are also quite stealthy, and their favored class is Rogue.
    • During one of their web events back in 3rd edition, one of the characters created was a succubus paladin. The backstory they gave her emphasized just how much her life sucked; among other things, she has to incur Level Drain if she wants to use her holy spear.
    • The early 3rd Edition book "Hero Builder's Guidebook" set aside a section arguing for this trope, providing ideas on how to present odd race/class combinations to make more memorable characters rather than perfectly optimized murder-hobos. The book provided multiple character concepts for every race/class combo except for those expressly forbidden by the base rules. One example was the aforementioned (half-)orc bard, in this case one that specialized in funerary chants and mourning songs to honor the dead and fallen heroes of the tribe (though amusingly, the chants apparently boil down to "Hey Heaven, a real badass is on the way so you'd better not piss him off").
    • 3rd Edition also introduced the concept of nonassociated class levels seemingly to encourage this trope. Basically, monsters could take class levels and those levels would add to their Challenge Rating - but if it was a class that fell into this (such as a big strong giant taking levels as a Squishy Wizard), then it added only half as much until its levels in that class exceeded its racial HD (at which point the creature is basically less "a giant with magic" and more "a magic-user who happens to be a giant"). For instance, a frail mind flayer with eight levels in fighter is the same CR as one with four levels in psion. Various sourcebooks abused the above rules a fair bit; for instance, Exemplars of Evil has fire giants with levels in ninja and wu jen.
    • Pre-3rd Edition, meanwhile, forcefully averted this trope. In the earliest games, for non-humans race was class (meaning all elves had the same basic abilities), whilst in Advanced D&D you had certain classes forbidden from being certain races. But for a tiny handful of exceptions that came later, for example, only humans could be The Paladin. Even some wizard specializations were limited by race, so that while elves could be mages, they couldn't be necromancers (gnomes took it so far that gnome mages could only be illusionists).
      • AD&D did actually zig-zag this trope a little. Yes, race did prohibit class access as a general rule, but they did in some sourcebooks advise Dungeon Masters to change race-class combos for their setting. Furthermore, as their library of settings expanded, they even began putting out alternative takes on races who could have different classes. note 
    • The AD&D setting Al-Qadim allows for dwarf sha'ir,note  lets gnomes be any of the local wizard varieties,note  and allows for goblin/hobgoblin/half-orc rangers, kobold and lizardfolk bards, and ogre thieves and sha'ir.
    • The reincarnate spell brings a character back from the dead as a random race, so it's possible to die a half-orc barbarian and be reincarnated as an elf, gnome, halfling, or kobold.
    • 3rd edition wasn't as restrictive with race/class combinations as 2nd or 1st were, but the racial ability bonus and penalty system certainly gave some (often fairly strong) incentives to stick to type. For example, half-orcs, with their bonus to Strength and penalties to Intelligence/Charisma, were naturally suited for combat classes but at a notable disadvantage for arcane spellcasting ones.
    • 4th edition fully embraced this trope, going so far as to abandon the traditional Sacred Cow of negative racial ability attributes, under the philosophy it was more fun if a certain race was well-suited for a specific set of classes, but could still be quite adequate at anything else it chose. The only races with any specific negative traits are Small-sized ones, who suffer from restricted melee weapon choices and are thusly slightly sub-par when picked for melee-focused classes. That said, given the way 4e's combat works, it's still quite rare for races to branch out of their focus.
    • One of the early 4th Edition official figures was a female dragonborn rogue that wore a suit of shiny, golden plate armor, while dual-wielding a dagger and a hand crossbow.
    • You can make a pixie fighter with a 13 or higher in strength at level one in the 4th edition game.
  • Hackmaster, mostly a parody of AD&D, is a bit of a send-up of fantasy roleplaying in general.
    • One subrace for player characters is the gnome titan, a member of a group of gnomes who follow the Gnomish God of War, and are trained from birth to be incredibly bad-ass warriors and battle mages. They still cling to their Cute/Comic Relief origins but in a decidedly twisted sort of way... one racially-specific magic item is the rightly feared +3 Gnomish Boots of Groin Stomping.
    • There's also the terrifyingly powerful Pixie Lich, of all the unlikely combinations.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Ork Kommandos. Orks are, as a rule, the loudest and least subtle species in the galaxy (their word for firepower comes from the sound it makes), so of course them having stealth units is regarded as a joke — in true 40K fashion, one quote features the response to a soldier of the Imperial Guard trying to tell his ignorant superior about an encounter with them, and the poor trooper was executed for making stuff up. Of course, Kommandos are all the more effective at their jobs because some people think they don't exist. They're considered dangerously deviant even by their fellow Orks. The Kommandos wear camo uniforms, train and even have a conventional chain of command. Exceptionally un-Orky, and only their ability to slaughter their opponents has kept them safe from a preventive set of lobotomies (that said, they're still orks: many a raid has been cut short because one yelled "SURPRISE, 'UMIE!" or decided to blow stuff up before they got the target).
    • The Tau are known in the meta-game as the ultimate ranged army, their pulse weapons beating out all other races in terms of sheer firepower and range. Balance therefore dictates that their ranged units suck pickles at melee; their melee attacks are so pitiful they could just be listed as "lolno" and even if that wasn't the case, they don't have the constitution to go into melee. This is why the Tau's allied races — the Kroot, the Vespid and Human allies called Gue'vesa — have stats that lean towards melee (or at are least supposed to). So a Tau who not only gears himself towards melee combat over ranged, but actually prefers it, sounds like a recipe for disaster. The operative word being "sounds". Hello, Commander Farsight...
      • To a lesser extent there are also Tau Commanders with the Onager Gauntlet, a Tau version of the Power Fist, and Breacher teams, who aren't exactly melee specialists, but their guns are terrifyingly incredibly short range.
  • Warhammer Fantasy has Ogre Maneaters, ogres who've survived mercenary service in various armies around the world and kept the dress. Thus you can have a former Imperial soldier, a pirate captain (with a Gnoblar as the parrot) and a ninja. Yes, an ogre ninja.
  • Pathfinder all but revels in this. This is especially apparent in the "NPC Codex" Sourcebook, which gives examples of every class in just about every race.
    • Their iconic Ranger is in fact a Dwarf.
    • Half-orcs no longer get a penalty to Charisma, and in fact can get a bonus to the stat, so half-orcs can actually make pretty good bards.
    • Their thirteenth Adventure Path, Wrath of the Righteous, has no-doubt resulted in a lot of tiefling paladins and clerics of the setting's good-aligned deities. The coverart of part 1, The Worldwound Incursion, also features a half-orc paladin who is one of the Path's prominent NPCs.
  • In BattleTech units are sorted by weight class and can generally be sorted into the Fragile Speedster light units, Jack-of-All-Stats medium and (possibly Lightning Bruiser) heavy units, and Mighty Glacier Assault units. Most of the time, a light 'Mech is a scout or possibly harasser of some description, and an Assault 'Mech will more often than not carry a weight of weaponry and armor equivalent to the mass of an entire smaller 'Mech. Then there are oddballs like the Urbanmech, a slow-as-molasses light 'Mech with a BFG and as much armor as it can carry...which isn't much. More iconic is the Charger, which is an Assault-weight scout 'Mech. At 80 tons it should be able to carry more than just five tiny lasers and mount more armor than a medium 'Mech's protection, but it moves at the speed of a 'Mech 30 tons lighter and subsequently makes use of what it has. The game's famously extensive 'mech customisation system also allows for some creative subversions of this trope: In some versions it's quite possible to equip an aptly-named Flea light 'mech with an Extended Range Particle Projector Cannon to give it an offensive punch well above its weight class, albeit at the cost of stripping off several other weapons and incurring a painfully long cooldown period.
  • One of the characters in an expansion for Red Dragon Inn is Serena the Pious, an orc paladin who was Raised By Humans. Her inherently aggressive, chaotic nature is constantly at odds with her attempts to stick to her paladin code, represented by giving her a Karma Meter that affects (and is affected by) some of her cards and actions.
  • Bleak World has it so that any class can join any organization, but some organizations were clearly made for a class. Examples include a Natural Mummy (who's racial description states they exist working outside of the Powers That Be) joining the organization, "Agents of the Higher" which works very closely with the Powers That Be. For a more traditional example, it is entirely possible for a Goblin to become a member of the Guardians, which are essentially Paladins.
  • Shadowrun almost seems to take glee in this. While the non-humans vary a bit in stat caps, almost every role can be done by every race with some creativity and use of the right augmentations, and several official adventures and characters break with racial stereotypes. That said, there are limits to everything.
  • The Legend System has a bit of this, although you can avert it with careful use of track switching and the right feats. For example, elves (+2 to Dexterity and one mental stat of your choice, -2 to Constitution) make extremely poor monks and barbarians, because both of those classes depend on Constitution for their Key Defensive Modifier, and barbarians also need it to determine rage duration. However, one track from another class can be taken for free, and there are two Rogue defensive tracks that let you use either Charisma or Wisdom for your KDM (unless Wisdom was already your Key Offensive Modifier - you aren't allowed to double-dip), and there's a feat (which anyone can take as their racial bonus feat) which requires multiclassing and lets you pick any of your tracks and revise every stat mentioned in it to a different one. Meaning that an elf barbarian can put their free-floating mental bonus into Wisdom or Charisma, swap in either "I Am Ten Ninjas" for the former or "Fortune's Friend" for the latter, and take Multiclass Flexibility for their Path of Rage so that rage duration is based on Dexterity rather than Constitution. And so on.

    Video Games 
  • The Baldur's Gate games, being based on 2nd edition Dungeons & Dragons, averts this as explained above. The player's race restricts what class they can choose (gnomes can only be illusionists if they practice magic, only humans can be The Paladin, etc).
    • One of the more popular party members from the second game is Mazzy Fentan, who basically exists to poke a somewhat bitter tongue at this by being as close to a paladin as it's possible for a Halfling to get without actually being a paladin.
    • In the first game Ardenor Crush, the leader of the hobgoblin mercenary group Chill, is mentioned to be unusually well-spoken and civil for a hobgoblin. It doesn't come up in the game, but actually he was an evil human fighter, who got killed and magically reincarnated into a hobgoblin.
    • There may not be any half-orc paladins in this series — but in the Enhanced Edition re-release, there is a half-orc blackguard, Dorn Il-Khan, in an edition of the game where the blackguard was implemented as a class kit (basically, a variant on the vanilla class) of the paladin. And No, this doesn't allow the PLAYER to select this combo. He's such a good example even the game refuses to let you copy it.
  • Most RPGs allow players to choose any class/race combination, so it's not really a notable trope for player characters unless there are restrictions that don't make sense. In many cases, the player can create a character who is unplayable or extremely challenging because of conflicting ability bonuses and penalties.
  • World of Warcraft has several class/race combinations that invoke a Willing Suspension of Disbelief.
    • Gnome and goblin characters can be Warriors and Death Knights; the game ignores the problem of how small characters have the same melee reach and running speed as the larger ones. Then again, many bosses are so humongous besides the player characters it hardly seems to matter.
    • Dwarf Rogues are notoriously rare among players, as dwarves might be crafty and industrious, but they value honesty and openness and they're too stocky to look convincing while sneaking. Nevertheless, the possibility exists. Note that the rogue class in Warcraft encompasses several specializations in lore; not just sneaking and assassination, but also brawling and fighting dirty, which dwarves know fine.
    • Draenei and tauren, however, cannot be rogues. Both races have strong cultural mores against deception, they are too big to be stealth-based combatants (at least the males) and have hooves for feet. Despite this, two Draenei rogues turn up as NPCs in Warlords of Draenor. A common joke is that tauren and draenei rogues do exist, they're just very good at what rogues are supposed to do, which is staying hidden. (Stealth animations for them always existed in the game since players can change appearance in a few ways.) Something akin to draenei rogues were introduced in Warlord of Draenor with the Rangari, who are a mix of pathfinders and hunters who stalk uncivilized wilds, it's not uncommon to find one that's stealthed or in camouflage when you approach.
    • Considering how tall orcs are, and how big and burly the male model is, orc rogues look out of place. Story-wise, however, they've been using subterfuge and assassination since they appeared on Azeroth. The franchise's most iconic rogue is the Half-Orc Garona Halforcen (tellingly, a female, with more slender proportions).
    • The ursine pandaren have the rogue class, despite being not just hefty but downright fat and as honor-bound as the Draenei. They are, however, very agile, masters of martial arts and their canon rogues are closer to scouts and infiltrators. One could also make the case that they're excellent at sneaking due to their paw-like feet.
    • Priests fall under this too, not for who can be priests, but because all playable priests can be either holy (healing) or shadow (damage-dealing) whatever their culture's faith. In canon, most Alliance races follow the Light, the Forsaken look to the Forgotten Shadow, and trolls worship the Loa, who are somewhere in between; yet mechanically there is no distinction between them (there used to be a set of special racial abilities unique to each race, but these were removed in Wrath of the Lich King as they proved impossible to balance and mostly useless).
    • Warlords of Draenor brings us Dagg, an ogre follower for your garrison...who's a Subtlety rogue. Ogres are even larger and heftier than the playable races and aren't often known for their subtlety or stealth. It's implied that Dagg gets around his obvious size issue by pretending to be imprisoned in a cage (when you recruit him outside your garrison, he's actually wearing the cage in question), and possibly being more intelligent than he sounds. He's implied to have some relation to the aforementioned Dagg'um Ty'gor.
    • This also applies to professions: night elves are discouraged from learning mining and its related crafting professions (blacksmithing, engineering, and jewelcrafting) since their starting zone has no mining nodes (and until Cataclysm, their hub city had no trainers for them). However, any character can learn any profession, even though in lore they may be culturally averse to some.
    • In some cases, this can work to the player's advantage. Kul Tiransnote  have a racial ability that lets them punch targets so hard it knocks them back. Kul Tiran Rogues can follow up stuns with a Haymaker to send enemy players flying off a cliff, while casters (especially Mages) can knock physical attackers out of melee range.
  • Warcraft II has Ogre Magi, who while inferior to the dedicated spellcasters (the Magi and the Death Knight) are capable of the same supporting spellcaster role as the Paladin, while also being an equal in combat.
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft:
    • The card Ogre Ninja reuses the art from Dagg'um Ty'gor, still as visible as ever and with a 50% chance to attack the wrong target.
    • Gnomes tend to follow practicality and science (they can be priests, but it's implied to be more of a 'medical science meets arcane magic' sort of deal). Meanwhile, Commander Rhyssa is a gnomish paladin, riding a holy-infused Mechanostrider.
  • Mass Effect 2: There aren't really any surprises in your party: a quarian mechanic, a krogan berserker, an asari biotic... The real surprise is Thane, not in that he is a drell assassin, but in that he was trained by a group of hanar. The hanar train drell as assassins specifically because they know how ill-suited they are to the job (poison tentacles notwithstanding).
    • There's also the In-Universe fictional character of Blasto, a hanar Spectre who speaks in parodies of action movie quotes ("Enkindle THIS!"). The elcor have also put on a production of Hamlet, which seems like a horrible idea, since all elcor speak in an emotionless monotone voice and convey emotion through pheromones that only other elcor can detect. For everyone else's benefit, they simply state the emotion of their next sentence before they say it. No wonder the play ends up running for 14 hours.
      • It turns out the director and producer is a human who wants audiences to "judge Hamlet by his actions and not his emotions." The elcor themselves (or at least the actors) actually think the idea is pretty stupid.
        Advertisement: Insincere endorsement: You have not experienced Shakespeare until you have heard him in the voice of elcor.
    • ME2 does indulge in some Square Power Source Round Class, however, most notably with Thane. The "sniper" class available to player characters, the Infiltrator, is tech-based, but unlike Garrus (who uses tech powers), Thane is a biotic.
  • Moria prevented this trope. Angband permits it, but says they aren't recommended.
  • NetHack allows you to play as an orc wizard, apparently because the race is a bit of a Scrappy among players due to its poor starting equipment. Dwarves in NetHack will always fall in this trope. A proper dwarvish role like miner or blacksmith doesn't exist. The only roles dwarves can play are Archeologist, Caveman and Valkyrie. None of these is very dwarvish. Other role/race combinations like elven Ranger or orcish Rogue are more appropriate.
  • Ancient Domains of Mystery lets the player mix and match races and classes freely. Note that some combinations (like a Troll Wizard) will be MUCH harder than others. On the other hand, a Troll Healer is considered a very good build for beginners, due to the racial healing rate boost stacking with the Healing skill, as well as obligatory Literacy (most Trolls are too dumb to have this skill and must obtain it through a quest). It helps that Healers are usually pitifully weak, while Trolls are anything but. The only problem with this combination is the enormous food intake (luckily, all Trolls start with the Food Preservation skill to slightly mitigate their monstrous appetite).
  • Dungeon Crawl also allows any combination of race and class. One notable enemy example is Deep Elf Blademasters, as player character Deep Elves are a Squishy Wizard race; frail, weak, and horrible at learning combat skills.
  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura has Jormund the dwarf wizard, who, due to being a dwarf, has a natural penalty to his magical aptitude and must expend twice as much energy when casting a spell. There's also Jayna Stiles, a half-elf who has none of her races' natural talent for magic and decided to pursue a career as a technologist healer instead.
    • The player character can specialize in magic or technology regardless of race. An elf technologist may actually be a decent build depending on which tech schools you specialize in (you can rely on skills elves don't get penalties in), but the doubled mana cost of spells makes it hard to play your dwarf as a pure wizard.
  • The RPG/RTS hybrid series Warlords Battlecry allow the player to combine any race with any class, creating Orcish Tinkers or insectoid Bards.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • You can choose to invoke this throughout the series by selecting odd race and class combinations. An Altmer Barbarian? A Nord Conjurer? An Orc Healer?? All possible. (Skyrim would do away with pre-made classes for the player character, but you can still choose to play this way.)
    • In fact, the way levelling works in most of the games means that at some point you'll have to play this way because you can only get so good at the skillset you were originally going for. Observe.
    • Oblivion:
      • Brodras, a Bosmer (Wood Elf) member of the Leyawiin Fighters Guild wears a suit of heavy armor and also offers basic training in the Heavy Armor skill. He even lampshades this trope by saying: "No jokes about the Heavy Armor, eh? Not every Bosmer sneaks around with bows and arrows. I'm as tough and beefy as any Orc. Got it?"
      • There's an Orc assassin in the Dark Brotherhood. He is hardly sneaky, though: if you ask him to advise on your current target it tends to be "walk up to them and hit them with an axe!"
      • Trayvond the Redguard, who, when you first speak to him, lampshades that there aren't many Redguards in the Mage's Guild.
    • Skyrim:
      • Urag gro-Shub, the Orc librarian at the Mages College.
      • Also, to lesser extent, any Nord mages, such as Onmund, Tolfdir, Farengar Secret-Fire, Wuunferth the Unliving and, possibly, a Nord Dragonborn who would happen to choose a Magic-oriented play style. Like Orcs and Redguards, most Nords are proud warriors who think that magic is for the weak.
      • However, many of the (ancient Nordic) draugr use magic, and indeed, another Nord character states that the ancient Nords had absolutely no problems using magic— the disdain and suspicion many Nords have of magic-users is a more recent development. Heck, if you decide you want to go on a crime spree in Whiterun, one of the (Nord!) guards will shoot icicles at you, while all the rest shoot arrows or simply chase you and try to stab you.
      • A lesser example would be Legates Fasendil and Sevan Telendas, an Altmer (High Elf) and Dunmer (Dark Elf) respectively who wear heavy Legion armor and belong to the "Soldier" class. Almter are almost always mages, and while Dunmer are more versatile, they also tend to blend in more mage and/or thief-like skills.
      • There's a (terrible) Orc bard and a (not terrible) Orc master chef as targets in the Dark Brotherhood questline and Arnbjorn carries on the legacy of the Orc assassin from Oblivion. He's a Nord as well as a Werewolf.
      • Speaking of the Brotherhood, most of the members are sneaky assassin types as you'd expect, but then there's Festus Krex, a Destruction mage who very much believes There Is No Kill Like Overkill. Destruction magic tends to involve large, fiery explosions and loud, bright lightning bolts, not exactly prime material for discreet assassination unless you want to burn down the target's house and possibly the entire town along with it. One hopes he at least has the Illusion perk that makes all spells silent to others...
      • Falion, the wizard in Morthal whom nobody trusts, is a Redguard Conjurer. Redguards in Skyrim now start with small bonuses to Destruction and Alteration, but Conjuration is still seen as a wicked art for Daedra-worshippers and necromancers. Falion is, inarguably, a necromancer who has dealings with the Daedra, but he doesn't seem to be a bad person and will even cure you of vampirism if you ask him to.
  • Androids in Phantasy Star Online cannot use Techniques (PSO's version of magic). However, bored players have made FOcasts (magic-using Androids) using rare weapons that have Techniques as their special attack. By no means viable on higher difficulties, but when helping out a friend in lower difficulties it can be a fun Self-Imposed Challenge.
  • Rift, which lacks race/class limitations, has a rogue trainer NPC snarkily lampshade the trope:
    Djinaen Donox: Some claim that bahmi are too large for proper rogues, but then I stab them.
  • Neverwinter Nights:
    • One of the companions in Shadows of Undrentide is Xanos Messarmos, a half-orc barbarian/sorcerer. Which is actually not that strange as these are both brute-ish classes, although his spellcasting is slightly hindered by half-orcs taking a charisma penalty.
    • The item "Lyrics of the Lich" was created by Rachzin Pala, who became a bard after his transformation into a lich. Despite the oddity of his career choice, he became very successful through playing particularly mournful dirges at funerals for the rich and powerful.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2
    • Storm of Zehir has Belueth the Calm, a Neutral Evil aasimar rogue. Aasimar are humans with a good-aligned outsider for an ancestor; they have +2 Wis and Cha, and their favored class is paladin.
    • Grykk Bannersworn, a half-orc paladin, also from Storm of Zehir.
    • Gannayev-of-Dreams in Mask of the Betrayer, a hagspawn spirit shaman.
  • Team Fortress 2 has nine classes, all with specific purposes, so there tends to be a certain way to play, i.e. the Sniper stays at the back and hidden, the Medic hides behind team-mates and corners, the Heavy barges in, etc. But with a little bit of cleverness and the right weapon loadout, you can play them vastly differently.
    • Combat Medic: You'll want the Blutsauger or Crusader's Crossbow, the medigun, and the Ubersaw. Don't heal team-mates; just charge right at the enemy, and use another medic in tandem and the build-charge-on-hit Ubersaw to create an infinite chain of invulnerability.
    • Combat Engie: You'll want the Frontier Justice and/or Widowmaker, and the gunslinger mini-sentry. Instead of turtling behind a sentry nest you'll quickly deposit weak but fast and annoying mini-sentries to distract the enemies and get in their faces. With good aim the widow-maker will give you infinite ammo and no need to re-load, and the Frontier Justice will give you certain crits for every person your mini-sentry kills.
    • Forward Sniper: Really, anything, though the Huntsman and Jarate are favored, since they are short-to-mid range weapons which are devastating in the right hands. If the Jarate is being used, the Bushwhacka is also popular for its combo crit.
    • Ninja-Heavy: You'll probably want to equip the Tomislav, Sandvich and Gloves of Running Urgently. The GRU will allow you to flank and quickly show up in places the enemy doesn't expect. The Sandvich will keep you healed when you don't have a medic nearby. And the Tomislav, with its silent spin up, will allow you to pounce on unsuspecting victims when they turn corners.
    • Support Soldier: The Cow Mangler 6000, Concheror, and Disciplinary Action. The Cow Mangler is both ammo-independent and capable of shutting down engineer buildings, the Concheror allows the soldier to regenerate, and allows him to give his allies a speed boost and heal on attack, while the Disciplinary Action helps others move faster.
    • Demo-Knight: Give the Demoman the Charge'n Targe and a Sword (the Eyelander is a favorite) and you'll leave him with only his basic grenade launcher, but turn him into a melee force that can close the gap with any other class ridiculously fast, and with the Eyelander giving more speed and health for every enemy he decapitates, a well-played demoknight can become an unholy terror that will One-Hit Kill anything weaker than a heavy. (In fact, the Charge'n Targe and Eyelander took a lot of criticism for basically redefining the class when they came out among the very first alternate weapons.)
  • Guild Wars 2 has no class restrictions between any of its five races, so this tends to happen a lot.
    • It's possible for the hulking Charr and Norn to be stealthy thieves. Charr can also be spellcasters, despite that Elementalists led a Path of Inspiration that nearly damned Charr society in the backstory.
    • The knee-high Asura can be just as capable as warriors and guardians as the taller races.
    • Anyone can be an engineer, who utilize a variety of guns and steampunk devices... including the Sylvari and the otherwise technologically-backwards Norn. Nor is it just Gameplay and Story Segregation: Scarlet Briar, the antagonist of living story season 1, is a sylvari engineer lore-wise.
  • EverQuest only lets certain races play as certain classes. Only the more intelligent races could be Clerics or spellcasters. Only the Evil or Neutral races could be Necromancers and Shadowknights. Only Humans could be monks (until the first expansion, when the Iksar were introduced.) Only the more primitive races could be shaman (in fact, this was the only class Humans could NOT be.) Despite there being some race/class balance issues (Ogres were physically unstunnable from the front, as well as the strongest race, making them the best Warriors) the game worked all the classes well into each race's lore and culture quite nicely. EverQuest II did away with these restrictions, allowing any race to be any class. This lead to class/race combos like Ogre Assassins, Ogre Troubadors, Ogre Wizards, Dwarven Illusionists, Troll mages in general, Troll healers in general, Gnome Monks, Dwarf Monks, Halfling Monks, Ratonga Monks, Froglok Monks, Erudite Shaman, Erudite Berserkers, Erudite druids, and High Elf necromancers (after betraying Qeynos) with very little justification in the lore for them to ever be such classes other than the fact that the cataclysms and wars that happened over the last 500 years forced all the other races to flock to the Human cities of Qeynos and Freeport for refuge allowed them to explore new options. Even from a game mechanic standpoint, certain races are certainly better at specific classes than others, but at the end game it becomes a moot point, since stats rewarded from gear allow most players to hit the stat cap and pretty much be on equal footing with everyone else. All the races no longer had inherent traits that made some of them superior as certain classes either.
  • Dwarf Fortress: Probably a bug, but very very rarely one of the other civilizations may send you a demon. As a diplomat.note 
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic:
    • This was originally averted for player characters, which only allowed a few species per class. However, the legacy system and cartel market have allowed unlocking species to be played with any class, so you could make a Sith Pureblood Jedi Knight or even a Miraluka Bounty Hunter.
    • NPC companions originally had assigned roles; among the tank companions were a Jawa, an astromech droid, and an Ewok. The Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion changed things so any companion could have any role, so you could assign an HK assassin droid to serve as a healer.
  • Wizardry 8 has no class/race restrictions, just stats discouraging certain combinations; sure, Lizardmen have lowered mana regeneration and stats focused on physical fighting, but that doesn't keep one from making one a spellcaster. There's even a unique item in-game that can only be wielded by a fairy ninja.
  • The queen of this trope may be Fall-from-Grace from Planescape: Torment. She is a succubus priestess of Experience and one of the nicest, most reasonable individuals in the game. Her race are Axe-Crazy demons who engage in slaughter For the Evulz. Her subtype are Horny Devils who rip the souls out of those they tempt and drag them to the Abyss. Grace? She runs the Brothel of Slaking Intellectual Lust where she houses and educates beautiful women who will spend time with you for a price. The services on hand are esoteric, such as word play, debate, games, and philosophy. None of her girls' bodies are for sale. Finally, she belongs to the Society of Sensation, a group usually stereotyped as vapid hedonists, but Grace is a refined, chaste epicurean who seriously tries to sample all existence so she can learn from it.
    • On the other hand, Vrischika does remark that "the best temptress is one that can make you buy into the illusion of being both promiscuous yet virtuous at the same time; a prostitute-priestess, as it were", implying that Grace is still a succubus in principle.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has no racial restriction on its classes, meaning that the massive Roegadyn can be casters, and the barely two-foot (if that) tall Lalafell can be Warriors. This isn't just in gameplay either, while there's a predisposition for certain races to be certain classes (Lalafell thaumaturges, Miqo'te archers, Roegadyn marauders), a Lalafell marauder is the Scholar's class partner, and the Marauder's guild's partner is a Roegadyn conjurer.
  • The Heroes of Might and Magic series has Yog, who, despite having a natural talent for magic as a half-genie, abandoned his wizard training at the academies of Bracada in favor of becoming a Barbarian Hero.
  • Age of Wonders 3 introduces a class system in addition to elemental preferences, and each race can be every class. And even the campaign does not shy away from some surprises, such as a Goblin Theocrat, an Elven Rogue, a Draconian Archdruid... and in the DLC we get a Halfling Dreadnaught who comes with her own type of Golem called a Party Robot.
  • Holly Whyte holds the White Mage asterisk in Bravely Default and is as far from the classical depiction of a female that uses white magic as possible, having the personality of a particularly sadistic and capricious Dominatrix. Even more jarring, if we take into account that her team (Argent Heinkel the Knight in Shining Armor, Barras Lehr the all-brawn-no-brains Bare-Fisted Monk and Ominas Crowe the deranged, stuttering pyromaniac of a Black Mage) are practically stereotypical depictions of their respective jobs.
  • Dragon Quest VI allows every party member to take ranks in every vocation, in any order they choose, and more importantly lets them keep all the spells they learned in that vocation. While it's funny enough to imagine the hulking Carver in mage robes (or healing someone) or the diminutive Nevan as a gladiator, the combat potential is awe-inspiring, allowing for teams of Glass Cannon that can revive each other at will, or stone walls that take forever to bring to low health only to fully heal themselves in one go...
  • In Master of Magic, a wizard with any color of magic can use any race. However, it's generally agreed that the most broadly-useful color synergy for the rapacious, mana-ridden Dark Elves is Life magic.
  • Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth has multiple races of adventurers, with each race having 2 or 4 classes native to them. You can change a character's class, keeping their race and race-native traits (race skills and stat distributions) in the process, at the cost of five levels. You are free to have a Celestrian (an elf-like humanoid whose stats favor magic) attempt to be a Dragoon (an Earthlain-native Stone Wall class) or an Earthlain (an ordinary human known more for physical abilities than holding a lot of mana) try to be a Botanist (a Brouni-native class focused on spamming healing and Standard Status Effects) if you really want to.
  • Pokémon: Pokémon often learn some moves for flavor purposes despite not having the right stats for using them effectively (for instance, Clawitzer, a Pokémon fully geared towards being a special attacker, learns the physical attack Crabhammer due to its massive claw, despite it being underwhelming when used by it). No player with even a minimum of experience will ever use these Useless Useful Spells, but Pokémon in the wild will commonly use them, as will the AI trainers in the main game (the postgame content is a different story). For a recent example, Guzma in Sun and Moon has a Swords Dancing Golisopod. Golisopod is geared towards hit-and-run tactics using priority attacks and will automatically leave the battlefield once its health falls below half, usually wasting the Swords Dance buffs it wasted its turns setting up.
    • Some players will use such wacky sets against other players for the sheer fun of it or to throw for a loop other players who thought they knew exactly how to counter a particular 'mon, only to have their entire strategy invalidated. In particular, the Pokémon Youtuber known as PIMPNITE is famous for playing with pretty much nothing but completely counterintuitive movesets, and often even winning with them.
    • This is the primary gag of Accelgor, a snail that loses its shell over the course of its evolution, and becomes a ninja in the process. In the process, it jumps from having one of the lowest Speed stats in the game to having one of the highest.
  • Defied in Pillars of Eternity, where there are zero restrictions or stereotypes about what race can play which class. You can play as a elven barbarian or dwarven rogue and nobody comments on it. This extends to NPCs; your dwarf party member is a ranger, while your bard is part of an orc Expy race. There are some characters who conform to the typical DND race/class combos (another "orc" who's a barbarian, an elf wizard, an aasimar expy paladin, etc.), but they don't really outnumber the more unusual combinations.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade has Renault, a 16th-level Bishop with a Magic of only 12. While it's not abnormal for prepromotes to have underwhelming statlines, what isn't normal is for them to boast a marvelous 22 Skill and 20 Speed and a respectable 15 Defense, stats that'd be much more typical of a Mercenary. Sure enough, it's revealed in his supports that he used to be one, and took up the cloth as part of a quest of penance.
    • Many members of the Dawn Brigade in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn have this going on, with growths that definitely don't fit their usual classes. The one who fares the best of them is Nolan, an axe-wielding Fighter. Normally, Fighters have poor Skill and good Strength, but Nolan has the opposite, making him look a little like a Myrmidon who decided to use axes.

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate Series: This is actually surprisingly common within the Fate series in general. Many servants have the qualities that would qualify them being a number of different classes, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are good at those classes. This is generally because the Fuyuki summoning system dictates that only seven servants can be summoned and their classes are based on their best role. For example; if two servants are can be a Saber class, the best one will be summoned into that while the other will be moved to a different class.
    • Fate/stay night
      • Archer is a Servant who focuses on swordfighting in spite of his class abilities focusing on range. Lancer notes the absurdity of this, and wonders what legendary hero Archer is supposed to be, given his strange mish-mash of powers unrelated to archery. Word of God states he could have been the Saber for that Grail War, but King Arthur/Arturia fits the role so well that any other class would fit her even worse. As it turns out, Archer is actually a mage trying to be a swordsman stuck in an archer class. The only reason he stands a chance in the War is raw determination combined with being willing to fight very, very dirty.
      • Speaking of Lancer, he gets into this himself in the first Fate/Grand Order OVA, where Lancer is summoned as a Caster. He notes however that while he had learned druidism he greatly prefers fighting with his lance and his Caster fighting style reflects this; preferring to fight in melee range. Unlike most examples however, he's pragmatic enough to still be a very capable fighter.
      • Saber being noted as the ultimate Saber-class Servant is capable of be summoned as both a Lancer (thanks to her lance Rhongomyniad) and a Rider. And as Grand Order reveals a little tinkering of her Saint Graph could lead her to being a functional Archer as well. She also makes mention that she has the raw potential to be a Caster, something she shares with her sister Morgan le Fay, but unlike her she didn't have the patience to learn magic and didn't feel it a proper path for a future king (and Grand Order once again shows had she trained in it, she could have been a mage to rival Merlin.)
      • Ironically, it's suggested that Heracles's class (Berserker) is this for him. It seems like exactly the sort of thing Heracles should be good at; raw strength fueled by Unstoppable Rage. The thing is, it's Heracles; he would be insanely strong no matter what you summoned him as, so all becoming a Berserker does is pack on even more physical power that he doesn't actually need while sacrificing his Genius Bruiser traits, his unique equipment, much of his fighting skills, and his sanity. Later stories involve him being summoned as an Archer, and proving far more effective than his Berserker self.
      • Sasaki Kojirou has very few Assassin traits, with his fights being head-to-head confrontations where he relies entirely on his swordsmanship skills rather than stealth or subterfuge. By all appearances, he should be a Saber, but like Archer, this wasn't really in the cards for him. In his case, this can be blamed on the fact that he's not a real Servant, as he was summoned by Caster and based on a fictional hero. Sure enough, as seen in Grand Order's multiverse, Sasaki's best class is in fact Saber.
      • Rider has this going on a bit more subtly, as later materials would show. Riders are meant to be cavaliers or monster tamers, in particular people with some kind of legendary mount like the Hippogriff or Bucephalus. Rider is Medusa... and her mount is Pegasus. Those familiar with the legend would probably know that Medusa never rode the Pegasus; in fact, it was born from her death. This means Rider has to pull her abilities from just the natural skills of a Rider and a fairly minor part of her legend, rather than making use of her monstrous powers or her divine gifts. Watching her in combat, she shows off a weird eclectic mix of skills that barely seem related to being a Rider or Medusa, and in most of her fights, she doesn't even use the Pegasus. Future works point out that she's likely best as either a Lancer or Avenger, with her personal skills leaning heavily on those two classes.
      • Gilgamesh has a personal preference for the Archer class, but as Grand Order shows he can also appear as a Caster. However, much like how his average swordsmanship despite owning pretty much every weapon in the world prevents him from being a proper Saber, he never actually bothered to learn magecraft while alive despite his innate talent for it and compensates with his massive reserves of mana and a whole bunch of magical artifacts from the Gate of Bablyon. Interestingly, he might actually be more dangerous as a Caster since he's summoned post-Character Development and handles himself with far more maturity than his haughty Archer self, allowing him to leverage his abilities much more effectively.
    • Fate/Grand Order:
      • Probably the least fitting class ever seen for a Servant is Nightingale. Berserkers are raging warriors who get major boosts to their fighting prowess at the cost of their sanity, the class of pure madness and violence. So a lot of people got surprised when Florence Nightingale showed up in said class, her natural headstrong personality exaggerated into reckless abandon to her task of saving people. While she does still pack a major punch, most of her abilities are dedicated to healing rather than the non-stop brutality one expects from the class. Then again, as she isn't really a fighter, she doesn't lose much in the way of fighting skills, and her sky-high Madness Enhancement rating of EX pushes her raw power to scary heights.
      • While not quite to the same extent, the original and most powerful Assassin-class Servant King Hassan has, despite in fact being an Assassin, an attack sheet more befitting a Berserker, skills that wouldn't be out of place on an Archer, and in-game stats and an appearance that would make one believe he's a Saber. In-game, the party is quite shocked to realize this guy who looks like he stepped off a Heavy Metal album is actually the most feared Assassin in existence.
      • Similarly, the greatest Archer-Class Servant, Orion also has a Berserker's attack sheet and arguably skills, to say nothing of his appearance and is more likely to either hit people with his bow or throw it at them than to use it properly. To say nothing of his other Weapon of Choice, a giant spiked club.
      • The Grand Lancer Romulus-Quirinus discards the polearm he uses in his Romulus form and instead fights with Hand Blasts, with his Noble Phantasm being to unleash a Rain of Arrows upon enemies. He's considered a Lancer more out of the fact that his laser-shooting hands are considered "Lances of Light" as well as "Quirinus" meaning "Wielder of the Spear".
      • The whole thing is Lampshaded when an amnesiac Arjuna appears and guesses that he's an Archer-class Servant because he has a bow. Mash replies that one's weapon really isn't that great an indicator of class. (Though Arjuna actually is an Archer.)
      • Gaius Julius Caesar outright says he shouldn't be a Saber, and implications are that his correct class would be Rider. He's a Quick-style specialist, even though the botched summoning turned him obese. Despite this, he's a very good Saber for the low-cost metagame because his stats are decent, his Quick-style attacks generate lots of critical stars, and his skills support allies as well.
      • Osakabe-hime's abilities are more suited to a Caster, but she is an Assassin because she spent a lifetime hiding, since she is a Hikikomori.
      • Semiramis has a deck and skills fitting to a Caster than an Assassin, which is made even more apparent with her skill that allows her to ignore the enemy's class advantages against her. This is a carry-over from her appearance from Apocrypha, where thanks to her Double Summon skill, she is summoned as both an Assassin and as a Caster, with her greatly benefitting from the Caster traits.
      • Sigurd is a Saber, but he fights like an Assassin. His sword can turn into daggers that he either throws or uses for quick slashes.
      • Jason is a Saber, but he's weak and his swordsmanship skills are almost nonexistent. He's more fitting for a Rider, since he commands the ship the Argo and his main method of attack is to summon his teammates the Argonauts to fight for him.
      • Mysterious Heroine X is an Assassin, but she lacks the signature Assassin skill of Presence Concealment in favor of Riding, traditionally a Saber skill. Her combat style is also incredibly Saber-ish, wielding a pair of massive swords instead of the usual knives. She definitely isn't a Saber, though. Honest.
      • Asagami Fujino is an Archer even through she doesn't use ranged weapons. She uses telekinesis, which should qualify her as a Caster. In this setting, psychic abilities aren't considered the same thing as actual magecraft, and therefore she fits the qualification of "fights with non-spell ranged attacks."
      • Beowulf is a Berserker even though he never went insane in his life. As a result, his Mad Enhancement is so low that he is perfectly rational and can demonstrate excellent swordsmanship skills, which should qualify him as a Saber. The reason why he's a Berserker is that he prefers to put away his swords and fight like a wrestler, which his peers perceived as fighting like a savage, even though he was quite skilled.
    • Fate/strange fake:
      • The False Berserker is Jack the Ripper. Unlike what their class would suggest, most of their skillset seems to have been designed for an Assassin - Thousand Faces allows them to impersonate anyone they need with any associated skills and allows for nigh-perfect infiltration and evasion, Wanderer of the Misty Night grants them Presence Concealment, and Natural Born Killers is extremely similar to Zabaniya: Delusional Illusion. Their natural Mad Enhancement is also sealed, so they don't get the class' associated power boost at the cost of sanity. Only their devastating From Hell Noble Phantasm is truly geared for pure offense.
      • False Assassin is skilled at concealing herself and has 18 different assassination techniques, but she doesn't go for silent kills. Instead, she charges in and attacks her targets head on, making her resemble one of the Knight classes like Saber or Rider.
    • Learning with Manga! FGO has some fun with this as well in its Original Generation Servants. Berserker (Paul Bunyan) and Assassin (J. Edgar Hoover) are shown smashing things and sneaking around, respectively, but Rider (Georges Méliès) is shown mostly doing a lot of summoning and filmmaking, more reminiscent of a Caster (it's even claimed that she only became a Rider for a Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors advantage against her rival). Later on, we have a Saber noted to be specialized in magic with no sword skills (being a fetus), an Archer cowboy whose skillset seems more up the alley of a Rider, and a Lancer with the magic weakness and noncombat tricks usually associated with Assassins.

    Web Comics 
  • Part of the meta-humor in The Order of the Stick is that most of the main cast (and several side characters) have character builds that are "wrong", or at least unusual:
    • Roy Greenhilt started out as a fighter whose mental stats were all above-average, enough that he could have been a caster. A Lawful Good deva even tells him that he could have just as well become a cleric instead, were he not a Nay-Theist.
    • Belkar Bitterleaf is a Chaotic Evil halfling who became a melee-focused ranger, even though halflings start with lower Strength scores than most other races. (Belkar also clearly had Wisdom as his Dump Stat, so he can't cast any spells.) He later multi-classed to barbarian, making him the Sexy Shoeless God of War.
    • Durkon Thundershield, Cleric of Thor. Dwarves have a Charisma penalty, which Durkon shares. This makes them a problematic choice for the Cleric class, because Charisma modifies Turn Undead checks. On the other hand, Wisdom is the spellcasting stat for Clerics, and Durkon has no deficiency there.
    • A lesser example would be the half-orc ninja Therkla.
  • Yamara: Yamara Tooke became a barbarian before Belkar. Also, the strip contains Too Much Information on halflings:
    Arcalula Tooke, cyborg halfling: And of course, who hasn't heard of the legendary Chibi — the halfling Jester/Samurai of Japan?
  • Hereville: The Webcomic. Mirka is yet another troll-fighting 11-year-old orthodox Jewish schoolgirl.
  • The furry fantasy comic Fight, Cast, or Evade has Stillwell, a surprisingly light-on-his-feet elephant thief. Also, the trunk comes in handy with pick-pocketing.
  • Anti-Heroes features a female bugbear with a Maid Prestige Class (and some levels of rogue, too). As in, a big, hairy goblinoid in a French Maid Outfit.
  • Goblins is about a squad of non-evil goblin adventurers. Dellyn Goblinslayer, when realizing Thaco has an adventurer class, clearly didn't expect the race known for being "Usually Chaotic Evil" to be a lawful Monk, to say nothing of Big Ears the Lawful Good Paladin.
  • In this strip from Manly Guys Doing Manly Things, Jared desperately wants to play an elephant centaur rogue. The next strip has him refusing to do anything other than steal chickens, despite the GMs many objections, with a nice image of said elephant centaur rogue in action in the first panel. Coelasquid notes in her notes that she had tried the very thing Jared did (except it was a bison centaur). While her DM talked her into becoming a ranger instead, she figured Jared would stick to his guns.
  • In By the Book the original main characters are a goblin, an orc, and a kobold who find a Player's Handbook and decide to become adventurers. The goblin wants to be a fighter and the orc wants to be a social rogue, despite their racial penalties to strength and charisma respectively. While the kobold picks wizard, no advantage or disadvantage there, just unusual as his favored class is sorcerer.
  • In Prequel, a Webcomic set in the world of (and a week before) Oblivion, the main character Katia is a Khajiit born under the sign of the Atronach who is trying to become a mage. Being an Atronach means that she doesn't naturally regenerate magicka, but has to absorb it from places like enemy attacks, healing spells or potions, and being a Khajiit puts a -10 Willpower penalty on her stats.
  • In one strip of Awkward Zombie, Katie-as-Robin gets a kick out of reclassing every unit who could possibly be a War Cleric into one, including Miriel, who has no physical prowess and can't even lift the axe she's been given as her new weapon. Also featured: mage!Virion, (no magic prowess), and Wyvern Rider!Nowi (her also being a dragon makes her extra weak to wind attacks). The next comic also shows off knight!Tharja (doesn't let her exploit her strong magic prowess) and fighter!Gaius (lousy defense for a front line combatant).
  • Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures has Agent Chazore, of the best spies of a powerful city-state, who happens to be a winged demon with rainbow-colored fur.
  • Rune Hunters features Brendall, an orc who's a famous sculptor. He explains it's the secret of his success, as he channels his natural rage and anger into his work, and find sculpting cathartic.
  • Played for Drama in TwoKinds. Basitins (a three-way hybrid of orcs, dwarves, and beastmen) biologically cannot use magic. Their three generals become Magic Knight Super Soldiers through human magical experimentation. However, normal magic damages the basitin brain in the same way Black Magic damages the human mind, leading to the basitin High Command slowly lobotomizing themselves. Something the human magicians were fully aware of, bot the basitins were not.
  • The WoW fancomic Druids has Amo, a Worgen Paladin, despite that race/class combo being barred in the game. The author explains it by theorizing that the Gilneas humans who became the majority of playable Worgen didn't follow the religion that produces Paladins, and Amo's not from Gilneas.
  • Pathfinder fancomic The Handbook of Heroes has Pugilist (or "Pug" for short), who is a kobold. The Rant explicitly describes her as "the archetypal race-class mismatch. Brawling with a racial Strength penalty and a size-small frame is no easy task, but it brings all kinds of fun Napoleon complex tropes with it." Note this doesn't stop her from being a Pint-Sized Powerhouse.
  • Monsters Can Be Heroes Too: Shelly the Skeleton chose the wrong character class. She is a White Mage, a class the specializes in destroying undead and supporting the living. When she tries to heal a fellow skeleton the spell does the opposite of what she intended, causing the other Skeletons to turn on her. This is less of a problem when she join's Coal's party, who are not undead.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • In one of his Counter Monkey segments, Spoony talks about a character that had this phenomenon: a half-orc thief. When asked the obvious question of how a half-orc, a notoriously unstealthy race, could steal anything from anyone... the half-orc bonks the offender in the head with a club and loots him while he's knocked out. Spoony cracks he's not that kind of thief — he may be of the thief class, but he's roleplaying it more as a brute thug.
  • JourneyQuest:
    • It features an orc archeologist... who proves to be rather brillant. Then again, the orcs of this world seem to be a bit more civilized than average. (Notably, they respect the rule that bards have immunity, since humans are expected to reciprocate for orcish bards.)
    • The series also has a Carrow, a Revenant Zombie serving as a cleric of a good, undead-hating god. But then, that's entirely an accident (i.e. a botched resurrection spell).
  • Played with by the race/class combinations in Critical Role, which seem a little odd for 5th Edition D&D. Most notably, Keyleth and Scanlan. Keyleth is a half-elf druid; half-elves get a +2 to Charisma, but druids cast with Wisdom, and Keyleth's total Charisma modifier is actually negative for most of the show. Scanlan the gnome bard also counts for the same reason, as gnomes get an Intelligence boost, but bards cast with Charisma. However, the group was originally playing in Pathfinder, where those race/class combos make a lot more sense (half-elves get no bonuses or penalties to their stats, and gnomes get a Charisma boost). They only seem like odd choices if you don't know that the group played in Pathfinder first. It probably helps that the game isn't run with a standard array of stats or point buy, but with a very generous rolling method (4d6, drop the lowest dice, and if the sum total of the rolled stats is below 70, roll again), which encourages unusual builds as a strong roll makes up for a lack of bonus in that stat.

    Western Animation 
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic:
    • Fluttershy's special talent is being a Friend to All Living Things. This is very unusual because Fluttershy is a pegasus pony. Earth ponies have a stronger connection with nature than unicorn ponies (who are spellcasters) or pegasus ponies (who can fly and control the weather) so it would make more sense for a pony talented with handling animals to be an earth pony. Originally, Fluttershy was supposed to be a reiteration of Posy, an earth pony from an earlier generation, but Hasbro no longer had the rights to her. So, she was made a pegasus instead.
    • Rarity seems to be a physical fighter despite being a unicorn. Although she does not engage in combat very often, when she does she seems to favor attacking physically rather than with magic. Her spells seem to be strictly Utility Magic. Judging by the flying kick she does in one episode, she must know some martial arts. This possibly can be explained by the fact that most unicorns are limited to only a few types of spells for mundane tasks related to their special talent (and Rarity's special talent isn't combat), though it is not clear how strict this limit is.
    • Rarity may have gotten this from her father, also a unicorn, but whose Cutie Mark is an American football (or its Equestrian equivalent). You wouldn't expect a unicorn to specialize in such a contact-heavy sport, but there he is.
  • In Futurama, Bender dreams of becoming a chef, despite the fact that in this setting, robots have no sense of taste. As a result, he's... kind of bad at it.

Alternative Title(s): Elephant Rogue, Rogue Elephant


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