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

"I know what you're thinking! 'Gogron, he's too big to be sneaky!' Well, you're right! Me, I like to just go in and hack my targets to pieces."

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. As the D&D Player's Guide points out - people become adventurers because they didn't fit their society.

This can also be a way to further explore the possibilities of a class. While the classic Fantasy Ranger may be a nimble and stealthy Elf who ambushes and snipes from afar with a bow, a Dwarf who relentlessly tracks his quarry through the forest and runs them down to the point of exhaustion before finishing them off with twin axes, or a spear-carrying Halfling who rides a deer to lead a foe into a clever trap is every bit a defender of the wilds too.

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, Oxymoronic Being, and My Species Doth Protest Too Much. May stem from Klingon Scientists Get No Respect. Get a couple of these together and you get a Rag Tag Band Of Misfits.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The premise of Ankoku Kishi No Ore Desu Ga Saikyou No Seikishi Wo Wezashimasu, where the protagonist comes from a noble line of Black Knights and is aiming to become a Paladin. Considering how Dark power running through his vein makes him vulnerable to holy/light magic, even casting a basic Bless is a monumental achievement.
  • Delicious in Dungeon: Senshi is a dwarven Supreme Chef and naturalist, who freely admits he doesn’t know the first thing about ores. The cooking pot he carries around used to be a priceless, heirloom adamantine shield.
  • 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...
  • Three out of five 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, though he's not much better as a straight-up fighter, given how his style is built around dealing with goblins, which tends to catch people by surprise when they see how poorly he does in front-line fighting.
    • 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. Beside that, his magic has a more natural and primordial feel to it than Priestess's holy miracles, making him more of a druid or a shaman than what would commonly be referred to as a "priest".
    • Priestess and High Elf Archer avert this, although there's something to be said regarding how Priestess uses her magic...
  • Handyman Saitou in Another World Gives us a two-fer:
  • Cyandog (later upgraded to Crosshairdog) 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 Amusingly Awful Aim whenever he gets into a fight. Later he gets a melee weapon... and still retains his inaccuracy. He's just incompetent.
  • Overlord (2012): The vampire Shalltear Bloodfallen is a Cleric in addition to her other classes, allowing her to cast divine magic. Since her natural abilities as a vampire are geared towards fighting living opponents, her magic is used to counter her lack of offensive options against her fellow undead. She is notably the second most powerful NPC in the Great Tomb of Nazarick, second only to the physically powerful but unintelligent Gargantua, though being an undead cleric does mean that some of her spells can't be used to heal herself.
  • Skeleton Knight in Another World: Arc Lalatoya is a skeleton classed as a Holy Knight, so he wears armor, fights with a sword, and has access to holy magic like healing spells.

    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.e
  • In Munchkin, your class and race are drawn randomly, so might get combinations that don't make much sense, like Orc Wizard.
  • 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).
  • 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.

    Comic Books 
  • Rat Queens has Orc Dave, who is a burly brutish-looking orc. He's the healer of the Four Daves.
  • 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.
  • The Transformers (IDW): The Functionist Council defied this trope by law. Under their rule, Transformers were forbidden from taking on occupations that did not align with their alt-modes. After the fall of functionism, we get examples like Jetfire, a fighter jet who's a scientist, not a warrior.

    Fan Works 
  • Confluence, a Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines fic, has an example in the protagonist of a high-Humanity Ventrue- something entirely possible in canon, but at odds with the elitism of most Ventrue NPCs. Instead of selfishness and effete standards of living, her clan pride manifests as stubborn independence and occasionally-fanatical bigotry.
  • Fate/Black Avalon: Morgan le Fey, one of the most powerful witches of all time, is summoned as a Berserker. This is canon to Fate/Grand Order, but it was weird there too as her class is due to her being the Lostbelt Morgan rather than Morgan le Fay. The very first thing Morgan does is break the Mad Enchantment on herself, making her a Berserker in name only.

    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?note 
      • Amusingly, his being a panda makes him a bad matchup for Tai Lung specifically; Tai Lung specializes in nerve strikes that Po's fat makes him completely immune to.
    • 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 Pint-Sized Powerhouse. This does make more sense for those familiar with martial arts, though; Mantis Style and Snake Style are both real disciplines.
    • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Dragonlance: The New Adventures: Sindri Suncatcher is the first (and so far only) kender wizard in the world. Kender are usually stereotyped as rogues, but before Sindri got his powers nobody even thought it was possible for one to use magic at all.
  • 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.
  • Forgotten Realms:
    • In the 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In The Sun Eater, Otavia Corvo is a seven-foot-tall descendant of genetically-engineered homunculi who can shatter combat armor with her bare hands and shrug off disruptor fire that would leave an ordinary human with permanent nerve damage. Corvo shows off these abilities in exactly one fight scene across the series, as in almost all other circumstances she's commanding fleets from the bridge of a starship.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • 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.
    • One of Bilbo's more renowned ancestors was Bandobras "Bullroarer" Took, who broke entirely away from the traditional hobbit stereotype to become an exceptional warrior in the defense of his homeland. This was largely due to him being four foot five (making him one of the tallest hobbits to ever live), meaning he could even ride a proper horse rather than a pony. His most famous feat was driving off a goblin invasion by riding in and hitting the goblin chief's head with a club so hard that it landed in a hole a hundred yards away. (Reportedly, this also made him the inventor of golf.)
    • 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.)
  • Tower of Somnus: Classes in the Tower are based on random drops, though it is weighted towards an avatar's demonstrated skills. Dorrik recommends the footpad class for Kat, but when a relatively rare caster class drops, Arnold insists she take it. Kat does well with the gravity elementalist class, but Dorrik implies she would be doing much better with footpad.
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, 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. On the plus side, she has the Chaotic, Evil, Good, and Lawful subtypes.
    • 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 non-associated class levels seemingly to encourage this trope. Basically, monsters can 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 adds 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 abuse 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 isn'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 worked, 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.
    • In 5th Edition, there is, as of later revisions in Volo's Guide to Monsters, no playable races with any negative modifiers to race stats. While some races suffer from Sunlight Sensitivity, and Small races suffer Disadvantage when they use Heavy weapons, there's nothing stopping an Orc from being a Wizard, or a Kobold from being a Barbarian, or a Hobgoblin from being a Paladin, or a Centaur from being a Rogue, or any other interesting race-class combinations that a player can come up with, providing that the Game Master, once they, and the other players, are done laughing at the craziness of the idea, give the go-ahead. This is because, with the Standard Stat array, it's fairly easy to make a character with decent stats, even with a less-than perfect race-class combination. Also, thanks to Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, there's an optional rule that lets players move their character's racial stats around, letting them to be optimized anyways, providing that the Game Master is okay with it.
    • Since Tasha's was written, races created, or revised, since then have floating stat bonuses — any +2, +1 combo or three +1s. This means any of the new, or revised, races have the freedom to be optimized for any class from the begining, without needing to use any Optional Rules. Still, this can lead to some funny combinations, like a Damphir Paladin that can use Divine Smite while Biting a target, or a Barbarian Fairy that can have a decently high AC from the get-go, and still fly around. Then there's the Harengon — normally, a heavy Armor wearing Fighter or Paladin, or Cleric would dump Dexterity as they don't need it, but they'd be slower at Initiative — Harengons can add their proficiency bonus to their Initiative rolls, meaning they have a chance to still go ahead of others, especially the opposition.
    • Eberron established bright and early that it was going to feature some out-of-the-ordinary combinations, with the initial 3.5 Eberron Campaign Setting introducing shifters, establishing that they tend to live in rural or wilderness areas and favor the Ranger class, and then immediately featuring a shifter wizard named Baristi. Then there's the culture of halfling barbarians, or the Cloudreaver fleet in the Lhazaar Principalities, where orcs and dwarves unite as, essentially, Vikings. Then there are the regular dwarves, whose relatively recent discovery of a subterranean nightmare landscape has led to some of their number embracing the secrets of the daelkyr and forming warlock pacts.
    • With the right build, due to race, background or even subclass, any class could have this going on. A Variant human Ranger that dumped Charisma could be the Face due to knowing a number of languages with the Linguist Feat, plus favored Foe, Deft Explorer, and a background that gave them extra languages, like the Acolyte backgound — this combination starts off knowing 10 languages. A Barbarian with a Criminal Background could be an excelent ambusher. A Tortle Wizard could fulfill the role of being an Emergency Tank. A Purple Dragon Knight Fighter could be the Party Healer, and Face. Lots of possibilities.
  • Eon plays around with this trope by way of first providing racial stereotypes (e.g., Dwarves don't do magic, Tiraks are Barbarian Proud Warrior Race Guys, etc) and then goes out of its way to provide exceptions to the stereotypes (e.g., Dwarves of clan Drezin are mages — and also shave their beards in favour of moustaches, Tiraks of the Marnakh lineage have fully integrated with human society, etc).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Pathfinder:
    • This is especially apparent in the "NPC Codex" Sourcebook, which gives examples of every class in 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
    • On a related note, Ork snipers. Given that Orks tend to be hilariously inaccurate with their ranged firepower, generally relying on either volume of bullets or size of explosions to make up for their lack of precision, the idea of an Ork sniper is downright laughable. However, while it is rare, some Orks have been known to make use of sniper rifles (Lootas used to be able to use them, albeit less accurately than everyone else). They also show up occasionally in lore, but often with more sinister implications. Most infamously, the Celestial Lions Space Marine chapter once came to loggerheads with the Inquisition over their treatment of the population of the shrine world Khattar, the head priest of which had fallen to Chaos. During a subsequent battle on Armageddon, the Lions suffered heavy losses including having every single one of their apothecaries killed, supposedly by "Ork snipers", something that put the entire future of the chapter at risk.
    • 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 good... at 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.

    Video Games 
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura:
    • 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 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.
  • Battle Chef Brigade: It never affects game mechanics, but Wart is an orcish pastry chef. It's mentioned that orcs with the dexterity and attention to detail to excel at pastry are rare, but Wart has managed to join the Brigade on his pastry skills alone.
  • 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 Sadist who mainly uses her healing magic to make sure that her torture victims don't die too quickly. 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...
  • 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.
  • Dwarf Fortress: Probably a bug, but very very rarely one of the other civilizations may send you a demon. As a diplomat.note 
  • 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.
      • The Blackwood Company are Private Military Contractors founded by and consisting almost entirely of Khajiit and Argonians. Khajiit are gifted thieves and assassins, and typically fight with their claws, light blades and their natural agility. Argonians are predisposed to guerilla tactics and prefer stealth and magic to open combat. There is nothing to say they can't fight in heavy armor with big shields and axes, but seeing an entire group of them in this fashion is highly unusual.
    • 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. Altmer 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.
      • Most of the Brotherhood 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 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.
      • Zig-zagged with Tsun, the ancient Nord or proto-Nord god who guards the path to the Hall of Valor in Sovngarde, who has unique dialogue depending on what faction you have risen to the top of. As expected, he salutes Harbingers of the warrior Companions and dislikes of any cowardly thieves or lowly assassins, but he is surprisingly approving of the master of the College of Winterhold. Apparently magecraft was far more respected in the old days, and he regrets that modern Nords have turned their backs on magic.
      "Well met, mage of Skyrim. The Nords may have forgotten their forefathers' respect for the Clever Craft, but your comrades throng this hall. Here in Shor's house we honor it still."
  • 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 Status Infliction Attacks) if you really want to.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Palla in all of her appearances tends to be noted for Mighty Glacier stat growths, despite being in a classline (Pegasus Knight) that is traditionally a Fragile Speedster. This is actually a good thing for Palla, as the combination tends to turn her into a Lightning Bruiser.
    • 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 somewhat 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. Examples include Leonardo (an Archer with high Skill, Luck, Resistance and Magic of all things, but paltry Strength and Speed), Aran (a Soldier with Armor Knight growths and Nolan (a Fighter with high Speed and Skill but below average HP and Strength). 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.
    • Like the Dawn Brigade above, Hoshido from Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright has a lot more units than average who don't fit the classes they're assigned for, often having some very uncharacteristic if not outright lopsided growth rates for the classes they roll up in. Some examples of this include Hinata (a Samurai/Swordmaster with tanky Mighty Glacier growth stats), Subaki (a Sky Knight/Falcon Knight with terrible Speed and Resistance but very high HP, Defense and Skill), Rinkah (a Oni Savage/Oni Chieftain with below average HP and Strength but above average Speed and Skill and a monstrous Defense growth) and Azama (a Monk/Great Master who's a Magically Inept Lightning Bruiser). In most of their cases, the best solution is to reclass them to a more ergonomically-fitting class (Azama especially, whom when reclassed into a Dread Fighter becomes an outright Game-Breaker).
    • Can be invoked by the player in Fire Emblem: Three Houses. The standard route is to improve skills that characters already have a strength in, for example training Lysithea in Reason for the Gremory Class, but there's nothing stopping you from training a character in a completely different skill they have weaknesses in, like getting Marianne's Heavy Armour skill up to become a Knight for the hell of it. Bear in mind they don't earn as many points for this so it takes a lot longer to level up a skill they are disinterested in. Saying that, some characters have Budding Talents in skills they are weak in. Keeping it at long enough can turn those previously weak skills into a Strength.
  • 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.
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft:
    • 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.
    • In Warcraft proper, only night elves and blood elves can be Demon Hunters. Hearthstone instead shows a wide variety of often bizarre races. For example: Soulshard Lapidary is a draenei, a race whose whole shtick is that they reject demonic magic. Irebound Brute and the artwork of Proving Grounds have ogre demon hunters, who are not known for their agility. Then there's Priestess of Fury and Sightless Watcher, who are both demon demon hunters.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic:
    • Yog is the son of a genie enchantress and a barbarian chieftain, and his mother enrolled him at a Wizarding School in the hopes his half-genie heritage would give him a natural talent for magic. Instead, he took after his father and found he preferred reading texts about war and military strategy to spellbooks, and abandoned his studies in favor of becoming a Barbarian Hero.
    • Maximus is the only orcish Knight, although this was initially unexplained. He got a backstory in VI for the revised universe, which explains that his grandfather refused to join the other orcs in rebellion, meaning his family could not rejoin the orcish clans. Maximus found work as a servant before becoming a squire and earning knighthood by besting all the other champions in a tournament.
  • Onox from The Legend of Zelda Oracle of Seasons has wind-based powers that allow him to turn into a tornado. Unlike many wind-based creatures, however, he's a tough, heavily armored general with a spiked flail.
  • 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.
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda has Vorn, a krogan scientist. Okay, he's a botanist, but he might specialise in other areas too (being a krogan, he could certainly live long enough to branch out), and in a colonization program, a botanist is pretty damned useful for continued existence. He's also implied to just be good at what he does, since another scientist mentions having difficulty keeping up with him. He does specialize in things like plants that grow organic grenades, though.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Regill from Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous. Gnomes in Pathfinder embody Our Gnomes Are Weirder, as they are former members of The Fair Folk who have to experience new and novel things entirely or they literally drop dead from a degenerative mental disorder called The Bleaching. They are also small and physically weak, and optimized towards being rogues or wizards. Regill, meanwhile, is a Consummate Professional Hellknight with No Sense of Humor whose idea of a well-spent evening involves either smiting demons at the frontline or writing reports, and would rather die than engage in any gnomish schenanigans to delay the Bleaching. The only concession to his race is his favouring of the Gnome Hooked Hammer in melee, which he's built around using effectively.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Succubi and Incubi 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.
  • 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 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 nothing but completely counterintuitive movesets, and often even winning with them. Competitive Pokémon is often known for players taking sets that seem like this on paper and making them work, though this is pretty much always reacting to the environment in competitive at the time and the wacky sets that are remembered tend to be the ones that took advantage of a specific quirk of the current battle formats with an unorthodox set of moves, stat distributions, and item choice.
    • This also applies to types. Some types are heavily geared towards certain strategies, and if a the stat distribution and move pool of a Pokémon of that type does not fit into said strategy, this can heavily cripple the mon in question.
      • This has been a big hurdle of the Ice type, for example. It is good offensively and hits several meta-relevant types, like Dragon and Ground, for super effective, but is also saddled with a bunch of unfortunate weaknesses to common offensive types, like Fighting, Fire and Rock. This means the type is best suited for a Fragile Speedster mixed with a Glass Cannon archetype. Unfortunately, all too many Ice types have been saddled with Mighty Glacier-type stats instead, which they can't properly use when their low Speed makes them too easy to annihilate with a variety of super-effective moves.
      • Some types have more physical attacks, while others lean more towards special attacks, which can cause problems to Pokémon of a given type with stats leaning towards a spectrum of attack that type doesn't cover very well. This problem is especially notable during the first three generations where whether a move is physical or special hinges purely on its type, which screwed up quite a few Pokémon such as Absol (It's pure-Dark type with high physical attack, except that up to Gen III Dark moves are all special). This problem has been lessened as generations went on, with Gen IV overhauling physical/special category (meaning that whether a move is physical or special depends on the move itself instead of its type) and more and more attacks were introduced, but it never went away completely. Flareon, for instance, is a Fire-type with a monstrous 130 base physical attack, unfortunately for it, almost all Fire-type attacks are special, so for a long time it was left without any decent physical moves for its typing. Even to this day, Flareon is stuck with a grand total of two physical STAB moves, of which one is pathetically weak and the other is strong but damages the user.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Preserving its tabletop roots, Shadowrun Returns and its sequels completely decouple race and class. This results some odd combinations like an Orc Rigger or Troll Mage. Trolls will take meaningful handicaps in the late game if they're made a rigger, decker, or shaman (their Intelligence and Charisma cap out 3 points lower than other races). That said, they make surprisingly good mages; it's hard to be a Squishy Wizard when the stat that governs your hit points caps out almost double everyone else's. Perhaps most surprisingly, the best race for a mage is not a human or an elf, but a dwarf, who can raise their all-important Willpower stat higher than anyone else by 2.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 Widowmaker will give you infinite ammo and no need to reload, and the Frontier Justice will give you guaranteed 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.)
  • 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.
  • The RPG/RTS hybrid series Warlords Battlecry allow the player to combine any race with any class, creating Orcish Tinkers or insectoid Bards.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • By virtue of their being multiple clans of dwarves, there is more diversity among their abilities than what is expected. The Bronzebeard clan are the most stereotypical in abilities with many warriors and paladins fighting on the front lines, though they're also known to have many Hunters armed with rifles who often fight alongside bears and mountain goats. Wildhammer dwarves are outdoorsmen, famous for taming and riding gryphons into battle and being so connected to nature as to practice shamanism. The Dark Iron dwarves have their warriors and engineers as well, but are also most famous for their magical prowess. It was their returning to the Alliance that brought the ways of Mages and Warlocks to the other dwarves.
    • In the Warlock Order Hall, the archivist is a female Bronzebeard dwarf. It's noted by a member of the Black Harvest that it's very rare for dwarves to practice fel magic and demonology.
    • Draenei and Taurennote , for the longest time, could not be rogues. Both races have traditionally had strong cultural mores against deception, they are too big to be stealth-based combatants (at least the males) and have hooves for feet. Regardless, two draenei rogues turn up as NPCs in Warlords of Draenor and the Rangari, an organization of Draenei scouts, are skilled at stealth. Before the race/class combos became playable in Dragonflight, it was a common joke that Tauren and Draenei rogues were so good at stealth that even their class button on the character creation screen was hidden.
    • 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. One of the most iconic rogues in the franchise 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. Goblin Death Knights also give their slow class some much-needed extra mobility with Rocket Jump.
    • The Nightborne are a race of former Highborne who use arcane magic in everything they do, from food production to building mana-infused robotic sentries. Once the Nightborne join the Horde, you can find a Nightborne woman in Orgrimmar working as a traditional engineer. She admits she really likes Orgrimmar because they appreciate technology and skills that don't depend on magic compared to most of her own culture.
    • Nightborne can also be Warriors. There are examples of Nightborne Warriors who use the Nightwell's magic solely to boost their strength and speed. But the traveling player character lacks the Nightwell's boon and relies more on raw martial prowess. Nightborne Fury Warriors show the deepest race/class contrast among the three specializations, being raging berserkers from one of Azeroth's most highfalutin societies.
    • In the war campaign for Battle for Azeroth, members of the Horde discover a human Tidesage(a water-centric shaman) in Kul Tiras named Thomas Zelling. He's dying from an illness and agrees to help the Horde in their quests if they would raise him as an Undead so he can continue to provide for his family. Even as a newly made Forsaken, Thomas retains his connection to the ocean and can use his tidesage powers in the name of the Horde.
    • Dragonflight introduced a questline for warlocks to justify why all races could now become warlocks, including Lightforged Draenei who not only shun the all forms of fel magic but are literally filled with a magic that is antithetical to fel.

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate Series: Many Servants possess qualities that make them candidates for classes other than their main one — e.g., a Lancer that also learned Magecraft in life could be a Caster too. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that they are actually good at their secondary classes. The reason for this is that the Fuyuki summoning system dictates that only seven Servants can be summoned and that their classes are based on their best role. For example; if two Servants in a single Holy Grail War can be a Saber class, the best one will be summoned as a Saber while the other will be summoned as something else.
    • Fate/stay night
      • Archer is a Servant who focuses on sword-fighting 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 using unique magical abilities to emulate the skills of 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. Unlike many other examples, however, he is actually still very qualified for the Archer position and was a supremely skilled bowman in life, it just so doesn't happen to be his preferred form of combat, while his archery skills are mostly plan B in case a head-on fight doesn't work.
      • Lancer 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. Grand Order also shows he can be summoned as a Berserker, which does fit well with his legend, but the circumstances surrounding his creation specifically resulted in him becoming an Alter version who lacks most of the obvious madness of his class or even his regular bloodlust and is closer to "no-nonsense killing machine".
      • Saber being noted as the ultimate Saber-class Servant is capable of being 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. An Alternate Self of hers is later released in Grand Order that, sure enough, is as good a mage as 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. A point is made he qualifies for all the seven standard Classes aside from Caster, but the Einzberns wanted an unthinking powerhouse incapable of betraying them after all their previous failures in the Grail Wars. 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 the Rider class 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 best as either a Lancer or Avenger, with her personal skills leaning heavily on those two classes. The main issue with both those classes is as an adult, she lacks the divinity she had in her youth which hurts her Lancer side (and her scythe is actually a version of Harpe, the weapon used to kill her), and she isn't willing to make use of the monstrous strength she could have because she doesn't want to become Gorgon which hurts her Avenger side. She can also be summoned as a Saber, but in this case similar to her Rider class she's relying on the connection to her other child Chrysaor for the sword.
      • 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 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. Her second interlude is essentially one massive lampshade, confirming that her Berserker status is very much the Closest Thing We Got for someone largely famous enough to be a Heroic Spirit yet thoroughly unfit for any of the classes, and shoving her square peg in the round hole made her Servant self a lot more conceptually unstable than most.
      • 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.
      • The greatest Archer-Class Servant, Orion also has a Berserker's attack sheet and 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, a giant spiked club.
      • Nero is a Saber even though she never practiced swordsmanship in life. She gets around this by using her Imperial Privilege to copy sword skills. Later, she becomes a Caster and is much more effective. Side materials mention that her best Class would be Rider, but she actively avoids being summoned as Rider because her mount would be the Beast of Revelations (because she is associated with the Whore of Babylon), which would be very dangerous for everyone.
      • Qin Shi Huang stands out amongst Rulers in that as a class known for being Always Lawful Good in that he's a brutal totalitarian whose powers are focused on imposing his will upon others (though he's still ranked as Lawful Good by the in-universe alignment system) and is not a Saint or associated with Christianity in any way. On a similar note, Sherlock Holmes was effectively forced into this class because the universe decided that if he were to be a Caster he would eventually uncover the mysteries of the world (which would cause a lot of problems).
      • 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 (with a later buff to his NP turning him into one of the strongest single-target damage dealers of his class).
      • 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.
      • Leonidas is definitely a Lancer as far as having a spear goes, but that's really as far as it goes, as Leonidas has nothing in common with the characteristic qualities of the class. Lancers specialize in hit an run tactics, being Fragile Speedsters who are generally categorized by low Endurance and lower Luck. Leonidas is... not that. His Endurance is at an exceptional A-Rank and his Strength is at an impressive B-Rank, and his Luck, unlike many Lancers, is at an average C-Rank Rank (reflecting how he lasted so long in the Battle of Thermopylae, but still perished in a Last Stand). If anything, his Dump Stat is his agility, being at a dismal D-Rank. This extends as far as his preferred fighting style; while most Lancers are harassers in combat, Leonidas forgoes that for Hold the Line Stone Wall tactics, seeking to weather a barrage of offense and win through Victory by Endurance.
      • David is an Archer, but his triple-Arts deck and focus on team support both mainly invoke a Caster. Even in his fighting style, he only uses his signature sling in his Noble Phantasm; everything else is done with his staff.
      • Ozymandias, lore-wise, fits into Rider just fine, but considering how much magic is involved in his attacks, you would probably assume Caster first. His "mount", so to speak, is an orbiting satellite, so most of his attacks are simply waving his staff around and conjuring a storm of lasers.
      • 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.
      • Saber Gilles de Rais, though he does fight like a Saber and has a few Saber-ish skills, also boasts Mad Enhancement (the Berserker class skill) at a very high rank, has a skill that buffs his Buster cards essentially permanently, and his Noble Phantasm's trait of vastly increasing his damage but debuffing his defense essentially turns him into a Berserker.
      • 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.
      • Downplayed by Bradamante, who is a Lancer and does indeed use a spear, but it's not her real Noble Phantasm. In fact, despite its fancy appearance it's really an otherwise normal spear that she can focus her magical energy into to fire a Sword Beam with no special properties. Her actual Noble Phantasm is her shield, but since she mainly fights with her spear rather than the shield itself ala a Shielder like Mash she got classed as a Lancer. Even odder since she does have access to a lance Noble Phantasm in the form of Astolfo's Trap of Argalia, but she wasn't summoned with it as a Lancer.
      • Oda Nobukatsu is an Archer and gets confused about this, pointing out that he shouldn't be one. His only projectile weapon is a small pistol that he is not skilled with. He has a katana, but he is not skilled with it either. He is skilled at summoning and strengthening his allies, so he would be best as a Caster.
      • Karna Santa is a Saber, but he doesn't wield a sword. He has a boxing gimmick and he sometimes uses a punching bag as a weapon. He claims it's because his super-fast punches are like draws of a sword.
      • Senji Muramasa is a Saber and spends a lot of time complaining that he shouldn't be one. He was a blacksmith who made swords, not a swordsman. However, since he was summoned in the body of Shirou Emiya, he inherits Shirou's supreme sword skills.
      • Kiichi Hougen is an Assassin, but wields a spear and fights like a Lancer. She comments on this.
      • Amor/Caren C. Hortensia plays with this trope as her first two Ascensions has her using a bow in a lot of her animations, making her seem like an Archer Servant instead of a Ruler. However, she ditches her bow completely in her Third Ascension, making her less suited for the Archer class by then.
      • Galatea is a Berserker, but is completely calm and rational in battle. She is insane in that she is completely obsessed with the concept of true love.
      • Morgan Le Fay is a Berserker even though she is completely calm and fights like a Caster with a spear like a Lancer. The reason why she is in the Berserker class was assumed to be due to her Blue-and-Orange Morality...but once you learn who she used to be and what it took for her to become the queen of Fairy Britain, the true reason for why she's a Berserker becomes very apparent, as she's holding back the bubbling cauldron of her rage and insanity at the fae behind a cold visage for the sake of being able to rule a kingdom effectively.
      • Fairy Knight Gawain is a Saber and does use a sword, but she has a high Rank in Mad Enhancement and fights like a rampaging Berserker.
      • Fairy Knight Tristan is an Archer and does in fact use a bow, but it's merely a part of her overall combat style that otherwise relies on magic bullets, acrobatics and growing large spikes from her back more akin to some sort of Caster or Assassin. Fetch Failnaught meanwhile is nothing like Tristan's Failnaught and is more similar to Hassan of Cursed Arm's Zabaniya, where she curses the target to death by first creating a clone from the target's body parts and then killing it. The fact that she was raised to be a witch as Morgan's successor makes it apparent that she is a Caster in the Archer class just so that she can be "Tristan".
      • Fairy Knight Lancelot is a Lancer, but doesn't even use a polearm, instead Dual Wielding Arondights that she usually keeps sheathed in gauntlets for a Power Fist and Blade Below the Shoulder style in a manner that would be more similar to a Saber. When she reveals her true power, her weapons while now sized more simiarly to lances than swords are more akin to Arm Cannons like an Archer and her Noble Phantasm transforming her into a mecha-dragon would be more in line with a Rider.
      • Sei Shonagon is an Archer even though most of her abilities are like a Caster's and she was a writer, which usually become Casters. The only projectiles she uses are throwing random junk and balls at her opponents. It is implied the reason why she is not a Caster is because she stopped writing after Empress Teishi died.
      • The Archer version of Jeanne d'Arc doesn't carry weapons and fights by summoning and controlling whales and dolphins, riding on a whale during her finishing move, so she should be a Rider.
      • The Trung Sisters are Sabers and do carry swords, but they ride an elephant into battle like Riders and tend to fight by controlling water like Casters.
      • Gray is an Assassin even though she lacks Presence Concealment and fights head on with Rhongomyniad, so she should be Lancer.
      • Kijyo Koyo is a Berserker even though she is a kind, motherly figure who specializes in healing spells. She only somewhat berserks in her dinosaur form, but even then, she is still kind.
      • Erice Utsumi can be summoned as an Avenger. She gets confused about this because she doesn't feel any particular hatred toward anyone and thinks she should be Rider for using a boat or Assassin for specializing in killing Servants. She is likely Avenger because of the Dread Spirits inside her and the fact she is The Dreaded in her hometown.
      • Huyan Zhuo is an Assassin even though her Noble Phantasm has her ride a horse and summon an army to mow her enemies down with a cavalry charge, which fits a Rider more.
    • 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) is a very standard example of her class, 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), and an Archer cowboy whose skillset seems more up the alley of a Rider.

    Web Animation 
  • In Puffin Forest, Claire is a tiefling Cleric who directly serves the angel Gavriel. Even though Gavriel is secretly the Big Bad, Claire is unaware of this and remains a steadfast ally to the party.

  • 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.
  • 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 anti-dragon 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Pathfinder fancomic The Handbook of Heroes has Pugilist (or "Pug" for short), introduced in "Small Packages", who is a kobold brawler. 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.
    Fighter: [getting strangled] But you... Racial... Strength penalty...
    Pug: Say "dex is best stat." Say it!
  • Hereville: The Webcomic. Mirka is yet another troll-fighting 11-year-old orthodox Jewish schoolgirl.
  • 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.
  • Monsters Can Be Heroes Too: Shelly the Skeleton chose the wrong character class. She is a White Mage, a class that 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 joins Coal's party, who are not undead.
  • The Order of the Stick: Part of the comic's meta-humor is that 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 has 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, but the basitins were not.
  • In The Weekly Roll, Klara the tiefling is a Warlock. Not unusual, pretty common in fact, but her patron is a Celestial.
  • 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?

    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.
  • 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.
  • Ginny Di: The reoccurring character Penelope Mushruckus Blisterblood Murkspore, a Barbarian Gnome, who is as sweet and lovely as you would think...until you make her mad.
  • JourneyQuest:
    • It features an orc archeologist... who proves to be rather brilliant. 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 Revenant Zombie Carrow serving as a cleric of a good, undead-hating god. But then, that's entirely an accident (i.e. a botched resurrection spell).
  • Oxventure: While most of the party in the Dungeons & Dragons campaign is relatively optimised for race/class combos, with a wood elf druid, human rogue, tiefling warlock and dragonborn paladin, there's one outlier in the form of Dob, the half-orc bard. Not only do half-orcs in fifth edition not have a Charisma bonus (at least they're doing better than their third edition compatriots, who had a Cha penalty), but apart from a little Early-Installment Weirdness, Dob also isn't built to take advantage of the half-orc Strength bonus, having a fairly average Str modifier and mostly using a Dexterity-based rapier or his array of spells in combat. Of course, because the Oxventure is less "serious, hardcore D&D for very intense TTRPG players" and more "half a dozen friends messing about at a table, playing pranks on the NPCs and occasionally rolling dice", Dob still achieves a decent amount, and he's mostly a nuisance to the party not because of any weaknesses in his stats, but because he cast a few AOE spells without checking where his allies were and keeps throwing their money in a lake.

    Western Animation 
  • 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.
  • 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. Justified, since Fluttershy is, well, shy, and she was bullied for not being a very good flier.
    • 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.

Alternative Title(s): Elephant Rogue, Rogue Elephant