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"Witches live among us in secret. Their magic passed down from an ancient race, diluted, half-forgotten, but dangerously powerful."
Dolan Thirty-Seven, The Last Witch Hunter

The historical Christian view of a "witch" was a person who makes a Deal with the Devil in exchange for magic powers, often defined as becoming Satan's concubine. On the other hand, adherents of modern Neo-Pagan religions such as Wicca naturally take an opposing viewpoint on the practice of witchcraft.

In the modern day, though, either the positive or negative connotations of magic-as-divinely-attained would result in controversy (perhaps due to the ease with which either one may be confused with the other). So, in much fiction, witchcraft has become more of a matter of Superpowerful Genetics. Either "witch" is merely a particular race of humanity, or a different species altogether (the distinction is usually a matter of the author's semantics rather than using an actual biological definition of "species", such as the absence of interbreeding). This is a bit closer to a belief among the Azande of Africa, that an inherited organ (often located near the liver) allows potential unconscious use of magic.


A Witch Species is also mentioned in very early Christian writings describing a belief that witches were tiny creatures that cause sickness in plants, animals and people. In other words, germs. But these writings also dismissed this idea as a superstitious delusion.

The witch's powers are merely a physical trait which you either have or you don't, although those lucky enough to be born into a Witch Species may still have to work hard for their abilities to reach their full potential. They may even need formal Training.

Note that these characters were originally almost Always Female, unless male relatives are introduced, and male magic users generally use learned skills for their magic. In some cases, male witches (frequently called "warlocks") are exclusively evil, or are portrayed as inherently less common or powerful than female witches. The popularity of Harry Potter, however, has brought in some boys, although they're sometimes referred to as wizards or warlocks. Complicating the issue of inheritance of witch powers is that Muggle parents may produce witch children (and witch parents' Muggle children) because the Witch Species traits manifest in Randomly Gifted individuals.


Most protagonist Witches tend to be rookies, but the older and powerful ones are depicted as Physical Gods.

In Japan, the popularity of Magical Girls has considerably softened the idea and one is just as likely to see magic powers that are either genetic or learned.

May be the targets of Superhuman Trafficking. See also Cute Witch. For cases where every member of the witch species is a Wicked Witch (which is probably true if all Magic Is Evil), see Always Chaotic Evil. For cases where they can have any alignment (like normal humans) see Good Witch Versus Bad Witch. When members of a witch species produce a child with no powers, it's a Muggle Born of Mages.

By default, anyone from a Witch Species is disqualified from Badass Normal status (Muggle Born of Mages notwithstanding); they can still, however, fight like a normal, as well as be Brought Down to Badass.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Akazukin Cha Cha, a young girl is going to a Wizarding School. The school bus is an enlarged Flying Broomstick.
  • In The Ancient Magus' Bride, the sleigh beggy. It's also heavily implied that, while almost anyone can become an alchemist, only people born into magic can become mages. However, due to persecution after the last war, they are a dying race.
  • Attack on Titan plays with this trope regarding the Eldians. Despite the racism and xenophobia lobbed against them, there are no physical or racial differences between them and their oppressors, the Marleyans. The only way for an Eldian to truly be discerned is injecting them with Titan cerebrospinal fluid, which causes them to become Titans themselves- they're the only race in the world who can. Aside from that, they're just ordinary people.
  • In Cardcaptor Sakura, Wizards and Witches live amongst "normal" people. Supernatural powers and psychic abilities are passed along family lines; some families (like the Li family) are very aware of this and pay great attention to lineage, other families (like the Kinomoto family) less so. Sakura falls into the category of Cute Witch; CLAMP wanted to put a twist on the typical Magical Girl genre.
  • In El Cazador de la Bruja, witches are a nearly extinct subspecies of humans who mostly lost their powers in modern times. Ellis is an artificial witch, created in an attempt to restore the magical bloodline. Jodie, on the other hand, is a pure-blood witch but has about as much magical potential as any baseline human. It is also suggested that there were further artificial witches besides Ellis (possibly including L.A.) but they all died/were killed off.
  • In Dorohedoro, "magic users" are Human Aliens from another world or Alternate Universe. While outwardly identical to regular humans, and fully capable of interbreeding, they are biologically distinct, with their magical abilities caused by having a couple of extra internal organs: an organ that produces magical smoke, ducts that channel the smoke into the fingertips, and a devil-shaped brain tumor that controls the smoke organ. Canny fighters target those organs to render even the most terrifying magic users powerless.
  • In Galaxy Angel (though, as with every trope in the series, it's better explained and executed in the games), the planet Magiic, home of Kahlua, is populated by a Witch Species.
  • Such a thing is at least hinted to exist in Inuyasha, at least if Bankotsu's Motive Rant in the English dub is anything to go off of:
    Bankotsu: Humans can't possess demonic power, and I don't care for spiritual power, and I wasn't born with the power of the divine!
  • Jewelpet: The titular Jewelpets all have a natural ability to cast magic. This is downplayed as other beings, like humans, can cast magic too, but they have to learn it.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: JoJolion: The Rock Humans are a humanoid species that can turn to stone at will and live for hundreds of years. More importantly, 95% of Rock Humans are Stand users, an attribute that's incredibly rare in ordinary humans. We don't have exact numbers for ordinary humans' stand use ratios, but there are few enough that human stand users can hide behind The Masquerade.
  • Each of the four elements of magic in Kaze no Stigma is inheritable, resulting in famous clans dedicated to an element. Magic can also be obtained in rare cases by making a contract with the lord of that element and then having that element be inherited by their descendants, which is how at least the Kannagi family became a fire clan. Specialties also exist within each element, such as focusing on curses, barriers, summoning, or just fighting power.
  • Witchcraft is an inherited talent in Kiki's Delivery Service.
  • If you want to be a mage in Lyrical Nanoha, you will first need to be born with a Linker Core organ, the source of a mage's magical power. Having mage parents greatly increases your chances, but there have been known cases of powerful mages being born from non-mages. The titular character herself is one of said powerful mages with non-mage parents. Though, this may or may not count considering that her father is a former assassin/bodyguard, while her mother was a baker. Despite her brother and sister being chi-users, she was left out of most of the family business except for baking. It probably wasn't due to her age, because there were martial artists studying in the family school who weren't much older.
  • Witches in Rosario + Vampire were first born of a monster and a human getting it on. They're considered a mongrel species (among those who even know of their beginnings) and tend to be seen as unwanted in both worlds. Not quite confirmed, given that Witches have more in common with monsters than with humans in the setting and that they are referred to as being on the border but never explicitly called a hybrid race.
  • In Sally the Witch witches and warlocks live in the "Land of Magic". Sally decides to go live in the "Land of Humans" among humans.
  • Sasami: Magical Girls Club has a species of witches that live in an alternate dimension. The Magical Girls are stated to be the product of interbreeding between the witches and the humans, and are almost regarded as a separate race with powers different from normal witches. The show also plays around with the Always Female aspect of the trope by stating that there are Magical Boys but that they are very rare.
  • Somali and the Forest Spirit: a species of long-lived Always Female witches run a library. They look just like humans, but are considers "Grotesques" by humans.
  • Being a witch in Soul Eater it not something a person chooses: this is indicated by the fact that at least one is a small child with no parents to teach her magic and that certain witch characters appear to have no desire to be part of the witch culture, but in both cases, these still count as 'witches' and their souls are different from a regular human. However, it's not specified if witches are the result of Superpowerful Genetics, being Randomly Gifted, or both. At the very least, Medusa and Crona show witches are capable of having non-witch children, but we don't know if this is because of random chance or a Gender-Restricted Ability. Medusa also has two sisters who are both witches. This indicates that there is at least an important part of genetics to be able to perform magic.
  • In Sugar Sugar Rune, witches (both male and female) come from the 'magical world', and they use the emotions of humans as a power source and a currency. Love between witches and humans is taboo, and while humans can produce an infinite number of hearts, a witch only has one heart, so if she falls in love with someone and that person takes her heart, she'll die. The witch world also has a markedly different culture from the human world.
  • There, Beyond the Beyond has the flowers from the Beyond, who wield supreme magical powers, although other human and Talking Animal magicians exist.
  • Tower of God has Hwaryun, a member of the Red Witch tribe, a people that tends to give birth to the supernaturally gifted Guides.
  • Tweeny Witches: Even though the witches and warlocks have small, non-functional wings, they look so human that Arusu can pass for an apprentice witch or a young warlock with only replacing her clothes. They have inborn access to magic, though most warlocks no longer use magic while those who still do have become a Dying Race known as the wizards under oppression. As evidenced by Lennon and his parents, they can and do interbreed with humans. They can live longer than normal humans, as evidenced by the fact that the Grand Master of Witches was alive 200 ago and still looks like she's in her 60s. Their source of health and magic is the light of the Sanctuary, leading its weakening to bring about a Mystical Plague that causes its victims to lose magic and collapse.
  • The titular witches in Witch Hunter Robin are exactly this. Potential witches are tracked and hunted with the aid of a massive genealogical database maintained by the witch-hunting organization SOLOMON.
  • The witches from Witch Hunter are girls and women who's powers suddenly awaken. However, it is strongly implied that Valette is young witch Aria Godspell's mother. Not because she is her caretaker, but because her nemesis and Aria's brother Tasha Godspell has dreams in which Valette invokes nostalgic memories of his mother. Not to mention that Tasha himself turns out to be one of two mages.

    Comic Books 
  • In an interesting variant, in the Starkweather comic, it turned out that Witches were the living descendants of Christ, making the Church's attempts to wipe them out somewhat ironic.
  • Zatanna's mother was revealed to have been a member of the Homo Magi. (A subrace of humanity that evolved parallel to Homo Sapiens and hails from the mystical focal point of Atlantis.) However, her father used learned magical skills (depends on the writer; sometimes he's described as also having H. Magi blood or some other innate magic). Zatanna herself uses learned magical skills (i.e., speaking backward) to tighten her control over her inherent abilities.
  • Klarion the Witch Boy belongs either to a race of extradimensional aliens who have magical powers, or a subset of humanity that lives in the caves beneath New York City and is descended from Puritans who had "relations" with time-traveling fairies.
  • Sabrina from Sabrina the Teenage Witch is a half-witch girl who lives with her full-witch aunts. In Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Sabrina experiences some Half-Breed Discrimination from other witches.
  • Storm of X Men fame comes from a line of African sorceresses. It's used to explain her unusual phenotype (white hair, and Depending on the Writer, blue eyes with epicanthal folds). Apparently being a mutant wasn't considered by the writers to be sufficient explanation, despite many other mutant characters having unusual appearances that have no apparent link to their superhuman powers. Believe it or not, this might actually be partially Truth in Television; see modjadji. At any rate, it's established that despite the "sorcery" Storm performed before becoming an X-Man (providing rain to the tribe who worshiped her as a goddess) being solely the use of her mutant powers, she also has extreme potential for actual magicnote , and some alternate-timeline versions of her specialize it.
  • The titular Wytches are closer to Eldritch Abominations - horrific monsters who live underground and bestow gifts on human followers in exchange for "Pledges".
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Circe passes on her magic through genetics to her daughter Lyta, implying she's one of the Homo Magi.

    Fairy Tales 

    Fan Works 
  • The Backyard Sports fanfic The Secret Life of the Backyard Kids gives us Jorge and Tiffany, and wizards here are less "special" and more like ordinary people with superpowers. Then robes is foregone in favor of suits and dresses (including a Little Black Dress in one chapter.)
  • Child of the Storm has the usual Harry Potter example, elaborated as a sub-species of humanity that adapted to magic (much like a previous human species, the Sidhe, did when they moved into the Nevernever, though they became one with magic). As with canon, it doesn't always result in magic, or indicate power. Or at least, you don't have to be born to powerful practitioners to be powerful - Doctor Strange reveals that his parents were pretty limited wandless practitioners at most, yet even as a young man, only Merlin and Morgana were definitively stronger than him.
  • The Harry Potter Fanfiction Paradigm of Uncertainty plays with wizard genetics by introducing a rare incompletely dominant allele that's responsible for wizards having a great inborn talent. Wizards who are heterozygous in this trait exhibit a high level of natural magic, and should two of them have a child there's a one-in-four chance of yielding offspring with what amount to superpowers. Three guesses as to which character turns out to be one of the latter. Rule 34 suggests that the most obvious way the gene could promote its own propagation will be or has been exhaustively explored by Fan Fic writers.
  • The Palaververse: Most, although not all, of the intelligent races have a subspecies capable of harnessing magic in a more direct, spellcasting fashion than the rest of their kin — the ponies have unicorns, the caprids ibexes, the sheep black sheep, the cattle longhorns, the corvids ravens and the elephants forest elephants. There are also subspecies that can use less "flashy" forms of magic: takin goats can use runic magic and enchant objects, while rooks posses oracular abilities.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Covenant has five families from Salem in the beginning, where only the firstborn son inherit the magic powers. Presumably there were more descendants, but only the firstborn son of every family gets powers.
  • In The Craft, the protagonist Sarah is a "natural" witch, with the other members of the coven, Nancy, Bonnie, and Rochelle, all implied to be leeching off of her power in order to perform magic. The latter three all wind up being Brought Down to Normal at the end once Sarah defeats them, lacking any real magical gifts of their own.
  • In Halloweentown, people refer to "humans" as if they were a separate race from witches and warlocks, even though they look exactly the same. Also, witches and warlocks can lose their magic, which presumably makes them totally normal humans (it's unclear if they retain the thousand-year lifespan). The main characters are Half Human Hybrids, though this doesn't seem to impact their magical abilities (or at least, wouldn't if their mother had TOLD them they were witches).
  • In The Last Witch Hunter, the witches are said to be a separate and much older species, or subspecies, from humans, albeit one capable of interbreeding with homo sapiens.
  • In Practical Magic Sally and Gilly Owens are two sisters with an open secret: they come from a long line of witches.
  • Seventh Son (2015): In the film, witches are not the same species as humans, although they look the same and can have children with them.
  • Star Wars: Power with the Force is hereditary in a great many cases. Given the prohibition against members of the Jedi Order marrying (to avoid forming personal attachments which distracts from one's duty which is serving the Republic), the only examples we see of hereditary Force power in the movies are Luke and Leia, but the Star Wars Legends material increases this (especially with non-Jedi traditions that don't preclude marriage, and the fact that many thousands of years of Jedi history didn't include that prohibition). This is not a guarantee, however, as stories with Jedi Master Ki Adi Mundi show he had seven children and five wives (male Cerean Jedi are exempt from the restrictions against marriage given the 20 to 1 female to male ratio), but Wookiepedia doesn't indicate any of them were Force Sensitive.

  • Amelia Atwater-Rhodes' books have a genetic, female-only species of witches. These witches can breed with normal humans, but their powers are genetic, so there are a few very specific witch lines. These can work magic, and each line has a different specialty, but witch society as a whole tends to spend most of its time hunting the vampires that run rampant in these books. One witch line carries a vampiric taint. While a witch can be turned into a vampire, turning one into a blood bond (which effectively makes a human immortal but not a vampire) is usually disastrous. Then there are the Tristes, immortal witches who are quite like the vampires they so often hunt. They have their own "sires" after a fashion, in which specific trainers and their initiates have varying levels of powers. Also like vampires, Tristes "feed" on energy rather than blood. Their blood is poisonous to vampires, unless the triste consents under specific conditions.
  • Many of the fairy races in Artemis Fowl are this.
  • In Bras and Broomsticks, being a witch is portrayed as a cross between genetic abilities and being an ethnicity.
  • In Margaret Mahy's The Changeover, that witches are their own race is implied if not outright stated.
  • Played with in Chanters of Tremaris. While some people believe in the mythical "Singer of All Songs" who can sing every sort of chantment, the general assumption is that magic is inherited (islanders sing wind chanments, mountain women sign ice magic, the people of Kalysons let their Power of Beasts die out, etc.) and some people of these lands simply don't inherit magic at all. Later, other characters show themselves capable of learning magic without any apparent genetic component but The Heroine's Magic Dance powers are still exlpained as being inherited from her father, whose race (the Tree People), have the magic of healing.
  • In Cliff McNish's Doomspell Trilogy, there is a LITERAL Witch Species. They serve as the main villains in the books, including a secondary, more brutal race of witches bred for battle, called the Griddas.
  • Jim Butcher's series, Codex Alera, has humans as its version of this. All humans can use elemental magic, and while other races have some degree of magic among them, humans have the greatest and most common access to it. Interestingly, this works as a disadvantage as much as an advantage, since they tend to have trouble thinking about non-magical methods of accomplishing things (meaning, for example, that there exists no technology, beyond maybe ships which, even then, can be made from wood magic.) Similarly, though to a lesser degree, the Canim have a whole caste who are just magic users, though seeing as the ritualists are a rather secretive and elitist bunch its unclear whether their powers are hereditary, or just an art they keep to themselves. (We do know it involves blood. Fresh blood, from sapient beings. And a lot of it...)
  • The Comyn in Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover series have hereditary psychic power, largely (though not entirely) due to being descended from the result of a mating between a chieri and a human woman that took place soon after humans arrived on the planet (see Darkover Landfall). The powers require training to be used safely and effectively.
  • Two from The Death Gate Cycle, the Sartan and the Patryns. Because they were created by the cosmic balance as a means of maintaining itself, their powers tend to be complimentary opposites- Patryn magic is quick, physical, and good for combat, while Sartan magic is more involved and spiritual. Both races are continually at each others throats. Humans and elves from the same setting can learn magic, and it's implied the ability is hereditary, but even an incredibly talented "mensch" wizard will reach only the equivalent of the lowest tiers or Sartan or Patryn power.
  • Discworld takes a strange and sometimes contradictory view on this. It's stated outright that magic has a genetic component: it runs strong in the Weatherwax and Ogg families, for instance. However, anyone is capable of performing certain feats of magic (it's getting away with it that's the trick. Which is why "seeing what's really there" is an important skill for a magic user to have, and one that does seem to be part of what runs in families). It could be that the descent gives the child the right mindset to become a witch or wizard, or increases the magic potential the child has, or causes the all powerful Discworld force of Narrative Convention to have things happen to them that will cause the magic to happen all on its own. Then again, it's more than likely just the fact that it's magic, and that's what magic does.
    • It is one of the few cases where the traditional differences between what wizardry and witch magic is like is acknowledged and built into the story, for example, in Equal Rites.
    • Then there are Sourcerers - the eighth son of an eighth son of an eighth son, or 'wizard cubed', who is inevitably a Person of Mass Destruction. This is the reason wizards are supposed to be celibate. Sourcerers, on the other hand, tend not to survive long enough to breed. The one featured in the series was orders of magnitude more powerful than the gods, and after a Heel Realization voluntarily abandoned the world for one of his own creation.
    • Tiffany Aching is an interesting example, since she's the granddaughter of a witch ... but only because she decided she was. There's no mention in the books of Granny Aching doing anything that could be called magic at least, not while she was alive, although most of the witches agree that the decidedly mundane things she did to help the people of the Chalk were definitely a large chunk of what being a witch is about.
  • In Dora Wilk Series witches are sub-species of humans to whom magic comes intuitively. To make it better, there are sub-species of witches. So far, three were shown and more are implied:
    • North Witches excel in combat and combat magic, as well as Full-Contact Magic. To live and use magic, they have to fuel themselves up by the sea breeze.
    • Fertility Witches are succubi-like creatures that have power of Glamour and can charm other people into doing their bidding. To live and do magic, they must have sex.
    • Earth Witches have Green Thumb and their magic is apparently tied to their home turf, meaning that in extreme cases they can't leave it without dying.
  • The Dresden Files has magical rituals that can be used by anyone, but there's a form of innate magic that's passed down matrilineally (inherited from the mother). The divide usually comes down between wizards (capable of throwing about truly powerful magic) and practitioners (have an inner reserve of power, but usually capable of only minor workings). Such a law is at the heart of White Night, as it turns out members of the White Court are trying to wipe out female practitioners so that inherited magic goes extinct within a few generations.
  • The Enchanted Forest Chronicles features Fire Witches, people born with an inherent control over fire. These people are invariably redheaded, short-fused, and touchy to boot. Shiara from Talking to Dragons kind of breaks this mold, though-when she expresses a wish that she had better control over her fire magic and Daystar wishes she had better control over her temper, Daystar's magic sword compromises by granting both wishes; Shiara has perfect control of her fire magic, but can only use it when she's being polite. The books also feature regular witches, who are just regular human women who learned to do magic.
  • The witches in the His Dark Materials trilogy are a species in themselves. All female. They breed with human men; their daughters are witches, their sons mere humans. A witch species that also has male witches is briefly mentioned, but they are from another universe and never actually show up.
  • Witches in The Hollows novels are an entire race capable of using enzymes in their blood (kind of like midichlorians) to activate magical potions and charms. Other forms of magic can be used by other races as well. They're not capable of interbreeding with humans, despite looking just like them, although many female witches marry male humans and then get pregnant extramaritally. Later in the series it is revealed that witches are descended from the cursed and stunted offspring of demons, and this is the source of their abilities.
  • In The House of Night, vampyres can cast spells, effectively also making them this trope. Though they can apparently reproduce, most seem to be humans who become Randomly Gifted at puberty due to something involving junk DNA. Confusingly, though, they also have a special magical religion which every vampyre seems to convert to upon Changing.
  • Back in 1948, Jack Williamson published Darker than You Think, featuring a witch species that evolved due to prehistoric environmental reasons. However, their abilities mainly deal with shape-changing, making them were-wolves, were-pythons, were-saber-toothed-tigers, and more. In very rare cases, a witch becomes powerful enough to transform into a vampire. (That's a lot of tropes blended together.)
    • The Shadowspawn trilogy pays homage to Williamson with a similar witch-shapeshifter-vampire species, the Shadowspawn, updating the scientific rationale for their powers. As in Williamson, the genes are scattered throughout the population, ranging from slight traces to terrifyingly powerful concentrations. People with a small degree of Shadowspawn heritage might have psychic powers. Those who have a high percentage but not enough to be true Shadowspawn tend to turn into bloodthirsty serial killers.
  • James Reese's Herculine trilogy has a hereditary witch species whose powers appear to be related to both gender and a unique blood type. They interbreed with humans, but daughters are always witches and sons are human men who may have some slight psychic sensitivity. It is stated that "every witch is born of a witch, and every witch dies a witch's death." They have psychic abilities, and are able to cast spells. Some practice paganism or some other religion related to magic such as vodoun, while others prefer nonreligious magic. Many witches are untrained and are not aware that they are anything other than human, and so are not able to teach their daughters how to use their powers either. However, untrained witches can still display psychic abilities such as telekinesis in moments of anger. It is stated that their powers are related to their blood, and that at some point, they will all succumb to death by massive hemorrhage, which usually happens in old age but can strike some unlucky witches in their twenties. However, their unusual blood type gives them immunity to infectious diseases and a slight healing factor. All witches have the ability to display "the mark of the toad" to identify themselves to other witches, by causing their pupils to change shape and become irregular, and this can also be reversed at will. Unusually, old witches lose their powers with age, while witches new to magic tend to be much stronger. The protagonist is a hermaphrodite child of a witch, and has the abilities of a witch but also has the physical equipment needed to father children on a human woman, producing normal witch daughters and human sons.
  • Katherine Kurtz's Deryni are frequently referred to as a separate race of humans, especially by their enemies. They are both male and female, and can and do interbreed with ordinary humans. The word is both singular and plural, both noun and adjective. The author even gives an appendix about the genetics: Deryni-ness is a dominant X-chromosome variant, and Haldane "can have powers given to me" is a Y-chromosome variant. This may or may not match depictions throughout the series.
  • Wizards are the beings in The Lord of the Rings that use "magic" in the sense we understand it (clearly supernatural, spell-like effects) the most often; they are a different order of being than men, elves, dwarves, hobbits, etc., being essentially angels who have voluntarily taken the form of old men in order to better interact with the Free Peoples of Middle-Earth. Elves, dwarves, and the Dúnedain (men with the favor of the de facto gods of the setting and who also have elven blood in their royal line) also sometimes have talents that appear magical to the reader, although Tolkien makes such liberal use of Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane that it's often hard to be sure. Meanwhile, the ability of hobbits to avoid the notice of "the Big Folk" is explicitly called magical by the narration, although it doesn't appear to be supernatural so much as being short of stature and moving quietly.
  • All witches in Magical Annals are witches because of genetics. They started as normal mortals millions of years ago. And then crossbreeding happened with their magical ancestors (everything from matagots to faeries to ogres). The gene pool and more interspecies romance created enough of a distinction between the normal witches and the royal-blooded witches and all those generations later, the magical capabilities are still passed down from parent to child.
  • In Mithgar, Mages are their own race, described as physically resembling a cross between elves and humans; the ability to cast spells in innate (and unique- all spellcasters in-series have at least some Mage blood) to them. Though they age (and use of magic accelerates the process), they can regain their youth by entering special trances, meaning that they're immortal as long as they're careful. Black Mages sidestep the issue by forcibly stealing other peoples' energy for their magic. Most Black Mages are also bald, though it's never explained why (and they're the same race as regular Mages, albeit the outcasts and criminals of their society, making it especially strange).
  • Nancy A. Collins's Golgotham trilogy has both supernaturally-gifted humans like the latent ferromancer heroine and a distinct species called Kymerans, who are the descendants of the last survivors of Atlantis-by-any-other-name. Their distinguishing traits are as follows:
  • In The Nekropolis Archives, witches and warlocks are members of a race called the Arcane. They look human, and are capable of interbreeding with humans, but are actually a species of Darkfolk.
  • Kelley Armstrong's The Otherworld books feature both an all-female witch phenotype and an all-male sorcerer one. The genes for the two are in some way incompatible, as well as sex-linked and so both witches and sorcerers only reproduce with mundanes, who know nothing of this according to the Masquerade. However, witch and sorcerer magics have some overlap. A witch can perform sorcerer magic, but she is less capable with it than she is with witch magic, and vice versa for sorcerers. There are hints in Dime Store Magic and Industrial Magic that witches and sorcerers may be more alike than they think, particularly the revelation that neophyte witch Savannah Levine is the daughter of a witch and a sorcerer, supposedly impossible.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "A Witch Shall Be Born", as a result of a Deal with the Devil, a Curse on the royal house ensures that a witch will be born every century.
  • In Vadim Panov's Secret City series of novels the eponymous Secret City is divided into 4 major factions: The Great Houses of Nav', Chud', Lyud' and the humans (sometimes referred as the House of Chel). Each faction has a unique magic Source. Great Houses contain multiple races with different rules, which merits a detailed listing:
    • Great House of Nav', the Dark Court and the most diverse group:
      • Nav', main species, Magic Knights: all Navs are magic users and appear male. No reproduction details are known, and they likely obey the Immortal Procreation Clause, as their lifespan counts in millenia.
      • Shas', originally artificers, now also merchants and bankers of the Secret City: all members can use magic, but most will resort to artifacts. Shas naturally use the Nav's Source, but can craft artifacts for all Sources and races. Normal mammal reproduction, Shas half-bloods aren't known.
      • Ärli, dedicated medics of the Secret City, second only to Healers, but with less rigid moral compulsions. Exclusively male and living in a monastic order. No reproduction details given.
      • Masan, spies, assassins, shock troops of the Secret City. Their unique powers are fully inherited, but fueled by blood consumption, blood sacrifice and some cannibalistic rites. While vampire myths indeed come from Masan-related incidents, Masans reproduce as regular vertebrates. note 
      • Os', the underground dwellers. Osy (Осы) hunt with domestic rat packs, and their partially telepathic control over the rats is their inherent magic. Os' were a Bee People, whose monogamist HiveQueens and Kings ruled the common Osy the same way those rule the rats. Navs are running a project to remove this link and render Os' a normal species, rendering their Hive Queens moot. Regular mammal reproduction, no cross-breeds known.
    • Great House of Chud', the Red Citadel:
      • Chud', the main species. Chuds reproduce as regular mammals and can produce fertile half-human hybrids. Most male Chuds and half-Chuds can use magic, while pure Chud females are almost incapable of it. Due to this power disbalance, Chuds are very patriarchal; Chud males are very likely to take mistresses from outside their Great House.
      • Khvan, mercenaries of the Secret City. Vassal allies of the Chud'. Khvans appear fully human, except for their four arms. Khvans prefer swords and artifacts. Regular mammal reproduction, patriarchal society. No cross-breeds known.
      • Daykini, incorporeal spirits who require female humanoid hosts. Technically capable of using Shas, Chud', Lyud' and human females and their respective magic energies, daykini prefer Chud magic energy. Chud and human muggle females will become capable mages after daykini takeover. Daykini have been exposed after a failed conspiracy and placed under a spell limiting them to volunteer hosts. A daykini will retain the host's memories. No reproduction details known.
    • Great House of Lyud', the Green Castle:
      • Lyud', the main species. Lyuds reproduce as regular mammals and can produce fertile half-human hybrids. Most female Lyuds and female human-Lyud descendants can use magic, while pure and cross-breed Lyud males are incapable of it. Due to this power disbalance, Lyuds are purely matriarchal; Lyud females are very likely to take lovers from outside their Great House or sometimes form lesbian couples.
      • Kontz, the entertainers and showmen of the Secret City. Exclusively male with an innate unique seduction magic, also capable of using common spells and artifacts. Kontz often marry muggle women, boys born from a Kontz father are likely also Kontz.
      • Moryanas, an artificial all-female species created as Lyud' countermeasure to Masans and Khvans, also capable of telepathic links among themselves. Shape-shifters with a fully human appearance (slender middle-Asian or oriental young women) and a nightmarish battle form. Moryanas are impervious to most combat spells, but also limited to artifacts. Moryanas produce fertile offspring with Chuds, Lyuds and humans, and also possibly with Shas and Kontz males. All Moryana children are also Moryana girls.
      • Red Caps, originally Lyud ranged support troops, now petty criminals, cheap muscle and comic relief of the Secret City. Incapable of any own magic and restricted to artifacts, Red Caps possess supernatural accuracy with any thrown projectiles and an equally supernaturally horrible smell. Regular mammal reproduction, no known cross-breeds.
    • The House of Chel, a.k.a regular humans. The only species in the setting with Randomly Gifted individuals. Mentioned here for the possible variants: regular humans, regular mages, Chud' and Lyud' cross-breeds, monks (mages using belief), Healers (mages capable of healing magic only, but up to panacea spells), Geomancers, metamorphs, Tat' hybrids (descendants of a former Great House that fully assimilated with humans to prevent extinction), Reapers (fear-triggered berserkers), Inquisitors (innate belief-fueled wide-range Anti-Magic effect), Azathoth adepts (modified humans) and Kitano School adepts (Anti-Magic users, the skill is acquired). The fraction of mages among humans is increasing with the millenia-long exposure to background magic and the increasing share of Chud' and Lyud' genes in the population.
    • Galla's adepts are a notable inversion, as accepting Galla and his Anti-Magic doctrine not only removes the person's magic, but will also render their children exempts from their respective species.
  • In Simon Hawke's Wizard novels, humans with the capacity to practice magic get that potential from partial Old One ancestry. Those who are more closely related tend to be more powerful as magic-users, although they still need to study and practice to master their talent.
  • Wizards in Tanya Huff's Wizard Of The Grove duology resulting from the mating of the male gods and human women. Unfortunately they turned out to be Always Chaotic Evil and destroyed their fathers. Later the seven goddesses united and created a final, good, Wizard in order to combat the only remaining Wizard.
  • In the Night World series, witches are a race within humanity, though you might not want to point that out. Perfectly ordinary-seeming humans may have enough witch in their background to be able to cast spells, and if they do not learn to control it, they may go mad, or they may find the titular Night World. Ones that have not found it are interesting, as they are the only people who do not know about the Night World that its inhabitants are ever allowed to tell. Not that most do.
  • The Shadowhunter Chronicles has the warlocks, one of the four Downworlder species alongside werewolves, vampires and faeries. They are the children of demons and humans, usually the children of a male demon and a female human. However, they are very seldom begotten out of love, the demons usually rape the human. Warlocks look almost like humans, but they have characteristics of their demonic origin, such as horns or claws. Warlocks often get hired by Shadowhunters or other Downworlders to use their magic. They are also immortal (they usually stop ageing in their early twenties), but can not get children by natural means.
    • There are also warlocks who can use no or very little magic. They are called ifrits.
    • Tessa Gray from The Infernal Devices is a special case. She is a hybrid of shadowhunters and warlocks, so she has no demonic features on her body, and can get children.
    • The fairies are hybrids of angels and demons, and can also use magic. However, their magic differs fundamentally from the magic of warlocks.
    • Apparently, Shadowhunters can also use magic to some extent, because Valentin was very experienced in the use of black magic.
  • In the Dutch childrens book series Foeksia De Miniheks ("Foeksia the little witch"), witches are a species entirely seperate from humanity. They hatch from eggs and live in communities away from human civilization, like forests. And while males do exist, the fast majority of the species is female (in fact, in their home forest, Foeksia's father Kwark is the only wizard among an otherwise all witch population).
  • In the Winds Of The Forelands series, the local Witch Species are called Qirsi (as opposed to baseline humans, Eandi). They look basically human but are extremely pale, have white hair and golden eyes, and are described as short-lived and physically frail because magic burns up their life energy. Their magic is activated by an act of will and split into various specific powers such as gleaning (seeing the future in a limited capacity), fire, mists and winds (controls the weather), healing, mind-bending, shaping, and language of beasts. Most Qirsi have only a handful of powers, but rare Weavers have all of them, plus the ability to collectively wield the magic of large numbers of other Qirsi and communicate in their dreams (they're also somewhat less squishy than the average Qirsi).
    • The Sequel Series Blood Of The Southlands introduces a second Witch Species, the Mettai. An offshoot of the Eandi, the Mettai practice Blood Magic which is activated by shedding one's own blood, mixing it with soil, and then speaking a short incantation to produce the desired effect. Mettai magic is generally less powerful and less efficient than Qirsi magic, owing to these constraints, but is also more versatile- rather than being limited to specialized powers, a Mettai can produce almost any effect, so long as they have access to blood and earth and can come up with an incantation that describes what they want to happen (which for more elaborate effects is a lot harder than it sounds). Mettai have no equivalent of Weavers- but they can also do things Qirsi can't, like summon animals from the earth, so it all evens out.
  • In The Thieftaker Chronicles, conjurers are humans with magical ability passed through family lines. They are often confused for actual Witches, who are much more powerful and who are said to have struck deals with demons in order to gain their magic. Because this series takes place in Colonial America, where Burn the Witch! is still in full effect, characters with magic are referred to as witches by the ignorant regardless of their gender.
  • The Two Princesses of Bamarre: Sorcerors are this, living longer than humanity and born when lightning strikes marble. Despite this, many still marry humans (it's said they never wed their own kind).
  • The Wardstone Chronicles features Lamia Witches, an Always Female species that usually look like reptilian humanoids. But if they socialize with humans for long enough they turn into beautiful women who are almost indistinguishable from ordinary humans. There are also regular witches, who are women who get magical power, usually from The Devil The Fiend.
  • Christopher Stasheff's Warlock of Gramarye series has "witches" (female) and "warlocks" (male), both with a different sex-linked power set— all really genetically inherited Psychic Powers mistaken for magic. Naturally, the protagonist and his family are major exceptions to those rules, due to partial fake-Faerie blood and magic borrowed from another universe (way too complex to go into here).
    • Plus a possible different variant of the effect - Stasheff's witches and warlocks have their powers due to massive inbreeding from a limited source. Rod, though not from Gramarye, was also the product of a massive inbreeding on his own homeworld, and we know at least one of the original settlers there, (who happened to be in Rod's family tree) was descended from someone (Whitey) who may have had similar internal abilities. At the very least, he had strong personal talents and an affinity for the lifestyle chosen by the settlers of Gramarye.
  • The War Gods by David Weber has no current version of this, but both the dwarves and elves were this before their cleaving was completed. When the Empire of Ottovar was found the Elves were created out of the Warlocks, people who naturally could perform magic similar to mages, but with no training needed. They weren't as powerful as wizards, but were quite dangerous and since they could pop up randomly, and tended to fall easily into dark magic. Ottovar rerouted the flow of magic in them as part of a deal that gave them immortality.
    • The Dwarves now have a decent number of baseline humans in their current genepool, but some of them still have the bloodline gift of stone manipulation that was the highlight of the early dwarves.
  • In Roald Dahl's The Witches, the title characters are a sort of demonic One-Gender Race, and are Always Chaotic Evil at least far as children are concerned - Witches want to eradicate all children. They're uninterested in killing adults, but aren't bothered about accidentally killing them. These demon women are hairless, toeless and have long claws all of which they must conceal from the general public along with some other traits.
  • The girls in The Witches of Karres are a member of a witch species.
  • In The Witchlands, the only way to gain magic on the eponymous continent is to be born with it, and children of witches are likely to be witches as well. The one exception to that is Sightwitchery, which can't be passed on and is only acquired by communing with goddess Sirmaya.
  • In Diana Wynne Jones's Witch Week, witches can be male or female — but either way they're illegal and likely to be executed by burning.
  • The witches of Andre Norton's Witch World books. Originally all female, and with their magic powers linked to their virginity, that changes when Simon Tregarth is sent to the witch world from our world. He not only has his own powers, but when he marries, his wife doesn't lose her powers and their children are more powerful than either parent. This is clarified later in Three Against the Witch World. Originally - before the Old Race migrated from westward - people of either gender might have magical ability. In fact this is still the case, at least for men who are not members of the Old Race (e.g. Riwal in The Crystal Gryphon), but it is rare for a man to be correctly identified as a potential magic user and given appropriate training.
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz introduced this trope, according to Martin Gardner. Apparently L. Frank Baum wanted to avoid religious objections from parents on the grounds that witches are the result of a Deal with the Devil and thus there cannot be good witches, so he made witchcraft an inherent trait and classified witches as good or evil based on how they used their magic, not the magic's origin.
  • In I. Dravin's Xenos most species of the world of Arland are Randomly Gifted with magic, but some work differently:
    • Each werebeast clan is technically a Witch Species in itself. Any child born to a couple of the same clan is automatically a werebeast of the same clan. Additionally, all werebeasts are capable of regular magic, although to varying degrees. While the werebeasts are cross-fertile across their clans and with humans, such "halfbreed" children are weak, incapable of shapeshifting and most likely sterile.
    • Vampires of Arland are a standalone example. Only fertile among themselves, all vampires are capable of magic and can learn some unique skills after passing a physical and psychical threshold.
  • The Young Wizards series combines this trope with an inversion of Deal with the Devil: one third of humans have the genetics necessary for being a wizard, but God grants magic to only 1% of those with the genetic potential. And there are ways to gain wizardry in which your genes aren't relevant. Wizards exist to help the Powers that Be keep the universe running; where there is a wizard, it generally means there's some specific problem that person, as a wizard, can choose to become an optimal solution to. Which takes as much work to arrange for as you'd think. Some species are universally wizards; some only need one at a time. For humans, the genetic potential thing serves to simplify administrative work.
  • In The Neverending Story, witches are mentioned among the doctors who come to inspect the Childlike Empress, and the inhabitants of Spook City. Xayide is also an evil sorceress. Since none of the natives of Fantastica are truly human, they must be this.

    Live-Action TV 
  • American Horror Story: Coven goes the human woman with the genetically-inherited powers route. Men are seen serving on witches' councils, but no reference is made to how powerful or common they are.
  • Bewitched. The witches seem to combine this with attributes of The Fair Folk. Tabitha definitely inherited the gene while Adam was more dubious until a late episode that showed he was a warlock but had been suppressing his powers. In the second attempt at a Tabitha sequel series Adam was a mundane, however (in the first unaired pilot, he was a warlock), but what do we expect from a series that retconned their ages.
  • Averted in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Anyone, male or female, can learn witchcraft and how to cast spells. Like any other skill though, some will be better at it than others. In Willow's case, a lot better. And it may run in certain families; Amy's mother was a witch, and so were Tara's mother and grandmother (but not her brother and female paternal cousin).
  • Charmed differentiates between "magical witches," who are part of the witch subspecies and are born with magical powers, and "witch practitioners" who aren't born with powers but can study witchcraft to limited effect.
  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina combines both this trope and the original Deal with the Devil-style witches: while witches and warlocks are treated like a different species, they unlock their full potential through a Blood Oath to serve the Dark Lord.
  • A Discovery of Witches: Witches are another species distinct from humans in the series. People must have one witch parent at least to do magic. However, they still look the same.
  • A literal example, the Carrionites, appeared in the Doctor Who episode "The Shakespeare Code".
  • Witches in Free Spirit despite the name are more similar to The Fair Folk as they seem to live in a parallel dimension, have naturally given powers and are immortals.
  • In Grimm, Hexenbiests and Zauberbiests (literally "witch beasts" and "wizard beasts" in German) are, basically, witches and warlocks, respectively. They are the same type of Wesen, but the show didn't want to call males witches. When they woge, they appear like decaying zombies (e.g. empty eye sockets, missing parts of skin). It's never made explicit what powers they possess, but most Hexenbiests have extensive knowledge of potions, although that is learned not innate. They may also have limited Mind over Matter abilities. At first, we only see Hexenbiests (one in particular), but later meet a half-Zauberbiest (police captain Renard, whose father is a Royal). Later episodes show some particularly powerful Hexenbiests capable of telekinesis and mind manipulation. These include Adalind (after she absorbs Frau Pech's power), her infant daughter (3/4 Hexenbiest, 1/4 Royal), Henrietta, and Juliette (quite possibly the most powerful Hexenbiest in the world, although she became one as a side effect of a magical ritual).
  • Motherland: Fort Salem the witches are born from family lines. Some lines are more prestigious and powerful than others, though witches can and do have children with non-witches.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch. The titular witch is a half breed, which on several occasions has proven to make her less powerful than a full witch. However, it does mean that if she ever sees her mortal mother, her mother will turn into a ball of wax. Also, they're immortal, living thousands of years, though the point where they stop aging seems to be completely arbitrary. We've seen witches and warlocks with apparent ages anywhere from pre-teens, to teenagers, 20/30 somethings, and up into their 50s or 60s. There are a few episodes where the issue of witches dying comes up. It implies that they may not be truly immortal, but that they may simply age very slowly. This would explain the discrepancies in the apparent ages.
  • The Secret Circle. In this case it was Adaptation Displacement. The books were written by a practicing Neo-Pagan who wanted to depict their practices and beliefs accurately, only with a little exaggeration of how often something supernatural actually happens.
  • Queen Elizabeth (the consort of Edward IV, not the more famous daughter of Henry VIII) in the BBC/Starz series The White Queen is depicted as an actual witch who inherited her powers from her mother, who claims that they are descended from the goddess Melusine, and that all the women in their line thus have magic powers, or at least the potential for the same. Note that in Real Life, both Elizabeth and her mother were in fact accused of witchcraft, but these accusations were very obviously politically motivated and without foundation (certainly they did not possess actual supernatural powers, which the show depicts them as having).
  • In The Vampire Diaries the witches run in families.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Greek myth and folklore has the stringla, vampiric witch women who transformed into birds, usually owls, in order to slip into people's homes and feast on the blood and flesh of the residents.
  • The Strigoi from Romanian mythology is said to work on the same basic principle. Instead of biting humans to infect them with The Virus, a Strigoi can become human again, marry, and bear children — who will all go on to also become vampires after death. A Monster Progenitor who proliferates the species by getting to know someone in the biblical sense.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The titular dragons are this, to the point of actually gaining automatic levels in player-equivalent caster classes as they age and mature, in addition to being able to take levels in character classes the normal way.
    • The Sorcerer class in the third edition is an inborn mage, as opposed to the Wizard, who has to nose through his spellbook in order to prepare spells. Many Sorcerers claim to have a dragon or other powerful being as an ancestor, though the truth of such claims depends on the player and the Game Master.
    • Warlocks on the other hand gain their powers in the Judeo-Christian manner, but so players could play good warlocks the 3rd edition version stated that the pacts can sometimes be inherited (4E stated that the devils who offered pacts were now dead but remnants of their power could be drawn upon. 5E simply offered the option of multiple different patrons, including archangels and The Fair Folk).
    • The various types of Hags in the game are species that have the attributes of fairy tale and mythological witches.
      • Van Richten, an in-universe monster expert in the Ravenloft setting, speculates they may be a type of fey, but his out-of-universe editor notes that they've been classified as a kind of ogre in in the 2e "Guide to Witches" splatbook.
      • Hilarious in Hindsight: Hags changed from being an ogre strain to a kind of evil Fey from 4th edition onwards.
    • The Kalashtar of the Eberron setting can also be considered an example of this trope, although their powers are psionic rather than magical. Their links to extraplanar entities are what makes them other than human, and such connections, while not genetic, are passed down from father to son or from mother to daughter.
    • Also from the Ravenloft setting: the Vistani — Romani people by way of Universal Horror films — have a magic talent no other humans (or demihumans, for that matter) have: the ability to travel the Mists safely. This may make them a downplayed example.
      • In 5e, Vistani are just normal humans that can travel the mists, but to make up for the difference there are Hexblood. "half-hags" that have gained some traits of hags for some reason.
    • The 3e race Spellscale are near-Draconic Humanoid that are descended from dragonblooded sorcerers. As such, they have innage magical potential similar to dragons.
  • In GURPS Technomancer, the Magery advantage has been identified as being caused by a particular gene, leading to speculation that one day it might be possible to genetically engineer mages.
  • In Pathfinder, hags are their own unique kind of species. They crossbreed with humanoid males to father changelings, who look like Cute Witches with long, slender frames, dark hair, heterochromia, and abnormally pale skin, and then use a ritual to transform changelings into ugly, mystically powerful crones like themselves when they come of age — hags always being Evil Witches is enforced by the facts that only evil changelings willingly accept the transformation ritual, and those forced to transform are driven mad by the torturous nature of the transformation. Additionally, changelings can take an alternate racial trait that makes them better witches (a +2 bonus to Intelligence and Charisma instead of a +2 bonus to Wisdom and Charisma).
    • Like the sorcerer, many types of Half Human Hybrids gain some forms of magic from their magical ancestors. Half-Celestial, Half-Fiendish, Aasimars, Tieflings and Half-Dragons are just some of the most common types.
    • In Pathfinder, all Sorcerers have a "bloodline" that gives them the potential to advance in the Sorceror class. In many (but not all) cases, these bloodlines are the results of a Half-Human Hybrid ancestor: even in almost all (there is a handful of Mystical Pregnancy bloodlines) the others (such as the Arcane, Deepearth or Undead bloodlines) the tendency is inherited (though it may skip generations). The Arcane bloodline is interesting in that the suggested origin of the bloodline is basically having had lots of ancestors who learned to use arcane magic the hard way. The Accursed bloodline, meanwhile, actually covers descent from hags.
    • In the same game, the "Dreamwalker" archetype for the Witch class takes its inspiration from hags in general and night hags (based on the "night mara" and similar nightmare-inducing she-demons), as well as being a specific archetype of the witch class for changelings (which, in Pathfinder, are the infantile form of hags).
    • The Bloodrager class is somewhat similar, but in addition to some slight magic, the majority of the inheritance is a terrible rage where the individual exhibits strange and frightening powers. Like the Sorcerer, this inheritance be due to a half-human ancestor or exposure to arcane energies somewhere in the history of the bloodline.
    • Pathfinder's Arcanist class is described as someone with sorcerous talent who learns to wield it using wizardly methods instead of the Sorcerer's individualistic force-of-personality method. By default they don't get to choose a bloodline, though they can optionally pick up a lessened variant, and one of their available archetypesnote  exchanges some of the Arcanist's tricks for them having a full Sorcerer bloodline
  • The ability for magic is a genetic trait in Shadowrun. How that magic expresses (Shamanic, hermetic or whatever) however doesn't seem to be.
    • The genetic inheritance of magic seems to be something that varies from Author to Author. The tradition is chosen by the individual, so that it matches his beliefs and personality. Things get more complex when you throw the different kind of practitioners in the mix (Physical Adepts, Mystic Adepts and Magicians). Magicians are your classic spell-slinger and summoner. Adepts are people who use magic to gain physical abilities mundane people don't have, like superhuman strength, wall running, the ability to alter their facial features, the ability to understand foreign language or reflexes that border on precognition. A magician could have an adept as a child, yet that adept might have stronger magic than his magician progenitor.
    • Things get more complex when you consider how many variants of Awakened their are. The vast majority of Awakened can cast one spell, summon one spirit, or perceive astrally. There are awakened strains of entire non-metahuman species. Anyone with The Virus is awakened, as are Drakes. Then you have Technomancers, who take the basic rules of being a magician and apply them to the Matrix instead of the Astral.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Eldar are all psychic, the 40k 'verse's equivalent of magic. Worth noting that only Eldar from Craftworlds are like this: the Dark Eldar's psyker potential has been severely atrophied over millennia of not using them, due to their fear of attracting the attention of Slaanesh. Among the Craftworld Eldar, the ones from Ulthwe tend towards excellent psyker potential, sometimes theorized to be due to the Craftworld's close proximity to the Eye of Terror. So, they're like a sub-Witch Species for the Witch Species.
    • The increased potential for mutations among human psykers (caused by drawing their power from the twisting and corrupting Warp) means that a fair number could be considered a separate species. A few psyker sub-groups, such as Navigators, actually do constitute a separate branch of humanity. Also, though it varies from edition to edition, the suggestion has often been made that 40K humans in general are on the verge of evolving into this, hence all the psykers. Psychic ability itself seems to be genetic. People who use psychic powers are born that way, although it is possible for a non-psyker to draw power from the warp with the right (obviously heretical) rituals and incantations.
    • Orks as a species have a low-grade latent psychic ability called "WAAAAGH! energy". It's not very strong in individual Orks but grows substantially when they congregate, far beyond the sum of the population. Also, Orks have their own sub-sub-caste of psykers called Weirdboys or Wyrdboys, but they have a really short life expectancy (even by Ork standards) because the concentration of WAAAAGH! energy (the same energy that makes the red ones go fasta) makes their heads explode if it builds up in great amounts.
  • Witch Girls Adventures is all about this trope. Witches are similar to humans, but they are specifically not human. They are kind of like humans, only better. That means they are naturally more beautiful, smarter, more athletic, stop aging after a certain point if they don't want to, and they can use magic. Only females can be witches, but there are Immortals, legendary warriors and heroes who are apparently the male version.

    Video Games 
  • In The Coma, all shamanka are female humans, though most female humans aren't shamanka. They can't use magic as such, but they have an affinity with The Coma that draws them into it and allows them to use certain plot-relevant artefacts. All shamanka mentioned in the series are descendants of Queen Sindeok, who obviously had normal human children as well. Their powers seem unrelated to the Holy Water used to activate exorcismal knives.
  • On the planet Terra of Dark Cloud, there is nothing to prevent humans from learning magic: Seda was a skilled magic user even before his Deal with the Devil, and Monica uses magic armbands like Ruby's rings in addition to having command of some other magic which may or may not have anything to do with her Atlamillia. Witches in Dark Cloud are defined as definitely not human, which is what started the whole mess in the first place. Or did it? As the Dark Genie says itself, it would have been born without Seda's involvement at all.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Mages are born with the ability to use magic, which carries an inherent risk of The Dark Side and can be passed on to their children (even when the other parent is a muggle). When one such individual is detected, they must be brought to the Circle of Mages to live under the watchful eyes of the Templars, an order of knights who consume lyrium in order to increase their resistance against magic. Those who refuse are branded "Apostates", rogue mages who are ordered to be hunted down by the Templars in order to prevent them from using their talents for evil. The Circles also adopt a rather strict policy of celibacy for the mages, out of fear that they spawn more magical babies. This set of rules was created by a group of settlers who fled in fear from the magic-heavy Tevinter Imperium region. Dragon Age II explores the inherent problems in such a model: how the Templars have to assume a "guilty until proven innocent" stance for lack of a better option, how that oppression leads some mages to fall to The Dark Side in the first place, which then goes to prove the need for constant surveillance and oppression by the Templars, creating a vicious circle.
    • According to legend, all elves were mages prior to the fall of their kingdom, and this is one of many things they lost due to the arrival of humans and centuries of enslavement; modern elven mages are no more common than their human counterparts, and it is said that they are appearing less and less each generation. Like all legends in this setting, the claim is suspect, but elf characters in the first game get a small boost to their magic and willpower stats regardless of class, suggesting this claim may have some merit. The Trespasser DLC reveals that all elves really were mages once, but it wasn't the humans who took that from them. Elves are intrinsically tied to the Fade in a way that the other races are not, so when Fen'Harel created the Veil to separate the Fade from the physical world, it robbed the elven race of their magic, with only the strongest among them retaining a small portion of it. Fen'Harel himself compares what he did to inflicting the Rite of Tranquility on the entire elven race.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • The Altmer (High Elves) are the most magically gifted race in Tamriel. In terms of gameplay, this comes with skill bonuses to the magic schools and a hefty increase in maximum magicka and magicka regeneration, letting them cast more powerful spells with greater frequency. The drawback is that they are also the most physically frail race, with a high tendency to become Squishy Wizards.
    • Out of the races of Men, the Bretons are the most magically inclined. They are the result of engineered interbreeding between the ancient Direnni Altmer of High Rock and their Nedic (human) ancestors. Due to the Uneven Hybrid nature of inter-species offspring in the ES universe, it took many generations but the magical qualities of the elves eventually started to show up in what would become the Bretons. This manifests with increased magical aptitude and inherent Anti-Magic defensive traits, with the drawback of being less physically gifted than the other races of Men. Still, the Bretons are the race best suited to Magic Knight roles in combat.
    • Like their Altmer cousins, the ancient Falmer (Snow Elves) were said to have an exceptional natural aptitude for magic.
    • The Sload, a race of "slugmen" native to the archipelago of Thras to the southwest of Tamriel, are naturally gifted in various schools of magic, especially necromancy and mysticism (particularly the taking of souls and teleportation spells).
    • Hagravens are a species of flightless harpy who were once mortal women who performed a ritual (involving Human Sacrifice) to trade their humanity for access to powerful magic. Naturally, this means that every Hagraven is a powerful Wicked Witch-style magic user, preferring powerful fire-based spells in addition to brewing poisons and potions. They can often be found in remote areas leading clans of Reachmen as Evil Matriarchs or covens of still-mortal witches, who ultimately plan to become Hagravens themselves.
    • Upon being turned, most Vampire bloodlines give immense boosts to spellcasting abilities, particularly in the Illusion, Mysticism, and Destruction schools of magic. Vampires are perhaps second only to Liches out of undead creatures in terms of their inherent magical prowess.
    • Similarly, liches gain immense magical power following their transformation. This boost to magical power is one of the two main reasons most choose to become a lich, along with the undead form of immortality it brings.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Final Fantasy VI the people of Thamasa are direct descendants of the Magi from eons ago and are the only people left in the world who have the natural ability to cast magic. To avoid persecution of muggles the people of the village make a point to never reveal their abilities to outsiders.
    • In Final Fantasy VIII, sorceresses are women who bear (according to legend) a piece of the ancient god Hyne's powers, and are the only people in the setting who can use magic naturally. While artificial methods of using magic exist, they are less powerful than sorceress magic. Sorceresses are not born with their powers, but they are instead born with the potential to inherit the power of other sorceresses, and pass their powers on before their death - only a woman born with the potential to become a sorceress can inherit a dying sorceress's power.
    • The page image is of the Black Mages from Final Fantasy IX, who were manufactured in Alexandria as weapons, and are said many times to look just like humans underneath, though we never actually get to see one's face.
  • Loom has a guild of Weavers, who (for some reason) can use powerful magic by playing tunes (weaving also enters into it; they have a magic loom that reflects/is the fabric of the universe). It's not clear if anybody could learn to be a weaver, but it seems they're all born in the society. Also, they can do strange things like create new weavers by adding threads to the Loom; this throws the universe into chaos and ushers in the apocalypse, however. There is also a guild of wizards, as referred to in passing in the game, but what they do is never mentioned. It's revealed early on that this is actually Sufficiently Advanced technology. The loom is sort of a voodoo doll for the universe, and the Weavers manipulate it to change reality to their whims. This is explained as the Weavers having turned Weaving into a Charles Atlas Superpower over several thousand uninterrupted years. You know, after the end of the Earth.
  • In the Luminous Arc games, Witches are considered separate from humans or monsters. In the second one, the "engagement system" (read: kissing/putting the girl in a wedding dress) implies that humans and witches can interbreed. Understandable, as it's stated in Luminous Arc 2 that both humans and Witches/Wizards descended from the Navillians.
  • The asari in Mass Effect are sci-fi variant, with the equivalent of magic being biotics. Some members of other species are biotics thanks to being exposed to element zero in utero, while all asari have biotic abilities naturally thanks to genetic engineering by the protheans
  • Witch programs are introduced in later levels of The Matrix: Path of Neo, though only two are seen. One has a banshee wail and a few other Elemental Powers.
  • Though learning magic is the norm in Might and Magic, the eight game in the RPG series suggests that Dark Elvesnote  can naturally learn elemental magic to a level almost, but not quite, as good as necromancers and sorcerers, and have some additional magical tricks up their sleeves. This may be partly a cultural trait, but it does at least indicate that a talent for magic is present in every single dark elf that goes adventuring, and there are still those magical tricks.
  • Phantasy Star III differs from other Phantasy Star games in that only a specific subset of humanity, known as "Layans" after their revered historical leader Laya, is able to use techniques, the game's equivalent of magic. Proving it's hereditary, Prince Rhys' son or grandson are fully capable of wielding techniques if marriage to a Layan princess is involved, and a higher degree of Layan blood allows for a greater pool of techniques.
  • The Sims:
    • An Expansion Pack of The Sims 3 introduces witches as a life state. A witch is a sim who can use wand-based magic that must be learned to be used to best effect, ride on a broom and pass his/her abilities on onto his/her children. In the same expansion, fairies can use magical auras that grand passive buffs, and genies have a handful of magical abilities mostly geared around housework, such as conjuring perfectly cooked food or magically cleaning an entire house or another Sim. All of these witch species can reproduce freely with each other, werewolves and vampires (which pass on their abilities by bite), and baseline "human" Sims; the offspring will be randomly assigned the "type" of one of its parents.
    • Witches are reintroduced in The Sims 4: Realm of Magic and they work much the same as they did in 3, with longer witch bloodlines having stronger powers. Sims can also be transformed by the Sages at Magic HQ.
  • In the Star Ocean series, use of Symbology usually requires tattooing special symbols on the user's body. However, some species have these symbols already inscribe on their DNA, allowing them to use Symbology innately. Some species, such as the Nedians and Featherfolk have this happen in all members of their species, while others, such as Lemurisians and Expellians with Nedian ancestors, have this happen in only a small number of individuals.
  • Super Paper Mario: The Tribe of Ancients are a race of magicians distinct from humans. The Tribe of Darkness, in particular, forbade intermarriage so they wouldn't lose their magic, which was said to be stronger within their parent tribe. Ironically, this law was what caused their downfall, as shown in the post-Chapter flashbacks.
  • Tales Series:
    • In Tales of Phantasia and its prequel Tales of Symphonia, all elves have the innate ability to sense and manipulate mana in the form of magic. These abilities are not shared by humans, but they are shared by human-elf hybrids even after generations of dilution.
    • In Tales of Rebirth, the ability to use Force was restricted the Gajuma race and the few Human/Gajuma hybrids. A few years prior to the events of the game, the Gajuma king used a ritual to grant this ability to a small number of humans.
    • The Ferines in Tales of Legendia all have the innate ability to use Eres (the setting's term for magic), an ability that only began to appear among the Orerines fifty years before the game's start.
  • Touhou Project features both a type of youkai called "magicians" in the form of Patchouli Knowledge and Alice Margatroid, and a human Cute Witch Marisa Kirisame who merely has it as her job description. The reason for this is based in Japanese mythology and is explained in some of the supplemental materials and Word of God. The major difference between human and youkai witches lies in youkai being extremely long-lived, capable of generating their magic from themselves naturally, and requiring no food since they live on pure magic. (However, as youkai they often get classified as maneaters despite no evidence of this happening.) Marisa (who's the only human with no inherent superpowers in the series) is an on-again, off-again Immortality Seeker and could achieve it by becoming a youkai witch, but chooses not to because she wants immortality without giving up her humanity. The series does contain examples of humans who became magicians this way, most prominently the Buddhist monk Byakuren Hijiri.
  • The "mage" race in the mobile game Unlucky Hero look exactly like humans, with seemingly no distinguishing features, yet normal humans can recognize them on sight. One ancient mage is alleged to have released monsters all over the world in the past, which hasn't made things easy for mages since.
  • In The Witcher there's a strong genetic component to magic, those with an innate gift or "Sources" don't infrequently have elven blood, with the strongest being descendents of the elven mage Lara Dorren, known as the Elder Blooded. Witchers aren't necessarily born with the gift, though Geralt was, but the magic used to transform them into monster-slaying super soldiers does allow them to use simple spells called "Signs".
  • Blood Elves would probably qualify in World of Warcraft. They lived so long in close proximity to the Sunwell that it infused all of them with a certain level of magical ability (they can all do Arcane Torrent, even the rogues) and skill over manipulating magic (the enchanting ability.) Lore-wise, they are very heavily into arcane magic and are supposed to mostly be caster types, although you wouldn't know it by looking at the men (tbf, they are actually slimmer than some of the male models in the game: but all the dudes in this game are beefcakes). This eventually backfired on them, as they need some arcane energy or they'll go insane. When the original source of their magic was destroyed many of them turned to demonic magic for a quick fix. Eventually their power was restored and they started using the Light as well to prevent corruption.
    • The Kaldorei are similar, though not quite the same. They are all gifted by their Goddess Elune with a magical power: unbreakable stealth, as long as they stand still. It doesn't sound awesome, but it actually is. Being able to drop aggro at a moment's notice is extremely powerful. Every class has it: not just the casters. In the past they also had immortality...but then they had to sacrifice that in order to stop the Burning Legion.
    • It actually seems like this trope applies to elves in general: they all need some sort of magic. Probably the Kaldorei are just getting it from Elune. The Nightbourne for example, have been surviving off of the Nightwell: which is very similar in some ways to the Sunwell. After the events of the Legion expansion, they use the Arcandor fruit instead. This need for magic likely has to do with how they evolved from forest trolls in the presence of the Well of Eternity.

    Visual Novels 
  • In ClockUp's Maggot Baits, we have a special kind of "witches" (include the quotation marks):
    Disaster's Witches
  • In the Nasuverse, the ability to do magic is determined by the possession of genetically inherited Magic Circuits - for most forms of magic, at least. However, it's possible for someone with no magic background to randomly have a decent amount of circuits (such as Shirou or Ciel), and within the magus dynasties at least part of the magic circuits - the Crest - will have been literally handed down by the previous head of the family.
  • The witches in Umineko: When They Cry work something like this. It's shown that Beatrice was once a normal human as Sayo "Yasu" Yasuda, and several members of the Ushiromiya family have (or gain) witch powers. Witches seem to exist independently of the human, so after one gains magical powers, a "Mage" version of the person is created and exists in parallel to the original. From a mundane perspective, "becoming a witch" is really more of a metaphor for using escapism in order to cope with the miseries in one's life. The witches' ages represent how long their suffering felt for them; for example, Yasu's six-year-long wait for Battler to return to Rokkenjima felt more like a thousand years.

  • Enchanters in At Arm's Length are a separate race from normal mortals with four arms and natural magic powers. Mortal witches can manipulate magic, but still require magic artifacts to channel their spells.
  • Blindsprings has the Orphics, people that are born with magic within them and have a powerful conection with the spirits. Their magic is hereditary and big orphic families are common. Thanks to their natural gift, Orphics used to rule the country of Aberwelle until The Academist's rebellion. Nowdays Orphics are an oppressed minority in Aberwelle, they're stripped of their ability of use magic (thanks to a Power Limiter) since birth and are social outcasts, to the point when they can't get a proper job. Still, Aberwelle is the only country with racism against Orphics, as there's a neighbor country, Khala, stated to preserve the Orphic ruling.
  • The Color of the Crystal identifies its human looking magic users wizard (Jareth) and warlock (Wallas) and explicitly not human.
  • Eerie Cuties and Magick Chicks - the cast in the former are all listed by species, and the witches are "witch," as opposed to Tiffany, who practices the supernatural arts but is still listed as "human."
  • While it isn't entirely clear what the cause of the Spark is in Girl Genius it is well-established that the Spark does run in families. It is also hinted that the style and preferences of the different Sparks tends to run in families, whether this is genetic or due to upbringing is unknown a matter for horrible and unethical research!
  • El Goonish Shive draws a distinction between "wizards," members of such a species, and "dreaming"/"awakened," who have been given personal magic by external means. This is in addition to the inherent "magic" (which shouldn't be called that, being outside the purview of the sentient being that controls Earth's magic) of Uryuoms and Seyunolus and the Magitek that anyone can use.
  • Public Humiliation: The world has a number of fae races that all once had magic, but a few centuries ago universes shifted and magic in that world diminished, leaving only pookas (shapeshifting rabbit-like creatures) and dragons with inherent magic. In addition, Divine Parentage grants some measure of power, Lan's necromantic power comes from his grandfather Hades for instance.
  • In Pumpkin Flower those born able to use magic are known as Mancers. Their abilities include dating artifacts and setting people on fire.
  • In Roommates Witch Species means any Half-Human Hybrid or Heinz Hybrid produced by the Interspecies Romance practiced by The Fair Folk who doesn't have enough fae blood / have too much humanity to qualify as The Fair Folk themselves. So magical talent = Fae ancestry.
  • Rubi Whipple: The difference between "witches" (who certainly can be male) and "wizards" (who presumably can be female) is that the former have inherent magic, whereas the latter have only what they've learned.
  • Being born a witch is simply luck of the draw in Serenity Rose. They can fly, have telekinesis, can control the elements, conjure up anything out of ectoplasm, and can shapeshift[1]. They also may be immortal, or at least can live for hundreds of years. Witches are extremely rare, and of the 50ish in the world some don't even use their powers; "good Christians simply don't do such things, you know."
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Finns are this according to the Encyclopedia Exposita page about mages. Most of them can use spells to some degree and being regarded as a mage by Finland standards requires having enough inherent power to be able to see spirits. The Finns encountered in the story proper are either powerful enough to be considered mages or non-mages that have yet to be shown using even the most minor spell.
  • The Raccoonan people in Tales of the Questor have innate access to magic. Their interaction with humans has varied from trying to explain how it's just harnessing a natural force like magnetism, to deliberately playing up a reputation as "witch dogs" with frightening powers. Though there are some humans who can sense or even manipulate "lux" and it seems to have a hereditary component. In the Space Opera spinoff Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger luxcraft has fallen into disuse among the Racconans due to technology, but most can still toss lightning bolts when cornered. And they've encountered species with stronger abilities such as female Gestaltians.
  • In one story arc of Scary Go Round, Ryan and Amy set out into the woods, because an explorer has offered Ryan ten grand for a new and undiscovered species. What they find is Witchus witchus, the common witch.

    Web Original 
  • In the Whateley Universe, witches can be male or female, mutant or baseline human (though the mutants may have a lot of internal power to use), and almost all of them require a lot of training first. It's a bit different in Whateley, since there are also actual Wicca, and following that is separate from being able to use magic. (And anybody can use a BIT of magic.)

    Western Animation 
  • The Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "The Magicks of Megas Tu." Witches and wizards come from an alternate universe, where technology doesn't work but Functional Magic is commonplace. They traveled to the STU Earth in hopes of helping others. Unfortunately, everyone either distrusted them on sight or tried to use them for their own ends. What few remained moved to Salem, and we all know what happened there. The episode itself has the Enterprise crossing into the magic universe, where the survivors hold the crew accountable for everything humanity inflicted on them. Oh, and one of the residents was the Devil, who actually saved the Enterprise crew from losing their Life Support when they arrived. It's never made clear whether or not he was actually evil on Earth, or if it was just humanity exaggerating his mischievousness into full-on evil.
  • A race of witches with their own land appears in the 2000s rebooted season of Babar, in the episode "Land of Witches".
  • In the Ben 10 franchise, villains Charmcaster and Hex are humans from a pocket dimension where everyone is magically inclined. Just how much of an advantage they have magically over regular humans is uncertain. While Gwen is able to use magic very easily after stealing Charmcaster's spellbook and studying it, it's later revealed that she's actually 1/4 Annodite, an alien species that are literally made out of magic.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • The unicorns are this with regard to other ponies. Only they are able to use magic and all of them are born with this ability. However, studies are required to acquire advanced magic, and many of them end up pursuing entirely non-magical interests, never learning anything more powerful than telekinesis (which is quite useful for species with no fingers) and lighting up the horn.
    • On the other hand, though, Lauren Faust confirmed that pegasi and earth ponies have magic in them too (the formers can walk on clouds and move them because of it, while the latter have a special and unique contact with nature and animals, as well as Super Strength, thanks to it), even though only unicorns can control it willingly.
    • The official word on unicorns is that, other than telekinesis, they typically only learn magic related to whatever their "special talent" is. For example, one of Rarity's magical talents is finding gems, which she can use to embellish the clothes she makes; Shining Armor is a whiz at the protective magic that he would need for his job as head of the royal guards; etc. Twilight Sparkle can learn and perform any spell because her special talent is magic itself, making her the third most powerful pony in existence after the sun- and moon-controlling God Princesses. This is made clear onscreen in "Boast Busters", where we meet another unicorn like Twilight, "the great and powerful Trixie" (who, as a stage magician, is not actually as powerful as her theatrics make her look). However, it is also implied it's because of Trixie's lack of drive to learn magic.note  We're introduced to other magically-gifted unicorns such as Sunset Shimmer (who was Celestia's former student before she was kicked out and left for Earth) and Starlight Glimmer, who is very magically talented despite a lack of formal education.
  • The Magistocrats in Neo Yokio. They possess magical abilities and unusual haircolors. The historical backstory in the first episode reveals that the ancestors of the magistocrats were shamans and mystics from "the old country," but it's unclear if those shamans and mystics inherited their powers or gained them through other means.
  • Witches in The Owl House are a humanoid race with Pointy Ears that live in another dimension. They have an organ next to their heart that powers their spells, though others (humans includes) can use magic as well—it's just harder. Luz still refers to being a witch as if it was a profession (i.e. that she'll become a witch by learning to use magic). It's presumably just a mistake on her part, but no one else really gets into the semantics with Luz.
  • Primal (2019): In the episode "Coven of the Damned'', the eponymous coven consists of a tribe of white-haired, grey-skinned prehistoric women who use dark magic and reproduce in an asexual manner, with their shapeshifting matriarch draining the life energy of human sacrifices and producing babies that the other witches raise as their own daughters.
  • The Real Ghostbusters witches are an especial case of supernatural creatures, albeit very humanoid and have cat familiars that grant them powers. The familiar only works with supernatural creatures such as witches and ghosts (like Slimer).
  • In Scooby-Doo! and the Witch's Ghost the curious distinction between "Wiccans" and "Witches" is made, with one being good and the other evil (and both existing in Puritan New England, for some reason). One character the gang meets tells them she is one-sixteenth Wiccan.note  She dresses up as a vampire and plays in a local rock band. This becomes important in the climax.
  • Zigzagged in The Smurfs: Some episodes, like "The Littlest Witch", show that a race of naturally born witches do exists in this universe. Most other characters like Gargamel and his family seem to be normal humans who study magic, much like Papa Smurf himself (the only smurf with magic), so magic can be learned by anyone. Natural witches just seem to have some special abilities and traits like the capacity to fly in broomsticks and losing their magic for a year if exposed to water.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars has the stereotyped "witchy" race of the Nightsisters on Dathomir, who appear to be naturally force-sensitive.
  • Winx Club has both fairies (nice) and witches (nasty), who are, with a few very rare exceptions, all female.

    Real Life 
  • In Azande belief, witchcraft derives from a hereditary organ said to be found near the liver.
  • Among classical Greeks, there was a superstition that the women of Thessaly practiced witchcraft.
  • Finnish people had this kind of reputation in Scandinavia. This led to more than one witch hunt in the country, though oddly enough a lot of the accused were men.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Magical Species


Somali and the Forest Spirit

In Somali and the Forest Spirit, witches are long living librarians who collect, archive, and protect books, having done so for millennia. They're pretty nice and cordial, but don't mess with their books!

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