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Woobie Species / Video Games

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  • Dragon Age's elves have not had it easy, that's for sure. Their original homeland was invaded by the Tevinter Imperium, and they were enslaved. They were freed after they helped Andraste overthrow the Imperium and established a new homeland. This was invaded by the Chantry (which was founded by Andraste's followers) because they didn't help stop the blight that was going on at that point, and are now either second class citizens living in walled off alienages in the cities, or in the forests, where they try to reclaim their heritage, and even then are often seen as troublemakers. It gets worse in Dragon Age: Inquisition with The Reveal that everything they knew about their homeland was wrong. The Elven Empire was just as bad, if not worse than Tevinter and Orlais, with an immortal nobility that enslaved lower class elves. The blood-writing the Dalish put on their faces to honor their gods? Those were originally slave brands nobles put on their slaves to honor the gods. The final nail in the coffin is an Ancient Elf admitting that the Elven Empire destroyed itself in a civil war. Tevinter simply scavenged the remains.
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  • The enslaved whales in the Dolphins' Nightmare section of Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future. The two Ecco meets are being used to power the Hanging Waters. In the same reality, the Outcast dolphins come across as a species of Jerkass Woobies - they're jerks to the other marine life as much as all dolphins are in that reality (since their ancestors had Compassion stolen from them) but are constantly abused by the Clan dolphins.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • The Dunmer (Dark Elves) have a long series of hardships throughout their history, but the absolute worst is the Trauma Conga Line leading up to the events of Skyrim. As a result of Morrowind's main quest and the Tribunal expansion, they've lost their Physical Gods who have protected them for thousands of years. Following the Oblivion Crisis, Red Mountain erupts, destroying Vvardenfell and rendering much of mainland Morrowind (their homeland) uninhabitable under choking ash. Then the Argonians, a long-time Slave Race of the Dunmer, invade and capture the habitable southern areas. The surviving Dunmer are now packed into northern Morrowind, the barren rock of Solstheim, and into eastern Skyrim, where they are discriminated against and looked down upon by the natives there.
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    • The Orcs are an Iron Woobie Species. They were turned the way they were by their patron god being devoured, they've faced oppression and racism from just about every other race - particularly the Bretons and Redguards, their immediate neighbors - and every time they manage to carve some land for themselves and found a nation of their own, it doesn't last. But they take this all in a stride, and have become all the stronger because of it.
    • Argonians have a long history of being enslaved and marginalized by the other races, especially the Dunmer. As of Skyrim, they've become a little less deserving of sympathy after they've invaded the Dunmeri homeland of Morrowind, though it's arguably payback for what the Dunmer did to them.
  • Halo:
    • Engineers, initially True Neutral pacifist critters who just like fixing technology, late in the war many of them end up defecting to the UNSC because of how the Covenant has been mistreating them, such as having bombs strapped to them.
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    • Grunts are just Slave Mooks that mostly have no real qualm with humanity. Usually they're too tiny and weak to be a threat. Usually. Plus, they can be really funny to listen to, like here.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: The Gorons are a peaceful race of rock people that face the threat of extinction at the hands of Ganondorf twice. When he demands they hand over the Spiritual Stone of Fire and they refuse, he blocks off Dodongo's Cavern, cutting off their food source so that they'll starve to death. Things become even worse for them seven years later, as it's revealed that Ganondorf has revived the Goron-eating dragon Volvagia and has imprisoned all the terrified Gorons to feed them to it as a showing of his power. Fortunately, Link is able to save them both times and is rewarded the title of 'sworn brother' for his troubles.
    • The Gerudo gradually turn out to be this. They're introduced in Ocarina of Time as a race of Desert Bandits ruled by Ganondorf, but they're revealed to be pretty nice once freed from his influence. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker reveals that the harshness of their desert homeland is what drove Ganondorf to Take Over the World in the first place. By the time of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, they openly consider his origins as one of their own to be a shameful blemish on their tribe's history. On a more comedic level, the fact that they're a One-Gender Race means that they have some serious troubles interacting with men without intimidating them.
    • The Sheikah in Breath of the Wild. The backstory establishes that after their Magitek was used to help defeat Calamity Ganon, the other peoples of Hyrule banished them from the kingdom out of fear that the technology would be used against them afterward. Even after this, 120 Sheikah sealed themselves up in the Shrines for 10,000 years waiting to help the future Hylian Champion fight Ganon once again. This is also the reason the Yiga Clan decided to ally themselves with Ganon.
  • Mass Effect:
    • The Protheans got wiped out in a galactic genocide over the course of centuries, the only survivors a few scientists who sacrificed themselves so they could Fling a Light into the Future. Then it's revealed that some of them are still around, mind-controlled and warped into Bee People. However, statements made by Javik show them to be also a Jerkass Woobie species.
    • Despite being the main enemy species in the first game, the geth. In the infancy of their sapience, the quarians attempted to destroy them all simply for having become self-aware. Despite the situation, they remained almost depressingly cooperative and friendly to the quarians before the war over Rannoch broke out. Even afterwards, they are still more than willing to make peace, but are forced into siding with the Reapers in self-defense because the quarians are trying to exterminate them again.
    • Speaking of the quarians, whether you see them as committing unjustifiable genocide on the geth, or simply trying to stop them before they could turn against their masters in a spat of Wrong Genre Savvy, it's hard to deny that their current lives aren't easy. They live on a giant fleet, that has limited resources, and could be crippled by destroying the few liveships they get all their food from, are probably the biggest victims of Fantastic Racism in the series, seen as outcasts and troublemakers by the rest of the galaxy, are blamed for creating the geth (even though every single person actually involved in those events has been dead for centuries), are frequently enslaved, and must spend all their time in their environmental suits or become very sick and possibly die.
    • The drell. Even more of an endangered species than the quarians and would have gone extinct altogether if the hanar hadn't come to their aid. Unfortunately the environment of the hanar homeworld isn't compatible with drell biology, the high humidity causing an incurable, progressive and ultimately fatal condition called Kepral's Syndrome which is the leading cause of death among drell.
    • The Krogan are a complicated case. They are all infected with a Sterility Plague that has driven them roughly over the Despair Event Horizon as a species, and most of them have given up on fighting honorably and have become bounty hunters and Death Seekers. However, the Sterility Plague was released after the Krogan started a galactic war in attempts to conquer the galaxy. So, in a way, they are responsible for the situation they are in. Also, the Genophage is designed so that the Krogan can overcome it and survive should they learn to stop fighting. However, this trope becomes more straight when it is revealed through talking with Mordin that they were able to wreak the havoc they did only because the Salarians "uplifted" them by giving them space-faring technology that they weren't ready to have to help fight a war for them. The main reason they were trying to conquer so much was not just out of power-thirst, but because they'd made their homeworld nigh-uninhabitable. And in Mass Effect 3 it's revealed that they were on the brink of cultural renaissance before the Rachni Wars.
    • The Batarians were only shown as slavers, mercs and terrorists in the first two games. But in Mass Effect 3 the Reapers steamrolled through their home systems, turning their entire civilisation into refugees; batarians encountered in this game are a lot more pathetic and pitiful.
  • Shades from Nier were infected with White Chlorination Syndrome, watched their world get destroyed, and gave up their human bodies. Some of them went insane, were forced into cryogenic sleep, and then treated as monsters by their clones and slaughtered.
  • Paladins:
    • Goblins are a Slave Race who have been forced to work in a gold mine under terrible conditions with little to no compensation. Fortunately, a goblin named Ruckus learned how to repurpose a mining Mini-Mecha into a war machine and rebelled against his enslavers.
    • Ska'drin are a demon-like species who are looked down upon by every other species who see them as evil monsters. They've almost been wiped out at least twice and most ska'drin live in fear, resorting to filing off their horns and tucking their tails to hide their true identity. However, one young ska'drin named Talus is proud of his heritage and strives to show others that ska'drin are good people.
  • Pokémon:
    • Absols can sense when natural disasters are about to occur and try to warn people about it, but the fact that they can't vocalize mean that they were mistaken as the source of said disaster, and often get abused and chased out of the area they're living in as a result. X and Y's pokedex entry uses the past tense regarding that rumor though, so maybe the myth has died off.
    • Cubone is the original Pokémon Woobie, and appears to have been designed to harp on this trope as hard as possible. Cubones are orphans, having been separated from their mother at a young age (and, in a just-a-bit-creepy development, wear said mother's skull as a helmet). They avoid interacting with others and at night, they can be seen staring at the moon and crying, since it reminds them of their mother. Their species name is "Lonely Pokémon."
  • Star Control:
    • The entire Ur-Quan civilization was enslaved by tyrannical Hypnotoads and reclaimed their freedom only after a lengthy campaign of mind control-disrupting self-torture. Small wonder half of them became control freaks and the other half became Omnicidal Maniacs. Even with more perspective the Ur-Quan are very unfortunate. They evolved largely solitary, with an inborn dislike and fear of each other, and had to learn to suppress and control their own territorial instincts to come together into a society. When leaving their homeworld they attacked the first alien ships they saw, but the Taalo were patient and they stopped, and found to their shock that these rock-shaped aliens didn't set off their territorial instincts at all in person, even if other aliens did. They entered into galactic civilization again suppressing their nature, eager to find ways to participate and contribute that didn't involve too much direct contact with aliens that they instinctively hated, but the Sylandro describe them as "great friends". And then they found the Dynarri, who discovered that they were highly susceptible to mind control and took over galactic civilization. The Taalo were immune to mind control, so the Dynarri had the Ur-Quan wipe them out, and the sentient species of the galaxy were viciously pruned back, any who made less able slaves wiped out. Twenty five centuries later, after being bred into two distinct subspecies, the discovery that Dynarri released their control on someone dying or in excruciating pain was made, and Kzer-Za injected himself with a nasty poison so he could spread this knowledge before dying in agony. Ur-Quan everywhere immediately started hacking off their own limbs, stabbing themselves with broken glass, et cetera so they could rush and try to kill their masters. When they had cleared enough to be able to organize they developed devices they could plant in their own brains to cause immense, constant agony without harming their bodies, and so leave them able to fight without fear. They did this for years and were terrified of being enslaved again, guilty about the Taalo, and fearful of all the species that in previous eras they would have carefully worked with. The relative patience and civility of even the more genocidal Ur-Quan is remarkable.
    • The Androsynth, although they are not, strictly speaking, a separate species: they are humans, just like the Earthlings. First, they get enslaved by the rest of humanity. Then, after they finally escape and settle a planet of their own, they get enslaved again, this time by the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za. Then, when they start doing research into inter-dimensional fatigue (looking for a way to escape slavery again? Remember, they escaped from slavery the first time by discovering hyperspace, the first humans to do so), the Ariloulaleelay, who had worked so hard to protect humanity from the Orz, do nothing to warn them of the dangers. Sure enough, they break the dimensional barrier and unleash the Orz, who proceed to wipe them out in some mysterious manner. The games hardly acknowledge how tragic and unfair their fate was. In the second game, Earth seems perfectly happy to welcome the Orz to the New Alliance, never mind that the Orz had already wiped out half the human race.
  • Half-elves in Tales of Symphonia, who are the outcasts of society, rejected by both humans and elves. The fact that the evil organization that's rounding up humans into concentration camps is made up entirely of half-elves certainly doesn't help the race's image, either. It gets to the point that the two half-elves in your party have to pretend to be pure-blooded elves just to have a decent life, and the Big Bad is a half-elf trying to bring about an Assimilation Plot to end racism by making everyone the same race of lifeless beings.
  • Touhou:
    • Fairies are far at the bottom of the social and power hierarchies of Gensokyo, treated as laughingstocks and disposable Mooks to blast through on the way to the real objective, and because of The Fog of Ages they're perpetually children no matter how old they get. That same childishness means they never dwell on their lot in life, but it's not pleasant being a fairy most of the time.
    • The Underground is a Fantastic Ghetto where all the youkai who are despised by other youkai are sent. Most of them don't want anything to do with the surface dwellers and much prefer the new arrangement... except for the satori, who are shunned even by their fellow exiles and hated and feared by all. One of them, Koishi, essentially lobotomized herself because it was so bad.
  • WarCraft:
    • The Blood Elves (formerly High Elves) originally were a powerful kingdom until they suffered an invasion from the Scourge, which resulted in a good chunk of their population being slaughtered, and their source of magic energy, the Sunwell, being corrupted. Turned out they had developed a drug-like addiction to magic, so after losing their source, they started suffering a devouring thirst. They tried to join the Alliance in the effort to fight the Scourge, only for their human allies to treat them with disdain, with their prince almost getting executed by his particularly bigoted superior. In despair, said prince ended up joining a demon in an attempt to save his people from their magic addiction, only to end up corrupt as a result and turning against the same people he tried to protect. Only at the end of Burning Crusade do things start to finally get better for them.
    • The Draenei had the large majority of their species willingly turn into demons through a Deal with the Devil, while they were forced to abandon their homeworld and spend the rest of their lives running away from said demons, who want them dead for having the guts to refuse the deal (in fact, their very name mean "the Exiled" in their language). They eventually found a new home on a world they named Draenor, where they started to cohabit relatively peacefully with the native Orcs, only for the Demons to eventually find them again and corrupt the Orcs, turning them into bloodthirsty barbarians who proceeded to almost exterminate them. Then Draenor was destroyed and reduced to a floating wasteland, and a good chunk of the surviving Draenei ended up corrupt, turning into parodies of themselves. Even in an alternate timeline where the Orcs' corruption was prevented, the Draenei still ended up almost slaughtered by them because the one who prevented said corruption happened to be an Orc supremacist.
    • The Forsaken were former members of the Scourge, but regained their consciousness after the Lich King lost some of his power. Many of them have memories of devouring their loved ones as mindless undead. Even after their faculties were restored, they couldn't understand Common anymore because of the rot affecting their minds, almost like a stroke victim. Any of the surviving humans rejected them in understandable horror, since the Scourge had nearly wiped humanity off the planet. They were forced into an uneasy alliance with their former enemies, the Horde. Ultimately this is played with though; they're more of a Jerkass Woobie species thanks to their Black-and-Gray Morality.
  • The Floaters/Archons, as revealed in XCOM: Chimera Squad, were created through "cruelty bordering on hatred." Previous games mentioned how their physical bodies were slapdash amalgamations of leftover Muton shoved into a robotic torso, but we learn here that they were not Empty Shells. Their control method was to subject their still-conscious mind to permanent agony, lessened only when they obeyed the Ethereals' directives. Even worse, they avert Being Tortured Makes You Evil; when the horrified humans built them a psionic Lotus-Eater Machine to live in, they're actually peaceful, shy due to their trauma, and often turn their psionic projections into elephants just to play with whoever visits them. Yet, it's only 20 years after you first encounter them that you finally have the option to capture them instead.


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