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Duplicate Trope: Five Races

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Deadlock Clock: Jan 30th 2021 at 11:59:00 PM
Spark9 Gentleman Troper! from Castle Wulfenbach Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
Gentleman Troper!
Aug 19th 2020 at 2:54:49 AM

We've recently cut Five Bad Band and Fantasy Axis of Evil (i.e. "five evil races"), and the same issue appears here as well.

Existing trope Standard Fantasy Setting covers standard fantasy races, such as elves, dwarves, The Horde, the Always Chaotic Evil race, dragons, and so forth.

This trope, however, argues that fantasy settings have exactly five races, each with their own "hat" that matches one of the roles in the Five-Man Band. Thus, the five races are "tough" (big guy), "magical/technological" (smart guy), human (lancer), "high human" (hero), and cute (heart). If that sounds a little bit too neat to be true, well, that's precisely my point.

The issue is that almost no fantasy work has exactly five races. E.g. Trope Codifier The Lord of the Rings has thirteen, Harry Potter has over a dozen, Dungeons & Dragons has too many to count, and even The Belgariad, a high fantasy setting with 5 as its Arc Number, has more than five races.

Effectively, this page means "a setting has many races, but we can cherrypick five out of them to shoehorn into five broad roles". And that is just not a trope. I suggest cutting this and redirecting to either Standard Fantasy Setting, or to the existing list of fantasy races.

    Wick check 
(taking every 3rd example from each category)
  • Soul Eater: Meisters are not a race but a profession, so this isn't a list of races.
  • One Piece: "There's a lot more races than 5, but all the archetypes are filled by more than one of them". Yeah, that's a textbook shoehorn.
  • Aura Battler Dunbine: "has four of the five races".
  • Marvel Comics: lists three of the "most commonly seen alien races" plus human. So there's way more than five.
  • DC Comics: "Of the most frequently appearing planetary races in modern DC Comics", so again more than five.
  • Star Wars: Jedi are not a race. Three distinct races are listed for "cute". Anyone vaguely familiar with Star Wars will notice more than five races.
  • With Strings Attached: "only one type" that is "broken in to six", none of which fit.
  • Harry Potter: has two entries that contradict one another; and both leave off races like veela, centaurs, trolls, and several other races from the series.
  • Dragonlance: "a large number of races, but the ones who get the lion's share of the spotlight" and it picks four instead of five, repeating human and elf for the fifth role.
  • Shannara: lists way more than five races
  • Codex Alara: lists three races, one of which fits two of the roles.
  • Vurt: lists dogs (as in, the household pet) as the "cute race" because dogs are cute. Yes they are, but that doesn't make them an example of a sapient The Heart race.
  • Trapped On Draconica: admits it's not an example, and it's not five
  • The Balanced Sword: "many intelligent races, but five are particularly prominent" and lists five categories that are way different than the trope decribes.
  • A Song Of Ice And Fire: "magical humans" are a profession, not a race.
  • Babylon 5: "Though many races feature in the show, six races in particular play a significant impact"
  • Farscape: it explains that the five main characters form a Five-Man Band, no mention of race is given.
  • Defiance: "Several of the Votan species have been noted to resemble fantasy races" and it lists four
  • Norse Mythology: has more than five; it lists two entries for three of the categories.
  • Christian Mythology: lists a single race that has four different "elemental types". That's clearly a different trope.
  • Dungeons And Dragons: possibly the most Egregious example, even the Core rulebook has more than five races, the settings themselves have dozens.
  • Old World Of Darkness: asserts that the setting was built around five "races" (which is false: first edition has only three), then proceeds to list seven; and besides, mages and wraiths aren't races.
  • Magic The Gathering: I'll grant that Mt G has five as its Arc Number, but for different reasons. Its first and second example list six races, and if you look at the card sets, there's way more than that in each set.
  • Talislanta: "averted this trope so hard"
  • New Horizon: lists six races.
  • Eon: lists way more than five races.
  • Final Fantasy XI: lists six races.
  • World Of Warcraft: lists about twenty races.
  • Phantasy Star Universe: lists six races.
  • The Elder Scrolls: it's "loosely", and indeed more than five.
  • Net Hack: "doesn't follow the standard exactly"
  • City Of Heroes: lists origins (i.e. what kind of plot device gave you your powers), which aren't races
  • Granblue Fantasy: lists seven races and leaves one of the categories blank.
  • Halo: eight races.
  • Age Of Wonders: way more than five.
  • Rift: "arguably" and "it would be a stretch".
  • Dragon Quest X: "Ironically, it features six races in the setting". Yep, 6 is not 5.
  • Rune Scape: more than five.
  • Dark Souls: "if you turn your head a little" and then proceeds to list more than one race per category.
  • Steam World Dig: different models of robots aren't races.
  • Our Little Adventure: lampshades the trope without being an example.
  • Slightly Damned: appears to be an actual example, except that it also meanders into describing the main party as a Five-Man Band.
  • Avatar The Last Airbender: the four nations aren't races.
  • Real Life, the ethnic groups in the nation of China: are you kidding? National stereotypes aren't races.
  • "the more common depictions of the Allied Powers in most World War II"... do I really need to explain this one?
  • Aliens from urban legends: doesn't fit because "urban legends" isn't a work or setting; and anyway there's more than five different creature types in urban legends.


  • Correct example, 1 (2%)
  • Lists something other than races (e.g. professions or nations), 8 (18%)
  • Way more than five, 22 (49%)
  • Both of the above at the same time, 2 (4%)
  • Less than five races, 3 (7%)
  • The entry mentions that it's not an example, 9 (20%)

By my count, that's 98% misuse. This shows it's just not the case that fantasy settings have exactly five races that match exactly these (pretty broad) hats.

Edited by Spark9 on Aug 19th 2020 at 12:47:08 PM

Rhetorical, eh? ... Eight!
SeptimusHeap Christmas worms from Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Christmas worms
Aug 26th 2020 at 12:57:58 AM


"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled." - Richard Feynman
Aug 26th 2020 at 1:13:50 AM

Funny how the Six Student Clique TRS was opened around the same time. I was about to say there that it's as tropeworthy as Five Races. By which I mean Five Races is not at all tropeworthy and a duplicate to Standard Fantasy Setting.

Adept Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Aug 26th 2020 at 1:15:00 AM

Yeah, the name is misleading. As discussed in the previous thread, I vote to retool this page into a broader Standard Fantasy Races as a stubtrope to Standard Fantasy Setting.

GastonRabbit The world's forgotten boy (he/him) from Robinson, Illinois, USA Relationship Status: I wanna be your dog
Aug 26th 2020 at 6:06:11 AM

Agreed to rework it into Standard Fantasy Races. A description rewrite seems to be in order, ditch those "stout" and "high men" things and focus more on actual specific races.

jandn2014 Final Duet from somewhere in Connecticut Relationship Status: Hiding
Berrenta Petal Dance from Texas Relationship Status: Can't buy me love
Karxrida *ring* from The Extra Deck Relationship Status: I LOVE THIS DOCTOR!
Aug 26th 2020 at 10:47:49 AM


If a tree falls in the forest and nobody remembers it, who else will you have ice cream with?
WarJay77 She's a cute red monster from The Void Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
She's a cute red monster
Aug 26th 2020 at 11:27:31 AM


Current Project: N/A
miraculous We'll show them. We'll show them all. from South Africa
We'll show them. We'll show them all.
Aug 26th 2020 at 11:29:45 AM


Real power doesn't come to those who were born strongest, or fastest, or smartest. No. It comes to those who will do anything to achieve it.
Serac she/her Relationship Status: Oh my word! I'm gay!
ccorb from A very hot place Relationship Status: It's not my fault I'm not popular!
Sep 15th 2020 at 8:39:08 PM

I'm not seeing any disagreement. Should we get a crowner to formalize it, or just go ahead with drafting a new description?

Spark9 Gentleman Troper! from Castle Wulfenbach Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
Gentleman Troper!
Sep 28th 2020 at 4:20:32 PM

[up] Well, the only thing is that Standard Fantasy Setting already covers races, and seems to do a pretty good job at that.

So unless we propose to redefine that page as "standard fantasy everything-except-races", then everything we're going to write on this page is going to be redundant.

Rhetorical, eh? ... Eight!
naturalironist from The Information Superhighway Relationship Status: TV Tropes ruined my love life
Sep 28th 2020 at 4:24:42 PM

[up] Standard Fantasy Setting also includes many other concepts that have pages, such as Standard Royal Court. Should we eliminate those as well? Standard Fantasy Setting is a very broad supertrope, it's fine to have subtropes for specific aspects of it.

"It's just a show; I should really just relax"
Sep 28th 2020 at 4:59:37 PM

Agreed with everyone else that it's best to retool this trope by renaming it into Standard Fantasy Races and expanding on the current five entries, since the way it's currently used is too close to the shoehorning issues that Five-Man Band suffered from.

I disagree with the idea that Standard Fantasy Setting is sufficient, as it's more of a referential index that does not go into enough detail on the various racial tropes to pick up the slack. It's mostly a broad index. Likewise, though Fantastic Sapient Species Tropes (which is listed on that page) sounds like it would be a good substitute for Standard Fantasy Races going just by the name, it's just an index with little direct information of its own. So it would still be useful to have the information currently under Five Races in expanded form as the new Standard Fantasy Races page.

Our prospective Standard Fantasy Races page can then be listed on Standard Fantasy Setting the same way that Functional Magic on that page exists as a trope in its own right despite being a supertrope to several more specific tropes listed underneath.

In other words, the revised version would go from this:

To this:

Edited by AlleyOop on Sep 28th 2020 at 8:03:34 AM

SeptimusHeap MOD Christmas worms from Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Christmas worms
Nov 2nd 2020 at 3:08:42 AM

Clock is set.

"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled." - Richard Feynman
Spark9 Gentleman Troper! from Castle Wulfenbach Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
Gentleman Troper!
Nov 2nd 2020 at 4:12:59 AM

[up] Looks like we have consensus for a rename, or do you still want a crowner for that?

Rhetorical, eh? ... Eight!
crazysamaritan NaNo 4328 / 50,000 from Lupin III Relationship Status: -not set
NaNo 4328 / 50,000
Nov 2nd 2020 at 5:35:42 AM

Added banner to the page.

Link to TRS threads in project mode here.
FernandoLemon Power Bomberman tester from Argentina Relationship Status: In season
Nov 2nd 2020 at 7:34:01 AM

No need. I'll just holler to call consensus, since it's unanymous.

At the end of everything, hold onto anything.
Berrenta Petal Dance from Texas Relationship Status: Can't buy me love
Petal Dance
Nov 3rd 2020 at 5:03:08 AM

Let's play it safe with a crowner.

TRS needs your help!
Spark9 Gentleman Troper! from Castle Wulfenbach Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
Gentleman Troper!
Nov 5th 2020 at 8:57:14 AM

Looks unanimous to me, but here's a crowner anyway.

Edited by Spark9 on Nov 5th 2020 at 9:00:42 AM

Rhetorical, eh? ... Eight!

PageAction: FiveRaces
5th Nov '20 8:57:31 AM

Crown Description:

What would be the best way to fix the page?

Total posts: 149