After magic, the most defining feature of fantasy fiction is the inclusion of non-human races. While you CAN have a fantasy without them, the examples are few and far between. Most commonly, there are thinking, feeling creatures with societies of their own that aren’t human at all.
While certain fantasy settings may use race at an allegorical layer (it’s no coincidence that the term for different fantasy species is the same as our term for sub-categorizing humanity), it is also an extra layer of imaginative depth to transport us ever farther from the world we know.
Rather than examine the social and political aspects of the allegorical use of race in fantasy, let’s just have some fun.
Many games give a player the option to control a character of an imaginary race. But what if you had a chance to BE one of those races? Would you value combat, society, lifespan, special powers, or the world they get to exist in.
Since the choices boggle the mind, I’m going to go with broad categories and let you choose the specifics.
- Elf – Usually thin, though height can vary greatly. Pointed ears. Graceful. Either long-lived or ageless. Slow to mature and reproduce.
- Dwarf – Shorter, stalky, bearded (sometimes including women). Usually comfortable with underground living and physical labor. Tend to be long-lived and clannish, stubborn and proud.
- Orc – Often seen as villainous, their depictions range from feral monsters to honorable warriors. Usually larger and stronger than humans. Often see a lot of fighting, but they’re good at it.
- Fae – Any of the various fairies, pixies, and sprites inspired by mythology. Ranging from tiny to human-sized, they can be capricious, cruel, mischievous, friendly, or vexing. In short, unpredictable. With an affinity for magic and a society kept intentionally mysterious from humans, they have their own agenda and ideals.
- Giant – Running the gamut from ogres to titans, these behemoths appear generally human except for their size. They tend to gather in smaller numbers just based off the sheer resources they consume. Some are civilized while others pillage to survive.
- Dragon – This one is cheating. You’re all going to choose dragon. If you do, good for you. Dragons are awesome. Brilliant, powerful, nigh-indesctructible, capable of flying and taking naps on heaps of gold. Now… pick again.
- Human – No. Just… no. This isn’t the quiz for you. You’ve got an email address. You’re human already. Unless you’re an AI. If that’s the case, contact me separately.
- Other – if none of these appeal to you, let me know what would. Whether it’s from a movie, TV show, or book (bonus points if it’s one of mine), what would you rather be?
There’s more to fantasy than being human. It’s all you’ve been so far.
Jump on my Facebook to share your choice and why you picked it or chime in with a comment!