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Forums > RP Discussion > Chara Appreciation - Diverse Fantasy Characters

This thread is for the appreciation of diverse fantasy characters - breaking the stereotypes placed on so many types of fantasy beings/creatures/peoples.

In many media - including books, shows, movies, certain types of fantasy characters are often always the same height/skin color/weight/body type, and lack serious diversity in their species.

I want to see and appreciate characters that go against the typical ideal of what this species usually appears like.

Typical ideals/stereotype examples are.

Orcs: Orcs are almost always dark skinned, very violent, large, masculine, even the females, unintelligent.

Werewolves: Werewolves are often of color or appearing of color, super aggressive, unintelligent, fit, broody.

Vampires: Vampire are often light skinned, broody, thin, tall, fit.

Elves: Elves are often light skinned, light haired, tall, thin, intelligent, silent, soft spoken.

Fairies: Fairies are often tiny, thin, colorful, light skinned, winged, cheery.

ect.

I could go on and on and list many species.

There is no reason for fantasy species not to have diverse body shapes, height, skin color, personalities, and yet they are often written in a very uniform manner that lacks it. It can also be very harmful - like with orcs and werewolves, two species that are often quiet violent, often being played and represented by primarily people of color, where as more gentle and "magical" characters like fairies and elves, being represented by primarily white people. If you don't understand why this is problematic, then...well, I can't say much else.

I want to see your characters that aren't the typical of what they are represented as, they go against, per say, the ideals and typical representation of their species in the media.

I'm not sure if this is different enough from the stereotypes you're talking about but I've a few characters that lean outside the "norm".

Pell'avra is a snow elf created for an original setting and played as a curvy/stocky shaped figure, rather than the typical slender build common to elves in fantasy universes. She's also not at all artistically inclined or overly wise, lives in near total isolation and isn't terribly graceful or elegant either.

Rush has a mixed heritage of ifrit and tiefling (both species that usually favour magic) but is a total barbarian. Her attitude, combat skills and perspective is very much a fit for barbarian, but her appearance is not. She is small, wiry/slender and scrappy.

I think in a lot of cases, people tend to stick to the physical descriptions that are provided by the source material. ie. the D&D manual gives each race a range of height and weight parameters (and even tells you what kind of mathematic formula to use). I do agree that doesn't mean one has to stick to those rules but I also understand that often times it's just the easiest route to take.

In many cases when I'm making a character I will often choose careers/classes for them based on wherever they grew up or their personalities rather than their race. Rush (the ifrit barbarian) chose that career because of her childhood environment, not because of her skin colour or body build. Pell'avra has a stockier body shape than a normal elf because of the environment that her clan lives in (extra body fat as a means of survival).

I have other characters not listed on this site that also don't quite fit the "norm", like an evil Halfling sorcerer that has a penchant for stealing shiny objects, dresses like a courtesan and is still relentlessly cheerful as only halflings can be.

Tsane is a werewolf, but has none of the personality traits which are commonly associated with them. He's an easy going ex-farmboy ex-soldier, kind-hearted and easy to get along with.

Hajar has standard orcish features and definitely did partake in mugging and violence in her past. However, after a near-death experience she converted to a religion which highly regards respect, meditation and training. So although she still struggles with her older thoughts, she tries her best to be calm, cool and to use her fists as a last resort.

Sparrow is technically an orc, but so far removed from one that I wouldn't be offended if you told me 'that's not an orc'. Not only is she purple and adorable, but she's a 'Rigger' which is a logic based class which uses drones to perform a large range of skills. In Shadowrun orcs receive higher strength based stats and low caps for intelligence based stats... so it's without a doubt the perfect choice to make a highly technical, skill-based character. She definitely can be a little bit childish, but she's a professional and takes her job seriously.

I have a half orc who's not the brutish warrior you'd expect. he's actually fairly well educated despite being a bit socially inept but he's socially inept because he's a druid and a hermit, not becuase he's a half orc lol.

https://www.rprepository.com/site.php?char=99731

He's basically a giant sweetheart who comes across initially as a bit intimidating but is really just a big ball of squishiness lol.

I also have a slovenly loser half elf named Kamal who subsists off pizza he finds under couch cushions and is periodically dragged to a shower by his sisters.
He amuses me.

Sometimes I admit, I really enjoy playing against type. D&D is really prone to these tropes especially to the extent that it'll actively punish you within the rules in many editions for playing the "wrong" class with a race. For example Orcs get bonuses to strength but their charisma or int suffers in 3rd ed, so an orc sorcerer, a class that relies on charisma would be difficult, but dang it's a great image imo.
Orc magic users make me smile. I mean come on, a hulking giant made of muscle who can ALSO hurl fireballs!?? YES! (they did kinda fix this with 5th ed, it's much easier to play "against type" without crippling yourself ruleswise now)

I have a Bariaur sorceress for much this reason. When she runs out of spells she headbutts people lol. Because it's funny but also the totally defenseless frail waif mage trope kinda annoys me. You got a limited number of spells, why wouldn't you learn other methods of defending yourself?

I have a death priest who's anything but creepy as well. Why should worshiping death mean you're basically an uber goth? Death is simply part of the natural cycle of life, so it shouldn't be inherently evil to worship a death deity.

I have a water elemental fighter because I was like "mmm high dexterity, dual wield, the ability to turn into water... yesssssss" lol. He's slender and lithe and not at all what you'd expect from a "fighter" class, he doesn't even wear shoes most of the time but he's pretty devastating with his billhook and scimitar. it's hard to hit someone who's mostly just sentient water. Lol.

I find it fun to play something a bit different or to restrict yourself, having to think about things a bit more. Like playing an illusionist is actually way more fun than any other mage school because you have to get SO creative lol.

My vampire Asher is not only "not pale" (he's black) he's also physically disabled (Amputee) and extremely sweet natured. He bakes, even though he can't actually eat it, because he loves the smell of baked goods (it reminds him of his childhood). He's also pretty tech savvy. He's pretty much the exact last thing you think of when you think "vampire" hahah. It makes me smile.

One of my other vampires wears fluro orange shirts lol.
No black for him. He's also sick looking, small but stocky and blind. Oh and horribly and horrifically burned, that too. *whistles* I got tired of pretty charismatic teen vampires.

Actually most of my vampires buck the "tall dark and handsome" trope because I found it boring. So I elected to have "burly high school jock" vampire. "street punk vampire". "hispanic middle aged kinda pudgy corroner vampire" and so on. lol. A wierdly large proportion of them are blonde but I don't know why... hum... I don't think that was intentional but it cracks me up that almost all my blonde characters happen to be vampires.

I have a werewolf who's a detective and while a bit grizzled and old school, he's also a big gay goofball.

My other werewolf is a grumpy nurse on a space ship. Ahem.

My half Selkie has NO skills related to keeping house (He can't sew, he can't cook, he can't even sing or dance) and has no real charisma either. Basically he fails at being a Selkie lol. He can swim at least

Unlike my other monster who despite being a coastal monster who supposedly "ate the hearts of sailors" is terrified of water because he nearly drowned as a kid.

I found a D&D colouring book the other day and was so tempted to buy it just so I could make ALL the elves POC. to their credit D&D is getting a lot better at depicting elves and such with such diversity but maaan, I demand more dark skinned elves and it still irritates me that you seldom see Gnomes brown (they have since like 2nd ed been described as having "nut brown" skin yet every image you ever see they're pale! WHY!???)

Also omg I love scary fairies that will eat your face off. They are the BEST.

*rubs hands excitedly*

Ghaurug gro-Khazgur fits this prompt to a T. He's an orc vampire (an unusual combination in and of itself), and while he is prone to violence and mostly Lawful Evil (though he comes from a setting where orcs aren't always evil), he's also short, thin and pale green as opposed to dark brown, green, or gray. He's quite intelligent and charismatic despite being evil, and he's not particularly masculine in physique or personality, either. In combat, he opts for stealth and magic as opposed swinging a heavy weapon around. As far as vampire stereotypes, he'd rather be caught dead than brooding. He is quite short, as stated earlier, and while he's skinny, he is incredibly insecure about his body (though again, he'd rather be caught dead than admit it), and wishes he could bulk up and reach a healthier weight. Which he can't, because due to his undeath, he's continually wasting away. He's not particularly strong, either, at least not physically. Most of his prowess is magical rather than coming from the strength of his body.

I also have some characters who aren't posted on this site who also fit the bill of this thread. It's kind of my favorite thing to do, subverting fantasy tropes. I've got a short, rugged warrior elf named Naer, three magically-inclined and unstealthy catfolk from two different settings, a highly intelligent dark elven werewolf/mage named Drilame Hlerar, another unconventional orc with an unfortunate name who is good-aligned, honorable, and pious, and even more. I like orcs, in case you couldn't tell. And then there's all my lizardfolk, but there are so many conflicting tropes for lizardfolk that I won't get into them.

Edit: Oh, and Kai is a person of color, and her vampirism only desaturates (not pales) her skin when she's underfed, so that's a thing as well. How could I forget her?

*cracks knuckles*

So I have Johann, who is dark elven predominantly but has enough human genetic material to warrant both a Manly Beard(TM) and a broad physique he builds up through physical labor and finding something/one to punch.

But he's also a vampire--still dark skinned, not any more buff than he was in life, & gruff to strangers (which he was in life too). His brooding days are over.

What really broke the mold is the fact that he has a stable and happy family life. He's married to a lovely lady, has 4 kids (3 adopted, 1 by blood), is relatively okay & well fed by the local wildlife around the homestead. He even "co-dads" 2 of the 3 adopted children with their biological father.

His dietary issues landed him in hot water in the past, in proper cities & towns, but being in a rural living area has let him just "live"--so to speak. Literally that's all he wants in life is to just exist and keep that stability, despite his unusual feeding needs.


His son Faulkner (no profile) is presently a super adorable toddler dhampire. Ma & Pa appeal to his more human/elven side to keep him from being a little monster, despite some nippiness with the fangs. He's expected to age slowly thanks to the elven side of things, so that's not atypical.

Jann here is a orc with a small amount of 'human' in her as well. She's a bit more feminine than most female orcs, she's lighter green skinned - but most of all she's fairly chaotic good, caring, kind. She doesn't like resorting to violence but to help people/save people/save herself, and feels quiet a bit of guilt for killing people, even if it's a group of unruly bandits. She hates her 'berserker rage' that she gets if she gets too caught up in fighting, it makes her feel like she's not herself, and kind of takes over.

She also reads, writes, really likes flowers and gardens. <3

I have this lovely fat, black, mute mermaid.

Asteria is a Demon-Elf, and it can be seen, although her demon side takes over, her playful, quiet, elvish nature also conflicts with her demon tendencies. I think the mix of the two species is odd in itself! :)

Dove is not a typical siren, as she doesn't deceive men or barely talk to them. She is kind-hearted, but the assumption she is a horrible creature makes people avoid her.

Purple_monkfish wrote:
Also omg I love scary fairies that will eat your face off. They are the BEST.

INSPIRED I LOVE IT

Oh boy... I have a number of characters. I admit that they're not *as diverse* I might want them. However, there are plenty of them that break the mould.

Elves

Arulania and Felvalian; Cousins. I generalise them as wood elves, but in their world, they are called Iliean. Though they're definitely a lot darker skinned than a lot of some of the other typical wood elves seen in other forms of media to the best of my knowledge.

Daedalus; A much darker skinned elf, though by no means a drow at all. His and his kind are called Keryn, and they live in underground cave systems that are lit with ley line powered baubles.

Ei; Not exactly an elf per se, but that's the form she enjoys, so I'm putting her under here. She's a shapeshifter that is also gifted / cursed with immortality. She takes features she personally finds attractive and applies them to herself. She has since forgotten what her real appearance looks like.

Faeries

Stella and Calisto; Twins! They were born from magic and their true forms are tiny, yes. But they have larger forms that they use in order to work more efficiently. They're both royal advisers for a royal fey family. Since they have used large forms for such a long time, it takes them more effort to retain a smaller form.

Werewolves

I'm actually just going to be honest that I don't see a common theme of werewolves being dark-skinned, tbh;; Maybe I'm just looking at the wrong media? But I don't see it as a common theme. That aside....

Teyrial; Elven werewolf. Not really broody, just doesn't really tolerate anyone's crap. He's a second in command to the pack he's a part of. Since he and his pack are also all registered werewolves, they have jobs and are even part of their own mercenary guild. He keeps track of the guild's income and spending. Teyrial is also wiry and not the strongest looking person; this translate into his werewolf form as well. His werewolf form appears a little more emaciated than the others of his pack.

Arlon; From Teyrial's pack. He was always a more magically inclined individual, and after he was able to tame the beast inside, as it were, he started to relearn magic in order to use it in his werewolf form. He's intelligent, though often isolates himself to his own doing just because he loves to learn and figure out more magical things he can learn.

I have WAY more werewolves that have RPR profiles, but I'm not keen on sharing them simply because they don't really have art and visuals for them just yet. The whole pack that Teyrial and Arlon are a part of are here on RPR, though.

Tiefling / Demon

Verta; In a lot of game settings and fantasy worlds, demons or tieflings are considered ones not to be trusted and never usually get that far in life in terms of success and fame. Verta is a demon -- or belocian in their world -- who was born into a life of privilege. Her people brought ley lines and streamlined mana power to the surface of their world, and her father was at the head of all of that in one of the major cities. She has since taken over his company and brings improvements to the technology he crafted to protect the people.

Other

Thalifra; In a world of magic, who's to say what is and isn't possible. Thalifra is the child of a satyr and a harpy and born into very harsh conditions. She decided to rise above that and found an island council that protects all no matter their heritage and background. So long as they don't cause trouble, anyways.

Off the top of my head, there's my Sand Elves. Dark-skinned, desert-swelling, tribal nomads. Have small antlers/horns. This one was originally also a vampire, because I was once a teenage girl.

FreeJayFly wrote:

I'm actually just going to be honest that I don't see a common theme of werewolves being dark-skinned, tbh;; Maybe I'm just looking at the wrong media? But I don't see it as a common theme. That aside....

It'd probably be better of me to say 'people of color' or 'appearing so' because that's more so what I meant in terms of werewolves, sorry for that confusion. Werewolves are often played in shows and movies by people of color, or white people who can pass as people of color.

The Vampire Diaries: most of the werewolves were played by latinx people, or italian people who passed as latinx.

True Blood: Most of the werewolves and many of the shifters were played by people of color or white people who appeared of color.

Twilight: All of the werewolves in this series are Native Americans strictly.


Those are just a few examples, but it's very common for people of color to be hired to play 'animal' or 'beast like' characters, and it's also very common for white people who appear of color to play characters of color that are werewolves or other animal/beast characters.

The most common is latinx or latinx appearing actors playing animal/beast characters.

Thank you all for your contributions! I love all your characters. Is so nice to see diverse fantasy characters and for people to get so excited about it! Keep sharing I will try to get through and leave kudos for as many charas as possible <3

Azilie: Dark elf, short stack and scarred to hell. She's based on a mix of Celtic and Nordic mythologies with a few original twists. She's got intelligence, but it's super limited due to coming from an environment that forbade learning. So for her its a lot of practical intelligence while book learning is still something she's 'new' to. She's also got the social skills of a rock, which makes her shy around new people, but step on her morals and she won't have an issue standing tall.

Cybil: A Faoladh, a type of werewolf from Irish myths that are looked at as benevolent monsters capable of controlling their beast nature and using it to benefit others. The best known legend of them is called 'The Werewolves of Ossory'. I've termed her a 'born lycan' rather than a turned, and built an entire tribal structure around the concept. Tall, lanky, innocent eyed and overly curious by nature. Also a mute.

Mirwen: An Unseelie Sidhe, or Winter Court Fae. Music lover and bard. With Mirwen, I looked to classic myths again, which in some cases depicted faeries as tiny sprites with wings, but often were portrayed as being human shaped as well, particularly if they lived without the Mounds, or Faerie hills of old. So I went with the more Shakespearean view of Faeries for Mirwens design, where they were tall, otherworldly figures capable of 'glamouring' or hiding their appearances behind illusions to appear more natural.

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