The world of gaming is filled with interesting, intriguing, and unique characters. With so much free range to work with, fantasy character ideas for video games are often the most pronounced in all of interactive entertainment. From the arrogant villains to the humble and mysterious outcasts, fantasy characters let us look within ourselves and challenge our preconceptions.
The most popular examples of fantasy characters are usually found in RPGs. RPGs tie closely to the fantasy genre, so there is much here to choose from. These characters are often based on classic fantasy archetypes, such as fighters, mages, and archers. Even sci-fi characters take this approach, providing no shortage of examples.
Taking a look back at gaming’s long history, check out 11 of the best types of fiction characters in RPGS that gaming relies on.
The most standard and least fictional of fantasy characters are humans, and with good reason. These are the easiest for us to connect to, as we see ourselves and our culture and beliefs reflected in those most similar to ourselves. It’s rarely explained why humans as we know them exist in a world of fantasy characters.
Humans in RPGs tend to excel in diplomacy, especially on a grander scale. In combat, they're like a jack of all trades, while rarely being the best in any category. From space MMO games to gritty feudal RPGs, humans are the class we turn to most. Some titles with robust character creation tools covering many races have even checked to see which characters are the most commonly created, and humans are practically always the answer.
Elves are fantasy characters a lot like humans, only they’re often displayed as taller, more elegant, and more socially developed. Although Elves can be prone to arrogance over their perceived superiority to other races, they’re often the fantasy characters who value protecting nature the most.
The playability of Elves can act as the difference between MMORPG and RPG games too. While a typical RPG will often be limited in race selection, Elves are often the first consideration for allied races other than humans in the MMO space. Elves are usually the most physically attractive of fantasy characters, so players who value looks and fashion often make them their first choice.
The short, the stalwart, and the gruff, Dwarves are fantasy characters that play a pivotal role in contrasting human and Elven behavior. Most of the popular games of the moment in the MMORPG landscape offer Dwarves as a playable race, setting them underground as they work their forges. They can be slightly less common in regular offline RPG games, however. Sometimes this is because of popularity, other times it owes to the difficulty of creating short hitboxes.
Some older titles can struggle with female fantasy characters in the Dwarven people, owing to non-traditional forms of beauty. Make no mistake, however, when they do appear, Dwarven women are just as formidable as Dwarven men.
The archetypical bad guy fantasy characters, thanks in no small part to the works of Tolkien. Orcs are larger than humans, heavily muscled, and primed for combat. Looking like they're always running late to a Halloween party, these characters are often portrayed as simplistic, though with a certain sense of honor.
Few fantasy characters enjoy fighting as much as Orcs do. War can be central to their culture, or even their creation process. It’s sometimes possible for Orcs to overcome this nature, representing the progress that an active mind can have in bettering oneself through sheer will. Orcs are not fantasy characters you want to cross unless the numbers are in your favor.
Spawned from some sort of dark underworld, the fantasy characters we call Demons can take many forms, and pursue many goals. Some Demons are hell-bent on reducing all of creation to rubble, while others are more benign and keen on tricks and mischief. Like Orcs, a few even manage to combat their nature and set themselves free of the life to which they were once cursed.
Playing as demons often provides a range of magical abilities drawing from the fires of that universe's hell. Demons rarely play the role of healers, instead choosing to channel and pervert magical sources to their own ends.
Necromancers are a special type of magician that use their power to draw unlife into formerly living vessels. This dark power leaves them outcasts among regular folk, as they're seen as going beyond accepted means to achieve their ends.
As much as we might disagree with the concept of returning and enslaving soulless husks, we have to admit that the abilities do make for interesting gameplay. From games running on Flash to action RPGs, commanding an army of shambling corpses to do your bidding feels better than maybe it should. At least, until you see someone you used to know in the crowd…
Some of the most famous fantasy creatures we've ever conjured, Dragons also make for some of the best fantasy characters in RPGs. Dragons in fantasy games are creatures capable of immense destruction, combining magic and physical attacks in a way that makes them intimidating foes.
Thanks to their size, Dragons are rarely playable characters in RPG games. After all, if you can’t fit through a door, you probably can’t complete a quest. They’re also the creations that commonly have the best names for fantasy characters, with titles reflecting their acclaim and station. Some even possess the ability to take human form, so you never really know who you’re up against.
Whether raised by necromancers or some other form of magic or curse, the Undead are fantasy characters that can lie anywhere on the spectrum of good and evil. They could simply be mindless monsters, seeking to endlessly grow their ranks, or they could be tragic creatures, acutely aware of what they were and how much they've lost.
Playing the Undead often provides advantages through their different physiology. If you're dead you have less need to breathe and care less about blood loss, which can lead to interesting gameplay situations. Just don't expect to be pretty in the process.
The small creatures called Goblins are typically the fantasy characters that play the role of Dwarves on the side of the bad guys. They love being underground, they covet jewels and riches, and they’re clever with technology and weapons.
The Goblin's fascination with technology can make them some of the most fun to play as, with all sorts of gadgets to support their weaker physical stature. It might sometimes backfire, but you can't make an omelet without first cracking a few kobold eggs.
Also called shape-shifters, skin-walkers are those with the ability to cast off one form, and adopt that of another. Unlike a magician who might create an illusion, a skin-walker can physically take the attributes of another creature while maintaining a grip on their mind and intelligence.
Playing as a skin-walker provides an opportunity to adapt to situations on the fly, taking the form of the species which benefits the most. From becoming a tank of a bear to escaping a trap by turning into a sneaking cat, skin-walkers might be creepy, but they can be a lot of fun too.
The final of the fantasy characters we can’t avoid mentioning is the animal companion. Sometimes gifted with intelligence, other times acting as a friend along the way, our natural love of animals makes these guys easy to connect to. It also makes it much more devastating when something happens to them.
Within games, animals can sometimes be given direct commands, other times they act as an extension of the player. Whether riding a horse, commanding a dog to bite a guard, or having a bird steal a key, there's a lot animals can do that the hero can't manage alone.
In RPG games, it’s fairly safe to say that the human Cloud from Final Fantasy 7 is the most popular. He’s got great style, a memorable backstory, and an appeal that transcends borders. Geralt from The Witcher is also a standout.
Typical characters in fantasy games and RPGs tend to be races that closely follow fantasy roles. This means strong humans with swords, ranged Elf archers attackers, and demons who excel at slinging foul and dark forms of magic.
The short fantasy characters are often those who borrow from classic concepts of fantasy Dwarfs. These people are usually craftsmen who prefer sticking to themselves, and who are famous for their ability to fight with axes. Many of the best MMORPGs feature some variation of these people.