When someone thinks of fantasy, certain genre-defining races come to the front of the mind. Surprisingly throughout the years, the basic attributes of these races have remained the same despite sweeping changes to the worlds around them. It begs the question “What makes these races what they are?” Just being born an elf doesn’t mean they’ll be an archer or mage, despite both archetypes being explored in detail over the years. We took examples from real world cultures and analyzed the different archetypes these races fill, what makes them perceived as they are and what makes them stand out in the minds of fans across the globe. Within are suggestions on how to create a culture in your game that enhances your races and world, with mechanical reinforcement to help bring them to life. With specialized classes from some of our favorite fiction, reimaginings of races into new archetypal roles and a boatload of racial feats, you’ll be hard pressed to think of the peoples that make up your setting of choice in the same way ever again.