Sorry if this question is vague–I’m trying to nail down an elusive idea.
I want to list mythical/legendary sentient creatures which are like humans, but not human. Preferably ones which are reasonably familiar to many readers and come with a set of expectations. I want the creatures to be diverse within their own people as well.
The only example I’ve got is the fae (fairies). If I tell you a character is fae, it sets up some expectations about how they work and what the rules are (which I can alter, but at least they’re there). The category of fae contains many different types–sidhe, pookas, brownies, pixies–depending on who you ask.
Elves or dwarves might count, but they’re more homogenous than I’d like.
Dungeons and Dragons uses the term “demi-human” and Shadowrun calls them “metahuman.” Both words imply a relationship to humanity that doesn’t seem accurate to me.
Can anyone name other categories like fae?
ETA: What I want here is the overarching term for non-humans in fantasy. A term that avoids the problems of describing sentient non-humans as another “race.” “Species” is too generic; it covers plants and microbes. I want to complete this parallel: Science fiction authors write about aliens. Fantasy authors write about…?
I think this term doesn’t exist and I need to invent it. Help me poke my brain with a sharp stick and see what happens.