Like with every group, an adventuring party usually consists of members who each have a niche. Even if you have all warriors, they tend to differ in combat style, tactics, and weapons. Typically, a group has people of various skills and backgrounds to bring depth and possibly some friction into the story. Not everyone supports the thief’s love of leaving battle to pilfer the kitchen pantry. So, what are some roles you may find?
- The Healer– Pretty self-explanatory. Not much of a fighter, but you can’t get very far without them. Whether it be a magical healer or a master of medicine, the other team members will literally fall apart without a character like this. Just make sure people thank them. Not a good idea to anger the person responsible for erasing all those cuts, bruises, poisonings, and whatever else happens.
- The Long-Range Threat– This includes archers and spellcasters. You don’t always have someone with magic, but they fall into this category because they fight from outside the main melee. Are they useful if drawn into close range? Sometimes, but typically this is their weapon point. Seriously, the point blank longbow move isn’t as useful as the movies make. Rather easy to dodge or knock the weapon to the side if you think about it.
- The Muscle– Big and strong and ready to break whatever they get their hands on. This is usually a fighter type who doesn’t do much thinking. There is some variety here because the role is defined more by physical focus than mental ability. So you can have a tactical Muscle to avoid the dumb brute idea.
- The Strategist– Usually the leader, but not always. This is the one who makes the plans for traveling, combat, and whatever else requires forethought. They know the strengths and weaknesses of the group, which means they have insight into every member. It doesn’t mean everyone likes them though. Some characters that fall into this category can be rather pompous and anger the less friendly of the group.
- The Loose Cannon– Every team seems to have one. The anti-hero who the fans love and the other team members wish would stop causing trouble. Either they rush headfirst into battle or wander off whenever they feel like it, you get the sense that these characters aren’t team players. So, why are they here? Because they still need a place to live and enjoy having friends more than they let on.
- The Thief– More of a fantasy trope than most other genres, this is an occupation that usually is an initial drive for the character. They aren’t fully trusted for most of their time. In fact, the moment they are trusted tends to be right before they either die or turn traitor. Still, the skill set makes them incredibly valuable for adventuring because you never know when a trap has been set, a lock needs picking, or a pocket needs pilfering.
- The Money– This can be held by other roles and isn’t very common. Most times they end up being a supporting character. Still, there’s no reason the person with the money can’t go on the adventure. This is a lot easier with credit cards, but the most fun with this character is the chance of friction. They tend to have a different world view than the others, which can be a source of development and humor.
- The Life of the Party– More about personality than ability, this can overlap with the others roles. The point of this character is to be the positive energy and possibly a bonding hero for the others. No matter what’s going on, this character is ready to make people happy and smile. In fact, it’s the best way for them to get over hard time because they don’t feel alone. One thing to always be aware of is that the loss of this hero will have massive repercussions even if they weren’t the strongest, smartest, fastest, or whatever. Imagine the heart getting ripped out and you’ll have an idea of why these characters can be more important than one realizes.