Monday, September 10, 2007

Character Roles, Part II

So... last night Angela and I were talking a bit about Character Roles. It occurred to me (sometimes I am slow), that the roles presumably designated in 4e (Controller, Defender, Leader, Striker) are primarily combat roles.

What about non-combat roles?

One of the big reasons why I think that many D&D games move from fight-t0-fight with little in-between is that several characters have nothing that they are particularly good at other than fighting. What is that Fighter going to do outside of combat with his 2 skill points per level? Intimidate someone? The bard is better at that.

I think that, in addition to having a role in combat situations, every character should have a role outside of combat.

So, what are non-combat roles?

Face. Investigator. Transporter. Technician.

Those seem to be the big ones in a number of genres. In D&D, they might be fulfilled in a variety of ways. I'll give two for each, here:

Face 1: The personally charming type with a decent Charisma and high diplomacy/bluff score.
Face 2: The sorcerer, enchanter, or beguiler who indiscriminately throws around Charm spells

Investigator 1: Someone with good skills in Search, Gather information, and a smattering of Knowledges
Investigator 2: Someone with access to divination magic

Transporter 1: Someone who owns a vehicle or a magical item that can act as one
Transporter 2: Someone with transportation magic

Technician 1: Someone with Craft/Disable Device skills
Technician 2: Someone with stone shape, wood shape, fabricate, or similar magic

I don't know that these represent the ideal non-combat roles. "Transporter" seems a bit weak, in particular. There might also be some sort of Leader-equivalent (Planner?) that would work here.

1 comment:

David M Jacobs said...

There's a fair overlap between Face 1 and Investigator 1; both rely on high Charisma to power their abilities to some extent.

Rogue skills such as Hide, Move Silently and even Open Locks can function as Investigator skills, although the latter might be more appropriate to Technicians. Although it's often a last resort, physical reconnaissance is still an effective means of gathering information.

You could include characters with animal lore/handling skills under Transporter 1, depending on how broad your definition of "vehicles" is.

Technician, I think, is a fairly under-utilised category in D&D, but could possibly include many Experts and characters with Item Creation feats.