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.