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GM’s Journal – Party Roles, Part II

In the GM’s Journal we will discuss all things role playing. From tips for running a successful table to reviews of various systems, you’ll find it here.

Party Roles Part 2: Non-Combat

In Party Roles Part 1, we talked about the different combat roles and their importance in roleplaying games. Today we will talk about a variety of different roles outside of combat.

Just as in combat, players must work together outside of combat to accomplish their goals. Sometimes one character will be able to cover a combination of these roles. There are so many different types of encounters that it is impossible to account for them all. Likewise, it is impossible to account for every unique role in every roleplaying setting. However, most roles tend to fit into one of six categories. We will cover the first three in this article, and the final three in next week’s conclusion of this series.

The Face

The face represents the party during social encounters. They are usually charismatic characters played by players who love to talk. This type of character is responsible for communicating the demands of the party during negotiations. They are also responsible for talking their way into or out of trouble. The face can vary from charming debutant to sliver-tongued charlatan and everything in-between. A good face character can be invaluable to the party as they can smooth over negotiations with a wink and a smile.

If you enjoy being the center of attention, attending social encounters, and talking your way out of trouble, play the face.

The Transporter

As the name would suggest, the transporter has the ability to get the players from point A to point B. This could be the pilot of the ship, the driver, the teleportation wizard, the ex-syndicate thug with connections to the underworld, or the ranger who safely guides the party to their destination. No matter their background, the transporter has one job: help the party arrive at the next encounter unharmed while expending few resources. In some roleplaying games this role is less vital, but in other games this role is essential. If the transporter fulfills his role, the entire trip may be uneventful. However, if he does not, it may spell disaster for the entire party.

If you enjoy getting the party to their destination, being the pilot, and navigating in unfamiliar territories, play the transporter.

The Investigator

This character is a problem solver extraordinaire. The investigator is adept at finding things, people, places, and tidbits of information. This character is often highly intelligent and has an uncanny ability to draw conclusions from limited data. The investigator can also be highly perceptive and is often able to discern if someone is feeding them false information. Sometimes this character is highly knowledgeable about the world around them. They are ultimately responsible for finding whatever the party needs. Whether it be the next clue, the missing person, the hidden door, or the last piece of the puzzle. The investigator is essential for driving the plot forward, finding what needs to be found, and putting the data together.

If you enjoy puzzles, deductive reasoning, solving mysteries, being a walking encyclopedia, and finding things, play the investigator.

To Be Continued…

Each of these roles is essential to a balanced party, but they only cover a few of the non-combat situations which often arise. Check back next week as we discuss the final three non-combat roles essential to any well-formed adventuring group.

Do you have a favorite role to play? Tell us what it is and why! Join the conversation on Facebook.

Until next time: See you at the Table!

Meeple Karington Hess - Small

Karington Hess is a lifelong gamer whose passions for hospitality and all things game-related led him to Ravenwood Castle, where he served as an Innkeeper before joining The Malted Meeple. When not pouring beers, crafting milkshakes, or teaching boardgames, Karington can be found behind the DM’s screen, weaving intricate stories for his fellow gamers.

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