Heroes Often Travel in groups that's members fall into archetypes which all complement one another. They are a very specific team with skills that contribute to the group in a unique way. (NOTE: CAN BE A HERO CAN BE BOTH OF THESE POSITIONS AND CAN BE EITHER GENDER): The Hero
The Leader. The Captain. The protagonist. This shining star that holds the whole mess together. This guy is a hero, pure and simple. He's almost always right, is a friend to all his bandmates, and morally superior. He has a well-rounded skill set. He's not as strong as The Big Guy, or as smart as The Smart Guy, or as sensitive and socially adept as The Load, but he's close. He can personally accomplish a variety of goals, but his real superpower is getting the whole diverse set of personalities under his command to focus and pull together. He'll always know who to ask for help, and when — and usually how.
Other powers and skills common to the hero include:
•Most of the time, he'll use a sword or sword-like weapon as his weapon of choice, even in science-fiction settings where that wouldn't make sense.
•In a fight, he will ALWAYS win. And even if he loses, bet your life on it he will win the Heroic Rematch.
•He will wear either Red or Blue (sometimes both), and if he's got a theme or powers expect them to be fire based. Lightning and light/holy are also common Elemental Powers for the hero.
Usually, this role will not be filled by a woman unless all the other roles are already women (as is often the case in anime). If so, there might not be a Load in the group (although there might be The One Guy or the Non-Action Guy), and the prize for "most feminine" will go to The Hero or The Smart Guy.
The Hero does not HAVE to be The Leader, or the most intelligent. This is usually justified by him being the youngest, most inexperienced, and/or newest member of the team. Thus, his more senior teammates may quite reasonably see him as the Tag Along Kid or the New Guy, even if he's clearly the central protagonist to the audience. He may even be something of The Load if he's a kid. Don't worry - in time, he will reveal his great potential, eventually swaying friend and foe alike to his cause. Even if he needs significant growing up to reach that point. The Number 2
The right-hand man and the Foil for The Hero. The Number 2 is usually easier to intuit in older works, He's often the exact oppsite of the main hero for example:
•If the hero is an idiot, the Number 2 will be Stoic, or Quiet
•If the hero is a carefree, irresponsible type, the Number 2 is probably Reliable
•If the Hero works more from a state of passion when resolving problems, or is inspiring to his team, his Number 2 tends to work harder, and in some but not all cases tends to be less popular. The Number 2 in this context tends to think his way through challenges and through diligence eventually earns his team's respect for his obvious talents and successes. The Smart Guy
The Smart Guy is the guy in a Group who focus is on intellectual pursuits. This is the team member who will always be prepared, sometimes Crazy Prepared. They will be at the computer doing typing at high speeds. Expect some fancy talk and Techno Babble from this character. Because their role is about ideas, plans, and being Mission Control, they often leave the action stuff to The Hero, The Number 2 and The Big Guy.
Physically they are usually either short or slender and sometimes wear glasses. The Smart Guy is sometimes written as mousey and withdrawn. If not antisocial, at least non-social, sliding into TV Genius. Can be expected to play a mean game of chess.
Sometimes the Smart Guy is more street savvy then they appear. If this is the case it usually makes The Smart Guy physically as well as mentally capable. This can be done by making the Smart Guy and The Big Guy one and the same, effectively defying the two stereotypes to the utmost extreme. Then there is the path of the combat oriented Bookworm. They remain firmly planted as the Smart Guy, but are just as ready to fight as everyone else. The results are often impressive, and usually have the advantage of surprise. Who expects the little guy or skinny guy who might wear glasses to be so dangerous?
Powers and skills common to the smart guy include:
•In modern or sci-fi settings, The Smart Guy often has great skill with technology and engineering, in order to build and repair devices for the band. The Gadgeteer Genius, Mad Scientist, and The Professor will often fill this role. If they're the protagonist, they'll be a Science Hero. In such cases, The Smart Guy will rarely have good tactical skills, and may lack in common sense as well. Quite often they're an alien, cyborg or robot. If all of the characters are using guns, the Smart Guy may be the sniper.
•In settings where firearms are rare, he might be one of those few who uses one, considering a lack of combat skill.
•In fantasy settings, he'll usually be skilled at magic, particularly of the offensive variety, in which case he serves as the team's "nuker". His Weapon of Choice tends to be a Magic Wand, a Simple Staff, or both in one package. Alternatively, he may prefer a easily manageable dagger. Or, if magic is the de facto power of the age, the Smart Guy will probably use a sword or a gun.
•In a Superhero setting, or any one with superpowers that don't quite fall under magic, The Smart Guy is often a combat oriented but Normal man with Super Intelligence, or has relatively weak powers to offset their brilliance (and increasingly often will find ways to utilize apparently useless powers to great effect). He could also achieve Psychic Powers after reaching Brain Critical Mass. Or conversely, they'll be the ones in the Powered Armor (in this case, if the armor lends enough muscle, they might be a Genius Bruiser or Bookworm who doubles as The Big Guy).
•Some incarnations have The Smart Guy be less of a genius, and more of a wisecracking or a street-smart Trickster who has traded in strength for intelligence, and uses his cunning to outwit his foes. This type may well be The Number 2 if roles are overlapping or the Evil Guy. The Big Guy
The Big Guy is essentially the powerhouse of the Group. They are usually incredibly and unflinchingly loyal, and often they are the largest member and even more effective in combat than The Hero or The Number 2. They will often be the point man, they cause a disturbance and hold off the Goons while The Hero challenges Mr. Big Bad. Of course, against stronger enemies they might end up suffering a brutal beating to set up the villain as a credible threat for The Hero.
Usually what holds them back from leadership is being Dumb Muscle, they know how to knock heads together but don't do much in the way of strategy. While The Hero and The Number 2 fight side-by-side, The Big Guy is a One-Man Army.
He comes in several variations:
•Class 1: The gruff, mean, scarred and withdrawn warrior. Could go so far as to be a Berserker, particularly of the Death Seeker variety. In an entire group of massive butt kickers, their big guy is most likely be a class 1, ready to punch you in the face for smiling at him.
•Class 2: The Gentle Giant who you don't want to push too far. Often when the other members are younger, he will be older and outside of battle is the calming element in the group, offering both experience and wisdom, or just being able to pull two others apart easily.
•Class 3: The kind that looks like the first but is secretly the second.
•Class 4: The Boisterous Bruiser, whose presence is larger than his physical size. Often a Boasts about his massive strength.
•Class 5: A Genius Bruiser who can also fill the role of The Smart Guy. This character is rare, as The Smart Guy is traditionally unimposing and the Non-Action Guy. This version uses muscle intelligently and is both BRAINS/BRAWN.
Powers and skills common to the big guy are:
•The Big Guy will often be the band's "tank" or "Stone Wall". He is a massive person who serves as the strongest physical fighter, but also the slowest and least proficient at magic
•Most Big Guys tend to prefer big, heavy weapons like axes or hammers (or oversized firearms like bazookas or chainguns if in a modern/futuristic setting)
•Others are powerful martial artists who are fast as well as strong and clobber the bad guys with their bare hands
•If it's a magical setting, they may also be adept at Ground or have Plant themed powers, as the "earth" element can be seen as tough, strong, and/or sturdy. Alternatively Ice may have similar connotations.
When It's a Woman they often have several powers or skills:
•She Might be a cute little bruiser she who packs a surprising amount of punch. Traditionally a little girl, but can be stretched to any woman who is not obviously of amazonian stature. May be a martial artist or some other form of athlete. In cases of truly ridiculous strength, she may be a cyborg, Robot Girl, mutant, alien, possess Charles Atlas Superpower, or have some other justification for unusual power. Usually just as cute and/or pretty as more typical female characters. Male versions of a cute bruiser can exist too, only a Cute little Boy instead of a little girl.
•Alternatively and more unusually, she's a Giantess, and thus plainly strong. She's rarely masculine but rarely conventionally attractive. (There's also nothing stopping her from being a robot, mutant, alien, etc. It's just that the surprise is gone.)
•Somewhat more rare are Amazon women, She's big, she's strong, she's attractive, and often men want her
•An exuberant Big Girl is either a Boisterous Bruiser or Cheerful Girl. If she's instead a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, her softer side is often a secret cache of feminine traits or one particularly girlish habit, which may make her embarrassed when found out. The Load
The "feminine", "spiritual", and "heart", aspect of the Five-Man Band. Even though all these positions can be taken by both genders this person is often FEMALE.
It's the people she gathers and keeps at her side who'll do a lot of the heavy lifting. She'll encourage loyalty and teamwork, give them the courage or hope to unlock their true potential, a nice girl who keeps her friends from descending into madness. She's usually a Nice Girl, but her demeanor can go anywhere from shy and demure, to brave and adventurous. She is rarely The Heroine of a story.
Her functional role will often be The Heart or the Motherly Influence of the group. However just because that's her job dosen't mean she's a threat to the goons.The Mentor
A more experienced adviser or confidante to a young, inexperienced character, particularly to a hero. These Old Masters have guided millions in their light,
This character will almost always die so that the protagonist can learn to stand on his own two feet. Their death will also be a great motivator as it gives the protagonists a chance for vengeance. Afterwards, they'll usually become a Spirit Adviser, either as a literal "spirit" or in flashbacks. If they don't die, they will stick around giving advice, but not actively adventuring. They are often either Cool Old men or Eccentric.The New Guy
Any new character that joins an established ensemble and knocks it out of one of the traditional categories is a New Guy. There may be more than one per team, with either several joining in succession, or pre-established pairs coming in at once. In a Magical Girl show, it is not uncommon for this New Guy to be the lead character's boyfriend.
Their power and coolness is inversely proportional to the number of episodes since their debut, since Good Is Dumb. Expect them to be single-handedly defeating enemies that the main team struggled against during their first appearance, falling in line as they become integrated into the group, then finally getting overtaken by the original heroes. In fact, they almost invariably tend to become a magnet for Trouble as soon as the latest new Big Bad shows up.Tagalong Kid
Typically the youngest member of a Group, the Tagalong Kid is usually the Hero's or the Load's younger brother. He comes in several different versions:
•The Load — Children Are Innocent. A Cheerful Child can operate as the team's moral compass and emotional center. At worst, they serve as the designated kidnap victim. Might be the least likely Team Kid to be a Brat, though it does happen.
◦If given combat ability, they tend to use their youthful energy and small size to fight as a Fragile Speedster. Alternatively, they may use some form of ranged weaponry to strike from a safe distance as fragile. Slingshots and other throw weapons are more common than relying on archery or firearms, but subversion happen.
◦Older kids in older a group may instead be a Hot Blooded teenager. She's still the most idealistic guy on the team, but her/his combat ability tends to be a Kid Samurai or a Young Ninja.
•The Smart Guy — Teen Genius, or maybe preteen.
•The Big Guy — Stronger than he first appears, the kid is a Cute Bruiser capable of benchpressing ten adult men. The Evil Guy
Just because the main characters are fighting to oust Mr. Big Bad doesn't mean they're heroes... at least, not all of them. In a team composed of good or morally pH neutral members, there will often be one Evil Man. Ruminatively, this character can serve as an entertaining and pragmatic foil to his more strait-laced colleagues, giving Wisdom from the Gutter and serving as a useful whenever the heroes start veering too close to Honor Before Reason and self-destructive heroics, and might even act to solve difficult moral dilemmas.
Sometimes they will begrudgingly admit that they like their teammates, or at least find them less intolerable than they say, and frequently they find their association either lucrative, entertaining, or even enjoyable. If it's pointed out by somebody that they're not as bad as they make themselves out to be though, they'll generally tell them to shut up, or to take it back. This can be done in a very loud, very rude way.
If they do betray their teammates, expect The Hero to tighten their Fist and use various threats like Death Glares to bring them back in line. Why don't they kill him or at least kick him out? Because sometimes you just need the firepower, and they can "do more good than harm".
Some variations include:
•Sometimes a Tragic or Sympathetic Villain joins the heroes to fight a second villain who's worse, but is still evil on the side.
◦Outright villains who do this are more the bag of a Strange Incident, since the team ups are rarely stable enough to outlast the episode. Still, it's not unheard of for some to reform not long after such team ups.
•They're in it for the money. Or the opportunity to loot, pillage, and plunder. Bribes and financially based threats keep them in line.
•B.E.F. (Best Evil Friend): Maybe there's a hero who's a friend or family, and they stick around to help loved ones out of duty. But don't expect them to be too helpful for anybody else.
◦Sometimes, the friendship is established during the show, at which point the purely money or power-hungry evil guy will "tip his hand" and save his friend rather than get the idol.
•The evil friend is The Treacherous Subordinate and sees the heroes as the best way to topple Mr. Big Bad.
•The Poisonous Friend who blindly believes he's doing right is a member of the group, willing to do anything for his buddy's ideals.
•They were recruited because they have skills, talents and a general attitude that the heroes know will be useful, even if they don't like having them around.
•They have an ulterior motive for joining the heroes, and the heroes' plans will further their own agenda.
•Sometimes they're just in it because they want to. The hero is on an exciting, heroic quest that will save the world, but it also involves a lot of destruction, and they've got nothing better to do right now. They want to cause chaos and rain down carnage, and this is the best way to do it.
•In a setting where a Balance Between Good and Evil matters, or just any setting with Gray and Gray Morality, having people keeping the "heroes" in check is sometimes a perfectly good idea, even if they might find it annoying or inconvenient. Team Mom
there needs to be someone to hold this Gang together before they kill each other or wander off into the woods or eat harmful chemicles. Almost always a female, Team Mom basically acts as the mother figure for everyone else in the group, regardless of age or family relations. In many cases, she actually is a older sister to at least one other character.
Not always The Leader in action or adventure, but the leader the team needs in everyday life and practical matters. Quells fights, makes sure everyone cleans behind their ears and eats their greens. Can be pretty bossy. Usually, they're gentle, cute, kind, and capable of stern mothering.
Often enough, she's The Medic. May be a Nice Girl, or a Messiah-like figure. If she's a more physical fighter, expect her to be a Lady of War (and maybe an Action Mom, if she's got her own kids aside of the group members). They are by definition never the loner, and will in fact tend to be the one who pulls them into the cast's orbit as a New Guy. If anyone can break through and bring about a reform it's the Team Mom.
While they tend to be less combat capable than their teammates, Whatnot for the Nice Girl most definitely applies, if any of her surrogate children or siblings are threatened, she can snap into unhinged mode and kick butt. Their absence (be it emotional or physical) will most certainly put the team on edge as their ability to function as, well, a team, comes into jeopardy. Thus these instances serve as a reminder of her value when the team grows complacent. And by the way? Villains should NOT threaten or harm her. Ever. Her family will not be pleased.
Often has a Romantic Relationship with the Team DadTeam Dad
The opposite number to the Team Mom, more often than not the disciplinarian, lead-by-example-kind of character in contrast to the warm, nurturing tendencies of a Team Mom. The Team Dad is almost always the oldest member of the team and if he isn't The Leader, then he's definitely The Mentor, and in family-based teams, he is the big brother of at least one member. He tends to be strict and gruff, but he never hesitates to put his life on the line for his team members.
If a team has a Team Mom and a Team Dad, expect them to either play a Good Cop/Bad Cop routine on the rest of the team or come in conflict over their "parenting" philosophies. Cue "Mom and Dad are fighting" jokes from the "kids" if Team Mom and Team Dad aren't a couple, quickly followed by "It's not like that, we swear" from them (but they're very likely to end up together, anyway).
Often has a Romantic Relationship with the Team MomAction Girl
Unlike All Other Positions mentioned on this list this one is always FEMALE. She's a Female fighter that can fight with her male counterparts without breaking a sweat. Distressed Damsel? Not for this woman. She doesn't sit around waiting to be rescued. She's headbutting her jailer and breaking herself out. She proves, with her very being, that girls aren't only not helpless, they kick butt. But not just "any girl with a fight scene" can be considered an Action Girl. An Action Girl is accompanied by Awesome scenes, and routinely and reliably gets in on the combat. And what's more, she wins. Mr. Big Good
Whereas Mr. Big Bad is considered the ultimate evil to be defeated, Mr. Big Good is the cornerstone of any heroic organization. This character is explicitly stated to be a counterpart to combat the forces of evil, likely calling all the shots in the organization and is normally the highest ranking or the absolute most powerful. Since The Hero is usually, but not always synonymous with the protagonist, Mr. Big Good does not always fill that role, as it is usually more dramatic for the protagonist to work upwards from the bottom. In fact, it may even be stated (at least in the beginning) that The Hero is expendable whereas this character is not. Mr. Big Good is simply the most valuable member of the heroic movement in a given work, whether in terms of rank, function or wisdom. If not The Hero, then they will most definitely be the mentor to craft The Hero into being the weapon they need him to be.
Mr. Big Good is usually starting off several orders of magnitude more powerful than The Hero. The character may even be servant to a greater good just like his or her evil counterpart is servant to a greater evil. Unlike Mr. Big Bad, however, Mr. Big Good can be taken down rather early- to show just how powerful the enemy has gotten by that point or as part of a greater plan. One of the more common ways this is done is to have the two confront each other directly, with Mr. Big Good coming up short. For extra pathos, Mr. Big Bad was once their second in command. Expect The Hero or some other member of the True Companions to take up the mantle by time the Grand Finale comes round.
At the beginning of a series, expect Mr. Big Bad to be much more worried about this character than about The Hero. In fact, The Hero may not even register on any antagonist's radar while all of them will be out to off Mr. Big Good.