In part 2 of this series, I discuss character roles in team-based superhero characters with my group.
Part 1 can be found here.****
Character Roles in the Supers Genre
Team-based supers tend to differ from characters that guide their own books in a key way: team-based heroes tend towards a particular role in the group that allows them to stand out when facing specific challenges.
Even when characters like Batman or Superman (who normally operate solo) are added to a team like the Justice League, they are usually simplified to fill particular roles within their respective teams.
A good supers team is therefore like a good D&D party: each character brings something to the table to round out the strengths and weaknesses of the others.
Let's view the classic Silver Age hero team The Fantastic Four through this prism:
Thing - Fighter/Tank (Peak: Forceful)
Invisible Girl - Rogue (Peak: Sneaky)
Human Torch - Ranger (Peak: Flashy)
Mr. Fantastic - Wizard (Peak: Clever)
Individually, each of these heroes only brings one main approach to the table that they are particularly good at. Each might therefore be considered a minor-level hero. But together, they are able to handle cosmic-level threats with ease. A great, well-balanced team. Which I think goes far to explain their continued popularity after five decades worth of stories.
When creating characters for our game, regardless of the powers and backgrounds we choose, it's good to consider:
* What strengths does this character bring to the table? What are their weak spots?
* How do our characters work together as a team?
Many of these questions will be answered in play as well, of course. But thinking about them during character creation will help us to create a strong base to build upon as we find their individual stories.