Hero Spotlight #4: The Wingman

Continuing with our Hero Spotlight, let’s take a moment to bring notice to the unsung heroes of any adventuring party… the Wingman.  The Wingman is the guy who watches your back, warns you of danger, and makes sure the rest of the team gets the job done, even if he gets none of the glory.  Needless to say every party can benefit from a Wingman.

The Wingman – Is more of a Metagame role rather than an actual character class.  In some ways it could considered the opposite of the Traitor as it builds on trust rather than destroys using personal knowledge.  The Wingman is unassuming primarily because of the fact that their powers don’t deal spectacular amounts of damage, nor do they sway the masses or set fire to entire divisions of the enemy’s troops.

The Wingman is the person who uses his shield at the last moment to catch the poisoned arrow meant for the Mage, he’s the person who jumps into the middle of the fracas to drag the unconscious rogue out of harm.  In addition he’s also the player character who focuses on stabilizing the situation, escorting NPCs out of harms way, or providing a crucial extra swordarm to shore up the defenses of the party.

How to use the Wingman in a campaign:

  • Think like an NPC – I’m not kidding.  Most of the time the Wingman is relegated to taking actions like a dream NPC.  In learning not to hog the spotlight, the Wingman will be able to focus on how he’ll be able to aid the party in achieving their objectives best, or take the actions that wouldn’t otherwise be the “best” for someone else to do.  A wizard using his action to free a captive is an action not spent tossing a fireball to the aid of the melee characters.
  • Fill in the gaps – Wingmen excel at locating a teams weakness at any given time and making sure that the enemy can’t exploit them.  They stop flanking attacks, keep an eye on the possibility of being attacked from behind and take the time to assist (such at 4e’s Aid Another) if a given other character’s action is vital.
  • General Skills – A little of everything goes a long way in the hands of a good Wingman.  Modern Day games benefit from First Aid, Drive, Computers and buying Contacts.  Fantasy Games might focus on Healing, Diplomacy various Knowledge skills.  The Wingman takes the skills that other characters might ignore in the event that these skills might suddenly become useful in some fashion.

The Wingman’s Resources:

  • Everyone loves a good Wingman – Good karma works had for a good Wingman.  Fellow players will recognize a helpful ally and will pretty much fight harder the moment you get in over your head.  Also, they’re less likely to just strip you to your underwear and take your gear home for selling while your body is left to rot by the action of the wind and rain.
  • Jack of all Trades– Often translates to higher survivability.  Skills like First Aid and Use Rope come in very handy in various situations, and the Wingman benefits from being able to work (if not thrive) in various unstable situations where most other characters are ineffective.

Fictional Examples:

  • Samwise Gamgee – From the Lord of the Rings
  • Dominic Santiago – From the Gears of War videogame
  • James “Paladin” Taggart – From the Wing Commander videogame (Arguably also a Veteran)

Of all the Hero Spotlights so far I like the Wingman the best.  In most of the games that I’ve been in where I’m actually playing, I end up as the Wingman.  Maybe it’s just my habit of wanting to have all the bases covered, but I’m actually pretty good at it.

4 thoughts on “Hero Spotlight #4: The Wingman

  1. Oddly, he would. He’s loud and showy, but that doesn’t mean that he wasn’t watching over the Gurren Brigade all this time.

    Viral also makes for a good Wingman after he made his heel face turn to heroics.

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