What Character Type is your Specialty?

Even if roleplaying games give us an opportunity to go out and be someone different with every new game, there are times when we find that one archetype that fits us like an old glove.  It’s familiar, and you have enough experience with it (in real life or in previous games) that it becomes your go-to archetype when you don’t feel particularly experimental.

My favored character type is the Investigator.  It’s a broad archetype, one that manifests in different ways in different times, but ultimately serves as a great means to follow almost any rpg plot.  Maybe it’s the GM in me, but I find that playing an investigator is an instant flag for the GM to hit me with something, so I can start sniffing out the trail of his latest plot, or villain.

Why an Investigator?

Playing an investigator allows you to get a complete package of tools and contacts along with a license to poke your nose in other people’s business.  The need to know the truth of things drives the investigator forwards, it is his reason for being.  Ultimately, most rpg plots are mysteries of a sort.  Who is the villain?  Why are they doing this?  How are they pulling off the crime?

Tools of the Trade

Investigators have a large number of tools at their disposal, including:

  • Authority – Whether it’s a Police Badge or a Press Pass, having the right credentials to get you places solves all sorts of problems, and the GM can usually figure out an easy way to put you right where the plot needs you to be at the start of the game.
  • Contacts – Investigators don’t work alone.  They usually have a lot of contacts and allies who are perfectly willing to barter or give away information.
  • Gadgets – Voice recorders, cameras, computers… an investigator is usually decked with all sorts of things that make it easy to take note of salient details, and gives you an excuse to take exacting notes during play.  For less modern settings, having a scribe with you is always helpful, and there’s also a bible for the religious.

These are but a few of the tools of an investigator type character, all of which can come in handy during play in almost any setting.

Investigator Examples:

Investigators don’t always have to be the same concept, they just have to share the same zeal for discovering the truth.  Some good investigator examples include:

  • Police Detective / Private Eye – No brainer, standard stuff.  Has the added perk of actually having a legitimate reason to start off with a weapon.
  • Magistrate – Historical settings often have a lawman with equal parts of smarts and steel.
  • Investigative Journalist – Doesn’t often have a gun, but does manage to get away with a scoop by sheer chutzpah.
  • Writer – Seriously, writer’s blocked authors and celebrity writers can get a lot of mileage in investigative stories.


I like investigators due to the ease by which they can easily be incorporated into a campaign.   They’re self-motivated, often adventurous, and mostly too stubborn to know when to quit, especially after receiving a death threat or two.

How about you guys?  What character concepts do you find most comfortable?

11 thoughts on “What Character Type is your Specialty?

  1. I’d never actually thought of classifying an investigator as a type before.

    My go to type is usually a rogue of some sort. Not necessarily a thief, but someone who approaches the problem with out of the box thinking. Strong, but not the brawn, smart but not necessarily the brains. I like it, because my default thought patterns tend to out of the box thinking, so it is a way to just relax and let my brain go when I’m playing a character.

    The ease with which it can be ported to any time period also works, and the fact you can apply it to almost any social class or person type also works for ease of adding it in.

    It does, sadly, make it a bit harder for the GM at times. But once you are in, well, it does work fairly well and keeps itself there.

    1. Hey A.L.!

      Rogues are fun to play, since being able to bring nonstandard solutions to otherwise difficult problems is always entertaining. It also has the added benefit of surprising the GM now and then.

  2. I generally play the self-sacrificing badass. Maybe they use brawn, maybe they use magic, but they’re usually on the front lines even when they shouldn’t be. There’s one or more party members or NPCs that they’d gladly lay down their lives for.

    Sometimes it works out better than others. The one time that a PC I was protecting did get killed, things went rapidly downhill as my character attempted to destroy everything in the vicinity. It ended up being one of the best gaming stories any of us have, but I don’t think the DM was too happy at the time.

    Other than that, not much stays constant. I like to change things up, so I try to switch between glass cannons, tanks, skillmonkies and the like. I’ve even managed to not play a face character a couple times, though it goes against my nature.

  3. The Crafter/Tinkerer is probably my most common. I’ve used this in Shadowrun, Star Wars, L5R, Alpha-Omega, Vampire, Deadlands, and probably a lot more. I like being the guy that always has the right answer for the situation somewhere in his packs. This is also the reason my groups are not allowed to know which room the boss is in after the whole “flash and clear” episode that neutered a very potent enemy in one of our Star Wars games.

  4. I make mine UNIQUE!

    Just like every body else~

    My methods are so out-of-the-box, that the box is on Jupiter!

  5. the lone warrior wolverine type of character lolz,
    either that or some crazy man that wants to wrestle ehehee
    but im becoming close to liking investigator type of characters

  6. I like to play the Paladin… protector of the weak and the oppressed… having unflinching morals and stalwart virtues… always on the side of good and law. Lawful Stupid?! Nooooo!!!

    Reminds me: why haven’t I tried playing in a supers game? Hmmm….

    1. Hey Yamasaki,

      That’s actually a good question, why haven’t you? We’ve been running Supers campaigns lately, so you can catch the next one. 😀

  7. Oh god you are a man of my own heart. For a Technocracy game I played a NWO man in grey agent. He became a ross between Sam Fischer from Splinter Cell and Ethan Hunt of MI. High tech weapons, espionage and acting as team coordinator and people person rocked!

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