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Character Tropes in Adventure Parties

Adventure parties are a staple of fantasy quests, and for good reason. Fans of DnD, Lord of the Rings, and pretty much any cornerstone of fiction know that grouping characters with wildly different personalities, roles, and tropes is bound to produce interesting results.


What's an adventure party without these beloved archetypes?


Character Tropes in Adventure Parties Coffee, Book, and Candle

THE HERO AKA THE CHOSEN ONE


Character Tropes in Adventure Parties Coffee, Book, and Candle

SPECIALTIES

  • Succeeding effortlessly at everything. Training? Already had it or who needs it

  • Somehow getting hurt the most out of the group but always coming out on top

  • Motivational speeches and inspiring people to follow them by looking/sounding cool


WEAKNESSES

  • Overly confident in their badassery—what do you mean that didn't work?

  • Resistant to help; "It is my bUrDeN"

  • Not the best at handling failure. Stand by for sad monologue

  • Puts too much pressure on themselves

  • Martyr complex


NOTABLE HEROES / CHOSEN ONES

  • Aragorn and Frodo (Lord of the Rings)

  • Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle)

  • Percy Jackson (Percy Jackson and the Olympians)

  • Aang (Avatar: The Last Airbender)

  • Scott Summers and Jean Grey (Marvel)

  • Luke Skywalker (Star Wars)

  • Leonardo (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

  • Hiccup (How to Train Your Dragon)

  • Jim Lake Jr. (Trollhunters)

  • Adora / She-Ra (She-Ra and the Princesses of Power)

  • Linh Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles)


QUOTES

"I won't stand by and watch people get hurt, and I won't run away." –– Adora, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
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THE BEST FRIEND AKA THE SIDEKICK


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SPECIALTIES

  • Emotional support that goes unnoticed

  • Carrying the hero and plot from the background

  • Common sense. Seriously, is no one listening to them?

  • Motivating the hero so the hero can motivate everyone else


WEAKNESSES

  • Easily overshadowed by the hero and comedic relief

  • Too busy carrying the team to be witty

  • Sometimes dies to motivate the hero (RIP)


NOTABLE BEST FRIENDS

  • Samwise Gamgee (Lord of the Rings)

  • Willow Rosenberg (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

  • Grover Underwood (Percy Jackson)

  • Tobias "Toby" Domzalski (Dreamworks: Trollhunters)

  • Fishlegs Ingerman (How to Train Your Dragon)

  • Iko (The Lunar Chronicles)

  • Asterin (Throne of Glass)

  • Danika (Crescent City)

  • Iseult (The Witchlands)

  • Stevie-Rae (House of Night)


QUOTES

“That's the point of it, Bryce. Of life. To live, to love, knowing that it might all vanish tomorrow. It makes everything that much more precious." –– Danika Fendyr, House of Earth and Blood

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THE LOVE INTEREST


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SPECIALTIES

  • Way cooler than the best friend and gets more credit for plot support (sorry, bestie)

  • Almost always dark-haired and stoic

  • Fabulous dresser

  • Has perfected brooding sexily into the distance

  • Intimate pep talks and advice for the hero

  • Probably far wiser and more fit to lead, but y'know—that's the hero's job


WEAKNESSES

  • So sexy that they're distracting the hero from the main quest—yo, focus!

  • Rarely talks to others besides the hero; they're too busy being awesome

  • Why aren't they the main character again?

  • Can't be with the hero for Reasons™


NOTABLE LOVE INTERESTS

  • Arwen Evenstar (Lord of the Rings)

  • Arya Dröttning (The Inheritance Cycle)

  • Yennefer of Vengerberg (The Witcher)

  • Angel (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

  • Hook (Once Upon a Time)

  • Rhysand (A Court of Thorns and Roses)

  • Prince Ash (The Iron Fey)


QUOTES

“Things used to be pretty simple. A hundred years, just hanging out, feeling guilty . . . I really honed my brooding skills.” — Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Character Tropes in Adventure Parties Coffee, Book, and Candle
 

THE COMIC RELIEF


Character Tropes in Adventure Parties Coffee, Book, and Candle

SPECIALTIES

  • Somehow both the most annoying and the most hilarious

  • Gets into the most ridiculous situations but never seems to get hurt

  • Sometimes combined with the best friend

  • Offers almost as much support as the best friend, but no one acknowledges it

  • A heart of gold and unspoken trauma under all that humor


WEAKNESSES

  • Rarely gets a love interest

  • The last person the group remembers if they go missing (they'll notice the silence first)

  • Their skills get less attention than their funnies

  • Often in need of rescuing


NOTABLE COMIC RELIEFS

  • Jaskier/Dandelion (The Witcher)

  • Pippin Took and Gimli (Lord of the Rings)

  • Sokka (Avatar: The Last Airbender)

  • Jesper Fahey (Six of Crows)

  • Ruffnut and Tuffnut (How to Train Your Dragon)

  • Michelangelo (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

  • Xander Harris (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

  • Beast Boy (Teen Titans)

  • Scanlon (Vox Machina)


QUOTES

"Leave the very sexy but insane witch to her inevitable demise!" ––Jaskier, The Witcher
Character Tropes in Adventure Parties Coffee, Book, and Candle
 

THE MERC


Character Tropes in Adventure Parties Coffee, Book, and Candle

SPECIALTIES

  • Way cooler than all the characters combined

  • Sometimes doubles as the love interest or hero

  • Snarkier than the comedic relief if they'd talk more

  • Keeping everyone confused as to where they stand despite repeatedly saving the group's asses

  • Perfect for one half of a Grumpy/Sunshine pairing


WEAKNESSES

  • Usually has to fight alone because obviously they've got this, right?

  • The comic relief sticks to them like glue because they're easily riled and/or have the perfect comebacks

  • Their tough exterior causes others to assume they're lacking in emotion


NOTABLE MERCS

  • Wolverine and Gambit (Marvel)

  • Han Solo (Star Wars)

  • Geralt of Rivia (The Witcher)

  • Toph Beifong (Avatar: The Last Airbender)

  • Manon Blackbeak (Throne of Glass)

  • Legolas (Lord of the Rings)

  • Azriel (A Court of Thorns and Roses)

  • Vax'ildan and Vex'ahlia (Vox Machina)


QUOTES

"This world doesn't need a hero. It needs a professional." –– Geralt, The Witcher
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THE PURE ONE


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SPECIALTIES

  • A cinnamon roll, beloved by all

  • Lightens up the group and defuses tension

  • Produces more "aww" moments than the main couple

  • Silly without meaning to be

  • Naïve yet surprisingly wise

  • Usually the Sunshine in a Grumpy/Sunshine pairing


WEAKNESSES

  • Underestimated / not taken seriously

  • Too busy caring for others to tend to themselves

  • Easily fades into the background—wasn't there another member?

  • Their desire to prove themselves often ends fatally (RIP again)


NOTABLE PURE ONES

  • Ansel (Serpent & Dove)

  • Scorpia (She-Ra and the Princesses of Power)

  • Peter Parker (Spiderman: Homecoming)

  • Merrian "Merry" Brandybuck (Lord of the Rings)

  • Starfire (Teen Titans)

  • Tara Maclay (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

  • Keyleth (Vox Machina)


QUOTES

"But I was worthless in that fight, just like I'll be worthless in the blood camp. [...] I'm sick and tired of everyone needing to protect me. I'd like to protect myself for a change, or even–– I just want to contribute to the group. I don't want to be the bumbling idiot anymore. Is that so much to ask? I just . . . I don't want to be a liability." –– Ansel, Serpent & Dove

"I am brave, strong, loyal, and I give great hugs. And I am going to be the best friend that I can be!" –– Scorpia, She-Ra
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THE ANTI-HERO


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SPECIALTIES

  • Can be a friend, frenemy, rival, comic relief, love interest, main character, or all of the above. This is their story now.

  • Able to get their hands dirty in ways the hero cannot

  • Killer redemption arc that steals the show—wait, there was a plot?

  • King/Queen of Snark

  • Looks fantastic in black


WEAKNESSES

  • Doesn't always get credit for their heroism

  • Has to repeatedly prove themselves in drastic ways

  • Okay, so I've killed/terrorized a few people—sorry, "friends"


NOTABLE ANTI-HEROES

  • Zuko (Avatar: The Last Airbender)

  • Aphrodite (House of Night)

  • Catra (She-Ra and the Princesses of Power)

  • Dean Winchester (Supernatural)

  • Kaz Brekker (Six of Crows)

  • Damon Salvatore (The Vampire Diaries)

  • Spike (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)


QUOTES

“Sometimes, the only way to get justice is to take it for yourself.” ––Kaz

"Killing things that need killing is kind of our job. Last I checked, taking pleasure in that is not a crime." ––Dean
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THE MENTOR


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SPECIALTIES

  • Carries more of the plot than anybody—somehow not the main character

  • "I'm too old for world-saving"; wastes the battlefield

  • A walking lexicon of plot and world info; speaks in riddles so the heroes don't win in the first five minutes

  • Excellent philosophical advice that echos back to the hero in important moments

  • More of a father than the hero's actual father

  • Master of training montages

  • The most soothing voice, holy fuck


WEAKNESSES

  • I could give you this imperative info, but it's more fun waiting until last-minute

  • Probably going to die dramatically so the hero can "grow as a person" or some shit

  • Rarely a mother figure; those are either gone before the plot starts or outlive us all

  • You won't know half their secrets until after they're dead hehe

  • Honestly there to troll the whole cast


NOTABLE MENTORS

  • Gandalf (Lord of the Rings)

  • Brom (The Inheritance Cycle)

  • Obi Wan Kenobi and Yoda (Star Wars)

  • Professor Charles Xavier (Marvel)

  • Uncle Iroh (Avatar: The Last Airbender)

  • Master Splinter (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

  • Rupert Giles (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

  • Blinky (Trollhunters)

  • Gaius (Merlin)


QUOTES

Eragon looked back at him, confused. "I don't understand."
"Of course you don't," said Brom impatiently. "That's why I'm teaching you and not the other way around."

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THE GENIUS


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SPECIALTIES

  • Awesome nerds or wise sages; the voice of reason and clever commentary

  • Their greatest weapon is their brain power

  • Solves practically every plot problem because the mentor is too stingy with info

  • If they don't have the answer, they will by the end of a long night with their tech/books just in time to save the heroes

  • Sometimes doubles as the best friend and/or pure one


WEAKNESSES

  • Not always the most empathetic or emotionally in-tune

  • Either socially awkward or grouchily antisocial—feels more comfortable observing from a distance

  • Their love lives tend to be tragic or nonexistent


NOTABLE GENIUSES

  • Hank McCoy AKA Beast (Marvel)

  • Donatello (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

  • Willow Rosenberg (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

  • Penelope Garcia (Criminal Minds)

  • Dawes (Ninth House)

  • Declan (Crescent City)

  • Annabeth (Percy Jackson)


QUOTES

"All whiteboards are magical." ––Dawes
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Which of these tropes are your favorite and who are your favorite characters in each one? Do you have these tropes in your own writing? Let us know in the comments below, or join the conversation on bookstagram and Twitter!

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