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Command Roster

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Military and similarly organized groups are structured in a way to manage the functions of their unit. Even in shows where the team may not be technically military, there is a deliberate command infrastructure that designates seniority. As such these characters are either a small group of soldiers working together or they may just be the senior officers commanding an entire division of a platoon or vessel. The crew of a Cool Ship (or any other cool vehicle of sufficient size) often takes this form, and may be supplemented by a Redshirt Army of lesser crewmen on larger vessels. Frequently they are a Badass Crew.

Compare the Five-Man Band, which has a different structure and purpose but still follows a similar pattern. The primary difference relative to The Squad is that almost everyone in the Command Roster has a position of leadership or authority.

The Command Roster usually follows as such:

  • The Captain (The one in charge. More often than not the main character.)
  • Number Two (The go-to guy for important missions, usually the confidant of the captain. Likely to overlap with another role.)
  • Mr. Fixit or Wrench Wench (Takes care of equipment and maintenance. Usually the technical savvy.)
  • The Scientist (Examines and informs the rest on technical things. May or may not be an Omnidisciplinary Scientist.)
  • Cunning Linguist (A translator who speaks with the natives.)
  • Communications Officer (Often holding some sort of radio, yelling into it.)
  • Security Officer (Is the primary source for combat detail: security, surveillance and weaponry access.)
  • The Marine (The Marine is likely self-assumed or just the best fighter and differs from security officer in that they specialize in fighting, be they armed or unarmed.)
  • The Medic (Either a full-fledged doctor with a staff and hospital conditions or a field medic.)
  • The Chef (The one who cooks meals for the crew to keep them fed.)

Sometimes there are a few additions to the crew. These additional characters may be separate from the others, but often there is overlap.

  • Ace Pilot / Driver (Self-explanatory, the hotshot pilot. Not always on the team, especially if there isn't a Cool Car or Cool Ship)
  • The Navigator (Figures out how to get where they're going. Usually works closely with the Ace Pilot).
  • The Heart (Takes care of the team's social well-being and is the moral center. Often not in combat. Usually overlaps with another role. If its own character, might be the cook or bartender. Sometimes the Team Mom)
  • Medical Staff (If there is an entire hospital, The Medic heads it, but one person can't run a hospital alone.)
    • Dr. Feelgood or Dr. Jerk (Qualified to practice medicine, but doesn't really care about patients.)
    • The Nurse (Either one of the Hospital Hotties the team employs, or a Battleaxe Nurse to stir things up.)
    • The Shrink (Takes care of the team's mental health, which may be necessary considering what they have to go through in their adventures.)
  • Army Scout (Traversing the front lines to bring back intel to the main crew. May be redundant with Communications Officer or Security Officer)
  • The Red Shirt (So someone can get killed without impacting the plot.)

Some additional roles are not officially part of the crew, but interact with them frequently enough to earn a mention in the team list:

The members can be divided into three types: the leadership roles, the intelligent members and the action-oriented members. This may be why, in comparison to the Five-Man Band, the roles don't always line up perfectly:

Compared to The Squad, however, the roles are a little more consistent:

For further reference, see also Common Ranks and Common Military Units.

There are times when various characters are missing or replaced with a different character type, all depending on the needs of the story. It is only a Command Roster when there are at least four characters from the primary list, otherwise it is just The Squad.

The very presence of main characters in command roles, especially if they have an army of Ghost Extras to back them up, typically leads to The Main Characters Do Everything.


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    Tabletop Games 
  • Rogue Trader
    • The Captain - the Rogue Trader himself.
    • The Security Officer/ Marine - Arch-Militant, the precise designation depending on character.
    • Communications Officer - Astropaths Transcendent, who dispense with the radio and just shout into the Warp.
    • Mr. Fixit/The Scientist - Explorator
    • The Heart- Missionary. Bear in mind this is a Warhammer 40,000 game; that moral center tends to be based on setting fire to heretics.
    • The Navigator - surprisingly enough, Navigators.
    • The Scientist (again)/Cunning Linguist - Seneschal. Scientist's a bit of a stretch, but this is the guy who knows everything about trade and the ins and outs of local life — his "technical things" are more likely to be an Ork blockade on a space-lane rather than the inner workings of a plasma drive.
    • Ace Pilot - Void-Masters, although they may instead be expert gunners or scanner operators, rather than specialising in piloting.
  • In Paranoia, the Mandatory Bonus Duties typically assigned to Troubleshooter teams are Team Leader, Communication and Recording Officer, Equipment Guy, Happiness Officer, Hygiene Officer, and Loyalty Officer. (1st edition played around with variations like Robotics Officer; 2nd edition more or less standardized it.)
    • Extreme Paranoia included an alternate set with things like Alertness Officer and Public Relations Officer.
    • One mission introduces Executive Officer, who (in addition to the usual roles) gets a brevet promotion for the purpose of wearing a higher-clearance uniform, to draw the fire of Commies mistaking him for the Team Leader. As usual for Paranoia, The Computer didn't think this through properly:
      Green-clearance Team Leader: All right, men, let's go!
      Random bystander: Hey, why are you letting him boss you around?
      "Blue"-clearance Executive Officer: Hey, yeah! *blam blam blam blam blam blam* All right, men, let's go!
  • The Crew of Skyship Weatherlight probably counts:

    Video Games 
  • Gears of War

  • Mass Effect
    • The Captain: Commander Shepard.
    • Number Two: Technically Pressly is second in command under Shepard, but he serves almost no importance to the plot; ranks aside, the role of Number Two is filled by Lt. Kaidan Alenko, to greater or lesser degrees depending on how you play the game.
    • The Scientist: Liara T'Soni.
    • Wrench Wench: Tali'Zorah nar Rayya. Engineer Adams is also the Normandy's assigned Mr. Fixit but, like Pressly above, has no importance to the plot.
    • The Marine: Ashley Williams, Urdnot Wrex
    • The Medic: Dr. Chakwas, another minor character.
    • The Security Officer: Garrus Vakarian
    • Ace Pilot: Joker.
    • Reasonable Authority Figure: Captain Anderson and Admiral Hackett. (Ambassador Udina, not so much.)
    • Red Shirt: Richard L. Jenkins

  • Mass Effect 2
    • The Captain: Commander Shepard.
    • Number Two: Officially Miranda Lawson, but Garrus Vakarian can also fill the role based on how you play.
    • The Scientist: Mordin Solus.
    • Wrench Wench: Tali'Zorah vas Normandy.
    • The Marine: Grunt and Zaeed Massani can both play this role.
    • The Security Officer: Jacob Taylor
    • The Medic: Dr. Chakwas, with some overlap from Mordin.
    • Ace Pilot: Joker.
    • Mission Control: EDI, the NPC Artificial Intelligence that inhabits the Normandy (also plays the Navigator role).
    • Communications Officer: Legion, sort of.
    • The Shrink: Yeoman Kelly Chambers
    • Reasonable Authority Figure: The Illusive Man certainly does his level best to convince you he's this.
    • The Red Shirt: Depending on how you play the game...several members of your crew potentially end up meeting a traditional Red Shirt's fate.

  • Mass Effect 3
    • The Captain: Shepard
    • Number Two: Kaidan / Ashley or Garrus depending on how you play.
    • The Security Officer: Garrus
    • Wrench Wench: Tali'Zorah (Adams, Daniels and Donnely can return, depending on your choices).
    • The Scientist: Liara T'Soni
    • The Marine: Lt. James Vega Joined by Javik, provided that the From Ashes DLC is played.
    • The Medic: Dr Chakwas or Dr Michel
    • Communications Officer: Samantha Traynor
    • Ace Pilot: Joker, now joined by shuttle pilot Steve Cortez.
    • Reasonable Authority Figure: Admirals Hackett (coordinating fleets in space) and Anderson (leading the resistance on Earth).

  • Mass Effect: Andromeda

  • Mega Man Battle Network 5: depending on which version you took (Team Colonel or Team Protoman), the members may be different, but their roles are similar:
    • The Captain: Colonel or Protoman, the ones who found the team
    • Number Two: Megaman, the first member recruited, also took over the team at least once when the leader isn't available
    • The Marine: 2 for each team - Knightman or Magnetman work to defend their teammates in different ways, while Tomahawkman and Napalmman specializes in wide area attacks.
    • Security Officer: Shadowman or Gyroman can move over hazardous areas; they scout areas, looking for key items to get to help the team.
    • Mr. Fixit: Numberman or Searchman can open up complicated locks and search for traps.
    • The Medic: Toadman and Meddy assists their teammates in liberating more areas; their abilities explicitly only works with another teammate. They also help their team recover.

  • Space Quest V: The Next Mutation :

  • Space Station 13 features a command crew of high-ranking player jobs, many of which are the heads of specialized crew departments, which more common player jobs fall under. The layout varies slightly between codebases, but the common roles are:
    • The Captain: The Captain, who has the highest authority on the station.
    • Number Two: The Head of Personnel is the official second-in-command, and usually takes charge if the captain is unavailable or dead. Otherwise, they manage the service department, which covers nonessential jobs like janitors, cooks and clowns. The Head of Personnel is also responsible for reassigning players when requested.
    • Security Officer: The Head of Security, arbiter of space-law and leader of the station's Redshirt Army. Oversees the brig and armory, and is officially the third-in-command.
      • It could also be argued that the Warden, the brig guard and the Ho S's second in command, is the Security Officer and the Ho S is The Marine.
    • Mr. Fixit: The Chief Engineer, who manages engineers and atmospheric technicians to keep the station in working order.
    • The Medic: The Chief Medical Officer, in charge of the medbay and all medicine-related jobs, including virologists, chemists and geneticists.
    • The Smart Guy: The Research Director, who manages the labs of the science department.

  • Starcraft II:

  • Star Fox

  • Warship Gunner 2


    Western Animation