often better than a master of one."
Specialization is a common trend in fiction. It allows the author to create an ensemble cast where every member of a team provides a specific function, and avoids role duplication. This character says "specialization is for insects!"
Perhaps a character is a loner, and needs to be able to do everything on his own. Perhaps everyone else is so useless, he had to take over their jobs as well as his own. Perhaps he just has a wide variety of interests. May be a sign of a person with a checkered past, who has had to take on a lot of roles in his life, just to get by. Whatever the reason, this character has at least some skill in a wide variety of disciplines.
Sometimes The Leader of a team may be a Jack-Of-All-Trades, with a good, basic grasp of the specialized skills possessed by the members of his team, allowing him to understand how to use each team member to their fullest potential.
From an analysis standpoint it could be argued that being good at everything is a form of specialization. While a jack-of-all character might not stand out, they are usually well equipped to handle most situations and most opponents. It's their well-rounded nature that makes them so versatile allowing them to deal with almost anything or sub in for anyone at the last second. What if the opponent is really strong but not very fast? The jack of all can out pace them while being strong enough to do damage. What if the opponent is faster? Usually the jack-of-all is fast enough to defend against if not avoid their opponent's attacks and deal out more punishment in a war of attrition.
Supertrope of Renaissance Man (where someone is exceptionally good at many things) and Master of None (where someone does poorly at a lot of things). A related trope found in Video Games and Tabletop Games is the Jack-of-All-Stats, who has well-balanced stats, not skills. See also The Red Mage, Renaissance Man and Power Copying. Do-Anything Robot may be a justification for this. Compare the Master of All, who is the best (or among the best) in practically everything. Contrast Min-Maxing, Tactical RockPaperScissors, Elemental RockPaperScissors, Crippling Overspecialization, Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training. For similar tropes related to specific fields, see Omnidisciplinary Lawyer, Do-Anything Soldier, and Omnidisciplinary Scientist.
- Usopp from One Piece (before the time skip) seems to be this. He's not an especially good fighter, though he gets in on the action here and there and uses his cleverness when he can. He was doing his best to fix the ship, as the only one who had any skills in that area before they got a genuine shipwright. He mostly did odd jobs on the ship for the crew, not having a specialization like all the others. Whilst his pure combat skills where sub-par compared to the other (admittedly super-human) characters, his aim was always extremely good (which did in at least one occasion come to great help). Since the time-skip it simply seems he has gotten the combat power to use it effectively against more powerful enemies, along with a wide variety of bizarre plants to use as Abnormal Ammo.
- Asuma Sarutobi has near-perfect ninjutsu and taijutsu, as well as near-perfect speed and strength. This gives him many options in battle, from Katons that explode by blowing gunpowder ash onto a target, charging his trench knives with Futon, to his long ranged Futon. His taijutsu also allows him to last long against stronger opponents such as Kisame or Hidan without being overwhelmed. And against weaker ninja, such as Sound Ninja, he can kill nine of them before his cigarette hits the ground.
- Another is Jiraiya. He is the most versatile character in the manga, only being a master of Ninjutsu to give him a wide pool of techniques. His taijutsu is near perfect, and so are his strength and speed as well, while his perfect stamina allows him to outlast his opponents. Then he becomes a proper Lightning Bruiser when he gets Sage Mode active. And that's not even going into his giant Toad allies.
- Then there is Hiruzen Sarutobi, the Sandaime Hokage, who played a major role in both Asuma's and Jiraiya's development (being the former's father and the latter's sensei). He himself is such a good example, it's the primary reason for the In-Universe mythos surrounding him as "The Professor". He had at least some chakra affinity for all five elements as well as both yin and yang, and as such could use all non-bloodline techniques. And was reputed to be proficient in every such jutsu known to Konoha.
- Hiruzen's personal summon, Monkey King Enma, is also an example. Being human-sized rather than a Kaiju he can't cause sheer area-of-effect damage that other top-level summons can, but makes up for it by being more agile and a much smaller target. And compared to other summons of his own size, Enma is much stronger given his demonstrated ability to fight a pair of the strongest ninja of all time hand-to-hand, all by himself.
- Users of the Rinnegan are capable of using all five basic elemental jutsu naturally, but Pain goes an extra mile: with his 6 remote bodies, he can share the view of the bodies' eyes with each other, manipulate gravity in a wide scale, summon gigantic powerful creatures, go all blast-y, absorb any chakra attacks coming at him, read people's minds and take souls, and revive his bodies should any of them die.
- Erza from Fairy Tail. Her magic essentially allows her to carry a personal armory around wherever she goes. In turn, this allows her to utilize just about every kind of melee weapon and armor there is. While she prefers swordplay, she's also shown herself skilled in spear combat, and even hammer combat as well.
- Hayate the Combat Butler:
- The title butler is himself an excellent example. He can clean anything, cook like a gourmet with anything available, appear out of nowhere whenever and wherever he is needed, and has such a huge array of odd-job abilities that he is constantly getting roped into helping the other characters, whether it be helping Saki with her shop's finances, being a health manager for the local Idol Singer, helping Ashibashi-sensei finish his manga manuscript for the weekly deadline, work part-time in a cafe (as both waiter and cook), and even has shadier skills such as being an expert at cheating in Mahjong due to desperate need for money growing up. In combat he is shown to use damn near anything as a weapon, including being skilled in both various martial arts and even firearms, however he actually does have a specialty: he is trained as a Master Swordsman since childhood.
- Hinagiku Katsura is this as well. She's just as hard-working as Hayate and has acquired a similarly expansive skill set that includes being highly skilled at household chores, an amazing cook that can even impress Hayate, having the best grades in the school, being good at every sport, almost always knowing whatever bit of knowledge other characters are asking for, excelling at the (surprisingly complex and important) paperwork for the academy's Absurdly Powerful Student Council, being the other go-to character for help in any situation, and even working part-time job at the same cafe as Hayate and fighting random demons/monsters in her spare time as an 'Ally of Justice passing through'. Unlike Hayate, she's actually completely specialized in combat as a kendo specialist, though it's hardly a problem since she can summon a magic sword at will so she is never unarmed. But don't doubt the awesome power of her unarmed punches when she's angry...
- Sailor Moon: Mamoru Chiba /Tuxedo Mask has a number of skills and it is sometimes commented on that there is very little he can't do. It helps him be the resident Badass Normal and Batman Expy.
- The Enforcers of Lyrical Nanoha must, by default, excel in a wide range of abilities that will let them handle situations when they work both investigative cases and actual criminal apprehension either by themselves or with a team. Out of the heroines, this distinction falls on Fate Testarossa. She has an arsenal of close, mid-range, and long-range spells and is also a competent close range fighter. Her balanced skillset contrasts that of ranged specialist Nanoha and nuke-girl Hayate.
- Lucy Snow, the protagonist of Hollow Fields. Being the newest student at the titular academy, she lacks the experience of the other students: Claude specializes in mechanics, Summer in genetic engineering, and Carmen in golem construction. Most of Lucy's inventions have been basic yet practical, in contrast to the flashier projects of the other students. What she can do better than most students is act on the fly: she can construct clockwork robots in a matter of seconds, quickly find her way out of problems, and use her pet Dino as a Swiss Army Weapon.
- Judeau of Berserk describes himself as this. Part of the reason he joined the Band of the Hawk/Falcon is because, despite his many skills he lacks a specialty and therefore has no real direction of his own.
- Nectar of Dharani: Kai has worked at basically every job in Japan, from salesman to miner, when he's transported to a fantasy world that's on the verge of an industrial revolution. Due to his habit of reading up on the background of every job he had, he knows enough about modern technology to teach the basics to the locals. For example, they already had nitroglycerine, but couldn't figure out how to stabilize it. He taught them how to turn it into dynamite.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, Kou Uraki claims the RGM-79N GM Custom is this as, despite being an improved version of the basic RGM-79 GM, it really doesn't excel at anything, making it a balanced Mobile Suit.
Kou Uraki: A GM Custom mass-production type. Remarkable for being totally unremarkable.
- Konosuba's Kazuma is forced into this role, essentially playing a multi-class Fighter/Mage/Thief in the RPG-Mechanics Verse, due to the fact that his teammates are all ultra-specialized for one specific thing and useless at everything else.
- If My Favorite Pop Idol Made It to the Budokan, I Would Die: To pay for the massive amounts of merchandise she gets on a daily basis of her favorite, Eripiyo takes on ALOT of side jobs in addition to the main one she has at a bread factory. From working in construction to being a cashier at a store, there is nothing Eri can't do for the sake of her favorite idol singer.
- Deconstructed with Chiaki, the protagonist of The Life Changing Manga of Tidying Up. She has a history of ex-boyfriends with different interests—pottery, skiing, and music, to name a few—that she had also developed herself. Being unable to let them go and insisting she will pick back up on the various interests someday, she finds her small apartment is cluttered with junk. It's not until Marie Kondo gives Chiaki her first assignment in the decluttering process when she learns her main passion is culinary arts, and in the end she is happy with just that interest.
- Superman: Depending on the Writer, Superman is sometimes portrayed as being the overall most powerful character in the world, despite the fact that his abilities are relatively lack-luster in comparison to other heroes who specialize in it. For example, he is fast but not as fast as The Flash, empathetic but not as much as Wonder Woman, willful but not as much as Green Lantern, pure of heart but not as much as Shazam, and his Heat Vision pale compared other energy rays from characters such as Captain Atom, etc.
- Batman: Depending on the Writer, Batman can be portrayed as one of the greats in his various fields of expertise, but hardly the best. As a physical fighter, he's far less impressive than Cassandra Cain or Lady Shiva. His intelligence is much less than Mister Terrific or even Batgirl Barbara Gordon. And even his reputation as the "World's Greatest Detective" is seriously challenged by The Question. However, he's still formidable in each of these departments altogether, meaning he excels where the specialists fail.
- In Harry Potter and the Price of Being Noble Remus admitted to having "a few skills here and there" after "so many odd jobs."
- The Office of Special Resources from The Universiad is more than just a combat and special operations formation. Apart from the logistics concerns they really do handle, senior OSR operatives are trained to bear a wide range of responsibilities, including but not limited to counterintelligence, equipment testing, espionage, law enforcement, security and training.
- In Harry Potter and the Four Heirs Remus ended up with a wide variety of jobs due to the limited employment possibilities for werewolves.
He'd helped lay mundane roads, dug ditches, learned how to plaster a wall. He'd washed cars in France, car windscreens in Germany, and worked for a commercial herbologist in Spain. Whatever he could find to do, he did.
- In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, Serena muses at one point that she is envious of Ash having a clear goal, as while she is fairly skilled in areas such as Rhyhorn riding, cooking, Pokémon, acting, dancing, and fashion, she doesn't feel as though she's skilled enough in any one of these fields to want to make it her full-time career.
- In The Power of Seven, Bill's thoughts identify Dumbledore and Voldemort as Archmages, who appear to be this to other wizards as Bill's train of thought suggest that Archmages have a good general knowledge of various magical arts without knowing the specific details of key fields; as an example, Bill is able to help Dumbledore breach the defences Voldemort erected around the cave containing the horcrux because Bill specialises in such cursed wards while Voldemort didnt trust any of his followers who might be more experienced in such matters to create something more difficult.
- In the Naruto fanfic Sugar Plums one of the characters Benjiro is said to be so average that he ranks average skill in almost all ninja arts with the only tilting being that he's water natured. It's noted that in of itself is downright bizarre and contrasting considering all of the other characters are all incredibly specialized in one or two fields.
- Yet again, with a little extra help: Kakashi is a deconstruction. Unlike the Third Hokage, Kakashi is too spread out in his skills to make an effective combatant against the Akatsuki. Cumulatively, his abilities make him an S-Class shinobi, but in practice the only member of the group he can reliably take out on his own is Hidan, who is the weakest and least reputable of all of them. He decides to remedy this by specializing in and mastering his ninjutsu and increasing his chakra reserves, since the other option is to intensify his physical training regimen and turn into Gai.
- In Brilliant Lights Will Cease To Burn, Izuku became this due to all the odd jobs he's taken up over the years in his efforts to be "heroic" without a Quirk. He's a skilled dog walker, mechanic, Latin translator, storyteller, skateboarder, baton twirler/cheerleader, gymnast, mechanic, chess player, martial artist, and hospital caretaker, among other things. He's also an unusually talented magician, an excellent tactician, and a smooth-talking negotiator after becoming the Cardcaptor, a vigilante, and a part-time clerk of the Wish-Granting Shop.
- Robert A. Heinlein's immortal character Lazarus Long is a firm advocate of learning a wide variety of skills to be prepared for change (a matter of some concern for an immortal, of course).
"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
- The aptly named Jack of The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, a freelance businessman who does "a little bit of everything", though he will assure you that he is not one of those giant-slaying Jacks.
- Michael from the Knight and Rogue Series has a multitude of unusual skills ranging from carpenty to bar tending. This is mostly due to his knight errantry consisting of helping with odd jobs that need to be done as he's passing by.
- In the Star Wars novel Wraith Squadron this is featured with Falynn. However she fails to recognize the value of this type of character and considers herself Always Second Best to other members of the squadron, not realizing that she is second best to several different people. In the end, her desire to prove herself and do things that no one else has done causes her to take a lot of risks, and eventually gets her killed.
- Ben from The Leonard Regime has had extensive military and espionage training. He continuously demonstrates skills in a variety of different areas.
- In the Spiral Arm series, Black Shuck is a Hound of the Ardry who is highly esteemed for his skill in a great many different areas. He is said to be best at nothing, but second-best at absolutely everything.
- Isaac Asimov's "The Dead Past": Nimmo, a science writer, is paid to edit and rewrite scientific articles to make them more easily understood by people who don't know the basic scientific principles behind the research. He says that trying to write his articles is an education in itself, giving him a bit of understanding in pretty much every field.
- The Heralds of Valdemar are more or less government-sponsored heroes, so each of them are trained in an extensive curriculum. A young Herald takes classes in law, history, riding, combat, survival techniques, magic, field medicine, and politics, on top of basic literacy and mathematics. The idea is not to make them exceptional in all of these fields, but to make them at least somewhat capable of dealing with any problem they encounter, since most Heralds work alone. The stress of all this studying is one reason why only people who want to be Heralds can become Heralds: anyone conscripted into that sort of life would rebel.
- The character Pol has a touch of every magical Gift, which makes him an excellent substitute teacher. He's kept full-time at the Collegium for this reason alone; if a young Mindspeaker or Firestarter arrives unexpectedly, Pol can teach them enough of the basics to keep everyone safe until a specialist can be sent for. He'll never surpass his students, but the work he does is vital.
- Ciaphas Cain: The 597th Valhallan Infantry Regiment is formed out of an all-male planetary assault regiment and an all-female garrison support regiment, both having been reduced to half-strength while battling tyranids on Corania. They're paired with the eponymous Cain as their regimental commissar, a man who had previously served both with an artillery regiment and as a liaison to the Reclaimers chapter of the Space Marines, besides other useful skills such as an inerrant sense of direction underground. With a little prodding from Cain, the combination of skills present turns the 597th into a very well-rounded mechanized infantry regiment capable of handling a wide variety of missions, particularly counterinsurgency.
- In American Horror Story: Coven, the Supreme is described as this. They are gifted with the seven most common gifts of magic - Resurgence, Concillium, Telekinesis, Pyrokinesis, Divination, Transmutation, and Descensum, also known as the Seven Wonders. However, they are not nearly as adept at them as another witch specifically gifted with a talent in them, and often have only one or very few unique gifts of their own. For example, Zoe is able to communicate with the undead, cause Death by Sex, and has an affinity with spirits, among other things relating to them, such as their banishment or manipulation. Misty does not have many gifts, though she has been compared to Jesus, for good reason, and can bring people back from the dead using mud, and even then, it's not necessary.
- Remington Steele: He may be a fake detective, but Steele's previous life as a conman left him with a wide variety of useful skills.
- A nonfictional example: Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs tries to be this, though he often ends up closer to Master of None.
- Highlander has Methos, who, after 5000 years, has held just about every possible job and has picked up just about any practical skill imaginable. This makes him different from most other immortals who seem to pick a niche and stick with it.
- Henry of Eureka has multiple jobs, including being the town mechanic, forensics expert, coroner, and skilled physicist. He even becomes the mayor.
- As Leverage progressed, so did the Caper Crew's proficiency in each other's area of expertise, to the point where they could minor in each of them if they had to.
- Quantum Leap: Dr. Sam Beckett has at least six PhDs, with medicine and quantum physics being only the most prevalent, is fluent in seven modern languages and four "dead" languages, and is a master in karate, ju jitsu, mu tai, and sabbatt. And was at least good enough in basketball to be varsity starting center at his high school at just 16 years old.
- A negative variant of this is demonstrated in Hustle with Benny, a con man who tried to con the team because leader Mickey chose Ash Morgan for Mickey's team rather than Benny; Mickey later affirmed that while Benny was a better grafter who could adapt to any potential role in a team, he was not a team player who could be trusted to stick to the plan.
- There was a commercial about a man who always came in second place at everything he tried. This was portrayed as him wanting something he could come in first at, but the fact remains that he was good enough at everything to come in second place, and had racks of trophies to prove it.
- The Boys (2019): Frenchie. As Hughie mentions, he functions as a gunrunner, chemist, interrogator, engineer, and door-kicker as needed. Frenchie himself claims to know "a little about a lot."
- Blair Sandburg in The Sentinel somewhat fits the trope—he's always pulling out some unexpected skill which he either learned on a summer job or acquired from some tribe he was studying on an expedition. Although not so much in canon as in fanfiction.
- Howie Munson of The Fall Guy has worked as just about everything and then some before he becomes a stuntman and Bounty Hunter alongside his cousin Colt Seavers. This gives him a whole lot of job experience, none of which is ever mentioned until it's needed.
- Dr. Adams on House was one of these, medically speaking. While the other doctors had specialties, usually in addition to diagnostic medicine, her background was as a prison doctor, which is essentially general medicine.
- Bruce Springsteen has a song called "Jack of All Trades".
I'll mow your lawn
Clear the leaves out your drain
I'll mend your roof, to keep out the rain
I take the work that God provides
I'm a jack of all trades
Honey, we'll be all right.
- In Celtic Mythology this was Lugh Lamfada's hat - he had the title Samildánach ("equally skilled in many arts"). When he first applied for entry into the court of the Tuatha de Danaan he was asked what he could do. he then listed a number of things he could do, warrior, smith, healer etc. When he was told there was already someone filling each position his answer was to ask if they had someone who could do all these things.
- Hermes from Classical Mythology has the epithet of "Polytropos" which can colloquially translate to "Many hats". Although primarily recognized as the messenger of the god, Hermes filled many roles in various legends and is associated with domains tangential or lateral to ones other gods would be more famous for. He's the god that invented written language, along with education by rote memorization, often the proxy by which the will of other gods is enacted, the mediator that helps mortals understand the divine and patron of athletics associated with what's basically a showering implemented after a workout.
- Lou Thesz: professional wrestler, promoter, manager, commentator, referee, wrestling trainer, combat trainer and a dog trainer.
- Jerry Lawler: professional wrestler, promoter, illustrator, color commentator and almost politician.
- Alex Shelley: commentator, singer, musician, certified athletic trainer, chauffeur and professional wrestler.
- Black Rose: swimmer, dancer, actress, personal trainer, certified yoga instructor and professional wrestler.
- Bobby Lashley: professional wrestler, mixed martial artist, manager, fight promoter and health food salesman.
- A Sesame Street Muppet sketch set in the Old West featured Adam T. Glaser, who had so many jobs that he had to be reminded what a dentist does.
- Dominion: Hinterlands gives us the Jack of All Trades card. It grants four common effects — gaining a card, inspecting your deck, drawing cards, and the option to trash a card — but is nowhere near the best at any of those.
- Magic: The Gathering:
- A five-color deck will have a less reliable mana base than a one- or two-color deck, but it'll have access to all the different tools that every color can offer.
- Obelisk of Alara. It gives you access to five different simple abilities with a wide range of uses, spanning all five colors.
- Murphy's World. Sean Murphy (the man who discovered the title planet) spent a lot of time in crummy jobs, giving him a wide but shallow set of skills.
- Eando Kline of Pathfinder, as part of being a well-built sorcerer/rogue/bard.
- Shadowrun supplement Aztlan. Shamans of the Jaguar totem prefer to acquire a minimum level of talent in a wide array of skills rather than specializing in a limited package of talents like most characters.
- Classic Traveller. The Jack of All Trades skill allowed a character to use any other skill at level 0, which meant that they would avoid penalties for lack of skill but not gain any bonuses either.
- Hollow Earth Expedition supplement Secrets of the Surface World. The Jack of All Trades skill gives a broad familiarity with a variety of different tasks, without any formal training. The character may use any skill that they have no training in at no penalty (General Skill) or reduced penalty (Specialized Skill).
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- The Factotumnote class from the sourcebook "Dungeonscape" gets all skills as class skills, as well as limited spellcasting/turn undead/healing/sneak attack abilities and the ability to boost saving throws/attack rolls/damage rolls/trained skill checks by tapping into their pool of "Inspiration Points" (which represent their ability to spontaneously recall facts from the vast pool of knowledge they've accumulated). The end effect is that they are incredibly effective skill monkeys who can emulate any class for at least a short period of time.
- The Bard has above-average skill points (including a number of rare skills like Speak Language and Use Magic Device) and decent combat ability, can provide Status Buffs to those who see them perform, and has a diverse set of spells ranging from healing to illusions to sonic attacks.
- In 5th Edition, Bards exemplify this with a class feature of the same name, Jack Of All Trades, which gives them half their Proficiency bonus (rounded down) to any skill they don't already have proficiency with. Between Expertise (double Proficiency bonus with some skills of your choosing) and potentially more skill proficiencies from the College of Lore, there are very few things a Bard can't do.
- Also in 5E, Clerics of the Knowledge Domain can learn bonus skills and languages, and their Channel Divinity grants you proficiency with any skill or tool for 10 minutes. This makes them incredibly versatile and they can give many Bards a run for their money in the skillset department while also being... well, Clerics.
- The Chameleon, a human-only Prestige Class from Races of Destiny, can possess great skill at combat, stealth, arcane magic or divine magic, but only one at a time.
- In earlier editions the Ranger class could be considered this, being a warrior and skilled tracker who could attract monstrous companions and learn a smattering of two types of magic.
- The generic elven pantheon (as opposed to setting-specific ones) is headed by Corellon Larethian, who could be reasonably considered a god of this trope (likely inspired by Lugh, above under Mythology). The other elven gods accept his leadership because he is good at a little of everything and so can better manage all their needs and talents (as well as being a creator god).
- The Fated faction in Planescape granted members double the number of Non-Weapon Proficiency slots (non-combat and non-spellcasting skills) and didn't have to pay extra for out-of-class proficiencies, allowing them to be very broadly competent. A multiclassed Fated character could mix in combat, casting, and thievery on top of that to make someone who could do a little of everything very easily.
- Numenera has a player class simply called the "jack".
- Inquisitors in the second edition of Dark Heresy have access to a talent called Jack of All Trades which gives them basic training in all non-specialist skills.
- Warhammer 40,000 :
- The Ultramarines pride themselves on how well rounded and versatile they are. Lacking the specialization and talent of other chapters but making up for with their ability to employ any tactic. Their Primarch was known for this as well, being second best to his brothers in their chosen fields, but most competent overall. The one thing they really excel at above all others is logistics.
- Their counterpart in Chaos is the Black Legion, who have incorporated elements of all other legions (including their legionnaires in the case of the Hounds of Abaddon and the Sons of the Cyclops) into their armies. Abaddon himself exemplifies this with his signature Mark of Chaos Ascended, which is a unique mark bestowed to him by all four chaos gods (usually a god only gives a worshipper one mark).
- Inverted with the Dark Angels; as the first legion, they were originally intended to be the jack of all trades legion while the other legions took on specializations. But because the primarchs were all scattered to the stars and the Ultramarines and Luna Wolves (who would eventually become the Black Legion) primarchs being discovered first, their original purpose was usurped. The Dark Angels Primarch tried to regain this title by giving each company a specialization, but that instead got them lumped into Crippling Overspecialization territory at best, Master of None at worst instead.
- Every single faction has one canonical "jack of all trades" army, which is usually the one featured on the box art. T'au for Tau, Goffs for Orks, Cadia for Imperial Guard, and so forth. The only weird exception to this is Eldar, where the closest to this trope is Biel Tan, as the Eldar's entire schtick is to be cripplingly overspecialized.
- House Orlock in Necromunda. While their Gangers still only have access to three skills tables, the tables they do have access to (Combat, Ferocity and Shooting) gives them equal access to skills that are useful for both melee and ranged fighters while the other gangs are mostly pushed in one direction or the other.
- There are some fairly flexible characters in Sentinels of the Multiverse, but one of the most versatile is Tempest. His deck has options for single-target mauling, multi-target suppression, team defense, ongoing/environment removal, card draw, trash recursion, and healing.
- Final Fantasy:
- In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud tells Aerith he does "a little bit of everything", and she describes him as a Jack of all trades. In the Japanese, it's more prominent, with Aerith flirtatiously nicknaming him "nandemoya-san" ("Mr. Everything") and calling him that throughout the game (usually localised as "bodyguard" in the English version). In gameplay he's a Master of All; in the story he's an expert at fighting and magic, a charismatic leader, skilled with all kinds of vehicles from motorbikes to snowboards to submarines, usually gets the job of explaining the plot to the player and can even read sheet music to boot. Played for laughs in at least one scene where the other party members volunteer him for an obnoxious task on the grounds that it would have to be Cloud who would do it, to Cloud's stated annoyance.
- In Final Fantasy XIII, all of your characters can eventually use any class, not just the three that they start with. However, classes developed outside of a character's main three are relatively underpowered and may not be suited to that character's strengths. (For example, Hope can become a Sentinel but his very low HP makes him unsuited for the role.) The costs of developing these "outside" classes are also extremely prohibitive, with the first node requiring 3000 points while you're currently using less than 1000 for your normal skills.
- In Final Fantasy XIV, one character can do everything simply by changing weapons/crafting/gathering tools. The advanced Jobs mix powers from different Classes, so it's pretty much a requirement. But it still means one character can be equally as good making jewelry and wielding a giant war ax, healing with magic, using a bow, mine for rare minerals, craft leather gear...everything.
- In Final Fantasy Record Keeper, protagonist Tyro can equip any and all equipment and abilities, making him an ideal party member in some situations.
- Mobius Final Fantasy involves a sequence where Vox forces Wol to go through a series of trials to learn how to 'embrace contradictions' as crucial to his heroic journey, which allows him to start running dual-Jobs. Wol's as hypercompetent as Cloud above, but unlike Cloud, tends to be cagey about his skills (except his combat abilities, which he's visibly proud of) and avoid using them unless forced, which he usually is.
- In Persona, there are playable characters who are an example of this very trope. In the series people can awaken a manifestation of their personality called a Persona, they usually only have 1, and they more commonly fall under the Major Arcana. The protagonists from Persona 3, Persona 4, and Persona 5 specifically are the exception to other Persona users in their respective games as their main Personas are of the Fool Arcana, it has been noted as being the "Jack of all trades" as it grants the users Persona the ability to inherit and learn any skill. The Fool is also the only Major Arcana that has been shown to normally obtain the power of the Wild Card, which allows the user to use many other Personas outside and inside of their Major Arcana (Persona and Persona 2 are exceptions as they allow all characters to switch out Personas in battle and Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth's Wild Card functions differently than the mentioned Persona titles). This makes the protagonist extremely versatile while also being equally as weak, as they also inherit the weakness' or lack thereof of the selected Persona.
- Karol of Tales of Vesperia could be described as a minor in-universe example of this. His hometown has countless guilds with a broad range of specializations, and he's been a member of every last one. He lacks confidence and often choked at the crucial moment, resulting in him getting kicked out of each guild he joined; however, despite never being in a guild long enough to master their specialties, he has still developed a surprising skill in each. This does not translate much to combat versatilitynote , but within the plot he's shown definite capability in everything from hunting to cooking to lockpicking and theft.
- Shamans and Druids in World of Warcraft were nominally supposed to be viable at all four roles in a group: melee damage, ranged damage, tanking, and healing. However, it quickly became apparent that they were not Jacks of All Trades but Masters Of None, as the large groups necessary for endgame raid content all but guaranteed there would be a better class to fit that spot. Since then, their class development has shifted from versatility to specialization, and they have had a much better history since.
- In Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, the Master Knight class is this. It can use any weapon of the game outside of Holy Weapons, A-Ranked Light Magic, and Dark Magic. It's a strong class able to perform well in anything it can do, even though it doesn't pack the immense power the Holy Weapon wielders have.
- In Fire Emblem Awakening, Cordelia is this. Throughout her supports she demonstrates that her abilities include fighting, blacksmithing, counselling, harp-playing, management, stealth, and more. This also extends to gameplay, where she is the only first generation character (aside from the Avatar) who can use every kind of weapon in the game.
- In Drakensang you can possibly create such a character by learning different abilities from different teachers. You could end up with a human swordsmaster who can also practice stealth, pickpocket, recognize plants, identify magical items, disarm traps and know of to seduce a lady. And you can do this with basically any character (however, some characters have natural disadvantages regarding certain skills).
- In RuneScape, the Player Character is encouraged to become one of these. There's no class system; all players get to train every skill, and are rewarded for doing so. The Shattered Heart activity gives rewards in 15 different skills and has a bonus reward if you do all of them. The "Jack of Trades" aura (invoking the trope by name) gives an xp bonus if you work on lots of skills in a short time. There's lots of other ways that skills are subtly intertwined so that it's better to train them in tandem than it is to work on them separately, and of course, all the different skills are required for various quests, so anyone who wants to do all the quests will be forced to branch out.
- Can be Taken Up to Eleven if you train everything, you end up being a Lightning Bruiser Magic Knight who knows something about everything, can fix anything and can kill anything that bleeds (and some things that don't).
- Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has D-Walker, Snake's customizable Mini-Mecha, who combines abilities from the other Buddies that you can bring onto missions; it can be mounted and used as transport like D-Horse, identify enemies like D-Dog, and provide combat support like Quiet. At the same time, however, it doesn't have any outstanding strengths; it can't be used to stealthily transport Snake or go all-terrain like D-Horse, it can't identify plants or animals like D-Dog, and it lacks Quiet's deadly accuracy and precision.
- In Dragon Quest VI, thanks to the vocation system, characters can learn spells from every class and keep them even when changing vocation (which only affects stats).
- In Dragon Quest I, being the only game in the series that lacks party members, the hero can do everything an adventurer would need. Skill with swords, ability to wear heavy armor, ability to cast even the most powerful offensive and healing magic, he's good at everything. The rest of the series introduced more specialized heroes who were primarily well-armored swordsmen, but following the example of the original they usually have at least some magical skill.
- Dragon Quest IX: Vocations are changed at the Alltrades Abbey, headed by Abbot Jack. Who suffers Demonic Possession early on and transforms into a giant demon, identifying himself as (sigh) Jack Of Alltrades, Master of Nu'un (his brainstorming for other names included High Jack and Jackrilege).
- Steve?/Alex?, the player from Minecraft, can be anything you want him/her to: a farmer, a miner, a mason, a potion-brewer, etc.
- In Devil's Dare, Axel is the most balanced of the four characters, and is similarly good at attack and defence.
- Fittingly, the character named Jack fulfills this role in How To Survive.
- Halo: Played with by Master Chief John-117, who's been described as such in the expanded lore compared to the other Spartan-IIs. To contrast with just his fellow Blue Team members: Kelly-087 is notably the fastest of the Spartans, Fred-104 is an expert knife-fighter, and Linda-058 has such unnaturally good aim that she's able to snipe pilots out of moving aircraft with only one hand while hanging from a swaying cable. In later media, this is even made visually apparent by having the other Spartans wear specialized MJOLNIR armor while the Chief wears the basic set. That said, even your average Spartan-II is very much a Master of All at warfare compared to other elite soldiers, and John is still very much considered by his peers to be the best Spartan overall, with him single-handedly saving humanity numerous times throughout the series. Indeed, his balanced skillset is implied to be part of the reason why he quickly became the leader of the Spartan-IIs, as he has the knowledge to effectively manage his subordinates' strengths and weaknesses.
- In the final episode of Sam & Max: Freelance Police, Sybil's reintroduction is accompanied by a list of jobs she's qualified for. The list runs off the bottom of the screen and scrolls for quite a while.
- Quentyn Quinn, hero of Tales of the Questor, failed every apprenticeship he applied for, leading him to think he's not good at anything. Once he become Questor, however, it becomes clear that while he's not good at anything, he's a little bit good at everything, allowing him to combine his skills in unexpected ways.
- Afkinz of Zoophobia is known for possessing a myriad of hidden skills and abilities, none of which he is a master of.
- Lackadaisy's Mordecai is this.
- Amalia, from Reverie, by Heaven Sent Gaming is a jack-of-all-trades.
- Jim Morales from Code Lyoko had a ludicrous amount of jobs before settling down as the gym teacher of Kadic Academy. His skills come in useful from time to time, particularly in one episode wherein he and Jérémie had to survive alone in the wilderness.
- Huckleberry Hound. Each episode of Huck's show had him in different occupations—even in caveman and Medieval times.
- Mr. Bogus appears to be a borderline example of this trope, as nearly every episode has him in a different activity, depending on the episode.
- American Dad!: Roger has many skills; it's been shown that he can forge armor and weapons with a high degree of skill, he has a Master's Degree in city planning, he's run restaurants, he has a bartender licence... the list goes on and on, to the point it's been lampshaded by Stan. Most of these are actually Roger's hobbies; he says he does what he feels like doing. It's rarely ever explicitly said that he's amazing at what he does, just that he does a lot of things.
- The Simpsons: Homer has done so many things over the years, there's no way he can't be one of these.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- "The Last Roundup" played with this when Applejack became shamed and depressed that she didn't win even a single event in a big rodeo after confidently predicting doing well, convinced it made her a Master of None. Meanwhile, everyone else was massively impressed that she placed highly in everything... so it could be said that she was an Applejack-of-All-Trades!
- Alicorns are this on a species level, having flight, magic, and a connection with nature while the other kinds of ponies only get one.
- Fluttershy herself is a pegasus with earth pony-like qualities and a magic-esque Stare, à la unicorns.
- Pinkie Pie is capable of pulling off things that should be impossible even in the settings established rules about magic, including near-literal teleportation, flight by spinning her tail, climbing walls like Spider-Man, and access to Hammerspace. Typically it's reserved for cartoonish gags, but more than a few times she's done something that's not only advanced the plot, but also been noticed by the other characters, and even done things that have weirded out Discord. A common joke (though one often used with a hint of seriousness) is that she's another (albeit less powerful) spirit of chaos.
- Discord has a wider variety of spells than any other character in the series.
- In a sense, Twilight, and by extension her foe-turned-protege Starlight, are this to magic. As pointed out in "Boast Busters", most unicorns specialize in a specific niche of magic, such as Rarity with her gem-finding spell, and all unicorns can use their magic for basic telekinesis. However, Unicorns whose talent lies in magic can duplicate the spells of other unicorns, and even, in Starlight's case, rival some Alicorns.
- The titular character of Franklin tends to be good at an assortment of different things- drawing, chess, fishing...
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- Zuko displays an incredible range of skills over the course of the show, unlike most Benders who rely on exclusively their bending to solve problems. He isn't the strongest firebender in the show, but he is able to beat Zhao in a duel early on and continues to improve from there. He also masters a wide array of Firebending techniques many others may not even know exist, including enduring extreme cold at the North Pole and redirect and creating lightning. In terms of non-bending ability, he proves himself to be a skilled swordsman, unarmed fighter, acrobat, spy, tracker, and tactician. Thanks to his time hiding in the Earth Kingdom, he also has at least some passing knowledge of medicine, tea and food preparation, and odd repair jobs.
- Aang is a Master Airbender, but has very limited time to learn the other three elements within the shows 9 month timeline. However the benefit of having all four elements to everyone else's one means that not only can he decide to fight with whatever element best fits the situation, he can use all four elements together to accomplish things no other bender could.
- Lance, in Voltron: Legendary Defender. He doesn't have a clear specialization like the rest of the team, who are usually supremely gifted in one particular area: Shiro is an impeccable leader, Keith is an Ace Pilot, Pidge is a Gadgeteer Genius and Hunk is The Engineer and Supreme Chef. Whenever someone is asked what Lance is, they tend to respond with some variant of "the goofball." From the viewer's perspective, however, Lance is the only member of the team who can do just about anything to a decent standard — he's just not exceptional in anything. His lion, Blue, also falls into this category, having neither the most speed, most heavy armor or most firepower, but being able to operate comfortably in all environments and situations. The lion-swap further demonstrates Lance's adaptability even as it adds to his woes: Lance is able to adequately pilot the temperamental Red, supposedly the polar opposite of laid-back Blue...but he loses Blue to Allura, who Lance suspects may be a Master of All, pushing him further down the pecking order.
- DuckTales (2017): Dewey is this out of the main kids. Smart, but not as smart as his older brother Huey. Smooth, but not as smooth as his younger brother Louie. An adventurous boy, but not as capable as best friend Action Girl Webby. End result? He's a Master of None. Unsurprisingly, one of his main grievances is that he's the kid that doesn't stand out.
- Skull Boy from Ruby Gloomiis on a quest to find out who he really is and where he came from. In each episode, he performs some plot-related talent. Very well, in fact, and always follows up with this:
Skull Boy: "I must be related to a long line of [insert profession here]!"
- In Beast Wars, Tigatron is basically this for the Maximals in the first season; he isn't quite as powerful as Optimus, as lethal a warrior as Dinobot, as fast as Cheetor, as smart as Rhinox, or as skilled a spy as Rattrap, but his ability to match all of the other five makes him a useful asset to the team.
- Total Drama: Harold may seem like the typical underdog at first, but he's pretty talented when it comes to things like beat-boxing, figure skating, stunt work, etc. This trait becomes more evident in his audition tape when he shows off the several camp merit badges he earned, like bass fishing, farming mechanics, and basketry.
- Eratosthenes of Cyrene was a Greek mathematician, geographer, poet, astronomer, and music theorist from the 3rd century BC. Among other things, became the head of the Library of Alexandria, is credited with calculating the circumference of the earth and the angle of Earth's seasonal tilt, reinventing geography into the system we use today, as well as developing an algorithm for finding prime numbers (called the Sieve of Eratosthenes). Critics named him Beta, because he was great at many things and tried to get his hands on every bit of information, but never achieved the highest rank in anything, so much so that Strabo accounts Eratosthenes as a mathematician among geographers, and a geographer among mathematicians. His fans called him "Pentathlos" after the well-rounded athletes of Greece because he was knowledgeable in all areas of learning at the time.
- Most members of the military. Soldiers are trained with an "expect to fight" mentality, and everyone from clerks to medics to cooks are held to the same physical standard and trained to fight. While some organizations (notably the United States Marine Corps) are very proud of placing special emphasis on this, any military worthy of the name will adhere to the basics of the concept.
- Astronauts are this to an even greater degree. If something goes wrong on a mission, any of them have to be able to take over. Even in normal operations, there are doctors who double as EVA specialists and engineers who double as dentists.
- Ravens and crows tend to be this. They have very general purpose beaks and are the most intelligent of all birds. They are highly adaptable and can eat many things.
- Like crows, the Portia Spider has a very generalized body type and is nightmarishly intelligent for a spider, using its adaptable body to adopt behaviors to suit its environment and choice of prey.
- Destroyers. What originally were simply expendable ships designed in the late 19th century to screen a task force from attacks by small, torpedo-equipped boats soon took also the role of torpedo boats. During the First World War they were adapted to fight submarines, and both in the inter-war period and in the Second World War not only their weaponry increased but also became multi-role ships that were used not only for those previous roles but also for AA defense and radar pickets. All of this came accompanied of an increase in size and displacement, to the point a modern destroyer would dwarf in everything a first generation one.
- The F-35 was envisioned to be a super stealthplane that could find use in three different branches of the U.S. armed forces: a multi-role fighter for the Air Force, a longer-range carrier-based fighter for the Navy, and a VTOL aircraft for the Marines. Actually designing a plane that can fulfill all of these roles as well as or better than specialized aircraft in addition to having cutting edge stealth technology has proven to be quite a challenge, in large part because so much of the aircraft's technology was being developed from the ground up. It was taking systems that they hadn't gotten to work on their own and expecting them to work with a bunch of other systems that were suffering from the same issue instead of using technology that was already in use on other aircraft (and therefore already worked) and adapting it. Even after decades of development and over a trillion dollars spent on funding, the F-35 still doesn't quite live up to expectations. Specialist aircraft still outshine it in its intended roles.
- Duct tape has been described as this, specifically by Jamie Hyneman:
We've found that duct tape is not a perfect solution for anything. But with a little creativity, in a pinch, it's an adequate solution for just about everything.
- He, Adam Savage, and the Build Team tested it in dozens of different situations (making a bridge, patching a plane's fuselage, holding a car together, etc.) and found that it worked at least decently in all but a very small handful of them.
- SLR and similar cameras where the frontal element (lens) is interchangeable. Especially on the former you can find for them from ultra-wide angle ("fish eye") lenses to powerful telephoto lenses or those designed for close-up photography, as well as for less common usages. Modern bridge cameras with their powerful zooms, where you've from a (often quite so) wide angle to an also (often more than respectable) telephoto lens in a single, non-interchangeable lens, count too even if the latter are rather Master of None as most of them are have small sensorsnote , which introduce noise on the higher ISO sensitivies and said zooms, even if they're a marvel of engineering, give worse image quality than fixed, non-zoom, equivalent lenses.
- Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao gained a reputation for his Barbie-esque participation in various careers, namely basketball, business, acting, music recording, and politics to name a few. In fairness he did try his best, but most of his side ventures end up getting panned or ridiculed.
- While dogs are often bred to perform a particular task very well, a few breeds excel as generalists. To give one example, the German Shepherd. It's often said that other breeds are better at herding, guiding, tracking, hunting, or guarding, but no breed can perform all these tasks as well as a German Shepherd can.
- Originally a discus thrower of Olympic measures, Swedish gentleman Ricky Bruch also made a name for himself during the '70s & '80s in the fine arts of acting, writing, weightlifting, poetry, music and pornography.
- British Rail Class 47 was the finest example of the Jack of all Trades concept in diesel locomotives. Powerful, and used in everything from heavy freight to express passenger duty, these locomotives were built to the tune of 512 examples in the early 60's, and there are still 78 of them still extant, 34 of them still on front line service. The dash 3 variant (those with numbers between 301 and 381) were not fitted with boilers or eletric train heating, and were fitted with slow speed control for hauling coal trains and other heavy freight. In contrast the dash 4 variant (fitted with eletric train heating - also known as head-end power, or ETH) were meant as the express passenger variant. A lot of dash 0 variants (those fitted with steam heating boilers) were converted into dash 4 spec so that there were 155 straight dash 4's and 110 dash 0 to dash 4 conversions. The locomotives were not perfect, though. The engines had to be downrated from 2,750hp to 2,580/2,610hp due to fatigue problems, and the said engines, although very reliable in their downrated form, were notoriously unforgiving if you "fiddled" with the engine settings. The bogies were a bit prone to bogie fires, being called "mobile grease traps" by depot staff, but this was kept at a controllable level. Even so, their long service, with excellent availability figures posted (at least post 1970, anyway), it's fair to say they were the ultimate Jack-of-All-Trades.
- Makoto Shinkai is this as a film-maker. For 5 Centimeters per Second, he was responsible for writing, directing, storyboarding, directing the sound, animating, supervising and drawing the backgrounds, cinematography, and editing. He also wrote the lyrics to the theme song to The Place Promised in Our Early Days in addition to his directorial duties and, as mentioned elsewhere, did everything in the creation of Voices of a Distant Star aside from voice the female lead during the initial run. That was provided by his wife.