The Jack

This page is about a combat role. For Jack the hero of many a folklore and fairytale story, see Jack (Hero).

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"Jack not name! Jack job!"

— Sweetums, in The Muppet Movie

Basic Information

The Jack, as in Jack-of-all-trades, is a combat role of a character that can do a little bit of everything. They don't crumple in one hit (from most foes, anyway), the can do a little healing and buffing, and they can do damage at a variety of ranges.

The term "Jack" is also sometimes used to describe a type of folklore hero who is uncommonly brave and uncommonly lucky, such as Jack the Giant Killer and the similarly-themed hero of Jack and the Beanstalk. See Jack (Hero) for more about that character, which is really a very different concept from The Jack here.

Subtypes and Related Tropes:


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • Take care that the character isn't actually Master of None. It can be very tricky balancing a generalist palette of skills and abilities, without simply sucking. The goal is to minimize weaknesses and increase utility, not fail at everything.
    • Some game systems just make this a lot easier or harder than others. Sometimes the difficulty is minimal in the early campaign, but gets insurmountable at the higher levels.
      • As an example from a campaign I ran, the Scion RPG made this sort of character almost impossible to play unless the whole party was doing it - the gaps in power level from one epic attribute point to the next were just too big, and the generalist ended up feeling useless by the middle of the campaign.
    • Arguably it may be better - and certainly more congruent - not to have a party in which everyone is cripplingly overspecialised in one particular niche and most characters have a broad range of skills at varying levels. However, many RPGs, especially based on a Class and Level System will make this very difficult. For class and level systems, "Bard" or some related class is usually a Jack.
    • With a small party, the party may have few enough strengths that "shoring up weak areas" is enough of a strength.
  • One option, if the play group all trusts each other, and egos don't really figure in, is for The Jack to be slightly higher level than the other PCs, and built to be literally second best at everything.
  • Spies and Badass Normals are often The Jack.
  • In a Solo Campaign, you may feel you have no other choice than to play The Jack.
  • You could combine both meanings: The Jack might be a Jack (Hero). A character with a general-purpose luck manipulation power can be pretty effective.
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