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In a group of people with various superpower, this is the one teammate with no offensive powers. Teamed with An Ice Person, A Flying Brick, and someone with Heat Vision, he'll be the one with telepathy or Healing Hands. His power, if useable at all in combat, are purely defensive. Unlike What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?, that does not necessarily make him useless, as he may be the only one capable of advancing the plot and his powers may have the most Mundane Utility. After all, beating the bad guy is good an all, but you need to know who the bad guy is, and find and reach him first. Because of their lack of firepower, it's not rare for that teammate to be skilled in martial arts, or fall back on superior weaponry. Similarly, some may find offensive use for their powers by thinking outside the box.

Very often The Chick or The Smart Guy is likely to have this in a Five-Man Band. See also White Mage, The Medic, and Combat Medic. In Videogames, The White Magician Girl is often this.

Examples:


Anime

  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha revels in this trope:
    • The original series had Yuuno supporting Nanoha's firepower with shields, healing, and binding spells. Fate's Arf would be this but she also packed quite a bit of a punch.
    • In A's, Shamal (and, to a lesser degree, Zafira) was this to the Wolkenritter, while Yuuno reprised his role for Team Nanoha.
    • In StrikerS, this was the official duty of Caro for Lightning Team. Ditto Teana for the StarS team, though she was mainly "shoot anyone who tries to flank the fighters" kind of support. Also, at least one third of the Numbers were supporting types (especially Otto).
  • Mahou Sensei Negima, Around half the current group of main heroes fall under this so much so they have a Character Page to themselves Characters
  • Darker Than Black: Mao and Yin can count as that in Hei's team, as they both provide survey. In November 11's team July provides survey; April, while her power has good offensive purposes, she supports November by summoning rain he can freeze, since it's much more effective that way.
  • Borderline example: Sailor Mercury in the first season of Sailor Moon. Her "bubble spray" attack was used to stun and disorient enemies, and her only other power was an Everything Sensor visor. She finally got some offensive attacks in the later seasons. She has attacks, but they are entirely non lethal, compared to her teammates'.
  • Lampshaded in Puni Puni Poemi: When the Aasu sisters try to defeat the Humongous Mecha that's destroying the city, they quickly realize that all seven of them are Support Party Members with no offensive powers.
  • Futari wa Pretty Cure MaX Heart has the new heroine, Shiny Luminous, whose powers revolve entirely around hampering enemies and enhancing Cure Black and Cure White's attacks.


Comics

  • The Fantastic Four, especially before Sue Storm Took a Level In Badass. All of the males on the team have powers with direct offensive use. Originally all Sue had was the ability to turn invisible. Later she gain forcefield projection (still an example of this trope), and even later she learned to use those offensively, making her in a certain irony the strongest and most versatile member of the team.
  • Several members of the X-Men. Forge, for example, is a Technopath. Shadowcat can phase through solid matter. Cypher can turn invisible. Gateway can open portals for the team.
    • Subverted with Professor Xavier of course, who is a telepath AND in a wheelchair. So you'd expect him to be _spectacularly_ useless in a fight. Except he can mind control you, screw with your brain and perceptions, and do all sorts of things to your mind.
  • Several members of the Justice League of America, Like The Atom (who can shrink).
  • The Guardian Project heroes are all based on NHL teams. The Montreal Canadien's power is... magnifying the powers of the other Guardians.


Film


Live Action Television

  • In Power Rangers RPM, All the 5 core rangers have a special power given by their suits. Red can cause energy bursts, Blue can manipulate time, Yellow can also shoot energy (and read energy patterns), Green can teleport. Black, however, can give himself a few seconds of invulnerability, a purely defensive power. In breaking the mold, he's also The Big Guy.
  • Phoebe from the earlier seasons of Charmed is another example who in the beginning could only receive premonitions so she learns martial arts to defend herself. Her Sister Prue had telekinesis and astral projection. Her sister Piper could freeze things and make things spontaneously combust.
    • Leo's main role during a lot of the initial seasons of Charmed was to heal his charges and feed them bit-sized pieces of information about magical society.
  • Micah Sanders of Heroes is a technopath.


Tabletop Games

  • The Healer base class from Dungeons and Dragons 3.5. They work fine patching everyone up after a fight, but are almost completely useless during one.
    • The Wizard in Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 could do this. He could only memorize a very small selection of spells every day, but had access to a nearly endless choice. So it was entirely doable to not memorize any combat spell, and instead pick spells that buffed, or did all sorts of utilitarian uses like creating houses for the party to sleep in.
    • Similarly the Bard, who has almost no attack spells, and whose songs are buffs
    • Ditto the Artificer, who can make and mod magical items out of combat, but during a fight almost entirely depends on his sub-par combat skills.
  • In Shadowrun this can be the fate of many Hackers and Facemen, as their skills are best used for the mission outside of combat, where they are amongst the most useful party members. In a fight, they will pale compared to Street Samurais, Adepts and Mages.
  • Normally, having a gun that shoots rocket propelled exploding cartridges would send one straight into Combat Medic, but in the Crapsack World of Warhammer 40000, the Apothecary of Space Marine armies is taken for his ability to help comrades resist wounds. Likewise, the Imperial Guard army features special support personnel who can direct artillery from support units far away (IE: not actually in the game), coordinating "off-screen" fleet defenses, or even serve as psychic telephones. Inquisitional retinues include quite a few characters whose combat ability is a joke, but whose support ability varies from completely useless to almost useful. The Tau Empire features a priest class leader who in theory buffs the army's morale, but in practice is a high liability as his death causes most of the army to consider feeling.


Video Games

  • Because of how the Guild Wars skill and attribute system works, party members often specialize into specific roles, including support roles. The most common is probably monks or ritualists taking only healing and protection related skills.
  • Final Fantasy makes regular use of this trope: The white mage class in general is this. They only ever get Holy (their only attack spell) at very high level. Same for the bard, when present, who only provides buffs for the party members. As such, characters of these classes are examples of this.
  • The Cleric classes from Ogre Battle act as this, only healing the party. This in turn makes them some of the most valuable troops to have.
  • Ninten from MOTHER 1 is unique to the series as a whole as he is the only character with PSI abilities that has no offensive PSI moves at all. Both Ness and Lucas from later games in the series have most of the same moves of Ninten but it is coupled with a powerful offensive PSI move PK Rockin' and PK Love respectfully. He has a powerful physical attack and good defense to compensate.
  • Team Fortress 2 has the "Support" Classes, although they can fight, just not as well as the Attack and Defensive classes. The one which fits this trope best is The Medic, who focuses on healing, but the Sniper and Spy are effective for discretely taking out specific targets and breaking the enemy's ranks.
  • Accordion Thieves from Kingdom of Loathing are this, being bards with a slightly different flavor. They have no combat skills, only buffs. And they can only have three of their buffs running at a time. And it's a single player game. Needless to say, they are not a very popular class.
  • Support characters are an important part of the League of Legends Metagame. They are typically paired up with your team's AD Carry, either protecting them or feeding them kills until they can become the late-game powerhouses they are meant to be.

Notes

  1. Though she can summon creatures, said creatures replace the whole party when she does so. Herself included.
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