The Guardian

Category: Archetype of the Week
Created on Thursday, 17 September 2009 Written by Steve

The guardian is a character who is responsible for protecting a particular person, place, or object. Some guardians are destined or chosen for their position, while others are hired or even self-appointed. Regardless of how they got the job, the main thing that separates a guardian from simple hired muscle is the seriousness with which he treats his responsibility. To the true guardian, the charge’s safety and protection are tantamount, and keeping them out of harm’s way is a source of pride and honor.

Likely Stories

Guardians appear in all kinds of fiction, and can include everything from the priestesses who guard the temple’s sacred flame to henchmen protecting a super-villain’s lair. Obviously, many such guardians will be minor GMCs. The most common type of PC guardian is the bodyguard, who finds himself responsible for protecting some important person until they complete some mission (saving the world, testifying against the bad guys, getting rid of that darned ring). A variation on the bodyguard is the character who finds himself responsible for protecting a potentially earth-shatteringly powerful item, such as the One Ring or the formula for Ice 9. As a rule, characters whose charges are mobile tend to make better PCs than those who guard landmarks and other stationary objects.

The Name Game

Because they are found in so many genres and settings, it’s hard to give general guidelines for naming guardian characters. In general, however, setting-appropriate names that exude strength, martial skill, or quite confidence are typically preferred.

The Numbers

All guardians need a good Body score to help them dodge bullets, push their charges out of the path of danger, and chase down attackers. An average or better Nerve score is also needed to reflect the guardian’s ability to ignore natural self-preservation instincts in order to fulfill his duties. A good Brain score is useful for spotting potential threats or holes in security and implementing security procedures.

Suggested Jobs: Armored Car Driver, Bodyguard, Bouncer, Cyborg, Federal Marshall, Gunslinger, Henchman, Hobbit, Knight, Lawman, Marine, Mercenary, Monk, Night Watchman, Police Officer, Pony Express Rider, Preacher, Prison Guard, Private Detective, Samurai, Secret Service Agent, Soldier, Swordsman, Temple Guard, Transporter, Valet

Gimmicks: Connected, Danger Sense, Destiny, Fairy Blood, Friends In High Places, Friends In Low Places, Grizzled Veteran, Gun-Fu, Hard To Kill, Hide In Plain Sight, I’ve Seen Worse, Lightning Reflexes, Master of Disguise, Nerves of Steel, One Third God, Powerful Kung-Fu, Tougher Than Leather, Unearthly Mentor

Weaknesses: Achilles’ Heel, Alcoholic, Code of Honor, Cursed, Danger Junkie, Destiny’s Pawn, Flashbacks, Getting Too Old For This Shit, Knows Too Much, Never Leave A Man Behind, No Retreat No Surrender, Wrong Place/Wrong Time

Skills: Archery, Brawling, Dodge, Driving, Eavesdropping, Emergency Driving, Etiquette, Fencing, Firearms, First Aid, Frisk, Horseback Riding, Intimidation, Investigation, Jousting, Police Procedure, Politics, Quick Draw, Self-Defense, Sharp Eyes, Surveillance, Survival, Tactics

WWPHITM? Andre The Giant, Charisma Carpenter, Jackie Chan, James Coburn, Kevin Costner, Sybil Danning, Rosario Dawson, Johnny Depp, Vivica A. Fox, Robert De Niro, Clint Eastwood, Sam Elliot, Jodi Foster, Monique Gabrielle, Samuel L. Jackson, Kiera Knightley, Lucy Lawless, Luci Liu, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Grace Jones, Tommy Lee Jones, Vinnie Jones, Bruce Lee, Viggo Mortensen, Chuck Norris, Clive Owen, Mandy Patinkin, Lori Petty, Mickey Roarke, Sephanie Romanov, Kurt Russell, Arnold Schwartzenegger, Tom Selleck, Will Smith, Jason Statham, Keifer Sutherland, Patrick Swayze, Gina Torres, Kathleen Turner, Patrick Warburton, Bruce Willis, Chow Yun-Fat

Tag Line: “I have sworn with my life's blood, none shall pass this way without my permission!”—Sir Didymus, Labyrinth

Tools of the Trade: The guardian needs a weapon and, in most cases, body armor of some description. Other equipment, like bug sweepers, bomb sniffing dogs, and armor-plated limos are at the client’s discretion. Modern guardians often wear dark suits and Ray-Bans.

Where You'll Find Him: Stationary guards, of course, will be found at their posts. Bodyguards and keepers of artifacts will spend most of their time around the person or object that they’re guarding and will therefore end up wherever their charge requires them to go. Those who are allowed to take time off can be found in whatever location is most appropriate to the setting and character background.

Social Circle: Because being a guardian is often a full-time job, most of a guardians social circle will be fellow guards and, in some cases, acquaintances of the client. Outside of work, the guardian will have the usual family members, old school chums, and wacky neighbors.

Sample Character AWESOME


Body: 14

Brain: 11

Nerve: 13

Job: Cooler (15)

Gimmick: Can Rip Your Fucking Throat Out (14)

Weakness: Trouble Magnet (14)

Skills: Improvisational Weapons +3; Tai Chi +2; Dancing +1

WWPHTIM? Patrick Swayze

Dumb Fact: Carries medical records with him at all times.

Tag Line: “Pain don’t hurt.”

HP: 16

YY: 3

Inspirational Movies


The Bodyguard

Home Alone series

In The Line of Fire

The Last Boy Scout

Lord of the Rings trilogy

The Outlaw Josey Wales

Road House

Shoot ‘Em Up

The Terminator series



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The Guardian.
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