Archetype of the Week: The Rookie

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.


The rookie is the new kid on the block who doesn’t have a lot of experience. Unlike the hot shot, he also doesn’t have an amazing knack for his line of work. He’s just a regular guy starting his career. As a newbie, most rookies are subjected to all sorts of condescension, practical jokes, and initiation rights that they have to put up with if they want to earn their place in the group. In many stories, especially cop movies, the rookie’s career will move in one of two directions: either he’ll prove himself and become one of the heroes, or he’ll die, usually in a way that is either darkly comical or sufficiently tragic to spur the heroes on so they can avenge him.

Likely Stories
While the rookie is most common in action movies, similar characters appear in all kinds of stories: in Westerns, he’s the tinhorn who doesn’t know anything about life on the frontier; in super-hero stories, he’s the kid sidekick who’s got a lot of spirit but is still learning the ropes; in fantasy, he’s the apprentice who could become a great practitioner of the art if he’d only learn patience.

The Name Game
While their given names will be typical for the setting and time period in which they were born, nearly all rookies will have a nickname of some sort, usually either a diminutive form of their real name or something like “Sparky,” “Junior,” or “Sport”–basically anything Tommy Lee Jones would call Will Smith in a Men In Black movie.

The Numbers
A rookie’s numbers will usually be typical for his job, though their youth might mean a slightly higher Body and lower Brain and/or Nerve than a more experience member of the profession.

Suggested Jobs: Aide, Apprentice, Cadet, Con Artist, Cop, Crime Scene Investigator, Cub Reporter, Doctor, Ensign, FBI Agent, Flunky, Gofer, Gunslinger, Initiate, Intern, Jedi, Photographer, Pilot, Recruit, Resident, Sidekick, Soldier, Squire, Stage Manager, Student, Trainee

Suggested Gimmicks:
Bounces Back, Everybody’s Buddy, Fast As Lightning, Fearless, Friends In High Places, Good Instincts, Gung-Ho, Hide In Plain Sight, Legacy, Lucky, Natural Talent, Never Gives Up, Quick Learner, State-of-the-Art Training, Tougher Than He Looks, Underestimated, Youthful Exuberance

Suggested Weaknesses:
ADD, Authority Issues, By The Book, Can’t Get A Break, City Slicker, Danger Junkie, Gullible, Hot Head, Impulsive, Kid, Kidnapper Magnet, Overconfidence, Stranger In A Strange Land, Underestimated, Whipping Boy

Suggested Skills:
Athletics, Climbing, Computers, Drinking, Driving, Eavesdropping, Extreme Sports, Fast Talking, Forensics, Google-Fu, Investigation, Jousting, Make Coffee, Pop Culture Trivia, Quick Draw, Rules & Regulations, Self-Defense, Snappy Dresser, Sneaking, Sports Fan, Technology, Unnecessary Acrobatics, Video Games

Aaron Ashmore, Drew Barrymore, Jason Bateman, Kristen Bell, Rory Cochrane, Matt Damon, Felicia Day, Johnny Depp, Chris Evans, Anna Faris, Micheal J. Fox, Summer Glau, Seth Green, Mark Hamil, Neil Patrick Harris, Ethan Hawk, Jonah Hill, Johnny Knoxville, Phil Lamar, Heath Ledger, Sean Maher, Eric Millegan, Natalie Morales, Patton Oswalt, Simon Pegg, D.J. Qualls, Rain, Keanu Reeves, Paul Rudd, Sean William Scott, Jason Segal, Michael Serra, Charlie Sheen, Will Smith, Emma Stone, Eric Szmanda, Skeet Ulrich, Noah Wyle

Tag Line:
“Sometime, when you’re not busy, I wonder if I could ask you a few questions about sexual positions?”–Dr. Zack Addy, Bones

Tools of the Trade
A rookie’s equipment varies according to the job, but many rookies much more heavily on new technology than their older counterparts. In some cases, this equipment saves the day. In others, it’s completely useless.

Where You’ll Find Him

Rookies come in two extremes: slackers who can’t wait to get off work and highly motivated types. The latter spend a lot of their free time either on the job or doing job-related extracurricular activities, such as continuing education classes or workout routines. The slackers (and the hard workers, when they take a break) usually spend their time at bars, clubs, sporting events, and other places where people their age congregate.

Social Circle
Early on, a rookie’s social circle will consist mainly of family and friends from high school or college. As time goes on, the rookie will grow apart from many of these people and spend more and more time with his colleagues at work.

Sample Character
Ensign Wesley Crusher
Body: 11
Brain: 15
Nerve: 13
Job: Star Fleet Ensign (13)
Gimmick: Friends In High Places (14)
Weakness: Can’t Get A Break From Star Fleet (14)
Skills: Save the Enterprise +3; Engineering +2; Pilot +1
WWPHITM? Wil Wheaton
Dumb Fact: Was voted 2nd most hated character in science fiction in a poll by Maxim magazine (he lost to Jar-Jar Binks)
Tag Line: “I always get an A.”
HP: 11
YY: 2

Inspirational Materials
Books & Comics
Batman (Robin)
The Boys (Wee Hughie)
Captain America (Bucky)
Green Arrow (Speedy)
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Arthur Dent)
Lord of The Rings/The Hobbit (Pick a Hobbit)
Superman (Jimmy Olsen)

TV & Movies
Buffy The Vampire Slayer (the potentials)
CSI (Greg)
Dragonslayer (Galen)
The Dumb Jousting Movie with the Kid from the Patriot (William Thatcher)
ER (Carter during the first few seasons)
Firefly (Simon and River Tam)
Ghostbusters (Winston)
Hu$tle (Danny Blue)
Lost Boys (Michael)
Men In Black (Agent J)
The Middleman (Wendy Watson)
The Muppet Show (Scooter)
Near Dark (Caleb Colton)
Point Break (Johnny Utah)
Star Wars (Luke Skywalker)
Training Day (Jake Hoyt)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *