Getting the Crew Back Together

Whether you’re saving the world, pulling off a heist, or recording your next album, you can’t do it alone.  You need a team.  But not just anyone  can be on your team; you need specialists, persons who are highly skilled at what they do.  For each aspect of your mission, you have one crew member who can pull it off.  It’s time to assemble your crew.

Put your teams into groups of 3-4, then tell them that they’re going to create a fictional team.


The Mission

First, each group of students needs to decide what sort of team they’d like to build, what sort of job they have.  Is it a crew of pirates or the command team of a starship? Are they a gang of noble thieves, or a team of spies?  Maybe they’re superheroes, or a squad of soldiers, or the leaders of a resistance movement.  Perhaps they are a party of adventurers out to slay a dragon.  Are they a sports team preparing for the championship?  Or are they just a group of friends rocking out in a suburban garage?

What is it that your team is trying to accomplish, and why does it require a team instead of an individual?


The Roles

Next, students need to create 5 roles for different members of the crew, where each role has a unique purpose.  Check out this page on TV Tropes and its links for some ideas.  Students are welcome to think of teams from movies, books, etc. that they’re already familiar with for inspiration when deciding upon roles.

If you’ve got a starship crew, you should probably include an ace pilot, and maybe a navigator.  A band of noble thieves could probably use a hacker.  A party of adventures might want a brute to keep the goblins away from the mage.

Your students may need to look into their team type to find out what sort of crew members are present in other stories.  Give your students a couple days to figure out the necessary roles and understand why they’re valuable to the team.


The Party Members

After that, the students need to fill in each role with an original character.  That character can be based on another character from an established franchise, but the students should customize the characters to make them their own and better fit them within their team.  Also, if your class is doing the Character Journey year-long project, students can consider those characters for members of this team.

For each member, your team should create a dossier.  Each dossier could be half the size of a standard sheet of paper (5.5″ x 8.5″ or 14.8cm x 21cm), unless you and your class would like to write more or add more visuals.  If you have plenty of visual artists in your class, each dossier could include a profile picture.  The other things the dossier should list include:

  • the character’s name;
  • their primary role in the team;
  • their core skillset;
  • their background (What were they doing before they were recruited to the team?);
  • a summary of their personality;
  • any secondary roles (Are they the new kid, the peace-keeper, the sage, the loner, etc.?)

If your class is so inclined, they can include physical characteristics, nationality, quirks, or any other information they think is interesting.


Optional: Team Dynamics

In addition to the dossier, students can write a paper explaining how the crew members relate to one another.  Which pair or pairs are best friends?  Which pair or pairs don’t get along?  Is one person usually the trouble-maker?  Is anyone a people-pleaser?  What sort of issues cause arguments?  What are the times when everyone bands together despite their differences?



Once students have finished, they should present their team to the rest of the class.  What does their team do, and who are the members of the team?  Students don’t need to list every detail, but rather give an overview.

Students should not only state the title of each member’s role, but also explain what that role does and why it’s important for the team’s mission.

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