A follow-up on my last RWT on the Whump Triangle and Whumper Archetypes.
Our wonderful caretakers; masters of gentle hugs, brushing
the hair out of feverish faces, sympathy grimaces, blanket location and laying,
and, of course, the best possible at headpats.
But even though caretaking is generally a gentle practice,
there’s all sorts of variants on caretakers that bring new variety to the
Our base caretaker - who comes in as many variations and flavours as our whumpers and then some. Caretakers, well, care for the whumpees around them. They might pretend not to, or mask it under other emotions, but deep down they worry for their team. Some caretakers want to protect their team from harm, others specialize in taking care of them after the harm; some are good at physical caretaking, others better at emotional or mental caretaking. Bottom line, though, caretakers care.
Maybe they’re the oldest on the team, or the biggest, or
they’re the “team mom” type. An overprotective!caretaker can be an inadvertent
whumper sometimes – or at least an annoyance. They get flustered or angry or
actually impose limits on their whumpees and try to protect them from
Sometimes, the overzealous nature of these caretakers pushes
their whumpees to take unnecessary risk – and now we have a guilty caretaker
(yes, that’ll be an archetype).
I have several characters who fit this bill (Sarge and
Rookie in relation to The Scorpion mostly). Often filled by a whumpee stepping
into caretaker shoes, these caretakers don’t wanna help their whumpees. Not really. But they’re obligated to.
Maybe the whumper has some information about another captive
teammate, or the whumper’s the only one with knowledge of an antidote for the
poison circulating in the city, or the caretaker’s job is the keep the whumper
alive (a la Dr. Fainleaf saving an enemy agent for later interrogation, or Sarge
having to keep The Scorpion alive because police).
Maybe they don’t treat the person they’re caretaking too
softly or carefully. Maybe they dig their fingers in a bit too hard or turn a
tourniquet too much. This is also a great fit for a tsundere kind of a
Oh my, we’re getting into the whumpee-caretaker crossover
Exhausted!caretakers are just trying their best. They may have drastically
varying personalities – Dr. Fainleaf vs Ver, even – but they have one constant:
they’re fucking dead-ass tired. Maybe
their movements are sluggish, or they’re shaking because they’ve had too much
coffee, or they have a headache but they push through. Whatever happens, these
caretakers push their own pain aside to caretake for their whumpees.
I find this isn’t as much a full-on archetype as it is a
sort of transitory state. Most caretakers will run into a time when they’re
exhausted. That said, I think some caretakers are more apt to fall into this
state more frequently. (Lookin’ at you, Dr. Fainleaf.)
Aka the “I’m done with your shit, stop taking bullets, you
The Angry!Caretaker has reached the end of their rope. Or maybe they never had
rope to begin with, and that pisses them the fuck off. They’re less apt to be
sweet and more apt to give heck. Like the exhausted!caretaker archetype, these
caretakers often aren’t always angry (except Ver and Major – they’re always
angry), but they just reach the end of their rope.
Maybe they yell at the whumpee for being foolish or risk
happy. Maybe they yell at the team leader for constantly putting everyone in
danger. Maybe they’re an overprotective!caretaker who met their limit. Maybe
they’re an exhausted!caretaker who is finally snapping. There’s a lot of
reasons why this might happen.
Angry!Caretakers can cross the line into Whumper territory
The awkward!caretaker isn’t quite like the
reluctant!caretaker. They’re not reluctant to help their team, they’re just
moreso not used to it and they fumble a lot. Maybe they’re used to being some
sort of front-liner – a battlefield whirlwind, not a soft-and-gentle type. Though
they mean well, they might end up
damaging their whumpee more – and they pair most adorably with a calm or
reassuring whumpee who tells them to take a breath and reassures them that they’re
A variation of this is the clumsy!caretaker, who is
competent and intelligent, but not the most physically gifted.
I wasn’t sure what to call this. This is mostly the type of
caretaker Dr. Kieran Fainleaf is – invested in her role as a caretaker, but
aware that it exists in a larger context. This kind of caretaker has been
around the block and then some. Highly intelligent, competent beyond belief,
they’re the “lead from behind” type. A tactical!caretaker is typically
nihilistic and clings to realism, but knows how to present a smiling and
hopeful face. They are not above lying to their whumpees to get them to feel
more comfortable or safe – even if they’re not at all comfortable or safe.
Tactical!caretakers know they will need to make tough calls.
They know they can’t save everyone, and they’ve lost more than they care to
count (but they do, oh, they do). They also know they can’t allow themselves to
get too attached, too emotional, or too down – they need to manage themselves
in order to be the best caretaker they can be. Much of what they do as a
caretaker is a performance – their skills are undeniable, but they know they
can’t be truly attached for the sake of the team.
Tactical!caretakers often play an advisor-type role to their
Team Leaders (if they’re not the Leader themselves), and are surprisingly
perceptive and dark. They’ll often be (rarely – they know what bars to avoid to
avoid breaking their image) found nursing a hard-to-drink beverage in a dark
corner with a far-off look on their faces. It’s easy to whump them and I love them for it.
Sort of a final-form of the angry!caretaker and a less
positive/strategic version of the tactical!caretaker. Take a caretaker; roll
them in regret, lost whumpees, and an overwhelming sense of futility; sprinkle
on some alcoholism or substance abuse; and liberally dust with a jaded mindset.
These caretakers struggle to maintain objectivity and neutrality – let alone
positivity or hope – in their duties.
They’re burnt out, on the verge of falling out of the
caretaker category, and in desperate need of caretaking themselves.
Often a young or inexperienced caretaker, the
helicopter!caretaker (aka “help-icopter?”) is overeager, excited, caring, and
emotional. They rush to help, often forgetting steps or accidentally hurting
someone, and are quick to feel guilty or useless. That said, they have great
potential and are usually a social glue for the team in some way.
Helicopter!caretakers can go a few different ways, depending
on their personalities and team: they can be guided into being a highly skilled
and kind cartaker, or they could end up becoming frustrated or feeling
worthless and falling straight into being a whumpee.
Related to the Tactical!Caretaker, but perhaps lacking the strategic vision those ones have, the stoic!caretaker is a person who doesn’t show much emotion when they’re caretaking.
Mostly, stoic!caretakers don’t want their emotions to affect their whumpees - adding panic or worry to a dicey scenario won’t help anything. But there’s also a part of them that’s deeply uncomfortable with displaying emotion. Maybe they’re not used to it, or they’ve been trained out of emotion in certain scenarios. Maybe they don’t get how to be vulnerable. Maybe they think it’s weakness to admit that they’re worried.
I love stoic!caretakers paired with emotive whumpees. But I also love stoic!caretakers with likewise stoic!whumpees. How do you get two people who repress everything to be vulnerable with each other?
Tactical!Caretakers are my favourite. What are some other archetypes of
caretakers that you’ve seen? What’s your favourite? What kind of caretaker is
your favourite character?