Roleplaying Archetypes

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Roleplaying Archetypes

Post  Whiteeyes on Mon Dec 24, 2012 1:16 am

So we have a thread discussing the Timmy, Jonny, and Spike of combat. That says nothing about the RP side of the game. Below are the archetypes of Roleplay that I have borrowed from other sources, heard of through discussion, or have met myself. Note that most people are a mix of sorts, but these are good guidelines.

Actor - The Actor's primary motivation is simple and yet complex. They want to play their character. Not just roll the dice, but get into their character's head and play their character as if they were a real person. They give their character a full backstory, a consistent personality, goals, beliefs, etc. These are they players that say things like "My character wouldn't do that" or "My character doesn't care about this." Unless the character they play enjoys combat himself, they aren't likely to enjoy it, seeing it either as something that "terrifies him" or as a distraction from Roleplaying. On the other hand, actors tend to become very invested in the story and tend to help keep things on track.

Brute - As in "brute force", these are the players that thrive for combat and try to solve every problem in the most direct (and usually violent) way possible. This doesn't mean that they don't Roleplay mind you; they may very well have in game reasons their character acts this way, but the fact remains that they play these characters to kick flank and chew gum, and they're all out of gum. They tend to be great assets for combat as they are usually focused on that, but tend to not be so good at delicate situations.

Dramatist - The Dramatist is a close sibling of the Actor. However, instead of focusing on their character, the Dramatist is focused on the overall narrative. Unlike th Actor who tries to make the story serve the character, the Dramatist is fully willing to break character for the sake of the story. Of course this also includes trying to make their own "twist" in the story if they feel it isn't "living up to its potential". Dramatists are grat to have for Roleplaying as their willing to be cooperative and pay attention to details. They tend to either view combat as a dramatic element and worthy of their normal level of attention, or as a distraction that needs to be dispatched efficiently.

Explorer - To boldly go where nopony's gone before is the dream of the explorer. Exotic locals, dark and dank dungeons, bizarre cultures to study, the unknown drives the Explorer. This can be both a good and a bad thing. It's good in that it's easy to lure an Explorer to a new location. It's bad because it's hard to convince the Explorer to stay in one location for a very long length of time. The City of Call-Cata and it's feline inhabitants become less interesting once you've learned about their culture, politics, and where the best deal on milk is in the bizarre. Withholding info can keep an Explorer interested, but doing it arbitrarily tends to just frustrate them. Explorers also have a tendency to love mysteries. Since combat usually gets in the way of exploration, it tends to be avoided or resolved as quickly as possible.

Good Guy - Someone who wants to play a straight up hero. Not an antihero or morally complex character, not somebody who does good but wrestles with moral quandaries about their choices. No, they want to play clear cut heroes. They want to help kittens in trees, assist old ladies across the street, rescue citizens from fires, and stop clearly evil villains. This can be great for most games. The problem arises if you try to force them to do morally grey things, or even outright evil ones, in the "name of good"; they'll often refuse out of principle. They also tend to dislike morally grey villains. Since combat is a chance to show of their heroics, they tend to enjoy it.

Macho - Admit it, you've wanted to play a badass before. A character that just oozes cool and heroics, who you can just tell is a tough guy. Meet the Macho, the player that wants to be that badass, even if only at the table. They have a tendency to be descriptive of their characters appearance, have shady pasts, questionable morals, and a stylish weapon like a katana or a revolver. They tend to be combat oriented, but they don't ignore roleplay. After al, how are you supposed to prove your badass if you don't act the part? A Macho is actually rather easy to please. Have NPCs show respect (even if it's just weary) to the Macho character. Have them ask about their adventures. Describe their attacks with neat detail, and describe their skill checks like it was an action movie. Don't make them Cheif Hugglebunny of the Gumdrop Lands.

Oddball - Blind Cajun Chef Ninja? Ice Fairy Mage Cleric? Koala worshiping Druid? Magical Dulahan Sword Mage Mater Eater from Another Dimension? You've found the Oddball, the guy who likes to play out their concepts. And yes, all of those examples are from games I have played in. One of them is mine. They come up with a creative idea, and want to play as something off the wall. In a lot of game systems, you need to take the time to examine the idea before approving it for use. In Pony Tales, there is no reason not to allow their creative ideas excepts for perhaps one: will it clash with the story tone? As long as it will work with the story, letting the, be creative is a good thing. It ensures the game will be much more memorable. Everyone has a bunch of Fighter Rouge and Mage parties that blend together. But you never forget the psychic ballerina monk.

Specialist - These players want to be the best at something. An Archmage, a Master Thief, the Worlds Greatest Spy, a Martial Arts Grand Master, what have you. These are players that wish to play characters that are highly skilled and recognized in their area of interest. An easy way to entertain a Specialist is to include something related to his speciality in an encounter, or at the very least have it come up a few times in story. For the Archmage example, you might have them be offered a job as a Professor of Magic at a prestigious school due to their talent; later researchers might seek the Archmage out to request his great knowledge in solving an ancient mystery. Like the Macho, the Specialist plays a certain type of character because they find the appeal cool.

Thinker - Thinkers love puzzles, riddles, mysteries, and other mental challenges. They play the game for these sort of tests, and tend to do quite well at them. Many Thinkers behave like tacticians in combat, coming up with large scale plans for the whole battle; the optimal combat solution is just another puzzle.

Typecast - This player always plays the same thing, even if it just has a paper thin disguise. A person who likes playing wisecracking but skilled people might play a swashbuckling hero one time, a gentelmen thief another time, and a snarky computer expert in yet a different game. Someone who always plays an honorable warrior type should be rather different in those same games; a guardsmen, a gritty detective who doesn't hesitate to shoot at dangerous criminals, or a street samurai who protects the homeless of New New York. Some players frown at the Typecast for having a limited range, but this is often a boon for story creation. If you know what they play as, it's easy to design things well in advance for their characters. Also, Typecasts tend to play the same sort of character over and over because it's something they enjoy playing, and in the end this is a game, which means having fun
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Re: Roleplaying Archetypes

Post  LoganAura on Mon Dec 24, 2012 1:18 am

Actor/Dramatisist/Thinker.

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Re: Roleplaying Archetypes

Post  Ramsus on Mon Dec 24, 2012 1:32 am

These are better than my rough examples of RPer archetypes. And it's for these archetypes I believe an RPG system (and it's matching combat system) should be built.

I really love how you've shown them as distinct but, it's clear how one person could easily fit into multiple types even as their dominant style of play.

Btw, Thinker should probably include political type missions. Some Thinkers really love those. Some don't and others are basically all about the social and political stuff.
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Re: Roleplaying Archetypes

Post  Whiteeyes on Mon Dec 24, 2012 1:41 am

Explorer/Oddball/Specialist/Typecast myself.

My type is snarkers who posess great talent but are cursed with a cruel fate of some sort. I usually don't even have to include that stuff in the details of my backstory anymore; the GM usually sets up such a fate for my guy.

Btw, Thinker should probably include political type missions. Some Thinkers really love those. Some don't and others are basically all about the social and political stuff.

At the same time, other Archetypes love politics as well. Dramatists, Explorers, and Thinkers all tend to love political intrigue and mystery. However, only the Dramatist and the Explorer really pay attention to the more flavorful aspects of politics; most Thinkers just want to find the next challenge. Some Specialists play a character built around political or social manipulation, and as such focus on that very heavily.
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Re: Roleplaying Archetypes

Post  A1C Bronymous on Mon Dec 24, 2012 1:45 am

Actor/Brute/Macho/Typecast, with random Polar opposites thrown in for fun.
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Re: Roleplaying Archetypes

Post  Lyntermas on Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:57 am

Actor/Good Guy/Thinker/Typecast for me, I think.
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