Thursday, May 12, 2016

Story v RPG Part 5: Personality Types

Story vs RPG Series
Story: Elements
Story vs RPG Part 3: Character Information
Story v RPG Part 5: Personality Types
Story v RPG Part 6: Alignment, Morality, and Ethics
Story vs RPG Part 7: Character Needs
Story vs RPG Part 8: Character emotions
Story vs RPG Part 9: Lies - Our characters darkest secrets
Story vs RPG Part 10: Setting - cultures
Story vs RPG Part 11: Pair Dynamics
Story and Game Structure: Storylines
Story vs RPG Part 12: Larger groups - conformity & deviance

If you like this series support it by buying it today for kindle all in one file and without advertisement. Available in most countries that Amazon supports. 

Characters should have differing personalities.

Characters are not the author/player exactly. In fact, writing a character similar to the themselves might weaken the character, because they may become defensive about or gloss over with justifications their own personality types. That is, unless they put down their guard and don't try to defend the weaknesses and faults of their own personality type. Author/players may actually write other personality types easier, because they are less likely hold back or defend that type of personality weaknesses.

Each character needs to react in their own individual manner. Personality types from personality systems help to differentiate one character from the other. Although they are a shell of a personality, individual customization can give them a unique and personal flavor. Knowing people in your life and in the past that fit those personality types helps to layer on unique qualities..

In this post I present several lists of personality types for gaming, psychology, and story analysis. The alignment system dominates gaming. Enneagram is probably the most common story character system.

The gaming alignment system does share many features with the other personality theories especially Jung's Archetypes. Lawful Good - Crusader sounds similar to Hero. Chaotic Neutral - Free Spirit sounds like Explorer/Seeker. Chaotic Evil - Destroyer/Devil sounds like Destroyer. Neutral Evil -Malefactor sounds similar to Trickster. The Pathfinder game system expansion of alignment includes a few Keirsey-like subtypes for alignments.

Comparing the Enneagram system to the Keirsey's 8 role categories or even many of the Jungian Archetypes shares many similarities. Mediator sounds like Advocate. Helper sounds like Conservator. Performer sounds like Entertainer. Protector sounds like Administrator.

The gaming systems many times have morality built into the personality and ethics system.

In psychology, normally morality is separated and placed separately in the sociology field. Jung however has morality mixed in with his archetype system. He did however develop the basis that Keirsey would use for a personality type list lacking the morality domain.

Morality I might discuss in another post, with available time and patience permitted.

Psychology Personality Systems not included
I do not include many personality developmental theories such as Piaget's developmental theory, Adler's birth order theory, Freud's psychosexual theory, Erikson's psychosocial development, or Kohlberg's theory of moral development. Neither do I mention Roger's or Maslow's theories of needs. Rather I try to stay on the edge of literary and personality theory when possible.

Gaming - Alignment

Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) set the most widely adopted system of alignment. The two access system. One dimension is morality: good, neutral, and evil. The second access is ethics: law, neutral, and chaos. From these six categories, nine basic alignments are possible. The following is taken directly from d20srd - an open license gaming system reference document. I cut a few sentences and paragraphs out in order to condense the material a bit. I also add info from on Pathfinder PRD and PFSRD - which briefly summarize additional keywords.

Lawful Good, "Crusader" - Honor & Compasion
A lawful good character acts as a good person is expected or required to act. She combines a commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly. She tells the truth, keeps her word, helps those in need, and speaks out against injustice. A lawful good character hates to see the guilty go unpunished.

PRD Core Concepts: Duty, fairness, honor, property, responsibility, right, truth, virtue, worthiness
PFSRD adds builders and guardians in addition to the crusader for lawful good alignment types.

Neutral Good, "Benefactor" - Doing Good without Bias
A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them.

PRD Core Concepts: Benevolence, charity, considerateness, goodness, humaneness, kindness, reason, right
PFSRD describes healers, mediators, and redeemers as the three neutral good alignment types.

Chaotic Good, "Rebel" - Good heart with free spirit
A chaotic good character acts as his conscience directs him with little regard for what others expect of him. He makes his own way, but he’s kind and benevolent. He believes in goodness and right but has little use for laws and regulations. He hates it when people try to intimidate others and tell them what to do. He follows his own moral compass, which, although good, may not agree with that of society.

PRD Core Concepts: Benevolence, charity, freedom, joy, kindness, mercy, warmth
PFSRD describes activists, freedom fighters, and vigilantes as the three chaotic good alignment types.

Lawful Neutral, "Judge" Reliable and Honorable without being a Zealot
A lawful neutral character acts as law, tradition, or a personal code directs her. Order and organization are paramount to her. She may believe in personal order and live by a code or standard, or she may believe in order for all and favor a strong, organized government.

PRD Core Concepts: Harmony, loyalty, order, organization, rank, rule, system, tradition, word

Neutral, "Undecided" Act Naturally, without Prejudice or Compulsion.
A neutral character does what seems to be a good idea. She doesn’t feel strongly one way or the other when it comes to good vs. evil or law vs. chaos. Most neutral characters exhibit a lack of conviction or bias rather than a commitment to neutrality. Such a character thinks of good as better than evil—after all, she would rather have good neighbors and rulers than evil ones. Still, she’s not personally committed to upholding good in any abstract or universal way. They advocate the middle way of neutrality as the best, most balanced road in the long run.

PRD Core Concepts: Balance, cycles, equality, harmony, impartiality, inevitability, nature, seasons

Chaotic Neutral, "Free Spirit" - True Freedom from society's restrictions and do-gooder's zeal
A chaotic neutral character follows his whims. He is an individualist first and last. He values his own liberty but doesn’t strive to protect others’ freedom. He avoids authority, resents restrictions, and challenges traditions. A chaotic neutral character does not intentionally disrupt organizations as part of a campaign of anarchy. To do so, he would have to be motivated either by good (and a desire to liberate others) or evil (and a desire to make those different from himself suffer). A chaotic neutral character may be unpredictable, but his behavior is not totally random. He is not as likely to jump off a bridge as to cross it.

PRD Core Concepts: Capriciousness, fate, freedom, individuality, liberty, self-possession, unpredictability

Lawful Evil, "Dominator" - Methodical, Intentional, and Successfully Evil
A lawful evil villain methodically takes what he wants within the limits of his code of conduct without regard for whom it hurts. He cares about tradition, loyalty, and order but not about freedom, dignity, or life. He plays by the rules but without mercy or compassion. He is comfortable in a hierarchy and would like to rule, but is willing to serve. He condemns others not according to their actions but according to race, religion, homeland, or social rank. He is loath to break laws or promises.

PRD Core Concepts: Calculation, discipline, malevolence, might, punishment, rationality, subjugation, terror
PFSRD describes despots, minions, and swindlers as three lawful evil alignment types.

Neutral Evil, "Malefactor" - Pure Evil without Honor and without Variation
A neutral evil villain does whatever she can get away with. She is out for herself, pure and simple. She sheds no tears for those she kills, whether for profit, sport, or convenience. She has no love of order and holds no illusion that following laws, traditions, or codes would make her any better or more noble. 

PRD Core Concepts: Desire, immorality, need, selfishness, sin, vice, viciousness, vileness, wickedness
PFSRD describes annihilists, narcissists, and psychopaths as three neutral evil alignment types.

Chaotic Evil, "Destroyer" - Destruction of Beauty, Life, and Order
A chaotic evil character does whatever his greed, hatred, and lust for destruction drive him to do. He is hot-tempered, vicious, arbitrarily violent, and unpredictable. Thankfully, his plans are haphazard, and any groups he joins or forms are poorly organized. Typically, chaotic evil people can be made to work together only by force, and their leader lasts only as long as he can thwart attempts to topple or assassinate him.

PRD Core Concepts: Anarchy, anger, amorality, brutality, chaos, degeneracy, freedom, profaneness, violence
PFSRD describes devotees, furies, and hedonists as three chaotic evil alignment types.

D20 Descriptions come from

PRD Core Concepts comes from

PFSRD comes from

Palladium uses good, selfish, and evil instead.
It has principled and scrupulous as types of good alignment types.
It has unprincipled and anarchist as types of selfish alignment types.
It has miscreant, aberrant, and diabolic as types of evil alignment types.

In GURPS, any non-neutral personality types are considered a mental disadvantage, possibly mental illness, or externally/internally imposed behavior which are all disadvantages because they limit or impose behavior.

Personality Theory in Psychology

Four Temperaments

Probably the oldest system attributed to Hippocrates four humors lead to Aelius Galen is what is now commonly known as the four temperaments: "sanguine", "choleric", "melancholic" and "phlegmatic".

sanguine - is a person that is lively, an extrovert, social, thrill-seeking, friendly, and loves to talk to others. They like to be admired and involved in passionate activities.
choleric - is a person that is aggressive, demanding, a leader, controlling, egocentric, ambitious, and loves success. They like to be respected and known for their capabilities.
melancholic - is a person that is conscientious, an introvert, work alone, moody, and cautious. The have empathy for others pains and tend to avoid others to keep from depression and being drained of energy.
phlegmatic - is a person that that is peaceful, calm, caring, patient, nurturing, use reason, private, and may live through other's experiences.

Jungian Archetypes

Carl Jung wrote down many archetypes. These are some of the main archetypes. Archetypes are primordial basic patterns that reflect images or universal themes common to society. These can be found in part 1 of volume 9 Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung. 

The Father (Ruler, King) - Authority, power, control, leader, order, systematic, rigid, entitled, elitism, codependent
The Mother (Caregiver, Queen) - Nurture, comfort, instructor, guilt-trip, martyr, compassion
The Child (Innocent) - Rebirth, salvation, curiosity, playful, optimistic, trust, denial, dependence
The Grandparent (Old Man, Old Woman, Sage) - Knowledge, truth, experience, wisdom, guidance, skepticism, critical, judgemental, pompous, impractical, ampathy, cold, heartless, dogmatic
The Hero (Heroine, Champion) - Defender, guardian, rescuer, sacrifice, win, arrogance, confront
The Trickster (Jester, Fool) - Deceive, trick, lie, cause trouble, enjoyment, freedom, humor, debauchery, irresponsible, sloth, cruel, con-artist
The Lover (Maiden, Prince) - Desire, passion, purity, innocence, bliss, sensual, objectify, intimacy problems, out of control
The Persona (Mask) - Conformity, repress, fake self
The Self (True Self) - Authentic, believable, express
The Anima - The feminine image in a male mind, femininity
The Animus - the masculine image in a female mind, masculinity
The Shadow (Outlaw, Rebel) - deepest desires, animalistic, creative & destructive
The Magician - transformative, personal power, catalytic, healer, manipulate, control, dishonest, image/illusion, belittle, lessen opportunity, negativity
The Mentor - instructor, trainer, give insight, motivator
The Guardian - tests, tries
The Herald - announces change, challenges, and judges
The Shapeshifter - hides intentions and loyalties
The Orphan - pain, victim, resilient, suffering, cynical, chronically complain
The Explorer (Seeker) - better life, flee, autonomy, identity, expansion of opportunities, alienate, lonely, disappoint
The Creator/God - identity, self-creation, self-acceptance, creative, vision, imagination, aesthetics, poverty, self-indulgent, messy, primadona, obsessive, inessential project or work, workaholic
The DestroyerDevil - let go, revolution, metamorphosis, anger, terror, self-harm, self-destruction, addictions, compulsions, abuse
The Spirit - water, living water, pneuma, wind, soul, lake, pool, unconscious, subconscious, yin embraced in yang


Oscar Ichazo is credited for developing the enneagram theory. 'Ennea' meaning nine and 'gramma' meaning written or drawn. I include short descriptions from Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson's book Understand the Enneagram p18 - 19. At least two positive (strengths) and two negative values (weaknesses) are presented for each personality type.

1. Reformer (Perfectionist) principled, purposeful, self-control, thinks they are always right
2. Helper (Giver, Supporter) demonstrative, generous,people pleasing, possessive
3. Performer (Motivator, Achiever) ambitious, adaptable, arrogant, image conscious
4. Romantic (Individualist) expressive, temperamental, withholding,
5. Observer (Thinker, Investigator) innovator, detached, provocative
6. Loyal Skeptic (Trooper) reliable, committed, suspicious, defensive
7. Generalist (Enthusiast, Epicure) spontaneous, versatile, excessive, distracted
8. Protector (Leader, Boss) challenger, self-confident, decisive, dominating, confrontational
9. Mediator (Peacemaker) reassuring, agreeable, disengaged, stubborn

From these 9 personality types, Riso and Hudson has connected motivations, fears, goals, vices, and virtues. See their book for those interesting details.

Jungian Attitudes and Functions

Jung also created a two attitude and four function measure of instincts and drives. His theories Personality Types is volume 6 of The Collected Works of C. G. Jung.

Two attitudes - How they prefer to learn or gain energy the most efficiently from the internal or external world.
Introvert (I) - socially interact by talking and experiencing with others to gain energy
Extrovert (E) - solitary reflecting and time to be alone to gain energy

The Four Functions
Focus - How the person prefers to focus on learning and experiencing the world
Sensing (S) - focuses on details, sequential, organized based on concrete and real life experience
Intuition (N) - focuses on meanings and associations based on pattern recognition and and observation

Decision Making - How the person prefers to make decision
Thinking (T) - decide using truth and logic to deduce and reason
Feeling (F) - decide using issues and causes to humanized and consider motives

Myers Briggs

Katherine Cook Briggs and daughter Isabel Briggs Myers  expanded Jung's typological theory to create the Type Indicators based on the assumption that one function is dominant most of the time. The assumption is that these dominant preferences drive the needs, desires, values, and motives to influence a person experiencing reality and helps make sense of events and information.

To Jung's two attitudes and four functions they added a dominant extraverted function used when relating to the external world
Judging (J) - have a closed world. dominant thinking or feeling. TJ relate logical and FJ relate empathetically
Perceiving (P) - have an open world. dominant sensing or intuition. SP relate concretely and NP relate abstractly.


David Keirsey took and combined the works of Hippocrates, Plato, Jung and Myers Briggs  to form a study of 16 personality types. He expands upon these personality types in his series Please Understand Me, especially in the second volume.

Keirsey's 16 temperaments
Provider (ESFJ) observant, cooperative, informative, and expressive. friendly service, social success, traditions, friendly, outgoing, gregarious, can lead
Protector (ISFJ) observant, cooperative, informative, and attentive. security of others, thorough, frugal, don't waste resources, can work alone, talkative among circle of friends, traditions, norms
Supervisor (ESTJ) observant, cooperative, directive, expressive. maintain established social order, defend values, rules, procedures, express opinion and expectations
Inspector (ISTJ) observant, cooperative, directive, and attentive. careful and thorough, practical, dependable, quiet, endure, consistent, use facts and experience to decide.

Performer (ESFP) observant, utilitarian, informative, and expressive. fun-loving with humor and artistry, seek stimulation, trends, dislike being alone,
Composer (ISFP) observant, utilitarian, informative, and attentive. sensitive to environment, attuned to five senses, balance, notices discord, sympathetic to human suffering,
Promoter (ESTP) observant, utilitarian, directive, and expressive. influence others, resourceful, know where action and fun is, indulgent with self and others, dramatic, earn other's confidence.
Crafter (ISTP) observant, utilitarian, directive, and attentive. uses tools (art, weapons, power tools, computers), focus on completing task skillfully and efficiently, works alone to figure out tools and skill.

Champion (ENFP) introspective, cooperative, informative, and expressive. share thoughts with world, use beliefs to inspire others, reveal human truths, ethics, justice, life is a drama, social events important, read human emotions, warm, energetic, spontaneous, positive, exuberant
Healer (INFP) introspective, cooperative, informative, and attentive. care deeply about causes, selfless, compassionate, empathetic,  private, idealistic, sacrifice, adaptable, harmony
Teacher (ENFJ) introspective, cooperative, directive, and expressive. idealistic, motivation, organized, plan, creative, know self and others, blend in with others adopting characteristics of others, can be overwhelmed, warm, outgoing, tolerant, humanity.
Counselor (INFJ) introspective, cooperative, directive, and attentive. help others develop, positive, good listener, detects emotions and intentions, hurt easily, private, understand complex people and people, needs harmony

Inventor (ENTP) introspective, utilitarian, informative, and expressive. engineer, design, improve, new projects, ideas to action and objects, effective, pragmatic, nonconformist, small circle of like-mind friends, explain and comprehend complex ideas, arrogant.
Architect (INTP) introspective, utilitarian, informative, and attentive. curious, understand, precise, critical, detect inconsistencies, see distinctions, find contradictions, frame arguments advantageously, alienate, hair-splitting, impatient
Fieldmarshal (ENTJ) introspective, utilitarian, directive, and expressive. decisive, forceful, organize group, break down into parts, give structure and direction, goals and policy > procedures, reduce redtape, lessen redundancy, eliminate confusion, analyze, probability of success, impatient
Mastermind (INTJ) introspective, utilitarian, directive, and attentive. brainstorm, strong-willed, self-assured, quick decisions, open to new evidence and ideas, flexible, results, solutions, efficiency, quality, pragmatic, theoretic, adopt useful ideas

These 16 personality types can be divided into:

Two focusing realms which are divided into looking out or looking in.
Observant (S)- concrete, observant
Introspective (N)- abstract

Four temperaments which are further divided by social or instrumental categories
Guardian (SJ) - logistical; concrete and organized (scheduled). Seek: security and belonging;concern: responsibility and duty.
Artisian (SP) - tactical; concrete and adaptable. Seek: stimulation and virtuosity; concern:  making an impact; troubleshooting, agility, and the manipulation of tools, instruments, and equipment
Idealist (NF) - diplomatic;abstract and compassionate. Seek: meaning and significance; concern personal growth and find own identity; clarifying, individualizing, unifying, and inspiring
Rational (NT) - strategic; abstract and objective. Seek: mastery and self-control; concern own knowledge and competence; logical investigation - engineering, conceptualizing, theorizing, and coordinating.

and Eight Roles which are further divided by informative (communication, people) or directive (task) categories
Conservator (SFJ) - Supporting
Administrator (STJ) - Regulating
Entertainer (SFP) - Improvising
Operator (STP) - Expediting
Advocate (NFP) - Mediating
Mentor (NFJ) - Developing
Engineer (NTP) - Constructing
Coordinator (NTJ) - Arranging

Five Factor Model (Big Five)

Digman, Goldberg, McCrae, and John all have contributed to help making the Five Factor Model dominant in social sciences today, even supplanting the MBTI in research papers.

The Five Factors vary in name but one version is indicated by the acronym OCEAN to indicate the domains of personality.


Theory of the story mind created by Chris Huntley and Melanie Anne Phillips which states that each story has its own mind, psychology, and personality structures.

Protagonist - chief proponent and driver to achieve the story goal
Antagonist - opposes the protagonists successful achievement of the story goal. Influence.
Reason - calm, collected, cool, cold. Logical decisions and actions. Practical.
Emotion - frenetic, disorganized, driven by feeling. Uncontrolled and lashes out. Humanity
Sidekick - faithful supporter. Loyalty. Confidence.
Skeptic - disbelieve and oppose. Doubt.
Guardian - teacher, helper. Conscience.
Contagonist - temptation, deflector. Seduction.

A conversion chart that I assembled from many sources.

Next major post

The next main post should be morality since I have mentioned it here already. I plan doing more than good, neutral, and evil since in real life matters are more complex than that. Some ethics material may mix in with morality. Then I can move posts more into the practical use of this information to create characters in RPGs or stories based on the information known already. I don't know how much information is out there on morality, so I can't give an ETA on if it will be tomorrow or sometime later.


  1. Much food for thought here, Ken. It should be valuable to anyone creating a character. I will certainly look at it when creating my next characters.

  2. Hope it helps. A few other personality types systems exists, but I like these most.