The blog posts here are works of fiction. Any similarity to persons living or dead is likely to be entirely intentional, but no one should assume that anything posted about an individual here is fact, it will have been exaggerated, altered or created solely for the purposes of use within the context of a role playing game.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Character Alignment or Archetype?

When Dungeons & Dragons was first published your character's personality was chiefly designated by alignment and the choice was simply Lawful, Neutral or Chaotic.

In my youthful innocence it did not seem strange to simplistically associate "lawful" with "good"and "chaotic" with "evil". Advanced Dungeons and Dragons introduced the conepts of "law v chaos" and "good v evil" as two seperate character considerations.

A far better concept for we now know that nothing is as evil as the misuse of lawful authority.



To avoid the value laden and very individual interpretation of such terms, I prefer the use of Archetypes for characters.

The term "archetype" has its origins in ancient Greek. The root words are archein, which means "original or old"; and typos, which means "pattern, model or type". The combined meaning is an "original pattern" of which all other similar persons, objects, or concepts are derived, copied, modeled, or emulated.

The psychologist, Carl Gustav Jung, used the concept of archetype in his theory of the human psyche. He believed that universal, mythic characters—archetypes—reside within the collective unconscious of people the world over. Archetypes represent fundamental human motifs of our experience as we evolved; consequentially, they evoke deep emotions.

The Archetypes are detailed at the end of this blog post, but they can be handled in game in two different ways. Either the relative strength of each archetype can be determined for your character, either randomly or by design or you can allow you character to develop over the course of gameplay.


Rules for Archetypes

Select one archetype each to represent the most apparent archetype for your character's Ego, Soul and Self. This can either be done by rolling a d4, choosing or by determining the same at the end of a given number of sessions based on your character's actions during those sessions.

This Archetype is given a weighting of 3, select a second from each sub group this is given a weight of 2, the third is given a score of 1 and the last from each sub group is given a score of 0


Changing Archetypes

As all RPG's are character driven, Archetypes are not meant to be a straitjacket for your character and events that your character experiences during gameplay may have long lasting effects on your character's character.

To represent this everytime your character acts in a manner aligned to one of the 12 archetypes he receives a check, each time your character acts in a manner contrary to one of the 12 archetypes he also receives a check.

Checks are made at the end of a session using a d10. A roll of 0 means that your character has fundamentally changed as a result of the experience and the Archetype score is either raised or lowered by 1 (to a maximum of 4 and a minimum of 0)


Archetypes & Gods

Gods in Dungeons & Dragons are the living embodiment of an Archetype, clerics particularly will be best served if their archetype matches that of their god. A cleric will gain a bonus if the corresponding archetype of their god is high and a penalty if it is low. If this archetype falls to 0 then they will lose their divine powers until they are accepted by a new archetype or their archetype is raised.


1. The Innocent

Motto: Free to be you and me
Core desire: to get to paradise
Goal: to be happy

Greatest fear: to be punished for doing something bad or wrong

Strategy: to do things right

Weakness: boring for all their naive innocence

Talent: faith and optimism

The Innocent is also known as: Utopian, traditionalist, naive, mystic, saint, romantic, dreamer.

2. The Orphan/Regular Guy or Gal

Motto: All men and women are created equal

Core Desire: connecting with others

Goal: to belong

Greatest fear: to be left out or to stand out from the crowd

Strategy: develop ordinary solid virtues, be down to earth, the common touch

Weakness: losing one's own self in an effort to blend in or for the sake of superficial relationships

Talent: realism, empathy, lack of pretense

The Regular Person is also known as: The good old boy, everyman, the person next door, the realist, the working stiff, the solid citizen, the good neighbor, the silent majority.

3. The Hero

Motto: Where there's a will, there's a way

Core desire: to prove one's worth through courageous acts

Goal: expert mastery in a way that improves the world

Greatest fear: weakness, vulnerability, being a "chicken"

Strategy: to be as strong and competent as possible

Weakness: arrogance, always needing another battle to fight

Talent: competence and courage

The Hero is also known as: The warrior, crusader, rescuer, superhero, the soldier, dragon slayer, the winner and the team player.

4. The Caregiver

Motto: Love your neighbour as yourself

Core desire: to protect and care for others

Goal: to help others

Greatest fear: selfishness and ingratitude

Strategy: doing things for others

Weakness: martyrdom and being exploited

Talent: compassion, generosity

The Caregiver is also known as: The saint, altruist, parent, helper, supporter.

The Soul Types

5. The Explorer

Motto: Don't fence me in

Core desire: the freedom to find out who you are through exploring the world

Goal: to experience a better, more authentic, more fulfilling life

Biggest fear: getting trapped, conformity, and inner emptiness

Strategy: journey, seeking out and experiencing new things, escape from boredom

Weakness: aimless wandering, becoming a misfit

Talent: autonomy, ambition, being true to one's soul

The explorer is also known as: The seeker, iconoclast, wanderer, individualist, pilgrim.

6. The Rebel

Motto: Rules are made to be broken

Core desire: revenge or revolution

Goal: to overturn what isn't working

Greatest fear: to be powerless or ineffectual

Strategy: disrupt, destroy, or shock

Weakness: crossing over to the dark side, crime

Talent: outrageousness, radical freedom

The Outlaw is also known as: The rebel, revolutionary, wild man, the misfit, or iconoclast.

7. The Lover

Motto: You're the only one

Core desire: intimacy and experience

Goal: being in a relationship with the people, work and surroundings they love

Greatest fear: being alone, a wallflower, unwanted, unloved

Strategy: to become more and more physically and emotionally attractive

Weakness: outward-directed desire to please others at risk of losing own identity

Talent: passion, gratitude, appreciation, and commitment

The Lover is also known as: The partner, friend, intimate, enthusiast, sensualist, spouse, team-builder.

8. The Creator

Motto: If you can imagine it, it can be done

Core desire: to create things of enduring value

Goal: to realize a vision

Greatest fear: mediocre vision or execution

Strategy: develop artistic control and skill

Task: to create culture, express own vision

Weakness: perfectionism, bad solutions

Talent: creativity and imagination

The Creator is also known as: The artist, inventor, innovator, musician, writer or dreamer.

The Self Types

9. The Jester

Motto: You only live once

Core desire: to live in the moment with full enjoyment

Goal: to have a great time and lighten up the world

Greatest fear: being bored or boring others

Strategy: play, make jokes, be funny

Weakness: frivolity, wasting time

Talent: joy

The Jester is also known as: The fool, trickster, joker, practical joker or comedian.

10. The Sage

Motto: The truth will set you free

Core desire: to find the truth.

Goal: to use intelligence and analysis to understand the world.

Biggest fear: being duped, misled—or ignorance.

Strategy: seeking out information and knowledge; self-reflection and understanding thought processes.

Weakness: can study details forever and never act.

Talent: wisdom, intelligence.

The Sage is also known as: The expert, scholar, detective, advisor, thinker, philosopher, academic, researcher, thinker, planner, professional, mentor, teacher, contemplative.

11. The Magician

Motto: I make things happen.

Core desire: understanding the fundamental laws of the universe

Goal: to make dreams come true

Greatest fear: unintended negative consequences

Strategy: develop a vision and live by it

Weakness: becoming manipulative

Talent: finding win-win solutions

The Magician is also known as: The visionary, catalyst, inventor, charismatic leader, shaman, healer, medicine man.

12. The Ruler

Motto: Power isn't everything, it's the only thing.

Core desire: control

Goal: create a prosperous, successful family or community

Strategy: exercise power

Greatest fear: chaos, being overthrown

Weakness: being authoritarian, unable to delegate

Talent: responsibility, leadership

The Ruler is also known as: The boss, leader, aristocrat, king, queen, politician, role model, manager or administrator.