Friday, 29 August 2014

Dungeons, Dragons and Type Indicators

I adore Dungeons and Dragons. Sure enough, it has earned a particular place in history, with both avid fans and avid opponents, including some (I'll say it outright) misguided individuals who seem to think that it is some kind of cult. Regardless, D&D has become a great monolith within the Fantasy genre and has had a profound impact on a large number of people.

Furthermore, the nature of the game raises some interesting questions about identity. The way in which you play the game is to create and then inhabit a character, who is not you, and yet in many ways is. Given my fascination with D&D, Identity and MBTI more specifically, I began thinking about how they might interact.

Thus, I had an idea to take several of the 4th edition classes and look at the archetypes they represent and then analyse them in terms of MBTI, covering one class for each of the 16 types. I attempted to cover as many of the iconic classes as possible, and as I said I am looking at certain stereotypes within these classes, for as any D&D player will know, your character is not summarised by their class. 

One of the things I found most interesting about writing this was the fact that I felt absolutely no need to squeeze or manipulate, the types seemed to readily gel with the class to which I assigned them. 

So, without further ado, let us take a look at the classes.

Analysts

Image posted by Fallen-Fighter

INTJ (The Strategist) - The Monk

The primary function of the INTJ is Introverted Intuition, focusing on gathering understanding through overall patterns and symbols. In the same manner, the Monk is an intently introspective class, who increases their proficiency within their class through seeking inner truths within themselves. They use mantras, meditations and other kinds of symbology to guide them on their path, though also rely on their own inner visions and innate understandings. Furthermore, they seek to establish an organised system through which they can understand the world, though this is done in a personal manner, with the universal truths reached through an individual encounter. Monks also attempt to impose an organised structure of belief onto the external world, no matter how much chaos may surround them, able to rationalise even chaos. They are largely rational, though this does not render them unemotional, seeing reality as a project to be understood, thus matching the Extroverted Thinking element of this type. Monks are focused on the virtues and values which they seek to uphold, with these being internally balanced. They determine the worth of that which they encounter based on its underlying truth as it links to their introspective journey. Monks can often seem cold and distant, so ultimately devoted to their strict regime, which keeps them in their monasteries far from the “real” world. However, they do have depth of feeling, they simply fail to express it verbally or openly, though it can be seen in their actions. Finally, they are aware of their surroundings in such a way as they are able to respond quickly to stimuli, as demonstrable by their fighting ability and supreme reflexes.

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INTP (The Architect) - The Wizard

A Wizard is constantly seeking to understand the world in which they live, trying to comprehend the magical elements and organise them into an academic system. In this sense, they are primarily based in Introverted Thinking, for they are constantly examining small pieces of a much larger puzzle (each individual spell is one fragment of the whole of magic) and testing it to see just how it relates to the wider system. However, they do not always engage with magic in a strictly rational manner, sometimes having to relax their overt rationality and instead opt for a more relaxed and free-flowing interaction. Wizards need to be able to notice patterns and trends whilst examining the great complex problem that is magic, when attempting to uncover more, they need to be able to entertain multiple trains of thought. In this way, magic can also become a game. Every experience for a wizard is a chance to learn and they are constantly comparing the now to past experiences and allows them to begin forming an expectation of what is to happen in the future. This is largely empirical and is used by the wizard to conduct experiments and allow them to then plan how to continue with their arcane investigations. Their devotion to advancement and magical progression often leads wizards to hold in their emotions in order to allow a greater degree of progress. They wish to create an environment of good natured competition and harmony, to allow collaboration to produce increased understanding to be attained. However, this harmony also enables the wizard to retreat and then return to the group as needed. 

Assassin by shenfeic
Image posted by Little Dose of Inspiration

ENTJ (The Commander) - The Avenger

Avengers exist for a single reason: to hunt down the enemies of their God. They serve divine beings, ultimately beyond the ken of mortals who have their own plans for the moral world and they share this plan almost completely. Avengers see the world as being in a state in which it should not be. They see it as fallen away from the vision they have of it, the vision of their God. Thus, they seek to impose their ideas upon the outside world, through slaying one of heretical foes at a time. In order to see this plan reach fruition, the Avenger must be able to combine as many ideas and clues as possible in order to look into the future through their secondary function of Introverted Intuition. They must deal both in the abstract and in the practical if their holy vision is to be fulfilled. However, the Avenger cannot always deal with grand schemes and overarching plans, they must deal with immediate situations to overcome present obstacles. They are expected to defeat the enemies of their God, those who stand in their way, thus they require an awareness of the physical world. The emotions of the Avenger are rarely expressed outwardly, instead expressed in quiet gestures. Should one attempt to encourage them to verbally express their feelings, the Avenger would express great conviction, bordering on the melodramatic. Thus, they mostly keep to themselves, drawing strength enough from their convictions.

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ENTP (The Inventor) - The Warlock

The Inventor is unique and focused on making connections, likewise the Warlock’s art is just that, an art. They do not master the arcane through discipline and academia, but instead through intuition and through force of will and personality. Their powers are individual in nature, granted by the relationships they form with beings and creatures beyond the ken of mortals. Existing outside of the usual norm, Warlocks challenge the status quo, they raise questions and are always able to argue against another’s view, serving as devils advocates (such a pun). Their precise ability to deconstruct an argument and turn it on its head is an indication of keen mental abilities, though it is often not used to further the creation of their own belief structures, as their spontaneous drive often overpowers it. The Warlock uses their emotions to channel their powers and thus they are able to express themselves and form emotional connections to others easily if they so choose. Though they deal with dark forces, it is not impossible for their more emotional and harmonious, good-natured side to bloom, especially in Warlock heroes. Finally, the Introverted Sensing element of the Inventor acts to counterbalance the Warlock’s desire to rebel, for whilst they consistently question the norms and proclamations given by society, they rarely chose to reject them all, often choosing to obey in many situations. 

Diplomats

It’s strong. It’s beautiful. It’s women’s armor done RIGHT. Thank you, Eva Widermann!
Artwork@Wizards of the Coast
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INFJ (The Counsellor) - The Cleric

More than any other type (excluding, perhaps, INTJs), Counsellors are aware of the unconscious processes and often unseen influences which go on inside of each individual. Clerics too require this kind of insight into others, this almost supernatural affinity for understanding and clarity when it comes to those around them. Though they work within a belief system, the Cleric’s potency for understanding allows them to deal with individuals, rather than with placeholders to be dealt with dogmatically. Each individual needs something slightly different and the Cleric understands this, led by their Introverted Intuition, which also deals with their faith, allowing them to interface with these complicated and theological concepts with greater ease than most. Clerics are emotionally aware people and they possess an exceptional depth of feeling, though they also consider others, with their emotional focus oriented outwards, thus creating a divide between the desire to express themselves and the willingness to allow others the freedom from their own expression. Clerics rarely express their own emotional difficulties, and if they do it is only to a select few. Instead, they are more concerned with the feelings of others. When engaged in thought, the Cleric is likely to retreat from others, allowing themselves the time and space to logically organise their inner world, which is largely formed from visions, convictions, ideas and feelings, all of which can lead to chaos if they are not somehow controlled. This Introverted Thinking is most clearly demonstrated in the Cleric’s need to meditate and pray. Though they ultimately live in a world of ideas and ideals, Clerics are able to appreciate the real and the pragmatic, though this is the area in which they perhaps least excel. They enjoy home comforts and have a great appreciation for the little things life is able to offer them. However, the Cleric is far more at home with the less defined areas of existence, in the realm of ideas and feelings, of people and faith.

PHoto by 
https://www.facebook.com/JukkaAlasaariPhotography
Image posted by Lady Mantheniel

INFP (The Idealist) - The Druid

Idealists are, fundamentally, pulled away from the world and towards the ideal and whilst some might consider this to put them at odds with a nature oriented class, one must recall that Druids act both as guardians of nature and emissaries to the spirit world. Ultimately, they see the power of nature as something deeply personal, which enhances their individual inner world, but which is also excellently expressed and thus communicable, which is exceptionally important for a Diplomatic type. Value for a Druid is something which is judged in comparison to their inner ideals, which are based around the virtues provided by nature, embracing both elements of harmony and competition. Druids are able to understand and express the complexity of the natural and spiritual worlds, able to embrace both the serenity and ferocity present within nature. Every facet of the spiritual leads into newer facets, for the spiritual explorations of the Druid are endless. When observing nature, the Druid does so in a very personal and intimate way, allowing them to use their senses as a route into memory, drawing them towards an inner harmony, often considered to be a central part of both the Idealist and the Druid. Finally, Druids do turn their attention to the outside world, especially when they need to protect their own environments and restore their inner vision of what the world should be like. More often than not, however, Druids are willing to let the world deal with its own problems, especially beyond their immediate environments. They prefer to guide than overpower.

Sands of the Soul by Raymond Swanland
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ENFJ (The Giver) - The Ardent

The power of the Ardent is emotion and in the same way the Giver’s primary function is Extraverted Feeling. Their primary role is to bolster and empower those around them through acting as a supernatural caregiver, literally manipulating and uplifting the feelings of their comrades in order to lead them forwards. This emotional fluency is not solely positive however, for the Ardent is able to turn the emotions of their enemies against them, just as any ENFJ knows exactly what to say to upset somebody else, though they ultimately wish to spread positivity and promote harmony. Ardents can experience the emotions of others as well as express their own, they pull emotionally energy into themselves from external sources, finding great strength, but also weakness, in other people. When it comes to understanding, Ardents use emotion as a gateway to conceptual thought and process things within themselves, led by an inner vision, an ideal which they wish to see expressed in the world. Importantly, whilst an Ardent might live primarily in a world of feelings and abstract ideas, they remain grounded in the physical world and are able to tie their more conceptual side into the every day. Whilst they can be cold and logical, this style is only ever used if its implementation and results are supported by that which feeling produces. Rationality can be a useful tool, but Ardents deal with people, who they understand emotionally, rather than rationally.


Pulled myself out of my art slump with this portrait of my ranger, Idryd! I dunno what it is about the salads, but I love them so. :B

[Submitted by kisskicker]
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ENFP (The Champion) - The Ranger

A ranger lives in a world of sensory information, the wild, this much is true, though their major focus is on upon that which is, but upon the abstract connections and potentials which exist within the natural world. All of nature is interlinked and the ranger understands this well enough and seeks to understand it further. They have a huge respect for the natural world but also know how to exploit it to their advantage in ways that those not native to it cannot even begin to fathom. Rangers seek understanding of themselves through the natural world and their connection to it, especially those who fight side-by-side with a beast companion. A Ranger’s convictions and ideals are often their own and whilst they are able to greatly connect with those who share them, they often do not seek to promote them in others, at least not with exceptional further. Mostly, Rangers are content to live the way they do, firm in their own beliefs. However, this general trend is coupled with a seemingly contradictory desire to promote respectful use and harmonious interaction with the natural world, thus there is an element of a desire to change the world in which they live and to be able to share their lifestyle with others. Being in the natural environment for so long, the Ranger is forced to learn by trial and error, comparing current experience to memories.

Sentinels

Goblin illustration for Tellest by PRDart

Check out Michael DeAngelo’s Tellest!:
http://tellest.com/
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ISTJ (The Guardian) - The Fighter

Guardians are firm traditionalists and in the same vein, Fighters rely on discipline, practice and training in often ancient, or at least established, styles of fighting. They are hugely based within trial and error, only really able to learn and art like fighting through practice and training. It is hardly something that theoretical experience alone can teach. The fighter seeks to use their skills and their understandings in order to fight for something. Naturally, this leads to the imposition of their will and desire on the outer world through the promoting of a cause and lending their martial strength to it. For the Fighter, achieving a goal is often a case of progressing towards it, one clearly-defined step (or battle) at a time. Their power based in the physical world, Fighters are practically minded. Whilst able to feel deep and powerful emotions, just as any type, Fighters, who are often soldiers and thus deal with death more regularly than most, are able to contain those emotions within themselves and only express them through gestures and actions rather than with words. A Fighter may jest about his feelings, though honest expression is rarely through lengthy conversation, unless they are experiencing a period of great strength. Fighters love facts and, whilst they must be able to have at least some ability to deal with potentials and possibilities, especially when it comes to battle tactics, they often find it difficult to look beyond what is immediately present, though this does make them unfailingly practical.

Northern Cross Priestess by lasahido
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ISFJ (The Protector) - The Invoker

An Invoker may devote a great deal of their time to promoting a particular vision of what the world should be like, though much of the work towards this is done inside themselves, for they must first come to terms with their ideas about the world in which they live. They primarily deal in the general ideas, principles or platonic forms, the shape and nature of which are given to them by the Gods to whom they are sworn, allowing them to then develop codes and axioms through which they can approach the outer world. Their approach to this world is one of emotion, in which they use their own passion to ignite a fire within the hearts of those around them in order to promote their particular vision of the world. However, their promoting of this world view is not done without a constant questioning of the inner ideals they possess. Though their dedication to their Deity is great, for Protectors are extremely loyal, they do consistently question the best way in which to realise their will. To this goal, they are tireless. However, it is possible for the Invoker to become ungrounded by their devotion to their ideals and begin to slip away from the immediate situation, which is a snare they might seek to avoid.

Crusader by shenfeic
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ESTJ (The Enforcer) - The Paladin

The Paladin is often closely united with tradition and the established order, through the form of religious organisations and because of their involvement with these orders they have certain religious principles drilled into them. Through the implementation of these principles, the Paladin is able to make difficult and impersonal decisions quickly and remain dedicated to their conclusions. Their motivation is to seek truth and that which is right, able to clearly define their objectives (which are often prescribed by their Deity) and the steps which must be taken to work toward it. They deal with internal concepts in the form of virtues and religious principles, though this Introverted Sensing is held in check by the Extroverted Thinking which dominates the Enforcer type, yet it does give them a love for discipline. In spite of this discipline and typically black and white way of seeing the world, the Paladin is able to consider things beyond the immediate and think about possibilities, though this is a skill to which they do not automatically end themselves, for they are far more intently focused on matters of fact and how those facts and situations can be manipulated. Ever stoic, a Paladin does not lend themselves to expression of emotion, their feelings kept in check by their radical discipline.

Reclamation Sage by Clint Cearly
Image posted by Swords and Sorcerers

ESFJ (The Provider) - The Barbarian

Barbarians live in a world of raw feeling and sensation, ultimately driven by their emotions. They are drawn to the physical and express themselves with regard to the outer world and the people they find there. Often, they are warm and caring people, even if their sense of humour can be on the morbid side, on occasion. It is through harnessing these emotions that the Barbarian is able to make a difference in the world, through taming their inner fire and only allowing themselves to release control at the opportune moment: the Barbarian’s Rage is an archetypical example of Extroverted Feeling. All Barbarian interactions with the world seek to feed or quench this inner fire. They are certainly able to refract and stew on their experiences and, when feeling inevitably becomes involved, things can become blown out of proportion. Providers wear their hearts on their sleeve. Barbarians also display some of the more relaxed approaches of Extraverted Intuition, for one must remember that, as a primal class, Barbarians are tied to the spiritual and to the realm beyond the mortal. However, driven as they are by emotional responses to the physical world, the Barbarian’s ability to deal with the more abstract parts of their philosophy is perhaps not quite as deep as to allow them to fully grasp it. This is no real bother, however, for such systems need followers who are oriented more to the physical world, rather than the Druids, whose focus is on the spiritual. So focused on expression and emotion, nothing upsets the Barbarian more than the thought of having to deal with those whose systems are more rigid and who do not express themselves openly. 

Explorers

Halt Order
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ISTP (The Crafter) - The Artificer

Analysis and the ability to deconstruct and reconfigure the arrangement of an argument or an idea is key to the Crafter and, as inventors (in the non-technical sense) themselves, Artificers rely on their keen ability to interact with that which they are working on, precision and dedication being key. Their thinking is Introverted and thus centred on themselves, and the Artificer is a free spirit at heart, preferring to be left alone to get on with their own business, to create and invent in the privacy of their own laboratory. Sensory experience is also of great importance for the Artificer, for they need to look out at the world and see that which is lacking and how their inventions could perhaps fill that void. Artificers are prone to see their work as a puzzle, as a detective story and thus conduct themselves accordingly. Though their intuition is not the most developed of their capabilities, Artificers do possess the function of Introverted Intuition, which allows them to access their gut instincts, though this is not usually something over which they have much influence or control, instead allowing such instincts to come when they come, rather than seeking them out. Both rational and spontaneous, the Artificer has little trouble expressing their emotions, though their emotional part is almost entirely subservient to their more rational and sensing elements.

Stained Glass Monsters by Julie Dillon
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ISFP (The Composer) - The Psion

Dominated by Introverted Feeling, the Composer’s focus is on the self, though this is ultimately not a selfish attitude, for they seek a clarity of emotional understanding the focus of which is largely independent of the outside world (though not entirely). Comparatively, Psions live very much within their own minds and their powers are stimulated largely from their inner values and understandings. It is no surprise that they match this type when one considers that the growth of a Psion is not the same as that of a Wizard, in that it is not abstract and academic but more of a personal journey within the self in order to unlock inner, psionic power. Both are thus dominated by Introverted Feeling. Their powers, however, are not so self-contained, for the very mark of a Psion is one who can take their inner power and express it into the physical world. This is not done emotionally however, though the Psion does possess a strong awareness of their environment, specifically oriented towards how they can manipulate it. Though their power comes from the mind and the inner world, they enjoy and take great pleasure in the outer world through Extroverted Sensing. At the back of their inner world are the wild and free concepts of psionic power, and whilst Psions possess the ability to take great advantage of their gut instinct, this instinct is relatively undeveloped and their ability to deal with the abstract can often become strained by the implications of their powers and abilities. Thus, many Psions must devote a great deal of time to developing this self-reflection. Finally, Psions do possess an ability to use Extroverted Thinking in an attempt to impose an organising structure upon the world. However, as their minor function, it is not always possible to do this with great precision, though this is not to suggest that a Psion is unable to deal with and seek to impose such structures.

Image posted by Daaud

ESTP (The Adventurer) -  The Rogue

Of all the classes, Rogues rely most on their sensory experiences and input in order to survive, though the means of Extroverted Sensing. They do not possess the strength of Fighters or the magical abilities of the Wizard and yet they are able to handle themselves in the vast majority of situations based solely upon their own wit and perception. A Rogue is entirely immersed in the moment and through the use of their senses, they come to understand their environment and manipulate it to their advantage. This ability does not begin and end with the physical environment, however, for the Rogue is also exceptionally adept at reading other people and noticing consistencies within behaviour patterns, as well as being able to monitor such things within themselves, giving them a cunning edge when it comes to deception. Though they rely on impulse and their senses, Rogues retain a strong analytic ability, able to focus on the details of a situation and how the details relate to the bigger picture. Through this Introverted Thinking function, the Rogue is able to formulate plans of action, though they do ultimately rely on their senses and thus their plans can change very quickly. The feelings of a rogue are often used for their own pleasure and, whilst this does not rule out their having deep relationships with others, the typical rogue is far more interested in hedonism and pleasure, this being due to their fluency in sensation. They are also able to use emotions in a manipulative manner, giving them the ability to influence others through their feelings. Rogues are, however, often not fluent with sincere feeling and thus this can be their undoing. The Rogue also retains the ability to deal with abstract concepts and ideas, which can help them in producing original ideas. Ultimately, however, they are more acquainted with the actual than the potential.

Bard by Clint Cearly
Image posted by Swords and Sorcerers

ESFP (The Performer) - The Bard

A type associated with those who live life to the full and who often see life as a constant celebration, it is appropriate to consider the Bard to be of the Performer type. The Bard is primarily focused on the here and now and this means that they can often become lost in their own performances, able to inhabit the music in a very immersive manner. They focus upon allowing others to share in their own experiences, and experience is fundamentally important for the Bard, for they consistently seek out that which they have not yet experienced and dream of feeling something truly novel. The Bard needs to experience new things, need to experience the now, for this is exactly how they find the material for their next composition. Bards are also exceptionally emotional, though they often struggle to express their feelings beyond their performances, which take solitude and introspection to organise and prepare for. A Bard will deal with their emotions in private, thus demonstrating Introverted Feeling, though this does not prevent them from expressing themselves indirectly, through their work. Bards are often viewed as being deeply poetic types, the kind of person one might be able to take advantage of and this can often be the case, though they do possess the ability to ward off such manipulations through transforming their inner expressions into a plan of action, though this is ability is not as strong as they might like. Finally, Bards deal with some complicated ideas within their works and they thus possess the ability to look out into the expanse of possibilities and observe the connections between various concepts. However, they are ultimately devoted to expression and thus often do not seek to develop this ability. 


I know this entry has been exceedingly long, so huge thanks for reading!

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