How To Get the Most Out of Dungeons & Dragons With Personality Psychology
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How To Get the Most Out of Dungeons & Dragons With Personality Psychology

Dungeons and Dragons, the tabletop game that inspired the RPG industry as well as countless books, movies, and shows, is meant to be played orally in the imaginations of you and your friends. In this game, the personalities and play-styles of your characters are key to the game’s enjoyment.

A technique to quickly design such characters, used by many veteran authors, screenwriters, and yes, even Dungeon Masters, is to utilize pre-existing personality archetypes based on the psychology framework commonly known as the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, Jungian Typology, and the 16 Types. You can read here to learn more about this psychology and to discover your personality type.

What many don’t realize is that, in D&D, you can enhance a game by applying this psychology directly to yourself and the actual players in the game. In this article, we explore the races and classes people with similar personalities to you enjoy playing most, as well as the ways to Dungeon Master a game to maximize its enjoyment for your players.

 

Four Categories of Players


Explorers

People who are are highly practical and spend a lot of their time in their senses are known as Explorers. As a Dungeon Master for this down-to-earth type, you should expect them to remember small details like retrieving a rope, using a potion when it’s needed most, and so on, and to also reward them accordingly. Keep them in situations where they can succeed in the allocation of limited resources, such as rations and arrows, and require of them keen observations and quick thinking. As survivalists, they will seek self-preservation over good and evil. Explorer types are known to be highly into character design aesthetics, putting time and effort into the creation process while also describing everything their character does in all of its gore and glory. Make them happy by bringing to life a vivid and detailed world in similar terms.
     
Preferred Races & Classes
Since Explorers relish immersing in their senses and want to be prepared at any moment, they are often seen playing as the following:


ESTP – The Dynamic Maverick

Races: Half-orc, Goliath, Human, Dwarf

Classes: Barbarian, Monk, Fighter


ISTP – Capable Pragmatist

Races: Gnome, Human, Dwarf, Kenku

Classes: Ranger, Fighter, Rogue


ESFP – Enthusiastic Improviser

Races: Elf, Human, Tiefling, Tabaxi

Classes: Bard, Rogue, Barbarian


ISFP – Sensuous Protector

Races: Elf, Halfling, Gnome, Tabaxi

Classes: Rogue, Ranger, Monk

 

Guardians

Ready to protect, Guardians are known to be lawful, virtuous, and traditional. Play with themes of law and justice, chaos versus order, tribe vs the greater good, and tradition versus progress to maximize their fun. Do make sure there are always clear goals though. You can make things interesting by bringing in divine beings while fighting for the holy missions of gods, serving as their hands of judgment and always ready to take an ultimate sacrifice for the well-being of the team. Every DM should know that they draw lessons and inspiration from familiar tropes as starting points, so begin campaigns and sessions in more vanilla ways before descending deeper into the occult. Beware that this type has a strong memory for details, so use consistency in your game mechanics, plot, characters, and world design.

Preferred Races & Classes
Since Guardians are a shield of any party, they are most frequently seen playing one of the following:

ESTJ – Efficient Driver

Races: Aasimar, Triton, Human, Hobgoblin

Classes: Paladin, Fighter, Monk


ISTJ – Responsible Executor

Races: Aasimar, Triton, Human, Dwarf

Classes: Paladin, Fighter, Monk


ESFJ – The Committed Altruist

Races: Aasimar, Human, Dragonborn, Dwarf

Classes: Bard, Cleric, Paladin


ISFJ – Compassionate Steward

Races: Aasimar, Human, Merfolk, Halfling

Classes: Cleric, Paladin, Monk

 

Diplomats

These players enjoy abstract puzzles, especially with personal and large-scale moral implications; that’s why they are known as the Diplomats. They will tell you the most important part of an adventure is the mission. These players want to feel like their cause is super important and can be counted on to help a bunch of people along the way, so make sure to place many opportunities for this into your game and show gratitude for their help. They will come alive most in non-linear plots with a lot of roleplaying and unpredictable tangents. As a game master – don’t expect them to take as many harsh and cruel actions, since they will often solve a problem with minimal to no fighting, or utilize their powerful magic or guerilla tactics to come up with unexpected solutions. They are as likely to feed and befriend those wolves in the forest, as slay them.

Preferred Races & Classes

Since Diplomats like to have many ways of overcoming obstacles besides direct conflict, they are most frequently seen playing one of the following:

ENFJ – Engaging Mobilizer

Races: Half-elf, Dragonborn, Human, Tiefling

Classes: Bard, Cleric, Fighter


INFJ – Insightful Supporter

Races: Half-elf, Elf, Gnome, Merfolk

Classes: Bard, Cleric, Wizard


ENFP – Impassioned Evangelist

Races: Elf, Tabaxi, Anything but Human

Classes: Bard, Druid, Sorcerer


INFP – Inspired Idealist

Races: Human, Elf, Genasi, Drow

Classes: Rogue, Druid, Cleric

 

Rationals

Don’t be afraid to get technical if you are playing with Rationals, because they definitely will. Representatives of this group adore having their limits pushed with puzzles and encounters, just make sure no two are the same. They love strategically combining things, so give them a lot of utility they can use. Let them taste extreme levels of power, but only as a reward for being clever. Even though they may forget to do these things in real life, streamline the game by assuming they will do potentially obvious actions like refilling water at a stream. This part of D&D isn’t fun for them unless you explicitly push it to an extreme. Rationals may fight for either good or bad, without pledging too much of an allegiance to any side of the conflict, so keep an open and flexible mind when preparing your sessions.

Preferred Races & Classes

Since Rationals delight in designing powerful, but fragile, characters with a lot of utility, they are frequently seen playing one of the following:

ENTP – Innovative Explorer

Races: Halfling, Human, Gnome, Tiefling

Classes: Fighter, Wizard, Sorcerer


INTP – The Expansive Analyzer

Races: Kenku, Drow, Human, Elf

Classes: Warlock, Wizard, Rogue


ENTJ – Strategic Director

Races: Dragonborn, Human, Half-elf, Goliath

Classes: Bard, Fighter, Paladin


INTJ – The Visionary Mastermind

Races: Human, Elf, Tiefling, Drow

Classes: Wizard, Warlock, Sorcerer


Playing Outside the Box

Despite all these tendencies, for many players the beauty of roleplaying games is to try new perspectives and ways of thinking. As such, you may very well enjoy playing races and classes quite the opposite of your personality — and that’s great! Living life as an alternative version of yourself in a vibrant fantasy, or as a tool of exploring new sides to yourself and pushing the flexibility of your thinking, are both great ways to enjoy D&D and other roleplaying games.

Remember while playing that you are in a tribe, and to appreciate the diversity and new experiences that different people bring to the table. An Explorer may bring more vivid imagery and immersion to the game, a Guardian may sacrifice themselves for you in a sentimentally beautiful way, a Diplomat may deliver a speech so rousing that a skill check isn’t even needed, and a Rationalist may give you tips to get the most out of your equipment and abilities to survive the toughest situations.

If you are looking to create an awesome party and find teammates for your upcoming D&D adventures – you can find your tribe at GameTree

Written by GameTree Team in April 26, 2018 / 5093 Wiews