Myers-Briggs RPG: The Four Temperaments

It’s Tabletop Tuesday again, and this time we are going to talk a little bit more in depth about the game’s fantasy world; specifically, the class system. If you recently joined Adventure Rules and aren’t familiar with the Myers-Briggs RPG I am developing, you might want to read this post and this one before proceeding.

TL;DR – I’m designing an original tabletop based on Myers-Briggs personality types. There’s a real world and a dream world. In the real world, everyone plays one character. In the dream world, people have different characters.

Now that everyone is up to speed, allow me to familiarize you with the Four Temperaments. The Four Temperaments as an idea were conceived by David Keirsey, who was working off of Katherine Briggs and Isabel Myers and their ideas, who were working off of Carl Jung – the psychology that inspired this tabletop is really deep and fascinating. Anyway, Keirsey observed that particular combinations of personality preferences seemed to form personalities that had some features in common. These combinations he called “temperaments,” and the four temperaments are Guardian, Artisan, Idealist, and Rational.

Guardians are loyal and hardworking people who represent order and organization. They are skilled managers of money, goods, and people, using their resources wisely in every situation. They have trouble acting spontaneously, but when the are prepared in advance their preparation leads them to excel.

Artisans are risk-takers who love to suck the marrow out of life. They are always on the hunt for sensory stimulation and doing the same thing over and over again bores them. Good at whatever “art” they apply themselves to, artisans always jump in with both hands and are skilled at using tools to accomplish their goals.

Idealists are spiritually driven and want to achieve harmony for themselves and for other people. As such, they dislike conflict and will go to whatever lengths either to diffuse or avoid it. Their empathy gives them a strong understanding of other people and idealists use this ability to help everyone achieve their best self.

Rationals are intellectuals who are able to easily identify the abstract systems that organize the world. Their drive to find these systems makes them observant and skeptical. While they may not always trust authority or play by the rules, rationals are excellent at making discoveries and putting puzzle pieces together.

These four temperaments will be the basis for the class system in Myers-Briggs RPG. That’s not to say there will only be four classes – there are sixteen personality types total and I intend to use every one of them. However, the four temperaments will represent the four main strategies that characters will rely on: organized preparation, spontaneous action, harmonious cooperation, and skeptical observation. Depending on which temperament your character falls under, he or she will have abilities that best reflect the temperament’s natural skills.

Each temperament has two of the four preferences decided for it. Guardians are Sensing Judgers while Artisan are Sensing Perceivers. Idealists are Intuitive Feelers while Rationals are Intuitive Thinkers. This means that any given member of a temperament has two preferences that can be varied and different. Each temperament has four different personalities within it, and these personalities will be the actual classes of the game. Every class will operate differently and possess different supporting abilities to compliment the main abilities of their temperament.

Let’s take the Idealist temperament, for example. There four types of Idealists are the Teacher (ENFJ), the Counselor (INFJ), the Champion (ENFP), and the Healer (INFP). As Idealists, every one of these classes is given to harmony and cooperation. Yet Teachers are most effective at helping other people achieve their best selves, Counselors are the most insightful, Champions the most action-oriented, and Healers the best at ending conflict. These differences may seem mild, but this subtlety still leaves plenty of room to differentiate between classes. Characters within the same temperament will likely begin the game with very similar abilities, but as time goes on and they level up they will become more and more unique. High-level members of the same temperament will look very different from one another.

Because each temperament is more given to certain attributes, some will inherently be better than others at certain tasks. This is typical of any class system, and like most tabletops, player in Myers-Briggs RPG will likely want a balanced group consisting of members from each temperament. Not having a Guardian would be a huge disadvantage when preparing the party for a journey, but not having an Artisan would be a problem when trying to improvise the solution to a surprise problem.

Now there’s another layer I’d like to add as well: jobs. See, each character won’t just have the personality type they represent – they’ll also have the literal job that they do. This adds another layer of uniqueness and customization, because two characters can have the same job but do that job in different ways because of their class. For example, take the soldier job – someone whose role is primarily focused on combat. How would the Healer (described above) be a soldier compared to someone of the Promoter class (an Artisan type)? A Healer soldier would be primarily motivated by peace, and as such more likely to show mercy and to be fighting for a cause. A Promoter is more motivated by experiencing new things; they love being close to danger and also love having the finer things in life. As such, a Promoter is more likely to take wild risks during combat and to fight for money.

Now this may sound like it would be confusing to a new player – having to choose from a set of jobs while also having to choose from a set of classes, and your job working differently based on which class you choose, and which thing is your personality again, job or class, no one really knows. Right now I’m still in the planning phase. I intend to playtest all of this and see exactly how it works in play. Many of these features are likely to be eliminated or completely changed by the end of the project – for now, I’m just spitballing my ideas and giving you adventurers some insight into my creative process.

I hope you enjoyed this insight and that you’re excited to hear more about the Myers-Briggs RPG as the project continues forward. Your support is key in meeting our goal of finishing this tabletop by the end of the year, so thank you so much for reading!

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