The 25 Types of Fantasy Role-Players


Having just started up gaming again after a 5-year hiatus, I've learned two things in just three weeks. First, 3rd Edition isn't as bad as some people say, nor is it as good as some people say. It's as good or as bad as you make it. And secondly, it's the people you game with who make the game as good or as bad as it can get. With that in mind, it seemed appropriate to share this humorous email I got with the Gamegrene readers.

By now, most gamers are familiar with the traditional four types of players: The Real Man, The Real Roleplayer, The Loonie, and The Munchkin. Obviously, the creation of the Four Types is meant to be a joke, as well as a gross oversimplification, but even so, it's time we had a much more detailed oversimplification. So here, without further ado, is the Groening-style "FRP Is One of the Nine Hells" summary (originally by William Chase Bynum):

1. The Real Man - "Hot Diggity!! Gnoll outpost at twelve o'clock!! CHAAAAAAAARGE!!!"

2. The Real Roleplayer - "Don't start yet!! I need my two minutes to get properly into character."

3. The Loonie - "I sheathe my longsword and kiss the ogre on the lips."

4. The Munchkin - "Five arch-devils and two demigods? That's ALL?! I guess I'll only need to use six of my rings for this encounter."

5. The Coward - "Yikes! Three kobolds!! Retreat! Retreat!"

6. The Troublemaker - "Just before the Mayor gives his speech to the town, I cast 'command - vomit' on him."

7. The Novice - "I just rolled a 2 on my 'to hit' roll. Did I want high or low?"

8. The Tactician - "The archer will move silently into position behind the podium, carefully aiming at the sergeant. The mage will remain behind the door in preparation of a 'sleep' spell which will be centered at the table around which are the bulk of the guards. Meanwhile, the fighter and I . . ."

9. The Quiet Type - "I dunno . . . I lob off another arrow at the monster this round, I guess."

10. The Punster - "You know how many clerics it takes to fix a light bulb? One to cast 'cure light'."

11. The PC Infighter - "Since Ruth's been such a twit, I hit her in the face with my flail while she's casting her 'find familiar' spell."

12. Joe I-Got-the-Rules-Down-Pat - "No, if you look in the DMG, page 87, paragraph 5, you'll find this spell won't affect griffons."

13. The Whiner - "Three points?! I take THREE POINTS OF DAMAGE!?! Frank, what the hell kind of grudge do you have against me?"

14. The Bully - "Are you sure I don't make my saving throw? Are you ABSOLUTELY sure? Do you want to keep your nose the way it is, Lou?"

15. Mr. Greedy - "So it's not evil? And it's not attacking? So what! I WANT THAT XP!!!!"

16. The Cheater - "I roll an... 18! It hits!" [Quickly grabs dice.]

17. The Chastiser - "And you DIDN'T SEE THAT TRAP COMING? Hahahaha!! Just how long did you say you've been playing this game?"

18. The Kamikaze Guy - "I jump off our perch, taking careful aim to land dead center on the hobgoblin patrol. Just before I hit the ground, though, I set off the "fire trap' on all my nine flasks of oil."

19. The Good Roller - "Oh, looky here. An 03 on percentile dice. If that door was trapped, I just found something."

20. The Bad Roller - "Oh, damn it all!! *Another* critical fumble!!"

21. The Braggart - "The thought of you attacking me isn't even interesting. I could get off a 'sleep' spell and slit your unconscious throat before you even get your longsword out of its sheath."

22. The Reminiscer - "Say, y'know, this is like the time our party thief spent twenty minutes trying to lock-pick an unlocked door."

23. Goody Two-Shoes - "Wait a minute. Even if they are orcs, we just can't kill them when they're asleep and can't defend themselves."

24. The Overoptimistic Daydreamer - "After we get through this campaign, and have gained about nine, ten levels, I'm going to buy me the finest battle axe +3 money can buy."

25. Short-Attention-Span Man - "Hmmm? What? Are we attacking now?"

ROFL. Yeah, it's true. I just started GMing again after about 6 years out of it, and I'm reminded every day how true this stuff is.

How very true.

Short Attention Span Ma..what was this about, again?

My dear lord... how very true. And I've run campaigns with all of 'em... You wanna know what's a good time, get a Goody and a Greedy in the same campaign, led by a Real Man...

26. The Perverse Wanderer

"I ignore the dark stairs going down and head for the next town. I ignore the mysterious stranger and talk to the innkeeper. Instead of staying at the inn, I save my gold pieces by sleeping outside the town and using my hunting proficiency to trap wild animals to eat. Should I roll percentile dice to see what I trap?"

27. The Skeptic Philosopher
"Don't shoot any arrows or waste any of our spells or magical items. Who knows if this ogre is real or fake? It could be a xvart with a magic ring? Why would an adventure begin with an encounter as difficult as this? It could be an illusion conjured by an evil mage too weak to capture his own guards? Here he comes, but isn't he moving un-ogrelike? Maybe it's...aaaaaaahhhhhhkkkkkkkkkk!"

28 The Wannabe
"I thrust my sword into the belly of the manticore!"
"I slash open the foul wizards stomach!"

29. The Shameless Bookworm
"I want my character's name to either be Elric or Riverwind. He shall be a fighter of limited intelligence and have a sickly twin brother who is a mage. His entire motivation for adventuring is to find the men responsible for temporarily dividing the world into its base elements and imprisoning the people of his village in a great labyrinth. Did I mention he is a dragon reborn?"

28 Wannabe(revised, FYI: Don't put any remarks in lesser than/greater than symbols)
"I thrust my sword into the belly of the manticore!" (all the while, the gamer clumsily thrusts his meaty (or bony) fist into an uncapped bottle of Red Cream Soda)
quot;I slash open the foul wizard's stomach!" (At this point, the gamer slashes pens, paper, and an open bag of M&M's onto the floor)

The Mule: Regardless of how the DM wants them to react, regardless of all urging of other members of the campaign in and out of character, insists on doing things their own way, that accomplishes nothing and irritates everyone.

I played in a game at Gen Con last year in which our DM was a combination between the Chastiser and Braggart. It was terrible. It will be a while before I give the D&D Open another try.

The Scapegoat:
He's already dead? Well, I'll cast it at Paul's fighter instead, I want to see what the spell does.

At cons, I'm the Kamikaze guy. Otherwise I'm a cross between the Tactician and the Bad Roller (not a good combo -- set up the carefully-orchestrated plan and then pooch it all with bad rolls)

Hi guys. I've been GMing a MERP campaigh now for 12 years straight and I've learned that all rolepalyers basically fall into one of two categories. They play to...
a. do that which they can't do physically.
b. do that which they would be thrown in jail for!

Hmm... you've got me pegged Riker, but I fit both those generalizations ;)

What about

30) the Goth: They will spend hours telling you about the futility of it all, and that roleplaying is really the only artform worth anything.

31) Rules Lawyer: A variation on the player who knows all the rules. This one knows all the rules and wants to discuss the impliations of the wording as they apply to their actions. The only tolerable one is the rules lawyer that also reminds the GM of rules they forgot.. even to the player's detriment.

32) Rules Rapist: A power gamer extreme, with a rule lawyer's ability.

33) Organizer: They must be in charge, or if they are not in charge, they must be in a position that allows them to keep things together and moving.

34) Genre Fiend: No, No! It should be done this way or not at all! Haven't you read (insert source material). Always bogging play down.. not with roleplay or rules discussions, but with genre discussions.

35) The Expert: Nothing is worse than playing a game with someone who seems to have a great deal of knowledge releated to some aspect of the game. Usually a weapons expert, but sometimes historical experts can be just as difficult.

Ah yes. I love it when engineering-minded players try to break the rules by citing physics. There was a two-hour-long debate over the range increment rules as they applied to archers above and below the target. Which leads me to

36) Anachronist: Spends several hours trying to convince the GM to let his PC invent gunpowder, the printing press, the geodesic dome, or any other marvel of the modern world, often citing his high Intelligence score as an excuse. Also, the player in a modern or sci-fi game who carries around a sword and wonders if there is anything like magic in this game so his character can get it. They prefer Shadowrun to Cyberpunk, for example.

37) The Chimera (aka the "Pizza with all the toppings"): "So let's get this straight. You're a half-elven, half-dwarven, half-orcish vampiric cyborg werewolf immortal who carries a +5 vorpal silver flaming lightsaber and pilots a mecha." "Yeah, but you forgot about my psionic powers."

38) The Eternal Newbie (variant on number 7): "OK, I forgot how to generate a character. Remind me." "You've been gaming with us for six months now, and you don't know how to roll up a character?" "I just want to be sure I do it right. OK, so how many 20-siders do I roll for Strength?"

Mu style: The Wisecracker - Regardless of the genre of the game, makes offhand pop-culture references, quotes from obscure songs, etc.

Imagine a wannabe Dennis Miller combined with Spider-Man and you've got the Wiseacre. Utterly refuses to take the game seriously at all, even if it's his own.

Der Kommissar - player trusted enough by everyone to divide treasure equally: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs".

The Convieniently Ignorant (Eternal Newbie Variant): "I'll wear the helmet, and just remove it to cast spells." (one hour later)

"I didn't know Mentalists couldn't wear helmets! This game is really complex, I don't understand it fully"

(What GM should've said):"You've been playing in THIS EXACT CAMPAIGN for upwards of EIGHT YEARS. Take a -60 and suck it down!"

What about the 25 types of GM's? Many are the same, but there are certainly variations that you just don't get with players. Like the schizofrenic, who can't remember what the players did last time you played. Or the control freak who won't let the players see the dice. Or the "raining spaghetti" type (that tends to be me) who says something completely ridiculous when he/she runs out of ideas. Whaddaya think? Or is there one of these and I missed it?

Quoth Moonhunter:
31) Rules Lawyer: A variation on the player who knows all the rules. This one knows all the rules and wants to discuss the impliations of the wording as they apply to their actions. The only tolerable one is the rules lawyer that also reminds the GM of rules they forgot.. even to the player's detriment.

Yep, that is me. I am the GM's favorite resource, although the other players often plot to kill me [it's okay, it just lets me try out my next character idea].

Bwa ha ha h aha

Thanks for the laughs, I'll run a survey within my 2 groups.

Moon Hunter's and Tommyboy's suggestions are definit add-on to this hillarious list.

I myself am a tactician cursed with bad die rolls, man that it pisses me off because I drag the others down with me.


Here are some GM types I could think of right off the bat [Please, forgive any similarities if present]:

+The Spacially Unaware Dungeon Master-A GM that doesn't understand basic concepts of three-dimensional dungeon architecture, and slaps a cheesy pitfalls that would drop to a lower room if a person overlapped the map of the floor beneath...and the floor the PCs were on. Or they make crazy room shapes without any regard for reason or true multiversal physics (i.e. 200' x 200' room with a uniform 8' ceiling...and not a single column for support and confirmed 'no magic' in the area.) BTW, when you call this DM on these seeming errors, you get: Ancient Dwarven architecture secrets have been lost for millenia...or it's an extradimensional space...yeah...

+The Parable Master- Attempts to teach practical lessons and/or influence player's lives in his/her campaign in hopes that the "lessons" bleed over into this reality...and the players pick up on the sometimes not so subtle hints. (i.e. When there are people at the table with drug problems, and the GM runs an adventure to rescue someone of royalty from their addiction by finding an antidote and slaying the evil lotus dealer)

+The On the Fly DM (Me) - A DM that literally creates a world as the PCs travel and interact with it...keeping notes as *they* go about their business and create situations and meet NPCs. The world is like an open-source holodeck, where a creative DM with inspiration can truly stretch out and develop a complex world...If the DM is feeling tired or burnt, the world that all the players reside in (and have fallen in love with) suffers on many levels...Which leads to

+Manic Depressive DM- Almost entirely self-explanatory. One minute, you're in a town of peace loving folk, then next-- an army of 23 wereboars is slicing babies heads off in the center of town, right underneath the PC's hotel window. Never a dull moment for very long, but the rollercoaster never..ever.. stops.

+The Mega Mystery Man- A GM with a plot so Epic and huge, that even they don't know the hell is going on.

+The Isolationist- A GM that attempts to hermetically seal off the world from the gaming area and PCs. They go to great lengths to create a mood...a bubble of altered reality in the playing environment. Often times, players need to ask to go to the bathroom.

+Too Tidy DM (Obsessive)- Any and all loose ends in the storyline must be attended to. Half the night is spent dealing with trivial matters not related to adventure. Yay! A whole night of buying gear! Often times, the players approach 1:1 ratio (Real time:Game time) with everything.

Sicko GM - (Sometimes Me) Exceptionally graphic, accurate detail of dynamic combat sequences. By the time combat with various underworld creatures is through, the description is enough to make you want to hurl you salt and vinegar chips and soda on the table. This GM can make two hit points of damage sound horrible. (i.e. GM:"Hot, sticky, black-red blood spurts and pulses from the sweaty gnoll chieftan's severed fingers and splashes across your chest and arms. He is raising his grimy ogre's double axe with his remaining hand and he looks like he'll be trying to hack at your exposed face this round. Roll a Con check. The sickly bitter smell of coppery gnoll blood spatter has you all choked up during this round of combat.")//Ok, maybe I am a Sicko.//

+Crime Scene GM -- Every detail, down to the fingerprints on a door knob is disucssed, whether the players care to hear it or not. PCs don't know where to focus, and the DM spends a grueling long and equal time describing everything like the whole lot of PCs have an 18 wis, 18 int.

+Drunk GM --Had too much to drink before the game. Hilarity or anger usually ensues.

+Unprepared GM -- Should be shot at dawn.

+Mediorce GM -- PCs find themselves second guessing the GM's skills instead of playing the game. PCs begin to question whether they would make better GMs, yet they are all lazy players with no ambition to GM. Usually a vicious symbiotic relationship exists in order to create a Mediorce GM. Mediorce GMLazy but better PC

+Special Interest GM-- Always has themes, affections (certain animals, vampires, etc), or their own specialty of knowledge at the forefront of the game.

+Preface Reader GM --Much like the On the Fly GM, this GM read the preface to the 1st ed DMG where it said something to the effect of, "This is just a guideline ...a sourcebook... feel free to do things as you want to." Rules are dramatically different...often leading to the formation of

+Free Thinking GM.. This GM stresses the story, not the mechanics of a game. The PCs serves to help narrate the "story" through their actions and involvement with NPCs. Few fights have more than four or five rolls to determine the outcome. Often times, the GM simply narrates the play by play on the basis of one or two dice rolls and a few questions about tactics or intent of the PCs before the fight.

+Thief GM --Everyone must submit their PC sheets to the GM. PCs find themselves nickel and dimed to death. The GM arbitrarily takes items off their inventory, claiming some sort of thievery was at work.

+Punctual GM--gets pissed when players "no show" or show up late. May become a

+Psychotic GM-- Crazy Mofo who should never be a GM, yet somehow is sitting at the head of the table, directing the flow of thought and conversation of more sane people acting as players. PCs usually play out of fear or the GM *and* pleasure for the game.

+My whole world is RPGs GM - Pale skin, needs to get outside and breathe more fresh air. Needs a date. Needs to stop talking in game terms when not at a game. But ironically, this type of GM is so good at what he does, the PCs will attempt to foil any attempt the GM has at becoming something more than an awesome GM.
See "Selfish, enabling PCs"

Man...I could go on and on now that I've gotten started. Thanks a bunch Toshi...Whew...bedtime...

G'nite all.

One more pc

The minion horde pc: Variation of the tactician. "My summoned horde of bats goes for the three zombies at the left, my familiar lion eats the vampire, and my whale titan squashes the entire horde of skeletons. No since I defeated the undead patrol SINGLEHANDEDLY, I get all the treasure treasure!!!"

+ Master Thespian – A player whose character’s role-playing experience demands large concessions from the rest of the party or DM. Ie – a Joan of Arc character who is assured victory regardless of odds. A wheelchair bound character among a bunch of combat PCs.

+ Stoned GM – Believes his creativity becomes sublime, but really, he just loses his math ability, and becomes incoherent.

+ Envelope Pusher – If the hook says “start here”, he goes somewhere else. 10 new races and character classes in the core book? Hmm, what’s in the supplements? Can I be a lich?

I've been a "Free-Thinking" DM once or twice-- simply because several of my players suddenly forgot how to play (because of "liquid nourishment" or some such) and I didn't feel like the others should be chastized for it. I've also been the Psychotic- especially if anyone dares to be a munchkin.
More often I am the:
Worldmeister DM --(what happens when an Envelope Pusher becomes DM)- I create my own world for campaign- type up the rule deviations I've made and hand them to my players to keep in their folders. I like it when the PC's try something I didn't plan on. It keeps me on my toes.

Boy the "open-source holodeck" reference in the middle of a D&D discussion on a web board. I really AM among nerds here.

You forgot The Digresionist (Both PC and GM archtype): Pays full attention to the game but is continuously starting conversatiopns totally irrelivent to the game. Myself and all my players are Digressionists. It is for that reason that the game store I am opening is called Digressions Inc. The Digressionist can and usually will be mixed with another archtype.

Atribeapart said- "I like it when the PC's try something I didn't plan on. It keeps me on my toes."

I don't think you quite understood the scope of what I was saying. Like if the adventure hook puts the players at the mouth of a cave, and they decide to go immediately to another continent, and become dishwashers in a tavern or something.

I am the consumate "Free Thinker". If it's not on the fly, or off the top of my head, I needed three days to write everything down(that includes weather, geo-political hot spots, animal migration patterns...
Well, you get the picture. That's when I become the greatest type of GM there is: The "Steven Spielberger"