Getting Personal 2: Archetypal Stereotypes
In my previous column I proposed a new system to describe characters via pairings of well-known archetypes. In this column, I explain how to interpret those pairings. If you have not read the first column you will probably not understand this one. Then again, maybe you won't understand it anyway. It's pretty complicated. Are you sure you're ready for this?
Pirate vs Ninja
The four Jungian pairings map to my pairings as follows:
|Jungian Pairings||My Pairings|
|[S]ensing vs I[N]tuitive||[P]irate vs [N]inja|
|[T]hinking vs [F]eeling||[R]obot vs [M]onkey|
|[P]erceiving vs [J]udging||Pun[K] vs [Z]ombie|
|[E]xtroverted vs [I]ntroverted||[C]lown vs Cow[B]oy|
|Card Suit||Tarot Suit||Element|
|Star Wars||Luke||Obi-Wan||Leia||Han Solo|
|Wizard of Oz||Woodsman||Scarecrow||Dorothy||Lion|
|Buffy The Vampire Slayer||Willow||Giles||Buffy||Xander|
|Lord of the Rings||Aragorn||Gandalf||Gimli||Legolas|
"But wait," you say. "Why do Wizards align with Swords, and why do Rogues align with Wands?" To which I reply: "Don't think of them as Wands, think of them as Clubs, like the sort you'd get mugged with by a Highwayman." "And what about the Sword?" you ask? "Gandalf," I reply. "Glamdring."
"Ah," you say.
Of course, at some point this gets ridiculous and things stop aligning, so I will stop there and move off in a different direction after one final match-up. Remember those pairs of letters I mentioned earlier? NM, NR and such? Here's how those map.
Taking the lead from the Keirsey-Bates system, this gives us not just a top-level Pirate vs Ninja pairing, but it also gives us four broad categories to place characters in. Since (as explained earlier) RPG players are familiar with four-category systems for defining characters, it only seems natural to align these four groups in similar ways.
Here are my suggestions for those four categories, along with what they mean, and some keywords that might describe your character's outlook on life.
Ninja Monkeys (NM**) aka Healers
Ninja Monkeys are emotionally driven, interested in healing, harmony and happiness in themselves and others. They are on a constant search for themselves, and for a sense of peace and union with their community at large, and as such they place a great value on relationships with others. They desire to inspire, and feel that they need to live a life that is significant in some way. While they generally hate that which is seen as evil, they often overlook it to focus on the good and redeemable in others.
Keywords: Healer, altruist, mystic, nurturer, empathy, benevolent, romantic, sagacious, humane, sympathetic, forgiving, insightful, mentor, friendly, idealistic, unity, ethics, morality, diversity, clarity, cooperation, diplomacy, dreamer, religious, inspired, ethical, perfectionist, choleric, human
Ninja Robots (NR**) aka Wizards
Ninja Robots are "pinball wizards," remote and distant emotionally, yet focused on the task at hand. They are rarely just competent at what they specialize in, preferring to become an expert at one particular thing, and are very demanding of themselves (and others) when it comes to that pursuit. Though not necessarily leaders, they are often drivers (literally or figuratively), and push themselves and others to accomplish goals and uncover truths. They prefer logic to emotion even in their interactions with others, and hate "small talk," preferring not to state the obvious or engage in meaningless banter.
Keywords: Visionary, architect, perfectionist, intuitive, ingenious, skeptical, abstract, pragmatic, practical, autonomous, calm, reasoned, knowledgeable, intelligent, scientific, phlegmatic, logical, detached, impassive, Vulcan, Promethean, elvish, sylphlike, airy
Pirate Zombies (P*Z*) aka Warriors
Pirate Zombies are not necessarily militant, but many of these warriors would be at home in the military, which like them is focused on service, duty, responsibility, tradition, hierarchy and order, as well as a desire to protect that which one holds dear -- be that an ideal, an individual or a way of life. They are sensory-driven and judge-like in their decision-making, focusing on real-world, practical details and the way things "ought to be done". They are known as stable, solid, dependable individuals who rarely change course and who never give up on tradition. They enjoy being a part of groups, whether they are leading or following. In the real world, they are generally the most numerous, and are often seen to be the people who make the world run. They get things done.
Keywords: Judgment, industry, tradition, economy, schedule, duty, honor, respect, authority, security, proper, organization, stability, routine, sense, detail, hard-working, responsible, community, rules, protocol, perseverance, guardian, morality, diligence, serious, dwarvish, gnomish, earth, pentacles, melancholy
Pirate Punks (P*K*) aka Rogues
Pirate Punks are roguish, swashbuckling and reckless, roaming the seven seas (literal or figurative) in search of whatever fulfills their current impulses. Freedom and spontaneity are their watchwords, and they love nothing more than to have fun, how they want, and when they want. All actions are driven to fulfill their current needs, though this can at times make them well-suited for activities and careers that require impulsive action (for example, a firefighter). They are interested in the artistic and the aesthetic, though their own interpretations of beauty may not always be obvious, static, or in line with the rest of society.
Keywords: Changeable, practical, optimistic, excitable, easygoing, sensitive, manic, tactical, perceptive, impulsive, quick, talented, aesthetic, skillful, stimulated, charismatic, adventurous, courageous, fiery, hobbitlike, Dionysian, hedonism, sanguine
We're Not Done Yet
So why do we refer to these categories as "Pirate Punks" and "Ninja Robots" instead of "Rogues" and "Wizards"? Precisely because role-players have gotten so used to the latter terms that they have strong associations with them. Describing a character as Wizardlike conjures up notions of hats and staves, but referring to one as a Ninja Robot removes that layer of familiarity. By using the more abstract (though instantly recognizable) archetypes, we avoid this potential muddle.
Obviously, those asterisks in the titles above indicate left-out letters. If we stick those letters back in, we get not four categories, but a total of 16 subcategories. Due to length, these will be covered in the next two installments of this column. Stick with me! The next column can be found right here.