As I mentioned in a blog post a couple weeks ago, one of my big projects for my first semester of grad school is a paper that’s currently titled “A Rhetorical Analysis of the Literature Surrounding the Intersection of Role-Playing Games, Race, and Identity.” Though this project had nothing to do with personality type, any time I start thinking about questions of identity I also start thinking about how someone’s Myers-Briggs® type might play a role.
One of the great things about role-playing games (RPGs) is that players get to act-out different types of identities that we can’t or won’t explore in the real-world. The shy intellectual human can play as a charming, live-in-the-moment elf bard. The clumsy, bubbly person who attracts attention just by walking into a room can slip into the character of a sneaky gnome rogue. In real-life when making game-play decisions, people often choose characters who are very different from themselves. For purposes of this post, though, I’d like to think about what type of character the different Myers-Briggs® types might be if class was based on personality traits.
While this isn’t a particularly significant topic in relation to personal growth, I think it’s fun to write these sort of pop-culture Myers-Briggs® posts every once in a while. The stereotypes for RPG classes are an oversimplification of personality traits, of course, so let’s also keep in mind that there’s a lot of individual variation within types in real life and not everyone will identify with the broad generalizations in this post.
For those not all that familiar with RPG games, you can think of classes sort of like professions, or descriptions of a character’s particular skill set. They typically involve fantasy elements, though there are also plenty of RPGs that take place in a science fiction setting or alternate versions of our own world. I’ll be drawing from two lists of common character classes for this post that aren’t specific to any one game: “Standard RPG Classes and Characters” from Gameaboo and “Fantasy Character Classes” from TV Tropes.
ENFJ – Mage
ENFJs are well-known for being a type that makes great leaders and counselors. Many choose real-life careers like teacher, coach, or pastor. The ENFJs I know also seem to be good at just about anything they put their minds to, and they can fit in with any group they want. I chose the Mage class for them because there are so many subclasses within it–including priest, cleric, and enchanter–that could fit ENFJ’s unique blend of people-loving extrovert and big-picture-thinking intuitive.
ENTJ – Wizard
For most RPGs, the wizard class refers to people who’ve learned their powers through academic study and discipline. They didn’t just stumble into or inherit their class–they deliberately chose a goal and worked hard to achieve it. In real-life, ENTJs’ favorite mental process is one that Personality Hacker describes as “intrinsically fascinated by measurements, goal setting and improvements.” This type has the discipline to learn difficult things, and often an interest in tackling challenging life goals.
INFJ – Scholar
One of my favorite character ideas that I haven’t actually used in a game (yet) is a knowledge-domain cleric with a scholar background. I feel like she fits my INFJ-nature perfectly. INFJs are often bookish people who enjoy collecting information and facts, then putting it to good use to help people in clever ways. We’re often stereotyped as the counselor, dreamer, sage type and that fits the scholarly archetype of fantasy games quite well.
INTJ – Rogue
The thief/assassin/rogue class has been a core archetype for RPG games since these games were first invented. They tend to be intelligent, perceptive, and highly skilled in very specific ways. Depending on the game, this is the class that offers a “Mastermind” specialization (which is also one of the most popular nicknames for the INTJ type). Deliberate, logical, and think-outside-the-box INTJs probably won’t identify with all of the rogue stereotypes, but I still think it’s a good choice for them.
ENFP – Swashbuckler
I like the Swashbuckler archetype for ENFPs for several reasons (including because it makes me think of The Scarlet Pimpernel). Swashbucklers are charming entertainers, yet they also fall in to a classically heroic archetype. In real-life, many ENFPs enjoy being the center of attention and they also passionately champion their favorite causes and/or people. I think this class is a good fit for the ENFP’s characteristic blend of pizzazz, spontaneity, and adherence to their core values.
ENTP – Sorcerer
The sorcerer class typically uses in-born magic, which can be as wild and unpredictable as it is powerful. Depending on mechanics for the specific game, they may also be very charismatic characters. I’ve written several posts about how ENTPs are typically portrayed in fiction, and they’re often insanely clever, charming, and independent sorts of people. Things that other types find challenging (like charming a room full or people or coming up with a brilliant idea at the last minute) often seems to come naturally to ENTPs.
INFP – Druid
Nature magician seems an obvious choice for the stereotypically gentle, peaceful INFPs who often love animals, plants, and the natural world. Druids also tend to be more reclusive types of magic users, shunning “normal” society for a different path in life, much like INFPs tend to care more about authenticity than about fitting in with other people. Druid could fit other introverted, nature-loving types as well, but I decided to give them to the INFPs.
INTP – Artificer
What better class for the personality often stereotyped as a “mad scientist” than the Artificer (also called Engineer, Tinkerer, or Alchemist)? Characters with this class beat their enemies and help their friends by coming up with clever gadgets. Rather than relying on fantasy magic (though some of these characters may use that as one of their tools), they usually use on technology and their own minds to solve problems and navigate complicated situations.
ESFJ – Cleric
In real-life, ESFJs are often seen as the caring, motherly personality that’s the first on the scene if friends or family need help. If you know any ESFJs, you may also know them as no-nonsense people who, if the situation calls for it, can be just as intimidating as they are kind. Seems perfect for the cleric/healer class who’s always there to support the party during a fight.
ESTJ – Warlord
I initially had “Summoner” here (a class that joins forces with another, more powerful creature and then summons/draws on that creature or its power to do significant battle damage), then an ESTJ on Twitter suggested “Warlord” as a better option. The Warlord class is a type of fighter that specializes in tactics, leadership, and support to make the entire party more efficient. It really does seem a perfect fit for the ESTJ type.
ISFJ – Paladin
Whenever I think of ISFJs, the first people that come to mind are Captain America and my dad. Most of you don’t know my dad, but you probably recognize how perfectly Captain America fits into the archetype of a good person fighting for what’s right. That’s basically the description of a paladin from RPGs as well.
ISTJ – Fighter
Fighters are typically the strongest class and one of the most highly specialized in non-magical skills. They’re not all that concerned with complex, arcane mysteries or with learning hidden skills and information. Rather, they’re the sort of people out at the front of the battle putting themselves at risk to keep their party safe. Like most SJ types, ISTJs typically have a strong sense of duty that makes them a great fit for the classic heroic archetypes like knight/fighter/warrior.
ESFP – Bard
Bards are my favorite characters to play, possibly because they’re just about my exact opposite. Bards are the most charming performers, the character who can talk anyone into doing anything, and among the most imaginative characters (you have to be inventive if you’re going to try and fight evil monsters with a flute). Seems a good fit for the personality type commonly nicknamed “The Performer” or “The Entertainer.”
ESTP – Barbarian
SP types are considered the most physical, in-the-moment of the personalities since their favorite mental process is so good at quickly processing and responding to incoming sensory data. The Barbarian or Berserker class describes characters who thrive when they’re in the middle of the action, up-close-and-personal with whatever challenges they’re facing, and so that’s why I chose them for the ESTP type.
ISFP – Monk
The Monk class is often a fighter-type character that’s powered by a focused, internal energy. They blend physicality with meditation and martial arts skills. Depending on the game, they might be more self-sufficient than some of the other classes since they have both physical skills and magical abilities. Real-life ISFPs are often called Artists because they blend their SP outer-world skills with inner-world focus on authentic self-expression, which is why they remind me of RPG Monks.
ISTP – Ranger
The Archer/ Hunter/ Ranger class archetype is highly skilled at surviving on their own out in the wild. I could have picked from quite a few different adventuring classes for ISTPs (see Susan Storm’s article “Why ISTPs Make the Best Action Heroes“), but Rangers seemed to me like an especially good fit.
Let me know what you thought of this post. Would you have picked a different class for your type? Do you enjoy playing RPGs? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments!