Archetypal Systems: several options

We encourage genre authors to use an archetype as a lens to focus your promo efforts, but the only essential is that the archetype you adopt and adapt should resonate with your career, your skills, and your goals. In Your A Game's Presence section we used Bartle's expanded player types to sort A-gamers into strategic modes as 8 universal archetypes, but the story doesn’t have to end there. Here are some other archetypal systems that you might find more useful, inspiring, and specific to your A-game.



(c.f. What's My Type? by Kathleen V. Hurley & Theodore E. Dobson)


The Enneagram

(c.f. Discovering Your Personality Type: The Essential Introduction to the Enneagram, Revised and Expanded by by Don Richard Riso & Russ Hudson )

For simplicity we’re using the Riso-Huson names for each of the nine enneagram personality types.

  • (1) Reformer
  • (2) Helper
  • (3) Achiever
  • (4) Individualist
  • (5) Investigator
  • (6) Loyalist
  • (7) Enthusiast
  • (8) Challenger
  • (9) Peacemaker

Doctrine of Humors

(c.f. The Four Temperaments by Randy Rolfe)

  • Choleric:
  • Sanguine:
  • Phlegmatic:
  • Melancholic:

Campbell’s Mythic Archetypes

(c.f. The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell)

  • Hero
  • Wise Elder
  • Threshold Guardian
  • Herald
  • Shapeshifter
  • Shadow
  • Trickster

D&D Alignment & Character classes

(c.f. D&D Rules Cyclopedia).

You can look at the Dungeons & Dragons system of alignment:

Lawful Good Neutral Good Chaotic Good
Lawful Neutral True Neutral Chaotic Neutral
Lawful Evil Neutral Evil Chaotic Evil

Or consider the universal character classes:

  • Warrior
  • Rogue
  • Cleric/Mystic
  • Wizard

Tarot Court Cards

(c.f. The Tarot Court Cards by Mary Greer).

The sixteen court cards of the tarot deck come with associations that might prove useful.

Wands Swords Cups Disks
Knight of Wands Knight of Swords Knight of Cups Knight of Disks
Queen of Wands Queen of Swords Queen of Cups Queen of Disks
Prince/King of Wands Prince/King of Swords Prince/King of Cups Prince/King of Disks
Princess/Page of Wands Princess/Page of Swords Princess/Page of Cups Princess/Page of Disks

Mark/Pearson Brand Archetypes

(c.f. The Hero & The Outlaw: Building Extraoridianry Brands Through the Power of Archetypes by Margaret Mark & Carol Pearson).

Mark and Pearson's book divides brands into a matrix of twelve archetypes grouped into four major functions that line up almost exactly with our four play styles. Their four functions are:

  • Mastery/Risk: "Leaving a Mark on the World" (analogous to our Performer)
  • Authority/Safety: "Providing Structure to the World" (analogous to our Achiever)
  •  Connection/Enjoyment: "Building Bridges between People." (analogous to our Socializer)
  •  Independence/Discovery: "Seeking Paradise and Promise" (analogous to our Explorer)
Mastery/Risk Authority/SAFETY CONNECTION/Enjoyment Independence/DISCOVERY
Hero Caregiver Lover Innocent
Outlaw Ruler Neighbor Explorer
Creator Magician Jester Sage

Other possible archetypes include Deep Hybrids: the social butterfly. The fool. The leader. The whisperer. The wallflower. The private party. The life of the party. The duchess. The main event. The worker bee, Peek-a-boo, barfly, soapbox, drinking buddy, My Lady at tea, chain-smoker, everybody’s buddy, the neophyte.

For a wide variety of additional options check out Who Are You? 101 Ways of Seeing Yourself by Malcolm Godwin which covers a plethora of personality tests by different criteria.

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