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While there are many character types we associate with role-playing, and we could potentially spend several hundred pages on each, we chose to limit it to the top four most basic archetypes that are found in role-playing. Each archetype can be combined to create a different type of character as well.

The Scholar He who seeks to change the world through
knowledge and technology.
The Soldier He who seeks to change the world through
might and magic.
The Politician He who seeks to change the world through
words and guile.
The Priest He who seeks to change the world through
faith and vision.

The Archetype Breakdown
The following examples offer the most commonly found illustrations of these specific archetypes. They are simply an explanation of the archetype and the most basic ideal of what they could be. Many authors and storytellers use these as secondary figures in literature because they tend make easily identifiable characters that readers can recognize on face without requiring much background.

The Scholar
The scholar is perhaps the most underestimated type of individual that exists in character building. He can be extremely calculating, highly intelligent, rational, an excellent strategist, and extraordinarily... vain. After all, he has all this excess intelligence, why not spend a little on himself? Scholars are guided by the pursuit of knowledge and the usage and implementation thereof. This can range from the trivial, to the extensive knowledge and inner workings of political culture, computer design, or magic lore. Of course, like the rest of the archetypes, he comes in many forms. Usually the stereotypical scholar spends 10 years in Hermit-ville studying on his chosen craft, he wears the scholarly glasses, the slightly balding head with a bit of wildly unmanageable tufts of hair sticking out, the plain and unassuming clothes of someone living on the edge of financial existence, however, as role-playing of this character becomes divergent from the typical Hollywood influences, many new types are becoming apparent. Jesters and technology or weapons gurus also fit into this category. Jesters for their high levels of intelligence and strong usage of, and technology or weapons gurus for the same reasons.

The Soldier
Strong, willful, and looking for a fight, whether it be for profit, or to avenge the death of a loved one. One type of soldier encompasses those who seek to do justice in an evil and dark world: The rugged heroes who are strong in arm and wit, but have some fatal character flaw (dealing with the death of a loved one, pride or vanity, a weakness for damsels in distress...) that will be the end of them if they don't figure out how to solve it. Another type refers to those who always use sheer force to solve any problem. Big, hairy, and usually extraordinarily stupid, these individuals are almost always hopeless at accomplishing complex tasks. Still others might seek to cause destruction or chaos to appease a higher entity or leader. Persons of action, and extreme calculation, these people tend to make fantastic villains. Overall, the soldier class of characters seeks to force their will on the world, directly, or indirectly.

The Politician
The politician archetype usually encompasses the most diverse groupings of individuals: Poets, Rogues, and of course, Politicians. The Poet is the hopeless romantic that is usually more skilled with his instrument of choice, rather than sheer brute force. The instrument can range from musical lyres, lutes, and the like, to the musical sound an axe or gun makes when going through flesh. They are socially capable of holding conversations, but most people tend to view them as lost or dreamy souls. They tend to be stereotyped with the thin, wiry, tall, and dreamy; however, the jovial, heavy-set drunkard leaning on a wall with his mug of ale is just as susceptible to being a Poet. A Rogue is the strongly misunderstood man of the moment. Usually an attention getter striving to better himself at his trade or skill, the rogue is a drifter, never really settling down with someone or something. This could be caused by profession, reputation, or self-inflicted torture. Impulsive activity mixes with the common traits of exceptionally specialized skills in one or more areas, high levels of reflex, agility, and intelligence. They could potentially be very dangerous given the right circumstances, or alignment, for example, the Great Rogue himself-Robin Hood. Politicians are exactly as their name implies-great talkers who love to listen to the sound of their own voice. Rather than facing conflict, they seek to beguile, distract, and utilize words to walk around it. Usually they are highly intelligent with strong social skills, specifically dominate, persuade, or manipulate.

The Priest
Priests, Clerics, Necromancers, Fortune-tellers, Mediums, and anything else dealing with the spiritual and supernatural world fall into this genre. These types of characters usually come in the most unlimited range of styles, body types, and personalities, as the effects of dealing with the spiritual or supernatural may have odd effects on someone's psyche and physical appearance. Your average neighborhood Catholic Priest heavy in the midsection, could mingle with your thin teenage punk kid who has more than a few run-ins with walking zombies-and won. These individuals are guided, aided, cursed, or repulsed by a driving force in their lives, and a sense that something bigger than them exists. Hunters that seek out supernatural creatures to kill for their own means portray aspects of the priest as well, as they seek to impose a vision of the world without those creatures. The priest is above all a visionary-he can see something that no one else can, and through his faith-in himself, or something higher-everything he sees will be accomplished.

Combinations
To some extent, gypsies fit all of these profiles and work as a good combination. Very intelligent jesters at heart(Scholar), without a sense of the limits of their own physical property, mixed with a bit of old world swindling, story-telling, and pan-handling(Politician), perhaps guided by an overwhelming guiding force that lets them see the words, "I'm naive, steal from me." in bold letters on someone's forehead(Priest), and take advantage of the situation for their own ends(Soldier).

 

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