• Justin Handlin

Player Archetypes

Listen to Episode 20: Player Archetypes

This episode we discuss the different types of players that play in Dungeons and Dragons and how to best handle them as a Dungeon Master. When it comes to playing a Role Playing game understanding a player type can help you engage that player and a few tips to avoid when it comes to those players, to ensure that everyone has a fantastic time at your tabletop RPG.

The Actor.

The really get the most out of character development and engaging the NPC's and values social interactions and the narrative of the game.

  • Engage the Actor by. Tying their Ideals, Bonds, Flaws and background to the quests and story elements.

  • Things to avoid. Don't let them takeover the game with excessive roleplay and avoid letting them derail the game because it's "in character".

The Explorer.

These players really want to get into the details of the world around them. They want to learn names of locations and venture to the exoctic locations, such as other planes.

  • Engage the Explorer by. Setting up encounter elements that call for searching the nooks and crannies of the dungeons to help advance the story plot. Tossing in extremely vivid details or even give out maps or let them design the maps.

  • Things to avoid. Avoid their expansive knowledge of the game. These sorts of players often have a vast knowledge of the gameworld. Don't let them take up too much of the tables time by spending too much time on too many vivid details.

The Instigator.

This character really likes to take action. They love the thrill of taking on risk, even making make poor decisions...just to see what happens.

  • Engage the Instigator. Give them objects and encounters that invite them to experiment with.

  • Things to avoid. These players often fall under the "murderhobo" style of play. Ensuring there is consequences for the characters actions to keep the instigator from causing too much disruption and chaos.

The Power Gamer. These players really thrive on gaining levels, and building character strength through mechanical features and in game options.

  • Engage the Power Gamer. Tossing in encounters that allow them to output as much damage and really see their character come to life. Additionally, giving out magic items that they want to get the most out of their build.

  • Things to avoid. High output damage can often lead to a particular character outshining the rest of the players. Don't let them getting too far ahead of the other players and make sure that they don't insist on fighting for every weapon.

The Storyteller. These players are in the game to take part in an epic adventure and to experience the story being told through the RPG game.

  • Engage the Storyteller. This can be done most easily by always giving a 'why'. Why is that dragon attacking the city? Why was this sword left in the stone? Why does the big baddy want to kill the high king?

  • Things to avoid. Once again, don't let them pull the spotlight off other characters. There constant interest and requests can easily lead to them pulling the spotlight from others. These sorts of players will sometimes push the other players in a particular direction so that they can learn more.

The Thinker. They are very careful and methodical when it comes trying to solve problems. They enjoy sound strategy when engaging their foes and love to solve puzzles and riddles.

  • Engage the Thinker. Tossing in mechanics to combat such as complex puzzles or physical props for them to hold and solve in their hands. Allow them opportunity to be the planner of ambushes, or allow them a chance to get the drop or advantage over their enemies and even allow them to mow over or even bypass enemies entirely. Even consider allowing them to help the DM to run monsters, while the DM deals with narration and other responsibilities.

  • Things to avoid. They can often have a tendency to over analyze everything. This can lead to a slow down in the game for everyone else.

The Watcher. These characters are either very reserve, or even new. They haven't or can't open up the way that others do during the game. They are often the voice of reason, likely do to their more reserve nature.

  • Engage the Watcher. Prompt them occasionally to give them a little nudge to engage. This works best when coming from another player.

  • Things to avoid. Since they are Watchers, they can easily be distracted by TV's phones and such. Don't force them to get more involved than they want to. Don't forget about them. The Watcher can drift into the background and can easily be overlooked by the DM.

Segment : Unearthed Tips and Tricks! (We give you creative content for your next adventure)

Character Concept:

The PUN-isher

The party is fighting a vicious pit fiend, and its raw power is starting to tip the balance in

the demon’s favor. Then the sorcerer lifts his magical staff, begins chanting words of power,

and summons mana from the weave and shapes it into his next spell. He points his staff at the devil and causes a blast of freezing energy to erupt from his fingers. The beast is covered in frost and rooted to the ground. As the effect finishes, the sorcerer puts on his Goggles of

Night and says…

“Chill out.”

The Pun-isher is less of a character and more of a bit of flair that can be applied to an existing character. The monk might punch enemies while offering to “lend a hand”. The druid can tell everyone, “Bear with me” while using their Wild Shape ability to become a brown bear. You don’t have to stop at PCs, either; an armorer might offer PCs the chance to “Check out my wears.” Keep in mind, of course, that while these sorts of puns can add some fun to a light-hearted campaign, they might not quite fit in a serious campaign.

Monster Variant:

Kamikaze Kobold

Origin: Kobold

These kobolds are rumored to be the most dangerous of all. They have been raised to

believe that there is no greater honor in one’s life than to die for their master. In doing so,

they will be granted an opportunity to meet with Kurtulmak, their great deity, and spend

their after life with all their hopes and dreams a reality. They don’t fear death. Instead, they

welcome it. They have cleverly created a volatile black powder mixture from minerals found in their master’s lair. They fill up barrels or bags with this concoction.

New Features:

Powder Keg. The kobold releases the trigger sending out a massive explosion centered on the kobold. Each creature in a 20 foot radius sphere around the kobold must make a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw, taking 8d6 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much on a successful one.

The fire spreads around corners and ignites flammable objects in the area that aren’t being worn or carried.

Unsecured objects that are completely within the area of effect are automatically pushed 10

feet away from the kobold, and the effect emits a thunderous boom audible out to 300 feet.


Mirror Image

The party enters a room devoid of furniture or adornments save for a standing mirror near

the opposite wall. While it might look like an ordinary mirror at first, the party quickly realizes that there is someone else reflected in its face! A man, looking haggard and terrified,

is pounding on the other side of the glass with bruised fists. By reading his lips, it is clear that

he wishes to be rescued.

At the top of the mirror, engraved into the frame, is a magical glyph. A creature that touches the glyph immediately finds themselves trapped on the other side of the mirror. in a reversed copy of the room they were just in, but they are all alone and the man that was inside the mirror has now taken their place. He explains (to the rest of the party) that he was tricked into swapping places with a demon and has been trapped in that mirror for days, weeks, or even years. The party then has to decide what to do with this freed individual and how to free their ally without getting trapped too!

This encounter can lead to some interesting roleplaying because the man in the mirror isn’t

necessarily evil or bad in any way. Depending on the alignment or proclivities of your group,

saving the trapped party member might be as easy as forcing an innocent victim into trapping themselves or having a party member perform a heroic sacrifice by taking their place. This is another encounter that could be used as a way to let a player create a new character. They could leave their old character behind in the mirror, and the man originally trapped in it could be the character that they really wanted to play. It’s up to you!

Magic Item:

Gauntlets of Monkey Grip

Wondrous, uncommon

While wearing these gauntlets, an object held in the wearer’s grip cannot be taken or

dropped involuntarily. They are immune to any effect that disarms, and an object held

in hand cannot be taken via Sleight of Hand or even through an opposed Strength check.

When it comes to holding things securely, the wearer of these gauntlets is unbeatable. You

also gain advantage on all Strength (Athletics) checks to climb.

Dungeon Master Tip:

Set the Atmosphere

“You enter an empty 10x10 room. What do you do?”


“The wooden door creaks as it opens, and a sliver of light pierces across the uneven floor

until it hits the rough cobblestone wall ten feet away. Somewhere nearby you can hear

dripping; a damp smell hits your nostrils, and you can taste the mildew in the air. The room

appears otherwise empty, but the prickle of hairs standing on the back of your neck makes

you feel otherwise.”

There’s a lot more to a roleplaying experience than simply data. Try to get your players to

feel like they’re actually in the game. Give your descriptions enough oomph to stimulate all of the players’ senses, and use that to get them more invested in what’s happening. Atmosphere doesn’t even have to stop at sensory input. What kind of vibe are the characters getting? Having to land the killing blow on a demon-possessed innocent child might seem easy if you just say, “Okay, the enemy is in front of you. Are you going to attack?” Instead, try to tug at their heartstrings by saying, “For a moment, the child seems lucid. She immediately starts to cry, and you can hear the sorrow and pain behind her wails. You begin to wonder if you can really do this, but then you notice the evil grin hiding behind her eyes…”

As the DM, you are the players’ window into what the world looks, sounds, and feels like. So

open up and let them in!

Player Tip: Don’t be a Dick! You can avoid dickitude by...

Set Traps!

The orc squad came around the corner, all four brutes sniffing the air.

“I know I smelled elves,” their leader snorted, “they can’t be far!”

The party, a mere thirty feet away, is huddled behind a boulder. They’re gripping their

weapons in fear and anticipation. The rogue, however, had a grin on her face. “Hey uglies!” She jumped out from behind the boulder, balancing a dagger on one outstretched finger. “Looking for me?”

The orcs roared and charged, weapons drawn. One of them fell into a disguised pit trap,

getting impaled by spikes at the bottom. Two got crushed by a swinging log trap that was set off glyph that froze him in place. The elf put her face in front of his, mirroring his frozen snarl. “Grab the rope, guys,” she called back. “We’ve got some questions this guy can answer…”

Who ever said enemies were the only ones allowed to set traps? Not me! Next time you’re

in an enemy stronghold, try and find a spot where you can lay down tripwires, dig a pit

trap, or create any other kind of trap to catch enemies unaware. This is going to be a little bit

more difficult for you because players tend to be the aggressors (whereas enemies tend to be the defenders), but with a bit of foresight and some creativity, even you can start setting traps! Just remember where you set them. The last thing you want is to sneak into an enemy base and get by their leader whose foot landed on a magical yourself stuck in your own pit trap.

If you have any feedback, unearthed tips and tricks or topics you would like us to discuss, please send them to us. You can email them to us at critacademy@gmail.com or find us on twitter and facebook @critacademy.

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