I don't put great faith in these classificatory schemes, as it seems to me that people are generally multi-faceted and the dominance of one facet over the others is really dependent on social context and therefore open to change. But perhaps these schemes can give us some broad outlines of a person's personality, and thereby help us to shed some light on a subject which is still covered in darkness: player preferences and how different preferences interact.
What I like most about Bradley's story is that he makes a difference between a person's overall personality type and their type as a roleplayer, taking into account that people may well sit to the table to play in a different frame of mind than they are usually in. Someone who is very Thinking in real life might want to Feel lots of emotions during play; someone who is very Introvert might want to take some rest from his introspection and be carried away by the wondrous world he enters.
At the end of his post, Bradly writes:
We need to get lots of other people to do this and talk about it and see what we can see.
So, let me try and give an MB-analysis of myself, my gaming personality and my characters.
I did a (probably very unreliable) MB-test on the internet, and was classified as INfj: Introverted Intuitive Feeling Judging. The respective strengths of the preferences are: 56%, 75%, 25%, 22%. (The lowercase latters were adopted by me to show the strenght of the preference.) A description of the INFJ type can be found here and here.
Do I recognise myself in this description? Yes - although we may wonder whether I would not have recognised myself in many of the other descriptions either. Impressively correct, though, is that the test reached the correct conclusion that I am an introvert who easily takes the lead in social situations. Anyway, we're not here to discuss the flaws and meritt of the MB-typology (yet), but to apply it and see whether we can learn something.*
But how do I sit down to the gaming table? What are my preferences, as a gamer? I'll use Bradley's typology here.
I/E: Introverts are those that approach a game primarily through their character. Extroverts are those who approach the game primarily through the world, setting, or situation. If you want to play in the world of Wheel of Time, you're going the E road. If you want to play a farmer who grows into a great leader, in whatever setting, you're going the I road.I tend to be very uninterested in source material, except in so far as it gives me need ideas for thematically interesting characters or somehow reinforces the aspects of the character that I find interesting. So I'll call myself a clear Introvert here.
This one is a bit harder. I like colour, really, even though I am rather bad at putting it in my game as a GM. (I'm a 75% Intuitive in real life, remember?) On the other hand, I tend to think of the colour as symbolically related to the theme of the story and I often think about scenes mostly in terms of their narrative function. I'll put it down as a mild N, but this is certainly open to revision.
N/S: Intuitives are basically No-Mythers, and Sensers are big Mythers. If you want the game to focus on tangible, repeatable, discrete elements you're walking the road of S. If you're more interested in the concepts, themes, and abstracts of the game then you are embarking on the path of N.
T/F: This one changes very little between standard and game. If you think your way through game, want to focus on the logic, an intellectual appreciation, then you are on the Tower of T. If, otoh, you want game to be about feeling you way through, focusing on the emotionality, and having a gut level appreciation of game then you're on the ship of F.When I sit at the gaming table, F is majorly dominant, much more so than in my general behaviour. I can enjoy games that I have to think through, but I'd rather have that game be chess or Go - or a CRPG - than a (pen and paper) roleplaying game.
J/P: Mo and I called this one Pressure (J) and Flow (P). Judging gamers want to hit it and quit it, they want discrete goals, short run games, quick closure, and games full of pressure that they can make statements about and through. Perceiving gamers want more flowing games, stories that flow into each other, long running campaigns, either no closure or closure that flows into a new story, and games that are about enjoying the flow rather than increasing the pressure.Judge. No doubt about it. Keep the pressure on, give me short story arcs, closure, goals - absolutely!
Ok, so where does that leave us? Sitting down to the table, I've classified myself as InFJ when I start playing an RPG, whereas I am INfj in general. So there are differences: I'm more open to experiencing the sensory world, am less prone to abstract thinking instead of feeling, and like to make statements all the time. But none of the differences is a major difference.
Now, on to the characters I play! But - there is a problem here. I don't play all that many characters, since I am generally GameMastering. Hm... so I'll have to draw on very scant observations to see if I can actually make something of it. What makes them even scanter is that most of the character's I've player where before I started playing narrativistic RPGs, so they may not reflect my actual preferences.
These characters used to be very Introverted, keeping their own council. But the very few characters I've played recently were very Extroverted, spreading out all their thoughts and emotions as it were their laundry. And I think that if I were to make up a character now, he or she would always be extraverted. Why? Because that way you can make your thematic statements much more easily! Here's a theory that I'd like to discuss:
Narrativists with a Judging preference towards gaming will play Extroverted characters when they play in a game where narrativism is supported and encouraged, because it allows for easier expression. But they will play Introverted characters when they play in a game where narrativism is not supported, or even actively discouraged, because that way they can still make the statements - in their own heads.Ok, what about the other three axes? I honestly don't know about Intuitive and Sensing - I'll go and ask advice about this distinction to Bradley or Mo. I think my characters used to be T because in-character reasoning with NPCs was one of the main ways to influence the game in our rules-lite days. But nowadays? I'm not all that sure, but I guess they'd be F at their core, since characters with an emotional core are more likely to lead to poignent scenes of drama. (My recent Breaking the Ice character was very much F. I also loved to play Masters in My Life with Master that were utterly F hidden behind a veil of rationalisations.) My characters are as Judging as I am, always ready to take a stance - because that way, something is going to happen! Heighten the stakes, make your choice and suffer the consequences...
Which would make my characters in general E?FJ.
The most interesting thing is the switch between strong I and strong E: I roleplay to express my inner thoughts and feelings, and to do that I need characters who express their inner thoughts and feelings and immediately act on them in a way that I would never do myself. I also highlight any predisposition I might have towards Feeling - I generally roleplay for the drama that is so sadly and also so happily lacking from real life - and towards Judging - because I want to drop subtlety and do things and experience consequences. The Intuition/Sensing scale is still obscure.
Now I'll have to make the people I play with do the same!
* Perhaps the fact that INFJ is the rarest of types makes me more inclined to believe that it describes me. We all like to be special, don't we? :-)