The Gen Con 2008 seminar I’ll co-host with my friends DNAPhil, Zach and Vicki is going to be about sharing tips with GMs about prepping RPG game session . My parts of that seminar (What I’ve been doing most nights of this week and possibly the next one) will cover Using Tropes (yay!) and Player Types.
As I was re-reading the player types part of my review of Robin Laws’s Book, I reworked the list to feature some new types brought in the 4e Dungeon Master Guide.
As I was writing my seminar outline, it dawned on me that player types (as presented in Robin’s book and the 4e DMG) are different from player motivations (as presented in the 3.5 Dungeon Master Guide II). The first one is, IMHO, mostly a convenient label that simplifies discussions while player motivations is what a GM needs to understand to get the most out of the RPG experience he/she shares with the rest of the group.
So here is my updated list of player motivations (So yeah it’s partly reposted stuff, but bear with me for a min, I think it’s worth it):
Post publication edits: Rechecking the DMG II, I found that Player motivations are the incentives that make players excited and motivated to act in the game. Thus, I will move/remove things like the lurker and such around to better fit that definition.
- Player motivations in a RPG(Adapted from DMG II and paraphrased by me):
- Accumulating Cool powers: Enjoying the acquisition of loot/powers, planning a character many levels in advance.
- Kicking Butt: Enjoying combat for the sake of inflicting mayhem and destruction on foes.
- Brilliant Planning: Enjoying combat for the sake of winning, beating foes with brains and tactics.
- Puzzle Solvers: Resolving riddles, short puzzles or longer investigation type puzzles.
- Playing a favorite role: Seeking the same class/themes/roles campaign after campaign.
- Supercoolness: Being a badass and be able to show it often.
- Story: Seeking the range of emotions that comes from a game’s narrative and non-crunch achievements.
- Psychodrama: Seeking to explore and develop a character from an internal perspective.
- Irresponsibility: Being able to create trouble without having to deal with real-world consequence (ex: jumping off the rails and go wild!)
- Setting Exploration:Seeking new horizons in a setting and learning the lore of in-game objects, locales and events.
- Make Things Happen: Pushing Buttons, opening doors and start things regardless of the group’s wishes. Pushing the game’s and the gaming group’s limits.
- Escapism: Get away from the humdrum of work and life.
- Cheetoism: The game is just an occasion to get together with friends and socialize
- Competition: Match wits against the GM and players to ‘win’ or gain advantage.
Question Number 1: Are some missing? Should we add more to that? Post suggestions and let’s have a mini debate on this. I’d like to have the most complete, yet concise list of motivators.
I now believe that understanding those and pegging which motivations are stronger in each of your players is more useful than assigning player types.
Still, player types are useful as a simpler, one word model to peg players. Here is the revised list:
- Player types (Adapted from Robin Laws’ of Goodmastering and the 4e Dungeon Master Guide):
- The Power Gamer: Get more powers and use them often and efficiently.
- The Butt-Kicker: Enjoys combat and pwning NPCs!
- The Tactician: Likes to beat complex situations through thought and planning.
- The Specialist: The one who always plays a <insert character type>. Ninjas and Dritzz clones are popular.
- The Method Actor: Likes total immersion in a character’s assumed persona, whatever the costs!
- The Storyteller: Enjoys exploring a story unfold around a character’s actions and choices.
- The Watcher/Lurker: Shows up to be with friends and share the social energies of the group without necessarily being motivated by the usual incentives.
- The Instigator: Likes to make things happen and trigger awkward situations
- The Outlier: Seeking the emotional kick of subverting a group’s dynamic by creating weird characters or actively seeking failure.
One thing that bears remebering is that player don’t usually fit one player type perfectly. I’d say each player features a major type and one or two minor ones (which mirrors thier top 3 motivation to play RPGs).
Question number 2: While I’m doing this, are there other player types that are misisng that don’t fit in these ?
Question 3: Most of your readers are hybrid GMs players. So I ask you, what are your main motivations as a player and how would you peg your main player types?
Have a great weekend.