Knowing Your Players: Type Indicators for Gamemasters [The Artisans]

[Art by Marc Simonetti.]
[Art by Marc Simonetti.]

Welcome back, tabletoppers and friends! You may or may not know that we’ve been doing a series on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) for gamemasters, using personality theory to develop encounters that engage each different type or, more generally, the temperament each type falls within. Last week, we tackled the Guardians (it’s okay, Guardians are fine with being tackled) and we are back this week with commentary on the Artisans. Let’s check it out! The Artisan temperament is expressed by these four Myers-Briggs types:

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

The first thing you might notice about this group is that we have literally swapped out ONE letter from the Guardians to build them. Artisans take the Perceiving preference rather than the Judging preference. Remember: Perceiving and Judging indicate preference for taking action on a decision. Judgers are more likely to make a plan and stick to it, where Perceivers are more likely to explore their options. Because of this change, Artisans are Concrete and Utilitarian. They retain the concrete communication of the Guardians by using the physical world as their anchor, but they focus on the task at hand when it’s time to act. The result of this is an intensely creative, free-thinking group that is responsible for a lot of the color in the world.

As with all temperaments, there are some traits that will overlap among the different types. For Artisans, you can expect to find:

  • A spirit of fun
  • Playfulness
  • Desire to create
  • Impulsivity
  • Optimism
  • Focus on the present
  • Enthusiasm

As the Artisan’s title suggests, this is the temperament of the artists and builders of the world, but also includes those who build socially and in business. Famous Artisans include a lot of celebrities, as the Performer personality is included in this group. Ernest Hemingway, Katherine Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, and Donald Trump (yes, really) were or are all Artisan types.

Artisans are naturally attracted to the creative nature of RPGs, and are likely to show preference for the actual role-playing portion of the game rather than tactical planning and combat. They are also bold and will usually strut right down the dark hallway where other temperaments dare not venture. Their spontaneity and impulsivity can pose problems, though, as it can be difficult to keep them focused and engaged in gameplay. If something shiny goes by, they can be easy to lose. So how can you, as a GM, keep this group engaged and entertained? Let’s take a look.

ESFP: The Performer

The Performer type is an absolute delight to be around. For them, all the world is literally a stage, and they are not afraid to improvise—to the great enjoyment of their audience, which includes anyone and everyone who will watch them. They engage in any and all sorts of pleasures, not always giving thought to the consequences, and are often uproariously funny. They do not like to be alone; you may have heard these types referred to as “the life of the party.” When it comes to playing, this group will allow gameplay and rules to take a back seat to the social aspect of roleplaying, but when it comes time for them to gamble for the life of the impish little gnome or offer the pilgrims a place to stay for the evening, they will be the first to volunteer.

ESFPs are generous, kind, and loving without expecting anything in return. They are unlikely to save for a rainy day and will avoid worrying about potential problems, preferring to ignore them until they blow up in their faces. As a GM, this is an excellent trait to know about this type, whether for good or ill. I mean, come on, who wouldn’t be tempted to remind the Performer over and over that the King’s Jester is jealous of them (they will, of course, resist this idea because how could anyone not adore them?) until finally the Jester is pissed enough to duel?

The Performer excels at engaging NPCs. Often, they will create characters who share their same joviality and good nature and happily improvise conversations with the GM (who may or may not be as good at that as they are, eep!).

I’m glad they are so happy. Really, I am. Signed, INTJ
I’m glad they are so happy. Really, I am. Signed, INTJ

Quotes that engage the Performer:

“The drunk Herglic falls into you in the tavern. ‘Hey!’ he slurs. ‘You owe me a drink, buddy!’”

“It looks like a long drop but you might be able to make it. Wanna try?”

Honestly, probably any quote will work for these folks. They love when people talk to them.

ESTP: The Promoter

The Promoter prefers Thinking over Feeling, which constitutes the main difference between them and the Performer. I mentioned Trump earlier (yeah, yeah, I know), but he’s a pretty good example of this type. While they retain the engaging and optimistic attitude of the Performers, that T preference makes them much more enterprising than the partying Performer. They are deal-makers, negotiators, and entrepreneurs. No one can raise an army like the Promoter type. They thrive in high-stress environments, enjoying the challenge of making the deal under pressure. Like the Performer, they are charming, popular, and engaging, and enjoy the finer things in life.

The primary weakness (and challenge for the GM) is this type’s lack of respect for authority, though this will come out in only the most charismatic of ways. This type will demonstrate control and power, but will do this without making enemies, as they retain the popularity of the Performer type. Another weakness of the ESTP is that they tend to neglect interpersonal relationships and hold even close friends at arms’ length. This will likely have less of an impact at the table except they can have a tendency to bowl over other, less forceful players. Even so, the more introverted players will probably follow the Promoter without issue. They are charming, after all.

Far and away these types will choose Rogue and some Noble classes above all others. They may also gravitate to the Chaotic alignments.


Quotes that engage the Promoter:

“The Dragon wants to make a deal.”

“Would you like to see if there are any businesses for sale in the West Fell?”

ISFP: The Composer

Using the exact same logical thought process as last week, we can compare the Composer ISFP to Performer ESFP and sort of tease out the differences. Remember: the temperament types will always share some overlap, and these two types overlap on all preferences but their I/E. What we can expect from this is a creative, risk-taking, generous person, which is all true, but their creativity and experimentation are often explored within the confines of a particular kind of art, which reflects their introversion.

More than any other type, the ISFP is in-tune with aesthetic qualities of the world, engaging effortlessly with expressions of the senses including color, tone, texture, aroma, and flavor. As devoted as they become to their particular means of expression, they are still impulsive and spontaneous, taking little time to plan or prepare their next move. They act on the impulse of the moment, but often, the result of their handiwork is as beautiful and engaging as the rest of the Artisans’.

It’s true I looked it up.
It’s true I looked it up.

Quotes that engage the Composer:

“Can you help me create a colorful map of Chicago?”

“I would love if you’d create an intro sequence/graphic design/fanfiction of this particular episode.”

ISTP: The Crafter

Like the Composers, these are crafty folk, but rather than in a medium like music and paint, they excel in the use of tools, equipment, and machines. The use of tools must not be equated with work for the Crafter. Their use of tools is more of a creative exploration of their minds than an execution of work. This is the influence of the classically Artisan penchant for impulsivity and free-form expression. They play, rather than work, with tools. You will find these people surrounded by toys of a mechanical nature, such as fishing tackle, motorcycles, LEGO toys, or even a deck of cards. Like all other Artisans, they seek thrills and often enjoy dangerous or extreme activities.

ISTPs are a quiet bunch, preferring to express themselves through action rather than language, and thus can be difficult to get to know. Like other Artisans, they turn their noses up at the confines of “rules,” but instead of fighting them, will often simply ignore their existence. Watch out for this behavior, as it can lead to chaos for your table.

Speaking of tables, Crafters adore the presence of miniatures. If you don’t usually use miniatures in your play and you have more than one Crafter or more than half your table is made up of Artisans in general, consider investing in some. There’s almost no better way to engage the Crafter than by introducing elements that require some degree of assembly. Because of this, they will also gravitate to races and classes known for building.


Quotes that engage the Crafter:

“Would you put this tavern together, please?”

“Did you want to buy any tools while you’re in this town?”

So, to recap: you can expect your Artisans to contribute colorful, engaging role-playing to your game, and rely on them to produce some beautiful artwork if so called upon, but their spontaneous attitudes and lack of respect for “rules” in general can become frustrating if you aren’t able to keep them on task. If you are drawn to the role of GM, you are likely a Guardian or Rational type, and may become irritated with their seeming disrespect. Don’t let it get to you! Make it your business to fill in the gaps in their knowledge using your own and guide them within your campaign. You’ll do just fine.

Are you ready for the Idealists? See you next Monday!


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