Part 1: We examine personality profiles and D&D choices.
It was early in 2020 that we posed the question: does your personality type affect what kind of D&D character you play as? Well, after about a year of collecting hundreds of responses, we have analyzed them all and come to some interesting conclusions. Not only about personality, but about player gender, age, ethnicity, and how some character choices correlate to others. This is the first in a series of blog posts throughout this month to dive into what we learned, and what it means for the game of Dungeons & Dragons.
Our first question was based around Myers-Briggs personality types. We analyzed those profiles against choices for character race, class, and quests. Not only did we find interesting data on that front, but also we uncovered something else. It seems certain types of personalities are more likely to play D&D than others. With a total of 542 respondents to this question, let’s first look at what personality types responded.
|INFP – Idealist / Mediator||125||Creative. Emotional. Daydreamers.|
|INFJ – Counselor / Advocate||102||Imaginative. Sensitive. Insightful.|
|INTJ – Mastermind / Architect||67||Determined. Critical. Rational.|
|ENFP – Champion / Campaigner||57||Curious. Overthinking. Energetic.|
|INTP – Thinker / Logician||38||Open-minded. Withdrawn. Original.|
|ISFJ – Defender / Nurturer||28||Observant. Shy. Supportive.|
|ENFJ – Giver / Protagonist||27||Charismatic. Indecisive. Tolerant.|
|ISFP – Composer / Adventurer||23||Artistic. Noncommittal. Charming.|
|ENTP – Visionary / Debater||21||Smart. Intolerant. Enthusiastic.|
|ISTJ – Inspector / Logistician||15||Calm. Stubborn. Responsible.|
|ENTJ – Commander||12||Inspiring. Impatient. Efficient.|
|ISTP – Craftsman / Virtuoso||9||Spontaneous. Easily Bored. Relaxed.|
|ESFJ – Provider / Consul||8||Social. Difficulty Improvising. Loyal.|
|ESFP – Performer / Entertainer||5||Bold. Unfocused. Witty.|
|ESTJ – Supervisor / Executive||4||Organized. Inflexible. Honest.|
|ESTP – Doer / Entrepreneur||1||Direct. Insensitive. Perceptive.|
The Diplomats – INFP, INFJ, ENFP, & ENFJ
The first quarter we’ll break down is The Diplomats. As we can see from the table above, this is the type most likely to play D&D. So why is this? And what choices do they make in their characters?
With 542 responses to this question, a staggering 311 of them are of this personality group. From this we can assume that this personality type is most likely to play D&D, or most likely to be involved in online communities where this survey was marketed. The Myers-Briggs personality test lumps these four into the same category based on similar qualities. Diplomats tend to be empathetic, good communicators, and passionate about whatever they dedicate themselves to. All these are great traits for role-playing games!
INFP – Idealist / Mediator
This type is the most likely to play D&D, with 125 total responses. It is no wonder then that I (Ashley or Tal) love the game so much since that is my personality, as well! Mediators are highly empathetic and feel other’s pain as if it was their own. They are more likely than any other personality type to enjoy fantasy, and are highly likely to be fiction authors, poets, or work in the performing arts. All this lends itself very well to the creative and character-driven settings of D&D. Their love of creativity and storytelling helps to offset Mediator’s often reserved and self-conscious tendencies.
When looking at the choices Mediator’s made in our survey, there were some clear preferences.
- 25% of their characters are Rogues.
- 48% of their characters are on internal quests of Understanding.
- 32% of their characters have a Person vs Self conflict.
INFJ – Counselor / Advocate
This is the second most likely type to play D&D, with 102 respondents. Advocates are very insightful, creative, and compassionate. They prefer jobs where they can help others, and tend to have big dreams outside of daily routines. This makes them adept at creating and role-playing characters, especially those that enjoy helping NPC’s and other PC’s. Even though Advocates are quieter and often need to be alone to recharge, their imaginations will bring them back to the table.
- 50% of the characters Advocates play are on quests of Understanding.
- 31% of their characters centered on a Person vs Society conflict.
ENFP – Champion / Campaigner
This personality type was the fourth most likely to play D&D, with 57 respondents. What makes Champions drawn to this game? For starters, they are very people-focused. Outgoing, energetic, and endlessly curious, they have big personalities that they bring to the table that makes them instantly likeable. Champions see life as a network of emotions, relationships, and deeper meanings. This makes them fun role-players during D&D. Their tendency to overthink things and get emotional can become a benefit in D&D, allowing them to analyze NPC interactions and become invested in quests.
- 36% of their characters are on a quest of Understanding.
- 31% of their characters on involved in a Person vs Person conflict.
ENFJ – Giver / Protagonist
This personality type is much less likely to play D&D than other Diplomats, with only 27 responders. Why might this be? Protagonists are natural-born leaders, caring, and creative. However, Protagonists also have trouble making decisions, and tend to burn out quickly in environments that demand a high amount of situational awareness. This is perhaps why we are less likely to find these otherwise social people at the gaming table.
- 51% of their character are male, despite only 44% of ENFJ respondents being male.
- 40% of their characters are on a quest of Understanding.
- Two conflicts were tied for dominance with 29% of responses a piece. Person vs Self, and Person vs Person.
The Analysts – INTJ, ENTJ, INTP, & ENTP
This one definitely surprised me. Analysts are the second most likely group to play D&D, with 138 total respondents. While not known for their artistry or charisma, Analysts as a group are rational, smart, and impartial. Perhaps the side of D&D they are drawn to is the strategic side, then. The planning ahead, the optimizing character sheets, and the machinations behind villainous plots. While Diplomats bring their hearts into the game, Analysts bring their minds.
INTJ – Mastermind / Architect
Not only are Masterminds the most likely of the Analysts to play D&D, they are also the third most likely over all to play, with 67 respondents. No goal is too big for a Mastermind, and they love to dive into books to learn more and more. You can be certain this player will know the Player’s Handbook (and all the other books) inside out and will be fully committed to any quest that is tackled. Especially complex quests that require good notetaking, in-game research, and a Sherlock vs Moriarty-style conflict. Masterminds enjoy being around other like-minded people. So if they can find a group that values their intellect, that will overrule their less social tendencies that can make them come across as critical or arrogant.
- 44% of their characters are on a quest of Understanding.
- 37% of their characters have a Person vs Self conflict.
ENTJ – Commander
Commander types are very unlikely to play D&D it seems, with only 12 respondents. Why is this? They are charismatic, accomplishment-driven, and strategic. But Commanders tend to struggle with interacting with people and aren’t the best at displaying or identifying complex emotions. This could be why role-play isn’t their first go-to. But for those that do play, the game table gets a strong-willed player that can easily lead teams and facilitate quests. Note that since we have only 12 Commanders from the survey, that is not an ideal amount for getting great data. But even with 12 we did see some preferences worth noting, with a grain of salt.
- 100% played female characters, despite less than half being female players.
- 50% of them played Clerics.
- 75% of their characters were on quests of Understanding.
- 50% of their characters were in a Person vs the Gods conflict.
INTP – Thinker / Logician
We had 38 responders be Thinkers, making them the 5th most likely to play D&D. So what drives them to play, and why do more not join in? Thinkers have busy minds, creative reasoning, and are always looking for logical solutions. This makes them great problem-solvers at the gaming table, especially when dungeon delving. But they are not big rule followers, and their logical way of communicating can have them come across as unemotional or condescending. This could be what keeps most of them away from tables were the majority of players are the emotionally-driven Diplomats.
- 36% of them play Half-Elves.
- 28% of them play Rogues.
- 50% of them are on a quest of Understanding.
- 34% of them have a Person vs Self character conflict.
ENTP – Visionary / Debater
Only 21 Debaters responded to the survey. A “devil’s advocate” type, Debaters are intellectual brain-stormers and highly confident. These are great players to solve in-game problems, tackle political intrigue, and have battles of the mind with villains. However, their love for debate can come across as argumentative and can easily cross boundaries, which can make it difficult for them to make friends at the table or build in-game relationships.
- 28% of their characters are Human.
- 24% play Rogues.
- Two quests were tied at 28% a piece. A quest of Transformation, and a quest of Redemption.
- 33% are in a Person vs Society conflict.
The Sentinels – ISTJ, ISFJ, ESTJ, & ESFJ
The Sentinel group is third most likely to play D&D, with 55 respondents. Sentinels are extremely practical, orderly, and reliable. Typically warm and caring individuals, it is interesting to see so little in a game that is focused on relationships. Given that we have so little data for these personalities, it is important to take correlations with a grain of salt as you truly need a bigger number to make more solid conclusions.
ISTJ – Inspector / Logistician
Only 15 Inspectors were in the survey. Highly logical and dutiful, Inspectors are steadfast rule followers. They are also slow to make friends as they tend not to be talkative or spontaneous. While this is likely the reason they aren’t as active with D&D, those that do find a group they’re comfortable with will make excellent players for the more numbers and strategy-driven side of the game.
- 40% have their characters are on quests of Understanding.
- 33% have a Person vs Self conflict.
ISFJ – Defender / Nurturer
There were 28 Defender respondents. Defenders make an excellent addition to any D&D group. They are warm, unassuming, supportive, and observant. They are sure to support the party’s objectives, give solid input on quests, and get along with everyone in the group. So why do we see so little Defenders here? Perhaps it is because these personality types tend to be humble, shy, and stay away from the spotlight. But when they get noticed for a group, they are sure to make a valuable asset.
- 57% of their characters are female, even though 64% of the Defenders are female.
- 53% are on quests of Understanding.
- 42% of them have a Person vs Society conflict.
ESTJ – Supervisor / Executive
Only four of our respondents are Supervisors, making them extremely rare to play D&D. Advisors and leaders that are heavily involved in community, Supervisors tend to focus on tradition and routine. While this community-oriented mindset makes them great to discover D&D groups, they also are a type very worried about public opinion. And since D&D, to some, can still seem unusual, this may turn them away.
- 50% played Clerics.
- 75% are on a quest of Understanding.
- 50% have a Person vs the Gods conflict.
ESFJ – Provider / Consul
There were eight Providers in the survey, making them also very rare to play D&D. They are people-focused, community-driven, and are comfortable in the spotlight. They tend to get along very well with others and be quite popular. It may seem surprising, then, that they are not more active in D&D. But this is another type worried about public opinion and social status, which can drive them away from games like D&D. Providers also rarely leave their comfort zones.
- 37% played Halflings.
- Both Bard and Fighter were tied for top spot, with 25% a piece.
- 71% are on quests for Understanding.
- 37% have a Person vs Self conflict.
The Explorers – ISTP, ISFP, ESFP, & ESTP
At first it can seem quite surprising that Explorers are the least likely to play D&D, with only 38 overall. They are creative, spontaneous, and flexible. But there are other traits that war with their creative tendencies, which may be what dissuades them from the table. As with the Defenders, please keep in mind that since we have such low responses it is hard to gauge a real correlation. But what we did find is interesting and worth doing more research at a later date.
ISTP – Craftsman / Virtuoso
Nine Craftsman responded to our survey. Craftsman types are inquisitive, goal-setters, and love to build things. They are friendly and believe in being sensitive to others’ thoughts and feelings. So why don’t we see them more often in D&D? Craftsman types dislike commitment and are bored easily. If they are not truly in love with D&D, they will not show up. And since D&D can be very “theater of the mind”, this may be not as fun for these types that like to play with their hands.
- 33% played Human characters.
- 55% were on quests of Understanding.
- Person vs Self and Person vs Person conflicts were split with 33% a piece.
ISFP – Composer / Adventurer
With 23 respondents, Adventurers were the most likely of the Explorers to play D&D. It is no surprise then that our own DM (Scott or Ru) is an ISFP type! Open-minded, extremely artistic, and social, Adventurers tend to get along well with everyone. The creative outlet of D&D is excellent for Adventurers. However, they dislike planning and can struggle with self-esteem. This might be why there aren’t as many committing to D&D campaigns and putting themselves in the spotlight.
- 26% played Tieflings.
- 47% are on quests of Understanding.
- 26% have a Person vs Society conflict.
ESFP – Performer / Entertainer
It seems surprising that only five Performers took our survey. They are extremely social and considered the life of the party. Creative and playful, they are sure to bring joy to any D&D game. Perhaps what drives them away is that they are easily bored, poor long-term planners, and can be unfocused. But for those able to focus their attention on D&D, they are sure to be a bright light at the table.
- 40% played Tieflings.
- 40% are on quests of Revenge.
- 60% have a Person vs Person conflict.
ESTP – Doer / Entrepreneur
There was only one Doer in our survey. Energetic and highly social, Doers certainly have no shortage of friends that would play D&D with them. So why only one? Doers tend to be unstructured and hate rules, even in games. They are blunt in communication and have trouble identifying emotions, which can make it difficult in emotionally-based games like D&D.
- The 1 Doer played a female Aasimar Paladin on a quest of Understanding with a Person vs Person conflict.
Part II will be here February 7th where we look into how player gender and ethnicity impacts what their character choices are. Sneak peek: one group was 100% Warlock!