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Author Topic: Seeking Advice - Mythological Archetypes  (Read 1877 times)

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Offline Apocryphal

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Seeking Advice - Mythological Archetypes
« on: April 29, 2015, 10:04:32 AM »
I'm interested in developing a campaign that spans about 2000 years of history. I'd like to divide this campaign into historical sections, and for each section the PCs would make new characters. These characters would not necessarily have any connection with the PCs other characters (i.e. they're not descendants of previous characters). Instead, their connection would be through archetype. At the beginning of the campaign each character would pick an archetype, and would stick with that archetype through the campaign. Each new character they make would draw on the basics of the archetype template, but would otherwise be all new.

But what are the archetypes?

I don't have a literature background myself and am not aware of any books on this subject. My google searches came up short of finding any specifically named archetypes. I'm a little familiar with The Hero's Journey, but my understanding is that it deals mainly with a single hero, rather that a group of people. And this being an RPG campaign, it needs to be good for 4 or 5 players.

My initial thoughts are that the archetypes would be:
1. The Hero
2. The Sidekick
3. The Love Interest, and
4. The Sage

I'm wondering if anyone can suggest other archetypes, or better archetypes to the ones above, drawn from myths and folk-tales.

Thanks,
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Offline Dozus

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Re: Seeking Advice - Mythological Archetypes
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2015, 10:10:13 AM »
Ambitious! :thumbup:

I think that's pretty good coverage of archetypes. The only other that comes immediately to mind is The Shadow - the enemy, the antagonist. It could be your NPC villain, or you could make it a PC.
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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Seeking Advice - Mythological Archetypes
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2015, 10:15:18 AM »
The Hero
The Scoundrel
The Wise Mentor
The Goddess
The Trickster
The Rival
The Brain
The Dragon
The Magician

The 22 Greater arcana cards of the Tarot are also excellent for drawing archetypes from.
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Offline Strolen

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Re: Seeking Advice - Mythological Archetypes
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2015, 08:20:56 PM »
You might be surprised what google images comes up with when you search for "hero archetypes" with some great worksheets that you can print and pass out for them to choose from.

Good ones are from movies which also make it very easy to understand the character and play it better than with just a description.

http://www.soulcraft.co/essays/the_12_common_archetypes.html

Has a nice set with some descriptions too.

https://www.empmuseum.org/media/200990/emp_fantasy_gallery_guide_for_educators.pdf

The Knight: The knight is a master combatant, born leader, and trusted guardian whose devotion to duty sustains him on seemingly hopeless quests.
The Mythic Warrior: This is no ordinary warrior. The archetypal hero of myth is born with extraordinary gifts and is destined to overcome the greatest evils of his day.
The Damsel: Known for her beauty and virtue, the damsel is at the mercy of villains until she finds her hero.
The Rogue: The rogue believes rules are meant to be broken. He is an outlaw with talents for deception, trickery, and swashbuckling adventure.
The Iron Woman: The iron woman maintains a position of high leadership, and is a brave and trusted guardian of her people. She is steady and disciplined, even in times of crisis.
The Witch: Gifted with incredible powers at a young age but forced into isolation, the witch usually lives alone and embittered. She is deeply misunderstood and feared by others.
The Hero’s Muse: The hero’s muse is kind, beautiful, and patient. She is connected to the concept of Paradise, and this quality makes her more powerful than she appears.
The Unlikely Hero: Despite humble origins and modest skills, the unlikely hero’s courage and good fortune triumph over desperate circumstances.
The Companion: A hero’s companion is often easier to relate to than the hero. The companion is loyal and can provide a practical and optimistic point of view, even in the darkest of times.
The Mystic: The mystic’s ability to see into the future makes him a valuable ally, but his solitary, introverted, and seemingly erratic nature often leads him to be judged unfairly.
The Magical Prodigy: The magical prodigy is born with extraordinary abilities, but faces a painful path of arduous training, dangerous rites of passage, and an unfair burden of responsibility.
The Earth-Shaker: The earth-shaker’s emotional turbulence, underdeveloped sense of morality, and sheer physical power make him an intimidating threat for any hero.
The Warbringer: The warbringer is contentious, determined, and recklessly brave. His uncontrollable impulse for violence and conflict is both the source of his power and his biggest weakness.
The Anti-Hero: Self-centered or misanthropic, the last thing the anti-hero wants is to be a hero, but the story pushes them where they’re least comfortable and by acting to save themselves they just might save others ... or even the world.

I had to stop looking now. Your topic interests me greatly. :)

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Offline Apocryphal

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Re: Seeking Advice - Mythological Archetypes
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2015, 10:03:59 PM »
Ambitious! :thumbup:
Very! The scenarios will likely take place the period between 3400BC and 1600BC in the Fertile Crescent and be as historically accurate as I can make them.

The 22 Greater arcana cards of the Tarot are also excellent for drawing archetypes from.
Ooh - good thought. That hadn't occurred to me.

Good ones are from movies which also make it very easy to understand the character and play it better than with just a description.

http://www.soulcraft.co/essays/the_12_common_archetypes.html

Has a nice set with some descriptions too.

https://www.empmuseum.org/media/200990/emp_fantasy_gallery_guide_for_educators.pdf<Snip>

I had to stop looking now. Your topic interests me greatly. :)
Those.... are exactly the kind of thing I was looking for! Thanks for that! I'm going to spend some time cross-referencing this with Ancient Near Eastern myth.

I'll post more as it occurs to me. This will be a long-term project - something to let roll around in the back of the mind.

Offline Moonlake

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Re: Seeking Advice - Mythological Archetypes
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2015, 04:06:01 AM »
Continuing from your ancient Eastern myth idea, I was reminded of particular ancient Chinese historical figures (cos I'm Chinese myself) that might be able to serve as archetypes:
The Righteous Man- Yue Fei (patriotic general), Wen Tian Xiang (author of the Verse of the Righteous Man, patriotic scholar-general)
The Brute Warrior- Lu Bu (greatest warrior of his era but lacks strategic thinking)
The Great Strategist- Zhuge Liang
The Femme Fatale- Daji
The Ruthless Woman- Dowage Empress Cixi, Wu Zetian (the only two women who hold political power in ancient China)
The Unfortunate/Unlucky Beauty- not so much from historical figures as in folklore and a kind of literary device for Chinese books/movies/drama set in ancient times
The Villainous Conqueror- Cao Cao
The Virtuous Warlord- Liu Bei
The Villainous Enunch- Wei Zhong Xian (in the Ming dynasty, there's this enunch who was able to seize a lot of power at court and there're several of them close to end of the feudal era)
The Ruthless/Incompetent Emperor

These are what I came up with off the top of my head.

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Offline Apocryphal

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Re: Seeking Advice - Mythological Archetypes
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2015, 11:02:23 PM »
That's very cool, Moonlake.  :thumbup: