How to Create Believable D&D Characters with the Enneagram
One of the things I love most about D&D is creating unique characters that feel like real people. While having an interesting backstory and defined personality traits can help bring your character to life, it’s often a bit hard to make your character feel like a real person and not a caricature.
But once I started learning about the Enneagram personality system, I realized… Hey, this could be really good for creating D&D characters!
I know that many authors use personality typology when writing their characters, so why can’t we do the same for D&D? We are telling a story after all…
So if you’re struggling to make your D&D characters feel realistic, or you’re looking to find the perfect internal motivation for your character’s adventuring, this is the guide for you!
What is the Enneagram?
Now I’m sure you’re probably wondering… what the heck is the Enneagram??
The Enneagram is a personality typing system that divides people into nine unique personality types with their own core fears and motivations that influence our behavior and decision making.
At first glance, the Enneagram looks very similar to most personality-profiling tools like DISC or Myers-Briggs. But rather than categorizing how your personality is displayed externally, the Enneagram focuses on internal motivation.
In short, the Enneagram is all about WHY we do what we do.
While those with the same Enneagram type may have certain personality traits or behaviors in common, they can present very differently. No two people are exactly the same, but those with the same Enneagram type will have similar driving motivators behind their behaviors.
The goal of the Enneagram is to discover your internal motivation so you can identify the parts of yourself that are not serving you, and eventually let them go!
If you’re curious to learn more about the Enneagram and how it works, definitely check out this post about why I’m OBSESSED with the Enneagram.
How to Use the Enneagram For D&D Character Creation
I absolutely love coming up with unique characters that feel like real people, however, it usually takes me a few sessions to really flesh out their personalities and internal motivations.
It’s easy to say, “my character is a crazy necromancer spore druid who talks to an enchanted skull named Gerald”, but… what about the rest of her personality? One or two personality traits based on your background copied and pasted into your character sheet doesn’t really create a complex human, and neither does an impressive backstory.
What is really motivating your character to become an adventurer? Deep, deep down, what are they afraid of? What are they running towards? WHY do they do what they do??
Once I started using the Enneagram, my job of designing the personality, quirks, and motivations of my characters became a million times easier. It also made my roleplaying much more characterful and consistent.
For example, the spore druid I mentioned turns her dead party members into zombies because she refuses to deal with the pain of their loss. Instead, every cloud has a silver lining and there’s no point in being sad because… they’re still here!
How interesting is it to have a necromancer that refuses to recognize death and deludes herself into thinking that all of her party members are still alive?
I never would’ve come up with this idea if it weren’t through connecting the Enneagram with D&D.
It’s Easiest to Play Your Own Type
The first time I designed a character using the Enneagram, I decided I was going to make a character with a different Enneagram type to me. I had grand plans for this character’s personality, but a few sessions in I realized that I wasn’t quite connecting to her in the way I had with my previous characters.
This is because it is so much easier to write and play characters with the same Enneagram type as you.
Authors often write main characters with the same Enneagram type as themselves. Since a lot of authors are Type Fours, this also means that a lot of our favorite novel heroes are also Fours!
As a Type Seven, I’ve found it so much easier to lean into my type and create characters that are Sevens. Not only has it made character creation much easier, but it also makes me feel WAY more connected to my characters because there’s a part of me in all of them.
Same Enneagram Type, Different Personality
Wait… Does this mean that all of your characters end up being exactly the same??
Of course not!
Not everyone with the same Enneagram type acts exactly the same, and this is also true for your characters. Sure, there are certain similar elements to my characters, but they are by no means the same people.
I’ve made a daredevil halfling rogue thief who rationalizes her bad behavior with excuses. You have the forest gnome bard who is obsessed with finding a hidden temple in the jungle just for the sheer excitement of its discovery. I’ve designed a battlesmith artificer who is obsessed with creating new and exciting inventions, a Shadar Kai cleric who REFUSES to let boredom and melancholy affect her, and a disorganized teenage wizard genius who’s just super excited to get out of the house and go on an adventure. Let’s not forget the spore druid who refuses to deal with trauma and pain by turning her dead friends into zombies…
All of these characters are Sevens and all of them have bits and pieces of me in them.
No, I’m not a cunning thief, jungle explorer, mad scientist, or unhinged spore druid, but there are elements of me in all of them, which makes them feel real.
How to Use This Guide
Of course, I hope you’ll become super obsessed with the Enneagram like me and use it as a tool for self-understanding and growth, but if you’re reading this guide, chances are you’re just here to make a good D&D character.
While I do recommend discovering your own type to help you create the most believable characters, you don’t need to design a character of your own type, and I encourage you to branch out a bit if you’re interested! (I’ve got a Type 3 character in the works right now!)
In this guide, I have a section on each type with a brief description of the type itself, and an explanation on how that Enneagram type might show up in a D&D character.
I’ve also listed possible behaviors this type may exhibit in stress, to give you an idea of how your character might act when things aren’t going well. This should make your characters feel more grounded and real. How would your character deal with the death of a party member, a failure of the mission, or getting cornered in a dangerous dungeon?
For each type, I also have tips for character growth if you do want to create a nice arc for your character. The Enneagram is all about how to grow as a person, so if you want to have a Jamie Lannister-esque character arc for your D&D character (and then NOT RUIN IT), I have some possible ideas for how this would appear in each type.
That said, it is very fun to play characters that are of “average” growth (or super unhealthy like my spore druid). Perfectly enlightened characters with no flaws are pretty boring, so I highly suggest leaning into some of the negative aspects of your chosen Enneagram type, and have this become a recurring struggle for them, even if they do grow as a character.
Finally, for each type, I talk about how to play this type well without annoying your entire party. When designing characters with the Enneagram it can be easy to fall into the trap of creating stereotypical cliché characters with traits that may not serve the game. It’s super important not to let your roleplaying infuriate the party or derail the game, so I have specific tips for each type to make sure you and your party have fun with the character you’ve created. The last thing you want is for your entire party to roll their eyes every time your character opens their mouth.
I hope you find this guide helpful when creating incredible and believable characters, and also learn a bit about yourself along the way!
Type One: The Reformer
Type One’s core fear is of being a bad, evil, or defective person, and their core desire is to be a good person with integrity.
Ones are all about making the world a better place and are really hard on themselves (and the people and institutions around them) in pursuit of this. They are typically a bit perfectionistic and critical, have an eye for detail, and are well-organized.
Ones have strong beliefs about what is right and wrong and spend a lot of time thinking about the consequences of their actions. To quote the Enneagram Institute, they’re often “teachers, crusaders, and advocates for change: always striving to improve things, but afraid of making a mistake.”
Ones also have a harsh inner critic that points out when they’re not living up to their own standards. This also leads to a lot of frustration and anger with other people for being more relaxed and carefree. This anger is usually repressed (because angry outbursts are “bad”) and manifests as tension.
Ones try so hard to be good and make the world perfect, but the growth for this type comes when they realize the world is an imperfect place. Ones need to relax, let things go, and focus their efforts on realistic goals that will make a positive impact.
Playing a Type One in D&D
Type One is one of the easiest Enneagram types to use in D&D because Ones have a sense of purpose or mission that they’re striving towards to make the world a better place. They often put their own personal desires aside to do what’s “right” or “good”.
An obvious Type One character would be a lawful good Paladin, who has very strict morals and encourages everyone else in the party to see things his or her way. Ones often see things in black and white, right and wrong, and eventually, this lawful character will have to come to terms with the fact that their way isn’t always the right way, or that sometimes there are shades of grey that will complicate your decision-making.
That said, any character could easily be a Type One regardless of alignment. Sure, a lawful or Good character is easy to play as a One, but you don’t have to be! While Gandhi was a Type One, so was Osama Bin Laden.
You could play a Warlock who really just wants to be a “good” Warlock and impress her patron. You could play a druid who has really strong beliefs about the environment. Maybe you play a lawful evil cleric who worships an Evil God to the best of his abilities. You could even play a Robin Hood-esque rogue who steals from the rich and gives to the poor in his own personal form of justice!
Type One Characters: Eddard Stark, Stannis Baratheon (GOT), Claire Fraser (Outlander), Hermione Granger, Minerva McGonagall (Harry Potter), Elsa (Frozen), Luther (Umbrella Academy), Steve Rogers, and Thanos (Avengers) **
** These examples are all just my best guess and the typings from others I found online. Feel free to disagree in the comments if you have another opinion because I had a hard time with some of these!
Type One in Stress
This type typically has problems with repressed anger, grinding their teeth in frustration with others and themselves. In stress, your One may snap at others or get annoyed that they’re the only responsible one in the group.
Type Ones in extreme stress can even get a bit melodramatic and moody. Why is the burden always on my shoulders?! Why does no one listen to me???
One’s may even get a bit hypocritical with their values in this state. Thinking, “Well, I deserve this because I work so hard and I’m so responsible.”
Character Growth for Type One
As your One character grows, she may learn to loosen up and have a bit of fun without taking herself so seriously all the time. He may learn that his way isn’t always the right way and that the world operates in shades of grey.
You can fight for justice and your morals while still being considerate, open to other’s life philosophies and ideas, while also having fun along the way.
At their best, Ones are crusaders and inspiring leaders that truly want to make the world a better place.
Tips For Playing Type One Well (without annoying the party)
I think we all know how annoying the stereotypical lawful good paladin can be when it’s not done well. Don’t be that guy!
If you’re going to be preachy, don’t do it in a way that frustrates the other characters at the table. Avoid impeding the mission, or creating a roadblock to other characters achieving their goals.
If you really want to annoy the hell out of the other characters with your black and white views, make it interesting! Have your character get stuck in moral dilemmas. Make your character a predatory druid who firmly believes in the survival of the fittest. Be extremely anti- undead or fight for honor and justice!
You may also want to lean into the perfectionism of Type One. Have your character be hard on himself for messing up in combat or take the responsibility of the party onto your shoulders. Hermione Granger is a good example of this type of One.
You may also want to create an unhealthy Type One who is a secret hypocrite! Create a pious cleric who secretly visits brothels or a wizard who is always correcting others but never sees her own flaws.
Remember, you can also be subtle with your Type One fears and motivations. Just knowing internally that your character is berating himself, or feels morally opposed to what the party is doing will help you roleplay without needing to overtly declare things out loud that may impede the game.
Type Two: The Helper
Type Two’s core desire is to be loved and appreciated, and their core fear is that deep down, the people around them won’t love them unless they’re constantly giving of themselves. They fear being unwanted, and unworthy of love.
Twos are sincere, warm-hearted, generous, and self-sacrificing. However, they can also fall into the trap of people-pleasing, and using flattery to manipulate people.
Twos are either the most genuinely helpful people or are at least the most invested in seeing themselves that way. This is because average Twos give in order to receive. They constantly put others’ needs ahead of their own because they don’t want to be “selfish”, and expect love, attention, and care in return.
Twos often present this false image of being completely selfless and giving, but on the inside, they have enormous expectations of others. They believe that in order to receive love, they need to be self-sacrificing. But putting others first all the time makes Twos secretly resentful that others aren’t doing the same. Because of this, they’ll often erupt without warning, revealing the hidden expectations they have of others.
The growth for Type Two comes with focusing more on caring for your own needs and lessening your expectations of others. Also, Twos need to recognize that love comes in many forms, and others may be loving you right now without you constantly giving.
How to Play Type Two in D&D
Your Type Two character is going to be very invested in helping people, whether it’s their hometown, the party, or the entire realm. However, what’s very important to the Two is that human connection. Twos don’t want to help or be good out of principle like Ones. Twos actually want that interpersonal connection.
Twos are going to want to interact with the people in the town they’re saving and get to know those NPCs. They’re going to form close individual bonds with the members of their party, and they want to see the effects of their good deeds in person.
Your Type Two character will probably put the needs of other party members first: making sure they get the best magic items, or they’re properly healed. But in return Twos want to be recognized for their selflessness and will often want others to do the same things for them in return.
If the party isn’t as loving or generous with your character as he secretly hopes, expect some serious martyr syndrome, or a passive-aggressive blowup.
Any character can easily fit into the motivations of a Two, but a few stereotypical ideas that come to mind are the “man of the people” Cleric that wants to be seen helping the poor and putting others first, or the friendly halfling bard who is happy to play a support role by throwing out bardic inspiration and playing Song of Rest to boost morale.
While it may seem natural to make your Type Two character “Good”, less-healthy Twos can actually be pretty selfish and manipulative. If you’re only a nice person to others so that they’ll be nice to you in return, that sounds like a pretty neutrally aligned character to me.
Type Two Characters: Samwise Gamgee (Lord of the Rings), Molly Weasly and Bellatrix Lestrange (Harry Potter), Peta Mellark (Hunger Games), Katara (Avatar the Last Airbender), Diego (Umbrella Academy)
Type Two in Stress
Your character will become very angry or frustrated when it feels like their good deeds or kindheartedness is being taken advantage of, especially by other party members. Twos often let this build until they explode and demand to be treated better.
All of you KNEW this wand would be the best fit for me. But did anyone say anything? Did anyone offer it to me? Of course not, because all of you are selfish!!
Your character could also go the passive-aggressive martyr syndrome route and make subtle comments about their party not really caring about them and their needs.
Character Growth for Type Two
As your character grows, she’ll learn to put her own needs first, and stop using “giving” and love as a tactic to get other people to care about her. He’ll stop flaunting his good deeds for recognition and grow out of the fear that the party will leave him if he’s not constantly attending to their needs.
Twos at their best are genuinely kind, giving people who want to make the world a better place through love and connection.
Tips For Playing a Two Well (without annoying the entire party)
It’s almost too easy to make your Type Two self-sacrificing, giving, and all-around perfect. But… isn’t that really boring?
I highly suggest leaning into the less savory aspects of Type Two, so you don’t end up with some bland vanilla helpful character no one cares about.
Make your character a little bit clingy and overly helpful and play up those abandonment issues. Have your character blow up (once in a blue moon) about how no one cares about them and go sulk in the woods. Be a little immature, or preachy about how helpful you are.
You may want to lean into your vulnerability or create a backstory that makes sense for a character that, at their core, is afraid that no one will love them if they’re not constantly giving. Just think… how much depth will that give your character? Then slowly drip elements of your abandonment issues over time as you get closer to the party.
Type Three: The Achiever
Type Threes desire success, achievement, and admiration, and their core fear is that without all of their achievements they’re inherently worthless and unworthy of love.
Because Threes cannot see that they are worthy of love by just existing, they feel a constant need to earn love and affection through performing and achieving. They’re often competitive, driven, and assertive, going after what they think will make them feel valued by those around them.
That said, many Threes are also diplomatic and charming, with a chameleon-like ability to mold themselves to fit into any group. While Threes may appear to be confident and self-assured, most Threes have no idea who they truly are or what they really want, aside from being “successful” and “valued” by the people around them. This “success” could be becoming a CEO, a famous celebrity, a top scientist in your field, or even being the picture-perfect stay at home mom.
The growth for Type Three comes from following your heart and finding the things that truly bring you happiness, even if it’s not considered “successful” in your culture or peer group. Also, Threes can make incredible coaches and mentors when they take their drive and help others succeed.
Playing a Three in D&D
Type Threes are another easy Enneagram type to play in D&D because their motives are so clear: they want to be a “somebody”.
Your Type Three character may want to have a statue of themselves in the city square, become the most powerful wizard on the continent, or shower themselves in riches and lore. They want to be liked, admired, or at least considered successful and powerful.
You could easily play a Three as a charismatic bard who charms his way to victories for his party, often twisting the narrative to make himself sound more impressive. You may be a paladin who just never quite measured up to his older brother and now feels the need to prove himself and his worth. Or you could be an evil sorceress who wants everyone to both love and fear her.
Threes are constantly striving for the next level of success, so if you’re playing a Type Three character, they will never just be happy with completing the mission. Their eyes are always on the next step, the next challenge.
Threes also have problems with competitiveness, which they may (or may not) try to cover up in-game. You may find that your Three gets frustrated with herself for not being the biggest damage dealer in the party, or for failing to spot a trap that another character noticed.
It may make sense to create a Three character as someone with high charisma, as Threes are often very charming. However, not every Three is charismatic, and super-competitive Threes can often be very socially off-putting!
The main idea is that your Three has a very carefully crafted image and a drive towards success.
Examples of Fictional Threes: Ron Weasley, Draco Malfoy, Professor Lockhart (Harry Potter), Margaery Tyrell (GOT), Boromir and Gimli (Lord of the Rings), Gaston (Beauty and the Beast), Allison (Umbrella Academy), Azula (Avatar the Last Airbender), Dr. Strange (Avengers)
Type Three in Stress
With all of this constant striving and performing, Threes sometimes just can’t take it anymore. Under extreme stress, Threes can become apathetic and disengaged.
If your three fails a long-term mission, or couldn’t protect a party member, your character might wonder “What’s the point? I’m just a failure anyway”.
Character Growth for Type Three
Growth comes when your Type Three character stops being so competitive and uses their strengths and ambition to help the PARTY succeed. Over time your character can become more cooperative and committed to others, realizing the innate value in every party member.
The Three will become more modest, caring, interpersonal and lift up those around them rather than just themselves. At their best, Threes are incredible coaches, motivators, and inspiring leaders.
Tips For Playing a Three Well (without annoying the entire party)
Threes are competitive. They want to be successful, they want to be the best, and they may try to one-up people in the party. But PLEASE do not let this translate to you as a player.
Remember, D&D is all about teamwork towards a shared goal, not “winning” or being the best player at the table.
If you do want to play a character that’s a bit competitive and ambitious, avoid being too competitive with other party members. Read the room, and if people are getting annoyed with your character trying to one-up or outshine theirs, back off a bit.
If you want to play up this competitiveness within the party, why not bring a little humor in? Start a drinking competition with the barbarian, or have your bard boast about how helpful they were in that last combat (when it’s obvious she didn’t actually do much).
I also highly suggest playing up your Three-ness with NPCs, boasting about yourself (and the party) to strangers at a tavern. Get competitive with random Guild members or have a long-standing rivalry with someone outside the party.
You can also spend extra time on your image and appearance, whether it’s purchasing ornate armor or creating a super charismatic and good-looking character.
In short, if you’re going to be a jerk, do it to the NPC’s or make a joke out of how ridiculous your character is being. Don’t try to compete with your party members for attention.
Type Four: The Individualist
Deep down, Fours are afraid that they have no identity or personal significance, and they yearn to find themselves and create a unique personal identity.
Fours see themselves as inherently different from others. They are very invested in seeing themselves special, and uniquely talented, with gifts that no one else has. However, they also see themselves as uniquely disadvantaged too, looking at others who seem to possess skills they’ll never have: whether its social ease, determination, or confidence.
Fours truly believe that they are unlike other people, and because of this, no one can really understand them or love them properly. That said, Fours are also looking for a rescuer: someone who will see the “real” them and love them fully.
Fours really want to create a stable identity for themselves, and they do this by latching onto particular emotions or memories while rejecting others. They tend to be very creative and use things like music or memories to prolong feelings of melancholy.
The real growth for Type Four happens when you realize there is nothing fundamentally wrong with you. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and everyone is uniquely special. You can also use your sensitivity to be compassionate towards others, rather than separating yourself and pulling away.
How to Play a Four in D&D
Type Four is a perfect Enneagram type for those “misunderstood” outsider characters who just never quite fit in. Think of your Tiefling who wanders the word not knowing where he belongs or the sensitive half-orc who just wants to be seen for who she is and not her race.
While it may be tempting to play a stereotypical “lone wolf” type character who hides his emotions and tragic backstory from the party, there are plenty of other ways to play a Type Four character.
You may be a halfling who has always yearned for adventure and was never understood by her town or family, always feeling a little bit different. Now that she’s joined the party, she’s starting to realize that maybe she’s not as special as she once thought, and she’s in desperate need of a new identifying trait to make her different and special again.
The important thing to remember about Fours is that they see themselves as uniquely special but also uniquely disadvantaged. They often feel like they’re on the outside staring in at something that’s just out of reach. Because of this, your Four should have a lot of emotional depth and may hold themselves at a distance from the party until they feel comfortable enough to open up about their true thoughts and feelings.
Examples of Fictional Fours: Faramir (Lord of the Rings), Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter), Loki (Thor), Jay Gatsby (The Great Gatsby), Belle (Beauty and the Beast), Prince Zuko (Avatar the Last Airbender), Vanya (Umbrella Academy)
Type Four in Stress
When under stress Fours often become overly involved and clingy like a stereotypical Two, constantly checking in to ensure that no one is angry with them or going to leave them.
In stress your character may distance themselves and retreat into an inner world, hoping that someone will come up to them and ask why they’re upset or quiet, rather than just saying out loud what they really want or need. Fours love a good rescuer and may withdraw for attention.
Character Growth for Type Four
Growth comes for your Type Four character when they learn to let go of this idea that they’re uniquely disadvantaged. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses and good/bad experiences and Fours need to stop viewing themselves as a victim.
Rather than living in the past, your Four needs to look towards the future and its many possibilities. They will need to get out of their heads and truly connect with the party, opening up and forming friendships that may make her feel vulnerable.
Tip For Playing a Four Well (without annoying the entire party)
It can be super tempting to play a badass lone-wolf depressed Type Four character who is just so moody and misunderstood. But man… hasn’t that cliché been done to death?
No one wants another rogue assassin with a tragic backstory you can never pry from his melancholy mind, or a stoic ranger with deep pain he’ll never share with anyone while he looks on from afar.
D&D is all about connecting with the party and working together, so if you’re going to create a Four you need to be committed to character growth, otherwise, you (and your party) are not going to have any fun. While some of the other types can be entertaining to play without growing as a person, you’ll have a much more enjoyable time if you actually open up to your party about that 5-page backstory you wrote.
It’s also a little too easy to play a moody and depressed character, but not all Fours are depressed! Fours feel all their emotions strongly: joy, sorrow, melancholy, or something bittersweet. Fours are also typically the best at dealing with the pain of loss, whether it’s a party member or an important combat. They may be able to help other characters deal with their emotions, taking the lead in hard times.
Type Five: The Investigator
Fives are deeply afraid of being useless, incapable, or helpless, and are chasing the feeling of being capable and competent.
Fives deal with this fear of being helpless and incapable by acquiring knowledge. They’re insightful, curious, and want to know why things are the way they are. They’re not satisfied with basic explanations and like to probe a chosen topic in-depth.
Fives feel like the more information they have on a particular topic (be it gardening, astrophysics, or the history of Ancient Egypt), the more they will be confident and prepared. That said, Fives often feel incapable when it comes to practical everyday things, like approaching a crush, cooking dinner, or learning to drive. Rather than overcoming these fears by taking driving lessons, or watching a cooking show, Fives will throw themselves into their area of research instead. This serves as a distraction from their real anxiety by giving them a false feeling of confidence and preparedness that… doesn’t actually solve the real problem.
In addition, Fives are typically very uncomfortable with emotions, preferring logic instead. They also never quite feel like an expert, despite having multiple years of experience or a Ph.D.
Growth for Type Five begins when they start addressing the real fears that are giving them anxiety (like having a relationship) and realizing that they can pursue their unique passions while also taking care of themselves and their basic needs.
Playing a Type Five in D&D
When I picture Type Five in D&D my mind immediately goes to the withdrawn scholarly wizard obsessed with gathering new spells, or the eccentric artificer who constantly creates new gadgets.
Fives are not interested in the already established status quo. They want to create something new, try things that have never been done before, and become completely competent in a subject to overcome their deep-seated fear of being useless.
Fives tend to be very intelligent and struggle socially, so it makes sense for you to give your type Five a high intelligence and low charisma score. That said, your Five character definitely doesn’t have to be a genius, as long as they have one area they specialize in… to the extreme.
You will never find a “jack of all trades” Five, so if you want to play a Type Five character, make sure you specialize in a few skills and areas, purposely leaving your scores low for everything else.
For example, your wizard could have insanely high intelligence, focusing on history, arcana, and religion with comically low charisma and wisdom. You may want to create a “mad scientist” alchemist intent on creating the elixir of life… that has no idea how to survive in the wilderness or relate to members of the opposite sex.
If you want to create a Type Five character that doesn’t rely on intelligence, why not create a druid that knows everything about animal and plant life, but nothing about people. Or a cleric that has studied their religion deeper than most would ever consider going, but they’re absolutely horrible at converting others. How about a fighter that boasts about knowing a dozen exotic fighting styles but can’t start a fire to save his life?
No matter what you decide to do, be sure to play up the fact that your Type Five refuses to focus on solving the underlying issues in their lives where they don’t feel competent or confident, instead of focusing on extreme competence in their area of choice.
Examples of Fictional Fives: Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock), Elrond (Lord of the Rings), Albus Dumbledore and Aruthur Weasley (Harry Potter), Beetee Latier and Haymitch Abernathy (The Hunger Games), Number 5 (Umbrella Academy)
Type Five in Stress
Under stress, Fives will retreat further into their inner world, researching and investigating more to solve their anxiety. If this doesn’t work, your Five character may become scattered and hyperactive, throwing themselves into a frenzy of activity!
They’ll want to do whatever they can to distract themselves from their fears or anxiety, bouncing from one idea to the next, or throwing out solutions to problems that are only half thought through with no idea which one is best.
Character Growth for Type Five
Fives grow when they realize that they need to focus on more than just their specialty. Yes, they can be the most knowledgable alchemist in the world, but they should probably also learn how to make a fire and… talk to people.
Your Five can also grow by gaining more confidence and certainty in their decisions. With all that knowledge, they should stop spending all their time researching, and step into a teacher or leadership role, acting on all of that knowledge.
Tips For Playing a Five Well (without annoying the entire party)
Yes, Type Fives often struggle with relating to people, but don’t use this as an excuse to avoid roleplaying! No one is going to have any fun with your character if she spends all her time being anti-social with her head in a book. If you spend every long rest frantically memorizing spells or working on gadgets alone, no one is really going to get to know or care about your character.
If you want people to enjoy your Type Five, lean into the eccentricity of their character and make people laugh. Have your cleric actually miserably fail at trying to convert a party member, or your druid fumble all over himself trying to talk to a beautiful NPC.
Also, just because your character is an expert at something doesn’t mean you’re the only person who should be able to do that thing. For example, if you’re a super-specialist rouge who is an absolute expert at disarming traps, this doesn’t mean you should never let your artificer try her hand at disabling a trap every once and while.
Try to use your expertise in a fun way that your party will enjoy. For example, if you’re a history expert and you roll poorly on a skill check, but for some reason, your party’s barbarian gets a natural 20, why not play up your shock and confusion over this!
Finally, remember that deep down Fives are a bit insecure, not boastful. Yes, they may be experts on a topic, but Fives never truly feel like an expert (even if they have a Ph.D.). So, if you want your character to be condescending, just talk about a topic like your character expects it to be common knowledge, and then seem surprised (and secretly very happy) that it’s new knowledge to everyone else in the group.
Type Six: The Loyal Skeptic
Sixes are afraid of being abandoned or without support and guidance, and are running towards support and security.
Sixes are called the Loyal Skeptic because they’re often skeptical of people, ideas, or institutions at first, but once you win a Six over, they’re the most loyal supporter you’ll ever have.
This is because deep down, Sixes are afraid of being without support and guidance, so they latch onto ideas, institutions, and people to give them advice and support. Once a Six has identified themselves with something or someone, they’ll hold onto ideas and people far longer than everyone else.
While Ones are said to have an inner critic, Sixes have an inner committee. They need to consult with various people before making any major (or even minor) decisions. This is because Sixes lack confidence in their own judgment.
Sixes are also “realists” and tend to prepare for the worst-case scenario. They’re constantly vigilant, waiting for something to go wrong. But this means that when things do go wrong, they’re often the best equipped to step up in a crisis.
For Sixes to grow, they need to deal with their own inner anxieties and learn to trust their own judgment. They also need to learn that the world is uncertain, and always changing. Once Sixes can be confident and capable despite the uncertainty, they’ll become much happier.
Playing Type Six in D&D
If you’re looking to play a loyal party member, Type Six is the Enneagram type for you. Whether you’re loyal to your party, your hometown, religion, or guild, your Type Six character should frame their identity around being a member of these groups.
A few ideas for your Type Six character are the loyal fighter who is out to defend his hometown, the Cleric who would never question his religious beliefs, the Warlock who serves her patron with complete devotion, or the Paladin bound to his sacred oath.
Since Type Sixes are often a bit skeptical at first, you may want to have your character slightly resist bonding with the party. But once she gets to know the other characters, her bond will become so unbreakable that she will lay down her life to protect them.
While Type Six is known for being loyal and brave, they also struggle the most with worst-case-scenario anxiety and decision making. Be sure to have your character check-in with their go-to source of guidance, whether that’s a God, patron, or trusted friend. If you do decide to step in as the leader of the group, be sure to remember that your character will often struggle with making decisions for the whole party without discussing it with a few people first.
Examples of Fictional Sixes: Bilbo Baggins and Thorin Oakenshield (The Hobbit), Logan/ Wolverine (X-Men), Brienne of Tarth and Sir Davos Seaworth (GOT), Neville Longbottom (Harry Potter), Sokka (Avatar the Last Airbender)
Type Six in Stress
Sixes naturally struggle with anxiety and fear of decision-making, and in stress, this comes out in full force. The more stressful the decision, the more likely your character will need to check in with someone they trust.
In moments of stress Type Six can also become a bit competitive and arrogant as a way to defend themselves against their anxieties. When facing a major threat, your Six character may put on a false bravado to intimidate the enemy and keep the party safe.
Character Growth for Type Six
When Sixes feel comfortable, they become more relaxed and optimistic, and less guarded about their beliefs or loyalties. However, the real growth for a Type Six comes when your character realizes that the world is a forever changing and uncertain place… and that’s okay!
If your character can learn to remain calm in any circumstance or make thoughtful decisions without checking in with all their sources, this is a huge growth point.
Another way your character can grow is questioning their belief systems that aren’t serving them. Just because your character is a devout Cleric does not mean all other religions are inherently wrong.
Tips For Playing a Six Well (without annoying the party)
If you’re going to play a Type Six, be sure to avoid falling into the trap of creating a character whose sole personality is “I’m loyal to _____”. Loyalty is a personality trait, but it’s not a substitute for a personality!
Just think, how many blandly loyal fighters have you encountered in D&D? If your backstory is, “I’m defending my hometown from [insert generic enemy here], and I will do anything for my family”, try to get a little more creative. We’ve all heard that story a million times, so think outside the box.
Type Six can also be a bit reserved at first, so if you want to play your character this way, avoid getting into the trap of Type Four where your character is standoffish and refuses to get to know other players because “it’s my personality”. Everyone is going to hate you if all their role play attempts are met with a stoic brick wall.
If you want to play your character this way, just have your character be kind, but don’t open up completely about your backstory, dreams, and aspirations until a few sessions in when the other players have earned this information. It may also make sense to create a character that already knows some of the other party members from before the adventure began.
If your loyalty is to your hometown, you also need to avoid falling into the trap of ALWAYS needing to go home. This can be a tough one for many characters who are attached to defending home, and I myself have struggled with this. However, if your character doesn’t have a reason for adventuring outside of protecting their hometown or their family… how are you going to keep that going for the whole game? Be sure to think this through if this is the route you’re taking. Remember, Sixes are often loyal to multiple groups or people (and sometimes they contradict each other!).
Don’t forget, you can also make your loyalty fun and potentially even weird! Find a really strange or evil God or Patron to follow. Become a militant vegan Druid!
Finally, be sure to play into the worst-case-scenario anxiety of Type Six with your roleplaying! Go through all the different options of an attack, and be sure to point out the potential flaws in every single option. Yes, Sixes love to “check-in” with others but don’t use this as an excuse to get out of coming up with ideas. Sixes are big thinkers and their minds are constantly churning.
Type Seven: The Enthusiast
Sevens are most afraid of being limited or deprived and trapped in pain (mainly emotional pain). Their core desire is to be happy, satisfied, and content.
Why are Sevens called the enthusiast? Well, they’re enthusiastic about anything that catches their attention. Sevens are passionate, busy, glass-half-full optimists, that are very future-oriented, always coming up with new ideas and experiences to get excited about.
But life for Sevens isn’t all great. Sevens often keep themselves busy as a distraction so that they don’t have to deal with boredom, emotional pain, or other uncomfortable emotions like FOMO, or that “grass is always greener” longing.
Sevens aggressively chase the things that they think will make them happy. Whether it’s traveling the world, getting that corner office, re-doing the kitchen, or driving across the country in an ice cream truck. They’ve got big dreams and ideas… that change frequently. I’ve never wanted anything so bad in my life, it’s been my dream since lunch!!
Deep down, Sevens don’t actually know what they want and are afraid they’re never going to find what their true purpose is. So, to avoid those feelings, they substitute their true longing with… anything that sounds fun and exciting.
The real growth for Sevens comes from slowing down and actually processing your emotions. Also, appreciating the present and the things you do have in your life, rather than jumping from adventure to experience hoping it will fill the hole inside you.
I’m sure the above paragraphs explain a lot about me for you now…
Learn More About Type Seven Here
Playing a Type Seven in D&D
Sevens are the perfect Enneagram type to choose if you want to play a cheerful, optimistic, and witty character who is intent on adventure and experiencing everything life has to offer.
To be honest, pretty much any character or class can easily be a Type Seven. I’ve played Sevens who are halfling rogue thieves, human battlesmith artificers, kappa water shamans, forest gnome bard anthropologists, and more!
When playing a Type Seven in D&D, your character is most likely becoming an adventurer to see the world, have exciting experiences, or run away from a mundane or painful life back home.
Whatever you choose, be sure your character is bold, enthusiastic, and excited about the adventure. Sevens aren’t afraid to embarrass themselves, and often up the energy in the room. So, if you’re playing a Seven, this is one character who never holds back.
Sevens also have a major problem with FOMO (fear of missing out). If an exciting opportunity or adventure comes your way, a Seven character will want to jump on it immediately, for fear that the opportunity won’t be there in the future. This is part of the reason why Sevens like to keep their options open so they can be available at a moment’s notice. However, this may make your Seven character get sidetracked easily, trying to convince your party to latch onto every plot hook the DM throws your way.
On a deeper level, Sevens are afraid of emotional pain, and often avoid this pain by staying busy. Just because your Seven is upbeat and enthusiastic doesn’t mean he didn’t experience trauma or suffering in his life. He may just be running away from it, refusing to work through that experience. Because of this, it may make sense for you to slowly leak this information to other members of the party with “silver lining” positive reframing. Most Sevens try avoid talking about the painful times in life, even to their best friends, preferring to keep things light and fun.
Examples of Fictional Sevens: Sirius Black, Fred and Georgie Weasley (Harry Potter), Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took (Lord of the Rings), Ariel (The Little Mermaid), Klaus (Umbrella Academy), Thor, Tony Stark, and Peter Quill (Avengers), Aang (Avatar the Last Airbender)
Type Seven in Stress
The more stressed or anxious Sevens are, the busier and more scattered they seem to become. However, when under a lot of stress Sevens tend to snap into a perfectionistic and critical state, like an average Type One.
This switch may be a bit shocking to the rest of their party! Your happy and enthusiastic Seven may start berating herself for being a “failure” or will become frustrated with other members of the party for not contributing.
Character Growth for Type Sevens
Growth for a Type Seven comes when your character can learn to slow down and focus on what is actually important. Rather than throwing themselves into every interesting path or adventure, your Seven will learn to focus towards an important goal.
Sevens also tend to live in their heads, always thinking towards the future, so growth for a Seven happens when they can live in the present and enjoy the moment. Like Threes, Sevens are constantly striving towards the future. But rather than chasing success or admiration, Sevens are chasing happiness, excitement, and adventure.
Type Sevens need to learn to enjoy their current accomplishments, live in the moment, and find happiness within themselves, rather than through an object, experience, or achievement.
Tips For Playing a Seven Well (without annoying the party)
Type Sevens can be extremely fun characters to play, especially if you make them a bit quirky and eccentric. Their enthusiasm makes the adventure more upbeat and roleplaying easy. That said, there are a few traps and pitfalls you can experience when playing a Type Seven character.
Firstly, if you’re playing a Seven and you love to roleplay, avoid making the entire story all about you. Yes, Sevens can be mild narcissists (whoopsies!) but if you make EVERY situation about your character’s funny quirks it’s going to get really annoying really fast.
For example, if your character worships an evil god and is obsessed with oozes don’t let this completely overshadow everyone else’s characters that may be a little tamer. Yes, of course, bring it up and roleplay it, but if every single conversation is some sort of joke about oozes, that’s going to get super old super fast.
Likewise, if you’re constantly talking about your evil God and trying to convert everyone you meet to the detriment of the party, people are going to get really annoyed. Yes, try to convert people sometimes, but don’t make the entire session about you and your character. Remember, D&D is a team game, and you’re not the only interesting character here.
Try to use your enthusiasm to move the game forward, not back. Your DM will love you if you show over-enthusiasm for all of her plot hooks and help get everyone on board. Use your cheerful personality to make the game fun and lighthearted, bringing the rest of the party together. Interact with the other characters, ask them about themselves, and don’t be afraid to let your character embarrass herself.
Now, Sevens also tend to avoid emotional pain and have difficulty dealing with strong negative emotions. However, this does not mean you should be cracking insensitive jokes during a major epic boss battle, or after a character has died.
If you want to create a character that has trouble dealing with negative emotions, just have your character throw himself into the adventure to get over the loss of a party member, or role play how your character is fussing around camp to try and distract herself. You could also turn all your dead party members into zombies and refuse to acknowledge that they’re dead… just an idea.
Type Eight: The Challenger
The main thing Eights fear most is being controlled or manipulated. Because of this, Eights desire to be in control of themselves, their life, and their destiny.
Eights are the straight-forward, strong, assertive, decisive, and somewhat confrontational members of the Enneagram. They tell it like it is, and if they have an opinion you’ll be sure to know about it. Eights also aren’t afraid to show their anger and passion, which can be a bit intimidating to some people.
Eights naturally step up to take leadership positions and usually have no problems telling others what to do, especially if it ensures a job well done. Eights have such a natural presence around them, that you can typically tell you’re in a room with an Eight, even if they’re not talking!
Deep down, Eights are afraid of being controlled and manipulated and don’t want to be seen as weak, which means that they are rarely comfortable opening up emotionally to those around them, and often keep their hearts closely guarded.
“Vulnerability” is a concept that makes most Eights feel very uncomfortable, but this is precisely what they need in order to grow. When Eights let others in, they can become incredible advocates for the underdog, and are very caring, loving, and loyal. Also, Eights need to realize that sometimes it’s okay to open up and let others take care of you for a change. Letting go of control is hard, but it’s just what you need to grow.
Read More About Type Eight Here
Playing Type Eight in D&D
When I think of Type Eight in D&D, my mind immediately goes to the strong fighter who is tough in battle, but has trouble opening up emotionally. He’s protective of the party, taking on damage himself to keep his party members safe, and hates to be controlled or told what to do.
That said, Type Eight is not limited to fighters or masculine figures. Anyone can fear being controlled or opening up emotionally, regardless of class, race, or gender.
It is perfectly feasible that your squishy sorcerer can have a commanding presence and will be willing to lay down her life to protect the party. Resenting being controlled or told what to do, she might run from her destiny as a sorcerer at first and may be hesitant to immediately bond with other party members. (Hint: this was one of my old characters!)
Strength can be mental just as much as it is physical, so don’t let the description of Type Eight limit you when creating a character.
Another interesting aspect of Type Eight is their independence and aversion to being controlled or manipulated. You could have a character who is extremely afraid of being charmed or manipulated by spellcasters, and because of this has a high wisdom as a defense mechanism!
Examples of Fictional Eights: Katniss Everdeen, President Coin, and President Snow (The Hunger Games), Alastor Moody (Harry Potter), Sauron (Lord of the Rings), Arya Stark and Tywin Lannister (GOT), Jasmine (Aladdin), Toph (Avatar the Last Airbender), Bruce Wayne (Batman)
Type Eight in Stress
Under slight stress, your Type Eight character will most likely project strength to try and intimidate whatever threat there may be. Whether it’s a monster you’re fighting or an emotional death of a party member, Eights will be there with aggressive strength.
However, under heavy stress, Eights tend to retreat into their inner world becoming more secretive and fearful. The Eight will isolate themselves, thinking though the problem and consolidating ideas so that they can come forward with a plan.
Character Growth For Type Eight
Growth for Type Eight happens when they can use their strength to protect and care for others. Healthy Eights are champions of the underdog and work to make sure everyone is safe and cared for.
When Eights can open their hearts to allow others in, this is where real happiness and growth occurs. Your Type Eight character should eventually allow herself to make connections with the other party members and become emotionally vulnerable.
Another way Eights can grow is to give up their need constant control, stepping back and allowing others to lead every once and a while. Yes, Eights are great leaders, but they don’t have to take the lead on everything.
Tips For Playing an Eight Well (without annoying the party)
Yes, Eights are a bit hesitant to open up and share their emotions, but just like some of our other aloof types, this does not give you an excuse to never talk to or bond with other party members!
If you want to play up this lack of emotional vulnerability, do it! But you can still bond with other members of the party. Eights are typically assertive leaders who have no issues talking to people and become very protective over the ones they love.
Don’t forget, despite their aggressive demeanor, Eights are soft and squishy on the inside and can be hurt just like anyone else. You may want to have your character show emotions at really characterful moments, like the death of a party member, or an attack on their hometown. Saving your emotions for really impactful times will help the party take these moments more seriously.
Finally, yes Eights hate to be controlled and are often happy to take a leadership role, but don’t take this to the extreme in a way that annoys everyone else. If you NEVER let other party members take a leadership role or make a decision, everyone is going to hate you.
Avoid stubbornly going against the rest of the party because “my character doesn’t like to be controlled” and “he needs to make his own decisions!” Seriously? That’s just no fun for anyone else and it’s going to get in the way of the game.
How about you play up your desire to not be controlled in other ways? Your character could fight their powers or destiny, wanting to exercise their own free will. Maybe you’re playing a young character that resents being strictly controlled by her family and wants to get out and see the world. Maybe you have a constant push-pull relationship with your guild, religious group, or some other faction you’re a member of outside the party.
Just remember, roleplaying should make the game more fun, and never let your character get in the way of the party or the story.
Type Nine: The Peacemaker
Nines are deeply afraid of loss and separation caused by conflict, and they desire to have stability and peace of mind.
Nines are the easygoing, diplomatic, agreeable members of the Enneagram. They’re great at seeing all sides of an issue, and typically get along with just about anyone! However, Nines have the tendency to fall asleep to their own needs and desires. But unlike Twos, Nines don’t need love and attention as much as they want peace and lack of conflict.
In an effort to “keep the peace” both internally and externally, Nines can become complacent. They’ll ignore problems by “vegging out” binging Netflix, or reading a good book.
Sometimes Nines can find themselves doing things for others all day, to the point that they don’t have any energy to fight for their own needs and desires. On top of that, Nines are worried that having an opinion, or speaking up for themselves will cause conflict and disrupt their peace.
Growth for Nines comes with waking up to your own desires and passions and becoming more assertive of your own wants and needs. Healthy Nines know a little bit of stress and conflict is necessary in life if you want to grow, and they’re not afraid to ask for what they need.
Playing Type Nine in D&D
Peacemaker?? How can I possibly make a Type Nine D&D character?
Well if you really give yourself a good reason to be an adventurer, Type Nine is a great Enneagram type to consider.
If your character values peace and harmony, something must happen to really push your Nine out the door. Were they pressured into helping others like Bilbo Baggins? Are they out to protect their town and the lives of their loved ones? Are they solving the Curse of Death to save their spouse? Maybe they’re out to fight undead and preserve the harmony of their home city, or they’re a diplomat on an important peacekeeping mission. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s a strong adventure hook.
Nines are typically conflict averse, but it doesn’t mean you can’t play a character who can deal some damage. Why not play a spiritual monk who learns combat for self-defense, a healer cleric who isn’t afraid to cause some pain to those who threaten his party, or a druid who wants to maintain the peace and harmony of the forest?
What if the pain your cause is for the purpose of creating peace? Maybe you create a character who always tries to negotiate when possible, but will fight for the greater good? Nines are Peacemakers but they’re not total pacifists.
Finally, I highly suggest using your peacekeeping abilities to further the goals of your party! Settle conflicts between other party members, help step in if there’s a disagreement in the group and use your soothing nature to push the story forward. You can also use your Nine talents to act as a diplomat when talking with NPCs or negotiating your way out of combats that don’t need to be violent!
Examples of Fictional Nines: Harry Potter and Remus Lupin (Harry Potter), Jon Snow and Missandei (GOT), Rue and Prim (Hunger Games), Frodo Baggins (Lord of the Rings), Iroh (Avatar the Last Airbender), Luke Skywalker (Star Wars), Ben (Umbrella Academy)
Type Nine in Stress
When facing stress, Nines typically like to “veg out” and numb themselves to their pain. In everyday life this often looks like a day spent watching Netflix, but obviously this won’t work for your D&D character. Maybe you numb your character with alcohol, sleep, or alone time in the wilderness.
When very stressed Nines tend to become anxious and fearful, entertaining worst-case-scenario thinking, or intensely worrying about the problem at hand. They may become passive-aggressive or lose trust in those around them.
Character Growth for Type Nine
Growth for Type Nines comes when they stop trying to make everyone happy and focus on their own goals and desires (like a healthy Three). A little bit of goal-oriented ambition is healthy for an easygoing Nine, who often focuses so much on the wants of others.
Nines also need to get over their fear of alienating people by having an opinion or causing some conflict. Your Type Nine character needs to learn that they can fight for their own beliefs and their close friends will still support them.
At their best, Nines can be inspiring leaders and diplomats who are open to all points of view and stand up for what’s right.
Tips For Playing a Nine (without annoying the party)
Nines can be incredibly inspiring characters who are valued members of the group. However, there are a few things to watch out for when roleplaying your Type Nine.
Firstly, beware of taking your peacemaking to the extreme in a way that’s detrimental to the game. If you create a character that’s 100% against killing anyone or anything, this is eventually going to become a huge problem. Don’t make every single combat some giant moral dilemma, or your party members are going to get really annoyed very fast.
If you do want to create a character that prioritizes peace over death, why not do that in a way that helps the party. Try to take prisoners whenever possible, dealing blows that are meant to knock your enemies unconscious. Why not try to negotiate when possible, and only fight if your life is threatened. Or, you could create a character that focuses on healing your party members.
Next, it’s important to remember that having an easygoing character should not be an excuse for never coming up with any original ideas or solutions to problems. “Oh… whatever you want to do” is going to get old very quickly.
You can still come up with unique solutions to problems or have an opinion. Remember, when Nines have something important to say, everyone should listen. They just usually keep opinions that aren’t important to themselves.
Finally, don’t miss out on the story because you’re “stressed” and need to “veg-out”. If you’re always off in the woods for peace, or you’re taking a nap, you may miss out on role playing or combat opportunities. What’s the point of you being in the game if you’re not going to be there?
The Enneagram is Flavor, So Have Fun!
Overall, the Enneagram is just one way of making an incredible, realistic character. If you’re struggling to make your characters seem more life-like when role playing, take some of the ideas from this guide to round out your personality, motivations, and fears.
Remember, no two people are alike, and there’s no need to fit your character into a neat Enneagram box! Create a unique character you love, and then use the Enneagram to flavor your personality and make it more realistic.
The Enneagram is merely one extra element that you can use in combination with your backstory, class, race, and background.
If you’re unsure where to begin after reading this, consider creating a character FIRST and then take some time to decide which Enneagram Type that character might be.
Use elements of that type to flesh out your character, their motivation for adventuring, and how their personality might be displayed.
Remember, the goal is to help you create a character that’s memorable and fun to play. If you’re struggling with fitting your character into an Enneagram type, that’s fine! Take the elements that you like and leave the rest behind. D&D is all about having a good time with your friends, not a homework assignment for your psychology class.
I hope this guide was helpful to you when creating your next character (or fleshing out a current character) and I can’t wait to see what you come up with!
How Can I Learn More About the Enneagram?
If you’ve made it this far you’re probably curious to learn a bit more about the Enneagram!
Thankfully I’ve already written an entire post about what the heck the Enneagram is and why I’m so obsessed with it on my personal blog!
In this post I’ll give you a bit more of an explanation of what the Enneagram is, teach you how to find your Enneagram type, explain how learning the Enneagram has really helped me in my life, and I’ll even give you a list of my favorite Enneagram podcasts, YouTube channels, and books!
Read Next: What the Heck is the Enneagram?
Tell Me: Are You Using the Enneagram For Your Character?
I’m super curious? Do you use the Enneagram or any other personality systems (like Myers Briggs) for your D&D characters? Are you thinking about trying it out on your current or next character? Let me know in the comments!
Also, I’d love to hear if you’re also into the Enneagram and if you know your Enneagram type! I know I can’t be the only one one who is obsessed with both D&D and the Enneagram!
This post is absolutely amazing, especially since it was posted right around when I thought of this concept too!
I do want to say though: weirdly enough, only one of my three current characters is a 5w4, the same type as me, with the other two being a 1w9 and an 8w9. However, I actually think all of their tritypes include 5, with the three of them being a 529, 154, and 853 respectively, and all three of them have at least 5ish tendencies. I believe that including your own type in your character’s tritype, even if it’s not their main type, may actually increase the ability to roleplay another enneagram effectively.
Anyways, great post!