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Using Archetypes as Narrative Devices

Gnome Stew - 22 April 2016 - 1:55am

This guest article on archetypes is by Aaron Ryyle. I feel it fits a very nice, typical mould… – Punmaster John

“One cannot afford to be naive in dealing with dreams. They originate in a spirit that is not quite human, but is rather a breath of nature—a spirit of the beautiful and generous as well as of the cruel goddess.” — Carl G. Jung, “The Importance of Dreams”

In the psychological theory of Carl Jung, a psychological archetype is an inherited idea that is derived from the collective experience of the human race. Archetypal ideas and images arise from the unconscious of the individual, but they are rooted in kind of species-memory: the collective unconscious. When archetypes appear in mythology or fiction, they tap into an audience’s unconscious ideas at a deep level, and they provoke characteristic emotional responses that fit certain molds. Archetypes can be powerful tools in your storytelling kit.

Archetypes are like moulds that define the general characteristics of characters and stories.

Archetype as Pattern and Symbol

An archetype is a a typical character, action, or situation that represents universal patterns of human nature. Characters, themes, objects, settings, or symbols can all reflect an archetype:  the Hero, the Mentor, the Quest, the Magic Weapon, the Moon, the villain in a Mask… all follow certain universal patterns.

Every culture has heroic legends or trickster stories, yet the particular forms those stories take are colored by history, culture, and context.  Archetypes crystallize around experiences and ideas that are common to human beings as human, yet they are capable of infinite local variations. This means that they can become powerful symbols that can speak to people from a broad range of backgrounds in new ways while still striking common cords.

Archetype as Device

Archetypes work on two levels.  First, because they contain echoes of all the other instances the audience members are familiar with.  Second, and more importantly, because they trigger recognition in the unconscious—even evoking images from dreams.  In fact, Jung documented numerous instances of separate patients dreaming in strikingly similar imagery, then recognizing their dreams images in myth and legend.

Of course, using archetypes means making them your own—your Mentor should not just be Gandalf with the serial numbers filed off. But you can use archetypal characters or places in new ways, always keeping mind that there is nothing new under the sun. After all, the trope of the old man with the beard in the wilderness is so common precisely because, when well-deployed, it can efficiently communicate a whole range of ideas and emotions.

Working with Archetypes

Archetypes can be great idea-generators. (Use your favorite search engine…) Examples of Jungian archetypes that are perfect for role-playing games include:

  •  The Hero (the fool, warrior hero, lover, superhero, or superhuman)
  • The Earth Mother (a woman offering shelter, or nourishment)
  • The Journey (the quest for vengeance, or in search of knowledge)
  • The Threshold (a gateway or portal to a new world, and new challenges)
  • The Guardian of the Threshold (the sphinx, the knight who asks three questions)
  • The Shadow (an adversary representing something unknown or denied in the hero’s—or patient’s—psyche)

Remember that an archetype is something that crystallizes around an existential concern or a common experience. Ask yourself: what sort of experiences, ideas, fears, or desires do different archetypes play with? Then look for ways to connect those themes or experiences with your player characters. By playing off your players’ creativity you can create something that really is new, because it comes from your unique group and its unique personality.

For example…

The journey in search of knowledge speaks to a sense of need and a fear of the unknown… Why might your characters need a piece of knowledge so bad they would face untold danger to obtain it? What dangers could you dangle over their heads to make them sweat while they get it?

The shadow represents something one or more characters fears or hates about themselves… What shameful things have they done? What might they do given opportunity and temptation? Create an adversary who revels in the hated thing—make the adversary symbolize it—but always keep the adversary in shadow.


Everyone wants to run a game that feels epic and meaningful. Tapping into archetypal images at the table is a great way to help that happen. Using archetypal images and themes with awareness can evoke deep and wide-ranging associations, reaching even into myth, legend, and dreams themselves. They layer the game with a sense of portent. Of course it is crucial to use archetypes with intent, as tools. Judicious intent is what lets you use archetypes as narrative devices rather than unintentionally slipping into clichés or stereotypes.

What archetype would your character fit into? How would you classify your BBEG’s archetype?


Categories: Game Theory & Design

OpenLucius: 11 Cool Drupal modules for site builders | April 2016

Planet Drupal - 22 April 2016 - 12:59am

Let’s start straight away with the things that struck me about Drupal module updates of last month:

1. Image effects

The Drupal 8 and Drupal 7 core both have features to facilitate graphics, including scaling and cropping.

To perform other actions, Drupal 7 had additional modules: ImageCache Actions and Textimage:

  • Placing overlays, for example for round corners
  • Adding a watermark, for example your logo
  • Placing text over image, for example your company name
  • Making images lighter/darker

In Drupal 8 these additional image features are now available in this module.


Categories: Drupal

Death March Crunches: 10 Causes and Solutions - by Clinton Keith Blogs - 22 April 2016 - 12:39am
Early in my career, I'd been the victim and inflictor of extended crunch (death marches). I'm a slow learner, but eventually found many of the root causes and solutions to avoid it.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Map-based discovery provides better conversion, ARPU and engagement.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Microtransactions Aren’t Evil - Why Viridi is Free-to-play - by Kevin Maxon Blogs - 22 April 2016 - 12:36am
Viridi has received major mainstream attention, but dour critical response from the games community. The biggest complaint leveled against it is its pricing model: Viridi is F2P. Here I discuss why we made that choice and why we're sticking with it.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Introduction to Inventory-Aware Pathfinding - by Davide Aversa Blogs - 22 April 2016 - 12:29am
Solving planning and pathfinding at the same time can save you a lot of time. It is the case of Inventory-Aware Pathfinding where we want to solve pathfinding in a map constrained by the items brought by the agent (e.g., keys to open locked doors).
Categories: Game Theory & Design

The Case for the PS4K - by David Galindo Blogs - 22 April 2016 - 12:28am
Why this disruptive new idea in the game space makes sense, and how it will change the game industry.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Lab Hero my journey to INDIE development on INDIvisible! - by Eric Kozlowsky Blogs - 22 April 2016 - 12:28am
Kai Kennedy voice actor extraordinaire interviewed me about my journey from college student to AAA development to Indie development with Lab Zero games.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

My Google Play Publishing Disaster! - by Elmar Talibzade Blogs - 22 April 2016 - 12:27am
So you made it: after spending hours of coding, art, design and infinite bug fixing you’ve finally reached the point where you’re about to publish your first mobile game on the Google Play Store in front of millions…
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Distributed Narrative Collectables and Diegetic Choice Field Exploration - by Vidhvat Madan Blogs - 22 April 2016 - 12:26am
A short discussion on how story and choice in games can be made to align effectively with the power dynamic formed between a game and its players.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Drupal Planet Feeds Block

New Drupal Modules - 22 April 2016 - 12:10am

This module creates a block which shows the latest feeds from the drupal planet, based on the number of feeds requested.

Install as you would normally install a contributed Drupal module.

Visit admin/structure/block, place the 'Planet Block' in any region, by entering how mnay feeds to be displayed in the block.

Categories: Drupal

The Pros and Cons of CCG-based Game Design - by Josh Bycer Blogs - 21 April 2016 - 10:54pm
Today's post looks at the concept of adding in CCG-based design into other games, and what works and doesn't work with it.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Taric’s League of Legends update: making protective classes fun in a combat game. - by Bryant Francis Blogs - 21 April 2016 - 10:53pm
The support champion Taric got a big update in League of Legends, so I took him for a test drive to see how his updates reflect design trends with characters who don't go in for the kill.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Better Search Block

New Drupal Modules - 21 April 2016 - 8:19pm

With just a couple clicks you can change your boring Drupal search box into a nice looking search box with icon animations.

Additional features:

  • Configurable search box size
  • Configurable placeholder text

The module currently has four search box theme to select from:

  1. Background Fade
  2. Expand Search Box on Hover
  3. Expand Icon on Hover
  4. Slide Icon into View on Hover

The configuration is located at: admin/config/search/better-search

Categories: Drupal

ActiveLAMP: Creating Layouts with the Layout Plugin Module in Drupal 8

Planet Drupal - 21 April 2016 - 8:01pm

Writing custom layouts using the Layout Plugin module for D8 is really easy. This video will outline how to create a new layout in your theme using Foundation 6 as the base theme and how to extend the layout to add custom classes and id.

Categories: Drupal

Lullabot: “One Weird Trick” for Drupal Security... or Something

Planet Drupal - 21 April 2016 - 1:00pm
Matt & Mike talk with Drupal Security Team Lead Michael Hess, along with the former lead Greg Knaddison. We talk about the current state of Drupal security, along with their Drupalcon session, "Watch the Hacker Hack".
Categories: Drupal

Palantir: What DrupalCon Means to Us

Planet Drupal - 21 April 2016 - 11:48am

Each and every year we pack up our booth, swag, and people, and make the pilgrimage to a location somewhere in the US for DrupalCon North America. It's always an amazing week, filled with knowledge, sharing, fun, and, of course, business. This year it's in New Orleans the week of May 9th, and, per usual, we have a lot going on so we'd like to share a few highlights.


We have a few sessions lead by our team this year, and we'd love to see you there! Better still, stop by our booth (no. 222) before or after each to talk more. We're an open book, and want to share.

D8 Module Acceleration Program (Workbench)

Ken Rickard
Ken is part of a D8 Module Acceleration Program panel for Workbench on Tuesday, May 10th at 2:15 pm in room no. 279.

Finding Your Purpose as a Drupal Agency

George DeMet
Founder and CEO George DeMet will be giving a talk on Finding Your Purpose as a Drupal Agency on Wednesday, May 11th at 4:45pm in room no. 262.


We'll be at booth no. 222 all week, and we'd like you to think of it as your basecamp. As you walk around the conference and attend sessions, if a question comes to mind or you need some clarification on some aspect of Drupal, web strategy, design, or development, please do come by and let's talk. And we mean it; we have couches...


We always gladly sponsor both the Drupal Association and DrupalCon. It's good for the community, and it's good for our clients. Why? Because of the nature of the open source community, and the sheer amount of knowledge share to solve common problems as it relates to the web. We utilize and pass on this knowledge to keep the cycle going.

Trivia Night

Speaking of sponsorship, we've sponsored Trivia Night at DrupalCon for the last few years, and it's always a fantastic night of fun and Drupal nerdiness! We're proud sponsors again this year, so we hope you can join us for a night filled with trivia, hilarity, and plenty of prizes.

Thursday, May 12
9:00pm - 12:00am (doors at 8:00pm)
U.S. Freedom Pavilion at National World War II Museum
1043 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA
Free to attend

Related content Everything you Wanted to Know About DrupalCon

DrupalCon is just a few weeks away in New Orleans, so our Account Manager Allison Manley is joined by our CEO and Founder George DeMet, Drupal veteran and PHP guru Larry "Crell" Garfield, and Senior Front-End Developer Lauren Byrwa on our podcast this time around. They share thoughts about the conference generally, what they're excited about specifically, and what they're expected from the Driesnote, among other topics.

Planning for Long Term Success on the Web

Designing, architecting, and building enterprise-level Web projects can feel like a Moonshot. They're often expensive, complex, and time-consuming undertakings that require the long-term commitment and dedication of the entire company or organization. In this way, many of the lessons of the Apollo program are directly applicable to the work that we undertake with our customers every day at Palantir.

Project Management: The Musical!


Attending the conference? We'd love to say hello. Let's schedule a time to meet at DrupalCon.

Categories: Drupal

Mediacurrent: What it really means to run a project the “Agile Scrum” way

Planet Drupal - 21 April 2016 - 11:36am

 If you were to search “What is the Agile Scrum Methodology of project management?” you’d find this:

“…an alternative to traditional project management, typically used in software development. It helps teams respond to unpredictability through incremental, iterative work cadences, known as sprints. Scrum is one framework used to run a project using the Agile Methodology.”

Categories: Drupal

Don't Miss: Unorthodox tips for improving your programming skills

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 21 April 2016 - 11:33am

Sure, there are "plenty of good resources out there that teach the technical skills"; but this classic post concentrates on "the more personal lessons that you often only learn through experience." ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Chapter Three: More Drupal 8 Sites in the Wild

Planet Drupal - 21 April 2016 - 11:11am

Its been a big week for Drupal 8 here at Chapter Three.

As mentioned previously, at the beginning of the year Chapter Three made the decision to build all new projects with Drupal 8. Knowing we had the help and Drupal 8 expertise of Alex and Daniel to back us up if we encountered any errors or incomplete contrib ports gave us the confidence to leave Drupal 7 in the dust. Having already had a few successful client projects on 8 last year let me know I wouldn't have a developer revolt on my hands as a result of that decision.

The fruits of that decision are starting to ripen.

Categories: Drupal
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