Four-Temperament Ensemble
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Basic Information

The Four-Temperament Ensemble is a group of characters who each individually embody a different one of the four humours. In a nut shell:

Either the Sanguine or the Choleric member will usually be in charge, because they're more social than the other two archetypes. That is, assuming that this foursome is even a team. It's also entirely possible that the four just won't get along at all, with the most direct rebellion or animosity probably coming from either the Choleric or Melancholic persona.


There's a whole subgenre of drama called a Comedy of Humours which explores the outrageous situations that happen when these four character types get together. It was popular in Elizabethan England, but had roots that traced back to Ancient Greece. So if you're inclined to see this sort of thing in action, you might read some Ben Johnson or Aristophanes.


Game and Story Use

  • The GM can use this as a filter for keeping NPC personalities straight when multiple GM-controlled characters are in the same scene.
    • Now the four guards, four henchmen, four ogres, four horsemen, etc, don't have to be identical or defined just by their mechanics. Even if they appear for just a scene you've cribbed yourself a basic structure, without having to expend a lot of energy working out details.
  • Especially appropriate for characters in a historical or fantasy setting where humorism is in vogue, as you might be able to hang a lampshade on it or otherwise draw it to the PC's (not just the player's) attention.
  • You might have some luck providing a true four-temperament ensemble and a out-of-balance group in the same setting, as a way of demonstrating that group A is harmonious or balanced, and group B is dangerously out of whack.
    • Example: The council of light wizards is four elementalists working together, with each persona represented. By contrast the council of dark wizards is just three necromancers, two of them cholerics and other melancholic, each scheming to outdo the others.
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