There are many tropes and many archetypes that we use for character designs. I had a couple of years go (have I really been at it this long!?) done a series of articles on the standard character type/functionality archetypes.
I'm thinking it's high time to explore archetypes in class, category, or specifications rather than personality or functionality in the story.
And what better way to start than with the Man (or Woman) of the Cloth?
A person of the cloth can be anything from a deacon to a patriarch, a novice nun to a mother superior, an initiate templar to a master templar, a druid or a voodoo priestess- the main and most important thing is that they are members and active practitioners of an established religion.
People of the cloth come in some standard versions:
They may be actual believers
Or they may be skeptics
Or, they may be master manipulators, using religion for their own benefit without any faith or belief
Or they may just BE the devil, or have some kind of juicy pact with it.
This has a good overlap with their personalities, in that it colors their personalities and approaches/reactions to assorted situations.
It may make them go rogue, bucking the established hierarchy or system of religion they are in, or try to ascend the ladder like in a corporate dog eat dog world. They may have many faces, or they may try to withdraw from the world or their peers.
Depending on whether the divine or God exists in your world setup, the person of the cloth will have different flavours to what/how/how much they believe in their god or gods. If the god/gods exist, and they believe in them is different than if they don't exist and they believe in them. Likewise if the god/gods don't exist and they don't believe in them, or the gods do exist but the man of the cloth doesn't believe in them.
It also isn't necessary for what their true colors are to immediately show OR stay the same: a priest might come across as insolent and audacious and actually be pious and a true believer, and the reverse. Or, they may start off being skeptics or non-believers and end up being believers and vice versa.
The priest is important as a character type because they command authority no matter what their religion, era, type, or look. From cleric to televangelist to shaman, people will look to them for guidance, comfort or even the miracle they desperately need.
Whether a main character or a side character, they will be a presence- or, if they have no presence, that too will make a statement for either your character or the world they are in.
Have you had a man/woman of the cloth in your story?
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Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, Aug. 29, 2020
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