Editor's Note: Starting with this week's exciting episode, new Archetypes of the Week will go up on Thursday instead of Wednesday.
The fixer is a person who solves problems, often using methods that are not entirely legal. While most fixers deal in material goods (especially illegal or hard to get ones) to some extent, the fixer’s main trade is in favors. He cultivates a large network of contacts, contractors, and underlings who he can call upon to provide services and information to him and his clients. If you need an untraceable gun, an introduction to the local crime boss, or a date for Friday night, the fixer can probably set you up (for the right price, of course).
Zombies are the reanimated (often decomposing) corpses of deceased humans. Although many zombies retain the ability to speak, they otherwise exhibit few signs of higher intelligence. The zombie’s only motivation in unlife is to satisfy its desire to feed on human flesh (brains in particular), though zombies do exhibit rudimentary self-preservation instincts and can use simple tools.
The psychic is a character who has paranormal abilities of some sort. Some psychics gain their abilities through mystical training or encounters with supernatural entities. Most, however, are simply born with their unusual abilities.
The magician is, as the name suggests, a character skilled in the use of magic. The type of magic the character is able to use and the specific tradition that he or she follows depends on the genre and setting. The flash-bang style of magic found in most role-playing games, for example, has no precedent in real world mythology, and is therefore ill-suited for some games, but works well for super-hero or high fantasy settings. While every magical tradition has its own rules, taboos, and philosophies, members of the magician archetype are not priests. They gain their magical abilities through knowledge, and even those who access the power of otherworldly entities do so by learning how to placate, command, or negotiate with those entities, not through worship of or faith in them.
At the end of last month’s exciting episode, I mentioned that I’d started dividing my ideas up into five general culture groups. Before I start working on the broader aspects of the world, let’s take a look at the specific groups that I know will inhabit it.