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.
The monster hunter’s role in fiction is pretty self-explanatory: He fights monsters. Some people fight supernatural baddies because it’s their destiny, some because it’s their job, and some because they just keep running into to the damned things. It should be noted that we’re using the term “monster hunter” in its purest sense, meaning people who actually fight and kill, banish, or capture monsters. A character whose primary goal is discovering, proving the existence of, or classifying monsters and spooks doesn’t really fit into this archetype.
Anyone can bust out a window and steal some stuff, but if you want to rob someone blind without drawing too much unwanted attention, you need a cat burglar. Cat burglars have the experience, skills, and (most importantly) style to get the goods and get away without arousing any suspicion. The really good ones have already fenced the merchandise before the victim even realizes it’s gone.