The Fantasy Fixer

Yesterday, I had a confounding moment—I needed a good word for the spy/cyberpunk idea of the fixer, but for a medieval fantasy setting.

I got a host of responses. Because of the very specific parameters of what I needed—a general way to communicate the idea in thirty characters or less, that didn’t have contrary connotations—I couldn’t use most of them. But there were some amazing ideas, so I wanted to archive them. I’ll start with Steve Kenson’s suggestions.

I really want to play a fantasy fixer called “Doctor” now. I want that so hard. That might find its way into my Halfling Nations setting. A lot of the suggestions I got were highly contextual. They were great—not usable for what I was doing, but great. Let’s roll into the inestimable Josh Roby and his ideas.

Derek Guder gave me a good general term that ended up being part of what I used:

I ended up going with “negotiator and procurer.” Next up is a solution that doesn’t work in general, but in specific would rock:

In a fantasy setting with genuine magic, that’s too confusing as a general term. But let’s consider a very low magic setting:

Orc: Don’t fuck with that guy. That’s the Mage. Dwarf: He doesn’t look all that tough. Why do they call him “the Mage?” Orc: Because he makes people disappear.

Or going with “mage” as a similar euphemism as “bard” is for assassin in Dragon Age. I’ll round out this post with a few other ideas people posted.

Of course, the problem with “make slang that makes sense for you” is that you then need to explain it or use it a bunch in context, depending on your medium. And you have to be free to invent canon in a world, since slang lives there. I didn’t have those freedoms here here, but it’s a good idea for those times when you do have space and ability to play.

(Fun fact: my cat’s name is Tyler.)

There were some others that were too generic—I got several for “merchant,” which doesn’t fire me up as a term but is totally a cover story. Others were too hierarchical for my purposes, like quartermaster or majordomo, but there is certainly a space for that title elsewhere.

Thank you folks who gave me ideas! I suppose this post has made me a bit of a fixer myself.

…or, if you will, the Shadow Doctor.

– Ryan


3 Responses to The Fantasy Fixer

  1. Scum of Dunwall says:

    N.B. Sorry, I totally dodged 140 symbols obstacle here. Hope, you’ll enjoy!

    As I recall, rural medieval societies had dowagers. It was like unofficial councils of old matriarchs, who had wide network of connections and tremendous influence over their communities, sometimes rivaled only by priests. Of cource, there might be old praepostor, who deals with lord and his knights, but in questions of village government it would be mad to decide anything without their counsel. A lot of midwifes, matrons, abbesses could be also a fixers, without being called as ones.

    One more stone into your pile of pearls is latin word “modus”, which has many translations in english and among others, such as “manner”, “expedient”, “method”, “standard” and “guise” it can be translated as “medium” or “conciliator”, which has one of the closest meanings to “fixer”.

    “Modus is kind of man you expect to be confident, focused, informed. You don’t care who he or she is, as long as job is done and everything is settled. Maybe, you don’t talk to modus himsel, but to one his “servants”, maybe that’s even true. You do not choose modus. Modus chooses you. Or at least, that’s how their reputation says.”

    Of course, it works only for settings, which is based on fantasy medieval Europe or uses Latin, as Common language.

    • Scum of Dunwall says:

      Description of modus is mine, of course. I have no idea who they was, and what they were doing.

  2. Ryan Macklin says:

    There are some other ideas being shared on the G+ thread: