Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the first ever GeekGirlCon in Seattle, along with my proudly geeky 17-year old daughters. While I have some interest in online gaming (and an embarrassing addiction to Plants vs. Zombies), I haven’t spent as much time as most of the other geeks at this particular convention in role play games and cosplay (costume play that can be quite separate from role playing). As a consequence, I was fascinated by some of the panels on the topic, and intrigued by the games room where I had the chance to observe some interesting games in action. But mostly, I was blown away by some of the unbelievable costumes! (My daughters and I overheard an especially telling conversation in the food court – one intricately costumed consumer of fast food called over someone she saw walking past to admire his chain mail and to compare techniques they’d each used to create truly extraordinary chain mail by hand.)
Given that starting point, and the rapid approach of Halloween, I couldn’t help but speculate on just how one could have a really cool mediator costume too? Well, fear not, mediators – while we might generate a wonderful list of inspiring mediators to dress up as, or figure out how to help our children accessorize a business suit with the tools of the mediator trade (whiteboard pens, kleenex box, calculator, jelly beans…?) – there is a much, much cooler answer in geek culture! Personally, I want to be the Mediator from the tactical roleplaying game Final Fantasy Tactics!
The FFT Mediator is, of course, interesting for the simple fact that s/he exists as one of the possible roles in this game: it is always encouraging to see mediators gaining a place in popular culture. However, the FFT Mediator has a very interesting mix of powers. Remember that this Mediator is a character in a battle game; in this context the Mediator uses their voice as their primary form of “attack”- and has guns as a fallback where words fail! Some of the “Speechcraft” abilities that the Mediator has will sound quite appropriate, but others might raise an eyebrow. Here’s a small sample of the Mediator’s speechcraft:
- Invitation – a speechcraft skill that convinces a foe to become an ally
- Persuade – really a stalling tactic that persuades a foe to wait before acting
- Praise – a skill that increases a target’s Bravery (Bravery is a key measure which affects physical attack power, so a mediator can bolster the courage and consequent strength of her companions through talk)
- Threaten – plays on the doubts and fears of a target to reduce their Bravery
- Preach – explains divine miracles, deepening Faith (Faith is itself an interesting measure in this complex game – high Faith allows one to administer greater magickal damage or healing, but also makes one more susceptible to spells)
- Enlighten – Just as a mediator can deepen Faith, a Mediator can also reduce it through cold, secular logic
The Mediator also has such “useful” skills as inducing slumber by telling dull tales, or infuriating someone with insults so that they attack less effectively, etc. Many of their skills can be combatted with a Finger Guard (or Earplug!)
As I’m busy examining television images of mediators for the ADRIC conference next week, I may also take a broader look at the image of the Mediator in a wider range of pop culture and subculture sources. But for the moment, I’m most inspired by the few, but very impressive, photos I’ve been able to find online of people who have already created their Mediator costumes!
Sharon Sutherland contributes occasional “CoRe Connections” – recommendations for items (media, music, popular culture, etc.) “connected” to conflict resolution but not necessarily on the radar for conflict resolution professionals. She welcomes your comments and ideas in the comments section of this site, or send her an email at email@example.com.