Mystics of 4th Edition
D&D 4e Rules
The 4th edition of the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game offers more character options than ever, including new races, classes, paragon paths, epic destinies, and so on. Many of these archetypes remain in the game's latest edition. Still, a few archetypes of prior editions remain untouched.
When considering how to represent the mystic in 4th edition, many options become available. Do we create a new mystic class? How about a new power source for Mysticism? While these options are enticing, it seems counterproductive to go this route. Enough D&D players use Character Builder that any new class would not be used often enough to warrant the work it would take to build a new class, or a new power source with four classes tied to it.
Therefore, it seems best to use the tools at hand, and re-skin them to make the mystic archetype. This article is the culmination of several prior works of mine and hours of research and soul-searching. It is my hope that this article will give you the tools you need to create enjoyable mystic characters for your own games.
New Cleric Build: Mystic
Mystics are clerics who learn to channel the divine living energies of the world without worshipping (or even acknowledging) any deity. The process of harnessing the power of Mysticism is one of inner awareness, introspection, and self-discovery – a private faith that leads to great magical power.
Suggested Class Feature: Channel Divinity (healer's mercy)*
Customizing Your Mystic
Though the majority of mystics are clerics, those who derive power from mysticism can be further-reaching. Avengers can focus their inner spiritual selves to create mystic assassins. Invokers can speak the ambient words of creation, whispers left over from the Age of Starbirth. Paladins can draw upon their strength of conviction to defend the weak and serve in such roles as the Citadel Guardians.
Alternately, a mystic may be a member of a non-divine class. Perhaps your psionic character is a mentalist, or your primal character is an animist. Likewise, using multiclassing or hybrid classes might also add another layer of depth.
Mystics do not possess holy symbols since they do not worship a god. Instead, a mystic uses an item that is very personal to them through which they channel their power. For example, a Legion Mystic will channel his power through a Starjewel, while a gully dwarf may very well use a dead rat. While the form may be fairly non-standard, treat such implements as holy symbols.
In 3rd edition, the mystic was to the cleric what the sorcerer was to the wizard. They had a limited number of spells known, including spells from a single domain. This domain, in turn, was viewed as the manifestation of their inner spiritual selves. So, for example, a mystic devoted to maintaining order became a mystic of Law.
This theme of specialization has become a defining aspect of the mystic. This can be replicated in 4th edition through a variety of ways.
The following are some mystic backgrounds you can use or adapt to your divine character. After choosing your background elements, you can (with DM's consent) select one of the following background benefits.
Citadel Mystics are those who trained at the Citadel of Light during the Age of Mortals. They are agents of compassion in a troubled world. Using their healing talents and the Power of the Heart, they administer to the needy. Jasper Fireforge is an example of a Citadel Mystic.
Associated Skills: Heal and Religion.
Legion Mystics are the spiritual backbone of the Legion of Steel. They are guides and teachers to the Legion, keeping them morally straight. Seeking freedom and justice across Ansalon, Legion Mystics teach self-reliance. Their message is that mortals have power within themselves to do the miraculous. Briony Thistleknot is an example of a Legion Mystic.
Associated Skills: Insight and Perception.
Power of the Heart
When the world of Krynn was created, the gods imbued it with the power of living energy. Each of the gods gave a portion of themselves to the world so that it may live. Reorx was the forger of the world, and it was from the sparks of his hammer that mortal souls emerged. Chislev breathed life into the world, creating nature. Branchala created the Song of Life, the spiritual music that mortal hearts beat to. And so on and so forth.
The gods' power became one with the world of Krynn, becoming the ambient magic of the world. This ambient power had two sides, the arcane energies of Wild Sorcery, and the living energies of Mysticism. Ambient magic was used by mortals during the Age of Starbirth, fading away by the end of the Age of Dreams.
It was not until the Chaos War, when the Father of All and of Nothing was defeated, that his energies also filled the world, amplifying the power of ambient magic back to a level that mortals could use. Though the power of ambient magic is ancient in origin, its power is just now being understood.
Faith in one's self and the teachings of Mysticism can lead to power, though what type of power that is can be different based on the individual. For example, a paladin might gain power from his belief in justice, while a druid may tap into the power of the primal world without having to gain power from Chislev.
Divine: It is through the divine spark within all mortals that the ambient divine magic of Mysticism opens. Divine characters, known as mystics, look inward to discover their own divine spark, allowing them to access the ambient spiritual energies of the world. The mystic must be self-assured and have faith in their abilities.
Primal: Primal magic, sometimes known as Animism, is the power of nature. It is a magic that affects animals and plants, and the natural world surrounding us. Although primal power can be granted by deities such as Chislev, Habbakuk, and Zeboim, some primal characters manifest their primal power through the inner faith of Mysticism.
Psionic: As mystic pioneers began to understand mysticism, they soon discovered the powers of Mentalism, Meditation, and Sensitivity. These Mentalists were thought to be a form of mystic with power of the mind, and the power of mind over body. It is thought that this power is tied directly to the Graygem, as psionic power has become linked with crystals. As time has moved on, Mentalists discovered that their art was not divine at all, but rather a manifestation of their own mental power fueled by the power of their divine spark.
Shadow: Inevitably, the cycle of life ends with death. It is rumored that those who dabble in the power of shadow often trade a portion of their divine spark in exchange for dark power. While those that tap into the divine or primal facets of mysticism often say that they feel warmth when they use their power, mortals who utilize the shadow power source feel cold. They must deal with an inner void that can never be filled.
The Spheres of Mysticism:
To say that the power of Mysticism is fully divine in nature is a misnomer, for that is only a portion of the truth. In fact, Mysticism is the power of life.
Mortals initially divided mysticism into categories they called "spheres." These Spheres of Mysticism were common themes that the Citadel of Light came upon in their search for understanding the new magic. What they didn't realize was that there was more to Mysticism than what they understood at the time.
If you wish to utilize the Spheres of Mysticism for Citadel Mystics, then look at the chart below for some themes and power sources to consider in the creation of your character. You may start with a cleric or other divine character, then multiclass into a class with another power source. Or you may choose a class from the primal, psionic, or even shadow power source and say that their power comes from the Power of the Heart.
The gods view Mysticism with a wide range of responses, each one different from the other. Some wish to nurture it, some see it as part of the Balance, and others would see it destroyed. What is clear, though, is that mystic characters have a choice, one that doesn't involve the gods, and is accessible through other means.
In Your Campaign:
Mysticism can serve as a source of power for characters who do not wish to be tied to a god. It is one possible source of power, but not the only. Mysticism can serve as the source power for many types of magic, including divine, primal, psionic, and shadow. Remember, Mysticism isn't a god so much as it is a divine philosophy, one that enables characters to tap into different power sources.
Characters that follow the power of Mysticism should exude an inner confidence. They are self-assured, and have firm beliefs. Divine characters may want to look into domain feats as a manifestation of their inner spiritual selves. Likewise, multiclassing can also give the feel of a well-rounded mystic character.
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