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Mysterians

Drake Bale is an example Mysterian.

Mysterians are practitioners of an ancient art sometimes known as Enigmistra, Hedgecraft, Mysterium, and various other esoteric names; eventually the term Ars Mysteria was retro-applied as Hermetic practices diverged and factionalized in the mid and late Middle Ages.

Unlike Spellbinders who channel raw energies directly at great risk or filter those wild forces at reduced risk through matrices that they've bound within themselves, or Wizards who express their mastery of lore and theory via rotes and rituals to safely but slowly work conceivably any kind of magic, Mysterians focus on mastering specific types of magic sufficiently to "work their Mysteries" quickly and without danger.

Consequently Mysterians tend to get by very well in the modern world as long as they are careful, and many Mysterians learn to work their magic unobstrusively or to disguise it in some form of mundane activity. Additionally Mysterians tend to excel at using their magic in unsettled and dangerous situations, which often affords them a significant advantage in violent circumstances compared to many other types of mystics.

In the modern era Mysteria is fairly uncommon, largely supplanted by Wizardry. However, it is not in any danger of fading out entirely and there are still plenty of practitioners around the world. Mysteria is almost entirely passed on via the traditional master apprentice arrangement, but it can also be learned from arcane primers and grimoires and some Mysterians are partially or entirely self taught.

Vocation

The basis of Mysteria practice is represented on a character by taking the Mysterian Vocation at a step appropriate to the character's level of mastery. An apprentice would take the Mysterian Vocation at a d4, a journeyman at a d6, a master at a d8, and a grand master at a d10.

Mysterian

Mysterians master a small number of specific rote spell effects, giving up flexibility for reliability and safety. As such, they are particularly good at working their magic in heightened situations such as combat. Though limited in scope compared to Wizards or Spellbinders in ideal circumstances, they often have the advantage when it comes to violent interactions.

The Mysterian Vocation allows the following special Exploits:

  • Exploit: During an Action Scene you may reroll any dice pool that includes your Mysterian Vocation die.
  • Exploit: You may double your Violence trait when adding it to an action or reaction dice pool that includes your Mysterian Vocation die.
  • Exploit: During an Action Scene you may ignore one Limit in your Mysterian Ability Set until the end of your next Panel.

Vocational Variations

Many Mysterians take one or more Signature Exploits for their Mysterian Vocation to represent so-called "cantrips" or "Lesser Mysteries".

Mysterians are explicitly allowed to take Signature Exploits that let them do a specific thing that would normally require an Ability trait, using a dice pool of Tier + an Aptitude + Psyche + Mysterian Vocation.

Signature Exploit: You may make a mystical attack against a target up to two zones away with a dice pool comprised of Tier + Violence + Psyche + Mysterian Vocation.
Signature Exploit: You may defend against a mystical attack made versus you or another target in your zone with a dice pool comprised of Tier + Violence + Psyche + Mysterian Vocation.
Signature Exploit: You may attempt to perceive any other location within the Scene with a dice pool comprised of Tier + Awareness + Psyche + Mysterian Vocation.
Signature Exploit: You may attempt to telekinetically manipulate or strike an object that you can perceive, with a dice pool comprised of Tier + Finesse + Psyche + Mysterian Vocation.

Mysterians are also explicitly allowed to take Signature Exploits that allow them to use their Mysterian Vocation die as if it were a specific Travel Ability trait until the end of their next Panel per invocation.

Signature Exploit: You may use your Mysterian Vocation die as if it were Flying until the end of your next Panel.
Signature Exploit: You may use your Mysterian Vocation die as if it were Teleport until the end of your next Panel.

Both of these options are beyond the scope of what is normally allowed for exploits, and this special dispensation is part of what makes Mysterians distinct from other mystical traditions.

Ability Sets

The bulk of a Mysterian's capabilities are defined in Ability Sets; all Mysterians have at least a Mystic Ability Set and a Mysterian Ability Set.

Mystic Ability Set

Mysterians are first and foremost Mystics, and thus all Mysterians without exception have a Mystic Ability Set, in which various Ability traits and the Supernatural Aura Limit that is common to Mystics are contained. Though individuals vary in the exact composition of their Mystic Ability Set, the most common basic Mystic Ability Set is provided below.

Mystic

Senses: d6
Stamina: d6
Willpower: d6
Warding: d6

Limit: Supernatural Aura: You have a supernatural aura that is detectable by those with special senses. Gain one (1) Plot Point when this becomes a Complication for you.

Internal Mastery

Mysteria is primarily a pragmatic art that mostly dispenses with advanced theory or meditative introspection, instead focusing on things that work without undue navel gazing or erudition. Some of the most fundamental benefits of working with magic such as extended lifespan, the ability to sense the supernatural, and to protect one's self from supernatural forces are retained, as represented by the Mystic Ability Set. But otherwise, though there are exceptions, Mysterians generally tend to focus on their Mysterian Ability Set rather than take additional abilities in their Mystic Ability Set.

Mysterian Ability Set

In addition to the Mysterian Vocation and a Mystic Ability Set, a Mysterian character must also have a Mysterian Ability Set. Mysterians do not use the Spells trait, instead taking other Ability traits to represent the specific kinds of magic they have learned, which they refer to as "arcana" or "Greater Mysteries". Therefore a Mysterian Ability Set must include at least two Mystical Ability traits other than the Spells trait, and by default usually include the Restrainable Limit and the Exclusive Traits Limit.

In addition to Mystical Ability traits (other than Spells), Mysterians can also take other Ability traits in their Mysterian Ability Set. Any trait taken in a Mysterian Ability Set in this way is understood to be a Mystical Ability when used by that character and further to be used as a kind of magical capability in keeping with the Mysterian theme, subject to the Restrainable Limit and the Exclusive Traits Limit.

Generally speaking Mysterian Ability traits can be of any step, but for a given Mysterian at least one of their Mysterian Ability traits should be at least as high as their Mysterian Vocation step.

While it can be more expensive to spend Advances to take multiple Ability traits instead of simply taking a single Spells Ability trait and calling it a day, there are advantages. For starters characters using the Spells trait without the Fast Cast SFX give up the ability to move a zone when doing so, which can be quite inconvenient in heightened circumstances. Additionally stepping down Spells to emulate other Ability traits limits what can be justified at the lowered step. And relying exclusively on Spells interferes with specialization, which often runs counter to a given character's concept. Thus compared to other types of Mystics who focus on the Spells trait, Mysterians are generally more nimble and better suited to using their magic during conflicts, and can each specialize to dial in specific steps of their different Ability traits enabling the justification of particular effects that match their individual concepts and personalities.

An example is provided below for a baseline Master Mysterian Ability Set. This basic Ability Set can be adjusted to represent a wide variety of Mysterians by choosing different sets of Ability traits. And though there is no single SFX that all Mysterians have in common (and thus the default Ability Set lacks SFX), individual Mysterians can take various SFX in their personal Mysterian Ability Set if they so choose. Similarly, though there are a couple of standard Limits assumed to be in a Mysterian Ability Set by default, some Mysterians are further hampered by one or more other Limits.

Master Mysterian

[Mystical trait]: d8
[Mystical trait]: d8
[Other trait]: d8

Limit: Exclusive Traits: The traits of this Ability Set are exclusive to one another, only one can be active at a time. You must decide which is currently active each time you have a panel; the other traits are shut down.

Limit: Restrainable: You cannot use traits or SFX from this Ability Set if you are physically restrained and / or lack access to necessary materials. Gain one (1) Plot Point when this becomes a Complication for you.

Mysterian Differentiation

The most notable way that individual Mysterians are differentiated from one another is the specific set of Ability traits, SFX, and Limits they have each taken in their Mysterian Ability Set, and by any Signature Exploits they have taken. Individual Mysterians come in such a wide variety in terms of Ability traits, SFX, and Limits that there's little to be gained by calling out specific ones. Players are encouraged to use their imaginations.

Finally, most Mysterians spend an Advance to buy off the standard Restrainable Limit and many also buy off the standard Exclusive Traits Limit normally taken in a Mysterian Ability Set, representing improved control over their abilities. It is fairly common for Mysterians that have dispensed with the Exclusive Traits Limit to eventually take the Extra Trait SFX to allow themselves to use two of their Mysterian Ability traits when forming dice pools, which can be quite advantageous in the right circumstances.

SFX: Extra Trait: You may include an additional Ability Trait from this Ability Set in your dice pool when it is narratively relevant, without spending a Plot Point.