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Drake Bale is an example Mysterian.

Mysterians are practitioners of an ancient art sometimes known as Enigmystra, 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 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.

Mysteria was largely supplanted by Wizardry over the course of the Dark Ages and is thus fairly uncommon. However, there are still sufficient practitioners around the world that it is not in any danger of fading out entirely, and as a practice it has been on a quiet upsurge over the last century. Mysteria is traditionally passed on via the master / apprentice arrangement, but it can also be learned from arcane primers and grimoires and some Mysterians are partially or entirely self taught.

There are also a few small, reclusive boarding schools where it is taught; one in a out of the way hamlet in England, another in Belgium, and a third in New Hampshire in the US. These schools were all independently founded and have no common organizing principle, but being the only fish in a very small pond they do have some communication and a loose working relationship.

The Mysteries

The Mysterian tradition consists of the collection of Ability traits listed below, which are referred to by Mysterians as the "Greater Mysteries", and to a lesser extent by Signature Exploits taken for the Mysterian Vocation (decribed below), which are referred to by Mysterians as the "Lesser Mysteries".

The Greater Mysteries

The Greater Mystery Ability traits must be taken in a Mysterian Ability Set, and are understood to be Mystical traits in such a context. Each Greater Mystery represents a broad area of study and mastery, not a one-off trick or gimmick.

For instance, conceptually a Mysterian with the Counterspell Ability trait doesn't know one "spell" that they just cast over and over again with universal applicability. Rather, they know a variety of techniques for blocking, cancelling, picking apart, draining, siphoning, and otherwise countering opposing magic which they apply judiciously in nuanced ways when relevant.

While a high tier Mysterian can potentially have every Greater Mystery, at low and middle tiers a typical Mysterian might have between three to five of them at a d6 step or better. Generally speaking, Mysterians prefer quality over quantity, sublime mastery of a few things over dabbling in many. Thus an aspiring Mysterian with a lot of low step Greater Mysteries and little else would not be as respected as a Mysterian with impressive mastery over a few Greater Mysteries and other supporting abilities (Lesser Mysteries, SFX, other parts of the character), presenting a well rounded total package.

No Spells Trait

Note that the Spells trait is not included in the list of Greater Mysteries; this is intentional. While they do work magic and in a general sense are "casting spells", Mysterians do so using the specific Ability traits listed rather than using the abstracted Spells trait (or any of its variants such as Necromancy) as an emulator.

Thus, instead of taking Spells and stepping it down to emulate Conjuration, a Mysterian instead just takes the Conjuration trait and uses it directly at whatever step they have it at. The downside of this is, while the Spells trait allows the emulation of conceivably any trait at stepped down potency, a Mysterian can only do the things they have the specific Ability traits for. Also, it costs more Advances to take a lot of Ability traits instead of just advancing one Spells trait.

However, the upside is Mysterians tend to be really good in their areas of expertise, don't suffer the slowness to cast built into the Spells trait, and can dial in each trait to a step that fits their concept. By giving up some flexibility, Mysterian's gain more design space for individual expression during character creation and advancement, and better economy of action during play.


The basis of Mysterian 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.


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.

Signature Exploits

Many Mysterians take one or more Signature Exploits for their Mysterian Vocation to represent what they call "Lesser Mysteries", as mentioned previously. Mysterian Vocation Signature Exploits tend to be more tactical or utilitarian than is typical for Exploits, and to correspondingly be used pragmatically by Mysterians who have them.

The following list represents the most common Lesser Mysteries, but players and GM's are free to come up with more...perhaps a Mysterian was taught a rare Lesser Mystery not in common usage handed down from master to apprentice for several centuries, or found one in an ancient tome and taught themselves, or what have you.

The Lesser Mysteries

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 sense the presense of higher life forms within three zones of you, with a dice pool comprised of Tier + Awareness + Psyche + Mysterian Vocation.
Signature Exploit: You may attempt to sense if there is potential danger to you on the other side of a door or obstruction, with a dice pool comprised of Tier + Awareness + 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.
Signature Exploit: You may attempt to telepathically implant a suggestion in the mind of a sentient person in your zone that you are aware of, with a dice pool comprised of Tier + Finesse + Psyche + Mysterian Vocation.
Signature Exploit: You may levitate (or not) until the end of the Scene; it takes a full panel to move 1 zone while levitating.
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 Intangibility until the end of your next Panel.
Signature Exploit: You may turn on or off all the lights within your zone and adjacent zones.
Signature Exploit: You may make yourself less memorable until the end of the Scene. You resist people recognizing or forming a strong memory of you with a dice pool comprised of Tier + Awareness + Psyche + Mysterian Vocation.

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.


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

Mysterian Differentiation

All Mysterians must have a Mysterian Ability Set, but the specific combination of which Greater Mysteries (Ability traits), SFX, and Limits each takes within their own set is the main way in which they are differentiated from each other. Lesser Mysteries (Signature Exploits for the Mysterian Vocation) also offer a way to distinguish one's self.

Mysterian Ability Set

A Mysterian must have a Mysterian Ability Set with at least one of the Greater Mystery Ability traits (listed previously) taken within it. For a given character, it is recommended that their Greater Mystery Ability traits should be no more than one step higher than their Mysterian Vocation step. Similarly, it is recommended that a given character have at least one Greater Mystery Ability trait per level of their Mysterian Vocation step. Thus a master (Mysterian Vocation step of d8) should have at least three Greater Mystery Ability traits in their Mysterian Ability Set, none of them higher than a d10 (one step higher than a d8).

A Mysterian Ability Set often includes the Restrainable limit and / or the Exclusive Traits limit by default, as indicated in the example Ability Set. However, such limits are optional. 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.

With these recommendations in mind, the following example represents a good baseline Master Mysterian Ability Set.

Master Mysterian

[Greater Mystery trait]: d10
[Greater Mystery trait]: d8
[Greater Mystery trait]: d6

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 SFX and Limits

As noted previously the Restrainable and Exclusive Traits limits are commonly applied to Mysterian Ability Sets, but are not required. The facility Mysterians have to work magic inobviously and easily is one of the classic advantages to their practice, in stark contrast to other Hermetics such as Spellbinders and Wizards. Similarly, a Mysterian does not have to, but may take other limits on their Mysterian abilities particular to themselves. Even if a Mysterian starts off with such limits, they may spend Advances to buy them off as they grow in skill, representing improved control over their abilities.

For instance earlier in his career Drake had Limit: Fragility which prevented him from using his Mysterian abilities if he had suffered Trauma, and Limit: Single Target applied to his Illusion Ability trait, indicating he could only affect one person at a time with it. However, he overcame those limits as he increased in skill.

There are also no specific SFX that all Mysterians must take. Many common SFX such as Area Attack, Boost, Push, Surge, Versatile, and so on can be useful to Mysterians in rather obvious ways. Additionally, some Mysterians who have synergistic Ability Traits in their Mysterian Ability Set, and do not have the Exclusive Traits limit, take SFX: Extra Trait. This circumstantially allows for some tactical tricks, particularly if combined with some other SFX or the spending of plot points to apply extra effect dice from results.

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.

However, it is more common for Mysterians to take one or more nuanced SFX that influence or change how the Ability traits of their Greater Mysteries work for them, showing their personalized mastery of their magic.

For instance, Drake has SFX: Hallucinatory which turns his Illusion trait into a Mental Ability, projecting illusions directly into the minds of others rather than producing actual sensory effects perceived by ordinary senses. In the setting of Here There Be Monsters where it is important to keep the supernatural hidden, this can be quite useful. He also has SFX: Mental Bulwark which allows his Shield trait to protect against both physical and mental afflictions. This offers obvious tactical advantages, but narratively also represents his growing mastery of his magic.

Lesser Mysteries and Milestones

A Mysterian with one or more Lesser Mysteries should consider the "gain an Exploit invocation for one of your Vocations" Reward option when defining their character's Milestones. Fulfilling such Milestone goals during a session and getting more uses of their Lesser Mysteries is a strong and flavorful outcome.