Mystics of the Flanaess

There have been some requests among my Patreon supporters to do a bit of a run-down to show how I envision the new classes that were included in Adventures Dark and Deep might be incorporated into the World of Greyhawk. (Want to have that sort of input into what I write about? Consider supporting me on Patreon.)

The mystic class is an initiate of an inner mystery tradition that seeks direct communion with the multiverse in order to achieve enlightenment. They are only of good alignment, thus only deities of good alignment are listed below (and only a subset of those, for not every good-aligned deity has mystics). The spells available to the mystic are centered on knowledge and defense, but his special connection with the multiverse gives him special insights into the workings of the planes as well. The mystic class is presented in the Adventures Dark and Deep Players Manual, but is also available as a stand-alone class booklet that can easily be used with most other Old School Games.

Most good-aligned religions in the Flanaess have mystics, although in some instances they are viewed as heretics and schismatics. It’s worth noting, however, that none of the deities of Suel origin are known to have mystics among their followers. This is perhaps a vestige of some state of affairs within the ancient Suel Imperium, but whatever the reason, it remains a puzzling fact.

Allitur attracts those who see a mirror of the balance of the multiverse in the systems of ethics, custom, and law which humans and demi-humans create on Oerth. In many temples, it is customary to invite a nearby mystic to give a sermon at services on certain days of the year, and they will often be selected as ambassadors and will often go as a companion to a missionary heading into an uncivilized land to teach ethics and civilized ways.

Atroa and Sotillion are generally worshiped as a Divine Pair by mystics, being half of the Oeridian four gods of the winds. They can be found just about anywhere strong Oeridian stock is to be found, but especially in Furyondy, the Shield Lands, and further east into the Great Kingdom. Their connections to the element of air is strongest, naturally, and when casting the spells Spirit Gift II and Spirit Gift IV, they will only invoke the spirits of East or West and Spring or Summer, but with double the bonuses listed in the spell description.

The church of St. Cuthbert has an ambiguous relationship with its mystical population. On the one hand, St. Cuthbert is seen as too “down to earth” for the often more transcendental ways of mysticism. Too, the church hierarchy is strictly structured, and mystics do not fit into the ranks of the church. On the other hand, the clerics of St. Cuthbert admire the self-denial and discipline that the mystical path instills in those who follow it, and the mystics are often even more sure in their faith than a Star or Billet. For this reason, although the mystics don’t have an Order of their own within the Church, they alone are permitted to use the mace as their symbol.

Of all the religions in the Flanaess, that of Delleb is perhaps the most welcoming of the mystical path, as those of the mystic subclass will often be chosen as leaders of temples, if one of suitable level and repute is available. It is thought that the insights provided by the mystic’s communion with the multiverse gives them a unique background to oversee the other members of the church. As such they have access to the ceremony spell. They are usually not as bookish as clerics of Delleb, but they do share in the healing vocation, and thus also have access to the various cure spells in the clerical spell lists (including cure light wounds, cure disease, etc.). They are most often found around the Nyr Dyv, the heartland of Delleb’s worship.

Many mystics follow Ehlonna, reveling in the forests and meadows, and her faith is especially attractive to mystics of the olven and hobniz races. Those mystics who do follow her may substitute one druid spell for a mystic spell of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd level (only once the mystic is of sufficient experience level to cast spells of the appropriate level, of course). Mystics in Celene and the Welkwood are a not-uncommon sight, and will go on retreats into the deep woodlands to commune with Nature.

Heironeous seems to prove the exception to the rule that mystics are at their core somewhat passive and pacificistic. The god of chivalry attracts those of a more mystical bent as well, who use their powers to bolster and inspire knights, paladins, and the troops they command. Mystics dedicated to Heironeous can use battle axes, although they still do not wear armor. There are several legends of Heironean mystics who issued fell warnings about some upcoming battle, which were ignored, only to have the whole end in disaster. These cautionary tales are used to bolster the image of mystics within the faith.

Many mystics of an artistic bent are drawn to Lirr, often creating sublime paintings, poems, and epic romances that draw on their connection to the multiverse. Unlike many mystics who prefer solitude and an almost hermit-like life, they are drawn to large cities with thriving theatrical and artistic communities, such as Niole Dra, Rel Mord, and of course the City of Greyhawk with its Guildhall of Performing Artistes, which boasts one of the largest shrines to Lirr in the Flanaess.

Many mystical traditions are associated with Pelor as well, and Almor in particular has a strong mystical tradition, with itinerant mystics roaming the countryside. Such wanderers, or the “Pelor-Filled” as they are known, delve deeply into prophecy and divination, and attempt to make sense of what they have seen, writing down long and nearly impossible-to-understand tomes, often filled with apocalyptic imagery. But all too often these prophecies are actually metaphors for some inner struggle, and thus misunderstanding can cause panic. For this reason, such Pelor-Filled are discouraged by the authorities in Almor.

The church of Pholtus is the hardest against its mystical tradition. Since mystics by their nature operate outside the strict hierarchy of the Church of the Blinding Light, they are viewed with suspicion at best, and as pestilential heretics at worst. They espouse the idea that it is possible to commune with the Light directly, rather than through the intervention of the Church fathers, and this is intolerable to the latter. Throughout the Pale, a network of safe houses has come into being over the generations, moving such mystical leaders from place to place to keep them one step ahead of the Church authorities. Books and other writings of these mystics are also distributed, but possession of such within the Pale is a crime of the highest order. Light spells cast by mystics of Pholtus have double the normal duration.

Rao’s mystics are the quintessential examples of their class, and substantial shrines have thrived around those who seek a personal connection to their god. One such shrine, the Temple of the Inner Light, can be found in the northern Lortmil Mountains, near the easternmost Lorridges.

There are few mystics dedicated to Ulaa. Those few who do exist tend to spend their lives in deep caves as hermits, communing in the deep grottoes with the minor earth elementals that share such environs. Such can be found wherever such caves exist, from the Glorioles to the Yatils. They add the spells stone shape and spike stones to their list of available spells, once they able to cast spells of the appropriate level.

Mystics dedicated to Zodal are, as their gentle deity might imply, themselves paragons of benevolence, mercy, and charity. They mix freely with those mystics dedicated to Rao, which is unsurprising given Zodal’s position as a servant of the great god. Mystic-hermits can be found throughout the eastern Yatil Mountains, Clatspur Range, and Mounds of Dawn, as well as the western and southwestern spurs of the Griff Mountains.

Written by 

Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

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