Consolidated Backgrounds

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What are mystics? Mystics are characters that are ready to worship and cast, but who have no specific magical school or god inclination. Mystics are challenging to start but improve with first altar/book. Mystics are “weighted wanderers”. They have low level combat skills, balanced dex/str, great potential for casting and worshipping, props for early survival.

Why Mystics? 1. Monks have no invocations, which seemed wrong to me. 2. Priests are limited in god choice. 3. No class starts with flavourless spellcasting potential. 4. Mystics bring unique opening game problems

Stats, Skills, Equipment

Starting Stats (based on +10 assumption, may be wrong. If +12 then +1 to Int and Dex)

Str + 3 Int + 4 Dex + 3

Stats allow a headstart in spellcasting and opportunities for free weapon choice.

Starting Skills

Fighting: 1 Staves: 1 Throwing: 1 Spellcasting: 3 Invocations: 4 Dodging: 2

Spellcasting, Invocations, AND Fighting is a bit much. Drop the Fighting/staves/throwing (Throwing? Why?) and just go for the standard dodge/stealth starting skills. — Pedjt 2011-01-22 09:16

Skills weighted toward “mystical” core abilities, but with survival buffs.

Starting Equipment

Weapon: Quarterstaff (+2 Short Blade for small races, with SB skill instead of Staves) Armour: +2 Robe Quiver: 12 Darts Other: 2 Potions of Healing, Food, 50 gold

Quarterstaff is best early survival weapon. Once god/book is found, character may branch out. Robe, darts and potion enhance early survivability.

Stick with a quarterstaff for all races. Why is the robe +2? Other backgrounds don't get gear like that. Why does it start with darts? Wouldn't a potion of magic make more sense, and also not step on the fighter's toes? Why does it start with gold? None of these things line up with the idea of being some kind of omni-magician. Why not give them a starting book if they're guaranteed so much spellcasting? Instead of destroying its flavour by giving it all this junk, design it so that it actually can work the way it's meant to from the get-go, rather than being some kind of magical prodigy running around throwing rocks at people. — Pedjt 2011-01-22 09:16

Case for the Mystic

*All spellcasting backgrounds predispose certain schools of magic, unless you go wizard, which undermines physical options. The RNG is fun, so why not provide a character prepared to take advantage of the most powerful RNG offerings: early books and altars?

*Wanderers are RNG-reliant, but truly random starts are a different challenge from what I am offering.

*Monks are basically martial artists, ignoring the spiritual dimension of the background (Int boost = Str boost, and both are low).

*Priests and Healers and Chaos knights have monopoly on invocation stats, but force certain gods and limit species choice.

*Idea: You could start with a wand (darts) and level 1 Evocations as alternative to darts, just to round out the mystical ability set and improve survival, and perhaps shave a Dodging or Invocations level.

Evocations would make somewhat more sense than regular darts. Starting this guy with some kind of cantrip book would make a lot more sense than no book at all. A god can be picked up easily enough, but giving them melee and throwing is sort of weird. They shouldn't have their hand in every pie. — Pedjt 2011-01-22 09:29

hoody 2011-01-21 19:39


There's no sense in having a class that's given spellcasting without spells, invo without a god, and good fixed items that try to make up for it. If you want invo/casting pick a divine/casting class that's actually able to use it, or just pick whatever and get the skill normally after a handful of floors. And for people talking about a semirandomized start, wave goodbye to those good fixed items and say hello to wanderer. This is blatantly redundant. — og17 2011-01-23 05:18

Disadvantages compared to ordinary casters

I have to say that unless Mystics are intended to be pure challenge classes on a similar level of difficulty as the Wanderer, I don't think there's much of a reason to play one. Spellcasting 3 by no means puts them in a uniquely good position to make use random spellbooks they come across, because it's far too little to cast anything of above the first or maybe second level. If the books you find contain only mid-level spells you're completely sunk because you have no means to train up your paltry starting skill high enough to use them. I find that I don't regularly start finding spellbooks until mid-Lair, by which point any caster who had an interest in branching out to new schools is probably going to have at least 6-10 levels of Spellcasting plus a bunch of levels of other generally useful schools like Conjurations or Charms if possible. Any other caster class (except maybe the elementalists) would have an easier time adapting to random new spell schools than the Mystic; all they have to do is turn off every skill except Spellcasting and they're good to go. Even a Reaver who spends their first turn throwing away their starting spellbook is in a better position than a Mystic because at least they can put their mana pool to use and train a couple of magical schools with Magic Dart, and they start with melee equipment too. The absolute best-case scenario is finding one of the low-level spellbooks that another background would have started with, at which point you'd just start playing like that class with a very delayed start. To add insult to injury, the Invocations skill could be of limited or no value depending on what early altar you jump on (Ashenzari and Nemelex, for example, wouldn't use it at all).

I can think of two ways to salvage the concept:

* Mystics start out with one or two low-level spells already memorized, like Magic Dart and Corona or something. Nothing that will be terribly powerful past the first couple of dungeon levels, but enough to make use of their mana and train their magical skills in preparation for finding a proper spellbook. This has the disadvantage of being very similar to playing the aforementioned Reaver with the odd conduct of deciding not to memorize anything out of their starting book. Plus, for practical purposes, playing a Reaver (or any other caster class for that matter) normally would still generally leave you better off than a Mystic because guaranteed useful spells are much rarer and more valuable than Invocations skill and a quarterstaff.

* Mystics start out with a Sif Muna-esque randart book which contains a bunch of level 1 and 2 spells chosen entirely at random (or it could be made semi-random to guarantee at least one offensive spell, disallow certain powerful or useless spells like Summon Butterflies and Fulsome Distillation, weight it towards a certain distribution between schools, etc.). This would be far more interesting since you'd be getting the “adapt to whatever random spells you get” playstyle right from the beginning, but it would be easy to start-scum if you felt like it (though you can technically do that with Wanderers too, so I don't know how much of a problem it is). I guess if you were really paranoid about it you could have the spellbook given to the player like a god gift between the second and fourth dungeon level or something. (“While lost in thought, you trip over an unnoticed spellbook lying on the ground!”)

sjohara 2011-01-22 21:46

I gotta say I really like the idea of a few pre-memorized spells but no book. I think the other guy's comments are good too. Perhaps drop the throwing and fighting, and instead get extra spellcasting and invocations and perhaps even a small bit of evocations. The concept really was supposed to be a challenge class that could really launch given luck with RNG. I hadn't thought about the idea of pre-learned spells. I think that magic dart and blink would be ideal as they maximize survivability for low level spells. — hoody 2011-01-23 05:14

Corruption Mage

Replace the Venom element with Corruption, because Poison seems like too narrow a subject to devote an entire spell school to, and it can be included in Corruption. The overall idea of a Corruption Mage is to be the second definitively “evil” caster (like a Necromancer), but instead of dealing with Undead, drawing power from demonic forces. This is not a huge stretch since there is precedent in the form of at least TSO disapproving of poison. A flagship spell for the new school could be “Internal Combustion” which essentially turns a monster into a time bomb by infecting it and heating it up to accelerate the growth of micro-organisms until their body explodes (note, living monster, this is not corpse explosion, and Corruption school spells would ideally never be stepping on Necro's toes). Another possibility opened up by using the Corruption school name instead of Venom is that later spells could use the Hellfire element, reflecting growing mastery over hellish energies. Other spells could include Enslave Demon, which ignores the demon's magic resistance, is temporary, and has chance of success determined entirely by the tier of demon (with 1 demons obviously being completely immune, possibly 2s). Simply changing the Venom school name enables a great variety of new and interesting spells to be created :D


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