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Revised Mystic Class

by Andrew Theisen

Here they are- something I've been working on and off with for awhile. The primary thing that prompted it was the vast damage discrepancies that seemed to be so unbalancing. I hope that I've balanced that out somewhat now. This revised class makes the mystic sort of a combination of Oriental Adventures Monk and Kensai (in that they are not necessarily unarmed specialists, but are specialists in a certain type of weapon).

Some Notes:

- - The damage bonuses were generated by using the Striking Weapon Mastery table as a base. I thought it would be more interesting to combine their abilities with the WM rules rather than have a flat rate for damage. This allows more variation in mystics- a Karate specialist won't have the same damage rates as a Kung-Fu specialist.

- - A 36th level mystic (with these rules) has a higher maximum damage than a 36th level fighter with a +5 sword, but also a lower minimum, which helps balance things. I write off the higher max due to their being so specialised.

- - Along with the above notes, here's how I generated the damages- I compared a Mystic with Grand Mastery in Striking with a Fighter with a +5 Normal Sword and Grand Mastery in that weapon (feeling that these would be the averages of both classes). Then I used that to generate comparable damages.

- - Rather than automatically have the Mystic get extra attacks, I made it so that they, like the fighter, gain multiple attacks at incremental levels. Whether you use the "must have a 2 or lower attack roll" rule or just allow multiple attacks regardless, this should work the same for both classes.

- - I thought having Hear Noise rather than the Find/Remove Traps abilities seemed somewhat more fitting for mystics, and so revised this.

- - I increased the maximum movement to 360'/rd, purely out of personal tastes (why not have someone three times as fast as normal?)

- - The increased restrictions should help to drive the point home that they are specialists, first and foremost (and, IMO, would be considered a fighter sub-class in AD&D), and help to abuses of their bonus ability, by Grand Mastering in all sorts of weapons and using those abilities.

- - I added a few new special abilities, and tweaked the others to various levels by comparing them with similar magical abilities (ie, Demihumans get Resistance-type abilities at a certain level; I tweaked the Mystic Resistance ability to roughly correspond to those levels.)

- - Altogether, it looks like the revised mystic may suffer a "Magic-User" phenomenon; ie, it isn't as powerful at lower levels, but at high levels, it gets pretty darn tough. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. It helps explain why this class isn't as widespread as some...

Anyway, I thought I had another point or two to mention, but can't recall offhand, so... I haven't had a chance to play test it or anything, but let me know what you think.

Revised Mystic Rules

Prime Requisite: Strength and Dexterity.
Other Requirements: Wisdom and Dexterity scores of 13 or higher.
Experience Bonus: 5% for Strength 13-15; 10% for Strength 16-18.
Hit Dice: 1d6 per level up to 9th level. Starting at 10th level, +2 hit points per level, and Constitution adjustments no longer apply.
Maximum Level: 36.
Armour: None; shield not permitted.
Weapons: Any.
Special Abilities: AC Bonuses, increased movement, and martial arts (see Mystic Special Abilities Table); (at 9th level) Set Spear vs. Charge, Fighter Combat Options; Acrobatics; Thief abilities; mystic abilities.
Saving Throws: As Fighter of same level.
Thac0: As Fighter of same level.
Thief Abilities: Any mystic can use the following abilities as a thief of the same level- Climb Walls, Hear Noise, Hide in Shadows, Move Silently.
Weapon Mastery: Begin with two weapon choices; additional choices at levels 3, 6, 9, 11, 15, 23, 30, and 36. One additional choice per 200,000 XP gained after level 36.

Class Description:

Mystics are monastic humans who follow a strict discipline of meditation, denial, seclusion, and mastery of the human body. Mystics are skilled in the martial arts, normally unarmed, but occasionally in forms that make use of weaponry. They all specialise in a single form of martial art, and gain benefits that normal fighters do not due to their specialisation. They live in cloisters, or monastic communities.

Their focus and utter devotion to the process of learning a specific form of "martial art" (as outsiders call them) allows the mystic to perform feats with their specialty that other fighters are not capable of. Additionally, their focus (sometimes called "chi" among Ochalean society) allows them to perform feats of incredible willpower and seemingly superhuman ability (those listed in the Special Abilities column).

Mystics adventure to gain spiritual growth and learn the lessons of life outside the cloister. They rarely adventure with other mystics; they prefer to attach themselves to adventuring parties consisting of many different types of adventurers.

Mystics receive experience from treasure only if they donate it to the needy. Also, they must donate (tithe) ten percent of their treasure to their cloister.

Mystic Table

Level XP AC Dmg MV Atks Equivalent Special Abilities
1 0 9 +1d3 120' 1/1 - -
2 2,000 8 +1d4 130' 1/1 Silver Weapon Awareness
3 4,000 7 +1d4+1 140' 1/1 Silver Weapon -
4 8,000 7 - 150' 1/1 Silver Weapon -
5 16,000 6 +1d6 150' 1/1 +1 Weapon Heal Self
6 32,000 6 - 160' 1/1 +1 Weapon -
7 64,000 5 +1d6+1 170' 1/1 +1 Weapon -
8 120,000 5 - 170' 1/1 +1 Weapon Speak with Animals
9 240,000 4 - 180' 1/1 +1 Weapon -
10 360,000 4 +1d8 190' 1/1 +2 Weapon -
11 480,000 3 - 190' 1/1 +2 Weapon Feign Death*
12 600,000 3 +1d8+1 200' 2/1 +2 Weapon -
13 720,000 2 - 210' 2/1 +2 Weapon -
14 840,000 2 - 210' 2/1 +2 Weapon Speak with Anyone
15 960,000 2 +1d10 220' 2/1 +2 Weapon -
16 1,080,000 1 - 230' 2/1 +2 Weapon -
17 1,200,000 1 - 230' 2/1 +2 Weapon Resistance
18 1,320,000 1 - 240' 2/1 +2 Weapon -
19 1,440,000 0 - 250' 2/1 +2 Weapon -
20 1,560,000 0 +1d10+1 250' 2/1 +3 Weapon Mind Block
21 1,680,000 0 - 260' 2/1 +3 Weapon -
22 1,800,000 -1 - 270' 2/1 +3 Weapon -
23 1,920,000 -1 - 270' 2/1 +3 Weapon -
24 2,040,000 -1 +1d12 280' 3/1 +3 Weapon -
25 2,160,000 -2 - 290' 3/1 +3 Weapon Blankout
26 2,280,000 -2 - 290' 3/1 +3 Weapon -
27 2,400,000 -2 +2d8 300' 3/1 +3 Weapon -
28 2,520,000 -3 - 310' 3/1 +3 Weapon -
29 2,640,000 -3 - 310' 3/1 +3 Weapon -
30 2,760,000 -4 +4d4 320' 3/1 +4 Weapon Willpower*
31 2,880,000 -4 - 330' 3/1 +4 Weapon -
32 3,000,000 -4 - 330' 3/1 +4 Weapon -
33 3,120,000 -5 - 340' 3/1 +4 Weapon -
34 3,240,000 -5 - 350' 3/1 +4 Weapon -
35 3,360,000 -5 - 350' 3/1 +4 Weapon -
36 3,480,000 -6 +5d4 360' 4/1 +5 Weapon Gentle Touch

Notes on Abilities

Mystics are all specialists in one particular form of combat (usually unarmed) that is chosen at the start of the PC's adventuring career. As the mystic gains weapon choices, he must always have a higher level of Mastery in his specialty style than any other weapon he uses. Mystics gain a number of benefits in their primary style that other fighter types do not.

Despair: Mystics should always, due to their mastery of their weapons, use the Despair effects for Weapon Mastery, even if the rule is not otherwise in use. If already in use, allow the mystics a -1 penalty to opponent's morale checks per level of mastery above Basic level (ie, -1 at Skilled, -2 at Expert, etc.) to reflect the deadliness of the mystic's fighting ability.

Multiple Attacks: Mystics gain the same multiple attack capability as Fighters of equivalent levels.

Extra Damage: Extra damage is only gained when fighting with the mystic's primary style.

Weapon Equivalent: Experienced mystics are able to utilise their primary weapon style in a manner that allows them to hit creatures affected only by magical or silvered weapons. They do not gain a magical bonus; the equivalent only shows what sorts of creatures can be hurt. This is effective only with the primary style.

Feign Death*: This allows the mystic to induce a state of catalepsy in which he appears dead, even to magical forms of detection. This ability lasts for one turn per level of the mystic.

Willpower*: This ability is similar to the 9th level Wizard spell Survival. It allows the mystic to, through sheer force of will, ignore any damage due to natural environmental conditions around him. It lasts for one round per level.

Special Restrictions

Mystics may not use protective magical devices (such as rings, cloaks, bracers, etc.)

When fighting using their specialty style, they may not use a magical weapon. If they do, they will gain no experience from the encounter. Mystics only gain half experience from any encounters where they use a weapon other than their specialty style.

Mystics may never have a higher level of Weapon Mastery in any weapon style other than their primary specialty. They must have achieved Grand Mastery in their primary style before raising any other style to Grand Master.

All the material goods (money, magical items, etc.) won, purchased, or acquired as treasure by the mystic are actually owned by the cloister, and not the mystic himself. Should the cloister have need of something "owned" by the mystic, the head of the cloister need only ask for it.

Higher Experience Levels

A mystic of Name (9th) level is addressed as master (if male) or mistress (if female).

There are many mystics of 1st to 29th level, but only seven each of 30th-32nd level, five each of 33rd-35th level, and three of 36th level.

When a mystic gains enough experience to reach 30th level, he must find and challenge one of the seven 30th level mystics; they will fight bare-handed (or with their designated weapon style). If the player character loses, he stays at 29th level, losing enough experience points that he is 1 experience point short of 30th level. Once he's regained 30th level, he may try again, but cannot issue another challenge until three months have passed since his first challenge. (Note: If a DM's campaign world is particularly large, he might declare that there are seven 30th and so forth per continent in his world.)

At Name level, the mystic may desire to build a stronghold, or cloister. If his Grand Abbot (i.e., the mystic in charge of his current cloister) agrees that he is fit to manage one, the cloister will pay for construction of the new cloister. The new cloister remains a branch of the old one until the PC achieves 13th level, at which time the PC can declare his independence. At that point, he may wish to teach his mystics-in-training in techniques and philosophies different from those of the other cloister- that is, he may wish to establish his own "school" of the discipline.