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Mystics in SAGA

by Byron Molix

Okay, I'm gonna try and break this down some, but I'll give a short essay about how SAGA works differently and then I'll explain how my version works differently from that. Next message is the kicker.

Oh and in general, a role is always going to be weaker than a full-fledged class + kit it was converted from (at least on the surface) This gets made up in flexibility.

Okay, each character has 8 abilities: Agility, Dexterity, Endurance, Strength, Reason, Perception, Spirit, and Presence. You can think of Ag and Dx equating to *D&D Dex, En => Con, Re => Int, Pe and Sp equate to Wis, and Pr => charisma. The number values are roughly half that of *D&D, but you can have a 1, and the highest value a hero (PC) can have is a 10, and this is supposed to be rare. instead of using dice to set numbers you use a hand of cards, there are 8 suits of cards values 1-9, and one extra suit with 1-10. Since there is one card in the deck with a 10 value, you have a 1 in 82 chance of getting it. As an aside, at least 3 of my players have drawn that card when making their characters. Luckily only one of them used it for an ability.

Each ability also has something called a code, A, B, C, D, or X. A is the best, X is the worst. Okay, the basic way to decode a character write-up works like this. The number is how much aptitude the character has. The letter is how much training or experience. Also, shields, armour, and weapons are rated Very Heavy to Very Light, and the scale corresponds exactly as above.

Agility = using shields, Dexterity = using missile weapons
Endurance = using armour, Strength = using melee weapons
Reason = using wizardly magic, Perception = acute or diminished senses*
Spirit = using priestly magic, Presence = leadership

*, Perception is a bit strange since you either have 1,2 or 0 acute or diminished senses. 2 acute / 1 acute / normal / 1 diminished / 2 diminished

Okay, magic is also different since X = you don't believe this kind of magic even exists, or you've heard stories but never seen it. D = you know what it is or have had it done to you. C = you know quite a bit about it but you can't use it. B = you can actually use it, but you've still got a lot you could learn. A = you know as much as anyone could.

Now, most characters don't get 'powers' unless they are severely limited or the power makes more sense than giving the ability to cast spells. So, a paladin type would be a warrior who has a B magic code, probably with Healing as his one sphere. (Standard Dragonlance Fifth Age)

The other mystic spheres let you change shape, control/speak with animals, create/speak with/control corporeal undead, ditto non-corporeal undead and spirits, sense events and read auras, control/read minds, raise/lower physical stats or raise/lower mental stats.

In standard D5A if you have a B code you get 1 sphere or school of magic. If you have an A code, you get 3. In my conversion you get 3 and 5 respectively. (I didn't invent the idea, but it works) The other thing is that the spheres/schools are all different. Since the original spheres/schools are very specialised this isn't normally a problem.

On Sat, 29 May 1999, Agathokles wrote:

The OD&D mystic class is similar to the fighting monk only for what concerns the organisation (cloister) and the preference for hand to hand, unarmoured fighting style. Otherwise, while the fighting monk is basically a cleric, the mystic has no priestly skills. Instead, mystic training allows a form of self healing similar to the paladin's "lay on hands" ability, a some thief skills and some supernatural abilities like speak with animals, a non-magical invisibility, and resistances to spells and mind attacks.
The mystic wizard has nothing to do with both the OD&D mystic and the fighting monk.
Hope it helps,
Giampaolo Agosta

Okay, now I can do this a couple of ways, but none without using magic since I don't have any psionics rules made up, and I don't want to try creating Chi on whim either.

The basic abilities of the class are?
Skill at fighting unarmed
Meditative healing
Speak with animals
Camouflage? (or is it true invisibility?)
and I'm guessing sneaking and climbing
Limited magic resistance

Okay, using Spirit magic without actually being a priest is usually a no-no in my campaign, but I'll make an exception for this conversion.

Autotrump when fighting unarmed (attack and defence) Autotrump to climb, hide and move stealthily.
Autotrump to resist magic of types :Enchantment(wizard school), y, and z.

Note: Autotrump means you get to not only play a card, but you get to draw the card off the top of the deck and add it to your total. It's good, because it allows flexibility, and with luck it's generally better than a flat bonus.

Okay, to cover the other ones you need the following spheres of miracles: Healer and Druid. I'd add Sphere of the Monk to round it out. This would allow the character to do things it shouldn't be able to, specifically healing others, controlling and summoning animals. Sphere of the Monk lets you alter physical and mental abilities. Since this is magic however it's a requirement, like "you have to have Con 10+"

Also, 3 autotrump bonuses is a lot. Most roles only get one or two. So since you said they have a preference for fighting unarmed I'd probably reduce the bonus to +2 damage when fighting unarmed.

It looks like this:
Requirements: Spirit must have a code of "B". Endurance code must be "D" or less (leather armour or less, nobody mentioned armour so I just figured it'd be light). Strength and Dexterity codes cannot be higher than "C" max (can't use heavy or very heavy melee or missile weapons).
Wealth may not be higher than Tradesman (4, on a 1-9 scale)
Advantages: +2 unarmed damage; Autotrump to climb, hide, and move stealthily; Autotrump to resist Enchantment, and 2 other spheres/schools.
Disadvantages: Must take the spheres of Monk, Healer and Druid. Spell effects must only concern affecting the mystic's own abilities, healing him or herself, and communicating with nature. [This role really deserves another disadvantage, but I can't think of one.]

If you don't understand that or something is just wrong as translated, for instance if Mystics show up with detect invisibility spells, let me know. I've got nothing to do for a few days except trying to do this, so I can go over this again. Basic rules for playing SAGA are on TSRs web page under games-> Dragonlance.