As part of Mystic week here on the Blog, here is an RMU Mystic character, a level 5 Grey Elf, for your viewing/playing pleasure. You can view it in Downloads>RMU, accessible above (once Peter approves it).

 This is the best I can do for the Mystic. I don’t have a new take on the class, nor a supplemented or redone set of spell lists, nor really much of an idea as to what to do with the class. That’s not because I disagree with what Peter wrote; rather, it is because I pretty much agree with everything he said. The Mystic lists really are very unoriginal – as they have been since first edition Rolemaster – because they mostly reproduce spells other classes get on other lists. My players have been entirely uninterested in the class: I have never had a player play a Mystic or even ask what they were; in fact, when I started to build one for RMU as part of my project of building a pregen character of every RMU class for a set of introductory adventures, I had to look through the lists to see what they actually did, despite the fact that I’ve been playing Rolemaster now for over 30 years. Your mileage may vary of course!

 The definition of the class is really vague. And that isn’t just a Rolemaster problem: Dungeons and Dragons recently introduced a Mystic class (in a series of Unearthed Arcana articles), and its class definition is likewise vague. It pretty much does everything: it has elemental balls (Detonation), utility, skill boosts, defense, healing, even resurrection. And the DnD Mystic also seems to have an additional problem that the RM one does not: the DnD Mystic seems to be quite overpowered, at least at some levels of play. The general consensus seems to be that the lack of focus and the excessive power are closely related: the class is overpowered because it is just too versatile, often outperforming other classes in their primary role: https://www.reddit.com/r/dndnext/comments/8378ac/the_full_mystic_class_has_been_out_for_a_year_now/  .

I can attest to the fact that the DnD Mystic is overpowered. We just finished a Princes of the Apocalypse DnD campaign, and in the final battle, the Mystic dropped a fireball for mass damage (Detonation), teleported herself and the entire party across the battlefield to the bad guys so that the fighters could instantly start going to town on their casters, then resurrected multiple party members when they died. I think the main culprit for the power imbalance in DnD is that the Mystic works kind of like a Rolemaster spellcaster in that she has spell points rather than slots. Thus, the Mystic can keep resurrecting till she runs out of spell points, where a Cleric could do only one or two res spells (since the Cleric has to use up high-level slots rather than just spend a number of spell points).

 If one wanted to unify the class, one might begin by considering the etymology of the word Mystic. What does it mean? It seems to come from words that mean hidden and mysterious, and are associated with secret or hard to acquire knowledge: ineffable, unquantifiable, experiential as opposed to rational and analytical. When we talk of medieval ‘Mystics’, we mean people who claimed to have visions from god or the gods, such as the Oracle of Delphi or Hildegard of Bingen. The visions were strange, cryptic, and at times terrifying. In many traditions, mysticism is also associated with ascetic practices, as in Christian monasticism and Muslim Sufism. But of course Rolemaster has Monks (and even Clerics in a pinch) for that.

So where does this leave the RMU Mystic? Well, in a similarly vague place as the DnD mystic I guess, but happily I think with less concerns about being overpowered. I think some of the old RM2 Astrologer spell lists, such as Holy Vision, Far Voice, and Time’s Bridge, could actually be resurrected to fit the classical definition of a Mystic, to give it that ‘Mystical’ element it seems to lack. But those old lists would need a lot of work, because they have more gaps than spells for long stretches, and RMU does a good job of requiring that there be a spell at every level of its lists.

So, unable to completely revamp the Mystic class, I focused instead just on making a single, combat-viable Mystic character. Because from my perspective, if a Mystic can lay some smackdown, I might not mind so much that she is a bit of a mess thematically, and my players might be intrigued by the class. I enjoyed taking on this challenge, even if I’m not sure if I succeeded, because trying to make classes dangerous is fun to my min/maxxing mind.

I began by asking myself: what advantage does the Mystic have over the Magician for having access to the Mentalism realm? To me, it seems the answer is things like: good self healing, including stun relief, as well as the combat buffs/enhancement from the very useful Open Mentalism lists. So I thought the class would work best as a light, stealthy DPS class that has the unique style of going invisible/unseen, sneaking up on a foe, unloading a deadly elemental bolt, and then escaping. That seemed intriguing. So I loaded up on Quickness (for DB), Directed Spell and elemental bolts for attacks, stealth/disguise/influence skills and spells to get the drop on foes, as well as movement and damage resistance spells/abilities to get out of dodge if the surprise bolt attack fails.

I have no idea if this will work in practice, because it does seem like a somewhat insane playstyle. But it could be a lot of fun.

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  1. Pingback: ROLEMASTER PROFESSION REVIEW: THOUGHTS ON THE MYSTIC. – The Rolemaster Blog

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