Mysticism

Unlike Hermeticism, which imparts power through earthly lore, Mysticism grants its devotees power through contact with external entities. It is often considered the oldest form of magic. In the dark days of humanity’s infancy, tribes beseeched the gods for aid, and to the most devout among them the gods made their answers manifest. The [Power] statistic for many forms of Mysticism thus is “Faith,” though for psychics and mediums it might be “Anima,” while practitioners of Goetia use “Lore” or “Gift.” Because Mysticism is an external art, it requires less of an investment of time than either Hermeticism or Sorcery. Power arises spontaneously, as inspiration derived from worship or contact with the alien entities. However, Mysticism can also prove restrictive, as the entities require that their followers act in proscribed ways in order to advance in the entities’ favor.

To gain power as a Mystic, a character must fulfill the requirements of the entity she has contacted, thereby rising in rank from Novice to Avatar. At character creation, a character may designate Faith (or Anima) as her [Power] statistic and make contact with an entity as a Novice at no additional cost. Novices have only begun their relationship with the external entity and may commune with it at the most basic level. If a character wishes to start higher in the entity’s favor, she may pay 1 Edge and acquire 1 compulsion to start as an Acolyte, with access to Acolyte prayers and Edges; 1 additional Edge (for a total of 2 Edges) and acquire 1 weakness to start as a Deacon, with access to Deacon prayers and Edges; and 2 additional Edges (for a total of 4 Edges) and acquire 1 compulsion and 1 restriction to start as a Priest, with access to Priest prayers and Edges. During the course of play, characters may increase their rank in their entity’s favor by paying the requisite number of Edges and acquiring additional proscriptions on their behavior:

Novice: 0 Edges
Acolyte: 1 Edge + 1 compulsion
Deacon: 1 Edge + 1 weakness
Priest: 2 Edges + 1 compulsion + 1 restriction
Bishop: 2 Edges + 1 weakness + 1 restriction
Avatar: 3 Edges + 1 weakness + 1 compulsion + 1 restriction

In the Gilded Age, a number of mystical traditions have taken root in the public consciousness. Three will be detailed below, though players and GMs are of course encouraged to develop their own.

Wiyot Shamanic Priesthood: The shamans of the Wiyot tribe have guided their people’s spiritual development for nearly a thousand years. They tell of the great flood that cleansed the earth and left the Tall Spirits to re-populate it. Some have interpreted the Tall Spirits as reference to Lemurians, a theory that is supported by the Wiyots’ veneration of distant Mt. Shasta. The Wiyot shamans pray to various spirits and demi-deities, each of whom promise power over some aspect of tribal life in return for devotion. The trickster god, Gatswokwire, is one such entity, promising his worshipers power to craft illusion and alter physical forms.

Gatswokwire – Wiyot Trickster

Novice prayers: All devotees can pray to Gatswokwire for divination, which generally takes the form of a riddle or joke holding a clue to the future. Novices may also create minor, narrative (non-mechanical) effects using the Discipline of Illusion.

Acolyte prayers: Gatswokwire’s Acolytes face a compulsion to lie. When asked a direct question, the Acolyte must succeed on a TN 12 Understanding test in order to avoid responding with falsehood. In return, the Acolyte gains the Technique of Shape with Illusion and a Deception (1) Edge. This Edge applies only when deliberately attempting to mislead others. Finally, they automatically gain Wands (2) in their spellcasting flip.

Deacon prayers: Gatswokwire’s Deacons suffer a Weakness against Resisting Temptation (-1). They flip two cards and keep the lower of the two when making a Willpower test to Resist Temptation; they may not Cheat Fate on these tests. In return, the Deacon gains the Technique of Conceal with Illusion and a Seduction (1) Edge. Finally, they automatically gain Wands (4) in their spellcasting flip.

Priest prayers: Gatswokwire’s Priests have risen high in his favor. They suffer a compulsion to dance any time music is played (Willpower TN 17). The suffer a restriction never to cross running water that runs deeper than their waists, as Gatswokwire was once tricked across the ocean by a fish and ever after feared death by drowning. In return, they gain the Techniques of Blast with Illusion and Strike with Illusion, an additional Deception (1) Edge, and a Games (1) Edge. Finally, they automatically gain Wands (7) in their spellcasting flip.

Bishop prayers: Gatswokwire’s Bishops are the spiritual leaders of a number of villages. They suffer a Weakness for Perceiving Falsehood (-1), as they become so entangled in their own lies that they are less perceptive of the lies of others. They suffer a restriction never to consume creatures that live in the water. In return, they gain access to the Discipline of Body and the power to Shape the Body and Control the Body. They also gain a Seduction (1) and a Dodge (1) Edge. Finally, they automatically gain Wands (10) and/or Coins (2) in their spellcasting flip (caster’s choice).

Avatar prayers: Gatswokwire only has one Avatar, his voice among his people. The Avatar suffers a Weakness to Damage (-1), which is subtracted as a Bonus Flip and applies only to damage flips against fertile members of the opposite sex. He suffers a compulsion to attempt to seduce fertile partners of either sex at least once per week (Willpower TN 24). He suffers a restriction never to refuse medicine (aid) to fertile members of the opposite sex. In return, he gains the Technique Divine the Body, the Discipline of Mind and the Techniques of Divine the Mind, Control the Mind, and Shape the Mind. Finally, he automatically gains Wands (14) and/or Coins (4) in his spellcasting flip.

Western Theosophical Society:

Mysticism

Arcana caelist