Something I noticed about Mystics

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Something I noticed about Mystics

Postby brassdragon » Sun Sep 17, 2017 1:33 am

(Possible alternate title: “Shaolin Benedictines of Mystara?”) :D

I've been reading through the BECMI boxed sets as a summer project. Back in the day, I skipped from the Expert set to the RC, so I'm getting the CMI parts for the first time. And one of the "Huh, that's interesting" things I've noticed has to do with mystics.

When I first met the mystic class via the RC, it seemed clearly based on the Blackmoor/AD&D monk class inspired by "Eastern" martial arts. When the Master Set talks about how mystics are organized, though, it explicitly uses an early-medieval Benedictine monastery as the model! And then gives them elemental-themed martial arts, so there’s a deliberate mashup of "Eastern" and "Western" elements.

And while a lot of things change between the Master Set and the Gazeteers, the Hospice of Mystic Healers in GAZ3 started to look more like a medieval European monastic order running a hospital once I had the earlier presentation of the mystic in mind.
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Re: Something I noticed about Mystics

Postby pauldupuis » Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:16 pm

I don't think there is that much inconsistency. The GAZ3 reference to the Mystic Healers in the mountains I think is referring to an "Ethenagar" group of Mystics. The Ethengar are modeled after the Mongols, and while the idea of a Mongolian monastery or temple is not consistent with GAZ12, the mountainous location givens the healing order a more Tibetian feel and that is constant with fictionalized martial art/healing orders hidden high in the Himalayan mountains. Just my 2 cents.
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Re: Something I noticed about Mystics

Postby agathokles » Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:50 pm

I tend to agree with Paul. To solve the Gaz3 - Gaz12 inconsistency, I make the Mystics of Sindhi origin.

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Re: Something I noticed about Mystics

Postby Havard » Sun Sep 17, 2017 1:01 pm

Ever since Monks appeared in OD&D Supplement II: Blackmoor, they seem to have had one foot in the world of the eastern martial artist type monks and the other in the tradition of Christian Monks. The Master Set Mystic seems to me to be Frank Mentzer's take on that class. I don't see much of a change between the way it is presented in the Master Set compared to the RC in that respect.

Since it originally wasn't available as a PC class, the Mystic was often neglected in the Gazetteers which is a real shame. Ochalea, Sindh and Ethengar/Glantri seems to be the most ideal regions for their traditions to have sprawled from. As GP hints at, we might have three different types of Mystics right there.

OTOH, we do have Frank Mentzer here on the boards, so if someone wants to find out, why not ask him in his Q&A thread how he orgininally envisioned this (NPC) class? :)

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Re: Something I noticed about Mystics

Postby brassdragon » Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:38 pm

pauldupuis wrote:I don't think there is that much inconsistency. The GAZ3 reference to the Mystic Healers in the mountains I think is referring to an "Ethenagar" group of Mystics. The Ethengar are modeled after the Mongols, and while the idea of a Mongolian monastery or temple is not consistent with GAZ12, the mountainous location givens the healing order a more Tibetian feel and that is constant with fictionalized martial art/healing orders hidden high in the Himalayan mountains. Just my 2 cents.


I wasn't really thinking of it as an inconsistency. It's more that I'd seen lots of Internet discussions that kind of amounted to "What's this class doing in a European-inspired setting?", or maybe "Kung Fu or Friar Tuck?", and having a canonical answer of "We're mixing it all together!" struck me as fun and inspiring -- and a little unexpected. :)

I do like the idea of the Mystic Healers as quasi-Tibetan -- "the Great Saffron Mystic" at "Lhamsa" certainly would fit with that!

Havard wrote:Ochalea, Sindh and Ethengar/Glantri seems to be the most ideal regions for their traditions to have sprawled from. As GP hints at, we might have three different types of Mystics right there.


The limits of my knowledge are showing already -- I'm not familiar with Ochalea at all! Is it inspired by China?
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Re: Something I noticed about Mystics

Postby Sturm » Mon Sep 18, 2017 11:17 am

brassdragon wrote:The limits of my knowledge are showing already -- I'm not familiar with Ochalea at all! Is it inspired by China?


It is indeed, just go here: http://pandius.com/ochalea.html and you will find plenty of informations.

The idea of using European monastic orders as inspiration for mystics is indeed a good idea, and could allow them to be much more widespread in the Known World than commonly depicted in canon. Every Immortal basically could have his/her own mystic order.
I could use this for a next issue of Threshold :)
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Re: Something I noticed about Mystics

Postby Cthulhudrew » Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:43 am

agathokles wrote:I tend to agree with Paul. To solve the Gaz3 - Gaz12 inconsistency, I make the Mystics of Sindhi origin.


IIRC, I did something similar, but based it around Tibetan history and the patron-priest relationship that existed between Tibet and Mongolia beginning with Sakya Pandita.

Sturm wrote:[The idea of using European monastic orders as inspiration for mystics is indeed a good idea, and could allow them to be much more widespread in the Known World than commonly depicted in canon.


There is at least one that seems (at least in the brief detail given) to be somewhat European- the Larril Hermitage on Blackrock Island (Gaz9: The Minrothad Guilds). The Abbey at the head of the Great Pass in X4: Master of the Desert Nomads seems more European in style as well, but it isn't/wasn't necessarily a mystic cloister (it was probably more of a clerical order before falling to evil, but the bhuts make it seem kind of like a mystic cloister.)
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Re: Something I noticed about Mystics

Postby agathokles » Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:32 am

Cthulhudrew wrote:There is at least one that seems (at least in the brief detail given) to be somewhat European- the Larril Hermitage on Blackrock Island (Gaz9: The Minrothad Guilds). The Abbey at the head of the Great Pass in X4: Master of the Desert Nomads seems more European in style as well, but it isn't/wasn't necessarily a mystic cloister (it was probably more of a clerical order before falling to evil, but the bhuts make it seem kind of like a mystic cloister.)


It's a clerical order, indeed. The former abbot was a C7 -- his stats are given as he is still alive, imprisoned in the catacombs of the Evil Abbey.

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