The Mystic World
Mystical characters don’t exist in isolation. They are part of a subculture: The Mystic World. For people in the Mystic World, the supernatural is an important part of daily life. If they aren’t practicing mystics themselves, they still order their lives around their mystical beliefs. Such devotees range from the sorcerous overlord of an evil empire to the businessman who doesn’t make important decisions without checking his horoscope.
People can vary in the depth of their involvement with the Mystic World. This subculture has layers, like an onion. Each layer involves greater knowledge and participation in the mystical.
- Pop Mystic World: The outermost layer consists of the most superficial aspects of supernatural belief. This includes newspaper astrologers, storefront psychics, and other charlatans and honest dupes of the New Age. A lot of these people and their clients genuinely believe they tap the wellsprings of mystical power, though most of them wouldn’t know real magic if it bit them.
- True Mystic World: These people possess serious knowledge of the occult and mystical, even if they aren’t practicing mystics. Examples include scholars who study magical beliefs, members of occult societies like the Ordo Templis Orientalis, and priests of Afro-Caribbean religions such as Voudoun and Santeria. These people know real magic when they see it.
- Magical World: These people not only know about the supernatural, they participate in it. These mystics can cast actual magic spells. Other denizens of the Magical World include vampires, werewolves, and other people touched by the supernatural.
- Supernatural World: This innermost layer consists of the gods and spirits themselves. These beings are innately magical through and through. The most learned and powerful mystics may hope to join the Supernatural World as gods in their own right.
Someone with KS: Mystic World has significant knowledge of his own layer of involvement (and of course the shallower layers). He knows only a little about deeper layers, and his information is vague and probably not very accurate. For instance, the local “Psychic Palm And Tarot Reader” only knows about the Pop mystic World in detail, no matter how high her KS: Mystic World may be. At most, she knows how to contact a few serious occultists. She wouldn’t know any real sorcerers (though she could perhaps possess another KS which cover some limited in-depth information).
A few notes on divisions
Splitting the mystic subculture into levels is somewhat artificial, but in a campaign setting where magic is real it works reasonably well for game purposes (for more on this, see The Ultimate Mystic).
Also note that several secret societies maintain these levels of knowledge in their hierarchical structure – recruits and neophytes may start at level 1 and discover level 2 if some higher ranking members privy to greater knowledge are willing to trust the newcomer enough for initiation into deeper secrets.
Some secret societies and cults even have level 4 beings as their secret (or in some cases, not-so-secret) leaders.
(more details on campaign events, individuals and groups to come in later posts)