General. The Mystic is a bit of an oddity in a game that likes to take things to the maximum. Not the greatest spell slinger, the Mystic never has to go “learn” new spells and is no slouch with the spells it knows. Not the greatest psionic OCC, it nevertheless can produce some prodigious powers. It also doesn’t lack for Skills, and isn’t a class that necessarily eschews the use of technology. What you get is an OCC trying to all things, which means it does nothing to a superlative level. A literal Swiss Army Knife kind of OCC, which makes it both an equally interesting and possibly frustrating choice for a Player. That said, there is something to be said for a PC that can always contribute *something* to the group.
Types of Characters. The Mystic holds a slightly unique position as planting one foot firmly in both the Psionics, the other with Practitioners of Magic. It doesn’t present with the same powerhouse of selections the LLW and other mages may have, while the Mind Melter and other psionic OCCs have much greater selection of powers available. Additionally, these powers come to them intuitively, not requiring any specific instruction of direction to develop. Given the wide range of abilities, this can really be appealing to certain Players, allowing them to contribute in almost any scenario. It means they are never going to present as powerful a character as a pure practitioner of magic or psionic, certainly not as powerful in combat as some of the Men-at-Arms. Benefiting from a good number of special abilities, they also have a decent stock of Skills to supplement how the Player wants to develop them.
Key Characteristics of the Mystic. The OCC comes with a heavy stack of latent Psionic and Magic powers; the combined list takes an entire page, which is saying something, when you think of how Palladium Books presents their books. Essentially you are a middle-to-good mage, combined with a middle-to-good psionic class, with a wide array of complementary abilities. As a major psionic, they leverage a lot of Sensitive psionic powers, with a couple of chances to choose Super psionic powers. As a mage, they have decent PPE, can draw energy from ley lines and nexus points, as well as use TW devices. They also have an impressive bonus to saves versus Horror Factor, and they are no joke when dealing with Perception Checks (especially around ley lines – woah!). This makes the character less of a combat powerhouse than most technologically inclined Men-at-Arms or powerhouse practitioners of magic, but certainly a character than likely always has something to contribute to the combat or adventure inject.
Relevant Books with Updates
How I Would Play This OCC. This class comes with a really long list of starting abilities, as well as a fair number of Skills to leverage. As both a practitioner of magic and a psionic, this can place the PC in a seriously risky position dealing with the CS or similar group. Playing as part of the Vanguard does present some very interesting role-playing opportunities, which is initially how I would look to create my character. As an undercover operative supporting the CS, it would allow my PC some opportunities to really dig into any conflict, determining how this could be leveraged to help out the CS. I know this is not a perspective many Players would share, both in real life and among other PCs. So, I’d probably have to clear this with the GM and create a cover story, which really gets me immersed into the character before a single game session has started. Neat! I’d ask about leveraging the Book of Magic, but would expect to be limited to the Invocation list for spells, which is fine. Initial spells and psionic powers would likely lean towards utility functions, as there are near no damage dealing ones as a Level One PC. Everything after that is based on the adventures and campaign development, which makes this interestingly wide-open for options.
The Mystic in Context
All Human. The Mystic is a class that can bring a whole heap of abilities to the Party Group. You have a PC with magic, psionics, and likely also handles an energy rifle near as well as any other PC. That is a lot if option space for a Player! It also means this swiss-army knife kind of approach makes them a generalist in all things, unlike the combat-oriented PCs or other specialists. The Mystic can add a lot of capability to a group of specialists, something that makes it a very appealing choice and possibly incredibly impactful character.
With the Big Boss(es). At this point the Mystic is leveraging magic and psionics to try and keep more level with the Big Bosses. This means the wide range of abilities can make them unique among the other PCs, plugging some critical gaps. They have a heavy toolkit of options: magic, psionics, skills and technology. Depending on how wide the GM allows the spell selections, the Mystic can be as important or impactful as any of the other characters. Sure, they might not be the combat powerhouse, but they a Player that thinks outside of the box can be a nightmare for the GM and his NPC henchmen.
With the Demi-Gods. At this point we find the Mystic struggling to keep up. Their niche abilities are almost always going to be overshadowed by beings with much greater damage capacity and a library of spell/psionic abilities that makes the Mystic’s abilities look a bit like the bargain bin. What they have they can add, by the Mystics are a class that tries a few things at the same time, meaning they will naturally feel ‘less’ that a specialist’s ability to do something similar. Most demi-god level Classes and species will dwarf a Mystic, yet Mystic Player is in a position to perhaps lessen the scale of the gap through selective spells/psionic choices (bargain bin comment aside).
Rifts Main Book (RMB, or Grey Book) to Rifts Ultimate Edition (RUE). The Mystic remained largely unchanged from the RMB to RUE, which signifies a lot about how solid a class this was when originally designed. It got a few glow-up boosts in the amount of PPE and ISP the character starts with. One of the greatest quality-of-life improvements comes in the OCC Skills. Originally rocking only Musical Instrument (choice of two), Dance, Horsemanship and the Wilderness Survival skills with an additional +1D6 Language skills, it left a lot to be desired. The Skills presented in RUE make for a *much* better rounded start point. The other Magic Related Bonuses certainly bring it up to more modern OCCs.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE MYSTIC
The Mystic OCC fits that one Class that most games present that crosses several different capability clusters: psionics, spell magic, and skills. They are master of none, but have capabilities that might fill a critical cap in the party’s composition. This makes them either a great addition, or one that will be overshadowed by their fellow PCs. The design for the OCC is solid, demonstrated largely from the very few tweaks it received in RUE. Depending on the leeway of the GM, it has several ways to really shine with the Book of Magic, allowing this PC to “learn” spells typically only specialist practitioners of magic could learn (e.g. temporal magic, shifter, biomancy, cloud magic, elemental, dolphin); personally I would allow more than Invocations, but with caveats.
Because of this jack-of-all trades approach, I find the Mystic as a really appealing possibility to a party. Given the design of the OCC, it could theoretically be used by any species that can generate a character of magic and/or psionics, which opens a lot of option space for the Player/GM. Given the limitations on the OCC, I’m hard pressed to find a way to abuse the OCC into something overpowered. Lastly, something that drives me absolutely bat-shit crazy is the apparent love by Palladium Books in changing font-size halfway through an entry to make it fit better on the page. This is indicative of some lazy and really poor editing decisions. It has nothing to do with the OCC, but it not something you can miss when you read it over. Formatting issues aside, I think the Mystic presents an absolutely fantastic opportunity for Players in just about any adventure the GM presents.