Table of Contents
- First Incarnation (Mystryl)
- Second Incarnation (Mystra)
- Third Incarnation (Midnight)
- 1st Incarnation: The Lady of Mysteries, The Mother of All Magic, Mistress of Magic, Our Lady of Spells, The Mother of Mystery, Lady Magic, Lady of Magic, Lady of Might, One True Spell, Goddess of Magic, Derogatory: The Whore, The Harlot
- 2nd Incarnation: The Lady of Mysteries, Lady of Mystery, Our Lady of Spells, The Mother of All Magic, The Muse, The Hidden One, Controller of the Weave
- 3rd Incarnation: The Lady of Mysteries, The Mother of All Magic, The Lost Goddess
Portfolio: Magic, spells, the Weave
Domain: Arcana, Good, Illusion, Knowledge, Magic, Rune, Spell
Worshipers: Elves, half-elves, incantatrixes, mystic wanderers, sorcerers, spelldancers, spellcasters, spellfire channelers, wizards
First Incarnation (Mystryl)
Mystryl (pronounced: /ˈmɪstrɪl/ MISS-trih), the Lady of Mysteries, was a greater deity and the first incarnation of the goddess of magic. Later incarnations of the goddess were named “Mystra”. Mystryl was most notably known as the being who embodied the Weave, the primary source of magic in the cosmos. She supplied and regulated magical energy to all, making possible spells and magical effects. But her portfolio also included knowledge and energy, invention and creativity, song, time, and the season of spring.
Mystryl manifested herself in many ways through many conduits, but her followers usually described her as a beautiful human woman with intense blue eyes that wore gracefully refined blue-white robes of fine, thick silk. Her skin glowed and her hair was every color of the rainbow.
When being mysterious, she was depicted as a swarm of rainbow-colored will-o’-wisps in the vague shape of a humanoid female, but usually a subtle manifestation was all that was necessary: her trademark blue-white aura pulsing on the person, place, or thing she wished to illuminate. Occasionally this aura would coalesce into a point of light that she used to lead her faithful in a particular direction, write a message, or even cast spells.
Mystryl’s followers and those who used magic for good or ill were sometimes made aware of her approval or disapproval by a gift, a message, or aid in some form. Gifts were often blue or clear gemstones (perhaps containing an agathinon), multicolored tourmalines, beljurils, shieldstones, or a rogue stone. Messages, aid, or warnings were usually delivered in the form of small, translucent, magical creatures or normal creatures such as blue jays; sparrowhawks; pseudodragons; white cats; dogs; beasts of burden (horses, mules, donkeys); unicorns; pegasi; selkies; and mephits from the Quasi-Elemental Plane of Radiance. For more exigent circumstances, the goddess might send hollyphants; gem or metallic dragons; guardinals of any kind; incarnations of hope, faith, or courage; einheriar; light aasimons; devas; or a dreaded marut. All Mystryl’s incarnations, messengers, and servants had blue or mismatched eyes.
Mystryl had a mercurial personality that reflected her chaotic nature. She could be coldly serious one moment and laughingly boisterously the next. She could be blushingly innocent or sagely wise, blithely unfocused, or relentlessly dedicated, but in all her capriciousness she tried to do what she thought best for the Weave and practice of the Art in Toril. If she had a flaw, it was that at times she seemed naïve and too trusting.
Being the embodiment and consciousness of the Weave, Mystryl could wield magic like no other being. She had no practical limitations on how many spells she could cast, how powerful they were, how often she could cast them, or what form they could take. Unless she willed otherwise, she was immune to all spells except those that bypassed her control of the Weave and drew on the raw magic from which the Weave was woven. She could withhold magic from any entity, making spellcasting impossible, and even prevent them from using magical items if she so desired. She could block other deities from accessing the Weave, but she could not prevent them from granting spells to their priests through prayer.
One of the aspects of her portfolio that Mystryl paid particular attention to was time and the continuity of the timeline. To prevent abuse of time travel, she created the time conduit spell and made its restrictions binding on all other attempts at traveling back in time. She was aware of anyone attempting time travel and caused all research into circumventing her rules to lead back to her time conduit spell as the only solution. Her awareness even extended to other planes of existence, preventing reentry to the Prime Material Plane for those that attempted anachronistic mischief.
Mystryl distrusted Shar, who was one of her progenitors, because Shar constantly sought to usurp her power and role. She regarded her other progenitor, Selûne, as overly maternal and sometimes acted contrary to her motherly advice. Mystryl was an eternal enemy of both Kozah and Moander, whom she saw as trying to corrupt or destroy all that she and her worshipers sought to build and accomplish.
Mystryl’s relationship with her worshipers and followers was open and welcoming to members of all alignments. Most of her venerators were human, but all seekers of arcane lore were accepted.
Legend has it that at the dawn of time Lord Ao created the universe, and out of the early chaos came twin deities: Shar of the darkness and Selûne of the light. Together, these two beings created the spheres in the firmament, one of which was the world of Abeir-Toril and its spirit, Chauntea. Chauntea desired new and more abundant life for her world and asked the sisters for light and warmth to nurture it. In this, the two beings could not agree. Selûne eventually acted on her own and gave Toril a sun, which Shar immediately sought to put out, thus beginning the battle between light and darkness that raged for eons.
At some point the Dark Goddess got the upper hand and doused many of Selûne’s motes of light. In a desperate move, Selûne tore a piece of magical essence from herself and hurled it at her sister. When it hit, Shar also lost a portion of her essence and was cast into the void for centuries. From the blending of dark and light energies, Mystryl was born as a being of pure magic inextricably tied to the Weave. Both twins were diminished as a result, with the Moonmaiden’s wound being graver. However, Mystryl was ideologically closer to Selûne, and being created from both light and darkness, Mystryl (and later goddesses of magic) acted as a balancing force between Selûne and the Lady of Loss.
In −339 DR (3520 in Netherese reckoning), the Netherese archwizard Karsus took it upon himself to defeat the phaerimm that were threatening the Netherese empire. He had spent years researching Karsus’s avatar, the only 12th-level spell ever created, which was designed to temporarily rob a deity of their power and grant it instead to the spellcaster. Karsus chose to rob Mystryl, and when her godly essence poured into him his mind and body were overwhelmed and he found that he was incapable of wielding such power. Mystryl’s hold on the Weave was weakened and it began to unravel. Magical effects doubled in power briefly, then became wild and chaotic. To save the Weave from permanent damage Mystryl chose to sacrifice herself, which broke Karsus’s connection, killing him, and stopped all magic for a short time. In the time it took for the mother of All Magic to reincarnate herself, most of the floating cities of Netheril crashed to the ground.
When the goddess of magic was reborn—this time as Mystra—she used as a vessel a beautiful peasant girl who was just learning cantrips but who had the capability of one day becoming an archwizard. She immediately took control of the Weave and magic returned to Toril. In the aftermath of the Fall of Netheril, the new goddess took a much more lawful view of magic use and laid down some rules, including a decree that the most powerful of spells would fail utterly.
Rumors and Legends
- It was believed that the newly reincarnated goddess either destroyed Karsus’s notes on his ultimate spell or sent them flying off to the far corners of the multiverse.
- Ancient Mystrylan tomes spoke of three-time gates—permanent edifices that were imbued with the time conduit spell. One was believed to be buried in a cave in the Spine of the World; another was atop Misken’s Peak north of Novularond, which was sheared off by the Great Glacier ages ago; the last was on Andrus Peak near the city of Cedarsproke in the Vilhon Reach, which has seen many volcanic eruptions over the centuries.
Second Incarnation (Mystra)
Mystra (pronounced: /ˈmɪstrɑː/ MISS-trah) was a greater goddess of the Faerûnian pantheon and the second incarnation of the goddess of magic after her predecessor Mystryl sacrificed herself to protect the Weave from Karsus’s Folly. The Mother of all Magic was destroyed by Helm when she defied the will of Ao the overgod and attempted to leave the Prime Material Plane during the Time of Troubles. At the conclusion of the Godswar, Ao offered the position of Goddess of Magic to the wizard Midnight, who reluctantly accepted and took Mystra’s name to smooth the transition after so much chaos.
I am Mystra. I am the Lady of Might and the Mistress of Magic! I am Power Incarnate! Wherever magic is worked, there am I – from the cold poles of Toril to its hottest jungles, whatever the hand or claw or will that work the sorcery! Behold me and fear me! Yet behold me and love me–as all who deal with me in honesty do. This world is my domain. I am magic, mightiest among all those men worship. I am the One True Spell at the heart of all spells. There is no other.
— The Mother of All Magic to young Elminster Aumar
The only known description of the mortal that became Mystra was of a “beautiful peasant girl” who was just beginning her studies of the Art.
As a goddess, Mystra could shape change at will and mortals who saw her reported she changed constantly. Others described her appearing in a form resembling a multicolored will-o’-wisp. When Mystra revealed herself to Midnight just before the gods were forced to walk the land of Toril, she was at first just a dark figure surrounded by an aura of blue-white light. As she created the pendant that held some of her power, the glow revealed the face of a “beautiful, willful young woman, with hints of a long-borne pain.” Mystra’s avatar at the time was a slim, young girl named Caitlan Moonsong who had a graceful bearing, large, dark eyes, and short-cropped blond hair. Caitlan went barefoot and wore plain ankle-length robes of a dark hue. When possessed by Mystra, she appeared taller, and her hair moved as if it were alive.
This incarnation of the mother of All Magic was quite the opposite of her predecessor, Mystryl. Whereas Mystryl was quixotic and quick to change, Mystra was said to be a manifestation of the Cosmic Balance—maintaining order in the world of magic by correcting great inequalities if things went askew. Indeed, in the wake of the Fall of Netheril, one of her first acts as the Lady of Spells was to ban the use of all magic greater than ninth level. Among sages and historians this was known as Mystra’s Ban. She was not as concerned with the ethics of Good versus Evil if the laws of magic were upheld.
Early in Mystra’s tenure, she chose a champion, called the Magister, to wander the Realms, applying the Art as he or she saw fit, choosing enemies that would bring glory to the title. She fully expected that her representative would be challenged and eventually defeated by other mages, only to be replaced by another spellcaster worthy of the office. It was her belief that in this way the Art would be strengthened and improved through conflict and adversity.
Toward the end of her reign as the keeper of the Weave, she had grown tired and bitter, fed up with the schemes, maneuverings, and blatant attacks that her preeminent position attracted from every power-hungry being, sycophant, and fawning parasite, for century after century. Her pride in her status, and the kindness and respect she received from those that aided or worshiped her for other than magical gain, kept her hopes alive.
The Lady of Spells could cast any spell ever known at maximum level, one offensive and one defensive spell per minute. The only exceptions to this were if she cast wish, time stop, alter reality, or gate, which required enough concentration that no other spell could be cast in combination. She could shape change at will and could grant other creatures spell knowledge by touching them. She controlled and provided the Weave, allowing (relatively) safe access to the power of raw magic to mortal spellcasters and magical craftsmen.
Mystra kept watch over magical research and regulated the advancement and dissemination of magical knowledge throughout the mortal world.
The first Magister was Azuth, a powerful and brash young wizard who found joy and beauty in works of Art. Eventually, she sponsored him to godhood to serve her and he became a demipower, the Patron of Wizards, passing the mantle of Magister on to his successor. Another strong wizard, this one efficient and methodical, caught Mystra’s eye and she also sponsored Savras the All-Seeing to godhood. Azuth and Savras both sought the favor of Mystra (some say romantically as well) and the two fought for many years, both gaining in power, becoming lesser deities in the process. Eventually, Azuth defeated Savras, reducing him back to demigod status and imprisoning him in a jewel-encrusted staff, the Scepter of Savras. Azuth grew to be Mystra’s friend and adviser and they had great affection for each other.
The Lady of Mysteries was known to work with Oghma and his cadre (Gond, Milil, and Deneir), although she had some sort of rivalry with Gond. Bane attempted to wrest power from Mystra at some point and he captured and tortured her avatar during the Godswar. Talos was another deity that did not get along with Mystra.
In the 8th century of Dale Reckoning, Mystra possessed a powerful sorceress named Elué, and in seven years she had seven daughters known collectively as the Seven Sisters. As a result of Mystra’s presence at conception and birth, all seven daughters were strong immortal spellcasters. They each served Mystra in their own unique way. Outside of Realmspace, Mystra was an ally of Wee Jas from Oerth.
Mystra also had powerful unaging servants among her ranks of followers, including Elminster, Khelben Arunsun, the Seven Sisters, and the necromancer Sammaster.
All manner of spellcasters (clerics, crusaders, druids, monks, paladins, rangers, shamans, and wizards) were included in the hierarchy of Mystra’s church. Wizards who primarily followed Azuth or other deities would usually show some devotion to Mystra as well.
Moments after the Fall of Netheril, a peasant girl with rudimentary magical training but an aptitude for spells became the new Goddess of Magic and managed to catch three of Netheril’s floating cities as they plummeted, bringing them to rest on the ground and saving thousands of her people. Being of a more lawful disposition than her predecessor, she laid down new rules for all spellcasters, banning spells above 10th level, limiting who had access to magic, limiting how many spells of each level could be held in the mind, increasing the time it took to cast spells, and forcing long periods of memorization or prayer each day to replace spells cast previously. Arcanists no longer had to specialize in a form of magic but could generalize. This eventually led to arcanists being called wizards.
Little is known of the acts of the Lady of Mysteries except through the words and works of her church and her Chosen. Her known deeds are:
- She established the title of Magister to be granted to one master of the Art at a time and let them do as they willed for good or ill.
- She sponsored Azuth and Savras to godhood, asking them to help her govern her rather deep and vital portfolio.
- In 240 DR, she made Elminster Aumar one of her Chosen.
- In 292 DR, Aloevan of Ardeep became a Chosen of both Mystra and Sehanine Moonbow
- In 464 DR, Mystra rewarded the self-sacrifice of a wandering wizard tutored in Myth Drannor by rescuing him from death and making him the Nameless Chosen, later known as Khelben “Blackstaff” Arunsun.
- In 761 DR, Mystra schemed to create the Seven Sisters by possessing their sorceress mother Elué. All seven grew to be powerful in their own ways and became her Chosen.
- In 851 DR, Sammaster the necromancer accepted the offer to become a Chosen of Mystra.
- The House of Wonder in Waterdeep was dedicated to Mystra in 1215 DR.
- In 1358 DR, in the last hour before the gods were banished to walk the land as mortals, Mystra entrusted Midnight with a portion of her power in the form of a pendant and asked her to keep it safe for a time.
As the centuries passed, Mystra grew tired of the ceaseless grasping for power through pleading, flattery, or treachery. She and her portfolio were the target of gods and mortals alike and that took its toll on the mother of All Magic. Being thrown down to Toril with all the other gods and then being captured and tortured by Bane was apparently the last straw; Mystra sought dissolution. After securing a portion of her power with Midnight, Mystra disappeared. Days later, Caitlan Moonsong pleaded to a group of adventurers (Adon, the mortal Kelemvor Lyonsbane, and the mortal Cyric) to rescue her mistress from imprisonment in Castle Kilgrave in northern Cormyr. Midnight accompanied the band of heroes on the rescue mission and with her help they succeeded in freeing Mystra from the clutches of Bane.
Immediately upon being freed, Mystra possessed Caitlan as her avatar and retrieved the pendant from Midnight, regaining much of her power. She then opened a gate to the Ethereal Plane and took the group to the Celestial Stairway, which was guarded by Helm. Mystra argued with Helm saying she had nothing to do with the theft of the Tablets of Fate and to let her pass so that she might speak to Lord Ao and regain her rightful place as keeper of the Weave. Helm steadfastly refused to let her pass and gave her fair warning.
Furious, she attacked him with bolts and beams of energy, fire and ice, mystic blades and magical hammers, and dread creatures with fangs and claws, coils and maws, wings, and tentacles. Helm held firm, absorbing, or brushing off each of her assaults. Weeping blue-flame tears of anger and frustration, she grappled with Helm and fire leaped from her mouth. Helm held her off with one hand and raised his visor. As their gaze met, Mystra let out a terrible scream heard across the Realms as she saw her doom written in his face. Helm drew back and punched his gauntleted fist through her chest and Caitlan’s body exploded in a blindingly hot flash of devastating power.
When the heroes regained their sight, they were standing on a circular stone foundation; all that was left of Castle Kilgrave. The landscape around them was charred and blasted for a half-mile (800 meters) in every direction. Helm had lowered his visor and stood in the mouth of the gate. He admonished the group to seek out the Tablets of Fate with more wisdom than the former goddess. He then vanished through the gate as it closed behind him. Midnight looked down to find Mystra’s pendant lying at her feet.
Rumors and Legends
- Those who thought Mystra was eternal said that she gave the races of the Prime Material Plane the first lessons that unlocked the secrets of magic. Those with a wry wit said she regretted this ever afterward.
- It was a widely held belief among practitioners of magic that Mystra adjudicated success in magical experimentation to create new potions, spells, and magical items, and with good reason.
- It was believed that the newly reincarnated goddess either destroyed Karsus’s notes on his ultimate spell or sent them flying off to the far corners of the multiverse.
Third Incarnation (Midnight)
Mystra (pronounced: /ˈmɪstrɑː/ MISS-trah), formerly known as Midnight, was once a greater goddess who guided the magic that enveloped Toril and its surrounding space. The Mother of all Magic tended to the Weave constantly, making possible all the miracles and mysteries wrought by magic and users of magic. She was believed to be the embodiment of the Weave and of magic itself. Mystra’s symbol was a ring of seven stars surrounding a rising red mist, spiraling to the heavens.
You think that magic is a tool, like a hammer, something that you pick up when you need it, swing it around for a while, and put down again when you’re done with it. Not so. Magic is a living thing—part of the Lady of Mysteries, a deity to whom you only pay lip service. You can’t just grab onto her when you need magic, squeeze the power out of her, and discard her when you’re done. That sort of treatment comes back to you. There’s a reason why most old mages are obsessed or insane— Mystra punishes them for their lack of respect.
— Khelben Arunsun, a Lord Mage of Waterdeep
Mystra’s secret was that she was more powerful than any god, save for Lord Ao, but therein lay the secret. Roughly half of her power lay in her Chosen and in the lesser power Azuth, as planned by Ao so that Mystra did not rule all Realmspace. After the Second Sundering, being spread across the Weave on Toril made Mystra much harder to find, and even harder to target. As the Lady of Spells, she was the source for other gods’ spellcraft, making her normally immune to the direct effects of such spells, though not its after-effects.
Dracoliches such as Daurgothoth would become her targets only now they stepped beyond gathering magic (which she encouraged), and onto restricting it from others. Azuth and Mystra were likewise wary of Ioulaum and his attempts at controlling the Weave. They allowed him only minor successes, to keep him away from his more nefarious plans. Mystra and Azuth punished egregiously deceitful auctioneering of magical items, such as when an item was covertly exchanged for another or was not magical to begin with.
Mystra ruled over the divine dominion of Dweomerheart. However, no mortal was aware that after the Second Sundering, Mystra abided within the Weave. In this way, she was ever-present & hidden across Toril, able to create other-dimensional spaces for mortals or servants seeking audience. Mystra’s failsafe ‘echoes’ resided in Azuth’s divine realm (also called Azuth), within a royal castle and surrounded by blue mists.
Mystra’s customary adviser was Azuth, and she was also served indirectly by Savras and Velsharoon. Other allies of hers included Selûne and Kelemvor, whom she knew as a man when she was a mortal. Mystra’s greatest enemies were Shar, who created the Shadow Weave to oppose Mystra’s Weave, and Cyric, who was a mortal along with Mystra and Kelemvor.
The church of Mystra preserved magical lore so that magic would continue and flourish in the future even if the dominant races of Faerûn were to fall. Its members also sought out those skilled in magic or who had the potential to use it, keeping a close eye on those who were likely to become skilled. Her clerics were encouraged to explore magical theory and create new spells and magic items. Sites dedicated to the goddess were enhanced by the Weave to allow any spell cast by her clerics while in them to be affected by metamagic. Mystra honored commitments to members of her predecessor’s clergy who’d joined the church before the Time of Troubles, preventing them from being forced to leave the clergy due to alignment differences.
Mystra also had powerful mortal servants among her ranks of followers, including Elminster, Khelben Arunsun, and the Seven Sisters.
Before her ascension to godhood, the third Mystra was a woman named Midnight, who, along with several other individuals, including the future Kelemvor, played a large role during the Avatar Crisis, also known as the Time of Troubles.
Midnight, born Ariel Manx in 1332 DR, was the second child of Theus Manx, a merchant, and his wife Paiyse. Midnight had an elder sibling named Rysanna who assumed the role of the family’s demure “princess” whenever wealthy suitors called. As a teenager, Midnight became familiar with the night’s populace of bards, thieves, sorcerers, and fighters and was eventually nicknamed “Midnight” by these friends, a name she immediately preferred to Ariel.
Midnight’s first taste of magic began with her tryst with the conjurer Tad, who set her on her path. She began to exhibit less interest in her hedonistic pursuits and more in the quest for magical knowledge and training, gradually becoming more obsessed with her magical quest. Eventually, Midnight moved out of the family home to seek her own path.
It was during this time that she fell into the worship of Mystra, whose attention Midnight attracted during her time of service in one of Mystra’s temples. From her 21st year on, Midnight began to feel a presence from time to time. She would feel her skin tingle coolly and began to feel that she was somehow being followed or observed. After such attentions, she always found that spells, which she had labored over for weeks, would suddenly work without any problem. Midnight soon suspected that she had been granted special attention by Mystra herself and believed that she was being groomed for the position of Magister.
Sunlar, high priest of the Deepingdale temple of Mystra, took Midnight under his supervision. It was during this time that Midnight’s knowledge of self-defense and magic improved leaps and bounds and Midnight spent a year in the temple at Deepingdale before she left. For the next three years Midnight devoted herself to Mystra’s worship and pursued every scrap of magic she could.
During the Time of Troubles, when the gods were cast down by Ao, Midnight joined with Kelemvor Lyonsbane, Cyric, and Adon in the search for the stolen Tablets of Fate. During this time, the previous Mystra was killed by the deity Helm for defying Ao’s command and trying to climb the Celestial Stairway back to the heavens. Her death caused great damage to the Weave, but eventually Ao selected Midnight to replace the destroyed Mystra, restoring the magic of Toril. Immediately prior to her ascension, Midnight killed Myrkul, the god of death, in a duel in the skies over the city of Waterdeep.
Midnight was not long the goddess of magic and in the Year of Blue Fire, 1385 DR, Cyric supposedly murdered her, at the behest and with the aid of Shar, who sought to obtain control over the Weave. The results of Midnight’s disappearance, however, were far worse than Shar had supposed it would be and the Spellplague soon followed, causing magic throughout the planes to go wild.
In the beginning, only Mystra’s temples knew that Cyric’s slaying of her had ushered in the Spellplague. Soon after, it became well known that she had sacrificed herself to save everyone.
In the Year of the Ageless One, 1479 DR, while recuperating in a cabin in the King’s Forest, Elminster felt Mystra’s presence calling to him. He found her much diminished, possessing the body of a bear that had guarded a cache of items Mystra’s still-mortal form had collected. She asked her most trusted servant to find new candidates to become Chosen and to recruit Cormyr’s War Wizards.
Only a few weeks later, having been restored to his full powers as a Chosen by absorbing the silver fire of the dying Symrustar Auglamyr and then that of the Simbul and Manshoon, Elminster returned to Mystra (in agony from absorbing too much of it) and returned much of it to the Lady of Mysteries, restoring much of her power and divinity. This event became known as Mystra’s Return. But it was not until 1487 DR that the goddess was whole again.
Church of Mystra
The Church of Mystra, also known as the Church of Mysteries and by other names, was the primary religious organization dedicated to the worship and service of the goddess of magic, Mystra, or her successor, Mystra.
The church of Mystra is very powerful across Faerûn and includes many adherents among the populace. Were more wizards and sorcerers’ devout worshipers of the Lady of Mysteries, the faith would undoubtedly be the most powerful in all Faerûn. Mystra’s followers have lost a great deal of influence since the Time of Troubles when magic ran amok and caused great destruction. The deity’s actions over the past decade have only driven more worshipers, particularly evil wizards, and sorcerers, into the arms of Shar.
Mystran clergy work hard to preserve all magical lore so that magic can flourish in the future regardless of what befalls the thinking races of Faerûn or the powers of the planes. They maintain secret libraries, private safe holds, well-guarded research laboratories, and small, hidden stashes. Mystrans also search out beings skilled in spell use and keep watch on the power and behavior of individuals likely to become magic wielders of importance.
The clergy actively seek out sources of old magic, often from tombs, dangerous ruins—even liches. They consider it more crucial to know the precise location of artifacts and items of magical power than to possess them, but wherever possible, they work to wrest control of such things from the aggressively evil, the irresponsible, and the unsound of mind. While some of Mystra’s clerics follow the teachings of the older, lawful neutral incarnation of the deity, most have changed alignment in accordance with her current incarnation or have left the faith.
All clergy of Mystra are expected to devise their own new magic (whether it be spells or items) upon gaining sufficient experience. In this way, magical study remains a growing, vibrant thing, and magic is not merely seen as a handy tool for rulers and engineers to tame Faerûn but remains a thing of wonder. Mystra’s clerics usually multiclass as sorcerers or wizards.
All priests of Mystra can cause their own flesh—all of it, or specific areas, such as a hand—to glow at will with a soft, blue-white radiance as a boon from Mystra. This radiance, known as weaveglow, is enough to read by or to allow a priest to clearly see items and surroundings within 5 feet. Most Mystrans keep this sign of the favor of the goddess secret from nonbelievers. As something mysterious, it is more useful, allowing them, for example, to feign affliction or magical attack. Weaveglow is granted to priests after their initiation, which is often a Starflight ceremony.
The church of Mystra typically did not employ idols like statues of the goddess but had no commandments against it.
The church apparently sent out communiqués to its members with news of the opening of new temples and such. The church also found a duty to help folk driven insane by failed spellcasting. Many Mystran clergy wandered the land as itinerant clerics, seeking out and preserving old magic.
The church of Mystra preserved magical lore so that magic would continue and flourish in the future even if the dominant races of Faerûn were to fall. Its members also searched out those skilled in magic or who had the potential to use it, keeping a close eye on those who were likely to become skilled. Her clerics were encouraged to explore magical theory and create new spells and magic items. Sites dedicated to the goddess were enhanced by the Weave to allow any spell cast by her clerics while in them to be affected by metamagic.
From 1358 DR, the patriarch of the church was Adon, who had been the first priest of the new Mystra. Even itinerant clerics like Tunaster Dranik would remain in at least yearly contact with the church and be in good standing. They had superiors among the settled clergy at the temples.
The hierarchy of the Mystran faith is wide and varied, separating into orders concentrating on one form of magical energy or another. Clerics, specialty priests, wizards, and bards can all he found in its ranks without regard to experience level or origin. The general rule of the Mystran faith is that talent and ability outweigh social rank or legendary feats. Only those clergy members who gain their spells directly from a higher power gain their spells directly from the goddess, but all are welcome within the church’s hierarchy.
The priests of Mystra are known as Servants of Mystery. Higher level priests, both those with title and lands and legendary adventuring priests, are called Ladies or Lords of Mystery. Titles within the faith vary from temple to temple and follow no standard form across the whole of the church, though most temples are rigidly self-consistent.
Temples of Mystra can be almost any size and style of structure; some shrines are natural caves or grottoes. All are living works of art—or rather, “Art-raised” with magic and wrapped in countless spells. Most are filled with magic items, many of which are of an esoteric rather than practical nature. Most include an open central courtyard in which daily services are held and from which one can see the stars at night or a magical representation of them. Lesser rooms house libraries of magical lore or serve as workshops and laboratories for experimentation in the Art.
Sites dedicated to the deity are enhanced by the Weave to augment spellcasting power. Through the grace of the goddess, Mystran priests who stand in a place sacred to Mystra can cast spells for the maximum possible damage, duration, or extent of effect (their choice of which). The benefit ends if the recipient leaves the location of the temple.
One Mystran religious service took the form of an astronomy show, in which a priest pointed out, named, and revered various stars and constellations.
The Plea for Guidance was a simple prayer that was known to all devotees of Mystra. The clerics of the Lady of Mystery taught it to anyone who cared enough to learn it. The prayer was uttered while kneeling into the nearest lit candle or a visible star. The Plea was often evoked when followers Mystra faced with unknown magic or uncertainties of signs and dreams that their deity could’ve sent.
Magefire is renewal; it is the exciting feeling of great magical power surging through one’s body, blazing out as flickering blue fire as it spills forth, cleansing and renewing. With enough clergy powering it, this cooperative ceremonial magic can heal all sorts of fell conditions. Mystrans describe it as “the most blissful feeling one can know.” It is spectacular to watch. The Mystran to he affected lies down on the ground and the circle of celebrants pours power into the worshiper—until his or her body, blazing with blue fire, slowly rises to hang in midair above those fueling the ceremony, humming, and crackling with the power of the magic surging through it. Magefire often ends in a Starflight ceremony, provided the celebrants intone the correct incantation.
The Hymn to the Lady is a solemn ritual performed at funerals and mage-moots, that calls up visions of dead mages and Mystran clergy as a plainsong dirge is intoned by the living clergy present. Mystra often uses these visions to insert her own guiding scenes. A modified Magefire ceremony may be employed at the end of the Hymn to raise the honored dead aloft into a floating pyre on high.
Mystran clergy celebrate the 15th day of Marpenoth, the anniversary of Midnight’s elevation to divinity as the new Mystra, with a huge festival centered around the House of Wonder that ends in magical fireworks that go long into the night. This holiday is being gradually adopted by shrines and temples of Mystra throughout Faerûn. Otherwise, they have few calendar-related rituals, focusing more on a personal style of worship.
The Mystran weddings were known for being short and simple with little fanfare. It allowed for small groups of guests and always at least one witness of the union. The ceremony was reformed by a wizard devotee of The Mother of Magic or one of her priests. If no clergy members were available, the ritual could be performed by an elder confidant of both newlyweds who prepared the Ring. The ceremony started with the officiator uttering the following words: “In the name of Mystra, be welcome.” This greeting was followed by striking a bell or a gong (deeper tones preferred). After the toll, newlyweds were escorted to the clergy person performing the wedding one at a time. The escorts were carrying sources of light, mundane or magical, while the newlyweds carried Mystra’s stars. Usually, the brides’ or grooms’ loved ones, most commonly their parents, were the escorts. The bride and groom were dressed in their best finery of no style.
The Ring was a circle drawn on the ground where the newlyweds were to stand after being escorted to the officiator. It was decorated with seven blue-white stars. The design left two gaps between the stars where two new ones were added during the ceremony, symbolizing the union in Mystra’s eyes. In the ceremonies lacking “the Art” users, the stars were made from paper, while when mages or clerics were present, these glowing stars were conjured through magic, reminiscent of Mystra’s holy symbol.
When the newlyweds reached the Ring, escorts extinguished their lights and stepped aside. The officiator continued saying: “In the name of Mystra, be welcome,” to which the newlyweds responded with, “In the name of Mystra.” Following the greeting, they tipped forward and lowered stars of Mystra onto the Ring’s gaps. Then, the newlyweds faced each other and answered the question: “Do you wish to become one?” As both confirmations were voiced, the officiator concluded with: “Before Mystra, these two desires to become one.”
After this, two newlyweds rose in the air through levitation or flying spells if possible. This was known as the “touch of grace,” during which the newlyweds recited their vows, embraced, and kissed. Typically, the votes were recited one at a time, traditionally starting with the older partner. “I am (full name), and I give myself to you,” was the final promise, followed by kissing of their own fingertips, then extending the kissed palm out and upright towards each other. Both parties moved closer, first locking kissed palms. Then the officiator announced, “The blessing of Mystra, Our Lady of Mysteries, be upon this union. Laugh together, and work magic together, and be greater thereby,” with a wizard’s wand lifted in the air. The officiator then stepped out of the Ring, and the couple locked lips.
The ceremonial garb of Mystran clerics consists of simple blue robes, sometimes trimmed with white, accented by a cloak of deep blue in colder climates. Some form of blue headgear is required, though this may range from a plain skullcap for the scholarly orders of the Sword Coast North to wide, ornate hats and helms in southern lands.
Mystra’s symbol was a blue-white star before the Time of Troubles, but both old and new symbols are still in use. Mystran clerics are very tolerant of the older worship of Mystra, as they feel that progress comes only by learning about the past. They let established symbols of the old faith stand, but when creating new symbols, they always use the new sigil of their deity.
In the field, priests of Mystra wear armor and bear the new symbol of Mystra on their shields as a display of their faith. If armor is inappropriate, they dress in the fashion of the land they inhabit appropriate for the inclement weather.
Lady Day, the annual spring multi-day festival, most prominently celebrated in Halruaa. The festivities ended in a grand magically illuminated skyship regatta above the waters of Lake Halruaa.
The Flame Blade was a magical artifact that once belonged to the Sisterhood of Silver Fire. The enchanted short sword usable only by Mystra’s clerics. It was shaped like the Lady of Mystery’s holy symbol and engulfed in her silver flames.
By 1374 DR, the kingdom of Cormyr did not have even one temple to Mystra. In that year, a Temple of Mystra was constructed in Wheloon, but it turned out to be a false temple run by cultists of Shar and Cyric.
The Church of Mystra was opposed to the church of Cyric, just as Mystra was opposed to Cyric.
- Children of the Starry Quill
- Order of the Blue Moon
- Order of the Shooting Star
- Knights of the Mystic Fire
- Sisterhood of Silver Fire