The term is archaic, calling upon the ancient language of the magi, and those versed in the eldritch arts. In the more vulgar argot, terms such as scrying room and equally mundane names are bandied about. The fact that such limited terms are used to describe the proper mystic's psychomanteum demonstrates how little they actually know about what occurs within.
The Psychomanteum is a rare sort of room that is assembled by a mystic, spiritualist, or other spellcaster who is versed in dealing with the spirit realms, the realms of the dead, or the arts of sight beyond sight and clairvoyance. These facilities are rare, as most mystics and mediums lack the resources to create a proper psychomanteum, while those who possesses the wealth to do so, often involve themselves with more powerful, less introspective magical arts such as summoning, necromancy, and alchemy.
The Central focus of the proper psychomanteum is not a gazing pool or scrying ball, these are the playthings of lesser seers and charlatans and imitators. The focus of the facility is the seer themselves. The room is devoid of accoutrements and furniture. The walls of the facility are covered with mirrors, and inauspicious corners are covered with placed mirrors, with full length mirrors and large framed mirrors being common. Ideals of the flow of energy and being receptive to otherworldly energies are common in the lay out of these rooms.
Pleasant Distraction and Pained Disassociation
There are two methods that predominate in the layout of the Psychmanteum, pleasure and pain. In the first theme, the viewer is removed from distraction by soft cushions, pleasant incenses, and other things to put the soul in comfort and at rest. The alternate is by making the psychomanteum as unpleasant as possible, worldly thoughts and feelings are forced out along with the pain. Such psychomanteums have beds of nails, or are floored with sharp gravel, and there is nothing of comfort to be found.
Mystics and Seers
Derided as aspirant magi, mystics and seers sit in an uncommon place between arcane magic users and clerical magic users. Their arts are tied to alternate realms, most commonly the realms of the dead, or the animistic spirit world. The weakness of their art is that they are required to request, cajole, and otherwise entice their spirit counterparts to do things or communicate with them. Other magi have the benefit of being able to command by power the compliance of the spirits, where they are aware of them. Likewise clerical and divine casters can expect the assistance of the minions of the divine to serve them when they call upon them. But where the mage and cleric command, their charges will often perform only the minimum proscribed by pacts, and spells that bind them. The mystic can often accomplish a great deal more as their summonings when they comply are entirely voluntary.
The Psychomanteum is first a foremost a place of spiritual calm and contemplation. Sitting passively in a psychmanteum will slowly reveal the spirit realms to a seer or mystic. They will become aware of the other realm, seeing it though the myriad of reflections around them. In such a location, with auspicious Feng shui and otherwise beneficial geomancy, it is possible to look into the realms beyond the physical by looking into the reflection of a mirror in a mirror. This meditative state is valuable to a mystic as it allows them to 'recharge' their magical potency.
Communicating with Spirits
A psychomanteum makes communicating with spirits dramatically easier, as the spirit only has to manifest as a reflection rather than as a physical form. Spirits and ghosts can communicate with a mystic with ease. This is the main use of the psychomanteum, and it can often be used in such a fashion with observers in the room. This allows for ghosts and anima spirits to converse with non-clerics and non-magi.
Sight Beyond Sight
The Psychomanteum acts as a crystal ball or scrying pool, but rather than a single focal point, it functions as a massive scrying device. Rather than seeing a location through a single focused lense, the viewer is projected into the location they are viewing and it is up to them to discern what they are looking for and the best way to view it. This can be often a challenge as a mystic in a psychomanteum isn't able to freely move about the facility. Doing so breaks the flow of energy within the room.
Spells cast within a psychomanteum are enhanced and empowered by the beneficial geomancy of the facility. These spells can be cast through the mirrors to affect an area being observed.
Entrance and Egress
The door into and out of the Psychomanteum is carefully concealed, often on both sides. A wise mystic often keeps the existence of such a facility a secret. Their arts are maligned by both the divine and the clerical community, and it doesn't take much to have a mob incited to burn a nefarious witch, or a band of adventurers upon return turn up to dispatch a mystic, loot their lair, and steal their magical equipment and tomes. On the outside, the door can be made to look like any sort of hidden doorway. On the inside, it is likely covered with mirrors. This can be disorienting to non-mystics and those unfamiliar with being in a psychomanteum as the door vanishes into a calamity of reflections.
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? Responses (2)-2
Nice! This brought to mind the old MoonHunter series of articles on Mage 'tools' of the trade like the Solomontic Rugs and Shadow Shrines. The thought that seers and mystics have such hidden chambers secreted away in large cities is also an inspiring thought...
The library wall-shelf pivots and opens up into an eerie chamber of mirrored walls, floors, and ceilings. 'Yes', says the Baron, 'This was my great-aunt's secret room. We still do not know what she did inside, or what the room was used for...'
The imagery of a mage in a mirrored room, communicating with reflections of spirits and gods know what else, is a great one. And of course an obvious plothook, but i have to mention it, because I immediately pictured it...PCs get trapped somehow in the mirror-maze of dimensions (even though it is a communicating chamber I know). the mage has to help them get out, while they encounter countless spirits and obstacles in this multi-dimensional world.
This is an excellent place for PC's to stumble upon, or to watch while the mystic they hired does their thing.