The Mythic rules threw a lot of people a curve-ball when they came out.
The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Mythic Adventures sourcebook introduced an amazing, flavorful and–often–controversial system of rules for dialing up games to a level of epic power that few game systems had ever dared.
I heard a lot of GMs react in horror to the stories that sprang up in the playtesting alone, and yet I wasn’t daunted. I was lucky enough to play in a preview game with Liz Courts at PaizoCon before the rules came out. Her deft execution of the ascendancy events and mechanic transitions sold me. I dove in and began not one, but TWO simultaneous Mythic games and ran each for several months and to full-fledged conclusions.
So I know–first hand–that long term Mythic gaming is possible. And GMing well, with a level head can handle this and other optional rulesets with ease. However, you might be a GM using slow experience and planning a long-haul game that you are worried about impacting with a mid-game insert of Mythic rules. You might have a legacy game setting you don’t want to “destroy” with the injection of “phenomenal cosmic power.”
Why not just a taste first?
The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Mythic Adventures sourcebook eluded to Mythic power being possibly a transitory, story-related thing. The entire rule-set is story-driven, having challenges and trials that are tracked by event, not experience total. If you are worrying or nervous about using the rule-set this concept is key to running an awesome, epic and sane Mythic campaign.
Story-based controls means that Mythic power comes and goes as you please. As a capstone rules-set we are too conditioned to that “economic” progression of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Games Core Rules. This is in no way the case with Mythic power. The key then is identifying your story “switches” for Mythic power. Some thoughts include:
- Location-Based Power (Journey to the Valley of Heroes!) – Mythic power may exist only in certain areas. Classic gaming often paired this with extraplanar travel. Heroes become more like the celestial beings in the heavens when they journeyed to their realms and often were forced to choose between the mortal realm and new found power. In this scenario, you move the story where you plot it and the Mythic comes and goes as locations are visited and left behind.
- Cyclic Power (Enter the Season of Glory!) – A campaign with a prophecized Age of Power or Day of Triumph might make the momentary Mythic ascension a key point of the story. You may even present one that the players can look forward to but yet keep the Mythic period of the rules of the campaign tightly controlled while you try them on.
- Relic-Based Power (Bathe in the Radiance of the Core!) – Mythic power might be bestowed by say a strange feathered talisman or unearthed artifact of great power. The items energies might not be meant for the mortal realm and after its presence in the world is felt the players might have to return it where it really belongs lest the world fall to its powers.
- Bestowed Power (She says unto you, “Take My Power!”) – An entity of enigma and power might come to the group and invest them with the powers of anscestral legend or dying god. Launching them into action with a cryptic advisement or proclamation of their powers impending expiration.
Remember – Momentary Mythic-ness should generally be put forward to the players as part of their ascension story. The awesome might of power of the rules will leave a deep vacuum if stripped away unannounced that might engender resentment and withdrawals you can easily avoid.
Whatever the reason you choose, remember that Mythic Power–lasting or transitory–is story-based, the trials suggested are guidelines for the amount of story you might expect to get as players move through the events of deep heroics that elevate them to the heights of deities and demigods. Those guidelines should serve you and your story to empower (and depower) your characters as you need to make the game last and remain fun.