Already gave up on the Mythic play environment?
It might be a good time to come home, we left the porch light on.
When the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Mythic Adventures book hit a lot of people were… nonplussed. The gamers of the ancestral system were expecting a new “Epic Level Handbook” and new players were assailed by a capstone system that added so much “new” it ran to overwhelm in the shadow of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Advanced Player’s Guide and the Ultimate books relatively recent releases. At the same time it delivered six mythic paths, loosely inspired by classic roles in traditional fantasy.
With several new entries into the Mythic environment the rules are changing. Mythic campaigns tend to be permissive by nature. If your ranger can punch through four enemies with a single arrow (that veers 90 degrees mid-flight) your GM probably is not worried about “Core” overly much.
That is a very good thing.
For both of you.
Issues in Mythic Play
Mythic play tends to destabilize for a lot of different reasons. Legendary Games has some great thoughts on the issues and some very direct options for addressing targeted solutions to them you might want to check out. Common issues include:
- “Going Nova” – Expending massive resources in bursts to escalate effectiveness and damage outputs.
- Explosive Multipliers – Combining abilities to generate ridiculous end range potentials for criticals.
- Retroactive Actions – Mythic powers and basic abilities allow for multiple rolls or retroactive additives to ensure for success.
- Scaling Issues – Some abilities drive modifiers through the rough and diminish failures to “natural 1s” and so on.
While these challenges are just the beginning for GMs at high level play, they don’t have to be a reason to throw up your hands. As illustrated by the oldest sustained game design experiment still compatible with its original release the best solution to balance is simple:
More is More
Perfect imbalance (a guiding design philosophy for both Magic the Gathering and League of Legends) relies on the proliferation of options so that specific spikes in mechanical supremacy are muted in the larger sea of mechanics. In the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, the GM needs that bed of stability – Reactive Powers, Countermeasures, and fully prepared foes to save on preparation time – to have a fighting change of running an engaging game–particularly in Mythic.
One rulebook can’t do that.
Here are a few reasons why:
- Limited Reaction Ability – Watching Pathfinder Society scenarios you can see this even in non-Mythic higher-level play causing people to cry that the system is bloated or broken. Of course it is–if the GM has only one tight rules body or adventure to work with and NO ABILITY TO REACT. And so it is that Mythic suffers from a lack of options for encounter design and hands the GM the toolbox with only a few options that are going to have to respond with.
- Limited Support – When Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Mythic Adventures came out the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game already had 22 core or base classes with dozens of archetypes. You can also freely multi-class most of these. While the six core mythic paths tried to serve the needs of these multitudinous options they didn’t always address needs of the specific myriad possibilities in the extended environment and most Third Party Class options weren’t even considered.
- Limited Foes – Around four dozen monsters were worked into the Bestiary section of the core Mythic book, an awesome array given the page count. Again this toolbox was fairly tight to support long term Mythic play however and few of the Mythic paths supported the creation of villainous characters specifically.
Worry not friends.
Mythic Grows Up
Dreamscarred Press, Rogue Genius Games, Kobold Press and Legendary Games have joined us in addressing the environment options with dozens of new paths and monsters, hundreds of feats and mythic path abilities, and support for nearly every power or spell in the game:
- React: Psionics Augmented: Mythic Psionics gives us power shifting for your villains with Overmind path options allowing foes to react to parties they had no prior knowledge. Timelords get in on the fun in our own offerings.
- Support: Mythic Hero’s Handbook, Mythic Spell Compendium join Mythic Paths of the Lost Spheres coming to rescue of witches, summoners and the other underserved classes. Mythic Spell Compendium catches up the core spell compliment to get every base covered in Paizo open gaming magical arsenal. Additional even more tailored offerings from d20pfsrd.com for psions and Louis Porter Jr. Design machinesmiths.
- Challange: Mythic Monster Manual ramps up the baddies giving your hundreds on new monstrous foes and our own new mythic paths like hivemaster, hollow-one and godhunters all have ample villainous potential to stat up some truly worthy opposition.
The Mythic Play environment is just opening up into a beautiful first bloom of balance… Smell the (bad-ass) roses with us! Get Mythic Paths of the Lost Spheres now on: RPGNow or Paizo or d20.pfsrd.com!