Pathfinder: Mythic Adventures

It has taken me a little bit of time to get through this book because work has been insane as it is the end of the school year in Australia and I have been readying my kids for their exams.  But I have been very excited for this book and the options that it may contain.  I first became aware of this book mid last year when I read an interview with one of the Paizo staff about what was going to be the direction of the company in the future.  They detailed the Reign of Winter adventure path, Ultimate Campaign and also Mythic Adventures.

The thing that really excited me is when I first saw Mythic Adventures I kind of thought that this would be like epic adventures was and continue the characters past 20th level.  Instead they talked about how they were adding mechanics to provide for a system that could make 1st level characters have Golarion shattering powers!  This excited me that it was a system that you could build from the very first moments of the character.  It is for this reason that I excitedly waited for over a year to see this book come out.

Running a Mythic Trial last night.  It felt, well, Mythic!

I have had the book for a little over a month now and I have just finished reading it.  It is a great supplement to the Pathfinder series and I am very glad to have it.  The book wastes no time and leaps straight into mythic abilities.  It does this by offering some generic mythic styled “classes” for the players to adopt that build up their mythic abilities with a central theme.  They are the Archmage, Champion, Guardian, Hierophant, Marshall and Trickster.  These classes are OK but I have to say that they seem to fit certain core classes better than others.  If you play a core class from the core book you will generally find something that will fit like a glove but if you play something from the Advanced Players Guide or one of the Ultimate books you may find that the classes fit your hand like a sock and will need a lot more adaptation.

In fact, this is one of my major criticisms of this book.  I do not see the need for the “character class” concept to be applied to the mythic abilities.  It could have been handled a little more simply if all the powers that are attributed to each of these classes (and their are heaps) could have been listed all together and allowed everyone to customise their character as they needed to.  Also, why was the focus really closely on the core classes and not those from other books?  I cannot see the reason for this.  So much so that when I introduced this book to my group and the alchemist in particular, I was at a loss for a suggestion for him (he took the Trickster).

Lets put that criticism aside for the moment though and look at how these classes are structured.  Each class gets a unique power at first level and then a bunch of mythic powers are grouped into levels of Mythic Tier (which is how your mythic class is measured) with powers for mythic tiers 3 and under, then mythic tiers 6 and under and then the rest.  That means power is gained incrementally but you do get one of these powers per level and there are a massive amount to choose from.  They are generally themed toward the mythic class and there is a further section that offers universal powers also for choice.  As there are so many powers it is highly likely that you will get a lot of play out of this book and have combinations that will give you a lot of distance from this one book.

The classes also add some hit points per tier and ability scores also increase as you go up making your character truly powerful.  The very cool thing about the classes is the levelling system.  There is no numerical score like experience to keep a track of here.  You level through the Mythic Tiers by completing Mythic Trials!  That is, the GM guides you through a Mythic styled adventure and it counts as a Mythic Trial.  Meet the required Mythic Trials for the next Tier and you leap to the next tier.  This is true story based advancement and I love it.

My design notes show creativity flowing!

The other things that become available are Mythic Feats and Spells that I was seriously worried about.  I am not a huge fan of feats in Pathfinder because of the complexity that they bring, so when I opened this book and saw a chapter on them I groaned.  But I can pleasantly say I am happy with the implementation now I have read it.  The majority of feats and spells in the appropriate chapters are the same as the feats from the core and optional books, they are just Mythic Powered.  For example, there is a feat called Improved Initiative which has a greater level of power than the previous version.  What is even better about this system is that for you to get the Mythic powered feat or spell you must already have the original in place for your character!  Genius Paizo, I love it.  There are smattering of new Feats and Spells but certainly not in a number that make it unmanageable.

Next comes material on magic items and game mastering.  The magic item section I loved and there are some really good items in there.  I really do love the effort that they have put in to this section to create some truly unique items and also a good level of detail in helping you build your own.  The game mastering section is also really hands on and helpful in suggesting how you should set up and run a game.  How you should build a trial and they also give quite a few examples on how to do tho.  This section gets two thumbs up from me.

The next section moves into a mini Bestiary that outlines some mythic creatures.  There is a good spread here but it is a mini section and I was left wanting more of the same.  There are details on how to create your own creatures in the pages but not a lot of hands on material here. I would dearly have loved to see an example build of a creature in this section so I got a better idea for it.  So be wary, there is not a lot of foes here for you to rely on.  Bestiary 4 (just released) has more Mythic creatures in it so I am happy as I got that two days ago but I really would love to see a better guide on how to make your own creatures.

The book ends with an adventure!  That is very cool and I thank Paizo for that.  I am never going to run it (I don’t think at this stage anyway) but it does give you a good idea on how to put it all in to practice.  The adventure is for a group of four-six seventh level non mythic characters who become mythic (ascend) early in the adventure.  It is professionally laid out and a good solid adventure that a lot of people will have fun with.

I have implemented this material in my Serpent Skull game.  The characters have had three adventures now with a mythic tier.  I have to say it has changed the tone of the game for the better too.  There is some really good role-playing going on in the group and they are becoming more deeply involved with the plot as they feel it really matters to them (which it does).  Last nights game was brilliant with some excellent roleplaying involvement.  I feel as I am making these adventures that I am more in tune with the characters and the design flows from me.  As I think of Trials to create I can picture how a trial I am designing will flow into the next portion of the game and am getting ready for it with some foreshadowing.  I also get to strongly focus on the Mythic side as the players come to this material as 17th level characters meaning it truly is time to focus on some Mythic material as they seek to destroy the skull of a God.

Overall, I have to say that you must get this book for your game.  I am already considering a way to implement this into other games as it produces a great feel to the game that I love.  It has its flaws (too focussed on core rule characters and not enough monsters) but I have a feeling that Paizo may build some more books to balance these shortcomings out.  Only time will tell.  Until then, go get this book, give it a read and then give it a go.  You will not be disappointed.  Keep rolling!

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