Mythic Solutions
Table of Contents

The Challenges of Mythic Play

The mythic rules offer a rich toolbox of options for enhancing your Pathfinder campaign. That said, they are not without their challenges and pitfalls, some of which have become progressively more apparent in play during the time since the mythic rules were released. This section examines those problems and suggests remedies for them, either by amending the existing official mythic rules or by proposing new alternative rules to compensate for them. Path of Villains and Path of Dragons from Legendary Games offer an array of options in terms of inventive mechanics as well as play advice for compensating for the challenges of mythic play. The following section continues this discussion in further detail, examining specific problematic areas of the rules (many of which also occur in non-mythic play but are exacerbated with the mythic rules) along with specific rules that contribute to those problems and suggested alternative rules for dealing with them. You may choose to implement some or all of these rule changes, and in some cases a number of alternatives are suggested for dealing with particular challenges. You may even experiment with different solutions to find which works best for your group.


Action Economy

This issue is always in play in a Pathfinder game, and it becomes more pronounced in higher-level games. In places where the narrative tropes might suggest a lone villain fighting off a determined band of heroes, the mechanics break down. Unless the villain so far outclasses the heroes that almost nothing they do can even touch her, the simple fact that the PCs get to act 4-5 times as often as the villain means that there is no way the lone villain can keep up, especially as the consequences for failure continue to ratchet up at higher levels, especially as swift and immediate actions become a larger part of the game. Those issues are, if anything, exaggerated in mythic play.

With any number of abilities allowing heroes to take multiple actions per round, and those actions being progressively more effective, the gap between the villain and the heroes only grows wider. Where in ordinary play, a party of four heroes (not considering cohorts and other companions) against a single villain outnumber the villain’s actions by 4 to 1, even against a mythic villain with all the same advantages the PCs enjoy, the PCs’ actions might outnumber the villains by 12 to 3. The proportion is the same, but the PCs now have up to nine more actions every round than the villain. When some of those actions are mythic abilities that bypass resistances, have debilitating effects even on a missed attack or successful saving throw, and so on, every bonus action is a chance to end the fight before it starts, or at least before it has a chance to get interesting.

Some of this issue can be resolved with play style; simply put, don’t use solo villains. The problem is, published adventures use them all the time, and part of us wants to use them to satisfy an iconic visual we have in our heads about how the confrontation should go down. Also, some enemies just feel right as solo opponents, and why shouldn’t we be able to have that?

Another option is to simply build in more hit points to solo opponents, as was done in the 4th edition of the world’s most famous role-playing game, where a “solo” monster might have 5 times as many hit points as a typical creature of its type. This ablates rather than solves the underlying problem by allowing the enemy to stand up for longer during the imbalanced cascade of actions, but it is at best a delaying tactic, especially if it is not accompanied by an equal ability to disregard status effects.

In either case, you want the monster to feel durable, but not necessarily invincible. It is okay for players to feel frustrated that they are not taking down the enemy as quickly as they expected, but you never want to create the feeling that their actions are pointless. Turning a dramatic enemy into a tedious exercise in slowly whittling down a mountain of hit points.

Problematic Rule: The amazing initiative basic mythic ability

This ability adds insult to injury by allowing PCs to go more often than the bad guys, and also to usually go first. This ability actually makes more sense as a villain-only ability, allowing them a lever to balance the imbalance in actions. In the hands of PCs, it makes the imbalance worse. The dual initiative universal monster rule fills a similar niche, and is more powerful in some ways, but its extra action occurs 20 initiative counts after the creature’s initial turn; if all of the PCs win initiative (likely for most creatures), it may not live long enough to see its first action, much less the second. The two abilities overlap and can be combined, but neither should remain an option for mythic PCs.

Alternative Rule #1: At 2nd tier, you gain a bonus on initiative checks equal to one-half your mythic tier. In addition, as a free action when rolling initiative you can expend one use of mythic power to add your surge die to your initiative roll.

Alternative Rule #2: Eliminate this ability entirely from mythic PCs. If you feel the need to replace it, grant an additional mythic feat slot. This ability can be reserved for villains and creatures expected to fight alone against a group of PCs, helping them to get a first shot at PCs and to be able to take extra actions when they will be most impactful. Some monsters might also have the dual initiative ability; these abilities stack.

Alternative Rule #3: Make this a universal path ability available at either 3rd tier or 6th tier (depending on your opinion of its power level; we recommend 6th). It thus remains available as an option for PCs who really want that ability, but it is not gained for free and must be selected in preference to other highly appealing options.

Problematic Rule: Swift action path features: Archmage arcana, champion’s strike, guardian’s call, divine surge, marshal’s order, and trickster attack abilities that are usable as swift actions are perhaps overkill in the face of the potent array of benefits they already offer

Their being swift actions also contributes to the glut of competing swift action options embedded within the mythic rules. This bottleneck is intentional, as it helps throttle the use of mythic abilities; however, it also pushes the use of mythic power toward a zero-sum game where the best options are the ones that get used and the rest gather dust.

Alternative Rule: Make all path features of this type standard actions when used at a cost of 1 use of mythic power, with the option to expend 2 uses of mythic power to use the ability as a move action or 3 uses of mythic power to use it as a swift action. If the ability involves making an attack, expending 1 use of mythic power allows it to be used in place of an attack, including as part of an attack action, charge, or as part of a full attack action.

Problematic Rule: Haste and extra attacks

When making a full attack, the haste or blessing of fervor spell, a speed weapon, or a monk’s ability to expend ki are just some of the abilities that grant an extra attack at your highest bonus when making a full attack. Because the mythic rules make it far easier to take a full attack, including moving before, after, or during the full attack, these abilities become much more effective in a mythic game and they also stack with the ability to gain swift-action attacks or moves that put characters in position for full attacks, it is reasonable to restrict the number of additional full-bonus attacks that can be gained from special abilities. Some of this problem can be ameliorated by eliminating swift action attacks or making them more expensive and thus less attractive options, as described above, but a rule specific to this purpose could also be installed.

Alternative Rule #1: Characters using the full attack action can gain no more than one additional attack at their highest attack bonus, no matter how many such abilities are in effect. Any additional attacks are lost.

Alternative Rule #2: As above, but extra attacks are allowed; however, each bonus attack after the first takes a cumulative ─5 penalty, similar to an iterative attack; however, this penalty cannot be reduced by abilities that reduce or eliminate iterative attack penalties, such as the precision champion path ability.

Alternative Rule #3: As above, but any additional bonus attacks after the first occur 20 initiative counts after a character’s turn.

Problematic Rule: Titan’s bane champion path ability

This ability is not so much about the actions involved in using it per se as about the actions that are not required in order to use it. In most cases, an enemy is flat-footed only when surprised or unaware of an attacker (or unable to see them), at the beginning of combat, or when feinted out of position. With this ability, there is no need for stealth, speed, or subtlety; enter a larger enemy’s space and sneak attacks are automatic. This is not necessarily overpowered, since it requires the risky proposition of being in melee range of a single opponent two or more sizes larger, treating only that foe as flat-footed, versus a readily available effect like greater invisibility that allows unlimited sneak attacks against any creatures within 30 feet. However, with certain builds its automatic nature could create problems.

Alternative Rule: If you enter the space of a mythic creature with this ability, it is considered flat-footed only against the first attack you make against it.

The Nova Problem

Mythic power is a limited resource, so clever players will often bank their uses of it in order to get close to a perceived objective before unleashing a storm of it all at once. This concentration of focused assault is enough to overwhelm most opponents. Even well-defended targets can be brought low by a rapid succession of attacks designed to pierce the target’s defenses.

Being able to “go nova” is sometimes a matter of extra actions, as described above, but it also represents the ability to stack mythic power onto single actions to make those individual actions ultra-effective. There is some room for this in a mythic game, as on a certain level you want a mythic character to be able to knock out a giant with a single punch, for example, but what you do not want is the ability to blitz any major villain into oblivion by going all-in with what should be a day’s worth of mythic power in one shot.

Problematic Rule: Unlimited expenditure of mythic power

In the standard mythic rules, the only limits on spending mythic power are your daily uses and your actions. This does serve as something of a brake on these abilities when actions you could take use the same type of action (typically swift or immediate actions), but there are ways to circumvent this by stacking different types of abilities, legendary items, and more.

Alternative Rule: Player characters (and their allies) can use only one ability that requires the expenditure of mythic power per round. This may be a mythic feat, mythic spell, mythic path ability, a power used by a legendary item, or anything else; if it involves expending mythic power, a character can use only one per round. Characters can use abilities that require spending more than one use of mythic power.

For characters with a legendary item, you may choose whether to consider legendary power separate from or equivalent to mythic power for this use. Our recommendation is that legendary power be considered separately, but that it also follow the same rule. That is, that no more than one ability using legendary power can be used per round. Thus, a character with a legendary item could use one ability using her own mythic power, and could trigger one ability from the item using its legendary power.

Alternative Rule #2: As #1, but PCs and their allies can also use one mythic surge per round. Mythic surges, while useful, are a fairly straightforward effect that does significantly contribute to the nova problem.

Problematic Rule: Retroactive and scaling mythic surges

Mythic surges are not inherently a problem; action points, hero points, fate points, luck points, and the like have been around the game for years, though typically they must be invoked before a die is rolled, resulting in some wasted uses on rolls too high or too low to reasonably be expected to have any chance of success. A mythic surge, on the other hand, can be used after the fact, when the chance of changing failure into success from adding a surge it is often fairly clear. Shifting surges into a realm of more uncertainty creates the opportunity to bleed more mythic power, but it also has the potential to simply discourage the use of surges in favor of other mythic abilities that are more reliable. This is not a major issue, but it is a small change that is easily made if you wish.

Alternative Rule #1: Mythic surges may be spent after a d20 has been rolled but before the success or failure of the die roll has been revealed.

Alternative Rule #2: Rather than increasing the surge die, you can instead allow PCs to roll multiple d6’s and choose the best result. Each time a character or monster’s surge die would increase at 4th, 7th, and 10th rank or tier, they instead add an additional d6.This caps the maximum value of a surge at 6, but allows PCs to more reliably get a good result when a surge is used.

Stacking Multipliers

In most cases, the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game uses a mathematical limiter when it comes to multiplication, adding multiples rather than multiplying them. If one ability results in a x2 multiplier, and another effect adds an additional x2, those multiples are not multiplied (2 x 2 = 4); instead, the second x2 adds an additional multiple (x2 + x2 = x3). This could be expressed more clearly by calling each “x2” multiplier “+1M” (+1 multiple); hence, x2 + x2 is more accurately stated as +1M +1M = +2M, we add 2 multiples times the base of x1, giving us x3.. The reason for this is to avoid geometric progressions of multiplication, where three x2 multipliers add up to x4 but multiply out to x8; four x2 multipliers add up to x5 but multiply out to x16. Those who have played extensively with the mythic rules have discovered that it is entirely possible to stack multipliers in a way to deal over 1000 points of damage in a single blow that virtually automatically hits and ignores virtually all resistances.

Given that the CR 30 Great Old One Cthulhu in Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 4 has 774 hit points, this is obviously a problem, as it serves no dramatic purpose and isn’t even much fun to one-shot Cthulhu. Well, maybe it’s a little bit fun, but after you’ve one-shotted the entire Lovecraftian pantheon the fun kind of goes out of it.

Problematic Rule: Foe-biting legendary item ability

This ability doubles everything, the total amount after all modifiers and multipliers, including things that would not normally be doubled. This is the ur-example of stacking multipliers.

Alternative Rule: Banned. If you wish to retain the foe-biting name, replace the effect with the ability to expend one use of the item’s legendary power after striking an opponent with the weapon to add the bane property against that specific creature (regardless of its type and subtype) for 1 minute. If the item is already a bane weapon against that creature’s type (and subtype, if applicable), using the foe-biting property increases the effect of bane to a +3 enhancement bonus and +3d6 damage, or to +4 and +4d6 if the wielder is a mythic character and expends one use of mythic power as a swift action when expending the item’s legendary power to increase its bane effect. An ability like this retains the spirit of the foe-biting ability while flattening out the damage curve to something that is useful over time against a foe and eliminating the massive damage spikes that can occur with the standard foe-biting ability.

Problematic Rule: Mythic Power Attack feat

Power Attack is already a very strong feat, one of the best in the core rules, and the improvements offered by the basic effects of this mythic feat are an escalation of those effects. A good feat is made better in its mythic form, and that’s not inherently a problem. The problematic part of the feat is the fact that its already good benefit is doubled (and then re-multiplied) on a critical hit. Because critical hits are both more common for mythic characters and more deadly when they occur, this sends damage totals soaring through the roof.

Alternative Rule: Delete the following text from the Mythic Power Attack feat: In addition, the bonus damage from this feat is doubled on a critical hit, before it’s multiplied by the weapon’s critical multiplier.

Problematic Rule: Mythic Vital Strike feat

This feat is problematic because of its ambiguity. The way it is written seems to imply its use with weapons that deal a single die of damage, like a longsword dealing 1d8 damage. When you use Vital Strike, you double that base weapon damage to 2d8, so by extension Mythic Vital Strike would double your bonuses from Strength, magic, feats, etc. However, as written the feat states that you multiply damage bonuses by “by the number of weapon damage dice you roll.” Hence, if you wield a weapon that deals two dice of damage, like a falchion (2d4) or greatsword (2d6), the feat suddenly becomes twice as effective as if you were wielding a greataxe (1d12). This is to say nothing of Gargantuan or Colossal monstrous enemies that might deal 4 or 8 dice of damage with an attack. Using Greater Vital Strike as written, such a creature might deal 32 dice of damage but also multiply its already prodigious Strength bonus and other bonuses by 32 as well.

Alternative Rule: Replace the rules text for the Mythic Vital Strike feat with the following: Whenever you use Vital Strike, Improved Vital Strike, or Greater Vital Strike, multiply the Strength bonus, magic bonus, and other bonuses that would normally be multiplied on a critical hit by 2 if you are using Vital Strike, by 3 if you are using Improved Vital Strike, or by 4 if you are using Greater Vital Strike.

Alternative Rule #2: Replace the rules text for the Mythic Improved Vital Strike feat found in this book with the following:

Whenever you use Vital Strike, Improved Vital Strike, or Greater Vital Strike, multiply all damage (even damage from sources that wouldn’t normally be multiplied on a critical hit) by by 2 if you are using Vital Strike, by 3 if you are using Improved Vital Strike, or by 4 if you are using Greater Vital Strike.

Problematic Rule: Unlimited buffing

This is an issue in the core Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, as there is no limit on the number of beneficial spells or “buffs” that can be applied to a character. This creates accounting difficulties, as players must keep track of an array of bonuses of various types, and this issue escalates when mythic effects are added. This is not necessarily a problem, as some classes (bards and clerics in particular) are designed to aid their allies with magic, so to limit their ability to do so would be to undermine their utility and viability as classes and force all classes into a self- or enemy-focused mode which may not play to their strengths or let them be what they were designed to be. It also undermines the value of long-duration spells that may be cast at the beginning of an adventuring day and meant to last the whole time.

Alternative Rule: A character may have no more than three “buff ” spells or effects affecting him at a time, plus one for every three Hit Dice or mythic ranks or tiers it possesses. If you are already at your maximum and another effect would affect you, you may elect to end a “buff ” currently affecting you in order to accept the new effect. Any remaining duration of a buff ended in this way is lost.

A “buff ” spell is any beneficial spell with a duration of less than 1 hour. It does not include instantaneous effects, nor effects that affect his equipment but do not directly affect him. Continuous magic item effects are not considered “buffs”; however, temporary effects created by magic items are. If you wish to limit item-swapping to move around continuous effects, you could also add the caveat that any beneficial continuous effect of a magic item does not function until it has been worn or carried on a creature’s person for 24 hours.

Single Ability Focus

Many classes in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game are dependent on multiple ability scores, but others focus most of their abilities around a single ability score. There are advantages to being a well-rounded character, but the game also greatly rewards specialization, and this remains true in the mythic rules. Some of the corollary problems of exceptionally high attack rolls, save DCs, and the like are rooted in the ability to hyperspecialize ability scores.

Problematic Rule: Mythic ability score bonuses

Characters can presently stack up a +10 untyped ability increase to their primary attribute as a free bonus for advancing along their mythic tiers, which stacks with all other types of bonuses.

Alternative Rule: Instead of granting PCs a +2 mythic bonus to an ability score every 2 mythic tiers, grant a +1 inherent bonus to an ability score every tier. Unlike the inherent bonuses granted by a wish spell, these bonuses are cumulative if an inherent bonus is applied to the same score more than once, with the restriction that a mythic character cannot apply this bonus to the same ability score at consecutive tiers. Making this an inherent bonus rather than an untyped ability increase means that it no longer stacks with inherent bonuses granted by a wish spell or similar effect, though you may choose to allow inherent bonuses from wishes to stack with those gained from mythic tiers, up to a maximum of +5. A wish essentially becomes a channel to acquiring the same touch of mythic power as advancing in mythic tier, at least in terms of ability scores.

Problematic Rules: Display of Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma universal path abilities and the adroit legendary item ability

Whether or not these abilities are truly overpowered is up for debate, but they certainly play into the issue of single issue hyper- focus, and they start with an enormous flat bonus that does not change as a character advances. A +20 advantage is huge at low tiers, but as skills and ability checks in general become less relevant at high levels these abilities gradually shift from too much to too little.

Alternative Rule: Instead of granting a flat +20 bonus on the relevant ability check or related skill check, these path abilities grant a bonus equal to three times your mythic tier.

Rapid Recovery

In some ways, this is the heart of the problem with the mythic rules: player characters have mythic abilities and they want to use them, and they have a lot of mythic power to use, which then makes them spend it profligately. There’s no sense of cost involved, since their mythic power is just replenished the next day. Even if it weren’t, they have far more mythic power than any villain; typical mythic monsters get only one use of mythic power per rank; PCs get twice that, plus 3 as a bonus, and generally outnumber the mythic monster by 4 to 1 or more. The party as a whole may have 10 times the mythic power at its disposal than a lone mythic monster, or a mythic creature with non-mythic allies (or simple mythic creatures, such as creatures with simple mythic templates).

Problematic Rules: Daily uses of mythic power

Characters currently gain daily uses of mythic power equal to 3 plus twice their mythic tier. This allows them to use mythic power freely in many situations, which is not all bad, as you don’t want players to only use their mythic power in big boss fights. However, you do want to make mythic power feel special and its use non-trivial, so that players feel that they are dipping into a well of finite power to bend the universe their way.

Note: If you use one of these alternative rules to reduce the uses of mythic power available to characters, you should consider carefully before applying other alternative rules that increase the mythic power cost of various abilities, either not using those alternative rules or reducing the increase.

Alternative Rule #1: Mythic power is regained only when a character passes a mythic trial, as described in Chapter 1 of Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Mythic Adventures. A character that exhausts his supply of mythic power can still use mythic abilities that do not require mythic power. When a mythic trial is passed (including one that elevates a character to a new mythic tier), the character’s mythic power is restored to its maximum level, regardless of how many uses of mythic power the character had remaining at the time.

Alternative Rule #2: Mythic power is regained at a rate of 1 use per day (or a number of uses equal to one-half your tier, minimum 1), rather than regaining all uses each day.

Alternative Rule #3: Mythic PCs gain one use of mythic power per tier, and regain this power each day as normal. Mythic monsters with mythic ranks gain a number of uses of mythic power equal to 3 plus their mythic rank. Mythic opponents with mythic tiers gain a number of daily uses of mythic power equal to 3 plus twice their tier. This gives mythic opponents more of a chance to use their abilities during the few rounds of life they may have remaining to them when they encounter mythic PCs, allowing them to spend more freely while PCs are more cautious with their mythic power.

Problematic Rules: Recuperation base mythic ability

This ability is not actually a problem; in fact, its existence helps combat the dreaded “15-minute adventuring day” by allowing PCs to take a breather, refresh their non-mythic abilities, and continue playing instead of quitting for the day and coming back later. However, the benefits gained far outstrip the cost as characters continue advancing in level.

Alternative Rule: Using this ability costs one-half of each character’s remaining daily uses of mythic power (minimum 1). If you prefer a flatter scaling curve, increase the cost to one use of mythic power, plus one additional use per 4 character levels.

Problematic Rules: Unstoppable base mythic ability

This ability is not about recovering mythic power but about recovering from everything else that might slow down your heroes. The problem is not that the ability exists; it’s quite reasonable that it should, especially at 8th tier; the issue is more that it flattens all conditions to be of equivalent value when they are not of equal severity.

Alternative Rule: Use the following rules text for the ability:

At 8th tier, you can expend one use of mythic power as a free action to immediately end any one of the following conditions currently affecting you: bleed, dazzled, deafened, entangled, fascinated, fatigued, frightened, shaken, sickened, or staggered.

You can expend two uses of mythic power to immediately end one of the following conditions: blind, confused, cowering, dazed, exhausted, nauseated, panicked, paralyzed, or stunned.

You must spend one additional use of mythic power to end the effect if the effect you wish to end was caused by a mythic effect. If the effect is permanent, you must spend twice as many uses of mythic power as normal to end the effect. All other conditions and effects remain, even those resulting from the same spell or effect that caused the selected condition. You can use this ability at the start of your turn even if a condition would prevent you from acting.

Bypassing Immunity And Resistance

Energy resistance and immunity, damage reduction, spell resistance, and similar abilities are key defensive abilities for creatures, but many of them are bypassed partially or completely by mythic spells, effects, and abilities. This has the twofold effect of making creatures generally more vulnerable but also of rewarding hyperspecialization. If a pyromaniac fire mage can blast through fire resistance or immunity, there is no need for the character to diversify his magical portfolio. A single tool can now serve for all purposes.

Problematic Rules: Any effect that bypasses immunity and resistance

These abilities invalidate the basic game’s assumptions about what monsters can and can’t do. This isn’t wholly bad, some of the point of the mythic rules are that players get to break the rules. However, these abilities are perhaps a step too far.

Alternative Rule: Any ability that allows you to ignore immunity or resistance allows you to ignore up to 5 points of resistance or immunity, plus 5 points per 2 mythic ranks or tiers you possess.

Problematic Rules: Attacks that ignore damage reduction

Damage reduction already has issues keeping up with the attacks available to PCs, as many forms of DR are easily bypassed, and the sheer volume of damage dealt with each attack makes the relatively low cap on damage reduction, which almost never exceeds 15, little more than a speed bump. Mythic rules offer a wide variety of abilities that further allow attackers to bypass even that meager protection. The following alternative rules specifically apply to mythic creatures with damage reduction, but you could also apply them for non-mythic creatures with damage reduction.

Alternative Rule: Against a mythic creature with damage reduction, any ability that allows you to ignore or bypass damage reduction instead allows you to ignore 5 points of damage reduction, plus 1 point of damage reduction per mythic rank or tier you possess. This applies to mythic abilities like the fleet charge champion path feature as well as non-mythic effects like a paladin’s smite evil.

Alternative Rule: Unlike normal damage reduction, the damage reduction of a mythic creature applies against objects or weapons created by spells, spell-like abilities, supernatural abilities, and similar effects. It does not apply against acid, cold, electricity, fire, sonic, positive or negative energy, or other forms of energy damage. It applies against force effects that create objects or constructs made of force, but not against instantaneous force effects.

Alternative Rule: To make damage reduction more effective against critical hits use the following rule. You may incorporate this as a mythic monster ability that you may select when building a mythic monster, or you may choose to apply this universally to all mythic creatures with damage reduction.

Mythic Damage Reduction (Ex/Su): When a critical hit is confirmed against a mythic creature with damage reduction and the attack does not ignore damage reduction, the creature has a percentage chance equal to twice its damage reduction to negate the critical hit and treat the hit as a normal hit. If the creature also has the fortification universal monster ability or a similar ability to negate critical hits, add these two percentage chances together and make a single roll.

Problematic Rules: Effects that ignore spell resistance

Spell resistance is a key defense for highly magical adversaries, and summarily ignoring it regardless of whether it is high or low tilts the field too far, especially since effects that allow you to ignore spell resistance, such as the channel power archmage path ability, often provide a number of other benefits as well.

Alternative Rule: An effect that allows you to ignore spell resistance (when it would normally apply) allows you add your mythic tier on caster level checks to ignore spell resistance. You apply an additional +2 circumstnace bonus if the target is a non-mythic creature or if you are casting a mythic spell; these circumstance bonuses stack.

Problematic Rules: Effects that inflict harmful conditions on a successful save

There are a modest number of such effects in the standard Pathfinder rules, so there is precedent for such effects, though usually such conditions are relatively minor, like shaken or dazzled, and last for only 1 round or a few rounds at most. There are many more such effects for mythic spells, such as mythic holy smite blinding evil creatures for 1 round even on a successful save. In many cases, these harmful effects on a successful save are limited to non-mythic creatures, but not all. In the case of a particularly harmful condition, allowing even a 1-round automatic effect allows characters to repeatedly inflict that effect on any foe, barring spell resistance or the foe being able to escape. Tactics that always work erode the sense of fun and challenge at the table, especially if they always work against foes stronger than the heroes.

Alternative Rule: Harmful conditions that occur even on a successful save are halved in duration (minimum 0 rounds) if the mythic rank or tier of an affected creature equals or exceeds that of the creature that created the effect. They are also halved (minimum 0 rounds) for a non-mythic creature whose CR equals or exceeds the caster level (or Hit Dice, for supernatural effects) of the creature that created the effect. This does not apply to effects with an instantaneous or permanent duration.

Unlimited Caster Versatility

Spellcasters progress in power geometrically, as they get more spells and the spells they have also become more effective. This is one of the key factors that sets them apart from martial characters, whose skills and feats and class features in many cases have the same effect at high levels as they had at low; in order to improve them, they must be supplemented with additional feats. As important, however, is that spellcasters have the gift of versatility and can radically change their capabilities from day to day simply by preparing or casting different spells, whereas a martial character has far less ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Spellcasters do have limits on how many different kinds of things they can prepare and use each day, but abilities that allow them free choice of extra spells pushes their versatility through the roof, as they no longer have to worry about selecting a broad array of effects for the challenges they anticipate; they can spend a relative pittance of mythic power to retroactively prepare for anything that could possible arise.

Problematic Rules: The wild arcana archmage path feature and inspired spell hierophant path feature

These abilities make limits on caster versatility almost moot, as they allow a caster to cast any spell that a caster of their class could cast, regardless of whether they know the spell and regardless of its level. These abilities become more powerful the more books are published for the game, because the scope of their utility is limited only by what books are allowed in the campaign. As if the core options were not sufficiently generous, every new regional or special-topic sourcebook is instantly fair game for use, no matter how obscure, unless the GM places hard limits on what can and cannot be accessed.

They also become more powerful as characters become more powerful, but the cost to use them does not increase. A low-level mythic character might spend one use of mythic power to call up any 1st-level spell she wishes. Incredibly versatile and potentially game-altering, but not necessarily game-breaking.

That same character at high levels can spend one use of mythic power to call up an extra 9th-level spell, and can do it almost two dozen times a day. This is in addition to the spell taking effect 2 caster levels higher than normal, which is a sufficiently nice benefit to warrant expending a use of mythic power all by itself.

The online Paizo FAQ has already clarified that wild arcana is intended to be a standard action (not a swift action as written in Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Mythic Adventures) and that only spells with a casting time of “1 standard action” or less can be cast with this ability, but further correction is needed.

Alternative Rule: If you prepare spells, you may use this ability to cast any spell you know by expending one use of mythic power, plus one additional use for every 2 levels of the spell. If you are a spontaneous caster, you can use this ability to cast any spell on your class list that is of a level that you can cast by expending mythic power as a prepared caster; however, you must have personally observed the spell being cast (including spell-like abilities and spell effects created by magic items) and identified it with a Spellcraft check in order to cast it in this fashion.

Problematic Rules: The arcane surge path feature and recalled blessing hierophant path feature

This ability doesn’t explicitly increase versatility, in that it allows you to cast spells you already know or prepare more than once. However, they do indirectly increase versatility by allowing you to repeat-cast those spells and thereby use each spell slot for a different spell, rather than loading up on several copies of the same spell. They also share the same problem as the path features above in that their cost does not change based on the level of the effect you achieve. A champion’s fleet charge path feature allows him to expend one use of mythic power to move and make a single attack that bypasses damage reduction. It does this at tier 1 and it does the same at tier 10. Arcane surge and recalled blessing allow you to expend one use of mythic power to cast an extra low-level spell at tier 1, or an extra 9th-level spell at tier 10 (or even before then), with the added bonus getting to roll twice on an array of useful rolls related to the spell (or force a non-mythic target to save twice). That’s a radical difference in power, tilted in favor of spellcasting characters that already enjoy a power advantage at high levels.

Alternative Rule: Using this ability requires expending one use of mythic power, plus one additional use for every 2 levels of the spell. The spell requires its normal casting time (rather than being a swift action, as written for the arcane surge ability); however, if the spell’s casting time is normally “1 standard action” or less, you can use this ability and cast the spell as a swift action by expending two additional uses of mythic power.

Rocket Tag, Or There Is No Kill Like Overkill

There are some elements in a mythic game where the sheer numbers just stop mattering, and offense so far outstrips defense that there is almost no point in even rolling the dice. Defense is often more difficult to improve than offense, and is often static while offense is dynamic, and the stacking modifiers to offense overwhelm whatever stands in front of them. Many of these issues can be solved by applying the alternative rules in this section, but there also a point at which ludicrous numbers can still happen. An encounter with a mythic foe should be special and awesome, and nothing says anticlimax like a one-punch knockout. You can consider the following rules to help fortify your mythic bad guys, or if you are generous to your mythic heroes as well.

Defensive Surge (Su): A mythic creature can expend a mythic surge as a swift action to add a sacred (if good), profane (if evil), or luck (if neutral) bonus to its AC equal to the result of its surge die. If the creature has damage reduction or hardness, it also adds the result of its surge die to its damage reduction or hardness (as well as the hardness of any items it carries). If the creature has energy resistance, it adds twice the result of its surge die to each type of energy resistance it possesses. This bonus lasts until the beginning of the character’s next turn; if you expend two uses of mythic power, it lasts for a number of rounds equal to one-half your mythic rank or tier (minimum 1 round).

I Will Survive (Ex): When the actions taken by a creature during its turn would reduce you below 0 hit points, you can expend one or more uses of mythic power to survive with 10% of your current hit points (before that creature began its turn) for each use of mythic power you spend. All damage dealt as part of a full attack action is considered a single effect for this purpose.

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