Bring mythic adventure into the Pathfinder world with Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Mythic Realms. This must-have expansion to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game’s newest and most ambitious hardcover, Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Mythic Adventures, is your guide to epic legends, secret places of power, and mythic hot spots within the Pathfinder campaign setting that unlock phenomenal new power. Learn how to seamlessly integrate the incredible options from Mythic Adventures into your existing game, unlock additional path abilities for mythic characters to choose from, discover locations primed to inspire new mythic heroes, and claim the strength of monsters and villains too powerful to defeat—until now! Forge new legends and take on the greatest challenges of the Pathfinder world with Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Mythic Realms.
Inside this book you’ll find:
Six founts of mythic power, including the Doorway to the Red Star, the Mordant Spire, and even the legendary Starstone, each with new mythic path abilities available to characters who show their worth and claim the power within.
Six detailed locations throughout Golarion that offer a campaign’s worth of adventures for characters of mythic destiny, including the vast necropolis of Mechitar, the Pit of Gormuz, and the flying city of Yjae.
Nine legendary characters of Golarion, including challenging foes only those of mythic might can hope to defeat, like Arazni, Kortash Khain, the Oliphaunt of Jandelay, and the Whispering Tyrant.
Mythic trials tied to each location and character, ready to drop directly into a mythic campaign.
Mythic Realms introduces the mythic rules to Golarion and takes a look at how they interact with the setting. It provides information on founts of mythic power, locations, and mythic characters. Just as there is a lot of variety to mythic characters, there’s a lot of variety in the book, particularly in Chapter 2: “Places of Myth”. Indeed, each location detailed is often different enough from the others to make it feel almost like you’re reading a different book. This does have the downside that most people are only likely to use one or two small sections of the book, and few people will actually find use for the entire thing. Still, it’s a good book and definitely useful for people wanting to introduce mythic rules into their Golarion campaigns. It’s also an entertaining read for people already familiar with Golarion, as it adds detail to a number of things that have only been mentioned or hinted at before.
Mythic Realms is the latest addition to the Pathfinder Campaign Setting, and promises some impressive ideas. Powerful figures from Golarion's lore, sites of incredible power, and even the legendary Starstone. But closer examination finds the book's contents lacking, its concepts deprived of the execution expected of a Paizo work.
Chapter I contains information on Founts of Mythic Power, like the Cenotaph, the Morudant Spire, and even the Starstone(!). Mythic Founts are sort of like "seeds" GMs can use to transform high-level groups from extraordinary to truly heroic. The idea is great--it provides GMs with high-level groups to continue the adventure even when all other challenges begin to feel trivial. Furthermore, there are unique mythic abilities tied to the mythic ascension that occurs at each location.
The problem here is that not all founts are created equal, and this is particularly true of the Starstone. First off, the mystique of the Starstone test is all but obliterated by the book's presentation, and second, the Starstone's role in the lore is inexplicably changed. Suddenly the Starstone is only a means of mythic ascension, not the engine of divine apotheosis we've been lead to believe. What's worse is that the mythic ascension triggered by the Starstone provides bonuses linked to pre-existing gods, and only the twenty greater powers of the Inner Sea (so no blessing of Apsu, Tiamat, Shizuru, Tsukiyo, &c).
Furthermore, Mythic Realms paints a very confusing picture of Golarion's history. Did the Aboleth fear Azlant, or did they grow bored with their human experiment? The historical accounts in the Morudant Spire seem to conflict with those in the Starstone, but this isn't the only contradiction. The history of the war between Azlanist and Karzoug grows more confusing. Who was winning? Who was planning to summon the Oliphaunt of Janderlay?
Chapter II is, in my opinion, the best part of this book. It contains Gazetteers on six locations for your mythic heroes to explore. Although, again, historical accounts sometimes contradict themselves (I now have two conflicting accounts of what happened to the city of Gormuz). Still, the imaginative settings give GMs a lot to work with when planning their own adventures, and one entry can provide dozens of potential ideas for any given mythic campaign.
If Chapter I is my least favorite and Chapter II my most, then Chapter III falls somewhere in the middle. Here we find a bestiary of several legendary figures throughout Golarion's lore, from the terrifying to the heroic. This is both a good and a bad thing, in my opinion, as it provides mythic groups with epic challenges, but at the same time somewhat demystifies these otherwise mythical characters.
There is an adage once uttered on "The Spoony Experiment," which goes "if you can stat it, they can kill it." Simply put, this suggests that if you give a creature concrete representation in the rules system, then it becomes subject to the whims of that system, including death. Now, there are always ways to get around this (AD&D Fiend Folio's Trillioch, anyone?) but caveats that prevent defeat kind of feel cheap when you have a fat block of numbers and words staring you in the face.
That said, the histories of each mythic character are fantastic, if not unfortunately brief in some places. They manage to retain the intangible nature of the myths and representations these characters enjoyed in previous source material, never willing to commit too much detail where detail isn't needed, which in my mind is only ever a good thing.
All-in-all, the book had some great ideas and inspires some great ideas. The problem comes with the mechanical execution of those ideas, and the inconsistencies generated by its new treatments of setting-specific features. It's a 2-out-of-5, worth having for the ideas, but not the rules.