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Level Progression, Experience, and Encounter Design

GM Feedback

Alright, so this is something I figured would crop up once the playtest hit but I was hoping it would be addressed in the playtest document. It wasn't, or rather, not very well at least.

The matter at hand is how to handle experience progression for Mythic characters and how it interacts with character design. The issue is that since the creatures are more powerful (and hence give more XP) characters will advance at a much faster rate. Too fast. Which is doubly problematic when you compound it with the fact that Greater Trial story arcs need to be included within the progression parameters.

The document's solution is to switch the XP progression to Slow. That doesn't work. At higher levels, it's not even a band-aid solution as the math breaks down entirely. Here's why:

Let's go to the beginning of high-level play (or thereabouts). We have a party of Level 14 characters with 7 Mythic Tiers. APL 21. By Level 16 they should also achieve Mythic Tier 8. So over the course of 2 levels I need to fit in 4 Greater Trials. That should be at least 4 encounters minimum, but more would be suitable. During the time it takes to go from Mythic Tier 7 to 8, the party will go through Levels 14 and 15. That's APL 21 and 22, respectively.

Now the encounters need to challenge the party. Let's try to fit in as many encounters as we can. So no boss fights, just average encounters. That's CR 21 for Level 14, and CR 22 for Level 15.

To get from Level 14 to 15, each party member (assuming a party of 4) needs 290,000 XP on slow progression. A CR 21 encounter, split 4 ways is 102,400. That's a total of 2.8 average encounters.

Level 15 to 16 is 395,000 XP. A CR 22 encounter is 153,600 XP after the split. That's almost 2.6 average encounters.

So, in total, over the course of 2 Levels and from Mythic Tier 7 to Tier 8, I have 5.4 average encounters to work with and I need to squeeze in 4 Greater Trials. That doesn't seem right.

I don't want to sound judgmental (I really hope I don't). I'm just trying to help the process. Hope this is helpful.


Paizo Employee Lead Designer

No.. you are on to an issue I am still working to resolve.

The rules you see in the playtest will not be the final ones when it comes to resolving Mythic Character Advancement. I ran out of design time to get an alternative system in place. Once I've got it put together, I will post it up here on the boards for folks to play around with.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

This seems easy to fix:

For each encounter, subtract the mythic character's tier from the encounter's CR. Assign XP to the character based on this adjusted CR. Problem solved.

Awesome to hear! I figured you guys were working on it since the current state isn't really feasible for Adventure Paths.

Currently, as a suggestion, here's what I'm doing for a houserule:

Subtract the party's Mythic Tier average from the creature's CR before determining XP. So going off of my example above, you'd subtract 7 from each of those CR 21 and 22 encounters for the purposes of XP. That would yield results of CR 14 and 15 equivalents. This could be done regardless of the CR combination of the creature (CR14/MR7 or CR 16/MR5 or CR 19/MR2 or just plain ol' CR 21).

Edit: Gaaaahhhh! Ninja'd! Damn doorbell interrupted me mid post-typing. Anyhoo, yes Meepo, exactly.

Paizo Employee Lead Designer


That was my initial fix as well, but its not very elegant in that it is irritating to to have to perform an extra calculation whenever giving out xp. I am looking at a variety of options.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

I'm looking forward to the results.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Jason Bulmahn wrote:


That was my initial fix as well, but its not very elegant in that it is irritating to to have to perform an extra calculation whenever giving out xp. I am looking at a variety of options.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

Good point on the irritating extra calculation. I'll be curious to see what you come up with.

In the mean time, here's some brainstorming:

You could approximate the same result as CR minus tier by just dividing the XP earned by the character's mythic tier. (That extra calculation could be rolled into the calculation the GM is already doing when dividing XP between party members.)

Or you could say PCs count as characters of their effective character level (level plus tier) for the purpose of earning XP. Then you'd only have to do extra calculations when the character gains or loses temporary mythic tiers.

I think the latter is probably the most elegant solution, and the one that I presumed would be used before I read the document.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

I know this sounds crazy, but what if you just ignore mythic ranks when calculating xp. Instead counting it as a Lesser Trial when you defeat a mythic foe.

The exception being non-mythic characters defeating mythic foes.

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