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Problems with Mythic Toughness and To The Death


Rules Questions


I'm currently running a Mythic Campaign with the playtest rules.
My PC's are Level 4 / Mythic Tier 1 and will soon face their first greater trial freeing a small town from a terrible curse.
One of the party - a Ranger - has chosen the Mythic Champion path and the 'To the Death' ability that comes with it.

To the Death allows you to continue taking standard actions beyond 0 hp without the loss of extra hit points. Tough, but not necessarily a gamebreaker.

However, as I was reading through the playtest doc, I came across the Mythic Toughness Feat which I'm absolutely sure the Ranger will take the next chance he gets. Mythic Toughness doubles the extra hp you gain from regular Toughness, which is pretty decent in itself. In addition, if you are reduced below 0hp (as often happens to our Ranger friend) you gain DR 10 / epic.

Now that seems like a combination that'll give me, the DM, problems...

I like the current item/power curve in my campaign (slow treasure progression) and am not inclined to start sending enemies armed with +5 Magic Weapons into the fray anytime soon. If I don't, however, I'll be facing a nigh-invulnerable Ranger at 6th or 7th level who will soak up hit points until below 0 at which point he will slowly, steadily (he's staggered after all) start killing everything with little risk to himself.
Now I realize that there are PLENTY of tactics left to use to lay him low - I just don't want to have to resort to those every time I want to provide a challenging encounter - it would seem too contrived (always the enemy wizards, the capture attempts etc).
Anything I do add to the mix that poses an additional threat to the Ranger-tank will likely hurt the other players also.

I fear such a powercombo will take the fun out of good, healthy, bread-and-butter combat encounters, as I can envision the group saying "Let the Ranger handle 'em and stand back, guys - it'll take a little longer, but it will cost us a fraction of the resources. We'll just heal him back up to full hp when he's done!"

Any advice on whether this has been errata'ed (scoured forum, can't find it)? Looks to me like this one needs fixing...


The whole Mythic thing is not finished and there different imbalanced feats / abilities. Discuss problems with your players and if you see problems with a feat etc then change or forbid it. Its a playtest .. the rules / feats etc are not RAW at the moment.


Eridan wrote:
The whole Mythic thing is not finished and there different imbalanced feats / abilities. Discuss problems with your players and if you see problems with a feat etc then change or forbid it. Its a playtest .. the rules / feats etc are not RAW at the moment.

I'm well aware they're not finished - it is, after all, a playtest.

If I were to fix it in my group, I'd probably drop the DR10/Epic part from the feat description.

In any case, I thought I'd post it to provide feedback on the playtest and to check whether other players had come up with any solutions of their own to fix this.


My first question would be: Is it really a problem?

The only reason I can think that this would be an issue is if:
A) There is no magic in the game. Magic doesn't care about DR.
B) All enemies attacks deal 10 or less damage. At level 4, a two handed fighter can easily get +10 damage to his weapon damage rolls.
C) Staggered is not staggered. A single standard action a turn is really limiting. A Staggered character can't move and attack. It's one or the other (or do a standard action charge but that is another story). And even when he does attack its a single attack only. Ever. No TWF.

Mythic is supposed to be mythic. Having a dangerous ability like "To the Death" should have some benefits. After all every time it is used, the ranger is putting his life on the line. Which sooner or later will lead to one dead ranger. Which will also solve the 'problem' :p


yea just hit him with 2 castings of magic missile and the ranger will be no more :p


Avianfoo wrote:

My first question would be: Is it really a problem?

The only reason I can think that this would be an issue is if:
A) There is no magic in the game. Magic doesn't care about DR.
B) All enemies attacks deal 10 or less damage. At level 4, a two handed fighter can easily get +10 damage to his weapon damage rolls.
C) Staggered is not staggered. A single standard action a turn is really limiting. A Staggered character can't move and attack. It's one or the other (or do a standard action charge but that is another story). And even when he does attack its a single attack only. Ever. No TWF.

Mythic is supposed to be mythic. Having a dangerous ability like "To the Death" should have some benefits. After all every time it is used, the ranger is putting his life on the line. Which sooner or later will lead to one dead ranger. Which will also solve the 'problem' :p

A) There is magic in my campaign, but I can't very well have each and every encounter feature enemy spellcasters - that would be stretching things.

B) Most of the encounters I include in an adventure are of average difficulty or lower - this is intentional and something I don't wish to change as I feel it's a requirement for the heroic scope of the campaign. So, no - the monsters don't deal bucketloads of damage - not usually anyway.
C) I've no problems with the TTD ability in itself - it's powerful (as it should be in a Mythical game) but has a severe downside, as you mentioned. Combining it with Mythical Toughness, as written, however, severely affects TTD, almost removing its downside (being a hit-point sink on the brink of death) - especially at lower levels.

While your arguments prove that the issues I'm having with the TTD+Myth.Toughness combo are far from insurmountable, they do seem to severely limit me as a DM is designing adventures, which tends to make things very un-fun in the long run.

Should the current rules remain as written and the DM wants to continue creating challenges for the PCs he has to resort to one or more of the following:
- Always use enemy spellcasters OR
- Always use powerful monsters OR
- Always use enemies with +6 weapons OR ...

You get the idea. My main concern is - as I mentioned in my original post - that ordinary meat-and-potatoes combat encounters with lots of lower-level opponents won't be a challenge anymore. Players will do the math and conclude that letting the Ranger deal with things will cost less resources (hit points) than if they all join the fray.

I cannot imagine such an effect to be intentional.


The Savage and Invincible mythic creature templates give DR/5 mythic after 5 HD on a creature.
Tigers, dire wolves, giant hornets and whatever else you happen to have lying around can merit such a template.
Most mythic PC's can carve straight through DR in any form with mythic points.
Amusing corner of the DR rules is in bold.
Not a perfect solution as the humanoid bad guys are kinda out of luck but that's why you give them prior knowledge and ambushing.

Damage Reduction (Ex or Su)

A creature with this special quality ignores damage from most weapons and natural attacks. Wounds heal immediately, or the weapon bounces off harmlessly (in either case, the opponent knows the attack was ineffective). The creature takes normal damage from energy attacks (even nonmagical ones), spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities. A certain kind of weapon can sometimes damage the creature normally, as noted below.

The entry indicates the amount of damage ignored (usually 5 to 15 points) and the type of weapon that negates the ability. Some monsters are vulnerable to piercing, bludgeoning, or slashing damage. Others are vulnerable to certain materials, such as adamantine, alchemical silver, or cold-forged iron. Attacks from weapons that are not of the correct type or made of the correct material have their damage reduced, although a high enhancement bonus can overcome some forms of damage reduction.

Some monsters are vulnerable to magic weapons. Any weapon with at least a +1 magical enhancement bonus on attack and damage rolls overcomes the damage reduction of these monsters. Such creatures’ natural weapons (but not their attacks with weapons) are treated as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

A few very powerful monsters are vulnerable only to epic weapons—that is, magic weapons with at least a +6 enhancement bonus. Such creatures’ natural weapons are also treated as epic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Some monsters are vulnerable to good-, evil-, chaotic-, or lawful-aligned weapons, such as from an align weapon spell or the holy magical weapon property. A creature with an alignment subtype (chaotic, evil, good, or lawful) can overcome this type of damage reduction with its natural weapons and weapons it wields as if the weapons or natural weapons had an alignment (or alignments) that matched the subtype(s) of the creature.

When a damage reduction entry has a dash (—) after the slash, no weapon negates the damage reduction.

A few creatures are harmed by more than one kind of weapon, such as “cold iron or magic.” A weapon that inflicts damage of either of these types overcomes this damage reduction.

A few other creatures require combinations of different types of attacks to overcome their damage reduction (such as “magic and silver”), and a weapon must be both types to overcome this type of damage reduction. A weapon that is only one type is still subject to damage reduction.

Format: DR 5/silver; Location: Defensive Abilities.


I know I can simply join the arms race and use DR to my advantage, but that's not the point - I don't want to make every wolf or bear or beastie a Mythic opponent. Mythical beings are supposed to be special.

I don't know if I'm expressing myself well enough here: I'm not really asking for a fix for 'my' game; I've decided upon a fix and it's very straightforward: Remove the DR10/ Epic reference from Mythic Toughness.

I do believe I've stumbled upon a certain combination of powers that - if left in the RAW - will lead to un-fun gaming within a significantly narrowed band of possibilities for a challenge and that leaving the rules as they are will adversely affect players' experiences with the Mythical Adventures supplement, unless everyone houserules this bit.

This is something that I believe is not intended for the Mythical Adventures. It should be possible to run a campaign featuring Mythical PCs in a world where that power is rare and special and those PCs face and overcome many challenges greatly varying in nature.

Of course, that could just be my expectation while everybody else feels different about Mythic... Which would strike me as odd, to say the least.


In addition to Avianfoo's advice, I suggest things like alchemist's fire. Easy enough to find and/or make, and again, DR won't stop energy damage. Also, simply put, his DR won't help him if someone pushes him from positive hp to death in a single swing.


Margrave wrote:


While your arguments prove that the issues I'm having with the TTD+Myth.Toughness combo are far from insurmountable, they do seem to severely limit me as a DM is designing adventures, which tends to make things very un-fun in the long run.

I feel your pain. I ran a high level campaign once where the only way to touch one of the PCs was to drop him in an anti-magic field which would practically pop him. That severely limited challenges for that one PC and the other PCs suffered as side effect.

If you feel that the DR 10/Epic is hurting your game, remove it or make it level dependent e.g. 1 DR for every 2 levels. Or even 1 DR per level.

It should be noted that there are other effects in a mythic game that also give DR/Epic though these are only readily available from mythic tier 3. The Guardian's absorb blow is also very "DR" like.


Avianfoo wrote:
Margrave wrote:


While your arguments prove that the issues I'm having with the TTD+Myth.Toughness combo are far from insurmountable, they do seem to severely limit me as a DM is designing adventures, which tends to make things very un-fun in the long run.

I feel your pain. I ran a high level campaign once where the only way to touch one of the PCs was to drop him in an anti-magic field which would practically pop him. That severely limited challenges for that one PC and the other PCs suffered as side effect.

If you feel that the DR 10/Epic is hurting your game, remove it or make it level dependent e.g. 1 DR for every 2 levels. Or even 1 DR per level.

It should be noted that there are other effects in a mythic game that also give DR/Epic though these are only readily available from mythic tier 3. The Guardian's absorb blow is also very "DR" like.

The amount of ‘hurt’ it does to the game is particularly significant at lower levels, so scaling the Feat as per your suggestion might work.

We do have a Cleric / Guardian in the group with absorb blow as well... Up until now, that hasn’t really been an issue. It allows him to postpone a deadly blow, but not indefinitely. Just as often, the ability has been spent to avoid trivial damage (3-7 points) just to avoid a blow that would knock him out.

I don’t have a problem with houseruling one or two things I don’t like or that don’t fit my game – but I’m hoping I won’t have to do that too often here...
I REALLY like the idea behind Mythic Adventures; PCs who are just a notch above the rest, some new abilities and a nice achievement-based progress system behind it all.
I like the idea of Mythic Tiers acting like extra class levels and how these are supposed to be balanced against each other so that say, a CR 5 encounter can be considered Average for a 4-man level 3 / Mythic Tier 2 party.
That's what the playtest doc states, at least. I really hope that the finished product will live up to these promises. If Mythic PC's need to be balanced against Mythic opponents all the time, Mythic Adventures risks becoming Epic Level handbook v2...

Let's hope for the best!


So at that level, as you state state a CR 5 enemy is average. Going by the Beastiary Monster rules; a monster at that level will average average 15-20 damage a hit according to the Monster Creation rules in the Beastiary. They will do damage to these kind of PCs on a hit. It's not complete damage mitigation; just damn good protection.

However considering the Mythic Player has lower BAB, saves, skills, caster level, and even HP; I don't see it as a problem that they get ten less damage a hit. And they only get that DR when they're essentially under "half" HP; They'll still be taking damage. Just; they're going to be a lot harder to kill explicitly cause of those abilities. One good crit from could still kill them before the DR turns on. And against Mythic Enemies; it doesn't mean squat since their natural attacks count as mythic weapons for DR.

Honestly, we all saw a lot of balance issues in the Mythic Playtest; but this really wasn't one of them. It's a good combo; but if you're really concerned you should have waited till a later level to begin dolling out Mythic Tiers. Like say level 5-6. And since you control when they actually advance them; you can keep them as limited as you'd like.


Darth Grall wrote:

So at that level, as you state state a CR 5 enemy is average. Going by the Beastiary Monster rules; a monster at that level will average average 15-20 damage a hit according to the Monster Creation rules in the Beastiary. They will do damage to these kind of PCs on a hit. It's not complete damage mitigation; just damn good protection.

However considering the Mythic Player has lower BAB, saves, skills, caster level, and even HP; I don't see it as a problem that they get ten less damage a hit. And they only get that DR when they're essentially under "half" HP; They'll still be taking damage. Just; they're going to be a lot harder to kill explicitly cause of those abilities. One good crit from could still kill them before the DR turns on. And against Mythic Enemies; it doesn't mean squat since their natural attacks count as mythic weapons for DR.

Honestly, we all saw a lot of balance issues in the Mythic Playtest; but this really wasn't one of them. It's a good combo; but if you're really concerned you should have waited till a later level to begin dolling out Mythic Tiers. Like say level 5-6. And since you control when they actually advance them; you can keep them as limited as you'd like.

Hmm - you make a good point there... I had not really considered the downsides of Mythic Tiers over class levels yet.

It would certainly have helped, in retrospect, to award the first Mythic Tier around level 5-6. As it happens, awarding the first tier sooner suited the storyline and didn't seem to go against the recommendations.
Perhaps things will even out in later levels and I'll just need to adapt strategies at lower levels (most encounters I toss at the party are Easy to Average).
I do think you're mistaken on the 'Mythic weapons vs DR' part: Mythic damage dies not equal Epic damage. Therefore the DR would remain in effect.


I don't see this as a problem. If he wants to spend 2 feats to be nigh-invulnerable at <0 hp then I say let him go for it. The monsters can attack the rest of the party with impunity, and your ranger only gets to take a single standard action.


Margrave wrote:
I do think you're mistaken on the 'Mythic weapons vs DR' part: Mythic damage dies not equal Epic damage. Therefore the DR would remain in effect.

Not true; Movin already posted and bolded the text. Let me repost, with the link, straight from the monster rules(it's the 4th paragraph):

Quote:
A few very powerful monsters are vulnerable only to epic weapons—that is, magic weapons with at least a +6 enhancement bonus. Such creatures’ natural weapons are also treated as epic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

So to clarify, any creature with Mythic Levels, probably has DR/Epic... or at least the ability to bypass it with a Mythic ability.

Or is just a paladin lol.


Darth Grall wrote:
Margrave wrote:
I do think you're mistaken on the 'Mythic weapons vs DR' part: Mythic damage dies not equal Epic damage. Therefore the DR would remain in effect.

Not true; Movin already posted and bolded the text. Let me repost, with the link, straight from the monster rules(it's the 4th paragraph):

Quote:
A few very powerful monsters are vulnerable only to epic weapons—that is, magic weapons with at least a +6 enhancement bonus. Such creatures’ natural weapons are also treated as epic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

So to clarify, any creature with Mythic Levels, probably has DR/Epic... or at least the ability to bypass it with a Mythic ability.

Or is just a paladin lol.

What I understood from a prior post ("And against Mythic Enemies; it doesn't mean squat since their natural attacks count as mythic weapons for DR.") was that the DR 10/ Epic is bypassed by Mythic Enemies since their natural attacks count as Mythic weapons.

While the latter statement is certainly true, the former is not.

I've taken the following definitions from the Mythic Playtest doc:

DR /Epic (Glossary, p.3): DR/Epic: Damage reduction that can only be overcome by a weapon with an enhancement bonus of +6 or greater.

Mythic Damage (Running a Mythic Game, p.35): mythic damage is any damage caused by a mythic creature or character with mythic tiers.

It's not stated, nor implied here that Mythic Damage Equals Epic Damage - therefore, attacks from a Mythic creature would still be reduced in effectiveness by the DR 10 / Epic.

Also, while the average CR 5 enemy may deal enough damage, a CR 5 encounter would consist of several less dangerous enemies, not really posing a threat (a single CR5 dude wouldn't be much of a threat either, by the way) So although I agree it's not a blocking issue (and indeed for many people it does not seem like an issue at all) I feel the combo still constrains my choices as a DM too much.

You're 100% right when you say that the problem goes away at higher levels, but that's just not what I'd hoped Mythic Adventures to be - I thought it would scale more evenly, even at lower levels.

Still I don't mean to nag about this - just thought I'd share my views and see if anyone else thought the same way.


I think you are overestimating DR10. Especially on a character that can only take standard actions.


I see 2 problems here.
1) I think you are overestimating the combo in general. While it is true that it is good against mooks, especially at low levels he did spend a lot of resources just to get the ability. The ability is also very easily surmounted and it will probably be harder to make it work than to bypass it. It blocks physical damage and thats it. magic damage, supernatural abilitys, spells, save or suck, high damage, critical hits, environmental damage, falling damage (arguable), elemental damage, debuffs, ability damage, battlefield controll. Those were just off the top of my head for things that can get around it, heck a group of 5 goblins with bows is almost a sure fire kill against this guy if played right. Its no different from having a high AC EXCEPT that you have to be 1/4 to 1/8 dead and can only take a standard every turn. the goblins just have to fire away untill they get a crit (no different than trying to hit high AC) and can just withdraw when the ranger walks up to him since he cant attack (standard action only). Also, just how useful is a guy that can only attack OR move in a turn at threatining just about anybody or stoping anything from getting to the squishys. Heck he cant even run away! You got a regular ranger minus 2 feats that just gets saved from death against a limited group of attacks for a while, not an invulnerable tank.
Just be glad hes not an orc fighter going deathless inniate! That would be more optimal than this. assuming 16 con, a level 7 fighter could survive till -30 and would get bonuses while in this state as well as not being limited to a standard.
Again, a level 8 invulnerable rager barbarian with dragon totem can get DR 8- and stalwart can make it higher. Mythic gets it a little easier, but its supposed to be a bit stronger.

2) You talk as if you have to 'counter' this. I say let him have his cake, only try and counter him 1 out of 5 times so that way 4/5ths of the time he feels like a badass and not a wasted lump of almost-dead brand beef. From the sounds of it you are making your encounters easy anyways so his ability might not come into play even 1/10th of the time unless he is regulary dropping into dangerous hp levels. besides there is no way everyone else is just gonna sit back and watch because ranger buddy can survive without your spells being expended. The others want to play too! If everyone kills the encounter in 2-3 rounds, he wont even have time to drop into the low hps range what with mithic toughness granting +14 hps and hopefully at least a mediocre con score.

Again, let him have his fun, hes spending feats for it.


Gobo Horde wrote:
heck a group of 5 goblins with bows is almost a sure fire kill against this guy if played right.

Well... I admit that certainly puts things in perspective :-)

Gobo Horde wrote:
You talk as if you have to 'counter' this. I say let him have his cake, only try and counter him 1 out of 5 times so that way 4/5ths of the time he feels like a badass and not a wasted lump of almost-dead brand beef.

I generally don't feel the need to counter good builds and I'm 100% with you to let the PC's benefit from choices made. The combo just seemed pretty nasty at first and I thought it would be more of a gamebreaker than just a decent character upgrade.

Thanks for the feedback everyone - I'll probably just let them roll with it and see what happens. If nobody really thinks there's a problem, well... there might not really be a problem I suppose :-)


Alright sounds good and good luck!
Hope they enjoy it!

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