|Liz Courts Webstore Gninja Minion|
|Lost Spheres Publishing|
Part II of my review:
At 3rd tier, there is one that I am not 100% happy: Bonuses of the same type, but different origins that alter the character’s shape, can stack with the Alpha Form ability; it is, in short, an invitation to min-max, offsetting an important balancing factor. Using mythic power to tap into SP/psi-like abilities is interesting, and it can be used to instill chemical imbalances to duplicate rages or cognatogens. There also is one that allows you to gain a short-lived, low-cost wondrous item or temporarily gain feats you have witnessed – however, this should clarify that it requires meeting prerequisites. There also is a marionette possession variant based on parasites and resisted by Fort-saves. While “alchemist class feature of your tier” is not perfect, I do like the idea to make blood volatile and bomb-like, and discovery-synergy is fun. Among the 6th tier abilities, we have blue magic-style access to supernatural abilities, duplicating physical forms of those touched, and limited recharging of integrated wands, which, at this tier, is probably okay. Gaining an internalized sub-mind akin to a psicrystal, with schism-tricks, is also rather cool. I kinda like this path, though it is pretty broad in its scope. Not as cool as the best ones herein, though.
Next up would be the overmage, who gains +3 hp per tier, with the base abilities providing immediate action,. Mythic power-based counterspells and mimicking, with restrictions powers, spells and feats used are nice, but using a full-round action and mythic power to cast a spell (up to tier level) from another source, using your primary casting attribute. The 10th tier ability requires that a single creature has to fail 3 saves versus different effects you generated.
The path abilities of the overmage allows for the lacing of spells into bombs, including affecting targets in splash range, at -2 DC or half damage. This is still VERY powerful in the hands of the right build, namely one focusing on single-target kill-spells that suddenly can target multiple beings. Really cool, tapping into the sense of consistency and logic I mentioned previously, there is an ability that allows for the use of bloodline-using characters to make extracts, with a solid limitation. Lacing familiars with the ability to temporarily add spells to your array of spells known is also creative. Synergy with the mosaic mage. Dispelling wrack has a somewhat annoying glitch, lacking the word “damage”, which makes the ability look almost like it eliminated spell slots. Access to mutagens and the means to use any spell slots of classes to cast spells known is interesting, if potentially rather strong – as you can glean, this is another path that can be rather potent in the hands of a player with sufficient system mastery. Indeed, there is a path ability that provides full synergy between spellcasting classes, with tier as the limit. This is very, very potent in the right hands. An oracle mystery, short-term item-benefits, dual casting – the powers here are significant, and frankly, quite a few of these should be restricted to a higher tier.
At 3rd tier, sacrificing arcane spells as part of a turning attempt to improve the attempt is per se nice, but lacks a prerequisite. Improvements of previous abilities and Leadership-synergy copied effects are creative and complex, while bonuses gained when casting are interesting. The path also has the means to pay psionic power points per spell level to retain spell slots or cast even three spells with a combined full-round + swift action…ouch. This one should imho be 6th tier. Speaking of which: Here, we get eidolons, or a synthesist’s fused eidolon. Interesting and really cool: This tier also allows for the removal (or gaining!) of an archetype! I have never seen the like, but it is a complex and work-intense, but also rewarding ability. Gaining essentially a mythic power-based retributive strike, is amazing. (As a nitpick: Mythic power is not known as points in rules-language, but this is aesthetics.) I like the concept of this super-theurge, but at the same time, I am very wary of its vast power. Several of the lower-tier abilities belong to a higher tier in my book, and compared to the archmage, this one can blow the classic mythic path away.
The second magic-themed path would be the scion of high sorcery, who also receives 3 hp per tier. Basic path ability-wise, we get an ability that can change the face of the gaming world,, namely the option to use mythic power to cast spells of family members removed 1 generation per tier. The importance of blood-relation can account for mighty caster-dynasties and carry, concept-wise, whole campaigns. Similarly, using mythic power to lend targets spells to relations and rerolls of saves is nice…though the latter option allows you to regain a spell slot upon success. Aesthetics-wise, this should have a minimum spell-level, though the mythic power expenditure prevents abuse. The capstone tier halves damage from arcane sources after all other reductions. 1/round, when saving successfully versus an arcane effect, you regain a use of mythic power.
As before, we get once more the option to get more basic path abilities, and temporarily gain bloodline arcana or powers from a blood-relationship, which lacks a limit based for the powers; low level characters can get access to high-level bloodline powers, which is not okay. Higher maximum age. Extracting blood from targets, learning bloodlines, switching bloodline spells, gaining channel energy and aura (and godling-synergy, if using RGG’s Godling-rules). Did I mention making elementals of blood or temporarily gaining a creature type related to your bloodline when using your bloodline spells? Yeah, cool! On a nitpicky side, quite a few of these should specify the requirement of a bloodline as a prerequisite. Providing surge for followers and the inverse switching of bloodlines (air to earth, for example) is also cool – though, as a minor and purely aesthetic complaint, the opposite of the celestial bloodline could be construed to be abyssal, not infernal. Still, this is nitpicking at the highest level.
Among the 3rd tier abilities, we have the means to draw power from the falling of blood-related allies, delivering touch spells through lifeblood elementals and imbuing magic in allies is interesting. There is also a means to regain Constitution damage (as an aside – the ability score is not capitalized in this path). 6th tier allows you to awaken sorcerous powers in others (EPIC!), via quick retraining, and there is an ability that allows the scion to suppress spontaneous casting ability, potentially permanently. This should probably be codified as some sort of effect, and while I love it, the presentation is a bit awkward, as more mythic power can be spent for longer durations –a table would have been more elegant here. Speaking of rough edges – the next ability mistakes “lethal damage” for “being killed”, and lacks an italicization. The idea here is to enter a target upon being killed, which is cool; however, lethal damage in PFRPG is every damage that is not non-lethal. There is also a Will-save reference not capitalized properly. The formatting and rough parts aside, this path is awesome. The idea here can carry whole campaigns and deserves applause, though I wished the path received a little polish to make it shine as brightly as it deserves to.
Next up would be the super genius, who gains +4 hp per tier. This one…is problematic, to a degree. One of the basic abilities allows for the substitution of Knowledge skills for an attack roll, something I only consider to be palatable due to the mythic power-requirement. The second one uses a similar ability to render targets flat-footed, and another one has AC as the benefits of such a basis. The capstone allows the regaining of mythic power from defeating identified targets. The path abilities allow for the addition of Intelligence modifier to atk and damage for 1 round per mythic tier. Enhancing items temporarily by tier via UMD and mythic power, denying divine authority (i.e. passive save bonus, plus the option to use Knowledge (religion) as SR versus divine effects, using Handle Animal for magical beasts, gaining Sense Motive-based Ac-bonuses, substituting Wisdom for Constitution modifier, Strength for Charisma, Dexterity for Wisdom…you get the idea here. The power here varies rather significantly, with one really weak one allowing for movement alongside vertical surfaces – per point over DC 30, 5’; contrast that with the potent ability-score substitution and you’ll know what I meant.
At 3rd tier, we have some really potent ones: Using Autohypnosis skill checks to negate the last damage taken, provided the check exceeded damage, for example. As you can see, the theme of the super-genius is basically skill-use, and that, system-immanently, is somewhat problematic, considering how easily skills can be blown through the roof via items and spells. Now, granted, the path does not necessarily allow for super-cheesy breaking of rules, but neither is it particularly elegant. Synergy regarding Inspired Creations from Profession (Cook) is nice; on the other hand, a 6th tier ability nets one 1st level psionic power, usable 3/day. Further taking of the ability allows for the selection of another power, one level higher. This one does not feel exactly like a 6th tier power. I am not a particularly big fan of this one.
Next up would be the timelord, who gains +3 hit points per tier, with the basic abilities allowing for feat-or spell-substitution. I like the idea to delay a d20-result, and the third ability lets you sacrifice value to gain items, drawing them from another timeline. The capstone nets you one mythic power whenever a mythic effects ends on you. As you can probably assume, the path is particularly suited for time thieves/wardens and clairsentience-specialists. The 1st tier abilities include temporary evolutions. Maximizing an attack’s damage and all random results is BRUTAL for 1st tier and should be relegated to a higher tier. Extending the delaying of d20 rolls to nearby allies, quickened natural rest, extended durations, retracing a move action…interesting. Speaking of which: The deferred d20s may be stored with the right ability, suddenly behaving as a pool. Quite a bunch of abilities are based directly on using this fate pool. Motes of time synergy and the like render this, ability-interaction-wise, one of my favorites within this book. The means to 1/encounter rolling advantage on a save, alas, annoying refer to per-encounter abilities, so please picture me inserting my old rant on how per-encounter mechanics make no sense in-game.
That being said, power-level-wise, the timelord’s 1st tier abilities feel more on par with one another than those of quite a few other paths herein. The innovative ideas here also extend to the higher-tier abilities: Choose an attack type, and this will then make the lowest damage rolls be treated as +1 higher, i.e. 1s as 2s – after that, the ability further improves. There is also a GENIUS ability here: When an ally dies, the timelord can alter the timeline so he did not join the PCs; instead, the no-longer-deceased PC met up with another character, who then proceeds to become the new PC of the player. New and old PC know each other, so there is, indeed, a reason for the new PC knowing about current themes. I absolutely *adore* this!! IT’s easily one of my favorite mythic powers ever! Did I mention the means to fuse stored d20 rolls into aevum? Among the 6th tier tricks, splitting into actual two beings that share a single hp pool, is potent – but while it is active, you may not use any other mythic powers. Slightly problematic here – the ability has no daily cap or power-activation requirement. Shielding areas versus temporal manipulation is nice; however, personally, I also adore the means to replace yourself with a tightly-codified alternate of yourself.
…okay, I am a Dr. Who fan, and I adore the ideas and execution here. Winner!
The next path takes the award for best name of a mythic path, ever: Will-of-all. Come on, that is cool! The path gets 3 bonus hit points per tier and allows with the base abilities, to either share a feat, regardless of prerequisites, with allies. A complaint here would pertain the necessarily limitation for metamagic feats being based on tier and spell level adjustment – here, total modified spell level would have made more sense. The second ability allows you to sacrifice a spell slot, spell known or power points sufficient to manifest a power as a swift action, allowing an ally to regain what you sacrificed, and their next spell/power gets a +1/2 tier bonus to CL. (As a nitpick, since the ability encompasses psionics, it should also reference ML.) This…is brutal. This basically utterly delimits casting and allows for basically pool-sharing, which does not work. Spell slots are not equal for all classes, and neither are power points. This begs to be broken, particularly due to not requiring mythic power expenditure. Thirdly, we have a swift action means to replenish a class ability with daily uses or pool-based mechanics, replenishing it. You can also grant an ally psionic focus. While there is a hard cap imposed based on tier on how many times an ally can be affected by it per day, this should, rules-aesthetics-wise, differentiate between daily abilities, those than can be used more often, etc. – in essence, this is too wide open. As before, there are means to unlock the other basic abilities not chosen at first tier.
The path abilities often blend flavor with mechanics: One lets you set up basically a site of remembrance, and then conveys a sliver of an ancestor’s abilities. I also really like how gaining the mental attributes of a past life! This is REALLY cool. Gaining a collective is super potent and probably too strong for 1st tier, and somewhat to my chagrin, the notion of zones from the rather problematic Transcendent 10-installment returns. These are very problematic, and while indiscriminate, can result in numbers quickly spiraling out of control. On the other hand, there are some true gems here, with the options to establish denial zones that lock down certain tricks. To nitpick: Unfortunately, prerequisites required by path abilities have not been consistently implemented.
At higher tier we have the means to treat character level as class level for binder, manifester, etc. levels, which can be a boon for multiclass characters, and the option, and sharing effects and similarly complex operations are included. The focuses of this one are past lives (represented as alternate spirit Leadership, etc.) as well as superb AoE buff/debuffing. The ideas here are really cool, but the finetuning of this one is pretty tough: This could either be a flavorful, evocative option, or super-broken mess. I like it, but it’s an option that demands a gentlemen’s agreement between player and GM to not minmax the hell out of it. Mythic power is, at 20th level, regained when you or an ally have benefited from a path ability (I assume, one from the will-of-one!) and rolls a natural 20 versus a mythic effect.
The final mythic path included in this tome would be the worldsinger, who gets 4 bonus hit points per tier. The base abilities allow you to expend mythic power as a swift action, to affect a creature that can hear you with a touch-range power, and you may substitute Perform checks for attack. Skills are easily minmaxed and broken, plus this will make megaphone spells and items really popular. I’d have preferred a hard cap on range that scales with tier. As provided, this is brutal. The second option lets you substitute Perform checks for save DCs. Wait. WUT? Sure, mythic foes can expend mythic power as an immediate action to save versus the regular DC, and it does cost mythic power…but yeah. No. Not gonna happen. Immediate action mythic-power-driven countersong of spells or powers is interesting. The capstone nets you mythic power when a non-mythic creature affected by a morale bonus defeats a mythic creature. Nice way to prevent kitten-abuse. As before, the tier abilities allow you to get the base abilities you have not yet chosen. The path abilities…are strangely underwhelming. They require mythic power expenditure and a Perform check (what happens upon failure?) versus a paltry DC (20) – this unnecessarily bogs down gameplay.
There are a couple of innovative, if slightly clunky options here as well: A variety of dances that exchange two ability scores for allies benefiting from your morale bonuses is interesting. Adding a penalty to Will-saves to resist your mind-affecting effects can add a sting to the morale boost and is intriguing. At the same time, balance between path abilities isn’t exactly precise: 10 minutes + 1 mythic power to make a Perform check and have it count as heal for long-term care+ a paltry goodberry? Where can I sign up to waste my path ability? Sorry, I try to keep the sarcasm down, but it’s a tough bastard to get rid of. Synergy with rage or bloodrage that shares them in addition to the boosts in effect. There also is a path ability I frankly don’t understand. “For 1 round per tier damage inflicted due to morale damage bonuses you is returned to attackers as healing. The creatures damaged by these attacks only grant healing if they possess a life-force .” Are attackers healed? Is their damage converted prior or after attacking? Can you still die? No idea. Heartbound feat synergy can be found, and in case you’re currently attempting to play a god-wilder, what about sharing wild surge WITH EVERYONE currently under the effects of your morale bonuses? The path is the bardic superbuffer with a ton of multiclass-based options, but it can be absolutely devastating when handled right. Not a fan of this one.
Editing and formatting, on a formal and rules-language level, are somewhat inconsistent. On one hand, the pdf gets complex rules-operations of the highest order right, on the other, it fails at more simple ones here and there, becoming more ambiguous than it should be – most of the time due to the difficult concepts this tries to encompass. This is top-tier difficulty, mind you…but still. This could have used a really picky rules-dev. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard that fits a lot of text on the page, and the full-color artworks that are here, are amazing. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks for your convenience. Nice: the pdf comes with a second, more mobile-device-friendly version that only clocks in at roughly 16 mbs.
Christen N. Sowards’ mythic paths are an impressive book, considering how early in the life-cycle of Lost Spheres Publishing it was released. This book is ambitious and injects a ton of flavor in many of its options, making them feel distinct and not as generic as some of the basic mythic powers. That being said, the rules-language is inconsistent and the book, alas, also is inconsistent in the power-level of path abilities, which range from preposterously potent to laughably weak. That being said, it is my firm conviction that this book, while not a diamond in the rough per se, does have its truly inspired moments. When the book gets it right, it does so triumphantly.
Which leaves me with a bit of a conundrum. You see, this is a flawed book, and there are no two ways around that. I would not allow it sight unseen in my group, and system-immanently, deciding whether an ability works or not, can be a tough call to make for the GM. This requires oversight by a capable, experienced GM who understands the math the rules, the numbers. Without this oversight, some paths herein can wreck havoc with the opposition.
At the same time, I really want to recommend this book. There is so much to be loved within these pages; there is honest passion radiating from the material, and it never is boring. It may not be perfect, but it is a worthwhile addition for experienced groups that can negotiate a suitable power-level. For such groups, particularly if you’re using subsystems like psionics and pact magic, this should be definitely worth a look, though I’d strongly suggest reassigning a couple of the abilities, tier-wise.
How do I rate this? Damn, this is hard. You see, as a person, I cherish the concepts herein; I have the experience to reassign abilities and nerf them, to polish the components herein that deserve applause. Then again, not all paths share this high quality – the stand-alone paths were wisely chosen and feel like they had more polish than will-of-all, for example; some are rather rough around the edges, and I have to maintain consistency with other reviews. So yeah, unfortunately, while, as a person, I’d round up, my official verdict can’t go higher than 3.5 stars, rounded down. For experienced groups using a lot of 3pp with mythic content, this is most certainly worth checking out, though.
Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS, etc.