So I mentioned this over on http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2p7vl?Missing-the-Myth , but I felt it deserved its own thread so it can be thrown at the community at large instead of just the group who peruse every thread.
The definition of a Mythic hero is identical to the classical definition of a hero - Dictionary.com's "Classical Mythology" tells us that a Hero is:
- "a being of godlike prowess and beneficence who often came to be honored as a divinity"
- "a warrior-chieftain of special strength, courage, or ability."
- "(in later antiquity) an immortal being; demigod."
And certainly the Mythic rules as presented grant us many of these traits. In truth, Mythic heroes are stronger than the default hero - a Fighter 1/Mythic 1 is more amazing than a 1 Fighter. But is he more amazing than a Fighter 2? Well, there's the question.
People will say that the problem stems from this being a game of numbers. There is balance required - you can't just make yourself Hercules, or that delicate balance falls apart. But I don't agree with that. Hercules wasn't great just because he was strong, no more than Perseus was great because he got handed a bunch of magic items and killed a gorgon (because really, who among us hasn't killed a Gorgon in our games by now? Well, a Medusa, but the point remains). They were great because of an inner quality, an ability to wow and capture the imaginations of mortal men.
Can a Mythic Character do that? Can a Fighter 1/Mythic 1 wow his cohorts more than a Fighter 2?
Well, there are Mythic spells that let you do incredible things - a mile-wide Sleep is a good start. But on the whole, no, I don't feel that Mythic characters can capture the imagination. Mythic feels a great deal like a replacement for the Epic Levels, a replacement that's on the whole more "useable" and concept-friendly for GMs while at the same time being suited well for the incredibly high-level play of 20+. I feel as though being Mythic means more than what is presented in the books.
So, if you just glazed your eyes over at my little ramble, here's the part where you can start reading again. Don't worry, I don't hold it against you.
What does a Skill being Mythic mean? Simply put, being Mythic at a skill does not mean having more success at it; it means that your successes are greater than mere mortals can possibly attain. It means that your successes are touched by a spark of the divine, the sort of deeds that will live on in songs of fame and infamy for as long as time cares to remember you.
Starting at Mythic Tier 1, a Mythic Character may "flag" a single skill as Mythic. The character may, from that point on, burn a use of Mythic Power before he makes a roll, declaring that, should the skill succeed, he is using his Mythic effect. On a successful roll, the character's success is wildly, astoundingly powerful - far beyond the ken of mere mortals. Terrifying a village into submission, bringing a whole country to tears with your speech, or simply knowing that which you should not know - all these and more are possible with Mythic Skills. At every other mythic tier, the character may flag an additional skill as Mythic.
FORGING A LEGEND
Below are some suggested Mythic effects for various skills. It is by no means a comprehensive list, merely a single effect per core skill.
Mythic effects that are contested do not apply against other Mythic characters, unless otherwise noted.
Mythic Acrobatics - God Speed: The Mythic hero may either keep his full armor class while using Acrobatics to move across narrow surfaces, or multiply his Jump distance by (mythic tier) x10.
Mythic Appraise - King's Keen Eye: It is impossible to fool the Mythic appraiser. He immediately knows not only the value of the item he is appraising, but where and when it was made, with what materials it was created, and - if he succeeds the check by more than 10 - exactly what magic abilities a mystic item has, if any. This same ability applies to the most expensive item of a hoard, but at a glance, the Mythic hero may also determine the next most expensive item, its value, and any single magical aura upon it.
Mythic Bluff - Word Of Truth: The lie is true. Or, rather, the lie permeates the target so thoroughly that it becomes truth to him, no matter how outlandish - though all normal penalties apply. A Mythic Hero can convince a man that the sky is green, that his wife is cheating on him, or even that the man himself is dead - and if he is successful enough, truly kill him.
Mythic Climb - The Slopes Of Olympus: The hero may walk not only up any surface he succeeds on climbing with the climb check at full speed, as though he had a climb speed, but may climb a perfectly smooth, vertical surface as though it were a DC 40 check.
Mythic Craft - From The Forge Of Gods: The item is automatically masterwork. Furthermore, the GM may secretly roll on any table the GM feels is appropriate to determine whether or not the item has a magic property, as well as what property. The GM is under no compulsion to tell the player what sort of magic item he has created. The player does not need any sort of feat to create such items - but nor can the imbuement of Mythic magic truly be controlled.
Mythic Diplomacy - To Move A Nation: The words of a Mythic hero can move a nation, and indeed, do. By spending Mythic power, the result of a single Diplomacy check spreads like wildfire - improving the relationship of every NPC in a number of miles equal to your Mythic rank.
Mythic Disable Device - Curse Of The Black Pearl: The mythic hero levels a curse upon the device, a sabotage that surpasses mere mechanical. No visible evidence of his tampering is left; he may set any condition he wishes for the failure of the item in question, so long as it is a condition that can be achieved. "When the King of the nation rides upon this cart, the wheel will fall" or "when the firstborn son of the firstborn son of this cursed family sits upon this chair, the trap will trigger."
Mythic Disguise - For Someone's Glory: The Mythic Hero becomes the person he disguises. Divination magic cannot penetrate the disguise; for all intents and purposes, any attempts to detect the Hero treat him as though he were the real person. Furthermore, any actions committed by the hero while disguised as a real person become attributed to that person once the disguise ends. If he is disguised as a false person, there is no evidence of his falsehood.
Mythic Escape Artist - The Impossible Escape: The Mythic Hero is capable of escaping from every bond placed upon him with a single roll, as though it were a Dispel Magic check - target the highest roll offered, in descending order. This is treated as a standard action, no matter what sorts of restraints are placed upon him - including magical ones.
Mythic Fly - Hurricane In Motion: The mythic character rides the winds, and in his wake, the winds follow. The Mythic character applies a High Wind Speeds penalty to anyone who follows him within a thirty-foot radius; these winds can damage standing structures, fling items, and push Small enemies according to the wind speed table.
Mythic Handle Animal - Breaking The Untameable Mare: The Mythic character may apply Handle Animal to any creature that lacks an intelligence score, regardless of its nature or subtype - including Oozes, Golems, and mindless Undead - as though they were Wild animals, with a DC of 15+HD.
Mythic Heal - The Impossible Surgeon: The Mythic surgeon may restore a number of hit points to a wounded character equal to half of his Heal check, as though the character were healed by magic. Alternatively, he may cure a disease or poison normally considered uncurable, as though it had a save DC of 25+(HD of creature that applied it), or a flat 30 if the above does not apply.
Mythic Intimidate - Terror In Your Wake: The Mythic character, if he succeeds on his Intimidate check vs. his opponent's will or Sense Motive check, applies the results of his Intimidate to everyone in a radius of (Mythic Tier) miles. Furthermore, local authorities will not treat the mythic character as hostile, so long as he does not commit an illegal action - as normal.
Mythic Knowledge - Secrets Man Does Not Know: The Mythic sage may uncover a single bit of information that is actually impossible to know, according to a DC set by the DC. This information may be a local secret, a loophole in the law, or the location of a forgotten treasure; regardless, it is pulled out of absolutely nowhere, drawn from the Mythic power the sage holds.
Mythic Linguistics - Forgery Becomes Fact: A successful Mythic forgery does not merely become difficult to discern; it applies any modifiers that would be beneficial to the forgery, but pushes any negative modifiers onto the actual, original document. If there is no original document, it simply removes any negative penalties.
Mythic Perception - Sight Beyond Sight: The Mythic character gains a glimpse of the future on a successful Perception check. He immediately knows the next actions of any NPCs who are not Mythically stealthed, and can react to them as though he had a surprise action. His surprise action puts him immediately at the top of the surprise action initiative, allowing him to catch the assassins or ambushers before they even pull off their action.
Mythic Perform - All The World's A Stage: The Mythic character may sweep up others into the sheer force of his performance; on a Memorable or better performance, the Mythic artist may apply any single emotion to the crowd, as though they were subject to any single spell that can affect emotions. The Mythic hero may choose to apply either the benefits or the penalties, or both, of the spell. This may be combined with Bardic Performance, but any such performance burns up two rounds per actual round as the Bard sustains his epic.
Mythic Profession - uncertain. Try again later.
Mythic Ride - The Mount Of Heroes: With a DC 25 Ride check, the Hero may temporarily apply any benefits of his own Mythic tier to his mount so long as he stays upon it, including any feats or abilities the Mount could take advantage of - and also including any Mythic flaws.
Mythic Sense Motive - Glorious Magistrate's Ear: The Mythic hero may, on a successful Sense Motive check, not only determine whether or not the target is lying, but the nature of the lie, the nature of the crime the character is attempting to hide (if any), and the exact details of when and where the crime took place.
Mythic Sleight Of Hand - Where In The World...?: The Mythic hero may swipe attended objects as though they were unattended, including weapons, clothes, or items held in hand. By taking a cumulative -5 penalty per size category of the item, the character may even steal attended structures - so long as he has the means to carry them. This may include magic items such as a Bag of Holding, shrinking spells, or simply being large enough to hold the object with a successful strength check.
Mythic Spellcraft - Archmage's Wisdom: The Mythic hero may attempt to learn a spell he witnesses being cast with a successful check, as though it were a scroll or spellbook, so long as he first succeeds on the check to identify the spell being cast. This use of Mythic power may be declared after a successful attempt to identify a cast spell, unlike any other use of Mythic Skills - it then applies an immediate additional check to learn the spell. A spell not scribed before the end of the day is lost. Spontaneous casters who use this spell may immediately add a single use of their spell to their Spells Per Day, up to a number of additional spells equal to their Mythic tier.
Mythic Stealth - The Invisible Hand: The Mythic character vanishes from all forms of non-Mythic perception; not merely sight, sound, and scent, but tremorsense and other exotic senses, as well as Divination spells that are not cast by a mythic caster. Looking at the character simply registers as a blank space; it requires a DC 20 intelligence check to realize that something is wrong, though this check does not permit the character to then perceive the Mythic character. Any action that would break stealth breaks Mythic stealth.
Mythic Survival - Divine Guidance: The Mythic character not only knows exactly where he is, but the nearest location of all streams, watering holes, food sources, and natural hazards within a (Mythic Tier) mile radius, as well as any cities, towns, or gathering places.
Mythic Swim - Trout Up The Dam: The Mythic character may swim against any current as though he had a Swim speed of (Swim Check result), including directly up currents that would be impossible to swim, such as a waterfall. He may further act as though he has a swim speed for as long as he chooses to swim, including the ability to 'run' underwater across great distances.
Mythic Use Magic Device - not sure, try again later.
Note that I make no claims of the balance of these abilities - only their design and concept. This is intended only to be a jumping-off point, and has not been playtested in any real manner.
I would like to see some Mythic treatment of skills and hope something on the matter is in the final book.
In practice, most myths are about skills rather than combat prowess. Trickster myths are in particular full of ideas, but even things like the labors of Hercules and the Odyssey have a lot of not-combat going on.
I'd like to see a very broad framework for these with a lot of examples. The heroes we're emulating typically follow the Rule of Cool more closely than having specific tricks they rely on.
Spending a Mythic Power to break the rules seems very appropriate, but getting a general pass to bend the rules for attribute and skill checks based on your chosen mythic attribute might work as well.