Apology: But is Mythic Supposed to Replace Epic? Because...


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Sorry, I am sure this has been extensively talked about, but I rarely get online anymore, however I run 5 PF campaigns and one includes my high level D&D group that is still playing characters from 1st edition and are now level 33. I run it based on the Epic Level Handbook.

I love this Mythic thing, but it sounds like it's an alternate system that can run at lower levels. Nothing is mentioned about it being "good for running your 20th level plus characters"...

Can I have some opinions on if this is supposed to be an alternate to Epic? Or if not, any advice on how I can adapt it to Epic?

Thanks!


It can be run at low levels, and it can be used to continue play after 20th level.

In the latter situation, once you hit level 20, you can start getting mythic tiers. It sounds like, and I don't actually remember why I think this, that every 2 tiers is about +1 CR that they can handle.

Basically, it's meant to let the PCs handle tougher challenges than other PCs of their base level. So it can be used to extend the game a bit, but it is not the same as Epic rules were in 3.5.

Liberty's Edge

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Hey there Saradoc :)

The Mythic Adventures FAQ might help

Also, here are a few recent comments made by Jason Bulmahn on the subject:

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These rules do not preclude us from doing Epic rules in the future, although currently it is not in our schedule to do so.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

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Mythic gives us the opportunity to have a different style of play, something that we find will help us tell a type of story that we otherwise could not tell without significant "spot" additions to the game. We of course realize that this style of play might not be for everyone, just like low magic, psionic, or epic, is not for everyone. By giving it a broad appeal, allowing it to be used at every level of play, as well as by keeping the theme well within what most would consider part of a fantasy setting, we are hoping to mitigate that limitation.

You may not agree, and that's fine. I think you will find that this book has something for you even if you don't necessarily let your players use it all the time, or even at all.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

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I think you will find that Mythic actually eases some of the problems with High Level play, letting mythic characters ignore and break some of the rules that hinder the characters. Its a bit more complicated in some senses, but we feel that the payoff is worth it. Of course, the book is designed to be used with all levels of play, not just mid and high, so everyone can get a taste of what it means to be legendary.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

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Hey there all,

We went with Mythic for a variety of reasons, but the largest among them was that mythic allows us to tell some of the same stories as epic, but it does not tie the rules set to 20+ level play, which is an area that few groups ever achieve. We wanted to put out a book that was more usable and "friendly" to a larger percentage of our audience, but still allowed us to take the game in a new direction.

I realize that Mythic may not be for everyone. That is ok. I hope that you will be able to find some parts of it that you can use. If not, this book does not preclude us from doing Epic at some point in the future.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

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Your mythic levels (or tiers, I kinda like that, may bounce that around the pit), are outside your normal progression. The game plays out as normal for the most part, killing monsters, getting stuff, but occasionally, when you meet the right criteria, you might get a new mythic level. Achieving this level is not based on xp, it is based on accomplishing deeds that are tied to your path and other deeds that are decided upon by your GM. Since these can happen at any time, this system can be used to augment lower level characters (even 1st) or can be used as a different sort of capstone advancement once you hit 20th (you might not be worried about xp anymore, only completing deeds for the sake of more mythic levels).

Next up, there are no mythic "points". Instead, each mythic character can draw upon his mythic power a number of times per day equal to his total mythic level plus the modifier from a ability score of his choice. This mythic power is the real engine behind a number of his abilities. All characters can use it to add to a d20 roll after the results have been declared, but each path also grants one ability at 1st level that also draws on it. During play, we have found that the power from this pool is in high demand and every character has to carefully decide how best to use it.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

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See Jason Bulmahn's post and Sean K Reynolds' post for some of the reasoning.

In a nutshell, Mythic is mainly useful for allowing lower-level characters to engage with higher-level creatures, or similar-level creatures with matching mythic abilities. This was done partly because it was "easier" (in particular easier to scale to more difficult encounters without some existing progressions becoming unbalanced), and partly because it would sell better (because they are not limiting themselves to player's with level 20+ characters, but even 1st-level characters that can become mythic).

That being said, you can use the mythic rules to simulate epic play somewhat (using mythic tiers in place of 20+ levels), but your mileage may vary. In particular, mythic tiers are more interesting and useful if earned between some level ups, not all after 20+ adventuring.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The intent of the Mythic rules is not to build for post 20th level play but in effect to expand the space of 1-20.

It doesn't "replace" Epic because epic does not exist for Pathfinder, outside of homeruling the old 3.5 stuff which got no support during the 3.5 days because of the problems mentioned in Jason's post.

You're essentially spot on in your assessment of where Mythic is intended to fit.

Epic's basic problem was that it wasn't supportable by anyone, not even Wizards. The main problem with supporting epic is that it had no cap, there for no solid goalposts for support. And Epic's own fans would not agree on a cap, nor in many cases the need for one. Epic was such a bad fit for standard play that they created the shell of a new settin for it within the standard book. Paizo simply has no interest in creating a set of rules for Pathfinder that can't be used on Golarion itself. So they thought outside of the box and worked on the strategy of nixing building beyond 20th level play but instead expanding the 1-20 space itself.

While I congratulate you on your success in your personal campaign, what Wizards found out the hard way in the past is that that folks like you and your 33rd level group, are simply too idiosyncratic to form a coherent market to aim for. Instead they created a product that can fit within the existing market.

Digital Products Assistant

Merged threads.


I theory you could use Epic rules with Mythic rules. You'd have to tool the 3.5 Epic rules to work with Pathfinder though and that's a lot of work. You could then have level 25 fighter with 3 Mythic Tiers.

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It isn't supposed to replace epic.

But I ran a 20th level mythic playtest -- mythic tiers on top of high level -- and I liked the feel of it. At 20th level, your deeds really are legendary, it does make more sense to track your power increase in a way that mythic accomplishes -- a more lateral increase rather than just stacking more levels.

And as Voska says, you could easily just add mythic tiers to your homebrewed epic game if you want.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The beauty of mythic is that you don't have to wait until post 20th level play to make use of it. The really great thing about it is that you can work with it at any level and it will have an appropriate impact no matter what level range you introduce it at.


Also some people have been working on a conversion of 3.5 Epic rules to Pathfinder Epic by Lord Nequam and here is something I have been working


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
edduardco wrote:
Also some people have been working on a conversion of 3.5 Epic rules to Pathfinder Epic by Lord Nequam and here is something I have been working

Don't forget Little Red Goblin Games' Legendary Levels.

The Exchange

Oddly, some time before the mythic rules were introduced, I recall having the notion that "if the level system breaks down after a certain point" - I believe I was thinking of about 13th level, but whatever - "perhaps characters should start improving in some other way than gaining levels." For me, it was pretty out-of-the-box thinking; it's not nearly as surprising that Paizo came up with the notion too, since they pay a large number of people to think. ;)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Lincoln Hills wrote:
Oddly, some time before the mythic rules were introduced, I recall having the notion that "if the level system breaks down after a certain point" - I believe I was thinking of about 13th level, but whatever - "perhaps characters should start improving in some other way than gaining levels." For me, it was pretty out-of-the-box thinking; it's not nearly as surprising that Paizo came up with the notion too, since they pay a large number of people to think. ;)

This strikes me as an odd notion. The idea that the level system "breaks down" after a certain point is largely because character level started having so much power attached to it, both directly (e.g. the various level-based mechanics you get automatically, such as BAB, spellcasting, feats, etc.) and indirectly (e.g. wealth by level).

If you decouple that increase in power from leveling, while still allowing for a sharp uptick in the power PCs gain (and while still using "tiers" that are just levels that are measured by another metric), you haven't really changed anything.

The draw of Mythic is that it allows for higher-level abilities to be performed earlier in the campaign, where they're less game-breaking because you don't have all those levels' worth of power, in addition to your mythic abilities, pushing the system to the breaking point.

You're still going to run into the same problems at the higher levels.

Paizo Employee Senior Designer

As a note, the newest AP Paizo is coming out with set in the Worldwound does use the Mythic system, and

small giveaway about the end boss:
uses it to allow the PC's to face an epic level (CR 35) demon lord at the end
. So it can be used to allow epic level play, but doesn't necessarily require a linear advancement of 1-20 followed by MT 1-10. You could be gaining your Mythic Tiers interspersed throughout an adventure, so that ultimately you end up with an APL 30 party with 20 levels and 10 mythic tiers.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ssalarn wrote:
As a note, the newest AP Paizo is coming out with set in the Worldwound does use the Mythic system, and ** spoiler omitted **. So it can be used to allow epic level play, but doesn't necessarily require a linear advancement of 1-20 followed by MT 1-10. You could be gaining your Mythic Tiers interspersed throughout an adventure, so that ultimately you end up with an APL 30 party with 20 levels and 10 mythic tiers.

Actually APL 25 if the playtest results of each MT equaling about a half CR in power rise hold constant.

Paizo Employee Senior Designer

LazarX wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
As a note, the newest AP Paizo is coming out with set in the Worldwound does use the Mythic system, and ** spoiler omitted **. So it can be used to allow epic level play, but doesn't necessarily require a linear advancement of 1-20 followed by MT 1-10. You could be gaining your Mythic Tiers interspersed throughout an adventure, so that ultimately you end up with an APL 30 party with 20 levels and 10 mythic tiers.
Actually APL 25 if the playtest results of each MT equaling about a half CR in power rise hold constant.

From what JB and others were discussing towards the middle and end of the playtest, it seemed more like they were going towards a direct level - mythic tier equivalent, i.e. 1 MT = 1 level.

The Exchange

Alzrius wrote:

...The idea that the level system "breaks down" after a certain point is largely because character level started having so much power attached to it, both directly (e.g. the various level-based mechanics you get automatically, such as BAB, spellcasting, feats, etc.) and indirectly (e.g. wealth by level).

If you decouple that increase in power from leveling, while still allowing for a sharp uptick in the power PCs gain (and while still using "tiers" that are just levels that are measured by another metric), you haven't really changed anything...

Alzrius - the difficulties to which I refer spring not so much from class abilities or items, which - as you very correctly imply - can easily be fixed by scaling foes suitably. I'm referring to the mathematical issues related to BAB and saving throws - with a nod to the increased DCs and uses-per-day of "save or die".

There comes a point (perhaps at 15th level, perhaps at 35th) where the d20 is used only to check for a natural 20 or a natural 1 - the result being otherwise fore-ordained. The only roll to retain as much impact, as much "chance" as it did at low level, is initiative - achieving surprise or winning initiative becomes absolutely vital as the odds of the first combatant inflicting disintegration, petrification, or a 130-point wound with 2d6 bleed damage and 'blinded' slowly arrive at 95%.

I reiterate that I haven't looked at Mythic yet, but if it grants options and abilities without encouraging "roll better initiative to avoid a 95% chance of death", it's better than the Epic system was.


From the playtests I ran, Mythic rules can make low levels very fun for either the players or the GM. Players love to do super cool and mythical things to ordinary monsters, and GM gets to have fun when he whips out his super cool mythical baddy he built (players like the challenge too).

The high level playtests I read on the boards looked just ridiculously fun (sometimes almost too fun) with the options and sweet abilities the different paths give.

I didn't play too much around with it, but I am really intrigued by the Flaws concept as it can make for fun story quests for a solo or the group.

Paizo Employee Senior Designer

Lincoln Hills wrote:

Alzrius - the difficulties to which I refer spring not so much from class abilities or items, which - as you very correctly imply - can easily be fixed by scaling foes suitably. I'm referring to the mathematical issues related to BAB and saving throws - with a nod to the increased DCs and uses-per-day of "save or die".

There comes a point (perhaps at 15th level, perhaps at 35th) where the d20 is used only to check for a natural 20 or a natural 1 - the result being otherwise fore-ordained. The only roll to retain as much impact, as much "chance" as it did at low level, is initiative - achieving surprise or winning initiative becomes absolutely vital as the odds of the first combatant inflicting disintegration, petrification, or a 130-point wound with 2d6 bleed damage and 'blinded' slowly arrive at 95%.

I reiterate that I haven't looked at Mythic yet, but if it grants options and abilities without encouraging "roll better initiative to avoid a 95% chance of death", it's better than the Epic system was.

Agreed.

There are also some basic mathematic equivalencies relating to a game balanced around a 20 point variance and a 20 level progression going beyond 20 levels, but.....

Mythic keeps the main numbers within a static and consistent framework, but opens up options and capabilities totally outside of the traditional system, without cutting off the possibility of future Epic expansions. I'm a pretty big fan.


Lincoln Hills wrote:
Oddly, some time before the mythic rules were introduced, I recall having the notion that "if the level system breaks down after a certain point" - I believe I was thinking of about 13th level, but whatever - "perhaps characters should start improving in some other way than gaining levels." For me, it was pretty out-of-the-box thinking; it's not nearly as surprising that Paizo came up with the notion too, since they pay a large number of people to think. ;)

The level system doesn't break down. What it does is change. The game take a lot more planning by the GM. The GM need to plan the adventure with the powers of the characters in mind. There is no need for mystery that can be solved with couple spells for example. The adversaries in high game need to a clever as the players in covering their tracks and challenging the PC. You simply can not play the game for the last 10 levels as you played it for the first 10. If you try to force game play to be the same through all 20 level of course the game will break down at the high levels.

Mythic rules will just lower that bar. This change in adventure planning will need to occur sooner. Personally I prefer the high level play. It's a challenge to GM and the player have to keep on their toes. Only issue I have with it time.


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voska66 wrote:
Lincoln Hills wrote:
Oddly, some time before the mythic rules were introduced, I recall having the notion that "if the level system breaks down after a certain point" - I believe I was thinking of about 13th level, but whatever - "perhaps characters should start improving in some other way than gaining levels." For me, it was pretty out-of-the-box thinking; it's not nearly as surprising that Paizo came up with the notion too, since they pay a large number of people to think. ;)

The level system doesn't break down. What it does is change. The game take a lot more planning by the GM. The GM need to plan the adventure with the powers of the characters in mind. There is no need for mystery that can be solved with couple spells for example. The adversaries in high game need to a clever as the players in covering their tracks and challenging the PC. You simply can not play the game for the last 10 levels as you played it for the first 10. If you try to force game play to be the same through all 20 level of course the game will break down at the high levels.

Mythic rules will just lower that bar. This change in adventure planning will need to occur sooner. Personally I prefer the high level play. It's a challenge to GM and the player have to keep on their toes. Only issue I have with it time.

By your own admission, the system doesn't function the same way as it used to past a certain point. However, nothing in the rules or in the marketing indicate that that's the way it's supposed to work. The assumption is that it should still continue to work. If it doesn't work at high levels the same way it did at low levels, it breaks down. Just because you can still use it for something doesn't mean it isn't broken.

Mathematically, it most certainly does break down. The dice-based system is essentially a weighted random-number generator that we hang a narrative on. Mechanically, with chance increments of 5% per result, there comes a point where you have weighted the random number generator so much that it stops functioning as such. A level 20 fighter has a BAB of 20. His base value holds as much weight as the maximum value that can be possibly generated. Combined with the fact that monsters at higher CRs have ACs that don't scale the same way, the random number generator stops functioning except for a 5% chance of failure/success when you otherwise would have succeeded/failed. That's a broken system.


The Dread Pirate Hurley wrote:


By your own admission, the system doesn't function the same way as it used to past a certain point. However, nothing in the rules or in the marketing indicate that that's the way it's supposed to work. The assumption is that it should still continue to work. If it doesn't work at high levels the same way it did at low levels, it breaks down. Just because you can still use it for something doesn't mean it isn't broken.

Mathematically, it most certainly does break down. The dice-based system is essentially a weighted random-number generator that we hang a narrative on. Mechanically, with chance increments of 5% per result, there comes a point where you have weighted the random number generator so much that it stops functioning as such. A level 20 fighter has a BAB of 20. His base value holds as much weight as the maximum value that can be possibly generated. Combined with the fact that monsters at higher CRs have ACs that don't scale the same way, the random number generator stops functioning except for a 5% chance of failure/success when you otherwise would have succeeded/failed. That's a broken system.

The first part doesn't really matter. The size of the bonus relative to the range of the die isn't important. You could, for example, tack a flat +100 to both sides of every d20 check in the game and the mechanics would work exactly the same.

The second part is the problem. The various numbers don't scale the same way. In the early levels everyone has a fairly decent chance at most things: attack rolls, saves, skills. By the highest levels, most things are either autosuccess for those who focused on that or impossible for those who didn't.


Mythic, while not being a straight up replacement, is even better than Epic in one respect. Epic advancement, while still extremely rare and difficult, is still dependent on xp gain, while Mythic Levels can be gained as slowly as the DM wishes, thereby potentially extending a Campaign for years if necessary.


Ssalarn wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
As a note, the newest AP Paizo is coming out with set in the Worldwound does use the Mythic system, and ** spoiler omitted **. So it can be used to allow epic level play, but doesn't necessarily require a linear advancement of 1-20 followed by MT 1-10. You could be gaining your Mythic Tiers interspersed throughout an adventure, so that ultimately you end up with an APL 30 party with 20 levels and 10 mythic tiers.
Actually APL 25 if the playtest results of each MT equaling about a half CR in power rise hold constant.
From what JB and others were discussing towards the middle and end of the playtest, it seemed more like they were going towards a direct level - mythic tier equivalent, i.e. 1 MT = 1 level.

Yeah, but that changed months ago. It's been known for a while now that CR will cap out at 30 and that Mythic Tiers are worth half-a-level each so a "maxed" party will be APL 25.


Lincoln Hills wrote:
Oddly, some time before the mythic rules were introduced, I recall having the notion that "if the level system breaks down after a certain point" - I believe I was thinking of about 13th level, but whatever - "perhaps characters should start improving in some other way than gaining levels." For me, it was pretty out-of-the-box thinking; it's not nearly as surprising that Paizo came up with the notion too, since they pay a large number of people to think. ;)

Note: WotC also had a similar idea with Divine Ranks in 3.0, an incomplete version of that system can be found here, and the full system is in the 3.0 book "deities and demigods"...

most of the 3.0 divine abilities are very vaugly defined and don't seem to be intended for player use (which sort of makes them redundant, since DMs don't particularly need printed rules to design abilities, especially when those abilities are only used by NPC gods.

The hardest part about writing for Epic, IMO, is that what you need to accomplish is tremendous. At 20th level, the adventure is just getting started: the players must now set out on quests in which entire planes occupy the role once played by nations. Suddenly, an threat to an entire plane is far from the largest of the party's worries. Now they go to conquer massive networks of epic people spanning hundreds of planes. A campaign setting like Spelljammer is ideal for such a game.
The problem is, though, that this requires significantly more material than just running a game levels 1-20. Even if Paizo released an ELH along with an Advanced Epic Player's Guide and Ultimate Epic Campaign, an epic campaign would still have just as many holes as a normal core-only game does (unless the quality in the design of those three hypothetical books was exceptional even by Paizo's standards).

The other big issue with epic play in 3.X is that most of the people who enjoyed it have found other games. WotC's support for high powered play basically amounted to:
--the Immortals Handbook for AD&D. Good, but doesn't work with 3.X, since it was written for a different system.
--The Epic Level Handbook, for 3.0, never updated to 3.5, let alone PF.
That one book the only professional support high-powered 3.X games got in 13 years. WotC lost their high-powered fans to White Wolf (with Exalted) and Steve Jackson (with GURPS).

Paizo's support for high-powered games in 3.X has been, so far, nothing. Mythic might start to fill that role well, and it might not, we won't know until it is released. If I were to judge the playtest as the finished product, I would probably say that it is merely a minor supplement to the ELH and doesn't add too much by itself beyond making low levels a little less stagnant. That would not be a fair assessment, however, as the playtest document is not the finished product, so I remain cautiously optimistic about it. Still, it is only one book, and what comparison between GURPS and the ELH demonstrated is that one book, no matter how well developed, cannot possibly tackle everything needed to make high level play complete.

Paizo Employee Senior Designer

I hadn't heard about the adjustment of Mythic Tiers only being worth 1/2 a level, but if that's true there really isn't a very big bump in the way high level play changes either. a CR cap of only +5 is a little underwhelming. I have a hard time seeing Cthulu and demon lords only being marginally more powerful than the Tarrasque (as an example).
We'll see waht the final product looks like.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

In the latest AP:

Spoiler:
Isnt Baba Yaga a CR 30 (20 witch/10 archmage or something)?


137ben wrote:

The other big issue with epic play in 3.X is that most of the people who enjoyed it have found other games. WotC's support for high powered play basically amounted to:

--the Immortals Handbook for AD&D. Good, but doesn't work with 3.X, since it was written for a different system.
--The Epic Level Handbook, for 3.0, never updated to 3.5, let alone PF.
That one book the only professional support high-powered 3.X games got in 13 years. WotC lost their high-powered fans to White Wolf (with Exalted) and Steve Jackson (with GURPS).

Paizo's support for high-powered games in 3.X has been, so far, nothing. Mythic might start to fill that role well, and it might not, we won't know until it is released. If I were to judge the playtest as the finished product, I would probably say that it is merely a minor supplement to the ELH and doesn't add too much by itself beyond making low levels a little less stagnant. That would not be a fair assessment, however, as the playtest document is not the finished product, so I remain cautiously optimistic about it. Still, it is only one book, and what comparison between GURPS and the ELH demonstrated is that one book, no matter how well developed, cannot possibly tackle everything needed to make high level play complete.

GURPS as epic level? Mind you I haven't played a lot of GURPS and none in years, but I always found it better as a more gritty low-level system. At least for fantasy. What supplements for it do you think take the place of Epic D&D?

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Steve Geddes wrote:
A question about Baba Yaga's stat block.

Baba Yaga.

And yes, although that's a minor spoiler.

Spoiler:
The funnest thing is she's got an Int score of 46, and gets to add her Cha AND her Con to hit points! +300 hit point mythic ability, baby!

==Aelryinth

Liberty's Edge

Ssalarn wrote:

I hadn't heard about the adjustment of Mythic Tiers only being worth 1/2 a level, but if that's true there really isn't a very big bump in the way high level play changes either. a CR cap of only +5 is a little underwhelming. I have a hard time seeing Cthulu and demon lords only being marginally more powerful than the Tarrasque (as an example).

We'll see waht the final product looks like.

Given that the Tarrasque is the unkillable spawn of the being even the gods fear and Cthulu was beaten by a common guy in a boat, I'm okay with Cthulu not being too much higher in CR.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Aelryinth wrote:

Baba Yaga.

And yes, although that's a minor spoiler.

Typo corrected and spoiler added. Cheers.

Liberty's Edge

Steve Geddes wrote:

In the latest AP:

** spoiler omitted **

Yes and no.

Spoiler:
She's totally CR 30, and a Witch 20/Archmage 10. But she also has +6 CR of other stuff (PC level wealth, higher stats, personal artifact in the hut, etc.). A 'normal' Witch 20/Archmage 10 would be only CR 24.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Ah, I see.


well even if mythic doesn't completely scratch the epic "itch" some people might have, it will be at least well supported, with a related player companion, campaign setting book, adventure path, and mythic monsters in Bestiary 4.

Sczarni

thejeff wrote:

The first part doesn't really matter. The size of the bonus relative to the range of the die isn't important. You could, for example, tack a flat +100 to both sides of every d20 check in the game and the mechanics would work exactly the same.

The second part is the problem. The various numbers don't scale the same way. In the early levels everyone has a fairly decent chance at most things: attack rolls, saves, skills. By the highest levels, most things are either autosuccess for those who focused on that or impossible for those who didn't.

Exactly, it's the disparity that causes the problems.

I recently played in an Epic adventure GM'd by my brother's friend, at 40th level, all 3.5 books legal. I decided to play the ultimate knowledge/skill monkey bard. I was great at the investigative parts of the campaign, but in combat it turned out that my spell DCs were about 25 points too low to ever have a chance of affecting anything. So I'd teleport away and leave combat to everybody else. And then combat would take 3 hours as they all sat around deciding which of their 30 bajillion combat options to use each round.

That would have been a awesome campaign if we'd run it with a different system. Building the character was fun, though.


If you want all your options to always be meaningful the total bonus on both sides of a contested action (attack/defense, stealth/perception, etc) can't exceed 20. This is partly due to the range of a d20 and partly due to the flat distribution of a d20. (Restricting the total possible bonus to, say, AC to +10 over 10 levels is tricky, especially when you can already get +10 from a good armor and shield.)

Sczarni

MagiMaster wrote:
If you want all your options to always be meaningful the total bonus on both sides of a contested action (attack/defense, stealth/perception, etc) can't exceed 20. This is partly due to the range of a d20 and partly due to the flat distribution of a d20. (Restricting the total possible bonus to, say, AC to +10 over 10 levels is tricky, especially when you can already get +10 from a good armor and shield.)

I basically agree, but it's more like you can't have the *differences* between the bonuses exceed 20. You have to keep the offense bonus and the defense bonus within 20 of each other. (Which I think might be what you're saying, too.)

Of course, if the differences between them always stay constant, you might as well not increase them at all. Which is why it's a good idea to have *some variance, where a character who focuses on one aspect -- be it attack bonus, increasing spell DCs, AC, or good saves -- can increase their typical advantage over typical foes as they increase in level. So, for example, a 1st-level fighter might need to usually roll 12 to hit stuff, but it's okay for a 20th level fighter to usually only need a 3 or 4. Or, for a defensive fighter, enemies might start off needing a 9 to hit him, and by level 20 they usually need an 18.

The d20 system is designed so that this gradual advantage occurs over 20 levels. Since the game is more fun and faster when offense beats defense, offense increases faster. And that's why it breaks down at higher levels: the gradual advantage continues to build, until it's far beyond the 20-point spread. Then offense-builds autohit even good defense-builds. Actually, with the number of options available to PCs, the spread is already pretty rough by level 15-16.


No, I mean the total bonus. Basically, the reason is because someone who doesn't invest will have around a +0. Now, this is more obvious with skills where it's entirely possible for a 20th level fighter to have a +0 to a knowledge check, but the same basic idea applies to attack and defense if you want to keep all bonuses relevant across all levels.

But yeah, if you don't mind a 20th level character attack completely stomping a lower level character's AC, then what's important is the difference between the min and max AC for 20th level and the min and max attack for 20th level.

This isn't a whole lot easier to deal with though, because any level dependent bonuses need to cancel out. If leveling up gets you a +1 to attack but not a +1 to defense, that's increased the gap and reduced the range available for specializing. Now the maximum bonus you can get above the base is reduced to +9 instead of +10. (Roughly.)

Of course, this is all under the assumption that you want all rolls to carry both a chance of success and a chance of failure, or at least that you should have to heavily invest (get to or at least near to the maximum bonus) to remove your chance of failure against those that don't invest at all. There are other ways of arranging these goalposts that could give you more room.

Edit: I should say that I did this math a while ago and I can't remember why I came to the final limit of +10 instead of the more obvious +20.


I like the new mythic rules and am planning on getting them, but I'm also hopeful that someday in the near future Paizo will make true epic level material and rules. I just hope they fix the math of it while at it.

One of the things I miss about the old epic level rules was the epic spells. True, they were a mess, often completely so, the rules on creating them didn't really work with the DM better off just winging it eyeballing a fair DCs for their use, and the math on them is even worse than most of the other aspects of epic rules, but a epic spell had a flavor and uniqueness I don't know that can be matched quite as well with the new mythic stuff coming out. I would like to see the old epic spell concept made to work somehow.

As far as a cap on epic material went. While I don't think there was an official one most of the epic monsters and the arch fiends didn't go past the mid 30s in CR. That seems like a good enough spot to go to as any with maybe some optional guidelines for people that want to go further. One of the things I'm disappointed about mythic rules is that each tier only adds about one half of a CR worth of value. That seems to have shrunk the range of possible 20+ challenges they will create from now on not only from a mechanical rules standpoint but also a setting or world building standpoint unless they don’t have a problem adding non-deity level foes that there will never be a hope for the players to challenge. Since it seems they were working on more of a 1 to 1 ratio before I wonder if something didn't work out in the mythic rules creation.

Even worse is that I have a feeling the creation of mythic rules has probably drastically reduced the chances of an epic style rules coming out ever or at least any time remotely soon. At the least I could see the need to basically restat a giant portion of the 20+ CR creatures and challenges they make in the mythic system if they do it.

I don't know how to explain it. It just seems that mythic adds more tacked on things than the old epic rules. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, far from it. I like that the new rules will allow options at any time in a characters career. There are neat tricks that the characters and opponents can use with them, but in a way you also don't get better in the same sense as with the epic rules. In a perfect world I would want all the options of both and to have all the elements work together well in a balanced way.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
thejeff wrote:
The second part is the problem. The various numbers don't scale the same way. In the early levels everyone has a fairly decent chance at most things: attack rolls, saves, skills. By the highest levels, most things are either autosuccess for those who focused on that or impossible for those who didn't.

You know, given that that's the case, I wonder if it wouldn't be better to assign a wider random-number generator, along with a larger base assumption for target numbers.

In other words, have flat DC values (e.g. AC, saves, spellcasting DCs, monster ability DCs, skill DCs, etc.) use a base of 50, and add all of the normal modifiers. Likewise, have all d20 rolls be replaced with d100 rolls (again, with the usual modifiers stacked onto them).

Presumably that would work to widen the narrowing area of random probability, yes?


Alzrius wrote:
thejeff wrote:
The second part is the problem. The various numbers don't scale the same way. In the early levels everyone has a fairly decent chance at most things: attack rolls, saves, skills. By the highest levels, most things are either autosuccess for those who focused on that or impossible for those who didn't.

You know, given that that's the case, I wonder if it wouldn't be better to assign a wider random-number generator, along with a larger base assumption for target numbers.

In other words, have flat DC values (e.g. AC, saves, spellcasting DCs, monster ability DCs, skill DCs, etc.) use a base of 50, and add all of the normal modifiers. Likewise, have all d20 rolls be replaced with d100 rolls (again, with the usual modifiers stacked onto them).

Presumably that would work to widen the narrowing area of random probability, yes?

It would do so.

OTOH, then your actual skills and abilities will have almost no impact on success, especially at low levels. It would make everything far more swingy.

You create the opposite problem and it breaks the other end of the game.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
thejeff wrote:

It would do so.

OTOH, then your actual skills and abilities will have almost no impact on success, especially at low levels. It would make everything far more swingy.

You create the opposite problem and it breaks the other end of the game.

Yeah, I thought of that as I was typing the idea up.

Presumably the answer to this would be to use the d20 in the early levels, and make a switch to the d100 when you become "high level."

Of course, making a transition would be somewhat awkward, but as it's purely a metagame issue with very little in-game equivalent (if any) then I suspect that it could be done.


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Drock11 wrote:
I like the new mythic rules and am planning on getting them, but I'm also hopeful that someday in the near future Paizo will make true epic level material and rules. I just hope they fix the math of it while at it.

Probably not likely since that will mean readjusting CR expectations with their campaign setting. Adding a third "new bar" to the power system would feel pretty artificial, "Now there's this whole new power level of things you didn't know existed before but they've totally always been around". That's pretty unlikely to happen.

Drock11 wrote:
As far as a cap on epic material went. While I don't think there was an official one most of the epic monsters and the arch fiends didn't go past the mid 30s in CR.

Actually most of the Archfiends capped in the high 20's to low 30's which is pretty close to what they're doing now. Meanwhile, Epic monsters ranged in CR from 26 to 56 which didn't make any sense within the context of the greater cosmology.

Drock11 wrote:
One of the things I'm disappointed about mythic rules is that each tier only adds about one half of a CR worth of value. That seems to have shrunk the range of possible 20+ challenges they will create from now on not only from a mechanical rules standpoint but also a setting or world building standpoint unless they don’t have a problem adding non-deity level foes that there will never be a hope for the players to challenge.

I was disappointed by that too when I first found out but only for about an day until I gave it some more thought. I would rather Paizo work within 5 new CR than 10 because once I start moving my players through APL 21+ I don't want to run into a situation where the amount of appropriate challenges per APL equals 2. Think of it this way, if they have 80 (completely arbitrary number) entities statted out above CR 25, would you rather have a relatively sparse distribution of 8 per CR (going up to CR 35) or a much denser 16 per CR (up to CR 30).

Drock11 wrote:
Even worse is that I have a feeling the creation of mythic rules has probably drastically reduced the chances of an epic style rules coming out ever or at least any time remotely soon. At the least I could see the need to basically restat a giant portion of the 20+ CR creatures and challenges they make in the mythic system if they do it.

Which is why the chances are pretty slim. Retconning their setting is not something they're likely to do, at least not on the large-scale that this would require. But again, I like that it caps at 30. It makes the high-level parts of the setting feel richer rather than stretch it out unnecessarily. I'd rather the Tarrasque and other CR 24-25 threats be still close to the apex of power rather than suddenly finding themselves only halfway up the chain. And just because it's only 5 more CR doesn't mean that there won't still be large differences in power between CR 25 and CR 30. CR 29 to 30 is at least an entire order of magnitude (possibly two) above CR 25 in terms of capability. Same way CR 15 is an entire order of magnitude above CR 10. There's a damn huge difference between a Fire Giant (CR 10) and the Heralds of the Gods (CR 15). Do we really need three or four more orders of magnitude or tiers of ultimate power beyond the Tarrasque?


What are epic players really looking for? I understand that they want more levels after 20. That's fine, but presumably its because they want published support for material at that power level. What, functionally, are they looking for? What changes between level 20 and level 21? At level 20, spellcasters have access to wish and miracle. They can already turn a fireball into a nuke. Do they want to be able to steamroll entire continents with a single spell? Things seem like they change even less for fighters between 20 and 21.

Is it the challenges? Do they want to be able to take on bigger and stronger opponents? Defeat the gods themselves, perhaps? As James Jacobs has stated, the BBEG that you get to kill in Wrath of the Righteous is

Spoiler:
Deskari, a CR 35 demon lord, functionally equivalent to a god of evil.
If you can fight that and win, you can do most anything you really want. That's what you can do with Mythic. Maybe they want to be able to take on all the gods at the same time? If the game's power level were calibrated such that the gods were CR 20, would it eliminate the desire for epic rules?


The Block Knight wrote:
Drock11 wrote:
I like the new mythic rules and am planning on getting them, but I'm also hopeful that someday in the near future Paizo will make true epic level material and rules. I just hope they fix the math of it while at it.

Probably not likely since that will mean readjusting CR expectations with their campaign setting. Adding a third "new bar" to the power system would feel pretty artificial, "Now there's this whole new power level of things you didn't know existed before but they've totally always been around". That's pretty unlikely to happen.

Drock11 wrote:
As far as a cap on epic material went. While I don't think there was an official one most of the epic monsters and the arch fiends didn't go past the mid 30s in CR.

Actually most of the Archfiends capped in the high 20's to low 30's which is pretty close to what they're doing now. Meanwhile, Epic monsters ranged in CR from 26 to 56 which didn't make any sense within the context of the greater cosmology.

Drock11 wrote:
One of the things I'm disappointed about mythic rules is that each tier only adds about one half of a CR worth of value. That seems to have shrunk the range of possible 20+ challenges they will create from now on not only from a mechanical rules standpoint but also a setting or world building standpoint unless they don’t have a problem adding non-deity level foes that there will never be a hope for the players to challenge.
I was disappointed by that too when I first found out but only for about an day until I gave it some more thought. I would rather Paizo work within 5 new CR than 10 because once I start moving my players through APL 21+ I don't want to run into a situation where the amount of appropriate challenges per APL equals 2. Think of it this way, if they have 80 (completely arbitrary number) entities statted out above CR 25, would you rather have a relatively sparse distribution of 8 per CR (going up to CR 35) or a much denser 16 per CR (up to CR 30)....

Thank you! I was disappointed at first, but this makes a lot of sense and has made me very satisfied with the power cap.


The Dread Pirate Hurley wrote:
What are epic players really looking for? I understand that they want more levels after 20. That's fine, but presumably its because they want published support for material at that power level. What, functionally, are they looking for? What changes between level 20 and level 21? At level 20, spellcasters have access to wish and miracle. They can already turn a fireball into a nuke. Do they want to be able to steamroll entire continents with a single spell? Things seem like they change even less for fighters between 20 and 21.

Sometimes yes that is what we want, kill gods, blow continents. Have you read Malaz the book of the Fallen? I yes I guess epic is a little more rewarding in that respect to spellcasters, that is why epic martial should be more like Dragon Ball Z in my opinion. Also another answer of what some people want with epic is Immortals Handbook.

BTW I think wish is really overrated, I know the description says alter reality but that is not true or at least not very rewarding, that is why epic spells were great (the system is bad but the concept was pretty good), for example one epic spell that I always liked was Proctiv's Move Mountain and Horrible Army of the Dead.

Shadow Lodge

The Dread Pirate Hurley wrote:
What are epic players really looking for? I understand that they want more levels after 20. That's fine, but presumably its because they want published support for material at that power level. What, functionally, are they looking for?

I think when they are able to keep Rovagug on a leash, then they're at the approximate "start" of where they want to be.

They sometimes remind me of a 3.5 (maybe it was 3.0, can't really remember) 3PP sourcebook called "Immortal's Handbook". It presented a system where an overgod like FR's Ao would only be at less than halfway up the presented ranks of power.

Paizo Employee Senior Designer

The Dread Pirate Hurley wrote:
Is it the challenges? Do they want to be able to take on bigger and stronger opponents? Defeat the gods themselves, perhaps? As James Jacobs has stated, the BBEG that you get to kill in Wrath of the Righteous is ** spoiler omitted ** If you can fight that and win, you can do most anything you really want.

That weas one of the reasons I was so surprised when posters were saying that they've stated 10 Mythic Tiers on a 20th level party only gets you to APL 25. The discrepancy between the max APL and that CR would indicate that it's actually a more than impossible fight. I've run APL + 5-7 encounters and they're doable, it's a little crazy to think an AP would include an APL+10 fight.

Sczarni

Alzrius wrote:
thejeff wrote:
The second part is the problem. The various numbers don't scale the same way. In the early levels everyone has a fairly decent chance at most things: attack rolls, saves, skills. By the highest levels, most things are either autosuccess for those who focused on that or impossible for those who didn't.

You know, given that that's the case, I wonder if it wouldn't be better to assign a wider random-number generator, along with a larger base assumption for target numbers.

In other words, have flat DC values (e.g. AC, saves, spellcasting DCs, monster ability DCs, skill DCs, etc.) use a base of 50, and add all of the normal modifiers. Likewise, have all d20 rolls be replaced with d100 rolls (again, with the usual modifiers stacked onto them).

Presumably that would work to widen the narrowing area of random probability, yes?

You sure could, but then you're basically writing a whole new RPG rules system. In fact, it would quite literally not be the "d20 system" anymore. :)

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