Mythic APs


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The Exchange

@Magnuskn,

Excellent points all. I agree about high level play needing some serious playtesting in general. As for your concern about "trusted individuals" turning out to be people who share the mainstream Paizo thought... well, one could hope that Paizo are smart enough to avoid that. I know that a common tactic in many organizations for such things is to nominate certain people as "adversaries" - their job it to prove that the company is wrong. That's the smart way to go about that. So the correct thing to do is to select someone you trust (even if they agree with you) and tell them to prove the opposite.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, I can hope that they would take that route. Some interactions with some Paizo staffers (well, one) have always been a bit antagonistic, while others (James, Brandon) are very good at taking criticism. Brandon especially was very good at taking criticism and then applying the knowledge he got from that criticism to his next modules. Which is why I am sad that he hasn't written an AP module for a while now.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Okay, Lord Snow may be misconstruing what I mean by playtesting.

When I say "playtest" I mean "run three or so encounters with characters of the appropriate level to determine how easy or difficult it is for characters with a set amount of resources to prevail." I don't mean "open up a playtest thread and spend half a year letting people play the AP for free."

I have been rewriting Reign of Winter. I frequently playtest the encounters to see if it's too powerful.

Recently I didn't playtest an encounter. It was three Divine Mythic Huecevas and three Mythic Skeletal Champions (the build that lets them attack twice a round). The Skeletal Champions proved extremely powerful for 6th level characters because of their AC of 24 (the group does not have more than a couple magic weapons because I'm a firm believer of lower-magic campaigns even with using the Mythic rules).

It took the fighter/wizard switching to the magic spear and the NPC Paladin using Smite Undead to be able to actually HIT those Skeletons. If I'd done a playtest earlier, I'd have known to reduce the armor on them from breastplates to chain shirts. (That said, the skeletons had cold dice. I only reduced three of the players to below half hit points, and no one was actually in danger of dying. I was also using a revised critical system so that if a crit did happen, seeing they only had x2, they'd do automatic full damage rather than double of the roll.)

That said, the group also burned through a lot of Mythic (and a couple Hero points) in fighting this encounter. So it ultimately worked, even if the combat went on for far longer than I'd expected.

So: Playtest encounters in terms of running two or three trial runs.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Y'know, being a little soft might be a deliberate goal with Mythic. Logically, such PCs are intended to be legendary people. Getting whacked by a lucky orc greataxe crit disrupts the legend more than a normal campaign.

Frankly when I play WotR I'm seriously hoping to make it from the first page to the last page with one PC. It'd be kind of weird to have the character meatgrinders other APs have been. "Roll up a new 6th-level, 3rd-tier PC with appropriate WBL." Huh?

Heroic beyond heroic may sensibly imply things are weighted in favor of mythic PCs, by design.

The Exchange

Tangent101 wrote:

Okay, Lord Snow may be misconstruing what I mean by playtesting.

When I say "playtest" I mean "run three or so encounters with characters of the appropriate level to determine how easy or difficult it is for characters with a set amount of resources to prevail." I don't mean "open up a playtest thread and spend half a year letting people play the AP for free."

I have been rewriting Reign of Winter. I frequently playtest the encounters to see if it's too powerful.

Recently I didn't playtest an encounter. It was three Divine Mythic Huecevas and three Mythic Skeletal Champions (the build that lets them attack twice a round). The Skeletal Champions proved extremely powerful for 6th level characters because of their AC of 24 (the group does not have more than a couple magic weapons because I'm a firm believer of lower-magic campaigns even with using the Mythic rules).

It took the fighter/wizard switching to the magic spear and the NPC Paladin using Smite Undead to be able to actually HIT those Skeletons. If I'd done a playtest earlier, I'd have known to reduce the armor on them from breastplates to chain shirts. (That said, the skeletons had cold dice. I only reduced three of the players to below half hit points, and no one was actually in danger of dying. I was also using a revised critical system so that if a crit did happen, seeing they only had x2, they'd do automatic full damage rather than double of the roll.)

That said, the group also burned through a lot of Mythic (and a couple Hero points) in fighting this encounter. So it ultimately worked, even if the combat went on for far longer than I'd expected.

So: Playtest encounters in terms of running two or three trial runs.

Ah, but you have a huge advantage that Paizo does not have - you know

a) Your players
b) Their PCs

If Paizo would attempt to only playtest with a single group of PCs, making tons of assumptions about the style of the players and the way combat was approached, they would have achieved almost nothing, because any GM with slightly different circumstances would have the fight work out very differently. To me, this makes a ton of difference and is what makes it nearly impractical to playtest specific combats.

Also: the process you described, how long does it take per fight? I would guess you put in at least an hour or two into this before each session (and this probably gets much worse in higher level, where turns are more time consuming AND you are more likely to never ever guess exactly what the players are going to do because the number of options is way to great). This is still a ton of time to devout to something with very limited utility. Time that I'd rather the designer put into actual design work.

The Exchange

Anguish wrote:

Y'know, being a little soft might be a deliberate goal with Mythic. Logically, such PCs are intended to be legendary people. Getting whacked by a lucky orc greataxe crit disrupts the legend more than a normal campaign.

Frankly when I play WotR I'm seriously hoping to make it from the first page to the last page with one PC. It'd be kind of weird to have the character meatgrinders other APs have been. "Roll up a new 6th-level, 3rd-tier PC with appropriate WBL." Huh?

Heroic beyond heroic may sensibly imply things are weighted in favor of mythic PCs, by design.

There is still quite a considerable gap between "PCs are powerful and can handle most encounters with ease" to "PCs can finish off every single encounter in the adventure in 1 - 2 rounds, without even really trying very hard". What people are describing is more like the latter than the former.

Also... fights in Pathfinder (especially in higher levels) are very long to play out even if they only take a couple of rounds. What's the point of wasting everybody's time with encounters that are laughably easy?

The Exchange

magnuskn wrote:
Well, I can hope that they would take that route. Some interactions with some Paizo staffers (well, one) have always been a bit antagonistic, while others (James, Brandon) are very good at taking criticism. Brandon especially was very good at taking criticism and then applying the knowledge he got from that criticism to his next modules. Which is why I am sad that he hasn't written an AP module for a while now.

No kidding. The transition from Carrion Crown #6 to Shattered Star #6 was one of the most impressive I've ever seen. He took the "boss should have a presence" thing to heart and made something truly remarkable with it.


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Okay. So you're fine with Apple putting out an iPhone that was never tested to determine if it works or not.

My playtests fail to take into account what my players do. My playtest of the Pale Tower assumed the players took out the lower level and then the upper level. Instead, my group immediately went to the 2nd level (and got into a fight they didn't expect), bluffed their way to get Radosek to come downstairs, and killed him while still with most of their resources and spells.

Playtests don't catch everything even when a GM knows his players. And that is not a bad thing. My group proved quite sneaky and devious and I ended up eliminating half of Pale Tower as an encounter, ruling that the players just killed all the guards (by sending the traitor guard downstairs to tell a room of guards "you're needed upstairs" and then killing each one as they appeared through the teleporter - attacking from surprise because there was no reason to assume there was anything going on). I also didn't provide the players with XPs for that encounter (though I'm moving away from XPs anyway and leveling up when the AP suggests it).

That doesn't matter. What matters is still testing an encounter to determine if it's too easy or not. What matters is working off of more than just Challenge and Combat Ratings to determine if a fight works or needs to be adjusted.


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Well, if you were offended by what Vexxous said, then you are REALLY not going to like this:

If your group is bored or not having fun, then that falls squarely on YOU as the GM. It is irrelevant whether it is mythic or not, AP or single module, 1st book or 4th, power gamers or RP(ers?). You are the one controlling the experience of everyone at the table, including yourself. I have argued this similar point in countless discussions and boards and impromptu gatherings at the FLGS: the GM makes or breaks a game. The AP/module is a framework for you to work from. You have to adapt on the fly to fit your group and your GM style.

Where I think Mythic has caused us difficulties is in the fact that we weren't prepared for what it could do. Once we have learned, we should adapt. To the OPs question: I would think a 1/4 ratio of Mythic to non-Mythic APs would be fine. The Mythic system is very popular. I enjoy running it as much as my players enjoy playing it. They know that as uber-Mythic as they become, there will always be something to challenge them to look forward to. Not all of the fights, but enough to make the story memorable.


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Lord Snow wrote:
[Also... fights in Pathfinder (especially in higher levels) are very long to play out even if they only take a couple of rounds. What's the point of wasting everybody's time with encounters that are laughably easy?

This is one of the most important problems with the game in a nutshell. Thank you for putting it so succinctly.

Fights take very long, but a ton of the things we do in AP's are fighting. Hence, that part should be interesting and feel dangerous for everyone involved. If battles devolve into one-sided curbstomps all the time, what is the point?

Lord Snow wrote:
No kidding. The transition from Carrion Crown #6 to Shattered Star #6 was one of the most impressive I've ever seen. He took the "boss should have a presence" thing to heart and made something truly remarkable with it.

Yeah, and Rasputin Must Die! was incredible, so much so, that I am building an entire homebrewn campaign to accomodate incorporating it (since I won't be GM'ing Reign of Winter itself, because half of it is not very good, IMO). I hope he'll get a new assignment, soon, hopefully for the last modules of Iron Gods.


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Old Guy GM wrote:

Well, if you were offended by what Vexxous said, then you are REALLY not going to like this:

If your group is bored or not having fun, then that falls squarely on YOU as the GM. It is irrelevant whether it is mythic or not, AP or single module, 1st book or 4th, power gamers or RP(ers?). You are the one controlling the experience of everyone at the table, including yourself. I have argued this similar point in countless discussions and boards and impromptu gatherings at the FLGS: the GM makes or breaks a game. The AP/module is a framework for you to work from. You have to adapt on the fly to fit your group and your GM style.

There is a difference between what you said and what Vexxous said. He said that the problem is not with mythic, but with us being bad GM's.

You say that problems with the AP have to be solved by the GM's, no matter what the system is.

That are two different points of contention. One is an ad hominem by just declaring us bad GM's, although the problem we are having is with a new ruleset which was not playtested well enough for its own high-level content. The other is that we as GM's have to be able to adjust things on the fly. Which we are doing, see Scorpion_mjd's statblock thread or a lot of other threads on this board.

But we are running into the problem that this is the first time mythic rules are actually being used in real play and thus we there arises the problem of "is that enough or too much?" Even with 10 years as a GM under the belt and experience of GM'ing seven high-level campaigns to conclusion (4 homebrewn, 3 AP's), I feel unsure of how crazy this is going to get when the player characters hit the last three modules and the really powerful stuff comes up. Reports from other GM's who have completed the AP or are far ahead of my group are discouraging in the extreme.

So, yeah, at this point I will recommend to Paizo not doing another mythic AP, but rather releasing some tie-in companion for people who absolutely want to play one. Wrath of the Righteous would have been a far better AP without those extra rules on top.

The Exchange

Tangent101 wrote:


That doesn't matter. What matters is still testing an encounter to determine if it's too easy or not. What matters is working off of more than just Challenge and Combat Ratings to determine if a fight works or needs to be adjusted.

I agree with the overall sentiment but fail to see a reasonable way to accomplish what you suggest with play testing.

Let's say you are the one in charge of writing an AP adventure and you want to playtest a certain fight. Let's assume in this part of the adventure the PCs are supposed to be 12 level. What would you do?

I'm asking without cynisism - I just honestly can't think of any actual effective way to approach this, but maybe you can.


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I am a tester and what Lord Snow says or asks is basically true, I believe that I mentioned this earlier in the thread. There are far too many variables in a party of four to call anything adequately tested. Although the idea of testing sounds really good.

And Old Guy GM, you are wrong....you don't come off nearly as bad as Vexxous. And it helps that you're right in general; the game is about having fun and the GM has the biggest say in it.

However we were pretty much sold a faulty product. And I expect something better than a framework by giving them money each month. (that expectation could be my fault, this is my first AP) I could, and have, written frameworks before. I have also been running games for 30 years and this AP is extremely frustrating or laughable at times.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I would write up the adventure, using the CR as a rough estimate of how tough a foe would be. I would then take four characters of the appropriate level and run them through the adventure. If possible I would have coworkers work with me using Paizo's map program (which is along the lines of roll20) and their encounter crafting tool (similar no doubt to Hero Labs) and have them provide actions they'd take. If they were not available then I'd do this myself.

After the trial run was finished I'd determine how tough the fight was, how many resources were used, and then modify the encounter through a manipulation of hit points (which honestly is never done by Paizo as they seem to think "average hit points" should suffice for every situation), hit dice or templates, and the like.

This is what I as a GM currently do with my two campaigns. In both cases I chose to add Mythic to the game. In the case of Runelords I allowed rolled stats and two players had hot dice. I have since found that by adding 3 to the stat lines of each monster, their stats are an equivalent to the high stats of the Runelords group. (The RoW group just needs a +2 to each stat to balance things out.) I also started the Runelords group one level higher and modified encounters to compensate as a result (I dislike level 1 characters. They're too squishy.)

With RoW, I started out with two level 3 characters and two level 4 characters (and two NPCs). Thus RoW has required significant rewrites which is why I use playtesting when possible. (Seeing I'm skipping half of the extraneous encounters in RoW, I might be able to slowly pull that campaign more in line with what the module recommends - however, my induction of Mythic rules will likely unbalance things level-wise.)


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Sorry Old Guy. It seems if you're gonna make the kids cry you gotta do better than that. You stop by my place sometime, I'll give you some pointers.


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Seanoss wrote:
I am a tester and what Lord Snow says or asks is basically true, I believe that I mentioned this earlier in the thread. There are far too many variables in a party of four to call anything adequately tested. Although the idea of testing sounds really good.
Tangent101 wrote:
I would write up the adventure, using the CR as a rough estimate of how tough a foe would be. I would then take four characters of the appropriate level and run them through the adventure.

CR is already a rough guide for difficulty relative to "four characters using 15-point buy, only somewhat optimized," but it's inherently fuzzy. There's just no way to predict how difficult every group of four PCs will find a given encounter when designing an AP for publication: If you review some of the Adventure Journal threads, you'll see that many groups find different encounters "easy" or "hard" depending on the characters and tactics used; in some cases, the same players/GM will have different results with a different set of characters.

The only ways to make CR more of a predictable guide is to either 1) go back to the old tournament concept and mandate use of pre-generated characters for a scenario (which is impractical outside of organized events) or 2) make every character almost mechanically identical to every other character (which would make many people unhappy). Ultimately, as mentioned, it's up to the GM to tailor the encounters (either by designing their own or modifying published material) to the specific group they are gaming with; published material just gives a much more "finished" product for the GM as a starting point.


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No. It's not.

Here's an example: The Winter Portal in "Snows of Summer" can very easily become a Total Party Kill if the GM plays the atomie oracle intelligently. This is an encounter that is +3 CR to the party level. Difficult but not normally a Total Party Kill. But the one atomie can use its sling to keep attacking the players while they can't see him at all. The use of environment (heavy snowstorm reducing sight to five feet and eliminating ranged attacks for everyone BUT the atomie oracle) can make this encounter impossible.

Here's a second encounter: the Lodge in SoS. You have nine bandits (four unarmored and fatigued), two cold-burning skeletons, and a 3rd level priest. And when the skeletons die, they detonate for 2d6 damage... and while they're within melee range do 1d6 auto-cold damage each round. But it's written up as a CR 1 for the trap, CR 2 for the rogue, CR 2 for 5 bandits, CR 1 for four sick bandits, and CR 3 for a 3rd level cleric and his two frost skeletons. Most level 1 groups in this situation lose multiple characters to this.

A playtest would have shown that while the players can deal with the bandits, Rokhar alone can with Channel Negative Energy kill a weakened group outright and can do so from surprise being invisible.

This is not speculation. Look at the damn obit thread for RoW. You will see early in the thread at least one Total Party Kill which resulted in the players quitting the campaign and not continuing it. This is poor design. And playtesting would have caught onto this.

You are busy being Paizo fanboys and insisting Paizo can do no wrong. You are wrong. I love the Pathfinder game, and enjoy the Pathfinder APs, but I can see the problems with them. Fortunately as a GM I love to meddle and modify things. And I have enough time that I can do this. For GMs running a weekly game and working full-time and having real life obligations? They are running the AP as-written and finding it lacking.

The Exchange

Tangent101 wrote:
I would then take four characters of the appropriate level and run them through the adventure.

Which characters would you chose, though?

let's say you didn't chose a paladin, and you ran an encounter against a creature with high DR. The PCs you chose would struggle with doing enough damage, so you decide to give the monster lower than average HP. Then come along an actual group of players with a paladin, he smites evil and finishes off the encounter in one round because of the low HP pool. Great, the play testing failed.

But then let's say you would have tested WITH a paladin, and the encounter was too easy, so you decided to add HP to the monster to make it withstand a smite attack. Then come along an actual group of players without a paladin, and they have a grindy, annoying, long and difficult right. Great, the play testing failed.

The same could work with any number of different things - does the party have strong ranged attacks? do they have spellcasters with charm spells? are they good at evading AoA spells? do they have high armor class? move quickly? capable of flight?
Even worse - are there more than 4 players? less? Do they use 15 points buy? are they optimizing? what kind of magic items did they buy?

The kind of testing you just suggested would be VERY close to useless, and yet very time consuming as well. Let's look at the examples you used for reign of winter - both of them are of fights that turned out to be so incredibly deadly that nearly every group had trouble with them. I agree that in extreme cases (where group choice barely even matters) you'd be able to catch mistakes like that in your playtesting. In every other case though - combats that are not insane, universal party kills - you will only be wasting your time.

I'd rather not have the designers waste so many hours where they could be developing the adventure on testing that will accumulate to maybe catching an extremely unbalanced encounters, sometimes.


Lord Snow wrote:


let's say you didn't chose a paladin, and you ran an encounter against a creature with high DR. The PCs you chose would struggle with doing enough damage, so you decide to give the monster lower than average HP. Then come along an actual group of players with a paladin, he smites evil and finishes off the encounter in one round because of the low HP pool. Great, the play testing failed.

But then let's say you would have tested WITH a paladin, and the encounter was too easy, so you decided to add HP to the monster to make it withstand a smite attack. Then come along an actual group of players without a paladin, and they have a grindy, annoying, long and difficult right. Great, the play testing failed.

This example is multiple levels of wrong.

DO you think paizo cannot think critically about playtest results? Maybe that is why you think playtesting wont help at all, because in your example the designers don't know what smite evil is


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Other martial classes have their own way of doing damage, so, yeah, I also think Lord Snows counterexample is a tad wrong.

Also, DR really isn't that big of an issue if you put out 50 points of damage per hit.


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Isn't the principle right though? It seems to me that "the typical party" is something of a myth, especially at higher levels. What would you test (efficiently)?


My vote is emphatically no.

We played around with the Mythic rules and found them both unnecessary and fraught with danger for imbalance and abuse.

We've been playing through Wrath of the Righteous and we simply took the common sense approach of leveling faster to meet the challenges we faced, with additional levels coming where tiers 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 10 would have taken place, resulting in 26th level characters at the end. Among other things, it finally allowed us to take and enjoy our class-defining capstone abilities for the first time in all of Paizo's published materials... and earlier access to spells, feats and class features were all that was necessary to meet the challenges we faced. Moreover, the power advancement was much more easier to predict and the variables for both GM and player much easier to anticipate.

Wrath of the Righteous has been a wonderful experience, but I feel it was made so by divorcing ourselves from the Mythic rules early on. I hope to never see them introduced except as an option in any future materials.


I have found that at a table with gamers with 20+ years experience (the slow chart, obviously - and we are even in our next generation with the kids playing) you as a GM will NEVER completely eliminate the possibility for imbalance and abuse. Mythic or not. The higher the PCs grow in level, the harder it is for us as GMs to challenge them. There is always a combination that they come up which never occurred to you. Here's the kicker:

ITS SUPPOSED TO BE THAT WAY!

They are the heroes, the saviors of Golarion, crushers of Runelords, yada yada. Challenge them, but most importantly, entertain them, and everyone will be happy.

I don't playtest encounters, it's pointless, because I can't account for everything they may think of or do. What I do is think about how I want the encounter to play out so it is the most entertaining for my group. Example: I wanted the mythic shadow demon to control the group's crazy-hard barbarian, so I made it happen. Now I have a whole group freaking about having to fight their own as well as the end boss (+minions btw, I have 10 people at my table)

My situation is unique, because of the number of players, I know. But mythic isn't for everyone. My vote is emphatically yes, with a caveat that the ratio is 1/4 or 1/5.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Steve Geddes wrote:
Isn't the principle right though? It seems to me that "the typical party" is something of a myth, especially at higher levels. What would you test (efficiently)?

Oh, I already said I think that playtesting AP's is not really feasible.

Playtesting sub-systems more thoroughly before publishing them (sometimes in AP's, see Kingmaker, Jade Regent (grrrr, caravan rules)), however...

And high-level gaming won't be changed in this edition of the game. For the next one, it definitely needs to be looked at, analyzed properly and adjustments need to be made.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Wiggz wrote:

My vote is emphatically no.

We played around with the Mythic rules and found them both unnecessary and fraught with danger for imbalance and abuse.

We've been playing through Wrath of the Righteous and we simply took the common sense approach of leveling faster to meet the challenges we faced, with additional levels coming where tiers 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 10 would have taken place, resulting in 26th level characters at the end. Among other things, it finally allowed us to take and enjoy our class-defining capstone abilities for the first time in all of Paizo's published materials... and earlier access to spells, feats and class features were all that was necessary to meet the challenges we faced. Moreover, the power advancement was much more easier to predict and the variables for both GM and player much easier to anticipate.

Wrath of the Righteous has been a wonderful experience, but I feel it was made so by divorcing ourselves from the Mythic rules early on. I hope to never see them introduced except as an option in any future materials.

If I may ask, how did you change mythic opponents? Did they still use the mythic rules or did you rebuild them? How was the level of mortality in the campaign among player characters? Was high-level combat more or less balanced?

If you already made a thread about this, please point me to it, otherwise I'd really appreciate any more information you could give me.

Oh, and needless to say, I completely agree with your points from this post you just made.


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Steve Geddes wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Isn't the principle right though? It seems to me that "the typical party" is something of a myth, especially at higher levels. What would you test (efficiently)?

Oh, I already said I think that playtesting AP's is not really feasible.

Playtesting sub-systems more thoroughly before publishing them (sometimes in AP's, see Kingmaker, Jade Regent (grrrr, caravan rules)), however...

I think that lord snow's issue is with the suggestion to test APs and encounters. It seems to me he'd agree with you regarding subsystems but thinks playtesting encounters might be useful, just not useful enough to be worth doing.

Yes. That's what we've been talking about. ^^


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So what you're saying, Lord Snow, is that not all classes are equal and that certain classes are overpowered compared to others.

It sounds to me like that's a problem with the class design and that Paizo should be modifying the existing classes and putting out an errata to correct these imbalances. And that they should have done this long long ago in that case.

Or in other words you are once more being a Paizo fanboy and urging the use of an inferior product... but are saying the inferior product is the core Pathfinder ruleset.

There are some problems with some classes. Rogues are decidedly underpowered compared to other classes in many situations. But if the Paladin is so broken that its presence will distort the campaign? Then that calls for a complete remake of the class.

So. Any four classes should do for the Playtest. Any.

(By the way, AD&D had an effective method of dealing with class imbalances by requiring different classes to advance on different charts. Paladins and Rangers were more powerful than Fighters or Rogues but leveled up slower - and Rogues leveled up faster than all other classes.)


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magnuskn wrote:
Wiggz wrote:

My vote is emphatically no.

We played around with the Mythic rules and found them both unnecessary and fraught with danger for imbalance and abuse.

We've been playing through Wrath of the Righteous and we simply took the common sense approach of leveling faster to meet the challenges we faced, with additional levels coming where tiers 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 10 would have taken place, resulting in 26th level characters at the end. Among other things, it finally allowed us to take and enjoy our class-defining capstone abilities for the first time in all of Paizo's published materials... and earlier access to spells, feats and class features were all that was necessary to meet the challenges we faced. Moreover, the power advancement was much more easier to predict and the variables for both GM and player much easier to anticipate.

Wrath of the Righteous has been a wonderful experience, but I feel it was made so by divorcing ourselves from the Mythic rules early on. I hope to never see them introduced except as an option in any future materials.

If I may ask, how did you change mythic opponents? Did they still use the mythic rules or did you rebuild them? How was the level of mortality in the campaign among player characters? Was high-level combat more or less balanced?

If you already made a thread about this, please point me to it, otherwise I'd really appreciate any more information you could give me.

Oh, and needless to say, I completely agree with your points from this post you just made.

Hi.

To clarify, I am the one actually running the AP - Wiggz, my husband, is one of the players in it and we recently completed Book 5 so they haven't quite finished the campaign yet. He and I trade off GM'ing duties in what is supposed to be a 50/50 split but usually ends up working out to something closer to 75/25. If one of us begins an AP we see it through though, we don't switch off mid-game.

Its actually not as much rework as one might think, especially in the early going, since there are so few mythic opponents to start. For the most part up to this point all I've done is remove Epic DR and double initiative and its worked out fine. Obviously every boss needs a little tweak here or there to account for specific rules (such as replacing or using non-Mythic versions of spells or feats). I plan on doing a little more extensive rework in this final book simply due to the nature of the foes they face.

It needs to be said that although they have a four-man party, I usually give them NPC's to help out, most notably to this point Lann, rebuilt as a Mongrelman Archeologist archer and Arushalae whom I rebuilt as a Sorceress with a homebrew bloodline that reflects her Demonic nature. Neither benefits from the extra levels afforded by what would have been Mythic tiers, however, so they're more or less like cohorts under my control (we don't allow the Leadership feat). Both have been with the party about 75% to 90% of the time since their introduction into the campaign. Also, the group is very well built and plays very well together, which tends to more than make up any perceived power gap. As a result, through five books we've had no deaths though there have been some desperate battles.

In the interest of full disclosure I also have to say that I plan ahead to adjust encounters on the fly, most notably by tossing in a useful scroll or potion when the villain needs it most or by having an extra wave or two of mooks come in - as a result, I'd rather an encounter be a little easier and adjust it upwards as needed than to make it overwhelming and then try to figure out a way to walk it back. Generally speaking, while I find it very important to challenge my players, I'd prefer not to kill them - if they elect to kill themselves, that's a different story, but with this current group that hasn't been much of a problem.

If there are any specific encounters or bosses you're curious about, just let me know, either here or in mail. The party consists of a Tiefling Oradin, twin Aasimar Dervishes of Dawn with Paladin dips (we allow off-alignment Paladins) and a Human Sorcerer/Dragon Disciple who also dipped Paladin later on. When building their characters it was difficult at first figuring out what to do with those extra levels since we're still not allowing more than 20 levels in a class, and Paladin seemed like a natural gravitation in each case, considering both the theme of the AP and each character's unique circumstances. The Tiefling went 20 levels Oath of Vengeance & Oath Against Fiends while the twins went Holy Tactician (they already had several teamwork feats) and the Dragon Disciple (offspring of Terendelev) took levels of Sacred Shield.

EDIT: I forgot to add something - one of my own little homebrew rules intended for Epic play. With the understanding that the linear nature of power dips post-20 (a 20th level Wizard is basically the same as a 20th level Wizard/1st level Fighter), and to give my players a little more control over their own destiny, I instituted the following:

Epic Destiny: Epic characters may re-roll any d20 roll and add +1 for every level beyond 20th. He may do this 1/day per level.

In other words a 21st level character may re-roll once per day, adding +1 to the roll, a 22nd level character may re-roll twice per day, adding +2 to those rolls, etc. Its served as a nice device to keep the story rolling and to aid in survivability when a bad roll can mean the difference between an epic campaign and a long-winded failure.


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Old Guy GM wrote:

I have found that at a table with gamers with 20+ years experience (the slow chart, obviously - and we are even in our next generation with the kids playing) you as a GM will NEVER completely eliminate the possibility for imbalance and abuse. Mythic or not. The higher the PCs grow in level, the harder it is for us as GMs to challenge them. There is always a combination that they come up which never occurred to you. Here's the kicker:

ITS SUPPOSED TO BE THAT WAY!

It is really sad that many players on this forum have such a low standard of quality for tabletop rpgs. I think if you pushed for a better product, you would get one instead of crying out that everything is fine

The Exchange

magnuskn wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Isn't the principle right though? It seems to me that "the typical party" is something of a myth, especially at higher levels. What would you test (efficiently)?

Oh, I already said I think that playtesting AP's is not really feasible.

Playtesting sub-systems more thoroughly before publishing them (sometimes in AP's, see Kingmaker, Jade Regent (grrrr, caravan rules)), however...

I think that lord snow's issue is with the suggestion to test APs and encounters. It seems to me he'd agree with you regarding subsystems but thinks playtesting encounters might be useful, just not useful enough to be worth doing.
Yes. That's what we've been talking about. ^^

This is pretty much what I'm talking about. I may not be rules savvy enough to figure out what exactly was wrong with my paladin example but I think I put many other examples there and at least some of them have to be relevant. The bottom line is that the game itself could do with more playtesting, but encounters in adventures are not important enough to warrant the resources that playtesting requires.

Tangent, I'm not sure how exactly you inferred that I was saying some classes are broken... I'm saying that in certain situations a party with a barbarian is going to dispatch an encounter with ease that another party that had a rouge instead would struggle with, and vice versa. Or that sometimes a party of 4 would find an encounter hard while a party of 5 won't. Or that sometimes there are 2 different PCs in the party with a low fortitude save, making that poisonous demon much more dangerous than it seems. Or any of a million other possible variations. For the millionth time, I'm not cheering for an inferior product and I fail to see how I'm being a Paizo fanboy here. I'm just saying I think playtesting specific encounters in adventures would result in an inferior product to the one we are getting right now. I am also agreeing with Magnuskn that the game itself needs to be further playtested and investigated by Paizo. I see those two things as separate issues.


Story Archer wrote:
To clarify, I am the one actually running the AP - Wiggz, my husband, is one of the players in it and we recently completed Book 5 so they haven't quite finished the campaign yet. He and I trade off GM'ing duties in what is supposed to be a 50/50 split but usually ends up working out to something closer to 75/25.

After Mummy's Mask... I promise.

Shadow Lodge

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Tangent101 wrote:

Here's a second encounter: the Lodge in SoS. You have nine bandits (four unarmored and fatigued), two cold-burning skeletons, and a 3rd level priest. And when the skeletons die, they detonate for 2d6 damage... and while they're within melee range do 1d6 auto-cold damage each round. But it's written up as a CR 1 for the trap, CR 2 for the rogue, CR 2 for 5 bandits, CR 1 for four sick bandits, and CR 3 for a 3rd level cleric and his two frost skeletons. Most level 1 groups in this situation lose multiple characters to this.

A playtest would have shown that while the players can deal with the bandits, Rokhar alone can with Channel Negative Energy kill a weakened group outright and can do so from surprise being invisible.

And this is why Rohkar's tactics state that he will only use his channel to heal undead. They're lowering the challenge rating through 'artificial' constraints. Remember: he's disguised himself as a necromancer, and doesn't want his own men to know that he is a cleric. He can bluff how exactly he's healing the undead, but if he actually channels negative energy to damage, his own people might see through his ruse and turn on him.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

And this could have been dealt with if they built Rokhar according to his character history - give him one level of Rogue and two levels of Cleric. It would explain why he needs scrolls to make the undead since he doesn't have access to 2nd level cleric spells. A potion of invisibility would deal with not having the spell.

Quite a few GMs didn't play him according to the suggested tactics. Because let's face it: in the heat of the moment, you forget things.

Even with him not using Channel Energy to kill, the Skeletons would easily wipe the ground of a weakened party. If they'd been ordinary skeletons that would not have been a factor.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

@Story Archer: Thank you, that was very comprehensive and exactly what I was looking for with my questions. :)

At this moment I regret quite a lot that I did not go this route when I first began to have doubts about using the mythic rules and rather let myself be overruled by the players after discussing my doubts to just using a (not enough) nerfed version of the ruleset. Things are already getting out of control now early in module three.

I really would have preferred to do it in your way. I guess I may take it up with my players one more time, but at this time it seems a bit late for that. Oh, well, hindsight, 20/20 and all that.


magnuskn wrote:

@Story Archer: Thank you, that was very comprehensive and exactly what I was looking for with my questions. :)

At this moment I regret quite a lot that I did not go this route when I first began to have doubts about using the mythic rules and rather let myself be overruled by the players after discussing my doubts to just using a (not enough) nerfed version of the ruleset. Things are already getting out of control now early in module three.

I really would have preferred to do it in your way. I guess I may take it up with my players one more time, but at this time it seems a bit late for that. Oh, well, hindsight, 20/20 and all that.

My pleasure.


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Lord Snow wrote:


Tangent, I'm not sure how exactly you inferred that I was saying some classes are broken... I'm saying that in certain situations a party with a barbarian is going to dispatch an encounter with ease that another party that had a rouge instead would struggle with, and vice versa. Or that sometimes a party of 4 would find an encounter hard while a party of 5 won't. Or that sometimes there are 2 different PCs in the party with a low fortitude save, making that poisonous demon much more dangerous than it seems. Or any of a million other possible variations. For the millionth time, I'm not cheering for an inferior product and I fail to see how I'm being a Paizo fanboy here. I'm just saying I think playtesting specific encounters in adventures would result in an inferior product to the one we are getting right now. I am also...

I am pretty sure you can still playtest encounters, and you really, really, really should as shown with tangent's in game experience. Definitely all the base and core classes should be run through. The only real trouble is spellcasters, because they are obscenely powerful and complex. Most of the martial characters and archetypes are "fight slightly differently".

Some things are obvious, such as Dark stalkers mashing darkness owning the rogue, the paladin doing double damage vs an undead blowing it up, etc.

You can also basically ignore (Offer suggestions though) parties of 5+ or 3-, since it was written for 4 players.

TBH I am still baffled, You are offering suggestions like "what if all the players have low fort saves and there is a demon with a high save poison???" Well duh, more players will get poisoned. Those are not the type of things that you look for, because they are obvious by looking at a monster's statblock. Instead, you look at things like tangent mentioned, and find out that parties struggle regardless of class makeup because of the massive amounts of cold damage being output against them, and maybe remove a skeleton or something.

The main issue I have is that all your playtest situations can be solved without any playtesting at all, just with critical thinking. Encounters that tangent brings up show that party composition doesn't matter, there is just way too much damage being thrown around. Things like that are generally not forseeable just by looking at the monsters, because it is a lot of information to grok at once, and should be played out to see how the parts interact with each other.

TBH I bet you could get players from the forums to do it for free. There are many strong players who have a lot of game insight around.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
CWheezy wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:


Tangent, I'm not sure how exactly you inferred that I was saying some classes are broken... I'm saying that in certain situations a party with a barbarian is going to dispatch an encounter with ease that another party that had a rouge instead would struggle with, and vice versa. Or that sometimes a party of 4 would find an encounter hard while a party of 5 won't. Or that sometimes there are 2 different PCs in the party with a low fortitude save, making that poisonous demon much more dangerous than it seems. Or any of a million other possible variations. For the millionth time, I'm not cheering for an inferior product and I fail to see how I'm being a Paizo fanboy here. I'm just saying I think playtesting specific encounters in adventures would result in an inferior product to the one we are getting right now. I am also...

I am pretty sure you can still playtest encounters, and you really, really, really should as shown with tangent's in game experience. Definitely all the base and core classes should be run through. The only real trouble is spellcasters, because they are obscenely powerful and complex. Most of the martial characters and archetypes are "fight slightly differently".

Some things are obvious, such as Dark stalkers mashing darkness owning the rogue, the paladin doing double damage vs an undead blowing it up, etc.

You can also basically ignore (Offer suggestions though) parties of 5+ or 3-, since it was written for 4 players.

TBH I am still baffled, You are offering suggestions like "what if all the players have low fort saves and there is a demon with a high save poison???" Well duh, more players will get poisoned. Those are not the type of things that you look for, because they are obvious by looking at a monster's statblock. Instead, you look at things like tangent mentioned, and find out that parties struggle regardless of class makeup because of the massive amounts of cold damage being output against them, and maybe remove a skeleton or something....

maybe you and tangent want to start a new thread about the merits of play testing your AP encounters vs not play testing and not take over this one, which only asks if anyone would be up for another Mythic AP.

and i do personally:)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

With an internet handle of "Tangent," you express surprise that a thread discussion I'm in went off on one? ;)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

i wasnt surprised in the least;) and judging from the 101 at the end my guess is you're an expert:) and i do think encounter design is a great discussion i think it needs its own thread:)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Tangent101 wrote:

No. It's not.

Here's an example: The Winter Portal in "Snows of Summer" can very easily become a Total Party Kill if the GM plays the atomie oracle intelligently. This is an encounter that is +3 CR to the party level. Difficult but not normally a Total Party Kill. But the one atomie can use its sling to keep attacking the players while they can't see him at all. The use of environment (heavy snowstorm reducing sight to five feet and eliminating ranged attacks for everyone BUT the atomie oracle) can make this encounter impossible.

If the party isn't bright enough to retreat from the clearing (where the heavy snow is located), so that they can see more than 5 feet, or duck into an igloo (hopefully not the trapped one), where lines of fire are restricted, when someone is attacking them at range through the driving snow and just stand around in the open while the rest of the clearing's inhabitants come at them, then IMO they deserve a TPK.

Tangent101 wrote:
Here's a second encounter: the Lodge in SoS. You have nine bandits (four unarmored and fatigued), two cold-burning skeletons, and a 3rd level priest. And when the skeletons die, they detonate for 2d6 damage... and while they're within melee range do 1d6 auto-cold damage each round. But it's written up as a CR 1 for the trap, CR 2 for the rogue, CR 2 for 5 bandits, CR 1 for four sick bandits, and CR 3 for a 3rd level cleric and his two frost skeletons. Most level 1 groups in this situation lose multiple characters to this.

If they try and fight all the bandits at once/in short succession (even though "quick-thinking and persuasive PCs might be able to convince [the CR 2 rogue] to throw...in with them"), or just "rush in" while not at full strength from the trip to the Lodge, then yes, they'll have problems.

In both cases, scouting and intelligent play from the group should be sufficient to deal with the encounters. Especially if the players use caution and don't expect their 1st- and 2nd-level characters to be as robust as 5th- and 6th-level characters. Low-level characters are fragile; if the party expects to be able to act like "bad-a**es" just because they're PCs, even when the opening scene showed an experienced mercenary as the lone escapee from the caravan attack that captured Lady Argenta, then let them deal with consequences of their hubris.

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