Just The Rules: Mythic Adventures is a Gold Mine

The last couple of posts have talked about what abilities at different tiers should look like, from ‘realistic’ (for a fantasy RPG definition of realistic) through ‘legendary’.

The first post was pretty non-specific, basically just introducing the labels, and the second described them in more specific terms. This post starts to look at some concrete examples.

Existing Art

I could go into various approaches taken for legendary abilities, but honestly most of them fell short. The title of this blog post kind of gives the answer away, so I’ll summarize very briefly.

  • AD&D 2e DM Option: High-Level Campaigns does not have many character options that fit my needs. However, while quickly reading through the earlier chapters I did see some surprisingly sound advice, and the 10th-level spell mechanics looked like they have potential.
  • D&D 3e Epic Level Handbook was… not so epic, really. Many of the options granted bigger and bigger numbers (without limit in some cases, you could take a particular epic feat to jack an ability score to insane level… impressive, but not very exciting, in my opinion). Some of the feats looked like they might be of interest, but most of the options weren’t. The epic results that could be achieved with skill checks with high enough DCs (a DC 50 Appraise check lets you detect magic!) are not, to my mind, worth it. The epic spell system was somewhat similar to the AD&D2e version, but I think I liked that one better. I’ll keep this one in mind, though.
  • Pathfinder® Roleplaying Game: Pathfinder Unchained skill unlocks definitely have a place in my plans. The skill system is probably different (I haven’t gotten there yet, but I have ideas about what it will look like), but the tiered abilities align with what I want… though I expect I’ll want to make them a little bit more at the higher tiers.
  • The Legendary Levels books from Little Red Goblin Games look like an alternate take on Epic Level Handbook, but for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. I haven’t read them closely, but after a quick review I think I will place them at #3 on my list of books to revisit.
  • D&D 3e Deities & Demigods overshoots… at least a little. The salient divine abilities are conceptually similar to what I want, but are not defined quite as tightly as I think they’ll need to be. This is perhaps #2 on my list of books to revisit.
  • Classic Play: Book of Immortals from Mongoose Publishing has long been one of my go-to books when I need this sort of thing. The gifts and the wellspring blessings and banes both suit what I’m looking for. This is almost certainly #1 on my list of books to revisit.

It seems that often ‘numbers’ are a major component of what makes something awesome. Higher numbers can be useful, of course, but I’m confident you can guess how much they really excite me.

Keith’s Choice

The post title gives it away. I was flipping through Pathfinder® Roleplaying Game: Mythic Adventures and found that the mythic abilities can often be adapted pretty readily to my purpose. Not all abilities will be perfect match, but some will be quite close as written.

In fact, it looks like ‘mythic power’ can be replaced almost straight-up by effort. The amounts shown in the book are about twice what I have in mind, but given that effort is only committed while in use or commit for scene, the results should be comparable.

For the most part, it looks as if the ‘1st-Tier Abilities’ are mostly in line with ‘larger than life’, ‘3rd-Tier Abilities’ are mostly in line with ‘superhuman’, and ‘6th-Tier Abilities’ are mostly in line with ‘superheroic’. I expect some will shift up or down a bit as I revise them to fit the rest of the game, but overall they’re a surprisingly good fit to what I’m aiming for.

There will be cases where the ability is something that is simply not possible in real life, in the larger than life tier. Being able to spend effort to increase a jump result by ten feet per tier is pretty unrealistic… but ‘able to leap a 50-foot chasm’ is an appropriately larger than life thing: anyone can leap, this person can just do so insanely well (and the wizard could have cast fly for even greater effect, or a lower-level wizard could cast levitate, though that needs special handling to get over there instead of just up and down).

In addition to Mythic Adventures, there is a vast amount of additional mythic material from other publishers, all of which I can pillage for more abilities.

For that matter, I am not limited to just mythic abilities (general, mythic path, or class specific) for ideas, I can also go through mythic feats.

There is an untapped wealth of mythic content I can use to flesh out my higher-tier abilities. The post title is Mythic Adventures is a Gold Mine, and Mythic Adventures just scratches the surface.


  1. Steve Gunnell

    I don’t know if you have ever looked at Robin Laws’ Heroquest rules. Which makes ascending to a new power level part of the game. Burning Wheel also does something similar. You mentioned Fray Dice and worthy / unworthy opponents in an earlier post. Opponents of your tier or higher are worthy and one of the feats could be just to deal incidental damage to opponents of lower tiers in a fray dice like manner.

    • I believe I have looked at Heroquest, but it would have been quite some time ago.

      In Godbound, all Godbound and all creatures with more HD than you have levels are worthy opponents, others are not. in FantasyCraft, special characters are decided by the GM and others are not special characters. They have similar abilities, but the not-special ones are much easier to pop… something like 4e Minions, but not quite as fragile.

      Having abilities that automatically kick in against lower-tier creatures is entirely appropriate to where this is going.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to Top