Eclipse and Mythic Ascension, Part I

And today it’s a question from Alzrius – although only part one, because this is going to be a LONG one. 

You’ve converted a number of Pathfinder classes to Eclipse, but I wanted to ask how you’d convert over Paizo’s latest big power-up for PCs: Mythic Adventures.

I tried taking a stab at this myself, but I suspect that this is a bit more than I can chew, at least until I’m able to get further experience with using Eclipse. I did get some basics down, however.

The Designing Encounterssection mentions (under the “Adjusting CR and Level” sub-header) that a character with 20 class levels and 10 mythic tiers (the maximum number allowable) is essentially a 25th-level character.

From that, I figured that a mythic character has a +5 ECL template, and so has a total of 191 CP to build it with. Throw in a mythic flaw (as a disadvantage that’s part of the template) and that rises to a total of 194 CP.

The base mythic abilities are easy enough to make…for the most part. Most of the mythic abilities revolve around spending a use of “mythic power” for various effects, the most basic of which is to improve die rolls; that sounds like Action Hero, with other abilities specialized to require an action point. There’s also a lot of Improved Self-Development (+10 total!).

The mythic feats granted by the template were a little more difficult to convert, simply because 1) there are so many of them, and 2) I wasn’t sure about building just those feats in Eclipse without also including the “normal” feat abilities, since they build on those.

Mythic Paths was where things went off the rail for me. Mostly because there were so many abilities across six different paths, and because having each path have twelve (!) different path abilities – in addition to the base mythic abilities – really pushed the cost. (I eventually figured the entire template was specialized, since gaining all of these requires satisfying a grand total of 29 mythic trials…not to mention how the template is gained in the first place).

Mythic spells and magic items aren’t part of the character, and so don’t need to be dealt with…I think. I’m slightly uncertain because some still require an expenditure of “mythic power” – presumably that’s no different than an expensive material component.

Finally, since these are meant to be broken up into ten “tiers,” I wasn’t sure how to do that, short of breaking up the entire template into ten packages of 19- or 20-CP bundles to dole out over time.

Presuming that’s not too tall of a request…how would you make “Mythic Eclipse”?

-Alzrius

I’ve got to admit it; I find this one more than a bit strange.

Basically, under Pathfinder’s “Mythic” rules… your character is exposed to some weird source of power, and infused with some of that power. As your character performs mighty deeds, he or she gains even greater powers. Soon lesser individuals can barely touch your character, and have little chance to oppose him or her.

This sounds a great deal like normal play to me.

After all, “exposed to some weird source of power” often happens as part of a characters basic origin story – and if it doesn’t happen then, player characters quite routinely expose themselves to alien energies, wade through dragon’s blood or other weirdness, visit exotic planes of existence, pick up malfunctioning artifacts, work for crazy divine patrons, channel entities from beyond the comprehensible cosmos, and, if all else fails, get involved with their own insane magical experiments.

They “perform mighty deeds and gain power from them”. Yes. Yes, they do. Story / quest / goal / whatever awards have been around since the early days of first edition. You completed a mission of some sort, you built up your reputation and legend, you gathered mundane rewards – and you also went up in level, gaining mighty powers.

And it’s pretty well acknowledged that, all else being equal, low-level characters have little chance against higher level ones.

Really, the “Mythic” rules represent a jump back to first edition.

In first edition, most people could not gain levels. Player characters and special NPC’s were unique because they could. By third edition EVERYONE got levels, and PC’s only real claim to being special was that they were apparently lucky bastards who found more gear than most of the other people. .

Under the “Mythic” rules, most people cannot gain Mythic Tiers; Player characters and special NPC’s are unique because they can.

In first edition quite a lot of your character advancement was awarded for accomplishing goals of some sort. By the time third edition came along, that sort of award was pretty rare. It was hard to calculate or award “treasure” – and keep wealth-by-level straight – for goals.

Under the “Mythic” rules a fair chunk of your character advancement is awarded for accomplishing goals of some sort.

“Mythic” does split from first edition in putting story awards on their own track – but that’s not particularly new either; quite a lot of early games put experience points into separate tracks depending on how you earned them. Thus games like Ysgarth and World Tree had different categories of abilities that advanced with XP from using those abilities.

While I’ll look at other ways of building mythic abilities next, the simplest, quickest, and most flexible option for mythic-style Eclipse only requires one power:

Immunity/having only one experience point chart; Very Common, Severe, Legendary, 60 CP Base, Specialized for Increased Effect (gets only one additional chart, abilities purchased on the secondary chart do not have to pay attention to the restrictions of the Adventurer Template) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost/the secondary “tier” chart only gets special goal-awards rather than splitting XP awards evenly with the primary chart, only goes to level ten, does not provide hit dice or skill points, and is normally capped at (Level/2) +1. Net Cost: (40 CP).

And that pretty much does it. With that extra allotment of character points you’re free to buy all kinds of specialized enhancing abilities. If you want to copy the original style, you can go ahead and throw in “Corrupted/Does not work against opponents who also possess this “mythic immunity” on a lot of defenses and special powers.

As usual for similar items, levels from the secondary progression do not stack with levels from the primary one. Thus being Level Thirteen/Tier Seven does NOT let you buy abilities as if you were a 20’th level character; it lets you have a complimentary set of level seven abilities to go with your level thirteen abilities – rather like a Gestalt character, although players are likely to buy truly complimentary talents rather than just getting a second set.

Now that is pretty cheap. It’s not hard to come up with 40 CP, and if you put it into a template you get a mere +1 ECL unless you put some more stuff into it.

Now talking your game master into letting you take an Immunity to a pretty fundamental aspect of d20’s rules is quite another matter. Such Immunities carry a rider about “if the Game Master opts to allow it” for exactly this reason; allowing someone to take an Immunity to having to gain experience points to go up in level, or to the normal progression of time, or to limits on actions in a round, or some such, can easily wreck the game. It’s a bit like playing Chess and ruling that pieces can’t be taken; there are some rules that the game simply does not work without.

On the other hand, ruling that Knights can also move and capture like pawns (and will now be known as “Templars”) will leave the game quite playable.

Will this particular Immunity break the game? It’s blatantly asking for an ECL adjustment, but if all the player characters are using it… well, the levels and abilities of NPC’s are pretty much arbitrary anyway. I think I’d prefer to just note that most NPC’s are fairly low level and stay that way, and thus the PC’s are special right out of the box – but this route will achieve much the same result.

Next time around I’ll look at the basics of building to match the “mythic” rules.

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8 Responses

  1. […] and Mythic Ascension: The Basic Mechanic, How to Use The Secondary Progression Mechanic in Other Ways, Basic Mythic Abilities, The Universal […]

  2. Let me get this straight: With your normal CP earned you buy a second source of CP? And by normal adventuring the amount of CP you gain is doubled?

    • Yes and no. While I haven’t read the original pathfinder material that inspired this, I believe the intent was to reward gameplay beyond the basic “Encounter” mechanic. In this case you would be getting XP/CP towards the second progression whenever you do things that are more story driven. This would include things like progress towards goals (i.e. I wish to liberate the kingdom!) and achieving major milestones for the character’s development (i.e. I became the Archmage of the local mages guild).

      This is in contrast to the normal XP/CP mechanics that Third Edition encourages of simply hunting down challenging encounters over and over again without heed towards giving your character a narrative for why he is hunting down orcs, goblins, drow, mind flayers, beholders, dragons, and evil eldritch horrors from beyond.

      I would also say that while over the course of the campaign the character is going to be progressing through the two paths rather even, it isn’t going to be simultaneous much of the time. A lot of sessions will be spent clearing out a dungeon (which will contribute to the first progression) followed by the rescue of the princess and returning her to the kingdom (which would contribute to the second progression). So from session to session, you’re not going to be getting equal amounts of progression on both paths at the same time in my estimation.

      As I said, I really think the purpose of this type of thing is to encourage the players to focus on doing more than moving from one combat encounter to the next as quickly as possible.

  3. […] Divine Rank as presented in the Deities and Demigods book is simple enough. It’s a form of Mythic Power – an independent source of power that provides more character points to spend without an […]

  4. […] a lot of abilities and techniques independent of adventuring levels you’ll wand to go the “Mythic” (Mundane?) route – treating training, in-school story awards, and testing “challenges” […]

  5. A minor query: while the ability to purchase a second progression here has been corrupted to not grant Hit Dice or skill points (i.e. the things you gain for free when you gain levels), do levels in the alternate progression still allow for everything else that you’d expect levels to grant? That is, are they still granting +6 CP of feats every two or three levels, Improved Self-Development every four levels, etc.?

    • As written, yes it does – although being limited to only ten levels and being expected to advance relatively slowly does rather minimize the impact. Given that this is a natural-law immunity (and a fairly major one) the game master is certainly free to require the addition of “or bonus feats or attribute increases” to the Specialization and Corruption.

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