Friday, May 24, 2013

Leveling Advancement Variant for Pathfinder

It's no secret that I like Pathfinder. While I've become somewhat disillusioned with the excess of rules and wish the game was somewhat lighter, it is still one of my favorite games on the market and my go-to choice for fantasy gaming.

However, I'm very aware of the problems that are inherent to both Pathfinder and other games based on the d20 system. For example, it's a very common belief that the d20 system begins to break down at higher levels. While I don't think the problem is as drastic as some would make it out to be, the obvious bloat in bonuses and some of the problems with high level play is something I would like to avoid if I can. It's one of the reasons I very rarely run a game past 10th level.

Recently, I have been brainstorming a better way to handle character advancement past 10th level and I think Paizo has giving me a perfect way to handle it: Mythic Tiers.

For those of you who don't follow Pathfinder and have no idea what I'm talking about, I'll elaborate. Mythic Tiers are basically character levels that a character gains by completing a "mythic trial". Once they have completed the mythic trial, they choose which of the six mythic paths they'd like to follow (Archmage, Champion, Guardian, Hierophant, Marshall, and Trickster) and can receive a maximum of 10 mythic tiers. Since these tiers aren't based on experience points, but characters accomplishing these trials, the advancement can be as slow or as fast as a game master wants it to be.

So, I'm thinking about doing the following for my future Pathfinder games. Characters will stop advancing normally at 10th level. If they wish to advance further, they will be presented with a mythic trial and will be granted a mythic tier. They can continue to advance by completing more trials and gaining more tiers along their chosen path.

Basically, I'm dividing the game into two tiers of play: the Heroic Tier (1st through 10th level) and the Mythic Tier (1st through 10th tier). So, there are still 20 levels in a way, but the way you reach that 20th level is a little different. Also, since the mythic tiers (as they are presented in the free playtest document) work a little bit different than levels and don't contribute to the bonus bloat in the same way as a level does, I think this might be an interesting fix for the problem.

However, I still need to give it a test run and see if it actually works or if it just creates its own set of problems. Time will tell I suppose.