Epic level rules in D&D have always sucked. Usually they’re just bad rules, but also no one ever really gets to those levels – I’ve been playing D&D in various states with various groups since the 1980s and have yet to play any character over level 16. And they don’t end up really simulating much. The superheroes of myth, Perseus et al., they don’t usually show the totally “uber” attributes of a high level character. They’re just special.
Paizo had a massive flash of inspiration around this problem. “Hey, what if there’s levels of mythic type, proto-deity power, but those work at low levels? So you could be Perseus, the fifth level fighter demigod, where a cyclops or whatever is still a real threat, unlike if he were level 25?” And thence came the new Mythic Adventures rules for Pathfinder, available for free download and up for discussion in the playtest forums.
Now of course, it wouldn’t be D&D 3.5e/Pathfinder if they didn’t take a cool idea and mechanize it all to hell – “You need four greater and seven lesser trials to gain the 7th mythic tier, and if you complete one in excess you regain a use of your mythic power” – which can threaten to turn the sweet idea into more number crunching. But I plan on giving it a good solid read and, who knows, maybe even playtest it. It’s the kind of thing I’d like to use, as I prefer lower level play because of the more human, less videogamey feel and the lower complexity. But say “E6+M3″… Now that’s something.
I was initially put off by the path names, thinking “well what about character type X?” But as I looked at it, they are pretty wide ranging. I can see a niche character (alchemist?) having problems but I tried to map my Reavers party to them, and I think Sindawe the monk/pirate captain would be a Champion (he focuses more on ass-kick and less on leading people, so not really a Marshal), Wogan the cleric of Gozreh would be a Hierophant, Tommy the assassin would be a Trickster. Serpent the druid/ranger/barbarian is the hard one, I didn’t think there was a fit, but after reading Guardian more in depth it really fits him. The fluff on that one doesn’t really do it justice. Although with each of them, I could see them making an argument for one of the others depending on how they wanted to spin themselves.
Check ’em out, see how you like ’em!
I’m of a similar mindset. At first, I was skeptical about the Mythic rules were first announced. I was like, “Well, they already have demigods at high levels. Why do they need to power them up even more?” But now I see that it’s a way to customize or give some extra *oomph* to characters, even low-level ones.
I also like the default assumption of advancement being tied to great deeds, and not just abstract experience points. It allows for story developments to be behind a character “powering-up.”