Thursday, December 26, 2013

System Shock - Mythic Patrons

The Outsider, as seen in one of
Sokolov's paintings in Dishonored. 
One of the best video games I've played in 2013 was Dishonored by Bethesda Softworks. Dishonored is a marvelously addictive stealth/first-person shooter set in a wonderfully visualized steampunk world that feels remarkably lived-in. While not particularly long, Dishonored (and it's from-the-villain's-perspective DLC, Knife of Dunwall) is relentlessly engaging and is one of the few games where I eagerly scramble around for bits of in-world lore tucked away in dark, dusty corners.

Dishonored most central figure, aside from the masked protagonist Corvo, is a mysterious figure of inscrutable agenda known only as the Outsider. It is via the Outsider that Corvo obtains an array of supernatural abilities that allow him to exercise his revenge of the people that wronged him. It was this premise and the Outsider's unique gift of supernatural power to Corvo that plucked my developer strings and made me question how something like the Outsider and Corvo's relationship could be represented in Pathfinder. It wasn't until the Mythic Adventures sourcebook came out that I had the answer for that handed to me.

As io9 recently stated in their review, Mythic Adventures is a "game changer" for Paizo and Pathfinder. Now, characters have access to a wholly new array of potential powers and abilities, many of which would feel right at home in the world of Dishonored. However, while there were some spells that could grant limited mythic power to an individual, there wasn't quite anything in that master/apprentice or patron/benefactor vein.

So, naturally, I saw that as a challenge!

System Shock is a series of articles drawing on wide-ranging sources of inspiration to create new rules systems for use in Pathfinder. Every system shock article will present a new way to use pre-existing rules from Pathfinder.

Today's System Shock article is a rules subset of Mythic Adventures whereby you become a mythic patron, bestowing power on others who can do your bidding in the world!



Mythic Patronage

Not all who harness mythic power do so of their own accomplishment. Some are gifted mythic power when it is bestowed onto them by greater beings who have already achieved greatness. The following section details an alternate source of mythic power stemming from mythic tiers granted by an individual who has already had their moment of ascension.

Becoming a Mythic Patron

Any character with the mythic patron feat has the ability to loan out their mythic power to allies. Once the mythic patron feat has been taken, a character may immediately begin investing portions of his mythic power in others. Becoming a mythic patron is not only a responsibility, but also a significant risk and should not be something given lightly.

Bestowing Tiers

A mythic patron may bestow any number of mythic tiers on another creature or creatures up to his current mythic tier -1. These creatures are called mythic benefactors. So a 9th tier character may bestow a total of 8 mythic tiers to benefactors. When a patron bestows a mythic tier on a benefactor, the patron's effective mythic tiers are reduced by a number equal to the total bestowed. This does not result in the loss of mythic feats, hit points, or other standard mythic traits. However, if the mythic patron no longer meets the prerequisites for specific path abilities, such as minimum mythic tier required to obtain, he may no longer use that mythic path ability until he reclaims his power.

Bestowing a mythic tier requires a full-round action and line-of-sight to a non-mythic target. Mythic tiers cannot be bestowed on characters or creatures that are already mythic. For purposes of bestowing tiers, viewing the target via scrying counts as line of sight. Mythic tiers may only be bestowed on a willing target, though the target may be coerced into accepting these mythic tiers without full understanding of what doing so entails.

For the duration of time that his mythic tiers are bestowed on others, a mythic patron acts as if they were effectively of lower mythic tier for purposes of ability effects, number of mythic surges per day, and any other effect related to total mythic tier. A mythic patron may not gain additional mythic tiers while he is investing his power in others, but trials completed while acting as a mythic patron still count towards the required number of trials. Once the mythic patron has regained all of their loaned tiers, they may gain new mythic tiers as normal, or immediately gain access to tiers earned while acting as a patron.

Recieving a Mythic Patron

When you are granted mythic tiers by a mythic patron, you are considered a mythic benefactor and immediately gain a number of mythic tiers determined by the patron. These tiers are automatically considered to be of the mythic path originally chosen by your mythic patron and may not be changed. Additionally, you may only select mythic path abilities and mythic feats from among those selected by your patron. If your mythic patron has the mythic spellcasting path ability and you choose it, you are limited to his selection of mythic spells and may not cast them if they are not on your spell list or are of a level too high for you to cast. You gain the same number of bonus hit points from bestowed mythic tiers as your patron had gained.

For all purposes you act as a normal mythic character of your tier while bestowed these temporary tiers. You may even gain the mythic patron feat if you are bestowed sufficient tiers to qualify for it and thereby bestow some of the granted tiers you were given to other individuals following the same rules. For example, a 9th-tier trickster patron bestows 5 tiers on his lieutenant. In turn, his lieutenant takes the mythic patron feat as his third-tier mythic feat in the same place his patron had gained it. The benefactor then chooses to bestow 2 tiers on his chosen subordinate. 

When bestowing mythic power on a benefactor, a mythic patron may choose to mark this benefactor as his representative with a symbol or brand somewhere on their body at the time mythic tiers are bestowed. The appearance of the mark is chosen by the mythic patron, but remains the same for all benefactors once chosen, and becomes synonymous with their mythic legacy.

Reclaiming Mythic Power

A mythic patron may reclaim any number of mythic tiers bestowed on their benefactors as a standard action while the benefactor is within line of sight. Stripping a benefactor who is himself a mythic patron to another individual of their power also subsequently strips that individual of their power if the benefactor can no longer qualify for the mythic patron feat due to loss of effective tiers.

Once mythic power has been reclaimed from a benefactor it may not be bestowed upon them by again for 24-hours by the same patron. Losing mythic power in this way is a taxing experience, and the benefactor being drained must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + twice the number of tiers being removed) or be staggered for a number of rounds equal to the number of mythic tiers lost. If a benefactor is bestowed mythic power by a mythic patron again, they are free to choose an entirely new suite of powers and are not limited by their previous choices.

If a mythic patron dies, all invested mythic tiers are immediately removed from all benefactors. If a benefactor dies, all mythic tiers bestowed on them are automatically returned to the mythic patron.



New Mythic Path Abilities

General 3rd-Tier

Call Benefactor (Su) As a full-round action you may expend one use of mythic power to summon an individual that you have invested mythic power in as a mythic patron. The target must be an active recipient of one or more of your mythic tiers and be on the same plane as you. Your benefactor may not resist this calling, however they cannot be summoned from areas where teleportation magic does not function, or while under the effects of spells such as dimension lock. Your benefactor appears in an open square within 30 feet at the beginning of your next turn and may act immediately as they wish.

Trickster 1st-Tier

Blink (Su) In a sudden burst of speed you may expend one point of mythic power to move up to your speed as an immediate action in any direction to a destination that you have line of sight to. You may ignore any difficult or hazardous terrain crossed during this movement such as rubble, lava, or hazardous spell effects such as entangle or black tentacles, and your movement does not trigger traps. Furthermore you may move on open air, such as to cross chasms or climb directly upward. However, if your movement ends mid-air, you immediately fall and take falling damage as appropriate.


New Mythic Feat

Mythic Patron (Mythic)
You possess the ability to bestow mythic power on others.
Prerequisite: Mythic Tier 1
Benefit: You gain the ability to become a mythic patron (see the mythic patron rules above.)


Open Content: The game mechanics of this game product are Open Game Content, as defined in the Open Gaming License version 1.0a Section 1(d).

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