Path of the Bound
This mythic plug-in clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages introduction/how to use, 1 page ToC, 3 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 20 pages of content, though it should be noted that there is a ton of information crammed into these pages.
This review was moved up in my reviewing queue at the request of one of my patreon supporters.
So, turns out that not all heroes gain their mythic power by their own deeds and might; some achieve their potent powers by means of Faustian bargains, oaths of fealty and the like – these are the Bound. (So yeah, from good ole’ Faust to Preussler’s Krabat to Arthur’s knights, there are plenty examples of folks that could have been Bound.) The main focus here is on clerics, oracles, mediums, shamans, summoners and witches. The path nets 3 bonus hit points per tier and at first tier, gets the bound pact ability, which manifests in one of four abilities, 3 of which may be activated as a swift action. Eldritch wish lets the Bound expend a use of mythic power to cast a spell or SP sans expending the spell slot or prepared spell. Material and focus components must still be provided, and the spell is limited by the spell lists it can be from, and the spell level must be equal to or less than the mythic tier, using mythic tier instead of casting ability modifier to determine DCs, if any. The second ability lets you, when you strike a creature within 30 ft. with an attack, expend a use of mythic power to mark them with a painful brand. The target takes a -1 penalty to all saves for mythic tier rounds, and this penalty increases by 1 at 5th and 10th tier, respectively.
Additionally, once per round when the branded creature takes damage, you may increase the damage caused as a free action by your mythic tier. When enhancing your own attacks or effects, you instead increase the damage by 1d6, +1d6 for every 3 tiers after 1st. The bonus damage is not multiplied on a critical hit. Step between, the third ability, allows you to expend a use of mythic power to move up to 50 ft. per tier in any direction, and upon reappearing, you are shrouded in a blur effect, and until the start of your next turn,. You get an attack at your highest BAB, against which the target is considered to be flat-footed. The ability requires line of effect. The wardpact ability may be used as an immediate action, and allows you to curse the originator of a harmful effect or attack that targets you; the penalty of the curse applies to e.g. AC, attack rolls, CL checks or concentration, depending on your preference, and the curse lasts for tier round and allows for a Will save to decrease its duration. The penalty increases for every 3 tiers.
The capstone tier ability, true pact, lets you, whenever you target a creature with a spell, SU or SP that requires a Will save, and the target fails the save, you may expend one use of mythic power (here erroneously referred to as “point of mythic power”) to treat the target as under the effects of a geas/quest.
The pdf of course contains a significant array of 1st-tier abilities, which cover a lot of ground, some of which allow for multiple choices: Take e.g. bound aspect, which allows you to choose either the ability to assume a Hyde-like monstrous physique; another choice nets you light and skin covered in scripture that enhances your skills, and a third aspect is one that nets you an idealized version of yourself. All of these share additional tricks that the choices have in common. Zon-Kuthon/kyton-themed characters will love the path ability that nets not only proficiency with whips and spiked chains (and counting as having Weapon Focus for e.g. Whip mastery; spiked chains may be wielded as chains, and the ability also allows for the expenditure of mythic power t enhance properties of the weaponry. Did anyone say “Spawn”?
There is an ability that makes an outsider come to claim your soul when you die (including making them come); there also would be an ability to seal supernatural contracts, and e.g. a cooperative casting trick, the ability to wield cursed items sans being affected by them, the ability to use mythic power to count as an alignment of your choice for the purposes of alignments and effects, making you a moral chameleon. Being a ´dream trader with hollow dreamscapes, transferring wounds, exorcisms, brief flashes of tapping into omniscience…and there is one that makes you appear as a headless horseman. Do you notice something? Yeah, the themes this time around are distinctly and strongly geared towards both dark fantasy and occult themes. The abilities, from looking like a reincarnated hero to the aforementioned array, do provide a surprising amount of narrative options. You’ll be hard-pressed to find even a single path ability herein that doesn’t have some compelling ad potentially inspiring angle. Of course, mythic companions and hexes and mechanical tricks like that are included as well. Did I mention the one that makes you a dislocated relic of a bygone age, Out of Time? From a roleplaying perspective, this really kicks it up a notch, even in contrast to other mythic paths presented by Legendary Games so far.
There would also be patron-related stuff, the ability to convert targets to your cause (including vow-engine synergy and e.g. Vow of Obedience/Truth reprints), the ability to use stigmata…you’re starting to see what I mean, right?
Among the 3rd tier abilities, we can find a really cool one – a free action ability that allows you to forge a retributive bond with adversaries, allowing you to counter mythic power expenditure! Very cool! Retributive curse strikes, flight, temporary hit point shields and more may be found here. (As an aside – there are a few more of the erroneous mythic point-references among the abilities – not many, and they’re purely cosmetic, but yeah.). Eye of vengeance ties in with judgments, and allows for retributive gazing through defenses and illusions, assuming negative conditions on allies, sin-eater style, the ability to alter binding agreements (OHHH, NASTY!)…and did I mention the headless horseman upgrade that lets you go full-blown Ghost rider? Oh yeah! What about the ability that lets you revive from the dead after a few years, also passing a hereditary curse on those that harmed you? Now this is some “cackle with glee”-material! Cool and creepy in a subtle manner – there is also the option to purify targets…first of diseases and the like, and then, of genetic impurities…which can have some genuinely disturbing repercussions in the hands of zealots…
The 6th level path abilities include forging a minor artifact, the potential for mythic power theft, imbuing companions with mythic power…and what about using multiple uses f mythic power to defy destiny itself? Low-level SP infinite spellcasting is per se nice, but should specify that it doesn’t cover all types of spells…otherwise we have an unrepentant infinite healing option here. Granted, 6th tier…but still.
The pdf also includes 3 different mythic flaws (one of which ties in with the corruption-engine) and then goes on to present mythic patronage rules: With the Mythic Patron feat (, yep, included, not capitalized properly), there is an option to bestow tiers on targets, receive them, and the rules for reclaiming mythic power is similarly concisely presented. So yeah, if you wanted to be Arthur and have your own champions – there you go!. This part of the engine is also supplemented by a 3rd-tier universal ability (to call protégés that you bestowed mythic power upon), and a trickster ability for blinking.
The final page offers some pieces of advice and suggestions for rewarding bound builds.
Editing and formatting are excellent on a rules-integrity side of things; on a formal level, there are a couple of aesthetic deviations, with only rarely something negatively (and admittedly, circumstantially) influencing the integrity of the game. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the pdf uses a mixture of new full color artwork and pieces that Legendary Games-fans will be familiar with. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.
Jason Nelson, Robert Brookes, David N. Ross, Clinton J. Boomer – with these stars among designers, it should come as no surprise that I consider this mythic path the by far coolest one released so far. With a deft focus of blending high-concept, cool abilities with relevant rules, the Path of the Bound could, on its own, arguably can carry a whole campaign. The mythic patronage section may be worth getting this all on its own – I could picture e.g. such mythic pacts as the sole source of magic in an otherwise gritty rare/low fantasy world, or as a central leitmotif for an occult/horror campaign. I love this supplement to bits. While I probably should round down from my final verdict of 4.5 stars, I just can’t bring myself to doing so. The abilities are simply too evocative, too amazing and inspiring. Hence, my final verdict will round up, and yes, this does get my seal of approval – highly recommended if your aesthetic preferences are even remotely close to mine!
You can get this inspired mythic path here on OBS!