Friday, April 1, 2016

In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night, No Evil Shall Escape My Sight

In my first Murphy's Rules post I brought up one unfortunate feature of 3e: Creatures take a -1 penalty to checks to spot something for every 10 feet of distance between them and the target, so a 120 million penalty to checks puts the moon out of sight of even the most skilled observers, let alone the sun or stars.

Not so in Pathfinder. Of course, it's still a task beyond even level 20 characters, but things get a little different once mythic rules come into play.

Mythic rules are kind of sort of Paizo's answers to the Epic rules of 3e and earlier editions which were there to solve the problem of what your band of adventurers has gained enough power that they can murder everything under the heavens, chiefly by providing them with enough power to murder everything within the heavens (as well as a host of possible targets). But while epic rules in D&D are designed as something you enter into after you've gone through the first 20 levels of play, Pathfinder's mythic rules are something that can be slotted in at any point in the campaign, existing under their own rules that provide various boosts to your capabilities that stack on top of the things provided by your class and the like. So you can have level 20 mythic characters, or level 1 ones, who will be stronger than an equally-leveled non-mythic character (well, in theory).

Mythic creatures all have a number called its ranging from 1 to 10 (which is called the "mythic tier" for characters and "mythic rank" for monsters), which provides certain benefits such as feats, ability scores and common features for characters (monsters have different rules). Both possess mythic power, a wellspring of supernatural ability spent on anything from boosting your d20 rolls as part of the universal "surge" feature to activating various special abilities. Each mythic character chooses one of six "mythic paths" and gains a starting ability plus a path ability for each mythic tier, which can be chosen from the path or from a pool of common abilities. Mythic paths each focus on different things: Archmage is all about arcane magic, Champion is all about beating faces, Guardian is about being tough and defending allies, Hierophant is about divine magic, Marshal is about leading allies and Trickster is about being sneaky. You're not obligated to take any particular path, but some will probably be more useful to your character than others.

With the basics covered, let's meet Elrond Hubble the (half-)elven astronomer. Since an early age Elrond has been intrigued by that strange blue blur overhead that brightens and darkens as the hours pass. Always seeking, Elrond possesses an elf's keen senses, and is eagle-eyed even by those standards to the point where Elrond can read a book from fifty feet away. Elrond refines his eyesight further with divine ability that emulates birds of prey, and focuses on this skill through training and items, but it's of no use. No matter how hard Elrond tries, he can't see anything more than a few hundred feet away.

But one day Elrond encounters a strange meteorite and is exposed to its unusual energy. His body flooded with power, he turns his face to the heavens and for a brief moment... he can see! Now, what happened was that when Elrond was exposed to the power of the space rock, he ascended and gained his first mythic tier (a not entirely uncommon occurrence in the Pathfinder setting, at least three or four deities owe their starts to a magic rock). At 1st tier Elrond gains his basic features, a mythic path (Trickster, since we're trying to be a skill monkey), a path ability (he'll choose Unwavering Skill to be able to take 10 on all skill checks that are class skills, letting him steady his gaze), and a mythic feat slot, which he spends on the mythic version of the Eagle Eyes feat. Now, the Eagle Eyes feat normally lets you ignore the distance penalty to Perception up to -5 (the first 50 ft) and the mythic version lets you ignore up to -10 (the first 100 ft). But if you spend a point of mythic power as a swift action then for the next round the feat will eliminate all penalties to Perception due to distance. -120 million penalty to notice the moon? Gone. Distance to the sun? He might as well be standing on it. Neighboring stars? Sure. Hell, nothing can stop him from staring a few hundred septillion feet out to take a close look at the figurative or perhaps literal edge of the universe itself (or at least past its event horizon).... well, nothing save for having enough random solid junk in the way.

This raises (and perhaps answers) a lot of cosmological questions that Elrond is probably ill-equipped to answer, all of which will soon be forgotten because Elrond's all-seeing gaze only lasts for a single round (about six seconds). Sure, he can spend a point of mythic power as a swift action on his next turn to do it again for another round, but mythic power is a daily resource and a mythic character only has 3 + 2x tier points of mythic power per day. You can spend a feat and up to three path ability slots to get more points, but even at tier 10 you'll only have 31 points per day. Even going all-out and investing in paths and abilities that provide mythic power substitutes will only take you up to 40 uses per day, a mere four minutes of star-gazing. You can recharge your pool of mythic power by slamming down some ambrosia but it's an expensive habit at 10k a dose (or 5k if you''ve got someone who can make it for you). At tier 10 all paths gain the ability to regain mythic power at the rate of one per hour in addition to the full refill they get once per day, but that's still not enough to feed Elrond's need for stars in his life.

Of course, each mythic path has a unique special ability gained at tier 10 that represents being at the height of your power and ability and being able to smack around lesser beings. In the case of the trickster, the Supreme Trickster feature grants Elrond the ability is to treat all non-mythic creatures as flat-footed against any attack he makes against them, even if they're normally immune to being caught flat-footed. For an astronomer that's more of a novelty than anything. Additionally once per round Elrond can regain a point of mythic power whenever he rolls a natural 20 on an opposed skill check against a mythic foe . This ability is probably the most worthlessly marginal tier 10 ability in the game. Not only does it only kick in one in twenty attempts, but the number of opposed skills in the game can be counted on one hand (Perception vs. Disguise, Sleight of Hand and Stealth, Sense Motive vs. Bluff, and Linguistics vs... Linguistics), and rolling a natural 20 doesn't matter if there wasn't a mythic foe around to see you do it. This is highly unlikely to come up all that much. If it were "mythic creature" instead of "mythic foe" then you'd at least be able to top off by playing peek-a-boo with your mythic allies for a few minutes in hopes of randomly rolling 20s, but that still wouldn't be fast enough for Elrond's purposes.

Compare the Trickster to the Champion, whose Legendary Champion ability lets you reroll attacks against non-mythic enemies and lets you regain a point of mythic power once per round whenever you roll a natural 20 on an attack roll, regardless of the foe. It's not difficult for a combat-oriented character to be able to make a half-dozen attacks per round or more with the right fighting style or attack-generators (such as Attacks of Opportunity), each one with a 1 in 20 chance of generating a point of mythic power. At this point you might say to yourself, "well, even if other paths have better ways to generate mythic power, I still need to be a trickster in order to use the trickster's skill-boosting path abilities." Good news though: You really don't.

The secret lies in the mythic feat called Dual Path, which does something really helpful: it lets you select one other mythic path, get the level 1 feature of that path and then whenever you would normally choose path abilities you could choose them from either path. Since it's a tier 1 feat and you get a feat slot at tier 1 then you can take it as your first feat to let you use the framework of your first path to house the abilities of your second, so you could have a Champion who dual paths into Trickster and then takes nothing but Trickster abilities but still winds up with the much nicer "Legendary Champion" ability. You don't even need to go that far, since most paths have enough interesting and versatile abilities that you won't mind mixing and matching to create the ultimate combination. Taking Dual Path as your first or second mythic feat is almost never a bad idea. Unfortunately, Champion is not going to work that well for Elrond since even if he does manage to find something he can shake a sword at while stargazing it doesn't return mythic power fast enough or reliably enough to meet his needs. But we have other options.

We return now to Elrond Hubble, and finding him floating in space above the planet of Golarion. This isn't really as bad as it looks because with the right equipment he doesn't need air, or food or water and is immune to the vacuum of space. Thanks to his mythic abilities he doesn't require sleep, and won't ever die of old age either, giving him all the time in the world to study the wonders of space while a permanent telepathic bond links him up to the folks back on the ground. His eyewear has been enhanced to pierce storms and atmospheric conditions, and with the right mythic abilities he can even pierce illusions as well as invisibility and the ethereal but seeing clearly in the dark can prove to be a problem.

Normally in Pathfinder the ability to see in the dark tends to cut off at certain distances- many races can only see up to 60 feet in magical darkness, but some like the deep-dwelling drow can see up to 120 feet in pitch blackness. Magical items that offer darkvision tend to also offer it in 60 foot distances or increments, but that's not really helpful at our scale. Fortunately, there's a really easy solution: the rod of shadows grants the magical ability to see perfectly in any sort of darkness, including magical darkness (the more complicated solution involves using mythic eldritch heritage and the robe of arcane heritage to worm your way into level 20 sorcerer abilities which you should otherwise not have access to). No distance limitations here. Elrond Hubble can see through anything at any distance that isn't a solid object (or maybe magical gas) and can do so for as long as he can keep his eyes open. Which is going to be a while, since he's also been permanently paralyzed.

Maybe he had his Dexterity drained to 0 or maybe it was a lovetap from a lich, but the point is that our astronomer here can't move a muscle on his own, though he's still able to take mental actions such as telepathy, activating his mythic eagle eye, and making Perception checks. You might think that an immobile Elrond would have to start worrying about facing and field of vision, but don't worry, we've got that covered. Now, course correction might be a bit of a problem if we don't want him to be whacked by any space debris or something, so we've taken the liberty of giving him a dozen or so tiny flying constructs immune to the rigors of space to help him in any way necessary. Such as one of them attempting to tear his throat out every chance it gets.

See, Elrond's path is the guardian, whose True Defender ability halves damage from non-mythic sources and also once per round lets him regain a point of mythic power whenever an enemy scores a critical hit against him. Since he's paralyzed, he's helpless and thus vulnerable to the coup de grace maneuver, which is an automatic hit and critical hit at that since he can't do anything to dodge it. Of course, a coup de grace still requires the victim to make a Fortitude save at a DC of 15 + damage dealt, and even if Elrond's Fortitude bonus is greater than the DC, rolling a natural 1 on the save still means that he automatically fails, which is a bit of a downer when the penalty for failing that save is instant death. Fortunately, Elrond's Guardian abilities also grant him epic damage reduction which the construct is unable to pierce, and when damage reduction completely negates damage then it also negates most of the other special effects that depend on damage, including the need to make a Fortitude save. So under the incessant onslaught of 0 damage critical hits from the murder-bot Elrond Hubble can keep his Mythic Eagle Eye feat going indefinitely, allowing him to gaze eternally into the endless void of space and telepathically send information to the folks back home. Fortunately, a combination of high level and significant resources invested in boosting Perception through boosting his Wisdom score have given Elrond Hubble a formidable Will save, to better endure the mental rigors and revelations of his work.

One really obvious revelation encountered in this sort of thing is that you're not alone. True, it's not a huge secret that the neighboring planets are all inhabited, even if the inhabitants might be undead and/or permanently on fire but even once you get away from the local solar system or planets around other stars you're still going to find random things floating around in the cold dark infinite void, many of which can be filed under the "Horrors Man Was Never Meant To Know" category. Scholars tend to refer to this collection of aberrations as the Dark Tapestry, and its alien powers tend to involve ruin, madness and other bad things. Fortunately these dark dealers of devastation don't deign to discern our designated dwelling... But as we all know, When You Gaze Long Into The Abyss, The Abyss Also Gazes Into You (And Takes A -120 Trillion Penalty To Its Perception Checks In The Process). Still, accidents happen and occasionally you find yourself up to your navel in Things That Go Squish In The Night.

Most aberrations are no match for a mythic hero, but should things go absolutely pear-shaped you might find yourself having to deal with the biggest powers in the Dark Tapestry. The Outer Gods are probably beyond anything mortals have to offer and rarely make their presence directly felt, but their greatest servants are the Great Old Ones, who possess strength that rivals that of demigods and demon lords.

This is the mightiest of their heralds, whose coming is generally seen as a sign that things have gone horribly wrong and are about to get worse.

You might have heard of him.

Good News: He's usually imprisoned in his tomb within the sunken city of R'lyeh, slumbering away in stasis thanks to the power of the Elder Sign.

Bad News: Occasionally the stars align, R'lyeh rises, the doors open and he walks once more.

Good News: R'lyeh is on a planet countless lightyears away (it's literally on Earth. The local year is somewhere around 1918 and there's an adventure path module where you go to Earth at that time and stuff Rasputin back into his grave)

Bad News: He's also capable of spaceflight and can reach your world in 2d6 days (or possibly more). Because that is a thing this game needed.

Now we could panic, hug our loved ones and prepare ourselves for the end of days, but with Elrond watching the stars we've got at least a two day warning period before the squid hits the planet. So let's get some friends together and get ready to hold the line.

Meet Aegis. Aegis is a half-elven paladin who is also a mythic tier 10 champion. Aegis is specifically a Divine Hunter, a paladin subtype that favors bows. Aegis likes bows, Aegis has a nice bow. It starts as a +5 composite longbow with the aberration bane property to increase its bonuses even further against aberrations like the Big C, while the phase-locking prevents our squishy friend from using any sort of teleportation or plane-shifting magic to close the gap or escape, the endless ammunition property does exactly what is says on the label, and the adaptive property lets us add any strength bonus we may have to the damage of arrows fired from the bow. Again, pretty nice.

Interesting fact about Aegis: One of Aegis' ancestors was an orc. It was probably on the human side since humans will romance anything, but you never know with magic. By tapping into that eldritch heritage, Aegis gains some of that orcish power. By getting the mythic feat, Aegis gains all the bloodline powers of an orc blood sorcerer of a level equal to Aegis's level (20) minus two, so 18 normally. By donning a robe of arcane heritage, Aegis' effective sorcerer level is increased by 4, giving Aegis the bloodline power of a 22nd level sorcerer (or a 24th level sorcerer for the first ability thanks to the mythic feat). There are some nice things in there, and Aegis is pretty happy about her heritage because Aegis is optimistic like that, to the point where morale bonuses linger for an additional 1d4 rounds after they'd normally stop because Aegis doesn't let things like the rules get her down.

Aegis has some friends. There's Elrond Hubble, of course, since we couldn't do this without him. There's also Old One Eye, a level 20 mythic Ranger who is a champion with a dual path into Marshal. Old One Eye really, really hates aberrations ("damn varmits killed my pa") and has devoted everything to learning how to destroy them. There's also Levity, a bard who may or may not be mythic (but is at least level 17) and Dr. J, a high-level non-mythic alchemist. No one knows why Dr. J is here. Maybe he's a cohort or something.

The A-Team may be assembled, but there's one minor problem: only Elrond Hubble can see what's coming. The rest of them are affected by the paltry limits of mortal sight. There are spells that let you share sensory information, but those are usually limited to things like a wizard and a familiar. Now, Elrond could explain that their guest is currently fifty thousand light-years out and slightly to the left or even provide a more exact position by taking a level of Gunslinger to access the gunner squire archetype, but that might not be enough for our purposes. So Doctor J pulls out three vials and offers a solution.

Aegis, seeing no problem with this, immediately chugs one down and has an out-of-body experience. As an alchemist, Dr. J can prepare various extracts containing arcane spells and with the infusion ability they can be used by other non-alchemist characters, allowing for a useful bypass to access some caster spells that would otherwise need a custom magic item to use. The spell in question is Marionette Possession, which lets the caster shoot their soul out and into the body of a willing (or unconscious...) creature nearby. In our case, it really doesn't matter where Aegis goes, so we'll just park her in Old One Eye's body for the moment. Elrond Hubble (either freed of paralysis or maybe just hooked up to an IV) then consumes another vial of Marionette Possession and jumps into the now vacant body of Aegis. Not to be outdone, Aegis drinks a vial of Marionette Possession while in Old One Eye's body and thus comes into possession of her own body while Elrond Hubble's soul is still in it.

So... what was the point of all this? Well, possessing a target lets you use the target's physical abilities and your own mental abilities, but the target still can use its own senses and both souls can share information telepathically. We want Aegis' body with Elrond's senses, so by shuffling her out of her own body we can let Elrond take temporary ownership of the body, and then be pushed back down into the radar role when Aegis returns. Since they're both half-elves they both have the same Keen Senses trait, allowing Elrond's supreme vision to function normally even in Aegis' body (his gear has also been transferred over) in a really convoluted plot to allow two characters to share exact information. But again... why?

A brief primer on ranged combat: All ranged weapons have what is called a range increment, and when you make an attack against a distant target you take a cumulative -2 penalty to attack rolls for each ranged increment past the first, but that penalty can be reduced to a -1 penalty per increment with the far shot feat. Ranged increments tend to be in the 50 to 100-odd foot range for missile weapons such as bows and crossbows or the 10 to 30 foot range for thrown weapons and those increments can be increased by doing things like doubling them with the distance property. Mythic heroes can take the mythic version of the far shot feat which lets them spend a point of mythic power as a swift action to ignore all ranged increment penalties for one turn, but there's still a maximum range cap of ten ranged increments on missile weapons and five ranged increments for thrown weapons. Fortunately for us, the mythic champion has the an ability that not only multiplies your ranged increments by five but also removes the increment cap.

It's well and good to be able to shoot at an unlimited range, but you probably need to be able to see where you're aiming since being off by even a fraction of a degree means being off-target by billions of miles. Aegis could have the same mythic eagle eye set-up that Elrond has, but that comes with a problem since both eagle eye and far shot require you to spend a swift action to activate them, both last only one round, and you only get one swift action per round, which is an even bigger bottleneck for mythic characters than usual since so many of their abilities are swift action abilities that also compete with their regular swift action abilities. If the DM won't let you use a really big grid for accurate coordinates then you need some way to keep both in action. By getting her soul out of her body, Aegis lets Elrond possess it and treat it as his own, letting her jump back in on top of him so she can have all the physical benefits of her body and her own swift action while also letting him spend a swift action of his own to use his enhanced senses (all of which he can use through her body since both are half elves with the Keen Senses feature and she has identical copies of all of his magic items) and share it with her. It's a wonky way to get around the swift action block that normally limits sight/range- the alternative involves finding a really good spotter.

For a little while Aegis is going to be the target of some boring spells that boost her attack and damage rolls. Aegis taps into her orcish heritage to grow in size, becoming bigger and stronger, and drinks a potion of gravity bow to make her arrows hit as though they were from an even bigger bow. She activates her Divine Bond ability and boosts the power of her bow even further, giving it the aximoatic and holy properties to boost its damage against chaotic and evil opponents, plus the seeking ability offered through her Divine Hunter feature, which lets her shots ignore miss chances other than the 1d20 attack roll (she could also add the distance property, but that's not really needed at the moment). Levity the bard fires up Inspire Courage and casts haste at some point. Old One Eye spends a point of mythic power as a free action to activate endless hatred and really hate aberrations (boosting the bonus even further), and then activates the Marshal's mythic bond ability to share that entire bonus with Aegis and the rest of the group for the next couple of rounds.

Finally, Aegis does two things: First she spends a swift action to activate Smite Evil, allowing her to choose one evil target in sight, adding her Charisma modifier to her attack rolls against the target and her AC against the target's attacks, plus add her paladin level to damage rolls against the target and then spends a standard action to use her orc bloodline's touch of rage ability, letting her add half of her effective sorcerer level as a morale bonus to her attack rolls and damage rolls (and will saves) for one round. Since it's a standard action it would normally be harder to attack, but her optimism trait lets morale bonuses linger for the next 1d4 rounds (and even if she didn't have it we could always have a different mythic character such as the under-used Levity use it on her, or have her spend a point of mythic power to get an extra standard action for the round and then use it).

Next round, it's showtime.

First Aegis spends a point of mythic power as a minor action to activate Mythic Far Shot and ignore the range increment penalty. Then she activates deadly aim to take a -6 penalty to hit in exchange for a +12 damage bonus (+18 with the mythic feat). Then she shoots. With her enlarged arrows dealing 3d6 base damage plus her various strength bonuses (+6 inherent from her bloodline, +6 from her belt, +6 from bloodline size boost power), even an average strength of 12 can be turned into a mighty strength score of 30. So how much damage does she do?

3d6 base + 10 strength +18 deadly aim + 20 smite evil + 5 enhancement (+2 bane) +3 luck +2 sacred +12 morale +4 competence +12 favored enemy +2d6 bane +2d6 holy +2d6 axiomatic= 119 average damage per shot (96 minimum)

100+ damage per shot is no chump change, and the big thing about bows is that it's not too hard to simply spam arrows at your enemies. As a level 20 paladin she already has four attacks, and taking the precision ability three times means all her attacks are at full accuracy. Archers can take the rapid shot and manyshot feats to fire two more arrows per round, with the mythic versions adding two more arrows on top of that, plus another attack from the haste spell for a total of nine shots per round.

Accuracy-wise most of her damage bonuses also provide a similar bonus to accuracy, pushing her into the mid-50s to hit against a target number of AC 49, so only a natural 1 can save her prey. But with a mythic champion... not even that. Our target's non-Euclidean nature means that all attacks against him have a 50% miss chance, but the seeking property on her bow completely negates that. Her attacks bypass his damage reduction thanks to smite evil (and also being made of stuff that bypass his DR), and they also shut down his healing ability on contact. So he eats nine arrows and dies immediately, the only point in rolling a d20 is to see if you can roll critical hits and kill him even faster. Of course, he'll resurrect himself 2d6 rounds later and stagger around in a cloud of fog wondering what in the name of himself just happened, but that just means he eats another nine arrows which will stuff him back into R'lyeh until the next time he wakes up.

End Result? You can noscope the Big C from the other end of the galaxy. In fact, you can serve up calamari fritters from the other end of the universe, provided there aren't a bunch of stars and planets blocking your way. If there are, well... there are ways around that one too.

With all the MP flying around you might worry about sustainability. Elrond Hubble can keep things going indefinitely through 0 dmg critical hits but only when paralyzed. Fortunately, the Guardian is only the second easiest method of generating MP. The true power is in the hierophant, which only requires that you take 20 points of damage in a round, which adventurers do all the time. Since it doesn't require a particular source self-inflicted injuries are perfectly fine. Self-flagellate or better yet self-immolate: a wall of fire does 2d6 + caster level points of damage to any creature passing through it (or sitting in it), making it easy to get a fairly predictable amount of damage per round. You're still shedding HP each round, but there's nothing stopping you from fixing that. Healing 30+ points of damage a round will keep you ahead of the curve, and a tier 10 hierophant gets maximum healing from any source, almost as if they wanted this to happen. Two of the hierophant's starting abilities let them spend a point of MP to cast one of their spells, so a mass cure or mass heal spell can undo five to twelve rounds of damage for one round's worth of MP generation, provided you're fine with keeping an active eye on people.

Now, you might argue that an intergalactic arrow barrage is kind of not really in the spirit of things and you'd be totally right- Lovecraftian problems deserve Lovecraftian solutions.

The basic change is that Aegis is going to ditch all the archery feats and then she's gonna devote all her resources to getting ripped. An 18 base is the highest you can start with, then add a +2 racial bonus and the +6 inherent bonus from orcish ancestry, then put every ability bonus you get from 20 levels (5 points) and 10 mythic tiers (10 points) into strength and then the best magical strength-boosting belt money can buy. But it's not enough.

Levity is switched over from a bard to a skald, a bardic variant with the ability to let allies rage like a barbarian, granting a +6 morale bonus to strength at higher levels, but it's still not enough. Our friendly neighborhood alchemist offers up an alchemical grand mutagen to boost her strength even farther. Unfortunately if a non-alchemist drinks an alchemist's mutagen, the character gains no benefit other than an upset stomach, but all we have to do to avoid that is have Aegis take one level of Alchemist instead of one of her paladin levels because this is in no way a bad idea (it helps that the 20th level of paladin has some actual detriments to it). With the right paladin spell, Aegis can draw on sacred celestial strength for a few minutes to boost her abilities again, but even that's not enough.

In Pathfinder, the best way to get huge is to actually get Huge. Turning into other, bigger things usually grants a size bonus to your strength score. Now, we could use another alchemical infusion to turn into a huge monstrous humanoid, but we can do better than that. A druid's wild shape ability lets it turn into an increasing variety of animals, plants, and even elementals, including Huge ones at higher levels. The powerful shape feat makes you an especially bulky version of your chosen form, while the mythic version makes you even bigger, so you can turn into a Gargantuan earth elemental instead of just a Huge one for an impressive +16 to strength. This becomes even more relevant when you realize that a mythic druid can share this ability through the pack wild shape ability. While it may divide the duration, a druid can use it for hours at most levels and at-will at 20th level, thus letting the entire party wander around as burly balls of earth.

Putting this all together and Aegis is surprisingly ripped.

18 base + 2 racial + 6 inherent + 10 mythic + 5 level + 6 enhancement + 6 morale + 8 alchemical + 4 sacred + 16 size = 81

So, what does that mean? Well, it's a +35 bonus to things that depend on strength like certain attack and damage rolls, including the damage rolls of thrown weapons. Now, thrown weapons are still the loser cousins of the ranged weapon family, and can't get nearly the amount of projectiles in the air as arrows can. But there's more than one way to win by volume. By taking the mighty hurler ability three times, Aegis can chuck objects up to her size. Of course, such objects would be unwieldy as hell unless she takes the two-handed thrower feat to let her throw them as normal.

So how big would they be?

Carrying capacity is based on a table that provides a given amount for basic strength scores and then doubles every five points above that (which is 4x for every 10 points). As a stock medium humanoid with 81 strength, Aegis can lift 153*4^6 lbs of stuff as a light load, which is 300 tons ("short tons" of the 2,000 lbs variety as opposed to the 2,240 lb "long ton") and change, and can lift triple that as a light load. But since she's in the form of a Gargantuan earth elemental, her carrying capacity is 8x that of a human, putting her at around 2,500 tons as a light load. But we're not done here. Muleback cords add 8 to your strength for the purpose of carrying capacity while a heavyload belt triples it, and as a mythic character Aegis can take the Display of Strength universal ability to boost her strength by 20 for the purpose of carrying capacity and boost it further with the mule's strength ability, which boosts your carrying strength by 5 each time you take it. Even without Mule's Strength, that puts her at an effective strength of 109 and thus a capacity of over 366,000 tons. If our druid friend spends another point of MP, Aegis can also gain the benefits of the regular Powerful Shape feat, counting as a colossal creature for the purpose of lifting and size-based attacks, doubling her capacity again to over 732,000 tons, while taking Mule's Strength just once would boost it to 1.46 million tons

With that kind of strength she'll have no problems using the weapon group that's had the best track record against the Great Old Ones:


This is the Seawise Giant (among other names), a supertanker longer than the Empire State Building is tall and at 724,000 tons fully laden is the heaviest ship mankind has ever made. With Mule's Strength Aegis could dual-wield it. By activating her Bonded Weapon ability she can turn it into a +5 seeking supertanker, with her hurling vengeance ability granting it the throwing and returning property. So how much damage does it do?

Back in 3e, the Hulking Hurler calculated damage by doing up to 5d6 for the first 400 lbs of an object's weight, plus 1d6 per 200 lbs after that (so about 10d6 per ton), which would require Aegis to roll around 7.24 million d6s for damage, enough to kill our target and thirty thousand of his closest friends. Unfortunately, that rule doesn't exist in Pathfinder for obvious reasons.

The universal rules for throwing rocks (or other big large things) put it at twice the slam damage for a creature of its size, or about 4d8 total for a colossal creature. But Aegis can throw an object two size categories larger than a normal hurler of her size, which upscales it to 8d8. Sadly, this is the same number no matter if we're throwing two hundred tons or two hundred thousand tons. Adding it to many of our old bonuses and the 1.5x strength bonus from two-handed thrower gives us:

8d8 (36 average) +52 strength +19 smite evil + 5 enhancement + 11 morale + 18 deadly aim + 3 luck +2 sacred +12 favored enemy = 158 average

A little better than our average damage per arrow, even if we don't benefit from things like the Bane, Holy, and Axiomatic properties that Aegis could put on her old bow. Now, we could spend an MP using hurling vengeance to teleport it back into our hands with every attack, allowing us to make a full attack and take advantage of things like haste and mythic rapid shot, but boomeranging a supertanker across the galaxy five to seven times a round just doesn't have quite the right style to it. I want to settle this decisively with one big attack.

A single big attack is rare in Pathfinder outside of some lance charges because no matter how hard you can swing your weapon you're still better off making that same attack four or more times a round as part of a full attack, which has the side effect of reducing mobility since most combatants would rather stand in one place and keep swinging rather than forfeit most of their damage by moving their speed (unless they have the ability to move and full attack in the same turn with pounce). In an effort to fix this, Paizo created the Vital Strike chain of feats, culminating in Greater Vital Strike, which let you make a bigger attack as a standard action. Vital Strike multiplies your damage, but only the weapon's damage dice and not any of the other dice or modifiers. For most characters three feats for a couple of extra dice of damage is a pretty lousy trade unless you're only making one attack per round that uses a bucket of dice to begin with, such as a T-Rex's solitary bite attack.

Since we're making a single attack with a bunch of dice it also works for our purposes. Throwing Greater Vital Strike onto our supertanker attack gets us up to 32d8 plus the previous modifiers, giving us another 108 average damage and pushing it to 266 with one attack. Still not enough. Even at maximum damage it's not enough.

But while Vital Strike only multiplies your damage dice, but Mythic Vital Strike multiplies everything that would be multiplied on a critical hit, including our large strength bonus and other static modifiers. It still doesn't multiply extra dice from things like the holy or axiomatic properties, which is why I didn't bother with acquiring them for our +5 seeking supertanker.

With Mythic Vital Strike our we quadruple our original damage, putting us at 632 damage on average... which is still not enough. Another 40 to 60 points of static modifiers multiplied through Mythic Vital Strike would be enough to seal the deal, but I've used up most of my big ones and I don't really want to nickle and dime my way through the SRD. Now, Aegis could just spend a point of MP to bring her supertanker back to her hand and another MP to activate amazing initiative, granting her a bonus standard action she can use to repeat the attack for maximum overkill, but it's still making two big attacks when I only want to make one. A critical hit would do double damage, or triple with Mythic Improved Critical (supertanker), but relying on random chance just isn't my thing. We want a silver bullet.

And we have one. The named bullet spell works with bullets, arrows, and even thrown weapons like our +5 seeking supertanker, and it's on the spell lists of both Elrond Hubble and Old One Eye. Now using it properly does require that we beat our target's spell resistance (a formidable 41) to affect it, but we're mythic, we have various feats and items to let us bypass it effortlessly. Effect? A successful attack (which we can automatically make) does some extra damage we don't care about and becomes an automatic critical threat which we can effortlessly confirm into a triple damage critical hit. Vital Strike isn't multiplied by a critical hit, but they do add together, so our Vital Strike (+300% damage) adds to our 3x critical (+200%) damage for a total of 6x (+500%) our base damage, taking us from 158 damage to 948 damage (968 after the spell's bonus damage), deep-sixing our target with room to spare.

When the Sleeper of R'lyeh wakes then the end will be nigh, because Aegis sees all and we have a boat with his name on it.

Toot toot motherfucker

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