Building Monsters

Monday, May 14, 2018

We've talked in depth about many of the systematic changes and PC options in the blogs so far, but what about monsters? From animated objects to zombies, from the lowliest kobold to the mighty jabberwock, the Pathfinder Playtest Bestiary includes over 250 different monsters and other adversaries built specifically for the playtest. But what makes these monsters tick? We've worked to bring you many of your favorite Pathfinder monsters with their familiar feel and niche in the world, but with updated mechanics to make your encounters even more memorable!

Signature Abilities

One of the monster innovations I—a computer science student at the time—appreciated most in Pathfinder First Edition was the idea of the Universal Monster Rule. It follows one of the most important principles of programming: modularity, which is to say, don't reinvent the wheel. One side effect of Universal Monster Rules having been a new concept in Pathfinder First Edition, however, is that many less fantastic creatures, especially animals, had a similar suite of Universal Monster Rules. For example, owlbears are iconic and memorable creatures, but as far as their statistics, if you look at the CR 4 owlbear and the CR 4 tiger side by side, the owlbear doesn't really have anything different to use during the encounter that the tiger doesn't.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

In the playtest version, those two monsters have some significantly different abilities. The tiger still has grab, allowing it to grapple a creature it hits with its jaws or claw attack, and the pounce action, allowing it to Stride and then Strike. Based on its real-world fighting style, it now also has wrestle, allowing it to claw a creature it's grabbed and knock it prone, and sneak attack, granting it extra damage against flat-footed creatures (typically ambushed via Stealth or those prone from its wrestle). Meanwhile, the owlbear also still has grab, but once it has you grabbed, it can gnaw on you, hoping to disembowel you so it can devour your guts and later regurgitate them to feed its young—and potentially making you sick from the disgusting sight. It can also unleash a blood-curdling screech as it advances into the fight to frighten you.

In general, giving interesting new abilities to real-world animals like the tiger allowed us to do some fun research into the animals' habits and design from there. Animals that hunt in packs sometimes have abilities to deal extra damage in groups, ambush predators use sneak attack and various sneaky tactics, and so on.

Dynamic Defenses

In Pathfinder First Edition, damage reduction (DR) and energy resistance both reduce damage by a set amount, the rarer vulnerability multiplies damage by 1.5, and immunity flat-out prevents certain abilities from functioning. Taken as a whole, monster defenses generally penalize you for using the wrong thing; you can deal your normal damage only by correctly bypassing DR, resistance, and immunities, and monsters rarely have a vulnerability. But in stories, we often imagine fey as being burned by cold iron or werewolves being poisoned by silver, and the reality of DR is that they just take the same damage from those as they do from cold, electricity, or fire. To fit those stories and to vary things up, we've combined DR and energy resistance into resistance, which reduces damage by a set amount, and we've changed vulnerability into a more common element called weakness, which increases damage by a set amount.

Two great examples of how this can dramatically change the feel of monsters are skeletons and zombies. A level 0 skeleton has 14 AC, 6 HP, and since it's made of bone, resistance 5 to slashing and piercing damage. A level 0 zombie, on the other hand, has 11 AC, 20 HP, and weakness 5 to slashing damage. The zombie takes 5 extra damage every time it's hit by a slashing weapon—that's an extremely high weakness! This means the fights feel very different, even though the creatures both take about the same number of swings to bring down. You can test this out for yourself in Pathfinder First Edition right now: consider giving zombies some extra HP and changing their DR into a weakness instead and see how the feel of the fight shifts!

Sweet Suites

Some monsters in Pathfinder First Edition have a large suite of abilities (typically from long lists of spell-like abilities), which vary between key iconic abilities, story abilities that influence what the monster can do in the narrative, and other abilities that are niche, redundant, or sometimes much weaker than their other attacks. For instance, it's pretty unlikely a nalfeshnee's call lightning is a good idea for a CR 14 monster to use in combat, and it doesn't have much of a noncombat application, either. In Pathfinder Second Edition, we tried to keep a monster's iconic abilities and story abilities while removing redundant or niche abilities, and then adding something new that fits the monster's ecology. For instance, barbed devils don't have the equivalent of order's wrath or unholy blight, but they have a special power called Warden of Erebus that lets them create extremely versatile glyphs of warding, cementing their role as, well, wardens of Erebus. For all such monsters, the goal is to make the monster's suite of abilities much easier to use and more memorable without oversimplifying the monsters, following our overall goal of adding as much depth to the game as possible while minimizing the cost in complexity.

I Have Multiattack

To close off, many people have been wondering how in the world we handle creatures with many heads, like the hydra, or arms, like the marilith or hekatonkheires, in the 3-action system. Such creatures have unique abilities to use their attacks in tandem in different ways. For instance, a marilith has three options for her six blades. She can make a focused assault on one enemy, which can deal a massive amount of damage on a hit, and deals damage for a single longsword even on a failure (but not a critical failure). Alternatively, she can spin about like a whirlwind of blades, attacking up to six different creatures with her swords. Finally, she can just attack twice and use the other blades to parry, giving her a killer AC for 1 round.

That's it for monsters for today; tune in on Friday as Logan goes through an example monster in detail and shows how we made the statblock easier to reference!

Mark Seifter
Designer

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I am very curious to hear a developer talk about how the new monster rules will synthesize with the ancestry system as far as how creatures from the bestiary will be accessible as player ancestries or not, especially since it seems like ancestries now require a lot more feat support than PF1 and because I can't imagine special attacks or abilities coming across to PCs


Unicore wrote:
I am very curious to hear a developer talk about how the new monster rules will synthesize with the ancestry system as far as how creatures from the bestiary will be accessible as player ancestries or not, especially since it seems like ancestries now require a lot more feat support than PF1 and because I can't imagine special attacks or abilities coming across to PCs

Hmm, that's an interesting thought. Since monsters are more rigidly Level/HD based, with a presumed table for advancement (and therefore, de-advancement as well)... maybe level adjustment could make a comeback?


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Unicore wrote:
I am very curious to hear a developer talk about how the new monster rules will synthesize with the ancestry system as far as how creatures from the bestiary will be accessible as player ancestries or not, especially since it seems like ancestries now require a lot more feat support than PF1 and because I can't imagine special attacks or abilities coming across to PCs

I also want to know about the official stance on playing a higher level monster. If, as opponents, a level 5 is a level 5 is a level 5 regardless of whether those levels come from monster type or classed humanoid or monster+class levels, does that mean a level 4 monster with 1 class level is now expected to be a balanced party member in a 5th level party? Or is there still going to be "ECL" / "LA" and other such nonsense?

EDIT: Quasi-ninja'd :3


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Well, considering that "how dangerous is it in a fight" and "how powerful is it as a PC" are two very different questions, I would hope that there's a separate metric. The Pathfinder 1.0 "CR = Level Adjustment" approach really didn't work very well.


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Ok, I know I'm kinda late to the discussion, but I'll say so anyway.
I actually like stats/information of real-world animals. Thinking back on the adventures I ran, I've often come to a halt when I needed stats/information about a common real-world creature, and I didn't have it (I don't know exactly why I needed them). Of course, with the new monster system, I hope it'll be easy to pick one as a basis for your modified animal, such as a giant animal. Or dire animal. Or fiendish animal. Or magic infused animal. Or demigod hyenas. Those are the best.
Not to mention, of course, that it's very good to have a bestiary that describes the game's world instead of just statblocks to kill.
Of course, I'm talking about the core rulebook here. The playtest has specific needs ^^


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Its nice having inherently evil humanoid races so that the adventurers can kill them without having to worry if these are the "good orcs". Especially nice if I have a Paladin or Good Cleric in the party.

If I want morally ambiguous bandits, I can use humans.

If I want evil ones, orcs are great.


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Unicore wrote:
I am very curious to hear a developer talk about how the new monster rules will synthesize with the ancestry system as far as how creatures from the bestiary will be accessible as player ancestries or not, especially since it seems like ancestries now require a lot more feat support than PF1 and because I can't imagine special attacks or abilities coming across to PCs

It sounds like a great excuse to publish extra splatbooks that aren't straight PF1 adaptations.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Catharsis wrote:
Direct hit and splash against a fire-weak enemy: Does weakness apply twice?
I've been thinking about this ever since someone mentioned splash in the other thread with the frost giants. I think it's currently ambiguous in the rules, though since it's the same type of damage coming from the same attack, we should combine them to help an alchemist get through resistance (rather than be double-dinged for a fire resistant monster) and likewise weakness should only apply once.

This prompts me to wonder how multi-damage type attacks are handled, that could be dual-type like Flamestrike or Kineticists or a Shortsword with Flaming enhancement (or whatever the new term is), 'same [single] attack' applying different damage types. If you have Resistance to both damage types should you apply two Resistances vs one attack? What about Weaknesses? Should simply the largest Resistance or Weakness apply?


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Xenocrat wrote:
Unicore wrote:
I am very curious to hear a developer talk about how the new monster rules will synthesize with the ancestry system as far as how creatures from the bestiary will be accessible as player ancestries or not, especially since it seems like ancestries now require a lot more feat support than PF1 and because I can't imagine special attacks or abilities coming across to PCs
It sounds like a great excuse to publish extra splatbooks that aren't straight PF1 adaptations.

I just realized that some bright, enterprising soul is going to homebrew Ancestries to be animals.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Symar wrote:
Immunity is briefly mentioned but not elaborated on. I hope its replaced by resistance instead. A mage with paragon control over fire should still be able to fireball that elemental, even if its at a reduced rate.
In many cases, we replaced an immunity with a hefty resistance instead. But not fire elementals; a fire elemental is still immune to fire. It is composed of pure fire.

This is not the first time I have heard that a fire elemental should take no fire damage because it is made of fire. I have never entirely bought that line of thought; I am composed of bone and meat but you could still bludgeon me to death with a side of beef.

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The Raven Black wrote:
Smite Makes Right wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
How can there be unwilling Evil acts then ?
Edit: How can an act be unwilling by the person performing it and be good or evil in regards to judgment of that person?
The Paladin code mentions willing evil acts. If there could not be unwilling evil acts there would be no need to specify willing

Or the code is emphasizing that it must be willing to be considered and then it must be evil.

Sometimes, redundant are stated explicitly for effect.


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Excaliburproxy wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Symar wrote:
Immunity is briefly mentioned but not elaborated on. I hope its replaced by resistance instead. A mage with paragon control over fire should still be able to fireball that elemental, even if its at a reduced rate.
In many cases, we replaced an immunity with a hefty resistance instead. But not fire elementals; a fire elemental is still immune to fire. It is composed of pure fire.
This is not the first time I have heard that a fire elemental should take no fire damage because it is made of fire. I have never entirely bought that line of thought; I am composed of bone and meat but you could still bludgeon me to death with a side of beef.

You are made of many layers of squishy and delicate parts of disparate composition laid over a skeleton of variable strength and thickness.

A fire elemental is an amorphous uniform blob of fire.

If anything, throwing fire at a fire elemental should heal it.


Fuzzypaws wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Symar wrote:
Immunity is briefly mentioned but not elaborated on. I hope its replaced by resistance instead. A mage with paragon control over fire should still be able to fireball that elemental, even if its at a reduced rate.
In many cases, we replaced an immunity with a hefty resistance instead. But not fire elementals; a fire elemental is still immune to fire. It is composed of pure fire.
This is not the first time I have heard that a fire elemental should take no fire damage because it is made of fire. I have never entirely bought that line of thought; I am composed of bone and meat but you could still bludgeon me to death with a side of beef.

You are made of many layers of squishy and delicate parts of disparate composition laid over a skeleton of variable strength and thickness.

A fire elemental is an amorphous uniform blob of fire.

If anything, throwing fire at a fire elemental should heal it.

What if I throw the fire at it really really hard and it made it more difficult to hold its form? Or perhaps the "new fire" started replacing the "old fire" in the elemental ship of theseus style and the fire elemental was struck with sudden existential dread?


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Excaliburproxy wrote:
Fuzzypaws wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Symar wrote:
Immunity is briefly mentioned but not elaborated on. I hope its replaced by resistance instead. A mage with paragon control over fire should still be able to fireball that elemental, even if its at a reduced rate.
In many cases, we replaced an immunity with a hefty resistance instead. But not fire elementals; a fire elemental is still immune to fire. It is composed of pure fire.
This is not the first time I have heard that a fire elemental should take no fire damage because it is made of fire. I have never entirely bought that line of thought; I am composed of bone and meat but you could still bludgeon me to death with a side of beef.

You are made of many layers of squishy and delicate parts of disparate composition laid over a skeleton of variable strength and thickness.

A fire elemental is an amorphous uniform blob of fire.

If anything, throwing fire at a fire elemental should heal it.

What if I throw the fire at it really really hard and it made it more difficult to hold its form? Or perhaps the "new fire" started replacing the "old fire" in the elemental ship of theseus style and the fire elemental was struck with sudden existential dread?

Note that I would agree that you should actually be able to use intense enough fire to put out normal fire, if you destroy its fuel and consume its oxygen supply. But a fire elemental doesn't require either fuel or oxygen (even if I still think it should be able to buff itself if it has fuel). It would merrily keep burning in the vacuum of space. So I don't see hurting it by throwing fire at it. You'd just be giving it more of the very thing it's made of, like how throwing green slime at a patch of green slime just results in a larger patch of green slime.

Now, as for using strong enough fire attacks against a creature like an azer or efreeti... That's an entirely separate issue and I think that should work, if you're powerful enough. :3


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Fuzzypaws wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:
Fuzzypaws wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Symar wrote:
Immunity is briefly mentioned but not elaborated on. I hope its replaced by resistance instead. A mage with paragon control over fire should still be able to fireball that elemental, even if its at a reduced rate.
In many cases, we replaced an immunity with a hefty resistance instead. But not fire elementals; a fire elemental is still immune to fire. It is composed of pure fire.
This is not the first time I have heard that a fire elemental should take no fire damage because it is made of fire. I have never entirely bought that line of thought; I am composed of bone and meat but you could still bludgeon me to death with a side of beef.

You are made of many layers of squishy and delicate parts of disparate composition laid over a skeleton of variable strength and thickness.

A fire elemental is an amorphous uniform blob of fire.

If anything, throwing fire at a fire elemental should heal it.

What if I throw the fire at it really really hard and it made it more difficult to hold its form? Or perhaps the "new fire" started replacing the "old fire" in the elemental ship of theseus style and the fire elemental was struck with sudden existential dread?

und

Note that I would agree that you should actually be able to use intense enough fire to put out normal fire, if you destroy its fuel and consume its oxygen supply. But a fire elemental doesn't require either fuel or oxygen (even if I still think it should be able to buff itself if it has fuel). It would merrily keep burning in the vacuum of space. So I don't see hurting it by throwing fire at it. You'd just be giving it more of the very thing it's made of, like how throwing green slime at a patch of green slime just results in a larger patch of green slime.

Now, as for using strong enough fire attacks against a creature like an azer or efreeti... That's an entirely separate issue and I think...

I see elementals like the fire elemental as not just being made of fire, but being the purest expression of the element of fire - hurting a fire elemental with fire would be like hurting some kind of ideal undead with negative energy.

I would also love if fire elementals could burn fuel to gain temporary hp or something, though a lot could be said of them not needing fuel and actually preferring to spread fire to a fuel sources to fill the material plane with more fire rather than consuming the fuel for themselves.

Liberty's Edge

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Smite Makes Right wrote:
So, a body (defined by race) should not determine alignment?

No. It should not. And, indeed, does not by the rules.

Megistone wrote:

Really, I didn't say that.

But in very specific cases, yes, I think so. Wasn't Jack the Ripper evil? He probably had something not right inside his head, but does that make him innocent? Is he Neutral, in game terms?

There's actually almost no evidence that serial killers are mentally ill in the conventional sense. There's a lot of evidence that they were universally abused as children, and grew up to be people with lives that they feel they lack control over, who feel the burning need for such control, and find killing to be the ultimate expression of controlling another human being.

In a lot of ways it resembles an addictive behavior like being a gambling addict more than something that's a brain wiring issue like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. If you consider gambling addiction a mental illness then so is being a serial killer, but there's a huge distinction to be made between that and something like depression where medication is needed.

I actually had a Psych class that went into serial killers. They're certainly not well, but calling them mentally ill is also a very misleading and inaccurate assessment in most cases.

And yes, they'd qualify as Evil. Many people grow up in similar circumstances and don't become serial killers. At some point they made a choice to kill because it felt so good. Because the control it gave them brought them joy. And that's Evil.

Xenocrat wrote:
The existence of souls just means the output of your cumulative deterministic actions carries on with consequences to another form of existence. It doesn't prove free will even in-universe. Golarionverse is just a machine for calculating the results of certain impersonal processes, a complex roulette wheel where each ball is a life/soul and each number is a plane where it ends up. The ball doesn't decide which slot it lands in, though.

Nope! Souls can provably predate bodies or even hop bodies and yet maintain continuity of personality. They can't be the deterministic result of anything physical.

Xenocrat wrote:
All of those necessarily copy over an identical physical brain state (Reincarnate) that would then only be modified by any glandular changes below the neck in the new body, or introduce some sort of magical filter/pattern buffer (Polymorph) that maintains the original brain state and translates its inputs/outputs between the new body's motor controls and senses.

There's a lot of evidence against this. Brain state can't be meaningfully maintained between different scales of creature, for example (a Halfling brain and a Human brain are not the same size). Not in any meaningful sense anyway. And it applies to permanent spells with no ongoing magical buffer.

Xenocrat wrote:
The soul in Pathfinder is just (prejudgment/petitioner phase) just a magical substrate for recording and transferring some elements of your consciousness and recordkeeping for your actions while alive. It's not necessary for it to have any interaction with your deterministic flesh and blood actions that work just fine in the absence of a soul.

They do in theory, and could in a fantasy world written that way (indeed, I can think of some where it works that way) but that clearly isn't how things actually work in the Pathfinder universe. Removing someone's soul, for example, results in them falling over and being unable to do things. The soul is clearly the motive force behind the actions of anyone that has one in Golarion.


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Smite Makes Right wrote:


So, a body (defined by race) should not determine alignment?

I don't care to get myself involved in the tribal or determinist portions of the thread but this question jumped out at me.

The answer is yes, body/race does not determine alignment. In PF1, types and subtypes can determine alignment, but the humanoid and monstrous humanoid types don't. Even angels, devils, etc. aren't alignment-locked, despite their statblocks giving that impression. The evil subtype and good subtype are almost always applied to those outsiders, but by the rules, they don't actually have to be, and even if they do get applied, they aren't a permanent alignment.

PRD wrote:
Evil Subtype: This subtype is usually applied to outsiders native to the evil-aligned outer planes. Evil outsiders are also called fiends. Most creatures that have this subtype also have evil alignments; however, if their alignments change, they still retain the subtype. Any effect that depends on alignment affects a creature with this subtype as if the creature has an evil alignment, no matter what its alignment actually is. The creature also suffers effects according to its actual alignment. A creature with the evil subtype overcomes damage reduction as if its natural weapons and any weapons it wields are evil-aligned (see Damage Reduction).

The statblocks are only suggestions. Not every orc is evil, but for the sake of there being common villains to fight, nearly all orc societies tend towards evil. They do this by continuing to self-select, killing the "weak" orcs that stray out of line, just like most goblins and hobgoblins do. They're all capable of goodness, it's just hard to be good when doing so puts you in mortal danger. The same is true of "common" humanoids in Cheliax, Irrisen, Nidal, Razmiran, etc. Which is why those are great places for player-controlled heroes to visit. =]


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Excaliburproxy wrote:


What if I throw the fire at it really really hard and it made it more difficult to hold its form? Or perhaps the "new fire" started replacing the "old fire" in the elemental ship of theseus style and the fire elemental was struck with sudden existential dread?

The first part sounds like you're introducing partial force damage, which would apply in full. It'll just ignore the fire portion.

Actually, there already exist bombs that deal non-fire damage, or some combination. Sonic in particular jumps out as appropriate.

EDIT: To make my position clear, I'm fine with elementals having immunity or super resistance to their own element. Overcoming such immunity sounds like an actual Mythic ability or at the very least a high-level feat or archetype/prestige class ability rather than "I'm a great wizard/sorcerer so my fire can burninate anything".

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Cuuniyevo wrote:
The statblocks are only suggestions. Not every orc is evil, but for the sake of there being common villains to fight, nearly all orc societies tend towards evil. They do this by continuing to self-select, killing the "weak" orcs that stray out of line, just like most goblins and hobgoblins do. They're all capable of goodness, it's just hard to be good when doing so puts you in mortal danger. The same is true of "common" humanoids in Cheliax, Irrisen, Nidal, Razmiran, etc. Which is why those are great places for player-controlled heroes to visit. =]

Right. Orc culture may be evil and tend to produce evil characters, but the race does not. If the race has a physiological trait that subverts their control and actions, those actions are not good, evil, chaotic, or lawful because they are unwilling.

The caveat is that the physiological (Dwarven hardy) traits are often bundled with cultural traits (Dwarven defensive training) as a "race."

With luck, both ancestries and monsters will distinguish between the two in 2.0. It sounds like ancestries may at least.


I took look forward to the separation of physiological and cultural traits.

I hope to see more cultural versions of non-humans.

Prior editions also tended to bound alignment into that such that to go differently required the drow and duergar.


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Vulnerability makes a lot of sense for swarms. I always thought that AOE should pretty well just auto kill most swarms since really your doing 20 whatevver damage to each one.


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Fuzzypaws wrote:

It sounds like you can just directly add class levels to a monster, so a level 5 monster plus 3 class levels is a level 8 opponent. However, while that works fine with martials, I'm not sure how it works out with casters. Because if that resultant creature only has access to 2nd tier spells and a caster level of 3, it won't actually be as dangerous as a "true" level 8 monster should be.

It depends on the spells. A manticore which adds mage armor, shield and mirror image is certainly more dangerous than those 3 levels as martial.

Spellcasters CR always depend on what spells they pick. A full lvl 18 wizard which only pick spells like rope trick, tiny hut, identify and legend lore is not a CR18 threat. One with multiple planar bindings is way beyond that.


Smite Makes Right wrote:

The caveat is that the physiological (Dwarven hardy) traits are often bundled with cultural traits (Dwarven defensive training) as a "race."

With luck, both ancestries and monsters will distinguish between the two in 2.0. It sounds like ancestries may at least.

IIRC, there is going to be a delineation between the physical and cultural aspects of a PF1E when created as a PF2E Ancestry - I think I heard the terms Ancestry vs. Heritage, but I could be wrong there.

I do think we won't see that with Bestiary creatures until they get a PC Ancestry write-up, though.


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Excaliburproxy wrote:
This is not the first time I have heard that a fire elemental should take no fire damage because it is made of fire. I have never entirely bought that line of thought; I am composed of bone and meat but you could still bludgeon me to death with a side of beef.

But you're a physical object. Physical objects can be damaged with impact, the specific composition doesn't matter. Fire isn't an object. It's a chemical reaction, and in the case of a fire elemental, there aren't even any chemicals being reacted. It's just energy. Of course this would also mean it should be immune to physical damage as well. How do you hurt fire after-all? Stabbing a flame doesn't do much. But at this point we're well beyond physics and logic and purely in the land of what makes sense in the fantasy setting. And hurting a fire-monster with fire doesn't. While hurting people with a heavy mass does.


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One of the things that always bugged me about elementals. How the heck does attacking a wind elemental with a sword do anything at all?!?

Edit: Just realized I missed the opportunity to say that swarms really BUGGED me. sigh.


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I was bugged by the fact elementals are not immune to disease.

Also with the outsider bloat of 1e, I think elementals should be their own creature type again.


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Dragon78 wrote:

I was bugged by the fact elementals are not immune to disease.

Also with the outsider bloat of 1e, I think elementals should be their own creature type again.

Yeah elemental should come with a few immunities and differences from your more standard biological creatures.

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I wouldn't mind Elementals being their own thing.

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The other thing about elementals being their own thing is that it means elementals can come from natural material plane sources without being subject to banishment and the like. So long as they don't get the crazy immunities that made them such boring fights in PF1e.


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That is an interesting idea DM_aka_Dudemeister.

It would also be cool to see elementals from places other then the elemental planes like the material, positive energy, negative energy, dimension of dreams, dimension of time, etc.

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Outsiders are by definition already 1% to 100% elemental and it makes sense that elemental is a subset of of outsiders. "An outsider is at least partially composed of the essence (but not necessarily the material) of some plane other than the Material Plane." That accurately describes an elemental.

I think if types and subtypes were more fluid, elementals would be outsiders / oozes. Since types and subtypes are not driving the stat block (at least to the same degree), maybe the types will move to more of "tag cloud" and elementals will indeed become outsider oozes.


I don't think I've used elementals as "beings from another plane" since the last time I ran Planescape years and years ago. Instead, I treat them as Fey (and yes, Fey Oozes) - expressions of the natural forces of the world and beings of the Material Plane, not subject to banishment.

I've always thought the "inner planes" weird and unnecessary and uninteresting. The only version that ever seemed usable was 4E's take on the primordial chaos from any number of religious origin stories. So even when I do use the D&D cosmology now I don't use the inner planes.


*points out that fey are not native to the material plane in PF*


From what's been seen thus far, the new rules look far more complex than I think I'd be comfortable using.


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Yes, fey are not native to the material plane(our version anyway), but they don't have the extra planar subtype as well.

I have always looked at elementals as there own thing. Also I would love it if genies were classified as elementals as well.

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Dragon78 wrote:

Yes, fey are not native to the material plane(our version anyway), but they don't have the extra planar subtype as well.

I have always looked at elementals as there own thing. Also I would love it if genies were classified as elementals as well.

All creatures gain the extraplanar subtype when they leave their native plane.

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Smite Makes Right wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:

Yes, fey are not native to the material plane(our version anyway), but they don't have the extra planar subtype as well.

I have always looked at elementals as there own thing. Also I would love it if genies were classified as elementals as well.

All creatures gain the extraplanar subtype when they leave their native plane.

Fey being the exception.


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Dragon78 wrote:

Yes, fey are not native to the material plane(our version anyway), but they don't have the extra planar subtype as well.

I have always looked at elementals as there own thing. Also I would love it if genies were classified as elementals as well.

Exactly. Elementals, genies and all stuff that comes from the Inner Planes should be elementals. Outsiders should only be used for the inhabitants of the Outer Planes ^^

Silver Crusade

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Igwilly wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:

Yes, fey are not native to the material plane(our version anyway), but they don't have the extra planar subtype as well.

I have always looked at elementals as there own thing. Also I would love it if genies were classified as elementals as well.

Exactly. Elementals, genies and all stuff that comes from the Inner Planes should be elementals. Outsiders should only be used for the inhabitants of the Outer Planes ^^

Hmmm, genie kind would be interesting.


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The Raven Black wrote:
Smite Makes Right wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
How can there be unwilling Evil acts then ?
Edit: How can an act be unwilling by the person performing it and be good or evil in regards to judgment of that person?
The Paladin code mentions willing evil acts. If there could not be unwilling evil acts there would be no need to specify willing

Given all the various mind altering spells out there it is very possible to be forced into doing something that you have no control of your own body to prevent. Penalizing a paladin for that would be silly.

Shadow Lodge

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No but morally that lawful good paladin would seek firgiveness for his actions as befits a lawful good individual. Failure to seek that forgiveness or a lack of remorse for hwat he did while under another influence may be reason to fall.

I like the direction monsters are going. Story powers may well be a great addition and hopefully the friday blog will provide an example.

Kobold Cleaver wrote:

Hoooo boy this is bad. This is "orcs wearing warpaint and speaking in broken English about eating the pinkskins" bad. I don't know why "don't draw races constantly coded as various nonwhite races and cultures like apes" is apparently such a consistently high bar for Paizo to clear, but between this, the charau-ka, and the (admittedly much less egregious) Monkey Goblins, apparently we're still on this.

Dont you think you may have sythesised this issue by intentionally searching for a racial parralel between these orcs and some nonwhite race or culture. You may have introduced a racist quality to the picture that in all likelihood never even existed in the head of whoever commissioned the art or wayne reynolds, worse still you may also have created that notion in the heads of other people, again where no such notion probably ever occured in the first place. They look to me like they made them more ape like, more removed from humans and more likely to display ape like cultural behaviour, or at best early hominid cultural features. You may as well object to Sabosans on the same grounds. Perhaps you are trying a little too hard to appear as the champion of social justice?

Charau-ka are a reasonable extension of mandrill or baboon behaviour taken in extremis, they arent an attempt to perpetuate racist notions about some nonwhite race or culture, well not unless you actually go to the trouble of hunting for and drawing that parallel.

This is a game with non-racially driven elements like sentient apelike species, not a race but an entirely different species; or darkelves, actually based of the norse dark elf or black elf, described as evil and black of skin, and certainly not some attempt by generations of gamer designers to draw terrible racial parallels. If anything the notion of the half-orc needs to go, and for most that would be a welcome change from a social violence perspective.

Scarab Sages

A fire elemental is not just fire, it is clearly some sort of structure composed of fire that takes a certain amount of space, can push objects and move itself around. If a magical sword can disrupt this structure, then surely blasting the structure apart with a fireball should work just as well. You can't expect a fire elemental to catch fire as a result of a spell, but simple direct damage, why not?

Do you expect an Earth elemental to be immune to metal weapons?

I agree that throwing green slime at green slime makes more green slime; that's because green slime has no interior structure and is immune to weapon damage.


Catharsis wrote:

A fire elemental is not just fire, it is clearly some sort of structure composed of fire that takes a certain amount of space, can push objects and move itself around. If a magical sword can disrupt this structure, then surely blasting the structure apart with a fireball should work just as well. You can't expect a fire elemental to catch fire as a result of a spell, but simple direct damage, why not?

Do you expect an Earth elemental to be immune to metal weapons?

I agree that throwing green slime at green slime makes more green slime; that's because green slime has no interior structure and is immune to weapon damage.

This would work fine if a fireball produced a conventional explosion, and the pressure shockwave that entails. But the spell does fire damage, not sonic damage. It is only capable of damaging by heating things and igniting them. Fire elementals could be seen as the least likely to be meaningfully affected by their own element, since said element does not by itself produce physical force, and unlike e.g. electricity, is not directional enough to be cancelled out.


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Cat-thulhu wrote:


Dont you think you may have sythesised this issue by intentionally searching for a racial parralel between these orcs and some nonwhite race or culture. You may have introduced a racist quality to the picture that in all likelihood never even existed in the head of whoever commissioned the art or wayne reynolds, worse still you may also have created that notion in the heads of other people, again where no such notion probably ever occured in the first place. They look to me like they made them more ape like, more removed from humans and more likely to display ape like cultural behaviour, or at best early hominid cultural features. You may as well object to Sabosans on the same grounds. Perhaps you are trying a little too hard to appear as the champion of social justice?

Charau-ka are a reasonable extension of mandrill or baboon behaviour taken in extremis, they arent an attempt to perpetuate racist notions about some nonwhite race or culture, well not unless you actually go to the trouble of hunting for and drawing that parallel.

This is a game with non-racially driven elements like sentient apelike species, not a race but an entirely different species; or darkelves, actually based of the norse dark elf or black elf, described as evil and black of skin, and certainly not some attempt by generations of gamer designers to draw terrible racial parallels. If anything the notion of the half-orc needs to go, and for most that would be a welcome change from a social violence perspective.

To quote a person I play with on a regular basis,"Just because Paizo doesn't know its racist doesn't mean that it isn't racist. A lot of that stuff is probably unintentional."

Also, most of the Mwangi stuff is racist as all hell and I've seen people who work at the company come out and say that its one of Paizo's biggest mistakes.

EDIT:
Also nobody thinks of the norse Dark Elf when you say Drow so I'm not buying that argument. They are so thoroughly trashed as a concept because of the inherent sexism, racism, and transphobia that they are indefensible as any plot element. Seriously, tell me if they aren't racist then tell me why was it a mechanical plot element that they were black because they bear the stains of evil? That's not even subtext more than it is overt text.

Silver Crusade

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Cat-thulhu wrote:
Dont you think you may have sythesised this issue by intentionally searching

No, since racial coding has been prevalent in Orcs since their very inception, this isn't something that just came up out of left field.

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