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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Tags: Pathfinder Playtest Wayne Reynolds
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Interesting tidbit for players in this blog: knocking someone prone makes them flat-footed and therefore eligible for sneak attacks. Trip Rogues incoming?


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Glad we're getting to monsters, Mark, because one category is of interest to both of us: demigods. How are they going to be statted differently in 2E? Perhaps...offering an example by way of a particular demigod who's of interest to both of us? ^_^


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

I will miss you DR and energy resistance:(


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I feel that I must quote something from the Wildly Inappropriate Questions thread that has now become surprisingly relevant.

Mudfoot wrote:
How much wood could a PF2e woodchuck chuck, assuming that the woodchuck could chuck wood under the Bulk system?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

This would be a good chance to make creatures like griffins and owlbears much tougher then just CR4.

Liberty's Edge

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Dragon78 wrote:
I will miss you DR and energy resistance:(

Uh...beyond a name change they've changed very little. Vulnerabilities have gotten a mechanical change and have become more common, while Resistance has gotten rarer...but where it exists it seems to function more or less the same as it always did.


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Dragon78 wrote:
I will miss you DR and energy resistance:(

Energy resistance is still around. It’s just called resistance.


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I like that they are addressing niche abilities that didn't fit challenge rating. This is good news. Thanks Mark.


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Adding more abilities. Okay I'll take that. Monsters should at least feel different enough to make the party think a bit before going into combat.

Have to see more on the Resistance and Weakness. As of right now at least in my mind, I don't see too much of a difference other than hopefully more weaknesses assigned. Or maybe just some attacks that would cut through DR being given extra damage instead now. Have to see more but sounds interesting.

Removing weak abilities or at least re-codifying them to fit the monster. Okay I can maybe get behind this. Really it's dependent on what each monster loses/gets but I'm not expecting a play by play on each monster. Not till I see the bestiary.

Multiattack, so is each one of those 1 action? Do they get a reaction to swing at someone? Maybe a bonus reaction if they don't fully use all their arms/heads/swings? The mind wonders.

Side note, I know this is how you guys build monsters but outside of maybe the Multiattack and Resistance/Weakness, I wonder how GM's will be able to build/alter monsters. Say giving them Class levels or Templates.

Friday Blog maybe?


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Dragon78 wrote:
I will miss you DR and energy resistance:(

Did I miss read the blog? I dont think DR and ER went anywhere. For simplicity they just combined them into one thing; "resistance x."


The multiattack options take enough actions to prevent using them more than once per round.


QuidEst wrote:
The multiattack options take enough actions to prevent using them more than once per round.

I didn't see it mentioned just how many actions it would take.

Still for bosses might want to bump that number up. Maybe.


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MerlinCross wrote:


Side note, I know this is how you guys build monsters but outside of maybe the Multiattack and Resistance/Weakness, I wonder how GM's will be able to build/alter monsters. Say giving them Class levels or Templates.

Friday Blog maybe?

As a GM who loves to modify monsters with class levels, I am anxious to have more details on this topic. Will monster advancement and class levels still be an option?


Sounds great, I like it.


Unfortunately, the method described sounds like a definite step backward in terms of accessibility and flexibility.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Catharsis wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Voss wrote:

To some with a decent weapon and damage bonus, skeletons and zombies are going to feel exactly the same: about two hits and done.

I'm unclear how the fights would 'feel different,' when even your post flat out says they'll take roughly the same amount of hits. Fewer hp but resistance and more hp but weakness is mathematically the same thing, unless one or more of those numbers are wildly out of scale.

Can't really tell you why, but they just feel quite different; we've had that feedback from a large swath of playtesters (including fans who tried the game out at convention demos). Try it yourself in PF1 like the blog suggests and perhaps you'll see what I mean!

I guess the difference is this:

Player: I hit the skeleton for 7 damage!
DM: Your sword skips off the sheer bones, only chipping them a bit.
Player: Aw.

Player: I draw my dagger and slash at the the zombie... oh, only 3 damage.
DM: As you nick the zombie's bloated belly, it splits open, and masses of rotted flesh press forth through the gash. It takes 8 points of damage.
Player: Whoa!

I hope weaknesses are more common than resistances...

That's a huge part of it. People's eyes go wide when they find out that they did more damage than they rolled, especially when they didn't realize that was possible, double especially those trained from PF1 that they will do normal damage or less than that. Now you guys know all about this, so you'll be less surprised, but even still!

OK, even if +/- 5 damage can generate that reaction, 'Surprise, the game is different now' only works for so long. Sustainable interest/difference over the long term seems far more important.

Knowing most players, 'Ooh neat' is going to be replaced by grumbling about getting their backup weapon out of the golf bag by the next session.


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Interesting ideas on handy snake. Unique rules for multilimbed creatures leave me curious as to what happens when a mad alchemist or shapeshifting druid grows more than two arms.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Voss wrote:

To some with a decent weapon and damage bonus, skeletons and zombies are going to feel exactly the same: about two hits and done.

I'm unclear how the fights would 'feel different,' when even your post flat out says they'll take roughly the same amount of hits. Fewer hp but resistance and more hp but weakness is mathematically the same thing, unless one or more of those numbers are wildly out of scale.

Can't really tell you why, but they just feel quite different; we've had that feedback from a large swath of playtesters (including fans who tried the game out at convention demos). Try it yourself in PF1 like the blog suggests and perhaps you'll see what I mean!

Actually, there are some rather large objective/math implications too. Just off the top of my head:

1. The skeleton is almost immune to lots of small hits. You need one big one to take it out. Contrariwise, lots of small hits are a great strategy on the zombie, with two 5 point hits of Slashing damage killing it dead, while a single 10 point hit would not.

2. Assuming no other resistances Zombies would be much more resistant to elemental effects. Now, we know from the Glass Cannon Podcast that skeletons have got some elemental resistances, but still. Assuming both are equally vulnerable to Positive Energy, though, it makes skeletons way more vulnerable to that. And the vulnerable/tough vs. elemental effects thing definitely applies to other creatures as well.

3. As a corrolary if #1, Skeletons are much more vulnerable to crits than zombies. A Sword that crits for 12 damage will kill a skeleton despite its DR, it will not kill a zombie despite triggering its weakness.

One isn't really better than the other but they actually are mechanically different and that difference will matter.

This is just some brilliant design. Despite not making much of a practical difference in the combat (the skeleton and zombie take the same amount of time to defeat), there's a huge difference in telling a player "your attack does less damage" (boo) and "your attack does extra damage" (yay). I'm very excited to see that DR will be less prevalent.

I do hope to see some options for something similar to Legendary Actions from 5e as well. Perhaps adding extra Reactions to some monsters? Deadmanwalking has pointed out that special actions already fiddle with the action economy a bit, but it's also nice to have a monster be able to go twice in a round.

I can't wait to see the monster building rules. I like statting up new monsters and NPCs, so I hope it's still fun in PF2.

Liberty's Edge

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Pappy wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:


Side note, I know this is how you guys build monsters but outside of maybe the Multiattack and Resistance/Weakness, I wonder how GM's will be able to build/alter monsters. Say giving them Class levels or Templates.

Friday Blog maybe?

As a GM who loves to modify monsters with class levels, I am anxious to have more details on this topic. Will monster advancement and class levels still be an option?

Mark's previously said that adding Class Levels to monsters will be doable in PF2, yeah.

Which really only makes sense since everything has a level now and the PC rules can be used for adversaries.

No idea on templates or how those will work.


MerlinCross wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
The multiattack options take enough actions to prevent using them more than once per round.

I didn't see it mentioned just how many actions it would take.

Still for bosses might want to bump that number up. Maybe.

Mark’s post, previous page. Mariliths probably shouldn’t get to blenderize somebody twice, make two more attacks, and raise their AC.

Scarab Sages

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Arachnofiend wrote:
Interesting tidbit for players in this blog: knocking someone prone makes them flat-footed and therefore eligible for sneak attacks. Trip Rogues incoming?

Or better yet: Trip Fighter and Rogue tag teams incoming.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Pappy wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:


Side note, I know this is how you guys build monsters but outside of maybe the Multiattack and Resistance/Weakness, I wonder how GM's will be able to build/alter monsters. Say giving them Class levels or Templates.

Friday Blog maybe?

As a GM who loves to modify monsters with class levels, I am anxious to have more details on this topic. Will monster advancement and class levels still be an option?

Mark's previously said that adding Class Levels to monsters will be doable in PF2, yeah.

Which really only makes sense since everything has a level now and the PC rules can be used for adversaries.

No idea on templates or how those will work.

Glad to hear it! Thanks.


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Voss wrote:


OK, even if +/- 5 damage can generate that reaction, 'Surprise, the game is different now' only works for so long. Sustainable interest/difference over the long term seems far more important.

Knowing most players, 'Ooh neat' is going to be replaced by grumbling about getting their backup weapon out of the golf bag by the next session.

In Pathfinder 1, knowledge checks to get information about creatures you're facing almost always gave you a hint about what you shouldn't do because there were rarely any weaknesses to exploit.

It's not a big change, but it feels better to find out about things that do more against a creature instead of finding out about the lowest resistance (but resistance reducing the expected effect nevertheless).


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Voss wrote:
Knowing most players, 'Ooh neat' is going to be replaced by grumbling about getting their backup weapon out of the golf bag by the next session.

What is so wrong with the golf bag concept? I think is very flavorful and fun, it should be a viable option for slayer/hunter type characters.

EDIT to add relevant quote


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Catharsis wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Interesting tidbit for players in this blog: knocking someone prone makes them flat-footed and therefore eligible for sneak attacks. Trip Rogues incoming?
Or better yet: Trip Fighter and Rogue tag teams incoming.

Every option enabling sneak attacks helps.


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I think a LOT of people are getting hung up on the zombie and skeleton comparison and missing what makes weakness so cool, which is funny because the other two examples of fey and werewolves provide great examples of how weaknesses can look really cool.

Before, if I'm fighting the fey monster and I reach into my bag of tricks to pull my cold iron dagger, if I swung with anything else it would just bounce off them, leaving me to do no damage, and swiching let me do 1d4. Wee.

Now, when I swing with my regular dagger it doesn't do much, but when I reach into my bag and pull my cold Iron dagger and swing it at the fey, suddenly my dinky 1d4 does 1d4+5 or other numbers (Possibly bigger ones for hard to find rare weaknesses?), changing the scene dramatically. Now my cold iron blade isn't the only way to hit fey, but if I hit with a cold Iron dagger, they BURN as my blade cuts into them!


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QuidEst wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
The multiattack options take enough actions to prevent using them more than once per round.

I didn't see it mentioned just how many actions it would take.

Still for bosses might want to bump that number up. Maybe.

Mark’s post, previous page. Mariliths probably shouldn’t get to blenderize somebody twice, make two more attacks, and raise their AC.

Probably Blenderizing(Totally yoinking that) would be bad. But I would maybe think 1 Blenderizing, then maybe normal swing to raise AC?

This isn't something I should think be a set in stone rule by the way but more GM options for boss fights based on each party. I've played around with the boss getting an extra turn or maybe an extra lesser turn.

If only due to boss getting 1 action vs 4-5 a turn has always been a bit of a balancing act for climatic fights.


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GM_Starson wrote:

I think a LOT of people are getting hung up on the zombie and skeleton comparison and missing what makes weakness so cool, which is funny because the other two examples of fey and werewolves provide great examples of how weaknesses can look really cool.

Before, if I'm fighting the fey monster and I reach into my bag of tricks to pull my cold iron dagger, if I swung with anything else it would just bounce off them, leaving me to do no damage, and swiching let me do 1d4. Wee.

Now, when I swing with my regular dagger it doesn't do much, but when I reach into my bag and pull my cold Iron dagger and swing it at the fey, suddenly my dinky 1d4 does 1d4+5 or other numbers (Possibly bigger ones for hard to find rare weaknesses?), changing the scene dramatically. Now my cold iron blade isn't the only way to hit fey, but if I hit with a cold Iron dagger, they BURN as my blade cuts into them!

Exactly, in PF1 you were penalized for not carrying a a golf bag, in PF2 instead you get rewarded for carrying one.


GM_Starson wrote:

I think a LOT of people are getting hung up on the zombie and skeleton comparison and missing what makes weakness so cool, which is funny because the other two examples of fey and werewolves provide great examples of how weaknesses can look really cool.

Before, if I'm fighting the fey monster and I reach into my bag of tricks to pull my cold iron dagger, if I swung with anything else it would just bounce off them, leaving me to do no damage, and swiching let me do 1d4. Wee.

Now, when I swing with my regular dagger it doesn't do much, but when I reach into my bag and pull my cold Iron dagger and swing it at the fey, suddenly my dinky 1d4 does 1d4+5 or other numbers (Possibly bigger ones for hard to find rare weaknesses?), changing the scene dramatically. Now my cold iron blade isn't the only way to hit fey, but if I hit with a cold Iron dagger, they BURN as my blade cuts into them!

At the same time, depending on how you've built, you also don't need to waste the actions in doing so.

Which is good in the sense of I'm not locked out of doing damage but also kinda... eh in the sense of I don't NEED that as much now.

It'll also be interesting to see how Magic weapons work with this. If i have a silver Sword and Bane Fey, does the target just melt?


GM_Starson wrote:

I think a LOT of people are getting hung up on the zombie and skeleton comparison and missing what makes weakness so cool, which is funny because the other two examples of fey and werewolves provide great examples of how weaknesses can look really cool.

Before, if I'm fighting the fey monster and I reach into my bag of tricks to pull my cold iron dagger, if I swung with anything else it would just bounce off them, leaving me to do no damage, and swiching let me do 1d4. Wee.

Now, when I swing with my regular dagger it doesn't do much, but when I reach into my bag and pull my cold Iron dagger and swing it at the fey, suddenly my dinky 1d4 does 1d4+5 or other numbers (Possibly bigger ones for hard to find rare weaknesses?), changing the scene dramatically. Now my cold iron blade isn't the only way to hit fey, but if I hit with a cold Iron dagger, they BURN as my blade cuts into them!

I'd guess that weaknesses to mundane weapon damage types are going to be more rare than energy weaknesses or special material weaknesses. It certainly felt like most DR in PF1 was bypassed by silver, cold iron, adamantine, good, etc, rather than slashing, piercing, or bludgeoning.

In which case, you are exactly right, and it's going to feel very satisfying to properly exploit a supernatural creature's weakness.

Silver Crusade

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QuidEst wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
The multiattack options take enough actions to prevent using them more than once per round.

I didn't see it mentioned just how many actions it would take.

Still for bosses might want to bump that number up. Maybe.

Mark’s post, previous page. Mariliths probably shouldn’t get to blenderize somebody twice, make two more attacks, and raise their AC.

Specifically, this post:

Mark Seifter wrote:
Joe M. wrote:
Question: What are the action costs for these options? Do they all use all 3 actions?
They are activities that use enough of her actions that she can only pick one to perform.

Mark's being cute here, but this suggests that each of the multiattack options described uses at least 2 actions. They might all be 2, all be 3, or some mix—but as long as they're all at least 2 then Mark's statement is true.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Well at least Friday will have a monster stat block.


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MerlinCross wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
The multiattack options take enough actions to prevent using them more than once per round.

I didn't see it mentioned just how many actions it would take.

Still for bosses might want to bump that number up. Maybe.

Mark’s post, previous page. Mariliths probably shouldn’t get to blenderize somebody twice, make two more attacks, and raise their AC.

Probably Blenderizing(Totally yoinking that) would be bad. But I would maybe think 1 Blenderizing, then maybe normal swing to raise AC?

This isn't something I should think be a set in stone rule by the way but more GM options for boss fights based on each party. I've played around with the boss getting an extra turn or maybe an extra lesser turn.

If only due to boss getting 1 action vs 4-5 a turn has always been a bit of a balancing act for climatic fights.

I'm kinda expecting the "use the other blades to parry, giving her a killer AC for 1 round" option to be it's own Action, akin to a sword-n-board raising their shield. Possibly with a clause of the AC boost you gain being equal to 6 - [the number of attacks you took that round]. In which case using it with an optimal whirlwind (6 attacks) would be a waste, but it might be useful after, say, a 4-strike whirlwind.


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This looks great. The fusion of DR and energy resistance feels like something so evident that it should have been done 10 years ago! Very welcome simplification of language, with zero cost in game depth. I also like the diversification of animal fighting modes, the reduction of the ability list for high level enemies, and the fun replacements for multiattack.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

Good ol' software engineering philosophies applied to game design.


Shinigami02 wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
The multiattack options take enough actions to prevent using them more than once per round.

I didn't see it mentioned just how many actions it would take.

Still for bosses might want to bump that number up. Maybe.

Mark’s post, previous page. Mariliths probably shouldn’t get to blenderize somebody twice, make two more attacks, and raise their AC.

Probably Blenderizing(Totally yoinking that) would be bad. But I would maybe think 1 Blenderizing, then maybe normal swing to raise AC?

This isn't something I should think be a set in stone rule by the way but more GM options for boss fights based on each party. I've played around with the boss getting an extra turn or maybe an extra lesser turn.

If only due to boss getting 1 action vs 4-5 a turn has always been a bit of a balancing act for climatic fights.

I'm kinda expecting the "use the other blades to parry, giving her a killer AC for 1 round" option to be it's own Action, akin to a sword-n-board raising their shield. Possibly with a clause of the AC boost you gain being equal to 6 - [the number of attacks you took that round]. In which case using it with an optimal whirlwind (6 attacks) would be a waste, but it might be useful after, say, a 4-strike whirlwind.

*Nods*

I can see this. But yeah it's more GM side than rules side at least for now as we theory/guess


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Cyrad wrote:
Good ol' software engineering philosophies applied to game design.

Which makes actually a good amount of sense to do.

Though, hmm, what would a infinite loop look like?


Logan Bonner wrote:
edduardco wrote:
Interesting to see that a simple Skeleton/Zombie is level 0, what exactly is a level 0 monster?
Level 0 is the category that replaces CR 1/2, 1/3, etc. They're close enough in numbers are are a pretty minor threat, so we've just used one category for them.

Also a nod to 2nd Edition AD&D, which has 0th level NPCs.


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Most of it is fairly non-controversial. About what you'd expect. They've made weakness and resistance mirror each other. But ultimately it's not too far from what we have in PF1e. That's a good thing. Reduced complexity for no real loss of depth.

Sweet Suites is sure to receive mixed feelings at my table. There's benefit to having a monster use the ability called Unholy Blight if that's what they're effectively doing. Changing things just enough to justify giving it a different name isn't exactly going to be received well. But the only reason not to give them unique abilities is legacy reasons. A lot of Paizo's newer monsters get unique abilities. The clincher will be how NPCs are handled. If NPC priests receive Blessing of the Gods which gives them an altered Bless spell but PC's don't get to ever access Blessings of the Gods that's going to be a non-starter.

Multiattack: We essentially don't have multiattack. The whole "physical attack form that's flavoured as being many arrows/sword swings/heads but is mechanically identical to a cone spell" is not going to be well received at all. Nor will "if they make a single attack they deal X damage, but if they make 6 attacks they deal X/2 damage". My players aren't stupid. They see that Paizo is just taking the a cone spell's damage (retweaked because it's targeting AC and perhaps uses 3 actions instead of 2?) or a single attack's damage and reflavouring it. If they're facing a hydra they're going to want the hydra to have 6 proper attacks per round and if that can't be better balanced at the hydra's current CR, then just give it a higher CR.

But of course thanks to the universal scaling +level to both AC and attack rolls Paizo can't do that. Because if they increase the CR then that also increases the monster's attack bonus and AC bonus. This is just another demonstration on how PF2e's "one size fits all" approach is not going to work in recreating a new edition that feels like the last edition. To those who don't enjoy Pathfinder 1e that's a good thing. It isn't for my table (despite the fact I desperately want a better balanced Pathfinder).

Paizo Employee Designer

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gwynfrid wrote:
This looks great. The fusion of DR and energy resistance feels like something so evident that it should have been done 10 years ago!

In fact, it actually almost happened 1 year ago. Starfinder had this combined resistance, for a time, until compatibility with PF1 monsters (which used the DR and energy resistance format) forced the slide backwards to DR and energy resistance later on.


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I do wonder... Do monsters also get a -5 penalty for each successive attack made the same round? Or is this "math" simplified on the monsters' side by them always attacking with the same Attack Bonus (like in PF1)?

Liberty's Edge

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Mark Seifter wrote:
Joe M. wrote:
Blog wrote:
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.

Question: What are the action costs for these options? Do they all use all 3 actions?

Maybe I'm missing it, but it really isn't obvious to me from the text. Which left me with the weird feeling that the blog doesn't answer the very question it sets up here (i.e., 'how in the world we handle [multiattack] in the 3-action system').

They are activities that use enough of her actions that she can only pick one to perform.

That is a surprisingly cagey answer for something that one would assume could be phrased as "They cost two or three actions." Do Mariliths have a non-standard number of actions to start?


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Hmm, so you're making it easier for players to kill my monsters?

Not sure I approve.

(more seriously: this all looks really well thought-out. I especially like the potential impacts of resistance v weakness!)


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The Dandy Lion wrote:
Sorry Mark, as soon as you mentioned that Tigers could wrestle foes all I could picture was tiger-themed Luchador wrestlers.

Just don't give them any cat-nip!


I kinda hoped the blog would give some information about natural weapons attacks as well. Maybe in a separate blog, maybe as a part of the druid blog? In my group natural weapon builds are quite common be it barbarian or summoner and I wonder if they still allow a different playstyle to normal attacks. Wouldn't guess so now.


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I just wanted to make a quick post asking that DR get seriously reigned in.

While I like the idea of DR, and find DR1 or DR3 to add cool flavor, I feel that things got out of hand, especially with some creatures having DR 10 or even 15, often unbypassable. I like the flavor, but it basically tells the monk, rogue, or dual weapon builds to go sit in a corner. Being the two-hander has always been much better since D&D v3, and high DR has been a kick while the dual wielders were already down.

I like some DR, and think that even high DR has its place, but let's make it so the guy playing the monk dosen't just wonder why he is wasting his time instead of playing a barbarian or wizard every time the party has to fight an elemental. Also, since DR punishes the dual wielder, let's come up with some advantages to offset that - I think the added damage is a great start!


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Mark Seifter wrote:
gwynfrid wrote:
This looks great. The fusion of DR and energy resistance feels like something so evident that it should have been done 10 years ago!
In fact, it actually almost happened 1 year ago. Starfinder had this combined resistance, for a time, until compatibility with PF1 monsters (which used the DR and energy resistance format) forced the slide backwards to DR and energy resistance later on.

I wonder if you are kicking yourself over that decision now. I would ;P

At any rate, I think this post has helped to convert a lot of the PF2 sceptics over. Well done!


John Lynch 106 wrote:


Multiattack: We essentially don't have multiattack. The whole "physical attack form that's flavoured as being many arrows/sword swings/heads but is mechanically identical to a cone spell" is not going to be well received at all.

This raises some concerns for me as well because special attacks tied to assumptions that a monster will always be armed with all of its weapons and makes it difficult to handle situations where my players might choose to start disarming a creature with 4 or 6 scimitars. I get that that monster needs all the weapons to do some of its attacks, but do I want my party to know that they can disarm one of the weapons and suddenly the creature is reduced to only making three standard attacks in a round?

Liberty's Edge

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Wild Spirit wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
gwynfrid wrote:
This looks great. The fusion of DR and energy resistance feels like something so evident that it should have been done 10 years ago!
In fact, it actually almost happened 1 year ago. Starfinder had this combined resistance, for a time, until compatibility with PF1 monsters (which used the DR and energy resistance format) forced the slide backwards to DR and energy resistance later on.

I wonder if you are kicking yourself over that decision now. I would ;P

At any rate, I think this post has helped to convert a lot of the PF2 sceptics over. Well done!

So far, the vast majority of problems I've had with Pathfinder (PF1 and PF2 alike) and Starfinder are things that came about because they didn't feel comfortable straying too far away from What Came Before. They still haven't gotten over that for PF2, but they've definitely taken a lot of great steps.


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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.

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