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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Quote:
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!

Congradulations, you've just taken my level 1 wizard and effectively told him to pound sand.

In PF1 he could Magic Missile or Disrupt Undead with meaningful results. Now, only half as effective. You've doubled the hit points and while nearly all of my wizard's spells would have bypassed DR, they now deal a far smaller percentage of the zombies total hp in damage.


Benjamin Medrano wrote:
Quandary wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:

1) Weakness: it all depend on the creature, but for a 2 HD zombie, getting hit for an extra point of damage by a common kind of weapon seem excessive.

In AD&D 1st ed. the Juju Zombies halved all damage unless it was dealt by a cleaving weapon, i.e. a large or at least largish slashing weapons.
That included the bastard sword, 2 handed sword, axes, bardiche and a other few polearm. It would be a a more appropriate weakness. A kitchen knife shouldn't add 5 points of damage against a zombie, while a cleaver should do that. With the new weapon abilities adding an appropriate trait to some slashing weapon but not all that allow them to deal more damage against creatures with the appropriate weakness seem a good solution.
Agreed, although something like +50% weapon damage (excluding STR, Sneak, etc) would similarly distinguish bastard sword and bardiche from kitchen knife.

I don't like this idea, in part because it encourages the 'golf bag' mentality too much for me.

Personally, I don't mind an extra 5 damage for the mundane dagger. Sure, that's a lot at level 1... but if you've got a +5 greatclub that deals (guessing) 6d12+whatever, should I be looking at completely changing my usual strategy because hitting the weakness does 50% extra? In my view, this lines up with the math they're using by making hitting the weakness good without making people feel that hitting it is absolutely vital.

Two Weapon/multihits are gonna have a field day with Weakness then.

That said... I have no idea how one would actually balance this without gimping the damage or making it feel absolutely vital. Hmm. Maybe extra Damage die?


Lucas Yew wrote:
Mostly good changes, I think; even when HD is gone for good, at least the new and improved Level seems to be serving the same purpose as an universal power gauge...

I've been thinking about this, and considering that monster may have a level, and if we get charts for creating like Pathfinder Unchained, and taking into account that an enemy built with PC rules should be close to the suggested NPC rules...

I suspect I'll be able to build an approximate of PF1's monster-building rules in an afternoon. It won't be perfect, but if the math is that close, we very well might be able to say: "So, dragons get 12 hit points per die plus Con mod and these modifiers..."

I'm not sure. We'll have to see how the math works out in the end, but I'm hopeful that the system will be easier baseline, but we'll be able to tease out the math for people who want HD.


Volkard Abendroth wrote:
Quote:
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!

Congradulations, you've just taken my level 1 wizard and effectively told him to pound sand.

In PF1 he could Magic Missile or Disrupt Undead with meaningful results. Now, only half as effective. You've doubled the hit points and while nearly all of my wizard's spells would have bypassed DR, they now deal a far smaller percentage of the zombies total hp in damage.

In exchange, many more monsters will have weakness to your elemental damage.

I suppose it would suck if your campaign is about a zombie apocalypse, but otherwise it should be fine.


One thing I want to know - in 1e, higher magic weapons were able to completely ignore certain forms of DR. Has the resistance/weakness change prompted the removal of that ability, or is it still around in some form?

Liberty's Edge

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Volkard Abendroth wrote:

Congradulations, you've just taken my level 1 wizard and effectively told him to pound sand.

In PF1 he could Magic Missile or Disrupt Undead with meaningful results. Now, only half as effective. You've doubled the hit points and while nearly all of my wizard's spells would have bypassed DR, they now deal a far smaller percentage of the zombies total hp in damage.

Well, in PF2, you can do 3d4+3 with Magic Missile at 1st level if you like (and invest 3 actions). That's a larger percentage of their HP than the 1d4+1 in PF1 is (10.5 is north of 1/2 the PF2 zombie's HP, while 3.5 is only a bit over 1/3 of a PF1 zombie's). And they probably have a Weakness to Positive Energy, which might apply to Disrupt Undead.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Volkard Abendroth wrote:
Quote:
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!

Congradulations, you've just taken my level 1 wizard and effectively told him to pound sand.

In PF1 he could Magic Missile or Disrupt Undead with meaningful results. Now, only half as effective. You've doubled the hit points and while nearly all of my wizard's spells would have bypassed DR, they now deal a far smaller percentage of the zombies total hp in damage.

You didn't hear? A level 1 wizard's magic missile can be three times as effective when they spend all three actions to cast it.

Edit: ninja'd by the deadmanwalking. I thought zombies were supposed to be slow.


MerlinCross wrote:


Two Weapon/multihits are gonna have a field day with Weakness then.

That said... I have no idea how one would actually balance this without gimping the damage or making it feel absolutely vital. Hmm. Maybe extra Damage die?

Not necessarily, since we don't know how TWF will work yet. If the feats primarily give the wielder something like the 'twin' quality they talked about with the sawtooth sabre in the equipment blog, and just increase base damage, it very well might be part of the tighter math and keeping TWF from quickly outpacing other options.

I don't know yet. There's so many things about Pathfinder 2 that I don't know that I'm reserving judgement. Optimistic about it, mind you, but cautiously so.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Volkard Abendroth wrote:

Congradulations, you've just taken my level 1 wizard and effectively told him to pound sand.

In PF1 he could Magic Missile or Disrupt Undead with meaningful results. Now, only half as effective. You've doubled the hit points and while nearly all of my wizard's spells would have bypassed DR, they now deal a far smaller percentage of the zombies total hp in damage.

Well, in PF2, you can do 3d4+3 with Magic Missile at 1st level if you like (and invest 3 actions). That's a larger percentage of their HP than the 1d4+1 in PF1 is (10.5 is north of 1/2 the PF2 zombie's HP, while 3.5 is only a bit over 1/3 of a PF1 zombie's). And they probably have Positive Energy vulnerability, which might apply to Disrupt Undead.

And that's against the unfavorable zombie. Against skeletons, three missiles focus-fired guarantees a kill, and a gambler could take out one skeleton with two missiles and hurt another one significantly with the third. Plus touch attacks against zombies tend to crit those guys for even more damage!


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Overall, I am very pleased with this preview. However, two things:

1.) There will be 250 monsters in the Playtest Bestiary? Um, is the Bestiary included in the Playtest Rulebook? The Playtest Adventure? If not, why couldn't we order it together with those? Or will it be PDF-only?

2.) What's with the gorilla orcs in the blog illustration? And if orc lore will be changed to make them more animal-like, how does that affect half-orcs?

Liberty's Edge

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magnuskn wrote:
1.) There will be 250 monsters in the Playtest Bestiary? Um, is the Bestiary included in the Playtest Rulebook? The Playtest Adventure? If not, why couldn't we order it together with those? Or will it be PDF-only?

It's a free PDF. I don't think it's available in hard copy.

magnuskn wrote:
2.) What's with the gorilla orcs in the blog illustration? And if orc lore will be changed to make them more animal-like, how does that affect half-orcs?

Wait, who said those were orcs?


Benjamin Medrano wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:


Two Weapon/multihits are gonna have a field day with Weakness then.

That said... I have no idea how one would actually balance this without gimping the damage or making it feel absolutely vital. Hmm. Maybe extra Damage die?

Not necessarily, since we don't know how TWF will work yet. If the feats primarily give the wielder something like the 'twin' quality they talked about with the sawtooth sabre in the equipment blog, and just increase base damage, it very well might be part of the tighter math and keeping TWF from quickly outpacing other options.

I don't know yet. There's so many things about Pathfinder 2 that I don't know that I'm reserving judgement. Optimistic about it, mind you, but cautiously so.

I do agree. This is very much a "We have to see the Math" issue.

So we'll see. But if they do improve or lessen the reigns of TWF, we'll have to see how it works with Weakness.

Paizo Employee Designer

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magnuskn wrote:

Overall, I am very pleased with this preview. However, two things:

1.) There will be 250 monsters in the Playtest Bestiary? Um, is the Bestiary included in the Playtest Rulebook? The Playtest Adventure? If not, why couldn't we order it together with those? Or will it be PDF-only?

2.) What's with the gorilla orcs in the blog illustration? And if orc lore will be changed to make them more animal-like, how does that affect half-orcs?

PDF only, just because otherwise the schedule would be impossible, but this allowed it to fit in editing and layout after print products went to the printer.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
1.) There will be 250 monsters in the Playtest Bestiary? Um, is the Bestiary included in the Playtest Rulebook? The Playtest Adventure? If not, why couldn't we order it together with those? Or will it be PDF-only?
It's a free PDF. I don't think it's available in hard copy.
Mark Seifter wrote:
PDF only, just because otherwise the schedule would be impossible, but this allowed it to fit in editing and layout after print products went to the printer.

Yeah, just found that section in the FAQ, one minute after posting. Oh, well, I would have liked to have it in printed form. Guess I got to print out individual monsters I need.

Thanks for the info, nonetheless!


MerlinCross wrote:

I do agree. This is very much a "We have to see the Math" issue.

So we'll see. But if they do improve or lessen the reigns of TWF, we'll have to see how it works with Weakness.

Yup. I'm looking forward to testing it, and not just because I'm looking forward to porting over my homebrew/novel world to it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Wait, who said those were orcs?

Well, they look pretty much like them, other than the gorilla pose. What other common monster race would you assign them, so that they get featured in a blog? :)


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I'm actually a fan of the, "this may not be the right tool [read: weapon] for this monster" vibe I'm getting. Don't get me wrong, having the über-Sword of Awesomeness +eleventybillion mow down everything you encounter is cool and all, but I like the notion that weaknesses are going to encourage you to think about switching up your weapons. It's not a requirement any more so than in PF1 to have multiple weapons for the job (PF1 didn't play with weaknesses nearly this much), but there is an incentive for sheathing your sword and grabbing your tetsubo from your back to pound some sense into the horde.

Silver Crusade

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This is a good change, as a GM I often have trouble when the effectiveness of a monster is buried in the Feats line and I have to figure out the feat interactions with their stats and abilities. By making a few key abilities for each monster, it means both less prep work on my side and I can begin with an effective monster rather than figure it out half way through a fight.

Secret is I've already been doing this somewhat in my Pathfinder games without my players realizing it. Giants that toss characters around or stomp on them, Dragons who have separate initiatives for head, body and tail etc. It's more interesting to my players than "I guess this monster is going to power attack for a, from your perspective invisible penalty to accuracy and massive bonus to damage."

Liberty's Edge

250 Monsters is huge. Even if we don't get the 2E bestiary together with the CBR, that's very useful until it is released


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Okay, to me the point is that flat damage is easier to balance and make it so that switching isn't automatically the best option at higher levels. I don't want to feel that sticking with the primary weapon I chose to enchant is a worse option, so much as getting a bonus when my weapon type matches up.

For instance, let's go with something much less than 6d12. My character, say, specializes in a +1 greatclub, which I deal 2d12+5 with (I'm not assuming we get strength and a half on 2-handers), and I'm fighting a zombie horde, and I also have an Expert longsword, dealing 1d8+4, or 1d8+4+5 against zombies. Ignoring crits and everything else, I'm just going with the damage.

My greatclub would deal about 18 on average to them, whereas the longsword would deal 13.5. If I upgraded to a greatsword, it'd instead be 15.5. This gives the weapon an advantage without necessarily being overpowering. And if I've got a friend with identical stats and a +1 greatsword, he deals 23 on average to the zombies, again, not enough to feel I'm being overshadowed... but if he was doing 27? Entirely different story. Plus it'd make the math far more swingy.

Just my opinion.

Edit: Saw your change, Quandary, excising the bits of your post and direct response.


Sounds a lot like 5e, which is a good thing for me. I believe that majority here, however, would disagree with me. I think in 5e they rolled DR and resistance into just resistance and it seems it's working out fine for them.


Fuzzypaws wrote:


I like more monsters having vulnerabilities. I would prefer if it was a multiplier instead of a static number. I understand that would reduce the two-weapon advantage vs the two-handed weapon, but two-weapon still gets more chances to hit. And this decision affects magic too, mind, not just weapons, so +5 static damage feels even worse when it's a spell. If you want to make two-weapon better, reduce the penalties and give smaller weapons more traits.

The more I think about it, the more I think that there should be two different types of weakness, 1 that scales with damage and one which is static.

For a zombie, it makes far more sense to scale the extra damage, because its vulnerability is structural. If a dagger can sever an arm, a greataxe should be able to cut the whole thing in half.

But for something like fey or werewolves, their weakness is chemical. The relationship between the weapon damage and the bonus damage doesn't really need to be there at all, as long as they are coming into contact with the substance that hurts them. It's no different than how injury poisons don't care how much damage is inflicted, as long as it is able to get the poison in.

Mark Seifter wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Volkard Abendroth wrote:

Congradulations, you've just taken my level 1 wizard and effectively told him to pound sand.

In PF1 he could Magic Missile or Disrupt Undead with meaningful results. Now, only half as effective. You've doubled the hit points and while nearly all of my wizard's spells would have bypassed DR, they now deal a far smaller percentage of the zombies total hp in damage.

Well, in PF2, you can do 3d4+3 with Magic Missile at 1st level if you like (and invest 3 actions). That's a larger percentage of their HP than the 1d4+1 in PF1 is (10.5 is north of 1/2 the PF2 zombie's HP, while 3.5 is only a bit over 1/3 of a PF1 zombie's). And they probably have Positive Energy vulnerability, which might apply to Disrupt Undead.
And that's against the unfavorable zombie. Against skeletons, three missiles focus-fired guarantees a kill, and a gambler could take out one skeleton with two missiles and hurt another one significantly with the third. Plus touch attacks against zombies tend to crit those guys for even more damage!

I take it this means force damage will not be included in resistance, in much the same way that it is basically never resisted in 1E?

Sovereign Court

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Personally, I don't like the fact that monsters will be built using a different approach/mechanics/rules than PCs. That's one of the things I liked about 3rd edition and Pathfinder: the monsters followed the same rules as the PCs. Starfinder adopted this approach that the enemies follow different rules and I hate that.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Makeitstop wrote:
I take it this means force damage will not be included in resistance, in much the same way that it is basically never resisted in 1E?

It means skeletons don't resist force anyway.


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Basic undead mooks seem pretty hot right now.
One whack, and I'm dead! I'm gonna touch it.

Why is reanimated meat easier to cut than living meat? I could see that happening after a certain amount of putrefaction, but fresh meat behaves quite similarly to living flesh, and undead don't bleed or feel pain.
Cutting cold raw meat can be quite dangerous when you can't feel your fingers, because it's hard to tell if you're cutting pig or human hands.
Friendly reminder to all butchers to stay safe out there. Sleep well, eat a healthy breakfast, and keep your eyes on the knives.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Makeitstop wrote:
I take it this means force damage will not be included in resistance, in much the same way that it is basically never resisted in 1E?
It means skeletons don't resist force anyway.

Pew pew!


I Have Multiattack 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.

Will characters that use polymorph effects, Magic Jar, Possission, or anything else to acquire access to any of these forms also gain access to the ability to use any or all of the attacks associated with these unique abilites?

If not, you're putting in a two-tier rules systems. One for players and a second, completely different system for NPCs.

Paizo Employee Designer

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gustavo iglesias wrote:

Question:

does EVERY monster get a signature attack? That would be cool as hell, but not sure if it's too ambitious

Not every one. It depends on the creature. So a horse doesn't have a signature attack, for example, nor do a lot of 0-level monsters. We're avoiding doing too many "you musts" with our design guidelines, since it can be overly restrictive.

Paizo Employee Designer

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James Krolak wrote:
Personally, I don't like the fact that monsters will be built using a different approach/mechanics/rules than PCs. That's one of the things I liked about 3rd edition and Pathfinder: the monsters followed the same rules as the PCs. Starfinder adopted this approach that the enemies follow different rules and I hate that.

To be fair, 3.0/3.5/PF1 monsters don't follow the same rules as PCs; they just provide the illusion that they do when not viewed closely (the main issue is they just get arbitrary amounts of HD to hit the numbers you want, and a PC definitely can't gain arbitrary amounts of levels, even if HD and levels seem mathematically parallel, and PF1 monsters often have to get whatever ability score is necessary to make the math work, whereas PCs can't just do that).


I'm thinking that weakness should be a flat increase equal to a percentage of the monsters base HP (sans class or template), and there should be multiple levels of weakness.

How about Minor-, Lesser, (no adj), Greater-, Major- Weakness. Minor = 5% to Major being 25%. In the Zombie example, the base HP=20, and has a major weakness, so .25*20= a flat 5 bonus damage/hit.

This would be interesting when advancing say a zombie to a zombie wight (with an imaginary 100 HP). Two options are to keep the major weakness for a flat +25 which would mean the encounter is the same threat, just to a higher level group, or you could reduce the major weakness to just a weakness for only +15 flat bonus, making the encounter tougher relative to it's level.

Edit: I also think the increase weapon damage by 50% up to weakness value is also appropriate here. So vs a Zombie, 4 slash = 6, 10 slash = 15, and 15 slash = 20.

Also, this all working in reverse would work to.

An additional thing that could be included is a "6th" level on either side, immunity and destruction (an example being a skeleton immediately being disintegrated if the negatives energy is short-circuited by to much positive energy it would read like: Destruction when receiving 5 or more positive damage in a round)


Wait, so is resistance formatted like energy resistance or damage reduction? That is, does it reduce the damage for all listed damage types, or does it protect against everything but the listed damage types?


gustavo iglesias wrote:
Volkard Abendroth wrote:
Quote:
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!

Congradulations, you've just taken my level 1 wizard and effectively told him to pound sand.

In PF1 he could Magic Missile or Disrupt Undead with meaningful results. Now, only half as effective. You've doubled the hit points and while nearly all of my wizard's spells would have bypassed DR, they now deal a far smaller percentage of the zombies total hp in damage.

In exchange, many more monsters will have weakness to your elemental damage.

I suppose it would suck if your campaign is about a zombie apocalypse, but otherwise it should be fine.

Beforehand, most monsters at lower level are going to have limited resistances. Energy attacks were a reliable way to bypass most DR and Magic Missile, while dealing less damage, dealt force damage that bypassed nearly everything.

Now, Magic Missile[i] will bypass nothing and any low level monster with any amount of DR will laugh at spells like [i]Magic Missile, which already do less damage than a fighter or barbarian swinging a two-handed sword.

And unlike the fighter or barbarian, the wizard won't be dealing double damage dice because he has a magic weapon and he won't be getting quality bonuses for his spells.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Volkard Abendroth wrote:

Congradulations, you've just taken my level 1 wizard and effectively told him to pound sand.

In PF1 he could Magic Missile or Disrupt Undead with meaningful results. Now, only half as effective. You've doubled the hit points and while nearly all of my wizard's spells would have bypassed DR, they now deal a far smaller percentage of the zombies total hp in damage.

Well, in PF2, you can do 3d4+3 with Magic Missile at 1st level if you like (and invest 3 actions). That's a larger percentage of their HP than the 1d4+1 in PF1 is (10.5 is north of 1/2 the PF2 zombie's HP, while 3.5 is only a bit over 1/3 of a PF1 zombie's). And they probably have a Weakness to Positive Energy, which might apply to Disrupt Undead.

And the fighter can swing 3 times, getting his bonus damage in addition to his normal damage on each swing.

All three actions dedicated to Magic Missile = 1 attack hitting from a melee. An a melee attacker can hit 3 times.

Please don't compare what a wizard does for damage using all three actions to what a fighter or barbarian can do for damage with one action.


Volkard Abendroth wrote:

Beforehand, most monsters at lower level are going to have limited resistances. Energy attacks were a reliable way to bypass most DR and Magic Missile, while dealing less damage, dealt force damage that bypassed nearly everything.

Now, Magic Missile[i] will bypass nothing and any low level monster with any amount of DR will laugh at spells like [i]Magic Missile, which already do less damage than a fighter or barbarian swinging a two-handed sword.

And unlike the fighter or barbarian, the wizard won't be dealing double damage dice because he has a magic weapon and he won't be getting quality bonuses for his spells.

I think you mis-interpreted a line.

Building Monsters Blog wrote:


resistance 5 to slashing and piercing damage

If I'm not mistaken, the new resistance works the way Energy Resistance did before. You list what the creature resists and nothing else.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Makeitstop wrote:
Wait, so is resistance formatted like energy resistance or damage reduction? That is, does it reduce the damage for all listed damage types, or does it protect against everything but the listed damage types?

Formatted like energy resistance. The amount of brain cycles it takes to get even experienced players and GMs who know what to look for to correctly apply DR 10/piercing is not worth it (Resist bludgeoning 10, slashing 10 is easier to apply).

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

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Benjamin Medrano wrote:
Volkard Abendroth wrote:

Beforehand, most monsters at lower level are going to have limited resistances. Energy attacks were a reliable way to bypass most DR and Magic Missile, while dealing less damage, dealt force damage that bypassed nearly everything.

Now, Magic Missile[i] will bypass nothing and any low level monster with any amount of DR will laugh at spells like [i]Magic Missile, which already do less damage than a fighter or barbarian swinging a two-handed sword.

And unlike the fighter or barbarian, the wizard won't be dealing double damage dice because he has a magic weapon and he won't be getting quality bonuses for his spells.

I think you mis-interpreted a line.

Building Monsters Blog wrote:


resistance 5 to slashing and piercing damage
If I'm not mistaken, the new resistance works the way Energy Resistance did before. You list what the creature resists and nothing else.

No, I am specifically discussing PF2: Weakness 5 slashing vs PF1: DR 5/slashing.

It's was stated in the blog this was going to become a much more common means of combining DR & Energy Resistance.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
PDF only, just because otherwise the schedule would be impossible, but this allowed it to fit in editing and layout after print products went to the printer.

And this answers the question I had but didn't ask. If it's done enough to be at the printers, why can't we have the pdf now? because it's not all done.


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.

Honestly, despite hearing this very thing for years on these forums and others, in actual practice I have NEVER seen it happen. Not among three different Pathfinder groups I’ve played with, and not at conventions. Most players are loath to carry more than one backup weapon, if at all, and usually most are unwilling to deal with the encumbrance or feat penalties of doing so. I’ve seen more tables that are sticklers for encumbrance than I’ve seen tables with warriors with arrays of iron/silver/slashing/piercing/blundgeoning weapons.

At most, they’re carrying a few weapon blanches for their missile weapons!

Lantern Lodge

Volkard Abendroth wrote:
Benjamin Medrano wrote:
Volkard Abendroth wrote:

Beforehand, most monsters at lower level are going to have limited resistances. Energy attacks were a reliable way to bypass most DR and Magic Missile, while dealing less damage, dealt force damage that bypassed nearly everything.

Now, Magic Missile[i] will bypass nothing and any low level monster with any amount of DR will laugh at spells like [i]Magic Missile, which already do less damage than a fighter or barbarian swinging a two-handed sword.

And unlike the fighter or barbarian, the wizard won't be dealing double damage dice because he has a magic weapon and he won't be getting quality bonuses for his spells.

I think you mis-interpreted a line.

Building Monsters Blog wrote:


resistance 5 to slashing and piercing damage
If I'm not mistaken, the new resistance works the way Energy Resistance did before. You list what the creature resists and nothing else.

No, I am specifically discussing PF2: Weakness 5 slashing vs PF1: DR 5/slashing.

It's was stated in the blog this was going to become a much more common means of combining DR & Energy Resistance.

What exactly do you mean then? The former means a monster takes 5 more damage from slashing attacks while the latter means it takes 5 less damage from slashing attacks.


Volkard Abendroth wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
Volkard Abendroth wrote:
Quote:
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!

Congradulations, you've just taken my level 1 wizard and effectively told him to pound sand.

In PF1 he could Magic Missile or Disrupt Undead with meaningful results. Now, only half as effective. You've doubled the hit points and while nearly all of my wizard's spells would have bypassed DR, they now deal a far smaller percentage of the zombies total hp in damage.

In exchange, many more monsters will have weakness to your elemental damage.

I suppose it would suck if your campaign is about a zombie apocalypse, but otherwise it should be fine.

Beforehand, most monsters at lower level are going to have limited resistances. Energy attacks were a reliable way to bypass most DR and Magic Missile, while dealing less damage, dealt force damage that bypassed nearly everything.

Now, Magic Missile[i] will bypass nothing and any low level monster with any amount of DR will laugh at spells like [i]Magic Missile, which already do less damage than a fighter or barbarian swinging a two-handed sword.

And unlike the fighter or barbarian, the wizard won't be dealing double damage dice because he has a magic weapon and he won't be getting quality bonuses for his spells.

DR is gone.

weakness replaces "dr" and increases damage done but doesnt negate damage done to it.

resistance only applies to a specfic damage type.
so like lets say a creature with resistance slashing 2 reduces all slashing damage by 2

and a creature with lets say force weakness 4 will take 4 extra damage of each instance of force damage.

If I am reading the blog post correctly, your concern does not apply to monsters in pf2.

Shadow Lodge

Hmm, I like the idea and the thought behind it. It makes so much sense now: why didn't ambush predators ever get Sneak Attacks!?

Also, while I did like the part where PCs/NPCs/Monsters had sort-of similar rules for happening, I can accept Monster Creation going "Whatever's Necessary To Make It Work." Though I did like thinking of situations where a monster's niche Spell-Like stuff would come in handy, they wouldn't outside those times. If we can give the PCs stuff that's relevant, why not everyone else?


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Volkard Abendroth wrote:
Benjamin Medrano wrote:
Volkard Abendroth wrote:

Beforehand, most monsters at lower level are going to have limited resistances. Energy attacks were a reliable way to bypass most DR and Magic Missile, while dealing less damage, dealt force damage that bypassed nearly everything.

Now, Magic Missile[i] will bypass nothing and any low level monster with any amount of DR will laugh at spells like [i]Magic Missile, which already do less damage than a fighter or barbarian swinging a two-handed sword.

And unlike the fighter or barbarian, the wizard won't be dealing double damage dice because he has a magic weapon and he won't be getting quality bonuses for his spells.

I think you mis-interpreted a line.

Building Monsters Blog wrote:


resistance 5 to slashing and piercing damage
If I'm not mistaken, the new resistance works the way Energy Resistance did before. You list what the creature resists and nothing else.

No, I am specifically discussing PF2: Weakness 5 slashing vs PF1: DR 5/slashing.

It's was stated in the blog this was going to become a much more common means of combining DR & Energy Resistance.

I don't see what the problem is? With the switch from DR to Weakness, in one move they have made a significant step to close the Caster/Martial disparity. The wizard still gets to stand 150 ft away and throw magic missals with a 0% miss chance, where as the fighter still has to be within arms reach and roll to hit. Is the wizard a bit less powerful, yes. Are they completely nerfed, not even close.


Volkard Abendroth wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Well, in PF2, you can do 3d4+3 with Magic Missile at 1st level if you like (and invest 3 actions). That's a larger percentage of their HP than the 1d4+1 in PF1 is (10.5 is north of 1/2 the PF2 zombie's HP, while 3.5 is only a bit over 1/3 of a PF1 zombie's). And they probably have a Weakness to Positive Energy, which might apply to Disrupt Undead.
Please don't compare what a wizard does for damage using all three actions to what a fighter or barbarian can do for damage with one action.

He didn't?

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
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.

The thing is there is something very useful about CR 1/2, CR 1/3 and CR 1/4 and CR 1/6, especially for new GMs.

It tells a GM how many monsters they can safely throw at a first level party without being unfair or overwhelming, or to provide a pushover encounter.

So I can throw 6 stirges, 4 kobolds, or 3 goblins, or 2 orcs (if equipped nicely) at a 1st level party.

If CR 0 replaces all those gradations, that means that the challenge of 2 Goblins is the same as 2 Orcs as 2 Stirges as 2 kobolds for game balance reasons, and if they are NOT the same level of challenge then you've removed a useful measurement for GMs.


magnuskn wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
1.) There will be 250 monsters in the Playtest Bestiary? Um, is the Bestiary included in the Playtest Rulebook? The Playtest Adventure? If not, why couldn't we order it together with those? Or will it be PDF-only?
It's a free PDF. I don't think it's available in hard copy.
Mark Seifter wrote:
PDF only, just because otherwise the schedule would be impossible, but this allowed it to fit in editing and layout after print products went to the printer.

Yeah, just found that section in the FAQ, one minute after posting. Oh, well, I would have liked to have it in printed form. Guess I got to print out individual monsters I need.

Thanks for the info, nonetheless!

This is why dirt-cheap Tablet PCs are almost becoming a required component of the gaming table - I use my tablet almost all the time now, no matter the game system. I know it doesn’t have the same feel, to be sure, but My gaming backpack is a good 30 pounds lighter because of it!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Volkard Abendroth wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
Volkard Abendroth wrote:
Quote:
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!

Congradulations, you've just taken my level 1 wizard and effectively told him to pound sand.

In PF1 he could Magic Missile or Disrupt Undead with meaningful results. Now, only half as effective. You've doubled the hit points and while nearly all of my wizard's spells would have bypassed DR, they now deal a far smaller percentage of the zombies total hp in damage.

In exchange, many more monsters will have weakness to your elemental damage.

I suppose it would suck if your campaign is about a zombie apocalypse, but otherwise it should be fine.

Beforehand, most monsters at lower level are going to have limited resistances. Energy attacks were a reliable way to bypass most DR and Magic Missile, while dealing less damage, dealt force damage that bypassed nearly everything.

Now, Magic Missile[i] will bypass nothing and any low level monster with any amount of DR will laugh at spells like [i]Magic Missile, which already do less damage than a fighter or barbarian swinging a two-handed sword.

And unlike the fighter or barbarian, the wizard won't be dealing double damage dice because he has a magic weapon and he won't be getting quality bonuses for his spells.

I feel like you misunderstood. There's two, separate but loosely related mechanics here. Resistance, which reduces damage from specific sources, such as skeletons resistant to slashing and piercing damage, but take normal damage from bludgeoning (and everything else). Weakness is the reverse, and EVERYTHING deals the same damage, except the specific weakness, which in this case, is slashing damage (which... a wizard can do with telekinetic projectile). Magic missile still deals force damage, and is only resisted by things that resist force.

Not everything has Weakness, and not everything has resistance or weakness. Resistance will belong to things that are heavily resistant to certain forms of attack, such as stone to physical damage, and weakness covers things like the werewolf weakness to silver or Fey weakness to cold iron, and an ice elemental's weakness to fire.

Force damage will likely keep its highly unresisted status, magic missile will keep its status as "Guaranteed damage dealing spell" with 3 actions being REALLY efficient per slot spent. A 3rd level Magic missile dealing 9d4+9 sounds really good for something that doesn't interact with random chance.

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