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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The real question that this blog provokes, that somehow hasn’t been asked yet is:

“If a Marilith devotes all of her actions to performing her “Spin2Win” for enough turns, can she gain a Fly Speed?”


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This makes me feel a little bit better about monsters, which are a major concern of mine. My big question and fear was that Paizo would be simplifying monsters into just beatsticks, and removing various abilities that have out of combat use, or are tied into the flavor of the creature. This seems to suggest that won't happen. I also like the idea of giving more creatures signature abilities, including animals.

I still have a lot of questions, like how the statblocks will actually look, how monsters and ancestries will intersect, will npc classes be a thing, etc.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Personally I like it better when orcs looked like green skin pig/boar people. But not liking the Ape versions at all.

I am more worried about what will happen to immunities, I love immunities(both monsters/races and classes).

I hope there will be a single 1-20 NPC class that you can make any NPC you could want such as farmer, peasant, princess, bartender, guard, jester, judge, candle stick maker, etc.

Sovereign Court

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Whatever it is, I hope the monsters power increase a lot so they stop being the pushovers they are today

Paizo Employee Designer

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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
Right on, only read it once, have not had tea or coffee yet! I am all for cutting the chaff abilities/spells, again, 5th Ed tried this, though I think they went too far.
My single largest issue with D&D5E (and why I can't GM it) is that they cut so many essential 'story abilities' (by the above definition) from almost every single monster. I'm quite pleased that PF2 is specifically trying to avoid this issue.

We are doing our best while still trying to make running the monsters a little easier. After we finished numerous passes ourselves, we've passed all the monsters over to master monster developer Adam Daigle, and part of his pass is making sure the monsters still had everything they need for the story. He found at least one that was missing something for the story and we worked with him to add it back in. We'll want you guys to take a look too during the playtest!

Liberty's Edge

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Mark Seifter wrote:
We are doing our best while still trying to make running the monsters a little easier. After we finished numerous passes ourselves, we've passed all the monsters over to master monster developer Adam Daigle, and part of his pass is making sure the monsters still had everything they need for the story. He found at least one that was missing something for the story and we worked with him to add it back in. We'll want you guys to take a look too during the playtest!

That's awesome and I, for one, will definitely keep an eye out. Really, I'm just overjoyed that getting rid of story abilities is actually something on your radar that you're working to avoid. I was very hopeful it would be, but talk of simplifying monsters is always a tad worrisome in this regard.


Rereading the tiger... and gods! They are BEASTS! I don't want to fight one! "Move->Slash, Move->Slash, Move->Slash"... ONE TURN!
Is the "free" grab an action? Does the Wrestle ability use 2 actions or 1? Because there could be a possibility taht it could do "Move->Slash->Free Grab, Wrestle (Slash+Prone), SNEAK+Slash"... Even if it cost more actions, it could become: "Move->Slash, Grab, Slash; Wrestle, Wrestle (cont.), SNEAK+Slash" Even in two turns it's frightening... and that's AWESOME.

Dark Archive

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ElSilverWind wrote:

The real question that this blog provokes, that somehow hasn’t been asked yet is:

“If a Marilith devotes all of her actions to performing her “Spin2Win” for enough turns, can she gain a Fly Speed?”

Yes, but only if she spends her free actions making helicopter noises.

Liberty's Edge

Dragon78 wrote:
Personally I like it better when orcs looked like green skin pig/boar people. But not liking the Ape versions at all.

I don't know how I feel on this one yet. I'll need to see more illustrations of the new version to get a good idea, I expect.

Dragon78 wrote:
I am more worried about what will happen to immunities, I love immunities(both monsters/races and classes).

Well, they've said that immunities still exist, so those should still be kicking around (though they did say they'd be a bit rarer).

Dragon78 wrote:
I hope there will be a single 1-20 NPC class that you can make any NPC you could want such as farmer, peasant, princess, bartender, guard, jester, judge, candle stick maker, etc.

Well, the Monster Creation Rules probably allow you to create any level human you want, though since they've replaced CR with Levels I suspect a Level 20 Farmer would be as badass as any other Level 20 creature...and thus pretty much not a thing that you'll see in any books.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Regarding art (I love the rules bits, that’s awesome):

I have... concerns regarding the message that comes from portraying orcs as (my words based on the art) apelike brutish tribal primitives. It runs some risks of paralleling some less-than-fair (he says very euphemistically) historical (and in some cases current) opinions of real-world human cultures.

TL;DR That pic skirts pretty close to racist. Please take care.


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Chemlak wrote:

Regarding art (I love the rules bits, that’s awesome):

I have... concerns regarding the message that comes from portraying orcs as (my words based on the art) apelike brutish tribal primitives. It runs some risks of paralleling some less-than-fair (he says very euphemistically) historical (and in some cases current) opinions of real-world human cultures.

TL;DR That pic skirts pretty close to racist. Please take care.

No, there is really nothing to this, let's not bring agendas, racism, politics, triggers and all that into some orc art.

As for simplifying monsters, I am all for making them easier to run in combat, keeping track of SLAs, SQs, SAs, Feats, etc, can be a bit much with some PF1 monsters.


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Jester David wrote:

Not a fan of level instead or CR.

Level 0 sounds wierd. Like it should be an insignificant threat. And there is a difference between CR 1/2 and 1/3 and 1/4 and 1/8.

And it’s odd putting a group of level 2 characters against level 3 or 4 creatures.

And it leads to weirdness of level 22 or 23 monsters. Monsters that can be higher level than PCs can even reach.

Any weirder than a level 2 party against a CR 3 or 4 creature? Or a party of 20th-level PCs fighting a CR 23 monster?

If you don't like the CR system either, that's fair. But numerically it's no different than what's going on now in P1e.


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Re the orc art: I think it looks great. One of the foci for PF2 is supposed to be making various creatures, and especially common fantasy trope creatures, have a distinctly "Pathfinder" feel. This definitely fits that bill. I think the average Tolkien / GW / Warcraft / D&D orc is boring as heck and almost never use them. I'd be much more likely to use these orcs because they actually have a distinct feel from all the other evil humanoids, just from the art alone. Hopefully they are mechanically distinct as well.

Re whining about animals: what's wrong with animals as statted creatures? Players and enemy nature-folk need companions and summons, and evil humanoids need exotic mounts and warbeasts. Hungry or rabid animals are decent low to mid level foes. And a HUGE pile of fantasy and mythological creatures are in some form or another a kind of magical animal or based on several animals, so it is useful to get the base animals right as a basis for building upon. I expect a unicorn or nightmare to be a horse-plus, not something completely tangent to a horse.

Also, it does sound likely that the first bestiary is more likely to be 400-500 monsters, not 200-250. So even as many as 50 animals isn't really taking space from other creatures.

Re tigers: I do really hope big cats aren't the universal best animal companions again. I want other animals to have cool stuff too. Wolves should get more than just trip, I want to see them get pack tactics and other upgrades too.

Re owlbears: What the person above said. Owls are silent hunters. For that matter, bears themselves can be shockingly quiet and swift for something so big. I would hope for owlbears to be terrifying Stealth beasts. Screech is fine once engaged in combat with something that puts up a fight, but they should have abilities and skills to move in quickly and silently to get the drop on their foes.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Design Lead

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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!

Feeling different isn't always about the results or even the process. Things being described differently, but working exactly the same way, can still result in a different feel.

When World of Warcraft was in beta, if your character was away from town for too long, you ended up only earning half the experience for killing things, because you were tired. Players hated it.

Then they changed it so everything gave you half as much experience for killing it, but if you spent time in town you were well-rested and got double experience points for killing things for a period of time. People loved it.

The math on these two systems is exactly the same, but the players experienced them differently.

So, at least for many players, having one foe that can be taken out with just a little damage that is hard to hurt, and one that isn't taken out until it takes a lot of damage but you do more damage every time you hit it, are going to feel different.

(And, practically speaking, for many groups that means a different player will be the one most likely to excel in killing the monster, which still gives the fights a different feel even if it lasts the same number of rounds.)


Usually not one to comment on game mechanic threads, but this seems like a great balance of mechanics and story/encounter consideration.

Positives is practically everything. Having wild beasts and animals with specific bonuses and patterns of attack is great to see. If these creatures also qualify for Animal Companions, it'll be great to see those differences in tactics as well instead of Druids and Rangers looking for Companions with Pounce.

Really glad to see an example of the new Resistance and Weakness mechanics and how it also simplifies their purpose for players. Even with longer term players there's always momentary confusion when juggling Resistance, SR and DR. Wholeheartedly agree with dealing extra damage against foes, and I will be interested in seeing what the flat bonus values are and any possible changes after playtest (Such as Weakness versus Heavy Weakness or Resistance versus Immunity)

Finally I'm glad that more complex enemies are being looked over for more diversity and unique abilities. Overall incredibly happy with this direction, and now interested in what will happen when I throw my party through the beginning of Rise of The Runelords against 2nd Edition Goblins. Will Goblins gain Improvised Fighting abilities? Who knows, but I can't wait to find out.


I like the simplification of resistance and weakness, and what sounds like making sure monsters with random SLAs for flavor can keep them without getting taxed on their CR.

That said, I'm less wild about these "multiattack" abilities just for monsters. What can very quickly ruin a game is if the monsters are playing by their combat rules and the PCs are playing by a different set. Starfinder already has this problem. The fact that you are calling zombies "level 0" zombies is a bad sign. If the GM wants to throw a level 5 zombie at the party, he should be throwing a wight or something, not just adding levels to a monster!

Weather Report wrote:
Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
Haven't bothered to read the thread, but the blog seems pretty interesting. I like everything I've seen so far. What I really wonder about is if the numbers for different monsters will feel more natural than Starfinder monster building, where it's just 'it's got the numbers because it needs them'.
That can be a problem, as 4th Ed illustrates. AC should not be tied to level for every monster, etc.

Yup. I had a conversation where my Starfinder team was having difficulty fighting a couple of noncombat scientists who inexplicably had tank HP, AC and attacks about this. "In Starfinder, would our party get murdered by a puppy?" "Yes, if it was a level 10 puppy."

Liberty's Edge

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Howard197 wrote:
That said, I'm less wild about these "multiattack" abilities just for monsters. What can very quickly ruin a game is if the monsters are playing by their combat rules and the PCs are playing by a different set.

Well, PCs get their own action economy enhancers. I mean, Sudden charge is already such a thing, and I'd be surprised if serious two-weapon-fighting wasn't another.

The Marlith always had something even a step beyond TWF, so I'm not sure this is a real change in that regard.

Howard197 wrote:
Starfinder already has this problem. The fact that you are calling zombies "level 0" zombies is a bad sign. If the GM wants to throw a level 5 zombie at the party, he should be throwing a wight or something, not just adding levels to a monster!

Uh...you can have a zombie T-Rex in PF1 that's quite a bit scarier than random zombie people. I'd assume that's the kind of thing you get with higher level zombies.

Howard197 wrote:
Yup. I had a conversation where my Starfinder team was having difficulty fighting a couple of noncombat scientists who inexplicably had tank HP, AC and attacks about this. "In Starfinder, would our party get murdered by a puppy?" "Yes, if it was a level 10 puppy."

This is sort of an inevitable issue with a level based system. A CR 10 puppy would kill you in PF1 as well. The solution is to not make CR 10 puppies.

Now, this can be an issue when the level system is also tied to skills (which it is in both editions of Pathfinder as well as Starfinder), but there've been some indications that this issue is fixable with the right Skill Feats in PF2. If that works out this problem would be solved, not by making a level 10 Scholar weaker (which really is pretty hard to arrange in a balanced fashion), but by making most scholars, even real experts, of very low levels but with high Skill Proficiencies and certain Skill Feats.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Howard197 wrote:

That said, I'm less wild about these "multiattack" abilities just for monsters. What can very quickly ruin a game is if the monsters are playing by their combat rules and the PCs are playing by a different set.

PCs have multiattack abilities like the Whirlwind Strike feat previewed in the fighter blog that is actually more powerful than the marilith's six target ability in some ways (in that it doesn't limit itself to six targets). They work the same as PC activities do, and some monsters use actions or activities PCs gain from class feats. Monsters in PF1 also have abilities like hekatonkheires Hundred-Handed-Whirlwind; in that a monster's creator can just give it any ability, they never played with exactly the same set of abilities as PCs gain from their class.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

So can we have some examples of story abilities for monsters?


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Howard197 wrote:
That said, I'm less wild about these "multiattack" abilities just for monsters. What can very quickly ruin a game is if the monsters are playing by their combat rules and the PCs are playing by a different set.

Well, PCs get their own action economy enhancers. I mean, Sudden charge is already such a thing, and I'd be surprised if serious two-weapon-fighting wasn't another.

The Marlith always had something even a step beyond TWF, so I'm not sure this is a real change in that regard.

Howard197 wrote:
Starfinder already has this problem. The fact that you are calling zombies "level 0" zombies is a bad sign. If the GM wants to throw a level 5 zombie at the party, he should be throwing a wight or something, not just adding levels to a monster!

Uh...you can have a zombie T-Rex in PF1 that's quite a bit scarier than random zombie people. I'd assume that's the kind of thing you get with higher level zombies.

Howard197 wrote:
Yup. I had a conversation where my Starfinder team was having difficulty fighting a couple of noncombat scientists who inexplicably had tank HP, AC and attacks about this. "In Starfinder, would our party get murdered by a puppy?" "Yes, if it was a level 10 puppy."
This is sort of an inevitable issue with a level based system. A CR 10 puppy would kill you in PF1 as well. The solution is to not make CR 10 puppies.

Now I want to see this CR 10 infernal Dire Puppy.


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I really dislike hobgoblins, and I can't really know why. Hope Paizo get to give them a paizoish rebuild


How long will it take to teach someone the monster creation system?

Liberty's Edge

It just occurred to me that on the second level of a dungeon you could fight a level five wizard that is a level four monster casting 3rd level spells...
:/

Liberty's Edge

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Jester David wrote:

It just occurred to me that on the second level of a dungeon you could fight a level five wizard that is a level four monster casting 3rd level spells...

:/

I'm pretty sure you couldn't. It's pretty clear that character level is monster level for PC created characters.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Wayne's Facebook page seems to confirm that these are, indeed, orcs.

Interesting. Orcs being more ape-like in appearance (to the extent of walking on their knuckles at times) will definitely distinguish them from the presumably more human half orcs, and it fits the 'primitive and brutal' aesthetic fairly well, I suppose.

Still, I'm not sure I like that particular artistic direction. I'll have to think about it.

Which, again, begs the question if this will have any aesthetical or mechanical effects on Half-Orcs.


Chemlak wrote:

Regarding art (I love the rules bits, that’s awesome):

I have... concerns regarding the message that comes from portraying orcs as (my words based on the art) apelike brutish tribal primitives. It runs some risks of paralleling some less-than-fair (he says very euphemistically) historical (and in some cases current) opinions of real-world human cultures.

TL;DR That pic skirts pretty close to racist. Please take care.

No it's veering drastically into racist territory given the fact that often the rationality for such claims is a game mechanic used to denote evil and good.


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MadScientistWorking wrote:
Chemlak wrote:

Regarding art (I love the rules bits, that’s awesome):

I have... concerns regarding the message that comes from portraying orcs as (my words based on the art) apelike brutish tribal primitives. It runs some risks of paralleling some less-than-fair (he says very euphemistically) historical (and in some cases current) opinions of real-world human cultures.

TL;DR That pic skirts pretty close to racist. Please take care.

No it's veering drastically into racist territory given the fact that often the rationality for such claims is a game mechanic used to denote evil and good.

Good thing the devs have already neatly side stepped that little trap by having Drow be the other main CE race.


Sounds good! This is one of the top 3 biggest selling points for me, so I'm glad to see it sounds like a dream come true. I will eagerly await the more detailed information. Here's hoping that it continues on this great trend.


I like PF Hobgoblins as they are now

but what I love more: Kobolds! :D

I blame my girlfriend for me thinking they are kinda cute :P

Another question in that matter:

Kobolds, Orcs, Hobgoblins etc. were all playable in PF1 and the bestiaries had at least baseline rules for making them player characters.

it is rather unlikely that there will be rules like that in the playtest bestiary - but please correct me if I'm wrong


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Smite Makes Right wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Smite Makes Right wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Plus touch attacks against zombies tend to crit those guys for even more damage!
Wow. You can crit against undead without a feat now?
Huh? I am like 95% sure you could already crit against undead and you never needed a feat to do so in pathfinder.
You are correct according to the SRD. I was not aware that had changed from 3.5.

It’s been 10 years and this still keeps happening.

Not calling anybody out, just shows the sheer complexity of the first edition rules set, and that it’s relatively conservative design from 3.5 often lead to confusion.

It's been 10 years and I couldn't tell you what alignment orcs are, nor what Golarion hobgoblins look like. Perhaps we should get rid of legacy monsters along with legacy rules. Let's go full unique.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Chemlak wrote:

Regarding art (I love the rules bits, that’s awesome):

I have... concerns regarding the message that comes from portraying orcs as (my words based on the art) apelike brutish tribal primitives. It runs some risks of paralleling some less-than-fair (he says very euphemistically) historical (and in some cases current) opinions of real-world human cultures.

TL;DR That pic skirts pretty close to racist. Please take care.

*nods*

When I first saw it I thought it was Ogres and was thinking, yay, they’re moving away from the fat + dumb = evil trope...


Not exactly get rid of orcs and hobgoblins, but getting rid of any burden that do not allow creativity would be a good idea, imho. Pathfinder goblins are cool, and many of the earlier "monster revisited" were nice too.

So if they don't come up with a better idea for orcs, that's fine, let's keep orcs as they are. But if someone in Paizo has some kind of awesome idea about orcs, or hobgoblins, or whatever, then by all means, use it.


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Tarik Blackhands wrote:
MadScientistWorking wrote:
Chemlak wrote:

Regarding art (I love the rules bits, that’s awesome):

I have... concerns regarding the message that comes from portraying orcs as (my words based on the art) apelike brutish tribal primitives. It runs some risks of paralleling some less-than-fair (he says very euphemistically) historical (and in some cases current) opinions of real-world human cultures.

TL;DR That pic skirts pretty close to racist. Please take care.

No it's veering drastically into racist territory given the fact that often the rationality for such claims is a game mechanic used to denote evil and good.
Good thing the devs have already neatly side stepped that little trap by having Drow be the other main CE race.

I can't tell if this is sarcasm or not because I could probably go on and on and on and on and on about how the Drow are worst.


MadScientistWorking wrote:
Tarik Blackhands wrote:
MadScientistWorking wrote:
Chemlak wrote:

Regarding art (I love the rules bits, that’s awesome):

I have... concerns regarding the message that comes from portraying orcs as (my words based on the art) apelike brutish tribal primitives. It runs some risks of paralleling some less-than-fair (he says very euphemistically) historical (and in some cases current) opinions of real-world human cultures.

TL;DR That pic skirts pretty close to racist. Please take care.

No it's veering drastically into racist territory given the fact that often the rationality for such claims is a game mechanic used to denote evil and good.
Good thing the devs have already neatly side stepped that little trap by having Drow be the other main CE race.
I can't tell if this is sarcasm or not because I could probably go on and on and on and on and on about how the Drow are worst.

Honestly half and half. On the one hand, can't have evil = ugly when you've got the race of sexy demon worshiping elves. On the other, wouldn't be the first time I've seen people get salty over implications with backstabbing demon worshiping yahoos who happen to be purple/black. But really, best drop the topic or shunt it to another thread.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

I like it.

Combining Weaknesses and Resistances could also get you some very interesting effects I'm already considering. I love the new Pounce, Tigers with Sneak Attack, and the multi-attack stuff. All of that is very neat.

I'd also like to send the designers a huge 'thank you' for the specific choice of keeping the story/ non-combat abilities of monsters in mind even while simplifying their combat ability list. The lack of such story based powers on most monsters in D&D5E is the reason I simply can't bring myself to ever run that system (though I can manage as a player) and seeing some assurance here that this mistake will not be repeated is very comforting.

I agree and love the story/non-combat abilities!

Give 3-4 per creature to guide me & surprise the players! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!

This may be my favorite aspect of the overhaul so far!


Tarik Blackhands wrote:
MadScientistWorking wrote:
Tarik Blackhands wrote:
MadScientistWorking wrote:
Chemlak wrote:

Regarding art (I love the rules bits, that’s awesome):

I have... concerns regarding the message that comes from portraying orcs as (my words based on the art) apelike brutish tribal primitives. It runs some risks of paralleling some less-than-fair (he says very euphemistically) historical (and in some cases current) opinions of real-world human cultures.

TL;DR That pic skirts pretty close to racist. Please take care.

No it's veering drastically into racist territory given the fact that often the rationality for such claims is a game mechanic used to denote evil and good.
Good thing the devs have already neatly side stepped that little trap by having Drow be the other main CE race.
I can't tell if this is sarcasm or not because I could probably go on and on and on and on and on about how the Drow are worst.
Honestly half and half. On the one hand, can't have evil = ugly when you've got the race of sexy demon worshiping elves. On the other, wouldn't be the first time I've seen people get salty over implications with backstabbing demon worshiping yahoos who happen to be purple/black. But really, best drop the topic or shunt it to another thread.

I mean the racist connotations are far more overt in Drow where canonically it's been stated that they are dark skinned because they are evil.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Desferous wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:

I like it.

Combining Weaknesses and Resistances could also get you some very interesting effects I'm already considering. I love the new Pounce, Tigers with Sneak Attack, and the multi-attack stuff. All of that is very neat.

I'd also like to send the designers a huge 'thank you' for the specific choice of keeping the story/ non-combat abilities of monsters in mind even while simplifying their combat ability list. The lack of such story based powers on most monsters in D&D5E is the reason I simply can't bring myself to ever run that system (though I can manage as a player) and seeing some assurance here that this mistake will not be repeated is very comforting.

I agree and love the story/non-combat abilities!

Give 3-4 per creature to guide me & surprise the players! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!

This may be my favorite aspect of the overhaul so far!

To be clear, we are not necessarily focusing on adding a bunch of story abilities to a lot of monsters in this pass that didn't already have them (and will probably focus on what monsters do during downtime significantly more in the ecology entries for the final bestiary than we do in the playtest which is more about getting you lots of statblocks to playtest with). What we're talking about is that we're generally not removing abilities important to the monster's out of combat role.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Howard197 wrote:

That said, I'm less wild about these "multiattack" abilities just for monsters. What can very quickly ruin a game is if the monsters are playing by their combat rules and the PCs are playing by a different set.

PCs have multiattack abilities like the Whirlwind Strike feat previewed in the fighter blog that is actually more powerful than the marilith's six target ability in some ways (in that it doesn't limit itself to six targets). They work the same as PC activities do, and some monsters use actions or activities PCs gain from class feats. Monsters in PF1 also have abilities like hekatonkheires Hundred-Handed-Whirlwind; in that a monster's creator can just give it any ability, they never played with exactly the same set of abilities as PCs gain from their class.

To be fair, if a Fighter is surrounded by enough targets that they can hit more than 6 then either;

A)Fighter has Reach
B)Fighter has stupidly high AC
C)Things have not gone according to plan at all.

Paizo Employee Designer

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MerlinCross wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Howard197 wrote:

That said, I'm less wild about these "multiattack" abilities just for monsters. What can very quickly ruin a game is if the monsters are playing by their combat rules and the PCs are playing by a different set.

PCs have multiattack abilities like the Whirlwind Strike feat previewed in the fighter blog that is actually more powerful than the marilith's six target ability in some ways (in that it doesn't limit itself to six targets). They work the same as PC activities do, and some monsters use actions or activities PCs gain from class feats. Monsters in PF1 also have abilities like hekatonkheires Hundred-Handed-Whirlwind; in that a monster's creator can just give it any ability, they never played with exactly the same set of abilities as PCs gain from their class.

To be fair, if a Fighter is surrounded by enough targets that they can hit more than 6 then either;

A)Fighter has Reach
B)Fighter has stupidly high AC
C)Things have not gone according to plan at all.

Absolutely true!


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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.

Like, holy cow, guys. I know we're really, really attached to our "we need sentient, dehumanized races for adventurers to slaughter" tropes and all, but there are a million wonderful directions to take orcs, and this is what we chose? This is a serious error in judgment on the part of Paizo's design team, and I hope it turns out that this is just one isolated sketch—the "plump reptilian troll" of Pathfinder 2.0.


Mark Seifter wrote:
To be clear, we are not necessarily focusing on adding a bunch of story abilities to a lot of monsters in this pass that didn't already have them (and will probably focus on what monsters do during downtime significantly more in the ecology entries for the final bestiary than we do in the playtest which is more about getting you lots of statblocks to playtest with).

Great, ecology or world setting info is key to story in my book. People debate the nature of Hobgoblins in Golarion, i.e. Tian Xia origin or not (seems likely to me, only location outside of Tian Xia they seem to be concentrated is central Avistan, on other end of Crown of World trade route from Tian Xia), that type of Golarion-specific lore is what I hope for.


Gorbacz wrote:
Wayne's Facebook page seems to confirm that these are, indeed, orcs.

Meh, I was hoping for trolls. Never cared much for Paizo's crocodile look for their trolls.

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