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NPC Codex Preview: Animals Can't Vote

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The NPC Codex is just 2 weeks away, and it's time to talk about an often-forgotten, underprivileged group of creatures: animal companions!

In addition to featuring hundreds of complete NPC stat blocks, this book presents 45 fully statted animal companions, generally two or three for each effective druid level. An asterisk (*) after an animal companion's name indicates that only druids (not rangers) can select that type of companion.

The druids in the NPC Codex are built with a nature domain instead of an animal companion, but it's a simple matter to replace the domain spells and domain granted powers for an animal companion. Likewise, the rangers are built with nature bond (companions), but as that has no effect on the ranger's stat block, it's easy to replace that ability with an animal companion.

Because animal companions have the same stats whether the character is a PC or an NPC, you can even use these animal companion stat blocks for your PCs.

Remember, it's election day in the US—vote, because animals can't!

Sean K Reynolds
Designer

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Tags: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
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A badger with 114 hp... countryside treks are dangerous business in Golarion !

Kidding aside, it's great to have those animal companions fully statted. I hope this Codex sells well, because I'd like to see a NPC Codex II, myself.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

NPC Codex II only after the Tian Xia hardcover please :D (but I do want both).


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hey cool, I asked about this last week!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Thanks for going back to the original core rule book-like formatting. The colors in the Ultimate Equipment Guide gives me a headache.

:-)


SKR wrote:
The druids in the NPC Codex are built with a nature domain instead of an animal companion, but it's a simple matter to replace the domain spells and domain granted powers for an animal companion. Likewise, the rangers are built with nature bond (companions), but as that has no effect on the ranger's stat block, it's easy to replace that ability with an animal companion.

Wow. Now that's a disappointment. I really didn't expect a one track mind approach to a book like this. Not one of the NPCs have been built to effectively work with an animal companion. Maybe bump an ACs Int up to 3 and add a teamwork feat? Again, that's disappointing.

(Edit: The rest has been shown incorrect. I'm blind)
Also, it looks like they didn't use any of the feats from the Bestiary. No Improved Natural Armor or Improved Natural Attack. Now we're only seeing two pages but it is for level 12 and 13 druids.

-Swiftbrook
Just My Thoughts


that croc has INA (bite).

teamwork feats aren't in the CRB.

and (I'm guessing here) that it's less pages to make a bunch of mix-and-match critters than peppering the druid, cleric, ranger, and paladin sections with the occasional animal. Just swap out the other class feature, maybe switch a skill from X to Ride if you need it, and you're good to go.

That said, not really sure I needed a plug-and-play animals section (because really the only customization point for an AC is feats), but it's nice to have for completeness.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

In some of the stat blocks under SQ it says attack[any creature] in some it says attack[all creatures].
I know that it's not final and you probably would have found that anyway but I just wanted to help.

Back to topic: I'm looking forward to this book a lot! It makes levelling up NPCs that get introduced in one part of an AP and end up tagging along or are re-encountered later on so much easier amongst other things.

Designer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Swiftbrook wrote:
Wow. Now that's a disappointment. I really didn't expect a one track mind approach to a book like this. Not one of the NPCs have been built to effectively work with an animal companion.

1. I'd rather have an NPC writeup that you can uses as-is without an animal companion, and have the option to swap in an animal companion (even if it's not built to optimize that setup), than have an NPC writeup that requires you to use an animal companion, and becomes much less powerful if you swap in a domain instead because several of the character's feats and spells now do nothing because they're meant to be used with a (now nonexistant) animal companion.

Swiftbrook wrote:
Maybe bump an ACs Int up to 3 and add a teamwork feat? Again, that's disappointing.

NPC Codex uses only the Core Rulebook and Bestiary, which means no teamwork feats.

Taldor

Just in time for the holidays! I simply cannot wait for this book! Its a gamemaster's dream, and looks also very usable by players, based on the sample.

Thanks PAIZO for another amazing product!
Pax

Sczarni

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This looks like an awesome resource. I think I'll have to pick this one up -- along with the pawns!


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:

NPC Codex uses only the Core Rulebook and Bestiary

I for one am stoked to hear it.

I would hate to find obscure feats and whatnot in what are supposed to be easy to drop in NPCs.

- Torger


Wow. Those animals are WAY overpowered compared to their 3.5 versions. Don't think I'll be using this section all that much, sadly.

Designer

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Bill Kirsch wrote:
Wow. Those animals are WAY overpowered compared to their 3.5 versions. Don't think I'll be using this section all that much, sadly.

I disagree that they are "way" overpowered. Animal companions in PFRPG are more powerful than they were in 3.5 because in 3.5 they were an achilles heel for the druid.


As an aside, I am glad to see Paizo's writers be interested in explaining their design decisions such as cases like the absence of animal compansions above. Such omissions are not intuitively obvious to players (such as myself) who tend to stick to classes that don't use animal companions, familiars, or other "pets".


Yay! Totally looking forward to this one!
While my PCs and NPCs with "natural flavor" are always built with a companion, I totally see no problem changing the NPCs as written. Changing tactics should be easy enough and as SKR said other stat block and mechanical changes are easy to do, too.

Ruyan.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:

1. I'd rather have an NPC writeup that you can uses as-is without an animal companion, and have the option to swap in an animal companion (even if it's not built to optimize that setup), than have an NPC writeup that requires you to use an animal companion, and becomes much less powerful if you swap in a domain instead because several of the character's feats and spells now do nothing because they're meant to be used with a (now nonexistant) animal companion.

I have to say that I find this to be rather disappointing as well. While I applaud the idea of trying to make each NPC as useful in as many situations as possible, I feel that this makes the book suffer in versatility on the whole.

With 300+ NPCs, having a few specialized concepts is expected, as well as actually desired. And its not like a Druid that focuses heavily on buffing his AC is a radical fringe idea. I really doubt that anyone would have complained if 5 of the characters in this book relied heavily on ACs (well, except for people wanting even more examples of this).

But, now I am curious about what other common ideas are going to be completely missing in the book for the sake every single build being as individually useable in as many situations as possible. :/


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Well, I don't really have an opinion on companions vs domains either way.

However, I'M not going to be buying this book because the leopard looks sad. Just look at those tired eyes. Why does Paizo support sad leopards?


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

He's probably sad because he got swapped out for a domain.


So will these animal companions feature on the pawn set for this book? Wishful thinking, I know, but pawns for the animal companions would be super duper useful!

Designer

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Merkatz wrote:
But, now I am curious about what other common ideas are going to be completely missing in the book for the sake every single build being as individually useable in as many situations as possible. :/

Depends on what you mean by "common." As the book only has 20 characters for each of the core character classes, we're only able to provide 20 character concepts at most for each class.

So if you think there are 40 "common" character concepts for a class, we're "completely missing" 40 – 20 = 20 of them. If you think there are 100 "common" character concepts for a class, we're "completely missing" 100 – 20 = 80 of them.

Or you could stop being pessimistic about what the book is "completely missing" and instead enjoy that it does have hundreds of finished stat blocks for various character concepts of each class.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm not entirely sure why people are upset that one specific class build isn't in this book or whatever. Nine times out of ten, if I want a specific, unique build for an NPC its because they're going to be an NPC who's important to the story, such as an iconic villain or a tag-a-long NPC. I know I can't speak for everyone, but if I'm going to have a character like that in my games, I probably want to build him or her myself.

Most NPCs, like the local sheriff or the king's bodyguards, don't even need stat blocks because they're not intended to be engaged in combat. But sometimes, your PCs do something crazy and all of a sudden I actually do need stat blocks for those random guards. That's where I see this book coming in; a lot of generic stat blocks for your generic "Oh crap I didn't think you'd try to kill this innocent bystander" situations.


Wow. This looks great and super useful. I can't wait to see more.

Sczarni

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Merkatz wrote:
But, now I am curious about what other common ideas are going to be completely missing in the book for the sake every single build being as individually useable in as many situations as possible. :/

Depends on what you mean by "common." As the book only has 20 characters for each of the core character classes, we're only able to provide 20 character concepts at most for each class.

So if you think there are 40 "common" character concepts for a class, we're "completely missing" 40 – 20 = 20 of them. If you think there are 100 "common" character concepts for a class, we're "completely missing" 100 – 20 = 80 of them.

Or you could stop being pessimistic about what the book is "completely missing" and instead enjoy that it does have hundreds of finished stat blocks for various character concepts of each class.

Plus, if this sells well and Paizo gets good profits from it, do you really think this will be the last NPC collection they'll ever publish?

Cheliax

Having a bite and two claw attacks doesn't count as having three natural attacks? Are there any animal companions that get multiattack?


Jadeite wrote:
Having a bite and two claw attacks doesn't count as having three natural attacks? Are there any animal companions that get multiattack?

All of them. They get it automatically at 9th.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Sigh, with the number of "worth to have at hand" books and my age ever increasing is should either only play at home or invest in a notebook and bring all my material in PDF form.

Or invest in a lot of gym time to be capable to haul all the books.
;-)

And yes, I think it will be worth having this book at hand, plenty of times where you need the stats for a guy in a hurry. Sure, most of us can sketch one on the fly, but there is always the chance of forgetting something and having a good reference is useful.

Cheliax

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Or you could stop being pessimistic about what the book is "completely missing" and instead enjoy that it does have hundreds of finished stat blocks for various character concepts of each class.

Sean activates Flame Shield. A perfect defense against trolls.

(See what I did there?). ^_^

Cheliax

Talynonyx wrote:
Jadeite wrote:
Having a bite and two claw attacks doesn't count as having three natural attacks? Are there any animal companions that get multiattack?
All of them. They get it automatically at 9th.
PRD wrote:
Multiattack: An animal companion gains Multiattack as a bonus feat if it has three or more natural attacks and does not already have that feat. If it does not have the requisite three or more natural attacks, the animal companion instead gains a second attack with one of its natural weapons, albeit at a –5 penalty.

Designer

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Multiattack changes the secondary attack penalty from –5 to –2. Very few animal companions actually use secondary weapons with primary weapons, so that –5 is almost never an issue, and therefore Multiattack is almost never needed.

For example, the level 12 small cat in the preview has bite/claw/claw... but those are all primary attacks, so all of them are at +0/+0/+0 (plus BAB and Strength and Weapon Focus), so Multiattack does absolutely nothing for the animal. Instead, it uses the "gain an iterative attack for one of those weapons" option, which is why its bite attack has a slash and a second attack bonus. Giving the small cat Multiattack in this situation is as useless as giving Multiattack to Ezren as a bonus feat... it doesn't provide the character any benefit, and is likely to confuse someone who is looking at the stat block and trying to figure out where Multiattack has a role.

Standard secondary natural attacks in the UMR are hoof, tentacle, wing, pincers, tail slap, sting. Unless an animal has one of those natural attack types and at least one other natural attack type, Multiattack doesn't do anything for you. It was a handy feat in 3E where having multiple natural attack types meant you always had a penalty, but the PF change to the primary/secondary attack modifiers means that it's much less common.

Cheliax

So, an animal companion could take the extra attack instead of Multiattack even if it has three natural attacks?
(I agree that Multiattack is useless, I just thought an animal companion got it anyway).

Designer

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Yes, because otherwise some animal companions gain nothing from that ability, and others gain something.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm not seeing how that follows from the text...it seems that if you had 3 or more natural attacks, you just get multiattack without a choice. The condition for getting the attack at -5 is just "if it does not have the requisite three or more natural attacks".

Should the text be instead "If it does not have the requisite three or more natural attacks, or it would gain no benefit from multiattack, the animal companion instead gains a second attack with one of its natural weapons, albeit at a -5 penalty." ?

Confused.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If there are other abilities like this, where if X you get Y and if Not X, you get Z, can we always just choose Z, even if we X is true for us? Or is it only when X is useless to us?

Designer

I'm not making a general statement, I'm saying specifically that if the Multiattack animal companion ability gave a buff to animals with 3+ natural attacks and no buff to animals with 1–2 natural attacks, that isn't fair.


Since there's no way for anyone to read that out of the actual rules text (the rules text makes it seem as if a creature with three natural attacks is out of luck if all of those are primary, rather than gaining an additional attack).. Are you planning to put that functionality into errata at some point, to make it clear that it works that way?


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Got it. That'll make a lot of people happy.


i had always read it straight-forwardly as: if you have 3 attacks (whatever they are, primary or secondary), you get multi-attack, and not the 'iterative', regardless if you benefit or not (plenty of characters have 'redundant' abilities that don't benefit them, right?). probably good to errata this to actually convey the importance of secondary nat weapons / potentially benefitting from multi-attack.


i realized that this is a big boost for big cats, whose rake (even if it could count as a natural attack they have...???) is primary 'claws' not 'talons', even though the (not explicitly stated) logical implication is that the claw attacks are on their hind legs (since the fore arm claws were already used) despite the normal claw/arm, talon/leg association.

btw, was it ever clarified whether big cats's grab ability applied to bite/claw/claw like tigers, or only bite like lions?
either way, an additional iterative grab attack helps to insure that rake kicks in.
(whichever case it is, the entry should be errata'd to include 'plus grab' within the Offense/Melee section's entry on natural weapon attack/damage, in line with Bestiary standards for that, indicating which attack(s) grab applies to)

also, this question came up in another thread and couldn't be satisfactorily resolved:
are rake attacks meant to be granted as free attack rolls when you MAINTAIN a grapple, or in order to use these conditionally-granted natural attacks (when starting a round grappling) are you supposed to NOT maintain/reverse, but just full attack instead? (which means the grapple is dropped at the end of your turn since you didn't maintain, albeit you could 're-initiate' a new grapple via grab) i lean towards the latter, but some people had problems with that since it implies a grapple isn't immediately dropped if you take an action besides maintaining it, even though you have 'passed the point' of knowing that you won't maintain it that round (for lack of actions).


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Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I am quite tickled by the idea of a camel with Evasion.

Shadow Lodge

As someone who's velociraptor would love that, i thought that the extra attack was there to beef up the companions that only had one attack vs. the ones making 3-5 at their full bonuses, usually after a pounce.

I need to get Conan to be officially sponsored by chessex..


...uh, i don't think Sean's new rule would apply to Velociraptors, they get Talons (secondary) and thus would benefit from Multi-Attack. Of course, getting multi-attack for them is probably better than (or at least equal to) 1 additional attack at -5.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

B3 lists talons as primary.


oh, i'm not sure if i remember that from an older product. GO velociraptor frenzy of death, then!

Shadow Lodge

Talons - 1 1d2 1d3 1d4 1d6 1d8 2d6 2d8 S Primary

They're a primary attack, as are the claws and bite (because an animal companion is its own monster, not a copy of one out of the bestiary)


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Bill Kirsch wrote:
Wow. Those animals are WAY overpowered compared to their 3.5 versions. Don't think I'll be using this section all that much, sadly.

I disagree that they are "way" overpowered. Animal companions in PFRPG are more powerful than they were in 3.5 because in 3.5 they were an achilles heel for the druid.

As a long time 3.5 DM, I respectfully disagree. Animal companions in 3.5 supplemented the druid nicely. These are have too many hit points for their level . . . from a 3.5 perspective.

My viewpoint is different than most on this site: I don't play PF. I buy a lot of the Gamemastery products. The NPC Codex is the first PF Hardcover I'm considering, but only if I can utilize it effectively in my 3.5 campaigns.

The animal companions don't fit that bill. Maybe if I adjust their levels upward by +4 or something.


Bill Kirsch wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Bill Kirsch wrote:
Wow. Those animals are WAY overpowered compared to their 3.5 versions. Don't think I'll be using this section all that much, sadly.

I disagree that they are "way" overpowered. Animal companions in PFRPG are more powerful than they were in 3.5 because in 3.5 they were an achilles heel for the druid.

As a long time 3.5 DM, I respectfully disagree. Animal companions in 3.5 supplemented the druid nicely. These are have too many hit points for their level . . . from a 3.5 perspective.

My viewpoint is different than most on this site: I don't play PF. I buy a lot of the Gamemastery products. The NPC Codex is the first PF Hardcover I'm considering, but only if I can utilize it effectively in my 3.5 campaigns.

The animal companions don't fit that bill. Maybe if I adjust their levels upward by +4 or something.

Animals in PF have bigger hit-dices than in 3.5 if I am not mistaken.

also, ability score with PB start at six 10s in PF unlike 3.5 five 10s and an 8... and racial modifiers are different.


Lies! LIES AND TRICKERY!! No cat does tricks. XD


Wow, I just saw this and all I have to say is: by reading the rules there is no way to come to the conclusion that an animal creature with an attack sequence of bite/claw/claw gets a 4th attack at a -5 penalty due to multiattack.

By the current rules if your animal compnaion has 3 primary attacks multiattack does exactly nothing for you.

I would love to see an errata on this topic. :)

- Gauss


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:

Multiattack changes the secondary attack penalty from –5 to –2. Very few animal companions actually use secondary weapons with primary weapons, so that –5 is almost never an issue, and therefore Multiattack is almost never needed.

For example, the level 12 small cat in the preview has bite/claw/claw... but those are all primary attacks, so all of them are at +0/+0/+0 (plus BAB and Strength and Weapon Focus), so Multiattack does absolutely nothing for the animal. Instead, it uses the "gain an iterative attack for one of those weapons" option, which is why its bite attack has a slash and a second attack bonus. Giving the small cat Multiattack in this situation is as useless as giving Multiattack to Ezren as a bonus feat... it doesn't provide the character any benefit, and is likely to confuse someone who is looking at the stat block and trying to figure out where Multiattack has a role.

Standard secondary natural attacks in the UMR are hoof, tentacle, wing, pincers, tail slap, sting. Unless an animal has one of those natural attack types and at least one other natural attack type, Multiattack doesn't do anything for you. It was a handy feat in 3E where having multiple natural attack types meant you always had a penalty, but the PF change to the primary/secondary attack modifiers means that it's much less common.

Was this going to be a change in the CRB or the bestiary? I'm not noticing any new language in Druid's animal companion multiattack feature, hence my inquiry on if it'll be a change in the multiattack feat itself.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

I don't understand your question.

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