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Monster Mash

Thursday, October 16, 2014

If you have not heard yet, the newest addition to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game is hitting subscribers and game stores now. The Monster Codex is a mighty tome, filled with some of the most iconic foes in the game. Each of the 20 monster types appearing in this book has an expanded ecology, new rules, and 7 pages of new stat blocks across a range of CRs. Each one gives you plenty of ideas and awesome crunch to make these monsters the feature of an entire adventure or even a portion of your campaign, while saving you the time it takes to come up with the mountain of stats needed to make it happen.


Illustrations by Damien Mammoliti and Jason Rainville

Monster Codex has 12 pages of exciting new content for each of the following monster types: boggards, bugbears, drow, duergar, fire giants, frost giants, ghouls, gnolls, goblins, hobgoblins, kobolds, lizardfolk, ogres, orcs, ratfolk, sahuagin, serpentfolk, troglodytes, trolls, and vampires!

Rather than show off a few of these stat blocks, I thought I might take this opportunity to highlight a part of the book you might miss on your first flip-through. The appendix for Monster Codex contains a new tool to help you make easily customized monsters of any type. These rules allow you to apply basic class features to a monster without having to recalculate all of its abilities and statistics. We call them simple class templates and we think they are going to see a lot of use at your game table!

Want proof? Check out the barbarian simple class template!

Barbarian Creature (CR +2 or +3)

A barbarian creature can fly into a rage, granting it numerous bonuses in combat. It also gains additional hit points and a few valuable defensive abilities. A barbarian creature’s CR increases by 3 if the creature has 10 or more HD. A barbarian creature must be chaotic.

Quick Rules: +2 on all rolls based on Str; can rage for a number of rounds per day equal to 4 + its HD + its Con modifier (this functions as greater rage if the creature has 10 or more HD); gains DR 1/- and uncanny dodge (DR 3/- and improved uncanny dodge if the creature has 10 or more HD).

Rebuild Rules: Defensive Abilities uncanny dodge (improved uncanny dodge if the creature has 10 or more HD; DR 1/- (3/- if the creature has 10 or more HD); Special Attacks rage (can be used a number of rounds per day equal to 4 + its HD + its Con modifier, functions as the greater rage class feature if the creature has 10 or more HD); Ability Scores +4 Strength.

So, if you really need a barbarian hill giant, now you can create one in about 5 minutes, instead of the 30 minutes it would take to add a bunch of class levels to the base stat block. Monster Codex includes simple class templates for all 11 of the base classes, from barbarian to wizard, allowing you to customize all of your monsters with ease.

Well, that about wraps up this preview. If you are a subscriber, you should find that Monster Codex is on its way to you now. For the rest, stop by your local game store to pick up a copy of this handy book.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Damien Mammoliti Goblins Jason Rainville Kobolds Monsters Pathfinder Roleplaying Game

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Nice, can we expect class templates like these for the remaining classes in future supplements or core books (perhaps the next bestiary?), including the upcoming occult classes?


Hey, Paizo, gotta say I really love that art!

My quick question for this book is this: does it have favored class bonus options for the ACG classes for Goblins? :3


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Secret Wizard wrote:

Hey, Paizo, gotta say I really love that art!

My quick question for this book is this: does it have favored class bonus options for the ACG classes for Goblins? :3

I got the download of this, and I can answer your question:

Alas, no. This is an enemies and encounter stats book, designed to help GMs create threats quickly.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

1 person marked this as a favorite.

From a freelancer's perspective, the simple class templates are going to make writing stat blocks for relatively simple monsters WAY easier! I'm looking forward to using these!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Excellent. Building stat blocks for monsters with class levels is completely unwieldy.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Those simple class templates look *super* useful!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

This piques my interest in the Monster Codex. I will definitely check it out and consider making it a reference for my kids.

One quibble though... Must be chaotic? What if I have an angry cat who, like the honey badger, just don't care or give a s***? I would've written that as "can't be lawful". :) Still, can be houseruled easily.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Well as the GM, you can just make it Chaotic as part of adding the template, I would think. And besides, these templates are probably meant to be applied to intelligent creatures only, since they're class levels, and you can make your intelligent creature any alignment you want as the GM.


Feros wrote:
Secret Wizard wrote:

Hey, Paizo, gotta say I really love that art!

My quick question for this book is this: does it have favored class bonus options for the ACG classes for Goblins? :3

I got the download of this, and I can answer your question:

Alas, no. This is an enemies and encounter stats book, designed to help GMs create threats quickly.

Bluh, hope they appear in the December Goblins thing.

cartmanbeck wrote:
From a freelancer's perspective, the simple class templates are going to make writing stat blocks for relatively simple monsters WAY easier! I'm looking forward to using these!

Cool, you got more free time! NOW GET BACK TO MAKING THAT MONKEY GOBLIN RACE OPTIMIZATION GUIDE.

Silver Crusade

I assume that the Monster Codex will be on the PRD, since it's in the RPG line.

Is that correct? Do we have an estimated time that it'll go up?


As a subscriber, when should I be expecting this to ship?

Silver Crusade

Class templates for monsters? Excellent addition. Kudos to the design team for that one.


Awesome. I'll be using the crap outta this stuff


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Going to have to check this out for certain. I've long toyed with the idea of doing something similar (albeit more campaign specific), and creating "variant" monsters based on geographic locations/tribes/etc.

Plus, these simple templates sound like a great addition! Surprised no one thought of it sooner, but I'm glad they did! (Now if we can just get some for the non-core classes! hint, hint). :)


The idea of class templates sounds awesome and super useful, but that example does not inspire confidence. I'm pretty sure just adding a single level of barbarian produces a way more powerful creature (at the very least, a d12 hit die, rage, and +4 +4 +2 +2 +0 -2 mods to ability scores).

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Miniatures fiends: I got caught up in catch-up after returning to the office from New York Comic Con this week. Your regularly scheduled Friday Publisher Preview will return next week.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Monster Codex is shipping now. If you've not yet received your shipping notice, it should arrive in the next day or two (it takes a few days to churn through the entire list).

The Monster Codex will, in fact, be added to the PRD. I'm not exactly sure when, and the person to ask has gone home for the weekend, but the answer is "relatively soon."

Webstore Gninja Minion

Erik Mona wrote:

The Monster Codex will, in fact, be added to the PRD. I'm not exactly sure when, and the person to ask has gone home for the weekend, but the answer is "relatively soon."

Pretty sure it's on her to-do list. :D

Grand Lodge

Will we eventually get class templates for ALL the classes?

SM

Silver Crusade

Erik Mona wrote:

Monster Codex is shipping now. If you've not yet received your shipping notice, it should arrive in the next day or two (it takes a few days to churn through the entire list).

The Monster Codex will, in fact, be added to the PRD. I'm not exactly sure when, and the person to ask has gone home for the weekend, but the answer is "relatively soon."

Shipping notice? Got the book already, thanks! :-)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

This is the first thing from this book I've seen that actually sold it to me. This might be the biggest timesaver for Pathfinder GMs ever.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm seriously not convinced by this. This is really not good enough, and it's certainly not balanced.

A single level of barbarian gives a creature:
- +1 CR
- a d12 hit die (6.5+Con hitpoints)
- 4+Int skillpoints, some nice class skills, +1 skill cap
- +1 BAB
- Martial proficiency
- Medium armor proficiency
- +10 ft land speed
- Rage for 4 + Con mod rounds
- +4, +4, +2, +2, +0, -2 adjustments to their ability scores

And if they're a normally non-physical combat creature, they get two levels:
- +1 CR
- 2d12 hit dice (13+2*Con hitpoints)
- 8+2*Int skillpoints, class skills, +2 skill cap
- +2 BAB
- Martial proficiency
- Medium armor Proficiency
- +10 ft land speed
- Rage for 6 + Con mod rounds
- Uncanny Dodge
- A rage power
- +4, +4, +2, +2, +0, -2 adjustments to their ability scores

Whereas this template provides
- +2 CR
- Uncanny Dodge
- DR 1/- (non-stacking if the creature has DR already)
- Rage for 4 + HD + Con mod rounds (overkill for the duration of most fights)
- +4 Str

Or
- +3 CR
- Improved Uncanny Dodge
- DR 3/- (non-stacking if the creature has DR already)
- Greater Rage for 4 + HD + Con mo rounds
- +4 Str

If this trend follows with the other templates in the book, they'll probably also provide paltry benefits compared to the CR boost they apply, not include the proficiencies or skills the class should receive (Perception and Stealth being very important ones if you're boosting CR), not provide the correct ability score adjustments, hit dice, or attack bonuses, and not include a way to quickly generate the extra gear the creature receives from being a classed NPC.

I hope I'm wrong and the barbarian template is an unfortunate outlier, because this is an idea I really like, especially as a way to quickly and easily differentiate NPCs in a group. But if they're all like this, they're going to go un-used.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Except in rare cases, such as using Horrifically Overpower Feats, templates and classes are different. These class templates are not levels in classes, and they are just like the Advanced, Giant, Young, etc. Simple templates. They are meant to be used when you don't have time to give levels to a creature. If you have time to add levels to a creature, then do so and set the Class Templates aside for those sessions where your players go in a different direction than you have prepared.

Just my 2 coppers....

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

CR for classed monsters never worked properly anyway. Anybody who has ever faced 3.5 Xanesha can confirm that. She was built 100% according to the rules, yet in play she was way above her CR.

The problem is not with Class Templates, it's with Core rules for assigning CR. Or rather, "guidelines" for assigning CR, because they explicitly state that they're just that.

A Barbarian Template monster seems to be in line with CR+2 monsters of the same ilk, from first glance.


A +2 CR creature is supposed to be roughly twice as powerful (or at least, worth twice as many points in encounter design and meant to threaten PCs two levels higher) as the original. A +3 CR creature close to 250% of their original power. Do you really think a creature that gains Uncanny Dodge, DR 1/-, +4 Str, and Rage qualifies, beyond attaching it to the lowest CR creatures?

Is a Marilith with this template the same threat level as a Pit Fiend?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

2 people marked this as a favorite.

The caster templates are great, because they give spell levels according to HD.

Which means a Wizard templated Giant will have spells relevant to his CR. Rather than lower level spells strapped to increased melee damage and Str score that won't be used, because caster.

Shadow Lodge

Aratrok wrote:

A +2 CR creature is supposed to be roughly twice as powerful (or at least, worth twice as many points in encounter design and meant to threaten PCs two levels higher) as the original. A +3 CR creature close to 250% of their original power. Do you really think a creature that gains Uncanny Dodge, DR 1/-, +4 Str, and Rage qualifies, beyond attaching it to the lowest CR creatures?

Is a Marilith with this template the same threat level as a Pit Fiend?

Not exactly the best example. CR gets very wonky at high levels. It's an eyeball estimate at best.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Aratrok wrote:

A +2 CR creature is supposed to be roughly twice as powerful (or at least, worth twice as many points in encounter design and meant to threaten PCs two levels higher) as the original. A +3 CR creature close to 250% of their original power. Do you really think a creature that gains Uncanny Dodge, DR 1/-, +4 Str, and Rage qualifies, beyond attaching it to the lowest CR creatures?

Is a Marilith with this template the same threat level as a Pit Fiend?

Neither is a Marilith with the half-celestial template or one with six levels of aristocrat, but they'd still have the same CR. Proper judgment is necessary to really gauge when the CR guidelines apply.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Aratrok wrote:

A +2 CR creature is supposed to be roughly twice as powerful (or at least, worth twice as many points in encounter design and meant to threaten PCs two levels higher) as the original. A +3 CR creature close to 250% of their original power. Do you really think a creature that gains Uncanny Dodge, DR 1/-, +4 Str, and Rage qualifies, beyond attaching it to the lowest CR creatures?

Is a Marilith with this template the same threat level as a Pit Fiend?

If you treat CR guidelines as a religion, fine, slap 18 levels of Expert onto a Troll and go complain that it doesn't hold its ground next to an Astral Deva. You'll have my sympathy. Maybe you'll even get your money back or have somebody fired that way.


"exciting new content for... kobolds..."

I'm sold.


Arrrrgh this still hasn't shipped for me and it looks so cool!

The Exchange

Aratrok does have a point that the +2 CR boost seems a bit high, I'd say. I can't say that applying this template gives a better power boost than say the advanced template. +1 CR seems more in line.


Lord Snow wrote:
Aratrok does have a point that the +2 CR boost seems a bit high, I'd say. I can't say that applying this template gives a better power boost than say the advanced template. +1 CR seems more in line.

I may not have the book, but I suspect that this is a (most likely futile) way of trying to give all of the class templates the same CR modifier, which means they have to account for some of them granting high level spells and whatnot.


The marilith by base is also infamously under CRed anyways.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Lord Snow wrote:
Aratrok does have a point that the +2 CR boost seems a bit high, I'd say. I can't say that applying this template gives a better power boost than say the advanced template. +1 CR seems more in line.

Barbarian Troll (raging) vs. Hill Giant

Barbarian Troll (CR 7)
AC 15
hp 75; regeneration 5 (acid or fire), DR 1/-, uncanny dodge
Fort +11, Ref +4, Will +5
Melee bite +12 (1d8+9), 2 claws +12 (1d6+9)
Special Attacks rend (2 claws, 1d6+11)
damage on full attack if everything hits : 53

Hill Giant (CR 7)
AC 21
hp 85
Fort +11, Ref +2, Will +3
Melee greatclub with PA +12/+7 (2d8+16)
damage on full attack if everything hits : 50

So, we have the same damage and 10 more hp for the Hill Giant and better AC but better saves + regen, DR and uncanny dodge for the Troll. Looks fine, and if you actually do slap an appropriate armor on the Troll, looks even better.

The Exchange

Gotbacz, as you pointed out yourself earlier CR is a flimsy thing. Trolls are just generally powerful for their CR. But compare a barbarian hill giant to some CR 9 dragon and your hill giant seems funny.

My point was that I suspect an average case scenario the barbarian class template does not do considerably more than the advanced template, and therefore should probably be CR +1.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Lord Snow wrote:

Gotbacz, as you pointed out yourself earlier CR is a flimsy thing. Trolls are just generally powerful for their CR. But compare a barbarian hill giant to some CR 9 dragon and your hill giant seems funny.

Not that much. A Barbarian Hill Giant would have exactly the same hp and AC as a Young Red Dragon, and two attacks which would both hit AC 24 more frequently than YRD with its secondary attacks. Sure, there are dragon immunities and breath weapon to consider but the difference is not terrific. I would prolly rate the BarbHillGiant one CR lower than the Dragon, but I would absolutely consider it more dangerous than a Giant Flytrap or a Brachiosaurus. So yeah, CR is a ballpark, but as long as you're within the ballpark, it's fine.


Some class templates will synergize with certain monsters better than others. Barbaric on a marilith is a very poor combination; I'd suggest barbaric on a giant or, say, a linnorm, for much better results.

Rogue template (+4 Dex, evasion, imp. uncanny dodge, 2 talents (one advanced), and +8d6 sneak for +2 CR) or fighter template (+4 Str, weapon training 3, 5 combat feats, and armor training 4 for +2 CR) might work much, much better for a marilith than barbaric would. Especially with some basic complimentary gear.

The full caster templates are +1 to +3 CR; other templates are +1/+2 or +2/+3.

Some of the +3 templates might be overvalued, but mileage will vary.

The Exchange

Gorbacz wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:

Gotbacz, as you pointed out yourself earlier CR is a flimsy thing. Trolls are just generally powerful for their CR. But compare a barbarian hill giant to some CR 9 dragon and your hill giant seems funny.

Not that much. A Barbarian Hill Giant would have exactly the same hp and AC as a Young Red Dragon, and two attacks which would both hit AC 24 more frequently than YRD with its secondary attacks. Sure, there are dragon immunities and breath weapon to consider but the difference is not terrific. I would prolly rate the BarbHillGiant one CR lower than the Dragon, but I would absolutely consider it more dangerous than a Giant Flytrap or a Brachiosaurus. So yeah, CR is a ballpark, but as long as you're within the ballpark, it's fine.

I think you keep sidestepping my main point, which is that the barbarian class template is roughly equal to the advanced class template in power and therefore should give the same CR boost.

As an aside, I would consider the dragon more dangerous because if it's smart enough to take to the air and swoop down to use it's breath weapon once per 1d4 rounds the hill giant would seem a bit puny with his thrown rocks. I made that comparison to show that comparing different monsters is not the correct way of evaluating the gain from a template. Rather, you should compare the templated monster either to the original version to to the same monster with a different template that you already know how to evaluate. I feel like I played with advanced enough to know that +1 CR is about right for it, so that's the comparison I used.

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