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Powerful Monsters

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Bestiary 6 is slithering out into the world, but even though the book is out there, I've still got a few more things to chat about the contents. Going forward, we'll continue to sow off some art from the book but these posts will be more "behind the scenes" than "monster previews."

Which brings us to today's theme—powerful monsters. For some time now I've wanted us to produce a Bestiary whose challenges skew higher than traditional. While it's true that more games are run at lower level, and thus there's a need for a lot of low and mid tier monsters, we've published a lot of those already in prior Bestiaries. One of the problems facing GMs and adventure writers of high-level content is a lack of monsters to fill the role of threat. As a result, high-level adventures tend to have lots of creatures with class levels, templates, advanced Hit Dice, or sometimes two or even three of these categories in play.

With Bestiary 6, I wanted to give us all more toys to play with for adventures that take place above 10th level, be they powerful creatures to fight again and again or unique foes to serve as a long quest's final boss or as the theme for an entire campaign. I also wanted to populate some niches of monsters that have long been denied higher CR representation—usually, the high CR monsters are outsiders or dragons or giants. In preparing for Bestiary 6, I realized that we'd done a shockingly few number of monstrous humanoids and plants above CR 10, for example, so those two categories were ones I immediately looked to address. I spoke about oozes a few weeks back with the blights, of course, but when you get your copy of Bestiary 6, I think you'll be delighted by the number of new options of monsters to throw at your players, particularly powerful monsters that aren't overly huge and can fit into areas as small as the player characters themselves!

Three of my favorite high CR additions to the game include the kaiju (including the most powerful one of them all—Lord Varklops), the apocalypse horse (which came about as a natural result of the decision to include the Horsemen of the Apocalypse and then realizing these high CR demigods needed something more significant than an advanced nightmare to ride around on), and the ouroboros (a monster I've wanted to get into an RPG for well over a decade). Ranging from CR 21 (the ouroboros) to CR 25 (the apocalypse horses) to CR 30 (Lord Varklops), these three make a perfect cross-section of the variety of powerful foes in Bestiary 6!

Illustrations by Joshua Wright, Ben Wootten, and Nikolai Ostertag

James Jacobs
Creative Director

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Ben Wootten Bestiary 6 Joshua Wright Nikolai Ostertag Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
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1 person marked this as a favorite.

The Three Headed Fiend is amazing! *-*

CR 25 horses for the Horsemen? =O

And... And that... That snakes nightmare thing... Terrifying.

I can cut the Kaiju from my previews wishlist.

Please... The Wild Hunt is the last one!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Can some kind person provide a few names of the high-CR monstrous humanoids?


11 people marked this as a favorite.

MOTHER BUCKING KING GHIDORAH IS NOW A PATHFINDER MONSTER! YES! SO VERY MUCH YES! :D


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I am seriously hyped for this. I love Varklops, and the Ouroboros is fascinatingly disturbing. I agree that the Horsemen need more than just advanced nightmares as mounts.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Varklops is lovely!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Where all the kaiju illustrated by Joshua Wright? I'm really impressed with his Varklops.


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

The more kaiju I see, the more I would love a revisited/unleashed type book for them.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Dragon78 wrote:
The more kaiju I see, the more I would love a revisited/unleashed type book for them.

There are only seven known kaiju left:

Cimurlian, the Great Bear of the frozen north
Ebeshra, the Winged Razor of the furthest clouds
Igroon, the Dragon Eater of the lost island
Mantraska, the World Talons of the rain forest
Shbloon, the Vortex Maw of the ocean deep
Yorak, the Horned Thunder of the great mountains
Zimivra, the Endless Coils of the trackless desert

I would love to see Igroon, Shbloon and Yorak in the next bestiary.

As they are unique creatures, I suppose "Kaiju Unleashed" would fit them better, if it ever happened. Not only would we get flavor, but also a stat-block for each and information about their lairs, just like in Dragons Unleashed.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Berselius wrote:
MOTHER BUCKING KING GHIDORAH IS NOW A PATHFINDER MONSTER! YES! SO VERY MUCH YES! :D

Yes and no. Varklops's abilities are fire-focused rather than lightning, though he does share Ghidorah's big weakness: he's distracted if he has to fight more than one kaiju at a time.

Also Yarthoon the Moon Grub could be viewed as somewhat inspired by another of Toho's monstrosities. She's not accompanied by a pair of Tiny-sized Fey-type sisters, but close enough.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I wonder if we'll ever get a Destroyah inspired Kaiju.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Is Lord Varklops, like the other Kaiju, an easy mark for a moderately optimized Witch or Psychic looking for the ultimate Greater Possession joy ride?

(The Recovery ability only works on mind-affecting abilities that require a save, which Ill Omen doesn't, and possession isn't on the list of abilities that Recovery works against, so you can target that relatively weak Will save and make it save twice or be taken on an hours/level jaunt.)

Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.

What? No, that would be just silly. There's no way you can just-

...Oh. Uh...have a nice walk? I guess?


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Michelle A.J. wrote:

What? No, that would be just silly. There's no way you can just-

...Oh. Uh...have a nice walk? I guess?

Yeah, Greater Possession and/or Plane Shift are always my first considerations for neutralizing big crazy monsters with lots of immunities. Sometimes they have low saves because of those immunities and it gets easier than you'd think.

I like to imagine Mogaru plane shifted to the elemental plane of Fire, constantly healing and nuking everything with the force half of his breath weapon until someone banishes him, Imprisons him, or plane shifts him away.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Kvantum wrote:
Berselius wrote:
MOTHER BUCKING KING GHIDORAH IS NOW A PATHFINDER MONSTER! YES! SO VERY MUCH YES! :D

Yes and no. Varklops's abilities are fire-focused rather than lightning, though he does share Ghidorah's big weakness: he's distracted if he has to fight more than one kaiju at a time.

Also Yarthoon the Moon Grub could be viewed as somewhat inspired by another of Toho's monstrosities. She's not accompanied by a pair of Tiny-sized Fey-type sisters, but close enough.

That makes it pretty clear that twin fairies must be added to the B7 wish list.

Liberty's Edge

9 people marked this as a favorite.

The apocalypse horse!

He rides across the nation: the thoroughbred of sin.
He got the application that you just sent in.
...

(Thank goodness it wasn't... the apocalypse cow!)

Silver Crusade

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jester David wrote:

The apocalypse horse!

He rides across the nation: the thoroughbred of sin.
He got the application that you just sent in.
...

(Thank goodness it wasn't... the apocalypse cow!)

I GOT THAT REFERENCE!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

My horse my horse is amazing...


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Kvantum wrote:
Also Yarthoon the Moon Grub could be viewed as somewhat inspired by another of Toho's monstrosities. She's not accompanied by a pair of Tiny-sized Fey-type sisters, but close enough.

Interesting, since Agyra seems cosmetically more like a two-headed Rodan, but thematically more like the adult form of Mothra...


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

well...we already got a Mothra expy in the form of the Star Monarch, so make sense for the Kaiju form they would focus on the larvae form.


MMCJawa wrote:
well...we already got a Mothra expy in the form of the Star Monarch, so make sense for the Kaiju form they would focus on the larvae form.

Or maybe she's still growing. That would explain her CR 25. It's just a baby grub... =)


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

My little apocalypse pony..i am death..tee he.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
The Gold Sovereign wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
well...we already got a Mothra expy in the form of the Star Monarch, so make sense for the Kaiju form they would focus on the larvae form.
Or maybe she's still growing. That would explain her CR 25. It's just a baby grub... =)

Nah...the flavor text makes this pretty clear that this is Yarthoon's final form, although there is the suggestion that their might be more than one Yarthoon.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Just how big is Ouroborous? Bouncing across the landscape, over houses, or just big enough to land on your shoulders and violently compress?

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
The Shifty Mongoose wrote:
Just how big is Ouroborous? Bouncing across the landscape, over houses, or just big enough to land on your shoulders and violently compress?

Yes to all three.

The whole creature is sized colossal. There's an element to it that reminds me of certain elements in Shin Godzilla*.

*Yes, it's a big snake monster, not it's not a Kajiu and no it doesn't look like Godzilla.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

That Apocalypse Horse looks like it chafes to ride...


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Definitely not riding it bare back that is for sure.


Since Charon is medium and I think Szuriel is huge based on her RoW article, dobthe apocalypse horses vary in size?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
The Gold Sovereign wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:
The more kaiju I see, the more I would love a revisited/unleashed type book for them.

There are only seven known kaiju left:

Cimurlian, the Great Bear of the frozen north

I would love to see Igroon, Shbloon and Yorak in the next bestiary.

As they are unique creatures, I suppose "Kaiju Unleashed" would fit them better, if it ever happened. Not only would we get flavor, but also a stat-block for each and information about their lairs, just like in Dragons Unleashed.

I'd love to see the write-up for a kaiju bear. Makes you wonder why no movie ever did one before this. I mean, Toho gave us a kaiju walrus in Gorath.


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

I am also surprised there is no bear based kaiju in the movies. Come to think about it there are no cat or wolf based ones as well.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
Since Charon is medium and I think Szuriel is huge based on her RoW article, dobthe apocalypse horses vary in size?

They're all Medium.


Are all the horsemen as published medium?

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Yep.

Edit: sorry for the confusion, the horsies are all Large.

Grand Lodge

I'd love to see an expanded kaiju splat book to have the other unstated kaiju shown plus maybe some archetypes like a kaiju-blooded bloodrager, an oracle or druid that gains power from worshipping them and also maybe a pilotable kaiju slaying robot like the Jaegers from Pacific Rim or Hyperion from the Project: Nemesis series of books (oh and a Nemesis like kaiju would be awesome too).


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Eric Hinkle wrote:
I'd love to see the write-up for a kaiju bear. Makes you wonder why no movie ever did one before this. I mean, Toho gave us a kaiju walrus in Gorath.

I can only assume people saw Prophecy and backed away...

In all seriousness, in the 1960s-1970s heyday of goofy kaiju bears were not typically portrayed as monstrously threatening in mass media, and Japan (the main source of giant monster flicks for a long, long time) has highland myths where the bear is seen as a mountain spirit... they might have been seen as too "old-fashioned." The Ainu had some reverence for bears, which might also have impacted the perception, but I cannot speak to that with any assurance.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Cole Deschain wrote:
Eric Hinkle wrote:
I'd love to see the write-up for a kaiju bear. Makes you wonder why no movie ever did one before this. I mean, Toho gave us a kaiju walrus in Gorath.

I can only assume people saw Prophecy and backed away...

Aww... Prophecy is RAD!

And folks who want a kaiju bear might soon get one in ...

Spoiler:
...one of the upcoming Dark Tower movies, assuming Shardik eventually makes an appearance.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Aww... Prophecy is RAD!

You think so, I think so, but...

Quote:

And folks who want a kaiju bear might soon get one in ...

** spoiler omitted **

We can hope.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I love the hell out of Prophecy, and even have it on DVD!


The more I learn about it the more I'm pleased with the way the Horsemen where statted.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
The Shifty Mongoose wrote:
Just how big is Ouroborous? Bouncing across the landscape, over houses, or just big enough to land on your shoulders and violently compress?

Note to self: Run perpendicular, not parallel, to the colossal rolling ouroboros.

Note to self 2: Don't trust androids named David or Ash.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
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PFC Hudson, USS Sulaco wrote:
The Shifty Mongoose wrote:
Just how big is Ouroborous? Bouncing across the landscape, over houses, or just big enough to land on your shoulders and violently compress?
Note to self: Run perpendicular, not parallel, to the colossal rolling ouroboros.

*eye-twitch*

*eye-twitch*


1 person marked this as a favorite.
PFC Hudson, USS Sulaco wrote:
The Shifty Mongoose wrote:
Just how big is Ouroborous? Bouncing across the landscape, over houses, or just big enough to land on your shoulders and violently compress?

Note to self: Run perpendicular, not parallel, to the colossal rolling ouroboros.

Note to self 2: Don't trust androids named David or Ash.

Note to self: Don't trust Alien Bodybuilders.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Eric Hinkle wrote:
Can some kind person provide a few names of the high-CR monstrous humanoids?

The monstrous humanoids from lowest to highest CR are:

Spoiler:

tenome (CR 4)
fen mauler (CR 10)
ghole (CR 12)
psoglav (CR 13)
rawhead (CR 14)
saurian (CR 16)
deathsnatcher (CR 18)
euryale (CR 20)
Krampus (CR 21)
Yig (CR 27)

The Shifty Mongoose wrote:
Just how big is Ouroborous? Bouncing across the landscape, over houses, or just big enough to land on your shoulders and violently compress?

It's Colossal, roughly 50 feet in diameter, and weighs 260 lbs. So more the former than the latter.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
The Gold Sovereign wrote:

The Three Headed Fiend is amazing! *-*

CR 25 horses for the Horsemen? =O

And... And that... That snakes nightmare thing... Terrifying.

I can cut the Kaiju from my previews wishlist.

Please... The Wild Hunt is the last one!

Wild Hunt is in it.........


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
In preparing for Bestiary 6, I realized that we'd done a shockingly few number of monstrous humanoids and plants above CR 10, for example, so those two categories were ones I immediately looked to address.

Was a lot of thought given to expanding the utility of lesser-known polymorph spells such as monstrous physique, plant shape, undead form, or vermin shape, Mr. Jacobs?

Do many of the new monsters have abilities that appear in those spells? It seems there is little point to playing a transmuter over a conjurer these days due to action economy and lack of solid form choices.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Ravingdork wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
In preparing for Bestiary 6, I realized that we'd done a shockingly few number of monstrous humanoids and plants above CR 10, for example, so those two categories were ones I immediately looked to address.

Was a lot of thought given to expanding the utility of lesser-known polymorph spells such as monstrous physique, plant shape, undead form, or vermin shape, Mr. Jacobs?

Do many of the new monsters have abilities that appear in those spells? It seems there is little point to playing a transmuter over a conjurer these days due to action economy and lack of solid form choices.

The design goal of the polymorph spells is such that we don't HAVE to give much extra thought to new monsters. We don't WANT to constantly expand the scope of polymorph spells unintentionally each time we publish a new monster for the same reasons we don't want to unintentionally expand the scope of summon monster or summon nature's ally spells with each Bestiary.

Saying that a conjurer's options have increased with each Bestiary is thus a false claim, since the core summon spells don't expand with each Bestiary. In fact, there ARE new monsters in each Bestiary that can become new polymorph targets, so a transmuter's options expand greater than a conjurers. The spells don't give them access to newer unique abilities those new monsters have though.

Remember: Bestiaries are first and foremost GM option books, not player option books.


What is a fen mauler?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
The design goal of the polymorph spells is such that we don't HAVE to give much extra thought to new monsters. We don't WANT to constantly expand the scope of polymorph spells unintentionally each time we publish a new monster for the same reasons we don't want to unintentionally expand the scope of summon monster or summon nature's ally spells with each Bestiary.

I'm well aware that you guys strive not to unintentionally boost the power of such spells. What I'm asking is if there was any intentional additions made to the lesser options. I'm not asking if the spells got new abilities added to them, but rather if many of the new monsters share abilities listed within the spells as they are now.

Many of the newer polymorph spells don't even come close to the core spells (and even some of the core spells, such as plant shape, are kinda weak in comparison to the others) in terms of available options. Last I checked, there were even size categories in some of those spells where little to no options were available at all!

James Jacobs wrote:
Saying that a conjurer's options have increased with each Bestiary is thus a false claim...

It's also a claim I never made anywhere in my post, Mr. Jacobs.

James Jacobs wrote:
Remember: Bestiaries are first and foremost GM option books, not player option books.

Every book is a player option book. :P


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Wannabe Demon Lord wrote:
What is a fen mauler?

an evil bigfoot basically. Felt like a bit of a nod towards Legend of Boggy Creek and some various other "killer bigfoot" movies


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Wannabe Demon Lord wrote:
What is a fen mauler?

The descendents of sasquatches driven to dark pacts and sinister rituals, resulting in a malevolent creature wreathed in darkness who can ritualistically harvest parts from their victims to gain a portion of their power.

Edit: Ninja-ed, but I like my answer more, so I guess I'll leave it!

Scarab Sages

Luthorne wrote:
Wannabe Demon Lord wrote:
What is a fen mauler?

The descendents of sasquatches driven to dark pacts and sinister rituals, resulting in a malevolent creature wreathed in darkness who can ritualistically harvest parts from their victims to gain a portion of their power.

Edit: Ninja-ed, but I like my answer more, so I guess I'll leave it!

So Jeepers Creepers without the creepy director?

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