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The Genius Guide to Simple Monster Templates (PFRPG) PDF

****½ (based on 3 ratings)

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You can never have too many monster options. It’s a truism of running a campaign. Not only do you want to keep your players guessing and keep creating new challenges for them, but you also very likely want a broad range of thematic choices from which to draw. It’s not enough to have just a few CR 5 choices. Instead, these gamers want a few CR choices for every type, theme, and role a monster might play. After all, if you are running a campaign built around the rise of the goblinoids, you need lots of different goblins to populate your adventures. The more monsters to choose from, the better!

But sometimes you have the right monster for an adventure, and it has the exact look, the perfect theme, and the tailored feel, but you can’t use it because the CR is wrong. Even if a manticore is exactly the guardian you wanted for the Lore Vault of the City of Refuge, if you’re running a CR 9 adventure, a CR 5 manticore won’t work. You do have options, of course. You could run an encounter with 4 manticores, but too much of a good thing can become monotonous and make a fight drag. You can advance the 6 HD manticore to CR 10 by taking on about 8 HD, but that’s a complicated process that involves adding new ability score increases, feats, skill points, and possibly a size increase. If you plan for characters to face the same manticore (or its kin) several times, the effort might be worth it, but not for a single encounter.

Or, you can just tack on the “mighty” simple template, which takes less than a minute.

Simple templates are designed to require a minimum of rewriting of a creature’s stat block. In essence they are all designed to work like the quick rules of the monster advancement templates presented in the Bestiary. In a few cases this might lead to creature statistics not matching exactly what they would be if the same monster was built from scratch. For example, the sample missing creature, the missing lynx, is a magical beast, but its statistics are still largely those of a creature of the animal type. Although this is an inconsistency in numbers, it has no effect on how the creature plays within the game, and the extra work required to convert d8 Hit Dice to d10s isn’t the best use of a GM’s time. Although the type of a creature can have a real impact on play (interacting with a ranger’s favored enemies, bane weapons, and similar game rules), and its hit point total is important, the size of its Hit Dice doesn’t actually matter.

Presented within this product are six simple templates that can give GMs options to boost the CR of the monsters they need, create new threats their players aren’t expecting, and multiply the usefulness of the hundreds of monsters already at their fingertips. Having a two-headed template doesn’t replace the ettin, but it does allow for two-headed dragons, twin-skulled canines, and even freakish multicranial golems. The simplicity of the templates keeps them from being a chore to add, and they allow a GM to create new foes almost on the fly.

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Product Reviews (3)

Average product rating:

****½ (based on 3 ratings)

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Simple, but robust. Short, but utile. In a word, awesome.


Disclosure: I received a review copy of this product.

At 9 pages long, This product delivers as advertised on an excellent range of simple templates that expand the possibilities for monster and encounter design. It does an amazing job at it as well, understanding the nuanced design to templates and monsters alike.

To be brief, there are diamond, eternal, ghul, mighty, missing, and two-headed templates. I won't go into too much detail, but...

Diamond- This makes the monster into a living diamond. Physically tougher, and able to make slashing attacks. I'd worry about the players trying to sell the corpse of a diamond anything, but it's not too hard to put the kaibosh on that.

Eternal- This makes the monster immortal, as in can't be killed. Though this worried me at first, it was handled with a great deal of care and attention, addressing in the description the need for restraint from the GM. I wish that more products did this, treating GMs with respect rather than handing out powerful rules and hoping we know how to handle it off hand.

Ghul- This makes a monster into a ghoul, in essence. This is a great addition to the standard "zombie" and "skeleton" options when making undead. Best of all, it lets the creature be a thinking undead, which is rare for a simple template.

Mighty- Here is my favorite. It makes the creature amazingly powerful, moreso than say a combination of the "giant" and "advanced" templates (though putting all three together might be fun, if used responsibly). I'd see this as a good way to leverage a creature as a boss fight, helping the survivability of a monster without just simply heaping on hp or AC (though it does those things too). Well implemented and thought out.

Missing- Displacer beast without the beast. This lets you shock your players with displacer otyughs or anything you might want. I rather like this option, but I'd personally advize that it be used sparingly.

Two Headed- No surprises here, but the two headed template is well done. I know that I've toyed with adding a head to a given creature, but the rules here are solid, and I'm glad to have a means to do so that isn't slap-dash.

Ultimately, the beauty to this product is in its simplicity. Like simple templates, it is easy to internalize the information here to add to your creatures on the fly, and with minimal page flipping. I could probably put the templates on note-cards or on the margins of my campaign book with ease, which is a big plus in my book.

There is an excellent understanding of the math AND fun that makes an encounter memorable, and the simple templates stand with those tried and true core rule templates that are so ingrained in the game that we now take them for granted. Bravo, 5 stars.

Very nice pickup.


Simple Monster Templates by Super Genius Games

This product is 9 pages long. It starts with a cover and intro. (1 pages)

Templates (7 pages)
Below is a list of each of the templates in the book. Each one also has a stat block of a sample monster with the template applied.
Diamond – a creature made out of diamond
Eternal – They can only be killed in single way. Otherwise they just come back eventually.
Ghul – a type of undead template.
Mighty – A beefed up normal creature.
Missing – A template that makes creatures be displaced and invisible.
Two- Headed – Just like it sounds, creature has a second head.

It ends with a OGL and credits. (1 page)

Closing thoughts. This book is exactly what it says it is. A book of 6 new simple templates. I liked all of them but the diamond one which I thought was meh. The rest was all either clever or help make iconic creatures, like two headed dogs that guard things. Diamond wasn't written bad it just lacked that little something extra. Eternal was my personal favorite of the bunch. I like the idea of the characters have to take time to research how to kill something. Even if they beat it and keep beating it, it keeps coming back till they figure out how to end it for good. The artwork is nice, better than most of the SGG art. Layout and editing was top notch as always for SGG stuff. So what's my rating? I am going to have to go with 5 star's, I could not find anything wrong with the book. While one of the templates didn't do it for me that was just personal taste and it was well written. I hope this becomes a new series, at least until they run out of cool or clever idea's.

I'm anxious to have a few monsters to throw these on . . .

****( )

I love simple templates, but I have to admit, the two that I get the most use out of, giant and advanced, can start to feel a bit overused. So when I saw this product, I was definitely interested.

There are six templates in this product: Diamond (CR +2), Eternal (CR +2), Ghul (CR +2), Mighty (+5), Missing (+3), and Two-Headed (+1 or +2).

All of the templates are interesting, although I'd have to say that Diamond and Ghul are my least favorite, not because either one of them is bad, per se, but they push the limits of my gut feeling of "simple." Diamond creatures are native to the elemental plane of earth, and ghuls have some really specific undead traits and abilities. Additionally, they are a bit more complicated than the other templates to apply.

I say this only because the other templates tend to be very broad templates to do "something" to a monster, while the two listed above have more of a specific flavor to them.

That having been said, if you every wanted quick rules to make a lot tougher version of monster (say you want a more powerful, "mythological" version of a classic monster), the mighty template looks to be great for this.

The Eternal and Missing templates (one making a creature immortal and the other making something naturally invisible and displaced) look to be fun from all kinds of roleplaying standpoints.

All in all, I'm pretty excited to find excuses to slap some templates on some standard monsters, and simple templates are great for tinkering.

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