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Dear Paizo: Monsters as PCs


Product Discussion

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Dear Paizo,

I know this has been discussed ad nauseam on the message boards, but I would like to formally request a Monsters as PCs book.

The appendix of the Bestiary does indeed contain some loose suggestions and guidelines for creating Monster PCs, but there are no fast, easy or definitive methods currently available.

So far, James Jacobs and others at Paizo recommend that GMs draw upon their experience and wisdom in order to create balanced monster PCs, experimenting and tweaking as gameplay progresses so that the MPCs aren't over/under-powered.

Here is my predicament:
Unfortunately, I'm not experienced enough as a GM to create balanced MPCs. The players in my group want Vampire, Werewolf and Doppelganger characters, but I don't know how to handle this. I don't trust myself to create MPCs that are fair, balanced and fun. I feel a little overwhelmed trying to stat this out by myself because it's such an ambiguous process. I need some help.

Someone at Paizo mentioned that a Monsters as PCs book may eventually happen, but that it wouldn't be for a long time. There didn't seem to much importance or enthusiasm behind the idea.

As respectfully and politely as possible, I'd like to request that the Monsters as PCs book happen sooner rather than later. I know you have a million different projects going on, but I believe that there is a great amount of demand for this book. I have seen many people clamoring about it on the messageboards and I really believe that it would be a huge benefit to GMs, so I hope that this book can become a priority. Please don't put this on the back burner for too long.

Thanks again for your time and understanding.
You guys do great work and I'm looking forward to all the awesome Paizo products to come.

The Exchange

Shadow13.com wrote:


Unfortunately, I'm not experienced enough as a GM to create balanced MPCs. The players in my group want Vampire, Werewolf and Doppelganger characters, but I don't know how to handle this. I don't trust myself to create MPCs that are fair, balanced and fun. I feel a little overwhelmed trying to stat this out by myself because it's such an ambiguous process. I need some help.

If your players have asked for that then they should be ok with any imbalances that it creates. Take the monsters straight out of the book and have them play them as is. At the end of every few sessions, I'd say 2, allow them to majority vote which character gets to advance by one level, either in a class or by monster advancement rules. In that way, the players can 'balance' the party by themselves.

In truth, if all of the players have a concept that they want to explore with a set of characters, it doesn't really matter if those characters are balanced as they will be having fun anyway.

Just give it a go and see what happens.


brock wrote:


If your players have asked for that then they should be ok with any imbalances that it creates. Take the monsters straight out of the book and have them play them as is. At the end of every few sessions, I'd say 2, allow them to majority vote which character gets to advance by one level, either in a class or by monster advancement rules. In that way, the players can 'balance' the party by themselves.

In truth, if all of the players have a concept that they want to explore with a set of characters, it doesn't really matter if those characters are balanced as they will be having fun anyway.

Just give it a go and see what happens.

+1.

Sometimes it is fun to play games that aren't "balanced". This holds especially true in monster games. The purpose of game balance is to help the GM keep all PCs entertained and contributing. If the primary source of entertainment is playing monsters with weird powers, seriously, throw the book out and just play.

If you are in a situation where you can't find an appropriate challenge, use the Bestiary monster creation rules and try to assign a CR to your players. Then use that (and common sense) to pick appropriate threats.

Now, all of this must seem like drama-nerd thespian fluffy acting advice, but the fact is, no working system has been devised to "balance" the party you outlined above, and I'm not sure such a system exists. You can use the 3.5 books that attempted, and that's probably better than nothing if you lack GM experience, but it will still have problems.

I'd like to see the monster PC book eventually too, but I'm not holding my breath. And that game your players are asking for sounds too cool to wait around for the "official" rules. I say just play it. It will probably be more fun that way. Never let a missing rulebook prevent a fun game from playing.

Dark Archive Contributor

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Shadow13.com wrote:

I know this has been discussed ad nauseam on the message boards, but I would like to formally request a Monsters as PCs book.

While I don't have a strong feeling about a book like this by itself, I would adore a module or perhaps even an entire Adventure Path in which the PCs were monsters fighting against those expansionistic, crusading humans (and allies) a la the classic "Monster Quest" adventure from Dungeon back in the olden days. Basing such an adventure in the Hold of Belkzen would be a natural.


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Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

I like the OP's very polite request, and I think this is a good thread for people who like the idea of a Savage Species replacement to quietly and politely let their interest be known. I believe James himself said that they needed people to say they wanted it, if we wanted it done.

+1 for the idea Shadow13.com.

Dark Archive

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

Add me to the list of people who really want a monster as Pc's book (Although I'm probably already on it.)

The Exchange

Dave Gross wrote:
Shadow13.com wrote:

I know this has been discussed ad nauseam on the message boards, but I would like to formally request a Monsters as PCs book.

While I don't have a strong feeling about a book like this by itself, I would adore a module or perhaps even an entire Adventure Path in which the PCs were monsters fighting against those expansionistic, crusading humans (and allies) a la the classic "Monster Quest" adventure from Dungeon back in the olden days. Basing such an adventure in the Hold of Belkzen would be a natural.

+1 for the idea of Reverse Dungeon - the adventure path :)


Count me as someone who would purchase such a product, also. I remember being excited back in AD&D days, when the Book of Humanoids was released. I still have my copy, well-used, and well-loved. :) At the time it was a child's fantasy.

Well, that child grew into an adult, and that love of fantasy's still in place.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I too would like to see such a book, and hope to see it eventually, we will have to wait and see.

To the OP, perhaps we here on the boards can help you figure out what to do with your PC's. Certainly the book isnt coming out in time for your current campaign even if paizo started working on it now. Why dont you post exactly what your players want and see if we cant come up with something? I know I have a few ideas kicking around for monster PC's but it all depends on the entire makeup of your party in terms of balancing it. So give us the details i am sure others besides myself would be interested in helping.


brock wrote:
If your players have asked for that then they should be ok with any imbalances that it creates. Take the monsters straight out of the book and have them play them as is. At the end of every few sessions, I'd say 2, allow them to majority vote which character gets to advance by one level, either in a class or by monster advancement rules. In that way, the players can 'balance' the party by themselves.

Yeah, I think I'll just have to wing it.

I've only been playing D&D for about 2 years, so I'm somewhat of a newb.
My original group split up and I recently joined a new group with a few other rookies, like myself.
I'm the most experienced member of my group (but not by much), which automatically made me the de facto GM.
But really, it's like the blind leading the blind!
I'm learning a lot and figuring things out as we go.
Sessions can get a little tedious because there's a lot of "Wait, let me look it up" going on.

What makes things so difficult is that my group members are very argumentative and tend to challenge everything I say or do, always looking for loopholes. Therefore, it's nice for me to have some rules set in stone so that can say, "Look, it says so right there on pg 250. So no, you can't have a +12 weapon for free just because you rolled a semi-decent diplomacy check."

At this point, I'm grateful for any resources I can get my hands on, assuming it fits my budget.


I, too, would like to add my voice to the "Give us Monsters as PCs" crowd. I'll sign Shadow13's petition.

And the last time I said this, I hadn't yet gotten the Pathfinder RPG. By now, I have that AND the Bestiary, so maybe my opinion will have more weight. (Indeed, one of the reasons I haven't actually PLAYED Pathfinder RPG yet is that I'm enjoying using my low-level Astral Deva while I can.)

I respectfully disagree with those saying "Forget balance!" Balance is the main reason I considered 3.X to be THE D&D, and the main reason I've been unable to switch back to 2nd Edition. It's no fun playing an underpowered character, and playing an overpowered one makes all the other players want to do so too. If you WANT an unbalanced campaign, just give a character more or fewer levels.

And yes, I understand that balance can't be perfect. I'm not asking for perfection. I'm just asking that you use your game-design talent and playtesting experience to give us SOME semblance of balance - just enough so that it won't be PAINFULLY obvious that a monster PC is over- or under-powered compared to other characters of the same level. (If hundreds of hours of playing would make it obvious, I can live with that.)

I must say that I had high hopes when I heard about the Council of Thieves Player's Guide, with the possibility of playing Tieflings. My experience with a Tiefling PC (in a 3.0 Planescape campaign) taught me that the perks of playing a Tiefling just weren't worth a +1 level adjustment. I was eager to learn how the CoT Player's Guide would solve the problem... but it didn't. Can't you just give Tieflings a few extra little perks, enough for it to be worth the +1 LA?

I also want to make another point, which some of the previous posters are overlooking:

NOT ALL MONSTERS ARE EVIL!!!

As I mentioned, I'm enjoying my Astral Deva character (basically a "fallen angel," who is slowly recovering his powers as he climbs up from his fall from grace.) It would also be interesting to play a low-level version of a Hound Archon, or of a Djinni, or to use the "Winged" template for a PC, or even to play, say, a gnoll with a "Drizzt"-like background. Most of all, I like pixies. With their ability to stay invisible when attacking, they're perfect for the rogue class - indeed, this is the ONLY condition under which I like to play a rogue. And if you can come up with some fey race that complements the Sorcerer class - or SOME spellcasting class - well, I'll be a die-hard Pathfinder RPG fanatic.


Kolokotroni wrote:
To the OP, perhaps we here on the boards can help you figure out what to do with your PC's. Certainly the book isnt coming out in time for your current campaign even if paizo started working on it now. Why dont you post exactly what your players want and see if we cant come up with something? I know I have a few ideas kicking around for monster PC's but it all depends on the entire makeup of your party in terms of balancing it. So give us the details i am sure others besides myself would be interested in helping.

A party of Lv 1 characters:

Vampire Rogue (eventually multi-classed as a druid)
Werewolf Barbarian
Doppelganger Sorcerer, aberrant bloodline

My group has a bad case of character envy, so getting them as "balanced" as possible will save me from endless whining.

Any suggestions would be appreciated!

EDIT: Would this be a topic for another thread? I'd hate to clutter this one up.

Liberty's Edge

I'd love to see this sort of project as well. If a whole book of Monsters as PCs isn't in the cards, perhaps we could occasionally get as Monster as PC breakout in AP player's guides or other Pathfinder products.

For Shadow13, I would suggest checking out Savage Species. It is often a little (or a lot) off, but it will at least give you an idea of where to start, balance wise. Races of Faerun also has a fairly exhaustive section on playing therianthropes.


Shadow13.com wrote:


EDIT: Would this be a topic for another thread? I'd hate to clutter this one up.

Start one! It actually seems like an interesting experiment. I'd like to see the feedback. Plus, who knows what advice and material might turn up that could make your case for a book!

Liberty's Edge

Shadow13.com wrote:

A party of Lv 1 characters:
Vampire Rogue (eventually multi-classed as a druid)
Werewolf Barbarian
Doppelganger Sorcerer, aberrant bloodline

My group has a bad case of character envy, so getting them as "balanced" as possible will save me from endless whining.

Any suggestions would be appreciated!

My admittedly very cursory glance over this makes me think that the Doppelganger is going to outmatch the Werewolf and the Vampire. The Werewolf should be somewhere around ECL 5, the Vampire around ECL 6, and the Doppelganger around ECL 9.

So you could give the Rogue and the Barbarian a few extra class levels to level things out. Alternatively, you could talk to the Barbarian about playing a werebear vice a werewolf. Werebears are stronger and have more HD, which would make the average barbarian very happy. If you do this, I would also add a few abilities to the Vampire or remove some of his weaknesses, so that it isn't left behind the other two.

Dark Archive

Shadow13.com wrote:

A party of Lv 1 characters:

Vampire Rogue (eventually multi-classed as a druid)
Werewolf Barbarian
Doppelganger Sorcerer, aberrant bloodline

My group has a bad case of character envy, so getting them as "balanced" as possible will save me from endless whining.

Vampires, using the core rules, are pretty much unplayable. They can't go out during the day, they can't cross running water, they can't enter homes uninvited, they are repelled by crosses, mirrors, garlic and whatever, they can't leave a day's journey of their grave, etc.

Werewolves also use wonky mechanics (Sean Reynolds site, IIRC, has a much more playable werewolf kicking around in it), either having no powers at all in their human form (what's the point?) or being a dog with damage resistance (whoopity craptity doo).

If my players wanted to try that sort of game (and we have played plenty of monster games, although not those particular races), we'd sit down and hash out what sort of vampire powers the vampire player wanted, etc. My preference for that sort of thing would be to start everyone out at the same basic power level, and come up with an LA+2 ish starter vampire, starter werewolf and starter doppleganger. As they increase in levels, they can spend feats to awaken more of their racial abilities (so the vampire will start out being more of a Buffy vampire, with no animal control, charm gaze, shapeshifting or gaseous form, but have the option of developing those abilities at his or her discretion, while the Doppleganger starts out as an amped up Changeling, and can choose to develop abilities like at will detect thoughts as they grow, if they want).

The vampire, based on the raft of abilities they can get in the lore, would end up with more of these feats and options, but the more of them the character takes, the less feats are available to develop their class related abilities, making them a better vampire, but not necessarily the best rogue/druid/whatever they can be. Because it's a custom build, the vampire doesn't *have* to be unable to go out during the day (but might take damage from direct sunlight, forcing the character to bundle up, and might have lowered stats during the day, losing racial bonuses to Strength, etc.), doesn't have to return to their gravesite every day or be permanantly destroyed, etc. Indeed, it's probably for the best if the PC vampire isn't an undead creature at all, but more of a dampyr type being or a member of an infection-based (or curse-based) vampiric breed that still breathes and bleeds and needs to feed, not only avoiding problems with the 0 Con thing, but also *better fitting the lore* than having the vampire be an actual undead, by having the 'vampire' be stake-able, starvable, need to feed, vulnerable to poisons in the blood, etc. like many vampires of lore. Even the most majestic vampires of legend, such as Dracula, tend to be 'behind the times' and seem to have difficulty adjusting or adapting (and some are downright feral) compared to their contemporaries, so it wouldn't be at all out of line to have the afflicted 'vampire' take a hit to Intelligence to balance out bonuses to other attributes. Even with a penalty at the start, as bestial hungers hijack higher reasoning, a vampire willing to spend a few points to make up this loss can be fairly suave or erudite.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Here's my suggestion.

If you want to allow monster PCs... Just Do It!

Let your players pick monsters to play, and just run with it. Go in to the experiment knowing full well that monsters are NOT created equal, and there will very likely be times when it becomes obvious in play that one monster gives a player advantages over the others...

The secret is this, though: If your players don't care that some of them are more powerful than others... then game balance DOESN'T MATTER.

Furthermore, once you decide to allow MPCs (great acronym!), you as the GM STILL retain the power of control over the game. If during play it becomes obvious that a specific monster is overpowered, change it. Further, you know what kind of game you are going to run, and if you know a monster is going to break things, don't allow that MPC. And further, if all the PCs are THE SAME monster (everyone's a werewolf, for example), then there's no real worry about PC imbalances anyway.

So yeah, in the end if you want to allow MPCs, just do it. If your game ends up being a strange new creature that doesn't match the core expectations of the game, that's COOL! Especially if everyone's having fun.

Finally, folks are already chatting on multiple threads here on how to build MPCs and all that. These threads, I fear, tend to get too hung up on game balance and crunch, when the whole point of things for a lot of gamers, I suspect, isn't squeezing more power out of the game but simply the novelty of playing a monster.

TRUE STORY: When Mike McArtor first started at Paizo, he ran a NO HUMANS campaign. Matt Sernett played an air elemental. Lisa Stevens played an ogre mage. I played an awakened deinonychus. There were other crazy creatures as well, like a wemic and a gold dragon. Know what? The game wasn't balanced (the air elemental's flight pretty much made him a superstar) but it was still fun. It didn't last for long (it collapsed after about 4 months) but that's okay too. Not all campaigns need to last forever, and we all got the experience of playing MPCs.

So yeah, if it sounds fun, just give it a try and don't worry about making everything balanced. That's our job, really, and if it takes us some extra time to GET to it since we can't address every possibility of play at once, that shouldn't prevent anyone out there from trying things out.


James Jacobs wrote:
Finally, folks are already chatting on multiple threads here on how to build MPCs and all that. These threads, I fear, tend to get too hung up on game balance and crunch, when the whole point of things for a lot of gamers, I suspect, isn't squeezing more power out of the game but simply the novelty of playing a monster.

But see, that's just the point. I want to see a book with a race that makes me say "Wow! That would be fun to play!" WITHOUT having to worry that it's balanced, because that issue has already been dealt with by the designers.

Lazy customers, such as myself, want the professionals, like you, to do the hard work. That's one of the reasons why I shell out money for gaming products rather than write the material myself. IOW, I know it's hard. If it were easy, I'd do it myself, and not bother you about it.

As for why balance is necessary, I already gave my reason for that in my previous post, so I guess there's no need to repeat it.


Set wrote:
Vampires, using the core rules, are pretty much unplayable. Werewolves also use wonky mechanics...either having no powers at all in their human form (what's the point?) or being a dog with damage resistance (whoopity craptity doo).

I had no idea that these monsters were so "crippled". They look pretty fearsome on paper, but I guess the reality is much different as a PC.

The Shining Fool wrote:
My admittedly very cursory glance over this makes me think that the Doppelganger is going to outmatch the Werewolf and the Vampire. The Werewolf should be somewhere around ECL 5, the Vampire around ECL 6, and the Doppelganger around ECL 9.

I seriously thought the Doppelganger would have been the weak link in the chain. With a CR9, I thought the vampire would have eaten everybody alive (pun intended).


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Shadow13.com wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:
To the OP, perhaps we here on the boards can help you figure out what to do with your PC's. Certainly the book isnt coming out in time for your current campaign even if paizo started working on it now. Why dont you post exactly what your players want and see if we cant come up with something? I know I have a few ideas kicking around for monster PC's but it all depends on the entire makeup of your party in terms of balancing it. So give us the details i am sure others besides myself would be interested in helping.

A party of Lv 1 characters:

Vampire Rogue (eventually multi-classed as a druid)
Werewolf Barbarian
Doppelganger Sorcerer, aberrant bloodline

My group has a bad case of character envy, so getting them as "balanced" as possible will save me from endless whining.

Any suggestions would be appreciated!

EDIT: Would this be a topic for another thread? I'd hate to clutter this one up.

Up to you on the other thread, but I have a few more questions from you in terms of what you want.

Do you want them to be 1st level power wise? If you are ok with them being stronger then a normal 1st level party but just want them in line with eachother its a whole difference can of worms then if you want them fighting goblins and kobolds for a while. If your only concern is them being in line with eachother its alot easier to bring the weaker ones up then the stronger ones down.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Aaron Bitman wrote:

But see, that's just the point. I want to see a book with a race that makes me say "Wow! That would be fun to play!" WITHOUT having to worry that it's balanced, because that issue has already been dealt with by the designers.

Lazy customers, such as myself, want the professionals, like you, to do the hard work. That's one of the reasons why I shell out money for gaming products rather than write the material myself. IOW, I know it's hard. If it were easy, I'd do it myself, and not bother you about it.

As for why balance is necessary, I already gave my reason for that in my previous post, so I guess there's no need to repeat it.

Well then... I guess my only advice for you then is to be patient. We are quite likely to eventually do something with this topic, and in fact have already done so for tieflings in Pathfinder #25. I wouldn't be surprised to see us address playing non-core races as PCs in other products here and there on a case by case basis, but an actual BOOK like "Savage Species" is, I would guess, probably 3 years away at the soonest.


James Jacobs wrote:

Here's my suggestion.

If you want to allow monster PCs... Just Do It!...

The secret is this, though: If your players don't care that some of them are more powerful than others... then game balance DOESN'T MATTER...

...folks are already chatting on multiple threads here on how to build MPCs and all that. These threads, I fear, tend to get too hung up on game balance and crunch

James, I enjoy your comments. You always have a very positive outlook on everything.

I love the roleplaying aspect of the game and I wholeheartedly agree with you that "balance" shouldn't matter as long as everybody is having fun. As a matter of fact, sometimes I run entire sessions without any combat, focusing solely on the roleplaying element.

Unfortunately, many power-gamers feel otherwise. When it comes to min-maxing, number crunching and getting the most out of their characters (i.e. maximum damage), players can get very competitive.

My players, for example, get jealous and pouty when their characters don't perform as impressively as another player's character. The jealousy and brooding can kill the fun pretty quickly. I suspect that some other GMs and players suffer the same scenario, which is probably why "balance" has become such a hot topic.

Balance is the babysitter that keeps everybody playing nicely. Without it, you get a lot of whiny babies.

There was a recent thread that questioned the purpose of power-gaming and min-maxing and somebody posted "Why wouldn't you mix-max? Would you really cripple your character for roleplaying purposes?"

This comment made me realize that some people could care less about roleplaying and are primarily interested in creating uber-powerful characters and dominating the game. But then character creation becomes something of an arms race with players and the GM scrambling to keep up with each other.

Anyhow, i'm getting off topic, but I believe this is why balance has been a big deal, it's a way to protect the nice players from getting abused by the naughty ones. The GM can always house rule something, but I don't like to give my players the chance to argue against my judgement. It's much easier to say "Well, these guys are the professionals and that's what's in the book, so deal with it." Maybe I just need to be more assertive as a GM...

James Jacobs wrote:
MPCs (great acronym!)

Yeah? If you like it, you can keep it. It would be neat if that showed up in a book at some point.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Being assertive as a GM is always good. So is knowing your players' preferences and likes when it comes to the game re: power gaming and roleplaying and all that. At this point, if you have a group of power gamers who are really keen on pushing everything in the game to the limit to try to make the most tough characters possible... then they'll probably either have to learn to trust and respect the GM when he makes new rules to accommodate their desires or they'll just have to cultivate patience and wait for the new options to come along from us when they can.


Kolokotroni wrote:
Shadow13.com wrote:

A party of Lv 1 characters:
Vampire Rogue (eventually multi-classed as a druid)
Werewolf Barbarian
Doppelganger Sorcerer, aberrant bloodline

Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Do you want them to be 1st level power wise? If you are ok with them being stronger then a normal 1st level party but just want them in line with each other its a whole difference can of worms then if you want them fighting goblins and kobolds for a while. If your only concern is them being in line with eachother its alot easier to bring the weaker ones up then the stronger ones down.

I have a 4th player who is more conservative and is perfectly happy with the base races, so I'd hate for him to get left behind by the MPCs. I could tone down the monsters so that they're on equal footing with the lv 1 PC (probably a halfling ranger), or I could beef up the lv 1 PC so that he's on par with the monsters. Either way would work.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I'm currently going with the 'who cares about balance' approach in one game, and it's doing well, overall. In my other game I'm trying out the suggestions in the Bestiary, and we'll see how it goes next week. (Our dwarf got captured at the beginning of Fortress of the Stone Giants and he wants to play a Summoner, so in the meantime he's trying out an Erinyes.)

But I want to add my voice in asking for a Monsters as PCs book. I don't mind if it's a long time in coming, but it's something that I personally would love to at least have, even if I rarely get to use it.


Cydeth wrote:
I'm currently going with the 'who cares about balance' approach in one game, and it's doing well, overall.

I think I'm going to try James' suggestion and go this route also.

I'll go unbalanced and tweak it as we play.

With at least 3 years until the book comes out, I'll have had plenty of experience creating monster PCs by then.
As a matter of fact, I'll probably become so adept at creating monster PCs on my own that I won't need the book any more!

Nah, just kidding. I'd buy it in a heartbeat.
Ok, the 3 year countdown begins...now!

If we can get some more petitions for this thing, maybe they'll be motivated to get it out sooner.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

2 people marked this as a favorite.

ALSO! I should note.

Nowhere did I promise that those 3 years would be CONSECUTIVE years.


James Jacobs wrote:

ALSO! I should note.

Nowhere did I promise that those 3 years would be CONSECUTIVE years.

Okay...

Have any of the three years in question already transpired? :)


James Jacobs wrote:

ALSO! I should note.

Nowhere did I promise that those 3 years would be CONSECUTIVE years.

Lolz

Ah, so those are three Paizo years, not normal earth years?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Shadow13.com wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

ALSO! I should note.

Nowhere did I promise that those 3 years would be CONSECUTIVE years.

Lolz

Ah, so those are three Paizo years, not normal earth years?

Actually, they're metric years.

Liberty's Edge

James Jacobs wrote:
Shadow13.com wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

ALSO! I should note.

Nowhere did I promise that those 3 years would be CONSECUTIVE years.

Lolz

Ah, so those are three Paizo years, not normal earth years?

Actually, they're metric years.

Oh noez! Metric years are terrible! 100 months of 100 days of 100 hours of 100 minutes of 100 seconds. We'd be better off if we had to wait 3 dog years.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
The Shining Fool wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Shadow13.com wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

ALSO! I should note.

Nowhere did I promise that those 3 years would be CONSECUTIVE years.

Lolz

Ah, so those are three Paizo years, not normal earth years?

Actually, they're metric years.
Oh noez! Metric years are terrible! 100 months of 100 days of 100 hours of 100 minutes of 100 seconds. We'd be better off if we had to wait 3 dog years.

Not if you're a dog...


James Jacobs wrote:
I wouldn't be surprised to see us address playing non-core races as PCs in other products here and there on a case by case basis, but an actual BOOK like "Savage Species" is, I would guess, probably 3 years away at the soonest.

See, even without a "Savage Species" type of book, I can be made happy with the "case by case basis" deal. I once saw an advertisement for a third-party 4E book devoted to playing fey races, and I said "Wow! I'd love to see something like that for 3.X!"

The neat thing is, it wouldn't even have to be the SAME fey races that exist in the Bestiary. You could invent new fey races, with new names. If they could be Small or smaller, if some could fly, if some could have that Improved Invisibility ability, if some could complement the Sorcerer class well (or some new class that's similar,) and so on, and if the races (and possibly classes?) in such a book were reasonably balanced, I'd get excited.

The same goes for other monster races. Don't want to mess with the Tiefling race? You could invent some new race called "demonspawn" or "devilborn" or something. Is it too difficult to break down the Astral Deva into 20 levels? Then maybe you could invent a new celestial race instead. And so on.

Mind you, I haven't yet checked out Alluria Publishing's "Remarkable Races" PDFs. Maybe those are what I'm looking for? Does anyone know?


James Jacobs wrote:

ALSO! I should note.

Nowhere did I promise that those 3 years would be CONSECUTIVE years.

Is perhaps the upcoming Orcs Of Golarian Companion going to be a preview of that? I know that is Golarian specific but I think there would be interest in it from the more general population in spite of that.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Dennis da Ogre wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

ALSO! I should note.

Nowhere did I promise that those 3 years would be CONSECUTIVE years.

Is perhaps the upcoming Orcs Of Golarian Companion going to be a preview of that? I know that is Golarian specific but I think there would be interest in it from the more general population in spite of that.

Absolutely. Of course, orcs as they are right now are pretty close to a PC race in power, so that's not too big of a deal to play an orc. And of course, "Orcs of Golarion" will ALSO cover half-orcs in detail, which ARE a core race. But if this book's received well we'll probably move on to do other monstrous races in this manner.


So all the folks who want to see more Monsters as PC content can make a big vote with their wallets with the Orc books... Those sorts of petitions speak louder than forum posts ;)


Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Dennis da Ogre wrote:
So all the folks who want to see more Monsters as PC content can make a big vote with their wallets with the Orc books... Those sorts of petitions speak louder than forum posts ;)

Except then I have to buy one book per race, and ignore two-thirds of it because it has a bunch of Golarion specific stuff I will never use, rather than stuff I actually want.

Sometimes voting with your wallet means... not buying something you don't want. If I buy the above, I am telling Paizo I don't mind paying full price for something that is 2/3rds utter waste to me (Note I didn't say the information was worthless, only that it was a waste to me, since I don't run in Golarion, not a comment on the quality of the Golarion modules).

I think instead I will vote with my wallet by buying the much much more expensive rule sets, so that Paizo will realize that those are a very nice way to make money, and that the way to make some more is to put together a core rulebook on monstrous races instead of slap-dashing them together piecemeal in the Golarion supplements.

Now, if, after awhile, they take those supplements and turn them into a core rulebook, I'm fine and dandy with that.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.
mdt wrote:
Except then I have to buy one book per race, and ignore two-thirds of it because it has a bunch of Golarion specific stuff I will never use, rather than stuff I actually want.

Just a quick question here...

I've seen you mention before how all of our Golarion books have content you can't use. Have you actually looked through one of the Golarion books? There's actually a fair amount of content in ALL of them that's usable in any game world. Just because it's set in Golarion doesn't mean you can't run Curse of the Crimson throne in Greyhawk, or use the feats and prestige classes from the Taldor companion in Forgotten Realms, or the info from "Into the Darklands" in your homebrew game.

Frankly, for my own homebrew games I VERY often used material from Greyhawk or Forgotten Realms or Dark Sun or Ravenloft or Mystara or other settings. I just changed names here and there, or used the material to inspire similar plots and ideas for my games. So I guess the concept of something set in a world I don't run being "useless" to me is just alien...


Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:


Just a quick question here...

I've seen you mention before how all of our Golarion books have content you can't use. Have you actually looked through one of the Golarion books? There's actually a fair amount of content in ALL of them that's usable in any game world. Just because it's set in Golarion doesn't mean you can't run Curse of the Crimson throne in Greyhawk, or use the feats and prestige classes from the Taldor companion in Forgotten Realms, or the info from "Into the Darklands" in your homebrew game.

Please don't take any of that personally, you do great work, and yes, I have read through some of them (you put up some free files and I downloaded those free pdf's and read through them so I could decide if I wanted to put my hard earned money down on PFRPG core. You got four sales out of me.). So yes, I've read them, and they are very very good, just not for me.

James Jacobs wrote:


Frankly, for my own homebrew games I VERY often used material from Greyhawk or Forgotten Realms or Dark Sun or Ravenloft or Mystara or other settings. I just changed names here and there, or used the material to inspire similar plots and ideas for my games. So I guess the concept of something set in a world I don't run being "useless" to me is just alien...

And to me, using someone elses world seems just as alien. :) I do on occasion use things other than what I think up, but usually it's something I read in a sci-fi book and I adapt it to my world, or a fantasy book, or another gaming system. It's almost never a module. I guess I'm an unusual type of GM. I've been GM'ing since the late 80's. When I was younger, I was paying my own way through school, working and going to college. Didn't have much spare money, so I could afford a base book, and that was about it. So...

ALL my stuff had to be made up out of whole cloth or what I could pick up reading library books, and libraries in the south don't (to this day I suspect, but especially back then) loan out RPG books. And especially not modules. ;)

I never even picked up a module (cause I couldn't afford them) until the mid 90's, I bought my first module as a Shadowrun Module (Queen Euphoria if I remember correctly). Tried to run it, was a horrible failure. Picked up a few more modules over the years for games such as Twilight 2300, Champions, AD&D, and with one exception had an absolutely rotten experience trying to run them. The only exception was 'Harlequinn' for Shadowrun, that one worked out really well (then again, I pretty much rewrote most of it over the course of two years before I used it). But other than that, I just can't get my head into someone elses story. I guess those first experiences were so bad I just have a mental block now using someone elses modules. Even if there's good stuff in them, when I try to incorporate that into my game, it falls apart and feels 'shoehorned in' (both to me and my players, if their feedback is at all honest).


I think its a matter of how iconic the thing is that you are using from a given setting is.

For example, I played in a campaign where our PCs were looking for a magical lance to kill a dragon, and the dragon had draconians as servants, but the rest of the campaign had little to do with Dragonlance, but between the dragonlance and the draconians, it just bugged me.

On the other hand, there are several monsters in the MWP Bestiary that are kind of cool and don't scream out "Dragonlance" in the same manner as draconians do to me.

The Phaerimm from the Forgotten Realms were aberrations with a mysterious background that were enormously powerful in magic. Its completely feasible that such creatures could wander the planes and end up somewhere else, but you probably don't want them to be the campaign boss if the campaign is suppose to be heavily rooted in Golarion.

I think that the key is to figure out how much your players associate a given monster with a given setting, and how unique you make its presentation.

And then, on top of all of that, I immediately thought how much better Lord Soth would be in a Dragonlance game if he were a Pathfinder Graveknight.


Sounds like your getting some good advice.

I'd say give yourself a little time to research, about long enough for one of your players to DM and let you figure things out.

Vampires especially, can be formidable characters. Your players will want to ignore most of the downsides :).

Maybe you can convince them to play monsters in a defense situation?

I'm not sure of what would work, truthfully.

Although I'd like to see a book too. Vampires & Werewolves have to be some of the tougher monsters to make work.

3.5 level adjustment etc. would be where I would start. Level adjustments have a logic to them - players just don't like slower progressions etc....
But if its a choice between that or nothing....

Sigurd


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Shadow13.com wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:
Shadow13.com wrote:

A party of Lv 1 characters:
Vampire Rogue (eventually multi-classed as a druid)
Werewolf Barbarian
Doppelganger Sorcerer, aberrant bloodline

Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Do you want them to be 1st level power wise? If you are ok with them being stronger then a normal 1st level party but just want them in line with each other its a whole difference can of worms then if you want them fighting goblins and kobolds for a while. If your only concern is them being in line with eachother its alot easier to bring the weaker ones up then the stronger ones down.
I have a 4th player who is more conservative and is perfectly happy with the base races, so I'd hate for him to get left behind by the MPCs. I could tone down the monsters so that they're on equal footing with the lv 1 PC (probably a halfling ranger), or I could beef up the lv 1 PC so that he's on par with the monsters. Either way would work.

My quick and dirty way to bring everyone up is as follows.

Take the desired monster with the highest CR. Subtract the other monsters CR from that one. For base races its the full CR of that monster. For each 1 CR difference give the player 1 bonus feat and one level of an NPC class. After this is all done each player takes 1 level in a base class of their choice and you go from there.

In your specific case its a little easier.

Player 1 takes the vampire template onto their base race choice (keep it as a base race and dont worry about the HD of 5 or more restriction). This counts as a +2 to their CR for my system.

Player 2 Takes the starting stats and abilities listed for the where wolf, this also counts as a CR 2 for my system. (adjust stats if the player wants to be non-human as the base race)

Player 3

Starts with the stats and abilities listed for the doppleganger. This counts as CR3 for my system

Player 4

Starts as a halfling which counts as CR 0 for my system.

Player 1: Gets 1 level in an NPC class and one bonus feat. Then takes his/her first level of base class and proceeds as normal.

Player 2: Same as player 1

Player 3: Gets first level of Base class and proceeds as normal, no npc levels or bonus feats.

Player 4: Gets 3 levels of an NPC class and 3 bonus feats. Then he/she takes their first level in a base class and proceeds as normal.

Its by no means perfect, but if the players make good use of the NPC levels and bonus feats they wont feel outclassed by the others. As you watch the characters play out you might want to tweak things a little to even it out, but this should be pretty good.


Kolokotroni wrote:

My quick and dirty way to bring everyone up is as follows.

Take the desired monster with the highest CR. Subtract the other monsters CR from that one. For base races its the full CR of that monster. For each 1 CR difference give the player 1 bonus feat and one level of an NPC class. After this is all done each player takes 1 level in a base class of their choice and you go from there.

In your specific case its a little easier.

Player 1 takes the vampire template onto their base race choice (keep it as a base race and dont worry about the HD of 5 or more restriction). This counts as a +2 to their CR for my system.

Player 2 Takes the starting stats and abilities listed for the where wolf, this also counts as a CR 2 for my system. (adjust stats if the player wants to be non-human as the base race)

Player 3

Starts with the stats and abilities listed for the doppleganger. This counts as CR3 for my system

Player 4

Starts as a halfling which counts as CR 0 for my system....

Cool. I've been on the road all day, but I should get a chance to check this out in greater detail once I get back to home base.

Thanks for hashing that out!

Dark Archive

I came to this board to make exactly the thread made, and it was one of the top threads in this section of the board.

Count my vote in for an MPC book. I have always been a huge fan of creative character concepts, and that often includes offbeat races! In fact, one of the games I currently play in features:

maedar duskblade (me)
abeil favoured soul
asceit golemist (completely homebrew race and class)
rakasta shadowcaster
anuchu crusader
human druid/scout

The person playing the human actually had to provide a pretty good case for why she could be human, as the setting of the campaign makes much more sense for bestial races. All of these races were equalized and weakened to make them normal PC races, so it's still pretty balanced too. Hell, most of these races don't even exist in 3.5/Pathfinder (yet), so we were basically making up homebrew races based on antiquated D&D concepts. It's lots of fun!


Benn Roe wrote:

one of the games I currently play in features:

maedar duskblade (me)
abeil favoured soul
asceit golemist (completely homebrew race and class)
rakasta shadowcaster
anuchu crusader
human druid/scout

most of these races don't even exist in 3.5/Pathfinder (yet), so we were basically making up homebrew races based on antiquated D&D concepts. It's lots of fun!

It sounds pretty fun. I hadn't heard of those creatures before.


Kolokotroni wrote:

Take the desired monster with the highest CR.

Subtract the other monsters CR from that one. For base races its the full CR of that monster. For each 1 CR difference give the player 1 bonus feat and one level of an NPC class. After this is all done each player takes 1 level in a base class of their choice and you go from there.

Player 1 takes the vampire template onto their base race choice (keep it as a base race and dont worry about the HD of 5 or more restriction). This counts as a +2 to their CR for my system.

Player 2 Takes the starting stats and abilities listed for the where wolf, this also counts as a CR 2 for my system. (adjust stats if the player wants to be non-human as the base race)

Player 3

Starts with the stats and abilities listed for the doppleganger. This counts as CR3 for my system

Player 4

Starts as a halfling which counts as CR 0 for my system....

OK, a Vampire is CR9. So we subtract the CR2 Werewolf and the CR3 Doppelganger and the Vampire becomes CR4. Is that right? How did you come up with the "+2 to CR"?

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

You can find the vampire template from the PRD Here. It states (as does the bestiary) that it increases the creature's CR by 2.


Cydeth wrote:
You can find the vampire template from the PRD Here. It states (as does the bestiary) that it increases the creature's CR by 2.

Ah, I thought it might have been some homebrew magic.


I didn't read through the whole thread to see if this was mentioned but the sugestions I've seen sofar sound good. I'd actually like something like this myself though for a different reason.

A monsters as PC's book would be great so we can balance out what the players actually get from the race but it would also be a great tool for NPCs. Taking a look at the part on page 6 of the bestiary and comparing it to the Aasimar I was able to figure out what stat base was used given their bonuses are given. I did notice though that this doesn't always match up to the given stats as they have a +2 Int that wasn't accounted for with the information given in that part of the book.

I am curently trying to make a monsterous npc for one of my games and the one I'm looking at using I'm not sure if I should do it as a monster with class levels as discribed in the back or figure out it's stat plus and minus myself using the info given. I dont want it to be too powerful but I don't want to weaken too much either incase they choose to attack instead of diplomacy.

Dark Archive

without getting crazy here...

while there is a lot on this topic i could say,
what i will say is i've always enjoyed the idea of not only MPC's, but MPC mixing with PC and NPC alike.

Think Final Fantasy 7, where the party consisted of (in my opinion)
Human Fighter with sword
Human Cleric
Human Monk
Human Fighter with gun/arm
Monster dog
Vampire Ranger
Construct Bard
Human Fighter with spear
and Human Rogue

...and i digress. A party with a human, elf, dwarf, gnome, and blink dog would just be awesome!

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