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Monsters in the Party


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion


Has anyone else wondered why, if they are not races(Leadership) or normal animals(animal companions), the options for having monsters in the party are terrible and overvalued to the point you don't want to take them?

I was trying to find some way Monstrous Companion or monster cohorts could be good, but looking at that and things like the saddening drake archetypes... I can't help but think Paizo doesn't want players actually having anything the Leadership feat doesn't grant.

To give two examples, let's look at Pegasus and Young Dragons. This assumes the GM is allowing the monster cohorts, of course.

A pegasus is listed as a level six cohort, so you can get one at level eight at the earliest. At level eight you have a CR 3 creature with 4 HD and two spell-like abilities. It's strong enough to carry a rider, but only has 34 HP and, for level eight, pretty low saves.

At the same time, getting a Young Dragon is truly a waste of a feat. The lowest CR among them is the Young White Dragon at 6, so it has a Cohort Level of 14. How is a CR 6 creature of any us when you are level 16?

Is there something I'm missing on what should be a cool option?


I don't get it either, but I completely agree that it's rather dumb. It should be much easier and less taxing to play cool nonstandard stuff in Pathfinder.


I always figured that's where "house rules" came into play.

It appears you have researched this a bit and would quickly discover if your rules need tweeking or if they are fine.


I guess that the old D&D3.xx Savage Species could be adapted fairly easily to PF...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Nah, you're not really missing anything. It's a system that isn't designed to make monster integration into parties easy, and it can be really frustrating.

House rules are your friend on this front.


The more I think about it the more the higher of CR or HD working as the base cohort level makes sense to me. This could give a 7th level paladn(for example) a Pegasus with a level in something else, likely Fighter or Cleric, as a cohort. It would actually have a little more use and a slight better chance to survive.


Azten wrote:
The more I think about it the more the higher of CR or HD working as the base cohort level makes sense to me. This could give a 7th level paladn(for example) a Pegasus with a level in something else, likely Fighter or Cleric, as a cohort. It would actually have a little more use and a slight better chance to survive.

That's exactly the house rule I use for monstruous cohorts. But you must remember that some monsters don't work with it : erynie or avoral, with their constant True Seeing, are way too powerful cohorts in that case.


That is a fairly good point. It could be, however, worthwhile if they use something like Planar Ally to get the cohort.


Well, the one line about using monsters as pcs in the bestiary says treat CR as character level. So I'd use that as the basis.
There's also the part about monster pcs should gain an extra class level every 3 level-ups N times where N=CR/2, but that just gets complicated.


Yeah, houseruling is your best bet.

The way I see it, it’s going to depend on your table and your play style. You know your group so you know best what options to present/allow as a gm or ask for as a player.


Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:
Well, the one line about using monsters as pcs in the bestiary says treat CR as character level. So I'd use that as the basis.

Yeah but some monsters have more HD than their CR. Look at Valkyrie (CR 12, 16 HD) and tell me it is balanced as a lvl 12 cohort ...


Noir le Lotus wrote:
Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:
Well, the one line about using monsters as pcs in the bestiary says treat CR as character level. So I'd use that as the basis.
Yeah but some monsters have more HD than their CR. Look at Valkyrie (CR 12, 16 HD) and tell me it is balanced as a lvl 12 cohort ...

Well the passage mentions that racial HD are generally inferior to class levels, that's why there's the whole thing about monster pcs getting every class levels every so often. And before you go off about monster X, Y, and Z having SLA's or other features that would be unbalancing, remember that there's an exception to every rule. Adjudicating corner cases is part of the GM's job.

EDIT

PRD wrote:
Note that in a mixed group, the value of racial Hit Dice and abilities diminish as a character gains levels. It is recommended that for every 3 levels gained by the group, the monster character should gain an extra level, received halfway between the 2nd and 3rd levels. Repeat this process a number of times equal to half the monster's CR, rounded down. Using the minotaur example, when the group is at a point between 6th and 7th level, the minotaur gains a level, and then again at 7th, making him a minotaur barbarian 4. This process repeats at 10th level, making him a minotaur barbarian 8 when the group reaches 10th level. From that point onward, he gains levels normally.


Dragons and other monsters have so many special abilities that make them very unbalanced in many games if you allow them in a party.

If you want a stereotypical dragon rider, use the drakes instead or wyvern. And houserule the prerequisites. Riding a wyvern is not very unbalanced for a mid level party, so you can easily allow it if flying isn't that unusual in your game world.


I don't really know about that. Especially when the they don't gain racial HD and get the cool stuff. Oh no, SR that will never go up! DR X/magic! The best things Dragons typically have are number of natural attacks(which PCs can rival), a fly speed(which PCs can get and be better at), and a breath weapon that might, based on subspecies, have a neat effect instead of just area damage(and PCs have ways to get both).

Then there's the poor Pegasus, woefully outmatched because of some strange vendetta against non-humanoid (N)PCs in a party.

I'm not saying it shouldn't be behind a regular cohort by a bit, just that it shouldn't be a dang trophy cohort.

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