Do you wish monsters had statistics more like PCs, as they used to? Yes!, Please


Monsters and Hazards

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Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Anguish wrote:
Zaister wrote:
Just like in Starfinder

Starfinder broke one of my groups, primarily because of the "monsters aren't the same as PCs" issue.

We can see when we need to roll a 17 or higher to hit a monster. We can see when a monster only needs to roll a 4 to hit us.

That breaks our immersion. Sure, sure, the math is designed so monsters hit more often than PCs, because they do less damage per hit, and PCs have more health, and there are four PCs and, and, and. But it ruined our experience << which is not necessarily anyone else's.

So hey. I'm hoping "just like in Starfinder" isn't a thing I see much of. Especially on this topic.

Starfinder intentionally skewed the systems so that monsters have higher attack bonuses but lower ACs, compared to the precursor of this opponent creation system from Pathfinder Unchained. I don't expect that Pathfinder second edition will have the same skew.


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I think it will make it more special when you do build a monster like a PC.


Rysky wrote:

I still haven’t looked over exactly how the creation rules work, but they seem to be a little different than Starfinder, hopefully that’s true when I give it an in-depth look.

My main concern is NPCs, I don’t want an opponent to be a 12th level Elf, but an Elf with 12 levels in [Class]. Because Elves don’t have racial HD, it breaks my verisimilitude to state NPCs do while PCs don’t.

Mark Seifter did say it would be possible to build a NPC/add class levels like a PC without breaking the math so hopefully that remains true.

I wonder if it will work. Look at the pregens. Their AC is in the 15-20 range. Attack bonuses are +5. Only your primary attack has much chance of hitting. Will only be able to crit on a 20. Saving throws appear around 50/50 though (DC 15 vs save +1 +5).


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Irontruth wrote:


A PC has to survive multiple encounters without resting, have a variety of tools for different situations, and carry adequate role-playing potential for the player to make them interesting.

A monster's job is to be an obstacle to a PC.

Creating a set of tools that fulfills both of those different requirements at the same time is cumbersome, will always have pitfalls and always result in weird outcomes.

Much better to separate the two and create specific tools that address each problem.

If your DMing style treats monsters as basically just there to be obstacles for PCs, I can see that. Mine is much more likely to treat monsters as recurring foes (because very few are dumb enough to fight to the death) and can well develop personalities (you never know who PCs will adopt, or enchant). So I strongly favour monsters having all the stats they would need if they were PCs.


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kpulv wrote:
I don't really see any reason to keep monsters and npcs built the same as player characters other than "that's the way it's always been."

Heh. Some of us are old enough to remember when that was a wonderful new innovation.


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Kennethray wrote:
I would also side with the No camp. I stopped using the suggested formula in PF1 and hated when a player at my table would try to argue that the thing they were fighting was not the correct CR, even though they won almost everytime.

Correct CR ? Since when do the players get to argue about that ?

Sometimes a monster they have no chance of beating is a clue they should not be coming this way for a few levels. Sometimes a monster they kerb stomp is also a clue. I am strongly opposed to any game with baked-in assumptions that players will only ever face opposition of known strength.


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the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
Irontruth wrote:


A PC has to survive multiple encounters without resting, have a variety of tools for different situations, and carry adequate role-playing potential for the player to make them interesting.

A monster's job is to be an obstacle to a PC.

Creating a set of tools that fulfills both of those different requirements at the same time is cumbersome, will always have pitfalls and always result in weird outcomes.

Much better to separate the two and create specific tools that address each problem.

If your DMing style treats monsters as basically just there to be obstacles for PCs, I can see that. Mine is much more likely to treat monsters as recurring foes (because very few are dumb enough to fight to the death) and can well develop personalities (you never know who PCs will adopt, or enchant). So I strongly favour monsters having all the stats they would need if they were PCs.

Nice strawman you built there.

Just real quick... are you claiming you can't roleplay a villain unless they say... have their carrying capacity listed in the stat block?

Here, I'll do to you, what you did to me, but in reverse.

Maybe I'm happy with my DMing style, cause I can roleplay my villains well, even if all the stats aren't listed out. In fact, I've had numerous recurring NPCs in my campaigns that had no stats. Some of them still get referenced by players in other games even.

This seems like a poor path for discussion. So let's stop making assumptions about each other's DMing styles... eh?


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First thing off, monsters never were created like PCs. Ever.
PCs are built by adding to a base, rather organically.
Monsters were built by adding a base, after it was determined what the monster needed to be able to do or what power level they wanted.

In 3.0, most of the old school monsters have CRs that match their peers from earlier edition lists (i.e. the 'monsters by dungeon level' charts in the DMG). And an unusual proportion of saves were DC 15, almost as if it were a target number...
So in those cases, monsters were given enough oomph to thrive at there traditional level, with Medusa being an example of a creature getting beefed up to match the power level of her gaze attack (and then beefed up more in later editions as developers learned the system's balance better).
So her high Con, her ability to poison her arrows, all that was added to bring her up to par. Her power level came first, then her abilities were built to match it.

This is most obvious with martial fey who even though they often get magical boosts to combat also get a ridiculous amount of HD so they can have the BAB to hit. This then skews the skills (of an already high-skilled creature type) way out of proportion to the CR, but it was needed to keep the fey competitive in battle. (Add a template w/ a good Con boost to a fey, and kablooie, their h.p. skyrocket).

So yes, there were stats listed, but those stats were manufactured to match CR and not tied back to any advancement process by creature type w/ granularity or rigor. Even though we just get the stat bonuses now, it's easy enough to see what they'd be if that were important.

And lastly, several of the PF2 monsters I've run do seem to be based on the PC chassis. One design goal was to have PC levels match monster levels in power, and they seem to so far. So we get the best of both worlds, monsters built from the ground up toward a goal and monsters built directly to match that danger level.
It's a win-win situation to me.


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Raynulf wrote:

On one hand, having a universal set of mechanics that apply to all things is compelling.

On the other hand, the design goal of the PCs' adversary is not the same as the PCs themselves, and trying to brute force both into one set of numbers causes problems. 3rd edition (and anything based off it) PC mechanics pushes an almost exponential increase in physical damage output, but a linear progression in hit points (and loosely AC) - in other words anything using PC mechanics has damage output that outpaces its defences, and the game turns into rocket tag in the higher levels.

This works by the numbers, and it works out that way in play.

It is conceivable that such a universal system could be made, but it would require a massive change from the 3rd edition chassis as PC damage would need to be throttled and made more linear, and their durability scaled up. In essence, the PCs would need to be designed more like monsters, rather than monsters like PCs, and that isn't an easy transition, even if players were willing to do it.

And that's why I say 'no' as well. It feels good to think that PCs and NPCs are operating the same, in the way that "everything is made out of the four elements" or "the Sun revolves around the Earth" feels good to believe. But practically, it either doesn't work for its intended purpose, or requires twice as much effort to make it work.


Heck no. The only reason I was able to build monsters properly for PF1 was through templates and in some cases modifying monsters. Doing it the old fashioned way would be a pain.


Castilliano wrote:

First thing off, monsters never were created like PCs. Ever.

PCs are built by adding to a base, rather organically.
Monsters were built by adding a base, after it was determined what the monster needed to be able to do or what power level they wanted.

You make this claim, but then you use a bunch of supporting evidence of how monsters are built using the PC architecture.

The problems of fey creatures having bad BAB is by assigning fey creatures essentially a "fey class." Or perhaps, more because the monster architecture was based on the species of the monster, and not the monster's intended role as an obstacle. It's like if all human PC's used the same basic class, but then just used feats to try to become wizards and fighters. If monsters were instead built around the model of how they were to behave in combat, but from the ground up, this kind of problem wouldn't exist.

Your point about monsters being pushed through the system to fulfill certain design goals isn't really any different than a replacement character being made at higher levels. A 12th level character who starts play at 12th level can develop differently than a 12th level character who started play at 1st level.

Since the DM isn't "playing" a monster from CR 1 to CR 12, monsters are just developed as CR 12 (or whatever CR they're supposed to be).


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Irontruth wrote:
Castilliano wrote:

First thing off, monsters never were created like PCs. Ever.

PCs are built by adding to a base, rather organically.
Monsters were built by adding a base, after it was determined what the monster needed to be able to do or what power level they wanted.

You make this claim, but then you use a bunch of supporting evidence of how monsters are built using the PC architecture.

The problems of fey creatures having bad BAB is by assigning fey creatures essentially a "fey class." Or perhaps, more because the monster architecture was based on the species of the monster, and not the monster's intended role as an obstacle. It's like if all human PC's used the same basic class, but then just used feats to try to become wizards and fighters. If monsters were instead built around the model of how they were to behave in combat, but from the ground up, this kind of problem wouldn't exist.

Your point about monsters being pushed through the system to fulfill certain design goals isn't really any different than a replacement character being made at higher levels. A 12th level character who starts play at 12th level can develop differently than a 12th level character who started play at 1st level.

Since the DM isn't "playing" a monster from CR 1 to CR 12, monsters are just developed as CR 12 (or whatever CR they're supposed to be).

Monsters & PCs operate in the same game, so share all the necessary statistics to function in various venues. Duh. So in that sense they share statistics, but that's just as true in PF2 (but arguably not in Starfinder due to gaping holes.)

But PCs (and similar NPCs) are built brick by brick from a base. There's a general rule for their CRs, but it's secondary. They have a specific system that determines everything (subject to GM fiat) that's granular and rigorous, and cares not about the outcome.
With many monsters, the CR norms (given in the specific appendix) come first, then the monster is built backward to match. There are monster types that give a norm, but monsters aren't HD first like a PC. For a given CR, there are several combinations that the developers could choose, all equivalent if they play within the guidelines. So high Str might get swapped out for higher HD and more dice on the attack, but then more HD means it doesn't need as much Con to hit the CR norm for h.p., so lower that. That might lower the DC of its special attack too much so then maybe go back or tag on a +2 racial bonus because there Is no rigorous build system to prevent patchwork options. It's the outcome that determines all and the developers (3.x too) have admitted they'd slap on semi-arbitrary bonuses just to reach a specific number.
You could literally look at that CR chart and use it in a fight (though you'd have to wing any flavorful ability).

PF1 used both and AFAICT, so does PF2 except this time Paizo openly stated so, and seems to use much more sophisticated math too. Ex. Creatures with low ACs can have tons more h.p. (Even triple!) as can creatures with a big Weakness. Meanwhile, defenses can lower h.p., so we have huge discrepancies a system for PCs couldn't generate (even though that's being tuned so NPCs make equally valid opposition.) The skeleton and zombie show this, and I think Demons vs. Devils too. (And I love it because it accentuates tactics & information.)
I look forward to seeing how much will be revealed in monster building guidelines.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

NO


A conditional no from me.
I would love easier monster rules, especially when building new monsters. The old system was complicated and bulky. At least for your standard encounter monsters.
I wish for two things to be possible though:

a) Can I play as a monster of my choice without much hassle?
b) Can I add class levels to a monster?

If these questions are a yes, then I am all for splitting PC and monster math. If not, then I am strongly against it.

If a monster turns out to be an ally or a particular hateable boss villain, then I want to include it into the game as an equal. One of the best moments in my game was about a former enemy who allied with the party against a bigger foe and became a trusted friend and party member afterwards. A player even decided to play as this character in the next adventure. I want the system to be capable to let the players play monster races, if they wish.
I was actually driven away from 5e by the math they used for monsters. The game was meant to be played as a core race. And even the published player versions of monster races felt nothing like the original monsters. It's like playing a different race. Not only does this make PC monsters clunky, it's hard for me as a GM to design a classed monster too. And if, for example, a Medusa is a Sorcerer, then it should be easy to realise this.

So, if this is still possible, then please give me simpler monsters.


Castilliano wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Castilliano wrote:

First thing off, monsters never were created like PCs. Ever.

PCs are built by adding to a base, rather organically.
Monsters were built by adding a base, after it was determined what the monster needed to be able to do or what power level they wanted.

You make this claim, but then you use a bunch of supporting evidence of how monsters are built using the PC architecture.

The problems of fey creatures having bad BAB is by assigning fey creatures essentially a "fey class." Or perhaps, more because the monster architecture was based on the species of the monster, and not the monster's intended role as an obstacle. It's like if all human PC's used the same basic class, but then just used feats to try to become wizards and fighters. If monsters were instead built around the model of how they were to behave in combat, but from the ground up, this kind of problem wouldn't exist.

Your point about monsters being pushed through the system to fulfill certain design goals isn't really any different than a replacement character being made at higher levels. A 12th level character who starts play at 12th level can develop differently than a 12th level character who started play at 1st level.

Since the DM isn't "playing" a monster from CR 1 to CR 12, monsters are just developed as CR 12 (or whatever CR they're supposed to be).

Monsters & PCs operate in the same game, so share all the necessary statistics to function in various venues. Duh. So in that sense they share statistics, but that's just as true in PF2 (but arguably not in Starfinder due to gaping holes.)

But PCs (and similar NPCs) are built brick by brick from a base. There's a general rule for their CRs, but it's secondary. They have a specific system that determines everything (subject to GM fiat) that's granular and rigorous, and cares not about the outcome.
With many monsters, the CR norms (given in the specific appendix) come first, then the monster is built backward to...

You really contradict yourself a lot there.

So, both monsters and PC's have to make attack rolls, adding a value to a d20 roll and comparing it to their target's AC. That's a basic interaction.

PC's attack bonus is tied to level, with other modifiers.

In PF1, monsters base attack bonus is tied to their Hit Dice.

When we look at most all metrics for monsters (except things to do with spells, and SLA), we find that it is all tied to Hit Dice. Hit Dice are essentially synonymous with level. Some of this does stretch back into editions before 3.0, but the unification and direct corollary with levels was less obvious in previous editions. Essentially a 10 HD dragon is now a Level 10 dragon. CR is a different can of worms, and I'm not bringing that into this right now.

Essentially the game structures monsters around Hit Dice, or put a different way "level in [monster type]". As you note, as the game has aged, writers have gotten further and further away from this architecture, partially to keep up with the arms race of PC options that make encounters easier.

You're right, the CR chart with average stats is far more useful of a measuring stick, and you can basically throw out the need to refer to Hit Dice at all. There are a few spells and abilities that directly reference Hit Dice, but you could just as easily change those to "maximum hit points" and get a much more predictable array of what kinds of monsters could be affected.

I'll probably be nailed to a cross for saying this on these forums, but I like things like minion rules. D&D 5e has mitigated their necessity by flattening attack and AC values, so that even at latter levels, minor monsters can provide interesting fodder. They're weak enough that they're easy to deal with, but still enough of a threat that they have to be dealt with. 4E, and 13th Age go the other direction and use +level scaling, which means minion rules are useful to have threatening hordes that require attention, but are easy to kill individually.


My answer is "No, But..."

I really, really don't want to return to the 3.x/PF1e system. Seriously, I'd so much rather stick with the current 2e system unaltered than that. But I will say, albeit from only a limited analysis of 2e's bestiary, I think the monsters of a certain level tend to be too close statistically. This isn't a super huge issue, but I'd much rather see a bit more to distinguish them, even in small amounts, like more creatures who are lower in AC than their standard level equivalents, but higher HP, such that deadly or fatal weapons are of greater effect. Or more divergent saving throws such that targeting a weakness is more effective. And there are some of these, but it does seem that too many entries in the bestiary have too similar statistics.

Now, I want to make clear, I'd so much rather this be solved by using the system that 2e has to generate its monster statistics, rather than reverting to the 1e system, but I do hope this is acknowledged in the 2e bestiary.


OP, you can still make monsters like PCs.

Just make some PCs and skin them as monsters.

The fiddly bits haven't been taken away from you; they've just been put in ONE place instead of being reprinted and re-included everywhere.

To answer OP's original question: good lord, no.


The change to monster creation is one of the features I'm looking forward to the most, especially after having used it with Starfinder.

As a developer, I can see why the 3rd edition team tried to use the same rules for monsters and PCs. It sounds elegant and is an interesting design challenge.

That said, I don't think they did a great job at it. Instead of monsters having levels in classes and those giving you appropriate values, you ended up with an arbitrary number of racial hit dice, trying to tweak the inputs on this black box to spit out appropriate numbers for your target CR.

Artifacts of the way the monsters were built also impact gameplay, such as bad saves often being far worse than intended by the designers. Points without clear benchmarks broke down even more critically, with average touch AC decreasing with CR and unreachable CMDs in Pathfinder.

As a GM, the system presented by 3rd edition makes prep more difficult and the monsters harder to run. Even with prebuilt monsters, the stat blocks were cluttered with information only included to show the writer's work. Making 3e and PF1 monsters can be a fun minigame in its own right, but doesn't improve the quality of the game as a whole.

Cheers!
Landon


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I have to say, I would prefer monsters be built in the same or similar method as players. In fact, like 50% of my anxious feelings for PF2 come from how they are intending to handle NPCs and monsters. This is in part of two reasons, one of which is that I am more of a simulationist, so the idea of things like that operating off of different rules just gets to me; I understand this is a view very much left in the minority so I expect to garner no sympathy points on that stance.

That said my second reason for disliking the current thought processes on monsters is due to the pact I really don't ever get to play Pathfinder as a player. Oh I GM it all the time but I rarely get to play what I'd actually get to call a character- and this is with me playing with over 15 different people at four different tables.

This has either always been because A.) The game lasts a session r two. When this happens I am overjoyed but typically when someone aside from me agrees to run a game it lasts long enough for session Zero and half of One before the other GM gets 'really busy' but you know, not busy enough to actually stop playing the game- just busy enough to stop reading the adventure Path hey were pumped to run. Seriously, I think the last character I actually got to play in a legitimate game of Pathfinder was some four or five years ago when I left college. I miss those days.

B.) The games I do get to play these days are just- look, I don't want to come off as mean but most of them are ran by people who want every minute of their plot to be 'oh-snap-panic' from the players. They do this by literally having every encounter be against something so godly that we have no chance of beating- which I am cool with until the godly monster feels oh so kind enough to enlighten us on the true nature of the universe where we then are sent off to tackle another monster that is so godly it does he same thing. So on and so. Seriously, just a few weeks ago i was invited to play in a high level game were we were sent to an unknown world were a GM-Proxy-Supreme Deity needed us to infiltrate a cave to kill a Titan. Which we did until the Titan told us that Baba Yaga was the real foe. And then when we tracked that witch down she was only doing it because the Tarrasque was escaping. Look long story short this went on with five sessions where we literally walked up to each of these monsters with no fighting, no traps, no puzzles, no dialogue beyond your 'foe is in another castle'. And once that game ended the next guy who volunteered to run a game had us role up level ones, much to my joy....up until we got three sessions in where we were suddenly gestalted with five free levels and the promise of even more magic power from an awakening bloodline coming, but then nothing to really do with all of our abilities as GM uber PCs did most of the actual heavy lifting and adventuring. I am still technically in that game but I don't really care for it. An adventure RPG isn't fun when someone else does all the adventuring for you.

Look, done with that venting, back to my long winded point- I easily end up GMing 90% of the time for those 15+ people, partially because no one else ever runs anything that really gets going long enough to be fun, and then also partially because the games hat do last sure are....something alright. Now while I did want to GM when I fist started getting into Pathfinder, I always did so with the assumption I wouldn't have to constantly be that GM, that i was going to get the chance to play the hero one in a while and be the protagonist. But once I realized that wasn't going to be the case I made my peace by hand tailoring everything in my games- the story, dungeons, traps, and of course the monsters/NPCs. Healthy or not these monsters/NPCs are the closet things I really ever get to playing a PC (which I know is an oxymoron but you get what I mean). The Starfinder through me off distinctly because I was encouraged to run paint-by-the-numbers mobs, much like how I see PF2 going with its foe creation system. If I cannot enjoy studding the monsters I will be playing enough to take them apart and reassemble them I do not call that a liberating or fun system. For me the prep work so many people in this forum seem to hate, many of them in this very thread, I enjoy. It gave me a very much needed method to keep my creativity going once I realized that me getting to enjoy Pathfinder as a player was going to be a rare and often fleeting happenstance.

With that said I am a varied player of the system and an advocate for third-party materials, so over my last decade or so of gaming I have seem many takes and variations of monsters I could see work if people really desire easier ways to make mobs for their PCs. One method I have been a fan of in the past is Minotaur Games Underling System; I typically do use the standard Pathfinder system for creating monsters but i did always like the Underling system of creating monsters on the fly for when players do something unexpected for an adventure or when I wanted my party to face hordes without feeling bad about having the party face down at times literally x4 their number.

To make a very long post short: fine tuning monsters are one of the few ways I enjoy the game. I do not feel the current method as provided by the playtest does this at all well and as such I want monsters to be built with more substance, something within keeping of the PCs. Thank you for reading.


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Irontruth wrote:
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:


If your DMing style treats monsters as basically just there to be obstacles for PCs, I can see that. Mine is much more likely to treat monsters as recurring foes (because very few are dumb enough to fight to the death) and can well develop personalities (you never know who PCs will adopt, or enchant). So I strongly favour monsters having all the stats they would need if they were PCs.

Nice strawman you built there.

I thought the your statement about a monster's job was pretty clear, sorry if I am misreading you.

Quote:


Just real quick... are you claiming you can't roleplay a villain unless they say... have their carrying capacity listed in the stat block?

I am saying it's significantly more useful for me to have that listed in their stat block.

Quote:


Maybe I'm happy with my DMing style, cause I can roleplay my villains well, even if all the stats aren't listed out. In fact, I've had numerous recurring NPCs in my campaigns that had no stats. Some of them still get referenced by players in other games even.

And if that works for you and your players, excellent. That does sound like your players are less likely to query the villains' carrying capacity (or whatever) not making sense than many of mine are, though.

I am not seeing how it harms you running villains in ways that don't need detailed stats for them to have those detailed stats anyway; it sounds like ignoring those is not an issue for you, am I right ? Whereas not having them would be an active minus for my style of play.


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Drunken Azata wrote:


If a monster turns out to be an ally or a particular hateable boss villain, then I want to include it into the game as an equal.

I am uncomfortable with adventures assuming they can predict which monsters this will happen with, though.


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OmNomNid wrote:


Look, done with that venting, back to my long winded point- I easily end up GMing 90% of the time for those 15+ people, partially because no one else ever runs anything that really gets going long enough to be fun, and then also partially because the games hat do last sure are....something alright. Now while I did want to GM when I fist started getting into Pathfinder, I always did so with the assumption I wouldn't have to constantly be that GM, that i was going to get the chance to play the hero one in a while and be the protagonist. But once I realized that wasn't going to be the case I made my peace by hand tailoring everything in my games- the story, dungeons, traps, and of course the monsters/NPCs. Healthy or not these monsters/NPCs are the closet things I really ever get to playing a PC (which I know is an oxymoron but you get what I mean). The Starfinder through me off distinctly because I was encouraged to run paint-by-the-numbers mobs, much like how I see PF2 going with its foe creation system. If I cannot enjoy studding the monsters I will be playing enough to take them apart and reassemble them I do not call that a liberating or fun system. For me the prep work so many people in this forum seem to hate, many of them in this very thread, I enjoy. It gave me a very much needed method to keep my creativity going once I realized that me getting to enjoy Pathfinder as a player was going to be a rare and often fleeting happenstance.

This. So much this! Thank you

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Couldn't you put that creativity into designing monsters with new rules then instead of putting it into creating not!PCs?


the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
Irontruth wrote:


Nice strawman you built there.

I thought the your statement about a monster's job was pretty clear, sorry if I am misreading you.

All I said was that a monsters job was to be an obstacle.

You took that and implied that I don't develop NPC personalities.

See where I might be annoyed?


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Another GM who always has to GM here (have played as a PC in 5 sessions over 8 years). Another GM who ignores all lore published by Pathfinder and builds his own world / campaigns / monsters / whatnot. Another GM voting for monster details.

On the "monsters as obstacles or npcs" discussion, I will vote that monsters are better obstacles when they are npcs (it's not an either/or). To this end, I like having more details because it helps me understand the monster. Monster with a climb speed and a sneak attack? Sounds like an ambush predator that leaps from cave ledges or the forest canopy. I do not need a monster description to tell me that.

However, Paizo seems to prefer fewer statistics and stating what the monster does. That's fine - I'll use the monsters where I know they fit well, and write my own monster generation rules if I ever get time. If I wanted a perfect system, I would write my own (and be disappointed and probably end up back at Pathfinder anyway).

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Umm, wait what. Why wouldn't you be able to tell from new version of monster statblocks what monster's combat tactics are?


Dexter Coffee wrote:

Take a high level encounter

The Devastator CR22/MR8 PF1 and Level 22 PF2

1E
Melee 4 blasphemous weapons +45 (2d8+18/19–20), 2 wings +40
(2d6+11/19–20 plus bleed)

2E
[S] Melee +5 vile armaments +38 (agile, magical, reach 40 feet),
Damage 4d10+20 bludgeoning plus evil (see vile armaments)
[S] Melee wing +38 (agile, reach 20 feet), Damage 4d8+10
slashing plus 3d8 persistent bleed

Max Fighter AC, just with all +5 items and equivalents for 1E
i.e belt of physical perfection +6 etc. Not really optimized just all +5 armor/shield, amu. of na. armor +5 and +5 ring of protection
Same for 2E all legendary prof. and +5 to anything that matters.

1E
AC ~47

2E ~40 ( since "Shields Unlike magic armor, magic shields can’t be etched with runes granting potency or properties. All magic shields are specific items with a wide variety of protective effects, as described in their entries.")

Other than seeing that it will attack less due to the new action economy, it seems to be hitting with the same 5% (nat 1) miss chance but will do more damage to make up for it effectively, but I can't figure out the nuts and bolts of why and that just bugs me.

MAIN POINT

Maybe it's a small thing, but i do care about it. I would very much like some middle ground or expansion on this part of the the game.

Edit: forgot the full-plates +6 so 2E AC46 Miss Chance 35%, more balanced with it not always being an auto-hit except on a nat 1, but I would still like to have a better feel for why, not just because of balance says so. Also with a cursory look a AC and attacks for eq. levels it look like 2E (no buffs on either side) will miss a lot more.

Bit of a late response but the big thing about the devastator is that it has a 40 foot reach, can use attacks of opportunity as a free action, and can target people that use things with the concentrate trait. This includes not just spells, but things like some fighter archery actions, a couple of monk actions, barbarian rage, and a rogue capstone. On paper it might look like it acts less, but in practice it might play closer to 5e Legendary Actions if a Legendary Action could outright disrupt something. Also on top of this it can eat any good magic that gets through, so it's a big mean divine caster killing machine.


While I'd like some clear axioms and guidelines that make sense for monster building (5e drove me mad until I worked it out), I do really like how even a normal animal such as a great white shark has an interesting and unique playstyle, and for that reason I'm kind of happy with the monsters.

I do want some clear monster making rules though. I hate feeling like I'm just randomly making it up.


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I seriously dislike the loss of this. Personally, I wish absolutely EVERYTHING was an ancestry/background/class, even if there were 'classes' for monstrous skills and such. I'm much more of a simulationist in my approach to gaming, and I loved pf1e's ability to build everything from the town drunk to the deity's right hand using the same system of rules. Perhaps it's my lack of traditional creativity i guess, or my engineer's mind, but I need that structure for all creatures in the world to make things work in my head.


Irontruth wrote:
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
Irontruth wrote:


Nice strawman you built there.

I thought the your statement about a monster's job was pretty clear, sorry if I am misreading you.

All I said was that a monsters job was to be an obstacle.

You took that and implied that I don't develop NPC personalities.

See where I might be annoyed?

Not really, because something's function being "obstacle" sounds like deprioritising it developing a personality to me. But I am sorry to have annoyed you and will endeavour not to do so again.

Acquisitives

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Ung. No.

The old monster creation rules required faaaaaaar too much work. I much prefer the new method completely divorced from PC generation.

On the otherhand the current numbers seem to be waaaay overtuned. Monsters hit too hard way too often.

I like the system, but the details need to be tweaked a bit.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

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As I've thought about this, I don't actually need monsters built like PCs (unless they are NPCs with PC classes) - what I really desire is that monsters are built with some sort of understandable logic. I need to know what happens if I alter some part of the monster, how all the rest of the parts are going to change and interact. What happens if I give the monster armor, or change out its weapon, or give it a wasting disease? What happens if the PCs befriend the monster and ask it questions? The 3.X style stat block is excellent for answering these types of questions.

What I don't want is an arbitrary pile of numbers that only exist for game reasons - this monster has a +X to hit and does Y damage with Z AC because it's CR is A. I want the stats to have an in-game justification that can be understood by the in-world scholars of the game.

Monsters just being a gamey collection of numbers with no internal rhyme or reason was the last straw that made me quit 4e. I went to put some magic armor on a goblin chief, spent about a half hour trying to figure out how doing so would change his AC, trying to figure out how his AC was calculated, until I realized that his AC had nothing to do with his armor, training, or anything else but was simply a number read off the appropriate line for his level and role. Ugh no. That's when I realized I was done with the system.

Silver Crusade

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ryric wrote:

As I've thought about this, I don't actually need monsters built like PCs (unless they are NPCs with PC classes) - what I really desire is that monsters are built with some sort of understandable logic. I need to know what happens if I alter some part of the monster, how all the rest of the parts are going to change and interact. What happens if I give the monster armor, or change out its weapon, or give it a wasting disease? What happens if the PCs befriend the monster and ask it questions? The 3.X style stat block is excellent for answering these types of questions.

What I don't want is an arbitrary pile of numbers that only exist for game reasons - this monster has a +X to hit and does Y damage with Z AC because it's CR is A. I want the stats to have an in-game justification that can be understood by the in-world scholars of the game.

Monsters just being a gamey collection of numbers with no internal rhyme or reason was the last straw that made me quit 4e. I went to put some magic armor on a goblin chief, spent about a half hour trying to figure out how doing so would change his AC, trying to figure out how his AC was calculated, until I realized that his AC had nothing to do with his armor, training, or anything else but was simply a number read off the appropriate line for his level and role. Ugh no. That's when I realized I was done with the system.

This. THIS. THISSSSSSSSSSSSSS.

The Framework is what we want to see and be able to use.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
ryric wrote:

As I've thought about this, I don't actually need monsters built like PCs (unless they are NPCs with PC classes) - what I really desire is that monsters are built with some sort of understandable logic. I need to know what happens if I alter some part of the monster, how all the rest of the parts are going to change and interact. What happens if I give the monster armor, or change out its weapon, or give it a wasting disease? What happens if the PCs befriend the monster and ask it questions? The 3.X style stat block is excellent for answering these types of questions.

What I don't want is an arbitrary pile of numbers that only exist for game reasons - this monster has a +X to hit and does Y damage with Z AC because it's CR is A. I want the stats to have an in-game justification that can be understood by the in-world scholars of the game.

Monsters just being a gamey collection of numbers with no internal rhyme or reason was the last straw that made me quit 4e. I went to put some magic armor on a goblin chief, spent about a half hour trying to figure out how doing so would change his AC, trying to figure out how his AC was calculated, until I realized that his AC had nothing to do with his armor, training, or anything else but was simply a number read off the appropriate line for his level and role. Ugh no. That's when I realized I was done with the system.

But you've have had your problem with PF1E already. Monsters with +8 bonus to something because the designer says so. Monsters with weird abilities made to overcome errors in how the type was designed (fey in PF1, undead in 3.5). In 3.5, the deliberately under-CR'd dragons. Monsters with stats pulled out of the blue.

Designers of monsters have been "cheating" since 2000. Gary Gygax was likely laughing at them, because they have self-defeated themselves by declaring that everything is made from the same set of Lego bricks and then had to use Duplo bricks to get things done, while earlier eds just eyeballed the monster. The 2ed Dracolich was there where the designer wanted it to be, the 3.5ed adventure writer was forced to resort to cute tricks like "weeeeellll Dracoliches are soooo ancient and sooo powerful that this one has +Cha to hit points, because otherwise the PCs will roflstomp it due to undead having d12 hp but no stat bonus".

Paizo had a choice - follow a framework that will constrain them and force people to reverse-engineer stuff, or just wing it like earlier eds did. The second approach is much more flexible and simply codifies what everybody has been doing already. Heavens know how many time did I spend hours building a 3.5/PF monster statblocks only to arbitraily alter it so that it will pose a challenge or work the way I wanted it to.


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CorvusMask wrote:
Couldn't you put that creativity into designing monsters with new rules then instead of putting it into creating not!PCs?

That works only so long as your players are willing to allow it. You go to far once, make a unique ability for a monster that seems fair or even just a challenge your party can over come that leans too far on the side of difficult- and like that you have violated your players trust. And a GM without player trust does not end up running a fun game as your players second guess everything you do.

Now this is not to say making unique and interesting monsters from scratch should be a no go but I personally feel like that A.) Should be done sparingly. B.) Is a easier bit to swallow if you can show your player post game how you went about making the creature.

If Paizo does end up releasing in the first Bestiary how they got their stats for monsters then I am content B will not be an issue but A will still be a problem at that point. That one game I mentioned I am currently in but not the biggest fan of? The GM there has us fighting things of his own design that are not what I call the most well thought out creatures and it doesn't make it better that their unique abilities tend to change session from session on the GM's whims.

But that's getting away from the question I feel so I will stop there. Again, this thread alone shows the overwhelming majority of other players and I assume GMs do not share my views. I concede to being a dinosaur. I can say this though- if the stats for monsters and NPCs are going to remain in a state similar to what they are now in the playtest I will not end up GMing. I will try playing the game as a player to give it a chance and give feed back on ways that the game can be improved for players. But I refuse to GM so long as these are the rules for mobs we are given. And unfortunately, being the primary GM in all of my groups likely means that the amount of PF2 groups that will actually occur at the tables I play at will likely be sparse.


Gorbacz wrote:
ryric wrote:

As I've thought about this, I don't actually need monsters built like PCs (unless they are NPCs with PC classes) - what I really desire is that monsters are built with some sort of understandable logic. I need to know what happens if I alter some part of the monster, how all the rest of the parts are going to change and interact. What happens if I give the monster armor, or change out its weapon, or give it a wasting disease? What happens if the PCs befriend the monster and ask it questions? The 3.X style stat block is excellent for answering these types of questions.

What I don't want is an arbitrary pile of numbers that only exist for game reasons - this monster has a +X to hit and does Y damage with Z AC because it's CR is A. I want the stats to have an in-game justification that can be understood by the in-world scholars of the game.

Monsters just being a gamey collection of numbers with no internal rhyme or reason was the last straw that made me quit 4e. I went to put some magic armor on a goblin chief, spent about a half hour trying to figure out how doing so would change his AC, trying to figure out how his AC was calculated, until I realized that his AC had nothing to do with his armor, training, or anything else but was simply a number read off the appropriate line for his level and role. Ugh no. That's when I realized I was done with the system.

But you've have had your problem with PF1E already. Monsters with +8 bonus to something because the designer says so. Monsters with weird abilities made to overcome errors in how the type was designed (fey in PF1, undead in 3.5). In 3.5, the deliberately under-CR'd dragons. Monsters with stats pulled out of the blue.

Designers of monsters have been "cheating" since 2000. Gary Gygax was likely laughing at them, because they have self-defeated themselves by declaring that everything is made from the same set of Lego bricks and then had to use Duplo bricks to get things done, while earlier eds just eyeballed the monster....

While I will acknowledge that yes, I have seen a few cases were monster math has been flubbed to make some fit a niche, I can say I have only done that like once and I think it also goes without saying either that most did follow the math in PF1. Even then I have always looked at CR as more of a art than a since; it is a good guideline but hardly concrete. CR assumes the party is a balanced mix when in my experience the party will have all members of a be hyper damage dealers and zero healers. CR also doesn't take player experience into account.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

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Gorbacz wrote:


But you've have had your problem with PF1E already. Monsters with +8 bonus to something because the designer says so. Monsters with weird abilities made to overcome errors in how the type was designed (fey in PF1, undead in 3.5). In 3.5, the deliberately under-CR'd dragons. Monsters with stats pulled out of the blue.

Designers of monsters have been "cheating" since 2000. Gary Gygax was likely laughing at them, because they have self-defeated themselves by declaring that everything is made from the same set of Lego bricks and then had to use Duplo bricks to get things done, while earlier eds just eyeballed the monster. The 2ed Dracolich was there where the designer wanted it to be, the 3.5ed adventure writer was forced to resort to cute tricks like "weeeeellll Dracoliches are soooo ancient and sooo powerful that this one has +Cha to hit points, because otherwise the PCs will roflstomp it due to undead having d12 hp but no stat bonus".

Paizo had a choice - follow a framework that will constrain them and force people to reverse-engineer stuff, or just wing it like earlier eds did. The second approach is much more flexible and simply codifies what everybody has been doing already. Heavens know how many time did I spend hours building a 3.5/PF monster statblocks only to arbitraily alter it so that it will pose a challenge or work the way I wanted it to.

I agree that tacking on such fudge factors is suboptimal monster design. The better way to use the d20 monster system is to give the monster what they should have and assign the CR last. But at least in 3.X/PF1e if the designer chooses to throw in a +8 racial bonus to something to meet some CR based target I know that it goes away when the monster gets polymorphed. Even AD&D 1e/2e had a framework for monster logic - HD determined attacks rolls and saving throws. If you added armor the AC got better by 1 or got set to the armor's AC, and so on. The source of the numbers was at least vaguely justified, not just read off a line in a chart that lists stats by CR.

Designers using natural armor as a fudge factor is one of the reasons that all the high-CR monsters tend to have such pitiful Touch AC in PF1e. Starting with a CR and trying to work backwards from there is a terrible way to make a PF1e monster, and yes, it leads to all sorts of poor consequences. Unfortunately, such backwards monster design seems to be how many critters get built.


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I'm willing to tolerate a logically consistent system like PF1's as long as enemy bosses can take on an entire group of PCs solo and have the battle last at least three rounds.


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Pathfinder Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

The main purpose for giving monsters PC-like stats is to enable comparison between characters and monsters in terms of their various abilities.

Suggesting that they got to be the way they are by hard adventuring experience is actually inappropriate for most monsters.


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In today's playtest this did not go over very well. encountering the Goblin Pyro who cast Burning Hands I was imediatly ased if he was a sorcerer or a wizard, since Goblins are a PC race now. I told them: neither. He's just a monster with spellcasting abilities...because.


the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
Irontruth wrote:


Nice strawman you built there.

I thought the your statement about a monster's job was pretty clear, sorry if I am misreading you.

All I said was that a monsters job was to be an obstacle.

You took that and implied that I don't develop NPC personalities.

See where I might be annoyed?

Not really, because something's function being "obstacle" sounds like deprioritising it developing a personality to me. But I am sorry to have annoyed you and will endeavour not to do so again.

I just want to make sure I have this right.

You don't understand why insulting me might make me annoyed?
or
You don't understand why making negative assumptions about me might be insulting?


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Irontruth wrote:
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
Irontruth wrote:


All I said was that a monsters job was to be an obstacle.

You took that and implied that I don't develop NPC personalities.

See where I might be annoyed?

Not really, because something's function being "obstacle" sounds like deprioritising it developing a personality to me. But I am sorry to have annoyed you and will endeavour not to do so again.

I just want to make sure I have this right.

You don't understand why insulting me might make me annoyed?
or
You don't understand why making negative assumptions about me might be insulting?

Neither of the above.

I don't understand why me taking you saying that "a monster's job is to be an obstacle" as implying "you do not look at monsters the same way I do" would be perceived as a negative assumption about you rather than an indication that you approach the game differently from how I do; I was trying to talk respectfully about a perceived different of style (which I am entirely willing to admit may have been an inaccurate perception) rather than in the least derogatory.

It may be overly logical and literal of me, but the only way I can myself see to reconcile "a monster's job is to be an obstacle" with "I develop NPC's personalities" as positions to hold is if you are regarding monsters and NPCs as different categories, because "being an obstacle" seems to me like a function that actively cuts against developing personalities, in that it would very much limit the PCs' exposure to said personalities.

If that's not what you meant, then can I ask you to clarify your position ?

On the other hand if that is what you meant, if you are treating "monsters" and "NPCs" as different categories, then I think I can legitimately say this is a difference of style, and the style of treating them as different categories is not one I want implemented in the game; because in my style there is absolutely no way to tell in advance which monsters will need to be full-fledged NPCs, so I want the default to be that the material is there for any of them to be. My current player group have a truly remarkable talent for waltzing past subplot hook after subplot hook, and abandoning any number of interesting NPCs, but if one of them should happen to enchant some giant spider I intended as a mere incidental fight, woe will be me if I do not have its carrying capacity readily to hand in case someone decides it would make a cool pack animal.

If there is any entity on any random encounter table you have ever used that did not get full stats and enough of a background and personality to be adopted or charmed into a party role, then your style is different from mine. I make no claims that mine is better in any sense other than being a better fit for my particular player group than one in which any monster ever (with the possible exception of green slime; having cut my teeth on BECMI, I am still less than chuffed with that being a hazard rather than a monster in PF) is, as you put it, just an obstacle.


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OmNomNid wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
Couldn't you put that creativity into designing monsters with new rules then instead of putting it into creating not!PCs?
That works only so long as your players are willing to allow it. You go to far once, make a unique ability for a monster that seems fair or even just a challenge your party can over come that leans too far on the side of difficult- and like that you have violated your players trust.

Can't say I'm with you on that front. Unique special abilities are what make new monsters interesting and challenging, and players expecting to know what those abilities are and how they work straight away isn't part of the social contract I have with my players. (Their characters certainly aren't expected to be familiar with every monster they will find exploring new and distant lands, and players playing by knowledge of a monster their characters have no reason to have is a big no for me.) Having their Str and Int make sense, on the other hand, is. Likewise, I tend to avoid using monsters that don't have a reasonably solidly defined place in the local ecology (for supernatural as well as entirely natural values of "ecology"), which does make it rather annoying that some of the coolest monsters in past Bestiaries haven't really been given enough information for me to use on Golarion (Dinosaurs and megafauna AP soon please! With enough information for me to figure out population densities!) and other niches are really kind of overfilled (just how many plants whose schtick is "squirt PC with something nasty that imposes a debilitating condition and then do bad things to them while they are debilitated" have we got at this point?) What I need is an underlying chassis that holds together and will be visibly how the thing works; given that, bolting a special ability or even several on top of it is fine.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

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Hythlodeus wrote:
In today's playtest this did not go over very well. encountering the Goblin Pyro who cast Burning Hands I was imediatly ased if he was a sorcerer or a wizard, since Goblins are a PC race now. I told them: neither. He's just a monster with spellcasting abilities...because.

IMO, NPCs should be built as PCs since they have learned abilities. I don't mind a shorthand so as to not require a full build for "harbor thug #4," but an NPC with abilities that a PC can't take needs to have an exceptional explanation for those abilities. It's ok if an NPC has a weird ability because it made a pact with a demon lord or some such, as long as you're prepared to give that out to PCs who are willing to make the same pact...

Silver Crusade

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ryric wrote:
Hythlodeus wrote:
In today's playtest this did not go over very well. encountering the Goblin Pyro who cast Burning Hands I was imediatly ased if he was a sorcerer or a wizard, since Goblins are a PC race now. I told them: neither. He's just a monster with spellcasting abilities...because.
IMO, NPCs should be built as PCs since they have learned abilities. I don't mind a shorthand so as to not require a full build for "harbor thug #4," but an NPC with abilities that a PC can't take needs to have an exceptional explanation for those abilities. It's ok if an NPC has a weird ability because it made a pact with a demon lord or some such, as long as you're prepared to give that out to PCs who are willing to make the same pact...

Agreed. I’ve gone on a lot about this specific thing on here and in the Starfinder forums.

Silver Crusade

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Hythlodeus wrote:
In today's playtest this did not go over very well. encountering the Goblin Pyro who cast Burning Hands I was imediatly ased if he was a sorcerer or a wizard, since Goblins are a PC race now. I told them: neither. He's just a monster with spellcasting abilities...because.

I would have said Medium :3


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ryric wrote:
It's ok if an NPC has a weird ability because it made a pact with a demon lord or some such, as long as you're prepared to give that out to PCs who are willing to make the same pact...

It depends on the ability, though. For example, looking at the special abilities a purple worm has in the playtest bestiary, I'm not seeing a player of any standard Medium playable race getting much traction with me as DM if they wanted to be able to regurgitate Huge boulders. (Example picked because of the Int 6 purple worm in Curse of the Crimson Throne, which has a non-trivial plot role of the sort that could easily in a game of mine lead to it becoming a character with personality.)


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Rysky wrote:
Hythlodeus wrote:
In today's playtest this did not go over very well. encountering the Goblin Pyro who cast Burning Hands I was imediatly ased if he was a sorcerer or a wizard, since Goblins are a PC race now. I told them: neither. He's just a monster with spellcasting abilities...because.
I would have said Medium :3

I thought it was pretty clearly marked Small, myself.

Silver Crusade

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the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
ryric wrote:
It's ok if an NPC has a weird ability because it made a pact with a demon lord or some such, as long as you're prepared to give that out to PCs who are willing to make the same pact...
It depends on the ability, though. For example, looking at the special abilities a purple worm has in the playtest bestiary, I'm not seeing a player of any standard Medium playable race getting much traction with me as DM if they wanted to be able to regurgitate Huge boulders. (Example picked because of the Int 6 purple worm in Curse of the Crimson Throne, which has a non-trivial plot role of the sort that could easily in a game of mine lead to it becoming a character with personality.)

Ryric wasn’t talking about Monsters though, when they and I have been talking about NPCs with unique abilities we’re talking about playable races that in 1st Edition would have been built using Class levels, not just any non-playable creature under the GM’s control.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

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Rysky wrote:
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
ryric wrote:
It's ok if an NPC has a weird ability because it made a pact with a demon lord or some such, as long as you're prepared to give that out to PCs who are willing to make the same pact...
It depends on the ability, though. For example, looking at the special abilities a purple worm has in the playtest bestiary, I'm not seeing a player of any standard Medium playable race getting much traction with me as DM if they wanted to be able to regurgitate Huge boulders. (Example picked because of the Int 6 purple worm in Curse of the Crimson Throne, which has a non-trivial plot role of the sort that could easily in a game of mine lead to it becoming a character with personality.)
Ryric wasn’t talking about Monsters though, when they and I have been talking about NPCs with unique abilities we’re talking about playable races that in 1st Edition would have been built using Class levels, not just any non-playable creature under the GM’s control.

Yep, I'm talking about a human coming at you with a sword or a gnome casting spells, i.e., PC ancestries using learned abilities. Those need to follow the same rules as PCs.

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