This Bestiary is Advanced

Thursday, December 7, 2013


Illustration by Ilya Astrakhan

My name is Chris Pramas is I'll be your guest blogger today. You may know me as the founder and president of Green Ronin Publishing, the author of the AD&D Guide to Hell, a contributor to the Emerald Spire superdungeon, or the designer of the Dragon Age RPG. The fine people at Paizo Publishing have given me the chance to tell you about Green Ronin's latest Kickstarter, the Advanced Bestiary for the Pathfinder RPG!

Veterans of the d20 years will no doubt recognize the Advanced Bestiary. It originally came out in 2005 and was an immediate hit. The book provided over 100 templates and a sample creature for each of them. The utility it provided to GMs was immense. As we like to say, the Advanced Bestiary makes every other monster book you own more valuable.

Now we are bringing the Advanced Bestiary back and updating it for Pathfinder. This was an easy decision to make because we've received so many requests from Pathfinder fans to do so. Last summer, for example, I went down to PaizoCon on Sunday. I was there in no official capacity. I showed up to take part in the miniatures trade and to hang out in the bar and see friends. Nonetheless, multiple people came up to me and said, "Please update the Advanced Bestiary!" It was something we were already talking about after the success of our Freeport Kickstarter earlier this year, but the personal pleas certainly brought it home!

We realize, of course, that there are many Pathfinder fans who were not around in 2005 and that's one reason we've had our Pathfinder developer, Owen Stephens, creating some new sample monsters using templates from the book. He started with three new creatures, the Cave Ogre, Toxic Goblin, and Autumn Genie. Then he took those same base creatures and made three different creatures with other templates: the Herald of Ragnarok, Darkling, and Umbrated Genie. You can download all those sample monsters for free in Wednesday's update.


Illustration by Shawn Sharp

The great news is that we've already hit our basic funding goal and unlocked two stretch goals (a new cover for the book and 16 pages of new content). You can be assured therefore that the Advanced Bestiary is happening and you can pledge in confidence. We are pushing to hit at least two more stretch goals, however. If we can get up to $45,000, we will print the book in full color and commission brand new color art for the whole thing. This is how we really want to do the book and we've got until Monday, December 9. Let's make it happen!

If you are a loyal Pathfinder fan, you've actually been enjoying the Advanced Bestiary for years already. Here's a list of all the Paizo books that have used templates from the book. Clearly Paizo knows something about the Advanced Bestiary. Check out the Kickstarter and find out what!

Spoiler:
  • Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition
  • Pathfinder Module: Carnival of Tears
  • Pathfinder Module: Hungry are the Dead
  • Pathfinder Module: Realm of the Fellnight Queen
  • Pathfinder Module: City of Golden Death
  • Pathfinder Module: Revenge of the Kobold King
  • Pathfinder Module: Crucible of Chaos
  • Pathfinder #65: Into the Nightmare Rift (Shattered Star, Volume 5)
  • Pathfinder #54: The Empty Throne (Jade Regent, Volume 6)
  • Pathfinder #51: The Hungry Storm (Jade Regent, Volume 3)
  • Pathfinder #50: Night of Frozen Shadows (Jade Regent, Volume 2)
  • Pathfinder #48: Shadows of Gallowspire (Carrion Crown, Volume 6)
  • Pathfinder #47: Ashes at Dawn (Carrion Crown, Volume 5)
  • Pathfinder #46: Wake of the Watcher (Carrion Crown, Volume 4)
  • Pathfinder #45: Broken Moon (Carrion Crown, Volume 3)
  • Pathfinder #42: Sanctum of the Serpent God (Serpent's Skull, Volume 6)
  • Pathfinder #40: Vaults of Madness (Serpent's Skull, Volume 4)
  • Pathfinder #36: Sound of a Thousand Screams (Kingmaker, Volume 6)
  • Pathfinder #34: Blood for Blood (Kingmaker, Volume 4)
  • Pathfinder #33: The Varnhold Vanishing (Kingmaker, Volume 3)
  • Pathfinder #31: Stolen Land (Kingmaker, Volume 1)
  • Pathfinder #30: The Twice-Damned Prince (Council of Thieves, Volume 6)
  • Pathfinder #28: The Infernal Syndrome (Council of Thieves, Volume 4)
  • Pathfinder #27: What Lies in Dust (Council of Thieves, Volume 3)
  • Pathfinder #26: The Sixfold Trial (Council of Thieves, Volume 2)
  • Pathfinder #23: The Impossible Eye (Legacy of Fire, Volume 5)
  • Pathfinder #22: The End of Eternity (Legacy of Fire, Volume 4)
  • Pathfinder #18: Descent into Midnight (Second Darkness, Volume 6)
  • Pathfinder #16: Endless Night (Second Darkness, Volume 4)
  • Pathfinder #12: Crown of Fangs (Curse of the Crimson Throne, Volume 6)
  • Pathfinder #11: Skeletons of Scarwall (Curse of the Crimson Throne, Volume 5)
  • Pathfinder #10: A History of Ashes (Curse of the Crimson Throne, Volume 4)
  • Pathfinder #9: Escape from Old Korvosa (Curse of the Crimson Throne, Volume 3)
  • Pathfinder #6: Spires of Xin-Shalast (Rise of the Runelords, Volume 6)
  • Pathfinder #4: Fortress of the Stone Giants (Rise of the Runelords, Volume 4)
  • Pathfinder #2: The Skinsaw Murders (Rise of the Runelords, Volume 2)

Chris Pramas
Green Ronin Publishing

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Tags: Ilya Astrakhan Monsters Shawn Sharp
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I've already seen two template names that will let me pull off some horror-themed stuff I've been wanting to try for ages. Plus, as I've been looking at the template names, evil, mean, rotten, and deliciously nasty ideas have been forming in my head based around "normal monsters" (can you even USE those two words together??) being perverted into new fell beasts (via templates) through exposure to magical forces gone wild. I can't wait!

Liberty's Edge

Oh, I want this book. Too many monster books on my shelf already, but such a nice book. Always room for one more.

I'll happily snag this from Paizo.com next year when it's releases.

I wish you all the best success in the Kickstarter. I was part of the KS (even had one of the early bird copies) but sudden expenses have forced me to cancel. :(
But someday...


From someone who started gaming last year I am immensely excited about this book and have backed it!

Scarab Sages Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Certainly I understand bad finances, and everyone has to do what they feel best for them.

I *will* note that backing this NOW increases the chances that the end book will be bigger and better. So there's a benefit to helping us with the KS, instead of waiting until later.

(Though we'll be happy to sell it to you whenever!)


I really hope you folks reach the $45,000 stretch goal - I always love new monster art :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Really wish I could afford to contribute. This thing sounds amazing.


Good luck with hitting 45K though I personally want to see 50K. Unfortunately I'll have to wait for it to be available on Paizo.com, you're ending literally 3 days before I get paid (Damn you living expenses!!!)


$45,000 for colored artwork?

Damn, there goes my dream of once paying good artists to do my monster art for my own project... if so few artworks already cost that much...

Silver Crusade

WANT

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I've already backed the KS, but will this be available to anyone other than the backers?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Card Game, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Gancanagh wrote:

$45,000 for colored artwork?

Damn, there goes my dream of once paying good artists to do my monster art for my own project... if so few artworks already cost that much...

It's not that they're paying the 45k to get the art, the kickstarter funds also have to pay for printing the books themselvesand all thr other rewards. It's just at 45k the budget will allow them to pay for the art.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Enlight_Bystand wrote:
Gancanagh wrote:

$45,000 for colored artwork?

Damn, there goes my dream of once paying good artists to do my monster art for my own project... if so few artworks already cost that much...

It's not that they're paying the 45k to get the art, the kickstarter funds also have to pay for printing the books themselvesand all thr other rewards. It's just at 45k the budget will allow them to pay for the art.

That being said, art is bloody expensive.

Shadow Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Had to back this. Wasn't even aware of the kickstarter until now. The original was a fantastic piece of work.


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

True art is the most expensive part.

Well good luck to them to reach there goal.

Sczarni

I wish Paizo would alert us to these sooner. The advanced bestiary is one of my most treasured books. Take my money!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber

I'm in for the electronic backers maximum amount, its the bloody $20 shipping to canada that stops me from going further. I hope a paper copy eventually shows up at my brick and mortar, and I hope we can hit the colour stretch goal.


Snagging a copy. Good to meet you (ever so briefly) at PaizoCon Chris!

Scarab Sages Contributor

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Enlight_Bystand wrote:
Gancanagh wrote:

$45,000 for colored artwork?

Damn, there goes my dream of once paying good artists to do my monster art for my own project... if so few artworks already cost that much...

It's not that they're paying the 45k to get the art, the kickstarter funds also have to pay for printing the books themselvesand all thr other rewards. It's just at 45k the budget will allow them to pay for the art.

Yeah, the budgeting of a Kickstarter is a tricky thing.

Obviously if we hit $45k, we'll need to print a lot more books. On average, we'll need to print twice as many as we needed to when we were at $22.5k. So, a lot of the money goes toward printing (and shipping, and other basic costs of making and delivering books).

So, why can we afford more art at $45k when we can't at $22.5? Two main reasons. The first is fixed costs. The amount we pay for the conversion work, the Hero Lab files, and similar one-time expenses is fixed -- it doesn't scale up as the print run increases. So if we can know for certain we'll print enough books, we can afford both those fixed costs and something new m(like some new color art).

The second main factor is economy of scale. If you print 1,000 books, each book costs a little less than if you print 500. Of course you are still pending more total money, and that doesn't do you any good unless you can sell all 1,000 copies. But if you run a Kickstarter, you can set up a budget based on the cost of 500, and 1,000, and 1,500 copies, and know that you've pre-sold some percentage of those. That lets you figure out how much of your budget must go to print costs, and how much you can use for things like new art.

So if we hit $45k, our budget should then have a little spare room, above and beyond what is needed to fixed costs and print and shipping costs, we can use for new art. And that's a big reason why there is a benefit to consumers to pledge for the book now. Every pledge we get now helps us make the end product a better book. We *will* sell the book outside of the KS, but we can't count those sales as sure things and use the spare money they generate to make a bigger, better Advanced Bestiary.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Wow this is great the only thing I felt was missing in the original was color pictures, so hoping the new one gets to that stretch goal.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Joined up on this, here's hoping for color!


I never wanted to pony up the dough when I saw this on ebay or amazon. Just too expensive. But Owen KC Stephens is involved with the update? Take my fidy!

Scarab Sages Contributor

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Beercifer wrote:
I never wanted to pony up the dough when I saw this on ebay or amazon. Just too expensive. But Owen KC Stephens is involved with the update? Take my fidy!

I blush!

(Don't get me wrong, we're taking your money! I'm just blushing as I do it.)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

This is the no-brainiest of all no-brainers to get!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

5 people marked this as a favorite.

I would consider this to be an important book in any freelancer or GM library. Whether you're preparing a homebrew game or designing professionally, the fact is that players enjoy coming across new and dynamically interesting monsters.

The Advanced Bestiary gives you the tools to really spice up any monster without an entire design overhaul. New powers, abilities, and even weaknesses that the PCs may not see coming. Players enjoy challenges and surprises (assuming the GM is not unfair).

This literally increases the value of every single Paizo Bestiary, AP Monster Section, Midgard Bestiary, and single other 3PP Monster product you own right now.

It is an added value that expands on the money you already spent on other monsters books. There's an old saying that goes, "You can never have too many monsters for your RPG." Well, multiplying your existing library of monsters EXPONENTIALLY seems like a pretty smart idea to me.

Now as Owen said early, if you don't have the money then you don't have the money. Bless you and I wish you better financial times ahead, and don't worry the book will be for sale at a later date. If you're just uncertain—then don't be. This book has been a trusted in-house resource for years. Just read Chris's post above, this isn't rocket science, it is a trusted and relied upon resource. I suspect anybody who doesn't buy it now may well want it later—but if you invest in it now, you and everybody else might get an even better book. If you got the money for other Bestiaries, you should consider adding this to your library.

Okay.. Speech over. For the record, I have no business relationship with Green Ronin. I just believe in the product and I am a backer.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Jim convinced me, I backed at the $30.00 level.

Webstore Gninja Minion

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Amalgam template still remains one of my absolute favoritest templates. Back in the day, I had a community-supported database of statblocks, and this is what some people came up with using the Advanced Bestiary. (The Styxian Beast, amalgam of aboleth and barghest, is one of mine. :P )

Shadow Lodge

I've been meaning to use that template to get myself a properly-converted Cathezar, who is still one of my favorite villains.

Head Honcho, Green Ronin

In today's update I thank Paizo for letting me be a guest blogger and announce a new reward: now all pledges $20 or above get a copy of the Ultimate GM Screen II from Fat Dragon Games!


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm in at $45. I saw this early on and jumped on the early bird special. New cover, more templates, I want to see how high this climbs. Right now it's all gravy for me. I have a copy of the original and as a GM/DM it was a great friend. The fact that it's coming back bigger and better than ever fills me with evil glee. I can't wait to see what the finished product will look like.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Leo_Negri wrote:
Good luck with hitting 45K though I personally want to see 50K. Unfortunately I'll have to wait for it to be available on Paizo.com, you're ending literally 3 days before I get paid (Damn you living expenses!!!)

You get a week to pay once the Kickstarter ends. Maybe even eight days, I forget.

Go for it!


Not only will you have an awesome book, you'll have contributed to a resource that will continue to serve GMs and publishers alike for years to come.

Shadow Lodge

Full color unlocked!

Scarab Sages Contributor

Okay folks, we have blown past a goal, added a *nice* extra bonus at $20 and up, and are moving towards *all new art*!

Spread the word, consider boosting your own pledge, and remember that Kickstarter pledges can make great, easy-to-wrap Christmas gifts!

(That you can't actually give until much, much later, but everyone will do the "get your gift now" thing. You can be different!)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The original Advanced Bestiary is still one of my best go-to books when I need to put a twist on something. Want to see your players squirm in their seats? Apply the swarm template to a bebilith.

In my Wounded Earth campaign, it allowed me to come up with an appropriately strange population for a group of islands called the Shards, where all four elemental planes bled in, often violently and unexpectedly. Smoke eels, tree squids, and other strange and often nasty denizens await.

Might have to knock over a liquor store so I've got the extra scratch to back this one.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Shadowborn wrote:
The original Advanced Bestiary is still one of my best go-to books when I need to put a twist on something. Want to see your players squirm in their seats? Apply the swarm template to a bebilith.

That... that's just nasty.

But not nasty enough. Add the Apocalypse Swarm template to that thing, too.

Or else swap the bebilith for a Leng Spider.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hmm...I'll make a note of that. *evil grin* Still, the image of a great, pulsating egg sac bursting open and pouring out hundreds of cat-sized bebiliths fills me with glee. Goodbye armor and hello pain.


Rust Monsters against Heavy Armoured Parties.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Shadowborn wrote:
Hmm...I'll make a note of that. *evil grin* Still, the image of a great, pulsating egg sac bursting open and pouring out hundreds of cat-sized bebiliths fills me with glee. Goodbye armor and hello pain.

That's the thing I wondered about, though - the armor rending. Since it's a strength-based ability, wouldn't a bebilith swarm lose it? Or is it one of those things they'd keep since we can assume the swarm to just slip in between the cracks and make things miserable for any humanoids wearing armor?

Owen, do you or any of the other Green Ronin want to make a ruling here?


Armour Rending seems more like it would just be harder for the Bebilith to use... Or simply explain it as multiple bebiliths hitting the armour in the same spot rips it open.

Dark Archive

Azaelas Fayth wrote:
Rust Monsters against Heavy Armoured Parties.

Go in the other direction and make the Rust Monsters Bipedal and Gigantean, or perhaps even Devil-Bound!


Set wrote:
Azaelas Fayth wrote:
Rust Monsters against Heavy Armoured Parties.

Go in the other direction and make the Rust Monsters Bipedal and Gigantean, or perhaps even Devil-Bound!

Where can I find those templates? And can I combine all 3?

Dark Archive

They are from the original Advanced Bestiary, and could be combined onto a single creature (but the Devil-Possessed one would require something else to make the Rust Monster intelligent enough to be able to sign a contract with a devil...).


An Awakened Gigantean Devil-Bound Rust Monster!

Dark Archive

Just hit the 45k stretch goal. All color art inside, new cover, some new content...push to 50k and we'll unlock a bit more content. Let's make Green Ronin sweat a little about some new stretch goals ;p


I gotta say, i am in on this one. looking forward to looking over the original 3.5 version while i wait.

Scarab Sages Contributor

Kvantum wrote:
Shadowborn wrote:
Hmm...I'll make a note of that. *evil grin* Still, the image of a great, pulsating egg sac bursting open and pouring out hundreds of cat-sized bebiliths fills me with glee. Goodbye armor and hello pain.

That's the thing I wondered about, though - the armor rending. Since it's a strength-based ability, wouldn't a bebilith swarm lose it? Or is it one of those things they'd keep since we can assume the swarm to just slip in between the cracks and make things miserable for any humanoids wearing armor?

Owen, do you or any of the other Green Ronin want to make a ruling here?

Not until we've developed the Pathfinder version of the template we don't. :D


I unfortunately do not have the budget this week to donate to the kickstarter, but I really look forward to picking this up when it comes out! Will the PDF be available for sale down the road?

Scarab Sages Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Most GR books have pdfs available at the Green Ronin online store (http://greenroninstore.com/collections/pdfs), so I suspect this one will eventually, too.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

ARGH! Seven hours to go, $49,255 pledged.
$50k for extra content - go, guys, go! :-D

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