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

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Ilya Astrakhan Monsters Shawn Sharp
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Head Honcho, Green Ronin

Yes, you'll be able to get the PDF and print version upon release even if you don't back the Kickstarter. This isn't a Kickstarter exclusive; backers just get it first.


$4,000 in 5 hours. I had my doubts we'd get the full colour version, let alone an extra 16 pages.

Now I think we can get the new encounter pack


Pramas wrote:

Yes, you'll be able to get the PDF and print version upon release even if you don't back the Kickstarter. This isn't a Kickstarter exclusive; backers just get it first.

Awesome! Thanks!

Scarab Sages Contributor

$54,916!
45 minutes!
One! Last! Stretch! Goal!

Scarab Sages Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.

We hit $55k!
Which means EVERYONE who pledges gets an encounters pdf!

You have about half an hour!


Awesome Kickstarter campaign! Congratulations on hitting all your original goals, and the latest Encounters.pdf too!


Wooooo! Congrats!! Now to sit patiently until I can buy the incredibly awesome finished product :)

Silver Crusade

passes out cigars

I am really looking forward to how old favorites look this go round. :)

Paizo Employee Developer

Takes one of those cigars

Way to go, folks! I can't wait to have this in my grubby hands.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Takes a cigar

I don't smoke, but I could pawn this off on someone I am sure.

So this is brilliant! Full colour, 32 more pages, all new art, AND an encounter book. Way to bring this into Pathfinder in style! :D


Woo cigars! Got to have some brandy with that too.

Grabs some glasses and a bottle to pass around

Shadow Lodge

Feros wrote:

Takes a cigar

I don't smoke, but I could pawn this off on someone I am sure.

So this is brilliant! Full colour, 32 more pages, all new art, AND an encounter book. Way to bring this into Pathfinder in style! :D

Seconded on all three lines =)


Bah, wish I could have contributed so I could have a cigar :(

But...I am definitely planning to pick this up when I can. Great job everyone! :D

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Here you can have mine, or Feros's, since we don't smoke.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Hey, have them both! :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I wasn't able to see what it got to at the very end so I come back to see this did even better than I thought with only a short time left. I think I'm going to like the new color artwork.


Orthos wrote:
Here you can have mine, or Feros's, since we don't smoke.
Feros wrote:
Hey, have them both! :)

Thanks guys! :D

*puts both of them in his mouth and lights them, the smoke curls into images that are suggestive of all the monsters soon to be enjoyed in the new Advanced Bestiary*


I've never ever been interested in doing a Kickstarter - especially after reading so many Tenkar's Tavern blogs about failed Kickstarters or Kickstarters that funded by didn't make good on their promises.

But when I saw this one I dived in headfirst without hesitation. Why? Because I've got the original and it's beyond awesome.

And because Chris Pramas is an exemplary game designer who I felt I could trust.

Way to go guys! Can't wait to get my stuff!


GREAT! I've hoped for this for the whole last years!


Congratulations guys ^_^

One question though:

These templates were already printed in the Bestiary 4:
- Broken Soul
- Fungal creature
- Devil-Bound
- Divine Guardian
- Nightmare creature

Are these gonna be taken out and replaced by new templates? Are you gonna reprint them in the book? What are you going to do with them?

Scarab Sages Contributor

JiCi wrote:

Congratulations guys ^_^

One question though:

These templates were already printed in the Bestiary 4:
- Broken Soul
- Fungal creature
- Devil-Bound
- Divine Guardian
- Nightmare creature

Are these gonna be taken out and replaced by new templates? Are you gonna reprint them in the book? What are you going to do with them?

That's a GREAT question. We actually asked both Paizo forums and the KS backers during the KS what we should do, and the overwhelming answer was "Don't include them, replace them with things not in the Bestiaries!"

So that is what we shall do.

Silver Crusade

Have to wonder what will become of the new art assets for those removed templates though... :(

(I mean, if they did have new ones, just realized I really don't know!)

Scarab Sages Contributor

The art for the book isn't done yet, amongst other reasons because we were really hoping we'd get to do all-new color art. We just won't have anyone new new art for the very small number of templates we aren't duplicating from Bestiary 4, and will use the page count and art budget for other things!


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
JiCi wrote:

Congratulations guys ^_^

One question though:

These templates were already printed in the Bestiary 4:
- Broken Soul
- Fungal creature
- Devil-Bound
- Divine Guardian
- Nightmare creature

Are these gonna be taken out and replaced by new templates? Are you gonna reprint them in the book? What are you going to do with them?

That's a GREAT question. We actually asked both Paizo forums and the KS backers during the KS what we should do, and the overwhelming answer was "Don't include them, replace them with things not in the Bestiaries!"

So that is what we shall do.

Are we getting new material as replacements for those five IN ADDITION to the 32 new pages of material that were Stretch Goals in the Kickstarter? (Please say yes, please say yes, please say yes...)

:)


Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:

That's a GREAT question. We actually asked both Paizo forums and the KS backers during the KS what we should do, and the overwhelming answer was "Don't include them, replace them with things not in the Bestiaries!"

So that is what we shall do.

Oh, that's good news ^_^... although please check the OTHER bestiaries to double-check if more templates got reprinted as well... just in case XD


The thing that excites me about this book is that I can stick a template on a Pit Fiend, Balor, or some other powerful outsider to give it a unique "identity" and possibly make it central campaign antagonist. Kind of like how I thought about putting the Shadow Creature template on a bunch of devils and making them be heretics who serve Zon-Kuthon. :)

Owen, what's the highest CR enhancement granted by a template in this book?

Scarab Sages Contributor

Axial wrote:
Owen, what's the highest CR enhancement granted by a template in this book?

First, I don't have a set answer to that perfectly reasonable question because the text isn't set in stone yet. I could go crazy and create a CR +20 Mythic Tarrasque Killer template. (I *doubt * it, but... )

Secondly, that's actually a surprisingly tricky question to answer. Some templates are a set +1 to +3. Some depend on things like HD and specific options taken. I think an angelic vessel based on a solar is +4, while I believe a gigantean great wyrm red dragon would technically run something like +14 CR.

But we also warn people to reality-check their CRs, because a system like this can produce odd results, especially when you start adding things like the amalgam template.


Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
while I believe a gigantean great wyrm red dragon would technically run something like +14 CR.

Ah, interesting.

...Wait, what!?

Dark Archive

Axial wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
while I believe a gigantean great wyrm red dragon would technically run something like +14 CR.

Ah, interesting.

...Wait, what!?

Yeah, that looks right. +29 HD to a Colossal Red Dragon would add +14 CR, by the template (in the original Advanced Bestiary anyway).

Be vewwy afwaid.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I got another question: Will we get entirely new sample creatures? If so, are you gonna stick with one per template or some are gonna get more?

Personally, I feel that some temples just might need more than just one sample creature, just to illustrate all the intended mecanics OR to make sure that people get the right idea on how to create new creatures using the template in question.

The Amalgalm template seems like a perfect example to have more than just one sample creature. Maybe 2 or 3 should be better to illustrate the possibilities and little details.

Oh, thanks to you, I want to create an amalgalm with a Lunar Dragon and a Solar Dragon to be renamed "Eclipse Dragon".


3 people marked this as a favorite.
JiCi wrote:

Oh, thanks to you, I want to create an amalgalm with a Lunar Dragon and a Solar Dragon to be renamed "Eclipse Dragon".

I am officially drooling at that thought.


Azaelas Fayth wrote:
JiCi wrote:

Oh, thanks to you, I want to create an amalgalm with a Lunar Dragon and a Solar Dragon to be renamed "Eclipse Dragon".

I am officially drooling at that thought.

me, u want to amalgalm a black pudding with a starspawn of ctulhu...gootulhu

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hi just had a random thought for a template suggestion if it's not to late to bring it up.

How about a template that turns regular low cr creatures into the troop subtype from Rasputin must die? (Or something similair if not allowed to use that type)

Scarab Sages Contributor

We're doing new art, so we have options on sample creatures. Some patrons paid to work with me to pick sample creatures, so they are wild cards right now. Beyond that, I think it's safe to say we'll pick the coolest combination of template + sample creature we can think of. If we think we got that right the first time, we won't change it just for the sake of change. If we think we have a cooler new idea, we'll do that.


When do you expect this to go up for preorders? I missed out on the kickstarter, and would love to preorder as a show of support.

In the meantime, I think I'm going to be buying at least a PDF copy of the 3.5 book, since I missed out on it before.


dot

And I would like to know if it's gonna take less time to work on it since it's essentially about converting, or are you gonna take as much time as you need for other books to revise and re-write every single template to make them optimal.

Scarab Sages Contributor

Unruly wrote:
When do you expect this to go up for preorders? I missed out on the kickstarter, and would love to preorder as a show of support.

I'm not sure, but I'll certainly make an announcement here when we do.

Unruly wrote:
In the meantime, I think I'm going to be buying at least a PDF copy of the 3.5 book, since I missed out on it before.

Obviously I am all in favor of this plan!

Scarab Sages Contributor

JiCi wrote:
And I would like to know if it's gonna take less time to work on it since it's essentially about converting, or are you gonna take as much time as you need for other books to revise and re-write every single template to make them optimal.

We take the idea of producing solid products so seriously, the conversion work had begun long before we held the Kickstarter.

Now, it WILL go faster because we're updating an existing product. But we'll take all the time we need to make the version of AdvB we always wanted to see!


Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
JiCi wrote:
And I would like to know if it's gonna take less time to work on it since it's essentially about converting, or are you gonna take as much time as you need for other books to revise and re-write every single template to make them optimal.

We take the idea of producing solid products so seriously, the conversion work had begun long before we held the Kickstarter.

Now, it WILL go faster because we're updating an existing product. But we'll take all the time we need to make the version of AdvB we always wanted to see!

Well, I kinda was expecting a certain delay, but I just wanted to know how long we could expect it to be.


I look forward to picking this up when it comes out, even if it's not coming out anytime soon.

Webstore Gninja Minion

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Unruly wrote:
When do you expect this to go up for preorders? I missed out on the kickstarter, and would love to preorder as a show of support.
I'm not sure, but I'll certainly make an announcement here when we do.

I'm looking forward to shouting it from the digital rooftops. :)


As an owner of the original book, I'm very excited about this. Really bummed I missed out on the KS, but I'm most definitely going to pick this up once it prints. I plan on using the manimal on our cavalier's mount in my Kingmaker game, so seeing an updated version will be great.

Scarab Sages Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
JiCi wrote:
Well, I kinda was expecting a certain delay, but I just wanted to know how long we could expect it to be.

I hope to have a print copy in my hands at PaizoCon... and be able to sign other folk's print copies.

Liberty's Edge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Oh my!
How does it came to be that I totally missed this KS...?!
I own the 3.5 Version and I can't think of any other book I've used more as a GM.
Buying it, once it gets published is a no brainer!
Will we non-backers also be able to purchase the Hero lab stuff? That would be sooo awesome!!!


In hopes to catch a future conundrum before being released, two templates might need some clarifications: the Manimal and Verminoid templates.

The Manimal and Verminoid templates turn any creature of the Animal or the Vermin type into bipedal Monstrous Humanoids. However, in its 3.5 format, it stated something like this: "Of its other limbs, two become legs, and all others become arms."

For octopus manimals and squid manimals, they essentially end up with 6 or 8 arms, respectively, thus kinda unbalancing the template in those cases. Verminoids are worse, because most vermins end up with 4 arms, arachnids end up with 6 arms and centipedes end up with a number of arms right off the chart.

I have the old version with me... and yeah, that wasn't addressed at all. So, may I suggest that manimals with more than 4 limbs that 2 more become arms and THEN 2 more become legs (essentially becoming a tauric-like creature) and more become vestigial, capping at 4 functional arms and 4 functional legs? Same thing with the verminoids.

A spider verminoid may not have 6 arms, but having 4 legs does grant it stability and mobility.


Another template that might need some adjustments is the Negative-Energy-Charged Creature template.
1) Change the name, please. Void Death, Grim Undead, Negative Infused Undead, whatever.
2) CR +1 seems too low for its benefits, maybe +2, if not +3, is more accurate.
3) Searing Darkness needs a check-up, because it feels weak for powerful undead. Ray deals 1d6 points of damage per 2 HD against living creatures, heals 1d6 points of damage per HD against undead, deals half damage against constructs and objects. Sounds better IMO.

The Bipedal template might run into the same problem as the manimal and verminoid templates when it comes to limbs converted to arms.

The Bramble template could use a permanent prickle whip, with the stats of the scorpion whip instead of the regular whip.

The Dread Wraith Sovereign is way too powerful. However, a Sovereign version of each undead template could be useful.

The Dream Creature might need a higher CR adjustment.

The Genie-Bound template would need the Marid and Shaitan versions.

The ID Ooze could use the ability to speak in a bubbly voice. Its appearance always reminds me of The Abyss.

The Jotunblood Giant template would need any new giant variant added since B1.

The Metal-Clad template WILL need a better CR adjustment table, because they actually mixed up CR and LA.

That's all I could spot right now. Hope that helps ^_^


dot

Liberty's Edge

Any idea when we will be able to order it?


Whoa...that Blood Knight looks nasty! A variation of the Grave Knight perhaps? If so, whatever party that takes that thing on had better have a healer ready! ^_~


Quote:
The Bramble template could use a permanent prickle whip, with the stats of the scorpion whip instead of the regular whip.

Bramble template? As in a wood-elemental being or a being with affinity for the wood element (and thus not made totally out of wood)? I ask as I've been DYING to make a tribe of forest dwelling nature affiliated halflings or gnomes (aka like the Kokiri). ^_^

Quote:
The Dread Wraith Sovereign is way too powerful.

Dread Wraith SOVEREIGN? Hooboy, I'm gonna pray my GM doesn't have this book in his cart already. LOL.

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