Building Monsters

Monday, May 14, 2018

We've talked in depth about many of the systematic changes and PC options in the blogs so far, but what about monsters? From animated objects to zombies, from the lowliest kobold to the mighty jabberwock, the Pathfinder Playtest Bestiary includes over 250 different monsters and other adversaries built specifically for the playtest. But what makes these monsters tick? We've worked to bring you many of your favorite Pathfinder monsters with their familiar feel and niche in the world, but with updated mechanics to make your encounters even more memorable!

Signature Abilities

One of the monster innovations I—a computer science student at the time—appreciated most in Pathfinder First Edition was the idea of the Universal Monster Rule. It follows one of the most important principles of programming: modularity, which is to say, don't reinvent the wheel. One side effect of Universal Monster Rules having been a new concept in Pathfinder First Edition, however, is that many less fantastic creatures, especially animals, had a similar suite of Universal Monster Rules. For example, owlbears are iconic and memorable creatures, but as far as their statistics, if you look at the CR 4 owlbear and the CR 4 tiger side by side, the owlbear doesn't really have anything different to use during the encounter that the tiger doesn't.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

In the playtest version, those two monsters have some significantly different abilities. The tiger still has grab, allowing it to grapple a creature it hits with its jaws or claw attack, and the pounce action, allowing it to Stride and then Strike. Based on its real-world fighting style, it now also has wrestle, allowing it to claw a creature it's grabbed and knock it prone, and sneak attack, granting it extra damage against flat-footed creatures (typically ambushed via Stealth or those prone from its wrestle). Meanwhile, the owlbear also still has grab, but once it has you grabbed, it can gnaw on you, hoping to disembowel you so it can devour your guts and later regurgitate them to feed its young—and potentially making you sick from the disgusting sight. It can also unleash a blood-curdling screech as it advances into the fight to frighten you.

In general, giving interesting new abilities to real-world animals like the tiger allowed us to do some fun research into the animals' habits and design from there. Animals that hunt in packs sometimes have abilities to deal extra damage in groups, ambush predators use sneak attack and various sneaky tactics, and so on.

Dynamic Defenses

In Pathfinder First Edition, damage reduction (DR) and energy resistance both reduce damage by a set amount, the rarer vulnerability multiplies damage by 1.5, and immunity flat-out prevents certain abilities from functioning. Taken as a whole, monster defenses generally penalize you for using the wrong thing; you can deal your normal damage only by correctly bypassing DR, resistance, and immunities, and monsters rarely have a vulnerability. But in stories, we often imagine fey as being burned by cold iron or werewolves being poisoned by silver, and the reality of DR is that they just take the same damage from those as they do from cold, electricity, or fire. To fit those stories and to vary things up, we've combined DR and energy resistance into resistance, which reduces damage by a set amount, and we've changed vulnerability into a more common element called weakness, which increases damage by a set amount.

Two great examples of how this can dramatically change the feel of monsters are skeletons and zombies. A level 0 skeleton has 14 AC, 6 HP, and since it's made of bone, resistance 5 to slashing and piercing damage. A level 0 zombie, on the other hand, has 11 AC, 20 HP, and weakness 5 to slashing damage. The zombie takes 5 extra damage every time it's hit by a slashing weapon—that's an extremely high weakness! This means the fights feel very different, even though the creatures both take about the same number of swings to bring down. You can test this out for yourself in Pathfinder First Edition right now: consider giving zombies some extra HP and changing their DR into a weakness instead and see how the feel of the fight shifts!

Sweet Suites

Some monsters in Pathfinder First Edition have a large suite of abilities (typically from long lists of spell-like abilities), which vary between key iconic abilities, story abilities that influence what the monster can do in the narrative, and other abilities that are niche, redundant, or sometimes much weaker than their other attacks. For instance, it's pretty unlikely a nalfeshnee's call lightning is a good idea for a CR 14 monster to use in combat, and it doesn't have much of a noncombat application, either. In Pathfinder Second Edition, we tried to keep a monster's iconic abilities and story abilities while removing redundant or niche abilities, and then adding something new that fits the monster's ecology. For instance, barbed devils don't have the equivalent of order's wrath or unholy blight, but they have a special power called Warden of Erebus that lets them create extremely versatile glyphs of warding, cementing their role as, well, wardens of Erebus. For all such monsters, the goal is to make the monster's suite of abilities much easier to use and more memorable without oversimplifying the monsters, following our overall goal of adding as much depth to the game as possible while minimizing the cost in complexity.

I Have Multiattack

To close off, many people have been wondering how in the world we handle creatures with many heads, like the hydra, or arms, like the marilith or hekatonkheires, in the 3-action system. Such creatures have unique abilities to use their attacks in tandem in different ways. For instance, a marilith has three options for her six blades. She can make a focused assault on one enemy, which can deal a massive amount of damage on a hit, and deals damage for a single longsword even on a failure (but not a critical failure). Alternatively, she can spin about like a whirlwind of blades, attacking up to six different creatures with her swords. Finally, she can just attack twice and use the other blades to parry, giving her a killer AC for 1 round.

That's it for monsters for today; tune in on Friday as Logan goes through an example monster in detail and shows how we made the statblock easier to reference!

Mark Seifter
Designer

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Volkard Abendroth wrote:

No, I am specifically discussing PF2: Weakness 5 slashing vs PF1: DR 5/slashing.

It's was stated in the blog this was going to become a much more common means of combining DR & Energy Resistance.

Fair enough, I was mistaken. I do believe that it's a better solution, though.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Class Deck, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
Voss wrote:

To some with a decent weapon and damage bonus, skeletons and zombies are going to feel exactly the same: about two hits and done.

I'm unclear how the fights would 'feel different,' when even your post flat out says they'll take roughly the same amount of hits. Fewer hp but resistance and more hp but weakness is mathematically the same thing, unless one or more of those numbers are wildly out of scale.

Can't really tell you why, but they just feel quite different; we've had that feedback from a large swath of playtesters (including fans who tried the game out at convention demos). Try it yourself in PF1 like the blog suggests and perhaps you'll see what I mean!

My gut reaction on this topic, and this exchange, is the differences are felt in the description of the attacks, in the presentation of each case... it's not the math that's different, it's the flavor. It's how it lets you narrate the encounter. I'm not suggesting going into a full minute long description of each attack, but it doesn't take many words to convey the moment and these should produce very different /feeling/ moments.


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This all looks amazing!

The flat bonus damage to hitting a weakness reminds me of Monster Hunter in all of the best ways.

I can’t wait to build a Ranger with two 2 Frost Short Swords and shred a Red Dragon into itty bitty chunks! :3


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One thing that I do hope we get in 2E that hasn't been directly mentioned is a better way of approximating large numbers of creatures.

1E had swarms for smaller creatures and troops for larger creatures.

I feel like the troop rules should be tweaked a bit (such as likely removing the unavoidable damage and instead having special troop attacks similar to the marilith mentioned in the blog) but deserve a place in the playtest bestiary.

Having an easy solution to "the entire Goblin encampment is angry at you" without having combat rounds take half an hour seems like a near-requirement for a new game.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dasrak wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
This is more of a feature than a bug. In the previous edition having one big attack had an advantage (getting through DR) while lots of small attacks that totaled the same damage was a pure disadvantage. Giving lots of small attacks an advantage (if targeting a Weakness) to balance their own down side (if running into Resistance) is a very good way to make different combat styles feel different and be better against different foes without making one the 'best' combat style.

I'm less concerned with comparing 10th level two-hander PC to 10th level two-weapon PC, and more comparing that 10th level PC to ten 1st level NPC's. If proper equipment allows anyone with a decent numerical advantage to beat Frost Giants, they aren't exactly credible threats in-universe. I'm not sure how I feel about that. On the other hand it can be very thematic to have Frost Giants retreating in fear from much weaker foes because they wield fire.

Not sure how I feel about this one yet.

"Son, even though those pesky 'littles' are weak and squishy, we mostly avoid large towns and need to be careful about not being ambushed."

"Why is that, Pa? They can't stand up to us!"

"Son, they can do worse than 'stand up to us.' Volleys of fire arrows hurt! Sure, we can kill a lot of them, but they can kill at least some of us in return. And there are usually more of them than there are of us."

"But, Pa..."

"Son, you don't go kicking rocks at the bottom of a snow-covered slope without risking an avalanche."


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ElSilverWind wrote:

This all looks amazing!

The flat bonus damage to hitting a weakness reminds me of Monster Hunter in all of the best ways.

I can’t wait to build a Ranger with two 2 Frost Short Swords and shred a Red Dragon into itty bitty chunks! :3

Ah, a Dual Blades wielder!

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

The Dual Blades are exactly my style as well. ^_^

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I like that the zombie’s weakness is a reason Amiri might turn off Power Attack for a fight. Just a little way to make tactics more diverse.


Having right weapon (physical type and/or elemental) to hit Weakness seems part of having "Prepared" advantage for fight, although not covering ALL of full preparedness. Seems like Playtest will be good to compare bad/average/good weapons/spells alongside other areas of preparation/not-preparation, since degree of bonus damage kind of ultimately needs to fulfill whatever role it's considered to have within preparation advantage.


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All looks great.

Great decision to rethink damage reduction and vulnerabilities. I think this will add a lot of interesting tactics. The skeleton and zombie differences don't seem to make a huge difference for martial character since they go down in the same number of swings. However for a blasting caster the difference is huge. This is a very good thing.

This is also a thing where game knowledge can give players an edge, and where sneaky GMs can penalise meta-gaming players.

As someone that GMs far more than plays, I am interested to see how easy it is to create monsters. I suspect it is going to be very easy.

I really like that universal monster rules are staying. I love that monsters are getting more abilities to better model how they fight. I think it is great that rubbish monster abilities are getting thrown out.

I also like that carrying a few different weapons can grant a big advantage.

All this really enhances the tactical decision that people can make, as well as rewarding players that so some preparation.

I like it a lot.

Liberty's Edge

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Rules Artificer wrote:

One thing that I do hope we get in 2E that hasn't been directly mentioned is a better way of approximating large numbers of creatures.

1E had swarms for smaller creatures and troops for larger creatures.

I feel like the troop rules should be tweaked a bit (such as likely removing the unavoidable damage and instead having special troop attacks similar to the marilith mentioned in the blog) but deserve a place in the playtest bestiary.

Having an easy solution to "the entire Goblin encampment is angry at you" without having combat rounds take half an hour seems like a near-requirement for a new game.

One workaround I ended up using was to simply pool HP. Say you have a camp of 20 goblin warriors with 15 HP each and 10 goblin rogues with 10 HP each. The goblin warriors have 300 HP, while the goblin rogues have 100 HP. Any damage dealt to a goblin of one group deals damage to the group as a whole, and every multiple of that group's normal HP "kills" a member of that group. Even if you deal more damage than one enemy would normally have HP for, the total damage is still applied to the pooled HP: any excess can be flavored as morale damage to the remaining enemies, and enemies that "die" from this excess damage can simply flee (and anyone that tries to attack them while fleeing hits and kills them automatically, since they're already "dead").

So, for example, say your party's Fighter attacks one goblin warrior for 10 damage. The warriors now have 290 HP. Then the Rogue jumps in and deals 25 damage with a sneak attack, leaving the warriors with 265 HP. That's a total of (10 + 25) 35 points of damage, or two goblins: the Rogue's attack finishes off the goblin they hit, and another nearby goblin gets spooked by the gore and runs away.

Then it's the Wizard's turn: they pick a cluster and let off a fireball, dealing 20 damage to 5 goblins, and 10 damage to 5 more who made their saves. That's a total of 150 damage, which kills or drives away 10 goblins.

(These numbers are all streamlined for the purposes of the examples, obviously.)

It's worked out pretty well as an approximation so far, you just have to be open to interpretation on how enemies "die" if damage spills over.


JRutterbush wrote:
One workaround I ended up using was to simply pool HP. Say you have a camp of 20 goblin warriors with 15 HP each and 10 goblin rogues with 10 HP each. The goblin warriors have 300 HP, while the goblin rogues have 100 HP. Any damage dealt to a goblin of one group deals damage to the group as a whole, and every multiple of that group's normal HP "kills" a member of that group. Even if you deal more damage than one enemy would normally have HP for, the total damage is still applied to the pooled HP: any excess can be flavored as morale damage to the remaining enemies, and enemies that "die" from this excess damage can simply flee (and anyone that tries to attack them while fleeing hits and kills them automatically, since they're already "dead"). *snip*

Hmmm... I think I might steal that.

Thanks!


Question: Does a mob of level 1 alchemists with fire bombs just win against anything weak to fire?

You are pretty much guaranteed 1 point of splash damage, a feat grants you + INT (which will almost certainly be +4) and the extra weakness looks to be an additional +5. That's 10 damage per alchemist that can get into throwing range of a frost giant...or a white dragon. (more if the get a nat 20!)

If this is the case, that seems like an oversight.

Liberty's Edge

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I'd definitely appreciate any simplification of Pathfinder monsters. I think most of the time I run a battle as GM, the monsters don't end up performing to their full abilities, because I'm not familiar enough with them. I'm sure that GMs that spend more time in preparation don't have as much of a problem, but I do.


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I like the fact that you’re doing signature abilities for most monsters. We want our combats to be unique and interesting, and signature abilities allow you to be creative. What does the monster really do in a fight (besides damage)? Great stuff, love the direction.


thflame wrote:

Question: Does a mob of level 1 alchemists with fire bombs just win against anything weak to fire?

You are pretty much guaranteed 1 point of splash damage, a feat grants you + INT (which will almost certainly be +4) and the extra weakness looks to be an additional +5. That's 10 damage per alchemist that can get into throwing range of a frost giant...or a white dragon. (more if the get a nat 20!)

If this is the case, that seems like an oversight.

Keep in mind both armor and level contribute to touch AC now, gone are the days of dragons with 3 touch ac.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Volkard Abendroth wrote:

Congradulations, you've just taken my level 1 wizard and effectively told him to pound sand.

In PF1 he could Magic Missile or Disrupt Undead with meaningful results. Now, only half as effective. You've doubled the hit points and while nearly all of my wizard's spells would have bypassed DR, they now deal a far smaller percentage of the zombies total hp in damage.

Well, in PF2, you can do 3d4+3 with Magic Missile at 1st level if you like (and invest 3 actions). That's a larger percentage of their HP than the 1d4+1 in PF1 is (10.5 is north of 1/2 the PF2 zombie's HP, while 3.5 is only a bit over 1/3 of a PF1 zombie's). And they probably have Positive Energy vulnerability, which might apply to Disrupt Undead.
And that's against the unfavorable zombie. Against skeletons, three missiles focus-fired guarantees a kill, and a gambler could take out one skeleton with two missiles and hurt another one significantly with the third. Plus touch attacks against zombies tend to crit those guys for even more damage!

Just because of the wording, I'm curious if the mention of touch attacks being easier was just a generalized statement because so many spells target touch AC NOT because magic missiles have an attack roll now right?

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
GreatCowGuru wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Volkard Abendroth wrote:

Congradulations, you've just taken my level 1 wizard and effectively told him to pound sand.

In PF1 he could Magic Missile or Disrupt Undead with meaningful results. Now, only half as effective. You've doubled the hit points and while nearly all of my wizard's spells would have bypassed DR, they now deal a far smaller percentage of the zombies total hp in damage.

Well, in PF2, you can do 3d4+3 with Magic Missile at 1st level if you like (and invest 3 actions). That's a larger percentage of their HP than the 1d4+1 in PF1 is (10.5 is north of 1/2 the PF2 zombie's HP, while 3.5 is only a bit over 1/3 of a PF1 zombie's). And they probably have Positive Energy vulnerability, which might apply to Disrupt Undead.
And that's against the unfavorable zombie. Against skeletons, three missiles focus-fired guarantees a kill, and a gambler could take out one skeleton with two missiles and hurt another one significantly with the third. Plus touch attacks against zombies tend to crit those guys for even more damage!
Just because of the wording, I'm curious if the mention of touch attacks being easier was just a generalized statement because so many spells target touch AC NOT because magic missiles have an attack roll now right?

The original poster had mentioned disrupt undead, which is what I think Mark was referring to.


thflame wrote:

Question: Does a mob of level 1 alchemists with fire bombs just win against anything weak to fire?

You are pretty much guaranteed 1 point of splash damage, a feat grants you + INT (which will almost certainly be +4) and the extra weakness looks to be an additional +5. That's 10 damage per alchemist that can get into throwing range of a frost giant...or a white dragon. (more if the get a nat 20!)

If this is the case, that seems like an oversight.

Given that feat requires level 4, that's not happening. Still, 6 damage to a single frost giant per throw isn't horrible, but you also have to consider how many of those alchemists are going to die in the process. Same thing for the white dragon. The frost giant/dragon is very likely to crit on each attack, killing any alchemist they hit.


Mark is there a way to represent monsters that are healed by a specific damage?

If I recall correctly Iron Golems are healed by fire damage. Is there a short hand way of representing this?

Could be an interesting mechanic for a druid (for example) to turn herself into a fire elemental then dropping area effect fire spells and getting some healing from it.

Certainly for undead their healing from negative energy and damage from positive energy is covered under "undead traits" or the equivalent, but I wonder if there is more scope for this sort of altered healing mechanics. And a quick and easy way of writing it.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

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I hope with the new weaknesses that +3 weapons don't count as cold iron or silver, etc.

As for removing a Nalfeshnee's call lightning, doesn't that strip it of ranged attacks? I agree that for a CR14 monster it's weak, but wouldn't a better solution to give it call lightning storm (or call lightning heightened to 5th level as the case may be)?

Grand Lodge

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Finally we will get away from the tired old way of PF 1 monsters. How boring they are! New system looks excellent.

However, for a blog titled as it was, I found nothing on how we GMs will be able to enhance/create monsters. Will there be some sort of guidance in the first bestiary I hope? I'm assuming doing this for the playtest wouldn't be feasible or a priority ATM.


Is conversion of vulnerability to weakness and the subsequent increase in HP based on a formula? Say, Weakness 5: +5HP/HD?

This also begs the question of whether the disparate usefulness of damage types is being addressed so players don't feel gimped playing a mono-element themed caster.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I can see how from the example creatures- zombies and skeletons- this change could work out pretty dramatically and thematically: zombies and skeletons in fiction have very different ways of being destroyed, traditionally.

I am very curious if this sort of modification holds up across different creatures and different CR levels, though. What seems to work at low levels doesn't necessarily scale.


I like the weakness/resistant combo. Special monsters where always bad news for many-attack characters, now that isn't a meta-rule.

It will be fun to see how this interacts with flaming weapons and such. At higher levels any extra damage from an enemy being vulnerable to the the 1d6 elemental damage was often ignored instead of counting the 1-3 bonus damage.


Hey, there.

* Thanks for streamlining DR, Weakness, etc. One less mechanic to explain, and this makes it easier to get players to rolling dice!
* I like the multi-armed approach. I'm looking forward to seeing the final. Part of me goes: but what if I don't want to reinvent the wheel for multi-armed creatures?
* How easy will it be to make custom creatures in this system on the fly? For example, if I'm coming in from a 10 hour workday...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Benjamin Medrano wrote:
if we get charts for creating like Pathfinder Unchained

Please oh please oh please I love those rules.

They might even be improved here becaause PF2 can be specifically designed for it, unlike both PF1 or SF.

I can understand the concerns some have regarding signature abilities and players seeing NPC's do things they can't at any level, but otherwise I can't wait to see what monsters do in PF2.

MuddyVolcano wrote:
* How easy will it be to make custom creatures in this system on the fly? For example, if I'm coming in from a 10 hour workday...

That's partly why I want a monster creation table like Starfinder or Unchained. Once you're familiar with the system, it's super easy to whip up a custom monster in minutes.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Rather interesting - I was sort of hoping for how DnD 5e handled resistance (halving damage), but this can work.

I do like weakness/vulnerability being given a variable, rather than just 1.5x extra damage.

Edit: I do hope that, if clerics get a channel/turn/etc, undead having resistance to that doesn't become a norm.


Lady Melo wrote:
In Pathfinder 1 you grow in a similar rate of +(1-2)/level with BAB and expected AC bonus (Armor, natural, dodge, deflect) as well ability score and feats, we are still using a d20, so the growth rate and range are largely unaffected, all they did was streamline/guarantee it as opposed to making it based largely on proper use of multiple magic items. A CR bump for /just/ damage would have very similar effects in pathfinder 1e.

But you can bump CR for just damage. And it won't automatically require the attack and AC to increase. My understanding is that the point of the +level system and giving monsters a level is that PF2e monsters WILL have +level increased.

Lady Melo wrote:
As far as feel is concerned you would be surprised how many players can just rolls with descriptions and outcomes

I'm posting not from the perspective of a theoretical player from the perspective of my very real group. So while I may personally like some changes (and I'll certainly argue in favor of them amongst my group), I am posting from their perspective (which I often share). So while it might fly for many people, based on past experiences both with Pathfinder and other games, I know it won't fly with my group. I'm already hearing some very serious negative rumblings coming from them as a whole.

(I'm often an early adopter and I'm willing to try almost anything. I'm one of the few in my group to try D&D 5e. But I do know what my group will respond to positively and what will garner negative responses. In this instance I do prefer Pathfinder 1e's system of different rules for different things even if ultimately it ends up with the same DPR because different classes and monsters should feel different).

Lady Melo wrote:
various expressions of the same outcomes matter a little more to be (but not really any of my players). However I also recognize myself as an outlier accept it and adjust mechanics as i see fit, if 3 attacks work, you could just cut the damage roughly in half and make it make 6 attacks... then apply the -5 after 2, and the -10 after 4 attacks.

That's still a bit too transparent. I've mentioned this before but the math balance is too exposed and obvious. 6 attacks with 2 special attacks: 1 action for 2 attacks and 3 actions for 6 attacks would be ideal (a special trait of Hydras and Mariliths). But reduce the penalty at steps of +0/-3/-6/-9/-12/-15 and call it a special trait of the hydra's multiple heads, give them a base damage that's applicable regardless of the number of heads that attack and my group would be far happier with that solution.

One big positive: I hadn't considered the effect weakness has in place of resistance. While before I liked it, now I *really* like it. I love that it's a balancing factor against magic and helps TWFing shine more than it otherwise would.

Volkard Abendroth wrote:

Congradulations, you've just taken my level 1 wizard and effectively told him to pound sand.

In PF1 he could Magic Missile or Disrupt Undead with meaningful results. Now, only half as effective. You've doubled the hit points and while nearly all of my wizard's spells would have bypassed DR, they now deal a far smaller percentage of the zombies total hp in damage.

The less effective the wizard is in specific instances, the more damage you can deal (and the more effective you can be in different situations). That's a good thing for not reducing wizard damage while closing the gap between wizard power level and fighter power level.

DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
If CR 0 replaces all those gradations, that means that the challenge of 2 Goblins is the same as 2 Orcs as 2 Stirges as 2 kobolds for game balance reasons, and if they are NOT the same level of challenge then you've removed a useful measurement for GMs.

I'd assume given the removal of those CR they are of the same meaningful power level (not all creatures of the CR are of the same power level. Unless everything is exactly the same it's impossible to get everything to be exactly the same power level. There's always a range that aims to get as close to a specific target as possible).

I am positive about monsters being built using different rules to PCs. I agree with Mark that they've always been built using different rules and any resemblance to them using the same rules has been an illusion. I'd actually be in favour of them being built using different rules (remove the +level modifier to everything for monsters). NPCs, on the other hand, are significantly different to monsters. I'd be happy for their CR to be calculated based on the effective threat output that an NPC is capable of. That's a more granular approach then "NPCs are equal to level - 2". But I do think NPCs should be built as PCs.

Paizo Employee Designer

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MuddyVolcano wrote:

Hey, there.

* How easy will it be to make custom creatures in this system on the fly? For example, if I'm coming in from a 10 hour workday...

It's been pretty easy for me to make monsters, up to even immediately on the fly. That said, the playtest is not going to be focusing on rules for custom monster creation for a very important reason: it makes the playtest data less valuable because it throws in the variable of the GM's custom monsters.

Liberty's Edge

Not a fan of level instead or CR.
Level 0 sounds wierd. Like it should be an insignificant threat. And there is a difference between CR 1/2 and 1/3 and 1/4 and 1/8.

And it’s odd putting a group of level 2 characters against level 3 or 4 creatures.

And it leads to weirdness of level 22 or 23 monsters. Monsters that can be higher level than PCs can even reach. Which would be fine if every level 21 and 22 creature was a unique boss demigod type. But there’s going to be mook monsters at that level for rounding out encounters. The fights before the boss. The dudes guarding the archdemon that aren’t powerful enough for their own layer of the Abyss but are still level 21.


Mark Seifter wrote:
MuddyVolcano wrote:

Hey, there.

* How easy will it be to make custom creatures in this system on the fly? For example, if I'm coming in from a 10 hour workday...

It's been pretty easy for me to make monsters, up to even immediately on the fly. That said, the playtest is not going to be focusing on rules for custom monster creation for a very important reason: it makes the playtest data less valuable because it throws in the variable of the GM's custom monsters.

Hey, there! Thank you for the reply, here. Can I say I understand, though the ability to modify on the fly is quite important to myself, and other GMs I know?

I don't know when a good time to test it /would/ be, so I hear you there.

So, here is some potential data!

Here is how I and some other GMs currently "invent on the fly." This is a big secret, now!

Don't tell anyone!

...it's all of Combat Manager combined with the Monster Advancement table, plus handwavium due to being familiar with "this ability is about this CR." The triple combination works pretty well, though it's a hodpodge system, I'll be the first to admit.

When training a new GM, one of the first things I do is, "Now, first go to this site and install Combat Manager" followed by, "And then I'm going to give you a chart."

They love the chart, by the way. Combat Manager sometimes brings tears of happiness. Golden, glistening ones that are preserved for future generations as treasures to come.

This combination, especially those two, has made a difference in new and existing players being able/willing/comfortable in trying GMing or not.

Thanks for the work y'all do. I hope this feedback is helpful, and I understand what you mean by the testing.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Is there monsters that will have both Resistance and Weakness?


thaX wrote:
Is there monsters that will have both Resistance and Weakness?

There will be in my games.


Malthraz wrote:

Mark is there a way to represent monsters that are healed by a specific damage?

If I recall correctly Iron Golems are healed by fire damage. Is there a short hand way of representing this?

Could be an interesting mechanic for a druid (for example) to turn herself into a fire elemental then dropping area effect fire spells and getting some healing from it.

Certainly for undead their healing from negative energy and damage from positive energy is covered under "undead traits" or the equivalent, but I wonder if there is more scope for this sort of altered healing mechanics. And a quick and easy way of writing it.

That could be phrased as just Absorb Negative or Absorb Fire. Or if they want to be more granular, Absorb Fire (half) and Absorb Fire (full) for the case of turning 20 damage into 10 or 20 healing respectively.

(Note: That's just a suggestion. I don't know if they actually have coding for that. But it would be a good way of handling it and not take up much space.)

Sovereign Court

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DeciusNero wrote:
Edit: I do hope that, if clerics get a channel/turn/etc, undead having resistance to that doesn't become a norm.

Hear the good news! Clerics get an area of effect positive energy burst if they spend three actions to cast the heal spell. (They get plenty of castings as a class ability). The low-level skeletons in the podcast demo had a weakness to positive energy that hastened their destruction. So resistance to positive energy is probably not an undead norm, but I imagine it still shows up on some of the scarier monsters.

Sovereign Court

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Fuzzypaws wrote:
Malthraz wrote:

Mark is there a way to represent monsters that are healed by a specific damage?

If I recall correctly Iron Golems are healed by fire damage. Is there a short hand way of representing this?

Could be an interesting mechanic for a druid (for example) to turn herself into a fire elemental then dropping area effect fire spells and getting some healing from it.

Certainly for undead their healing from negative energy and damage from positive energy is covered under "undead traits" or the equivalent, but I wonder if there is more scope for this sort of altered healing mechanics. And a quick and easy way of writing it.

That could be phrased as just Absorb Negative or Absorb Fire. Or if they want to be more granular, Absorb Fire (half) and Absorb Fire (full) for the case of turning 20 damage into 10 or 20 healing respectively.

(Note: That's just a suggestion. I don't know if they actually have coding for that. But it would be a good way of handling it and not take up much space.)

I think something like that would be a good thing to have defined!


I would still prefer weakness to be a percentage, rather than a flat number. The flat number seems geared to balancing nonmagic TWF against nonmagic 2HF, while not accounting for either magic weapons or spells above 1st level.

To wit: +5 or +10 damage feels great at 1st level. It "feels" wrong when rolling multiple weapon dice plus sneak / flaming / etc, or when dropping a fireball or scorching ray.

I get that monsters geared for higher level parties might have higher weakness numbers. But that just means by the simple expedient of ambush with aid another tactics, True Strike, etc, a savvy band of town guards with some support from the local priest and hedge wizard could nuke a white dragon with level 1 fire arrows.


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I think I liked the idea of putting the limiter that it can't add more then what your already dealing other then that I'll have to see it in practice to decide.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
magnuskn wrote:

Overall, I am very pleased with this preview. However, two things:

1.) There will be 250 monsters in the Playtest Bestiary? Um, is the Bestiary included in the Playtest Rulebook? The Playtest Adventure? If not, why couldn't we order it together with those? Or will it be PDF-only?

2.) What's with the gorilla orcs in the blog illustration? And if orc lore will be changed to make them more animal-like, how does that affect half-orcs?

PDF only, just because otherwise the schedule would be impossible, but this allowed it to fit in editing and layout after print products went to the printer.

I hope this alludes to the bigger bestiary which was talked about in another thread. If 250 are done by the playtest (or already) that should leave plenty of time for more monsters by release.

Liberty's Edge

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Volkard Abendroth wrote:
And the fighter can swing 3 times, getting his bonus damage in addition to his normal damage on each swing.

Certainly he can. He'll hit twice or so on average, but he can indeed make three attacks.

Volkard Abendroth wrote:
All three actions dedicated to Magic Missile = 1 attack hitting from a melee. An a melee attacker can hit 3 times.

In theory? Absolutely. In practice? Not always. Especially since a melee attacker will need to move up to attack the zombie, which the Wizard does not need to do. Still, he will probably hit more and do more damage vs. something as low in AC as a zombie, it is quite true.

Volkard Abendroth wrote:
Please don't compare what a wizard does for damage using all three actions to what a fighter or barbarian can do for damage with one action.

I didn't. I compared it to what they had in PF1. In PF1, a Magic Missile averaged 3.5 damage, while a melee attack could easily triple or even quadruple that if it hit (and kill a zombie in one hit).

A full round of melee attacks remains better than a magic missile in damage if the dice are with you or you're fighting low AC foes...but that was true in PF1 as well. Which was my whole point. Not that Wizards could auto-win with Magic Missile, but that the situation certainly hadn't gotten any worse with the edition change.


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Shadowsigma wrote:
If 250 are done by the playtest (or already) that should leave plenty of time for more monsters by release.

Except when the playtest starts they'll be focused on running the playtest and collecting the data, and analyzing the data, and tweaking the rules, and running some more tests, and writing the CRB, and trying to get everything to the printer in time for the August 2019 release date

Once the playtest starts, there won't be any time for much beyond trying to get the CRB finished. Don't know how they'll have "plenty of time" for anything else when they're not going to have enough time to do everything they want to get done for the CRB.

Scarab Sages

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As for the «poor Wizard», remember they can deal slashing damage if they use Telekinetic Projectile with a pouch full of glass shards.

Liberty's Edge

Mark Seifter wrote:
Plus touch attacks against zombies tend to crit those guys for even more damage!

Wow. You can crit against undead without a feat now?


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Smite Makes Right wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Plus touch attacks against zombies tend to crit those guys for even more damage!
Wow. You can crit against undead without a feat now?

Huh? I am like 95% sure you could already crit against undead and you never needed a feat to do so in pathfinder.

Liberty's Edge

Vidmaster7 wrote:
Smite Makes Right wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Plus touch attacks against zombies tend to crit those guys for even more damage!
Wow. You can crit against undead without a feat now?
Huh? I am like 95% sure you could already crit against undead and you never needed a feat to do so in pathfinder.

You are correct according to the SRD. I was not aware that had changed from 3.5.

Liberty's Edge

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In 3.5 critting against undead didn't normally work. In Pathfinder this was changed and you became able to do so, but some people never noticed.

For the record, in PF1, undead and constructs are both susceptible to crits. Pretty much only elementals and oozes are not (well, and incorporeal stuff if you lack ghost touch).

EDIT: Ninja'd. Ah, well.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:

In 3.5 critting against undead didn't normally work. In Pathfinder this was changed and you became able to do so, but some people never noticed.

For the record, in PF1, undead and constructs are both susceptible to crits. Pretty much only elementals and oozes are not (well, and incorporeal stuff if you lack ghost touch).

EDIT: Ninja'd. Ah, well.

It happens!

*vanishes!*


Alright so I think people are over thinking the multiattack issue. Basically I see it as the monster has X number of attacks. That monster uses 2 or 3 actions (depending on the ability) to make said attack. The monster then makes x number of rolls, 1 for each attack, if they hit then damage is rolled, if they miss they miss and if it’s a crit they roll crit damage on that one attack. How is that complicated? Also you guys really can’t think that if a monster loses its weapons it can’t just use its natural or unarmed strike as part of the attack as well? By disarming the creature of its weapons you have saved the next person to get hit by it from dying as the monster is now doing unarmed damage instead of weapon damage with a few of its attacks. This kind of a situation makes Disarming awesome now.


Volkard Abendroth wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
Volkard Abendroth wrote:
Quote:
Two great examples of how this can dramatically change the feel of monsters are skeletons and zombies. A level 0 skeleton has 14 AC, 6 HP, and since it's made of bone, resistance 5 to slashing and piercing damage. A level 0 zombie, on the other hand, has 11 AC, 20 HP, and weakness 5 to slashing damage. The zombie takes 5 extra damage every time it's hit by a slashing weapon—that's an extremely high weakness! This means the fights feel very different, even though the creatures both take about the same number of swings to bring down. You can test this out for yourself in Pathfinder First Edition right now: consider giving zombies some extra HP and changing their DR into a weakness instead and see how the feel of the fight shifts!

Congradulations, you've just taken my level 1 wizard and effectively told him to pound sand.

In PF1 he could Magic Missile or Disrupt Undead with meaningful results. Now, only half as effective. You've doubled the hit points and while nearly all of my wizard's spells would have bypassed DR, they now deal a far smaller percentage of the zombies total hp in damage.

In exchange, many more monsters will have weakness to your elemental damage.

I suppose it would suck if your campaign is about a zombie apocalypse, but otherwise it should be fine.

Beforehand, most monsters at lower level are going to have limited resistances. Energy attacks were a reliable way to bypass most DR and Magic Missile, while dealing less damage, dealt force damage that bypassed nearly everything.

Now, Magic Missile[i] will bypass nothing and any low level monster with any amount of DR will laugh at spells like [i]Magic Missile, which already do less damage than a fighter or barbarian swinging a two-handed sword.

And unlike the fighter or barbarian, the wizard won't be dealing double damage dice because he has a magic weapon and he won't be getting quality bonuses for his spells.

Am I missing something? A skeleton has resistance to slash and Pierce. They take regular damage from magic missiles, or shocking grasp, or burning hands.

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