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

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Pathfinder Playtest Wayne Reynolds
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Scarab Sages

Mark Seifter wrote:
Voss wrote:

...

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!

I actually really dig it. It makes killing zombies really satisfying, and makes them feel "squishy" (telling the player the new damage total is very rewarding), whereas fighting a skeleton feels more like solving a puzzle: Normal weapons aren't working, but suddenly that free quarterstaff you picked up seems unusually effective. It inspires creativity in solving combat problems, rather than just relying on "I hit it with my sword" ALL the time. I just hope more monsters have abilities like this, not just the classic ones.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Nah, that was just me talking about games I ain't never played, and I'll own that. I'll stick to what I know: Things I don't like about tabletop RPGs. ;)

Fair enough.

Though I've always wanted to play a Minotaur in pathfinder. Just while we're on the subject.

Back on somewhat topic about the art..., what is that knuckle dagger anyway? I'd love to see the stats on that. Monk weapon too maybe?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Tarik Blackhands wrote:
At least to me (non-WoW) knowledge, Warcraft Orcs are still divided into clans and the warchief is still their overall leader even if in the case of dudes like Thrall, it's more or less an honorary title and not indicative of his overall goals (dude's goal in WC3 anyway was to get his people, settle a new land, and just be left well enough alone, fighting was either in self-defense or because one of his subordinate chiefs was being an idiot. Or /demons). Noble Savage sums up the general identity well enough even if these days they're packing large and prosperous cities with adequate enough tech.

In the modern setting all other tribes than the main orc civilization based in Orgrimmar have become effectively irrelevant. There are some holdovers of the Blackrock clan holes up in one region, but in effect those are renegades to the main orc culture (which are the green orcs under Thrall). With the new upcoming expansion some of those other tribes will become playable, but those guys are actually imported from an alternate timeline.

The warchief by this point is the leader of the entire Horde and all the associated races. At the moment the position is held by Sylvanas Windrunner, a Forsaken undead, though she is still based in the orc capital, Orgrimmar.

While orc culture in WoW largely still centers around honor and fighting, they still are one of the most technologically advanced races on the planet, packing tanks, rifles, gyrocopters, zeppelins and all other kind of steampunky stuff.

Frankly, WoW orcs never fit the negative stereotype of black Africans Kobold Cleaver is trying to associate them with.


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Awahoon wrote:

But if there are no more Wendigo, Golems, Orcs, Leprechaun, Djinn, and Akhluts, I'm not gonna like it one bit. I love those monsters, and I'm sure nobody sleeps less if such creatures get used in fantasy settings.

Okay, cool, so when you said "I'm really curious about your answer" what you actually meant was "I've already assumed your answer and will ignore whatever you actually say".

This post is in such bad faith, I'm not going to engage except to point out that everything you said is an unfair strawman of the old-fashioned school. Those who doubt can read my linked post, and judge for themselves if they think I said literally any of that.

maguskn wrote:
Frankly, WoW orcs never fit the negative stereotype of black Africans Kobold Cleaver is trying to associate them with.

You're neglecting the past tense there.


That last part wasn't really quoted at you though, just to Paizo.


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magnuskn wrote:
Tarik Blackhands wrote:
At least to me (non-WoW) knowledge, Warcraft Orcs are still divided into clans and the warchief is still their overall leader even if in the case of dudes like Thrall, it's more or less an honorary title and not indicative of his overall goals (dude's goal in WC3 anyway was to get his people, settle a new land, and just be left well enough alone, fighting was either in self-defense or because one of his subordinate chiefs was being an idiot. Or /demons). Noble Savage sums up the general identity well enough even if these days they're packing large and prosperous cities with adequate enough tech.

In the modern setting all other tribes than the main orc civilization based in Orgrimmar have become effectively irrelevant. There are some holdovers of the Blackrock clan holes up in one region, but in effect those are renegades to the main orc culture (which are the green orcs under Thrall). With the new upcoming expansion some of those other tribes will become playable, but those guys are actually imported from an alternate timeline.

The warchief by this point is the leader of the entire Horde and all the associated races. At the moment the position is held by Sylvanas Windrunner, a Forsaken undead, though she is still based in the orc capital, Orgrimmar.

While orc culture in WoW largely still centers around honor and fighting, they still are one of the most technologically advanced races on the planet, packing tanks, rifles, gyrocopters, zeppelins and all other kind of steampunky stuff.

Frankly, WoW orcs never fit the negative stereotype of black Africans Kobold Cleaver is trying to associate them with.

Thanks for that. I used to be big on WC3 back in the day and never kept up with the goings on in WoW beyond what could be assimilated by osmosis via the internet. I ain't even going to ask who on earth anyone trusts Sylvanas of all people to lead a grand alliance of dudes as I suspect the answer is going to require several pages of text and I'll probably just end up calling it dumb anyway.


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You mentioned all the monsters I included in my post as examples, and if it's not addressing this conversation, what is it about? You asked if I wanted wendigos gone, and I said no, I did not. Hell, I don't even want orcs gone. Nobody has called for the removal of wendigos or orcs or djinn.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
maguskn wrote:
Frankly, WoW orcs never fit the negative stereotype of black Africans Kobold Cleaver is trying to associate them with.
You're neglecting the past tense there.

Alright, was trying to associate them with... 20 minutes ago. :p

Anyway, I'm off to bed, it's 03:00 a.m. over here and, to quote an orc peon, "orc work". At least after I wake up later on...


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Kobold Cleaver wrote:
You mentioned all the monsters I included in my post, and if it's not addressing this conversation, what is it about? You asked if I wanted wendigos gone, and I said no, I did not. Hell, I don't even want orcs gone.

I know you don't want them gone, and I even agree about the Leprechaun (mostly because that picture was very ugly lol) but a lot of people do want Native American monster gone from the games. I would find that very disastrous as those are among my favorite monsters.


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Forty minutes ago, good sir! :P

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Logan Bonner wrote:
edduardco wrote:
Interesting to see that a simple Skeleton/Zombie is level 0, what exactly is a level 0 monster?
Level 0 is the category that replaces CR 1/2, 1/3, etc. They're close enough in numbers are are a pretty minor threat, so we've just used one category for them.

So would this mean that Challenge Rating is a thing of the past, at least as a term for individual foes? It looks like it has been replaced by good ol' "level".

Liberty's Edge

Scribbling Rambler wrote:
So would this mean that Challenge Rating is a thing of the past, at least as a term for individual foes? It looks like it has been replaced by good ol' "level".

Yep. Which I like, particularly as a simultaneous replacement for CR and HD (which it seems to be). Despite monsters supposedly being more different than PCs in this edition, in that way at least they're actually more similar. Which is good, since it's more intuitive that way.


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Kobold Cleaver et all: What if Paizo makes an effort to break the "monolithic monoculture" trope? Because I feel like that is actually the problem, honestly. If the orcs closer to Golarion!Africa are more Zulu tribal in flavor, but the orcs closer to Golarion!Europe are more Celtic tribal, and the orcs closer to Golarion!Russia are more Cossack tribal, and the orcs closer to Golarion!Asia are more Mongolian tribal, I feel like that would be better. They'd better fit into the corner of the world where they are encountered, and wouldn't universally be depicting a single culture in a negative light. Especially if Paizo simultaneously makes an effort to represent Good aligned tribal counterparts of all of those, such as say with Centaurs or the like.


On the monster building stuff - I have made about 20 odd npcs with starfinders system from the alien archive book and have found it to be fairly robust and efficient - by cutting out many of the steps used to make PCs it makes the process a lot easier and reduces extraneous information (an npc the players are just going to kill in one session doesn't need every skill to be assigned a number, or proficiencies or any of that).

Only changes to that system I can think of that I would for for pathfinder 2e would be clearer wording on how everything works (for example, afaict the rules don't explicitly tell you what giving an npc a suit of armour does, and if you just add the armours ac bonus to a creatures normal ac you get ridiculously high numbers) and for more of the creatures to have subtype grafts (the haan is one creature of the top of my head that isn't really captured by a graft)

Also, clearer guidance in the books on what changes will boost the cr of a creature would be good.


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Fuzzypaws wrote:
Kobold Cleaver et all: What if Paizo makes an effort to break the "monolithic monoculture" trope? Because I feel like that is actually the problem, honestly. If the orcs closer to Golarion!Africa are more Zulu tribal in flavor, but the orcs closer to Golarion!Europe are more Celtic tribal, and the orcs closer to Golarion!Russia are more Cossack tribal, and the orcs closer to Golarion!Asia are more Mongolian tribal, I feel like that would be better. They'd better fit into the corner of the world where they are encountered, and wouldn't universally be depicting a single culture in a negative light. Especially if Paizo simultaneously makes an effort to represent Good aligned tribal counterparts of all of those, such as say with Centaurs or the like.

I agree that this would be an improvement, but I doubt Paizo wants to move away from the "some races are innately eviler than others" shtick, especially judging by this right here.

I don't exactly mind the "monolithic races" trope, but Pathfinder combines a lot of tropes I don't like, including that one.


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I'll actually throw my hat in for kind of liking the idea of more ape like orcs, it makes a lot of sense. I mean genetically humans obviously have a lot in common with bonobos but we also have a surprising amount in common with pigs so if you "dialed up" the pig similarities and "deevolved" the primate ones then you'd end up with a longer armed, less upright creature. Besides from an evolutionary stand point if you have a sapient, humanoid predator species that relies more on brute power than intellect it makes sense that they'd have proportionally longer arms. Plus it helps differentiate them a bit more from just being kind of big and angry people.

Edit: Throw in some stuff to give them an extra edge with thrown weapons due to their arm length and maybe some kind of bonus for climbing and they really start feeling like they actually have a place. In truth, I've never really liked using orcs as enemies. If I want brutish humanoids than ogres are better. If I want swarm enemies than their are plenty of creatures that do that better. Military style enemies are done better with hobgoblins.


MerlinCross wrote:
Back on somewhat topic about the art..., what is that knuckle dagger anyway? I'd love to see the stats on that. Monk weapon too maybe?

Punching daggers?

Dark Archive

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I'm fine with more "primitive" orcs; magnuskn probably remembers how mountain orcs were suddenly introduced to FR in one of the 3E supplements, IIRC in Races of Faerûn. I don't recall anyone complaining, although we suddenly had a new feral orcish subrace shoehorned into our games. Not to mention how many unheard-of monsters popped into being in Monsters of Faerûn, some of them even altering existing FR lore quite a bit, right?

I don't wish the whole orcish culture to suddenly vanish, but I'm fine with some tribes being more primitive and feral in nature.


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I think an important consideration in racist implications is the context in which they are set. I think cannibal, demon worshipping gorillas (which is a separate whole issue from Orcs) is less problematic in a setting that actually represents different cultures with actual humans.

I do think having humanoids being evil and based on ethnicities can be a problem, but some leeway is granted for actually representing human cultures in other ways.

Dark Archive

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@Kobold Cleaver: cats are actually really smart, they only fool you into thinking they're not. Trust me, I've been around cats all my life, and they are fiendishly clever. How else could they have enslaved a fervent follower of Holy Asmodeus, hmmm? ;)


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I have no idea why people are getting bent out of shape over the shape of the orc. If they're gorilla like, cool. If they're pig like, cool. If they're anything more interesting than grey/green humans with bad teeth, seems like an upgrade to me. People banging on about racial profiling or some such like that's actually a thing. An orc is an orc. It's a bestial, murderous monster for killing at lowish adventuring levels. It's not a human, and is not a commentary on humans. No need for connections where there are none.


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Lechteron wrote:

I'll actually throw my hat in for kind of liking the idea of more ape like orcs, it makes a lot of sense. I mean genetically humans obviously have a lot in common with bonobos but we also have a surprising amount in common with pigs so if you "dialed up" the pig similarities and "deevolved" the primate ones then you'd end up with a longer armed, less upright creature. Besides from an evolutionary stand point if you have a sapient, humanoid predator species that relies more on brute power than intellect it makes sense that they'd have proportionally longer arms. Plus it helps differentiate them a bit more from just being kind of big and angry people.

Edit: Throw in some stuff to give them an extra edge with thrown weapons due to their arm length and maybe some kind of bonus for climbing and they really start feeling like they actually have a place. In truth, I've never really liked using orcs as enemies. If I want brutish humanoids than ogres are better. If I want swarm enemies than their are plenty of creatures that do that better. Military style enemies are done better with hobgoblins.

Those would help give the gorillorcs more of a mechanical niche, for sure! Also a Lunge ability to gain reach on their own turn when attacking, again because of the longer arms. And the climbing would even represent something orcs do in the LotR movies, such as in Moria.


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I just want to applaud Kobold Cleaver for tackling the topic of fantasy racism in Pathfinder in such a clear and lucid manner. I happened to glance at the Paladin thread a few times last week and after that it's refreshing to see such a calm, rational debate.

On that topic, I'm not certain whether I like gorilla-orcs or not yet. I love the idea of stretching the definition of what counts as a 'humanoid' body plan, but this sketch gives them a distinctly feral, sub-human quality to them, which I am not fond of. The problem as I see it is not that orcs are ape-like or pig-like, but that they're depicted as ugly savages whom it is morally acceptable to murder with or without evidence of wrongdoing--especially if their species is taken as automatic evidence of wrongdoing because things that are ugly or have different skin colours are inherently evil.

I'll grant we don't know of PF2 even has what we call a Humanoid category anymore, but to me any creature that fits into that category should have the same capacity for free will and moral judgement as any human. I don't mind so much if individual cultures within that humanoid species (the Orcs of Belkzen, the dominant Drow city) have an overt bent toward a particular philosophy or attitude that shapes the majority (but far from all) of its people. I can accept that should a warband of Orc raiders ransack your village, you will want to kill them before they kill you. I just think that if Elves, Dwarves, or Halflings were put into the same kind of hostile environments most 'evil' races inhabit and forced to survive by whatever means they could, they would be more likely treated as heroic underdogs than savage foreign raiders.

(P.S. If it wasn't clear by the content of this post, I quite enjoyed your alternative character interpretation of the Belkzen orc culture, DM Dudemeister.

Liberty's Edge

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Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:
The problem as I see it is not that orcs are ape-like or pig-like, but that they're depicted as ugly savages whom it is morally acceptable to murder with or without evidence of wrongdoing--especially if their species is taken as automatic evidence of wrongdoing because things that are ugly or have different skin colours are inherently evil.

This is actually deeply unacceptable by the text in regards to Golarion Orcs already. Even in Belkzen, which is sort of the center of Rovagug worship and Evil for the Orcs, there's a tribe whose leader is a CG Warpriest of Sarenrae. And she's far from the only non-Evil Orc portrayed in canon.

Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:
I'll grant we don't know of PF2 even has what we call a Humanoid category anymore, but to me any creature that fits into that category should have the same capacity for free will and moral judgement as any human. I don't mind so much if individual cultures within that humanoid species (the Orcs of Belkzen, the dominant Drow city) have an overt bent toward a particular philosophy or attitude that shapes the majority (but far from all) of its people.

This is absolutely and canonically true in Golarion. It's even proved numerous times if you read the books. Some people ignore it, but it is provably and canonically true.

Now, genetics may play a small role (Orcs have violent tempers, which seem to make them more inclined to Chaos and Evil on average than humans), but it's a tendency, not a destiny or a mandate.

Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:
I can accept that should a warband of Orc raiders ransack your village, you will want to kill them before they kill you. I just think that if Elves, Dwarves, or Halflings were put into the same kind of hostile environments most 'evil' races inhabit and forced to survive by whatever means they could, they would be more likely treated as heroic underdogs than savage foreign raiders.

This I disagree with. Orcs are treated as 'savage foreign raiders' because the largest Orc cultural center in Avistan (and the only Orc cultural center we've heard anything at all about) is a CE haven for the worship of Rovagug. Elves, Dwarves, or Halflings who behaved the same (ie: killed whoever they felt like and worshiped the God of 'kill everything') would be shown every bit as much as villains.

What I'd really like is to find out about the Orcs in the Mwangi Expanse, who are apparently decently friendly with their human neighbors to the point of fighting against demons with them (and having half orc children with them for purposes of demon fighting). Those Orcs sound like an interesting, potentially non-Evil, counterpoint to the CE Rovagug worshipers in the Hold of Belkzen (and surrounding areas).


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
... Point being, I'm not saying it couldn't work, but it's a dicey prospect either way.

Aren't we all here for those?


What, we're not here for Hobnoblins? (The blog title does say it's about building monsters . . . .)


Volkard Abendroth wrote:
Cuàn wrote:
What exactly do you mean then? The former means a monster takes 5 more damage from slashing attacks while the latter means it takes 5 less damage from slashing attacks.

Both mean the creature takes 5 more damage from slashing.

The first has double HP to compensate for the weakness, rendering all attacks except slashing less effective. This includes energy based attacks, force damage, and untyped damage, which would all bypass DR 5/slashing in PF1

Not exactly the same.

A character with a club and no Str bonus will had a much harder time with 1d6 VS DR5/slash than VS a creature with double hp and weakness 5 slash

Liberty's Edge

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Now, genetics may play a small role (Orcs have violent tempers, which seem to make them more inclined to Chaos and Evil on average than humans), but it's a tendency, not a destiny or a mandate.

I would argue that tempers have nothing directly to do with alignment. Alignment is about the intent of actions and when you "lose your temper," your actions are no longer controlled by your conscious brain; your reptile brain is reducing problems into fight or flight.

A race's genetic tendency for violent tempers may impact their treatment by others and may create in turn a selfish cultural tendency which would manifest as part of alignment, but it is not a direct result of their temper.

Additionally, the presence of a temper does not define alignment. A lawful good character will seek to control the temper and take responsibility for his reactions. By contrast, a chaotic evil character will make no effort to reign in his temper and will use it as excuse to avoid responsibility for his outbursts.

Liberty's Edge

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Smite Makes Right wrote:
I would argue that tempers have nothing directly to do with alignment. Alignment is about the intent of actions and when you "lose your temper," your actions are no longer controlled by your conscious brain; your reptile brain is reducing problems into fight or flight.

Losing your temper and killing someone is an Evil Act. A Paladin can fall for doing it. Heck, so is assaulting someone in a rage in many cases. Good people learn some basic self control or they tend to stop being Good pretty quick.

Smite Makes Right wrote:
A race's genetic tendency for violent tempers may impact their treatment by others and may create in turn a selfish cultural tendency which would manifest as part of alignment, but it is not a direct result of their temper.

This I totally agree with. It's not a direct Temper = Evil thing or anything, it's more that having self control is just a tad harder for Orcs, and you need a certain amount of self control to maintain a Good Alignment (or a Lawful one). So they need to work just a bit harder to be or remain Good.

Smite Makes Right wrote:
Additionally, the presence of a temper does not define alignment. A lawful good character will seek to control the temper and take responsibility for his reactions. By contrast, a chaotic evil character will make no effort to reign in his temper and will use it as excuse to avoid responsibility for his outbursts.

And this is absolutely true, and why CE is just easier than LG if you have a violent temper.


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Kobold Cleaver wrote:

I agree that this would be an improvement, but I doubt Paizo wants to move away from the "some races are innately eviler than others" shtick, especially judging by this right here.

Well we have one example of a race moving away from that. Goblins. We have no examples on the other side. So I think that judgement is a bit premature.


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does it make me a git if I want the orcs to have a cockney accent and be surprisingly good at building things but they blow up alot? Hmm maybe better save that one for star-finder, or maybe some other future based universe...

Dark Archive

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Is it possible that you guys would start a new thread dealing with these art/cultural issues? In my opinion it's a bit off the mark; this thread is supposed to be about game mechanics and monsters.

Dark Archive

Those signature abilities especially interest me, and made me think about how 4E style defenses would interact with them? For example, the tiger mentioned above would first hit your AC or Ref, inflicting damage normally; then it'd make a free attack vs. Fort (CMB vs. CMD) to knock you down, getting a chance to rake/claw for extra damage.

On the gear thread we discussed getting rid of Touch AC, and maybe Ref defense could replace it? So your Touch AC would be 10 + Int and Dex bonus? Fort would be 10 + Str and Con, Will naturally 10 + Cha and Wis. Add proficiency bonuses on top of those, naturally. For example, a 1st level fighter with Str 18 and Con 14 would have Fort 17. And you'd add your shield bonus to Ref and armor bonus to Fort, although not against "penetrating" damage (such as elemental or falling damage).

Although I don't know how AC would fit into this, if at all?


I'm not sure orcs temper is genetic, tho. Would an orc raised by monastic elves
be short tempered? Maybe their Fury is society related. They are used to fight for everything, even food.


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Can't see if this has already been mentioned, but please do something about swarms.

Watching my 3rd/4th level PCs run from yet another Godsdamn botfly swarm because they're out of alchemist's fire and didn't prepare Burning Hands today is amusing, but ultimately unsatisfying.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

If you have a kineticist swarms are not as much of an issue;)


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Wandering Wastrel wrote:

Can't see if this has already been mentioned, but please do something about swarms.

Watching my 3rd/4th level PCs run from yet another Godsdamn botfly swarm because they're out of alchemist's fire and didn't prepare Burning Hands today is amusing, but ultimately unsatisfying.

So long as I've got a reliable way to use swarms as a PC, I'm okay with them being difficult to deal with. (But I can understand that not everybody loves the Swarm Monger archetype as much as I do.)

Liberty's Edge

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Smite Makes Right wrote:
I would argue that tempers have nothing directly to do with alignment. Alignment is about the intent of actions and when you "lose your temper," your actions are no longer controlled by your conscious brain; your reptile brain is reducing problems into fight or flight.
Losing your temper and killing someone is an Evil Act. A Paladin can fall for doing it. Heck, so is assaulting someone in a rage in many cases. Good people learn some basic self control or they tend to stop being Good pretty quick.

Let's add hypothetical mechanics to a temper and see how that sways the conversation.

Temper [flaw]
When insulted or attacked, you must make a [wisdom based check] or use all of your next actions to close with or attack your foe. You may attempt the check at the start of each round.

Ok. Now, a lawful good paladin is insulted by passerby and the GM calls for a check. He fails and in the first attack kills the individual. Being lawful good, he feels deep regret, attempts to make amends, and sumbits to authorities, as appropriate. He before and after is trying to work around the flaw. Mechanically, this could be attempting to buy it off through some method or improving a skill for the check.

He should not fall. He did not intentionally perform an evil act or violate an anathema. He was effectively mind controlled into performing the attack. Yes, it was internally generated and driven by the player's build choices, but a lost temper is a temporary loss of control. Your actions are not the result of your intentions and those intentions are key to interpreting alignments and anathemas.

When you get into the territory of the player saying that he attacks the passerby because of his character has a temper and so would do that, it becomes iffy. You could go either way, but if you are going to allow it, it should include a trend of improvement and a tragic anguish roleplayed.

I think the discussion separated from mechanics is very subjective and open to interpretation. Do you agree with my position surrounding the hypothetical flaw mechanics?


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Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:


I'll grant we don't know of PF2 even has what we call a Humanoid category anymore, but to me any creature that fits into that category should have the same capacity for free will and moral judgement as any human.

Right, it should be equally illusory for all species.


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Can we please be careful about implying that people who are mentally ill are evil? Cause I am very much not okay with that assertion.

Shadow Lodge

Blog wrote:
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).

And just like that I am never playing a small character in PF2. I've had bad experiences with large cats whenever I play small characters....

PF 1 game: "That is a nice 100+ HP total you have there, it would be a shame if a dire tiger were in the grass nearby and you didn't notice...."

My poor halfling went from over full HP to almost dead before she could even realize what had happened.

*shudders*


Wandering Wastrel wrote:

Can't see if this has already been mentioned, but please do something about swarms.

Watching my 3rd/4th level PCs run from yet another Godsdamn botfly swarm because they're out of alchemist's fire and didn't prepare Burning Hands today is amusing, but ultimately unsatisfying.

From what I've heard Acid Splash is an AoE spell now, so casters should find Swarms at least mildly easier to deal with at least. Mainly in avoiding the "we ran out of AoE options 3 swarms ago" way rather than the "we didn't prep any anti-Swarm" way though.


What is this Paladin thing? This is about monsters, not Paladins and playable classes.


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Monsters can be Paladins too. In fact, if you're playing an Evil campaign Monstrous Paladins are just the thing to throw at the party.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The new look for Orcs reminded me of the recent Planet of the Apes movies. Primeval, strong, determined and dangerous but neither stupid nor Evil. Merely not too similar to human

Liberty's Edge

Awahoon wrote:
What is this Paladin thing? This is about monsters, not Paladins and playable classes.

Paladins are monsters from a different point of view....


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Awahoon wrote:
What is this Paladin thing? This is about monsters, not Paladins and playable classes.

Someone brought up Alignment, and the predictable happened. I'm starting to agree with Graystone that alignment is more trouble than it's worth within Pathfinder. And I LOVE playing with it.

But enough about that. Some scattered observations (because I'm bored):

I too am hoping that Level 0-23 or whatever will be a consolidation of CR and HD that will be MUCH appreciated by me.

I'm also interpreting that CR 1/4, 1/3, and 1/2 are more or less going to go away as discreet entities, and all such monsters will be more or less equalized to become the new Level 0.

Despite my enthusiasm for simplified monster building, one thing it does NOT emulate well is the idea of "Ogre Mage that went off to college and got a couple levels of Wizard". That is, you can't really take an existing monster and advance it easily by tacking on a couple levels of a PC class. The easiest way to handle that is to simply rebuild the monster so that it is now a spell caster and, judging by its CR appropriate abilities, always was. But easy as it is (very easy), it doesn't quite hit the same note. The class templates in Monster Codex, excellent though they are, also missed this particular mark.

From the hints they've dropped, I'm hoping they're finding ways around this. Perhaps there's no truly good way to do it; simply letting monsters "multiclass" into PC classes tends to result in underpowered PC abilities relative to the monster's CR, so I really do get why simple class templates have their place.

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