Attack the Stat Block

Friday, May 18, 2018

In Monday's monster blog, Mark told you about some of the changes we made to monsters to make them more engaging and easy to run. So how did we turn all that into something you can use? Well, we put a lot of thought into making a new monster stat block that would be more concise, while remaining flexible enough that we can still keep a similar level of complexity for some of our most powerful and iconic monsters.

But let's start small. Well... big, but also small. You'll see.

So Now There's Ogres, Okay?

Oh no... what's that smell? It's like a gym bag ate roadkill!

Ogre Creature 3

Chaotic, Evil, Giant, Humanoid, Large

Perception +5, darkvision

Languages Giant

Skills +1; Acrobatics +4, Athletics +9

Str +5, Dex -1, Con +2, Int -2, Wis +0, Cha -2

Items hide armor, 6 javelins, ogre hook


AC 16, TAC 14; Fort +8, Ref +3, Will +5

HP 60


Speed 25 feet

[[A]] Melee ogre hook +10 (deadly 1d10, reach 10 feet, trip), Damage 1d10+7 piercing

[[A]] Ranged javelin +8 (thrown 30 feet), Damage 1d6+7

Ah, of course. It's an ogre! This is an example of one of the simplest stat blocks in the playtest. Ogres are big bruisers, and they don't have a whole lot of special actions to use. They play a role as big challenges for low-level groups and in groups as minions for higher-level threats, so having them be simple makes plenty of sense for how they're used in the game. You might notice that this stat block is shorter than a Pathfinder First Edition stat block. We think this will give us more room for other text in our bestiaries and adventures. Some elements went away because of rules simplifications, while other pieces of information, like organization and environment, will appear in the monster's text instead of in the stat block.

We don’t have art of ogres or redcaps yet, but check out this illustration by Wayne Reynolds of a bugbear!

Quick reminder: the [[A]] symbol is code for "action," and it will have a special icon in the actual Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook and other products. You'll also see an [[R]] later to represent a reaction.

You can see how a stat block leads off with the creature's name and level, followed by its traits. These traits include its alignment and size. The top section of the stat block continues with the first stats you'll typically use, since you'll be determining whether the PCs and monsters can see one another (requiring you to use Perception), or the party might start out with an interaction (meaning you'll use the monster's languages and skills). The skills entry first lists a number you can use (in addition to the relevant ability modifier) for any skills the monster doesn't have listed, followed by a list of all the skills the monster has a different modifier for. So if you needed to roll an Acrobatics check for the ogre, you'll roll 1d20 and add 4, which is much better than its base modifier plus its Dex modifier (a total of +0).

You'll also notice the monster gives just its ability score modifiers instead of scores. This lets you make calculations more quickly, and since monsters don't increase their scores the same way PCs do, listing those is unnecessary. Monsters with items also list those up top.

There's a line to show where the monster's defenses start. Our ogre's pretty straightforward, with just ACs, saves, and Hit Points.

The next line separates the statistics and actions the monster can use on its turn. Here, that's Speed and the ogre's Strikes: an ogre hook and javelins! Even though the ogre doesn't have any special actions, it does have some special options due to its ogre hook. In parentheses, you can see the ogre hook's traits: deadly 1d10 (making it deal 1d10 more damage on a critical hit—ow!), a reach of 10 feet (letting the ogre attack past the first space), and trip (which lets the ogre trip using its hook instead of its body). Just as in Pathfinder First Edition, the reach comes from the ogre's size—the hook itself isn't long enough to increase reach.

So you can see the stat block is organized so that you're looking at the middle section when it's not the monster's turn, and at the bottom section on its turn. We think that will make it easier to use at the table, but we'd love to hear your feedback as you run these monsters during the playtest!

Blood and Boots

So how about a stat block that has a bit more going on? Here's a redcap: the nasty, brutal little fey with oversized scythes. This is a moderately complex monster. We won't be showing you any liches or pit fiends today, but the redcap will demonstrate how we present a few special abilities.

Redcap Creature 5

Evil, Fey, Small

Perception +10, low-light vision

Languages Aklo, Common, Giant, Sylvan

Skills +5; Acrobatics +13, Athletics +13, Deception +13, Intimidation +11, Nature +11, Stealth +13

Str +4, Dex +4, Con +4, Int +3, Wis +1, Cha +2

Items red cap, expert Medium scythe, iron boots

Red Cap (arcane, necromancy) A redcap's shapeless woolen hat is dyed with the blood of its victims. If the redcap loses its cap, it no longer benefits from fast healing and takes a -4 conditional penalty to its damage rolls. It can create a new cap in 10 minutes, but that cap doesn't grant its powers until the redcap has turned it red with Blood Soak. A cap has no benefit for creatures other than redcaps.


AC 20, TAC 19; Fort +8, Ref +11, Will +9

HP 55, fast healing 10; Weaknesses cold iron 5, irreligious

Irreligious (emotion, fear, mental) If a redcap sees a creature brandish a holy symbol of a good deity or use one for the Material Casting of a divine spell, the redcap must attempt a DC 17 Will save. On a failure, the redcap is frightened 4 and fleeing for 1 round; on a success, it's frightened 2; on a critical success, it's unaffected. To brandish a holy symbol, a creature must Interact to brandish it for 1 round (similar to Raising a Shield). Once a redcap has to attempt a save against a brandished holy symbol, it is bolstered against brandished holy symbols for the next 10 minutes.


Speed 50 feet

[[A]] Melee scythe +13 (deadly 1d10, trip), Damage 2d10+4 slashing
boot +13 (agile, versatile B), Damage 2d4+8 piercing

[[A]] Blood Soak (manipulate) The redcap dips its cap in the blood of a slain foe. The foe must have died in the last minute, and the redcap must have helped kill it. The redcap gains a +4 conditional bonus on damage rolls for 1 minute.

[[R]] Deadly Cleave

Trigger The redcap drops a creature to 0 Hit Points with a scythe Strike.

Effect The redcap makes another scythe Strike against a different creature, using the same multiple attack penalty as the scythe Strike that triggered this reaction. This counts toward its multiple attack penalty.

[[A]] Stomp The redcap Strides up to half its Speed and makes a boot Strike at any point during that movement. If the boot Strike hits a prone creature, it deals an extra 2d6 persistent bleed damage.

You can see here that the redcap has an ability to represent its blood-soaked hat, and that appears in the top section because it affects all of its statistics. You'll also notice the weakness to cold iron that comes from being a fey creature. One of the nice things about the new system of building monsters is that we can just give monsters the statistics we want them to have instead of sometimes building them in strange ways to get their statistics to be good. For instance, in Pathfinder First Edition, a fey might have had far more Hit Dice than expected to get its statistics high enough, which led to odd results from abilities that counted Hit Dice. Now, the redcap gets statistics that are suitable for its level and how it's used.

You can see the Irreligious ability is an example of a special ability that will come up when it's not the monster's turn. A redcap can be scared off by symbols of divinity!

In the bottom section, you see two special actions and a reaction. The reaction appears down here because the trigger is most likely to occur during the recap's own turn. You'll also see how some of the basic actions of the game end up being used in other actions. For instance, Stomp tells you that the redcap uses Stride and Strike. An ability like this lets you know any ways in which these actions operate differently than using them normally.

Spell It Out

How about just one more example for today? Let's look at how innate spells work. These are much like spell-like abilities from Pathfinder First Edition, but they function more like spells than they used to. The only difference between these and other spells is that the number of times the monster can cast them is based on the monster itself rather than on a spellcasting class. Innate spell entries look much like prepared spells, with a couple extra categories of usability. Here are some we stole from the efreeti:

Innate Arcane Spells DC 22, attack +17; Constant detect magic; 5th illusory object; 4th gaseous form, invisibility (×2); At Will plane shift (7th, to Elemental Planes, Astral Plane, or Material Plane only); Cantrips produce flame (4th)

The spell DC is listed right there, along with the attack bonus for touch attacks since the efreeti has produce flame. Illusory object is presented the same way a prepared 5th-level spell would be, as are gaseous form and the two spell slots of invisibility. Anything that doesn't come in a level entry is cast at its lowest level unless a level appears in parentheses. You can see that happening with the produce flame cantrip, which the efreeti casts as a 4th-level spell. Its detect magic is level 1, but that's a constant ability that functions all the time for the efreeti. The other special way a creature can use innate spells is with at-will spells. These are spells the monster can cast as many times as it wants even though they aren't normally cantrips. The efreeti can cast plane shift any number of times, but the parentheses tell you that it's the 7th-level version and that it can go only to certain planes.

What do you think of this take on monster presentation? Do you think it'll be easy to use these stat blocks in your game?

Logan Bonner
Designer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Pathfinder Playtest Wayne Reynolds
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David knott 242 wrote:
1of1 wrote:

That bugbear looks really cool. Rocking the skull face lip removal. The Handy Snack™ chew toy and ye olde nail bat really tie together the matted fur and rotting ear necklace. I can practically smell the old blood and poor hygiene. Awesome job, Wayne.

So, how did the ogre get it's damage bonuses up past it's strength? I'm trying to parse that, but I'm probably missing something.

I am not sure that any of the ogre's stats are directly related to ability scores at all. For example, the gap between Acrobatics and Athletics for the ogre does not match the gap between Dex and Str at all.

Right then, missing a lot of somethings. Par for course. Still a little iffy on SF's monster blocks, though admittedly I don't run that very often. Maybe I'll be able to wrap my head around the backend math a little better when we learn more about this.


11 people marked this as a favorite.

'irreligious' is just flat out the wrong word for what you're trying to say. No one indifferent to religion is going to be scared of holy symbols.
----

Once again, words are better than icons- much more clear, no fancy printing costs.
Action: <text>
Reaction: <text>
It's really simple.
---

Speaking of which the formatting needs work slashing boot just runs together into the backside of the scythe attack. It also isn't clear at all if the attack gives both scythe and slashing boot attacks.

And yes, it isn't clear that you're trying to say that the scythe is a slashing attack and the other attack is simply called 'boot' for whatever crazy reason. Some form of punctuation needs to be in there. Or better yet, another line starting with Attack: Boot <etc>

---

As a personal preference, I'd like to see the derivation of the various numbers... somewhere. I can puzzle them out, but it isn't user-friendly as is.
----

Finally:

Quote:
You'll also notice the monster gives just its ability score modifiers instead of scores. This lets you make calculations more quickly, and since monsters don't increase their scores the same way PCs do, listing those is unnecessary

Truthfully, this logic works just as well for PCs, especially as you've only shown modifiers of +2. (Which is to say, a +1 modifier)

Pick an approach and stick with it consistently. One way for some things and just the modifiers elsewhere looks sloppy and confusing. If you really aren't using the base stat numbers at all, then just use the modifier as the real number.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
thflame wrote:

The good:

Ability Modifiers instead of Ability Scores. That makes tweaking monsters a lot easier. (Why wasn't this done for PCs?)

The bad:

I'd really like to see where the numbers for AC, TAC, etc. come from. It makes tweaking stats easier.

Overall no HUGE complaints, except...

I am starting to see a theme here where EVERYTHING takes an action. While unifying the rules does make things easier to learn, I fear that being TOO reliant on the action mechanics is going to lead to the "one size fits all" problem. I'd really like to see a clause in the Interact Action that allows you to take the action simultaneously with another action, so long as it makes sense.

For instance, grabbing a potion (or bomb for an alchemist) out of your belt pouch with one hand while you open a door with the other.

The ability score thing is not done for PC simply because their ability scores change over time. NPC generally won't be changing their attribute values in the course of play so no real point giving the actual attribute number instead of just the bonus or negative.


GlennH wrote:

I’m curious how the Lore (knowledge) skill would work in giving what you know about the creature?

For example:
If you successfully identified the Oger what would you know?

What would you know if you critically succeed in identifying the Red Cap?

I really want to know this too. I wasn't really expecting to see this in today's blog because it's stat blocks instead of full writeups with lore, but this still needs to at least make it into the playtest bestiary. That can have a huge impact on how players approach and adjust tactics to an unfamiliar monster.


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Are there default Reactions that all creatures can make, or is the Ogre simply too simple to ever get one?

Liberty's Edge

Castilliano wrote:
Are there default Reactions that all creatures can make, or is the Ogre simply too simple to ever get one?

Evidence suggests the latter.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I like the action list clearly spelling out what a monster can do on its turn.

I would like to see standard tactics listed as well to help out new DMs or even experienced DMs unfamiliar with a given monster so they know how it's supposed to be played.

One question I have is how easy is it to customize monsters? Let's say, I want an ogre with a greataxe instead of an ogre hook, or say a torturer who is more specialized in Intimidate than the standard ogre. How easy is it to change and recalculate the relevant stats?

Scarab Sages

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The melee line for the Redcap:

Please have something, a semi-colon, the words or, and, or a double dash or something that visibly separates the two types of attacks. Right now the damage for the Scythe blends directly into the start of the bladed boot attack. Visibly that's really bad and confusing. Especially if you are listing Damage: with a bold label directly after each type of attack, then the next attack needs to also either be labeled [[A]]Melee: on its own line, or some icon or word to separate the two attacks so they are visibly distinct from one another.

e.g.

Quote:

[[A]] Melee scythe +13 (deadly 1d10, trip), Damage 2d10+4 slashing; boot +13 (agile, versatile B), Damage 2d4+8 piercing

or

[[A]] Melee scythe +13 (deadly 1d10, trip), Damage 2d10+4 slashing
[[A]] Melee boot +13 (agile, versatile B), Damage 2d4+8 piercing

my preference is a separate line for each attack

or

[[A]] Melee scythe +13 (deadly 1d10, trip), Damage 2d10+4 slashing -or- boot +13 (agile, versatile B), Damage 2d4+8 piercing

Scarab Sages

Voss wrote:

'irreligious' is just flat out the wrong word for what you're trying to say. No one indifferent to religion is going to be scared of holy symbols.

----

Once again, words are better than icons- much more clear, no fancy printing costs.
Action: <text>
Reaction: <text>
It's really simple.
---

Speaking of which the formatting needs work slashing boot just runs together into the backside of the scythe attack. It also isn't clear at all if the attack gives both scythe and slashing boot attacks.

And yes, it isn't clear that you're trying to say that the scythe is a slashing attack and the other attack is simply called 'boot' for whatever crazy reason. Some form of punctuation needs to be in there. Or better yet, another line starting with Attack: Boot <etc>

---

As a personal preference, I'd like to see the derivation of the various numbers... somewhere. I can puzzle them out, but it isn't user-friendly as is.
----

Finally:

Quote:
You'll also notice the monster gives just its ability score modifiers instead of scores. This lets you make calculations more quickly, and since monsters don't increase their scores the same way PCs do, listing those is unnecessary

Truthfully, this logic works just as well for PCs, especially as you've only shown modifiers of +2. (Which is to say, a +1 modifier)

Pick an approach and stick with it consistently. One way for some things and just the modifiers elsewhere looks sloppy and confusing. If you really aren't using the base stat numbers at all, then just use the modifier as the real number.

I don't believe irreligious means indifferent.


26 people marked this as a favorite.

Being blind, from what I can tell so far, if you continue with this representative symbol nonsense, the stat block will be absolutely useless to me. I'm ok with everything else I've read though. If you can make it where screen readers can actually interpret the symbols, that is a different story.


11 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Voss wrote:
Quote:
You'll also notice the monster gives just its ability score modifiers instead of scores. This lets you make calculations more quickly, and since monsters don't increase their scores the same way PCs do, listing those is unnecessary

Truthfully, this logic works just as well for PCs, especially as you've only shown modifiers of +2. (Which is to say, a +1 modifier)

Pick an approach and stick with it consistently. One way for some things and just the modifiers elsewhere looks sloppy and confusing. If you really aren't using the base stat numbers at all, then just use the modifier as the real number.

I mentioned this on the first page. I'll quote this for the second. This makes a lot of sense.

The ONLY reason to keep stats is because "it's how we always did it" but seeing stats only exist to give bonuses and stats increase by increments giving a +1 bonus... eliminate the Stats entirely.

I understand some people enjoy rolling stats. If you really have to, include a conversion from the 3d6/4d6 stat rolling system and the new bonus system. But seeing that bonus spells no longer exist and stats exist only to give a specific bonus or penalty for certain skill attributes (or for combat)... eliminating the stats and having people ONLY list the bonus works a lot better and quicker.

Seriously. This is something I've noticed in the old game. "What's your Dex Bonus?" "Um... I've got a 22 Dexterity which gives me... +6?" And of course you'd have Cat's Grace adding +4 to Dexterity and +2 to bonuses based off of it... eliminating that conversion speeds things up tremendously.

We don't need stats. You just showed it here with the monsters. Switch to just the attribute bonuses and penalties and we'll be fine.


19 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Valantrix1 wrote:
Being blind, from what I can tell so far, if you continue with this representative symbol nonsense, the stat block will be absolutely useless to me. I'm ok with everything else I've read though. If you can make it where screen readers can actually interpret the symbols, that is a different story.

Okay. This. Most definitely this. I had a blind brother (he passed away a couple decades ago). My own vision isn't the best these days and eventually I could lose my own sight (as could anyone here). I know you want to use abbreviations and save space but... make this so Text Readers can read these statistics and blind users are able to continue to game.

Don't set up fences keeping blind people from the game. Take the time to spell things out slightly more and remain ADA compliant. :)


John Ryan 783 wrote:

So, first thing that jumps out to me is that it looks like ability damage is gone? If enemies have no score, then attacking the ability seems like a thing of the past... which I will not deny. I am sad to see go.

It's nice having other options to go after.

The ability score is pretty much irrelevant in Pathfinder 1 as well unless you deal enough ability damage to equal/exceed the score -- though many players assumes it works the way it did in 3.5e.

Strength damage (for example), as well as any Strength penalties that last less than 1 day, does not actually reduce your Strength. Instead, for every 2 points of Strength damage you have you take -1 to Strength-based skills, Str-based attack rolls, Str-based damage rolls, and CMB/CMD (if you're Small or larger). If you take ability damage equal to or higher than your score, you go unconscious (except if it's Con, because then you die).

So let's say you're 4th level and normally have Strength 14 and fight with a +1 greataxe with +8 to hit (+4 BAB, +2 Str, +1 enhancement, +1 weapon focus) and deal 1d12+6 (+3 Str including the x1.5, +1 enhancement, +2 weapon spec) points of damage with it. You are then hit with 2 points of Strength damage. You now have +7 to hit (-1 penalty from Str damage), and deal 1d12+5 damage (-1 penalty from Str damage). The damage penalty does not get the 1.5x Str increase from wielding the weapon in two hands. If you have Power Attack, you can still use it. You do not become encumbered if you weren't already, because your weight allowance does not change.

Similarly, if you're a wizard and get hit with Intelligence damage, your spell save DC goes down. However, you do not lose bonus spells, nor do you lose the ability to cast high-level spells.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Tallow wrote:
Voss wrote:

'irreligious' is just flat out the wrong word for what you're trying to say. No one indifferent to religion is going to be scared of holy symbols.

----

Once again, words are better than icons- much more clear, no fancy printing costs.
Action: <text>
Reaction: <text>
It's really simple.
---

Speaking of which the formatting needs work slashing boot just runs together into the backside of the scythe attack. It also isn't clear at all if the attack gives both scythe and slashing boot attacks.

And yes, it isn't clear that you're trying to say that the scythe is a slashing attack and the other attack is simply called 'boot' for whatever crazy reason. Some form of punctuation needs to be in there. Or better yet, another line starting with Attack: Boot <etc>

---

As a personal preference, I'd like to see the derivation of the various numbers... somewhere. I can puzzle them out, but it isn't user-friendly as is.
----

Finally:

Quote:
You'll also notice the monster gives just its ability score modifiers instead of scores. This lets you make calculations more quickly, and since monsters don't increase their scores the same way PCs do, listing those is unnecessary

Truthfully, this logic works just as well for PCs, especially as you've only shown modifiers of +2. (Which is to say, a +1 modifier)

Pick an approach and stick with it consistently. One way for some things and just the modifiers elsewhere looks sloppy and confusing. If you really aren't using the base stat numbers at all, then just use the modifier as the real number.

I don't believe irreligious means indifferent.

Irreligious

adjective
indifferent or hostile to religion

The Redcap seems like it falls into the latter category to me.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Tangent101 wrote:
Voss wrote:
Quote:
You'll also notice the monster gives just its ability score modifiers instead of scores. This lets you make calculations more quickly, and since monsters don't increase their scores the same way PCs do, listing those is unnecessary

Truthfully, this logic works just as well for PCs, especially as you've only shown modifiers of +2. (Which is to say, a +1 modifier)

Pick an approach and stick with it consistently. One way for some things and just the modifiers elsewhere looks sloppy and confusing. If you really aren't using the base stat numbers at all, then just use the modifier as the real number.

I mentioned this on the first page. I'll quote this for the second. This makes a lot of sense.

The ONLY reason to keep stats is because "it's how we always did it" but seeing stats only exist to give bonuses and stats increase by increments giving a +1 bonus... eliminate the Stats entirely.

I understand some people enjoy rolling stats. If you really have to, include a conversion from the 3d6/4d6 stat rolling system and the new bonus system. But seeing that bonus spells no longer exist and stats exist only to give a specific bonus or penalty for certain skill attributes (or for combat)... eliminating the stats and having people ONLY list the bonus works a lot better and quicker.

Seriously. This is something I've noticed in the old game. "What's your Dex Bonus?" "Um... I've got a 22 Dexterity which gives me... +6?" And of course you'd have Cat's Grace adding +4 to Dexterity and +2 to bonuses based off of it... eliminating that conversion speeds things up tremendously.

We don't need stats. You just showed it here with the monsters. Switch to just the attribute bonuses and penalties and we'll be fine.

Not to mention, and I think Starfinder did this for similar reasons (I know this is not a positive comparison for many), not being able to completely backward build a monster means that players can't figure out what a monster is capable of simply by knowing one or two things about them. It also stops GMs (and in general readers) from constantly pointing out the authors poor math skills.

Customer Service Representative

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Removed some posts about display problems as the issue has been fixed and they were clogging up discussion


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Not a fan of monsters following different setup than the PCs. Miss seeing feats associated with the monsters, Ability Mods versus Ability Scores are not my thing.

Scarab Sages

TriOmegaZero wrote:

"...it is bolstered against brandished holy symbols for the next 10 minutes."

Doesn't sound like it has a specific time limit, given that the 10 minute duration is mentioned.

Hopefully bolstered is a defined keyword and we will know what that means.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Tangent101 wrote:

There are some nice features here. I like the fact bonuses are included for the stats... but in this case, why not just have this for all stats, including on Character Sheets? Instead of a written stat of 10/12/14/16 etc., provide people with the bonus for the stat? And a Stat Increase would give an added +1 to the stats being boosted?

This would simplify things significantly, and would also mean penalties are not limited to -5 for when a stat is reduced to 1.

I believe they actually said they tested that and got a lot of negative feedback, People have a mental sense of what 20 strength is over +5 strength and it just didn't work out well. Sometimes "Feel" wins out. I can agree to this as a long standing player having an 18 charisma feels right, but having a +4 charisma feels less descriptive (despite not meaning anything different) I'd even prefer the monsters have (possibly in small text) listing the "value" even if all thats important is the modifier, but i will live.


thflame wrote:
I fear that being TOO reliant on the action mechanics is going to lead to the "one size fits all" problem.

I used to use the term, "one size fits none," fairly often. Using the wrong tool for the job can go quite poorly when putting flying machines together.

Role playing games aren't nearly as high stakes as aviation maintenance, but improper streamlining can still be as detrimental as overcomplication. I'm really glad they're taking the shakedown run seriously, because it's honestly very difficult to find the sweet spot when you're really just playing pretend with other people. Many, many other people.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

is it possible to go below 0 Hp? Since the deadly cleave ability calls out at 0hp , and not 0 hp or below. (also i guess 0 hp is no longer staggered?)

also is taking a -4 penalty actually adding +4 since subtracting a -4 actually adds it?


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Another question: Where are the monster feats? Tweaking those was one of the best things of monster customizing.


Voss wrote:
As a personal preference, I'd like to see the derivation of the various numbers... somewhere. I can puzzle them out, but it isn't user-friendly as is.

I would argue that it is user-friendly, but not homebrew-friendly. But for someone picking up the bestiary and running a monster right out of it, just having the number there is way more user-friendly. It's not until you need/want to muddle around with it that you need to know where it comes from.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Love what I am seeing here as a long time DM.


james014Aura wrote:

This feels unpleasantly like (the thankfully optional) simple monster creation from PF1, or PF2 monsters entirely. Which is not fun to use or look at.

And how are TAC, AC, saves, and hp computed on monsters? Is there a formula? PLEASE don't let it be arbitrary! (I hate the arbitrariness of quick/simple monster creation; it's use as the main method)

Please, let it be possible to reverse-engineer monsters to better understand them (and modify them more precisely). What I see doesn't allow that.

Also, what's skills +1 or skills +5?

It's covered in the description it's the value you add the ability score modifier to for all unlisted/untrained skills.

Also they already mentioned in the last blog it will be "quick monster" style, they also explained why and how the "preconstructed" method was just as arbitrary (design wise you pick what attack mod / hp you want /then/ you play Hit die, ability score, and feat selection balancing game to achieve the results you already know you want.)

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

Anyone know what 'versatile B" means in the boot stat block?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Question: Since neither monster list opportunity attacks, I presume neither gets one?


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Overall I like the changes. Monster statblocks themselves really only need the info you need to run them, not to build them. That's assuming that we do get robust monster-building rules elsewhere though.

Two things I'm sad to not see though.

The redcap's 2d6 persistent bleed doesn't have anything on how to stop it, leading me to assume that it'll be similar to 1E's "DC 15 skill check or 1 point of magical healing" which always seemed way too specific to account for anything from a cut to getting your insides ripped out. Considering that skills and spells work on the same scale, I'd much prefer having a set DC to stop the healing. That way more powerful creatures (and higher level players) cause bleed effects that are more difficult to stop.

Neither monster has a DC to identify it, which again leads me to assume that the identification DC is based on the creature's challenge rating (Creature 3 and Creature 5 for our examples here). This again is a bit too simple for the huge variety of monsters Pathfinder has.

For example, some Dragons are tough, but a lot of people are going to know the basics about them (they fly, they've got lots of natural attacks, they have breath weapons, higher level ones cast spells). In comparison, a Denizen of Leng doesn't have that high CR but is supposed to be very mysterious and rarely seen.

Thus, I'd really prefer individualized identification DCs for monsters. This would both help and hurt players specced into knowledge checks, as the DCs may be higher or lower than the 1E way, depending on the monster. But a GM being able to immediately tell if a PC crit failed, failed, succeeded, or crit succeeded their knowledge/lore/etc check to ID the monster would be a lot easier to run than needing to calculate the DC on the fly and then apply "GM discretion" modifiers based on in-game rarity.

Liberty's Edge

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Grumpus wrote:
Anyone know what 'versatile B" means in the boot stat block?

That they can do Bludgeoning instead of Piercing if you want.


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I like the organization of the monster stats into things you need to look at when it's the players' turn vs the monster's turn. Seems neat.

I agree with Tallow that I'd rather have attacks be on their own lines if the damage tags are going to be bolded. I would even be fine with removing the word "Damage" from the attack lines and separating different attacks with a semicolon or something.

NielsenE wrote:

(less general purpose), but it seems likely that the interaction of the red cap ability and the blood soak, could cause problems. Is it a binary condition or a tertiary condition:

a) no hat (-4), blood soaked hat (+0, default stat line).
b) no hat (-4), blood soaked hat(+0, default stat line), recently soaked hat (+4 over default stat line)

In the blood soak ability, it lists that the damage bonus lasts for 1 minute. So it would be no hat (-4), hat (0), recently soaked hat (+4).


Grumpus wrote:
Anyone know what 'versatile B" means in the boot stat block?

It means that the boot can deal bludgeoning damage instead of piercing should the redcap so choose. It is one of the new standard weapon abilities. Like deadly on the ogre hook.

Scarab Sages

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Like in PF1, are there several things (immunities, resistances, etc.) tied to each type of creature?

For instance, Fey, Giant, Humanoid all have things associated with them. Creature Traits, so to speak.

Not listing those in the stat block makes me go to a different page (which can sometimes be hard to find under certain conditions) to find out various other traits, immunity, resistance, etc. a creature has, and that's annoying.

The bolstered line of the irreligious weakness for the Redcap doesn't parse well.

Quote:
Once a redcap has to attempt a save against a brandished holy symbol, it is bolstered against brandished holy symbols for the next 10 minutes.

"Once a redcap has to attempt a save..." is clunky. Why is the word "has" in there? It also is unclear if its bolstered against just that holy symbol or all holy symbols. The way its written, I'm assuming all.

I would write the sentence like this:

Quote:
A redcap becomes bolstered against all brandished holy symbols once it attempts a save, granting it immunity to brandished holy symbols for the next 10 minutes.

Paizo Employee

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Zendar wrote:
Question: Since neither monster list opportunity attacks, I presume neither gets one?

Attacks of Opportunity are a subset of reactions. The ogre has no reaction listed, but the redcap has the Deadly Cleave reaction that triggers whenever it reduces and opponent to 0 hit points with its scythe.


Barator wrote:
Not a fan of monsters following different setup than the PCs. Miss seeing feats associated with the monsters, Ability Mods versus Ability Scores are not my thing.

They said in discussion in an earlier blog that monsters can still have feats, and if they do those will get summarized like any other ability. But they're not going to fill out monsters with the full number of feats a character of that level would get just to tick the boxes, unless the creature in question is actually built like a full N/PC.


Tallow wrote:

The melee line for the Redcap:

Please have something, a semi-colon, the words or, and, or a double dash or something that visibly separates the two types of attacks. Right now the damage for the Scythe blends directly into the start of the bladed boot attack. Visibly that's really bad and confusing. Especially if you are listing Damage: with a bold label directly after each type of attack, then the next attack needs to also either be labeled [[A]]Melee: on its own line, or some icon or word to separate the two attacks so they are visibly distinct from one another.

e.g.

Quote:

[[A]] Melee scythe +13 (deadly 1d10, trip), Damage 2d10+4 slashing; boot +13 (agile, versatile B), Damage 2d4+8 piercing

or

[[A]] Melee scythe +13 (deadly 1d10, trip), Damage 2d10+4 slashing
[[A]] Melee boot +13 (agile, versatile B), Damage 2d4+8 piercing

my preference is a separate line for each attack

or

[[A]] Melee scythe +13 (deadly 1d10, trip), Damage 2d10+4 slashing -or- boot +13 (agile, versatile B), Damage 2d4+8 piercing

I think the "boot" entry doesn't have an [[A]] tag next to it is because it can only be done as a part of the [[R]] reaction of stomp. It's on a second line because it is its own attack but it can't be done as a part of a [[A]] Strike action, it's only used when you [[R]] Reaction.


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So the Ogre's hit points:
4 HD x 12 each + 4 HD x 2 for Con + 4 HD x 1 (Toughness)= x 15 = 60

Redcap's:
A. 6 HD x 6 each (fey) + 6 x 4 for Con = 60 ??
B. 5 HD x 6 each fey + 6 x 4 for Con = 50 ??
So A., but with Fast Healing subtract .5 x Fast Healing to get 55?
(Which I can see as a good way to balance h.p. for fast healers for a particular level)

I love these stat blocks...as stat blocks. Very functional and pretty much what I write in my notes for swifter play.
(But please do lose the solid bar of black at the top, for my ink's sake.)

And I require monsters to add up behind the scenes because cobbling together monsters is perhaps my favorite GM task. I need to be able to toss Fighter levels on Ogres, etc. Or even Ogre levels! It seems Ogre's have Iron Will (or some similar advantage) baked into their stats, but how would I know its source? Again, great stat blocks, but the Bestiary should give us the particulars too. So there'd be a "Combat Stat Block" header, followed by a secondary stat section showing the skill levels, proficiency levels, racial additions, etc.
I'll need to know things like should I be raising 4 stats on the Ogre if I give it another level (as it hits 5th then). Another feat? Or just 15 h.p. & +1 to most of its stuff? When will it get the extra dice of damage to its weapon like the Redcap does?

Thanks, BTW, I'm really liking what I see. Cheers.


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james014Aura wrote:
Another question: Where are the monster feats? Tweaking those was one of the best things of monster customizing.

Monsters by default are no longer build with hit dice and static rules, if they have a feat-like ability they will be listing it like a special feature/ability. Many of the ability's simply can work they want them to so there is no need for monsters to have feats (and of course with many of them being skill/class/race category locked it may not make sense.)

Contributor

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I'm not crazy about this layout for a few reasons.

1) Why are the stats that you typically don't use / care about much at the top? You expect to lead with the more important information, and instead I get what languages the monster speaks.

2) The "info line" as just tags jarring. Instead of just having an estimate of where to look in a stat block for something like size or type, now you have to wade through ALL of the monster's descriptors.

3) The dividers definitely need text explaining why difference pieces of information are in each areas. Like the last one just looks like "actions." If that's intentional, cool. But you should explain why things are in each sector of the stat block.

Some things I do like:

1) Defining each ability in its appropriate sector is a neat idea. Its nice not to have to waste words describing one ability twice.

2) More iconography in the stat block is an interesting (if extremely 5e) idea.

Neutral

1) Why aren't any of the custom abilities listing extraordinary / spell-like / supernatural as tags? Seems weird to me to not know what powers different effects.

2) Overall, I kind of feel like this stat block simplifies information but makes that same information difficult to find in cases where stuff is sort of just listed alphabetically on a line. There is value in organization that this layout fails to acknowledge.


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Texas Snyper wrote:
Tallow wrote:

The melee line for the Redcap:

Please have something, a semi-colon, the words or, and, or a double dash or something that visibly separates the two types of attacks. Right now the damage for the Scythe blends directly into the start of the bladed boot attack. Visibly that's really bad and confusing. Especially if you are listing Damage: with a bold label directly after each type of attack, then the next attack needs to also either be labeled [[A]]Melee: on its own line, or some icon or word to separate the two attacks so they are visibly distinct from one another.

e.g.

Quote:

[[A]] Melee scythe +13 (deadly 1d10, trip), Damage 2d10+4 slashing; boot +13 (agile, versatile B), Damage 2d4+8 piercing

or

[[A]] Melee scythe +13 (deadly 1d10, trip), Damage 2d10+4 slashing
[[A]] Melee boot +13 (agile, versatile B), Damage 2d4+8 piercing

my preference is a separate line for each attack

or

[[A]] Melee scythe +13 (deadly 1d10, trip), Damage 2d10+4 slashing -or- boot +13 (agile, versatile B), Damage 2d4+8 piercing

I think the "boot" entry doesn't have an [[A]] tag next to it is because it can only be done as a part of the [[R]] reaction of stomp. It's on a second line because it is its own attack but it can't be done as a part of a [[A]] Strike action, it's only used when you [[R]] Reaction.

It is also possible that it is part of a combo attack. You do the one action and you scythe then you boot. The listing is not really clear on that unfortunately.


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Ok, I've come here just to say: I loved everything! Nothing to complain here.
I especially liked the Red Cap; I love these evil fey and the mayhem they can cause.

One thing, though: once in a while, I make monsters who truly are spellcasters (as in, it is not innate casting). Would this work in the same way every PC class works on monsters? How that would be?
This is not a critique; you have surprised me with a fairly long series of great articles ^^


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Looking over the posts on monsters this week I appreciate the effort to streamline the monster stat blocks and to organize them in such a way as to be easier to run. Seeing an article on monster creation would be beneficial to understand how the story teller's job might be easier in making monsters.


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Alexander Augunas wrote:

I'm not crazy about this layout for a few reasons.

1) Why are the stats that you typically don't use / care about much at the top? You expect to lead with the more important information, and instead I get what languages the monster speaks.

2) The "info line" as just tags jarring. Instead of just having an estimate of where to look in a stat block for something like size or type, now you have to wade through ALL of the monster's descriptors.

3) The dividers definitely need text explaining why difference pieces of information are in each areas. Like the last one just looks like "actions." If that's intentional, cool. But you should explain why things are in each sector of the stat block.

They explained the three sections in the blog:

The first section is stuff to look at before combat begins. So if the PCs try to talk with it or sneak by it or what have you that's why languages and skills are there since initiative is skill based now.

The second section is what to look at when it is the PCs turn and they are attacking the monster. So mostly defenses.

The third section is what to look at it when it is the monsters turn so mostly actions but not necessarily all actions.


Have you guys thought about using more icons?

You have one for Action and reaction. But what about using something for alignment, size, type of damage?

I've always found stat blocks to be just too big a block of text.


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Grumpus wrote:

is it possible to go below 0 Hp? Since the deadly cleave ability calls out at 0hp , and not 0 hp or below. (also i guess 0 hp is no longer staggered?)

also is taking a -4 penalty actually adding +4 since subtracting a -4 actually adds it?

I'm quite sure they've mentioned in one of their podcasts that you don't go below 0 anymore. When you get to 0HP, you go into a dying state where, each turn, you roll to save, on a failure, you go up one stage, up to "dying 4" which is to say, your character dies. There are critical successes and critical fails on these saves too, I think I remember. On a critical fail you go up two instead of one.

So you go to 0HP, your character falls over and is now dying 1.
Next turn, you roll and fail, you're now dying 2.
Next round you critically fail and go up two on the dying condition.
You're now dying 4, and dead.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong...


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Tangent101 wrote:
Voss wrote:
Quote:
You'll also notice the monster gives just its ability score modifiers instead of scores. This lets you make calculations more quickly, and since monsters don't increase their scores the same way PCs do, listing those is unnecessary

Truthfully, this logic works just as well for PCs, especially as you've only shown modifiers of +2. (Which is to say, a +1 modifier)

Pick an approach and stick with it consistently. One way for some things and just the modifiers elsewhere looks sloppy and confusing. If you really aren't using the base stat numbers at all, then just use the modifier as the real number.

I mentioned this on the first page. I'll quote this for the second. This makes a lot of sense.

The ONLY reason to keep stats is because "it's how we always did it" but seeing stats only exist to give bonuses and stats increase by increments giving a +1 bonus... eliminate the Stats entirely.

I understand some people enjoy rolling stats. If you really have to, include a conversion from the 3d6/4d6 stat rolling system and the new bonus system. But seeing that bonus spells no longer exist and stats exist only to give a specific bonus or penalty for certain skill attributes (or for combat)... eliminating the stats and having people ONLY list the bonus works a lot better and quicker.

Seriously. This is something I've noticed in the old game. "What's your Dex Bonus?" "Um... I've got a 22 Dexterity which gives me... +6?" And of course you'd have Cat's Grace adding +4 to Dexterity and +2 to bonuses based off of it... eliminating that conversion speeds things up tremendously.

We don't need stats. You just showed it here with the monsters. Switch to just the attribute bonuses and penalties and we'll be fine.

"It's how it's always been" is a perfectly fine answer sometimes, not all the time, but in this place I feel that it is. The pathfinder/dnd ability scores are iconic, and removing them adds a disconnect between people who have played P1E and DnD and don't care enough about the math to know the underlying numbers are the same.

Secondly, and somewhat related is the idea of a cognitive/perceived weighting of the numbers. It's easier to accept that 10-12 is an "average" than 0-1. Is a person with 5 strength 5 times as strong as a person with 1 strength? No one wants to play a character who has no intellegence, they're lower than an animal. It's all around easier for most people to consciously accept an 8-26 statistical scale that they derive bonuses from than a scale of stats that goes from -1-8.

I'm not saying that the -1-8 scale is harder to use, because it's certainly easier to use by far, but that giving someone who has had little to do with most rpgs a sheet that listed a character with +0 intelligence and +0 strength does have an effect on how they'll see the game, and I know I personally wouldn't have taken such a sheet well when I first started playing ttrpgs.


kaid wrote:


...
It is also possible that it is part of a combo attack. You do the one action and you scythe then you boot. The listing is not really clear on that unfortunately.

The boot has the agile property so I assume it is just another type of strike.

So the redcap could +13 Scythe/+8 Scythe/+3 Scythe or against a higher AC foe +3 Scythe/+9 Boot/+4 Boot.

Though since the action cost is the same to strike (boot) and stomp I guess the redcap would always stomp unless avoiding AoO, making them a very fast little bugger running around stomping on peoples toes.. which I think is a good thing.


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Castilliano wrote:

And I require monsters to add up behind the scenes because cobbling together monsters is perhaps my favorite GM task. I need to be able to toss Fighter levels on Ogres, etc. Or even Ogre levels! It seems Ogre's have Iron Will (or some similar advantage) baked into their stats, but how would I know its source? Again, great stat blocks, but the Bestiary should give us the particulars too. So there'd be a "Combat Stat Block" header, followed by a secondary stat section showing the skill levels, proficiency levels, racial additions, etc.

I'll need to know things like should I be raising 4 stats on the Ogre if I give it another level (as it hits 5th then). Another feat? Or just 15 h.p. & +1 to most of its stuff? When will it get the extra dice of damage to its weapon like the Redcap does?

Thanks, BTW, I'm really liking what I see. Cheers.

Agreed. I spent some time creating custom monsters for a 5e game. It took me a lot longer than building a PF monster, and they still ended up unbalanced. I don't want monsters that are just a random pile of numbers. I want to be able to dissect and reconstruct them and add templates and class levels and fun abilities.

That reminds me of the other thing that really bothered me about 5e. The special monster abilities were nearly unique per monster, and there wasn't an index of all of them. (There was an index that listed... some. Not all.) There were even abilities that did the same thing, but had different names on different monsters. It made it very hard to add abilities to new monsters.


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I've had some time to think, and while I'll try the playtest, I'm virtually certain that if monsters go the way I think they're going, I'm out - back to PF1e for me.

(I wanted 2e to be good. I want to give it a chance. But what I've seen of monsters leaves just too sour and bitter of a taste. As a long-time homebrew GM, I cannot abide monsters so unfriendly to customization. Nor can my sense of fairness abide monsters that use such completely different design rules than players - I've long held that a GM has to abide by (mostly - see racial HD and a few related things) the same restrictions as players.)


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Looks good, never liked how spread out the 3.x stat block was.

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