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

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Tags: Pathfinder Playtest Wayne Reynolds
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2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I think the maths adds up if we assume Monsters get to add some amount of proficiencys. Sadly the stat blocks don't show you those proficiency. It would be nice if they did as that would allow for easy tweaking. Perhaps something like [U], [T], [E], [M] and [L] to indicate untrained, trained, expert, master or legendary proficiency ratings without adding to much extra text.

E.G the ogre above might have

Ogre Hook [E]
Javelin [T]

and that neatly takes care of the difference between the To-hit values of those attacks.

Scarab Sages

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.

Then shouldn't it be tagged with [[R]]?


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Unikatze wrote:

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.

I'm all for clear signage. Icons can be a great tool for some people. But I'm not really great with colorful abstract shapes, so I end up needing to check what they mean whenever I come across them. The mileage may vary when replacing text, yet keeping both eats up even more room.

Life is complicated.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
MusicAddict wrote:

"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...

I'm sorry, but, they're iconic for PCs. I play a lot of old-school AD&D and monsters don't have ability scores listed, except the Intelligence one.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

I find these stat blocks harder to read and less informative.


Tallow wrote:
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.
Then shouldn't it be tagged with [[R]]?

Yea I misremembered it as part of its [[R]] for some reason. It's a part of the [[A]] Stomp which is a move and attack action. So I think the reasoning is to put all of the attacks first, then its reactions and special actions.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I love the new stat block!

It makes it so much easier to think through what the monster is going to do next in the combat sequence.

Honestly, I used to re-write all the stat blocks so I knew what the monster's options were at each step. This helps tremendously.


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

I really miss fey having DR.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

This is all really good, but... that bugbear. Those eyes.

*shudder*

Excuse me. I'm going to have to put something over the monitor until it goes away.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Saw the Starfinder way of showing ability scores/bonuses and my first reaction was “NUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU,” but then I remembered that as presented thus far there doesn’t seem to be a way to get odd ability scores outside of dice rolling so it’s not that much of an issue.

For Traits, please tell me they’re separated by category (alignment > type > size) rather than alphabetical, otherwise that will get confusing real quick. I also hope they drop the comma between the two alignments, cause that will look odd when also adding alignment subtypes. Or even codify it with “Usually Evil/Always Good/Either Chaotic or Lawful” rather than chopping it up like that.

Still not sold on the symbols, and as others have pointed out this is major roadblock for the visually impaired.

Still looking everything over but I hope their Profiencies are listed in the block somewhere or type Incase you want to modify the monsters or add Class levels.

And no feats :(

Other than that as of right now I’m liking the setup :3

Scarab Sages

3 people marked this as a favorite.
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.

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.

I actually really like the condensed layout. I also like the languages being at the top. I don't mind the creature types and size being listed at the top. Because at a glance that tells me what type of creature it is, which is often the first thing as a GM I need to know, because its the first thing players are going to ask about the creature. However, I'm hoping that everything that is a special trait of being a Fey (I'm assuming weakness 5/cold iron and low light vision and maybe some skill bumps)is fully baked into the stat block. I don't want to have to go look up Fey and find out there are things about Fey that aren't listed in the stat block.

I agree that each division needs to specifically label what that section of the statblock is, not just a line. Labeled with Defense or Offense or whatever. I suppose if every statblock is the same we will eventually just learn it and know it, but it is not intuitive and friendly to new users if its not specifically labeled.

I also am not a fan of the Red Cap and Irreligious abilities being defined within each section. For ease of use, I need to be able to glance at a specific, well defined section, and see numbers immediately. With those rather large blocks of text coming at the end of each section, it really takes away from that clean, smooth, ease of use. The special abilities should be defined at the end of the entire stat block, not within the specific sections.


12 people marked this as a favorite.
Tangent101 wrote:
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. :)

Thank you. I was trying to find just the right way to explain that. This is a game that even I can play, and I'd like to keep it that way. There isn't many of us out there, but I still would like to feel like they took me into consideration.

Scarab Sages

Texas Snyper wrote:
Tallow wrote:
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.
Then shouldn't it be tagged with [[R]]?
Yea I misremembered it as part of its [[R]] for some reason. It's a part of the [[A]] Stomp which is a move and attack action. So I think the reasoning is to put all of the attacks first, then its reactions and special actions.

Yeah, that's how I read the stat block. I just think, and it looks like Logan confirmed a typo upthread, the boot attack should be clearly separated from the scythe attack.

Further, it should be clear weather its an and/or attack. Can you do it instead of, as well as, or either?


6 people marked this as a favorite.

This is exciting! My comments:

  • I like the stat block split into the active and reactive sides. That will make it easier to use.
  • The AC and saves in the same row feels busy, but that might be just because I'm not accustomed to it.
  • The AC breakdown will be missed. Knowing how much AC comes from different sources helps me as a GM with narrative. "Your blow goes wide as... umm... it's surprisingly tough hide deflect the blow."
  • I'm wondering about reach being entered with the individual weapon properties. We need to look up the properties of the weapon now to figure out if the ogre can grapple at range, unless the long-large and tall-large are disappearing and reach is just a property of large now. Will a dragon have (reach 15) behind all of it's 9 attacks (may not be relevant with the new action economy)?
  • The bold damage and normal font weapon makes the attacks on the red-cap harder to read. I also read his second attack as a 'slashing boot'.
  • I like how much a difference being prepared and knowledgeable about redcaps will make. It feels like knowing about the cap and having silver will make the players feel like Awesome Adventures.

Scarab Sages

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Valantrix1 wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
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. :)

Thank you. I was trying to find just the right way to explain that. This is a game that even I can play, and I'd like to keep it that way. There isn't many of us out there, but I still would like to feel like they took me into consideration.

Excellent point. Can your reader read superscript that is a different, faded color?

So perhaps it would look like

ICONattack


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Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

So everything for classes are feats but monsters don't get feats, what is up with that.


I like the separation of what blocks of text a DM should be looking at when running encounters, which certainly makes our jobs easier. As for the bugbear... I mean, what else is there to say? Bravo!


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

So big metal boots do piercing damage instead of bludgeoning. That doesn't make sense even the boots have spikes they should do both damage types.

If touch AC is going to be so close to regular AC why bother having it all.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Hmmm, yeah, the more I look at it the more I don’t like the Trait setup, all those commas make it too choppy.

Also it’s, I don’t know the right word or feeling to describe it, but [Alignmnent] and [size] usually stays the same size really while [type] can greatly expand, Humanoid (Human, Shapeshifter, Augmented, etc), so I feel like type should be on the end. Id prefer size > alignment > type or possibly put alignment after the creature’s name in parentheses, Ogre (Usually CE).

Paizo Employee Designer

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Alexander Augunas wrote:
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.

Anything that's magical would have traits like "arcane" or "evocation" appearing in parentheses. See "Red Cap."

Paizo Employee Designer

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Igwilly wrote:
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?

Yes, you can give them prepared or spontaneous spells just like a caster. Innate covers what used to be spell-like abilities.


This looks very interesting.

There are quite a lot of mechanics alluded to here.

I wonder how the DC 17 for Irreligious is derived. Maybe it is just arbitrary, which is fine. So, 25% of failure, 50% of save, 25% chance of being unaffected.
I think there could be a better way of formatting these three states. It kind of gets lost in the text.


Dragon78 wrote:

So big metal boots do piercing damage instead of bludgeoning. That doesn't make sense even the boots have spikes they should do both damage types.

If touch AC is going to be so close to regular AC why bother having it all.

The boots have the "Versatile B" property which indicates that they can do bludgeoning instead of piercing if you so choose.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

GAH. I had no intention of moving over to PF2. But I LOVE these smaller stat blocks.

Scarab Sages

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Rysky wrote:

Hmmm, yeah, the more I look at it the more I don’t like the Trait setup, all those commas make it too choppy.

Also it’s, I don’t know the right word or feeling to describe it, but [Alignmnent] and [size] usually stays the same size really while [type] can greatly expand, Humanoid (Human, Shapeshifter, Augmented, etc), so I feel like type should be on the end. Id prefer size > alignment > type or possibly put alignment after the creature’s name in parentheses, Ogre (Usually CE).

Looks like they just alphabetized them.

I agree with you, I'd rather see:

Large, Chaotic, Evil, Giant, Humanoid

or

Small, Evil, Fey

I think the commas are for the alignments. We are so used to seeing Chaotic Evil, that if they list those without a comma, we are going to assume Chaotic Evil and maybe miss the fact that Chaotic and Evil are separate traits.

That being said, I hope that if some spells and abilities and game interactions are dependent up on the Alignment traits, that it doesn't affect outsiders differently than regular creatures. And that its clearly defined that the Evil trait and things that affect creatures differently because of that either specifically are or are not the same as a PC that happens to have an evil alignment. In other words, does having an alignment specifically give you that trait that could be affected by certain interactions with other game rules?

I always hated how PF1 had this glaring ambiguity regarding extra things to aligned creatures [evil] but it wasn't clearly defined if that meant it affected a creature that just happened to be chaotic evil, but wasn't [evil].

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Logan Bonner wrote:
Alexander Augunas wrote:
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.
Anything that's magical would have traits like "arcane" or "evocation" appearing in parentheses. See "Red Cap."

So Extraordinary doesn’t exist as a label anymore?

And Spell/SLA/Supernatural is just all labeled under “‘Magical” and actually labeled under the appropriate school?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Rysky wrote:

Hmmm, yeah, the more I look at it the more I don’t like the Trait setup, all those commas make it too choppy.

Also it’s, I don’t know the right word or feeling to describe it, but [Alignmnent] and [size] usually stays the same size really while [type] can greatly expand, Humanoid (Human, Shapeshifter, Augmented, etc), so I feel like type should be on the end. Id prefer size > alignment > type or possibly put alignment after the creature’s name in parentheses, Ogre (Usually CE).

This brings up a thought for me. It appears we no longer have subtypes, since the Ogre is listed as Giant, Humanoid rather than Humanoid (Giant).

I suspect that means Outsiders are going to be splintered, and we'll see tags like Fiend, Elemental, Celestial, etc. for creature type, with Extraplanar being an optional tag. Since there are no more subtypes, there's going to be no more alignment subtypes, just the alignment tags.

I think it's a good idea to sort out the Outsiders a bit more. The category is a bit ridiculous right now.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Tallow wrote:
Rysky wrote:

Hmmm, yeah, the more I look at it the more I don’t like the Trait setup, all those commas make it too choppy.

Also it’s, I don’t know the right word or feeling to describe it, but [Alignmnent] and [size] usually stays the same size really while [type] can greatly expand, Humanoid (Human, Shapeshifter, Augmented, etc), so I feel like type should be on the end. Id prefer size > alignment > type or possibly put alignment after the creature’s name in parentheses, Ogre (Usually CE).

Looks like they just alphabetized them.

I agree with you, I'd rather see:

Large, Chaotic, Evil, Giant, Humanoid

or

Small, Evil, Fey

I think the commas are for the alignments. We are so used to seeing Chaotic Evil, that if they list those without a comma, we are going to assume Chaotic Evil and maybe miss the fact that Chaotic and Evil are separate traits.

That being said, I hope that if some spells and abilities and game interactions are dependent up on the Alignment traits, that it doesn't affect outsiders differently than regular creatures. And that its clearly defined that the Evil trait and things that affect creatures differently because of that either specifically are or are not the same as a PC that happens to have an evil alignment. In other words, does having an alignment specifically give you that trait that could be affected by certain interactions with other game rules?

I always hated how PF1 had this glaring ambiguity regarding extra things to aligned creatures [evil] but it wasn't clearly defined if that meant it affected a creature that just happened to be chaotic evil, but wasn't [evil].

*nods*

Thasa good point.


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My overall thought is "hmmmm". I like the idea of where they are going with this, but I am not overly sold on the application as it stands now.

This tends to fall into my complaint with system changes that try hard to change things -- often, it almost seems, for no reason -- to the point it feels like one is looking at a completely different system.

The stat block is more compact, which is a plus for adding to adventure paths and modules, but just feels abbreviated like I need to refer to another source to see if I am missing anything.

Scarab Sages

knightnday wrote:

My overall thought is "hmmmm". I like the idea of where they are going with this, but I am not overly sold on the application as it stands now.

This tends to fall into my complaint with system changes that try hard to change things -- often, it almost seems, for no reason -- to the point it feels like one is looking at a completely different system.

The stat block is more compact, which is a plus for adding to adventure paths and modules, but just feels abbreviated like I need to refer to another source to see if I am missing anything.

It does feel that way. But if everything truly is baked into the statblock, and the only other things that need to be looked up are weapon and movement type specific, that really isn't any different than PF1. And in this case, the Deadly is sorta defined, although the organization of how its defined for the Ogre Hook is confusing.

Its confusing because stat blocks in PF1 had damage in parenthesis, and now the parenthesis just defines the attack and the damage comes after bolded. I think once I get used to it, it won't be a problem. But that was an initial confusion for me when I first looked at the stat block.


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Like the new arrangement of statblocks based on when you need the info. Like having a bonus for skills not listed (comes up too often in my case, especially diplomacy/sense motive rarely being listed even for intelligent monsters.) Also love that ranged attacks now actually list the range.

The line involving subtypes seems less informative than PF1. I liked having an ordered breakdown of alignment, size, type, then subtypes. It was easily scannable to find whatever bit of info you needed at the time. Plus, there is a big difference between a creature that happens to be evil and a creature that actually has the evil subtype, which seems to be difficult to express if everything is lumped together.

Considering skills have different proficiencies now, at what proficiency do monster skills function at? There doesn't seem to be a way to distinguish this in the example statblocks.

For actions, if you're going to have a nice action symbol for attacks, I'd prefer if you repeated the symbol for each separate melee option. That way it is easy to scan down the list of options for a monster rather than having one option (melee attack) having multiple sub-options to choose from. So for the Red Cap you'd have:
[[A]] Melee scythe +13 (deadly 1d10, trip), Damage 2d10+4 slashing
[[A]] Melee boot +13 (agile, versatile B), Damage 2d4+8 piercing

What happened to CMB / CMD? I feel like I probably missed a blog on this, but it feels weird to not see them present. I know I have to reference CMD on monsters a lot when I GM.

Are there still racial traits associated with certain types/subtypes? If so, it'd be nice to have that info as part of the statblock rather than needing to go to a seperate reference.

As some others mentioned, having a DC for knowledge/lore would be nice. Not only is it better to reference in the statblock rather than have to go search for a formula, but it allows for some creatures to be common knowledge despite being strong or relatively unknown even if weak. Plus, you can avoid having the problem of different age categories of dragon having different knowledge DCs.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Hmm. Interesting.

It seems like either the redcap does more damage with his weapon than the PCs would, or am expert scythe is the same as a +1 scythe.

The redcap has a higher deception modifier than a PC could get barring buffs or Skill Focus existing still, and does so with just 14 charisma. Stats, then, determine how good creatures are at general things, but specialties (fey are quick and tricky) are what they need to be. But before we had racial modifiers and special abilities to bypass feat requirements, so that doesn’t seem like a stretch.

I’m really liking the lack of feats. Before, I’d have to go look up Cleave and recalculate attack and damage for Power Attack.

Also interesting- instead of massive DR, a redcap has tons. Of fast healing. Ill-equipped parties can power through now even with lots of moderate attacks, and stealing the cap now renders the redcap much weaker than in PF1.

Scarab Sages

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Looking good so far, and I like that bugbear a lot it looks unmistakably goblinoid, but also more animalistic and dangerous. Nice!

I find the order of presentation in the attack listings jarring, though.

Melee scythe +13 (deadly 1d10, trip), Damage 2d10+4 slashing

It's strange to read about the extra damage done on a critical when the regular damage hasn't even come up yet! Wouldn't it be more natural to provide to-hit and damage first, then list the special properties?

Melee scythe +13 (2d10+4 slashing), deadly 1d10, trip

Scarab Sages

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I love the bonus-only listing for the abilities. This is how it could be everywhere else in the game, too. A man can dream!

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I do like that the conditions/type is front loaded, such as 'emotion, fear,necromancy' for applying resistances and bonus to saves.

Also, yay for redcaps! :D

The Exchange

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I wonder if size no longer affects weapons for damage purposes, unless javelins have been downgraded to 1D4 for small & medium users.

Also surprised that ogres have a decent will save at +5. That was always a big weakness for them in PF1/3E/3.5. Makes sense that they have a poor reflex save. It actually gives me hope that dragons will have a poor reflex save. They are as big as barns. No way they should have incredibly high reflex saves

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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One of the things I love about the way we are doing monsters now is that the end results often end up close to what they were by doing all the math the first time around. The system that was supposed to be similar to PCs rarely was, requiring you to jump through a lot of hoops to make a balanced monster. Now we can simply make the monster what it needs to be, focusing instead on how to make it work well as part of the game environment.

Let me also say, it makes on-the-fly monster creation a breeze. In some of the preview games at GaryCon, I added a level 2 viper to the lake encounter without missing a beat. I don't think the players even realized that it was not a premade stat block.

I understand that folks want to see exactly how a thing was put together, to have a better understanding of how to tinker with that monster. I would rather reach you what the monster needs to look like to be balanced and have you adjust it to that goal than to force you to apply formulas that are trying to do the same thing, but have little flexibility in their outcome without significant modification.

Of course, that said, all of this is subject to playtest. After all, we have to make sure this system works for the most GMs out there. I hope that it does.

Paizo Employee Malaise-Inducement Construct

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DeciusNero wrote:
Also, yay for redcaps! :D

Yay, indeed.

Dark Archive

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Looking at these statblocks, along with the claim that they're "More concise" and "Easier to run", we should look at empirical evidence.

The Ogre: 12 lines, 458 characters.
This compares to the Pathfinder Ogre at 24 lines, 649 characters. Half the lines, maybe 80% of the characters. But wait: it's also omitting titles such as "Offense", "Defense", as well as the XP value (which has probably been removed). It also omits the Ecology section, the Environment section, its Organization, and its treasure. Once we discount them it stands at 15 lines, 446 characters. So it's more text to read.

Let's now look at a "moderately complex" monster, the Redcap:
43 lines (at 80-column width) 2339 characters.

Compared to the Pathfinder Redcap at 47 lines, 2178 characters. And this includes the Ecology, Environment, Organization and Treasure.

In volume alone, I'm not sure how this makes it "simplified" or "easier to read".


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Here's to hoping. Hopes are always fun.

The Exchange

Another suggestion would be to sell bookmarks or place holders with conditions to reference them easily. I can imagine some page flipping otherwise as I try to remember the difference between frightened 4 & frightened 2 as a condition


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

So the deadly weapon trait is just added damage on a crit?


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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Ecidon wrote:

Looking at these statblocks, along with the claim that they're "More concise" and "Easier to run", we should look at empirical evidence.

[snip]

In volume alone, I'm not sure how this makes it "simplified" or "easier to read".

Is it easier to read a 7-word billboard driving down the highway, or a 7-word footnote at the bottom of a text book page?

Character/word count is not the only measure of readability and ease of comprehension.


Dragon78 wrote:
So the deadly weapon trait is just added damage on a crit?

Yep. It can be 1d6, 1d8, 1d10 and so on...

Liberty's Edge

Charon Onozuka wrote:
What happened to CMB / CMD? I feel like I probably missed a blog on this, but it feels weird to not see them present. I know I have to reference CMD on monsters a lot when I GM.

They've noted before that Disarm and Grapple are Athletics checks against the monster's Reflex Defense (which is their Reflex Save +10). Other Combat Maneuvers will work similarly, though some will likely be based on Acrobatics and they may target different defenses (heck, I'd bet you can probably defend against a grapple with Athletics +10 as well as Reflex Defense).


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Quote:
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.

I know it seems like a small thing, but this will be extremely annoying for me. Using custom symbols means we'll lose information when copy+pasting. Screen readers (for accessibility) will also likely fail on them, and homebrew statblocks will not include the special symbols.

Please, please consider using normal text for these. I think [[A]] and [[R]] work just fine.


Ogre has +1 skills for being level 3, which implies being untrained by default, which makes sense.

Redcap on the other hand has +5 for being level 5, which implies being trained in everything? Feels a bit odd.

I also feel weird about Touch AC being so similar to AC, especially on the Ogre who has -1 Dex, and yet its Touch AC is only 2 less than its normal AC.

For Deadly Cleave, how it does multiple attack penalty feels a bit weird. So, if it takes a foe down to zero with its first action in a turn, it gets another attack at -0? Then -10 for the next attack and -15 for the third? Is that how it works?

It not using an added attack penalty and yet contributing to one feels weird.


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Thebazilly wrote:


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).

I read it a few times, and that's what I concluded as well. I think they need to take a look at the wording here, to make it a bit clearer.


Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Looks good! I like the focus on the essentials, so that it is easier to handle things quickly.

I also appreciate the monster design philosophy - make the monsters what the should be, to heck with making them ALL conform to a predetermined logic. With that said, I also want rules for simplified monster adjustment and creation ;)


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

Does this mean that if a redcap picks up a different weapon, it can never use its reaction?

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