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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Charon Onozuka wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Is there an icon or other easy way to know how many actions things take? I’m thinking casting spells, in particular. I’d really like that to be included in the statblock. It seems to me it could be as easy as colouring the action symbol green if it takes one action, yellow if two and red if three (or even the text of the ability directly: black-blue-red or something).
Considering some posters have mentioned having trouble with colorblindness, I'd prefer if an action requiring two actions just had two of the action icons side-by-side. Same thing with something needing three actions just having the action icon three times.

Yeah, that was my first thought.

Whatever is best. I just don’t want to have to flick to the spells section to see how many actions it takes to cast a spell.


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james014Aura wrote:
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.)

Don't really understand this. Is it unfair to players of Mario that enemies don't have to jump on his head to KO him? Also monsters have never truly had to abide by the same restrictions as players because they have always had special abilities that are not tied to any class that players cannot access. The effects of these abilities range from all sorts of things that help them otherwise break the restrictions of the normal system.


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Tangent101 wrote:

My response as GM: Who in their right mind would want to buy Ogre gear?

Seriously, I've said that before to my players. I add other treasure to beef things up in other ways, but giant-sized equipment is not resell-able in my campaigns.

Scrap iron's always in demand. Abundant supply can cut it's worth down, though.

The forge is always hungry.

Shadow Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Generally like what I’m seeing here. The streamlined stat blocks are an improvement but I feel like they could do with a few more changes. Some comments on areas, many of which are probably formatting concerns that will appear in the final rules anyway.

Types, subtypes etc.
yes its a long list but at least it’s alphabetical and I can quickly scan through the types to find the relevant ones.

Stats
I like the simplified step of just presenting modifiers. Players don’t need the monsters stats, if a GM is forced to make a stat roll all they really want to know is the modifier anyway.

Items
Neutral. Need them somewhere. I think in the case of things like the redcap though it would be better to present the actual items description as a side box(?), maybe even with art. Doesn’t bog down the stat block with so much text. If not this then at least indent the specific item description to separate it from the base creature stats. This makes it feel like an additional extra rather than a pure game mechanic.

You could also contemplate using superscripts for item quality, so that redcaps scythe would be listed as scythe, superscript e to denote expert quality.

You don’t need all the additional qualifiers n the weapon listed under the weapon. If deadly is a standard ability do you need to list the extra damage in the entry? Isnt it always an extra damage die?

Similarly why not list reach under speed as its own entry for those creatures that require it.

Specific weaknesses
Again list the description in a coloured box/ artfully drawn parchment box at the end of the creature entry or as a margin note. General weaknesses would obviously be listed in an appendix but unique ones could be listed like this.

Actions
I know its not friendly to the visually impaired but I think the icons is a great idea. There must be some way to make this reader friendly surely? If it really cant be done then i can see a real need to not do this, but I think the icons will simplify reading the block immensely.

The actual actions need to set out better; listing different attacks on a separate line or as their own separate actions, Indenting the trigger and effect subheadings for the reaction

Liberty's Edge

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knightnday wrote:
Fuzzypaws wrote:
I hope the Action and Reaction symbols are distinct at a glance, even in low light. The symbols in the Starfinder Alien Archive book can be a little muddy and indistinct.
This x100. It cannot be stressed enough that if one cannot pick out the symbols they aren't useful.

Agreed! I have to admit I kind of hate the idea of using symbols in the stat block - it was one of the (many) things I disliked about D&D 4E stat blocks. Not sure if using those symbols is a done deal or still up for debate, but I personally would implore Paizo to rethink using them ! They seem more gimmicky than usefull. The word Attack in bold (or the like) is FAR easier to see at a glance and just makes more sense


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I would prefer the second line order to be size, type, alignment so the ogre would be 'Large, Giant, Humanoid, Chaotic, Evil'

I'm concerned about hit point inflation, especially when my impression so far has been that player damage output is going to be much flatter and in general smaller.

The speed seems off for the ogre, does being large not improve land speed anymore? I second that reach under weapon is confusing, it should be explicit what reach the ogre has with and without a weapon.

I applaud listing just the stat bonus instead of the stat, if only the design team were brave enough to do that PCs as well, mixing the two will just be confusing unfortunately, how will Paizo write up NPCs, what about an ogre with a PC level?

I've built a number of monsters myself and I agree that after all the work you often end up with stats that are all over the place, and often need some arbitrary changes anyways, but my reaction is to try and fix that instead of just throwing it out and making up numbers... making up numbers is especially disconcerting when we get comments like the redcap skill bonus is off by one... so the numbers aren't made up, or only some of them are?

It's important that monsters are customizable, I should be able to have an ogre pickup a great sword and a breastplate without any issues or cast mage armor on the redcap and not wonder if they get the entire armor bonus or not, it improves verisimilitude, overly restrictive or simplistic stat blocks are going to make that difficult.

Finally monsters should have more skills or racial talents or something, like craft (any), I know these are missing their descriptions / ecology section but as of now the only purpose in life for that ogre is to be killed by a PC which is a little sad, hopefully monsters in general will exist in a way that gives life to the game world. PF2 is an opportunity to make a better more life-like ogre.


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I definitively want an AC break down, and for it to be easier to break down what bonuses to attacks and saves etc. comes from.

Also, does the blood soak ability of the Redcap cost 1,3 or 5 actions?

that is, 1 action to use the ability, potentially plus...

2 actions to take a hand off of the schythe and then put your hand on again after dunking the cap in blood.

potentially plus...

2 actions to remove/replace the cap from your head.

Since IIRC switching a grip on your weapon costs an action now, I figure taking off/putting on a cap (or other headwear) could also probably cost an action with the right GM.

Dataphiles

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That is one mean, nasty redcap. I like using text and not symbols for cues. The [[A]] and [[R]] notation styles work for me and are easier to use online.


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worldhopper wrote:
That said, the main thing I'm taking away from the statblocks is that the new action names do look ridiculous in context. I assume going for things like Stride and Strike instead of move and attack is to prevent confusion, but honestly it - and I hate to say this because it gets bandied around so much here for ridiculous reasons - feels deeply gamey and immersion-breaking. I don't think it would be that much harder to process just marking in the action rules that an attack is always one action except when described otherwise, and then just have the action count in parentheses for things like Power Attack. Same for movement. "I move twice, to here, and then attack once" just flows better, IMO. (Also now that I'm looking at it, there's still room for confusion in the Stride/Strike setup, because the Redcap's entry describes it Striding half its speed, which means the Stride action is not always moving up to your speed, so there's absolutely no reason to give it a special name.)

I can actually think of a reason for this: rider effects. If there are abilities that apply whenever you take a Stride action, say from giving something class levels, then any time it used Stomp, or, say, Pounce, or Sudden Charge (I assume Sudden Charge will be two Strides and a Strike) then that ability would apply. Likewise, if there was an ability that caused you to move but didn't involve Striding (say, if they keep the effect of Bull Rush that allows you to follow the target after hitting them), then the effect wouldn't apply there. Which all becomes much less ambiguous than "when you move."


Jet Set Dizzy wrote:
james014Aura wrote:
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.)
Don't really understand this. Is it unfair to players of Mario that enemies don't have to jump on his head to KO him? Also monsters have never truly had to abide by the same restrictions as players because they have always had special abilities that are not tied to any class that players cannot access. The effects of these abilities range from all sorts of things that help them otherwise break the restrictions of the normal system.

Ehh, I only have hang ups on a few basic outputs. It would be nice if a +5 to STR could be the same +5 to STR regardless of who has it or why they have it. If they want to use it differently, that's fine, but it would be nice to at least be told how they're using it.

Obviously, STR is just an example here, but it does remind me of a question that I realize is a bit early from the blog timeline's point of view. Can a raging barbarian lift more bulk?


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Jet Set Dizzy wrote:
james014Aura wrote:
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.)
Don't really understand this. Is it unfair to players of Mario that enemies don't have to jump on his head to KO him? Also monsters have never truly had to abide by the same restrictions as players because they have always had special abilities that are not tied to any class that players cannot access. The effects of these abilities range from all sorts of things that help them otherwise break the restrictions of the normal system.

I definitely agree with Jet Set Dizzy here. I for one am thrilled with the change to the Starfinder and PF Unchained style of monster building, and really have difficulty understanding how it’s seen as unfriendly to customization compared to the original PF1 monster rules. Indeed, if there was ever something unfriendly to GM customization, it’s the rules where one had to build using “monster levels”, feats, skill points, actual full spell lists, etc. I would frequently spend two hours building a custom monster that would just get trashed in 15 minutes by the players, which to me is a tremendous waste of time that was better spent on both plot and coming up with two or three special abilities that would make a monster feel different in combat. With the new system, you immediately know and start with the level-appropriate range of numbers to use, without trying to back-engineer the creature to fit these numbers. I can build a monster in 5 minutes that I know will give a suitable challenge, that I only need to remember a half-dozen special abilities on, that I will feel good about when the characters destroy it in 15 minutes of gameplay.

Hopefully people will give it more of a shot once released, because in practice it cuts one’s prep time in half or less, even with stock monsters because there’s no more of those games of “make sure you re-read the creatures’s stat block three times so that you don’t forget those hidden AC and DR bonuses from the 3/day barkskin and 1/day Righteous Might it has.” or those games of “oh, crap, it had awesome blow and power attack, didn’t it? Well, I just under-levelled this encounter by accident, didn’t I?” I definitely did not enjoy the prep-notes mini-game that monsters above CR 8 or so have become.

Grand Lodge

The one comment I have is something that might not apply in the new edition, I suppose. One of my ongoing annoyances in PF1 was that certain effects attacked a nearly custom defense value. Intimidate was a good example, targeting a creature's 10+HD+Wis.

If I was going much further with PF1, I'd be tempted to say that there should have been a more standardized value 'mental defense' or something similar. I guess they really could have just been Will Saves instead.

I started writing down stats that didn't actually appear in the game for some of my higher-level casters, such as Spell Attack for all of the +caster level +charisma attacks (Telekinesis and similar spells), but it looks like that sort of thing is already handled.


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Charon Onozuka wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Is there an icon or other easy way to know how many actions things take? I’m thinking casting spells, in particular. I’d really like that to be included in the statblock. It seems to me it could be as easy as colouring the action symbol green if it takes one action, yellow if two and red if three (or even the text of the ability directly: black-blue-red or something).
Considering some posters have mentioned having trouble with colorblindness, I'd prefer if an action requiring two actions just had two of the action icons side-by-side. Same thing with something needing three actions just having the action icon three times.

Obviously only speaking for myself here, but as long as the actual icons are distinct from one another and make sense for what they represent, the color doesn't hinder me. Even colors that confuse me don't keep me from distinguishing 1 from A from a triangle. The issue arises when you have icons that are similar in shape (such as a medusa head and beholder, both circles with squiggles snaking about them) where a big difference is supposed to be contrasting colors (like red and green). Then I need to consult friends or the key to see what is supposed to occur, which in a complex turn in the middle of a fight can slow the game down and make me feel like a hindrance to my friends and the game. That is my main concern, especially considering how widespread the application of icons could be.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
1of1 wrote:
Jet Set Dizzy wrote:
james014Aura wrote:
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.)
Don't really understand this. Is it unfair to players of Mario that enemies don't have to jump on his head to KO him? Also monsters have never truly had to abide by the same restrictions as players because they have always had special abilities that are not tied to any class that players cannot access. The effects of these abilities range from all sorts of things that help them otherwise break the restrictions of the normal system.

Ehh, I only have hang ups on a few basic outputs. It would be nice if a +5 to STR could be the same +5 to STR regardless of who has it or why they have it. If they want to use it differently, that's fine, but it would be nice to at least be told how they're using it.

Obviously, STR is just an example here, but it does remind me of a question that I realize is a bit early from the blog timeline's point of view. Can a raging barbarian lift more bulk?

The only time I can think Strength isn't the same for everyone is carry weight. Which makes sense, larger creatures or those whose weight is distributed differently / across more supporting limbs can carry more weight / bulk, but may not be able to exert more external force then a similarly strengthened creature of a different body shape.


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ENHenry wrote:
Hopefully people will give it more of a shot once released

I'll be running monsters exactly as written because I don't want to spend the next 10 years rewriting stat blocks for my group, so I want to make sure Paizo gets the full brunt of my group's feedback on this issue. However not all of us have played Pathfinder and only Pathfinder. Some of us have played other D&D editions that use this philosophy when making monsters. We don't need to run PF2e with this type of monster in order to accurately give Paizo feedback on the issue. We already started seeing it with NPCs with Starfinder. It wasn't received favourably there either in my group.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Catharsis wrote:

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

I would agree, but some weapon properties are necessary to calculate the proper to-hit. So, in practice, I would rather have attack modifier, weapon stuff (which can modify both attack and damage), and then the damage.


So, the ogre doesn't have a reaction ability?

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

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Elorebaen wrote:
JoelF847 wrote:
Not a fan of removal of ability scores for monsters, and only including their bonuses. Either the ability scores can matter in the game, such as using the Str score to determine carrying capacity, or they have no impact on the game, in which case PCs shouldn't need them anymore either.

So, either you show ability scores, or ability scores don't matter? Hunh? Not sure I get that.

That aside, are you figuring out carrying capacity during combat with an ogre? (I would think this would be fairly rare) But let's say you are, than the Str +5 would translate as either a 20 or a 21 Str and you go from there.

It is a matter of convenience. How often, during combat/encounter, do you need the ability modifier vs. knowing the actual ability score at a quick glance? I know for myself, it is the former the overwhelming majority of the time.

If you are creating a custom ogre character, then you are likely doing that ahead of the session, in which case translating +5 into Str. 20/21 seems doable as part of prep time.

Maybe this is all alluding to using stat blocks in different ways - during the session, and session prep.

Anyway, was just a little baffled at this response. I suppose we'll be able to suss it out in the playtest!

It comes down to wanting a stat block that covers 99% of the time, while this stat block covers 85% of the time. Why do I need to know the ogre's carrying capacity? Most of the time I don't, but what about if the PCs charm it, or talk to it and make it an ally? And then ask it to carry or lift stuff cause it's strong?

What if the ogre drops his ogre hook to pick up a longspear? If the reach is built into it's ogre hook line of the stat block, it's unclear if it has reach with any other weapon, to know how a reach weapon interacts with that.

What happens when I cast bulls strength on the ogre (assuming it actually increased Str) or some effect which interacts with the actual ability score. Even if standard effects don't anymore, what about oddball rules for encounters where you have something like a sphere of annihilation which can be mentally controlled and moves 10' per point of Int?

Sure they're all corner cases, but in aggregate they cover a decent amount of situations.


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If an ogre switches weapons just use the stats for ogre hook and pretend it's a different weapon. That way the different weapon doesn't change the CR of the ogre.


Lady Melo wrote:
1of1 wrote:
Jet Set Dizzy wrote:
james014Aura wrote:
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.)
Don't really understand this. Is it unfair to players of Mario that enemies don't have to jump on his head to KO him? Also monsters have never truly had to abide by the same restrictions as players because they have always had special abilities that are not tied to any class that players cannot access. The effects of these abilities range from all sorts of things that help them otherwise break the restrictions of the normal system.

Ehh, I only have hang ups on a few basic outputs. It would be nice if a +5 to STR could be the same +5 to STR regardless of who has it or why they have it. If they want to use it differently, that's fine, but it would be nice to at least be told how they're using it.

Obviously, STR is just an example here, but it does remind me of a question that I realize is a bit early from the blog timeline's point of view. Can a raging barbarian lift more bulk?

The only time I can think Strength isn't the same for everyone is carry weight. Which makes sense, larger creatures or those whose weight is distributed differently / across more supporting limbs can carry more weight / bulk, but may not be able to exert more external force then a similarly strengthened creature of a different body shape.

Used differently, but explained in an understandable and broadly applicable way. It's a good example of one of the ways to go about using stats differently from others in PF1. Another might be the pragmatic activator trait allowing UMD to run off of INT.

But that was PF1. Now we're heading to the wild and uncharted territory of a new Pathfinder edition. Adventure!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
1of1 wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:

My response as GM: Who in their right mind would want to buy Ogre gear?

Seriously, I've said that before to my players. I add other treasure to beef things up in other ways, but giant-sized equipment is not resell-able in my campaigns.

Scrap iron's always in demand. Abundant supply can cut it's worth down, though.

The forge is always hungry.

Then you're going to get a few copper for the metal. Not half the value of the weapon. Also, you seem to think it's easy to remelt down weapons and armor and reuse that material. The quality of metal is important - the better the metal, the better the armor and weapons. The more impurities, the less effective the metal.

An ogre hook's metal is probably poor-quality metal. It would maybe be used for pots or other cheap metal goods. It's not going to be used for anything decent and most definitely won't be worth the resale value of what weapons and armor tends to go for in Pathfinder.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
NorthernDruid wrote:
2 actions to take a hand off of the schythe and then put your hand on again after dunking the cap in blood.

Taking a hand off the scythe isn't an action, so that part is at most one action.

I do agree that the action system nickel-and-diming things makes this a little hard to figure out as it's written. I wouldn't know how much of a turn to take up for this. I'd probably end up doing three: free up a hand as a free action, dip the cap as an action (there's no need to draw it from a pack or anything, after all), wear it again as an action, and re-grip the scythe as an action.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
John Lynch 106 wrote:
ENHenry wrote:
Hopefully people will give it more of a shot once released
I'll be running monsters exactly as written because I don't want to spend the next 10 years rewriting stat blocks for my group, so I want to make sure Paizo gets the full brunt of my group's feedback on this issue. However not all of us have played Pathfinder and only Pathfinder. Some of us have played other D&D editions that use this philosophy when making monsters. We don't need to run PF2e with this type of monster in order to accurately give Paizo feedback on the issue. We already started seeing it with NPCs with Starfinder. It wasn't received favourably there either in my group.

Considering only DnD 3rd edition based games use "psuedo-derived" stats it really is weird how much of big deal this is for people, since they didn't appear in 2nd or earlier and 4th or later editions, though they play a recognizable role in DnD 5e (they just divorced Hit die with proficiency bonus, but it is a much simpler game, and also dropped giving feats to monsters.) I admit even for myself it was a factor I felt diminished DnD 4e's verisimilitude when it first came out.

I say Pseudo-derived because in reality Ability scores have no level or Hit die requirements, monsters can easily come with their own monster feats that /maybe/ players can take, monsters are basically expected to have unique abilities anyway which can do many things not allowed to the player, and the final icing on the cake is of course +X Racial modifier, which can show up on anything from attacks, saves, DC's, or skills as need be when the "goal math" works mostly with a certain value but you need it to suddenly be better at one aspect.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
So, the ogre doesn't have a reaction ability?

Nope. They're a bit lumbering that way.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I really like the thought that has gone in to making the stat blocks easier to use. The grouping of the information, and the refinement of the information are very good.

I like the reduction/removal of 3/day as those sort of limits don't usually matter given how most combats play out.

Mark you talk about how monster's only superficially follow the same rules as PCs. And you are correct. For a real custom monster I use the rules out of Unchained as they are so much easier. But that superficiality is exceptionally useful when wanting to change the monsters. Adding class levels is really good way of quickly modifying an encounter, 1-2 levels of fighter, or 1 level of rogue, not just to the NPCs, but to creatures that wouldn't usually get class levels (tigers, dragons, demons).

The other place where is exceptionally helpful is templates. One of the more memorable dungeons this campaign included my zombie orcs. Zombie orc minions, zombie orc chieftain, and a zombie ettin. I could have created these from scratch, but I just applied the zombie template.

So whilst I agree that monsters in their creation don't follow the same rules having them look like they do add some excellent GM tools to my toobox.


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Please, for the love of all of Golarion's deities, do not festoon stat blocks with icons.

I loathe the icons that have crept into the Bestiary stat blocks the past several years - they are more irritation than improvement.

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

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John Lynch 106 wrote:
If an ogre switches weapons just use the stats for ogre hook and pretend it's a different weapon. That way the different weapon doesn't change the CR of the ogre.

That makes no sense at all to me. It's the kind of simplification I definitely don't want in my Pathfinder game. I'd rather play a game designed to be much simpler in the first place then.


Tangent101 wrote:
1of1 wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:

My response as GM: Who in their right mind would want to buy Ogre gear?

Seriously, I've said that before to my players. I add other treasure to beef things up in other ways, but giant-sized equipment is not resell-able in my campaigns.

Scrap iron's always in demand. Abundant supply can cut it's worth down, though.

The forge is always hungry.

Then you're going to get a few copper for the metal. Not half the value of the weapon. Also, you seem to think it's easy to remelt down weapons and armor and reuse that material. The quality of metal is important - the better the metal, the better the armor and weapons. The more impurities, the less effective the metal.

An ogre hook's metal is probably poor-quality metal. It would maybe be used for pots or other cheap metal goods. It's not going to be used for anything decent and most definitely won't be worth the resale value of what weapons and armor tends to go for in Pathfinder.

I don't seem to seem to think anything. In fact, I don't think that we can prove that I even have a brain through text on the internet.

But back on topic, a few coppers actually sounds pretty fair for an ogre hook. Metal quality is actually quite important, as you said. But a slag giant's handy work, or a cloud giant's? That might actually be some pretty interesting stuff to mess around with.


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As a GM, the redesign of monsters has me very excited. They look like they will be much easier to play, adjust, and create. i know some GM's love spending hours creating monsters from the bottom up but I'd rather devote more time to story development.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
If an ogre switches weapons just use the stats for ogre hook and pretend it's a different weapon. That way the different weapon doesn't change the CR of the ogre.

If the game actually ends up recommending this, I will riot.


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In general, I am digging the new stat block (except the scythe/boot line), again, similar to 5th Ed: stuff off turn (AC/Saves, etc) at the top/middle, Actions/on turn stuff at the bottom.

Some of the math is easily deconstructed, but some other stuff will just have to wait (how many hp per level, proficiency, creature type traits, etc).

As for icons, this is the only part that has me fuming, on several levels; first, I do not like them in 4th Ed or SF (especially in SF, they look cheap, cheesy and gross), and my eyes are screwed (Vision Impaired, Partially Sighted and all that): I have Retinitis Pigmentosa and a Cystoid Macula Oedema, so please, please do not use icons, I much prefer:

-Action 1
-1 Action
-Action 2
-2 Actions
-Action (1)
-Action (2)
-Action (3)

Than some colourful image or symbol what-have-you.
"Honey, what do you make of this?" "...looks like a dog humping a frisbee..."


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Thebazilly wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
If an ogre switches weapons just use the stats for ogre hook and pretend it's a different weapon. That way the different weapon doesn't change the CR of the ogre.
If the game actually ends up recommending this, I will riot.

I would likely shrug a little and house rule in something, but rioting seems fair I guess.

In all seriousness, since monsters don't exactly have clear math behind them, the appropriate adjustment information should be provided assuming it gets disarmed, sundered, destroyed in combat, or becomes unusable if someone (dare i say) role plays in or before combat and the weapon is no longer an options.

Dark Archive

I think I'm always going to hate it if monster creation and advancement is significantly different from PC creation and advancement.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Weather Report wrote:

In general, I am digging the new stat block (except the scythe/boot line), again, similar to 5th Ed: stuff off turn (AC/Saves, etc) at the top/middle, Actions/on turn stuff at the bottom.

Some of the math is easily deconstructed, but some other stuff will just have to wait (how many hp per level, proficiency, creature type traits, etc).

As for icons, this is the only part that has me fuming, on several levels; first, I do not like them in 4th Ed or SF (especially in SF, they look cheap, cheesy and gross), and my eyes are screwed (Vision Impaired, Partially Sighted and all that): I have Retinitis Pigmentosa and a Cystoid Macula Oedema, so please, please do not use icons, I much prefer:

-Action 1
-1 Action
-Action 2
-2 Actions
-Action( 1)
-Action (2)
-Action (3)

Than some colourful image or symbol what-have-you.
"Honey, what do make of this?" "...looks like a dog humping a frisbee..."

Seriously. I hope the developers are listening to this.

Now, my eyesight isn't horrible. It's above average... but the problem is, I run games in the evening. My eyes get tired (I'm in my late 40s). And the campaign books are hard enough to read as it is - the paper is glossy and I need brighter lights to bring stuff into focus... but the paper shines and makes it harder to read.

If you start tossing in icons to represent Actions and Reactions and the like, I'm not going to easily follow this. And paper products work better than tablets more often than not as you can quickly page through the paper product while you need to read more of the PDF before you can figure out where you are.

Now, I understand how tempting it is to just use an icon in the text of an AP. But you will be locking out a faithful group of customers in the grand quest to replace words with icons. Please. Don't do this.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Lady Melo wrote:
Thebazilly wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
If an ogre switches weapons just use the stats for ogre hook and pretend it's a different weapon. That way the different weapon doesn't change the CR of the ogre.
If the game actually ends up recommending this, I will riot.

I would likely shrug a little and house rule in something, but rioting seems fair I guess.

In all seriousness, since monsters don't exactly have clear math behind them, the appropriate adjustment information should be provided assuming it gets disarmed, sundered, destroyed in combat, or becomes unusable if someone (dare i say) role plays in or before combat and the weapon is no longer an options.

No doubt the stats will include a generic "bash" attack for natural attacks (punching) in the case of a monster being disarmed or its weapon sundered. Seriously, this is no different than any other time it's happened in the original Pathfinder.

Heck, in the original Runelords game I replaced an Ogre Fighter's magic Ogre Hook with a human-sized magic bastard sword. This way it was less vendor trash. I don't see why you can't just do the same with any ogre which chooses to use a human- or dwarven- or elven-forged blade because it's better than anything the ogres have. You even have the strength bonus for ogres (+5) so you could easily factor that into the ogre's use of the non-ogre weapon.


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My biggest concern with the lack of a breakdown for the monsters' numbers has to do with the skills - it looks like some of them are at higher levels of proficiency, but without know which level of proficiency that is, can we accurately tell what the creature can do with said ability?
I would think that any ability equivalent to special skill feats would be listed somewhere in the stat block, but if basic things like attempting certain DC's are also locked behind proficiency level, it would behoove us to know how proficient the creature is.
This also applies to weapons and armor and shields, although I expect not quite to the same degree (e.g. I don't know if the Ogre is an expert in hide armor, but even if I gave him chain or plate I expect I would just treat him as an expert in that, and increase his AC by the difference between and hide and the other)

Dislikes:
- Using symbols for actions/reaction. Just use words
- Lack of numbers breakdown
- Mundane information at the top of the statblock

Likes:
- Showing just the ability modifiers, rather than score
- Saves and AC all on one line


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Lady Melo wrote:
Considering only DnD 3rd edition based games use "psuedo-derived" stats it really is weird how much of big deal this is for people

Really? People have played effectively the same rules for up to 18 years and you think it's weird when those rules change that people might not like the change?

Lady Melo wrote:
since they didn't appear in 2nd or earlier and 4th or later editions

That's a bit dishonest IMO (or a lack of understanding of earlier editions). 2nd ed and earlier had monsters use the level charts that PCs did, substituting level for number of HD. No monsters didn't get feats back then. But neither did PCs (optional rules allowed PCs to get something akin to feats, but the rule was optional and thus not available to monsters).

Thebazilly wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
If an ogre switches weapons just use the stats for ogre hook and pretend it's a different weapon. That way the different weapon doesn't change the CR of the ogre.
If the game actually ends up recommending this, I will riot.

Make sure to playtest them as written so that your opinions are given the same weight as those who like the changes (does mean a less enjoyable playtest experience, but hopefully it will come with the reward of a better game).


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I'm personally quite happy with symbols for actions/reactions, but accessibility is important.


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Tangent101 wrote:
Now, I understand how tempting it is to just use an icon in the text of an AP. But you will be locking out a faithful group of customers in the grand quest to replace words with icons. Please. Don't do this.

Ha, the "grand quest" bit made me chuckle, and speaking of quests, I am not trying to be some hardliner, sociopolitical agenda driven whatever, not, this drawing is a trigger, or paladins must be LG and all that, this is merely a physical/accessibility issue - like forcing all people to walk a fight of stairs before each session, could be rough for some.

Back to the stat block, I am also not that keen on so many types all in a row, alphabetically, could get messy (already ridiculous in PF1 for some outsiders). Giant and Humanoid in the same line will take some getting used to.

The problem with cleave like abilities for monsters, is that they often don't come up, what with PCs not being dropped to 0 hp that often, in general.

And this confirms my original desire that they drop TAC (especially considering how spell attack now work); I love what they've done with Flat-Footed (instantly house-ruled into 3rd Ed/PF1).

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber
QuidEst wrote:
Hmm. Interesting..

I swear, I haven’t said anything about interesting about this yet. Give me a moment!

★ --- ★ --- ★ --- ★

I love the new Statblock. Do you know how much time I spend staring at PF1 statblocks? Every special that I run for PFS is chock full of them, and there’s always special abilities hidden in there. I’m constantly highlighting stuff and trying to sort out the important things.

Let me take you in the Wayback Machine, to an old thread of mine where I was literally begging people for better prep tips because I had such trouble understanding some of the mechanics in the things that I was prepping. I wanted to get it right, so that I could show off all the cool monster abilities and give my players a great story to play with, but I kept getting bogged down.

Note: two years later, I am much better at studying that arcane rite known as the PF1 statblock. But what a learning curve I had; I only persisted because I love to GM! We don’t want to intimidate new GMs. We want them to jump right in.

Here, the important things pop right out! I think that these new statblocks are inviting, and my gosh... they excite me about the Playtest. I love that you break the statblock into non-combat things, and then combat things. I LOVE THIS!

However, like others I am not sold on the symbols. Can we just have bolded headers for actions and reactions? I’m not blind... but I still blow up everything to large print so that I can read it. Please... respect my poor aged gnomish eyes!

Looking forward to seeing you all in PaizoCon so that I can pester you in person!

Hugs,
Hmm


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Hmm wrote:
I’m not blind... but I still blow up everything to large print so that I can read it. Please... respect my poor aged gnomish eyes!

Perception = Wis based. Doesn't your eyesight get better as you age?? xP

I kid, I kid, accessibility is no joke.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
John Lynch 106 wrote:
Lady Melo wrote:

Lady Melo wrote:
since they didn't appear in 2nd or earlier and 4th or later editions

That's a bit dishonest IMO (or a lack of understanding of earlier editions). 2nd ed and earlier had monsters use the level charts that PCs did, substituting level for number of HD. No monsters didn't get feats back then. But neither did PCs (optional rules allowed PCs to get something akin to feats, but the rule was optional and thus not available to monsters).

Perhaps you might be having a lack of understanding of DnD second edition... Sample Monster block. While not from the original AD&D Monstrous Manual (since I'm unsure if that would be allowed) this monster is virtually identical to those presented in that book (which i have dusted off to compare). You would be hard pressed to even find an Ability score short of a reference to Intelligence, it's THACO and Armor Class have NO direct correlation to its Hit Dice (especially when looking over other monsters) and there is no reference to how one derives it's armor class, if it is based on natural reduction (natural armor), "dexterous" penalty(bonus), or from equipment. I'm honestly not sure how this could possibly be anything except what I had said. Yes, for saving throws, you would reference a chart and use it's Hit Die (or modification thereof for unintellegent creatures) in the DMG using w/e chart the GM deems most correct to the creature (not per creature entry in the Monstrous Manual itself) gaining an additional hit die step for some fraction (every 4?) of bonus hit points on top of the hit die for those with a non-dice modifier.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
Lady Melo wrote:
since they didn't appear in 2nd or earlier and 4th or later editions
That's a bit dishonest IMO (or a lack of understanding of earlier editions). 2nd ed and earlier had monsters use the level charts that PCs did, substituting level for number of HD.

Ah, not the same thing: To Hit/THACO charts and ability scores. Monsters do not have ability scores in AD&D, save an Int range and Str for giants.

Shadow Lodge

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I imagine the icon need be little more than a decorative A in a basic shape. I’m also all for the multiple icons for things that take multiple actions.

Spells could use s solimar iconography, or a simple number system. So magic missile with its 1-3 action cost could be labelled in the stat block as; 5th magic missile (1-3[[S]]), invisibility ([[S]]). Save constant referencing of rules book.

I also have the same query as Northerndruid in eregard to how the dip cap ability would look. With the current need for an action to grip a weapon and release a grip the redcap could only do this action by using up his entire round, all 3 actions. I think this kind of highlights the potentially cumbersome nature of so many different action types and the need to reduce everything to an action.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Tangent101 wrote:
Lady Melo wrote:
Thebazilly wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
If an ogre switches weapons just use the stats for ogre hook and pretend it's a different weapon. That way the different weapon doesn't change the CR of the ogre.
If the game actually ends up recommending this, I will riot.

I would likely shrug a little and house rule in something, but rioting seems fair I guess.

In all seriousness, since monsters don't exactly have clear math behind them, the appropriate adjustment information should be provided assuming it gets disarmed, sundered, destroyed in combat, or becomes unusable if someone (dare i say) role plays in or before combat and the weapon is no longer an options.

No doubt the stats will include a generic "bash" attack for natural attacks (punching) in the case of a monster being disarmed or its weapon sundered. Seriously, this is no different than any other time it's happened in the original Pathfinder.

Heck, in the original Runelords game I replaced an Ogre Fighter's magic Ogre Hook with a human-sized magic bastard sword. This way it was less vendor trash. I don't see why you can't just do the same with any ogre which chooses to use a human- or dwarven- or elven-forged blade because it's better than anything the ogres have. You even have the strength bonus for ogres (+5) so you could easily factor that into the ogre's use of the non-ogre weapon.

True but in PF1 you need to replace you can (all be it not quick) look at BAB, ability score, proficiency, and feats to figure it's modifier with this new weapon. I believe based on comments made about class based NPCs requiring also level appropriate gear to match up. Since weapon wielding monsters likely have much of that math baked in, I would simply not mind a "alternative weapon entry" (which also covers unarmed). It may not be required, but a "reduce attack by 2 if not using a simple weapon, or when not using a sword." If it is not required (such that monsters have/need no specialized weapons) a simple generic monster rule stating "using the same modifier to attack rolls and damage rolls replace base damage dice and properties with a new weapon, possibly still with a -1 or -2 for forcing it to improvise or use a weapon it is not familiar with. I realize in general this falls under proper GM improve and arbitration, but this is a rule book, it deserves some mention.


Cat-thulhu wrote:
I also have the same query as Northerndruid in eregard to how the dip cap ability would look. With the current need for an action to grip a weapon and release a grip the redcap could only do this action by using up his entire round, all 3 actions. I think this kind of highlights the potentially cumbersome nature of so many different action types and the need to reduce everything to an action.

Do we know if it costs an Action to release a hand, or only to change grip (versatile)?


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I'm digging that bugbear art. Shows the gobliniod heritage with both gobs and hobs, but is distinct, buff and hairy. Nice. Also continues a trend: Goblins are bobble-headed monster todlers, Hobgoblins are lanky monster teenagers, and now Bugbears are monster body-builders (without the body-waxing). I imagine that sneer is him looking at the Hobgoblin concept art and asking "Do you even lift?"


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Charon Onozuka wrote:
Considering some posters have mentioned having trouble with colorblindness, I'd prefer if an action requiring two actions just had two of the action icons side-by-side. Same thing with something needing three actions just having the action icon three times.

There are colorblind-safe color palettes in the world for those with red-green color blindness (the most common). Pick the right set, and it can even work for those with blue-yellow color blindness.


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I like the statblocks. I feel like it flows most naturally how play often interacts with player characters.

Cognitive (Who sees who first? Parley? Sneak? Fight?)
Defensive (PC's go first and does my monster survive?)
Offensive (Now it's monster's turn here's what they can do!)

Seconding the dislike for the symbols - I think use of bold/italics/parenthesis/punctuation can annotate just fine.

Spoiler:

Speed 50 feet
Melee Strike: Scythe +13 (deadly 1d10, trip), 2d10+4 slashing
Melee Strike: Boot +13 (agile, versatile B), 2d4+8 piercing
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.
Deadly Cleave (Reaction)
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.

Stomp (1 Act): 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.


MerlinCross wrote:
This has probably been asked but can we Counter Spell these non Spell Like Abilities?

What SLAs?

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