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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Most of the HD-related abilities, I expect, don't exist anymore either.

Type/subtype is definitely in there - Ogre's Humanoid Giant, and Redcap's Fey.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm a little put off by the lack of ability scores. I saw a few posts (this thread is way too long to dig through now) about ability damage, but it seems like that is an entire suite of spells/poisons/abilities that need to get tweaked if we don't know the monster's ability scores. If the game wants to go to just using modifiers, why have ability scores at all? The only purpose left would be to make a player gain 2 ability score points (assuming a PF1 every 4 levels thing) to get a +1 modifier.

Other little things:
- Is the listing of Chaotic and Evil next to Humanoid and Giant implying that Ogres have the Chaotic and Evil subtypes now?
- The Javelin does not list Piercing as a damage type. Editing mistake?


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Greylurker wrote:


In my campaigns I like to differentiate different goblin tribes by swapping out some of their basic feats. Instead of Improved initiative one tribe will have a feat that lets them move better on difficult terrain, and then they fill their lair with all kinds of bones and rubble, another tribe will have a swarm attack feat because they love ganging up on a single opponent. Maybe a small goup of Elite Goblins will have Mounted Combat instead

just a tiny change to create some distinctions, but one that is possible because I can see how the monster breaks down.

I can't do that here, because I don't get to see how the monster breaks down, all I get is end use stats without seeing where the numbers come from.

You really don't need to see where the numbers come from IMO.

It's ridiculously easy to take away the effect of a feat that it could have and add the effect of another.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

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Marc Radle wrote:

Regarding Paizo considering replacing some common stat words (such as 'Attack', 'Reaction', etc. with icons or symbols (seemingly something like 4th Edition D&D did, or Starfinder does), I created a poll:

Please check them out if you are interested (click link below)

[POLL] Symbols / Icons Instead of Words in New Stat Blocks - Yes or No?

This sort of poll is helpful... eventually.

We're doing some experiments with symbols and color in the playtest book, which has already gone to the printer, so that ship has sailed in the short term.

Of course, the whole thing is a playtest, and we'll be monitoring responses as we go. I think even in-house we are skeptical that color is a useful way to delineate information, so that one is really on the fence, and I suspect we'll be finding another way to handle the way it is used in the final book (overall it's fairly minor).

The symbols are a different story. We think they'll really help, but it remains to be seen if we're correct about that. Accessibility is a VERY important issue to us, so I'd say that's the primary metric we'll be using. The action symbols we're using are fairly large and not very plentiful in terms of variety, so we want to see how people feel about them as we begin working on the final presentation of the game.

It's my suspicion that the PRD and all "text-based" versions of the rules will have the [A] and [R] designations in plain text, which should help with ereaders and the like. We're going to be experimenting to see if there's a way we can code the symbols so that our visually impaired readers have to jump through as few hoops as possible with this stuff when using the standard Paizo PDFs, but this is a bit new to us and it'll take us a while to fully work out the best way to handle this.

The rules, the art, the presentation. To some degree all of this is part of the playtest, so it's very helpful to have people raising concerns about things that, well, concern them at this stage. Thanks for your continued feedback, everyone!


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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

In the past forums posts by dev's about ability scores, they explored going modifier only for PCs, but felt the 3-18 was too iconic for the heritage of the game. However, for everything that's been revealed so far, ability modifier is all that matters. Ability damage/drain is gone and replaced with the stacking conditions that apply the same effective penalties. We need to see a blog post on level-up to know if the "boosts" follow the diminishing return style of SF or stay +2 (to raw ability) throughout. If they stay plus 2, then there are no odd abilities possible under the default system.

I think having the monsters be modifier only and PCs be different is a way of testing in the playtest, which approach is better. I'd want to see in the actual second edition, a consistent approach. I'm starting to lean towards modifiers only everywhere.


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whew wrote:
Fuzzypaws wrote:

Instead of using a fancy icon, can you just use a circled 1, 2 or 3 for things that take 1, 2 or 3 actions, and a circled R for things that use a reaction? It'd be more intuitive than a glyph, and it should be visible to a screen-reader for the visually impaired.

EDIT: Unicode even already did the work for you. Just print them at a larger size than will be displayed here in the forum: ① ② ③ Ⓡ

Alas, those don't work with text-to-speech. (Results may vary - I just tested one app.)

Ah okay. Well I can't do it in messageboard formatting, but one thing that would definitely work is just have a black square like they used for the monster's name, that just has a bold number or R in it. So [1:] for 1 action, [2:] for 2 actions, [3:] for 3 actions, [R:] for reaction.

Liberty's Edge

Erik Mona wrote:
Marc Radle wrote:

Regarding Paizo considering replacing some common stat words (such as 'Attack', 'Reaction', etc. with icons or symbols (seemingly something like 4th Edition D&D did, or Starfinder does), I created a poll:

Please check them out if you are interested (click link below)

[POLL] Symbols / Icons Instead of Words in New Stat Blocks - Yes or No?

This sort of poll is helpful... eventually.

We're doing some experiments with symbols and color in the playtest book, which has already gone to the printer, so that ship has sailed in the short term.

Fair enough Eric. It still seems like the poll has value at this stage, and I encourage folks to head over and cast their votes!


Erik Mona wrote:
The rules, the art, the presentation. To some degree all of this is part of the playtest, so it's very helpful to...

Well, you can't ask more from a playtest than that, nice, thank you (I am not being facetious, sometimes needs to be spelled out in these parts).

Oh, and, seriously, please, please drop the potential colour-codes and icons/symbols.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I like the smaller, more compact format. It's hard to say exactly without more experience in the system.

I'm curious, though--why drop the subheadings? (Offense, defense, tactics, etc.) Or are those going to be included, but you couldn't get the markup to work out? I really rely on headings when skimming, and losing them might make me really sad.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Marc Radle wrote:
Erik Mona wrote:
Marc Radle wrote:

Regarding Paizo considering replacing some common stat words (such as 'Attack', 'Reaction', etc. with icons or symbols (seemingly something like 4th Edition D&D did, or Starfinder does), I created a poll:

Please check them out if you are interested (click link below)

[POLL] Symbols / Icons Instead of Words in New Stat Blocks - Yes or No?

This sort of poll is helpful... eventually.

We're doing some experiments with symbols and color in the playtest book, which has already gone to the printer, so that ship has sailed in the short term.

Fair enough Eric. It still seems like the poll has value at this stage, and I encourage folks to head over and cast their votes!

As I've mentioned before when someone asked me on another topic whether they should make a forum poll, I've been doing an informal study of all these forum polls (for science!). I compared the result of such a forum poll to

#1) The result that the person who made the poll agreed with.
#2) The long-term result or result where we gain wider data (if available).

Forum polls have an incredibly high positive correlation with #1, and have nearly zero correlation with #2, which means that while they're as likely to be right as wrong in the end, they are more-or-less useless as predictive measures. I have my theories as to why, and I don't think it's based on biased wording of the forum polls (in this poll's case, the use of a 4e comparison as the primary example could be considered a biasing factor in these parts, but I'm doubtful it would have a significant effect); I think it's selection bias of who reads the original thread, clicks the link, and takes the poll(the poll-maker thinks, correctly, that many people still reading the thread agree with her before deciding to make the poll, and those people still reading the thread do agree). In other words, if you have a poll of "Who loves the druid" linked from a thread deeply about the druid, you'll get mostly druid lovers plus a few druid-bashers reading the thread, clicking the link, and responding to the poll.

That's what Erik means when he says having a survey is useful eventually: we need to be able to get a better sample of respondents to figure out a real trend.

And I'm not saying this because I'm convinced a bigger survey won't agree with the forum poll (it's just as likely to back it up with a low/zero correlation as it is to disagree) or that I'm unsympathetic on this issue (I personally still can't remember what the PF1 Bestiary icons are and think there were too many of those for my personal use). It's just not very useful data for decision-making or analysis. I'd say this even if this was a poll about an issue I was passionate about and wanted to see changed. From a scientific background, it's important to me that we do this right.


Rysky wrote:
Didn’t see anything about Brownies in Fey Revisted but it does call out Redcaps as being innately murderous and sadistic, representing nature’s cruelty.

I could have sworn that Redcaps aren't so much born as "made" when some fey end up turning extremely murderous.

At least the smaller lower CR ones. Hmm where did I read that?


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Ok, I don't know if everyone agrees with this, but...
I don't think monsters should be built as PCs.
I don't think they should have "feats". I don't think their stats should be the result of many pluses all around the game.
I think they should have special abilities, defenses, qualities and so on. Their stats should be about how good they are in a fight, or how they perform at different tasks, or how much damage they can take, and so on.
So no, I don't think they should have the same mathematical (or building) rigor of PCs.


The Generic bonus to skills (+1 in case of the Ogre) Is before any mods from ability score right? It's just the proficiency built-in, correct?


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Igwilly wrote:

Ok, I don't know if everyone agrees with this, but...

I don't think monsters should be built as PCs.
I don't think they should have "feats". I don't think their stats should be the result of many pluses all around the game.
I think they should have special abilities, defenses, qualities and so on. Their stats should be about how good they are in a fight, or how they perform at different tasks, or how much damage they can take, and so on.
So no, I don't think they should have the same mathematical (or building) rigor of PCs.

I agree with this. Mostly.

I think there are a couple areas where it's really helpful for the monsters to closely follow some general mathematical rules. It has nothing to do with equity between the monster and PCs, though, and everything to do with making the life of the GM easier. These areas include, but are not limited to:

  • Armor Class. Knowing the base components of the numbers (even if arbitrary to begin with) is helpful for a GM who wants to consider variants in type or equipment.
  • Attack/Damage. Many monsters carry weapons. It would be nice if their usage was handled consistently in case of being disarmed or the GM decides to switch up what this monster uses.
  • Saving Throws. If things like evasion are fundamentally a proficiency level in saving throws, it would be nice to make it clear in the stat block if one of these effects apply or the number is just arbitrarily large.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Leedwashere wrote:
  • Saving Throws. If things like evasion are fundamentally a proficiency level in saving throws, it would be nice to make it clear in the stat block if one of these effects apply or the number is just arbitrarily large.[/list]
  • Almost all PCs gain these benefits simultaneously with master and legendary rank in saves, and the one case that doesn't still requires master/legendary to get them. Monsters are much less likely than PCs to gain these benefits, though. The ability to ignore all critical failures in your legendary save at high levels is incredibly useful insurance for the PC who has to roll tons of saves over the course of the game, but it's really frustrating for the PCs if a common monster ability can cancel your coolest effects even when the monster rolls poorly, so monsters have to be a little green with envy over that one. It's OK, they get some pretty crazy monster powers at those levels!

    Shadow Lodge

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    the one thing i'm not a huge fan of is the misleading way the ogre hook is worded...it is listed as having the reach property but then outside the statblock it is mentioned that the reach comes from the ogre itself and not the weapon...if i just took the statblock on its own i would have no idea that any other weapon it happened to wield would also get reach with it...or that anyone who picked up the ogre hook would not be able to use its reach ability...it seems like reach innate to a creature should be listed separately like other abilities that affect more than one aspect of the statblock...


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    Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
    Rysky wrote:
    Malk_Content wrote:
    Steve Geddes wrote:

    I can understand the objection when a monster is given some ability that players can’t learn.

    Even that seems ridiculous to me.

    Player: Why can't I summon the flames of hell to enshroud my being?

    GM: Well he is a Devil Prince formed from a multitude of rended souls reforged through the black flames of the Pit.

    Player: Wait, are monsters built by different rules?

    Monster? Doesn’t bother me. A NPC though?

    GM: Well the enemy Rogue’s Strike was a Success so with Sneak Attack and Debilitating Strike this is gonna hurt-

    Player: Wait, how are they getting SA? I don’t think I’m flat footed?

    GM: Oh, they have an ability that treats anyone not wearing Heavy armor as flat footed.

    Player: Oh wow, what level do I have to be before I can get something like that?

    GM: Never, it’s a NPC only ability.

    Player: ...

    I'd call shenanigans!


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    Pathfinder Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
    John Lynch 106 wrote:
    Deadmanwalking wrote:
    John Lynch 106 wrote:
    Enderrin wrote:
    What would the important Ogre chieftain (you know, the one with 5 levels of Barbarian) stat-block look like?
    Almost certainly like any other 5th level barbarian.
    They've explicitly said you can tack on levels of PC Classes to monsters and that works fine.
    Yeah I messed up and meant to say "any 5th level monster". While yes, you can tack on class levels onto monsters as you would a PC, this doesn't sound it's done as default. Instead I'd expect to see a special level 5 ogre that gets abilities that are perhaps evoke the feel of a barbarian.

    I for one do not want 4e monsters all over again. Pathfinder exists because people rejected that kind of design.


    I just looked again at the Pathfinder 1st Edition entries for Ogre and Redcap and realized that I actually like them almost the way they are. I'd rearrange a few things (like for instance move the Tactics down below the Statistics, and add a bit to make it easier to figure out where AC, skill ranks, etc. came from -- but they're not bad the way they are.


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    Yeah, I would like to stay as far away from 4e monster design as possible.

    Grand Lodge

    The Mad Comrade wrote:
    Psiphyre wrote:
    Weather Report wrote:

    I am not keen on number of actions first, it will bleed reading down, much prefer if the first word on the line is the name of the ability/weapon,etc, so:

    Mace (1 action)
    Summon Demon (2 actions)
    Diddle Sphinc (3 actions)

    Not:

    1 Action: Mace.
    2 Actions: Summon Demon.
    3 Actions: Diddle Sphinc.

    Umm...

    What does "Diddle Sphinc" do?
    Did you mean 'Riddle Sphinx' perhaps?

    Was just wondering... ^^'

    --C.

    Well, thanks to you, "Riddling the Sphinx" is a new sly phrase for an act not repeatable when around polite company. ;)

    Thank you Mad Comrade. I saw DeadPool 2 this afternoon, so my brain was already in the right frame of mind, but this just made me laugh out loud uncontrollably for 2 minutes!


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    My position on "Icons" is that to extent they are used they should be like the Unicode glyphs and more/less obscure characters that Fuzzypaw and myself gave examples of... a feature of which is they "smoothly" integrate into text flow more than inserted Icons/Emojis would. If need be, I think it's acceptable if Paizo needed more than what Unicode standard includes, to create their own glyphs AIMING TO REPLICATE LOOK OF STANDARD CHARACTERS. I.e. there isn't a © or ® for every letter of alphabet, but Paizo could make one if they needed. Or alot of this stuff is available, i.e. if you use Dingbats font etc. Tweaking size and vertical alignment would maximize visual impact (e.g. compared to small superscript standard ®).

    As far as color, I think it's possible it could be useful, but I would want something that is mostly very 'constrained' and integrated with text. Color the text itself. Or have color background box/bar that text is displayed over. Without color, strategic use of Bolding can serve similar purpose, if with less distinct possibilities.

    I'm interested to learn more about plan for Capitalizing Rule Terms, which we see some of, yet apparently many rules terms aren't capitalized either. Also, curious if Italics will be used, for spell names, or other stuff? (Feats?)


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    Rysky wrote:

    GM: Well the enemy Rogue’s Strike was a Success so with Sneak Attack and Debilitating Strike this is gonna hurt-

    Player: Wait, how are they getting SA? I don’t think I’m flat footed?
    GM: Oh, they have an ability that treats anyone not wearing Heavy armor as flat footed.
    Player: Oh wow, what level do I have to be before I can get something like that?
    GM: Never, it’s a NPC only ability.
    Player: ...

    If the opponent is a playable race and the GM announces them as [Class] I’m gonna assume they are [Class].

    ...Maybe... Don't announce any NPC Class Levels or Special Ability names?

    Certainly don't need to engage in mid-game discussion about the enabling triggers for NPC to use their abilities.
    All of that is not only un-necessary, but actively distracts from the roleplaying game IMHO.

    Silver Crusade

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

    GM: Well the enemy Rogue’s Strike was a Success so with Sneak Attack and Debilitating Strike this is gonna hurt-

    Player: Wait, how are they getting SA? I don’t think I’m flat footed?
    GM: Oh, they have an ability that treats anyone not wearing Heavy armor as flat footed.
    Player: Oh wow, what level do I have to be before I can get something like that?
    GM: Never, it’s a NPC only ability.
    Player: ...

    If the opponent is a playable race and the GM announces them as [Class] I’m gonna assume they are [Class].

    ...Maybe... Don't announce any NPC Class Levels or Special Ability names?

    Certainly don't need to engage in mid-game discussion about the enabling triggers for NPC to use their abilities.
    All of that is not only un-necessary, but actively distracts from the roleplaying game IMHO.

    I tend to flavor the attacks so as to not bore my players with “Finding an opening the Human you’re engaged with plants a dagger in your side for massive damage vs Enemy B hits you for 39 points of damage”. And with things like Debilitating Strike you kinda have to tell the players what penalties they’re taking :3


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    Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
    XreaperDK wrote:

    What I dislike:

    Quite a bit....
    • Y'all went overboard with the simplification. BAB, Ability Scores, AC breakdown, HP breakdown (including HD) are all majorly important things that you just completely left blank.
    • HD is used in so many abilities and whatnot and can be critical for a lot of things.
    • Ability Scores are important. Taking 3 con dmg is much different at a 12 con, and a 13 con (both would be listed as +2). Same with adding new things that would give a +1 on stats.
    • AC. From flavour of wording, to non-stacking abilities, understanding where your AC is coming from (Natural, Dodge, Deflection) is so important.
    • BAB. If you add in a new weapon, or the monster has to pick one up off the ground we need to know where we are starting at for adding its modifiers to attack!
    • Type/subtype! Favored enemy, bane, etc. This info is needed.

    It appears that all your dislikes are based on assumptions that the system is the same as pathfinder 1.

    At least some of those assumptions we already know are false.
    HD are gone because HD don’t exist in PF2; creatures have levels. It seems reasonable to presume that abilities that would key off HD in PF1 would use levels if they exist in an equivalent form in PF2.
    Ability Damage is gone because Ability Damage doesn’t exist in PF2; things that would have been ability damage in PF1 are now conditions that affect the MOD, not the score.
    AC breakdown is gone because AC is based on level, proficiency & equipment in PF2; we don’t know conclusively if size modifies AC in PF2; flat-footed is a condition that applies a penalty to AC, so how much of the AC comes from DEX doesn’t matter; we don’t know if different typed AC bonuses exist in PF2, but it seems likely that they do not.
    BAB is gone because BAB doesn’t exist in PF2; to-hit is determined by level, proficiency & equipment. Mark just posted above you that there’s rules to handle changing weapons for monsters.
    Type is in the traits line of the stat block; indications are that many abilities will key off traits in PF2.

    Ultimately, PF2 is not PF1. Criticism of part of the new system on the assumption that it is the same as PF1 and thus must meet the expectations of PF1 is flawed.


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    Honestly, one thing I like about 4e was the easiness of monster design. One thing I hate about 3.X/PF1 was fiddly, overly-complex monster design.
    There's absolutely no need for monsters to have feats, numerous tables and rules accounting for generating stats, and so on.
    As Paizo has presented these stat blocks, I think my main complain about PF1 is gone. It functions clearly, it has the information I need, and it can be as tactically complex as I like. That's terrific!
    I think one should look this article as it is, and it's awesome :)

    Edit: Also, giving keywords such as arcane or evocation to magical abilities is a great way to identify them when this matters ^^


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    XreaperDK wrote:


    • Y'all went overboard with the simplification. BAB, Ability Scores, AC breakdown, HP breakdown (including HD) are all majorly important things that you just completely left blank.

    They're not left blank. They are removed and rendered irrelevant in the new system.

    Quote:
    • HD is used in so many abilities and whatnot and can be critical for a lot of things.

    Apparently not anymore. I'm guessing the level is used instead.

    Quote:
    • Ability Scores are important. Taking 3 con dmg is much different at a 12 con, and a 13 con (both would be listed as +2). Same with adding new things that would give a +1 on stats.

    That's not even true in Pathfinder 1. Every 2 points of Con damage/penalty gives -1 hp per HD and -1 to Fortitude saves. Whether you start at 12 or 13 is immaterial. The only case where the full ability score is important is if the total damage/penalty equals/exceeds it, or if you're subjected to a penalty that lasts for more than 24 hours.

    Quote:
    • AC. From flavour of wording, to non-stacking abilities, understanding where your AC is coming from (Natural, Dodge, Deflection) is so important.

    You do understand that this isn't just a rejiggering of the Pathfinder 1e stat block, but a different system where this sort of differentiation isn't important, right?

    Quote:
    • BAB. If you add in a new weapon, or the monster has to pick one up off the ground we need to know where we are starting at for adding its modifiers to attack!

    For 95% or more of monsters that use weapons, the attack bonus will be the same regardless of weapon (or at least within the same melee/ranged category).

    Quote:
    • Type/subtype! Favored enemy, bane, etc. This info is needed.

    That would be what the keywords listed at the top of the stat block is for, I assume.

    Quote:

    The important critique:

    Changing monsters: In PF1 it is easy to alter, add a template, change, upgrade or nerf monsters, or even add in custom house-rules. Everything has enough detail to easily break down the PF1 statblocks to figure out why everything the way it is, and to alter anything and everything needed.

    I would hesitate to call it "easy". If you're doing it properly it's at least one half to one full hour's work per monster. And if you're not doing it properly, it doesn't really matter where the numbers come from.

    And generally, the ability to add class levels and/or templates and get a satisfactory result in PF1 is overrated, at least if you want a balanced result. For example, you can add 2 levels of wizard/sorcerer to almost any monster and give them an effective +8 to AC (via mage armor and shield for a mere +1 CR, not to mention better stats and getting useful gear instead of random treasure. Or to use one of my "favorite" examples from 3.5e, when I built an absolute monstrosity by adding a level of monk to a mind flayer - the "right" selection of stuff allowed me to increase its AC from 15 to 28 and its grapple check (vital for a mind flayer) from +7 to +21, all for +1 CR. A system that easily generates results like that is worse than a system that says "build a new monster based on the old one with the new abilities".


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    Quandary wrote:
    Rysky wrote:

    GM: Well the enemy Rogue’s Strike was a Success so with Sneak Attack and Debilitating Strike this is gonna hurt-

    Player: Wait, how are they getting SA? I don’t think I’m flat footed?
    GM: Oh, they have an ability that treats anyone not wearing Heavy armor as flat footed.
    Player: Oh wow, what level do I have to be before I can get something like that?
    GM: Never, it’s a NPC only ability.
    Player: ...

    If the opponent is a playable race and the GM announces them as [Class] I’m gonna assume they are [Class].

    ...Maybe... Don't announce any NPC Class Levels or Special Ability names?

    Certainly don't need to engage in mid-game discussion about the enabling triggers for NPC to use their abilities.
    All of that is not only un-necessary, but actively distracts from the roleplaying game IMHO.

    That reminds me: Spymaster's Handbook introduced Recall Intrigues to the Knowledge skill (and www.d20pfsrd.com [i]finally[/url] put in the missing Recall Intrigues table, although apparently they didn't put an HTML section tag for the section, so you have to scroll down to this). This is really cool, even though it has some weird choices for what type of Knowledge is used to identify what kind of class feature(*). It means that with proper training, you can identify what kind of training your opponents are using. I would like to see something like this in the core of Pathfinder 2nd Edition, although with more thematically fitting choices of what skill you use to identify what kind of class feature or feat.

    (*)Knowledge (Nobility) to identify a teamwork feat? And Knowledge (Nature) seems redundant, since any released class (apart from a few uncommonly used archetypes and prestige classes) that grants access to the Ranger or Druid spell lists grants them as divine spells, which is covered by Knowledge (Religion).


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    Quandary wrote:
    Rysky wrote:

    GM: Well the enemy Rogue’s Strike was a Success so with Sneak Attack and Debilitating Strike this is gonna hurt-

    Player: Wait, how are they getting SA? I don’t think I’m flat footed?
    GM: Oh, they have an ability that treats anyone not wearing Heavy armor as flat footed.
    Player: Oh wow, what level do I have to be before I can get something like that?
    GM: Never, it’s a NPC only ability.
    Player: ...

    If the opponent is a playable race and the GM announces them as [Class] I’m gonna assume they are [Class].

    ...Maybe... Don't announce any NPC Class Levels or Special Ability names?

    Certainly don't need to engage in mid-game discussion about the enabling triggers for NPC to use their abilities.
    All of that is not only un-necessary, but actively distracts from the roleplaying game IMHO.

    But some classes are reasonably assumed. You can probably assume the insane old man in the tower doing arcane experiments is a wizard and the leader of the dark church wearing armor and calling hellfire is a cleric. They could also be NPC classes of Mage and Priest but that is what breaks verisimilitude for me. I expect the PC wizard to have a decent idea of what the enemy wizard can do and not be blind sighted by something that is an NPC only ability unless that is a specific plot point. I don't mind that monsters use different rules as the devs have pointed out they always have to some extent. I dislike NPCs using different rules.

    That said we have not seen NPC stat blocks and they said that you can make a balanced NPC by just using the PC rules so it is probably okay.


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    XreaperDK wrote:


    The important critique:
    Changing monsters: In PF1 it is easy to alter, add a template, change, upgrade or nerf monsters, or even add in custom house-rules. Everything has enough detail to easily break down the PF1 statblocks to figure out why everything the way it is, and to alter anything and everything needed.

    Changing, upgrading, or creating new monsters in 3.X/PF1 was a nightmare, and it was the worse case among all the systems I've tried to GM. It was what made me leave PF1. Sorry, I won't miss this part.


    I share the concerns about PF1 monsters presented in the blog.
    I also share the concerns about too much simplification presented in some of the observations.

    The persistent joke to me was super reflex saves on dinosaurs. Which is pretty much iconic of exactly the issue pointed out. Benchmarking everything on HD is a core flaw. Tying things to a CR and working out from there sounds like a good approach. (or some other approach in that spirit with differing terms used)

    But divorcing the full build from the HD spine is one thing and simplification is another. They don't have to go together.

    Anything you can do in a cleaner, more streamlined manner without losing any depth is great. We know from experience that lose of depth can and does happen. The questions become: What level of depth lose is meaningless to one portion of the fanbase and what level of depth lose is unacceptable to another portion of the fanbase? Also, how much loss of depth is observed when the game is new and fresh as opposed to 18 months later. [As an aside, anything that is written to thrill a player when they first encounter it is, by definition, not something that is focused on years and years of play]

    I really don't see nearly enough information to praise or condemn the new system. It is hitting the nail on the head in identifying one problem. It is possibly conflating a separate problem that is a feature-not-a-bug to a lot of people. So the end result could be anywhere from awesome solution with no downside to an unfulfilling mess that still has too many constraints. I don't need to blog post to know that the odds of it being on the good side of that spectrum are high and the "worst case" is really just theoretical. So I'm optimistic. But a ton remains to be seen.

    Will this game outshine PF1? Getting the monster build issue right will be one of the critical bits.

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

    Deadmanwalking wrote:
    JoelF847 wrote:
    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?

    Doing basic math to determine it has a 20 is not that hard.

    Unless it's actually a 21.


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    Rysky wrote:
    Malk_Content wrote:
    Steve Geddes wrote:

    I can understand the objection when a monster is given some ability that players can’t learn.

    Even that seems ridiculous to me.

    Player: Why can't I summon the flames of hell to enshroud my being?

    GM: Well he is a Devil Prince formed from a multitude of rended souls reforged through the black flames of the Pit.

    Player: Wait, are monsters built by different rules?

    Monster? Doesn’t bother me. A NPC though?

    GM: Well the enemy Rogue’s Strike was a Success so with Sneak Attack and Debilitating Strike this is gonna hurt-

    Player: Wait, how are they getting SA? I don’t think I’m flat footed?

    GM: Oh, they have an ability that treats anyone not wearing Heavy armor as flat footed.

    Player: Oh wow, what level do I have to be before I can get something like that?

    GM: Never, it’s a NPC only ability.

    Player: ...

    Thanks.

    I guess that’s a playstyle difference - we don’t go into anywhere near that detail when narrating NPC actions. I wouldn’t identify any of an opponent’s feats, abilities or class. Nor explicitly call out sneak attack.

    I’d likely provide some flavour (about them seeming to know exactly where to strike to find the weak spot in your Armor, or something) and probably only on the first strike. They might be puzzled but it’d be an in-character puzzle, not a query about the mechanics.

    Cheers.


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    Mark Seifter wrote:

    As I've mentioned before when someone asked me on another topic whether they should make a forum poll, I've been doing an informal study of all these forum polls (for science!). I compared the result of such a forum poll to

    #1) The result that the person who made the poll agreed with.
    #2) The long-term result or result where we gain wider data (if available).

    Forum polls have an incredibly high positive correlation with #1, and have nearly zero correlation with #2, which means that while they're as likely to be right as wrong in the end, they are more-or-less useless as predictive measures. I have my theories as to why, and I don't think it's based on biased wording of the forum polls (in this poll's case, the use of a 4e comparison as the primary example could be considered a biasing factor in these parts, but I'm doubtful it would have a significant effect); I think it's selection bias of who reads the original thread, clicks the link, and takes the poll(the poll-maker thinks, correctly, that many people still reading the thread agree with her before deciding to make the poll, and those people still reading the thread do agree). In other words, if you have a poll of "Who loves the druid" linked from a thread deeply about the druid, you'll get mostly druid lovers plus a few druid-bashers reading the thread, clicking the link, and responding to the poll.

    That's what Erik means when he says having a survey is useful eventually: we need to be able to get a better sample of respondents to figure out a real trend.

    And I'm not saying this because I'm convinced a bigger survey won't agree with the forum poll (it's just as likely to back it up with a low/zero correlation as it is to disagree) or that I'm unsympathetic on this issue (I personally still can't remember what the PF1 Bestiary icons are and think there were too many of those for my personal use). It's just not very useful data for decision-making or analysis. I'd say this even if this was a poll about an issue I was passionate about and wanted to see changed. From a scientific background, it's important to me that we do this right.

    Excellent post, thanks.

    I think there’s another source of bias (certainly in my case, and I doubt I’m the only one) in that I’m likely to vote on an issue I care about, but I’ll also vote on things I am ambivalent on if I have some kind of relationship with the poll-writer (to kind of “help them out” or something).

    Given the way we form friendships in life, I’d be astonished if I didn’t tend to agree with the author of those polls where I don’t have a strongly held view.

    Paizo Employee Designer

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    Steve Geddes wrote:

    Excellent post, thanks.

    I think there’s another source of bias (certainly in my case, and I doubt I’m the only one) in that I’m likely to vote on an issue I care about, but I’ll also vote on things I am ambivalent on if I have some kind of relationship with the poll-writer (to kind of “help them out” or something).

    Given the way we form friendships in life, I’d be astonished if I didn’t tend to agree with the author of those polls where I don’t have a strongly held view.

    And even if not, if you had no strong view and had no relationship/friendship, sounds like you wouldn't vote at all, so that effect only has a potential to magnify that one side.

    Another good point based on a solid response on my Facebook fan page where I crossposted is that whoever is not happy with the status quo is much more likely to speak up and to vote (like in any vote or election), but also whoever is not happy with the status quo is more likely to take the effort to create a forum poll about it, so that's an additional reason for this.


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    The design of a decent survey is tricky enough but defeating selection-bias is going to be extremely difficult for you. Will you be having regular, equal length surveys covering a variety of topics in each? That’d presumably help.

    (To be frank, survey design sounds more fun to me than the game designing bit. I’ve done lots of data analysis, but I’ve rarely been given the chance to gather the data I’ve been tasked with examining).

    Liberty's Edge

    JoelF847 wrote:
    Deadmanwalking wrote:
    JoelF847 wrote:
    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?

    Doing basic math to determine it has a 20 is not that hard.

    Unless it's actually a 21.

    Assuming that monsters have even numbered stats is not especially difficult or onerous.


    Enderrin wrote:
    I for one do not want 4e monsters all over again. Pathfinder exists because people rejected that kind of design.
    Marc Radle wrote:
    Regarding Paizo considering replacing some common stat words (such as 'Attack', 'Reaction', etc. with icons or symbols (seemingly something like 4th Edition D&D did, or Starfinder does)

    Just pointing out that several people have raised these points and I have carefully not mentioned it once.

    (Sidenote: This will be a turn off for some of my group who will have a knee jerk reaction to this when taken in the context of all the other changes we're getting in PF2e. I hope we can persuade Paizo to build ALL NPCs using PC classes instead of just the big name ones).


    ^Likewise, for Pathfinder 1st Edition, I have often thought of how to upgrade most NPC class characters to PC classes, although the answers that come to mind aren't always satisfactory.

    • Warrior is the most straightforward -- usually upgrade to Fighter, by default with no archetype.
    • Aristocrat is almost as straightforward -- upgrade as many levels as possible to Noble Scion prestige class, and then upgrade the remainder to Phantom Thief Rogue (Unchained, of course).
    • Expert starts to give trouble, but wouldn't if Rogue had a more working-class version of the Phantom Thief archetype.
    • Adept is less clear -- Shaman seems closest, but nothing really matches up with the spell list (maybe need a Tribal Adept archetype that modifies the spell list, among other things).
    • Commoner remains the class for Homer Simpson.


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    I love the shorter stat blocks. I want all of the foes in a combat to fit on one page of paper. If a creature is needlessly complicated, it increases the chance that I will mess up and make the combat too difficult or easy.

    PFS monsters are getting so complex that some GMs won't run the higher-level adventures!

    I just read some "Why does everyone hate 4E" threads on other websites and "We hate the monster stat blocks" was never the reason. There certainly is no general consensus that 4E monster statblocks sucked.

    Paizo Employee Designer

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    Steve Geddes wrote:

    The design of a decent survey is tricky enough but defeating selection-bias is going to be extremely difficult for you. Will you be having regular, equal length surveys covering a variety of topics in each? That’d presumably help.

    (To be frank, survey design sounds more fun to me than the game designing bit. I’ve done lots of data analysis, but I’ve rarely been given the chance to gather the data I’ve been tasked with examining).

    The current plan does involve a variety of topics, for exactly the reason you've given. It does become important to suss out multiple axes of information in some cases though, especially when giving several options or a scale, in order to determine strength of opinion when it isn't clearly separate from the opinion itself.

    Random Survey Thing on Past Survey:
    It reminds me of when I was chatting with Jim about a market survey that asked how satisfied the survey taker was with each of Pathfinder's lines, with options ranging from completely unsatisfied to somewhat satisfied to completely satisfied. But what if someone just doesn't care at all about one of the product lines because their game didn't need it, like a theater of the mind group with maps? Jim said in that case, if it was him, he would mark it as completely satisfied, since the line did everything that person would need or want. I said I would mark completely unsatisfied given the choices, and so we realized that if people used both of those trains of thought (and others perhaps gave the somewhat satisfied answer to represent ambivalence), it could skew the results, so he added an option specifically for people who didn't care to avoid that.

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    I'm looking at less information, so I'll assume here that penalties in the game are being super simplified as well.

    Will it matter what kind of poison the Rogue at my table uses? Will effects like poison still reduce ability scores, or will they just become conditions, like...

    Poison 1 You feel terrible, reduce your Constitution bonus by 2 and your Fortitude by 1. If you fail your next save, your condition worsens into (Poison 2)

    Poison 2 The pain, it hurts! Reduce your Constitution bonus by 4 and your Fortitude by 2. If you fail your next save, your condition worsens into (Poison 3)

    Poison 3 You're really in for it now...

    I'm a bit curious, is all.

    Grand Lodge

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    Igwilly wrote:

    Honestly, one thing I like about 4e was the easiness of monster design. One thing I hate about 3.X/PF1 was fiddly, overly-complex monster design.

    There's absolutely no need for monsters to have feats, numerous tables and rules accounting for generating stats, and so on.
    As Paizo has presented these stat blocks, I think my main complain about PF1 is gone. It functions clearly, it has the information I need, and it can be as tactically complex as I like. That's terrific!
    I think one should look this article as it is, and it's awesome :)

    Edit: Also, giving keywords such as arcane or evocation to magical abilities is a great way to identify them when this matters ^^

    Simplified monsters work fine for plug and play, but if you want to do any level of modification to a stat block, it's still nice to know where things came from. Even if as GM you simply declared a monster to have an ability, you inevitably get into a discussion about how a monster is allowed to do a thing. Not that you can't invoke rule 0, but it's nice to be able to back things up

    Grand Lodge

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    Deadmanwalking wrote:
    JoelF847 wrote:
    Deadmanwalking wrote:
    JoelF847 wrote:
    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?

    Doing basic math to determine it has a 20 is not that hard.

    Unless it's actually a 21.
    Assuming that monsters have even numbered stats is not especially difficult or onerous.

    Unless that gets codified, many GMs will declare monsters have odd numbered stats, making any level of -(odd number) to a stat less effective.


    I tried to give a dire hyena some extra HD in PF1/3.X. Man, I just wanted to level up it, but it ended being far more work than that.
    Applying templates was easier than creating an entirely new monster from scratch, but still time consumptive for a "quick modification" thing.
    I think the only stuff which was actually easy to change was equipment and arbitrary natural AC bonuses.

    But...
    Do I need to have a mechanical reason to give this goblin shape-shifting? My players cannot know that...


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    I'm a pretty agreeable guy and I like most of what I've seen. However, there is one thing is really dislike. The traits as tags. It seems to save no space and makes the information less clear.

    Please, you can be more straightforward with "Large CE Humanoid (Giant)".


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    MrCab wrote:
    Deadmanwalking wrote:
    JoelF847 wrote:
    Deadmanwalking wrote:
    JoelF847 wrote:
    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?

    Doing basic math to determine it has a 20 is not that hard.

    Unless it's actually a 21.
    Assuming that monsters have even numbered stats is not especially difficult or onerous.
    Unless that gets codified, many GMs will declare monsters have odd numbered stats, making any level of -(odd number) to a stat less effective.

    I am 99% sure that there won't be any sort of direct penalty to ability scores. This point keeps getting reiterated.

    Loving most of what I see, and really glad we got this. Don't have strong opinions on the formatting but the info included looks great. Hope icons don't cause problems for folks.

    Liberty's Edge

    MrCab wrote:
    Unless that gets codified, many GMs will declare monsters have odd numbered stats, making any level of -(odd number) to a stat less effective.

    As Captain Morgan notes it's almost certain at this point that reducing ability scores is not a mechanic in the game. There are penalties that apply to everything the score does, but actually reducing it? Not a thing.

    This would also be really easy to codify.


    Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
    Mark Seifter wrote:
    Steve Geddes wrote:

    The design of a decent survey is tricky enough but defeating selection-bias is going to be extremely difficult for you. Will you be having regular, equal length surveys covering a variety of topics in each? That’d presumably help.

    (To be frank, survey design sounds more fun to me than the game designing bit. I’ve done lots of data analysis, but I’ve rarely been given the chance to gather the data I’ve been tasked with examining).

    The current plan does involve a variety of topics, for exactly the reason you've given. It does become important to suss out multiple axes of information in some cases though, especially when giving several options or a scale, in order to determine strength of opinion when it isn't clearly separate from the opinion itself.

    “Spoiler wrote:
    It reminds me of when I was chatting with Jim about a market survey that asked how satisfied the survey taker was with each of Pathfinder's lines, with options ranging from completely unsatisfied to somewhat satisfied to completely satisfied. But what if someone just doesn't care at all about one of the product lines because their game didn't need it, like a theater of the mind group with maps? Jim said in that case, if it was him, he would mark it as completely satisfied, since the line did everything that person would need or want. I said I would mark completely unsatisfied given the choices, and so we realized that if people used both of those trains of thought (and others perhaps gave the somewhat satisfied answer to represent ambivalence), it could skew the results, so he added an option specifically for people who didn't care to avoid that.

    I remember that survey. There were a few places I felt not quite able to express my position.

    You’re way ahead of me, of course (and I have no clue about survey design beyond a simple Statistics 1 course) but “don’t care” responses are going to be essential. As are boxes for “any other comments”.

    It seems to me that nearly everyone has a varying number of dealbreaker/Big Issues, a handful of things they’d like and a whole bunch of things they’re ambivalent about. Forcing us to pick a side when we don’t have a strong view could easily bias things towards the status quo (and lose the information if a large cohort are indifferent).

    Sorting through those issues sounds like fun. :)


    whew wrote:

    I love the shorter stat blocks. I want all of the foes in a combat to fit on one page of paper. If a creature is needlessly complicated, it increases the chance that I will mess up and make the combat too difficult or easy.

    PFS monsters are getting so complex that some GMs won't run the higher-level adventures!

    I just read some "Why does everyone hate 4E" threads on other websites and "We hate the monster stat blocks" was never the reason. There certainly is no general consensus that 4E monster statblocks sucked.

    Yeah, classes/AEDU are the most contentious part. I would say 4th Ed monsters are one of the better parts of the system.

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