Attack the Stat Block

Friday, May 18, 2018

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

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

So Now There's Ogres, Okay?

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

Ogre Creature 3

Chaotic, Evil, Giant, Humanoid, Large

Perception +5, darkvision

Languages Giant

Skills +1; Acrobatics +4, Athletics +9

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

Items hide armor, 6 javelins, ogre hook


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

HP 60


Speed 25 feet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blood and Boots

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

Redcap Creature 5

Evil, Fey, Small

Perception +10, low-light vision

Languages Aklo, Common, Giant, Sylvan

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

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

Items red cap, expert Medium scythe, iron boots

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


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

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

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


Speed 50 feet

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

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

[[R]] Deadly Cleave

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spell It Out

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

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

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

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

Logan Bonner
Designer

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Tags: Pathfinder Playtest Wayne Reynolds
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Chalk me up for one that dislikes the direction AWAY from classed monsters. I want all intelligent creatures the GM controls that are able to learn to do so via level advancement, just like the creatures the players control. They could have taken the ABC concept to some great places if they leaned on it from all directions.


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CraziFuzzy wrote:
Chalk me up for one that dislikes the direction AWAY from classed monsters. I want all intelligent creatures the GM controls that are able to learn to do so via level advancement, just like the creatures the players control. They could have taken the ABC concept to some great places if they leaned on it from all directions.

Except they aren't moving away from classed monsters at all. One of the stated goals has always been that with monsters now classed by level, you should be able to just directly add class levels to any monster, with 3 class levels on a level 5 monster making a level 8 opponent.

Just because there is going to be a "quick build" system for throwing together mooks or when you're caught off guard at the table, that is actually not exclusionary with the full build system. It's going to have both.


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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.

Odd penalties to stats are already less effective across the board in PF1. A -1 to a stat does absolutely nothing unless it's a penalty with a duration of more than 24 hours. It matters not whether the stat is odd or even, because stat penalties/damage do not actually reduce the stat.

Liberty's Edge

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CraziFuzzy wrote:
Chalk me up for one that dislikes the direction AWAY from classed monsters. I want all intelligent creatures the GM controls that are able to learn to do so via level advancement, just like the creatures the players control.

As Fuzzypaws notes, nothing prevents doing NPCs with the PC rules or adding PC Class levels to monsters. That works fine.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Staffan Johansson wrote:
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.
Odd penalties to stats are already less effective across the board in PF1. A -1 to a stat does absolutely nothing unless it's a penalty with a duration of more than 24 hours. It matters not whether the stat is odd or even, because stat penalties/damage do not actually reduce the stat.

No but it does give you penalties, which is the main hung.


Lady Melo wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:

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

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

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

I agree that “feel” is an important thing, and speaking as someone who enjoys reading stat blocks in a Bestiary nearly as much as I do running the monster in actual play, I don’t like not having the monsters actual stats. I wanna know *exactly* what they are in relation to the PCs or other monsters, and a +5 for instance let’s me know it’s a 20 or 21...well, which is it?

A small, but important nitpick for me. I really hope they rethink that.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Starsunder wrote:


I agree that “feel” is an important thing, and speaking as someone who enjoys reading stat blocks in a Bestiary nearly as much as I do running the monster in actual play, I don’t like not having the monsters actual stats. I wanna know *exactly* what they are in relation to the PCs or other monsters, and a +5 for instance let’s me know it’s a 20 or 21...well, which is it?

A small, but important nitpick for me. I really hope they rethink that.

Even if odd ability scores never happen in game?


Rysky wrote:
Staffan Johansson wrote:
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.
Odd penalties to stats are already less effective across the board in PF1. A -1 to a stat does absolutely nothing unless it's a penalty with a duration of more than 24 hours. It matters not whether the stat is odd or even, because stat penalties/damage do not actually reduce the stat.
No but it does give you penalties, which is the main hung.

Yes, in PF1 stat penalties/damage give you penalties to some things that are based on the stat. But it does not matter for those penalties whether the original stat is odd or even.

If you're hit by a Shadow for 3 points of Strength damage, you take a -1 to Strength checks, melee attacks, and melee damage, CMB, and CMD (as long as those things are based on Strength in the first place). It does not matter whether your original Strength is 14 or 15, you still get a -1 penalty for 3 points of Strength damage. It also does not matter whether you use your weapons in your main hand, off-hand, or both hands - it's still -1 to damage.


Staffan Johansson wrote:


If you're hit by a Shadow for 3 points of Strength damage, you take a -1 to Strength checks, melee attacks, and melee damage, CMB, and CMD (as long as those things are based on Strength in the first place). It does not matter whether your original Strength is 14 or 15, you still get a -1 penalty for 3 points of Strength damage. It also does not matter whether you use your weapons in your main hand, off-hand, or both hands - it's still -1 to damage.

Um, what?

If you get -3 strength, then if your strength is 15 it will drop to 12, i.e. -1. If your strength is 14 it will drop to 11, i.e. -2.

Nope. I'm wrong.


Malthraz wrote:
Staffan Johansson wrote:


If you're hit by a Shadow for 3 points of Strength damage, you take a -1 to Strength checks, melee attacks, and melee damage, CMB, and CMD (as long as those things are based on Strength in the first place). It does not matter whether your original Strength is 14 or 15, you still get a -1 penalty for 3 points of Strength damage. It also does not matter whether you use your weapons in your main hand, off-hand, or both hands - it's still -1 to damage.

Um, what?

If you get -3 strength, then if your strength is 15 it will drop to 12, i.e. -1. If your strength is 14 it will drop to 11, i.e. -2.

Check the core book on page 555. Or the PRD.

This was one of the changes from 3.5e to Pathfinder. Apparently quite a few people who are otherwise clearly very particular about the rules missed the way the rules actually work on this point.


Malthraz wrote:
Staffan Johansson wrote:


If you're hit by a Shadow for 3 points of Strength damage, you take a -1 to Strength checks, melee attacks, and melee damage, CMB, and CMD (as long as those things are based on Strength in the first place). It does not matter whether your original Strength is 14 or 15, you still get a -1 penalty for 3 points of Strength damage. It also does not matter whether you use your weapons in your main hand, off-hand, or both hands - it's still -1 to damage.
Um, what?

That statement is correct, as far as I can see.

edit: ninja'ed


Staffan Johansson wrote:
Malthraz wrote:
Staffan Johansson wrote:


If you're hit by a Shadow for 3 points of Strength damage, you take a -1 to Strength checks, melee attacks, and melee damage, CMB, and CMD (as long as those things are based on Strength in the first place). It does not matter whether your original Strength is 14 or 15, you still get a -1 penalty for 3 points of Strength damage. It also does not matter whether you use your weapons in your main hand, off-hand, or both hands - it's still -1 to damage.

Um, what?

If you get -3 strength, then if your strength is 15 it will drop to 12, i.e. -1. If your strength is 14 it will drop to 11, i.e. -2.

Check the core book on page 555. Or the PRD.

This was one of the changes from 3.5e to Pathfinder. Apparently quite a few people who are otherwise clearly very particular about the rules missed the way the rules actually work on this point.

Interesting. I never noticed that change. That's a weird rule change.


Still curious as to why there is no range listed on the ogre's darkvision?

Also since CMD is gone what do you use for the DC of a combat maneuver? AC? Touch AC? Other?


Dragon78 wrote:

Still curious as to why there is no range listed on the ogre's darkvision?

Also since CMD is gone what do you use for the DC of a combat maneuver? AC? Touch AC? Other?

I think the new CMD is related to athletics and acrobatics. I recall the DC being 10 + relevant skill bonus. But I am not sure.


Malthraz wrote:
Interesting. I never noticed that change. That's a weird rule change.

I believe it was intended to compensate for the complexity otherwise introduced by on-the-fly stat changes. For example, let's say you have Strength 16, and you're hit by a ray of enfeeblement for a penalty of 5 points. In 3e, you don't only have to worry about getting a penalty to attacks and damage (and how big that penalty is), but you also need to worry about whether you suddenly become encumbered, whether your feats turn off because of your reduced Strength, whether you can still use your composite bow, and such. In PF1, it was changed to specify that stat penalties/damage only affect certain things, so you don't have to worry about the weird cases.


Malthraz wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:

Still curious as to why there is no range listed on the ogre's darkvision?

Also since CMD is gone what do you use for the DC of a combat maneuver? AC? Touch AC? Other?

I think the new CMD is related to athletics and acrobatics.

Which I do not like (keep skills away from perfunctory combat manoeuvres), maybe because of 5th Ed's egregious design mistake.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

What I meant is that if the game presents no way for anything to achieve an odd numbered stat, ever (which currently looks to be the case) do you need more that modifier seeing how you can always derive the stat from it knowing it will always be equal.


Malk_Content wrote:
What I meant is that if the game presents no way for anything to achieve an odd numbered stat, ever (which currently looks to be the case) do you need more that modifier seeing how you can always derive the stat from it knowing it will always be equal.

Yes, totally agree, but should be a separate game, at this point, it would seem that's like calling AC...something else...


Monster creation is a good example of how perception matters. As already said several times by Mark (and others, I remember Sean K Reynolds saying something similar time ago), monsters ALREADY follow different rule creation than PCs. It is just the illusion that they do not what changes. Now, this is important too. The illusion helps the suspension of disbelief for many people. I sincerely hope that Paizo pulls this off. NPC having PC rules will help to reduce some concerns, I hope. I don't mind NPC having different rules either (again, they already do. Read Baba Yaga's familiar and other unique rules and tell me how my witch can get that). But that's a hill not worth dying for. If NPC as PC helps soothe the effect of Monsters =/= PC, I'm on board.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Weather Report wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
What I meant is that if the game presents no way for anything to achieve an odd numbered stat, ever (which currently looks to be the case) do you need more that modifier seeing how you can always derive the stat from it knowing it will always be equal.
Yes, totally agree, but should be a separate game, at this point, it would seem that's like calling AC...something else...

Thats pure aesthetic and semantics. If they called AC Protection Value but it did all the same things as AC it would be ridiculous to say the game was fundamentally different because of that. From what has been revealed so far Ability Score will always be generated as even, they don't take direct damage or improve by odd amounts and their only use is to derive Ability Modifiers. I don't see how it would be a different game merely by skipping to the end mechanical result (as they do for monsters it seems) when those score don't get referenced past their ability to generate that mechanical result.


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Interesting sociology issue here.

Question:
Case 1, they keep AC exactly as it is, but Rename it Defense Value or something.
Case 2, they keep the name, but change it to something different (DR, or whatever)

Which one would create more controversy?


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Probably the name change, but it shouldn't.

Maybe I'm weird but for me the illusion doesn't matter, only the reality. Once something is known to be illusion I don't think arguments to reinforce that illusion makes much sense at all.


Malthraz wrote:
Staffan Johansson wrote:
Malthraz wrote:
Staffan Johansson wrote:


If you're hit by a Shadow for 3 points of Strength damage, you take a -1 to Strength checks, melee attacks, and melee damage, CMB, and CMD (as long as those things are based on Strength in the first place). It does not matter whether your original Strength is 14 or 15, you still get a -1 penalty for 3 points of Strength damage. It also does not matter whether you use your weapons in your main hand, off-hand, or both hands - it's still -1 to damage.

Um, what?

If you get -3 strength, then if your strength is 15 it will drop to 12, i.e. -1. If your strength is 14 it will drop to 11, i.e. -2.

Check the core book on page 555. Or the PRD.

This was one of the changes from 3.5e to Pathfinder. Apparently quite a few people who are otherwise clearly very particular about the rules missed the way the rules actually work on this point.

Interesting. I never noticed that change. That's a weird rule change.

I like the idea that reducing a stat has a certain, defined effect, and not a full rebuild. It is easier to solve on the fly. Imagine you lose 4 Int points, and you treat it like really having 4 less int. Now you have to remove 2 ranks of skills per level. You halt everything, while you decide if you lose acrobatics or ride or perception or spellcraft. Or if you lose a language that affect your summon monsters and language dependant spells. It is convoluted and unnecessary IMHO.


I don't care if I have 18 in charisma, or +4 i charisma. Paizo is concerned that changing it from 18 to +4 will causes problems with a decent minority of the player base.

I do not know. Maybe they are right.

I guess they are trialing it with monsters. Dipping their ogre toe in the water.


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.

There may be a distinction between complaining about "shorter stat blocks" and complaining about the way monsters were built. But the two are clearly connected and there were tons of complaints about monsters builds being excessively oversimplified and as a result being unsatisfying to a lot of fans.

Scarab Sages

MrCab wrote:
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

This is kinda the point though. You don't need to back anything up now.


Tallow wrote:
MrCab wrote:
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
This is kinda the point though. You don't need to back anything up now.

You didn't even need to do that back in PF1. Why can that manticore fire laser beams out of his eyes? Some text at the bottom of the stat block. Replace as needed with any other modification as needed.

Scarab Sages

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Agreed. The idea that a GM needs to justify the monster stats is just really bizarre to me. But with the advent of 3rd to PF1, I think it makes it easier for players to do the math at the table, and if something is significantly off, they deal cheated.

I've done it before myself, but I'm really not a fan of players metagaming like that. It just feels immersion breaking to me. So this new system where a GM is not beholden to PC math makes it easier to just create an encounter without the gnashing of teeth over the math.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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I love the idea of simplifying the block. Overall I love that in a much shorter form, I know exactly what to do with the monster in and out of combat. I really like the skill simplifications--+ this to important skills to the monster, + that to everything else.

I would like to see the top section (in its entirety, including perception and senses) moved to the bottom. Even when my front brain had logged that attack information is at the bottom now, the training my hindbrain has received still keeps looking for attack stats at the top/middle. More to the point as a GM, I'd really like to see all immediately combat-relevant stuff first (defenses, offenses), then the other stuff (and I have a feeling that if this were not changed, I would be re-designing the statblocks for my use for my adventures).

Pardon me if this has been discussed --

I recognize how these things add up or apply may have changed, but I miss seeing something along the lines of "base attack bonus." And it should be with the attacks section of the statblock, not buried elsewhere like by statistics (something I always hated about PF1 statblocks).

This is important information. Again I recognize there may be rules changes, but I expect there are still ways to, for example, disarm and sunder weapons. So in the example of the ogre and redcap, who have only weapon-based attacks, if this happens, I as GM now have to sit in the middle of combat and try to reverse-engineer the monster to figure out what its attack bonus will be with an unarmed/natural/attack with a different weapon. No. No thank you. (Especially since HD are also not listed now, and while I don't mind that, it makes that kind of reverse engineering even harder.)

Please keep things as easy as possible for GMs. If the "simplification" removes things we really need, it is not "simple."

I will also join the "no fancy symbols please" camp, from the perspective of a pbp GM and also someone who likes to write up and tweak their own adventures (complete with monster stats). Because symbols are likely unpaste-able (and you may like this for copyright purposes, I realize) -- it makes it much harder to paste stats into homebrew writeups and GM notes, as well as post to PBP (if say I need to post stats for an NPC my players are helping me bot, etc.).

I like the general direction this is going in, but when you're considering ease of use please consider... well, ease of use. Some of this will make my life as a GM easier. Other parts... not so much.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Saw a lot of discussion regarding bonus-only listing and ability damage. They’re moving away from messing with stats directly. We saw this with one of the mutagens, which now provides a long list of bonuses that happen to line up closely with what would happen if you boosted strength.


I still think they should give the ogre a reaction ability of some kind.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
I still think they should give the ogre a reaction ability of some kind.

I’m of the opposite opinion. If everything has a reaction, there’s no simplification. Every monster will demand tracking conditional stuff, with no simple options. Like they said, too, ogres fill in as low-level muscle at higher levels.

Shadow Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

The new stat blocks are excellent. Why do we need to know a creatures ability scores? When does this come up? If you need a bigger and nastier ogre make his STR +6 and describe him and bigger and nastier looking. Who’s then asks “so does he have 20 strength or 23?”

Similarly if said ogre picks up a different weapon, say a greataxe doesnt he just chnge the damage to d12+7 and that weapons special abilities? This would be the main reason why the numbers attached to deadly are unneccessary, while reach needs to be in the general stat block. The different feel of the attack comes from the weapon qualities, like it does for PCs really.

Im happy with hidden abilities and powers, even ones PCs cant possibly gain. Why should a PC have access to these things? How would a PC really even know? As long as the ability has a logical consitency it shouldnt matter - so the idea of sneak, but only those in heavy armor is a poor example. Strange helllfire abilities from a fiendish foe make perfect sense confind to a fiendish foe, not a PC.

Similarly with class abilities If my lamia has bombs and nothing else which players will know of she has alchemist levels or just this? Just because it can sneak attack do the payers need to see the whole suite of rogue abilities before they just assume some rogue aspect?

As for things like AC or attack bonuses. On the whole these should be easy enough to adjust under the new system. If i want that ogre to have a different armour i describe it as so and add 1-2 points. If the players miss him in combat a d i want to describe i look at the creature, an ogre, and assume the hit bounces off his armour or thick skin. The redcap i might describe as narrowly missing or he seems to anticipate your strike and quickly moves aside since he appears to have no armour, just dex and skill.

I also agree that reactions need to be limited in who gets them, but some care needs to be done in their execution. For instance the redcaps reaction could just as well work anytime he reduces a foe to zero, not just with his scythe. This seems more in tune with the little loonies bloodthirst. Yet i also feel the scythe only adds a little tactical air to an encounter.


I'm not sure the scythe/cleave xs other weapons is an oversight. They don't trigger cleave with the boot


Dragon78 wrote:
I still think they should give the ogre a reaction ability of some kind.

If you really want to give him AoO and you are good

That would not feel unrealistic and give him probably a nice boost to his power


Seisho wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:
I still think they should give the ogre a reaction ability of some kind.
If you really want to give him AoO and you are good

I am hoping that there are a fair number of easy templates in the bestiary that can be thrown over the basic monster types. Leaving a general reaction off of ogres would make a lot of sense if Ogre guards can get a AoO type of attack.

Liberty's Edge

Dragon78 wrote:
Still curious as to why there is no range listed on the ogre's darkvision?

Vision no longer seems to have range. Darkvision just makes you able to see in the dark.

Dragon78 wrote:
Also since CMD is gone what do you use for the DC of a combat maneuver? AC? Touch AC? Other?

We know that grapple and disarm both target 'Reflex Defense' which is Reflex Save +10. Other maneuvers may target other Save Defenses, and some skills may be able to substitute in (I wouldn't be surprised if Athletics +10 can be used as a defense against Grapple).

Malthraz wrote:
I think the new CMD is related to athletics and acrobatics.

No, making combat maneuvers is now an Athletics (for grapple and disarm at least) or maybe sometimes Acrobatics check, but defending seems Save based.

Weather Report wrote:
Which I do not like (keep skills away from perfunctory combat manoeuvres), maybe because of 5th Ed's egregious design mistake.

I'm cool with it given the really tight math.


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Malk_Content wrote:

Probably the name change, but it shouldn't.

Maybe I'm weird but for me the illusion doesn't matter, only the reality. Once something is known to be illusion I don't think arguments to reinforce that illusion makes much sense at all.

It makes perfect sense, the saving throw for the illusion is high enough that the +4 from being told isn't enough for a lot of people to make it. They need to experience for themselves that it's illusion (likely by seeing that the new system winds up pretty much the same), so they can disbelieve automatically.

Liberty's Edge

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DeathQuaker wrote:
This is important information. Again I recognize there may be rules changes, but I expect there are still ways to, for example, disarm and sunder weapons. So in the example of the ogre and redcap, who have only weapon-based attacks, if this happens, I as GM now have to sit in the middle of combat and try to reverse-engineer the monster to figure out what its attack bonus will be with an unarmed/natural/attack with a different weapon. No. No thank you. (Especially since HD are also not listed now, and while I don't mind that, it makes that kind of reverse engineering even harder.)

Level has replaced both BAB and HD for basically all purposes. Many Creatures may have additional bonuses in general on top of that (most of which are probably not weapon specific), but Level is the base amount.

But Mark's already said there are guidelines for switching weapons on monsters, so I wouldn't worry about them too much.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Cat-thulhu wrote:
Im happy with hidden abilities and powers, even ones PCs cant possibly gain. Why should a PC have access to these things? How would a PC really even know? As long as the ability has a logical consitency it shouldnt matter - so the idea of sneak, but only those in heavy armor is a poor example. Strange helllfire abilities from a fiendish foe make perfect sense confind to a fiendish foe, not a PC.
The sneak attack is an excellent example since it's rather blatant example of an NPC Human Rogue having abilities that a PC Human Rogue can never get and it's not even story based, it's "NPCs get more stuff than you."
Cat-thulhu wrote:
Similarly with class abilities If my lamia has bombs and nothing else which players will know of she has alchemist levels or just this? Just because it can sneak attack do the payers need to see the whole suite of rogue abilities before they just assume some rogue aspect?

They do if they regularly interact with her. The Lamia Alchemist I mentioned above is a recurring NPC, not an encounter the PCs run into, defeat, and move on. That requires her actually being an Alchemist, not someone who can throw bombs every 1d3 rounds.

Alchemist and Rogue are just two classes, there's 10 more and some abilities might be even more blatant.

Silver Crusade

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Major one that I realized no one has brought up yet: Spells.

What would the reaction be if only NPC Wizards could be the ones to cast mirror image?


Rysky wrote:

Major one that I realized no one has brought up yet: Spells.

What would the reaction be if only NPC Wizards could be the ones to cast mirror image?

Monsters in PF1 already cast "spells" that aren't on the spell list. The white rider of Baba Yaga can create a 30 ft burst of light that permanently blinds people in range and can be cast as a free action. That's not a spell on any spell list a PC can access yet there it is.

As always, in PF2 as much as in PF1, enemies have the abilities they need to. And if a PC really wants an ability demonstrated by an NPC, you can work with them to determine what level/prerequisite of feat or spell it would be or how expensive a magic item would be to duplicate it, then let them spend downtime and resources to pursue it.


Hoo boy, have a few things to talk about.

Staffan Johansson wrote:
I believe it was intended to compensate for the complexity otherwise introduced by on-the-fly stat changes. For example, let's say you have Strength 16, and you're hit by a ray of enfeeblement for a penalty of 5 points. In 3e, you don't only have to worry about getting a penalty to attacks and damage (and how big that penalty is), but you also need to worry about whether you suddenly become encumbered, whether your feats turn off because of your reduced Strength, whether you can still use your composite bow, and such. In PF1, it was changed to specify that stat penalties/damage only affect certain things, so you don't have to worry about the weird cases.

I don't know 1 DM that would actually ask you to turn off feats due to Ability damage. Encumbrance yes(Oi Mages, maybe don't DUMP it fully?) But feats? Same with skills. Now your Bow example? Can still use it, but you do less damage. Much like hitting something with your melee would. I don't see this as too hard to manage.

Especially with online play and Apps.

QuidEst wrote:
Saw a lot of discussion regarding bonus-only listing and ability damage. They’re moving away from messing with stats directly. We saw this with one of the mutagens, which now provides a long list of bonuses that happen to line up closely with what would happen if you boosted strength.

But can you still Die from it? That Shadow doesn't seem so scary if it does only 1d6 damage with Debuff. There's probably a good amount of creatures that are only threatening or notable because of the Ability damage. Take that away and either you need to give them a big boost or might as well remove them. To say nothing about having to revamp ALL Poisons and Diseases.

Dragon78 wrote:
I still think they should give the ogre a reaction ability of some kind.

Level in Fighter for AoO. Maybe Barbarian will have something comparable. We can still slap Classes to a monster I believe so giving a monster PC abilities shouldn't be too hard.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Rysky wrote:

Major one that I realized no one has brought up yet: Spells.

What would the reaction be if only NPC Wizards could be the ones to cast mirror image?

Well that is a bit different. That would be removing a player option and making it NPC only, rather than creating a new ability for the NPC.

But assuming that wasn't the case, so long as it had a reason [and that reason was potentially discover-able] I wouldn't mind. It is no more arbitrary than anything else. Maybe the Wizard split his soul with a prism, maybe he bargained with Nethys for a new spell or was just a particular genius at illusions the new spell being the result of years of study.

Of course so long as it wasn't over powered, I'd probably allow players who found the spell book to copy it.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
DeathQuaker wrote:
This is important information. Again I recognize there may be rules changes, but I expect there are still ways to, for example, disarm and sunder weapons. So in the example of the ogre and redcap, who have only weapon-based attacks, if this happens, I as GM now have to sit in the middle of combat and try to reverse-engineer the monster to figure out what its attack bonus will be with an unarmed/natural/attack with a different weapon. No. No thank you. (Especially since HD are also not listed now, and while I don't mind that, it makes that kind of reverse engineering even harder.)

Level has replaced both BAB and HD for basically all purposes. Many Creatures may have additional bonuses in general on top of that (most of which are probably not weapon specific), but Level is the base amount.

But Mark's already said there are guidelines for switching weapons on monsters, so I wouldn't worry about them too much.

On a related note, I hope we get some easy rules that apply to everyone for unarmed combat. Being able to throw a punch without provoking never should have been gated behind a feat. Monks and what not should obviously be the best at unarmed combat, but my fighter should be able to wade into a Tavern brawl and look confident.

Something like 1d4+strength for a medium creature, with the damage dice increasing based on size.

Silver Crusade

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Fuzzypaws wrote:
Rysky wrote:

Major one that I realized no one has brought up yet: Spells.

What would the reaction be if only NPC Wizards could be the ones to cast mirror image?

Monsters in PF1 already cast "spells" that aren't on the spell list. The white rider of Baba Yaga can create a 30 ft burst of light that permanently blinds people in range and can be cast as a free action. That's not a spell on any spell list a PC can access yet there it is.

As always, in PF2 as much as in PF1, enemies have the abilities they need to. And if a PC really wants an ability demonstrated by an NPC, you can work with them to determine what level/prerequisite of feat or spell it would be or how expensive a magic item would be to duplicate it, then let them spend downtime and resources to pursue it.

MONSTERS, yes. I don’t have a problem with Monsters having unique abitlies. I’m talking about NPCs of playable races made with Class Levels having things form the Class that PCs can’t get without the GM making it up for them since the system by default says they can’t have it.


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MerlinCross wrote:
I don't know 1 DM that would actually ask you to turn off feats due to Ability damage. Encumbrance yes(Oi Mages, maybe don't DUMP it fully?) But feats? Same with skills. Now your Bow example? Can still use it, but you do less damage. Much like hitting something with your melee would. I don't see this as too hard to manage.

You're essentially arguing "Since no-one played by the actual 3.5e rules, it doesn't matter that they changed it in PF."

Under 3.5e rules, if you lost a prerequisite for a feat you could no longer use the feat. That is technically the rule in PF as well, but ability damage/penalties do not actually reduce your score. They only give you the penalties listed on page 555 of the core book.

As for the Strength bow, you take -2 to attacks if your Strength is too low, and of course you don't get the full damage bonus.

Silver Crusade

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

Major one that I realized no one has brought up yet: Spells.

What would the reaction be if only NPC Wizards could be the ones to cast mirror image?

Well that is a bit different. That would be removing a player option and making it NPC only, rather than creating a new ability for the NPC.

But assuming that wasn't the case, so long as it had a reason [and that reason was potentially discover-able] I wouldn't mind. It is no more arbitrary than anything else. Maybe the Wizard split his soul with a prism, maybe he bargained with Nethys for a new spell or was just a particular genius at illusions the new spell being the result of years of study.

Of course so long as it wasn't over powered, I'd probably allow players who found the spell book to copy it.

Slightly different but it highlights the issue.

1) “assuming it was discoverable” and thus potentially a PC option is not what’s being talked about.

2) the examples you give are story based powers, not “he has different spells just because he’s an NPC Wizard”.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
MerlinCross wrote:

I don't know 1 DM that would actually ask you to turn off feats due to Ability damage. Encumbrance yes(Oi Mages, maybe don't DUMP it fully?) But feats? Same with skills. Now your Bow example? Can still use it, but you do less damage. Much like hitting something with your melee would. I don't see this as too hard to manage.

Especially with online play and Apps.

Ability damage and penalties didn't turn off feats, and strength damage didn't actually impact your carrying capacity. The rules were weird, and very few people played them as written.

MerlinCross wrote:
But can you still Die from it? That Shadow doesn't seem so scary if it does only 1d6 damage with Debuff. There's probably a good amount of creatures that are only threatening or notable because of the Ability damage. Take that away and either you need to give them a big boost or might as well remove them. To say nothing about having to revamp ALL Poisons and Diseases.

You couldn't die from strength damage normally anyway. Shadows had to have a custom rule just to make that work. Shadows in PF2 might kill you if their debuff stack reaches your ability score or something like that. Yeah, monsters will need to be changed if they had ability score damage, but I think it's reasonable to get rid of some of the options that ignored normal defenses.

Pathfinder Unchained already revamped how poisons and diseases worked to avoid ability score damage (which was more of a nuisance than a real threat). Personally, I found it to be a lot more interesting.


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Malthraz wrote:

I don't care if I have 18 in charisma, or +4 i charisma. Paizo is concerned that changing it from 18 to +4 will causes problems with a decent minority of the player base.

I would have no problem with this, but perhaps some people would object...

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