Monster Making

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

A short while ago, Logan Bonner and I appeared on Paizo’s Twitch stream to demonstrate the monster-building rules featured in the Pathfinder Gamemastery Guide. With the help and suggestions from the chat audience, we walked people through the steps of creating a brand-new monster based on a piece of art that appears in the book. Now we’d like to share with you the result of that exercise. Meet our unofficial creature—the ailuran!

Ailuran

Ailurans are reclusive fey with an obsession for silver. This fixation makes them a pesky foil to silver miners and werecreatures alike. Though the creatures don’t necessarily harbor any ill will to others and would prefer to just be left alone, miners consider them pests. Ailurans, sometimes called silver seekers, are infamous for sneaking into or breaking into silver mines to obtain the object of their affection—silver. Miners, not wanting to be stolen from, keep alert for ailuran activity.

It’s unsure why ailurans have an animosity to werecreatures, but their obsession with silver serves them well in this regard. Some ailurans use the silver they collect to make silver weapons they use to hunt down these shapeshifters. Werecreatures aware of this enmity tend to avoid regions where ailurans live.

Ailurans live in small groups in secluded forested hills and mountains—typically locations in which silver can be found in abundance. When not raiding mines, ailurans can be found in trees where they often make their homes. They have a supernatural ability to sense the presence of silver and have been known to accost travelers and charge them a silver toll to allow passage through their lands. While not outwardly friendly, many ailurans are open to trade and will barter with creatures passing through their forests. However, if a visitor makes a bad impression, the creatures sometimes use their illusory magic to create false silver items they use to trade, leaving the traveler empty handed once the magic’s duration runs out.

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the ailuran

Ailuran (2)Creature 5

UNCOMMON, CN, SMALL, FEY

Perception +14; low-light vision, silversense (imprecise) 30 feet
Languages Common, Sylvan
Skills Athletics +12, Diplomacy +10, Nature +12, Silver Lore +13, Stealth +10, Survival +10
Str +4, Dex +5, Con +4, Int +4, Wis +3, Cha +4
Items boomerang, club
Silversense Silversense allows the ailurian to sense the presence of silver objects.


AC 20; Fort +9, Ref +12, Will +15; +1 status to all vs. poison
HP 80; Weaknesses cold iron 5; Resistances silver 5


Speed 20 feet
Melee [one-action] club +13, Damage 1d6+6 bludgeoning
Melee [one-action] claw +13 (agile), Damage 1d6+6 slashing
Ranged [one-action] boomerang +13 (range increment 20 feet), Damage 1d6+6 bludgeoning
Primal Innate Spells DC 20, attack +12; 5th passwall; 2nd glitterdust (x2), illusory object (at will; silver objects only); Cantrips (3rd) dancing lights; Constant (2nd) speak with animals.
Returning Throw [two-actions] The ailuran makes a boomerang Strike, after which the boomerang returns to the ailuran’s hand.
Silver Sustenance [one-action] The ailuran eats an amount of silver equal to 10 sp and regains 1d6 Hit Points. An ailuran can subsist by consuming silver instead of normal food.
Sneak Attack The ailuran deals 1d6 extra precision damage to flat-footed creatures.

Adam Daigle
Managing Developer

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Tags: Pathfinder Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition
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For those wanting to make your own monster, here are our Pathfinder 2E monster creation rules. link.

Silver Crusade

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Woo!


Whoa, what's up with that massive 80 HP for a 2nd level creature?

Silver Crusade

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Typo, it's level 5.


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Ah, figures. Anyway, I always thought that the above image depicted a tanuki...

Silver Crusade

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Fey Tanuki.

That eats your silver-ware and punches were-woofs.


Probably the wrong place to ask about this since it’s only pseudo-related to the post, but it seems more relevant than other places (and I forgot to ask during the stream itself):

How does the top-down method of creating creatures work when it comes to buff spells? Like, does the level 15 warpriest’s +30 attack bonus (high bonus for level 15) include the +2 bonus from the 6th-level heroism it cast on itself prior to combat, or is the status bonus put on it in addition? Does the level 17 wizard lich’s 240 HP (low HP for that level) include the however-many-HP it has from false life?

Silver Crusade

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It does not unless it spams it, the exception being encounters where the statblock says they already cast it prior to appearing (basically keep an eye out for past/present tense).

In P1 I believe the statblock stated if castings were already calculated into the statblock, don't know if that got carried forward, haven't been paying that close of attention yet.


I should have clarified; I was more specifically referring to pre-combat buffs.

Silver Crusade

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My response remains the same.

Do you have a example statblock?


Rysky wrote:

My response remains the same.

Do you have a example statblock?

An example published by Paizo: no. One of my own creation which initially sparked this question: Yes, but it's a creature from late in the Strange Aeons AP.

Silver Crusade

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Then no, extras from spells are calculated after.


Although the situation probably doesn't come up very often, it seems that both by temperament and by way of life, Ailurans should be pesky foils to Devils as well.


So, when all's said and done, why are they called that? Ailouros is cat in Greek. Guy doesn't really look like a cat imvho.

Maybe Argyrans would've worked better? Argyros is silver.


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KingTreyIII wrote:
Rysky wrote:

My response remains the same.

Do you have a example statblock?

An example published by Paizo: no. One of my own creation which initially sparked this question: Yes, but it's a creature from late in the Strange Aeons AP.

The Age of Ashes AP might provide some insight here:

Hellknight Hill NPC statblock snippet:
AC 20 (21 with mage armor), Fort +10, Ref +12, Will +9
HP 56 plus 10 temporary from false life

The adventure text states that this NPC has likely gotten ready for a fight.


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Roswynn wrote:

So, when all's said and done, why are they called that? Ailouros is cat in Greek. Guy doesn't really look like a cat imvho.

Maybe Argyrans would've worked better? Argyros is silver.

Ailurus = Red panda.


UnArcaneElection wrote:

Although the situation probably doesn't come up very often, it seems that both by temperament and by way of life, Ailurans should be pesky foils to Devils as well.

This would make a nice "comedic" encounter: the party is going through a forest and hear an altercation, high pitched skeaky common versus gutural-ish common, investigating the PCs see a Barbazu surrounded by Alurians who demand a nice sum of silver from the devil. The devil was tasked with a stealth investigation of a nearby location and killing all the alurians would denounce its presence.


Roswynn wrote:

So, when all's said and done, why are they called that? Ailouros is cat in Greek. Guy doesn't really look like a cat imvho.

Maybe Argyrans would've worked better? Argyros is silver.

why would Greek have anything to do with the name?

As Magi210 said the first result when searching Aliurus is a red panda, which they look like.


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Vlorax wrote:
Roswynn wrote:

So, when all's said and done, why are they called that? Ailouros is cat in Greek. Guy doesn't really look like a cat imvho.

Maybe Argyrans would've worked better? Argyros is silver.

why would Greek have anything to do with the name?

As Magi210 said the first result when searching Aliurus is a red panda, which they look like.

The generic name for red pandas is derived from the Greek word for cat—probably because of a passing resemblance? Who knows?—so it is relevant if confusing.

Dark Archive

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Roswynn wrote:
So, when all's said and done, why are they called that? Ailouros is cat in Greek. Guy doesn't really look like a cat imvho.

He's a anthropomorphic red panda (scientific name Ailurus fulgens, family Ailuridae) so the name fits.


A gummy bear! Where is the gummi beari juice?


I don’t suppose there is any chance of this Fey panda ever becoming an official creature? The stat block is already written up after all ;)


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KingTreyIII wrote:
I should have clarified; I was more specifically referring to pre-combat buffs.

Pathfinder 2 is fairly restrictive with pre-combat buffs. It's rare that a combat buff has a duration of longer than one minute, and the game specifically calls out that in most cases, there's time for a single pre-combat spell at most, because casting such a spell is usually the initiation of combat. You can't really pre-cast more than one if waiting for the enemy to come to you either, because the duration is so short that pretty much any delay would cause the spell to drop.

Instead, both characters and monsters have the stats they're supposed to have without jumping through hoops. Just like a monk doesn't need a special formula for determining attack bonus when using Flurry of Blows anymore, a warpriest doesn't need to have greater magic weapon and bull's strength up to fight.

For really long-lasting buffs like mage armor, I'd just include those in the stats generated by the monster creation system, and reverse-engineer the non-buffed stats from there. Just like the important part of a hobgoblin archer's defenses is that it has AC 23, and not that it is wearing scale mail. Wearing scale mail might be relevant if we can somehow destroy the creature's armor, because then we know that its AC drops 3 points. But the scale mail isn't relevant for determining how it gets to 23 in the first place, and neither is it relevant that a particular wizard has mage armor up in order to determine that they have AC 21 (or whatever the case may be).


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I didn't know about red pandas! Didn't even know they existed. Thank you for the pointer guys!


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I really appreciate the fact that the monster/hazard creation stuff came out a bit early. I've made so many creatures since it did and the process was really fun. Felt very streamline.

Grand Lodge

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Roswynn wrote:
I didn't know about red pandas! Didn't even know they existed. Thank you for the pointer guys!

Then you have been missing out on some of the most adorable shenanigans to ever grace Japanese television. Get thee to YouTube.


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Strife2002 wrote:
Roswynn wrote:
I didn't know about red pandas! Didn't even know they existed. Thank you for the pointer guys!
Then you have been missing out on some of the most adorable shenanigans to ever grace Japanese* television. Get thee to YouTube.

*PSA (for those who don't know!):

While they may appear on Japanese tv, red pandas are from China.

That's all.
(^_')

<end>


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If we are talking about monster creation we should think about to adjust the challenging rating of XPs reward if an enemy becomes more powerful thanks to modern technology or teknomagic equivalent.

How to explain this better with an example? Let's imagine we are playing Fortnite, but not the Creative Mode. Other player has created a dungeon, an crashed alien ship. The first enemy is only one robot with a hammer, easy to be defeated. The next target is a robot with a metalic wrench...and riding a stepway. It is harder than the first one but the next will be worse, with a gun. Now it start to be difficult. The new menace will be a robot, but with a exosuit like in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. The same monster with identical stats but now a true challenge. Later a robot wearing a powered armour, like the ones from Fallout videogame. This is practically a mini-boss. The final boss it's the same robot but piloting a mecha.

If you have to change Challenge Rating/XPs value because a monster becomes stronger with an added monster template then with those gadgets the same should happen. What do you think?

Silver Crusade

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That’s just extra/better equipment, that’s factored in.


With the way monster creation in PF2 works, you just assign the bonuses to each stat appropriate to the level challenge they're supposed to be. It doesn't matter what they attack with or how they get their to-hit bonus, just that they have +X to hit and deal Y damage when they hit.

The only templates are the Elite adjustment (+2 to everything) and the Weak adjustment (-2 to everything).

The question of actual technology should probably wait until we have technology rules for PF2.


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Phntm888 wrote:


The only templates are the Elite adjustment (+2 to everything) and the Weak adjustment (-2 to everything).

I will note this isn't quite true. We also have 14 available Theme Templates.

Liberty's Edge

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LuisCarlos17Fe wrote:
If you have to change Challenge Rating/XPs value because a monster becomes stronger with an added monster template then with those gadgets the same should happen. What do you think?

For NPCs, stats are the only determiner of level. If the gadgets don't raise the stats sufficiently, then they don't raise the creature's level, but if they do raise stats sufficiently, then they also increase level, because how impressive the monster's stats are (including equipment) is what level measures.


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LuisCarlos17Fe wrote:

If we are talking about monster creation we should think about to adjust the challenging rating of XPs reward if an enemy becomes more powerful thanks to modern technology or teknomagic equivalent.

[...]

If you have to change Challenge Rating/XPs value because a monster becomes stronger with an added monster template then with those gadgets the same should happen. What do you think?

The answer is Mu.

You're thinking in terms of a monster being built from the bottom up the same way a PC is. If the monster is level A, has Strength B, a +C weapon, and proficiency D then it should have +E to its attacks. But that's not how it works. The only things that matter is (a) level and (b) whether it's supposed to be particularly good or bad at an aspect for its level. The rest is essentially the paint job. An ankylosaurus and a hobgoblin general deal more or less the same damage and have more or less the same AC and attack bonus, because they have the same level. Why does the hobgoblin general deal 1d8+10 damage when they only have Strength +4? Irrelevant — they deal that damage because that's about the damage a level 6 monster is supposed to deal. Having a glaive is just the justification. If they had had a greatsword instead they'd probably have dealt 1d12+8.

In other words, a monster armed with just a regular hammer is not the same monster as one wearing power armor armed with a super-science chain gun.


Staffan Johansson wrote:

{. . .}

The answer is Mu.
{. . .}

Now that's an answer that I'd like to have on hand, but unfortunately most people would just think I'd gotten possessed by a cow . . . .

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I will so make these guys into a playable PC ancestry. Augunas may forgive me, but they are even more adorable than Kitsune :D

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

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Yub-Yub!


Fumarole wrote:
An example published by Paizo: no. One of my own creation which initially sparked this question: Yes, but it's a creature from late in the Strange Aeons AP.

The Age of Ashes AP might provide some insight here:

** spoiler omitted **
The adventure text states that this NPC has likely gotten ready for a fight.

Although, with this example her level isn't adjusted for this and it would be too small of an adjustment anyway so it isn't really useful for guidance on adjusting the difficulty based on spells precast.

For the record I am on the "no spells are already factored into the creature's strengths" camp.

Liberty's Edge

Much love for this awesome creation and all the new creatures that will be created.

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