Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bonus Bestiary (OGL)

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GameMastery Module D0: Hollow's Last Hope (OGL)
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Unleash the Beasts!

Get your first look at the future with more than a dozen menacing monsters that we couldn't make room for in the Pathfinder Bestiary. These creatures won't be making an appearance in the Pathfinder RPG for at least a year and will thus only be available in this book for a long while. Showcasing the new rules and flexibility of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, this collection of creatures draws from more than 30 years of gaming history and includes:

  • Deadly beasts and familiar allies, such as allips, caryatid columns, faerie dragons, huecuvas, shadow mastiffs, and more!
  • New rules for monstrous companions, arcane creations, sinister traps, variant creatures, and other options for use with both 3.5 and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
  • Explanations of never-before-seen rules being included in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
  • A preview listing of nearly every monster to be included in the upcoming Pathfinder Bestiary
  • Reimaginings of some of the most iconic creatures in gaming, vibrantly illustrated by some of the best artists in fantasy

Add a taste of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game to your campaign today with this official manual of Pathfinder monstrosities!

This 16-page supplement was initially made available for Free RPG Day on June 20, 2009.

Note: Due to the special nature of this product, it is NOT part of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscription.

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In a way, it all starts here!

3/5

Is it sheer coincidence or proof of cosmic synchronicity that my personal rotation of reading has scheduled me to review Paizo's 2009 Free RPG Day offering on the same day as 2019's Free RPG Day? We'll let the metaphysicians chew that one over, but in the meantime, I'll discuss the Bonus Bestiary.

This sixteen-page, full-color, softcover product served as something of a preview of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, as it was released just several weeks before the Core Rulebook debuted. It introduces the overall look of monster stat blocks in the game and (I assume) gave players some monsters to work with prior to the release of the first Bestiary. The twelve monsters it includes weren't included in that book, so it had some value even past the first year of the game's existence (it looks like most of these were included in Bestiary 3 in 2011). You can judge the cool cover art yourself (I didn't realize water nagas were so scary!), but here's a description of the contents.

The inside front cover is a listing of the 300+ monsters that were to appear in the Bestiary so readers could get a sense of what to look forward to. The inside back cover is the classic: "3.5 Survives! 3.5 Thrives!" advertisement for PF1. I should really get a poster of that advertisement for display somewhere.

After a credits/table of contents page, the next two pages discuss a couple of rules developed uniquely for Pathfinder: the concepts of Combat Maneuver Bonus and Combat Maneuver Defense. These were elegant simplifications on how to resolve things like trips, disarms, grapples, etc., without having separate formulas for each type. There's also an explanation of how diseases and poisons are formatted. The rest of this introductory material explains Pathfinder's approach to Universal Monster Rules, and gives some samples. It all shows the designers spent a lot of time thinking about how to do monster stat blocks in an intelligent and user-friendly manner.

Now, on to the monsters. A high-DC Perception check will notice some very minor differences in how the stat blocks in the Bonus Bestiary are formatted compared to the actual Bestiary: the CR/XP entry is slightly different, and there's a fixed gold piece "treasure value" instead of a reference to treasure categories like "Standard", etc.. I might actually prefer the explicit gold piece value, approach, but that's neither here nor there now, not to mention a decade's time travel away. Each of the twelve monster entries is illustrated, though the artwork styles are a bit more inconsistent than later Paizo books.

1. Allip: Super creepy undead resulting from the death of the mad or suicidal. Their special abilities fit well.

2. Ant Lion, Giant: Never actually seen these in a game, but I like their little sand trap ability.

3. Ascomoid: Never heard of this--some kind of giant puffball fungus. Frankly pretty goofy, and really more a supernatural hazard than a monster.

4. Axe Beak: If you have bird phobia, watch out! Good to see training and animal companion rules--a reminder of another thing the Pathfinder team did well.

5. Caryatid Column: Essentially lesser stone golems, but their "shatter weapons" ability could be really nasty. If I were a mean GM, I'd toss these in any time a melee character got on my nerves.

6. Dragon, Faerie: These sorts of creatures aren't really my thing, as they verge more on the cartoonish. Still, I have to admit the artwork is really colourful and they might be fun to have as a familiar.

7. Dragonne: Kind of a bland lion/dragon mix. Rules for mounts (using Leadership) and animal companions.

8. Hag, Annis: The artwork here is great, capturing the size and hunch-backed nature perfectly (though perhaps making them look like undead).

9. Huecuva: Heretical undead clerics; an interesting concept but they need a power boost to really work well.

10. Lammasu: I guess this is a lion/eagle mix. I think maybe some of these entries were omitted from the first Bestiary for a reason.

11. Naga, Water: Cooler on the cover than here.

12. Nixie: Okay, I guess.

13. Shadow Mastiff: Cool artwork and "shadow blend" makes them fearsome foes for their CR.

Overall, there's a good mix in the book of different monster types: undead, constructs, magical beasts, regular animals, etc. I did notice there aren't any high-CR threats, with the CR 8 Lammasu as the highest.

Paizo took the same approach with its Free RPG Day 2017 product when getting ready to debut Starfinder. I'd actually rather have more of a grab-bag preview--maybe one class, a few skills, a few feats, and then a couple of monsters to get a feel for the game as a whole. Anyway, the Bonus Bestiary is still available for purchase as a print product from Paizo (for just $ 1!) or as a free PDF download. Today, the product is really nothing more than a curiosity, but it's a mildly interesting one nonetheless.


Thank Goodness for Free PDFs

3/5

5 stars for the free PDF.

1 star for the print version because it is obsolete.

3 stars overall.


Great Product But..

5/5

This product is obsolete in Pathfinder Society. Purchase Bestiary 3. Thanks


Small book... big monsters

5/5

I have always love monsters and little book has some of my favorites like the Nixie, Annis hag, Faerie dragon, and Dragonne. My only complaint is there not a single monster in this book that should have been in the main Beastiary.


Pretty Schweet Shtuff, Maaaan.

3/5

I personally love the Allip and the Huecuva, but anything undead will always light a fire in my heart. Also, I love the appearance of the Caryatid Column in here. I remember springing one of those on my unsuspecting players in the Undermountain dungeon crawl.

For being a freebie, this is definitely a solid product you should download. The only monster I had a tough time with was the Ascomoid. A rolling spore ball's only weakness is level surfaces! Exploit it!


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Dark Archive

Erik Mona wrote:
The book contains more than a dozen full monster write-ups (with color illustrations) as well as a more-or-less complete list of all the monsters that will appear in the full Bestiary.

Yeah this is what I was saying before and expected. That it would be a few monsters but the completely writeup's of them. To give people a preview of what to expect as far as monsters go. Not a preview of what is all in the book.

Scarab Sages

When can folks preorder a hard copy?

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Masika wrote:
When can folks preorder a hard copy?

You won't be able to Preorder it.

It will go on sale straight after Free RPG Day, as will the free .pdf.

Scarab Sages

flash_cxxi wrote:
Masika wrote:
When can folks preorder a hard copy?

You won't be able to Preorder it.

It will go on sale straight after Free RPG Day, as will the free .pdf.

Thanks mate!

Liberty's Edge

My only objection is that I have to wait another 2+ months for it to come out.

Not to mention the wait I have to do for the hardcovers of the game and full bestiary.

ho hum .... (sigh)


So do all the monsters in this book appear in the Bestiary (like a preview) or are they bonus monsters that didnt make the cut for the hardcover?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Jason Grubiak wrote:
So do all the monsters in this book appear in the Bestiary (like a preview) or are they bonus monsters that didnt make the cut for the hardcover?

The monsters in the Bonus Bestiary do not appear in the Bestiary. They'll maybe be appearing in Bestiary 2 down the road, but for now, they are basically several monsters that didn't quite fit into the Bestiary but we wanted to get them out there anyway.


James Jacobs wrote:
The monsters in the Bonus Bestiary do not appear in the Bestiary. They'll maybe be appearing in Bestiary 2 down the road, but for now, they are basically several monsters that didn't quite fit into the Bestiary but we wanted to get them out there anyway.

Well then I definitly want one for the bookshelf then. Thanks for the fast response. :)

Dark Archive

James Jacobs wrote:
Jason Grubiak wrote:
So do all the monsters in this book appear in the Bestiary (like a preview) or are they bonus monsters that didnt make the cut for the hardcover?
The monsters in the Bonus Bestiary do not appear in the Bestiary. They'll maybe be appearing in Bestiary 2 down the road, but for now, they are basically several monsters that didn't quite fit into the Bestiary but we wanted to get them out there anyway.

I'm not sure if I can get a free copy of the hardcover here in Scandinavia, so I'd really love to see them in Bestiary 2. :)


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I'm happy either way, pdf is fine! It's gonna be a huecuva party!

*cries at own shamelessness*

So approx. 12 monsters, allip, huecuva, caratid column, faerie dragon, all early ed. stuff that didn't make the cut?

Any other names that can be dropped?


Is it just me or is Valeros always getting jumped when he has a light source?


He seems to be continuing in a certain vein the Regdar illustration tradition.

There are two iconic fliers, actually. Merisiel because she can; Valeros because he cannot.

At this point, when I see a huge monster in an illustration, I look to see where Valeros is getting flung. Nice curve-ball on the PfRPG, WAR/Paizo.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

Must. Have. This.

All I can say is that I'd better have internet connectivity on the day this goes on sale. I'll be somewhere in the middle of an ocean that day...and I'm not even sure which one.

I'll definitely be getting the PDF, but I'd like to maintain the continuity of my physical collection, too.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

He's hardly being flung, he's leaping over the naga's bulk while raising sword against it, the only helpless valeros i can think of is when he's getting abducted by akata.


Sorry, my comments were meant to be general--elicited by Alexander Piros's observation, and not meant to be a description of the BB's cover, where, as you say, Valeros is obviously NOT being flung. Look around, I'm pretty sure you'll find ample illustrations where the form flying through the air is Valeros'.

Sovereign Court

and so when we see that list will that be when we get a chance to raise awareness for any monsters that didn't make the cut and try to rally to get them added if they're a favorite? I remember it being said we'd have a chance to do something like that.

Sovereign Court

lastknightleft wrote:
try to rally to get them added if they're a favorite? I remember it being said we'd have a chance to do something like that.

Then I'll try to lift a tank with my bare hands and swim across the Atlantic!

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

lastknightleft wrote:
and so when we see that list will that be when we get a chance to raise awareness for any monsters that didn't make the cut and try to rally to get them added if they're a favorite? I remember it being said we'd have a chance to do something like that.

I'm pretty sure that when we see that list it will be because the Bestiary has gone to print and it will be too late to change.

Paizo Employee CEO

Paris Crenshaw wrote:

Must. Have. This.

All I can say is that I'd better have internet connectivity on the day this goes on sale. I'll be somewhere in the middle of an ocean that day...and I'm not even sure which one.

I'll definitely be getting the PDF, but I'd like to maintain the continuity of my physical collection, too.

I wouldn't worry too much. We are printing quite a bit more of the Bonus Bestiary than we ever did the Free RPG Day adventures, so if you can make it on sometime during the first week or so, that should be good enough. We want to make sure everybody who wants one can get one. Of course, it could just shoot out the door so much faster than we expect, but I am pretty good usually at printing so that we will have it for some time to come. Just hope I guessed right. :)

-Lisa

Paizo Employee Creative Director

lastknightleft wrote:
and so when we see that list will that be when we get a chance to raise awareness for any monsters that didn't make the cut and try to rally to get them added if they're a favorite? I remember it being said we'd have a chance to do something like that.

No chance at all. We didn't want to make what monster gets into the book into a contest, since that would only end up with flame wars and would put an unnecessary lag into the production of the book. We chose the monsters here at Paizo, and the ones that didn't make the cut will end up either in the Bonus Bestiary or in Bestiary II (which will likely also include the Bonus Bestiary monsters)... although since Bestiary II isn't even on any schedule yet, I can't say when it'll be out, or even verify it WILL be out.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

There will be some serious Nerd Rage if Paizo doesn't come up with Bestiary II in 2010...

... unless, Tome of Horrors: Pathfinder Edition will be out at that time.

Sovereign Court

All I'm saying then is that the etheral filtcher better have made the cut.

Contributor

Depends on if you mean "cut its throat." ;)

Scarab Sages

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
lastknightleft wrote:
and so when we see that list will that be when we get a chance to raise awareness for any monsters that didn't make the cut and try to rally to get them added if they're a favorite? I remember it being said we'd have a chance to do something like that.
No chance at all. We didn't want to make what monster gets into the book into a contest, since that would only end up with flame wars and would put an unnecessary lag into the production of the book. We chose the monsters here at Paizo, and the ones that didn't make the cut will end up either in the Bonus Bestiary or in Bestiary II (which will likely also include the Bonus Bestiary monsters)... although since Bestiary II isn't even on any schedule yet, I can't say when it'll be out, or even verify it WILL be out.

The Flumph better be included in one of these, or there will be rioting outside the Paizo offices and someone's effigy will be burning.


lastknightleft wrote:
All I'm saying then is that the etheral filtcher better have made the cut.

QFT

Etherial Filtchers are cool.

Its bad enough Allips and Shadow Mastiffs arent in the Bestiary....Well at least they are in the Bonus Bestiary.

Im pretty sure owlbears, manticores and orcs will be in there...as far as stuff with the potential to be cut....Im very much hoping Gricks, Grey Renders and Chuuls make it.

Sovereign Court

Charles Scholz wrote:
someone's effigy will be burning.

Is it me?

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

Charles Scholz wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
lastknightleft wrote:
and so when we see that list will that be when we get a chance to raise awareness for any monsters that didn't make the cut and try to rally to get them added if they're a favorite? I remember it being said we'd have a chance to do something like that.
No chance at all. We didn't want to make what monster gets into the book into a contest, since that would only end up with flame wars and would put an unnecessary lag into the production of the book. We chose the monsters here at Paizo, and the ones that didn't make the cut will end up either in the Bonus Bestiary or in Bestiary II (which will likely also include the Bonus Bestiary monsters)... although since Bestiary II isn't even on any schedule yet, I can't say when it'll be out, or even verify it WILL be out.
The Flumph better be included in one of these, or there will be rioting outside the Paizo offices and someone's effigy will be burning.

I hear the flumph will be getting its own book.

Spoiler:
There is no basis whatsoever for this comment.

Dark Archive

Daigle wrote:
Charles Scholz wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
lastknightleft wrote:
and so when we see that list will that be when we get a chance to raise awareness for any monsters that didn't make the cut and try to rally to get them added if they're a favorite? I remember it being said we'd have a chance to do something like that.
No chance at all. We didn't want to make what monster gets into the book into a contest, since that would only end up with flame wars and would put an unnecessary lag into the production of the book. We chose the monsters here at Paizo, and the ones that didn't make the cut will end up either in the Bonus Bestiary or in Bestiary II (which will likely also include the Bonus Bestiary monsters)... although since Bestiary II isn't even on any schedule yet, I can't say when it'll be out, or even verify it WILL be out.
The Flumph better be included in one of these, or there will be rioting outside the Paizo offices and someone's effigy will be burning.

I hear the flumph will be getting its own book.

** spoiler omitted **

Flumph Blackguard = WIN! ;P


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Daigle wrote:
I hear the flumph will be getting its own book.

Flumphs Revisited!

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Zaister wrote:
Daigle wrote:
I hear the flumph will be getting its own book.
Flumphs Revisited!

Yay, all my prayers have been answered!

;)

Contributor

Woo!

Sovereign Court

Gorbacz wrote:
... unless, Tome of Horrors: Pathfinder Edition will be out at that time.

A joyous proposition!


Carbuncle?


Is there a way to find out which retailers in my area are participating in Free RPGday? And more importantly which retailers carry the Paizo products so I know which ones to support?


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:

Woo!

Lookin' good Sean!

Say, can I have one of those?

..no?

Worth a try.

I certainly got a chuckle from the picture.


Oh AWESOME godz above, this looks INSANELY AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


i'll be getting this one, no doubt!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Chaz Fernald wrote:
Is there a way to find out which retailers in my area are participating in Free RPGday? And more importantly which retailers carry the Paizo products so I know which ones to support?

For the first part, there's a Free RPG Day Store Locator. And if your retailer is not already on that list, there's still time to encourage him to sign up.

For the second part... well, I'd hope all of the stores on that list also carry a generous selection of Paizo products, but calling to confirm would be an idea.


How about Lovable Losers Revisited? A book containing PfRPG updates to such brightly shining stars as the phasm, the delver, the tojanida, the C.I.F.A.L., the sheet ghoul, and of course the flumph?

...no? *sigh*


fearinator wrote:
Oh AWESOME godz above, this looks INSANELY AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dude, ease up on the coffee.

Sovereign Court

I really like the page layout and the artwork for the Bonus Bestiary. I can't wait to take a copy home, instead of just a sneak peek while the local shop was unwrapping their shipment.

Paizo Employee CEO

Vendle wrote:
I really like the page layout and the artwork for the Bonus Bestiary. I can't wait to take a copy home, instead of just a sneak peek while the local shop was unwrapping their shipment.

Wait until you see the final layout for the Pathfinder Bestiary. Sarah really out-did herself with it! Amazing!

-Lisa

Silver Crusade

Lisa Stevens wrote:

Wait until you see the final layout for the Pathfinder Bestiary. Sarah really out-did herself with it! Amazing!

-Lisa

Well... if you would consider to send it to me NOW, I'de be happy to comment on the layout. :-P

Scarab Sages

Here's to hoping our FLGS carries some of these!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Jonathan_Shade wrote:
Here's to hoping our FLGS carries some of these!

Check the Free RPG Day Store Locator.

Scarab Sages

Vic Wertz wrote:
Jonathan_Shade wrote:
Here's to hoping our FLGS carries some of these!
Check the Free RPG Day Store Locator.

Thanks, Vic. One of our stores is listed.

Silver Crusade

Daigle wrote:

I hear the flumph will be getting its own book.

** spoiler omitted **

Oh yeah, well I heard that the flumph will be at the center of an upcoming AP.

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

I wish there were a PFRPG adventure or preview that I could run players through at my FLGS to accentuate the book among all the other offerings. Any idea what EL range most of the monsters are? I might put something together myself using either beta rules or standard 3.5 but would need to know what's included and such to make it work.

Scarab Sages

Glad I'll be able to buy it since none of the shops 'close' to me will be doing the Free RPG day.
'close' = less than a 1.5 hr drive.

I told my gameshop about it but it looks like they didn't sign up, I'll be running my game there during the day and won't be able to get to the other stores.

I'm excited about it.

Scarab Sages

fray wrote:

Glad I'll be able to buy it since none of the shops 'close' to me will be doing the Free RPG day.

'close' = less than a 1.5 hr drive.

I told my gameshop about it but it looks like they didn't sign up, I'll be running my game there during the day and won't be able to get to the other stores.

I'm excited about it.

Yeah, I told my local about it 2 months ago and he never ordered... I should have kept on him.

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