Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary (OGL)

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary (OGL)
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Here there be monsters!

What is a hero without monsters to vanquish? This 328-page book presents hundreds of different creatures for use in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Within this tome you'll find fire-breathing dragons and blood-drinking vampires, vile demons and shapechanging werewolves, sadistic goblins and lumbering giants, and so much more! Yet not all the creatures in this book are enemies, for some can serve lucky heroes as allies or advisors, be they summoned angels or capricious nymphs. And it doesn't stop there—with full rules for advancing monsters, adapting monsters to different roles, and designing your own unique creations, you'll never be without a band of hideous minions again!

The Pathfinder RPG Bestiary is the must-have companion volume to the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook. This imaginative tabletop game builds upon more than 10 years of system development and an Open Playtest featuring more than 50,000 gamers to create a cutting-edge RPG experience that brings the all-time best-selling set of fantasy rules into the new millennium.

The Pathfinder RPG Bestiary includes:

  • More than 350 different monsters
  • Dozens of monstrous variants to modify creatures and keep players on their toes
  • Numerous lists of monsters to aid in navigation, including lists by Challenge Rating, monster type, and habitat
  • Extensive rules for creating effective and balanced monsters
  • Rules for advancing monsters by hit dice, template, or class level
  • Universal monster rules to simplify special attacks, defenses, and qualities like breath weapons, damage reduction, and regeneration
  • More than a dozen feats tailored especially for monsters
  • Suggestions for monstrous cohorts
  • Two dozen additional animal companions
  • More than a dozen different wandering monster encounter tables
  • ... and much, much more!

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The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary is available as:

Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-60125-183-1

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Last Updated - 9/12/2011

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Without Opponents, Combat Sure Wouldn't Be Much Fun!

5/5

Bestiaries are Pathfinder's version of the D&D Monster Manuals: reference books containing descriptions and stat-blocks for hundreds of new creatures for PCs to battle, bother, or befriend. They're not designed to be read cover to cover, but that's exactly what I did for this review. The Bestiary weighs in at 327 pages and contains (according to the back-cover) over 350 different monsters arranged in alphabetical order.

The book starts with a two-page Introduction, and it's actually worth reading because it explains what the (28!) different categories of information in a creature's stat block mean. It also introduces the the "Monster Icons" scheme, wherein each monster receives three different icons to visually denote its creature type, terrain, and climate. I like the idea of the icons, but I find them too small and similar to be useful, and I'm not interested in flipping back to page 5 too figure out what they mean. I'm happy just reading the corresponding entries in the stat block.

For monsters, we start with Aasimar on page 7 and run through until Zombie on page 289. This is what the book is all about, but it's a challenging thing to review as my notes are full of bits of scattered remarks about dozens of different monsters. As I can't figure out a coherent way to synthesize them, I'm going to take the unusual tack of just including them as a sort of impressionistic picture of what's in the book. Skim to the bottom for more of the review.

"A"

--aboleths are a lot tougher than CR might indicate!

--Not officially Golarion, but flavour in entries generally compatible

--backdoor cosmology with angels stuff

--really good write-up of Solar Angels

--Army Ant Swarms are pretty nasty!

--like archons--I've never really seen them used outside of summoning, when no RP is involved

--azatas: CG celestials

Bs

--cool how barghests become greater!

--bebiliths: wow, awesome art for an awesome creature!

--bugbear artwork is weird, but fascinating bit on "The Nature of Goblinoid Evil"

Cs

--creepy Choker

--good mixture of animals and various types of monsters

--a lot of classic ones, but some new ones (like chuul) as well

--like history of cyclops and flash of insight power

Ds

--dark folk and dark stalkers?!?! humanoid subtype with language--never heard of them...

--demons! Good, engaging, clear explanation

--don't argue with a balor demon!

--great stories for demons--quasit familiars taking master's souls!

--devils! emphasis on hierarchy

--a good variety of tough foes, with lots of HP and resistances

--great writeup of lemure devils

--fantastic artwork all the way through!

--Devourers are pretty nasty for their CR!

--too many dinosaurs!

--dragons! stat blocks are so long, there's very little description

--driders and drow: underused

E

--elementals

F

--familiar (no idea that was here!)

--froghemoth--really?

G

--gelatinous cubes are really dangerous!

--genies

--love Shaitan genie art

--ghosts: emphasis on story-based customization, 2 page spread

--Giants!

--fun gibbering mouthers artwork

--goblins

--golems

Hs

--half- templates

--occasionally the titles aren't the most intuitive: "Herd animal, bison" for example

--need full stats for combat-trained horses

Is

--intellect devourer--WTF!

Ks

--kytons are cool/creepy

Ls

--lamia artwork is regrettable

--lich: gotta have 'em!

--linnorms are nasty, especially curses and poison!

--lycanthrope template

Ms

--medusas, minotaurs, mimics--all the classics!

--mummy rot sure is nasty!

Ns

-- nagas look dumb

--neothelids are intriguing! need more

--nymphs have cool boons

Os

--Oni need better explanation

Ps

--good amount of player detail for pegasi

Rs

--rakhasa: a lot of potential in the right campaign

--retrievers are scary

--rust monsters!

Ss

--sea hag artwork is great! (and evil eye comatose ability!)

--shadows can be quite more lethal than CR

--touch ACs are so low because of artificial natural armor bonuses, making Alchemists and Gunslingers especially powerful

--shoggoths arent very scary for CR19

--skum have surprisingly interesting write-up

--giant slugs too goofy

Ts

--tarrasque: bad pic, underwhelming

--troglodyte pic is great!

Us

Vs

--vampires: elaborate template

--vargouille's kiss is nasty

Ws

Xs

--xills are awesome!

Zs

--zombie pic is hilarious

Hm, that was embarrassing. Sorry!

After the monster entries are a series of appendices, and these definitely add value to the book.

Appendix 1 is Monster Creation, and it offers a very thorough and clear guide to monster creation. There are a *lot* of moving parts to creating balanced monsters in Pathfinder, so this will take some time until you get the hang of it. Appendix 2 is Monster Advancement, and this is another important part of the book because it shows GMs how to adjust creatures in the book to make them more or less powerful by adding simple templates (like "Giant" or "Young") and by adding racial hit dice or class levels. Appendix 3 is the section of the book I use more than any other, and it's indispensable: Universal Monster Rules. In order to save space and avoid repetition in stat blocks, common monster abilities are fleshed out here: everything from Darkvision to Damage Reduction to Incorporeal and more. Only very, very experienced GMs should try to run creatures just from the stat blocks without remembering to double-check what their monster abilities do, precisely, in the Universal Monster Rules. The same appendix also contains creature Types and Subtypes, which are like packages of basic information that all creatures of a particular category, such as demons or animals, share. Again, this is to save space in stat blocks. Appendix 4 is very short, and provides some advice on Monsters as PCs. I've never used it. Appendix 5 is Monster Feats, though some PCs may actually legitimately use some of them like Craft Construct. If you notice that a monster has a feat you can't find in the Core Rulebook, that's probably because it's listed here. Appendices 6 and 7 list Monster Cohorts (for the Leadership feat) and Animal Companions (for druids and rangers), respectively. Appendices 8-12 are indexes that help a GM who is looking for monsters of a particular type, CR, terrain, etc. Really useful information that most people who just use online databases probably never realized was available. Finally, Appendix 14 contains Encounter Tables broken up by terrain. These include average CRs for an each table, but I still think it'd be foolish to actually roll on them: in a Hill/Mountain, region, for example, your PCs could run into CR 3 orcs or CR 12 fire giants. A party that is challenged by the former would be curb-stomped by the latter. Good random encounter table design needs to have a narrow range of CRs before they become feasible.

I'm not a huge monster guy like some people, but I definitely enjoyed reading the Bestiary and I learned a lot about the core monsters of the setting. I know there are five later books that expand the selection far more, but much of what I see in APs and PFS still draws from this book. Along with the Core Rulebook, it's safe to say that the Bestiary was one of the releases that helped to solidify Paizo's reputation as a company that publishes the highest calibre of RPG books in terms of writing quality, artwork, design, and layout. It's not indispensable since there are multiple websites that present the same information, but for ease of use (and the joy of skimming), the Bestiary is one of those books that every GM should have.


It all starts here babee

5/5

One only two books you require to jump in and play Pathfinder, it is the essential meat in the gaming stew. As important and the core rulebook is, it is nothing with out this work.

Expanded and tweaked off the OGL 3.x material, its cleaner, better organized and tweaked for the Pathfinder rules. Every hero needs a foe, every damsel in distress needs a captor, and every GM needs a source of badies to keep the group on their toes. You will find it all here, between these pages is years of destruction and mayhem.

No matter if you playing Pathfinders own setting, one of your own design and creation, or another publishers material, this is the must have companion to your CRB.


They need more monsters

5/5

not as useful as the advanced raced guide for the monsters you could play as it does have a lot. i own this and well do my best to keep it hidden from my players. they keep trying to make them fight dragons... they are lvl 5


great reference book

5/5

This book has all the monsters you would need on a starting campaine


The standard by which all monster products will be judged by.

5/5

By now, there are several Bestiaries out in print, but when this book first came out you arguably needed to own it to play the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Was it worth the purchase? Decide for yourself!

Crunch
When we talk about a book's crunch, we're looking at its game rules, mechanics, and similar stats. As a monster book, the Bestiary is 99% crunch, and for Paizo's first real Bestiary, it is absolutely fantastic. There isn't a whole lot you can really say about monster stat blocks; they work perfectly and there aren't any monsters that feel ridiculous for their challenge rating (CR). The book also includes several new races that are appropriate for player characters; in this book, we have aasimars, the tieflings, and drow, as well as the applicable but seldom appropriate deurgar, drow noble, and svirfneblin. The book stays true to the rules of its predecessors; when you look at a drow, you recognize it as a drow from previous games. Because of the significant power up that the core races received these classically "OP" races aren't very far out of line with your traditional player characrers, and as a result we don't see the Level Adjustment system in Pathfinder. If you're unfamiliar with the term, in older editions of Dungeons and Dragons, some races were deemed so powerful that you had to actually forgo class levels in order to be a member of the race. For example, if you wanted to play a drow, you had a LA of +1, meaning that your race counted as 1 class level when determining your party's level. This either meant you were more powerful than your friends or (and more commonly) your GM had you start at a lower level to compensate. And believe me, it is not fun to be a sorcerer of an LA race because of how far behind your party is! The racial benefits seldom made up for the loss of character levels and it was a pretty terrible mechanic all around, so good riddance.

Although the book's theme is classic monsters, Paizo manages to add its own spin on fantasy games by including weird and amazing monsters. A perfect example is the froghemoth, which is basically a giant aberrant frog-monster. As a huge Lovecraft fan, I was ecstatic to see monsters like the shoggoth creep up in Pathfinder as well. For a first Bestiary, the spread of monsters is well-chosen and you could definitely run a game with only this book if you really wanted to.

What probably amounts to the best change of all, in my opinion, is the changes to the rules for building your own monsters. These rules are difficult to comprehend and enact in other games, but the Paizo team does an excellent job of laying out step-by-step every detail in crafting your own monsters by including handy charts and tables. For a game that knew it wasn't launching with much material and that it wanted to be backwards-compatible with older products, it was a very wise choice to streamline monster-making as much as they did and its probably the best reason to keep a copy of Bestiary I in your library alongside future monster tomes. 5 /5 Stars.

Flavor
When we talk about a product's flavor, we're talking about its fiction content, its style, and its overall feel. This section is always very opinionated, because even though I whole-heartily enjoy Lovecraft and his works, there are those who don't like their minds thrust into insanity and the mere sight of a shoggoth or whatnot. When you read the Bestiary, the one thing that becomes very clear is that there simply is not much room for flavor. Most monsters get a paragraph and a half of descriptive text and a beautiful picture, but that's about it. Honestly, however, that's all this product needs. The monsters that are detailed are classic monsters, so the information provided about them tends to be enough that classic gamers can recognize the creature for what it is and new players can get a sense of wonder and learn enough about the monster to be on the same page with the veterans. The art is fabulous in this book and supplements the descriptions perfectly, even when the monster concept is weird text-wise a beautiful illustration helps to sell it to you personally.

The elephant in the room is that Pathfinder wants to have its own identity as much as it wants to follow in the footsteps of its predecessors. This means that every so often the Paizo team completely re-imagines and redefines the traits of a specific monster. Usually this happens to a relatively unknown or under used monster (we'll talk more about this in Bestiary III), but there is one monster in particular that is relatively well-known and got the Paizo makeover in a big way. That monster, which has become Paizo's mascot of sorts, is the goblin. To give a little bit of background, traditionally goblins have admittedly lacked character; they were little more than evil halflings in most settings. Paizo's very first adventure path, Rise of the Runelords, shook this up by drastically changing the image of the goblin; they were now psychotic savages who were obsessed with fire and scared of dogs and horses. They sang Children of the Corn style songs about death and murder and often filled a role as comic relief in many of the adventures they have been featured in while simultaneously managing to inspire fear and terror in many a party. In my experience, you either love or you hate the new look of goblins. Many classic gamers that I've played with deplore the "new" goblin if only for the art design; big heads, small bodies. Honestly, however, it doesn't bother me much; my gaming generation includes Warcraft's techno-suicidal goblins and Warhammer's hordes of insane, suicidal goblins; next to those, Paizo's take on the goblin fits in rather nicely.

For being limited to several paragraphs of text per monster, the Bestiary gives you everything you'd expect and more flavor-wised. Its a book of monsters that feel threatening and believable; there's nothing too dumb or too far out there unless you're a hard-core medieval traditionalist. 5 /5 Stars.

Texture
When we talk about a book's texture, we're talking about its grammar and layout, among other things. As someone who has actually sat down to try and write a bestiary, let's be clear that if there's one thing I get, its that stat blocks are HARD. They're hard to format, they're hard to standardize, they're even hard to spell check because of the sheer amount of text that a book like the Bestiary has. All of its complex jargon, half of it made of surreal naming conventions. With all this mind, if there's one place that the Bestiary is amazing, its the texture. There is almost no errors of any kind in this document. Perfect grammar. Perfect spelling conventions. Perfect formatting. Everything is perfect.

As you can see in the picture I included, the Bestiary breaks from traditional monster books in that it limits one monster page, with only a few exceptions (mostly animals and familiars). There is extreme attention to detail in the text placement, and its very impressive that the book manages to be as descriptive as it is with as little space as it has; almost every monster is illustrated, after all, so not only are you juggling stat blocks, but you're also juggling them with text descriptions and illustrations. This book is a marvel of editing and layout and nothing less. 5 /5 Stars.

Final Score & Thoughts
Crunch: 5 / 5
Flavor: 5 / 5
Texture: 5 / 5
Final Score: 5 / 5

This book does everything right. It is the shining star by which all monster-based products should be judged. For a first attempt, Paizo smashes their monster book out of the park, past all expectations. It makes me excited to start looking at the future Bestiary products.


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SunKing wrote:

Stupid question - in the 3.5 MM it was easy to tell between attack and full attack. With the Bestiary I'm mystified. When is it a full attack, when it is merely an attack (as a standard action), and when is it simply a several available attack options. Example: the Vrock reads this in its stat block (Bestiary p. 69):

Melee 2 claws +13(2d6+5), bite +13 (1d8+5), 2 talons +13 (1d6+5)

Are these options for its standard attack, or is this its full attack?

In MM 3.5 (p 48),this would have been its full attack.

Can anyone shed light on this question?

Thanks

That is it's full attack.

If it is taking a standard attack, it is pretty easy too. All you need to do is choose one attack and make it.

So if the monster was taking a standard action attack it could do one of the following:
1 claw +13(2d6+5) or
bite +13 (1d8+5) of
1 talon +13 (1d6+5)


Blazej,

Check and thank-you.

So - to confirm, something like a troll (Bestiary p. 268) would be able to attack w/ 2 x claws as a standard action, or bite. Or it could full attack with both (2 x claws and 1 x bite...).

Thanks for your assistance...

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6

The troll can do one claw or one bite as a standard attack action or AoO. It can do 2 claws and a bite as a full attack (a full-round action).

Sovereign Court

Blazej wrote:


That is it's full attack.

If it is taking a standard attack, it is pretty easy too. All you need to do is choose one attack and make it.

So if the monster was taking a standard action attack it could do one of the following:
1 claw +13(2d6+5) or
bite +13 (1d8+5) of
1 talon +13 (1d6+5)

I agree. It's not difficult to work out if you've read the Core Rulebook. I thought the way the attacks set out in the Bestiary were an improvement on 3.5. Anything exceptional is pointed out either in the stat descriptor or in the special attacks section at the back of the book. Just MHO.

Sovereign Court

Aaron Bitman wrote:
Marcus Aurelius wrote:
Thanks Paizo for you're hard work here and if you ever bring out a tome on detailed monster background, count me in.

You mean like these?

Especially like these ;) I didn't even know these tomes existed. Thanks Aaron.

Sovereign Court

SunKing wrote:

Stupid question - in the 3.5 MM it was easy to tell between attack and full attack. With the Bestiary I'm mystified. When is it a full attack, when it is merely an attack (as a standard action), and when is it simply a several available attack options. Example: the Vrock reads this in its stat block (Bestiary p. 69):

Melee 2 claws +13(2d6+5), bite +13 (1d8+5), 2 talons +13 (1d6+5)

Are these options for its standard attack, or is this its full attack?

In MM 3.5 (p 48),this would have been its full attack.

Can anyone shed light on this question?

Thanks

I don't think you needed to make the snarky comment stupid question, just be glad that others explained it to you succinctly above. Be nice, it doesn't hurt and it pays dividends. People here have been very helpful when I've had questions about stuff.


Marcus Aurelius wrote:
Aaron Bitman wrote:
Marcus Aurelius wrote:
Thanks Paizo for you're hard work here and if you ever bring out a tome on detailed monster background, count me in.

You mean like these?

Especially like these ;) I didn't even know these tomes existed. Thanks Aaron.

Your welcome. I forgot to mention this one, but I'm sure you get the idea.

Sovereign Court

Aaron Bitman wrote:
Marcus Aurelius wrote:
Aaron Bitman wrote:
Marcus Aurelius wrote:
Thanks Paizo for you're hard work here and if you ever bring out a tome on detailed monster background, count me in.

You mean like these?

Especially like these ;) I didn't even know these tomes existed. Thanks Aaron.
Your welcome. I forgot to mention this one, but I'm sure you get the idea.

Thanks again. One question. Are these books Golarion specific or could they be fit easily into any on going campaign?

Shadow Lodge

Marcus Aurelius wrote:
Thanks again. One question. Are these books Golarion specific or could they be fit easily into any on going campaign?

They are Golarion support material, but most things are so closely tied to the setting that you couldn't easily import them into another setting.


Marcus Aurelius wrote:
Thanks again. One question. Are these books Golarion specific or could they be fit easily into any on going campaign?

The only one I have is Classic Monsters Revisited, but I assume that the other ones are much like it in this respect. Each <monster name> chapter has a section called "<monster name>s in Golarion," implying that the rest of the <monster name> chapter is NOT Golarion-specific...

...but somehow, Classic Monsters Revisited, I got the vibe that even the supposedly setting-agnostic majority of the book has a Golarion flavor. You could, of course, make your Faerun bugbears act like Golarion bugbears with this book, but somehow, I just felt like the authors had Golarion on their minds while they were writing the material.

I could swear that I saw, not too long ago, a post written by James Jacobs that said pretty much what I said. But unfortunately, I can't find it.

Dark Archive

Kthulhu wrote:
They are Golarion support material, but most things are so closely tied to the setting that you couldn't easily import them into another setting.

Er...I think we'll have to agree to disagree on that point. In the case of the Revisited books, there's actually a ton of stuff in the monster writeups that can be used in any setting. Sure, there are Golarion elements in there but for the most part, it's just good monster writing and a great resource for ideas on how to add story to the monsters.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Agree with Ravenmantle - it's all good stuff and easy to use in another setting.

Shadow Lodge

Kthulhu wrote:
Marcus Aurelius wrote:
Thanks again. One question. Are these books Golarion specific or could they be fit easily into any on going campaign?
They are Golarion support material, but most things are so closely tied to the setting that you couldn't easily import them into another setting.

Ack! I mean to say that most things are NOT so closely tied to the setting that you couldn't easily import them into another setting.

Sovereign Court

Kthulhu wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
Marcus Aurelius wrote:
Thanks again. One question. Are these books Golarion specific or could they be fit easily into any on going campaign?
They are Golarion support material, but most things are so closely tied to the setting that you couldn't easily import them into another setting.
Ack! I mean to say that most things are NOT so closely tied to the setting that you couldn't easily import them into another setting.

Thanks Kthulhu for the clarification and to everyone else above who commented.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

All of our "Revisited" books present monsters (and in one case so far, treasures) that are classics of the genre or mythology, but since they're "revisited" we put our own spin on them.

That means that, while all of the contents of these books are designed to fit perfectly into Golarion (since the books themselves are part of the Golarion line of products), they should also work quite well with ANY campaign setting that uses the monster in question. We try to limit the specific mention of proper nouns (locations, deities, NPCs, etc.) that relate directly to Golarion in the "... on Golarion" parts of the book, though, but that shouldn't imply that the rest of the book is not Golarion-friendly. It should imply that the rest of the book is ALL-campaign friendly.

Sovereign Court

James Jacobs wrote:

All of our "Revisited" books present monsters (and in one case so far, treasures) that are classics of the genre or mythology, but since they're "revisited" we put our own spin on them.

That means that, while all of the contents of these books are designed to fit perfectly into Golarion (since the books themselves are part of the Golarion line of products), they should also work quite well with ANY campaign setting that uses the monster in question. We try to limit the specific mention of proper nouns (locations, deities, NPCs, etc.) that relate directly to Golarion in the "... on Golarion" parts of the book, though, but that shouldn't imply that the rest of the book is not Golarion-friendly. It should imply that the rest of the book is ALL-campaign friendly.

Thanks James. I don't mind converting things to fit, and I love the fact that you gave these creatures a strong world view, that more than makes up for any Golarion conversion work. I'd love to see some monsters from the alien dimension HPL inspired works revisited. But I did note the Randolph Carter hints in the Pathfinder "The Great Beyond" source book about Dream dimensions. Kudos for that!

Shadow Lodge

Oooh. Mythos revisited. I like.


A pity.

This is the first pathfinder book that actually dissappointed me.

The artwork is marvelous as always, no flaws there. We've seen most of these monsters in other paizo books already but that doesn't mean they can't be used again. In fact I smiled as I saw monsters I could identify with certain afventures in the pages of this book.

However, the stat blocks for each monster are more often than not, cheap. In the effort to make every monster entry exactly one or two columns (A full page or half a page) long, there has been a lot of skipping and missing out of important information. In general this book is a good guideline on how to make your monsters, but if you're looking for ready to use monsters, you will likely find it lacking. Advanced versions of monsters like the dread wraith and mummy have been cut out, with guidelines on how to create them left around. You need to devote time to build a dragon of the color and age category you require him, and in general this book makes poor material for a new DM. I myself often refer to classic SRD monsters because I just can't be assed to spend the 5' required to attach a template to a monster and roll its hp to get my dread wraith.

A shame, but hey. After the glorious core book, can one really complain? I'm just miffed that, in my oppinion, this book isn't up to the usual pathfinder tier.

[/qq]

PS: Oh yeah, there are also mistakes in the stat blocks, or I've failed in calculating some of them. I think the balor had fudged attack bonuses but I'm not sure. I'll do an inspection when I get home and see if I can get back to you with specifics or with a humiliating 'I was wrong' apology post :P

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

SunKing wrote:

Stupid question - in the 3.5 MM it was easy to tell between attack and full attack. With the Bestiary I'm mystified. When is it a full attack, when it is merely an attack (as a standard action), and when is it simply a several available attack options. Example: the Vrock reads this in its stat block (Bestiary p. 69):

Melee 2 claws +13(2d6+5), bite +13 (1d8+5), 2 talons +13 (1d6+5)

Are these options for its standard attack, or is this its full attack?

In MM 3.5 (p 48),this would have been its full attack.

Can anyone shed light on this question?

Thanks

That is its full attack. A standard attack is always only one attack, so for a standard attack, the Vrock would choose exactly one of those attacks.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Vak wrote:

A pity.

This is the first pathfinder book that actually dissappointed me.

However, the stat blocks for each monster are more often than not, cheap. In the effort to make every monster entry exactly one or two columns (A full page or half a page) long, there has been a lot of skipping and missing out of important information. In general this book is a good guideline on how to make your monsters, but if you're looking for ready to use monsters, you will likely find it lacking. Advanced versions of monsters like the dread wraith and mummy have been cut out, with guidelines on how to create them left around. You need to devote time to build a dragon of the color and age category you require him, and in general this book makes poor material for a new DM. I myself often refer to classic SRD monsters because I just can't be assed to spend the 5' required to attach a template to a monster and roll its hp to get my dread wraith.

The original MM had 1 statblock per dragon type and this book has 3 per each color, so ...

I'm not really convinced that lack of Dread Wraith and Mummies (which were wonky to begin with, due to 3.5's crap undead rules) are something that a new DM will have a problem with. Especially since those are higher CR monsters, and by the time you're running higher CR games statblock reconfiguration should be a maxed out skill :)


Quote:
statblock reconfiguration should be a maxed out skill :)

I dissagree.

As it is, I already spend most of my free time planning the story of the campaign. If it takes me, an experienced GM 10-20 minutes to set up a simple encounter at lv 14 because I don't have ready monsters, then it will take me approximately 3-4 hours to prepare for an 8 hour session's encounters alone. That's 3-4 hours more than I have. Yes I will take time to plan a specific NPC or monster that is special or story-based or in some other way important (Like for example a dragon, so I'm not entirely miffed about the dragons thing), but I don't want to break my head over 'run off the mill' encounters.

I suppose I'll have to wait for the second bestiary.

I was wrong about the balor, I forgot to calculate size penalties :P

I've noticed other such disrepancies with some other creatures but it happens. I'm sure some of us still remember the horrible errors of monster manual 3.0

Whatever the case the purpose of my rant isn't to flame the book. It's a good book, just not what pathfinder core books and adventure paths had gotten me accustomed to. It seems rushed and lacking in content that, I for one consider important.

Sovereign Court

Kthulhu wrote:
Oooh. Mythos revisited. I like.

Me too.

Sovereign Court

Vak wrote:


Whatever the case the purpose of my rant isn't to flame the book. It's a good book, just not what pathfinder core books and adventure paths had gotten me accustomed to. It seems rushed and lacking in content that, I for one consider important.

Actually this leads me to a more general question. There are a lot of monsters in 3.5 edition books that appear in the Bestiary and many that don't. Now I know there is a space issue and that is not what I'm talking about, as new PF bestiaries are on the publishing horizon. It's more to do with which monsters are specifically property of WOTC and which ones can be used under OGL. I noted that Beholders and Mind Flayers were missing for example, and yet Drow and Duergar were included.

Is there a specific list of open content monsters for OGL and ones that specifically cannot be used?

Dark Archive

I'm pretty sure the monsters listed in the SRD are open content. Those not listed are closed content.

Sovereign Court

Ravenmantle wrote:
I'm pretty sure the monsters listed in the SRD are open content. Those not listed are closed content.

So much for Mind Flayers and Beholders then <sigh>!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

The non-open monsters that WotC kept out of the SRD (and thus we can't do anything with) are:

Beholders
Carrion Crawlers
Displacer Beasts
Mind Flayers
Kuo-toa
Githyanki
Githzerai
Umber Hulks
Yuan-Ti
Slaadi

And I always feel like I forget one whenever I type that list out.

Dark Archive

~rattles some chains~

Shadow Lodge

Of that list, the only ones that I really like are:

Beholders
Carrion Crawlers
Displacer Beasts
Mind Flayers
Umber Hulks

But hey, you know what's great? You can still use them. Calculate the CMB and CMD and change the names of a few skills, and there you go.

Sovereign Court

James Jacobs wrote:

The non-open monsters that WotC kept out of the SRD (and thus we can't do anything with) are:

Beholders
Carrion Crawlers
Displacer Beasts
Mind Flayers
Kuo-toa
Githyanki
Githzerai
Umber Hulks
Yuan-Ti
Slaadi

And I always feel like I forget one whenever I type that list out.

Mind Flayers = Cthulhu Spawn. Dragon shaped medium humanoids with octopoid heads, tentacles and wings and deadly mind attacks would substitute.

Slaadi = Entropians. Creatures formed from the maelstrom stuff, ever changing and not remotely resembling toads.

Githyanki/Githzerai = Estranged Ones. Once enslaved by Cthulhu spawn and now lawful "weakly neutral" planar warriors seeking revenge and/or enlightenment by acts of prowess. One side split toward goodly law and the other to evil law. The former acting as Astral guides and the latter as astral ravagers.

Displacer Beasts = Elusive Ravagers. Another kind of beast with displacemnt abilities but resembling nothing like a displacer beats.

Carrion Crawlers = Any type of vermin that live in sewers and can paralyze with a touch attack.

Beholders = Sorcerans. Aberrant flying beasts with tentacles that can fire magic rays or surpress magic within a radius of their position,

Yuan-Ti = Ophidiax(Pl. Ophidia). Intelligent serpent creatures

Umber Hulks = Elemental Devourers. Different physiognomy but with similar CR and abilities

Kuo-Toa = Pisceans. Intelligent underworld fish creatures

There you are a list made just for Pathfinder and for no charge, being that everything written here becomes your property by default ;)

Seriously it took me 5 minutes to knock together. Hope it gives a little food for thought. ;0

Sovereign Court

Kthulhu wrote:

Of that list, the only ones that I really like are:

Beholders
Carrion Crawlers
Displacer Beasts
Mind Flayers
Umber Hulks

But hey, you know what's great? You can still use them. Calculate the CMB and CMD and change the names of a few skills, and there you go.

Hey Kthulhu see my suggestions above.

Shadow Lodge

Marcus Aurelius wrote:


Hey Kthulhu see my suggestions above.

Meh. I'll just call them Beholders, Mind Flayers, etc. Cos WotC lawyers don't care what I do in my own personal games.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

While I'm not particularly filled with an urge to replace the non-SRD monsters officially, it has more or less been a natural extension of the way things worked out since a lot of those non-SRD monsters have pretty iconic niches in the game.

Here's the more or less "official" replacements, as they've developed. Note that these monsters don't really duplicate the exact CR or stats or attacks of the creatures they replace as much as they fill the same role—intellect devourers as mind-eating slavers who have underground cities replacing mind flayers, for example, or the chaotic neutral outsider Proteans replacing slaadi. This is on purpose. While we want these monster niches to be officially represented in the game, we also don't want to duplicate or imply an "overwriting" or "obsoletion" of the non-SRD monsters. Because mind flayers and githyanki and the rest should work really well and should fit right in to Pathfinder and Golarion, to be honest. There's nothing preventing GMs from using these monsters in their home games, after all. We just can't use them in our products.

Beholder: No replacement yet, really.
Carrion Crawler: Giant rot grub, from Pathifnder #25's bestiary.
Displacer Beast: Couerl, from Pathfinder #22's bestiary (or alternatively, the kamadan from Necromancer Games' Tome of Horrors)
Mind Flayer: Intellect Devourers
Kuo-toa: Skum
Githyanki: Denizens of Leng (from Pathfinder #6)
Githzerai: No replacement yet, really.
Umber Hulk: Seugathi (from Into the Darklands)
Slaadi: Proteans (from Pathfinder #22 and The Great Beyond)
Yuan-Ti: Serpentfolk (from Into the Darklands)

Sovereign Court

James Jacobs wrote:


Beholder: No replacement yet, really.

Giant xenophobic hypermagical aberration seems like it's covered by a number of OGL monsters. Not a big need for 'em, if you ask me.

James Jacobs wrote:
Displacer Beast: Couerl, from Pathfinder #22's bestiary

Which is, ironically, the original source-inspiration for Displacer Beasts.

James Jacobs wrote:
Mind Flayer: Intellect Devourers

Neothelids fill the important Illithid niche for me, in Golarion.

James Jacobs wrote:

Githyanki: Denizens of Leng (from Pathfinder #6)

Githzerai: No replacement yet, really.

And, since the Githzerai are, in large part, defined by the opposition to the Githyanki, I think it's more effort than it's worth to try and derive a suitable oppositional race from Lovecraft's mythos. I mean, what're the canon options? Cats from Saturn? Dudes of Dylath-Leen? Beh. We can live without Githzerai.

Scarab Sages

James Jacobs wrote:

Beholder: No replacement yet, really.

Carrion Crawler: Giant rot grub, from Pathifnder #25's bestiary.
Displacer Beast: Couerl, from Pathfinder #22's bestiary (or alternatively, the kamadan from Necromancer Games' Tome of Horrors)
Mind Flayer: Intellect Devourers
Kuo-toa: Skum
Githyanki: Denizens of Leng (from Pathfinder #6)
Githzerai: No replacement yet, really.
Umber Hulk: Seugathi (from Into the Darklands)
Slaadi: Proteans (from Pathfinder #22 and The Great Beyond)
Yuan-Ti: Serpentfolk (from Into the Darklands)

Nice list. And I was already a big fan of both Intellect Devourers and Serpent Folk. I never realized that the Denizens of Leng were fill-ins for the Githyanki, but it makes perfect sence.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

cappadocius wrote:

Neothelids fill the important Illithid niche for me, in Golarion.

They certainly can... but the intellect devourer is a better fit for the mind flayer niche when it comes to CR and how they interact with humanity.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

cappadocius wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Displacer Beast: Couerl, from Pathfinder #22's bestiary
Which is, ironically, the original source-inspiration for Displacer Beasts.

There's no irony there, if you take my meaning.

Dark Archive

The irony here is that yuan-ti in many ways were a rip of Howard's Serpent men and you guys bypassed the whole deal went straight to the source and made true Serpent Men for PFRPG. I personally think it's great that if you cannot replicate (due to IP issues) certain creatures you can make beasties which fit the creature concepts - maybe better than the originals.

I would like to see the intellect devourer expanded and maybe create slave bred race as servants or hosts - maybe rider bodies they have bred for war, retrievals, etc.

And yeah, I get it. You have to watch out for other companies IPs, oftentimes their source material being ripped-off from other sources (LotR, Sindbad, etc)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Slaadi = Pathfinder Proteans. Ten times cooler than the original frogboys.

Sovereign Court

James Jacobs wrote:

While I'm not particularly filled with an urge to replace the non-SRD monsters officially, it has more or less been a natural extension of the way things worked out since a lot of those non-SRD monsters have pretty iconic niches in the game.

Here's the more or less "official" replacements, as they've developed. Note that these monsters don't really duplicate the exact CR or stats or attacks of the creatures they replace as much as they fill the same role—intellect devourers as mind-eating slavers who have underground cities replacing mind flayers, for example, or the chaotic neutral outsider Proteans replacing slaadi. This is on purpose. While we want these monster niches to be officially represented in the game, we also don't want to duplicate or imply an "overwriting" or "obsoletion" of the non-SRD monsters. Because mind flayers and githyanki and the rest should work really well and should fit right in to Pathfinder and Golarion, to be honest. There's nothing preventing GMs from using these monsters in their home games, after all. We just can't use them in our products.

Beholder: No replacement yet, really.
Carrion Crawler: Giant rot grub, from Pathifnder #25's bestiary.
Displacer Beast: Couerl, from Pathfinder #22's bestiary (or alternatively, the kamadan from Necromancer Games' Tome of Horrors)
Mind Flayer: Intellect Devourers
Kuo-toa: Skum
Githyanki: Denizens of Leng (from Pathfinder #6)
Githzerai: No replacement yet, really.
Umber Hulk: Seugathi (from Into the Darklands)
Slaadi: Proteans (from Pathfinder #22 and The Great Beyond)
Yuan-Ti: Serpentfolk (from Into the Darklands)

Well you can't say I didn't give it a shot :) Although for the Entropians I was thinking about the creatures met by Walter Gilman in his Dreams in the Witch House by HPL. The strange iridescent bubble congeries and strange inexplicably dimensioned polyhedron creatures that try to lead him further and further into the primal Chaos of Azathoth. The Maelstrom in Pathfinder Chronicles reminds me of that place beyond existence where the stuff of madness and nightmares lurk, a place beyond existence and comprehension that even the gods shun. The same place that Halpin Chalmer's awoke the notice of the Hounds of Tindalos by Frank Belknap Long, by taking a mystical drug that enabled those foul beasts to follow him back through the spheres from where they had been hungering for eternities unaware of things beyond themselves.

To me, it conjured up a lot of ideas about the Pathfinder cosmos which is more in line with the Mythos idea than any other 3.5 Plane concept. Just some thoughts.

Sovereign Court

Vic Wertz wrote:
cappadocius wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Displacer Beast: Couerl, from Pathfinder #22's bestiary
Which is, ironically, the original source-inspiration for Displacer Beasts.
There's no irony there, if you take my meaning.

Yeah, right ;)

Sovereign Court

James Jacobs wrote:
cappadocius wrote:

Neothelids fill the important Illithid niche for me, in Golarion.

They certainly can... but the intellect devourer is a better fit for the mind flayer niche when it comes to CR and how they interact with humanity.

The trouble with intellect devourers is their small size. You kind of look at one and think ... Whose a little cute then. I'll just get your leash, then lets go for walkies. ;)

Sovereign Court

James Jacobs wrote:

Beholder: No replacement yet, really.
Carrion Crawler: Giant rot grub, from Pathifnder #25's bestiary.
Displacer Beast: Couerl, from Pathfinder #22's bestiary (or alternatively, the kamadan from Necromancer Games' Tome of Horrors)
Mind Flayer: Intellect Devourers
Kuo-toa: Skum
Githyanki: Denizens of Leng (from Pathfinder #6)
Githzerai: No replacement yet, really.
Umber Hulk: Seugathi (from Into the Darklands)
Slaadi: Proteans (from Pathfinder #22 and The Great Beyond)
Yuan-Ti: Serpentfolk (from Into the Darklands)

OK, I can't square the circle between the Denizens of Leng and the Githyanki and I have to disagree with one poster's point that the Giths are not important. I've found they fill a great hole in Astral/Planar encounter creatures. Admittedly I don't have the stats for the denizens of Leng that Paizo have produced as I don't have Pathfinder #6. I'm hoping a lot of new monsters like these will be eventually incorporated into future bestiaries.

But if Denizens of Leng in PF are like Githyanki then they are a taking a huge departure from their original role. Are we talking about the horned, small footed (i.e. hoofed) dark sallow and malignant looking mariners in the black ships who trade with huge rubies and kidnap folks to feed the alien aberrations on the dark side of the Moon. The very servants of Nyarlathotep, whom the Cats of Ulthar rescued Randolph Carter from?

I'm wondering because some of your examples are fair enough but others don't gel for me.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

You might want to read The Great Beyond first. It explains the Pathfinder cosmology, including many outisder replacements.

Scarab Sages

James Jacobs wrote:
They certainly can... but the intellect devourer is a better fit for the mind flayer niche when it comes to CR and how they interact with humanity.

True. And they've become one of my favorites. Creepy little brain things with big, clawed legs bursting out of people's heads.

Sovereign Court

Gorbacz wrote:
You might want to read The Great Beyond first. It explains the Pathfinder cosmology, including many outisder replacements.

I've purchased it and read it cover to cover yesterday, but it doesn't go into by far the level of detail I would have liked.

Sovereign Court

Marcus Aurelius wrote:

Are we talking about the horned, small footed (i.e. hoofed) dark sallow and malignant looking mariners in the black ships who trade with huge rubies and kidnap folks to feed the alien aberrations on the dark side of the Moon. The very servants of Nyarlathotep, whom the Cats of Ulthar rescued Randolph Carter from?

Thems the buggers.

Sovereign Court

cappadocius wrote:
Marcus Aurelius wrote:

Are we talking about the horned, small footed (i.e. hoofed) dark sallow and malignant looking mariners in the black ships who trade with huge rubies and kidnap folks to feed the alien aberrations on the dark side of the Moon. The very servants of Nyarlathotep, whom the Cats of Ulthar rescued Randolph Carter from?

Thems the buggers.

Thought so. That doesn't cover the Githyanki niche really. Githyanki like their sundered relatives the Githzerai are fiercely independent creatures knowing what it was like to be thralls of the Mind Flayers. The Leng creatures are slaves of the foul creatures they aerve to feed them with living creatures.

Plus I am particularly partial to the Giths (invented in the UK by Games Workshop's "Fiend Factory" section of the White Dwarf magazine,

Aside:
(Before the sad day when White Dwarf went Warhammer only and torched the magazine that to many of us D&D gamers at that time was a treasure.)
and then later included in TSR's sponsored Fiend Folio by Don Turnbull.

I shall miss the Giths, because if I ever want to publish OGL stuff myself I won't be able to use 'em ;(

Paizo Employee Creative Director

What the Denizens of Leng DO cover is the niche of an extraplanar race of slavers/raiders. Like I said before, NONE of these are intended to replace the non-SRD monsters, just fill vacancies they filled.

Kind of like how if there's a bunch of great white sharks cruising the off-shore waters of a beach, but then they go away only to be replaced by big crocodiles. Different critter, same basic terror.

Sovereign Court

James Jacobs wrote:

What the Denizens of Leng DO cover is the niche of an extraplanar race of slavers/raiders. Like I said before, NONE of these are intended to replace the non-SRD monsters, just fill vacancies they filled.

Kind of like how if there's a bunch of great white sharks cruising the off-shore waters of a beach, but then they go away only to be replaced by big crocodiles. Different critter, same basic terror.

Hey James. I understand where you're coming from here, and these issues are yours and Paizo's call. I mean I can still use 3.5 monsters in my personal gaming sessions, but they cannot be used in published material except by WOTC.

What we need to do, I guess, is get a little more creative ourselves and build from the ground up beasties that become as iconic as say the Beholder and the Mind Flayer did for TSR when Gygax released the first Monster Manual all those years ago.

I'm also very surprised that WOTC allowed the use of the Drow which have become almost legendary in the great game since their inception by Gygax in D3 Vault of the Drow and Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits.

I hope we'll be seeing abundant novels about adventures in Golarion by great fantasy authors like R.A. Salvatore.

Off Topic:
Though from what I have heard from a published fantasy author I actually know (who I will not name for privacy reasons) is that the recompense for the writer working for a published Game Campaign World is hardly worth the effort especially as the writer loses all rights to their work anyway. Now I have to admit I don't know how much of this is actually truth, but even a writer for a specific campaign world should take a fair portion of any extra profits if *that* particular work is a success. As a writer myself these things would be a concern were I to write a story based in Golarion or Forgotten Realms or what have you.

But I'm a true believer that creativity has no bounds and that fluff, which myself, being English confuses me as it's meaning is different in Britain - but correct me if I'm wrong - I think it means "non rule background material". If this is what is meant then this is immensely important in breathing life into any fantasy world. This is why Tolkien is so well-loved by many. The huge mythic background behind his world makes Lord of the Rings almost seem a reality in its own right(though I know you're not too keen on LOTR yourself).

But the point I made earlier in another thread is that Paizo have made great efforts even in the limited space available in Bestiaries to give some life to creatures and a believable raison d'etre which was absent in many of the fine monsters of the Monster Manuals of WOTC.

An example I particularly liked was the reference to the Gibbering Mouther being a possible lesser offshoot of the horrific Shoggoth. I'm hoping that future bestiaries will include monsters introduced in the various Golarion modules and accessories.

Finally don't please don't stop bringing out further Pathfinder Core books (i.e. not specifically Golarion based), because I'm already champing at the bit to get my grubby hands on your Gamesmastery and Players guides, not to mention the Bestiary II which I'll have to salivate about until October at the least ;(.

But I know the bottom line is sales, so for mine and Paizo's sake let these be huge. Take care. Mark

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