Starfinder Alien Archive

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Starfinder Alien Archive
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Close Encounters

Strange aliens both friendly and fearsome fill this tome of creatures designed for use with the Starfinder Roleplaying Game! From the gravity-manipulating frujais and planet-killing novaspawn to space goblins and security robots, the creatures in this codex will challenge adventurers no matter what strange worlds they're exploring. What's more, player rules for a host of creatures let players not just fight aliens, but be them!

Inside Starfinder Alien Archive, you'll find the following:

  • Over 80 bizarre life-forms both classic and new, from the reptilian ikeshtis and energy-bodied hallajins to robotic anacites and supernatural entities from beyond the realms of mortals.
  • Over 20 races with full player rules, letting you play everything from a winged dragonkin to a hyperevolved floating brain.
  • New alien technology to help give your character an edge, including weapons, armor, magic items, and more.
  • A robust NPC-creation system to let Game Masters build any aliens or creatures they can imagine.
  • New rules for magical monster summoning, quick templates to modify creatures on the fly, and more!

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-975-2

Note: This product is part of the Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscription.

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Very good essential book

4/5

Beautifully illustrated, rich with monsters and playable races options. The part about how to create monsters is fantastic and absolutely needed. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is that I found a few errors (mostly missing stats) which bring down the polish of this product quite a bit. Furthermore, due to the complexity of the equipment side of this game it makes for a decent amount of cross-referencing the core rule book in order to find what you need, and that sucks.
An F.A.Q./errata is needed, please!


Expensive for size, but Excellent

5/5

The Alien Archive is the first Starfinder "monster book." It includes sixty different creatures. Although GMs would be the natural audience for a book like this, players can get a lot out of it as well because no less than 21 of the creature entries have rules for running them as PCs. In addition, several of the entries introduce new weapons, armor, or other magical items. The book is structured pretty much like you would expect, with a short introduction, a whole bunch of creatures in alphabetical order, and then some (very useful and important) appendices. I'm going to go through each of these sections, but first I want to highlight the overall design and look of the book: it's absolutely gorgeous. The full-colour artwork is uniformly excellent and fits the "feel" of the Starfinder universe perfectly, the intelligently-designed footers and page borders make it very easy to tell where you are in the book at any moment, and the layout of the creature stat blocks and description makes the text very readable. Paizo is one of the best in the business at this part of RPG publishing, and their attention and expertise to detail (not to mention investment in quality artwork) shows here to full effect.

The book starts with a two-page introduction that has a couple of different topics. First, there's an explanation that the aliens given special rules to allow them to be played as PCs have often been scaled back in power from the same aliens when played as NPCs by the GM. This makes sense from a game-design perspective (because otherwise many of the playable alien races would be overpowered), but it can be somewhat disappointing as a reader to stumble on an alien that seems awesome only to realize that, if you want to play one, it's abilities will be significantly nerfed. Second, there's a "How to Read a Stat Block" section that explains each line in a creature stat block. Most of this will be pretty familiar to readers of Pathfinder Bestiaries, with some minor distinctions, like only showing ability score modifiers (not the scores themselves), only showing usable feats (not ones that are "built in" to the statistics), and the disappointing omission of the little one-line description in italics that I used to read out to players when they encountered a new monster. Another minor difference is that instead of having little symbols that define monsters by environment, the Alien Archive has little symbols that identify them as "Combatants", "Experts" (skillwise), or "Spellcasters".

The core of the book (120 pages), of course, is the creature entries. Each entry gets a full two-page spread. The advantage of this is that many entries include multiple stat blocks (such as Space Goblins getting a CR 1/3 "Space Goblin Zaperator" and a CR 2 "Space Goblin Honchohead"), there's room for the aforementioned new items or PC racial traits, and there's a *lot* of description. This last thing is probably one of my favourite things about the book, as the writers could go into much more depth on each creature than if they just had one-page entries. The background/description sections are full of flavour and setting lore, and I saw some great adventure hooks buried within some of them. The obvious drawback of two-page spreads for each entry is that it does limit the overall number of creatures in the book, which is already slim (a topic I'll talk more about below).

As for the creatures themselves, I guess it's not really practical for me to go through all sixty of them. Some general observations: 1) They struck a reasonable balance between (re)introducing some Pathfinder creatures into the new setting (like Dragons, Drow, Elementals, and Goblins) without turning the book into just an updated Bestiary. The vast majority of creatures in the book are new. 2) Despite being an "alien" book, most of the creatures are roughly two arm/two leg/one head humanoids. There are definitely some exceptions, such as my beloved barathu (floating jellyfish-like creatures, one of which I'm running through Dead Suns), skittermanders (six-armed over-helpful little creatures that have become Starfinder's break-out hit), and exotic threats like the tech-devouring "assembly ooze" (cooler in theory than in practice). 3) Even with a relatively small spread of creatures, some entries are pretty unimaginative and fall flat: I'm looking at you Formians (generic ant creatures), Grays (generic mysterious aliens), Mountain eels (eels . . . on mountains!), surnoch (forgettable giant worms), and the Swarm (generic bug monsters). 4) The book somehow manages to handle, incredibly concisely, some entries for creature types that should take up several pages: all of the chromatic dragons, for example, are included into a single two-page spread (through the use of templates), and all four of the basic elemental types and sizes are summarised through similar means in just two pages. I admire the economy of space, though I worry the templates don't include enough special features to make a white dragon play significantly differently than a blue dragon (for example) or for a water elemental to really seem different than an air elemental. 5) A few of the creatures are large enough to post a threat to entire starships, and have been given additional stat blocks for starship combat. 6) The creatures are heavily skewed to the low to middle levels of gameplay. There's only one or two creatures each for CRs of 13 or above.

Appendix 1 weighs in at a hefty 17 pages and provides a GM with instructions for creating custom monsters and NPCs. There's a nine-step process which includes selecting an ability score array, creature type, special abilities, etc. The process is designed to be quick and painless, and operates on the premise that what's important from a player-facing perspective is what cool things a creature can do during an encounter rather than whether it has precisely the right amount of skill points or one too many feats. This was a conscious decision by the Starfinder designers, and is a big break with the D&D 3.5/Pathfinder model which operated under the premise that monsters/NPCs couldn't "cheat" (so a Level 5 Wizard NPC couldn't have more spells than a Level 5 Wizard PC "just because"). The choice has led to criticism from a lot of GMs who prefer the Pathfinder way. I almost exclusively run pre-made adventures these days so I haven't used the monster/NPC creation rules in the Alien Archive myself. Perhaps the only problem I've noticed is that monsters and NPCs can seem very "samey" because they're not built organically with real strengths and weaknesses (there's never a Level 6 creature running around with a 10 KAC because it's slow and doesn't wear armor, for example--it'll have a fixed KAC of 18, 19, or 20 depending on which array is chosen).

Appendix 2 (five pages) provides the rules for summoning creatures in Starfinder. It introduces the Summon Creature spell and the associated tables for what exactly can be summoned for each level of the spell. One of the differences from Pathfinder is that a spellcaster must decide, ahead of time, which four creatures they're familiar enough with to summon (instead of being able to summon anything on the table). In addition, there are some alignment and class restrictions on what can be summoned, which is an intelligent limitation. I personally hate summoned creatures, animal companions, and familiars, so anything that can be done to curb the abuse we see in Pathfinder is welcome as far as I'm concerned.

Appendix 3 (two pages) provides 16 new templates (called "Grafts" here) that can be applied to creatures to change them up a little. A couple of these are familiar from Pathfinder (like Celestial, fiendish, and Giant), but most of the others are new for Starfinder (like Cybernetic, Synthetic, Miniature, and Two-Headed).

Appendix 4 (7 pages) is the most important of the appendices, as it contains what every GM will need to reference frequently: universe creature rules. When a stat block says a monster has Blindsense, Grab, or Undead Immunities, they'll need to turn here to figure out exactly what that means in mechanical terms. Some of these rules will be very familiar to Pathfinder GMs, but there are enough little differences that it's worth reading the entries carefully.

The most commonly heard complaint about the Alien Archive is that it's just too short for its price. It's $ 39.99 for just 159 pages, while a hardcover Pathfinder Bestiary is 328 pages and a $ 44.99 retail price. I think the criticism is fair, and I wouldn't blame people for choosing to instead get the $ 9.99 PDF. Apart from its length/price, however, this is a really strong book full of gorgeous artwork, strong writing, and a good array of various creatures. It's definitely worth picking up in one format or another.


A must for Starfinder fans

5/5

The first "Bestiary" is just amazing, plenty of cool creatures, new races that players can choose for their characters (this is one of the most amazing features of Starfinder), cool and easy rules to create your own alien species. An amazing book, people complain that is not as big as the Pathfinder Bestiaries, but hey, they are giving us Alien Archives every couple of mothns (third is on the way). In that sense, I prefer "smaller" books, that arrive more often. Very happy wiht this!


5/5


Definitely gets the creative juices flowing!

4/5

Lots of variety, amazing artwork, new spells, playable races, and creation rules. What's not to like?


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Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
CorvusMask wrote:
So what is AHAV and what is the angel, devil and invetable in the book like?

AHAV = autonomous heavy assault vehicle.

Can't really comment on the angel devil and inevitable. What do you want to know?

Dark Archive

Well, what is their "thing". Like, Endbringer devil, what end it brings, some sort of apocalyptic one or what?


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
CorvusMask wrote:
Well, what is their "thing". Like, Endbringer devil, what end it brings, some sort of apocalyptic one or what?

Endbringer devils are basically living spaceships, they get summoned into space full of devils and then plummet onto a planet and send an army out, then go full-on titan mode and start crushing everything. They don't have any rel propulsion though so once they land they can't leave the atmosphere, just get re-summoned to hell and then back into space when they're next needed.

Silver Crusade

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Ah, gotcha.

Well, Barachius Angels are guardians of technology, be it computer code or arms and armor, as far as I read. They are fighting 'evil code' as much as hackers and I think even cursed tech/hybrid items.

Endbringer Devils are colossal warmachines that can traverse space as spaceships (huge size). They are 'true devils' but also akin to constructs, and they can transport other individuals (even through space).

Anhamut inevitables 'think' that the chaos of space can be fought with mapping and exploring. They, and their equipment are made of nanites and can give up their 'solid form' to disperse as a nanite swarm (and reform again).


Are there rules for crafting/ purchasing robots?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Zander1074 wrote:
Are there rules for crafting/ purchasing robots?

If there are such, I haven't seen them


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Cthulhudrew wrote:
Jelloarm wrote:
It's actually just all skittermanders. Hundreds of pages of the lovely little bastards.
Bah! (space) Gremlins get the short shrift again!!!! (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

It's time to take a play from the core Human race and taking over the bestiaries another way... by making half-gremlins, the old-fashioned way.

Rolls WIS/self-preservation check (1d20 - 4 ⇒ (13) - 4 = 9; FAIL) {buys owlbear a drink} Hey, baby, how you doing? {waggles eyebrows flirtatiously}


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

What's the deal with the Draelik and Wrikreechee? I don't think those have ever been mentioned before Starfinder, so they're the biggest unknowns of the new PC races. We saw a Wrikreechee on Ninja Division's Kickstarter, although I don't think a Draelik has been shown anywhere.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
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Opsylum wrote:
What's the deal with the Draelik and Wrikreechee? I don't think those have ever been mentioned before Starfinder, so they're the biggest unknowns of the new PC races. We saw a Wrikreechee on Ninja Division's Kickstarter, although I don't think a Draelik has been shown anywhere.

Draelik are lumpy pickle-looking dudes who are mixed up in some weird negative energy plane stuff. Wrikreechee are just mollusk people who lived in an ocean under ice until like 50 years ago when the pact worlds explorers found them.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

What are the dragons in the book?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Troodos wrote:
What are the dragons in the book?

Full stats for a young adult blue dragon (size Huge) plus template grafts for all five types of chromatic dragon.


David knott 242 wrote:
Troodos wrote:
What are the dragons in the book?

Full stats for a young adult blue dragon (size Huge) plus template grafts for all five types of chromatic dragon.

Interesting, no Outer Dragons? Good thing it's so easy to convert stuff from PF!


Golurkcanfly wrote:
Why aren't Elebrians (Eoxians) among the playable races?

From the blurb of the pact worlds book it sounds like that is where they will be.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
David knott 242 wrote:
Ventnor wrote:
Are the Contemplative, Space Goblin, Haan, and Sarcesian stats different than those presented in First Contact?

Yes, in various minor ways, since First Contact did not use the final monster rules.

I assume the player stat blocks got updated a smidge. In first contact everything seemed to be a total of +3 stats whereas the pathfinder core book everything works to +2. I am awaiting the final call so I can be a fully official goblin instead a slightly maybe better than I should be uber goblin.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I am glued to my computer waiting for that shipping notice, salivating like a dog.........

still nothing......

:(


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Put on a Skeld mask until Paizo is fooled into shipping your subscription.

Hey, it worked for me!

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

kaid wrote:
uber goblin.

Uber and Goblin are redundant. :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I know but I don't want to make the party feel even worse than they already will basking in my glory by being +1 attribute better than I should be!


Does the outsider type still have to breathe? This has implications for the environment of the drift (vacuum everywhere or localized planar atmosphere around stolen splanar chunks) if we're supposed to encounter them in the drift.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Xenocrat wrote:
Does the outsider type still have to breathe? This has implications for the environment of the drift (vacuum everywhere or localized planar atmosphere around stolen splanar chunks) if we're supposed to encounter them in the drift.

The outsider type itself does not grant the ability to do without breathing. Monsters with the "No Breath" or "Unliving" qualities can do without breathing.

I suppose that means that there is a good chance of encountering the corpses of dead outsiders who lack those qualities.

Dark Archive

According to a comment on fridays blog, this book is already sold out and on backorder (second printing) for december 2017... ;-/


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

I can't wait for mine to ship.

Looks like a great book! :-)

Silver Crusade

9 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Marco Massoudi wrote:
According to a comment on fridays blog, this book is already sold out and on backorder (second printing) for december 2017... ;-/

Yeah, it's gonna be an awful time waiting until they make new PDFs.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Gorbacz wrote:
Marco Massoudi wrote:
According to a comment on fridays blog, this book is already sold out and on backorder (second printing) for december 2017... ;-/
Yeah, it's gonna be an awful time waiting until they make new PDFs.

Yep. But don't worry, they've subcontracted out all the necessary overtime for mining and refining raw bits into shiny pure PDFs... to us gremlins. Ha ha!

Wait, what do you mean that isn't how PDFs are made? Wha-? Oooo, MP lied to me. {shakes tiny fist impotently}


1 person marked this as a favorite.

It really gets old seeing people with their copies and I'm over here "pending." WTF?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

It's all good, I'm still pending myself.

They should get it all shipped by the end of the upcoming week. :-)


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For those of you who have gotten the PDF already, do the grafts do a good job of cutting down on space taken up by stat blocks? I saw the comment above about the chromatic dragons, and dragons have always been page-hungry in the Bestiaries. The chromatic dragons take up 10 pages (12 pages if you consider the universal dragon rules) in the first Bestiary, and that is almost entirely crunch, very little description. How does the dragon entry in Alien Archive compare? Does it give more description than the Bestiaries? I'm hoping that in Alien Archive 2 we will get outer dragons, and that there will actually be space for real descriptions and ecologies, not just a sentence or two. Reducing the size of the stat blocks would definitely make that more likely.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

As I stated earlier: 1 full stat block and 5 template grafts. 2 pages total.


Creating a monster is fairly simple Bluescale.

This is a critter I made using the guidelines presented. The two special abilities it has are my own creation though.

You really just decide on the CR, what type (creature(type), or NPC with class graft), position a few stat modifiers (which don't really seem to govern too much, and the skills. Picking special abilities will likely take the most time.


Karpomatic wrote:
It really gets old seeing people with their copies and I'm over here "pending." WTF?

Be thankful you don't have to wait until the 18th to get your PDF.

Silver Crusade

Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
Karpomatic wrote:
It really gets old seeing people with their copies and I'm over here "pending." WTF?
Be thankful you don't have to wait until the 18th to get your PDF.

Could be worse.

/eye Doom Patrol

Grand Lodge

hey question i have seen that the books releases on the 18 of Oct., but every store i go into said that it doesn't release until Nov., are they wrong or is there a giant back order in the suppliers


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Kagerage wrote:
hey question i have seen that the books releases on the 18 of Oct., but every store i go into said that it doesn't release until Nov., are they wrong or is there a giant back order in the suppliers

There's a big back order. To get the book out this early they had to order it before they had a full idea of how popular Starfinder was going to be, which means they weren't able to order enough to fulfill demand. The pdf will be available from the 18th but physical copies will take longer to get a hold of.


Any overall impressions on the frequency of elemental and damage resistances? Immunities?

Any changes or noteworthy issues among the "build a monster" creature type defenses? For example, do any construct types get hardness, or is it more like DR/adamantine? (Trying to figure out if Penetrating weapons are ever going to be relevant to creatures rather than vehicles/buildings.)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Curious if its already on back order then why is it still listed as available. I can add one to my cart and so on. I have subscribed from the get go so im not worried for this particular book but how am I supposed to know if a book is truly available or not when i add it to an existing subscription order. I just don't want to get into a situation where I accidentally hold up a subscription order by side-carting something that's on back order.


It’s because you’re not ordering it right now, you’re pre-ordering it.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
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Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
It’s because you’re not ordering it right now, you’re pre-ordering it.

Ah right, makes sense. Thanks for the quick reply. Now if the Kabolds would kindly stop hiding my books from the shipping folks so my order could ship out that would be great :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Vexies wrote:
Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
It’s because you’re not ordering it right now, you’re pre-ordering it.
Ah right, makes sense. Thanks for the quick reply. Now if the Kabolds would kindly stop hiding my books from the shipping folks so my order could ship out that would be great :)

Np :3

And hehe, same. Though I suspect it’s Pugwampis...


I took a look and quickly jotted down how much Energy Resistance/Immunity and Damage Reduction came into play.

Nothing was really common. Most DR could be overcome by simply having a fusion on the weapon. Energy resistance was fairly spread out. Fire and Cold were nearly tied, but a few had Electricty.

My suggestion is to throw any infusion you can on a kinetic weapon to overcome DR/magic. If you specialize in energy weapons, carry two. Probably safe with Electricity and either Fire/Frost.

Hardness barely showed up (the AHAV comes to mind). It isn't something that shows up on all security robots. Probably not going to be a common defense.


Ship my book already....

Grand Lodge

Luke Spencer wrote:
Kagerage wrote:
hey question i have seen that the books releases on the 18 of Oct., but every store i go into said that it doesn't release until Nov., are they wrong or is there a giant back order in the suppliers
There's a big back order. To get the book out this early they had to order it before they had a full idea of how popular Starfinder was going to be, which means they weren't able to order enough to fulfill demand. The pdf will be available from the 18th but physical copies will take longer to get a hold of.

Many thanks for the update.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Vexies wrote:
Curious if its already on back order then why is it still listed as available. I can add one to my cart and so on. I have subscribed from the get go so im not worried for this particular book but how am I supposed to know if a book is truly available or not when i add it to an existing subscription order.

There are many different distribution channels and it’s not unheard of for

Paizo to have some in stock when distributors list it as a backorder. It gets particularly messy during a subscription run (like now). Paizo estimate how many they’ll need for subscribers, returns, preorders, etcetera - sometimes they’ll overestimate and have some left once the dust settles, even if FLGSes are reporting the book as on backorder.

Usually, Paizo’s site distinguishes between backorders and books which are in stock. So barring subscription glitches, the fact you can order it now should mean that there’s a few still in stock at the Paizo warehouse.

If they had none left, it would be listed as “backorder” rather than “add hardcover”.

Quote:
I just don't want to get into a situation where I accidentally hold up a subscription order by side-carting something that's on back order.

This can happen, but it’s infrequent (and isn’t supposed to). If something is in your sidecart, it shouldn’t get added to your monthly order unless it’s actually in the building.


Any stats on Skittermanders? I got a player who wants to play one this week in Dead Suns and I'm still pending.


Yes the Skittermanders Are statted up in this :3


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

What are the CR 20 creatures? What are their ACs and hit points?

Do NPCs get the same amount of wealth as PCs, or a lesser amount? If so, please compare the CR 20 NPC wealth vs a level 20 PC wealth.


I'm having a little trouble determine DCs from template grafts. For instance, the Nihli on page 82-83 get the decompression gaze and gravity well abilities at cr-2, plus 2 to the DCs as part of their graft. How would I determine the DCs? It isn't explained in the book, at least not that I saw


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ericthecleric wrote:

What are the CR 20 creatures? What are their ACs and hit points?

Do NPCs get the same amount of wealth as PCs, or a lesser amount? If so, please compare the CR 20 NPC wealth vs a level 20 PC wealth.

The Kyokor has CR 20, 485 hit points, EAC 35, and KAC 37.

The class graft entries in Appendix 1 give suggested levels by CR for weapons and armor for NPCs with those class grafts.


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The Mad Poet wrote:
I'm having a little trouble determine DCs from template grafts. For instance, the Nihli on page 82-83 get the decompression gaze and gravity well abilities at cr-2, plus 2 to the DCs as part of their graft. How would I determine the DCs? It isn't explained in the book, at least not that I saw

Reference the tables starting on page 129. The example creature is a CR 5 combatant, so you would get the Ability DC from Table 1 and the damage from the CR 3 entry for ranged damage (energy) in Table 2.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thanks, David!


Can you give descriptions of the Deh-Nolo, Hesper, and Bryrvath?

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